“I think the author is a bit defensive about her choice to not have children.”
“The author sounds so bitter, like she needs to defend herself for being childfree.”
“Why is the author so angry? There is no need to be SO defensive!”
. . .
Those are a few examples of comments that have been left behind in some of the links to the blog posts I have written. I know I’m not alone on this. I have read comments like these on other childfree authors’ links, too. They sometimes include words like bitter, angry, hurt, resentful, or sullen, but they almost always include the word defensive, as in “very anxious to challenge or avoid criticism.”
Many pieces that have been written about the childfree lifestyle sound self-justifying, like we are having some type of inner issue with our choice to not become parents and we feel the need to express it in a way that can come across like we’re trying to convince ourselves that we have made the right decision.
In my case specifically (I cannot talk on behalf of any of my fellow CF authors), nothing could be further from the truth.
I have been doing conscious and purposeful inner work for over ten years, now. Like everyone else on this planet, I had a lot of stuff that needed to be worked through. I made my final decision to fully embrace the childfree lifestyle in 2018 after a lot of soul-searching. I’m at peace with myself, I’m at peace with my closest loved ones, and I’m at peace with my choice.
But getting to this point in my self-reflection process does not mean that I am OK with letting external things that I cannot control, like societal norms and expectations, erupt in my life and try to dictate what I have/need to do with it.
Childfree people who write public pieces about their choice are, in a way, activists. We want to bring about social and political change. We are already breaking the status quo and we want to let other people know that there is absolutely no reason to follow the path that has been laid out before them if they don’t want to.
Activism takes action. I cannot do activism just by sitting in my living room and complaining about everything that is wrong in this world. Activism is not always happy, or perky, or positive. I think there are very few examples of social or political change being brought about in a peaceful and pleasing manner.
Can you imagine writing a piece that sounds like, “Could you kindly find it in your heart to refrain from pushing your personal beliefs and societal norms onto my life, please? I would really appreciate it if you could make a small effort to understand that it’s very tiresome, because I really want to make decisions about what I do or don’t do with my life without having to listen to other people’s opinions (especially strangers), and then when I don’t comply with what they want from me (sorry!) hear them ask if there is something wrong with me because I don’t fit their mold.”?
How unnoticed would that article go?
So instead we write strong pieces that we fill with reasoned arguments, we sometimes back them up with research done by third parties, we don’t mince our words, and most importantly, we don’t say please.
“Please stop imposing your beliefs on me.” No. You wouldn’t say please to someone who sits down in front of you and starts poking your eye just for shits and giggles, would you?
The people who comment on our childfree lifestyle articles that the author is being defensive are people who find talking about this subject inconvenient. They don’t want to think about it, they don’t want to know anything about it, they couldn’t care less; they want us to stay quiet and stop trying to raise Hell around their perfect, prim and privileged lives.
And by privileged, I mean that they fully comply with pro-natalist, patriarchal, and capitalist ideals. We’re like that fly that comes up to their table when they’re enjoying a nice meal outdoors in the sunshine, that insignificant bug that interrupts conversations and makes them have to raise their hand in an effort to swat it away from their perfect setup.
I feel bad for people who would rather stay deaf, mute, and blind to any controversial subject or just brush it away with a simple “the author is so defensive, the poor thing.” These types of people are, more often than not, living an unauthentic life because societal rules are dictating almost every step they take.
However, my pity for them will not stop my activism through writing.
Like I stated in “Why talk about being childfree?”, an article I co-authored with my other two co-founding non-mothers on this blog, “I will carry this conversation for as long as I possibly can, because I want more women to know they have a choice to live a different life, even if they don’t take this path. I am not going to censor myself to comfort their ignorance.”
Isabel Firecracker is the founder and firebrand of The Uprising Spark, a platform designed to help modern, childfree women define and reach their life goals. She is a world traveler, an avid kitesurfer, and loves dogs. Pragmatic, no-nonsense life purpose igniter and host of The Honest Uproar podcast. Childfree intersectional feminist.