Monday, October 01, 2007

People say the darndest things

It is difficult to convey the type of bias and discrimination couples without children are victims of without sounding defensive or confrontational. Our social and political environment favors those families with children, leaving the openly childfree in a position of making a major political statement simply through their choice not to join the masses and procreate. Often the target of wrath and lecturing, childfree couples are forced to retreat or defend themselves when on the receiving end of hateful words and actions from relatives, friends and perfect strangers. Some people think they are being helpful, bestowing their wisdom on the matter. Most people do not stop and think what they are really saying and how it could be interpreted as degrading to the childfree recipient as well as the broader population. Gender, racial, sexuality and religious biases are often at the core of the message delivered to the childfree. For those who do not know what type of things people say or imagine why anyone would care about such a personal decision, the following list is a small example of things people have said to me about not having children:
  • Why did you even get married? The only reason to get married is to have children.
  • Your husband is going to leave you if you don’t have children.
  • Are you too worried about the stability of your marriage to bring children into it?
  • Marriage is not real unless you have children.
  • You are not a family without children.
  • Children are the glue that keeps marriages together; you are going to fall apart.
  • If you really loved each other you would want children.
  • You must have married the wrong person if you don’t want children.
  • It is your moral obligation to have children when you get married.
  • God does not recognize marriages without children.
  • The bible says to be fruitful and multiply; you are defying the bible.
  • People without children have empty and unfulfilled lives.
  • Childbirth is a woman’s greatest achievement, you are nothing without it.
  • You are not a real woman unless you have children.
  • People like you should have kids.
  • Women are worthless until they have children.
  • The problem with women these days is they’ve forgotten the reason they are actually on this planet.
  • Are you a lesbian?
  • You are never really an adult until you have children.
  • Women who do not have children are failures.
  • White people are a dying breed and you are contributing to the end of our race.
  • Smart/tall/blonde/blue eyed people like you need to have children.
  • Who will take care of you when you are old?
  • Aren’t you afraid of dying alone?
  • Without children you leave the world nothing after you are gone.
  • You are going to die and it will be like you were never here.
  • Don’t you want to have a child to leave your money/house/photos/china/etc. to?
  • You are going to regret your decision not to have children.
  • You are just going through a phase, you’ll change your mind.
  • Hopefully you change your mind before it’s too late.
  • Your husband will be able to have children well into his 50s and he’ll find someone else to have them if you don’t.
  • It’s different when it’s your own.
  • People who don’t want kids are selfish.
  • What if your parents were as selfish as you are?
  • What did your parents do to you to make you not want children?
  • Were you abused as a child?
  • Your parents should not have sent you to college; they ruined their chances of becoming grandparents.
  • The only reason your parents had you was to be grandparents someday
  • If everyone had your bad attitude the planet would be empty.
  • You feminists are ruining the world with your child-hating ways.
  • You should be ashamed of yourself.
  • Your career/vacation/car/etc. won’t kiss you goodnight.
  • You are going to lose all your friends when they have children and you don’t.
  • If you had a baby you would have an excuse for being fat.
  • What do people without children do with all their time?
  • You would be a great parent, look how you are with your dogs.
  • You are using your dogs as a replacement for children because you actually want them.
  • You not wanting children is a slap in the face to everyone who has them.
  • There is something wrong in people who don’t want children.
  • You should see a psychologist to see what is wrong with you.
  • You have nothing to be ashamed of if you are just infertile.
  • I know a good fertility specialist if you are just having trouble conceiving.


NeeNee said...

To be fair I only called you a lesbian that one time when you made me angry......

Oh and you can leave, your house, car, money, and china to Matt and I

Oh and I will be there when you guys get old.

Alex said...

I couldn't stand to read through the whole list, but there was one compliment in the part that I read:

People like you *should* have children. You'd be much better at it than many of the people I've seen "parenting".

Isn't it a bit ironic that at least part of the reason you should have kids is that you're wise enough to know why you don't want to? Heh.

Jooli said...

Ugh, as one half as another child free by choice couple, I have heard a number of these before...but some of the comments you have endured left me speechless.

I actually take the "people like you *should* have children" as a compliment :-)

What I would like to read is your response to these comments!

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Jooli, I *promise* to work on my responses, although so many I just sit there with a dumbfounded look wondering if the person said what I think they said...

And NeeNee, I plan on being like Leona Hemsley; I'll leave the dogs the "millions" and then I'll leave you the dogs under the caveat you'll spoil them rotten.

Nursedude said...

Yo 'Chelle! You know, I thought I had a good list about stupid comments people have made to me about being a man who happens to be a got me WAY beat...People really can be short sighted. I wish I can talk to some of these people who made dumb comments to you about all the dumbs*&^s who have had kids who had no business being parents.

Mom said...

As one of the people who probably have said one of the darndest things to you, I will stick by it. I have never regretted for one moment having my children. You and your sisters are truly a gift to me.

Explosive Bombchelle said...

One Person’s Noise Is Another’s Music...

Kira said...

This is truly frightening. I try very hard not to get into this conversation with anyone. When they ask me if I have kids, I say 'no' and leave it at that. Whether or not I plan to have them is none of their damn business. Plus, if I actually got into a conversation on this topic, they would probably say stupid things like this, and then I would have to kill them.