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Guardian series of articles on childfree women

Posted by yurble 
Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 07, 2020
The Guardian has started a series on childfree women. There are currently three articles, plus an article introducing the series.

From the introduction:
Quote
Summer
If I had a kid, it would check a box: “Oh, she’s a mom, done. We know what she is. Done for the next 25 years.”

Whenever people can put you in a box – this race, gender, this ethnicity, this sexual orientation – it makes everything less threatening to them. “Mom” is just one more of those boxes, one that is very safe. You know what they do, you know their roles, she’s safe over there in that box.

From the first article, which is about Kelly, a fencesitter. Although she seems to be falling on the breeding side of the fence (which makes me wonder why she was included in the series), she does get some good advice that she ignores:
Quote

A colleague recommends I talk to Frances Kissling, president of The Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy, former president of Catholics for Choice and an activist who has campaigned across reproductive rights, religion and women’s rights since the 1970s.

When we talk, she’s in Mexico co-teaching reproductive health ethics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has a class coming up on children and family that will explore all the questions I’m interested in: should you have children? Why should you have children? Do you need reasons? What rights do children who are going to be brought into the world have?

Kissling knew she never wanted to have children, and was sterilized at 33. At 76, it’s a choice she’s never regretted.

For her, it’s a mistake to ignore the world around us when thinking about starting a family. “Many friends and I feel a certain relief that we are not leaving behind, in this world, children to suffer with climate change, lack of water, some of the dystopian views of where the world will go in the future.”

The second article is about a woman who didn't want to be a mother because her own mother was so bad, but who had difficulty admitting it to herself:
Quote

I arrived very late to owning my lack of maternal desire. I was so anxious about the stigma associated with not wanting kids – so afraid of confronting further evidence that I was “selfish”, or garnering the pity and shame that had been foisted upon my older cousins who didn’t have them – that between the end of my first marriage at 26 and meeting my current husband at 38, I avoided even really asking myself whether I did want them.

Now and then, though, I would secretly entertain my biggest fears: If I were to make babies, might I feel trapped, as my mother seemed to? Would I perpetuate a family legacy of daughters feeling insufficiently mothered – as I had, as my mother had, and as her mother had – passing down to future generations the effects of trauma that began with my great-grandmother’s untimely death? Would I wind up burdening and traumatizing my children with my emotional needs in a parent-child role reversal, as both my parents did?

Then, ten years ago, as I was approaching 44, I underwent a hysterectomy that not only provided relief from a painful condition called adenomyosis; it also helped me come to terms with my lack of interest in motherhood. Ironically, my husband and I had been pursuing fertility treatment right up until my diagnosis. When we learned I needed an operation that would effectively obliterate the possibility of child-bearing, I was relieved. My husband was, too.

Article three is about a woman with a brain injury who can't handle the noise children make.
Quote

“I want six kids,” my sister said once while holding my brother. I remember thinking, “Maybe I want none”.

While I hadn’t wavered much in my belief that kids weren’t right for me, there was always the possibility I’d change my mind. But after being injured two years ago, it didn’t feel like a choice anymore.
She's pretty pro-breeding though: "When I visited Sanjana a few weeks after her son was born, we talked about how the government should provide services for disabled and chronically ill people to help them parent and how she was lucky to have the means to pay for support and a great partner."

So I'm still waiting for the articles on (a) someone who doesn't have children because she can't stand them, and (b) the anti-natalist. Everyone wants to disavow the ideas of not liking kids, and of thinking that other people shouldn't breed, either, because neither is seen as likeable to the general public. I want to read about a woman who is unapologetic in her writing, even if she remains anonymous. I want to read about someone who is pissed off about the legal and workplace discrimination childfree women face.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 07, 2020
we talked about how the government should provide services for disabled and chronically ill people to help them parent

god now we will have our pockets picked for fucking defectives to breed. we've been doin gthat for a long time. frankly they shouldn't get one godaamn taxpayer dime. let private charities teach their defective aholes on how to cope

two cents ¢¢

CERTIFIED HOSEHEAD!!!

people (especially women) do not give ONE DAMN about what they inflict on children
and I defy anyone to prove me wrong:

The selfish wants of adults outweigh the needs of the child.

If I want to hear the pitter-patter of little feet I'll put shoes on my pets.

