The case against having kids

They can hurt your career, your marriage, your social life, your bank book. Why bother?


The case against having kidsElaine Lui was 29 years old and had been married for a year when she and her husband, Jacek Szenowicz, decided that they didn’t want children. “Before that, we didn’t give it a lot of thought,” says the Vancouver-based eTalk reporter who writes the popular celebrity gossip blog “It was just an assumption, ‘You get married, you have kids.’ ” Front-line exposure to a close relative’s three young children and the work they required provided a wake-up call, Lui says. “That killed it for us. We just looked at each other and said, ‘We don’t want them.’ ”

In the ensuing six years, the couple has been barraged with reasons why they should change their minds, from “Your life will have no value if you don’t” to “You’ll be so lonely when you get old” to Lui’s favourite: “Don’t you want to know what your children would look like?” “Any baby we’d have would be of mixed race,” she says. “So everyone says, ‘Oh, it would be so gorgeous!’ ” She laughs. “And I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s really going to make me want to change my whole life.’ ” It’s a life the couple enjoys: they work together on her website (he handles the business side), golf together, engage in community volunteer work, and dote on their dog, Marcus.

As baby refuseniks, Lui and Szenowicz belong to a tiny but growing minority challenging the final frontier of reproductive freedom: the right to say no to children without being labelled social misfits or selfish for something they don’t want.

“Are you planning to have children?” is a question Statistics Canada has asked since 1990. In 2006, 17.1 per cent of women aged 30 to 34 said “no,” as did 18.3 per cent of men in the same category. The U.S. National Center of Health Statistics reports that the number of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as “child-free” rose sharply in the past generation: 6.2 per cent of women in 2002 between the ages of 15 and 44 reported that they don’t expect to have children in their lifetime, up from 4.9 per cent in 1982.

Still, in a pro-natalist culture that celebrates the “yummy mummy,” and obsessively monitors baby bumps and the mini Jolie-Pitt entourage in magazines, saying “I don’t want kids” is akin to “There’s a bomb on the plane.” In the past, those who chose not to have children did so quietly, observes Toronto-based poet Molly Peacock, whose 1998 memoir Paradise, Piece by Piece was acclaimed a breakthrough for its candid recounting of her decision not to have children. “It has been an intense and underground conversation,” Peacock says, noting many childless women contacted her to say, “At last, someone is talking about what I’ve been living silently.”

Increasingly, though, the childless by choice are vocal about it. Laura and Vincent Ciaccio are spokespeople for No Kidding!, a social club for non-parents founded in Vancouver in 1984 that now boasts more than 40 chapters in five countries. Laura, a 31-year-old attorney in New York City, refers to children as a “calling,” one that she and Vincent, a Ph.D. candidate in social psychology at Rutgers University, have decided isn’t for them. “I didn’t want to make such a major lifestyle change just because it was something society expected of me,” she says. “Children should be something people have because they really want them.”

Speaking up on the subject can elicit a smackdown. Last February, the 37-year-old British journalist Polly Vernon wrote a defiant column in the Guardian enumerating the reasons she didn’t want children: “I’m appalled by the idea,” she wrote. “Both instinctually (‘Euuuw! You think I should do what to my body?’) and intellectually (‘And also to my career, my finances, my lifestyle and my independence?’).” The response was terrifying, she reports: “Emails and letters arrived, condemning me, expressing disgust. I was denounced as bitter, selfish, un-sisterly, unnatural, evil. I’m now routinely referred to as ‘baby-hating journalist Polly Vernon.’ ”

Lui, who observes celebrity for a living, rejects what she sees as a pernicious retrograde swing back to the ’50s in which motherhood was celebrated as women’s highest calling. She points to actress Jennifer Garner remaining relevant in the celebrity press simply by being photographed with her two young daughters, and to Tori Spelling reclaiming her reputation after breaking up her current husband’s marriage by churning out bestsellers about motherhood. “Motherhood is the ultimate whitewash,” she says. “Steal someone’s husband, or be a drug addict, then become a mother and you’re redeemed.”

In a culture in which Jennifer Aniston’s childlessness provides weekly tabloid lamentations, a female star who goes public with a decision to remain so demonstrates courage. In a recent interview in U.K. Cosmopolitan, the 36-year-old actress Cameron Diaz, who is childless, expressed a disinclination to have children, citing environmental reasons: “We don’t need any more kids. We have plenty of people on this planet.” She noted stigma still exists: “I think women are afraid to say that they don’t want children because they’re going to get shunned.” But she also expressed optimism the tide was turning: “I have more girlfriends who don’t have kids than those that do,” she said.

Now the childless in North America have their most defiant advocate in a mother of two: Corinne Maier, a 45-year-old French psychotherapist whose manifesto, No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children, created a furor when published in France last year. Count on the same happening when it’s released here this week. Among Maier’s hard-won advice: “If you really want to be host to a parasite, get a gigolo.”

The societal shift in attitudes toward childlessness is most evident in language, with the buoyant “child-free” replacing “childless,” a word stigmatized for conveying a void or handicap. The childless minority has always been with us. But in the past why they didn’t procreate wasn’t the concern of mainstream academic study or social debate: to the extent it was even considered, it was assumed that they couldn’t due to some biological reason or chose not to for negative reasons, such as having had a bad childhood themselves.

The arrival of the pill in the 1960s, which allowed women to delay childbearing, also permitted them to forgo it altogether. Support groups popped up to allow like-minded people to congregate—the first being the National Organization for Non-Parents formed in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1972.

With the advent of the “child-free” came a rethink of the reproductive imperative, formerly assumed to be hard-wired in every human brain. But as demographer David Foot, a professor of economics at the University of Toronto, points out, social factors also play a role, the most significant being female education, which was also abetted by the pill’s arrival. “The higher the education a woman has, the greater likelihood that she won’t have children,” he says. This is consistent across cultures, he notes. The birth rate in Iran, where women go to university, is lower than that in the U.S., where census data reveals voluntarily childless women have the highest incomes compared to other women. In the U.K., 40 per cent of university graduates aged 35 are childless; it has been estimated that at least 30 per cent will stay that way.

Why this is happening is the subject of much theorizing: educated women delay childbearing until it’s no longer an option; they refuse to pay what economists call the “motherhood premium” in which the salaries of university-educated women plateau after childbirth and then drop, while fathers’ incomes are unaffected; they recognize that raising children is a sacrifice of time, money and freedom they’re not willing to make; or they simply don’t want to have children and are able to say no.

(The matter is complicated, Foot observes, because income level is also linked to procreation. What is known is that paying women to have children doesn’t work: the only variable proven to increase the chances of women having children is to offer a supportive social network, as evident by the rising fertility rates attributed to government initiatives in Scandinavian countries and France, where generous tax breaks, incentives, and maternity- and parental-leave provisions have resulted in the birth rate rising to 2.7 per woman, the highest level in Europe.)

A growing literature on childlessness has emerged. It has been deemed a “revolution” in The Childless Revolution: What It Means to Be Childless Today by Madelyn Cain, herself a mother. Academic treatises such as Mardy Ireland’s Reconceiving Women: Separating Motherhood from Female Identity attempt to diffuse stereotypes. There are also the cheerleaders, viz. Nicki Defago’s Childfree and Loving It! And the issue has been politicized in books such as Elinor Burkett’s The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless, which contends the “child-free” subsidize “breeders.”

The array of narratives reveals that the choice not to have children can be as complex—or as elemental—as the desire to have them, as reflected in Nobody’s Mother: Life without Kids, a 2004 anthology of essays by a diverse group of Canadian women, and Nobody’s Father from the male perspective, published in 2006. Many women knew they didn’t want children as children, a claim backed by research in The Childless Revolution that explores the notion that the impulse not to have children is genetic, like being gay. Most were clear-eyed that the choice required a new anchorage. “Children were not a way of ensuring happiness or endowing my days with meaning,” the poet Lorna Crozier writes. “That hard task was mine alone.” The American author Lionel Shriver, who never wanted children, writes in “Separation From Birth” that her greatest fear “was of the ambivalence itself”: “Imagine bearing a child and then realizing, with this helpless, irrevocable little person squalling in its crib, that you’d made a mistake. Who really, in that instance, would pay the price?”

But no book on the subject has been more provocative or summoned more furor than Corinne Maier’s No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children. It isn’t the first time the Freudian analyst hit the French national nerve: her 2004 book Hello Laziness: The Art and the Importance of Doing the Least Possible in the Workplace pilloried the country’s famously lax workplace culture. In No Kids she deploys an acerbic wit to dismantle the idealized depiction of parenthood perpetuated by the French state, “the fertility champion of Europe,” a distinction greeted by the country’s media like a sporting triumph.

Speaking from her home in Brussels, Maier says she was prompted to write No Kids by a conversation she had with two female friends in their 30s who told her they felt like social deviants because they didn’t want children. That perception is well-founded, she writes: “To be childless is considered a defect; irrevocably judged, those who just don’t want children are also the objects of pity.” But Maier believes “conscientious objectors to this fertility mythology” should be rewarded, not stigmatized. “To have a kid in a rich country is not the act of a citizen,” she writes. “The state should be helping those who decide not to have children: less unemployment, less congestion, fewer wars.”

She admits there are times she regretted having her own children, now aged 14 and 11, a declaration that has predictably branded her a “bad mother” whose children are destined for a lifetime of therapy. (Yet she’s only saying what many mothers silently think but aren’t allowed to say. In 1975, Ann Landers famously asked readers: “If you had it to do over again, would you have children?” Seventy per cent of respondents said “no.”) Maier reports that when she had her children she was madly in love, a hostage to her hormones. She too bought into the modern parenting mythology that children could be psychic curatives. Raised as an only child, she believed children would end her feelings of loneliness. Instead, she says, their arrival created new forms of loneliness.

The professional provocateur cuts through the gauzy romanticized depiction of parenthood promoted in France, which has far less to do with love of children than “a form of nationalism to enhance our identity,” she says. Maier doesn’t mince words, calling labour “torture,” and breastfeeding “slavery.” The idea that children offer fulfillment is also dismantled: “Your kid will inevitably disappoint you” is reason No. 19 not to have them. Much of what she has to say won’t be breaking news to most parents: children kill desire in a marriage and can be demanding money pits. Without them, you can keep up with your friends and enjoy your independence.

Research backs Maier’s assertions. Daniel Gilbert, who holds a chair in psychology at Harvard and is the author of the 2006 best-seller Stumbling on Happiness, reports that childless marriages are far happier. He also reports researchers have found that people derive more satisfaction from eating, exercising, shopping, napping, or watching television than taking care of their kids: “Indeed, looking after the kids appears to be only slightly more pleasant than doing housework,” he writes in Stumbling on Happiness.

Yet a 2007 Pew Research Center survey found people insisted that their relationships with their children are of the greatest importance to their happiness. Gilbert believes the reason people say this is because they’re expected to. He puts it in clinical economic terms: the more people pay for an item, the more highly they tend to value it, and children are expensive: the latest data suggests it costs upward of $250,000 to raise one to age 18.

No Kids is less anti-child polemic, however, than scathing cultural criticism. Maier lampoons the modern family (“an inward-looking prison focused on the child”) and the prevailing mindset that celebrates reproducing one’s DNA as “the ultimate objective of human experience.” Over-attentive focus on children saps cultural creativity, she argues: “Children are often used as an excuse for giving up on life without really trying. It takes real courage to say ‘Me first.’ ”

Parents, not non-parents, are the selfish ones, she avers: “Every baby born in a developed country is an ecological disaster for the whole planet.” She’s pessimistic about these babies’ future prospects, telling French women their children will be “loser babies,” destined for unemployment or to become factory drones. Maier blames contraception, which allows people to opt out of parenthood, for irrevocably altering the parenting dynamic. Once, “people had children because they had them,” she says. Now, every child must be a desired child, which requires of parenthood a “performance worthy of Superman or Superwoman.”

And that in turn has created a backlash among the childless that is less focused on children than on modern parenting itself, what Lui refers to as the “mommy cult” and Vernon calls the “pampering cult of Bugaboo-wielding, Mumsnet-bothering dullness.” Like Maier, Vernon doesn’t like what parenting does to grown-ups: “Spare me the one-track conversations. Spare me the self-righteousness, the sense of entitlement . . . Spare me the pretensions of martyrdom and selflessness.” There’s nothing selfless about having a baby, she argues, pulling out The Planet card: “You really want to be selfless? Adopt, lover.”

Shriver is less righteous about the non-parenting choice, admitting “there is something nihilistic about refusing to reproduce, selfish in the worst way.” She explains: “Take individual fulfillment at the expense of parenthood to the limit, and one generation has a cracking good time, after which the entire human race, poof, vanishes from the planet.” (This, in fact, is precisely the goal of the most extreme childlessness advocates out there: the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, which says, “the hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions of species of plants and animals is the voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens . . . us.”)

Now that we’re a full generation into voluntary childlessness, research is beginning to reveal the longer-term consequences. Ingrid Connidis, a sociologist at the University of Western Ontario and the author of Family Ties and Aging, has conducted pioneering studies among people 55 and over that distinguish between those who are childless by choice and those who are childless by circumstance. All have adapted, she says: “But the childless by choice are more content, have higher levels of well-being and are less depressed.” She has also compared levels of satisfaction between the childless and parents, dividing the latter group into parents who have a good relationship with their children and those who do not. “Parents who don’t have good relationships with children are not as happy as people with good relationships with their children or people who are childless by choice,” she says.

Molly Peacock’s husband, Michael Groden, an English professor at the University of Western Ontario, says he has no regrets about not being a parent. Now 62, he says fatherhood was never a life goal. He and Peacock, who dated as teenagers, married 16 years ago, “Reconnecting with me sort of made that a conscious thought for him,” she says.

As part of his doctoral dissertation, Vincent Ciaccio is investigating why men choose to remain childless—new terrain. As with women, the reasons are all over the map, and include “betterment of relationships,” “career motivations,” “fear of failure as a father,” “not liking kids,” and “the desire to remain in their current lifestyle.”

Connidis’s research also explores the common concern that the childless will be lonely or bereft in old age. She found they’re no less lacking in support than those with children. “They’ve created their own network,” she says, noting people without children are more likely to end up in a nursing home. Her conclusion: “There’s no guarantee that having children will make you happy or not having them will make you sad.”

Of course, the idea that parenting choices should bring happiness one way or the other has modernity written all over it. But what any happiness appears to stem from is not children or their absence but rather the ability to make the choice.

Maier, who’s a brilliant contradiction of her own claim that women have to choose between motherhood and success, knows her polemic would have been ignored if she didn’t have children; she would have been judged “a bitter, jealous old hag,” she writes. No Kids puts her in a no-win position, she says with a laugh: “People think I’m a bad mother. But if I didn’t have children, people would have said I’m a person who is not happy because I don’t have children.”

It’s an ironic Catch-22 that it takes a parent to support the choice not to become one. But somebody has to do it. As Elaine Lui points out: “Why did we fight so hard for the right to make this choice, only to have it not respected when we do?”


The case against having kids

  1. Parenting is definitely NOT for the self-possessed, there are huge sacrifices and huge rewards.

    The assertion that we live is a a pro-natalist culture is absurd. We expect parents to raise children while retaining two full time incomes, if they want to maintain an average standard of living, with very little support from government.

    • This is a terrible response. I work at inner-city schools teaching kids during the year and in the summers I work in refugee resettlement for a non-profit organization. I also teach a community involvement class to middle schoolers. My whole life is dedicated to caring about other people. I am certainly not "self-possessed" but I also don't want to have children. It is not a selfish act to NOT want to have children. In many ways, it's a selfless act. Your comments throughout this discussion are uninformed and show no empathy. This is indeed a pro-natalist society. Giving birth is a right of passage and sometimes very little thought has been given to whether or not the parent has what it takes to be a parent. And then I teach their kids and try my best to makeup for the fact that they're not getting everything they need at home. I bet most women my age have given more money to baby showers than they have given to charity. Because it's expected. By society. A pro-natalist-your-life-won't-have-meaning-if-you-don't-reproduce society. And now, on top of that, you're suggesting that I'm selfish. I think you're a tool.

      • Well I wish I could reciprocate, but I don't think you're a tool and I totally commend your virtue and strong sense of purpose in life. If by pro-natalist you mean that anyone can have a baby, then we are pro-natalist. If you mean that we are a culture that supports the tremendous financial burden of raising children – a very necessary task – then I disagree with you. If you choose to buy baby shower gifts, that is your choice and griping about it seems silly. I assure you that baby shower gifts represent a tiny fraction of the resources necessary to properly raise a child.

        Do you even know the meaning of the words self-possessed? It means self-contained, not selfish. Are you arguing that the article does not cite those reasons as the reasons why people choose not to parent?

        • Your own definition of self-possessed is a person who is centered on oneself. That's not the case with many women who have chosen not to have children and the opposite is in fact true. By not fulfilling ourselves with the busy work and huge expense of raising children, we are able to do more for others which is a selfless act. I also was not complaining about baby shower gifts, I'm simply suggesting that many women spend more on baby showers than charity which would suggest society is in many ways pro-natalist which I believe the author was using as a term to suggest that society is more FOR women having children than not having children and that women who choose not to have children experience a certain level of discrimination in our society. Your own definition of self-possessed is what is upsetting people on this site. Many would argue that having children is a very "self-possessed" act. And I would say that''s perfectly okay. To each his or her own.

          • I thought I was clear, that I was not being derogatory, and throughout the discussion I have gone to lengths to clarify that I am referencing the reasons in the article, the manifesto "that parenting is bad for your career, your marriage, your bank book and your love life", these reasons are centered on oneself, are they not? If I am to hold this manifesto, does my rationale not become one of serving my career, my marriage, my bank book and my love life? That is the manifesto offered in the article, not one I made up. I have agreed these are totally valid reason for choosing not to parent. If I was not sufficiently clear before, I don't know how much clearer I can make it. If this is not clear, I apologize and am sorry to say that I probably can't make myself any clearer.

            I am not sure what you mean by 'busy work', that usually implies work that has little merit. If that is what you mean I disagree.

            If you are discriminated against in any manner for your choice not to have children, I find that totally repugnant, as I stated elsewhere. I sincerely thank you once again for you virtuous purpose in life, that is the very best part of the human condition.

          • You're not being derogatory by calling people you do not know self-possessed? Self-possessed is the last thing I want to be called. Don't mince words…

            The only thing you have provided is the usual ad hominem argument. Right off the bat you demonize the decision to not have children. Anything less to you is objectionable. The point of the article shows that our natural inclination towards NOT having children is to think one is selfish, self-absorbed, and to use your own terminology self-possessed.

            That's very perceptive of you and frankly, brilliant because you must know my wife and I? We have been married for 16 wonderful years and have decided not to have children for multiple reasons that you may or may not agree with. But to make such an assertion proves the point, and shows that you do not understand the enormity of the issue. Having children is indeed beautiful, profound, remarkable, and ineffable.

            Yet some of us believe in the power of choice, that we are separate of our expectations in life. We believe like you, that we are fulfilled, content, at peace, and experience unspeakable love, and happiness in our lives without children.

            It takes an incredible amount of strength and courage to step into the unknown, knowing that you may be alone someday. Truly alone. Not having children or deciding not to makes you ponder the future and scourer the depths of your relationship in a way like no other. It makes you face death. It makes you contemplate the future – deeply.

            And to have two people so committed to one another in the same way, and arriving at the same place with such a serious decision allows me to except all things, and reject the fear you must feel arriving at the end of this life without someone to care for you…someone to tuck you away in your pine box. Selfish? I don't think so; just your choice.

          • Its funny how often a person will reference an ad hominem argument immediately before launching into one. At no time have I made any personal attacks or demonized anyone's decision not to have children. I have repeatedly said that I find those actions repugnant.

            The article promotes a new manifesto that, "argues that parenting is bad for your career, your marriage, your bank book and your love life". To repeat myself – Are you arguing that the article does not cite those reasons as the reasons why people choose not to parent? It is utterly absurd to suggest that such a manifesto is not completely laden with self-possessed values. I was speaking about the article, not of any individual's choice. Your presumption that I don't believe in the power of choice is mistaken. Recognizing that society as a whole should hold self-sustaining values does not mean that everyone within that society must maintain those values in every decision they make. Recognizing that a manifesto that promotes a downward spiral in our birth rate is unhealthy for our society is really just stating what should be obvious.

            Your claims that being childless enables you to "scour the depths of your relationship", and "contemplate the future – deeply" is also mistaken on a couple of accounts. No one is born a parent, we were all childless before we had children, we understand that situation. Do you understand parenthood in all its "depths"? Do you truly believe that having children does not demand that you scour the depths of your relationship or contemplate the future – deeply?

          • You always seem to have a prickish tone to your writing. The manifesto is simply a mirror. You're dismissive, and patronizing like most parents I know.

            Did you intend to use self-possessed? I'm just confused by that word usage? You don't really mean to say, we who have chosen not to have children are so collected, encapsulated, and poised. We are in full control of our faculties? Yes the article cites the aforementioned, yet somehow you are able to make it sound quite profane. From your first posting, I actually inserted selfish in place of "self-possessed" from the context of the entire post. It happened almost automatically as if a typo had occurred. You have somehow re-defined the word.

            I believe you – like most – who have children think you have been given the greatest of gifts; walking around with a sanctimonious little grin as you have some key to life. When really it's just offspring. It's the self-possessed life a parent…or at least trying to appear so. There is nothing special about it really. Anyone can do it. Most shouldn't. (all tongue in cheek, really)

            And no, I do not understand parenthood at all. Never will. Do you?

            And yes I do think you have to scour the depths of your relationship when you have children; most certainly. More than I can imagine. Which was my point. We all do. I was being facetious.

            Point is…you have experienced the unremarkable. It happens in nature everyday. Nothing special about raising a child. I just hope your children grow to adulthood and place you in a home someday. Maybe I'll see you there. :) Just kidding.

            Whenever a person questions whether having a child is something less than extraordinary or angelic of sorts the proverbial sky opens up, and God him/herself crucifies the damned childless creatures of the earth.

            As for career, bank book, marriage, or love life tend to be just as unremarkable if for all the wrong reasons. Like having said child because the pressure of our society deems it an infallible, and extraordinary blessing full of divine transcendent love.


            The Self-possessed

          • Sorry, but there is far too much bitterness in your post to bother with attempting a meaningful dialogue. You say that you are purposefully misreading my posts, and you are conjuring up arguments that are not even remotely suggested in my posts, so there really is no point.

          • Defensive much??? Maybe you should read through his posts another time (maybe 2)… but try to do it without attaching a motive YOU want to see.

            It seems to me that you expected to be bashed, therefore, that's what you chose to see in his comments… Honestly, I fail to see the "demonizing" you are describing as well as the so-called negative connotation you feel he has ascribed to the word "self-possessed".

            ANd I quote from the dictionary:
            self-pos⋅sessed  /ˈsɛlfpəˈzɛst, ˌsɛlf-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [self-puh-zest, self-]
            Use self-possessed in a Sentence
            –adjective: having or showing control of one's feelings, behavior, etc.; composed; poised.

            It doesn't imply a negative conotation to me…. but maybe I'm just leaving my self-imposed preconceptions atthe door…. you might want to try it. :)

      • "RIGHT of passage"? You're not teaching MY kids, dumbass.

    • Some of the most self-centred people in this world are parents. I'm a parent and I see it at every birthday party we attend. The money spent on children today is astounding and a reflection of a self-possessed attitude.

