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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:31 pm 
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Moon wrote:
coldandsleepy wrote:

Ounce for ounce, placenta has more iron. But babies are valuable sources of proteins and healthy fats.


And souls. They're an excellent source of souls.

and b12!

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:36 pm 
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j-dub wrote:
I can see how exhausting it must be to have to constantly defend your choices as childfree, but I can't help but think that things like "breeder", "fencesitter", etc. make it an us vs. them fight when it really needn't be. We should all be working together to broaden women's choices, to make parenthood a do-able choice for those who want it and to make non-parenthood an unquestioned position.


Plus its important to note that not all prengancies are preventable or wanted. If something happens and you accidentally eat meat, you might feel awful, but you move on because mistakes happen. Not really the same as pregnancy at all, I know where I live I have a pretty small window to get an abortion, and its pretty exceptional that I have access at all to abortion.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:41 pm 
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sounds to me there are parallels to be drawn.

veganazi :: VHEMT (voluntary human extinction movement) member
vegan :: childfree (and that means you're still vegan if you accidentally eat animal products, and childfree if you accidentally get pregnant. the thing about accidentally eating animal products is that is a 1-time thing and you can go back easily. not always so with pregnancy.)

(oh! shy mox got there before me. i type slow.) :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:15 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:25 pm 
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rhelune wrote:
Tofulish, are you aware that it is offensive to childfree people when you say that you were childfree before you had a kid? Childfree people are people who don't want to have children ever, don't leave even a slightest possibility that they'll reproduce (or adopt) one day.


So people should never change their minds, ever? And people whose beliefs evolve as they age are, I dunno, hypocrites? And not just older and different people? Note that I am not applying any value judgements either way here-- if you believe something when you're younger and still believe it when you're older, good for you. If you change as you age, good for you. Everyone is okay.

But people CAN and DO change; strongly-held beliefs can change as people move through their lives.

If somebody WAS firmly opposed to having children, but changed their minds later, how would you have them describe that earlier stage?

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:35 pm 
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The idea of being child free as an immutable identity marker is truly bizarre. And forbidding people from using the term to accurately describe their status as non parents is absurd. And a woman who is child free through her thirties probably has plenty to say about the experience of being a woman without children in our society! It's not fair to castigate someone for attempting to participate in the conversation who repeatedly showed support for the decision not to have children simply because she eventually did have a child and is happy to have done so. Nothing she actually said was unsupportive (or anything any other parent said in this thread, in fact the parents who've participated have repeatedly brought humor and self-deprecation to their posts).

I'm not offended by the term breeder and there are lots of parents who use it humorously for themselves. In another forum I participate in that's even the title of the parenting subforum.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:39 pm 
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And being a part of the childfree community can be for a number of reasons, just as some people will identify as vegan for health or religious reasons. It's crummy if you're vegan for animal rights reasons and then apparently drop it, just as I'm sure the likeminded childfree community members would dislike it if someone who was childfree for moral reasons dropped it. But if you are childfree because you, say, had terrible childhood experiences, you might change your mind after having therapy.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:50 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
I'm not offended by the term breeder and there are lots of parents who use it humorously for themselves. In another forum I participate in that's even the title of the parenting subforum.


I agree with this mostly--I think a lot of people can use it humorously (there's a group of mothers that comes to trivia at a wine bar I love and their team name is "The Breeders," which I think is super cute, and I dig the fact that they have deliberately set up their lives so that they still get girlfriend nights out where they can drink and socialize and have fun). On the other hand, it REALLY bothers me when it's used as a way to describe people who chose to have children when it is being used in a negative light. It is generally meant to be a derogatory slur and it just gets my hackles up, even though I am not a parent and have no intention of being one.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:12 am 
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Moon wrote:
sticky meatbags


Oh, my!
And, by extension, that makes my Mort a purry meatbag. Love it.

Ariann wrote:
The idea of being child free as an immutable identity marker is truly bizarre.

I'm well into the twilight of my fertile existence and I have adamantly remained a proponent of personal non-reproduction, so it feels pretty immutable and not so bizarre. I'm fine with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:28 am 
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rhelune wrote:
Tofulish, are you aware that it is offensive to childfree people when you say that you were childfree before you had a kid? Childfree people are people who don't want to have children ever, don't leave even a slightest possibility that they'll reproduce (or adopt) one day. Others are fencesitters. (Many of the posts in this thread are by fencesitters, and that's perfectly fine.)

It's like strict vegetarians who claim they stopped being vegan when, in reality, they never gave a fork about animals, only about their own health.

