Monday, August 19, 2013

I Don't Tell You How To


Last week Time Magazine ran a cover story about the rising numbers of child free couples in the United States.  It sparked a firestorm.  People without children are quick to defend themselves saying that they have happy and fulfilled lives, time to care for aging parents, and savings to get them through retirement.  People with children, well, they pretty much just claim that you are in an incomplete person without children, that your life in not valid, nor are your accomplishments, and that no one will take care of you when you are old. Perhaps there is some validity on both sides.  However, I feel that it is important to point out that most people with children are not heard complaining that they feel judged by people without children, or pressured, or discounted.  Most people without kids, spend a lot of time having to justify themselves, their lifestyles, and sometimes even their medical and financial status to people who thin they know how everyone's lives should be led. 

 I believe that like any other major life choice the one about whether or not to have a child is personal.  And there are all kinds of reasons, some of them medical, for not having kids, which is also personal, meaning none of anyone else's business. Which means is it should probably go without comment. Just like we do not tell strangers that they are fat and would just be happy if they lost weight, or that they really should have gone to college if they wanted to be happy, or that they don't make enough money so they just don't know what they are missing.

So the next time, before you tell some girlfriend or coworker or cousin that she is running out of time or she just doesn't know what she is missing, please remember that you do not know if perhaps she is trying, or has tried, or considers managing to not get pregnant an accomplishment   Mostly, remember that it is none of your business to pass judgement, that women without children largely do not try to make you feel like less of a person for all the things you miss because of your kids so you shouldn't either. Pressuring other women to have kids just because that's what you did reeks of righteousness and desperation to validate your own life and choices,  You never know what is really going on in someone's life so you live yours and let everyone else live theirs.

Like what you are reading?  Then support the Kickstarter for my book Girl Gone Wild- On Being a Woman in the Wilderness.  Thanks!

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