On the beat: 04/28

Why is choosing not to have kids a bad choice?

By Jim Bucher
So, after writing some 125 columns for Dayton City Paper this one is a first.

First in the sense that I’m not totally writing it – but the subject matter is something I can’t speak about.

It’s a sore subject for some; others may not be conscious they’re even being insensitive with their comments.

I’m talking about married couples who choose not to have kids.

It’s amazing how many friends, acquaintances or just regular everyday folks I meet through my business choose not to procreate. It may possibly be the last stereotype holdout.

You know, you find that perfect match, they date, get engaged, then marry, purchase that home with the picket fence, adopt a pet then have kids.

That’s the way it’s supposed to happen right? Well, for some you suppose wrong.

A good friend of mine who’s been happily married for over 20 years to a wonderful man is ready to implode if one more person asks “How are your kids?”

They assume, of course, she’s been married so long, there has to be something wrong with her for her to not have kids.

A few follow-up questions, then, are, “Oh, you couldn’t have kids?” or “What about adopting?”

When she replies, “We chose not to have children,” the look she gets – sort of a what’s wrong with you? – is mind numbing.

“Buch, first I’m glad you’re doing this [column], it’s been bugging me for a very long time,” Kathy says.

So without further ado, here is my friend “Kathy” (not using her real name because we’re both concerned with repercussions):

Within about five minutes of saying “I do,” the first question asked was, “So, when are you two having kids?”

“We’re not,” I responded, in a very nondescript tone.

“Oh, don’t worry, you’ll change your mind,” was the follow up comment.

Then I’d get something like: “How could you not want children? You must have had a bad childhood or you must be selfish. Or maybe both.”

I’m losing my mind.

It always struck me as sort of odd that mainly women feel compelled in commenting so hostilely on what should be a private subject. I’ve never heard anyone say that I was making a mistake in choosing the career I did, the car I bought or where I went to school, but not wanting children is suddenly up for debate.

I can’t tell someone I don’t want children without heads being turned like Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” and weird looks aimed my way.

Unbelievably, there are few things more likely to put a wall up during a conversation than the one where I don’t want to give birth.

I’m also told I am selfish for not wanting kids, that my desire not to be a mom makes me selfish.

If that means we have put plenty of thought into this matter, and I don’t automatically want to bring a child into this world if I don’t want to be a mother, then guess I’m selfish.

Way back when, there was a time when we needed to repopulate the Earth, but that time is long gone.

Now, with world hunger, climate change and overpopulation, having a kid may be the selfish road to take.

So, here’s my point, if a woman wants to bear children, which seems never to be questioned or insulted, but always respected, the choice then not to have kids should be respected too.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten that the choices we make for ourselves are simply that, choices.

For all the progress we’ve made, it’s crazy to think a woman is broken because she chooses to bypass the “joys” of motherhood.

Well, what about the “joys” of the parentless? Some research shows couples without kids are actually happier. Also, childless marriages have a much lower divorce rate.

Some of my friends with kids say “things change” when children are in the picture. I’ll never know.

I’ve always dreamed of a life travelling whenever and wherever we want at a moment’s notice, sleeping in late, booking a last minute cruise without worrying about who will watch the kids. Well, I have that now, but it doesn’t mean I’m not a complete woman.

What it does mean is I want a life without diapers. Please respect that.

That my friends, is the childless-by-choice world according to “Kathy.”

What do you think? Would love to hear from you.

Cheers,

Buch

A regionally known and loved local television icon for over 25 years, “Buch’s” followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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