Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Can Better Serve the World by Not Having Children

The title of this post comes from the questionnaire I used to survey self-described childless by choice persons for the book Two Is Enough and the soon-to-be-released documentary The Childless by Choice Project. Close to half of the people I surveyed cited this as a compelling motive for their decision to remain childless.

Back in September I spend an evening with a group of Asheville, North Carolina residents who where concerned about global population. Most in the room were inclined to remain childfree because of the environmental impact of overpopulation, including a woman who really, really loved children yet had decided she couldn’t, in good conscience, have one of her own.

Recently I received an email from Joanna, who wanted to express her gratitude that she “did not cave into the pressure in society to have kids.” She is a 56-year-old woman, happily married for 32 years, and this is what she wrote:
Both my husband and I never wanted children. I have been a teacher since I was in my early 20s, and now I work for a university as a teacher mentor. I have to [say] that people without children add an enormous amount of positive energy to our society. When I was a classroom teacher, the people staying long hours in their classrooms were always the teachers without their own children. Also, not having children has allowed me the time to do a lot of volunteer work.

With the population nearing 7 billion, people who choose not to have children are helping our beautiful, natural world survive and flourish. Both my husband and I are environmentalists, and we feel so happy that we have helped the Earth that way.
I too am grateful for the opportunity to mentor two terrific young women, both of whom have grown from your typical awkward teens to confident, accomplished women (and mothers). Had I had a couple of kids of my own I doubt I would have had the time to mentor these two. But I am so glad I did.

What are you grateful for?


Claudia said...

for not having a single gene that plans to think about having children..I just cannot stand feelings attached.

MCH said...

Asheville! That's where I live! I hadn't really been thinking about this topic from an environmental aspect. This blog is really interesting. Pretty much everyone we know that we'd like to hang out with it seems has kids. I guess I just need to branch out more to find similar types of people.

Inquisigal said...

I'm childless by choice, but became a mother when my husband and I decided to adopt from the foster care system. This is something people might want to consider if they're concerned about overpopulation - there are kids that are already here who need good homes.

Laura Scott said...

What great comments! I am so glad you you found this blog!
Inquisigal, you have done what many of of the people whom I have interviewed said they would do if they felt they wanted children in their lives.

It's doesn't have to be their own, biological children. The capacity to love knows no bounds.

Shelly Gorove said...

I am so glad to have found this blog. Despite the massive amount of hype about ways to "go green," the fact that having fewer children - or better yet, no children - is the "greenest" thing one can do is never, ever addressed by mainstream media.
I wish there was a way to get the word out!