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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:02 pm 
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kilgore trout wrote:
mrsbadmouth wrote:
Yeah, but most people don't assume that. The line of thinking seems to be 'even if you think you don't want kids (but of course you really do, winknudge) you should have them anyway because eventually your ovaries will shrivel up and die and then you'll be alone and full of regret'. I think the majority of people, at least in america, think that adoption should be a last ditch effort, after fertility treatments and years of trying, not the first option.

I think there's a lot of truth to this. I've avoided saying anything in this thread mostly because I'm not entirely sure about whether I want kids, but I know for sure that if I do, I want to adopt them. No question. I've never really had a desire to have kids biologically, and I don't see that changing. And a lot of people seem to think that that's basically the same as not wanting kids. The attitude is something like, "Don't you want one of your own?" and that makes me pretty angry.


Yeah, all of this. I mean, I'm twenty-one, so I have a long time to go before making any type of decision either way. But, if I decide at some point that I want children in my household, they'll definitely be adopted. It gets so annoying when my mom is all "I want grandchildren" (she means eventually, not anytime soon. . . she was thirty-five when she had me, and I was the first kid in my family), and I say that adoption sounds like a good option, and she gets all eye-roll-y and "that's not the same. . . ". Which strikes me as really offensive, not to mention the fact that there are so many kids out there in need of good homes.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:22 pm 
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I just wanted to show my support for other folks who have comfortably chosen not to haven children. I recognized from a very young age that I did not want to have children (and recall long, ridiculous conversations with my late mother about how I didn't understand how she could give up on having a 'real' life to have kids). I certainly value parenthood and think my mom was the best person, ever, but I have never had the interest. I am now 30 and in a committed relationship and think my amazing, complex cats are enough to pay attention to, let alone relocate with. Let alone financially.
Anyway, weighing even larger, is the history of critical illnesses in my parents and grandparents, from cancer to mental illness to heart issues. I wouldn't want to bring a life into this world that was subject to that.

I have, however, been thinking about mentoring programs recently.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:08 pm 
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I also have chosen not to have kids even though I love babies. Sometimes if I say a baby is cute or funny, I'm afraid of someone saying, just wait til you have your own. Babies can be likeable while not being a personal objective.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:12 pm 
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jdfunks wrote:

I have, however, been thinking about mentoring programs recently.

You and jlegume should do that! jlegume can guide hikes and you can teach cooking classes. Or whatever. Either way, you'd both be amazing mentors.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:38 pm 
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vijita wrote:
jdfunks wrote:
I have, however, been thinking about mentoring programs recently.
You and jlegume should do that! jlegume can guide hikes and you can teach cooking classes. Or whatever. Either way, you'd both be amazing mentors.
Do it! Do it! That would be rad.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:29 pm 
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Ok, I hope this isn't rude to post this here since this is kind of a post about how I decided that I would like to have kids at some point, but I really like/relate to what lots of people are saying and wanted to respond in particular to the ideas of MOTHERHOOD being a scary all-consuming thing, the joy of having relationships with kids who are not your own children, and the importance of creating close-knit communities beyond the nuclear family.

For most of my life I have been on the fence about the idea of ever having kids. It always seemed to me like something I might do if I had a partner who really wanted kids at a time when I was able to do so, but I also never thought it would be a big problem to end up with someone who didn't want kids.

Smoothie's comment about the fear of being engulfed in MOTHERHOOD reminded me of what made me way more able to envision myself being a happy parent, which was spending 6 months at an intentional community where it wasn't at all weird for adults to have relationships with the children of the community independently of their relationship to those kids' parents. For me as a person without kids, i loved it because I've never otherwise really had the opportunity to spend much time with kids- I don't have any siblings and I spent some time with younger cousins but didn't live that close to them, I never babysat, I've never had a job where I interacted that much with kids, none of my friends before living at that community had kids...so it was cool to have creative, energetic, sometimes bizarre little humans around to play tag/draw/read/etc with. There were definitely a couple kids who I had more of a relationship with than I did with their parents. And I know that the parents there also really appreciate having lots of adults keeping an eye on their general safety so they don't always have to be hovering, and they don't have to be everything to their kids- lots of adults around to be resources for learning about different kinds of things, if you don't want to go swimming but your kid really wants to go to the pond there's bound to be another adult around who's happy to go swimming with them for half an hour...

