Childfree, with Furbabies

I just got my new issue of Bust today (fyi fiber-lovers, Debbie Stoller is the editor). I love this magazine--it's got crafts, interesting interviews, book and music reviews, just lots of fascinating stuff.

Anyway, there's a particularly compelling article "Newborn Free" (by Judy McGuire) about women who choose not to have children. Women who (like me) may--in fact--not even have any desire whatsoever to have children.

I'm 38. About five years ago my biological clock went off. It chimed for all of about two months, then promptly stopped ringing. That was it. I have no more desire to have children than to have all of my teeth extracted with rusty implements and no anesthesia.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not one of those child-hating people, and I greatly admire people who are parents. Frankly, I've no idea how you do it. It seems to me the hardest, longest, most grueling job in the world (even if parents say it's also the best and most rewarding). Hey parents--I give you credit!

Somehow I've just missed out on having the child-bearing urge. And thank goodness...because as a recovering alcoholic and bipolar person, I don't have the greatest genes to pass on. Not to mention that going off my meds for the term of a pregnancy might not be the greatest thing in the world either.

Along these lines, from the Bust article:

"Recent scientific studies have shown that the urge not to procreate might be biological--just like homosexuality or the ability to curl one's tongue. A 1998 study published in the journal Nature Genetics found that female mice lacking a certain gene were lousy moms and inept nest builders."

Think those are the mice that eat their babies? (I shudder to think...)

Ah, well. I'm not trying to get all political about it, I just found the article thought-provoking, and sort of reassuring in that "I guess I'm not the only girl with a broke biological clock" kind of way. (If there's a baby and a kitten in a room, guess which one I'm gonna pick up?)

Although no one would ever say anything about it, sometimes I feel badly that my parents will only have furbabies for grandchildren (I'm an only child). But we do lavish the furry ones with lots of love and attention, and I know--I've always known--that I was never destined to be a people parent (at least to my own birth-babies) in this lifetime.

And that's okay with me and my four-footed family.

Emma Fife Peale

Isis Kyle and Morgan Freeman LeFay

Pepper, Lacey, Graty, and Llannie

Does this girl look like she'd eat her own children? (Really, she just wants to have kittens.)

P.S. Yep, this is the same hen house you saw in yesterday's post.

P.P.S. Funny buttons (for the childfree and/or not easily offended) can be found here.


Mouse said...

I read Bust magazine as well.. its a great magazine (not only because of its high fiber content..
Even though I have a child.. I definitely am not one of those people who advocate having children. I fully admit that there are many days where the job seems more than impossible.. and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I love my son and I don't regret my decision to have him.. but I fully support those who choose not to get on that wild ride!

Glaistig said...

I'm beginning to think that we were separated at birth or something. I'm your age. Lately, I have been feeling that if I don't have kids, it'll be alright. I've been really mulling it over. Like you, I admire parents who are doing a great job in raising their little ones. It seems like such a hard endeavor, especially in today's insane world. I'm still undecided about whether I'll have a kid but I have respect for both Moms/Dads and the childfree. I can see from your posted pics that you have an incredible family right now :)

Another major Bust lover here! I keep all my old copies in the bathroom for good reading. That is such a cute picture of you! What a classic 70s poncho.

'Tart said...

How absolutely wonderful to find someone like me in blog land! I am 35, bipolar, childless, who wishes fervently for a beautiful farm with animals. My latest ideas include alpacas, as I love to crochet and am trying to further my knitting skills and I love rubbing soft yarn against my face almost as much as nuzzling and playing with my Siamese and Pug. I too fear being off-meds to have a child since I tend to go psychotic unmedicated. Sometimes I fear what my life is going to be like if I manage to shirk that responsibility. You are utterly living my dream life - alpacas, cats, hmm I never thought about chickens, but I want an egg weigher with color coding!! So glad to find you! You are welcome to check out my rantings anytime. :)

Amy said...

I've honestly had people tell me that having children will "come to me." Actually, this happens all the time. 21, no desire yet. I have zero patience for the buggers, and would also rather have cats and dogs.... or just cats...

RheLynn said...

Interesting magazine - I don't get a lot of print publications here :o( My biological clock has been ringing it's heart out for about two years now - and probably for the next two as well. Sadly nature has required a doctor get in the mix and that makes things a lot more difficult!

I do love all your furbabies! The little ones (Isis, Pepper, and Morgan) are getting so much bigger all the time!

Carrie K said...

I've never even heard of Bust magazine. Where have I been? I live in a place where it's probably at the grocery store too. I'll have to check it out.

Another childless female here. Two of my girlfriends from High School days are also childless, we were just talking about this last weekend! My only real regret is for my parents too, and the occasional "what if".

Chris said...

Sounds like an article I'll have to read. I have no biological clock whatsoever. I am shocked as hell at how much I'm enjoying my baby niece - but I still have no desire to have or adopt a baby. Heh, that might've contributed to getting a kitten, tho...

sunneshine said...

Wow, how refreshing to read your post and the article in Bust! As a 37 year old childless woman, I get annoyed with my mom's hinting and my friends wondering if my marriage is solid because I/we have chosen not to become parents. I have knitted countless blankets and hats for friends in the last couple years, but still don't have that ticking clock - the closest I get is wanting a puppy. And I love children, as long as I can give them back. It is good to know that there are others who also feel whole without feeling that they have to have a child! Thanks for the post!

Lizzy said...

Yea for us childfree folks!! I opted for Essure permanent birth control before starting law school at age 30 . . . no more worries about accidentally becoming un-childfree. I get my kicks with my own furbabies (I had 7 healthy babies this year alone - hehe) and mentoring the teen children of others - they think I'm cool and their parents are dorks. I'd rather be the cool one. ;-)

msfortuknit said...

Awww! Look at you Shannah the conqueor

Jeanne said...

OMG how serendipitous, as I was just struck by this concept today myself while mulling over my self-description and realizing how limiting and negative it was. Phrases like "never married, childless artist" jumped out at me and it hit me—husband-LESS, child-LESS. What is with that word "less"? It is full of implications that I am somehow "less" because I have no husband or children. I immediately rewrote it much along the same lines. I am proud to say that I am happily husband-FREE, and child-FREE, by choice: free of obligations that are perfect for some, but wrong for me. Of course, I'm also job-free at the moment, not quite so happily... ;-)

BlackCrow said...

Yeh kitten!!
I start talking about my cat's poo when ever a new fathers or mothers starts talking about their baby's poo!

I knew very early that I wouldn't have kids..maybe it was my gloom and doom attitude to the state of the world or could even be a gene?
Everything you mentioned runs deep in my family and I can see some of the effects in my youngest niece, such a huge struggle.
Thanks for posting that artical!