Thanks For Not Having Kids

Dear Childless Friends,

I know you have a lot of pressure on you to procreate, and I'm sorry about that. I can totally relate since my husband and I waited (an astounding) 10 years to have a child together. I understand all too well how obsessed society is with your womb. No, I can't tell you why, but I can apologize just the same.

Allow me to have your back for a moment here.

It's true, there are lots of reasons why having children doesn't make sense. There's the cost, the fact that you'll lose both sleep and autonomy, and then there's all that damned work that goes into raising a little human-- what a time suck! I get it. I don't agree with some who would say you don't know love until you have a child-- there are lots of kinds of love in this world to know. Sure, there is no love like the one you have for your kid, but I hear there is no love like that you have for your cat, that doesn't mean I want one. (Okay, I do have a cat, but he's an outdoor one and I know it's not the same.)

Really when it comes down to it, all arguments considered, there is only ever one reason good enough to push you over the edge when it comes to procreation: because you want to. At least, that's my opinion. All the rest of it is just background noise.

The bottom line is this: I'm glad you don't have kids.

There are lots and lots of kids in this world, and while its a great and beautiful thing to be a parent, there are also lots of other great and beautiful things to be in this world. It's my opinion that society undervalues the non-parents, but I want you to know I don't, and here's why...

People who choose not to become parents pay a lot of taxes and that goes into our schools. You guys work more hours (some of you, anyway) because you can, and sometimes that means holidays so the rest of us can enjoy our families. You guys bring us wary parents presents, booze, and friendship when we are too exhausted to reciprocate. You remind us of our former selves, but also of what we might get back after the trench work of early parenthood is done. You bring your personalities, unscathed by the malaise of children, to the world, and that too is very valuable.

And while a portion of you may eventually change your minds about children, I won't insult you by suggesting you ought to. The choice to be a parent is a deeply personal one, and one that simply isn't all that important to some. You don't have to have a child to live a full life, and that fact isn't lost on me. I don't see your life as any less meaningful than my own. Your time isn't worth any more or less than my own. There are even times when I envy you.

Most of all, I want to tell the non-parents: don't be afraid to walk your path.

I believe your contributions to society are just as valid and important as my own. Please don't feel the need to justify yourself to anyone. In fact, the next time someone asks you about whether or not you're having children and you say no, add in, "and you should thank me!" Because whether society at large wants to acknowledge it or not, we need some people to choose not to be parents.

So here's a "thank you," that you may not get often. Keep on keeping on. (And please, bring me a bottle of wine. I still haven't figured out how to go to the liquor store with my 1 year old.)

With love,

Bossy Italian Wife 

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