Rebuttal to Lauren Sandler’s “Childfree Life”

I’m a bit offended. TIME didn’t call me for a rebuttal. I have 16 children — and I’m a debate coach to boot — and would have loved the opportunity to rebut Lauren Sandler’s article “The Childfree Life.”

TIME Cover

Don’t they look happily self-absorbed?

TIME magazine made a splash in today’s issue that claims the childfree life is something to be quite happy with. My wife, Wendy, and I have written extensively about the joys of more than one, most notably in our book Love in the House, available on Kindle for $2.99. Our second book, Love Another Child, gets a bit deeper in the analysis of the childfree lifestyle, and more particularly over the consequences in the world as such a worldview unfolds.

The “childfree life” is different than a childless life in this respect: the would-be parent is consciously choosing not to have children. Nowadays, if you want children, you can have them, even if you are physically unable to bear your own. The childfree folks are enthusiastic about no children. Lauren Sandler, the TIME author, goes through great pangs (pardon the pun) to emphasize the positive decision to avoid children. Despite the obvious demographic horrors of a declining population (yes, “horror” is an accurate term for it), Sandler seems quite giddy over the “childfree by choice” choice.

Sandler Is Right, to a Point

In fairness, Sandler has one child. She has some credibility. This gave the editors of TIME (I would put money down that many of them are childless-by-choice) the crack in the door to put Sandler’s article on the cover in their attempt to show their life is really not all that bad.

Also in fairness, Sandler does a fine job explaining what a big deal parenting is. There are too many unwanted children in the world, and though the Jeubs and the Sandlers differ in how to solve this problem, I suppose we can both agree that unwanted children is a bad thing. The subtitle of our books hint at where we differ:

It’s no doubt that the decision to bring children into the world and raise them is a big one. Mentally, financially, and spiritually, the couple that makes the plunge will never be the same again. My response: good. The world can use more mentally, financially and spiritually mature people. Sandler responds with rationale like, “I’ve watched most of my friends tread into the tunnel of second children, few of them to emerge as how I remember their former engaged selves.”

Former Engaged Selves

Good grief, seriously? Out of a billion parents in the world, TIME really had to work hard to find one that thought her “former engaged self” was worth retaining.

Sandler’s naiveté — and every woman she interviews in the article — is so blindingly obvious that it’s embarrassing. The article’s subtitle, “When having it all means not having children,” kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Only those with no children would think it profound. Parents read it and think, “Are you that naive?”

Seriously, every parent in the entire world — save, perhaps, for Sandler herself, because she has one child — is looking at her with judgment. Not necessarily disdain, but judgment nonetheless. Sandler isn’t just living-and-letting-live, she’s writing books and trying to persuade the childless to “have it all” without children. Her entire writing career is spent justifying her self-centered, immature, and unsophisticated choice. Parents can’t help but respond, what a waste.

(Not only parents. I read a rebuttal yesterday from a childless woman who raked Sandler up one side and down the other. It is spot-on, a very good read.)

Yes, I know, it’s judgmental of parents to think the childless life as a waste. But the judgment is not naive; it is a rational comparison between a previous, self-absorbed existence to a latter, oh-my-life-is-more-than-just-me existence. The parent writing a TIME article about the “joy” in childlessness is, well, stu- … naive. 

I almost said “stupid.” That would be judgmental, sorry. I shouldn’t judge another’s “choice” to be childless. My mind’s eye is looking into the eyes of Lauren Sandler, and I cannot help it. She is trying so incredibly hard to persuade others that her choice — and anyone else who chooses to have one or none — is the moral or righteous choice. I don’t suspect there is much persuading her.

Is Sandler’s Worldview Persuasive?

Nevermind Sandler. What about the millions who are going to read her article today? This concerns me, and it should concern you, too.

See, a world of Lauren Sandlers running around is not a healthy world. When they are old, my family of entrepreneurs will be supporting them for their childless days. I’m not feeling the love when TIME publishes a cover story about how great it is to live it up in your 30s with one child (and, of course, how awesome it would be to have none; I bet only children feel the love, too).

I meet people all the time who regret their childless decisions. Seriously, all the time. Meanwhile, our home is full of life and joy. There you have it. You have Sandler idolizing the one-child — and now childless — worldview, and the Jeubs idolizing the life with 16 children. In today’s day you get to choose.

If you choose childlessness, you will, as Sandler argues, continue your self-engaged life. Good for you. Party up.

