Sunday, July 10, 2011

Some Parents Just Don’t Get It

Melody Moezzi's blog post titled "Childless by CHOICE—Get it?" on the Ms. Magazine site last December elicited over fifty comments, many seconding what Melody wrote in her post:
Not long after we started dating, I informed my husband that if he wanted kids, I wasn’t the girl for him. He thanked me for the heads up and said he could easily do without them as well. Relieved, we continued dating for several years before we got married, both in our early 20s.

From the moment we announced our engagement, the pressure began: “So, when can we expect to see a little Melody or Matthew running around?” Matthew always smiled and changed the subject. I, on the other hand, confronted the question head on. “Never” was my standard response, and it always evoked laugher. Nobody could imagine that someone would choose not to procreate. But we stuck to our guns, and now, in our early 30s, people are slowly realizing that we weren’t kidding.

As a result, many have come to view us differently—as selfish, cold, narcissistic and unwilling to take on responsibility, despite all that we’ve done personally and professionally to counter such claims.
Melody and her husband continued to feel pressure from friends and strangers to have kids even though Melody has been firm and open about the “never.”

However, a woman who posted a comment to this blog challenged Melody suggesting the busybodies Melody documented were “mythical” and that Melody was “an unreliable narrator using exaggeration to get attention for her blog posts.”

This woman could have just been a troll, but her comment set off a flurry of responses from other women who documented their experiences of being pressured and disparaged by parents who just didn’t get it. This is real, they said, this really happens.

Having surveyed and spoken to hundreds of childless by choice people over my years working on The Childless by Choice Project , and having encountered more than a few of them myself, I too can say “yes, it does. The busybodies are real.”

Flickr Photo by Miguel Pires da Rosa