December 13, 2017

Childfree? Really? Common Questions and Comments (Part 3)

Childfree? Really?

Common questions and comments (Part 3)

“When are you having kids?”, they usually ask. Not “if”. And here are more of the most common responses to my answer:

6) “Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old?”

I’d like to say “me”. I’m responsible for myself. It’s my obligation to invest in my brain and my body and strive for healthy and happy. If or when I can’t, I should have saved enough money or given enough love to ask for and receive help.

Instead I say we’re open to adopting adults from the next generation of non-breeders, or blurt something else unfunny, dishonest and/or swarthy, while wondering:

How can I get an unborn heir to agree that, in exchange for me handling fatherly responsibilities, they will one day owe the same commitment to me?

How could I dare make my health another’s responsibility unless I managed my own body, diet, alcohol and nicotine consumption perfectly?

It’s already too late for that, so rather than saddling someone else with the burden of the bongwater I drank in my twenties, I hope that the economics of living child-free allow enough room for a giant TV and a smiley, shapely nurse with soft hands and a deep appreciation of the History Channel and eighties music.

Or maybe we’ll just invest in Long-term care insurance.

7) “Go to doctor what’s his name. He’ll get you pregnant!”

This happens more often than you might think. People are understandably presumptuous, and sincerely charitable when your spouse is a gifted teacher and children’s book author. (

So when we lived in New York, parents of her students were eager to offer recommendations and referrals, assuming motherhood was an obvious goal for someone so nurturing and bossy.

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  1. Interesting series, but it all doesn’t come down to money. You can pay for someone to take care of you when you’re older. That’s fine. But if you need open heart surgery, it isn’t only a question of whether you can fund the operation through cash or insurance. The person doing the operating will be someone’s child. That person will have become a surgeon in part because of the heroic efforts of the parents to nurture, instruct, and develop the abilities of that child. You might be able to pay for services. But the people performing those services are the result of a monumental amount of work. Being purposely childless is a free choice, as it should be. But those people in my view, outside of pursuing a special purpose like clergy, are takers and not contributors. Even if they are making huge contributions in some way, which surely some are, those are only possible by virtue of that person’s parents’ hard work.

    Society is only possible through voluntary procreation. If enough people stopped voluntarily procreating, we would have no society. Now, we have most procreating and some not. The ones that don’t should keep in mind that the people who “serve” them in society were made available by procreators who did their job well.


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