If you choose children, you will, as Wendy and I argue, enter into an exciting growth in your life that will surprise you. You’re in for a rebirth of sorts, a maturity leap, and that’s something to be giddy over.

Or you could end up somewhere in the middle. Seven or eight kids, maybe.

Want the best cases, briefs and articles for competition? Become a Monument Member, and get them dropped in your lap every single "Monument Monday." Become a Monument Member!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Great post Chris. I often say I never realized how self absorbed I was until I had children. Suddenly it was no longer “all about me.” Suddenly, I had to put someone else’s needs above my own. That is what good parenting looks like.

    Sadly, there are too many unwanted children, and people who “make babies” with no idea how to raise them into well adjusted adults.

    I do agree that people who “want to have it all, at any cost” should not have children. Why subject an innocent child to that level of selfishness? But to those who are ready to die to self, and to find out what a gain that is, then children are, indeed, a blessing.

    • Well said, Kelly. I couldn’t agree more.

    • Heather Nations

      I, also, never realized how self absorbed I was. In fact, I didn’t realize it until child #3 was born! It is a lot easier to see the fruit of my actions with my eldest (9) and realize it started at birth with the choices I made. Having *multiple* children has really grown me as a person and I feel so blessed to have realized how precious each one is while we are all still *fairly* young 😀

    • J. Lea López

      You say it’s a blessing that you had kids because it made you realize how self absorbed you were. I say that’s sad. If children were the only or best path to self awareness and the only way to show you’re capable of putting someone else’s interests before your own, we’d be one truly enlightened world. But we’re quite obviously not. The narrow minded idea that your chosen life path is the only way to be a “real” or unselfish adult is arrogant, to say the least.

      • My guess is you have no kids, and you’re trying hard to rebut the parent who says kids enlighten you. Am I correct?

        If your calling is the “childfree” life, then fine. But to call a parent “arrogant” and “narrow minded” for reflecting on their awesome calling is, er, just that.

        • J. Lea López

          One of us needs a refresher on the definition of arrogant. Hint: it isn’t me.

          To presume that having children is the only possible way NOT to be selfish, and that choosing to be childfree guarantees a self-engaged life (I’m sure you meant that as a compliment,right? Didn’t think so) is pretty much the definition of arrogant.

          • I’m going to pretend you’re not calling me arrogant and attempt to have a conversation with you. Fair?

            Self-engaged is Sandler’s word choice. She means it as a compliment to those who have no more than one child (which is her life choice), but as an insult to those with more than one (where I’m at, and to Sandler, I’m “not as self-engaged.”)

            Most parents I talk to tend to view “self-engagement” differently. Before children, yeah, I suppose they were more self-engaged. Self-centered, selfish, self-absorbed — I suppose these terms tend to roll around with “self-engaged.” Sorry, that’s how many, many parents see their lives before kids.

            I wouldn’t call these parents arrogant for making this observation. It’s a reality that hits you when you allow a child into your life. Just is, J.

            • Ishel Bianco

              Having multiple children also can be done in a very irresponsible way and some men who do not take care of the many children they father with multiple women are not more enlightened than most of us. Reading or going through other experiences can also produce enlightenments. You chose to have children, other people devote their energies to other causes that are not genetically related to them, does not make them any less marvelous than you think you are.

            • J. Lea López

              Self-engaged may be Sandler’s word choice. Self-absorbed is yours. Also self-centered, immature, and a waste. And let’s not forget your cutesy “oops, I almost said stupid, but that would be judgy so I won’t, but oops, I guess I just did anyway.”

              Just so I have it straight, belittling someone else’s life choices that differ so greatly from your own isn’t arrogant, but calling out someone else’s arrogance IS? Got it.

              Let’s take this quote: “It’s no doubt that the decision to bring children into the world and raise them is a big one. Mentally, financially, and spiritually, the couple that makes the plunge will never be the same again. My response: good. The world can use more mentally, financially and spiritually mature people.” So what you’re saying is that childfree people are mentally, financially, and spiritually immature? Is having children the only or the best way to achieve emotional, financial and spiritual maturity and growth, in your eyes? Given the rest of the post, it’s impossible to conclude anything other than YES, that’s how you feel. Sure sounds like someone making claims or pretensions to superior importance. Sure sounds overbearingly assuming. Sure sounds insolently proud. And that’s the textbook definition of arrogant.

              I have no problem with you having as many kids as you and your wife see fit. You make your choices. I’ll make mine. But asserting that your way makes you more mature and my way makes me anything less is not okay. Someone making an observation about their own experiences (like realizing their own selfish tendencies after they had children) is not what’s arrogant. Trying to stretch that observation about oneself to everyone else is misguided at best, blazingly arrogant at worst.