    • I am a 61 year old female, chidless by choice. At 10 yearsof age I knew I dd not want children of my own, no reason then, but I knew it was right for me. Never regretted that decision and I stuck to my choice over many relationships. I have always thought that this world would be a better place if the choice was TO HAVE KIDS rather than not to have kids. If we grew up truly understanding ALL that it takes to raise happy, well adjusted kids, and then decided that that w aswhat we wanted for our lives, how different things would be

    • The only thing you have provided is the usual ad hominem argument. Right off the bat you demonize the decision to not have children. Anything less to you is objectionable. The point of the article shows that our natural inclination towards NOT having children is to think one is selfish, self-absorbed, and to use your own terminology self-possessed.

      That's very perceptive of you and frankly, brilliant because you must know my wife and I? We have been married for 16 wonderful years and have decided not to have children for multiple reasons that you may or may not agree with. But to make such an assertion proves the point, and shows that you do not understand the enormity of the issue. Having children is indeed beautiful, profound, remarkable, and ineffable.

      Yet some of us believe in the power of choice, that we are separate of our expectations in life. We believe like you, that we are fulfilled, content, at peace, and experience unspeakable love, and happiness in our lives without children.

      It takes an incredible amount of strength and courage to step into the unknown, knowing that you may be alone someday. Truly alone. Not having children or deciding not to makes you ponder the future and scourer the depths of your relationship in a way like no other. It makes you face death. It makes you contemplate the future – deeply.

      And to have two people so committed to one another in the same way, and arriving at the same place with such a serious decision allows me to except all things, and reject the fear you must feel arriving at the end of this life without someone to care for you…someone to tuck you away in your pine box. Selfish? I don't think so; just your choice.

    • I think you're confusing our society with our culture.
      We do not support children or parents properly (which, incidentally, should probably involve a lot of education before becoming a parent in the first place), and that is our society.

      However, our culture really is pro-natalist as you find from the reactions of a majority of the people when you tell them that no, not only do you not have kids, you don't intend to.

      Or in other words, people generally expect that if you're a couple you should] be having kids, they're just not willing to support that expectation out of their own pockets.

      • I don't think that you can separate our laws and institutions from our culture, they are certainly part of the organic fabric of culture. Clearly, I am arguing that we need a shift in our shared values towards increased support for parenthood, such as Australia's policy, cited elsewhere, granting $5000 to new parents. The lament that I have is that as a society we have turned strongly in favour of individual interests and away from the collective interest, and in that process we have literally thrown out the baby with the bath water.

      • In case you or anyone else is still going to this site….. I don't understand why you would tell people you don't intend to have children. That is an entirely personal and private decision, and anyone who asks you about it is hopelessly rude, nosy and intrusive and doesn't deserve an answer. Weren't you brought up to keep private information to yourself and not to ask personal questions? I certainly was. I don't have children and no one knows my reasons because I don't talk about it.

    • Ed, the second you grow a womb, I'll read your words. Before then, please STFU. You do NOT know what you're talking about. You can never know what it feels like to be a woman with a womb, experiencing incredible social and family pressure to procreate when in your hearts of hearts you know you don't ever want to. There really is no middle ground. You either do or you don't. You either do or you don't. Those who do, good for you. I'm happy you're happy. I'm happy not doing it. You should be happy I'm happy and not bringing children into the world where I would be vastly unhappy being a mother.

      • Stacey, in your world men have no right to an opinion on the direction of society? The husband half of a couple has no voice in the choice to have or not have children? Thanks for the graceful and respectful manner that you make your point.

        • The question one of positive freedom or the ability for the man to impose his will over the body of a woman. If we ignore the will of one individual(female) for the benefit of another(male) so that the male has rights over the females body this is akin to slavery. Slavery has failed to produce desirable results for society and is typically extremely exploitative, the benefits asymmetric. The man certainly has voice in regards to his part but he cannot impose his will over the woman this would be justification for rape and sounds akin to the implied contract that fundamentalist Muslim females are exploited under. Men have the freedom to select females, and in that process of selection attempt to find one that will voluntary agree to generate offspring.

          • I'm pretty sure he wasn't implying the opposite.

            Finding someone who wants the same thing as you do in their life is kind of a no-brainer when selecting a partner with who to share your life with.

            It seems rather counter-productive, if not idiotic to marry someone who doesn't want children when you know you will.

            Just a thought.

      • I am a woman… with a womb. And although I believe in equal rights for women and the right of choice… I also understand that to be in a relationship requires some compromise and discussion…

        Not that I'm implying that if you don't want to have a child and your partner does that it's something to "compromise" about, but you really seem to hold no importance to the opinion of a male counterpart simply because he doesn't know what it's like to have a womb. Do you know what it's like to have a penis ans what it means to be a FATHER?? I'm assuming you don't. As a matter of fact, neither do I; becuz I'm a woman.

        Your "my way or the highway" attitude really takes away any validity to your post. "STFU"?? Was that really necessary? It's probably a good thing that youdon't want to be a parent… I support your choice 100%. You're obviously not mature enough to serve as a role model to a child.

    • I have read your comments and the responses thereto. While I am substantially in agreement with you, I must point out that that your use of the term "self-possessed" is incorrect (as is that of several of your correspondents).

      Someone who is self-possessed is in control of his behaviour, is poised; a synonym would be "self-composed." You and the others are clouding the discussion by using the term completely out of context.


      • It is also a synonym for self-encapsulated and self-contained, which reflects my original usage.

    • I agree that it is not the actual definition of self-possessed that we have a problem with…you stated what it means to you "people who are centered on themselves first"…i understand the actual definition which means self-composed which does not even apply here. So what we are trying to tell you is that although your intention was not to offend…apparently it did, so you can just admit that maybe you chose the wrong definition…or maybe admit that is actually how you feel, and that's ok too:)

    • I agree that it is not the actual definition of self-possessed that we have a problem with…you stated what it means to you "people who are centered on themselves first"…i understand the actual definition which means self-composed which does not seem to apply to your comment. So what we are trying to tell you is that although your intention was not to offend…apparently it did, so you can just admit that maybe you chose the wrong definition…or maybe admit that is actually how you feel, in which case your opinion may be respected:)

    • You wrote: "Parenting is definitely NOT for the self-possessed […], there are huge sacrifices and huge rewards."

      What's interesting here is the accent you put on the "rewards" side. Actually, it sounds like parenting means huge sacrifices FOR THE SAKE OF huge rewards to you. Anything more self-possessed than that? According to your thesis, parents use their very offspring just to get "huge awards". Such a sort of "speculation" shows a very, VERY self-possessed attitude hidden somewhere deep in your head.

      • Yes, and there is no such thing as an altruistic act, blah, blah, blah. It is a very old philosophical question, yet most people can easily recognize that acts that are good for society and come at great personal cost are acts that should be encouraged.

    • The word you want is "self-centered", not "self-possessed", and it is inherently seen as negative to be preoccupied with oneself.

      My parents are both very self-centered, yet they had children, and my sister and I paid the price for that. There are plenty of parents who are as self-centered or more so than people who are child-free. Ascribing certain personality traits to anyone based on lifestyle choices is a form of prejudice. You might believe people who have kids are less self-preoccupied, selfish, etc., but that is simply an opinion. It's far from a fact that having a child means you're going to put that child's needs before your own. Being a parent might be rewarding or it might not, but it is unrelated to the type of personality one has.

    • How is self-centered not a derogatory term? I know many parents who are pathologically self-centered and many childless people who dedicate their lives to the service of others in a variety of ways. Of course, let's not forget those who adopt or foster. They are taking responsibility for the children of others – a very difficult and noble calling. You sound like a parent who is overwhelmed and needs to overly justify their decision to procreate. I agree with your statement about pressure and financial expectations for parents, but this point actually strengthens the case for not consciously making a choice to NOT bring more humans into the world.

    • Unlike others above I don't take offence at being considered self possessed. It's impossible in this world NOT to make selfish choices no matter what you choose, assuming that you are choosing what you actually want. Parents are just as selfish as non-parents. We're all selfish, get over it and stop being so defensive.____I also agree with the comment about our culture not being pro-natalist, but feel that pro-natalism needs to be better defined for both sides of the debate to understand this. There's a lot of very derisive and hateful pro-natalist TALK aimed at the childfree, as we childfree people are well aware, but what we do NOT see is how little of it translates into anything of real value once the kids are actually born. It is merely the VALUES of society that are pro-natalist.____Anybody who stops to think for five seconds about what it will mean to their lifestyle if they have kids can clearly see that raising children is not made easier by the (western) society in which we operate.____What parents need are childcare, more workplace options, a safe and nurturing environment for their kids and so on. If society were really so pro-natalist, these things would exist in far greater abundance.

    • Ed Sweeney clearly meant self obsessed, as self possessed simply means being in control of one’s emotions.   Ideally, parents should be self-possessed, and not emotional wrecks in front of their children.  I weep for the future when simple vocabulary is so abused.

  2. that's exactly the point of the piece: automatically people who don't want kids must be "centered on themselves". So we're selfish? You are attaching negative attributes to those who make the CHOICE – for a variety of reasons – not to be parents. Thanks for proving the article.

    • There's nothing wrong with being centered on yourself. How can you make anyone happy if you don't pay attention to yourself first. isn't that what Oprah says…?

    • 3 out of my 7 oldest dearest girlfriends have chosen not to have children and all of them say it's because they don't want to change their lifestyle hurt their career. It really is the main reason for not having children. Accept it. But this is what those who might judge them must accept – there's nothing wrong with "selfish" choices about one's own life. If there's a stigma against being selfish in that way it's absurd, because there are plenty modern parents who show a great deal of selfishness and narcissism in their parenthood lifestyle. I agree modern parents are annoying. My first friend to have a baby changed completely and never stopped talking about herself and her baby. She was completely self-obsessed. Was that selfish of her? Heck yes. As a new mom I refuse to constantly talk about my child and refuse to overlook ever asking somebody how THEY are doing! How boring it would be to only ever hear my own voice blathering on about my baby. Makes me shudder.

    • Anon…it's the author who advances that notion, through quoting other writers, that it is "selfish in the worst way" and "nihilistic." The woman at the core of this article, at least the last page or so feels that is the case, owns it, and explains why. Petulance doesnt make your comment any more convincing.

      • "For me a life without children would be too stagnant and boring."

        I'm sorry, do you not have a life/personality of your own? Jesus, that's depressing.

    • I don't think being "self-possessed" and wanting to keep your life centered around your self is the same thing as being selfish. Having kids is not a self-less act. So it's not about being selfish or selfless. It's just about recognizing who you are and what/who you want your life to revolve around.

      The unfortunate thing is that some people make their decision to have kids or not have kids for the wrong reason. I don't think you have kids in your 30s because you think you may eventually want them but by then it could be too late.

      I don't really understand people who don't think they ever want kids, mainly because I do want and have kids. The thought that comes to my mind is "what comes next for them?" They'll just get old and die off, leaving no legacy and noone to care for them when they're old. Wanting kids is generally naturally desired vs a societal pressure because humans naturally want to progress and we need the social security for when we're old.

      Ya, you're income potential drops – especially for women, and ya your life change. But personally the enrichment far outweighs the "drawbacks". For me a life without children would be too stagnant and boring.

      • Um.

        There are people there to care for you when you're old. The same people who will be caring for YOU after your kids have dumped you in a nursing home. The only difference is the childfree will not complain because their children and grandchildren never visit them.

        That line rubs me very much the wrong way, because it shows a grave ignorance to the aging process. Do you honestly think children are going to take time out of their lives to take care of their aging parents? I was the sole care provider for my grandmother a few months before she passed away. Let me tell you it was not easy. Caring for the elderly is never easy, and best left to the professionals.

        Your children will most likely not be taking care of you when you're old. Someone else will. Most likely a paid nurse or a hospice program.

    • Anon,

      I think you're being way to defensive about this… being centered on oneself, making yourself the priority doesn not automatically imply that one is sefish and egotistical… it just means that one if not willing to give their life over to a child (becuz let's face it, raising a child is a life-long dedication).

      I think you're the one attaching negative attributes and outdated conotation to the word all on your own…

      Just a thought.

    • It's a matter of priorities. Having the freedom to do what you want, when you want is great (I remember it fondly). It doesn't make you selfish; why do you jump to the conclustion that it's a negative attribute? One could argue that having children is selfish, but either way, it's a highly personal decision that is neither positive nor negative – just what feels right for the individual or couple involved. I have a child; my brother does not. Both are equally valid lifestyle choices, and neither one of us can understand the other's decision to have/not have children. We're just coming from two different places and want somewhat different things out of life; there is no better/worse situation. It's simply about the choices that one makes about how he or she wishes to spend his or her time/energy/money/etc.

  3. Lainey's decision is based on her work????? Maybe she should take a vacation. Diaz should get a clue.

    • Why is being a parent more important than a career? Maybe some people's calling is to parent, and that's wonderful. But not everyone has the same calling. Who are you to say one life choice is more worthy than another?

    • I am a single woman who works hard, is well educated but my job dosn't allow me to support 2 people. I have not married becuse I have not found the right guy to share my life with and raise a family.
      According to your ignorance, I should get knocked up and drain the taxpayers of their money so that people who are parents can get off their high horse.
      What does it say of someone shaping the mind of a child that they have to judge and misrepresent strangers choices in order to feel good about themselves?
      Shame on you.
      People make choices for many different reasons.
      The only 'selfish' people are those who feel they can judge others choices based on nothing more than their own insecurities.
      It is you that needs to get a clue. Good luck with that.

    • you must be one of those right wing, bible thumpers?
      Anyopne with a differing opinion must surely be ridiculed

    • As a teacher, I do find my work very rewarding; I nurture up to 30 young people everyday for almost 200 days a year. As a classroom community, we likely spend more quality time together than we do with anyone else in our lives. I care deeply about my job. It brings me great joy to play an important role in the social and intellectual education of Canada's youth. At the end of each day, I have given my all. If you can't fathom work as fulfilling, I guess you've never had a job you really loved.

    • Why do you care? It' s none of your business whether these gals have kids or not. Having kids is a PERSONAL decision. So, in essence, mind your own business.

  4. Kids are a lot of work. If someone realizes they aren't up to the task, after giving it serious consideration, let them be. Countles children's aid societies, police departments, and future generations will thank you for leaving people to make their own decisions on whether to impark on parenthood.

    One question though, why does your article only cover "motherhood"? What about the quest by some men to avoid "fatherhood"? Surely there is a story in there too.

    • A sensible and respectful response, thank you! I hate the way this topic often pits parents against non-parents.

      I think you also raise a good point: it's not just some women who don't want to have children. There are men who do not want to be fathers either.

    • Unfortunately I fear, the people choosing not to have kids are the kinds that would have well behaved and educated children. They are the people that think about their choices. I am not one of them and happy I have kids, despite the challenges.

      • Very true, however we do live in a fairly sexit community, that is sexist towards men. NOt saying women should discrimated, of course not. We just get hung up on differences to much.

    • There is a story indeed about men not wanting children, but have you noticed women are way more grilled when then express their non-desire for children? As if a woman not wanting children was a witch, while men in the same situation get away with it far easier.

    • There actually is discussion in the article about men not wanting kids too. I think this article covers more the whole "motherhood" aspect because unfortunately it's still mostly left up to the mother (as a general rule) to do most of the raising of the children. And face it, us women have to do the all the really lousy stuff aka getting pregnant and giving birth. Men tend to not have as much of a roll as the mothers do.

    • I have to agree. I could go on almost forever with reasons why men avoid becoming a father. One of the reason I don't want to have kids is the way the laws are right now. It's like a woman gets pregnate with a baby. Next we (the guys) are being blead dry of money but, we aren't allowed to have any say in how the kid is raised or take charge if there is a problem. If we refuse to suport the woman and child because we aren't allowed to do anything the courts automatically garnish our wages. I guess it's best to get fixed if we are not married by 25.

    • Absolutely agree with your comments. However – and I say this with the utmost respect – "impark" is not a word. I believe you meant "embark."

      Thank you

  5. "parenting is bad for your career, your marriage, your bank book and your love life"

    All true, except marriage. But only if both parties have always had a passion for children and dreamt of having their own – perhaps each comes from a large family. In that case, the marriage will be strengthened through achievement of that common dream. Otherwise, the marriage is subject to risk.

    • In most cultures, children are the PURPOSE of marriage. Only in a decedant society can values be skewed to the point that sex and love life take precedence over having children. We need to take a long hard look at our values. All the DINKS (Double-Income-No-Kids) are fooling themselves if they think they can be truly happy without fulfilling their natural calling. They are also fooling society by spreading this fallacy.

      • Daniel, the flaw in your theory is women and men who cannot procreate at all, ever. Are they to abstain from marriage? Are they to be shunned and stoned by the other villagers (parents in this case)?? And by the way, when you also grow a functioning womb, I'll start taking you seriously then. Until such time, STFU. You do NOT know what women go through in life, reproductively or otherwise.

        • You seem to think that having children is a female only thing. You're also being sexist by telling me to shut up because I'm a man.

          I don't see how you've identified a flaw. The fact remains that in most cultures, having children is the purpose of marriage. Try getting married in Asia, Africa, Latin America, or the Middle East (yes, Arabs do count), and see how far you get when you tell your prospective spouse that you don't intend to have children. Chances are, he'll recommend that you shack up with some white guy who doesn't want children, or just forget about marriage. What's the difference, anyway, between common-law unions and marriage? In theory, the biggest difference is the whole issue of procreation, though I admit that the distinction between the two types of unions has been blurred by the same people who are saying now that it's ok for your love life, career, and wallet to take precedence over procreation. That's like a smoker saying it's more important for him to smoke than to eat.

          • If only Stacey had kids, she could spend all her days screaming at them to STFU. She seems to have made the right choice for herself and her adorable little womb and the children it will hopefully never produce, so one might wonder why that decision hasn't made her happier.
            That said, Daniel, I don't think I buy your argument that parenthood is some sort of natural imperative.

        • Hysterical, much?

        • Not yet halfway thru the comments here, and you've already told two who don't have "functioning wombs" that you won't take them seriously until they grow such things, before telling them to STFU. You appear to be engaging in the female equivalent of 'thinking with your penis,' which I don't think your women's studies classmates would necessarily mind too much, but kind of makes you come across like a bit of an ass everywhere else.
          What might prove more troublesome to you in the future, however, is the implications of your, uh, argument. If not having a functioning womb disqualifies people from being allowed to say their piece, what will become of you when yours ceases to perform its function? How do you think you'll feel when your old lady womb doesn't perform its purpose anymore, so nobody will take you seriously?
          But wait then – never mind the future, what of the woman who's had a hysterectomy, or whose womb has not ever functioned properly? She can't be taken seriously? Or what of the young woman, proud possessor of a functioning womb, who chooses not to realize said womb's potential? If she's not using it, then can it truly be said to be fully functional? And if it's not fully functional, you're saying she too should STFU?
          Now's the time when you might be inclined to tell someone to shut up. I won't do that, but would it be the worst thing for you to think about what you're saying? Or at least develop an extra schtick or two?

    • I have read countless marital happiness studies that say otherwise. Perhaps the people you speak of are such a rare group that they are the outliers in these studies.

    • Actually, studies have shown that happiness drops dramatically in a marriage after the birth of a child.

    • I think that people can have a fantastic marriage, want to have kids, and then have their marriage completely ruined by having kids. it's nothing but an added pressure, even if they wanted kids and that was a goal.

  6. I am the oldest out of 7 children. I personally have made the choice not to have children for many of the reasons listed. I have myself have been insulted and ridiculed for my personal choice to not have children. Take it with a grain of salt. The article is just pointing out the other side of the coin, which is something that we deal with everyday.

    • Laura, very valid point, and I especially like the part about taking it with a grain of salt. I think anyone who would ridicule you for such a choice is truly repugnant. The only issue I have with your point is that the article portrays our society as pro-natalist, which we most certainly are not. I don't think you need to go further than the article itself for a demonstration of how little we support parenthood. The author feels that it is valid to complain that Jennifer Garner remains relevant in her field, even though she has taken a break for motherhood. Not only should she be forced to make all the typical career and monetary sacrifices that we have come to expect of parents, but her future career should be sacrificed as well. I hope you see how utterly absurd that is. Good parenting is a virtuous commitment, and a healthy society needs to recognize that.

      • If we are not pro-natalist, why are there "New Mother" and "Family" parking spots cropping up in every shopping area?

        And the point about Jennifer Garner is that she hasn't been working, so there's not career-based reason she should be getting as much attention as she has. But she has children so she's in every tabloid. A child-free actress who takes several years off tends drop completely off the radar. That's because people are obsessed with babies and mothers.

    • Good for you Laura this is a plain and simple topic if one where to be truthfull about it…it
      's all about choice and you need to not be concerned about what any other person on this planet thinks except you and your husband if you have one…I and my husband are from large families he wanted no children I thought I did sooo we have three,one is an absolute joy and gives us such love and pride no one could ask for more , other two, heart aches and constant worry we raised them the best we knew how treating them all the same, we are now in our 70's and would be a real pleasure to not have that worry, but that is what goes with the choice we made way back when, so we live with it as it is not something one can just move on from, my Mom always said "you make your bed you lay in it" she was right… I'm not in anyway saying I wish we never had the two problem ones the choice was mine so we live with it.
      I have always respected those who made the choice not to have children and I know many who did just that.

  7. I am a female who does not have children but who wants them in the future. I do not see anything wrong with not wanting to have kids, it's a life decision that maybe if more people took the time to make we wouldn't have the problems in society that we have now. If people thought about the responsibility prior to getting pregnant, maybe more people would be raising their children rather than blaming the TV (which they plopped them down in front of so they could have more time to themselves) and society for the way they behave. Having kids has become an accessory like buying a purse, I think more people need to look at it as a career, and look at the qualifications, if you don't have those qualifications and are not willing commit the time to it then don't apply.

    • Definitely the best comment I've seen so far. I think this attitude towards making babies should be adopted by all…

    • Here here! I'm also a female with no children, but I am still on the fence as to whether or not I want any. No one should be pressured into having children. That's definitely not the right reason to have them.

    • Thoughtful and smart. You will make a great mother someday.

    • Completely agree about the kids should be looked at as a career comment – well said!

    • Very well said. Thank you

    • I love how you said "Having kids has become an accessory like buying a purse". I agree with that comment profusely! I also would like to add that I wonder how many women get pregnant for the attention they get, and then when the baby is born they are shocked at the work (and lack of attention they get) that ensues.

  8. People just need to respect others choices. That's all. Simple. I have 2 kids (and of course I love them) but i would not recommend having kids to anyone. It a major responsibility, one that you can't imagine until you have them. And I totally understand why Lainey would changed her mind after experiencing how hard it is to have and raise kids. It's not for everyone. I actually believe is not for most people.

    • Totally agree. It's all about respecting the choice of others. And not following any social stigma (American dream: house, two cars, dog, cat and two kids – is the definition of happiness ?)
      We have one kid, it was our decision, and we totally happy with it, so I don't understand people who say to us "now you have to have more". Have to have? Seriously. Most of my friends choose to have more than one kid, and they are happy with their choices. Some of my friends don't have kids at all – and they are totally happy (true, they have so much more time to spend on travel and adult entertainment and less worries, so this part is obvious.)
      Would I have a kid if I had to decide again? Definitely. But this does not mean that everybody should feel the same. It's sad that as a society, we became such intolerant to any deviation from standards and so ready to invade other people' private life. There should be place for everybody's choices in life. Somebody needs to bring to life a new Einstein or Mozart. And somebody else will be this Einstein and contribute to the society in other ways. Isn't it this simple?

