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John and Katie sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love. Next comes marriage. Then comes a baby in a baby carriage.
From the time that we are Kindergartners on the playground, we’re taught that the natural order of human relationships proceeds as follows: love, marriage, babies.
As DINKs, we’ve got the love part down. And many of us have even moved on to marriage. But the baby carriage? Well, we’ve all put that part of this little childhood taunt on hold, at least for now. Some of us will eventually decide to leave the childfree lifestyle behind and pick up that baby carriage. But there are others of us who will choose to remain childfree.
This choice is often met with misunderstanding and criticism. Many critics would argue that the purpose of our lives is to bring new life into the world. Otherwise, how would we survive as a species? They believe that childfree by choice couples are simply selfish – more concerned about their careers or their freedom than about contributing to society.
On the other hand, some childfree by choice supporters would argue that having children doesn’t exactly contribute anything to society. It only adds to the problems of overpopulation, pollution, and depletion of non-renewable resources. They would argue that childfree by choice couples are making a rational, sensible choice.
This brings up the question: Are childfree by choice couples sensible? Or are they selfish?
Many critics of childfree by choice couples believe that having children is the ultimate act of selflessness. Parents (the good ones at least) daily deny their own needs in order to serve the good of their children. They sacrifice unquestioningly. They love unconditionally. They give up their freedom, their time, their money to bring these little beings into the world.
These critics believe that raising up children to become productive members of society is the most important work people will ever do. It’s the most meaningful contribution anyone can make to society. Therefore, those who choose not to become parents are simply too self-centered for the job. They care more about their careers, their hobbies, and their social lives than they do about bettering the world. And that, they say, is just plain selfish.
On the other hand, supporters of childfree by choice couples argue that choosing not to have children is no more selfish than choosing to have them. In fact, choosing parenthood may be the more selfish choice in light of the issues of overpopulation, pollution, and the depletion of natural resources. After all, don’t most people become parents because they want to become parents, because they believe that children will bring them joy?
Childfree by choice couples believe that they should be allowed to follow their own joy, even if it means breaking the love, marriage, baby carriage rule. Moreover, if a person recognizes that they don’t have the parenting gene and, therefore, decides not to raise a child in those un-ideal circumstances, doesn’t that actually make them unselfish?
To Each His Own
Childfree by choice couples: Are they sensible or selfish? Perhaps the best answer to the question is really no answer at all. Shouldn’t every couple be able to make their own decisions about children without fear of criticism?
Let us know what you think! Sound off in the poll below.
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