Images and words from my life.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Childless, Childfree, or With Child...

I posted a somewhat sharp comment on Raul's blog yesterday, and got not only a response from Raul but from another reader. I was taking issue with Raul's use of "childless," being somewhat hyper sensitive to the word and the negative connotation I was hit with.

I'd love to have kids. I'd love to be confident that I was stable enough and my meager income and partner with a disability could provide every positive moment possible for even one child in our home. We had dreams of children, but current circumstances scream NO KIDS to us right now. We're 38 and 39, and we struggle. Being a gay male couple, it's more than just a matter of not using birth control. Much more.

What do you think? Does "childless" fall into the same house as "homeless" and "tasteless"? Is "childfree" too far in the other direction, as if children were a burden to be avoided, like sugar in sugarfree gum? What about "non-childed"? What about me growing thicker skin?

I deeply admire Raul's blog and his writing, but I just had to comment honestly.


Blogger Kuntry Konfession said...

kids are awesome! inreality though, they do have to come first before your needs...which can be somewhat challenging. i think it is wonderful that you are sensitive to where you are standing now...and what needs you must have in order for a child, you and yor lovah to be "comfortable"...
how easy it would be if we can plan things to the "t". yet, things unplanned always seems to somewhat fall into it's own place as if they were totally meant to be!
i don't think there is anything wrong with folks who choose to become a parent or folks who choose not to have children. (though i do have issues with folks who have kids for all the wrong reasons!)
but it does take a village to raise a kid.....and whether we choose to or not, in the end...we are responsible for that kid sleeping in the house, to that kid, that lives down the road, and that kid in the other side of the continent.
you are a dad, a mentor, a hero, a protector to someone, even if that kid is not of your own blood.

9:50 AM

Blogger Birtgirl said...

As a childfree person, I can tell you that most truly childfree people will identify themselves as childfree and NOT childless.

Childless, however, is the term that many with children (or wannabe parents) would like childfree people to call themselves, because 1) they themselves aren't comfortable with the term and 2) they see only the lack of children.
Childless denotes a "lack", as does anything with "...less" attached to it. Childfree denotes a deliberate choice NOT to have children - for whatever reason. And, yes, freedom from kids and all the implications that come with them.

Childfree is not a person waiting to have children, or filling in time before they have them or even a fence-sitter. It is a mindset, where the decision has been made not to procreate and to remain free of kids in terms of giving birth to them, or parenting them. Does not mean kids don't play a part in a childfree person's life. And, while many childfree people like kids and simply don't want thier own, many do not like kids at all, and they are perfectly entitled.

Many people fail to grasp this difference, but childfree people get it. You can find out lots more about what Childfree really means on my blog Like It Is if you're interested.

As a childfree woman though, I really don't care whether childed folk "like" what I call myself, particularly when they're busy telling me why I should have kids no matter what... If they don't like it, it's their problem not mine. And I also don't see why any childfree person should be called "non" anything.

4:45 PM

Anonymous Britgirl said...

By the way the name should be Britgirl (not Birtgirl) not sure why it was appearing as Birtgirl!!)

4:49 PM

Anonymous laksidekid said...

Sounds to me you are hyper sensitized to by your situation--wanting children but not thinking you could care for them... I personally don't think either childless or childfree have any particular negative connotations. When I head the word childless couple, I just think the couple doesn't have children. Period. Fact, not that they might want children and can't have them, or not that they choose not to have children, or shouldn't have childred. For me it's a neutral term. Unlike britgirl I don't think it means that people only see the lack of children. And I don't feel any prejudice implied in it. For me it's a descriptive term.

I have only heard childfree as self discription. Usually it is used by people that don't think about kids for whatever reason, actively don't want kids, and or sometimes have distain for kids and people with kids... that last category is same type of person who use the word breeders to describe straight couples. So if anything childfree is often the more implicitly judgmental term although only obtusely because they are declaring themselves proudly childfree. For that last category who use the term judgmentally, the judgment is for the poor slobs who are so weak and stupid that they fall into societies conventions.

Childfree I think lives in the same box as differentlyabled and other overly politically correct jargon that tortures the dictionary. "Childed" lives in the same place btw.

I have no children. I am childless and quite happy about it, but I bear those people with kids no ill will. Those little people are our future after all.

11:38 PM


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