  9. Our society seems to have a very limited view of what is acceptable behaviour in the family domain. Decide to have no kids – freak,s selfish. Decide to have "too many" kids (4+) = freaks, selfish…Any choice taken after careful consideration should be respected. I am a mum of three children (two living) and desperately love each of them – and work full time, have 3 university degrees and an 8-year marriage…But it is not easy to juggle everything. Sometimes I've taken time out of the "paid work force" to concentrate on my little ones, and sometimes my little ones have had to adjust to life with a working mum (the primary breadwinner too). I have a number of good friends who are childless by choice – and it works for them…And some days I live vicariously through them! They DO have a less encumbered lifestyle, and they are certainly moving up the corporate ladder faster…But I am happy with my choices, for me. Live and let live.

  10. Why judge people one way or another? Is there some law I missed that says giving birth is a human obligation? As a middle-aged woman, who has no children of her own, but did step-parent one for many years, I can relate to both sides of this issue. People who choose not to have children are not advocating that nobody do it, just that choosing not to doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. Parenting is a massive responsibility that lasts for years. It can be joyously rewarding, but in the wrong hands it just ends up perpetuating misery. To those who do it well, bless you. But if you don't have the calling, don't join the club. Please.

  11. i dont see anything wrong with deciding not to have children. i have 2 under 2 right now and if my brother and sister (who are always around and helping) decide never to have children i totally get it. IT"S HARD WORK. VERY HARD. perhaps those who pop out babies and need govt assistance should have this stance.

    • Agree very much. I don't have children but I see from friends and family that it is VERY HARD work, and it angers me that people have babies without really thinking deeply about it and end up being supported by other family members or welfare.

  12. As someone who has chosen not to have any natural children I am often under attack by those who have made a different choice. However, I have yet to find anyone who can give a satisfactory answer to "Why have children?". To not have children is an easier option in terms of time, finances, etc., but it is certainly a very difficult decision to make and live by. Yet there is a third option that this article is obviously not about at all – and this option is adopting and fostering, something that I think everyone should give as much consideration to as either having their own natural children or not. This option is quite a bit more rare that either of the two discussed in the article, yet has the most benefit to all involved parties and the society on the whole.

    • Only issue is that adopting is still having kids. I think the article does consider it because it's lumped in with the whole "having kids" argument. This would not apply to someone who did not want kids period.

    • By calling biological children "natural" and "your own" you imply that adopting is somehow unnatural and that the adopted child isn't yours. Adoption is just as selfish or unselfish a decision as giving birth – it's about people who want to be parents, and simply get there a different way.

    • Personally I am against adopting (in case no health reasons are the cause of doing so) bec adopting keeps a system alive that is not good to be kept alive. What sytem do I mean? The sytem of pro-creating unrelentlessly without looking at the consequences and then when there is no money or food they will put up that child for adoption. Probably we are talking about so called 3rd world countries here. The world is over-crowded enough. Hence the huge number of poverty everywhere on this planet. Its about time people are taught about self-responsibility and stop doing what makes the world poorer.

  13. The problem, really, is that generally speaking, the people that choose not to have kids are the exact people who should be having them.
    Now before everyone jumps down my throat, it's a personal choice, absolutely. However, the people who choose to not have children tend to be well-educated, middle-class, gainfully employed people, and, once again speaking generally, the off-spring of that demographic tends to be well-fed and well-cared for. Would that all children had the same opportunity.

    • Perhaps the people who choose not to have kids have thought way too much about the consequences – maybe the people who have them should think a little more…

      • If everyone thought that way, soon enough, no one would be thinking…

        Because we'd all be dead.

        • I spent some time in women's shelters and CAS, as a participant and then as a volunteer, and there are stories that would make your skin crawl. Absolutely, there are cases where a bit more thinking would not be remiss when it comes to having children. Having a child to try and glue together a failing relationship or to placate an abusive partner is not okay. Similarly, I have three friends who have given birth to children, none of whom are older than 16. Once again, it would not be remiss to suggest that in those situations, a bit more thinking would have been appropriate. The people who choose not to have children are the demographic who, when they do have children, have one or two (I'm one of four, and whilst I love them all dearly, it's difficult) and are able to provide opportunities for their children.

    • I agree, and in fact what you've said is not politically correct, despite the underlying truth.

    • Liberals are generally people who've turned inward, and in a funny way are actually–in a devilish turn on other claims–far more selfish about their lifestyle choices and more jealously guard such notions far more that the cultural conservatives. Liberals love the jibber-jabber about choice and also collective responsibility and collecitve this and that and such on behalf of the greater commonweal, but conservatives actually live this life. Raising children and paying attention to matters of hearth and home is one way this is done. Not to mention at least partially counteracting the sour demographic mold of much of the West, where the maternity wards are quiet in some parts of Europe other than the Allah Knows Best crowd's praising of the prophet for yet one more son in addition to their other 4 or 5, etc.

      • you sir, are a bigot

    • I don't see how this could be the case, If they chose not to have kids its' because they do not want them. That fact alone is not conducive to parenting.

    • I hope that others are not offended by your comment because this trend is very true and real problem. Furthermore, I am that person.

      My husband and I are both well educated, hard working, middle class people. We both have a tremendous respect for mother / fatherhood and what it means to be a parent! My parents were AMAZING; they dedicated their lives to us kids and created a well-structure, and nuturing learning and growing environment at home. If I were to have children, I would absolutely dedicate my life to them in the same way that my parents did. I am not willing to have children because I after years of hard work, universities, students loans, career establishment, and mortgages, I do not have the energy, to be the mother that I would want to be. The commitment to have kids is overhelming because my expectations of myself are very high.

      I just wanted to share my personal situation because I think (and I hope you agree) that it demonstrates the trend that Sophia has mentioned, presents it in a real-life situation, and shouldn't offend anyone.

  14. Dear people, I hear you all. The problem with the article is not that it discusses the child-free option, but that it does so in such a one-sided way. In this, it doesn't do much good to Canada's problematic demography, on the contrary (on which point, I'd encourage you to read it in full, not just the website bit). When kids are called "parasites", "mistakes" and "disappointments", little wonder only very traditional ethnic groups will probably continue to have them in sufficient numbers to (later-on) cover your pensions. That is, if they decide to do so when they'll outnumber the humble-pie-white-eaters. I'd thus encourage you to look beyond the apparent debate at larger societal implications which the article carefully lies aside. One more thing: what's behind a child's smile? Enormous sacrifice worth the world. If only our immature society would start behaving like adults, child-free or not.

    • "What's behind a child's smile?"

      He probably set fire to the living room.

      • Or killed a cat as the darling cherubs in my neighborhood like to do.

        • ugh! yep nice little brats. Give me 30 seconds in a room with them.

    • That is the one benefit I DO see to children. They will one day be paying our pensions for us. I still wish that more people would adopt instead of replicating their own DNA. I still think there is a huge problem with overpopulation and millions of unwanted children all over the world (not necessarily in Canada, at least not in my province, unless you want to adopt a poor child with FAS which is not for everyone). But yes, I agree, those with kids will be paying for my pension one day and I appreciate it.

    • Spot on Jo, these are exactly the types of things we must consider before being staunchy for or against childrearing. Along with your post, I agree with Sophia. All the good qualities of those who are free enough to make this decision (education, financial stability etc) are those that should be held onto and retained via breeding. Although I agree with this article about the responsibility and even "ickiness" of babies, I fear for what will happen to North America's demographic in the generations to come once these guys die…think Beverly Hillbillies….makes you shudder. I guess what I'm saying is, I struggle with this topic too. I am faced with this question: have children and be miserable or live freely but leave the country to The Duggars?

    • I don't expect to be getting a pension. The fact that I'm responsible with my money (and don't have children sucking me dry of it ;)).. my retirement will be more than comfortable.

      And if you're only worried about what your kids can do for you (i.e. I don't want to die alone. I don't want to be in a nursing home. Who will take care of me when I'm old? Who will pay my pension??) I'd take a step back and reconsider who the selfish ones are.

  15. We're not having any children, as we both have medical issues that make it hard to imagine devoting the needed amount of time to raising little people. We're not doing this for our bank account or our marriage. My folks raised 4 of us making less than I do for a household of 2.

    That said, I've received little negative feedback from people I've met, and i've found that most folks are polite enough to talk about it only when invited to. Those who do make an issue of our lack of fertility are gently chided, and dropped from our list of buddies should they continue.

    The rest of you, please have lots and lots of kids, and if you need a babysitter, give us a call.

    • I wish the article had reflected your attitude instead of Corinne Maier's.

    • The reason you are probably not getting bothered too much is because you would be considered probably to be "childless, not be choice, but by circumstance". I am the same (infertile) so I am not bothered by it, and little does anyone know that I am actually childless by CHOICE as well as circumstance. There are many days that I THANK GOD that I was unable to bear a child when I hear about what my friends and family members who are parents have to go through until their children finally become adults.

  16. We're not having any children, as we both have medical issues that make it hard to imagine devoting the needed amount of time to raising little people. We're not doing this for our bank account or our marriage. My folks raised 4 of us making less than iI do for a household of 2.

    That said, I've received little negative feedback from people I've met, and i've found that most folks are polite enough to talk about it only when invited to. Those who do make an issue of our lack of fertility are gently chided, and dropped from our list of buddies should they continue.

    The rest of you, please have lots and lots of kids, and if you need a babysitter, give us a call.

  17. The response that bothers me the most is when people think not having children is selfish, or some whitewashed term for selfish, like "career focused" or "self focused". I think whenever anyone makes a major life decision, both selfish AND unselfish reasons factor in. I don't want to have kids because I like my body, my bank account and my husband's and my sex life exactly how they are. But also, I have serious genetic diseases on both sides of my family, and I don't want my child to have to deal with that. My husband firmly doesn't want them, and I respect his choice and want him to be happy. And most important, I would never want to do something as important as raising a child if I'm not passionate about the choice. So yes, some of my motivations are selfish. But most are anything but. Isn't that the way we all make decisions?

    • I often think that those who choose to have children (especially more than 1 with all the overpopulation and lack of resources that the BBC continually discusses (that most people ignore) are more selfish.

      Why have children? So you can have someone take care of you when youre older, so you can see what the offspring of you and your spouse would look like, so you can spring another being from your loins, name him or her and be "proud" of him or her for the rest of your life. I'm sorry I just don't get it.

      Still haven't heard one valid reliable reason for why people who want to parent continue to breed instead of looking to adopt orphans from South America, Africa, Eastern Europe. THAT is a sincere unselfish act.

  18. Why are the childless the only ones labeled selfish? Isn't there selfishness on both sides? Let's think about it. Why do people have children? For many, it's the joy of having a mini-me walking around–a being they can mold, reflecting their dreams and desires. For others, it's the joy of reliving the childhood pleasures they missed the first time, or want to do again. For others, it's nothing but an overthought after their birth control fails or they forget to use birth control. If these "unselfish" family people truly cared about the well-being of others, they would adopt one of the millions of unloved, impoverished orphans in the world.

    • Bingo!

    • Should the third world become our baby factories? Interesting and radical idea, but I'm not sure it will work. Once the orphanages are cleared, do we just strip the babies away from their mothers? I am all for resettling orphans, but taking babies from their mothers because the mothers find themselves in poverty, that seems illiberal.

      • Stop extrapolating. You are completely misreading my point and coming up with something I did not say.
        "Once the orphanages are cleared"? I wish. That would show that these "unselfish" family people really were that. Of course, if that happened, they could go back to having their bio-kids with impunity.

        But, it would never happen, as my original point is, people want their own genetic offspring most of the time. They are selfish. It takes a truly special person to adopt kids. I just think it would be great if those "unselfish" family people would consider adopting one child in addition to having a biological child or two. Most of the family-values people I know would NEVER do that. They would rather spend thousands and thousands of dollars getting in-vitro, and the like than adopt. It's all about having the little mini-me with my special genes, my values, my ideal childhood, my, my, my. That's my point.

      • And, my point is not an issue about tearing kids away from the poor. That's another extrapolation. There are plenty of wonderful orphans in every country in this world. You are not obligated to look outside of your own borders to find them. And, this isn't about tearing kids away from parents who can't afford them–a la Madonna–which is horrible. There are plenty of wonderful kids who need a home who are true orphans, or who have parents who have placed them up for adoption. I have volunteered as a tutor for foster care here in America, and I have seen some wonderful kids who really deserve a permanent home.

        • Anyone who has ever tried to adopt will tell you that, no, there are not plenty of wonderful kids available for adoption. Kids in foster care often/usually have a parent somewhere in the picture who isn't capable of caring for them but still has parental rights. And international adoption is an expensive, time-consuming nightmare.

          • international adoption is an expensive, time-consuming nightmare.

            So is having a child.

          • Really is it….. My husband and I don't find it so…..when you adopt internationally it can cost you ten's of thousands long before the child comes along…..I feel adoption is wonderful ….but the realitie is that you have to be approved first and that can take some time even after your approved it could be years before they find a child even though there are so many who need home's ..most country's would rather adopt the children to family's in the country…not out of …..

          • yes youre right, it isn't easy, but it should be made easier. But I don't have the answers.

      • umm…. tell you what Ed. If the concern is what are we going to do when the orphanages are empty, let's just agree that we can cross that bridge when we come to it.

        We'll never come to it.

        • ummm… dilip, tell you what. You figure out a world where we all live happily by only the very most altruistic acts we can imagine, and I will happily follow you there. Of course that post is somewhat facetious, because we cant expect the majority of society to consistently act in an incredibly altruistic fashion. I wish it were so, but it isn't. That said, it doesn't mean that we have to abandon all of our principles. It doesn't mean that some acts, while they may not meet the adopt-a-third-world-orphan standard, are still healthy and necessary to sustain society, like the act of being a good parent. Once again, I would like to say – this, in no way, means that I would judge any INDIVIDUAL on their choice. There are values good for society that may not be consistent with the values of each and every individual within that society. As a society, we are increasingly turning away from valuing the role of good parenting and there are consequences to that.

      • I think youre going too far here. The orphanages will NEVER be cleared. That's like saying that people who don't breed will be contributing to the extinction of humankind. We're a long way from that. A VERY LONG WAY from that.

        • I guess it depends on how you look at extinction …if you mean mankind in general ……well no…..however individual races are already on there way since most family's in this day only have one child maybe two …but other races have
          5+…so what to do you think is going to happen….these's races will in the end out breed the other's , so it really depends how you look at extinction…

          • So? What do you care if the race ratio of the world's population changes in the next few million years -or even, magically, a single generation- after you die?

    • It's odd that people should see childbearing as a choice. It seems more like a natural desire that is present in most humans. Becoming a parent is a biological compulsion, the most basic element of which is sex drive. Thus, we should expect people to have children, whether or not they're selfish and whether or not they made a conscious choice in this sense.
      In this perspective, we should be examining the motives of those who decide NOT to have children, because they're the ones who are truly making a choice. They're consciously choosing to deny a part of their humanity, for various reasons, some good and some bad.

      • Again, Daniel, stop. If a woman simply doesn't have the desire, is she to fake it?? Really, that sounds absurd. There are many of who simply don't feel it, don't want it, can't fake it. Are we to be burned at the stake like witches?

      • No Daniel. I don't agree. Our species has evolved to the point that we use our logical thought processes over and above any instinct. In fact, last I heard, that is what differentiates us humans from the other animals. Otherwise men would run around trying to make babies with every woman that moved. Ever wonder why human females don't go "in heat" anymore? In the Bible God said "go Forth and Multiply" and that was "in the beginning" when the earth was empty and desperately needed to be filled up. Now uh I would say we have a slight problem with overpopulation and a huge problem with parents in the western world breeding and giving their "little perfect beautiful darlings" everything new and the best of all and everything they never had for themselves, so now we have one child in the western world using up the same amount of natural resources as 70-90 children in third world countries. And THAT is just sad.

      • Rubbish.

        Not all people have this thing that you consider to be a "part of their humanity". It's a personality trait, not part of your humanity. Some are motherly/fatherly, some are not.

    • I think more distressing is the notion that selfishness is considered bad. "Selfishness denotes the precedence given in thought or deed to the self, i.e., self interest or self concern. It is the act of placing one's own needs or desires above the needs or desires of others. Selfishness is the opposite of altruism (selflessness)."

      Perhaps the individual who derides selfish actions in general is a hypocrite as a society of selfless individuals would most likely provide aid to that person. That being said those that revile selfishness in general are themselves selfish as they stand to lose via altruistic exchange. By ostracizing those that engage in selfish acts those that scream the loudest against these acts are just trying to advance their own interest in an evolutionary sense.

      Personally i think all actions are driven by selfishness, and further more all value is subjective. That being said the argument that a childfree individual is selfish has just as much weight as the argument that individuals that repudiate couples that don't want children are just as selfish

    • I just said the exact same thing 1 minute before reading your post. Glad to see that I'm not alone in my thoughts. I especially like the term "mini me". What isn't selfish about that?

  19. Parenting is definitely NOT for the self-possessed (and by self-possessed, I do not mean to be derogatory, I just mean people who are centered on themselves first), there are huge sacrifices and huge rewards.

    The assertion that we live is a a pro-natalist culture is absurd. We expect parents to raise children while retaining two full time incomes, if they want to maintain an average standard of living, with very little support from government.

  20. The general point of the article is good: people who choose not to be parents should not be stigmatized for their decision. Frankly there are a lot of parents who are not up to the job and probably shouldn't have taken it on.

    That said, however, this line is appalling: "“If you really want to be host to a parasite, get a gigolo.”
    Corinne Maier is not someone I'd want to be around. Not because she's chosen to forswear childbearing, but because she views kids as parasites.

    • That line certainly is appalling… There is nothing "parasitic" about a gigolo.

    • That line certainly is appalling… There is nothing parasitic about a gigolo.

    • There are other (many) lines in this article that I also consider appalling, such as this: "Yet a 2007 Pew Research Center survey found people insisted that their relationships with their children are of the greatest importance to their happiness. Gilbert believes the reason people say this is because they're expected to. He puts it in clinical economic terms: the more people pay for an item, the more highly they tend to value it, and children are expensive: the latest data suggests it costs upward of $250,000 to raise one to age 18." So now children are "items" and we're comparing their cost like to that of a car or house? This is disgusting. I know children are expensive, but most of the time it's because people think they have to be. People decide to buy the highest-priced stuff for their kids and don't have the backbone to say no when their kids ask for brand-name stuff. How many of my college-age students have said to me that they don't want kids because they think they won't be able to afford them, I've lost count. One of the other commentors said exactly what I feel: kids just want our love and time, and that's priceless to me.

  21. Another point: there is something wrong with the attitude of disdaining parenting. Saying "I'd rather not" is one thing, but treating it with contempt is bass-ackwards. The best reason to avoid parenting is because you realize how much is at stake if you screw it up … namely someone's whole life … not because you can't see the worth in it.

  22. Another point: there is something wrong with outright disdain for parenting. Saying "I'd rather not" is one thing, but treating it with contempt is bass-ackwards. The best reason to avoid parenting is because you realize how much is at stake if you screw it up … namely someone's whole life … not because you can't see the worth in it.

    • And there we have the pro-natalist view coming to the fore again. Why is it that simply not seeing the worth in having children isn't a good enough reason?

      • Because children are human beings and therefore inherently priceless, so not seeing their worth is blindness rather than "a good enough reason".

        • Perhaps you should read more carefully, and not attempt to put words in others mouths.

          There is a difference between not seeing the worth in having a child, and not seeing the worth in a child.

          Seriously, go that route and you quickly run into the "every sperm is sacred" dogma.

        • Perhaps you should read more carefully, and not attempt to put words in others mouths.

          There is a difference between not seeing the worth in having a child, and not seeing the worth in a child.

          That you attempt to make it seem like those who don't support your view equate the two is either dishonest and repugnant, or simply profoundly ignorant.

        • Perhaps you should read more carefully, and not attempt to put words in others mouths.

          There is a difference between not seeing the worth in having a child, and not seeing the worth in a child.

          That you attempt to make it seem like those who don't support your view equate the two is either dishonest and repugnant, or simply profoundly ignorant.

          That is, unless you're of the belief that every sperm is a life and therefore every act of ejaculation is mass murder to the tune of millions.. in which case you're just plain crazy.

        • are you priceless??? am i? is everyone? I can show you many a human beings who are entirely worthless as such! It is very narcisistic to believe you and your children are priceless simply because you exist….

          Oh and we all have different reasons for not wanting children…. right or wrong, selfish or not they are just as valid as any choices you make…..

    • I'm sure I'm not the only one whose about to say this, but what about parents outright disdain for the childfree?

      "oh you'll change your mind" or
      "how can you feel that way? youre a woman?" or
      "don't you think you'll be really lonely in your old age?"

      and the "bingos" go on

      • I agree with the fact that people give women that look of " whats wrong with you that you don't want kids" and I don't think anyone should be made to feel like a there's something wrong with there choice of not having kids , however why is it that those who choose to have kids…and I don't mean the people who accidently got preggers…though how you accidently get pregnant is beyound me …anyway but couple who make the choice to have children of there own , why is it that those who choose not to have kids say that those who do are the the selfish ones ?

    • "The best reason to avoid parenting is because you realize how much is at stake if you screw it up … namely someone's whole life … not because you can't see the worth in it."

      I totally, totally agree.

      I know I would screw up. I know I'm not that whole as a person, and I'd rather not be responsible for thoroughly messing up my child's emotional and thought structures for life.

  23. Anon, sorry, it is not like you are impoverished or discriminated against or disadvantaged in any way what-so-ever for choosing not to have children. As I said it was not a derogatory comment. You said "selfish", not I.

    I was contrasting the self directed goals of higher bank balance, career advancement and increased personal time with the sacrifices necessary in all those areas that good parenting requires. People who are "appalled" by these sacrifices, come off as whiny malcontents when they take issue with a celebrity being photographed with their children.

    That you choose to view the goals, attributed in the article to those who choose to be childless, as 'negative attributes' is a reflection of your own values. I commend people who recognize that they do not have the wherewithal or inclination to have children, for choosing not to do so, it is far too demanding a job for those who are half-committed.

    • Self-possessed can also be attributed to people who have children only to further their own self-worth (the baby will always love me, he/she will be just like me, I need a legacy). The point I am trying to make is that the choice is a personal one – it has nothing to do with an individual's commitment to another human being. A non-parent could just a easily sacrifice and dedicate their life to helping the poor – does that sound self-possessed?

      • I definitely agree with your first point, though good parenting precludes that, and I am advocating for good parenting. Good parenting has everything to do with commitment to another human being. Nowhere am I suggesting that childless people can't be virtuous, that is utterly, totally, completely absurd. The self-possessed term was in reference to the reasons the article cites as the reasons people choose to go childless.

    • Having children is the most selfish act possible… what you are talking about is what happens afterwards i.e self-centered people do not sacrifice enough for their kids, whereas good people like you do : )

  24. Bradley, I think you're missing the point.

    I, along with thousands of other women, am a regular reader of Ms. Lui's website. I certainly agree that many of the views expressed there are inappropriate for children. But to imply that she would somehow impart those views to her young child is a bit of a leap. Regardless, the fact that Ms. Lui recognizes that her activities and personality are not well-suited to child-rearing is, in fact, the sign of a mature and adult mind capable of engaging in a logical decision making process.

