As a Mother, I Celebrate Childfree Women
Of all the divides that plague our country, here’s one I think we can bridge
I’ll admit it: I’ve made a few snarky comments about childfree women in my time.
For instance, I have, on some occasions, shared my opinion that those who are childfree should never feel entitled to complain about anything because they get to sleep in on Saturday morning. As everyone knows, anyone who gets to sleep in on Saturday morning — or any day of the week, really — couldn’t possibly have any real problems.
I know I’m not alone in my snark, and I also happen to know that childfree women have shared a few snarky opinions about me. Resentment between childfree and childrearing women can run surprisingly deep. Like most forms of resentment, it’s both understandable and ridiculous. And like most forms of resentment, we’d be better off without it.
If you were to ask me why I chose to have children, I honestly wouldn’t have a great answer.
When I was in my 20s, I was technically a “childfree woman,” but when I use the term, I’m not including young people who are still figuring things out. I hadn’t made a conscious decision not to have children. I just wasn’t having any children yet.
Aside from a few Mormon women at a church service I once attended with my mother-in-law — who were gravely concerned that I was 28 and childless — no one regularly asked me whether or not I had kids. In fact, when I had my daughter at the tender age of 31, I was the first one in nearly all my social circles to do so.
I decided to have children not because my mythical biological clock was ticking, or because I’d yearned from a young age to become a mother. I’ve never even been all that into kids. My first summer job as a camp counselor at age 13 helped me realize that whatever path my career eventually took, it sure as hell wouldn’t involve children.
Really, I had kids because that’s what “came next.” First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. I never examined my own heart or considered the option of not procreating. I never did my research or conducted a cost-benefit analysis.