Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Dear Prudence: Mind your own business March 25, 2010

After my gripe on this week’s Whiny Wednesday, I came across this post on the excellent Childless By Choice Project blog. It chronicled the backlash of criticism after Slate’s Dear Prudence suggested to a newly married couple that they rethink their decision to not have chidren rather than suggesting how to deal with the people who keep hounding them about their choice.

Say what?

When I recently told my OB/GYN that we had decided not to pursue fertility treatments and to remain childless instead, she told me that it wasn’t too late for me and that her friend had just had a baby at 45. Do people really not hear us when we tell them about the decisions we’ve agonized over? Do they not give us credit for having weighed the options and made the right decision for us, not them, not the future of the human race?

One reader, who has three children said:

Having said all that, people should (or should not) have children because it’s what they want to do, not because of the expectations of others.

People who choose not to have children have just as much right to that choice and the right not to be harassed by anyone, including parents and grandparents.

Amen! But another reader had this to say:

We are past that age where people are expecting us to have children. However, we still get people who think we will regret our decision, so at any age the decision to remain childfree is challenged or not seen as viable.

If we can’t change people’s point-of-view, or their need to express their opinions on how we choose to live our lives, maybe all we can do is go out into the world armed with an arsenal of snarky comebacks. It’s just a suggestion.


One Response to “Dear Prudence: Mind your own business”

  1. kathleen guthrie Says:

    This seriously pisses me off. We encourage young marrieds to have kids b/c they might regret it if they don’t. So what happens when they have those kids, realize they never really wanted to be parents, and drop out when the parenting gets too tough? (For example, take a look at the school truancy and drop-out rates and government’s efforts to hold parents accountable.) Once you commit to being a parent, it’s a job for life, even after the “kids” have grown up. Before any one makes that choice, she/he/they need to consider all the possibilities, including caring for children with special needs, financial strains, balancing marriage/work/family….. Some of us have looked beyond the Hallmarky images of the perfect family scenario. This is not a decision to be made lightly.

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