Editor’s Note: This cross post from Grounded Parents was written by Cassandra Phoenix. Click through the link at the bottom to read the full post and make comments.
I have no beef with people who choose to be childfree. I mean, there are enough people in the world that having people willingly abstain from breeding is probably a better choice than creating more consumers for diminishing resources. I get it. I really do.
When I was thinking about having a baby, I examined my motives in a typically rigorous fashion and concluded that I could come up with no really good reason to justify having a child. (Well, I had one: my husband had almost died when we’d only been married for four months. But that’s another story.)
Carry on my husband’s family name? Archaic. Because my DNA is so awesome it shouldn’t go to waste? Please.
In the end, I just threw up my hands and said, “I don’t have a good reason. I just want to have a baby.” And so I did. Rather more quickly than I was expecting.
What I find bothersome — no, offensive — is the blithe statement, “I’m not going to have children because I hate kids.”
Before I became a parent, I just thought that was an unnecessarily harsh way to justify your choice, and possibly overly defensive. After I became a parent, I found it personally offensive.
My experience with babies until I had my own was confined to a few babysitting gigs as a teenager and perhaps a couple of interactions with my friends’ kids when I was in my twenties. My feelings towards babies could have been best described as PROFOUNDLY UNCOMFORTABLE. But I was never a person to say that I hated kids.
Conversely, when I had a child, I did not automatically love all children or even find them tolerable. There are kids that I like and some that I dislike. This has been true since my daughter’s earliest days of preschool. Because all of those little people have personalities, and even if you’re an adult, some personalities just don’t mesh.
After my daughter was born, hearing people say they hated kids got my hackles up immediately, and it took me a while to figure out why.
It’s because my daughter is a person, and hearing someone say they hate a whole group of people who aren’t like them because of their behavior and appearance generally has an “-ism” after it: racism, sexism, ageism, ableism. None of which are good things either in theory or practice.