In particular there were a few single parents (actually all mothers) who surely dealt with all the same stresses that single parents/parents in general deal with, but it seemed less extreme to me with such an extended support network living within a quarter mile radius. And everyone there is part of the project of creating a sustainable, communally-oriented village, so everyone knows you as an entire human being who's making community decisions and growing vegetables and a wonderful architect or an awesome musician or great math tutor or whatever it is that you're passionate about and skilled at, and nobody in your day-to-day life sees you only as a parent.

Personally, without having been part of that kind of environment, I'm not sure I would have ever been able to envision myself raising kids in a way that I could be wholly enthusiastic about. But it was really great for me to see a community in which people with kids can continue living a holistic life and not be consumed by MOTHERHOOD/parenthood. (Obviously lots of people can do this outside of that kind of setting too, but I had never seen it work like that before.) The fact that I think now that I do want to have kids in the relatively near future but don't want a kid/my partner/my job to be the only things in my life or the only ways I am defined, is a huge part of why I am still trying to create a living situation for myself that includes a closeknit group of people beyond just my partner.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:32 am 
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Not meaning to rehash something but I just wanted to clarify my earlier post in case I sounded harsh (re children taking care of parents). I know loads of kids have lovely relationships with their aging parents and want to care for them and keep them company in their later years. I guess I was just trying to highlight that you never know what your relationship with your adult child will be or what you'll need as an older person. I don't think it's right to expect someone will take care of you or want to spend time with you just because you gave birth to them or were a caregiver. It can take away a huge chunk of a person's life (affecting their job and other relationships) and can also be a financial challenge which they may be unwilling or unable to take on. I'll always look out for my folks and in-laws even if I don't get along with them, but it comes with some resentment since they feel it's owed to them and they are not very nice people. I don't think anyone who has said that here meant it in a very serious way. I just think it's a crummy reason to have kids.

I've really enjoyed reading all the responses in this thread, as someone else who is CFBC. I've noticed a lot of people have said they would rather focus on their career than on child rearing, which in a way implies that people who do have children are less invested in their career. I don't think that's true. I used to say this myself, and of course my career is really important to me, but I actually invest a ton of my time in family whether it's my friends, my relatives, my partner, or my furbabies (and I think if it was all added together it would be equal to the time I would invest in raising a child). Sometimes I wonder how many of us say this as a programmed response, as if we need to find something "equally important" to spend our time on and a career is one answer that people will have fewer objections to.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:05 am 
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Having a kid has given me insight that I couldn't have had before into how privileged being a parent really is. It's not just larger work issues like leaving earlier or taking time off; it makes it so much easier socially to have this huge thing in common with people who I would otherwise have nothing in common with, and therefore I'm sure makes them not notice or care how different we are (i.e. what a weirdo I am). I think this kind of privilege sucks and that people who choose not to have kids should be just as valued by society. Just throwing in a word of solidarity with my child-free friends!


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:28 am 
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couroupita wrote:
I've really enjoyed reading all the responses in this thread, as someone else who is CFBC. I've noticed a lot of people have said they would rather focus on their career than on child rearing, which in a way implies that people who do have children are less invested in their career. I don't think that's true. I used to say this myself, and of course my career is really important to me, but I actually invest a ton of my time in family whether it's my friends, my relatives, my partner, or my furbabies (and I think if it was all added together it would be equal to the time I would invest in raising a child). Sometimes I wonder how many of us say this as a programmed response, as if we need to find something "equally important" to spend our time on and a career is one answer that people will have fewer objections to.


I'm realizing that I was a person who said that I came to my decision to not have kids because I started to focus more on my career. To clarify, I definitely think it is possible to both have a career and a family (whether that means kids or your siblings or your friend-group or whatever you define as family in your life). It has been awesome for me to find work that I finally love, but it is all part-time. Therefore, even though I'm 'focusing on my career', I still have lots of time outside of it, and have really enjoyed nurturing my friendships and exploring what it is like to live alone and cook and watch new movies and hang out with my cats and walk my dog. If I did have a kid, I would most likely still have the time to work and hang out with it. I would just rather think about my career as the hole in my empty-seeming existence before, rather than a child.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:34 am 
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couroupita wrote:
Sometimes I wonder how many of us say this as a programmed response, as if we need to find something "equally important" to spend our time on and a career is one answer that people will have fewer objections to.