        • Ishel Bianco

          There are a lot of ways to be enlightened, having a child is not the only way, my mother kept being selfish after having me, and many parents can become more so. Childfree as opposed to childless, because nothing is missing on my life just because I did not make your decision.

    • Ishel Bianco

      You do not consider selfish to have children when so many are waiting for families just so they have some of your genes?. Many childfree people I know have worked very hard in charities and give a lot of the money they do not spend on their own genes on other beings. Some people come to realizations without going through a pregnancy. It is possible and happens to a lot of people, the way to realization is not just through one’s womb.

      • I do not understand that first sentence.

        • Ishel Bianco

          You do not think it is selfish to have that many biological children when there are so many orphans longing for families?

          • No, I don’t.

            • Ishel Bianco

              I do not think my choice of not having children is selfish either, I do not want to contribute to human population and I find helping the planet far more unselfish. Your article tells me that your decision is the only good one, that your views are the only acceptable ones. I would not have a discussion with you otherwise. You have your ideology which makes you happy and I have my own ideas. I do not need to have children to be realized. I suspect you come from a very fanatical religious background and you have your right to follow what you believe, what about stopping to judge the ones who have other priorities in life?. There are many paths of happiness. Not having children is the one for me. Why do you raise so much hell about one article that represents a minority of people. Having children is not the default setting for some of us.

              • Ishel Bianco

                I care about more than one species, and about more than one set of genes. Some of us childfree became so for environmental and ecological reasons. Although not your reasons, for me life has not been all party, but also hard work taking care of homeless animals often displaced because someone had a child. Your judgement on the childfree does not show the entire range of reasons why not to have children. Working with different species than my own opened my mind too, I could be as you are and say” You do not know anything until you have not done what I did”. This experience made me stronger, I have no idea what it would produce on you.

              • So, if you are doing the planet a favor by having no children, I suppose my children are pollutants to the planet. You see my rebuttal as a personal judgment toward you, which is why you suspect I’m a religious fanatic. I think I’m understanding you.

                Ishel, stick around and perhaps you’ll become more “aware” than just “self-aware.”

                • Ishel Bianco

                  I will not wish you to become anything against your will, I do not seek to impose my lifestyle to you. What I have done fits my ideas, what you do I suppose fits yours. I would never tell you what to do with your reproductive rights, or consider my awareness superior to yours. You are putting down my achievements and my sense of self because I chose another path. For my priorities is congruent not to breed. I will not wish you to become less anthropocentric because I suppose that is what works for you and anthropocentrism is common to most organized religions. I read some of your biography and you seem to be religious. I can respect that, your article does not make it sound like you respect or view the choices of others as valuable. It sounds to me you really love your life with all your children, I love my life with no biological children. This would not have to be a war if your side was not imposing yours as the only good choice.

        • lanmanna

          Am I selfish if I only want to adopt? I mean, it’s selfish to not share my genes, right?

  • Steve Orris

    I once worked with a man who didn’t want any kids. It took me by surprise for a tenth of a second and then I realized that I was glad. He probably wouldn’t make a good dad. I child influenced by him on a daily basis probably wouldn’t turn out well. And if people who have this attitude don’t have any kids then only those of us who really love kids with produce the next generation. I don’t agree with the author, but I still love the first amendment. She has a right to write her point of view. And I have a right to not purchase Time magazine. (Unless that was part of the ‘health care’ bill.)

  • Chrisie Brandel

    the only positive side to this is that if the mindset continues, eventually the only people around will be children of people who love kids and consider them a blessing 🙂

    • Jan Geisler

      Yup, and just look at what an amazing world you’re bringing them into.

  • Chad Jackson

    Chris, great post but whenever Time Magazine comes out with any article you know it is “of the world.” When I saw the front page of the magazine I didn’t even need to read the article and knew what it was going to be about. The “enemy” trying to plant seeds into the minds of the impressionable.

    • Ishel Bianco

      TImes magazine is not promoting the Childfree status, just informing people that we exist. There are many shows and magazine articles speaking about large families. We should have a choice on what will make us happy. Not having children has been a great and enlightening experience for me.

  • Very interesting interpretation of this article, but I’m not sure if it warranted a rebuttal. I’m not even sure you read the same article as I did and you have quotes from the author that do not even appear in the TIME article so I fear you may be bringing some of her other writing into your rebuttal.