Mankind and its needs (wants) are like unto a black hole. It devours all available resources and it never is full: it merely grows larger and demands more.

Definition of 'wealthy': Anyone who makes more/has more than you do.

Someone pointed out that I'm a realist. And all along I thought I was just a pessimist crossed with a cynic.

Entitlement, thy name is mooooooooooooooo

"Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove
they are insured... but not everyone must prove they are a citizen.
Add to this that, many of those who refuse or are unable to prove they are
citizens, will receive free insurance paid for by those who are.""

I am confused enough already. I do not need outside help.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 07, 2020
Not stellar examples by any means:

#1 is a fencesitter

#2 did fertility treatments and was "relieved" by hysterectomy. This does not sound like a person who was determined to be CF

#3 sounds CL for physical reasons and is a Breeder Pleaser.

Granted, in this world of crazy people and internet mobs, I would not out myself as CF in print, but I would be anonymous. (but then again, that could still be leaked)

But it seems like they are not looking all that hard for real CF people.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 07, 2020
The disabled and chronically ill love to use the spoon metaphor, where each day they have only so many spoons and each basic task takes up spoons. And that’s taking care of themselves. If it takes half your spoons to get out of bed, shower, get dressed, and do the dishes, how the fuck are you going to care for a child? Or is their solution is that the government provides them with a free nanny or au pair to do all the crap childcare tasks and the spoonie gets to only engage with the child they decided to have only when they feel like it?

------------------------------------------------------------
"Why children take so long to grow? They eat and drink like pig and give nothing back. Must find way to accelerate process..."
- Dr. Yi Suchong, Bioshock

"Society does not need more children; but it does need more loved children. Quite literally, we cannot afford unloved children - but we pay heavily for them every day. There should not be the slightest communal concern when a woman elects to destroy the life of her thousandth-of-an-ounce embryo. But all society should rise up in alarm when it hears that a baby that is not wanted is about to be born."
- Garrett Hardin

"I feel like there's a message involved here somehow, but then I couldn't stop laughing at all the plotholes, like the part when North Korea has food."
- Youtube commentor referring to a North Korean cartoon.

"Reality is a bitch when it slowly crawls out of your vagina and shits in your lap."
- Reddit comment

"Bitch wants a baby, so we're gonna fuck now. #bareback"
- Cambion

Oh whatever. Abortion doctors are crimestoppers."
- Miss Hannigan
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 07, 2020
Quote
bell_flower
Not stellar examples by any means:

#1 is a fencesitter

#2 did fertility treatments and was "relieved" by hysterectomy. This does not sound like a person who was determined to be CF

#3 sounds CL for physical reasons and is a Breeder Pleaser.

Granted, in this world of crazy people and internet mobs, I would not out myself as CF in print, but I would be anonymous. (but then again, that could still be leaked)

But it seems like they are not looking all that hard for real CF people.

Exactly, I'm not impressed with the sample so far. Why is it that every attempt to present CF people has to make it look like it is a big struggle to make a decision, instead of it being an obvious choice and the struggle being dealing with societal assumptions? Why is the term CF always being watered down by including obvious fencesitters who are likely to decide in favor of breeding (#1)? Only the most inoffensive "CF" people are ever included, even though there are definitely outspoken CF blogs and Twitter accounts from people who seem unafraid of dealing with the hostility that comes from that. Why don't they seek out some women who aren't so milquetoast?
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 07, 2020
I think they got all their samples from reddit/cf, land of fencesitting and "we tried for 10 years until having to get a hysterectomy made the decision for me"
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 08, 2020
Quote
yurble
Everyone wants to disavow the ideas of not liking kids, and of thinking that other people shouldn't breed, either, because neither is seen as likeable to the general public.

"Don't get me wrong, I love kids!" is fucking tiring. And defensive. We have nothing to be defensive about, even if breeders think we should, and everybody who follows up "I'm childfree" with "but I love kids!" is undermining all of us. These CF (or CL?) people who insist how much they love children sometimes seem disingenuous to me, too. I mean, if you love kids that freaking much, why don't you want any?
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 08, 2020
They picked some really namby-pamby people to interview. I would like to see someone who simply doesn't see any appeal in parenthood and prefers an adult-only life.

