Baby don't bring me down

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 So this is the last post that is part of Alex Beadon's Feel Good Blogging Challenge and I have actually loved it! It has been deliberately crafted to push us out of our comfort zones. 
I understand why, because you cant be true to yourself, your blog, your business, your life or your readers if you don’t state your views from time to time? How will people really know who you are, or if you have anything in common if you don’t let people know that you have an opinion on matters?

Alex Beadon and Kat from Rock n Roll bride are both advocates of the anti-vanilla stance and who can argue with these two strong business savvy ladies?

So I have been thinking…. What can I write about…. Don’t want to upset people for the sake of it.

Then I realised that I kept coming back to the same subject, so this is it folks!

Why does being Childfree piss so many people off?

Really it shouldn’t be a controversial subject, but it is, the world over.

Numerous books have been written on the subject, there are pro and anti forums filled with people wanting their say, magazine articles in womens mags who have written pieces on being ChildFree (CF) sounding incredulous that this is a thing that women actually find acceptable. Then there are the times when the media are sent into meltdown when a female celebrity has the courage to stand up and say that they are happy being childfree. People are confused, upset and angry that they should dare to do their own thing while all those in the CF camp breath a sigh of relief  that there is a famous face to be the poster child for their cause.

I find the whole situation confusing and feel myself getting defensive, where before it was never  a subject that needed discussion. I know my own mind and this is how it is going to be. 
Now over the last few years it seems to hve been a topic that is open for discussion.
This may be due to the fact that I had got married, and was already of the age where I ‘should be considering starting a family’.

I have known since I was 8 that I didn’t want kids. I remember vividly, thinking that I wanted to have bigger ambitions for my future than to just marriage and babies. Now before you finish your cry of indignation remember that this is how I felt/feel about it, but I am not saying that this is not a fulfilling life for someone else. You see where I am going with this?

Although I had made my feelings clear about kids when I first got together with my (now) husband, somehow over the years the lines had become blurred, and I convinced myself that having children would make us happy, it is what you should do, and there had been vague conversations.
I didn’t want to let him down but I wasn’t ready, maybe when I reach this age or after we move house or maybe then or after this has happened…. I fretted constantly about this deadline that I had given myself for trying for children and it just felt like a prison sentence looming closer and closer.
I ended up making myself sick and I was racked with a choking depression, and spent a lot of my time crying. Physically and mentally fighting against every instinct in my body, desperately trying to convince myself that I could become a parent and it would be fine. I am sure it would please my husband and this is what was expected in a marriage, right?!

Then one day I had lunch with a friend who gave me wise and desperately needed advice.
‘Don’t do it because you feel obligated, don’t do it because you are worried about upsetting people. You have to do it because you want it. You will be the one raising the child and it will be your life you have to lead. Once you have kids your life will never be the same. If I could have known what life would become as a parent I don’t know if I would have done it. You love them, but your life is turned upside down, and no one will ever tell you in advance how hard it is because they don’t want to scare you off. You have a choice and if you don’t want to do it don’t, it is not fair on anyone involved including the baby.’

It was if a weight had lifted off my shoulders. I did have a choice! I had somehow forgotten this along the way while I had been busy convincing myself that this is what I wanted.

My husband and I needed to have a talk and make some important decisions. Marriage is about compromise but you cant compromise over a baby, it was all or nothing. If he decided that he did see kids in his future then we would have to go our separate ways as it would not be fair to deny him that.
He said that he loved me and wanted to be with me and for us to continue to have fun together and go on adventures. He told me later that he had always assumed that he would have kids when he was grown up becaue that is just what you do, and he had never stopped to think if he really wanted them; and when we talked he realised he wasn’t bothered.

We had been through lots of tough times since we had been together (a story for another time maybe) and we had not really had the chance to be a normal couple and have fun, so this was our chance now.

So we openly embarked on a CF future. Both sets of parents were supportive of our decision and this made it a lot easier and we knew we were lucky.

