Meet the westerners going child free to ‘save the planet’ — Analysis
Once considered a ‘given’ of adulthood, giving birth is now something many women of childbearing age are opting out of.
Pew Research Center released a November 2021 report that found 44% of 18-49 year olds who were not parents said they believed so. “not at all likely that they will have children someday,” and the majority of them (56%) claimed that it was just because they didn’t want to. The pandemic’s instability and financial lack are frequently cited as reasons for the epidemic. However, there is a growing trend to avoid having children in order to help save the world.
Kate Chapman (51), is a Broadway singer and life coach who relocated from Ohio to Boston in 1998. “absolutely gobsmacked”Her popularity is evident in the sheer number of people who surround her. As a way to make extra income she worked as a teacher and nanny. After helping her siblings with their 13 children, she decided that it was not something she wanted to do.
“I calculated the amount of ‘disposable’ diapers, tiny baby food jars, discarded toys and books, ‘adorable’ outfits, strollers, and ridiculous footwear that would soon clog the landfills popping up in small towns across the ‘heartland’ I’d just left. I witnessed – firsthand – how Capitalism had blanketed itself over child rearing, and I wanted no part of it.”
“As a very young woman I vowed not to contribute to the mess being created by producing another child. It was a selfish thing to do in society. It was not necessary for me to become a parent. There are thousands of foster kids who need homes. Having a child ‘of my own’ seemed more about narcissism and less about parenting.”
Courtney Ordway, 31, similarly decided early on that she didn’t want to have children, and also believes that if she ever feels the urge to be a mom, she would just go the adoption route.
“There are so many children in the world who need a good home, and it would be a great honor to take care of one of them,”Sie said.
Courtney lives in Eastern Passage Nova Scotia Canada. There she blogs at Dink Life. It is about the joys, challenges, and rewards of being a DINK (Dual Income, No Kids). Courtney and her husband are married for 10 years. They decided not to have kids early in their marriage.
A few of the reasons they are childless include “loving their freedom,” “wanting to spend money on things [they] enjoy,”It is not “creating an even bigger carbon footprint then we already have,”And “overpopulation in the world.”One reason was however “not wanting to bring children into the world as it currently is.”
This is because those who do not choose to have children often get labeled “non-parents”. “selfish.”Pope Francis has caused quite the stir recently by stating that parents who refuse to have children are not exhibiting a mother’s love. “form of selfishness,” Add that “This denial of motherhood and fatherhood makes us less human. Because it is deprived of the richest aspects of motherhood and fatherhood, civilization becomes old and devoid of humanity. And our homeland suffers, as it does not have children.”
It can be, according to the people who I spoke with. MoreTo have children is selfish.
“The pope really needs to parent a child of his own before he says that parenting makes humans better,”Kate. “ In some humans it can do just the opposite.”
Scott Hasting (38), is co-founder and chief executive officer of BetWorthy, a betting information site. His college environment group led him to his wife. “decided not to bear a child as s/he will just suffer on Earth”The Earth is going to suffer just as much.
“We know the needs of a growing child and the toll it can bring to the environment,”He stated. “Think of all the clothes the baby will use, the diapers even if they are reusable, the toys. These will all go to waste and that hurts our planet so much.”
At every family reunion, Scott and his wife receive lectures, endless questions, and concerned stares about their decision to remain childfree, but they are resolute in their conviction that they’re doing the right thing for both the planet and their neverborn child.
“Bearing a child will just add to our carbon footprint and that is going against our values. We chose not to have a child in a world where the worst effects of climate change are worsening. We are not doing this for us; we are just trying to avoid any hardships that our supposed baby will feel.”
Due to this line of thinking, people who choose to remain childfree are often described as “anti-natalists.” In a Reddit group for anti-natalists, one user describes the philosophy as such:
“Anti-natalists assign a negative value to birth for multiple reasons, such as the presence of suffering, selfishness, consent, environmental reasons … To put it shortly, we believe that giving birth is unethical.”
Even so, people I spoke to were unwilling to identify themselves as such.
“Anti-natalist is a strong word to describe us,”Scott said. “Technically, yes, we are anti-natalists in the sense that we encourage other people to have fewer children and we don’t want a child of our own. [But] in our group of friends, we are the only ones who didn’t have children; most of them have one or two.”
Courtney indicated that she was not against natalism, but she believes people should consider having children a decision and not something they have to do.
“For some people being a parent is their life’s journey and greatest gift, and I would never suggest that someone doesn’t follow that equally amazing path. If society encouraged women to be parents, instead of making it an expectation, I think we’d see great changes in the world.
“Providing women in extreme poverty the education and protection to be able to choose whether or when they want to become a mom would support ending poverty, overpopulation, anxiety and depression.”
Kate similarly does not consider herself anti-natalist, but believes our society should make people really know what they’re getting themselves into when they choose to have a child:
“Many people haven’t even held a baby before they’ve had their own. Is it possible to tell if someone is well-suited for parenting? Many people have had their offspring and regretted it. This is a story I often hear as a coach. My utopia vision would see teenagers receiving a child as soon their hormones kick in.
“I’m certain that babysitting from the age of 13 helped me understand what parenting was all about and allowed me to understand that it wasn’t the correct decision for my life. A child can make a difference in your life. Although the pope does agree that humanity needs more, having more humans doesn’t necessarily make it so. Helping humans understand that living a life centered in love is the point.”
Both women replied strongly in the negative when asked if they are worried about regretting not having had children.
“People often say to me ‘You will change your mind one day’ or ‘You will regret not having children when you are old’. So far I haven’t changed my mind, and I don’t fear the loneliness of not having children to take care of me in my old age,”Courtney stated. “To have a child out of fear of missing out in the future is not a great way to live in the present moment. I only have the present moment to live in, and worrying about raising another human being is not something I want to do.”
“I’m not sad I chose to remain child-free for the sake of the planet,”Kate. “I enjoy taking care of Mother Earth in the ways I am able to do so.”
Kate and her husband purchased a 40-acre parcel of land in Yoder Colorado a few years back. They have since planted more than 80 trees and dug a water pond and had a chicken flock. The couple hopes to replant some of the land in spring with native grasses to increase biodiversity. “create a little oasis microclimate in the middle of what is quickly becoming a place of desertification.”
None of this – according to Kate – would be possible if she was pooling all of that money and energy into sending a kid off to college. At 51, she is happy to say that she’s “lived a life of adventure, not tied to school schedules and 18 years of being tethered to someone with various dependence issues.”
Although she will not have any children, it is a fulfilling and important part of her life.
“I am not childfree. Children have infiltrated my life many times, and there are more ways to do so. In the meantime, I will plant some trees and seeds and see how I can make this little piece of Earth a bit happier than I found it.”