I'd also like to see them talk to a CFer who presents overpopulation and environmental collapse as part of their thinking.

It's sad that people feel the need to throw in how they like kids. No one likes an entire category of humans. I have met some real assholes in my life. Sone were adults and some were minors.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 08, 2020
Article 4: I cherish my freedom seems more up my alley.

Quote
Ann Neumann
It takes a lot of money, discipline and medical access to not have children. There’s also some hell to pay for it, even today: namely, the too-personal inquiries (our female bodies are never our own), the loss of social status (mothers are the moral future of the nation) and the steady blows to our respectability that society gleefully lands.

Childlessness is almost as radical today as it’s always been, a fact that belies the numbers: in 2018, 15% of women between 45 and 50 were childless.

As I’ve aged – I’ll turn 52 this year – my appreciation for the liberties I’ve chosen has only grown. Like a free agent, I’ve always revelled in my actions without restrictions, my decisions without ramifications. I could move to the other side of the country, then move back; spend three months making sandwiches in a cafe in Alaska; throw all my savings into a furniture store for a short year; then cut and run with a backpack across the African continent for another.

She really gets that women set themselves up for suffering by breeding with men who won't even take responsibility for themselves:
Quote

Once I figured out that if I didn’t dirty the dishes I didn’t have to wash them, I was liberated from unfair and unequal domestic responsibilities. It’s much harder to get out from under domestic labor when you have children, your husband earns more than you do, and daycare costs more than you would earn at a job.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 08, 2020
Article 5: 'I was expected to have kids': five people who defied expectations is a photo essay rather than an article.

The first woman, Mona, talks about the trap of having children.
Quote

When I was 15 my family moved to Saudi Arabia. I was traumatized into feminism. As soon as we moved there, I felt like I had been sentenced to a lifetime in prison. So I vowed to myself at 16 that I would never allow myself to be in a situation that I could not walk away from. Obviously, children cannot be walked away from. So without actually saying “I’m never going to have children” I had already vowed to myself not to have children. In my mind, I have to be free enough that I am able to walk away anytime because being in Saudi Arabia was so suffocating and stifling.

The second woman, Janice, appears to be more CL by circumstance.

The third person, Calvin, says "Ultimately it’s just about never really wanting a kid."

The fourth person, Sierra, talks about how she found out being CF was an option, and how her religious family responded.
Quote

I met someone else who said they didn’t want kids and immediately I said" “Wait, you don’t want kids? You can choose that?” When I realized that was an option and also that I didn't want kids either it took a while for me to embrace it because I was afraid I wouldn’t be accepted or respected by my friends and family or I wouldn’t be able to find a partner who wanted the same thing. I’ve been with the same partner now for four years so it worked out.
...
When I told my parents, they initially went silent and changed the subject and wouldn’t talk to me about it. Eventually, they sat me down and we had an intervention. They said: “I’m sure you’ll change your mind.” That’s usually the reaction I get. “Well, you’ll change your mind later.”

The fifth person is Bethany who says "Planning for a family was never on my radar." She is one of the 'auntie' types, though.
Quote

I’m Hispanic and come from a traditional Christian family; those two elements meant that I got asked repeatedly growing up and well into adulthood when I was going to have children. We’d be at a wedding or funeral, and they would be like, “Mija, are you married? Do you have kids?” "When are you going to have kids?" I’d say no, they would look at me with disappointment and say, "Sorry." I would reply with usually a smart-ass response and say: "Well, I didn't want to end up like your kids and have multiple kids from multiple guys." They wouldn't know what to say. The older I got the more I felt confident in my responses and decisions. I began not caring what my family thought. I was carving my own path.
...
Do I think I could be a parent? Yes! But is it something I want for my life? No. I think people need to understand that it's OK to choose to not have children. It shouldn't require an apology. It does not make me less of a person or woman for not conforming to society. Many people equate having children to joy. I have joy. I have happiness. I have a great life, a life that is fulfilling. My joy comes from my family, friend and the adventurous life I lead.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 08, 2020
Article 6 is one of that trope that women would want children if only society were more supportive, entitled "Why I don't have a child: I don't have enough money." I don't think this person is CF at all, more CL.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 08, 2020
If anyone is frustrated by the coverage of CF people, they do have a form you can fill in if you live in the US and have a throw-away email so that you can post semi-anonymously. However, I despair at looking at the questions on that form. How can you claim to be asking for the childfree perspective and pose a question like "If you have children, what made you decide to have them?"
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 08, 2020
Quote
kittehpeoples
Quote
yurble
Everyone wants to disavow the ideas of not liking kids, and of thinking that other people shouldn't breed, either, because neither is seen as likeable to the general public.

