If you don’t feel like clicking, Ashley Lauren Samsa shines a spotlight at the fact that we’ve just hit 7 billion people, and that women who don’t have kids and have chosen that path consciously, usually make the choice with some thought.
Yes, it’s been said before, but considering that 7 billion people is well past the sustainability point for Planet Earth, it needs to be said again, and again, until the message sinks in that not having children doesn’t make someone “emotionally deficient” (link to that embedded in the HuffPo article) or somehow lacking something. And believe you me, as a childfree female under 30, I get the patronizing little pat on the head with a “Oh, it’s okay, you’ll change your mind” on a very constant basis. As though I can’t possibly know what I want for myself.
Words can’t describe the urge to wring necks that inevitably surfaces with that sort of commentary.
Look, we’re at seven billion people. The planet cannot sustain that many, simply cannot. Instead of pressuring women to follow the motherhood-and-apple-pie ideal, how about making sure that the children who are already here have a planet to inhabit? There’s less that 1% difference between DNA strains across various cultures and races of human. So whatever arguments of “I want to pass along my genes” and “I want to carry on the family line” – seriously, spare it. With less than 1% genetic difference, I fail to see how one strain or another is somehow superior to any other.
The cultural pressure of women to have husbands and children is universal. The only difference with the US is that the people are very vocal with whom they find “less than”, and no matter how many people want to deny it, or now many human-resource stipulations are in place, family status does play into the workplace, and it goes both ways. A childed individual can take off for their kids’ needs, but their work falls into the lap of someone without children. Who gets the promotion, then? Or, alternately, the childfree person is laden down with an overload of work, under the guise of “Well, (s)he doesn’t have kids, so what’s a little extra work?”
Let’s make one thing clear: not having kids doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t have responsibilities. We all have bills to pay, we all have friends and non-child family members that, on occasion, may need us. We have these things called lives. They’re not the same as the lives of people with children, but they’re still lives and they still require time and effort to maintain.
I’m very much a live-and-let-live individual, and while people profess to be the same, I see a completely opposite reaction when someone close to them chooses a path in life that isn’t popular. The knee-jerk reaction is understandable, but honestly, kindly curtail it. You don’t see many childfree people asking parents why they had children. You also don’t see many childfree people calling parents on regretting having kids (those parents do exist, and much more prevalently than you may think). And, considering that we’re at (and safe to say, past) 7 billion people, it’s ripe time to lay the, “You should have kids already!” track aside.
Remember: a family of two is still a family. It’s just not the family that’s the “traditional” format.