I read this post by Chris Snowdon over at Velvet Glove, Iron Fist on Monday.
He’s only gone and had a baby! I wish his family well.
But that isn’t the reason I’m here. In his post he made a comical reference to The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. I had to click the link and have a look because I was intrigued.
Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.
I’m not particularly interested in a group of people who want humans to become extinct, I prefer the Star Trek vision of the future than everybody dying out to save the planet.
What did make me stick around the site for a while and read further was the knowledge that there are other people out there, like myself and Mrs Bucko, who have made an informed choice not to have children, because so far I have met none. Not one.
Sure I have friends that don’t have children. Two couples to be precise and for both of them it’s medical reasons. My sister and brother in law also have no kids because they are not ready yet. They will be one day.
My circle of family and friends is not all that big but it still does not include one person who does not have or want kids. It the same at work. They all have or intend to have nippers at some point.
I get teased a lot off my friends about not wanting children. Mrs Bucko is actually very good with kids. Other peoples kids. And for that reason, everybody expects that she will want some of her own. She doesn’t.
Our reasons are different. Hers are because she doesn’t want to bring a child into our world She doesn’t believe it’s a nice place and she doesn’t think that will change significantly with the life time of any child we may have.
My reasons are purely selfish. Life is short and our earning capabilities are limited. I want our time and money to be spent on things we want to do rather than devoting a quarter of it to raising a child or ten.
We talked long and hard about it and made the decision before we got married.
The ribbing of my friends I can deal with. They get as much as they give. That’s what friends do, it’s the attitude of society at large that pisses me off.
Society seems to view having children as a given. People simply cannot understand it when we say we don’t want children. I’ve worked with the public for many years in the pub trade and I’ve had the discussion with many of them, all to the same ends.
Children come up in conversation, I say we have chosen not to have any and jaws drop. Most people don’t see not having kids as an option. The conversations usually begin with, “When you have children….” Not if?
People seem to go through a cycle of denial when discussing our choice not to breed. First they get jokey, they think we are not serious. We get a lot of, “You will change your mind in time”. “You will want them one day”.
After trying to convince them by stating our reasons, their mood changes and they become slightly angry, particularly those that already have kids rather than just want them.
I often get the impression that they never realised having children was an option and not a requirement. That the people I talk to had children without ever really giving it a moments thought, it was just something they did, as they imagine everybody does. I see them searching within themselves and asking what if?
This is the point where they jump out of their reverie and state firmly that they would never look back and they would do it all again given the choice. They even appear a little guilty that they took a moment to think about it.
Eventually, after spending an average of fifteen minutes trying unsuccessfully to convince me that I am wrong and I do want kids they dismiss the whole conversation by telling me firmly that I will have kids and changing the subject, or even walking off.
One reason often stated to change my mind is that when we get old we will need companionship / care. I dismiss that as a selfish reason for having children if you’re only doing it to have someone care for you in later life. Nevertheless I’ve also been called selfish for not wanting children. As though I am denying a future child the right to life. If that were in any way true we would all have to give up the contraception and have a child for every time we had sex.
I’ve had these conversations more times than I can possibly remember.
I did briefly tell this story in the comments on one of Longriders posts a long while ago. Other commenters popped up and said they don’t have children and haven’t experienced a reaction similar to mine. Still I’ve yet to meet a single person who agrees with me.
To anyone who doesn’t have children yet, please think hard about it before you do. Don’t do it because it is what you think society expects, don’t do it because your parents want grandchildren, and don’t just do it. Think about it. If you have children, do it because it is what you want to do.
I’m sure people reading this post will either wonder what all the fuss is about or come up with some new and ingenious reason why I should actually be having children.
Either way, thank’s to Chris Snowdon having a baby, I now know I’m not alone in the Universe. Health and long life to him and his family and good luck to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.