I think that might be true, at least some of the time. Like I said above, I definitely carry around this idea that if I choose not to have children I have to have a good career to sort of make up for it. Which I know is basically ridiculous but it's still there. I feel like not having children is still viewed as a sort of failure or an absence (especially for women), not as a valid choice in itself. (You can see this in the common terminology "childless" which implies something missing versus the newer "childfree" which is deliberately adopted to indicate a positive thing, as well as countless discussions in which people without kids are referred to as "selfish.")

For me though the career thing is also just not understanding how I could possibly fit caring for a small human into my life in addition to my full-time job and my freelance business and my art practice and caring for pets and hobbies and spending time with my partner/family...there are only so many hours in the day and I already feel like I don't have enough time. I don't even sleep as much as I should already because I'm always working on something and really suck at maintaining friendships because I'd rather use what little time I have left outside my job to work on art projects or just be at home with my partner and pets. Ideally I'd just have a part time job but then I'd have no money or health insurance...A lot of the stuff I do requires time and concentration and can't be done in the fifteen minutes when a kid is taking a nap. Something would have to give, but all this stuff seems essential to who I am or is financially necessary. So it does really seem like an either/or for me. I don't at all mean to imply that people who do have children are not dedicated to their careers. Just for me it seems difficult/impossible to do it all.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:01 am 
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couroupita wrote:
Not meaning to rehash something but I just wanted to clarify my earlier post in case I sounded harsh (re children taking care of parents). I know loads of kids have lovely relationships with their aging parents and want to care for them and keep them company in their later years. I guess I was just trying to highlight that you never know what your relationship with your adult child will be or what you'll need as an older person. I don't think it's right to expect someone will take care of you or want to spend time with you just because you gave birth to them or were a caregiver. It can take away a huge chunk of a person's life (affecting their job and other relationships) and can also be a financial challenge which they may be unwilling or unable to take on. I'll always look out for my folks and in-laws even if I don't get along with them, but it comes with some resentment since they feel it's owed to them and they are not very nice people. I don't think anyone who has said that here meant it in a very serious way. I just think it's a crummy reason to have kids.



Yeah, I don't really like judging people's reasons for having kids - whether it's total accident or to fill some hole in your heart or whatever, but if I knew my mom had me JUST because she wanted someone to take care of her when she got old...man, I think some part of me would be crushed. I will take care of my mom no matter what, but not because she gave birth to me or because I owe her for taking care of me, I'll do it because I love her and never want anything bad to happen to her. And if I didn't exist, someone else who loves her would do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:26 am 
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I don't have kids and don't plan on having any. I'm 37 and my mom has given up hope by now. She used to pester me all the time, about how I've been married that long now, I should have kids definitely. I just wanted to comment on what someone else said, that when I hold a baby I dread the comments. In German, people tend to say "that baby really suits you!" I hate that SO MUCH. How can another human being suit me, in terms of, hey you look really good holding that infant? Especially since other people never know whether or not I want to have kids, am not able to have any etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:37 am 
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It's kind of funny- related to what everyone is saying about being afraid to pick up a baby because of the comments. Someone else said earlier that if they say that a baby is cute, everyone assumes that you want one. A while ago I was out at a restaurant with an older female friend of mine who also doesn't have kids, and I saw a really cute baby. And believe me, a baby has to be really cute for me to notice it, haha. So I made a comment about it, and my friend gave me this really dirty look, like she was thinking "Oh no, now she wants a baby!"

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:47 am 
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Jerusha, that sounds like the baby is a fashion accessory.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:42 pm 
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I'm afraid to hold babies too. But because, you know, breakable.

And the potential to end up covered in bodily fluids.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:46 pm 
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I don't mind holding babies except if they start spitting up, they will go immediately back to their parental unit. I don't try to hold babies but if someone needs a hand, I will.