    In fact, I believe she is a perfect example for this article: an independent woman comfortable with her sexuality (gasp!) yet committed to her marriage, who is also well-educated, successful, enterprising and entrepreneurial. She has turned a small email-based celebrity gossip hobby into a career and business that supports her and her husband. And she does not have a desire to add a child to her life, because she is satisfied with the life she has created without one. Isn't that exactly what the article is about?

    • The fact that many of her readers, such as my own teenagers (no censorship in this house), are young teens and she is well aware of this, leads to me to believe that she would have no problem championing her drivel to her children. There's not a discerning bone in her body. Have you read her schtick? It's vapid and mind-numbingly unimportant. That she chooses not to have a child surprises me not. She profits off of everything that is ill in celebrity culture. That women (mostly) flock to her as some sort of "insider" is a joke. The very culture she bashes she is leading the charge. See, this is what is wrong with society, people passing themselves off as well-educated; see a quick way to make a buck with no thought to the moral value of what they do. Sick. I stand by my original point, and no, I am NOT missing the point VESNY. As Lainey would say "you can't dress diarrhea up as shit", or some other vulgarity. She's no more educated nor sophisticated than Perez Hilton. That she chooses to not have children is INDEED her business. My point IS, I am glad she isn't. The world is a better place!

      PS. I wouldn't be surprised if VESNY is indeed Elaine Lui. That's the kind of desperate nonsense she subscribes to.

      • Wow Bradley, you sound really angry. Not only have you missed the point of the Maclens article as well as the No Kids book, but you have also managed to miss the point of Ms. Lui's website. Her site is intended for fun not as a morality lesson. As a well-educated, childless 30 year old, I frequent her site for a laugh. I am grateful that I have the time to relax and read hilarious editorial. I am grateful to not have children, I am grateful that I was able to make that choice.
        Don't speculate Bradley, you have no idea how Ms. Lui would raise her children. It seems you know a great deal about the content of laineygossip, so I am surprised that you did not mention the many causes that Ms. Lui champions and brings awareness to or the charities that benefit from her disposable income. I'm sure you don't need me to point out where that income comes from or why it is disposable.

    • If the message is "we choose not to have kids, everyone is calling us superficial, back off", then I don't think choosing someone who has been absorbed in celebrity gossip is the best choice for a poster-person. Some people will see a connection to superficiality there.

  25. Good point. Thank you for articulating it so colorfully. Hopefully it'll ring a bell to many, including the editors.

    • My comment was deleted as well only it was utterly erased, leaving no marks of censorship shame.

      • I have no idea what the original post says, but I am profoundly disappointed by the editors of this magazine for deleting it, since it smaks of censorship. Of course that wouldn't be surprising coming from Macleans.

  26. Lainey didn't write the book, she's only in the article because she has been upfront on her very popular blog of not wanting children. Having kids because they happen and they are future tax payers is just one of the funniest things I've read. On one hand, I think "well dah" and on the other, I can't help but wonder how many of your and my tax dollars will get spent on these accidental kids getting therapy. The whole point of the article is that couples are thinking about whether they should have children. Why is that so awful? Isn't it conservative ideal that people act responsibly? At the ripe age of 44, I recently found out that my mother has narcissistic personality disorder, and the effect of having a mother who is incapable of being a parent has been devastating. I've lived with this for 44 years not knowing what it was I was doing wrong and it turns out, it's not even about me. Do I wish she had chosen not to have kids, you bet I do! It's the kids who suffer when they end up with parents incapable of looking after them.

    • Um why are all kids accidental …some people make the choice to have childern just like some make the choice not to and yes I realize that there are a lot of whoops out there , however to say that we are all accidents is a bit much

  27. So, does this mean that they are saving all their money to pay for their retirements? Because I don't think is vary fair that in 30 years my child has to work to pay for their pension, eventhough they decided to have no children. If they dont want the "burden", I truly hope they don't become my childrens burden.

    • I agree. You're kids shouldn't have to bear the burden of my pension and I shouldn't have to bear the cost of your kids daycare, recreation and education. Deal?

      • You will then, of course, refund the government the full cost of any recreation you have ever used, the full cost of your education and any tax benefits your parents ever received? Abstain from using the health care system once your retire? Good! Deal!

    • yes they are saving their money for retirement plus through taxes they are paying for your brats education and probably your welfare cheque….

      • not everyone who has kids is on welfare some of us make six figures a year so get over your self

        • Yet you ignored the rest like the education they get and parks your kids play in and your child's health.

          The money thing is a two way street. That's the way of a somewhat socialized system. I think its a good system.

          But honestly, what do you think is more likely, parents who are poor or living check to check (remember, less education mean more likely to breed) or parents of a child or two making six figs? Get over yourself.

          The idea is, children are not special. You are not special because you have them. If we are in a burning building, I am more concern about me than your or your kid. Call it selfish, but I can guarantee you are thinking your kid is more important than me.

          Besides, making six figs a year? How many people do you screw over on a daily basis to provide for your child?

    • my taxes have been paying for your kids schools and education for years. It goes both ways.

    • Let's fast-forward 30 years:
      Old childless members of "Generation X" compose half of the population, and the other half is aged 40 and under. Generation X will vote for parties that propose pension hikes, free medical care, subsidized old folks housing, and whatever else the old people will enjoy. Just as they're voting right now for parties that give them complete "freedom" in their lifestyle choice, that is parties that allow them to foment demographic chaos by spreading their anti-parenting lies.

      • See? With all the love you expend on your children, you have none left for the rest of humanity. Especially those who differ from you.

        Besides, as someone in favor of kids, you seem awfully hostile to a young generation.

    • To Mr. Sweeney-I intentionally left health care out of my response because it is something I think every Canadian should have access to and so I don't begrudge my taxes being used towards it. As far as paying back all that was subsidized during my childhood, are you implying my parents didn't pay their taxes? If so, let me clear this up. They were of the generation that never lived in debt, nor social assistance and paid their taxes in full every year as a way of giving back for a very good life (unlike say, a certain former PM and where was all the self-righteous taxpayer indignation then?). My mother sacrificed her career to be a stay-at-home Mom. Can you guess what kind of "pension" she and other stay-at-home parents receive from the government, even today? Nothing because society, the one we should procreate for, doesn't really value stay-at-home parents but that is a discussion for another day. If however, it makes you feel better, sure, I will pay back all the subsidies I have received since birth. In return, can you promise me, that the Canadian Children's Aid Society will close its doors? Because this discussion is not about ensuring future Canadian generations to pay taxes, it is about couples (mostly women I would guess), not wanting to make that lifelong commitment that children are entitled to. I am a parent, I know what that commitment is. I know what the rewards are and the costs. And it is not easy but in my opinion everyone should think about it and make the decision that suits them.

      • because society, the one we should procreate for, doesn't really value stay-at-home parents but that is a discussion for another day

        How is that a discussion for another day? It is directly related to this issue, and at the heart of most everything I have said about the issue.

        As for your arguments regarding which social programs you want to opt in or opt out of, that discussion probably is better left for another day, but pertinent to this issue is the fact that many of those social programs have a built-in reliance on, and obligation for, future generations- the ones that you would rather deny any social program support for.

        Once again (I am certain that I have made this clarification at least a dozen times), I have never suggest that any individual should ever be judged for their individual reason not to have children, and I find such judgments repugnant.

        As for former PM's, I am not really sure who you mean or how it is pertinent. If you mean Mulroney, the tax department says that he is paid up in full. If he was not, I think indignation would be the right response.

        • looks like intense debate is in the hyper intensive ward.

    • I'm not the one who started the debate about taxes and families with children shouldn't have to pay pensions for people who choose not to have kids. My initial reply was meant to show that it's a silly argument. My fault. That's what being flippant will get me. I just find the whole pensions argument irksome. I understand future generations are necessary to maintain a tax base but there are no stats in the article as to how many Canadians are opting out of having children. How alarming is it? Besides, I have never ever heard anyone who has children say that did it as a patriotic gesture for the good of Canada. The reason people have kids is far more emotional or accidental. I think it's a disingenuous argument used to suggest that the choice to be childfree is somehow unpatriotic. Which brought me to the comment of Mr. Mulroney. Briefly, he received over $200,000 dollars in cash, which he kept in his safe for 6 years and only declared it to Revenue Canada when he was instructed that the cash could "get him into trouble" (

    • Comparing apples to apples, my taxes (and I pay extra for the privilege of declining marriage proposals – simply because I have this odd idea that if I were to promise that I would "love and honour" someone "'till death us do part", I should at least mean it at the moment I say it) are currently paying for other people's "perqs", so I fail to see how it is even relevant. Pay in now, children or not, take out later. Bogus argument, jest or not.

    • Don't worry about it. Your wittle pwecious won't have to spend a dime on the evil childfree.

    • And I shouldn't have to pay for your children's education through my taxes, but I do. It's how our government works and provides us with an excellent quality of life. You should be grateful.

    • On the flipside Alina, alot of my hard earned money that is taken away in the form of taxes aides children. Child-free people pay taxes which support schools, healthcare, childrens local program, parks which we don't get a reimbursement on because we have no children.

    • Alina, Think about what you are saying…. you are truly showing your ignorance.
      I am going to spend more than 30 years paying school taxes without ever having a child in school.
      My grandmother didn't work a day in her life that contributed to pension – she still receives old age pension.
      In Canada we all pitch in and we all get it out.

    • And who is paying for your parents' pension? Let me see….hmmmm, I am sure there are some folks paying into into it that chose not to have children. Now, with the tables turned…people who chose NOT to have children are probably paying for your child's healthcare either through an insurance pool or state/national by way of taxes. So, what is fair is fair. Everyone is paying for something or someone some how whether they choose to or not.

  28. Well, I have a completely different take on the topic. In the West, many couples are now choosing not to have kids. In fact, so many so, that the population has now stabilised all over western Europe, Canada, and to some degree, the US, and Australia (the Australia gov't introduced a policy where they would give you around $5000 for every child you have in order to help keep the population going; and in the US, Hispanics and Blacks are the fastes growing groups helping to keep their population up).

    That the population has all stabilised in Western countries may sound great, but there is a big problem. We, as westerners, have to keep up with the population explosion that continues to happen in the East. In Vietnam, Indonesia, India, etc., and even still China, continue to grow all at very high rates.

    So we have two options, and ONLY two options. We can choose to have a family with children (to continue to increase our population) or we can continue to accept massive amounts of Asian immigrants into our country who are applying in masses to get into our country. These are the ONLY two options. Some have invented a third, which is not have any children at all, to thus, "curb" the population. But that only works if every country is all "on the same page".

    Canada's population MUST grow to keep up with the massive growth in the East, and so if westerners aren't willing to do it, we ship in Asians to compensate.

    Check out Vancouver if you'd like to see "the gateway to China" as we call our city now.

    Just throwing that out there. I can't wait to hear all the *white* people quickly exclaim, "that's racist". Yeah … ok … you run with that.

    • Different angle, the black population in the US is not growing. The Hispanic and Asian populations are.

      Furthermore, your fear of a "white minority" is pointless. What many sociologist say is that in the future, most people will be ethnically mixed or ambiguous.

      But thanks for playing the "race" card.

    • It's my understanding many countries are paying people to generate offspring. Russia and germany are examples.

    • Pfft. Easiest solution is to give "their" women better educations, control over their destinies, and something else to look forward to out of life. It's a cross-cultural trend that is even mentioned in the bloody article.

      Why do bigots never come up with this on their own?

      (That's rhetorical – I know full well why you don't.)

    • Hey differentAngle, what are you going to suggest when I start to increase our population? I want 4 children. BTW, my great-grandfather arrived in Canada in 1916. My great-grandmother arrived in the 1950s, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins are all Canadian-born, and oh no! We're Chinese. Maybe some of us in our Canadian family can hook up with some of you in your "westerner" family and we can work together to increase our population. BUT, how on earth are we going to tell them apart from the immigrants and shipped-in-Asians you refer to in your comments?

    Demographically the decision to not reproduce is a form of societal suicide. However the
    decision must be respected despite its selfish underpinnings. The white anglo saxon is on his way out
    and some would argue that it's not a terribly bad development.

    The decision to not reproduce may have an evolutionary basis . Anthropologists and social
    psychologists speak of reciprocal altruism. Essentially many individuals naturally help others and usually
    what goes around comes around. However some individuals are not keen on any form of altruism and
    usually have an exaggerated sense of self entitlement. These individuals are self centred and are more
    prone to fight over scarce resources . Therefore the fact that this group decides not to reproduce is
    perhaps a blessing in disguise . Less people who constantly place their interests above all else is
    probably a healthy direction for society to go.

    • When orphanages around the world are full of kids who are "unadoptable" and population expansion is placing more and more stress on our ecosystems, I think it could pretty easily be argued that choosing to have a child is in fact the less altruistic decision.

    • What your referring to is Robert Trivers research published in 1971. However Trivers did not isolate a specific type of individual he referred to the breakdown of altruism being driven by a decrease in population viscosity, that is the ability of individuals to move and in a sense shatter the existing economy of social currency. In a global economic order we should expect tribal ethos to erode, acts of altruism should naturally lose value as they yield no return on investment. Refusing to breed in the primal tribal order might have resulted in exile. In today's society we may need to turn to market mechanisms to reverse this, which would be based on voluntary exchange.

    • I completely agree with your societal suicide term. I have no children and the ladies in the neighborhood that have kids don't talk to me. I try to talk to them about their kids and lives but I can see the "you have no idea" look on their faces. Even my best friends with kids exclude me from a lot of stuff because I don't have children. Luckily…I'm happy with my life as it is and grateful I don't have a houseful of kids to care for when I get home from work. I travel, sleep all day on Sunday's and enjoy my life…and I'm not envious about not knowing about green poop in diapers and projectile spit up…Ya I can't relate….bummer…nawt!

  30. What a shame our parents and grandparents did not have the strength to not have children; we would not be here. This position of 'Childless is best" must make our young wonder if they are welcome in this world. As an 86 year old I am pleased I have been blessed with three children and two grandchildren; weathered many challenges, including a fifteen year "career";
    retiring at 55 years and devoting many years in volunteer work. I feel life is to be "lived" and not just for my pleasure and comfort but to contribute to this world as best we can.

    • For many, the best way that they can contribute to the world is by leaving it without any traces of their watered-down DNA.

    • Strange reasoning. So, because my parents had me, and I"M SO LUCKY to live, then I am obligated to procreate, and create life so they can be lucky to live, too? Yeah, that's an excellent reason why to have kids. Don't kids love it, too, when you remind them that YOU gave them life? Makes them really like you, right?

      As for me, my parents did have me and I'm lucky to be alive; that's a fact. But, I had no decision in the matter. It doesn't matter to me one way or another if they would have decided the other way. Knowing some of the horrors of the world that I know now, well that's not a lovely thing either. And, these horrors will become even worse if the planet becomes seriously over-populated, increasing our chances for war over resources like oil (hey, that a thought, people killing each other over oil!), food, water, death, starvation, disease, massive die-out of species, environmental disasters, and the like. If any of these horrors come about, I doubt anyone will say they are lucky to be alive.

    • Aren't you applying your values to others? Why should everybody value everyting the same? If that was the case investing in the market would riskless :P

    • The young are often unwelcome. Because of bad parenting etc, they ended causing criminal damage and being a burden to the society. I don't want to a parent and put that type of waste of space into the world.

    • It's not a position of "childless is best", it's a position of "Childless is best for some people."

  31. I had good laugh at this posting, thanks for cheering me up….
    I don't understand why people would object to the choices others would make. The way I see it the government should encourage these people: right after making them ineligible for tax splitting (which is meant for those parasite who need to raise a family), they should be sent a sterilization kit and a Darwin award; after all, who wants a set of genes in our gene pool that has lost it's will to survive. Good Riddance!
    Fortunately many more people have common sense, at least for the time being. After all, somebody has to be our doctors, our nurses, our plumbers, our pilots, our cleaners, our leaders and especially our entertainers! Imagine the opposite… Imagine a 90 year-old Elaine Lui repoting on the sexual exploits of a 70-year old Paris Hilton… yuck!

  32. Unbelievable!Oh my god,what is wrong with people nowadays?Somebody gave birth to you,they didn`t look at other kids and said 'We don`t want them'.If your parents did that,YOU would not be here at all.My god and you guys want to whine about the government bringing in immigrants from the third world?You want to complain about paying hundrends of thousands to some immigrant and her 9 kids on welfare?They represent the children YOU cannot be bothered to have.Then you want to complain about being overtaxed,it will only get worse.A society needs to breed above replacement rate to keep the wheels turning.Canada breeds below replacement rate,school enrolment is down,there are even planned school closures.Even with the immigrants,that will not be enough in the near future.Instead of people having children,they care more about taking vacations and partying,this is sad.If you guys keep up with this,there won`t be enough people to fund anything in this country,that means your healthcare and your pensions.The funny thing about these people is that they hope somebody else`s children will pay for their pensions,pathetic.

    • Strange reasoning. So, because my parents had me, and I"M SO LUCKY to live, then I am obligated to procreate, and create life so they can be lucky to live, too? Yeah, that's an excellent reason why to have kids. Don't kids love it, too, when you remind them that YOU gave them life? Makes them really like you, right?

      As for me, my parents did have me and I'm lucky to be alive; that's a fact. But, I had no decision in the matter. It doesn't matter to me one way or another if they would have decided the other way. Knowing some of the horrors of the world that I know now, well that's not a lovely thing either. And, these horrors will become even worse if the planet becomes seriously over-populated, increasing our chances for war over resources like oil (hey, there's a thought, people killing each other over oil!), food, water, death, starvation, disease, massive die-out of species, environmental disasters, and the like. If any of these horrors come about, I doubt anyone will say they are lucky to be alive.

    • It's only fair that someone's children would pay for my pension, since I'm paying for their education, family tax credit and state-funded healthcare.

      Children deserve to be born to parents who want them and care for them. And quite frankly, I don't care if they're white, Asian or from the Planet Zog.

    • don't you think the right reasons for having kids is because you WANT them? there are enough kids in the world, and way too many waiting to be adopted. if the only reason you plan to have children is because you need to keep the societal wheels turning, and its not for any other reason then your "rational" reasons, then i would feel sorry for your children and anyone elses who thinks that way. there is nothing wrong with wanting kids, and there is nothing wrong with not wanting them. but whats the difference in having them just because you've made some formula in your head about how to keep society rolling? im sure your kids will love to find out that you had them because you need to keep up with canada's replacement rate. maybe come up with a better argument.

    • Then start breeding. The Fascist Oligarchs controlling all of these Multi-National Corporations and their tame Governments will think warm thoughts of you as you turn out the next generation of slaves for their amusement.

      After the Global Elite are finished impoverishing your children they can then start a lovely new war and convince the same children they have impoverished to go out and die while defending "our way of life".

      Yeah. Get out there and breed for the North American Union of Corporate States and trash like the Rockefellers; the Bushes; the Clintons; the Warburgs; and the Rothschilds of the World.

      I, for one, have decided not to contribute any future slaves for the benefit of the Global Elite and their burgeoning Fascist (for want of a better word) New World Order. But…hey…by all means…….take my quota.

    • The idea that the human population is in any danger of extinction is laughable. Where do you live? On a 50 acre lot with your closest neighbor 20 miles away? It's people on top of people where I live and some people won't be satisfied until we're all living in little cubicles like in Tokyo.

    • There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to live life and have fun! You only live once. Personally, I can't comprehend how someone would RATHER : Lose insane amounts of sleep, change disgusting diapers, lose free time, have a strained and most likely sexless marriage…. than : Be able to do what you want when you want, direct your love to the person you married, and be completely stress free! How anyone would WANT to have kids and all that garbage that comes with it simply boggles my mind. The few moments of joy they bring can NOT be worth all the other stuff that comes along with it. I work 9-5 Monday through Friday. All other times I like to ENJOY my freedom and do what makes me happy. I would much rather spend my saturday waking up at 11, heading to the ballpark/city/beach for the day than waking up at 7, watching god awful cartoons, then spending the rest of the day following my kids around like a hawk making sure they don't swallow a handful of thumb-tacks. I don't want a 24 hour/day 7 day/week job on top of my career. I want my career, and I want my life. With kids, I wouldn't have a life. No thank you.

  33. I look at this article from a few points of view:
    1) Why does it matter if I choose not to have kids? It's not selfish on my part, it is merely the choice that I made. I don't condemn people for having children, but yet I am vilified for not making the same choice.
    2) People who have children look at non-parents as abnormal, but also with underpinnings of our choosing to not have children as a reflection on their choice. Not having children reflects only myself. We are not trying to hold a mirror up to society and say, "Look. See what life could be like without kids." There is no hold-out bravado attached to me not having kids. Yet, many people who have children take it as a personal insult if you don't have them. I find this quite bizarre. We have been itemized, categorized, and vilified without stating more than, "No. I don't have children."
    3) Childlessness is now an option. How many people in years past made the decision to get married and have kids because it was expected of them? A lot. This feeling is not new. It's not a trend. In our great country, women can choose not to have children or get married, and more and more women are choosing this lifestyle. Women and their uterus are not chattel, and thankfully we can lawfully make our own lifestyle choices.

    • People who have children look at non-parents as abnormal because they are wanting company for their misery.

    • People routinely claim you are vile for your choice? That is hard to believe, but if true, I would suggest to politely tell them to circulate elsewhere. I can assure you that not all parents look at non-parents as abnormal. Its a personal choice and of course it is your right to make it.

      The issue is larger than just personal choices though. There are repercussions for any society that chooses not to sustain itself, and promoting a manifesto that people should choose career, bank book and love life over having children is a dangerous one for society. You seem to choose to view the issue only from a personal perspective, but there are also societal perspectives attached to the issue.

      • Promoting a manifesto that people should choose parenthood because it would be better for society as a whole is not a convincing reason to be a parent. Beome a parent because you want to, not because you should. Become a parent because you look forward to the responsibilties, challenges and rewards that parenthood brings. The childfree should be respected for their choice, which for many has nothing to do with career, bank book or love life – but simply that they do not want to be a parent. End of story.

        • If we want to preserve our society, which is dying off at the current birth rate – and I get it, that a lot of people couldn't care less about that – then we have to start promoting a manifesto that promotes parenthood. You speak as if our society as a whole cannot promote any ideals. It can and it should. There should be honour, respect and money granted by society for dutiful parenting. That is not the same as saying people should have no choice in the matter, which is absurd.

          • Of course there should be honour and respect granted by society for dutiful parenting. As there should be honour and respect granted for all human beings. I do not respect a person any more or any less simply because they are a parent. However, I will admit, I can respect a person more if they are an amazing parent, and I respect a person less if they are a lousy parent. There are many that fit into each category.

            I cannot disagree with you that the current birth rate in Canada is declining. However, there are many places in the world that have orphanages filled with children who would love to come to Canada to be with someone who wants to be a parent. If you want to promote ideals, well, I think that is one worth promoting. Our global society is not suffering from a decline in birth rates.

            I pity the child that is born because someone thought they should have a baby for the good of society. I still think that is horrible reason to have a baby.

          • To say that there should be honour and respect granted for all human beings is to render those terms meaningless. Do you mean that you honour human life? Bravo, but that isn't saying much. I suggested that respect should be given for dutiful parenting, while yours is reserved only for the 'amazing' variety, ok, whatever. Presumably a parent can do their best, but if they fall short of the amazing result, well, no respect. Who am I to tell you what to honour. Society, on the other hand, if it wants to preserve itself, collectively has to reverse the trend away from parenthood.