"Don't get me wrong, I love kids!" is fucking tiring. And defensive. We have nothing to be defensive about, even if breeders think we should, and everybody who follows up "I'm childfree" with "but I love kids!" is undermining all of us. These CF (or CL?) people who insist how much they love children sometimes seem disingenuous to me, too. I mean, if you love kids that freaking much, why don't you want any?

The implication of that statement is that the default is for the childfree to hate children. We are individuals and we all feel differently about children. We do agree that we don't want to have children.

Apparently the childfree qualifier "but I love kids!" has become the "socially acceptable" response, so as not to offend anyone. There is so much of that going around today and most people want to be liked by everyone. It is an exhausting approach to life and the person they have to become to be liked by everyone is really a dull person who may be accepted by most but isn't really liked. At the end of the day, they still aren't validating the choice of the majority. And they tend to annoy the childfree who do not want to have to put qualifiers on their choice for not having children.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 08, 2020
Children are triggers of migraine headaches that can land me in the back of an ambulance due to their severity. Do I get sympathy from others? Some. Breeders don't seem to care though, they think I should power through breeding and so what if the child gets shaken or thrown against a wall.

+++++++++++++

Passive Aggressive
Master Of Anti-brat
Excuses!
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 08, 2020
Quote
freya
Quote
kittehpeoples
Quote
yurble
Everyone wants to disavow the ideas of not liking kids, and of thinking that other people shouldn't breed, either, because neither is seen as likeable to the general public.

"Don't get me wrong, I love kids!" is fucking tiring. And defensive. We have nothing to be defensive about, even if breeders think we should, and everybody who follows up "I'm childfree" with "but I love kids!" is undermining all of us. These CF (or CL?) people who insist how much they love children sometimes seem disingenuous to me, too. I mean, if you love kids that freaking much, why don't you want any?

The implication of that statement is that the default is for the childfree to hate children. We are individuals and we all feel differently about children. We do agree that we don't want to have children.

Apparently the childfree qualifier "but I love kids!" has become the "socially acceptable" response, so as not to offend anyone. There is so much of that going around today and most people want to be liked by everyone. It is an exhausting approach to life and the person they have to become to be liked by everyone is really a dull person who may be accepted by most but isn't really liked. At the end of the day, they still aren't validating the choice of the majority. And they tend to annoy the childfree who do not want to have to put qualifiers on their choice for not having children.

Exactly. I don't really care if CF people like kids, it just feels like those of us who don't are being thrown under the bus whenever a childfree person adds the "but I luuuuuuv kids."

The thing is, you can like kids or not like kids and be childfree. (Countering the stereotype that all CF are kid-haters is probably why have a thread on the board about it.) Liking kids says nothing about whether you want to have them or not. It is utterly irrelevant, except if countering an inaccurate assumption. When you counter the assumption before it is even made, it seems defensive and adds power to the stereotype. You're basically saying, "I'm not like other CF people, I'm different."

Not liking kids ought to mean not having them, but as those of us who watch the news from a CF perspective can attest to, that is definitely not the case. Yet breeders for some reason never feel the need to say things like, "I have three kids, and I like kids, too!" because nobody is making assumptions about them, despite the endless "I hate being a mom" posts.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 09, 2020
Article 7 talks about the climate crisis as a reason not to reproduce. While I agree with her dim view of the future, this isn't my motivation for not reproducing, but it is one I highly respect because it is firmly rooted in reality. I still think she's not CF but CL.
Quote

My brother and I have spun off into different directions. He has no desire to have kids; I am a climate alarmist, collecting and internalizing world events, clinging to my zero-waste kit while steeped in anxiety about the future. Neither of us will likely have children.
...
I just was not as lucky as my parents were, and my child will never be as comfortable or as hopeful as I have been. My ovaries can’t wait for the next election, or for countries around the world to get on track to fulfill their net-zero emissions targets. It’s hard to stay optimistic when our global leaders refuse to acknowledge the urgency of the climate crisis, when local governments can’t provide the basic necessary infrastructure to mitigate its impact on everyday people, and when corporations continue to get obscenely rich exploiting Earth’s natural resources. As I sit here, confined to my living room during a devastating pandemic and under the looming threat of a rapidly heating planet, I feel as if my own future is slowly disappearing from this world. How would any child of mine fare?