Because of posts like this many people don't take childfreedom seriously. And, when our gynaecologists don't take us seriously and refuse to even discuss sterilization "so that [we] can change [our] mind and become a mother], it medically and socially harms us.

Dude. No. I'm a "childfree" person and I don't think it's offensive for Tofulish to say that she used to be childfree, because that is freaking ridiculous. I think it's pointless and honestly just absurd to make having no kids into a community with terminology. "Breeders" is incredibly derogatory and dehumanizing, and I have no words for how silly it is to say that someone is a "fencesitter" or a PNBOMGWTFBBQ or whatever that shiitake was. This whole thing seems about as useful to me as having a community for people who don't like skiing. It's totally fine that you don't want kids, rhelune - hell, I'm pretty sure that I don't either - but I don't understand the point of being so extreme and judgmental. You don't get to decide how other people feel or how they should define themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:36 am 
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I'm not really understanding the vegan comparison. I think what gets us "child-free" people riled up is being told over and over by wise parents that "yes, I was that way once. And then I gave birth to a precious soul..." and what gets parents riled up is "I am child-FREE.". Free is loaded word. FREEDOM is highly coveted. I'm sure both sides at least slightly envy each other, which causes fierce defensiveness. But when it comes down to it, we are responsible for our own lives. If you don't believe in bringing more people into the world, that is totally fine and great that you have made that decision. But that doesn't mean the woman sitting across from you on the bus with four kids is doing anything wrong. I love watching my friends have kids. Some planned, some not, almost always a blessing. But just because so many mothers say that have a child was the best thing they've ever done, it is perfectly acceptable to feel that not having a child was the best decision.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:47 am 
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Moon wrote:
Dude, yes. Gotta love birthing dinner parties! Is it potluck, if so, I'll bring the placenta!

This thread was pretty sucky until now.

Hooray you saved the internet!

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:48 am 
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~Sz wrote:
Ariann wrote:
The idea of being child free as an immutable identity marker is truly bizarre.

I'm well into the twilight of my fertile existence and I have adamantly remained a proponent of personal non-reproduction, so it feels pretty immutable and not so bizarre. I'm fine with it.

Certainly the fact that it's immutable for some people is in no way bizarre. But the claim that if you so much as acknowledge that there exists a possibility of mind-changing that you're not currently child-free even if you're 99% sure is bizarre. I can conceive of a situation under which it's remotely possible that I could eat an egg someday (I mean, like if it was a choice to eat or starve to death.) Doesn't mean I'm not vegan, just means I don't have a death wish.

Anyway, I have not chosen not to have kids. But I don't have kids because of choices I've made. If that makes sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:48 am 
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vijita wrote:
I'm sure both sides at least slightly envy each other

I have, in the past, envied the perceived privileges and societal acceptance of the parent class, but actual envy of those with children? That is outside of my experience. I've never actually felt up to the task of parenthood, so it's not been something I've aspired to. For me, it was just never an option. (Thankfully, for me, Mr. Sz feels the same.)

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:02 am 
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~Sz wrote:
vijita wrote:
I'm sure both sides at least slightly envy each other

I have, in the past, envied the perceived privileges and societal acceptance of the parent class, but actual envy of those with children? That is outside of my experience. I've never actually felt up to the task of parenthood, so it's not been something I've aspired to. For me, it was just never an option. (Thankfully, for me, Mr. Sz feels the same.)

Totally. And that's what I mean by "slightly". We envy certain aspects, no matter how intangible. I maybe once in a blue moon envy my sister when she's talking about how amazing it is to have a child, but that doesn't mean I want one. It's like someone telling me they went skydiving. I really, really, really want to go myself--but truth be told I won't because I'm scared of heights.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:29 am 
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This thread continues to enthrall. I had never heard the term "childfree" or CFBC (which I picked up and used as a convenient acronym partway through this discussion) before this thread. It seems like there are two different ways of using the term childfree--in a very dogmatic, rigorous self-identifying way like Rhelune, and in a more casual way to identify people living without having had children, like a lot of people here (I'll include myself in this, since I didn't know till today that the term carried the weight for some the way it does.)

I still think that the reason that many people sans children carry such charged feelings as they do here, is that they are living within a society that doesn't quite know what to do with them, and they get barraged with questions and judgement by that dominant society all the time. It's like in the satire piece that Desdemona posted, when the author writes (tongue-in-cheek): "And if you’re not a mom you don’t understand that. You may understand expensive shoes, and having meaningless, drunken sexual intercourse with men who never call the next day, and trying to cheer yourself up by buying yourself baubles, but you don’t understand that it’s all about the giving." and "if you’re not a mom, you may not be a bad person, but you are an extraneous person."