            I have stated elsewhere in these comments that I prefer to see the orphanages of the world empty. That alone will come nowhere near a solution to our declining birth rate. The sad irony is that the North American culture – that has advanced the causes of individual freedom and pursuit of happiness – will likely die off from those very advances. We have become so overwhelmingly focused on the individual that values that serve the society as a whole are disappearing.

          • "respect should be given for dutiful parenting, while yours is reserved only for the 'amazing' variety, ok, whatever. Presumably a parent can do their best, but if they fall short of the amazing result, well, no respect."

            Yes, because I clearly think the parent that does their best, but falls short of an amazing result deserves no respect. I must think that, after all – I am not a parent.

            I am however, the sole caregiver of my elderly mother, who adopted me, from another country because she and my father wanted to be parents. There was no reason why they couldn't have a biological child of their own, but chose instead to adopt someone who was already here, in our overpopulated world.

            I am going to politely decline any further debating with you, as you seem to enjoy taking my statements and belittling them to suit your opinion. Good day to you.

          • Good day to you, too.

            Yes, because I clearly think the parent that does their best, but falls short of an amazing result deserves no respect. I must think that, after all – I am not a parent.

            Sorry, I presumed that was what you meant because that is what you said, in response to my earlier comment that dutiful parenting should be respected. I am very glad that you honour your parents and that you were fortunate enough to have them.

            On the issue of an overpopulated world, I have two points. First, if Canadian citizens absolutely stopped procreating, it would not make a drop in the bucket of the problem of the world's over-population. Canada is not over-populated. Second, extinguishing a culture that does not have that problem and could influence other cultures around the world that do, would only increase the problem.

            If you really have any interest whatsoever in solving the world's over-population problem, you have to look at education and other socio-economic structural problems in the third world and developing nations. Birth rate in Canada, and our ability to sustain our society is an unrelated issue. If an apartment building is burning down, flooding a house three blocks away is not going to help the situation. It is just going to destroy the house.

          • Also consider that there are potential life extension technologies in the horizon that may radically extend not only life but healthy youthfull life. I really don't see 1st world anti-malthusian trends as something to be concerned about considering the pioneering projects like the Methusila Mouse Prize.

          • Well yeah, and of course there is always the mothership that can come takes us away to the promised planet.

          • That's somewhat an ignorant statement considered the sheer volume of research involved in cellular aging research and the telomere. The pioneering efforts that won the mouse prize with their research on caloric restriction have elucidated the mechanisms of aging and glycogen browning. When you realize that cancer is, in fact, an immortal line of cells as it's divorced from the hayfleck we have platforms for the treatment of aging as if it was a disease.

          • " we want to preserve our society, which is dying off at the current birth rate – and I get it, that a lot of people couldn't care less about that – then we have to start promoting a manifesto that promotes parenthood."

            Are we not being a tad dramatic here?

          • If you mean the 'dying off' part, no I really don't think its an exaggerated comment. If you look at the implications of where the birth rate is now, it means that our current population will represent a small minority within two generations. That means that everything Canada represent now, will only be a minority position. Add to that, that the birth rate is declining, and I think the 'dying off' comment is fitting.

          • If you mean the 'dying off' part, no I really don't think its an exaggerated comment. If you look at the implications of where the birth rate is now, it means that our current population will be represent a small minority within two generations. That means that everything Canada represent now, will only be a minority position. Add to that, that the birth rate is declining, and I think the 'dying off' comment is fitting.

  34. do you remember your grandparents? off the top of your head, what were their full names? where were they were born? what were their birthdays? because if it was the duty if the children to remember them, then most of our parents have failed to 'keep their memory alive'. And if you have children, can they answer these questions without pause?

    • Yes, I remember much about my grandparents; and they taught me many lessons. Dates and details are unimportant. What I mean is that everyone is influenced by others, especially our parents. Often in ways we don't realize.

    • Yes. I not only compiled and updated the family tree, but I did all the research as well. I know where I came from and from whom, as well as where and from whom them came for at last five generations back on either side. Your point is what exactly?

  35. let me quote the wonderful helen mirren who was asked by some dimwit reporter whether she regretted not having had children: regret it? i am thrilled not to have children because i have what is most important to me in the world–my freedom.

    & trust me, she is right. children are the end of your freedom forever. they are also the end of spontaneity, fun, sex, your body, your marriage & yes, your money. do you know that women lose their sex drive for one year after giving birth? & what do you think happens to those horny husbands?

    & hello, putting more drivers on the road is considered unselfish?? on what planet?

    i am 62 years old & chose not to have children, & this is a gift that keeps on giving. my husband had 3 kids by the time he was 26 & he hated every minute of it. he still shudders every time he passes a playground & mutters something like, look, how they've ruined their lives. he means the parents.

    people have kids because they don't know what it's like. (it's a nightmare) by the time they find out, it's too late.

    i am grateful that this topic is finally becoming part of the public discourse. there are many who will be saved from an unhappy life.

    • I'll tell you what happens to "those horny husbands", we have great oral sex with our loving wives. Life doesn't stop and if the two people are committed, understand how children can undermine a relationship, etc, life goes on in a different form than prior to children. I think this is what is missing for you. Parents know both worlds – freedom on the one hand, and the extremeness of children for good and bad, on the other, while people who choose not to have children know only one side. (sorry, babysitting for your siblings kids is not like having your own.) Still no one should be judged for either decision. In the end, we all end up in the same place…

      • listen up ladies: when you haven't slept for months, are covered in oh-so-sexy baby puke & don't even want to hear the word sex, you'll be required to service that insensitive schmuck you're married to.

        that's a dealbreaker, ladies! (thank you tina fey)

        way to make it sound appealing, dude.

        & no need to get so defensive (hate to get all psychobabble on you, but if it were really all that, you would not need to defend at all)–for some people a child-centered life works. it's just what they want. the point is that in this modern world of self-fulfillment & desire for happiness, not that many people want to sacrifice their lives for the next generation. & that's what it is, a sacrifice. if you're a parent, you know it well. you're giving up a lot, first & foremost your freedom. parents do not know freedom–they can barely remember it.

        maybe it's a good idea if everyone knew this beforehand?

        & also, it's no longer required. people used to have children for survival. it was their social security. now we have six going on nine billion people in the world with most problems caused by overpopulation. the truly unselfish thing is to stop squeezing out puppies. really, there ought to be a cash award for everyone not overpopulating the planet.

        • rubygood, no disrespect, but if you don't have children, how do you know what it feels like?

          • raised two, until teen years when the mother was able to resume her duties. loved them & still do, but have been grateful for & cherished my child-free life ever since.

        • Uh, last I heard, Canada is expecting a major crisis in the near future since not even immigration is keeping up our population. We do need more people to keep up our economy, ultimately. Apparently, we're trying to cope but, ya…Canada is asking for more kids now, please. As for me, I had kids because…well…just because – not because we really wanted them, nor to contribute to our society (though I don't think that's necessarily a wrong motive to start out with – many of us start out with simple motives or feelings of duty after all and are surprised at the strong instincts that kick in after birth). I do think the point about growing old alone can have some validity to it, however. I'm beginning to notice this more as I age. So if not having children, that is something to prepare for – make close friendships, because in the end, it's not freedom or pleasure or hobbies or money, or anything else that really matters – it's people. (And p.s. in response to a lot of the posts here…I believe very few people have kids selfishly – there's nothing selfish about the amount of work and dedication and financial commitment involved in raising healthy, balanced children. It's pure self-sacrifice…and trust me, the amount of taxes people contribute to education and what-not can't begin to make up the difference of a life-time of dedicated parenting in trust for our future. Just my two cents, from someone who's been there, and still is after 20 years…)

    • I think being childfree and not putting more speeding motorists onto the road is a good thing. There are too many cars on the road too.

      • amen!

      • And less mini-vans on the road.

    • hubby should have learned to use a condom after baby #1 if he so hated every minute of it.

      • really, you want to go there? seriously?

        i'm assuming that you are aware of all the limitations of birth control that were used by couples FIFTY YEARS ago.

        that's right. fifty. it's a big number, but you can get your tiny head around it by doubling your i.q. points.

        please, if you're this mentally challenged, don't write me. just run for congress, put out a sex tape or sign up for a reality show.

        meanwhile, professor, i will forward your wonderfully useful comment to my 69-year-old husband who will want to know if it comes with a time machine. & i just know it does because how else to explain those weird noise emanating from your mother's basement?

        • Wow, I can't help but wonder what is wrong with you other than that you are old, bitter poor excuse for an old lady…that language, the is just horrific..who in their right mind can hate kids..if you decided to be without kids..what on earth do you need to explain that 50 years after…you are spending you time on this blog instead of playing with your grand kids…but thanks for giving this juicy material for my school paper on the state of the Canadian society today

    • The reality is, having children requires making sacrifices. It is a lot of work, but there can be nothing more rewarding. You learn to love more, and it brings you closer to your spouse. It motivates you to want to contribute to try to make the world a better place to live, because of your children. It seems that western society from the '60's on, has become very selfish in nature. Because of that selfishness, people don't want to give of themselves, which is unfortunate. To see writers refer to their children as "parasites" is truly shocking. I wonder how those children feel. Perhaps though, once this selfish generation has died off, perhaps western culture can get back in touch with traditional values, and the benefits of loving family units. Obviously you made life choices. I don't want to sound cruel, but tor you to be so condemnatory of children makes you and your husband sound very self-absorbed. Do you feel like you're contributing to society, or just out for yourselves? Did your parents have the same feelings of bitterness of having you as their children? Or did they appreciate how you hopefully enriched their lives? Hopefully, they showed you the love you deserved.

    • I hate to be the bearer of bad news but not all womens sex drives go down for a year after having a child ….. and I'd tell you what happens to my horny husaband …but that's not for public discussion , also I'm getting tired of reading about how couples who have kids have no sex life (how do you think they keep having kids)

    • That was a great commentary! I have always felt that way. All my best friends, probably not coincidentally, are also childless by choice. I now have a new friend (really just a neighbour I'm friendly with, not BFF) since moving to Vancouver. She raves about her only child, and how he graduated at the top of his Harvard law school class. She dotes on her two grand children. And she looks me in the eye and tells me "you know, it's a lot of responsibility." I laugh and say I know. Didn't want it. Freedom was it for me.

      She is like Helen Mirren in "The Queen." Duty first, then self.

      What fun.

  36. It's time for more celebrities,like Jennifer Anniston,to admit they don't want kids. I'd respect Anniston more if she admits this. It's people who have children who are selfish. The fact that they can bring children into such a horrible world for their personal entertainment is troublesome.
    PS. Jo Theo, you are a racist. You're want [whites] to breed out of fear that the "white" population won't be the majority any longer.

  37. There's nothing wrong with not having kids. But give credit to those who do and who finish the job. By the way, sperm counts are down dramatically because of what's being put in our water and food. The campaign to get most people to stop having kids is part of a massive eugenics program started dedcades ago. The idea to introduce climate and environmental alarmism was part of getting you to surrender your world to a few elite who want it for themselves. What better way to get everyone on the planet to give them the world. "we should own and use less and maybe even die for the earth, here Rothchild and Rockefellers, you should have it after all." We are suckers.

    • Alcan corp thanks you for your untiring support.

    • The elitists want the world? They can HAVE it for all I care. There's nothing natural and beautiful in the world anymore anyway. We destroyed every tree we could find to make room for more people,so now when I look outside I see nothing but concrete and people. Beautiful!

  38. I don't have any children myself, nor do I even know if I want them; however, I wouldn't have them unless I knew I had the capacity to love and care for them as much as they deserve. People who decide not to have children have obviously thought it through carefully and were realistic enough to know that they are not the right kind of person to raise children. I wish some parents would have thought that carefully before having kids. Once you have kids you can't go back and you're stuck with your decision even if it turns to have been the wrong choice for you. I'd rather someone make a conscious decision not to have kids rather than making a reckless choice and becoming bad parents as a result. People have every right not to decide not to have children and shouldn't be shunned for deciding what's right for them.

    • Thanks pixie… good words!

  39. Canada's natural rate of reproduction is approximately 1.5 children per female. At a tad under 1.3, the society isn't likely to recover and at 1.0 the population is cut in half every generation.

    By comparison the US is doing much better with an average fertility rate of 2.2 children per female. And in this so called evil red states, the birth rate is even higher. Could this explain why we import twice as many immigrants as they do?

    • What you call better, I call worse. Then again, I don't fear immigrants.

  40. It's clear that Canada is in rapid transition. This has a few up sides as well as a few down sides.

    The old separatists of Quebec are, well old. They weren't exactly Stanley Cup winners re reproduction, and were quite liberated-Quebec women more than any other part of the country rely on abortion as a form of birth control.

    One day, Separatist leaders looked around and noticed that at 1.4 children per female, the original charter group was destined for irrelevance. Now the demography has changed so much that Separatists will not win a referendum because the New Canadians want to be part of Canada.

  41. The rest of Canada is also up for graps. In Toronto over 50% of the population was born outside of Canada.

    Perhaps mark Steyn is wrong in his scandalous book America Alone. But according to Steyn Canada, as well as liberal Europe-actually Europe s shifting towards conservatism-is destined to become Islamic.

    • The Islamic population of Europe is 3%. Birth rates for second generation and later Islamic women in Europe are falling. By the third generation there is no difference between Islamic and non-Islamic birth rates in Europe. Check out the facts first and stop reading the hysteric and misinformed Mark Steyn.

  42. A society and culture needs to have babies in order to maintain itself. If society does not procreate, it must import the people it needs to continue operating. At the current rate Canada is going, the country we knew 20 years ago will no longer exist in 20 years. How much has our value system deteriorated when it has become acceptable to not want to have children? There are sacrifices to be made when you have children but there are rewards as well. Our culture is producing the most selfish generation in human history which could ultimately lead to the destruction of western culture. Mark Steyn has written about the extensively. The irony is that these people who are not having children for various reasons might not be able enjoy the things they want to if society continues along this path.

    • Canadians don't seem worried about this. As long as their tummies are full, their cars running smoothly and the winter trip to the tropics paid in full, nothing else seems to matter.

      Canadian children recently born who's parents are members of the original charter groups, will face a very different Canada. Let's assume that the new Canadians, who mostly come from Asia, decide to use their numbers to change the constitution and to entrench certain aspects of Sharia law into the charter. Such a move would mostly certainly accelerate the flow of Canadians to the US-every year a sizable number of Canadians move south. And how will history judge the Canadian experiment?

  43. One day a cool Fall breeze will come, and you will realize it's too late; your time is up and since you don't have children the memory of who you are will disappear.
    Are you freakin serious? Its statements like these that make me scratch my head when people who choose not to have children are labeld selfish. That has got to be the most narcissistic, self-centered reason to have children I have ever heard.

    • I would not label you selfish in any way; but perhaps others have in the past; thus your reaction.

      • Irrespective of what others have labeled @Chris…the point made is still valid. Although I don't have kids and am planning on having one or two some day, I totally agree with @Chris on the point you made for having kids being totally self-centered.

    • @Chris, there are people in this world who aren't focused, worried or bothered by the prospect of running out of people remembering who they are. Those whose prime directive to avoid being forgotten are not only narcissistic, but arrogant as well.

      • Arrogant? Narcissistic? Self-Centered? Implying that I am an uneducated Bible-thumper ? Simply not true. I am involved in high tech and run a couple of companies. That I believe in God is a personal belief, mostly brought on my experience raising my children and I feel it is a strength, not a weakness. So go ahead, make sure those Q4 numbers are great and your shoes and hair look great. That you don't have children is a good thing, since you would not be able to take care of them anyway. Sadly; it's the altruistic who will be forced to take care of YOU later since your boss at Megacorp fired you at 54 and now you don't have any friends (or family, of course) since your life was wrapped up in work and you spent all that money on hair and shoes. Try watching the movie 4 Christmas' and pretend you're Vince Vaughn. You laugh at us; we pity you.

        • Uh… I don't have kids. I have plenty of family.

    • Agreed!

  44. Take Jon and Kate as an example. They (Kate) exploited the kids for money, while Jon actually cared about the kids well being and did not care as much for the money. The kids stressed the marriage, and in the early years when the show just got off the ground, they "feared they couldn't put food on table". Then they began to get $50 000 per episode, and were millionaires and now live in a mansion. Now divorced, this is a prime example of how kids strain finances, marriage and love life.

    • I think you have *DRASTICALLY* over simplified this. How about having camera men in your home everyday for years — watching and recording your moves? How about John becoming a semi-celebrity and allowing fame to get to him as he buys expensive, fancy cars, and has new women flirt with him because they have "seen him on TV".

      Children can stress a marriage, but they can also bind it. Money can do the same thing. The point is, the dynamic of any relationship is changed when you introduce any new element, like fame, money, children, illness, etc. The couple has to be prepared to endure the new element.

      I, for one, can't wait to have little children running around my house. And I look forward to growing old knowing that I have a family besides me and my spouse. As a white person, I feel I am in the minority nowadays, which is why I don't know what the hell this article is talking about: many white people have stopped reproducing altogether — it's hardly a minority anymore.

    • No, this is a singular (and ridiculous) example of how kids strain finances, marriage and love life.

    • Children can only strain a marriage if the parents let them. In the case of J+K+8, we're talking about outside influences that were coming between them, shifting their focus off of the family unity onto pitting them against each other. Anyone who has seen a family fall apart knows it's never the kids who strain the marriage, but the bad decisions of the parents who chose independent wants and needs above the good of the family or even the single entity that heads the family: the couple. If the couple is straining and cracking, the whole house of cards will tumble. Kids are usually the ones caught underneath the rubble.

  45. All of us seem to spend a lot of time drawing lines in the sand. Tiny boxes around ourselves which we label "the correct way to be". I say let's start erasing them! Who cares if a person chooses to parent or doesn't choose to parent during their stay on the planet?

    Joseph Campbell's advice to All was "Follow Your Bliss". Sounds good to me!

  46. What is it with people and treating their animals, often dogs, as a replacement of children? Crazy!!!
    I may only be in my early 20's still, but I can't image my life without having kids.

    • What is it with people treating their kids as a replacement of pets? Crazy!!! I may only be in my early 20's still, but I can't imagine my life having kids.

      And there, do you see this thing that exists called "a difference of opinion"? Just because someone has different likes and dislikes to you they're 'crazy'?!

    • "I can't imagine my life without having kids"
      Please try. This sounds like so many women I meet at the playground who are only able to talk about themselves as a wife and mother. And celebrity magazines. And judging those crazy dog lovers. I can tell that you think 'wife and mother' will be enough to make your life perfect. Many women do. Trust me when I tell you that you will not be a successful at either unless you bring a well developed sense of identity to the marriage and this is a vital part of raising your children. You husband and kids cannot make you happy; happiness stems from a strong well developed sense of self. If you think this means being a wife, you don't understand the difference between a true identity and an externalized one seeking affirmation from others. You will quickly see that no one is really interested in trying to fill up a needy and empty shell, and that spells disaster for any marriage. It also makes your parenting backbone into jello. Please…try to imagine who you would be if you weren't a wife and mother….if you can't see it…well… you are heading down a very predictable road. Don't say you weren't warned.

  47. People who do not want children, or who chose to only have one are so selfish. All they want is to keep more of their money, spent it on their extravagant lifestyle. No wonder Canada is going to the dogs and we need more immigrants to fill the void; it's because real Canadians chose to be selfish and not have more kids. We desperately need a real baby boom.

    • Check this out and then tell me how wise we are to promote pride parades, honour Henry Morgantaller, read books by Linda McQuack and idolize Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

      • While I despise Morgantaller and the pride parades make me barf, I have no ill feelings toward Trudeau.

    • you mean for us to have more kids so they're a drain on our resources?

    • Think outside your box woman. That is a pathetic, one sided point of view. There is nothing selfish about making a firm decision and sticking with it. It is also known as "Integrity"

      Not everyone follows the same path. Pathetic.

  48. Anyone's decision to have or not have kids is a personal one and ought to be respected. I disagree that we live in a "pro-natalist" society. Really?
    During the recent construction boom I saw plenty of "Adult Lifestyle" communities advertised. Which would be great if those who don't want kids and can't tolerate them moved into such communities. But they don't. They mix with families and make our lives miserable. Unfortunately, there aren't "Family Only" communities.
    I think those that choose not to have kids are rewarded handsomely for their choices. They are rewarded financially and professionally for not taking a "time out" to bear and raise children. Give me a break.
    As for those negative comments? Please. Those comments are coming from the same people who would criicize your parenting skills if they did have kids and likely have been critical of all their choices to date.

    • Oh, Teresa… If you only knew. When we moved into our building on the top floor, there were no children. Now we have a lovely couple with one son on one side of us we never hear from, and on the other… *sigh* the mother and the father routinely scream at their children day and night. And when I say night, I mean anywhere from midnight on to about 2AM. She screams, slams the door, then he gets in on the action and one toddler wakes up the other with the hysterical crying.

      Clearly not all parents are equal, or even equipt to deal with child rearing.

    • I don't know how it works in Canada, but currently in the US a landlord cannot refuse to rent to families with children. Civil rights and all that. What about the rights of the CF to live a peaceful life without all the brats screaming and making our time home miserable because they cannot be told to STHU and act like civilised human beings? I cannot tell you how many times my spouse and I have had meals ruined at nice restaurants because of some ill-behaved brat or screaming infant. YOU may not mind that sort of thing, but WE do.

  49. More people should choose not to have children. There are a lot of messed up human beings out there, born from parents who shouldn't have been parents in the first place. I completely agree with this article. If you're not willing to put in the time, then don't be a parent. I was not willing to put in the time, and effort required, and I don't regret my decision at all.

  50. If a couple doesn't want to have a family, how do they justify two incomes, each income designed to support a family? Ethically speaking, we should lay a heavy tax on the double income no kids group and redistribute it to parents who are working hard, pulling their hair out, trying to keep society going.

    We should also change our priorities. ladies wanting an abortion should have to pay the entire cost, while ladies needing fertility treatment shouldn't have to pay a cent-in bassackwards land it's just the opposite.

    Instead of having a Pride Parade where a bunch of men pretend to mount one another, we should have a family parade where the notion of having children is honored. But this is Canada, an excessively liberal environment.

    • You think that proposing to lay heavy taxes on people who do not have children is speaking ethically?

      What is ethical about financially punishing people for their personal choices.

      Perhaps it is such contemptible, inside-out views of ethics that make people think the world might just be too grotesque a place to subject their would-be progeny to.

      • Ethics like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But more to the point, Canadian secular society by any measure is gone. Demographers consistently say that Islam is the population of the near future. And why not? In countries like Pakistan and Jordan the average age is 16. Compare that to old exhausted Canada with an average age of 39.
        What militant feminists need to focus on is this-are the new tenants assimilating? Are they participating in the pride parade? Or are they clinging to their religious beliefs? If the latter is true, our liberated ladies may have a few concerns. As for us guys, all we need to do is grow a beard and avoid barber shops.

        • Although ethics are personal, in the sense that one individual might have a different set of ethics than another, this does not mean the same thing as being subjective, the way beauty is. (Beauty is probably not really subjective, either, but the neuroscience involved in determining how the brain reacts to a visual stimulus is quite beyond me, and, I think, beyond relevance to my comment.)

          Sights and sounds are evaluated on, I'm sure, many criteria. But one test not applied to music and images is how they appeal to reason. This is not the case with ethics.

