Morality for the Child-free – #4 in Living Child-Free Series

This post comes in response to commenter Rizarosette, who has been likened to a “monster,” when admitting zie does not love children. In the United States parents are reviled subtly -it’s true- for not “controlling” their children in public, for example, or for having too many children if you are a women, especially a non-white women, and the opposing side of that revulsion and accusation is the beatification of parents. Thus, if you have children, you are a moral person, a selfless person who “gives” for their children, regardless of the ways those children benefit the parents or the arguably selfish reasons for reproducing in the first place. For those of us like Rizarosette and me, that means we are by definition behind in the moral game. Either openly, like the “you monster” comment, or internally, people around us wonder what is wrong with child-free people, why they are so selfish, or simply deny them the sainted status that parents, especially mothers, or very involved fathers (that is its own problem) are awarded.

And for truly bad people, especially bad women, having a child is the perfect way to hide your evil. Remember Kate on Lost. She was able to beat a murder charge because she brought back a baby from the island, and played the mother card. Yes, I just called it that. I have close friends who do not believe anyone who has produced a child is capable of really bad behavior.

Conversely, anyone who has not reproduced is morally suspect and must re-prove their ethical bearing on a weekly, if not daily, basis. We are not lauded for our selfless choice to avoid using the planet’s resources and adding to its pollution through more humans. We are not credited in the same ways for other behaviors that benefit the community. It grows tiring. Of course, raising children is also a tiring business. Maybe we could all just give each other credit for being fairly moral humans, neither perfect nor monstrous, regardless of our reproductive status.

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2 thoughts on “Morality for the Child-free – #4 in Living Child-Free Series

  1. Thank you for this post. It’s really discouraging when you get bashed by other women for making a perfectly rational decision that is profoundly personal. There are plenty of bad mothers out there. Mine was a raging alcoholic, and though I have plenty of sympathy in the abstract for why she hit the depths of despair (my dad is gay, and a devout Catholic), I wish she hadn’t taken it out on us. I vowed to never have children of my own and thankfully I’m now too old. I’ve never regretted my decision, given how my mother would tell me over and over how she regretted having us and we had ruined her life. And yes, also: much better for the planet to not reproduce.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry that your choice was somewhat affected by early trauma, but we all should be granted the dignity of our choices, just as you suggest.

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