I totally want to live in J-Dub's proposed world where we all unite. I try to practice this in my daily life. (I also don't like the word breeders, except in terms of the 90s band). This thread continues to be compelling, as per the OP's first query, to explore the different feelings about how it is to live as a woman (in my case) without kids in a society that values women as mothers so very fiercely.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:36 am 
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vijita wrote:
I'm not really understanding the vegan comparison. I think what gets us "child-free" people riled up is being told over and over by wise parents that "yes, I was that way once. And then I gave birth to a precious soul..." and what gets parents riled up is "I am child-FREE.".


I agree with this.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:54 am 
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wow! I totally did not know this was such a hot-button issue, probably because I'm 22 and single.
however, it's something that's been coming up a LOT amongst my friends, but specifically because of what we do. I am friends with a lot of female artists and the conversation re: how children could even fit in to a career as an artist/a rigorous studio practice, as well as a long and frustrating history of marriage and children making women invisible as artists to most of the public is coming up on the regs. I'm not really sure if kids are in the future for me (they are CERTAINLY not in the near future, hell I can't even have a pet right now because my schedule is so crazy) but I still think about it sometimes, and mostly I come to the conclusion that, as it is right now, it would be unfair for me to brig a kiddo in to my world, I am in a field that is unstable at best, I don't have a real system of support from family, and I've broken 4 plates in the past month simply because I forgot I was holding them.

this thread has been a really interesting read!

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:08 am 
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~Sz wrote:
vijita wrote:
I'm sure both sides at least slightly envy each other

I have, in the past, envied the perceived privileges and societal acceptance of the parent class, but actual envy of those with children? That is outside of my experience. I've never actually felt up to the task of parenthood, so it's not been something I've aspired to. For me, it was just never an option. (Thankfully, for me, Mr. Sz feels the same.)


I have never envied those with children. For me, it seems like there are so many accommodations that you have to make when you have children. I mean, we make a lot of accommodations for our pets but it isn't the same as a child. If we want to go on a trip, we can find someone to take care of them for a week or so until we get back, not the same with children.

I do like children, I think they can help bring out your imagination and playfulness but I also feel that my husband and I have a lot of that as adults. I don't envy the lack of sleep, the worry, the messes, the expectations, etc. I think we'd be ok if we had kids but I also think our quality of life is higher without them in terms of freedom we are allowed and things we can do that is a lot more difficult for people with children.

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:41 am 
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Jigglypuff wrote:
rhelune wrote:
Tofulish, are you aware that it is offensive to childfree people when you say that you were childfree before you had a kid? Childfree people are people who don't want to have children ever, don't leave even a slightest possibility that they'll reproduce (or adopt) one day. Others are fencesitters. (Many of the posts in this thread are by fencesitters, and that's perfectly fine.)

It's like strict vegetarians who claim they stopped being vegan when, in reality, they never gave a fork about animals, only about their own health.

Because of posts like this many people don't take childfreedom seriously. And, when our gynaecologists don't take us seriously and refuse to even discuss sterilization "so that [we] can change [our] mind and become a mother], it medically and socially harms us.

Dude. No. I'm a "childfree" person and I don't think it's offensive for Tofulish to say that she used to be childfree, because that is freaking ridiculous. I think it's pointless and honestly just absurd to make having no kids into a community with terminology. "Breeders" is incredibly derogatory and dehumanizing, and I have no words for how silly it is to say that someone is a "fencesitter" or a PNBOMGWTFBBQ or whatever that shiitake was. This whole thing seems about as useful to me as having a community for people who don't like skiing. It's totally fine that you don't want kids, rhelune - hell, I'm pretty sure that I don't either - but I don't understand the point of being so extreme and judgmental. You don't get to decide how other people feel or how they should define themselves.



Yeah, I really don't think we need to make the term child-free into a dogmatic thing here. This is a forum where people try to co-exist as peacefully as possible (or at least, I hope so!), children or no children, and the thing we have in common is that we are trying to be compassionate. And I think it's really inappropriate to attack another member of this forum like that. I for one find Tofulish's experiences as child free in her 20s and 30s valuable and interesting, because that life is a life similar to the one I intent to lead, and whether or not I suddenly decide to have children it's still interesting to read. The term child free is not something someone owns, it's a descriptive term. Don't attack people just because they are not like you, that is judgemental and very disrespectful and doesn't serve your cause any good. If you want to discuss the use of the term child-free, don't attack anyone personally, just explain why and how and be cool about it. And expect people to disagree, because that's what people do, and as long as they're respectful, that's cool!