There are still times when I/we feel awkward or like outsiders in social situations as many of our friends and family have reached the age where they have either got children or starting their own brood, and we find ourselves surrounded by people talking about nothing buy nappy changes and school places or knee high in toddlers.
I am tempted to do one of two things in these situations and that is either launch into a very involved conversation about my own toiletry habits (not nice is it?!) or turn around and leg it out of there, but social politeness and good manners dictates that neither of these options would be received very well (or leave us with very many friends)!  :-)

But as a happily married child free couple we are making our life what we want it to be and we have the luxury to do this. 

Some of the common misconceptions about being Childfree:

You are being selfish

Absolutely not!! How can the decision not to have children be classed as selfish as opposed to the people that choose to have children?
Selfish to who? Selfish how?
Are we being selfish to the non existent child? Selfish for not taking maternity leave and for not costing private companies and the tax payer money.
Selfish for not joining the ever growing queue for school places?
Selfish for not contributing to the hideous school run traffic that makes people's commute a misery?
Selfish for not taking time off work to look after sick children?
Selfish for not talking endlessly about children, their diets and their bowel movements
Selfish for not increasing my carbon footprint expendentially. did you know that: Under current conditions in the United States, each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent – about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible.
Being childfree is the BIGGEST thing you could ever do to be environmentally responsible!

Or are Childfree people simply being Selfish for not wanting to be crippled by huge debts and responsibilities. Not having to save every penny for the cost of raising children. In January 2014 it was reported that the cost of raising a child and supporting them through university has risen by £5,000 over the past 12 months to £227,266, according to figures put together by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CEBR).

No one has any right to accuse a childfree person of being selfish.

You will change your mind, you don't know what you want, or what you are missing.

How dare someone tell you your own mind! if someone can know they want children, why is it presumed that people who do not are incapable of making that decision for themselves? Once you have kids there is no changing your mind back, so maybe that is the reason?
You will often find that CF people have spent a lot longer thinking about the pro's and con's of having children and have ensured that they have made a thoughtful and well considered decision. You will often find that CF people spend a lot more time considering this important decision than people who chose to have children do, as they are often driven by basic instinct. 
Yes certainly there will be aspects of being a parent that we won't understand or experience, but that is our choice. You dont need to feel sorry for us because we dont feel like we are missing out.

Child Free people hate children

No, not all of them by any means! You will find that many CF enjoy being around children, and have nieces, nephews adn friends children that they enjoy spending time with, but just dont want the responsibility of their own.
Not all CF people enjoy spending time with children though as it just does not interest them, and they would rather spend their time doing things they find fulfilling and enjoyable.
Some CF people love their careers or run their own business and want to spend their energies on this as this is their passion.
Some others love animals and the environment, so they fill their lives with their pets or volunteer and campaign on environmental causes that they are passionate about.

Childfree don't want children because they had a traumatic childhood.

This is a ridiculous sweeping statement, and is NOT the reason that many CF chose to stay free and enjoy their lives.
This statement could easily be turned aroundand say that people who have children have them to make up for their own traumatic childhoods. Haha - how do you like that?!

There will be no one to look after you when you get old.

I find this statement one of the most shocking!
If you are having children with the view that they are some kind of insurance policy for your old age then that is worryingly selfish. There is no guarantee that this will happen so please dont use this as a reason for someone to have a child.

Some of the benefits of being ChildFree:
  • You have less frown lines
  • You will probably be better off
  • You get to read a lot more 
  • Your time is your own (apart from when you are work)
  • You can listen to your favourite radio station or CD instead of nursery rhyme songs
  • You wont spend your time ferrying children around from one after school club to another
  • You dont have to be setting a good example all the time
  • You get to be the cool aunt/uncle or god parent 
  • You can stay out late whenever you want
  • Your house will stay clean and tidy (unless of course you are like me and a bit of a horder!)
  • You get to holiday off season
and finally
  • You can have a lie in every weekend! 

So lovelies I hope that has helped make things a little clearer and whether you are childfree, with kids, or undecided it is your choice, your life, and just make sure you have fun with it!

This is the last post as part of the Feel Good Blogging Challenge. if you want to catch up on the others in this project you can read them here #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6

Andrea x

Some resources for you:

Books to read
Childfree and loving it
I can barely take care of myself
Two is enough

The Childfree Life
Childfree Living

Childfree Me
We're not having a baby
Childfree by Choice Project