I am 39 and I have no children. I have never been asked why. I have never been asked whether I want children. I have frankly never been engaged in any discussion of my childless state unless it is with close friends.
That’s why this article is surprising to me. Magenta Baribeau, childless by choice, is clearly travelling in different, less sensitive circles. I don’t think “why don’t you want children” or the like are questions to be asking people you only know for 22 seconds, as she puts it.
Could it be that she is courting the questions by making her decision not to have children into an ideological movement?
Could it be that people intuitively know “some things are not a choice” (one of my most favourite pro-life slogans) and balk at a confident assertion that they are?
Some women have children. Others don’t. You’ll have a hard time convincing me that in our era of below-replacement fertility, it’s a brave and bold thing to not have children. Lots of people don’t.
Furthermore, we tend in life to regret the things we haven’t done, not the things we do, which either are positive or, if negative, we morph into learning experiences. Outside the contentious area of having children this remains true.
So strictly speaking, whoever is telling her she might regret it some day could be right. The same way you might regret not trying a new job, or not dating a particular guy who in hindsight seemed great, or not taking up an offer to try anything new.
It’s not terribly judgmental to say so, and I maybe I can say that with more moral authority than someone with six children in their family van.
Anyways, that’s not the point of this post. Here’s the point: She clearly identifies that abortion is her backup birth control, should she ever get pregnant. If she and her partners aren’t consistently careful, someone has to die to maintain her childless state.
Q. Do you think that if you got pregnant, your opinion might change? Is that possible?
A. If I do get pregnant I will have an abortion. I’ve never had an abortion in my life, I’m very careful. So if the hormones would change my mind, I don’t know how that would affect me. But nothing in the world could happen to make me change my mind.
This is a controversial thing to point out. That abortion is now and has been for a while used as birth control. That’s what she is saying.
In general, it seems she wants everyone to applaud her for something that is mundane. We applaud the people who climb Mount Everest, not the people who prefer, like Hobbits, to eat tasty food in our warm living rooms, where it is perfectly safe. Don’t get me wrong. I love Bilbo Baggins with the best of them. Yet, I refuse to applaud her “movement.” No one must have children but there are limitations on that as a “right”–the limitation being that in seeking out a childless life, she can’t harm someone else (ie. in abortion). That’s the hard limitation on her worldview. If you are childless, no one has a problem. But when you make it into a lifestyle movement, you run up against common sense.