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:27 am 
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Ariann wrote:
The idea of being child free as an immutable identity marker is truly bizarre.

I'm well into the twilight of my fertile existence and I have adamantly remained a proponent of personal non-reproduction, so it feels pretty immutable and not so bizarre. I'm fine with it.[/quote]

I don't mean it's bizarre to never have children, I mean its bizarre to be dogmatically attached to that as an identity marker that could never be changed. It's a personal decision like every other personal decision. It describes a state of being as well as an ethical stance (for some), but the state of being part is more pervasive and people shouldn't be barred from using the term to describe their actual states just because they don't align with the dogma.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:28 am 
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caterpillar wrote:
Moon wrote:
Dude, yes. Gotta love birthing dinner parties! Is it potluck, if so, I'll bring the placenta!

This thread was pretty sucky until now.

Hooray you saved the internet!


We all have to do our part!

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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:55 am 
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I describe myself as childfree to mean that I do not currently have children, and that is by choice and I am happy about it, versus "childless" which implies that I am missing something in my life. I wasn't aware that there was a more dogmatic usage of the word and that as someone who is at least theoretically analyzing what having a child would mean to my life and acknowledge that there is a *possibility* that I could someday change my mind, I should more properly be described as a "fencesitter" (even though I'm a REALLY strong "no", not like a wishy washy 50/50 or something).

Whatever. I don't really care too much about this sort of labeling in-fighting. I don't really care for the word "breeder" in a derogatory sense either. Women who have children are not the enemy. The system/society that devalues women's choices whatever they are is the enemy. Arguing over who deserves what label seems about as productive as trying to improve the lot of fat women by denigrating skinny women, or saying that people who are vegan for health reasons aren't vegan.

I appreciated Tofulish's perspective. I don't find it threatening at all for someone who used to not want children to say something changed for them and they are happy with that change. I did not read an implied "and you'll change your mind too!" in there at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:05 am 
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I just realized that the stuff all the moms on my Facebook feed post as "mom jokes" are like birth control in themselves! My feed is full of "funny" things that make me want to run away screaming.
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 Post subject: Re: Women who have chosen not to have kids
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:07 am 
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I don't see how it can be interpreted as an attack on Tofulish. I asked her if she's aware that it's offensive, and explained why it is. I apologize if I sounded harsh. (Actually, after repeated usage of the word I was wondering if she was trying to sound condescending.)

linanil wrote:
Ha, childfree purity. I don't think it is very feminist to say that people that leave the option open a 'problem'.


I never called that a problem. I called such people fencesitters, and I didn't mean anything offensive. People said themselves that they were "on the fence". I apologize for using an offensive term.

Moon wrote:
And being a part of the childfree community can be for a number of reasons, just as some people will identify as vegan for health or religious reasons. It's crummy if you're vegan for animal rights reasons and then apparently drop it, just as I'm sure the likeminded childfree community members would dislike it if someone who was childfree for moral reasons dropped it. But if you are childfree because you, say, had terrible childhood experiences, you might change your mind after having therapy.


I'm pretty sure people on this forum know very well that veganism is not only about food.

People are members of childfree community because they are childfree i.e. they have decided to never have children.

People who want to have children but choose not to because they have bad genes, wouldn't be good parents, or are in a relationship with someone who doesn't want children, are called "childless by choice". If circumstances somehow changed they might end up having a child. Those who wanted to have children, but never met the right partner are "childless by circumstance".

If you want to draw a parallel with veganism, then childless by choice people are like those who avoid animal products because, where they live, animal products cause foodborne illness. Childless by circumstance are like those who can't afford animal products. A person who doesn't have children for a few decades, but then goes on to have a child, is like "vegan before dinnertime".

Of course, if I suffer and injury like Phineas Gage I might decide to have a child. But, it wouldn't be me any more. And, if I do suffer such injury and decide to have a child, it's for the best that I'm sterile. That is actually an argument for taking childfree people seriously and sterilizing them on demand.

Some people who do consider themselves childfree (by definition) might change their minds in the future. It's all right for them to change their minds. But, then they should say "Well, I guess I wasn't childfree in the first place" and not "I used to be happily childfree, then I changed my mind and my child is the best thing that ever happened to me."


Last edited by rhelune on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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