Article 8, meanwhile, is yet another person who sounds CL. She realized that having a child is a losing game in the modern world, but it is implied she would have chosen differently if the village were more involved. Still, kudos to someone for recognizing that (a) her partner was not someone worth having kids with, (b) that she could not manage financially or emotionally on her own, (c) her anxiety and suicidal ideation would negatively affect her child, and making the rational decision to not have one.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 10, 2020
--I’m Hispanic and come from a traditional Christian family; those two elements meant that I got asked repeatedly growing up and well into adulthood when I was going to have children. We’d be at a wedding or funeral, and they would be like, “Mija, are you married? Do you have kids?” "When are you going to have kids?" I’d say no, they would look at me with disappointment and say, "Sorry." I would reply with usually a smart-ass response and say: "Well, I didn't want to end up like your kids and have multiple kids from multiple guys." They wouldn't know what to say. The older I got the more I felt confident in my responses and decisions. I began not caring what my family thought. I was carving my own path.---

I like this one: I like her getting in her breeder ass famblees faces and mouth off at them. 'don't want to end up like your kids and their multiple duhs.' The hispanics have tended to have bigger famblees, they like to brag how religious they are ('we didn't abort' piously), but ignore the warnings on fornication. That is a definition of hypocrisy right there. They worship their gonads, they don't give a damn about Scripture where, in their delusion, they think it supports their breeding.

Perhaps 'I love children' is a phrase that hopefully deflects criticism. I can tolerate children, interact ok, but when they start... i can walk the other way. The beauty of being CF.

two cents ¢¢

CERTIFIED HOSEHEAD!!!

people (especially women) do not give ONE DAMN about what they inflict on children
and I defy anyone to prove me wrong:

The selfish wants of adults outweigh the needs of the child.

If I want to hear the pitter-patter of little feet I'll put shoes on my pets.

Mankind and its needs (wants) are like unto a black hole. It devours all available resources and it never is full: it merely grows larger and demands more.

Definition of 'wealthy': Anyone who makes more/has more than you do.

Someone pointed out that I'm a realist. And all along I thought I was just a pessimist crossed with a cynic.

Entitlement, thy name is mooooooooooooooo

"Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove
they are insured... but not everyone must prove they are a citizen.
Add to this that, many of those who refuse or are unable to prove they are
citizens, will receive free insurance paid for by those who are.""

I am confused enough already. I do not need outside help.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 10, 2020
Article 9 is also CL, but doesn't seem to have regrets.

Quote

When I was a little girl, I fully intended to be a mother. But later on, when a husband didn’t materialize, I simply shrugged. Motherhood was not something I ever felt compelled to do as an adult. The key, I think, is that I am not scared to be alone.

I spend considerable time by myself, and yet I am never lonely. I really enjoy my life. There is nothing special about it, but it is full of leisure. Not in the fancy sense of spas, shopping and cruises, but rather mental and physical leisure. I have friends who are mothers and still manage to do it all – pursue professional and personal ambitions, cultivate friendships, make money, take care of themselves. I’ve never been able to picture myself doing this, nor have I ever wanted to work that hard.

And she says the quiet part out loud:

Quote

There have been times in my life where my future felt unclear, or my career hopes dashed, and I remember the empty troubling feeling that accompanies this. How would I find meaning in my life? What values did I want to uphold? In such times, I can imagine it would be reassuring to have a vessel in which to pour my hopes and dreams.

Even if this is only spoken of in hushed corners, there is still this idea that kids are the best hedge against a sad, lonely old age.

But nonetheless, she seems to have gotten pushed into a caring role plenty of times.
Re: Guardian series of articles on childfree women
July 11, 2020
I tend to cringe when I see some kind of "exposé" on the CF published by a major media outlet. They tend to be exactly as everyone has described here. I suspect that the idea of women being truly, unapologetically CF is still too much for the general public to handle.
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