This post was prompted by a recent thread on QT3 which quickly spiralled into a decidedly heated discussion about the sometimes condescending attitude that some have towards others, especially married couples, who choose not to have children. Someone also linked to an excerpt of a pretty interesting article on the subject which seems to have attracted a great deal of comments. My wife and I have been married for three years now and we happen to be one of those couples who have decided not to have any children ever.
Personally, I can’t say that we’ve gotten the level of grief that some similar couples on QT3 seem to have had over this decision, but I can certainly say people often seem befuddled when we tell them about our decision. At the very least, this tends to open a gap between ourselves and friends of our age who have gone on to found families of their own with children. As I posted on QT3, children are the main topics of conversation in many social circles and not having children of our own means other people have a hard time relating to us and inevitably leads these friends to drift away.
I don’t care to go into the details of our personal reasons for not wanting to have children. But I do want to point out that I feel that this is a very personal issue over which no one has the right to judge anyone else over. While few people would go to the extreme of accusing childless couples of shirking from their responsibility of replenishing the human race (though some do, even on QT3), many more seem to insinuate that not having children automatically means leading less fulfilling, less worthy lives and that is something to be pitied.
I don’t really have the energy to reiterate through the myriad arguments of why not having a child can be a good thing (you can read through that QT3 thread and the comments on the above-mentioned article for that), other than to note that it’s probably the single most environmentally friendly decision a person can make if you’re one of those green types (which I’m not). I do want to note that ultimately, from a moral dimension, none of that should matter. Having a child is a personal and private decision that should have no bearing on whether or not you’re a good or a bad person. Unfortunately, many people don’t seem to agree with me.