          Ethics are ideas – that is, they do not possess physical properties, but are the product of thinking. Thinking, or, more specifically, logic, can be evaluated as good or bad, valid or flawed. The rules of logic can be applied to one's ethics to determine if they sound, or not. Unlike, for example, a favourite colour, with which once can say, "That is yours, this is mine, both are valid," one, regarding ethics, can only say, "Those are yours, these are mine, one, or both of us, must be wrong."

          Furthermore, if you think that ethics, "like beauty is in the eye of the beholder", that is to say, all equally valid, I do not know how you then can, in the same paragraph no less, suggest all the reasons to be fearful of a demographic shift which will result in, I think you are saying, a preponderance of bad ethics!

    • If I would have to pay for someone's choice to have kids, then I want to have the right to tell them they can't have kids. It's only fair, since it's my money.

    • I back Sherri. If your system was on place, then it should be completed with a Childbearing License Office to decide who makes a fit parent.
      Seriously, Dieter, just let people be. By the way, the picture you give of parents and non-parents is ludicrously prejudiced.

    • The childfree pay enough in taxes as it is. Payroll tax, income tax, property taxes, the latter going to subsidize the children of others. Some of the others support welfare, over here the Social Security tax supports children as well as retired adults.

      We do not need any more taxes on us. Those of us who have good jobs and are dual income families should not have to underwrite YOUR CHOICE to have children. Jealous much? Ethically, the CF owe you NOTHING other than the taxes we are forced to pay to subsidize (again) YOUR PERSONAL CHOICE to reproduce.

    • Why can't we have a Pride Parade and a Parent Parade too? Perhaps just not on the same weekend……….Dieter, it seems that it's your way or no way. Variety of ideas is a wonderful thing. That's what makes Canada great!!

  51. Canada is like the Titanic, but in reverse. In this day and age if a Cruise ship was sinking, the crew would remove the double incomers first, the singles next, then all the liberals and would leave the moms and the kids to fend for themselves. of course, some of the singles would be teachers who are totally dependent upon the breeders to provide them with students to teach and incomes to spend.

  52. Good article.

    Many childfree men and women (we prefer that term to childless by choice since we don't see not wanting/having children as a "lack" and we don't see ourselves as "less" anything) have been talking about it for years. And living very happy lives. People can find some vibrant discussion and support on my blog as well as on several other childfree blogs. We actually discussed Ms Maier's book in some detail months ago when it came out in France.

    Life would be a lot easier if folk just recognized that we have a choice as to whether or not to have children and those who have chosen not to have exercised that choice. Sadly we often have to put up with intrusive questions, criticism and sometimes out and out scorn for that choice. We call these "bingoes"
    I also wouldn't say Ms Maier is "our most defiant advocate" but that's a matter of opinion. She certainly ran the flak gamut in being forthright about her thoughts on having children… having had two herself. We've been fed many myths all our lives (from "children will take care of you in your old age" to "motherhood is the ultimate achievement for women" to "having children is selfless." The childfree are de-bunking many of them by just living their lives… without apology.

  53. I agree that its a calling to have kids. And too many people are saddling themselves with this huge responsibility when their hearts are not really in it. And that's hugely unfair to these kids who deserve to be loved and cherished. I commend those who have made the choice not to. They are not doing anyone any harm. Personally I'm grateful that I only had my first child when I was 36 – I don't think I would have been a good parent had I been younger. At 36 I had realised my dreams and sorted out my personal issues and I was ready to devote my life to raising my child. Its been the most extraordinarily beautiful and terrifying experience and I have never known love like this. Nor frustration.. As the saying goes 'having a child is to forever have your heart walking outside your body'.

  54. Having a baby is like throwing a hand grenade into the middle of your love life, career, and personal goals. I totally understand women not wanting the emotional stress and financial challenge it brings, especially when your present life is approaching perfect. Did you spend 4+ year in univsersity to stay at home scraping pablum off the floor and washing your husband's socks?

    As a recent mother myself, I very much want to join the chorus voices who sing "its the best thing in your life! (it is) It brings you so much closer to your partner! (it does) Its hard but really worth it! (so far, it is)", because I know its more hormones than logic making me believe that. If society wants professional women to bear children, they need to seriously invest in affordable high-quality childcare and legislate family-friendly workplace policies, such as part-time employment for any parent of a child under 6 who requests it.

    • Anna,

      I admire mothers and I wish we could do more for them, regardless of their status-single, married whatever. I think I read that France is very concerned with it's falling birth rate and the changing demographics. They decided to act. Mothers can have as much time away from their employment as they need, and they can't be discriminated against in terms of promotion, pay raises, pension payments etc. This is resulting in a nice increase in France's natural birth rate.

      Clearly these enticements are not for every female but for this who want to have a family and a crer, they're working ou rather well. We need children. And no one knows this better than the Ontario elementary teacher who just lost her job due to declining enrollment. in Ontario there are 100 000 fewer students today than there were in 2002.

    • As a small business owner, if it became law to have any parent with kids under six work part time that would help the boomers. I would not hire anyone not a boomer. I have one emplyee working three days a week at home. I just spent the last week sorting out team issues because the other emplyees resent this and don’t think she works hard.
      So put in laws for GM but for small business it is too expensive for us to support although I certainly try my best. Can not imagine if all six emplyees asked for the same arrangement. I would be the only one at the office!

      • Tim Horton's does it – it's called a very large wall planner.

  55. What's with all this friggin' either/or? Some people have kids for selfish reasons, some for selfless reasons, some for a bit of both; others don't have kids for selfish reasons, or selfless reasons, or for a bit of both. One thing's for sure, though: if you don't have kids, you should do something else that's equally satisfying.

  56. What's with all this friggin' either/or? Some people have kids for selfish reasons, some for selfless reasons, some for a bit of both; others don't have kids for selfish reasons, or selfless reasons, or for a bit of both. One thing's for sure, though: if you don't have kids, you should devote yourself to something else that's equally satisfying and difficult.

    • I'm continually amazed by the propensity of people to find "opposite" behaviours as antagonistic to their own. Kids vs. childless, gay vs. straight marriage, city vs.urban living – you name it, there will always be a vocal few who feel threatenend by either the majority or the minority (depending on their side of the fence).

      Why does deciding to remain childless require dumping on those who want to be parents? Why do those with children care if someone else decides not to have them?

      One thing I'll predict is that we'd better get used to lots of variations on parenting and families as medical technology renders our biological constraints of things like age, fertility and gender, as meaningless. And folks would do well to stop treating others who make different choices as somehow launching a moral offensive on their own. It's not helpful (in many other arenas beyond kids, too).

      As for an equally satisfying and difficult task to raising kids, I'd humbly recommend herding wildcats. Hungry ones.

    • I'm continually amazed by the propensity of people to find "opposite" behaviours as antagonistic to their own. Kids vs. childless, gay vs. straight marriage, city vs.urban living – you name it, there will always be a vocal few who feel threatenend by either the majority or the minority (depending on their side of the fence).

      Why does deciding to remain childless require dumping on those who want to be parents? Why do those with children care if someone else decides not to have them?

      One thing I'll predict is that we'd better get used to lots of variations on parenting and families as medical technology renders meaningless biological constraints like age, fertility and gender. And folks would do well to stop treating others who make different choices as somehow launching a moral offensive against their own. It's not helpful (in many other arenas beyond kids, too).

      As for an equally satisfying and difficult task to raising kids, I'd humbly recommend herding wildcats. Hungry ones.

      • Very well said, though your last paragraph is pretty frightening for a guy like me who'd like to have kids. When speaking to parents (especially an at-home parent), I'm always careful to nod gracefully to the difficulties of child-rearing, but I've heard often enough that no preparation for the madness of young children can be sufficient that I'm a little bit anxious, to tell the absolute truth! Ah well, onward.

        One thing that doesn't seem to get talked about much in these discussions is adoption. I tend to weigh our society against ancient Roman society, in which adoption was very common (though usually within the extended family), so our zeal to procreate our own particular genes doesn't strike me as a universal human will. But I would defer to your anthropological opinion on that, needless to say.

        • Discount a bit for inflation on my part, and there's no need to have three in five years like we did. The good news about kids is that you don't need to have a lot of initiative (unlike writing a book, for example). You simply do what needs doing. I think it's more mind numbing (at times during the early years) than anyone can anticipate. I also think my own childhood wasn't a great preparation, in that there was far less pressure on parents to supervise their children at all times. I wouldn't think of sending my seven year old around the corner to the park alone, yet when I was the same age I was out and about so long as my mom could call me home for lunch.

        • contd…

          The crude reality is that the economic costs of living are remarkably higher today than 40 years ago. The rise of dual incomes is no coincidence. It is increasingly difficult to raise children based on a single income, and this necessitates a greater participation and mobility for women in the workplace. Curiously, women's rights movements who seek more reform are somewhat chided. However, women in the corporate world who want to have children are still at a disadvantage, since even the programs which encourage female participation favour women who made the conscious choice not to have children. Their logic is fairly clear: There is a cost advantage of having a childless woman. If people believe in the primacy of private business, then the business' decision is a legitimate choice to make. Do we legislate reform? Provide economic incentives? To what extent do we as a society subsidize the significant costs of raising children? How much social engineering are we willing to accept to boost our birth rate (because in reality, reorienting tax policy and/or social programs towards child rearing is what this would entail)? This is the first time in a long time where socio-economic realities are demanding a far more nuanced view and raises critical questions about our society's functioning, and these inherent contradictions that we were able to ignore are coming to the fore. To boil this down to a matter of either/or and blaming the individual choices of people who did not have a child seems like glossing over deeper issues. I,for one, would welcome more incentives to support families, and I would gladly have more tax revenue go to it than what we already have. I think some people would not mind incurring a tax cost due to not having children. Still, if this debate doesn't get beyond the predictable inter-generational condemnation and matters of ldeological purity, solutions let alone coherent and uniform ones will be very hard to come by.

  57. So what I get from all of u is this: we should have kids to pay the pensions, contribute to the workforce, propagate the species and provide for us in our old age and if we don't we are objects of scorn or pity. Seems to me that having kids or not having kids is not a free choice and there is pressure on both sides. Eventually, when we grow up as a species there will be natural selection and those with the stronger gene pool i.e more intelligent and less prone to disease will be allowed to breed and the rest will be shuffled off to work. Oh forgot, that already exists in the ant colonies. Guess they are smarter than humans.

  58. The 'technology' of children has become more pronounced, and more draining for parents too, I'd argue. The pressures to ensure emotional, physical, and intellectual development of one's offspring are considerable (I often joke that it's a miracle the world produced an Einstein in an age when kids where kept fed and clothed, and not a lot of pain was taken to ensure they were sitmulated in every way possible). Seen and not heard is no longer the mantra, which is a good thing in many ways, but amounts to needless stress at times.

  59. The 'technology' of children has become more pronounced, and more draining for parents too, I'd argue. The pressures to ensure the emotional, physical, and intellectual development of one's offspring are considerable (I often joke that it's a miracle the world produced an Einstein in an age when kids where kept fed and clothed, and not a lot of pain was taken to ensure they were sitmulated in every way possible). Seen and not heard is no longer the mantra, which is a good thing in many ways, but amounts to needless stress at times.

    • The 'technology' of children even includes mundane things like child seats in cars, helmets, sunscreen, hats – a simple outing is laden with responsibilities that simply didn't exist forty years ago. You have to make sure their diet is well balanced. Any delay in speech or walking is a matter for immediate professional consultation. There's lead in old paint, balloons are choking hazzards, baby must be in a proper sleep position to avoid SIDS, and so forth. It's frigging exhausting just trying to stay on top of all that – before the kids hit school and the new version of parental involvement (a good thing in many ways) means a virtual part time job in keeping up with everything from homework to the seemingly hundreds of pizza/pajama day/field trip/science fair/letter "w" show and tell/updating planner stuff that I sure don't remember my folks having to cope with.

      • But all of that said, they are worth it (for those who want them!). Being married and having children has made me more 'human' and given my life meaning it simply wouldn't have otherwise.

        As for adoption – I think you hit the nail on the head by mentioning extended families in the Roman case. A lot of the pressures I mentioned here are intensified by the prominence of the nuclear family and the decline of the extended kin group. In many historic cases, the parents actually had a relatively minor role in the raising of children – and the broader family/band/community had an equal role (once breastfeeding was done) in a child's life.

        Hard to say about the will to pass on genes. Prior to 'modern' science, paternity and maternity were often very well understood yet symbolically filtered (sometimes the father was seen as the sole creator of a child, other times reincarnation was seen as the source, for two examples).

  60. But the importance of kinship relations in defining an individual and organiziing society was a constant for most of human history. So I expect the pattern would be less an aversion to adoption for reasons of genetics, and more a preference to keep people in their own kin groups (which is part of my concern with the push for international adoptions wrenching children out of poor powerless countries).

    Sorry to go so long!

    • Au contraire, Sean, this is all very enlightening! Would try and write a sensible reply but I'm totally wrecked. Thanks for the analysis, hope I can consult you in the future on some of this stuff!

  61. if u can't take care of your kids you shodn't have them.
    It's a big resposibility ,but most kids the upbringing and manors are done by tv or friends.
    Perents are too busy making money ,educating themselv in their careers.This word is getting worst everyday.

    • You need to learn how to spell before you are "allowed" to father children.

  62. the real social misfits are the people who have children. They are afraid to be different from the social norm or just lack self control as most of the childer happen by accident or to keep the husband or wife from leaving the other. People who have keeds also have false hopes that the kids will take care of them in the old years……hahaha I want to see that happen when your kids take care of your bank account!
    Say no to kids and live free

  63. This is a fantastic article. I find it amusing that people who do have kids and hear that I don't want any get upset with me at times. I am never sure if it's the envy of the extra freedom I have (and all the travelling I do) or their traditionalist views. Then I hear: "who will carry on the family name/tree?" Seriously, I'll be dead, it won't matter to me, they say I am selfish, yet the only reason they are procreating is to continue the family tree? wow, had sad. Have kids if you truly FEEL that this is right for you. It has never felt right for me. Now that I am 40 (meaning almost infertile in most people's eyes) I don't get bothered about it much anymore which is nice. We live in a society where we can freely make our own choices. We accept people for wanting to have kids, now accept us for not wanting to have any. Just my two cents. Judging people never gets you anywhere, respect people's choices and maybe we'll progress a little faster in society.

    • Maybe they consider you a free-rider and secretly regret having kids.

      • Rafe, the majority of women I talk to are condescending about my choice. And it is MY choice, not theirs. I happened to luck out when I found my husband. We are content, happy, productive members or society. As far as I know, none of that is evil doing.

  64. Don't want to have kids – all the power to you. I don't have any either and I may never.

    Spending your life trafficking in "celebrity gossip" – pretty lame.

  65. Thank you for your post. Reading it reminded me of my own experiences. I agree with everything you have written and do hope that in the future, we will not be criticized for not wanting children. Funny, I don't judge those who do have them, what gives them the right to judge me? Miserable people want you to be miserable too which is why we are being criticized, that is the conclusion I came to. I've talked to many parents who have regretted having children and are envious of me. It takes guts to be honest with yourself and sadly most people aren't. Too many people are trying to be a "perfect member of society", whatever that means. As far as us supposedly being selfish, I used to tell people something that was also written in this article "If you want to be truly selfless, adopt". People might shut up after that.

    • "Funny, I don't judge those who do have them, what gives them the right to judge me? Miserable people want you to be miserable too which is why we are being criticized, that is the conclusion I came to."

      Um, actually this is a very judgmental statement.

  66. DUH – 'ya don't say! Something I always knew. I decided I didn't want children when I was 14, and I'm 44 now. I am more than happy adopting unwanted animals and sponsoring orphaned children, thank you very much! There's absolutely nothing wrong with people deciding not to have children. Both my older brothers have kids, and both their marriages are unhappy ones. To top it all off, their children are selfish and ungrateful – bad parenting at its finest.

  67. Are you kidding me? I am 48 and do not have any biological children for a few reasons. The first reason is because I was not in a stable committed relationship and wanted to wait until I was. The second is because I ended up having a hysterectomy at 32 and that took care of that. The insensitive, rude people that have asked me my whole life – How old are your kids? Do you have kids? and when I answer that I do not have children – the "knowing looks", the "sideways glances". I don't know if I ever "wanted" children. At 32 I knew I didn't and later on in life I may have thought I was "past that". I had older parents – my mother had problems having children and we were born when my parents were 40. That wasn't a piece of cake either. Everyone has their own story – who is anyone to judge me just because I am no one's mother?

  68. Hmmm . . . you seem to know an awful lot about Elaine's site and its contents considering how self-righteous you are and how full of disdain you are, for her. Maybe reading her punchy, tongue-in-cheek blog is your secret "shame-f***".

    • Just calls 'em as I sees 'em Dobroswava. Any relation to Jacek? Her Polish hubby? I smell a very defensive conspiracy! If you read all the comments, you know why I take it upon myself to read that nonsense. And you're absolutely right! I am AM ashamed to admit it!

      • Angry AND racist. Lovely family values to pass on, indeed.

        • Racism? Me? Now that's a stretch. I only meant are they related?! As in, is she having people defend her. No racism or anger intended. Sorry if your fragile sensibilities were offended. That was not my intention.

  69. When the issue of having children comes up in Canada, it's always discussed as plural — duplicate at the least if not triplicate. How about having one child? I would think this is easier on finances, time, stress, etc. You think telling people you want no children is bad? Try telling people you want only one – 9 times out of 10 their reaction is absolute horror. I have been in a group of friends where one said "I don't want any" and I said "I just want one" and, trust me, the reaction is far worse against having just one (unless it is an only child you're talking to). Our bias against one-child families persists even though countless studies show that there is no statistically higher risk of maladjustment for that child. My hubby is Polish and we have traveled to Poland. Almost every Polish family I have met — either in Canada or Poland — is a one-child family. There are the odd two child families, but this is rare. Because of the prevalence, there is no bias against the only child family, and everyone is better for it. In Canada, it is still the most socially unacceptable family size.

  70. It's only ad hominem if it's not relevant.

  71. Exactly. Word for word.

    Thanks for saying my thoughts.

  72. BRAVO

  73. My answer to people who ask me if I have kids is "Fuck no, why would want to ruin my life". Anyone who believes kids don't ruin your life is lying to themselves.

    • I think this is quite an arrogant thing to say if you don't actually have kids. Not a personal attack, it's just that I think one can't understand what it's like to have kids unless they actually have them. I think your statement is a little too simplistic — there are many aspects that come with having kids I'm sure, and I'm sure some are difficult and disappointing and outright suck, but on the other hand, having kids is the only way to ever experience the greatest unconditional love you are capable of. I should say that I don't have kids, so I'm making assumptions as well, but all I'm saying is we need to allow for the good and the bad in everything I think.

      • Unconditional love? What nonsense. Genetic imperative and helplessness are the reasons children profess to love their parents. It is as real as the kind of love you can buy from a prostitute.

  74. Certainly, deciding to become a parent is not a choice to be taken lightly. As parents of 3 kids (born within 4 years), we have long felt disassociated from most of our friends who choose to remain childless. Unfortunately, these friends see only the negative aspects of parenting. They see the sacrifices we make of time, money, freedom and lifestyle and they recoil. I wish they could better understand the joy of being part of another person's life in this special way and that the paybacks for us are enormous in terms of love, laughter and growth as a person.
    Macleans almost certainly aimed for big reactions/magazine sales, but I take real issue with an editor who thinks putting "THE CASE AGAINST HAVING KIDS" across the front page is appropriate. My children ARE people! (People who can, incidently, read which is why I am recycling this magazine) I can't think of another group which could be acceptably inserted into a sentance like that without the outcry being deafening. (Maybe even human rights tribunal deafening?)

    • Selfishness taken to the extreme. Typical of parents these days.

  75. Just when we're told that the early warning signals from Philip Longman and Mark Steyn about childless sex and the souring demographics in the West, in turn foretelling of a society bereft of a future (much less sumptious benefit packages and the payrolls requisite to fund Social Security, health benefits, welfare, etc, etc), now comes a lurid proof of the Steynian doomsayers:

    Childless Club and damn glad of it!

    How nice.

    I guess America, like Canada, can rest assured and comfy that once we jettison all that annoying squeals and dirty diapers, our future can rest on peaceful mornings over coffee and spouses and the mention that we will–a la fait du Candada–just import our labor and talent from the lands of Allah and South of the Border.

    Charming to the end.

    Thus goes Western Culture. Not a nuclear bang, as the peace doves warned in the age of Reaganite/Thatcherian Terror, but with a demographic winter's cold whimper…..

    • well put…

  76. Indeed.

    No kids, no grief, no orthontic and sports injury bills, no fuss, no muss, no mess, no late night wake-up calls for tummy trouble….

    …and no future, either.

    The future belongs to the fecund, not the pleasure cruise crowd and left wing, creepy political classes who might have one designer brat at age 48 and then call it quits when the chicken neck scraggles and crows feet catch up with your lifestyle……

    Best damned news I've had in ages…..

  77. For another thing, I'm not sure why this issue even goes to the level of a "Manifesto"

    Why the hell would THAT be the case?

    It's a personal issue at most.

    And if the authors and movers and shakers want to make some punchliest 40 questions long about the hows and whys of not having kids, then I'm sure this can be equally matched by those of us who have reproduced and maintained productive lives all the while bringing up the next generation to at least the level of having younger blood pay your pension plans.

    Be careful what thouest advocateth!

    No one is suggesting an absolutist statement to the effect that lives without the rugrats are missing something. Or, for all people the are.

    Some thing probably are better serving to society if the doer is childless. SOME things.

    I think kids add quite a bit. But every person or couple is different.

  78. Are you kidding me? I am 48 and do not have any biological children for a few reasons. The first reason is because I was not in a stable committed relationship and wanted to wait until I was. The second is because I ended up having a hysterectomy at 32 and that took care of that. The insensitive, rude people that have asked me my whole life – "How old are your kids? Do you have kids?" and when I answer that I do not have children – the "knowing looks", the "sideways glances". I don't know if I ever "wanted" children. I know I didn't like feeling like I had to defend myself everytime someone asked me about the "children I didn't have". At 32 I knew it wasn't right to have them and later on in life I may have thought I was "past that". I had older parents – my mother had problems having children and my brother and I were born when my parents were in their 40s. That wasn't a piece of cake either. For me, my brother or my parents. I lost them both before I was 45. Everyone has their own story – who is anyone to judge me just because I am no one's mother?

  79. Well put.

    It is not a race card.

    It IS, however, a CULTURE card.

    And THAT as worth consideration as the West empties itself out of cradles and signs up more old codgers for sumptious benefits for the old folks' homes, all the while the crush of humanity that Paul Ehrlich warned about in the Population Bomb fizzled out in the West. That fuse got wetted by pleasures and pills.

    It is the East that portends to us a very dangerous and dark future.

  80. It is also Darwin's Last Laugh.

    And at that, the old man will be laughing the loudest.

    There are 100,000 reasons for not having children, but only one result in the collective assessment, and it will be that old bane of all of biota, for us, probably sooner than our time for the mere expediency of not being pestered over sucking down wine at the beach, or of having some really BAD math about where the benefits and social goody handouts will come from in a generation or two to avoid 99.9 percent tax rates:


    • The article even mentions the "Voluntary Human Extinction Movement." It's hard to take seriously, but we shouldn't minimize the impact of the child-free movement. This materialistic and egocentric worldview could do severe damage to society, not only in terms of demographics, but also in every other branch of society where altruism is lacking.

      • I could not agree more. Look at the "financial crisis" we are experiencing; completely due to greed and shortsighted need for profit at the expense of others. And who, in the end will be hit the hardest? The working poor and families of course, as usual.

