"Any dissident is suspect: neurotic, obsessed by her career, selfish or a lesbian." These are the words of author Corinne Maier, as it relates to the French attitude toward the purposely childless. But I would say that's the attitude most of the world over.
Mme. Maier has written a book entitled No Kid: 40 Reasons Not to Have Children, which has sparked outrage in Maier's native France. Maier wrote a guest column for the British newspaper The Daily Mail on August 21, to explain herself to British audiences. In this column, she wrote:
The world is in the grip of baby mania, with celebrities flaunting their pregnant bellies in magazines, live births on TV and everyone demanding the right to have a baby at any cost.
To be a la mode, the must-have accessory is a baby. If you can't make your own, then a whole business has sprung up to service your needs and now as long as you've got the cash, you can buy IVF eggs, sperm or even children.
Anyone who dares to be different and suggest that being child-free is the better option is vilified as immature or selfish. It's a brave woman who will stand up for her right not to have children.
Indeed, but I would venture that it's not just childless women who are brave. To tell people you're a married man and childless also invites varying degrees of suspicion regarding your male virility or your wife's worth. When I first began talking to a new young lady at work, I told her I've been married for eight years. Her eyes lit up. "Oh," she crooned. "How nice." Then, without wasting a breath: "Any children?" No, I told her, matter of factly. Her smile disappeared and she looked at me as if I'd suddenly grown wings and horns. "Oh dear. Couldn't you ...?" No, nothing like that, I assured her, before she could even say that filthy c-word: conceive. We just didn't want any. "Oh," she said quizzically, still regarding me like a rare specimen — which, to be fair, I probably am. "Well, children are lovely."
Yes, I thought, rolling my eyes. They're so lovely that there's no length I won't go to avoid them.
If you're prepared to sacrifice, if you've got the patience of a saint, if you're prepared for your life to change beyond your wildest imagination, if you're prepared to fork over a cumulative $100,000 dollars over 18 years to bring a child into the world and raise, nurture, and discipline it to the age where it becomes a polite, responsible, hard-working adult, then go for it.