I am so sick of the word selfish being synonymous with childfree people. Why am I called selfish when I am simply living a life of my choosing? Yet a parent is selfless even though they too are living a life of their choosing.
The assumption is that when you become a parent you learn to be ‘selfless’. Your life no longer revolves around yourself and that is what being a mature adult is about, right? As Laura Carroll states in her book ‘The Baby Matrix’ this is based on the assumption that adults who don’t have children are living only for themselves which isn’t the case.
Most people want to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world. Pronatalism has advocated that the way to make that contribution is to have children. However, there are many ways to do this without becoming a parent. Some childfree adults contribute to the lives of children through vocation, volunteer work, playing supportive roles, charitable contributions, and spending time with their extended families. The myth that the childfree are selfish just serves to uphold pronatalism and keep parenthood on a pedestal.
How parents can be selfish is just not talked about enough. Being selfish can start with the decision to have a child. Being selfish can start with the decision to have a child. The heart of that decision is about the parent’s desire to have raised a child. It’s totally about what they want for themselves. It’s selfish if would-be parents are not financially and emotionally ready and they have a child anyway.
Pronatalism may have told us that parenthood is a selfless act but it is all about the appeasement of adult desires.
Many people (parents including) will agree that having another child just because they didn’t get the sex they wanted is selfish. It is also selfish to not give the child love, good nutrition, praise and nurturing and put themselves first. It is selfish to decide how many kids you will have based on your own desire and the impact this has on the environment and an already overpopulated society.
Also, think about parents living an ‘unlived life’ through their children. Coercing kids to play and excel at the sport they wanted to play as a child or to fulfill a career dream. This sends the message that it is up to the child to live the unlived life of their mother or father.
This continues as children get older and leave the nest. This often comes in the form of pressuring their adult children to give them grandkids. The ultimate selfish act.
Having children doesn’t determine if a person is selfish or not/ Being selfish is about doing what we want, despite how it will impact others. People can do this whether they have kids or not.
Excerpts from The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll.
Find The Baby Matrix here > https://www.lauracarroll.com/book-review/the-baby-matrix/ (it is a great read)