  81. The comments posted here are far more inflammatory than the article itself. Clearly there are many people posting here that feel maligned and marginalized by society for the choice to not have children. It appears that this would be the forum then for lashing out at people who did chose to have children and the children themselves. I don't disagree with anyone's choice to not have children (though I have frequently questioned some people's choice to reproduce, everyone wants babies no one wants kids, that's too much like actual work). However, you would lend more strength to your argument by not quoting celebrities or citing them as examples. Happily we live in a country where you are not required to justify either decision so why the vitriol? I found the woman in her 60's who posted that her husband "hated" his life raising his children and that he passes playgrounds muttering that those parents are ruining their lives both bizarre and disturbing, not to mention horribly sad for that poor man's children! I think people who don't care to have children are wise to not, however, it adds no strength to your position to say that those of us with children have unhappy marriages, ailing bank accounts and unfulfilled careers. I saw no hard science quoted to support those claims used in the headline of this story.

    • Wise thoughts in general, but there is an answer to the question " Happily we live in a country where you are not required to justify either decision so why the vitriol?" Because there is pressure to bear children as much as there is pressure to be thin and beautiful, no matter what the law says about it. I hope one day that parents and childfree people will no longer have to argue to justify their choices.

  82. I think NOT having kids can be just as bad on your career, your marriage, your bank book and your love life as having kids.

    Seriously, kids are not problem. Lack of moderation, discipline and self-control is the problem. With or without children.

    • Thank you for pointing that out, Andre. I agree wholeheartedly. I love kids. I don't hate them. I just don't want any to raise. My main reason is that I'm the youngest of 7, we have 5 nieces/5 nephews on my side alone, and my mother ran a daycare out of the home. I'm over babies and diapers and puke and late nights and disciplining and babysitting and being used as baby transporter from one home to another at all hours of the day. I had enough of it all by the time I was 18. I probably changed more diapers by the time I was 14 than most mothers of three kids deal with in their parental years. I'm over it. It holds no allure for me. I have no burning desires to have a baby of my own. When I look at babies, I don't ache for them. I don't even really think much of them beyond how cute they are. I really don't. I don't think about babies, really. Or kids, or even raising someone else's after adopting or through foster caring. I don't think that should make me an evil person, or even a selfish one.

    • Very well said! You can easily ruin your career, marriage and bank book without the help of kids. It's funny that nobody else seemed to cut to the core like your comment.

  83. I don't want children. I love kids, and seeing my friends' kids and my sisters' kids… but I've mulled this over for a long time, and I just can't imagine bringing more babies into a world that can't feed the ones that are already here. There are a lot of personal reasons, too. I spent many years wanting babies, but had an epiphany around my 29th birthday… I wanted kids because somehow I believed that kids would define me as a woman, and I wanted to be a part of that club. I think it takes a special kind of woman to be a good mom, and people who wouldn't make good parents should stop lying to themselves and go get fixed.


    Reading many of these comments from these childless ladies trying their best to defend and justify their situation makes me think that they have very real second thoughts. As they spend their days travelling and shopping and working, thoughts on life's purpose and feelings of meaningless/emptiness must creep in at times — especially when they pass a family in the park playing or see a mother giggling with her children.

    The anxiety this may cause can't be tolerated. So, the childless mother must remind herself how unimportant children are, and what a terrible nuisance they are, and how they interfere in her travelling and her career. Perhaps these mothers aren't really that judgemental of you ladies at all! It could very well be your exaggerated perception, because deep down you do indeed feel as if you are missing out on something — classic inferiority complex, perhaps.

    Having children is a sacrifice indeed — but so is not having them. If you have no desire to tuck in your children at bed at night, walk them to school on their first day of grade 1, dry their tears when they get teased at school, meet their first date, dry your tears as you see them graduate from school, and hold your first grandchild in your arms, as you look back on what feels like a lifetime of memories, then don't do it. Just focus on imagining only the rarer stressful days of having children.

    But then, you have your career, don't you? And thank goodness that is never stressful! ;)

    • Condescending, much? Some of us don't have fancy careers, either. Stop insulting and stop generalising. Comments like yours is why so much vile is being spewing all over this thread.

    • Career not stressful? On what planet are you living? And obviously, you have never been net with the not-so-subtle comments of "you will change your mind", "you don't know what you are missing" and other remarks to make you feel like a social deviant, just like homosexuals used to be considered.
      Inferiority complex? Maybe your own superiority complex is hiding some regrets not to have delayed having children, or some wishes that they move out soon enough for you to fulfill other dreams of your own. Thus, if your chooice is good, so is mine.

    • What an idiotic post! I do not have, nor plan to have children and I do not need to "justify my situation", any more than a man or woman who has 1 or 5 children need to justify theirs. Where on earth are you getting "feelings of meaningless/emptiness"? And why does a "childless mother" (?) need to "remind herself how unimportant children are?" You truly lack any insight on this issue. I love children, I love my nieces, nephews and friends' children. They give me great joy and are a delight to be with. They adore me and being with me… from toddlers to teens to young adults. Maybe you need to ask yourself why you have such contempt for adults who choose not to have children? There's an underlying bitterness in your comments that reflects anger and resentment.

    • Yes. Chil rearing's so much less stressful.
      Much less worry, stress, and emotional turmoil…..
      No worries. Then again there is concern about travel, immunizations, getting home in time to care for kids, twisting over one schedule juggled to commit to another, doctor visits, diaper/milk/food/allergy or school issues. Cretainly no concerns caring for mentally or physically challenged children. No worry about afording diapers, clothing, school supples, after-school activities, college/university, insurance for cars they borrow/wreck, or over pregnancies, weddings….

      So where's the stress? ;)

    • "Childless mothers"… yup… very bright! Some of us dont gush over babies or families in the park. I have a family…. mom dad, sister, nephews, loving husband and friends so close they are also family. We all also have fun in the park! It is not necessary to have own children to understand the joys of family.

  85. As a single twenty something living in the US, I am still unsure as to whether or not I want to have children. They are a huge finacial commitment, and if one does not afford as many opportunities as possible to their kids that is far more selfish than not having any or only one for that matter. Therefore it is no surprise that more "advanced" nations like those in northern Europe have a lower birthrate amongst westerners. They have better infrostructure, probably because they waste less time on helping unqualified "parents" raise their kids. I understand that this is a Canadian site but in the US stupid people having children seems to have turned into a beloved national pastime.

    • Much like you, I see people that should not have children, as they can not hope to raise or support them. I think that in order to have children, you should have to prove you have the parenting infrastructure to support it…or you don't get to have them. I do not believe the rest of society should be taxed to raise children, or support the people that have them.

      Too many people fall into the "fantasy" that a child will make their lives better, without thinking about how they might have to do the same for the child. Do they truely realize their resposibility, and the commitment required? Most sadly do not, and as a result do more harm than any good, to their,"bundle of joy". Babies are cute, like puppies/kittens, for only so long, then the parenting reality sets in…"OMG, I have this for the next twenty years"( at least)!

  86. Here are some thoughts.
    The desire to have kids does not equal compatability.Most divorced couples have children.
    Young children are cute and offer unconditional love and affection,then they become teenagers and that is a totally different animal.
    Parents go from hero to zero very quickly.One minute you are healing scratches with RugRat bandaids , the next you are being grunted at.
    I wouldn't change my life as a parent.But it is a lifelong emotional commitment

    • true, but hang in there, eventually teenage years pass and hopefully you will have a lifelong friend in your child.

  87. I'm curious if this article was linked to on some childless person support site or something. Is there such a thing? There seem to be a lot of ferociously defiant non-parents posting here.

  88. Me and my wife want and will have children very soon. However, I think that it's good that people do not as we need to decrease the population. If everyone has kids we are doomed, we can hardly manage what we have. If the population booms again to 7 billion, get ready to fight (literally) for water.

    Like the article lays out, some people are too self involved for kids, that's fine really, do you want them to have kids?? I know a lot of people ho need a vasectomy.

    • Any person wanting to have children should need to take a parenting education course. Make it like anyother thing, like driving, or practicing medicine. They could be required to take care of an imitation child (a doll that poops, cries etc), to the satisfaction of a board (made-up of parents, educators, medical staff). And then write the same licencing exam (including the care of the imitation baby) for each child they want, beyond their first.
      This class could be done for teenagers as well as adults. It needs to start in the schools, with sex ed. This could be a manditory part of every level of education, in order to avoid the unplanned events…as it were.

      This whole thing seems extreme, but when you educate people properly, it makes them think, and maybe, see the reality, not just the fantasy of having children.
      It would reduce heart ache, misery, infant abuse/death and yes, finally, money spent dealing with it all.

  89. "still, in a pro-natalist culture that celebrates the “yummy mummy,” and obsessively monitors baby bumps and the mini Jolie-Pitt entourage in magazines,"

    Isn't the irony that no one glorifies this as much as the subject of the article herself, Lui?

  90. Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be teachers
    Teachers need students and god knows there aren't anymore
    New Canadians like to teacher their youngsters in private
    And some teach their kids about the beauty of holy war

    Canada is a country which is in rapid transition
    Linda McQuaiq will soon be in an old folks home
    The nurses there won't likely speak English
    And Linda will spend her last days all alone

  91. I have lived downtown and in the GTA with kids for 17 yrs, for most of that time I have been treated badly for HAVING kids, especially in the early 90s, people would look at me and my kid the elevators and sneer. These days its socially acceptable to have dogs in the grocery store. I still feel that business people and society does not like those with kids. Its a natural part of human culture to have kids but in the city in some areas they are looked at as animals or something. I feel that even dogs may have a higher acceptance level than kids in many areas. That really sucks. I have never noticed this supposed stigma against peope that DONT want kids. Just a bunch of whiners in my books, how bad could it be for them??

  92. Memories disappear all the time. Not only do they disappear they are destroyed or damaged. Further more memories are never perfect so what you have in your mind is not an accurate representation of your grandparents. It is a approximate assembly that is missing critical information regarding aspects of their character, preferences, quirks.

  93. What a warped set of values we have. Argue until you're philosophically blue in the face, but if any species fails to reproduce, it's doomed and doomed is the highly libereal Canadian secularist.

    Quickly liberals argue that immigration is the elixir for what ails us. In fact , we're so certain of this that we liberated Canadians take in twice as many immigrants per year as the US. But it comes with a price.

    The hard fought liberties won by our feminists could easily be contested. Here are some of the headlines; Muslim cop argues for right to wear head scarf. Philadelphia., Western feminists mute on ravages of Sharia , ISLAMIC law has been ushered into Britain by the back door. 2008, and THE adoption of Sharia law in the UK is 'unavoidable', according to the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

    At what point will the new tenants decide to end the Pride Parade, end Abortion, enforce a dress code, and amend things such as the education act or the charter of rights and freedoms?

  94. If you feel you are not fit to be a parent, or you are contributing to society in a meaningful and positive way, and don't want to be slowed down by having children, then by all means don't have children. However, I feel like the vast majority of people not having children are simply selfish. There is not other way to say it. You are simply selfish. You are most likely white, liberal, and simply narcissistic. Seriously, what is wrong with following social norms? The social norms created by our society has allowed you to be the selfish, narcissistic, pseudo-intellectuals that you are.

    Thank god Canada has a high rate of immigration, otherwise there wouldn't be nearly enough children to pay for all the social programs our country has created. Most of the immigrants coming here work hard for their children, and contribute towards the well being this society. In the long run, they are a more important part of our society then a bunch of constantly whining, self loving liberals.

    Frankly, I could care less about the decline of Caucasian race. I simply think most people who choose not to have children are self involved, and spoiled. Get with the program and have children.

    • Well I am not white, and don't want children.
      So if you think all people who don't want children are selfish, then why is having children NOT selfish? IF you think about all the reasons people usually give for having children, it's really about themselves, about how THEY want them, children don't ask to be born. Some people just do it because it's the thing to do, or don't want to be alone when they are old.
      Anyway, the 'selfish' debate makes no sense, because most things we want are driven by some kind of self interest.
      I don't hate kids, in fact I love kids. I have nephews, alot, and really enjoy them. I also work with children. I just don't consider myself to be capable of being a good mother, and want to contribute to society in other ways. I know lots of parents who only think of themselves and their own children's interests, and nobody else. Is that selfish? Some may say yes, some no.

      Anyway, why does every single person HAVE to have children? Maybe some people are not meant to be parents, and it doesn't mean they can't contribute to the world positively in other ways. Some people are doctors, scientists, explorers, writers, social workers, charity care workers, etc. and choose not to have children. What about people who devote themselves to religion such as priests and nuns who cannot get married?

      But human beings are selfish by nature. IT doesn't have to be a negative thing all the time. We can want things we really desire and feel happy doing them, but doesn't mean we don't care about anyone else.
      I personally am very passionate about human rights, and hate when children are mistreated, abused, neglected, and work in social services. But having a child is not what I always desired, and I think that if I can't devote most of my time and energy to my own child, then I would rather not have one.

  95. Words cannot express how happy I am this article was written. Even more cause for joy are the wonderful comments from readers, the majority of which show that discrimination against the child-free is coming to an end. I am so proud to be a canadian right now. We are such a progressive and understanding nation. Thank you everyone for taking the time to write. I do not have children but appreciate those that do and their true love for the lives they have chosen. It's nice to see they can return the favour and appreciate the choices that I have also made.

  96. I think if people do not want to have kids… THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE KIDS…. the last thing we need in the world is unhappy people raising kids. The people that are too obsessed with their stupid jobs, please don't have kids. The people that think that career is more important than family, please don't have kids. People that think children are parasites, please don't have kids.

    • Wow. I am so disappointed. I should have continued reading comments to the end. It saddens me that there is so much hate for those who are different. Was not Canada created in an environment where freedom to choose is revered, including the rights of a woman to choose what to do with her own body? Perhaps reading the kinder comments at the beginning of the list will help to open some minds.

  97. Since when are any of us at liberty to judge people based their life decisions? Decisions that, I might add, are innocuous to the rest of us. When's the last time you felt hatred for someone because they chose to be a CEO or a cashier? We don't resent people because of the jobs they chose so why do we feel entitled to judge people for their stand on parenting? What does it matter whether your neighbor wants/does not want children? The people who take umbrage on this issue need a serious reality check.
    As for the pension comments… if you want to horde all of your dollars for your family, please move out of Canada.

    • Your disdain for judging people would have resonated better if your last sentence wasn't so, ummm – judgmental. The only mention of hatred and vitriol that I have seen in these comments have been by childless people – some have claimed experiencing it, and some that have said its just a lunatic fringe so take it with a grain of salt.

  98. I guess what I meant was that there are too many people that have kids and get divorced or treat them badly, or neglect them. These people maybe didnt want to have kids to start with, so they shouldnt have been forced to have kids. You cant do a good job at something you dont really like.

  99. "I am so proud to be a canadian right now. We are such a progressive and understanding nation." When did not wanting to have children, and those who understand that choice become progressive? Not having children isn't progressive whatsoever. What do you think will happen to any society that choices not to reproduce?

    As more and more Canadians choose not to have children, that leaves a void that needs to be filled. That void will be filled by immigrant families, who will work hard to provide a good life to the children that they love, the children that many Canadians see as too much of a nuisance or a hassle to have.

    Obviously most of you are extremely naive in thinking that this will not radically alter our culture in the future. Immigrants who come here and work hard, are a lot more conservative than those who were born here. They believe in family, they believe in true progression. What do they think of those people who choose not to have children? Lazy, selfish, egotistical, and narcissistic.

    I read this article with a good friend of mine. After reading it he looked confused and said, "Wei Canada Saram dul-i kakkum nomu pyungshin-ya?" This translates as, "why is it that sometimes Canadian people are so stupid?"

    • "What do they think of those people who choose not to have children? Lazy, selfish, egotistical, and narcissistic." Until their own children have a higher material quality of life and choose themselves not to have kids.
      "why is it that sometimes Canadian people are so stupid?" Too bad for him if he does not understand that not everyone is made to be a parent. Traditionalist societies too have their singles, childless members. Just think of monasteries from so many religions around the world. Is the Dalai Lama stupid, by the way? Was Jesus stupid?

  100. Everyone here was someone's child. Seems the effort was wasted on a few. Let's all not have kids. End of our species in 100 odd years.

    The entire argument is idiotic and pointless.

  101. As a mother of 6 (4 adopted and 2 biological). I applaud those who know that they don't want kids and actually don't have them. In retrospect I sure as heck wouldn't have 6!

  102. don't make kids guys, there's enough people coming to Canada from overseas and a lot of people already doing 2,3,4 kids.. there's no need for you to make, we already have enough supply of labor for the upcoming 20 years.

  103. interesting and stimulating debate, I'm struck by how entrenched and dogmatic the 'for' having kids side can seem. As a 42 year old Canadian male living abroad, I chose not to become a baby-making factory rather to pursue spiritual ideals. Though the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive I think it must make a meditative life be easier. I think that the source of happiness is more likely to be found 'within'. That being said I'm eternally grateful to my mother for affording me the golden opportunity of human life ( and growing up in Canada). A certain Canadian woman bore me a son (we had not planned it), although we are estranged ( my preference would have been otherwise) I am grateful to her knowing I've a son out there somewhere.

  104. Is anyone going to buy the magazine for the full article? So far it reads like a list of names and books. Or is it meant to be only a stage, like Jerry Springer's stage, for people to release their anger.

  105. I was bullied and demeaned and characterized as a person who hated children by my boss at my last job in a library in Canada because I did not have children. She was fond of making snide comments and implying that I had a real problem with young people and teenagers.

    It wasn’t true, I had lots of children I chatted to in the library and I spent hours doing collection development for graphic novels to entice teenagers to read. I also encouraged a local girl and her teenage friends when they were publishing a newsletter with poetry and art. My delusional former boss is an example of societal attitude and assumption toward people who choose not to have children.

    I think it will take more than an article in Maclean’s to dispel such bias and ignorance.

  106. I think it's good that people are starting to really think about whether they want kids or not, rather than just buying in to the "first marriage, then kids" idea. However, calling labour "torture" and breastfeeding "slavery" is just ridiculous, and frankly rather disrespectful of people who really have been tortured or enslaved.

    • I think people started really thinking about the issue in the 1970's.

      • You're probably right, although it's obviously not universal yet.

  107. We had kids and now I regret it. Don't get me wrong, my kids are lovely and interesting and rewarding and society will be a much better place for their part in it. However, we now know we lack the emotional fortitude, consistency and selflessness required and have suffered intellectually, physically, emotionally and financially. In addition to having 2 kids, one of them is on the autism spectrum and while we love her immeasurably, life has become even more difficult than we ever imagined it would be. It is a constant struggle to ensure we are providing the very best for her environmentally, emotionally, intellectually, physically. We try our best but consistently fail (or that is my perception). I believe most parents feel this way at times – if they have enough insight to be honest. In the meantime, we will continue to do our best. I for one thought I was mature enough: my finances were in order, my relationship was strong, my career was on track… Now it is all a shambles and not due to bad planning, just simply an underestimation of what was involved. I truly believe there is a conspiracy of silence at work here.. and I'm glad people are finally speaking up about it.

    • society will be a much better place for their part in it.

      And for YOUR part in it. I have seen up close what parents of an autistic child go through, and you people are saints, and your children while incredibly frustrating are such bright minded treasures. Our society is a much better place for their place in it.

      AND WE NEVER THANK YOU – for all the very hard work you do and sacrifices you make and frustrations you feel. We are in your debt.

      Thank you.
      Thank you.
      Thank you.

    • My heart goes out to you. As a woman considering whether or not to have children, and being ambushed from all sides by well-meaning mother friends whose stories of life with new meaning and enhancement I just wouldn’t understand, which I simply find painful to swallow, you answer many of the questions I have about motherhood. I still don’t know what decision I will make, but your honesty helps greatly and is appreciated. good luck to you, and thanks.

    • I lack the words to say how much I feel for you. I hope there is family and friends to help you out. Good luck, and thanks for sharing your insights.

  108. Who wants to remember me via kids? People can be remembered in other ways, such as a gift to a hospital.

  109. Measuring success of someone's existence should not be based on their willingness to procreate. Especially when it's such an easy thing to do.

    In terms of population, it should be about quality; not quantity.

    • In principle, I agree with you that is should be about quality. Unfortunately, we are an aging population that will require increasing numbers to sustain our health care and pension programs, so it is not only about quality, and there is no reason why we should not be able to achieve a healthy standard of quality and an appropriate amount of quantity. On your other point, I am not sure that anyone measures a bad parent as a success story.

      • Perhaps teh problem here was creating these pyramid like "tragedy of the common's " to begin with, denying individuals freedom to make their own investment decisions. Now because collectivism requires more revenue to finance we must further deny individuals more freedom. Collectivism fails therefore we require more collectivism. Sounds like a positive feedback mechanism just waiting to implode.

  110. From what I have seen in the comments, I think there is an underlying reason that this article has generated such a 'lively' debate, and that is the responses can be broken down into four general categories, each with their own lexicon that is not understood by the others.

    Even though I generally dislike the idea of pigeon-holing values and opinions, you can break the commentators into four camps: those that are angry at choose-to-be-childless women, those who are focusing of the implications on society, those who are advocating for individual rights, and those that are angry at parents.

    Unfortunately for the two middle groups, these camps are speaking different languages.

  111. If you don't want to have kids then don't…. and if you do then do…..sometimes life is that simple

  112. Come on, are we to believe that those who decide not to have children are actually being harassed for their choice? I find it hard to believe that the barrage of reasons given to Elaine Lui are anything more than the expression of opinions heard in any given conversation on any given topic.. Why make such an issue of it? Seems like exaggeration to me. And and for the statement saying "I don't want kids" is akin to "There's a bomb on the plane"?!? What planet do these people live on? Thank goodness people who uses words like "EUUUW!" and "parasite" have made the choice they did! This whole article seems contrived.

    • Unfortunately it's true. The level of 'harassment' varies and does dwindle with time. I have never made an issue of my choice but other people certainly have and my response depends on their relationship to me.

      I have been told I will never be a 'real woman' to some variation of the themes in the above replies (we need more people in the work force, white people need to have babies to keep immigrants out of Canada, I will be lonely in old age, etc). These comments essentially stopped after age 40 but they still come up. None of my other life choices are ever questioned beyond normal curiousity. Not having kids appears to be against the common good and people must change my mind!

      I like being an aunt. I love spending a few hours with my nieces/nephews and sending them home. My family has never had an issue with me 'opting out' but complete strangers feel that they need to have me conform.

    • I agree with Cassandra. The harassment is sometimes subtle but very present. Everything is there to make you feel "abnormal" if kids are not in your plans. However, I must admit I too disliked the words "EUUUW!" and "parasite".

  113. I think its essentially the same stigmatization that those who have children out of marriage are facing. And to be honest, I really don't care what people choose to do with their lives. Any decision out of the norm will cause stigmatization. And once you choose it you should deal with its consequences. Out crying about people not accepting your lifestyle isn't reallly the way to go. Homosexuals, children having sex etc. all against the norm and they all will face a certain form of stigmatization. It's when you choose to live your life against the norms of that present day society, in that specific country that you will face stigmatization.

  114. Haha. Nice wording. Completely agree the only thing that truly remains on earth after we die is our family line and perhaps our money (considering inflation and irresponsibility within the family in a few decades what you contributed will be worth nothing.) And your blood is something that could truly never die… unless you don't have children. I mean once you die you'll be replaced job wise, your money will be stolen, plundered, inflated. And your dead you don't need a social life.