    You make it sound as if the entire article is all about the author going on and on about how amazing it is to live a life without children. But I fail to see where she sounds giddy about the choice to be childfree, a choice that she didn’t even choose for herself. As much as you want to belittle her choice for only having 1 child, she is a parent, not a childfree woman.

    I don’t agree with the cover image or the tagline of the article at all. The phrase “having it all” just sounds pretentious, and my days relaxing on the beach are limited to all but 2-3 days of the year. Less time than my parents spent on vacation every summer during my childhood.

    I can’t speak directly for the author, but I really don’t feel like she’s trying to convince the impressionable people of the world that not having children is the way of the future. The childfree couples I know acknowledge the importance of parenthood and don’t try to convince would-be parents to join the childfree dark side. We really just want our choice to be acknowledged as a legitimate one. We want to be able to speak about the choice to not have children without being chastised and made to feel guilty about that choice. We want to live our lives without being accused of living a self-indulging, immature, party lifestyle.

    A world of people without children might not be a healthy world, but you could say the same about a world full of people with 16 children. The decline in birth rates in the US since 2007 are largely attributed to the economy and some are predicting that it will begin to rise again soon. A vast majority of couples will continue to have children and won’t be suddenly convinced that it’s a bad idea because of an article in TIME magazine.

  • Jan Geisler

    You have 16! holy crap you’ve done plenty of work so us childfree don’t have to. I’m presuming you’re patting yourself on the back and expecting a congrats, sorry I see you as a self indulgent delusional narsissist for burdening the world more, are you sure you’re not a Duggar? i’m quite sure you’ll delete my comment lol but believe me much more is being posted by others all over facebook about your breeding habits.

    • I wouldn’t delete your post. As long as you contribute to the conversation, you’re in.

  • Elise Schultz

    I guess that makes me somewhere in the middle with 9 children. 😉 I personally cant stand to be around people without children. They are completely self absorbed and just irritating always talking about themselves…me me me.

    • LittleKnives

      Well I can’t stand to be around breeders like yourself . You’re all so boring, all you ever talk about is your children. Don’t you think it’s a bit self absorbed to think that everyone finds your kids just as interesting and precious as you do? FYI, no one does. No one cares about your kids snotty noses or dirty diapers or scraped knees. No one cares that they learned how to tie their shoes. I would rather hear someone talk about their recent travels, or about an interesting scientific article they’ve read.

  • Sue

    What IS wrong with having no children ? My husband and I volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters as many child free people do. We support and volunteer for animal rescue as well as the local homeless shelter which has a program to get homeless people off the streets and back to being productive members of society.

    We run a successful business and use our company’s resources as well to donate and assist with other programs such as therapeutic horse riding for children with disabilities and habitat for humanity.

    We don’t have children because we’ve never had the desire to have any. Even as a young girl I knew I never had the maternal instinct. We didn’t choose children over extra time, money and success, but I do not deny our current lifestyle is the RESULT of not having any kids, but it was not the cause.

    I am a productive member of society. I give back, I actually help people and animals. I resent being called selfish simply because I lack the desire to have children. No one questions why I don’t want to eat lobster, dye my hair red, or eat 4 oreos at once, so why am I called names simply for not procreating ?

    If parents can celebrate how much they love their lives as parents and how much they love their kids, why don’t I have the right to celebrate my child freedom ?

    Why can’t I sit back in my hammock with a glass of wine and say out loud ” yeah I love having no kids” without being raked over the coals.

    I didn’t say children suck, I said I love my life for not having them. I respect your decision, now you respect mine.

    • Sue, yours is the clearest, kindest and most conscientious response to my rebuttal yet.

      I apologize for the name calling, but your decision is as I say in my rebuttal: naive. That’s a fundamental problem I have with Sandler’s article (and all the nasty commenters in your camp…you are a novelty). You’re claiming your happier with something of which you have never had.

      And if everyone believed in childfree bliss, our world would face demographic horrors. It’s nice that you have the joyous freedom to enjoy your wine in your hammock, but you’re going to grow old and live off social security with no descendants. My brood will be paying in to support the aging population. Japan, Italy, Germany, Russia, France are experiencing what the US and China will someday face, and you are expediting that impending doom.

      Demographic realities are too easily brushed aside by Sandler and childfree advocates. I can respect lifestyles that bring no greater harm to others, but when it threatens the existence and well-being of the human species, it deserves a second thought.