I have a cousin though that any baby or dog that can be held in her vicinity will be held. If I had a baby, I'd want to live near her. "Here, hold the baby, I'm taking a nap". She'd be perfectly happy to do it too.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:03 pm 
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couroupita wrote:

I've really enjoyed reading all the responses in this thread, as someone else who is CFBC. I've noticed a lot of people have said they would rather focus on their career than on child rearing, which in a way implies that people who do have children are less invested in their career. I don't think that's true. I used to say this myself, and of course my career is really important to me, but I actually invest a ton of my time in family whether it's my friends, my relatives, my partner, or my furbabies (and I think if it was all added together it would be equal to the time I would invest in raising a child). Sometimes I wonder how many of us say this as a programmed response, as if we need to find something "equally important" to spend our time on and a career is one answer that people will have fewer objections to.


I don't know. Does saying that one is focusing on one's career imply that others aren't? I'm genuinely curious. I have a great urban family and friends around the world, but I do spend an extraordinary amount of time on my career in a way that my friends with kids don't/can't. That doesn't mean that they are less invested. But they and I might have different relationships to it. I find my career (being a professor and teaching college kids--my preferred age of kids!) fulfilling in a personal and professional way and am hugely devoted to it--and it doesn't help that I'm in the kind of job where I could be working 24/7 and never get it all done, so my home time is often devoted to work too. And most of all, I love the work! Most of my colleagues have partners and kids and spend less time on work. I think that their jobs are equally important to them, but they choose to spend their time differently. I don't think that's judgement. I do, though, feel judgement about how--as I said a few pages back--I am expected to take on certain work things since I am CFBC.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:06 pm 
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I've held babies. I never felt the desire to have my own. Also, liking babies is not a reason to have a baby, but to work with babies. Babies stop being babies soon and become toddlers, kids, teenagers.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:07 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
ameyfm wrote:
molasses jane wrote:
And then my biggest worries are that I will miss out on the experience of having a kid, and that I'm so curious as to what it might be like. And I worry I will get old and have no one to help care for me.


And the getting old thing is definitely on my mind. I have this fear of ending up all alone in a nursing home, with fatigued staff people taking care of me and not having any reason to love me or take care of me like I am special. But, I also know that having kids is NOT a guarantee that someone will love you and care for you, so maybe even parents have these fears. I am hoping my best friend's daughter will care about me, and maybe even some of my yoga students, when the time comes.


I know I say this all the time but I will say it again. Love makes a family. The queer community has known this shiitake for years. It isn't for everyone but I prefer the idea of a community of peers being my family. I had always kind of looked forward to being old with a group of friends together who sit around and yell at people to get off the damn lawn and have power crafting sessions. That may or may not happen but the idea of the nuclear family as this rock solid unit has kind up been proven to be just another myth. Some people may get that but as you said, there are no guarantees. I think if you're living your life well, you are setting yourself as best you can for what may come.


I love this.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:08 pm 
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Well we have dogs and we have worked to accommodate them. I have no problem telling someone I have to go home because I need to take care of my dogs or I need to take my dog or cat to the vet. I've only had one conflict come up in my career where someone told me (and my husband) that neither of us could go home. I said forget that, we have responsibilities.

Now that isn't the same as someone who takes maternity leave, may leave their job for an extended period of time, may either quit their job or go to half time, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Moon wrote:
I'm afraid to hold babies too. But because, you know, breakable.


I thought so too, but they turn out to be much tougher than you'd think. You have to support their heads when they're tiny, but bigger babies are quite resilient.

Quote:
And the potential to end up covered in bodily fluids.


I can't disagree with this.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:34 pm 
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j-dub wrote:
From a critical theory standpoint, it's considered selfish to not have children because women are tasked with creating new citizens--both literally and figuratively. Women gestate and birth children, but they are also tasked with inculcating cultural norms, (re)affirming notions of nationalism, capitalism, hierarchical gender and race relations for the next generation.

We don't talk about this openly, but this is a big part of why women (note: women, not men) are selfish for not wanting children. They are not fulfilling their duties to the nation.

