Because I’m childfree, there is a good chance I’ll die alone. I know this because when childfree people talk about being childfree, one of the popular responses of the childed (or want-to-be-childed) is, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll die alone?”
It’s used so frequently as a way to make childfree women think just a little bit more about having kids that I have to assume 1) not having a child will leave me a lonely old person (assuming my husband dies before I do, or that we divorce before I die and I don’t find a new boyfriend, which would be unlikely because I flirt a lot when I’m single), and 2) that many people actually have children because they don’t want to die alone.
“Make no mistake. We all die alone.” – Up in the Air
As I learned when visiting a relative in ICU a few years ago, having kids doesn’t guarantee someone will be by your side when you die. The nurses said most of the patients in ICU rarely had visitors. And the nursing home I once worked in wasn’t too crowded with old people’s concerned or caring children, either.
There are many places any one of us could die that aren’t in a bed surrounded by children:
In a car wreck, on a hike, in the shower, on a bike.
On an airplane, in a school, on the staircase, in a pool.
Choked on fishbone, stabbed in park, smooshed by bus wheels, death by shark.
House explosion, plastic bag, falling space junk, kicked by stag.
“Oopsie, poison!”, death by cop, too much laughing, fallen prop.
Struck by lighting, crashing train, fall from ladder, much cocaine.
While out jogging, roll off bed, burst blood vessel in your head.
Liquor poisoning, slip on ice, defective birth control device.
And so on.
There are many unappealing ways to die, and having children can only potentially minimize, but by no means eliminate, one of them.
Sylvia D. Lucas is the author of No Children, No Guilt and What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women