      • Compared to Japan, Italy, Germany, Russia and France, the US has by far the highest population growth rate. We also have a much larger overall population base compared to these countries. The US currently has the 5th highest project population increase through 2050 and is the only wealthy country in the top 25 of this list. We are currently at a low in terms of fertility rate, but this number has historically followed economic trends and many experts expected it to make an upturn as we recover from the great recession we have been in since 2007. It’s no coincidence that 2007 also marks our most recent peak in fertility rate.

        As I mentioned in my other comment, it is true that if everyone decided not to have children our world would face demographic horrors, but the same would be true if everyone decided to have 16 children.

        You act as if your decision to have so many children doesn’t effect other people, but my decision to not have any is going to be the end of the human species as we know it. The reality is that having 0 children and having 16 children are both extremes and the majority of people will continue to fall somewhere in the middle.

      • Sue

        Interesting. Now I’m naive for not procreating ?

        So basically you are saying that every female with a working uterus should be using it to churn out more people. Regardless of their lack of desire, they should do it anyway ? I’m sure then you must also feel that the young single mothers of this world who are basically children raising children and have no idea how to parent, are actually doing a great service to our nations as well. Breed, breed breed, it doesn’t matter if you are a good parent, just breed anyway, we need the tax dollars.

        it It’s true I AM going to grow old with no descendants, however I will not be living off social security because I have saved enough money to retire and I won’t need government money, I will/do have my own.
        The foundation money that I will leave behind will keep many charities very happy for years to come.

        I don’t understand the mindset of your “brood” as you call them, being brought into this world basically as tax slaves for their elders.
        We can’t keep producing people with the mindset that we need them simply for ongoing revenue.

        If I used that same mentality, then I would just keep starting new businesses to buy from my primary business to make that one more profitable and then just keep starting business after business to pay for the upline. Eventually it can’t sustain itself and you need to cut back, but government overspending is a whole other topic.

        My child free existence doesn’t threaten anyone. This planet has almost 7 billion people on it and it’s growing exponentially. No one seems to care that the resources our planet can generate in a year is used up by September. Our rainforests are disappearing, hundreds of species a day of plants and animals go extinct. WE are the ones killing our planet with our population explosion, and yet somehow I’m the bad guy and a threat to the well being of the human species simply because I don’t have offspring.

        With your 16 children, even if they only each have 2 children of their own, and you are still alive for 4 generations, YOU will personally be responsible for having 114 people on this planet, the 5th generation will produce 128 people alone.

        You can stand around patting yourself on the back now for being such a responsible outstanding citizen for “saving the world”.

        I’m really tired of being told that basically I contribute nothing to society and that I’m sponging off it simply because I didn’t spit anything out of my uterus.

        Get over yourself. Your I am superior mentality and your need to belittle everyone that isn’t a parent is the reason why TIME decided to cover the child free. You aren’t saving mankind, you are killing it. However breeders like you, and yes I am calling you a breeder since you seem to think it’s important that everyone do so even if they don’t want to really need to quit thinking that you are something special, that you are the ultimate humanitarian because you have offspring.

        Do you still look down on those that are barren or are they given a free pass in your eyes ?

        Breed away so you can die happy thinking 10 generations from now that you’ve saved mankind, when in fact there will be nothing left for them anyway.

        All the child free people have ever asked for is respect, respect for their choices, and yet you can’t even do that despite the fact we respect your choice to breed.

        It doesn’t matter anyway, with your superior attitude and breeder centric mentality you can only respect those that conform to your ideal. Whatever.

        • Children are blessings, not curses.

          Overpopulation is a myth disproved long ago.
          Underpopulation is a reality that doesn’t take much explanation.

          Animals breed. Human beings raise families. And human beings contribute to the well-being of our world.

          You’ve saved money, so you think you won’t be a burden. Such confidence in your money is economically risky. Demographics will spin the value of money much more than your savings.

          Sue, I hate to be blunt, but your view of humanity is pathetic. You’re clinging to faulty theories to justify a life choice that is questionable, which is what I contest with the TIME article. I hope you reconsider your worldview: Life is not a hindrance, it is a blessing.

          • anacoluthia

            “You’re clinging to faulty theories to justify a life choice that is questionable” – You may want to reread that several times because it applies very strongly to your choice to have many children.

      • anacoluthia

        I don’t need to stick my head in an oven to know that I won’t like it. I don’t need to move to Mexico to know I don’t like hot places when I’ve visited it. I don’t need to eat a habanero pepper to know I’m going to find it spicy, because guess what, I’ve had pepper before. Your line of thinking is ridiculous. People can EASILY know they are happier without something without having to try it.

