WATERCOOLER: Choosing childfree lives - selfish or evolution?
SELFISH. That was one word a panel of people on SBS' Insight program said they were called just because they had decided not have children. Ever.
On Tuesday night, SBS aired its latest instalment of the Insight program, with this week's topic being about men and women who have chosen not to ever have children.
To me, it was humbling and an interesting reminder of some of the things people have said to me over the years.
"You'll change your mind."
"You need a man to tame you and give you lots of kids."
"You'll be a great mother."
"You could always find a man who has kids already and be their step-mother."
The best response I have come up with is to simply shrug my shoulders and either walk away or change the topic.
Don't get me wrong. I am not anti-children.
In fact, I love them.
I just don't want to have any of my own.
In my early 20s, I didn't see it as a priority to find a man and get married and have kids. They were still a potential in the future at that time of my life, but they weren't a definite.
I was focused on my career and my parents were happy with that.
But, once I starting getting close to 30, the snide remarks of "It doesn't matter what I want my grandkids to call me because I'm not getting any" and "You could always find a man who has kids already" starting coming out.
Now, I'm in my mid 30s and working on switching careers and travel overseas. Kids are definitely not on the cards.
I simply have too many things I want to do and having children isn't one of them.
Some of the comments from the people on the SBS were surprising.
One of the younger women who has made this decision not to have children talked about the pressure she use to get from her family and her friends.
She said once she married, it was worse as people expected the pregnancy news to follow soon after.
An older man talked about how people questioned what was wrong with him just because he didn't have kids and didn't want them.
At the end of the day, it's nobody's business why a person doesn't want children.
Edith Cowan University research Bronwyn Harman, who appeared on the program, is researching why about 23% of the Australian adult population do not have children - whether by choice or just cannot have children.
She said she has not yet found anything that ties all the choice people together.
Does it matter? At the end of the day, it is nobody's business why a person chooses not to have children. Just as it is nobody's business why a person studies law over medicine, or decides to rent their whole life over buying their own home.
There is nothing psychologically wrong with a person choosing not to have children. One could almost view this as part of the evolution process - some of us have evolved to the point where we do not feel we have children in order to have a fulfilling life.
What do you think about this? Are people who decide not to have children, ever, selfish?
Is it just expected in our society that you get married and have kids?
Have you made the decision not to have children? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Join our daily watercooler by leaving a comment below.
What you're saying on Facebook:
Karen Staunton: "Totally not selfish at all. Have children for all the wrong reasons that's selfish."
Cherie Hamilton: "People need to mind their own freaking business and let others live their lives their way."
Michelle McKay: "It's not selfish at all having children for the status is selfish."
Sarah Mintrom: "If you don't want children, definitely don't have them! It's selfish to have a child you don't want and treat it as such. It's also selfish not to make sure that whoever you start a relationship with doesn't know your thoughts on the matter of children."
Stacey Wood: "Not at all. I have one and she is the most amazing person i know. But makes you think twice about bringing kids into the world with all thats happening. They are the ones who will be facing more troubles in the future. Its selfish of those who have kids if anything."
Karlee Cobby: "If you aren't capable financially or mentally of providing an ideal life for a child how can you say it's selfish not to!!!! It's worse to have a kid and not provide a good life for it."
Cassie Jean: "How is it selfish? Why should people feel pressured to have children if they don't want to... I have a 2 year old & another on the way, but I certainly don't question anyone who decides that they don't want to have children. I think it would be selfish to bring children into the world if you didn't genuinely want to."
Rodney Carter: "It cant be selfish if there are no kids to be selfish to."