    Truly I take no real stance on the subject it's not something I think about. But I do see the human value of continuing humanity. I mean look at Europe. Many people decided not to have kids, or have very few. Now that same generation that decided to not have kids are "reaping the rewards" of having virtually no retirement funds (since it's usually the children that pay it thorugh taxes) and in extreme cases the working age may be pushed to 70-75 (which is VIRTUALLY the life span in North American countries.)

    • Thanks for noticing the wording; I am a writer. I think you are the only one who understood what I was saying; everyone else just had a shrill reaction justifying their position. Thanks

  115. We were married for fifteen years before having #1 and twenty years before #2. Our oldest is nearing 18 and has been a handful ( you don't want to know or there would be a world wide vasectomy/tube tying party!!)). Are there days when I wish there were no kids? You bet! Are there days when I wish they had never been born? No!! From the moment they breath you are forced to change your preconceptions(ha) about child rearing, your spouse,your values but mostly about yourself. We have all these airy-fairy ideas about the perfect kid, perfect families. HELLO they don't exist! But, you know, that's a good thing. It keeps us honest..oh we all like to brag about the perfection of our darlings (sorry childfree people!) but the Universe has a way of humbling you, of teaching you that it is not YOUR idea of perfection that you gave birth to but that of some higher intelligence, something bigger than us.
    Am I braver or better than the person who says no? Probably not. Will my life be happier, more fulfilled blah, blah,blah. Who knows! I live MY life, I follow MY path and I accept the life paths of others(including my kids) and often I think, Geez I must have a hell of a lot of Karmic lessons to learn here before I go.. if learning to truly love unconditionally is the goal of life than everyday I give thanks for my instructors. I read somewhere that our children pick their parents before they are conceived..if that is so than there really is no CHOICE in having or not, you get what you need not what you want.
    So childfree you were put here to be that way, to accomplish something where kids are not in the equation. Don't brag or justify it just get off the soapbox and get on with your lives and parents think about it when the doctor who gives so much time to you and your kid or the teacher who does the same can do so because they have been given a different path to follow than yours.

  116. Things are going to get a little scary when there are more people in this country drawing old age pension then there are people paying taxes.

    At least we will be able to see what happens in Japan before it happens here.

    Live for the day! To hell with the future!

    • All these "have more kids" or "bring in the immigrants" to support old age pensions are the ones who are only thinking shorth-term and aren't thinking about the future!

      They only look at the numbers needed to sustain the boomers' retirement, but what happens when this newer generation has to retire? There will be a shortfall there too… so the government will be expanding the natalist policies and opening the floodgates once again justs to cover those pensions. It's a neverending spiral that is just simply unsustainable!

      We have to get rid of this socialist welfare state and get the newer generation to understand that it is their own responsibility to save for their retirement. I'm in my early 20s and would certainly opt-out of CPP and manage my own savings if I had the option. I'll get my finances secured and then I'll have kids. I won't have them just so I can live off of them in 40 years… THAT would be selfish.

    • I absolutely don't care about the "who's gonna pay?" point. They'll pay for my pension; meanwhile, I pay for their schooling. It's give and take.

  117. As someone who has been involved in infant/toddler development on a professional level and as a mother and grandmother, I applaud people who realize that having children is not for them. So much inadvertant damage can be done to a child who is not truly wanted. Parents do not intend to be negelectful, but unless they are very comitted to giving children time, nurturing and attention, some form of neglect happens.

  118. As someone who has been involved in infant/toddler development on a professional level and as a mother and grandmother, I applaud people who realize that having children is not for them. So much inadvertant damage can be done to a child who is not truly wanted. Parents do not intend to be negelectful, but unless they are very committed to giving children time, nurturing and attention, some form of neglect happens.

  119. What makes me so angry about this is the crux of the issue: women are judged, no matter what we do, and we're judged in ways that men aren't. So a man doesn't want children? No one cares. But a woman says the same thing, and she's vilified. I recently wrote about this on my blog (… which is about how the success of the women's movement–all kinds of choices–has led not to a wonderland of rainbows and unicorns, but instead to analysis paralysis, grass is greener syndrome, and longing for the road not traveled. We have the choices, but now we need to figure out how to deal with them.

    • amen, shannon! this was the troublesome part of this article – focused on the woman's decision as OMG, although judgment on the eternal bachelor remains silent, yet again…..

  120. I applaud people who recognize that they do not want children. Good for you. If you don't want them and have them anyway because of societal pressures, then I sympathize with those children. They will not be raised in a happy household. As an educator, I see a lot of children who are with parents who do not give them the time and love that they need.
    Personally, I could not imagine my life without my 2 children, who are now 16 and 19. Yes, it has not been a piece of cake every day. There have been lots of trial and tribulations. My mom doesn't understand why I need to be at every hockey, baseball and soccer game or swim meet. But I wouldn't miss it for anything in the world. My husband and i sat in the pouring rain at our son's baseball game last night. There is a lot of grief and sleepless nights when raising children, but there are so many proud moments that I can't imagine anything else.

  121. Why is it that this drivel recurs so? Had my parents made that decision, I wouldn't know about it, so why would I be UNhappy?

    You should be happy that the educated and intelligent are opting out of breeding – it will make it easier for your ilk to remove science from classrooms and drag the West back into the "golden" dark ages. What other technology do you need other than "nucular" weaponry to brandish?

    Maybe your god will bring the dinosaurs back for you to have as pets the way you seem to think it was 6,000 years ago.

    • He is not only Chris's God ,He is there for who ever chooses to believe.

  122. With all due respect, you have missed out on having a full and valued life as a real human being by having children. Do not delude yourself, you have lost a lot by choosing this route and you will never get it back.

    • What you gain or lose by choosing to procreate, or NOT to procreate can never be quantified. Every single decision we make in life sets our feet on a different path. It is impossible to live ALL the alternatives. Having kids moves us along one path, complete with all its joys and challenges. NOT having kids moves us along another path, complete with all its joys and challenges. Just as making the decision to go to university or to join the workforce, instead, moves us along different paths. Just as choosing to be CAR FREE, or choosing to operate a vehicle moves us along a different path.
      To say that one choice or the other means we are "missing out on having a full and valued life as a real human being" merely reflects YOUR BIAS, your DELUSIONS. Life is a series of decisions, and dealing with the variables that those decisions bring. To say that one way is better than another is only YOUR OPINION. (which you are entitled to, of course,) Just don't try to IMPOSE your opinion as the only way.

    • You missed out on having a full and valued life as a real human being by having children??? What the hell kind of planet are you from? 37 yrs ago I wasn't suppose to be here, but I AM! The Lord put me here for a reason! I want to have kids myself and I lived a pretty good life so far, but for you to say that…I don't know what to think. People want to have kids and there are people who don't want kids…I'm respectful of both. YOU CAN LIVE A FULL VALUED LIFE WITH OR WITHOUT KIDS! That's the way it is…This mother here is living her life to the fullest with her children…HER CHOICE. Your just deluding yourself for posting this.

  123. Most of the theories purported by the so-called experts in "non-parenting" have holes so big you could drive a truck through them. The most laughable, to me, came from Daniel Gilbert, the psychology chair from Harvard, who believes that the reason people say their relationships with their children are of the greatest importance to their happiness (2007 Pew Research Centre Survey) is "because they're expected to" and "in clinical economic terms: the more people pay for an item, the more highly they tend to value it." This is so absurd it's funny. The reason people say their relationships with their children is of the greatest importance to their happiness, you dope, is because they LOVE them. Most people who have children love them, hugely, passionately with a breathtaking and heart throbbing intensity that cannot be compared to any other love. Yes kids can be annoying, yes they drive you nuts sometimes, but that gut wrenching, all encompassing, unconditional love a parent has for their child bonds you to that little being for life and easily overrides all the negative stuff. Why is that so hard to understand?

  124. Most of the theories purported by the so-called experts in "non-parenting" have holes so big you could drive a truck through them. The most laughable, to me, came from Daniel Gilbert, the psychology chair from Harvard, who believes that the reason people say their relationships with their children are of the greatest importance to their happiness (2007 Pew Research Centre Survey) is "because they're expected to" and "in clinical economic terms: the more people pay for an item, the more highly they tend to value it." This is so absurd it's funny. The reason people say their relationships with their children are of the greatest importance to their happiness, you dope, is because they LOVE them. Most people who have children love them, hugely, passionately with a breathtaking and heart throbbing intensity that cannot be compared to any other love. Yes kids can be annoying, yes they drive you nuts sometimes, but that gut wrenching, all encompassing, unconditional love a parent has for their child bonds you to that little being for life and easily overrides all the negative stuff. Why is that so hard to understand?

  125. My husband and I have no children and never will. I've never really wanted children and he knew it before we got married.
    The one thing I never understand about people like my brother and sister in law who have 2 children is, if you condem me for not having children then if its so great to have kids and you can afford to have a one spouse income why do you put them in daycare and every activity from day one and spend so little time with them? I don't get that. If I did have children I would want to raise them myself and do things with them. These kids are starved for parental attention. When they go out they cry because they haven't seen their parents all week and they're in dance class and half a dozen other classes on the weekends. If you have kids shouldn't you raise them and enjoy them before condeming those without? Personally I think the reason I'm condemed is because they are jealous of our lifestyle without kids.
    I don't know, its a choice and those who don't have them shouldn't be looked down upon for not having them by those who do.

  126. For every person who chooses not to have a child, there are people out there who should have kept their parts to themselves.

    Just because you CAN, does NOT mean you should.

    (Am I? I'd like to, when the time comes. Whether that's now or 20 years from now is no less anyone's concern.)

  127. My children allowed me to heal spiritually & emotionally. Being there during specific milestones is being a silent witness to life unfolding from a greater perspective. Children are humbling. They remind you of your limited finite position in the world. They are smarter than you and as each generation surpasses its predecessor it leaves one in awe. My kids are gifted special and opened up a whole new world for me where there was once a closed minded self centered screwed up person. Kids make sense – if we all kept the wonder of life, the exuberance, ability to adapt and learn physical prowess as well as artistic skills as adeptly and without the pretense and ego of adulthood – this would be an untainted happy world. Adults suck!

  128. Honestly, I could care less about anyone remembering me. Once you are dead, you are dead. No one can replace you. At least when I leave this world I will be at peace knowing I have left no one behind to use, abuse, or pollute the earth any longer. I did not add anyone else to the traffic jams or overcrowded amusement parks. Just because someone is educated and makes good money does not mean they are mentally or emotionally equipped to raise a child. Also, growing up I wished many times that I had never been born. I hated my childhood, but not so much because of my parents. I am glad that I had no brothers or sisters, because my home was the only place I could get away from the cruelty of children.

    • If having kids is suppase to be soome thing to look forward to ,why are the elderly sent to old folks halmes??Ithe kads really cared the elderly parents would be taken care of by their kids, Healthwisse and others needs.Enter text right here!

  129. Both sides are so defensive. I believe this is because both sides have insecurities about being judged by the other side, so then they go on the offensive, slinging around words like "selfish" and "breeders" and "parasites". Can't anyone have a discussion about this issue without resorting to childish namecalling and insults? As for myself, I am fairly certain I don't want children, for a number of reasons. I'm not sure I'm emotionally healthy enough, I have a desire to live all over the world (I know, you CAN do it with kids, but lets face facts, it's much more difficult) and I would rather give myself over to my career. Before you start labelling me selfish, I would like to point out that I am an elementary school teacher, another calling that takes a lot of committment to do well. If I choose to educate other people's children rather than have my own, does that make me selfish? I love children, and if I change my mind and want some, I will probably adopt, because there are so many children out there who need someone to take them in and love them. As for Canada's population, I think we ought to welcome immigrants rather than convince citizens who do not have a desire to have children to make babies just for numbers' sake.

  130. This debate sends women back to the dark ages. My generation and generations before me have fought for the rights and freedom of women to choose "to have or not to have children." This is the reason for birth control. End of story. It is time women supported one another for making a decision. Not simply because you think it is right or wrong but because we are mothers, sisters and friends.

  131. Canada pension works partly on the principal that the workers pay for the pensions of the retired. If people decide not to have children then they should not be entitled to Canada Pension because the did not contribute to the pool of workers that are paying the retired.

    • that's the stuoidest thing i have ever heard. Would your pension then be based onthe amount of contribution your child paid? What if you child became a stay home mother who never contributed to the CPP; would you then not be eligable? It's a mute agruement anyway if most people who decide not to have children have a higher income they will most likley earn too much/ have to large of a savings to collect CPP.

    • Excuse me … I don't have kids and don't plan to, so if I am not to collect Candian Pension because of that, then why am I paying in to it now? I know it's to pay for the seniors today, but is it my fault the Gov't spent the money when they started collecting it? I think not.

    • what about all the carelessness that goes on in the social system and come on we all know it exists so you think if we turn a blind eye to it that its not there and you know what I'm talking about (having 2-6 kid) collecting welfare there are choices IE birth control and you can't tell me is not an option so before we start talking pension that's long term in the future who knows all the doomsayer say the world's going to end anyways at this rate it might as well what about the short term what are really as tax payers are we paying into now we all know its not health care as far as McGuinty is concerned if people would just look at the fact that it is probably for the better that there are some of us who choose not to have kids its not for the lack of trying or being selfish but maybe that we don't have to worry about how are we going to pay for daycare spots healthcare because we sure know there are enough people around filling those gaps having more kids and i dont feel that my taxes should go to someone ignorantly having kids living off of social assistance pensions have nothing to do with it everyone who works regardless if they have kids or not are entitled to CPP!!!! its every Canadians given right to that and by the way we are not in alaska and we so what if we can't see alaska from our house

    • It people with short attention spans like yours that holds everyone else back grow some balls i bet you if you were married you certainatly would not say that kind of dribble to your wife or girlfriend if you had any respect for them i would only hope that you got some kind of sarcastic remark back becuse you would fully deserve it it is with that i would say to bad for you suck it up and get with the times equal right are for everybody gender/ different nationality male female whatever it may be and as everyone knows if you work you are paying into you are entiltled to it end of story maybe start reading more and dont be so simple !!

    • Robert, Think about what you are saying…. you are truly showing your ignorance.
      I am going to spend more than 30 years paying school taxes without ever having a child in school.
      My grandmother didn't work a day in her life that contributed to pension – she still receives old age pension.
      In Canada we all pitch in and we all get it out. No one is exempt.

  132. Lol 95% of these comments are reasons justifying how "i like my body, my bank account and my sex life" is not selfish. At least if you people admitted to being selfish I'd still have respect for you. But now you all just sound like whiny 30something year olds with too much debt from shopping your wallets dry crying about how everyone questions your choice to be childless. Well suck it up, people with 8 kids get just as much grief if not more.

    • @Lucy,
      Rather then whine about how much “sacrificing” to raise children makes you less selfish then those who choose not to, why don’t you offer up some good reason why we should have them….

      BTW, these type of justifications from the article:
      – “You’ll be lonely when you get old”
      – “Don’t you want to know what they will look like?”
      All sound equally or more selfish then the reasons you mentioned for not having them(body, bank account, sex life, career), and a lot less well thought through.


      • I can honestly say I don't know anyone with kids that goes around whining about how hard it is to raise them or how much they half to sacrifice to raise them …and I think what lucy was trying to say is that people who have large families are looked down on or like there is something wrong with them for having so many kids.

        • 100 years ago there wouldn't have been a problem with having 8 children. Nowadays faced with the kind of environmental and over-population crisis we are facing it is just as selfish and irresponsible as not recycling and driving Hummers.

  133. I am all for a child-free lifestyle. In fact, I am living one now and I don't know if I ever plan on changing that. However, I am really disappointed in some people's reasons for having a child-free lifestyle… it really makes the movement look so very shallow. Eg. "I don't want to get fat" and "It will put a cramp in my social life". Plus, I believe our society puts so much pressure on people to "have it all", you have to be a very strong, independent individual to actually decide to have kids. After all, I think the majority of people can't have it all successfully and must be willing to sacrifice keeping up with the Jones' in order to have kids.

    I also don't understand the environmental reason. Most big families I know are much more conservative with their resources and live in smaller homes than their child-free or single child couple counterparts. The reason isn't usually because they care more about the environment, but because they have less money and have no choice but to only drive one car (or not drive at all), live in a smaller home versus a McMansion, buy cheaper food options rather than that 12 ounce steak, etc.

    I believe being child-free is a completely legitimate and respectable option. Like I previously stated, I am child-free and my partner and I are thoroughly enjoying out lives. Do I think being child-free is preferable to having children overall? I think that is entirely dependent on the family and their goals.

    I just wish I believed most people were child free based on logical reasons rather than based on their desire to keep living a teenage lifestyle into their thirties.

  134. Finally! thank you for this article. its good to know that we are not alone in not wanting children. Parents, especially new parents are so frickin self rightous. fine. YOU enjoy that child but DONT force me to enjoy it.

  135. I am glad my parents decided to have kids!!!!

  136. A missing element in the article was the selfishness of parents who choose to use medical technology to bring to term, children that we know long before birth will be profoundly damaged in a variety of ways. Children with hopeless medical and intellectual deficits that will never be capable of supporting themselves or contributing to society, already impose lifelong support costs in bloated health care and education costs – legacies of the berserk Monty Python-esque belief that "every sperm is sacred". It's one thing to make the case for all members of society to support good universal education and social service programs. It's quite another to demand societal support for children the prospective parents know perfectly well they will have no possibility of bringing up on their own.

  137. Enter grtGGgext right here!

    • New to computer stuff, sorry for errors.. A simple reaponse that i have is if all these people claim that having kilds is the greatist thing to do, why do they "farm"out the kids to child day centers??? If the kids are so great, why not proove it by staying at home and raising the child yourself? Seems that if you send them to these care centers that you are implying that they are in your way.

  138. I am childfree,a law abiding citizen who only wants to be allowed to live and to let live. I'm kind to people and will help them when they need it. The "women" in my neighborhood pop out baby after baby,collect the welfare checks,never bother to discipline or teach their children anything so they end up destroying MY property and torturing stray animals…yet somehow I'm selfish? Breeders should stick to overpopulating the world and leave people like me alone.

  139. HA! I know people who have had multiple children and they still ended up in a nursing home so that point is moot. Lucy,if you want to have a dozen sprogs go for it. My womb,my business.

  140. Why do you care if my wife and I choose not to have kids? Is your life so perfect that you feel qualified to judge the choices we make for own lives? Live and let live.

  141. Thank you Anne Kingston for writing this article! You legitimized my own thoughts and feelings.

  142. The idiot who equated raising kids with "hosting a parasite" might reconsider those words some day. Those parasites will be paying the taxes to support social services and pensions in her old age. She'd better hope they show a greater willingness to host parasites than she does. On the other hand, the fact that narcissists such as her are now opting out of the gene pool in ever-increasing numbers is something for which we should all be thankful.

    • Given this generation of morons cropping up,I doubt they will ever manage to hold down a job long enough to contribute to social security. They'll contribute to crime but not much else.

    • And how exactly are the next generation is paying for the taxes to support social services and pensions in my / her / your old age?

      I'm born (cost is neutral), I go to school (I own "society" some money), I start to work (positive: I pay taxes), I keep working until I retire (positive, I still pay taxes) and finally I receive a pension, I use health care and so on until I die (negative, I use these services).

      But the thing is: on average, the money "given" to the society when people are working is more or less equal to the money they will "take back" from the society when old. In other words, I don't need someone's else kids to support me. It may look like that because the government is borrowing money and spending like drunken sailors while trying to lower taxes at the same time, but if those people were actually able to do something right, then the population birth rate would be completely irrelevant. ie A baby boom would bring a lot of cash into the government coffers that would be used later to support those same (and now retired) people and idem for a population decline.

      But you probably mean that society needs kids now because it needs someone else to pay the bills.

      • None of what you just said alters demographic reality. Society must maintain a certain level of productivity to support those in retirmement. Your pension depends on it. The healthcare services you will use in old age depend on it. That productivity must be carried by the next generation as ours fades into the sunset. Otherwise, our final years will be pretty grim and impoverished. And it won't matter a bit that you've "paid your own way" ten times over – if future governments don't have the tax base to provide services, we won't get them. I'm not fear-mongering. I don't believe in catastrophic forecasts of population doom due to either too many or too few kids. I'm only taking issue with the view that "kids are parasites". Cuz someday, we'll be the parasites. You and me both.

  143. I really think it is sad that people talk about taxes and pensions when talking about whether to have kids. It is unfortunate our society has been engineered this way. Kids should not be a burden nor a blessing to society, they should simply be what they are, a new member of someone's family that brings happiness to the family and friends.
    Nothing more. Not a source of pension income. Not a source of tax revenue. Not a health care liability. Not another cog in the socialist state. Not any of these other constructs that need not even exist.

    • Those demographic facts won't go away, no matter how we look at kids. They are the future workers, taxpayers, pension contributors (and someday, pensioners), whether we chose to see them that way or not. Those cold, hard demographic realities don't go away just because we choose not to acknowledge them.

  144. Sucide is the highest it's ever been antidpresents are now used in 3 year olds.The pressure is way to much I can't see raising a kid in this type of enviorment with people without jobs how will they be able to get a job it doesn't make sense having them for their sake.

  145. Being a 35 year old woman who has never desired children, this article discusses a subject that I am very passionate about. I think the point of exposing this subject is not to provoke anger or build walls between "those who want' and "those who don't'. It enables people to see another side of the coin. It is interesting to me how angry some people get at me for expressing that i do not want kids. Why do they care? It's just a personal choice like what kind of career I want to pursue. It seems to me that some people with kids take my dream of not wanting kids as a personal affront to their own choices. I do not judge someone for wanting kids, yet I have personally experienced judging and name calling throughout my adult life, due to this choice. Insults such as I am selfish, I'm going to regret my decision and I'm not a real woman! I have always wondered, why is it okay for people to judge me for not wanting kids, but those who choose to have them are off the hook? Nobody asks people why they want kids or if they've thought long and hard about their decision, or whether they regret having kids. If more people thought long and hard about the serious decision to have kids…I think there would be more child-free people in the world. I also want to address the comment about child free people being "self possessed". That is such a generalization and btw, the same thing as calling someone selfish. I am not a selfish person. Is my decision not to have kids a selfish one? Probably, because it involves my life and how I want to live it. The argument can be made that people who decide to have children make that decision based on selfish reasons. You are choosing to live your life the way you want to live it. I hate to tell you Edward, but we do not view parents as special people who are out to save the world. If you were really selfless, there are plenty of children who already exist in the world who could benefit from having parents. Maybe you do have adopted children, in which case I applaud you, because you are helping people. You made a personal decision, just as I and many others have. I for one am glad that this subject is being exposed and that we are given the opportunity to defend ourselves.

  146. This is in response to Chris's ignorant comment, which for some reason I was unable to reply directly to! Wow what a presumptuous load of crap!! Who are you to assume that people who do not want kids are "easily distracted" or "non-commital"?? Guess what…I've been with my partner for 8 years now…how's that for a commitment?? Oh but i guess the commitment to children is the only one that counts? I am assuming that by saying "One day a cool Fall breeze will come, and you will realize it's too late; your time is up and since you don't have children the memory of who you are will disappear.", you are implying that those of us who haven't had kids will regret our decision. Maybe some will..but probably just as many parents will regret their decision..they are just not allowed to admit it! Get a life..there are more ways to make an imprint on this earth than having children, and by the way, that is a pretty selfish reason to want kids;)