I began reading the blog “The Hiking Humanist” some time ago, and I was recently alerted by another childfree person, Dann Alexander (author of Planned UnParenthood Creating A Life Without Procreating), to the owner, Julie’s, new website Childfree Voices.
Her posts are a high-energy combination of funny, insightful, at times (seemingly) annoyed, and brilliant, and so naturally I wanted to interview her.
Q: What has been your experience as a childfree person? That is, why did you decide to branch off from your older blog, Hiking Humanist, to create the topic-specific Childfree Voices?
A: The Hiking Humanist was originally going to be just a personal blog, not really written for the benefit of any audience. But my childfree-related posts turned out to be so popular that I sort of gained a followng. I found out that I really liked writing about childfreedom, but HH had become such an unfocused mess that I just decided to create a whole new blog to corral this topic into one place. Most of my old followers seem to have come along for the ride.
Q: One of the things you wrote that you selected as a quote of the week is, “I don’t have it all because I don’t have kids? That’s like saying I don’t have it all because I don’t have malaria.” If someone with children were to write something similarly antagonistic about not having children (even if you CAN technically find a way to compare malaria with children, you obviously know it’s a baiting thing to say), would that tempt you to respond? I guess what I’m asking is if you’re trying to provoke a conversation with parents in general or with people who criticize the childfree, or if your posts seem/feel angry – or maybe like they’re itching for a fight – because you’ve received, or continue to receive, a lot of pressure about your decision to not have children.
A: I did indeed write that. I disagree that it’s antagonistic. To be antagonistic, I think the quote has to either be directed at or be specifically about people with kids, and it isn’t. It’s about me.
I don’t want kids. I would view having them as undesirable, much like having malaria. It would therefore be nonsense to say that I don’t ‘have it all’ for not having either. I like to explain this fact plainly. You’re not really out of the closet if you still have to hide what you really think. How can anyone understand my childfree position if I’m too timid to say it plainly?
There will always be people out there who will try to make everything about themselves and will do whatever reaching it takes to find something, anything, to be offended about. Seriously, a stranger once called me every manner of bigot because of something that I wrote to the effect of saying that I would not be child-proofing my home nor buying collapsible cribs and changing tables just in case someone with a kid ever visits. I can’t control what other people are going to get in a twist about, and frankly, it’s not my problem. I’m not about to closet myself just in case some random person can’t handle what I’ve written.
I don’t write for parents, one way or the other. They are simply not considered. It’s a childfree blog. While I don’t ban people with kids or who want them from reading and wouldn’t even if I could, it’s a childfree blog. It makes sense for it to be about childfreedom from the perspectives of the childfree people, such as myself. Honestly, what is any parent expecting to find on a blog about childfreedom? Ringing endorsements of and adoration for children?
As it is, no one has ever complained about the quote or the post that it originated from. So there is not really a problem.
Q: Your “childfree life tip #1” is to be open about being childfree on social media because you never know who will suddenly realize they aren’t alone. What kind of responses have you received from people since starting your Childfree Voices website, or even since you started being vocal online about being childfree?
A: The responses I’ve gotten to being openly CF online have been overwhelmingly positive. My blog posts have been shared by people all over the web, and I have, on more than one occasion, been told by readers that what I’ve written has helped them personally in some way. I am most often thanked for sharing my tubal ligation experience over two years ago.
Apart from that, I have also mentioned being CF a few times on FaceBook, where people who know me were able to read it. This eventually led to someone I knew from when I was in the Army contacting my by private message. He said that he and his wife were considering being childfree, and he wanted to talk to me about it. That was pretty cool.
Q: What do you most hope Childfree Voices will accomplish?
A: Childfree Voices does not really have a stated goal. I mean, I’m hoping for a blog that’s more about childfreedom in general instead of just me, personally, and hoping to build a bit of a community. That’s why I now ask for a lot of reader participation with things like the Monthly Childfree Question feature, as well as by keeping an open offer to anyone interested to contribute their own posts. But, if that fails, I’m just happy to have a place for me to talk childfreedom and link to other pages that might have matters of interest to childfree people. I like the idea of connecting the childfree community.
Q: When do you remember first being certain that you didn’t want kids? (I ask this because even if it never occurs to a person to want them, there’s usually still a time – whether with a partner or when parents bring it up – that it’s presented as one of those real life options/possibilities, and those times can be what helps someone have the very strong, sure reaction, “Oh, yeah. No. Not for me. No way.”)
A: I see this question asked a lot. It always baffled me. Do people really have sudden click moments? Like, they’re just walking down the street, admiring the flowers, when all of a sudden they have an epiphany out of nowhere “Holy crap! I don’t want kids!”
I’ve never wanted kids. Ever. Ever since I learned where they came from, I decided to completely avoid relationships altogether in order to avoid having kids, because I was told that one invariably led to the other. When I was old enough to find out about birth control, I learned that was not true – relationships and children need not go together. So there was no moment that I decided to be childfree, just a moment in which I first learned of birth control.
Q: Has your not wanting children ever been the cause of a breakup? (If yes, what happened/how did it happen?)
A: I’ve never had a break up at all. Ever. For any reason. Really. I’m very careful about who I date and will look for any reason to weed someone out as a possible suitor. I have never been one to settle for less.
I’m not someone who dates just for the sake of dating. I’m actually quite happy and content alone and it takes a lot for someone to convince me that they’re worth sacrificing my blissful singleness for. I have to know someone VERY well to know if they’re worth so much as one date. I have very strict standards for dating, which I absolutely refuse to compromise on. I get all deal-breakers out of the way before I agree to anything, and the kids issue is definitely a deal breaker.
Only one man has ever proven himself worthy. We just passed out 5 year anniversary last month. We’ve never had any problems. Not even any real fights. We click pretty much perfectly. It’s great.
Q: When do you think someone should tell a new love interest that they don’t want kids, and how do you think they should broach it?
A: That’s an issue that should already be figured out well before even dating. I mean, one would really to know someone well enough to develop feelings for them to know that you want to date them, right? I mean, that’s just what makes sense, dating someone you’re already friends with as a natural progression of the relationship. I really don’t understand people who date people who are practically strangers and then try to force a relationship to form.
Don’t forget to visit Julie’s website at ChildfreeVoices.com.