And childless women are a hell of a lot more of a challenge to the status quo than women with kids. We can easily dismiss the wage gap as an unfortunate side effect of women's "natural" maternal instinct, rather than an ongoing sexist project. We can dismiss the huge gender disparity in management, government, science, as an unfortunate but expected side effect of women staying home with their kids. And expecting women to want to stay home with their kids prevents us from forcing the issue of universal childcare, which ends up harming the women who can neither afford to stay home nor put their kids in unattainably expensive childcare.


^I really appreciate this response, thank you.

I did have maternal desires and seriously considered it on many occasions, but ultimately the cons outweigh the pros for me (for all of the reasons that have been outlined in this thread). So add me to the list. I am almost 40 and happily partnered for 16 years. We are stewards to 2 vegan dogs and all of us are child-free by choice with no regrets thus far.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:28 pm 
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jordanpattern wrote:
I think it's really, really telling that in a thread where the OP is specifically asking women without children for opinions, a high percentage of the people responding have children, and in some cases, are almost arguing with the OP. I feel like if that many childless women chimed in in a thread where a mother specifically asked other mothers for opinions, it would likely be considered disrespectful.

That is not to say that the mothers in this thread aren't entitled to their opinions, or that they don't have good, useful, thoughtful, wise things to say (they do, and I <3 them). It's just interesting that everyone apparently feels so comfortable commenting on this topic, even when the conversation was started by someone seeking the opinions of a specific class of peers.

Also, in before people point out that childless people do comment on mothers' issues all the time. I know, but that's not what's happening in this thread.


To clarify: the above is not intended to exclude people from the conversation as a rule, but to request some tact and some respect the thread topic. I'd do the same thing if a dude came in and started mansplaining menstruation or bra sizes in a thread about one of those things, or if a hetero person was making off-topic and potentially insensitive comments in a thread in which queer issues were being discussed... or if a childless person were to be giving unwelcome or insensitive advice to parents in the Playground.

The PPK isn't about excluding folks, OF COURSE, but part of what we mods do is try to promote respectful dialogue, and that includes sometimes reminding people about the original intent of a thread. In this case, the OP specifically asked for childless women's takes on a particular issue, so the above post was intended both to add to that conversation and to attempt to remind other posters of what the topic of this thread is. I will note that there have been a bunch of reports made about some of the posts made by parents in this thread, and Isa earlier requested some respect for the OP's question.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:46 pm
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Location: 5 mi east of philly
i don't want to have kids either. (but i am uncomfortable with the idea of having an abortion, that if we had an accident, we might be in it for the long haul. and that's why we're really really careful.) :-) no permanent BC yet, but the mr. is intending to get the snip. (it sucks big time that vasalgel is still so far off. it's such an easy inexpensive elegant reversible solution to the problem.) we're 33/34, married for a little over 7 years now.

i am also uncomfortable with younger children. those that can have a conversation, i am much more comfortable with. in the past, i had said if i wanted children, i'd adopt or foster an older kid who had already shown a desire to be veg, but the more i think of it, i think i'm just too introverted to regularly interact with someone other than my husband. :-)

i had been thinking lately about what i would do in old age, especially if i'm the last to go. i don't really have any young family members that seem to like me enough to take care of me, or at least check in from time to time. (although the nieces and nephews are still growing into their personalities, i might be wrong) so i was thinking about a retirement community for childfree vegans, especially elders. that'd be awesome! we'd all take care of each other. that's what i'd do if i happened to make a lot of money. we'd have a vet's office on the grounds, and if one of us dies leaving pets, we'd adopt them within the community. (and since we'd have no heirs, our money would go into the community to make it easier for the other residents.) there'd be a button next to our beds that we'd have to press in the morning to check in, and if you didn't press it, someone would come around and check on you.

oh, and i totally thought the benatar reference really was about ms. pat. (particularly "suffer the little children"/"hell is for children" oops!)

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Last edited by supercarrot on Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:31 pm 
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Who's Ted Leo?
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:44 pm
Posts: 7218
Location: Modesto, CA
Moon wrote:
I'm afraid to hold babies too.



me too....because i am allergic!

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