        Your “brood” will be the reason the aging population is massive.

        And by the way, overpopulation has in fact been proven. The resources of the world are not infinite. The space in the world is not infinite. Constant growth is BAD for humanity. We literally have hundreds of thousands of children in North America alone that are in desperate need of homes, and millions living in poverty – and when you include other countries in those counts, the numbers are staggering.

        • Overtaxed

          “And by the way, overpopulation has in fact been proven. The resources of
          the world are not infinite. The space in the world is not infinite.
          Constant growth is BAD for humanity.”

          Of course it is, and that’s what drives me nuts about articles like this. How many people is too many? 20B? 200B? 2T? I don’t know, but there IS a number, and, when that number is passed, every person added to this planet is a DRAIN, not an asset. IMHO, that number has already been passed, but, that’s another argument.

          You have to realize that, like all things, this planet has a balance. Too many people = bad. Too few people = bad. We’ve been growing the population pretty much without so much as a hiccup since the middle ages. Perhaps it’s time to take a breather and try to figure out what the “right” number of people is and equalize around that number?

          • I_loathe_disqus

            I’ve read that two billion humans is the maximum the earth can support without *too* great a strain on the environment and on earth’s other non human populations, while allowing those 2 billion humans a reasonable First World standard of living (especially food security without straining the biosphere to the breaking point). Above two billion? Environmental degradation, habitat encroachment, extremes of wealth in a few hands and grinding poverty for more and more desperate , hungry people, destruction of the biosphere for more croplands, mass extinctions…Yeah, all earth’s problems stem from too many humans!

            • “I’ve read that…”
              You’re reading lies. Seriously…2 billion people is the ideal? You are living in the 18th century. This world is not problematic because of human beings. It is problematic because of certain human beings who read and believe ridiculous claims like the one you threw up.

              • Overtaxed

                Chris,

                Would you agree with my original point that there is “a number” where each person added is a determent to society rather than a benefit? If so, we’re just debating where that line lies; I feel it’s already been passed, but I’d like to hear what you see as the “max carrying capacity” for the world.

                And, when I say the line has already been passed; it’s obvious to me that today, if all countries lives to the standards of the US, we would not have enough resources to support everyone, not even for the short term. The only reason we can continue to function today with this number of people is because so many of them live in abject poverty and squalor.

                • No, I wouldn’t agree with your line-drawing premise. The blessings of life are dynamic, but extreme leftists like to think it is static. Your 2M number is way, way low anyway.

                  If every country promoted freedom like the US, we would have an incredible world. Instead, we have economic liberties thwarted, and people are not free to enjoy the blessings that come from human capital. The only impoverished countries in the world are those with leftist regimes in control. Even so, people like you keep making these outlandish, unfounded claims about overpopulation.

                  • Overtaxed

                    The impoverished countries also happen to be those with the highest birthrates. Now, there are reasons for that (lack of access to birth control) but having 5-7 children per woman doesn’t help the situation at all.

                    The blessings of life are dynamic, I agree with you there. But I strongly disagree that there isn’t a “number” which, when crossed, each additional human brings more misery rather than goodness into the world. Have you ever been to India? They have almost certainly reached their number; it’s an awful place primarily because there are just too many people there.

                    If your argument is that 10 trillion people could live on this planet as happily as 10 billion, there’s nothing to debate, I think you’re wrong, but, again, nothing really to debate, everyone should have children and should have as many as they can. However, I believe the earth has a carrying capacity for humans (as it does for all other animals) and that, when reached, each human born adds to suffering (again, as it does for all other animals). I think the “childfree” movement is akin to animals refusing to breed in captivity because they can sense there is not enough space for another tiger/gorilla/etc. And, I know we disagree here, but I think that it’s a good thing that there are more childfree people. If everyone was childfree, the world would die out in 100 years (not good). If everyone had as many children as you do, the entire US would look like Mumbai in 100 years (also not good) and our standard of living would be dramatically lower. Me being childfree enables your children to have a good life. And your children enable me to have an economy and healthcare at the end of my life. In a symbiotic relationship, and one we should all respect.

                    All that said, I think the trend is clear, 100 years from now we’ll likely have fewer people on this planet than we do today. And, IMHO, those people will be happier and more productive than we are; not only because of technology, but also because they won’t be so crowded into a planet with a finite amount of space and resource.

                    • I’m glad you mentioned India. It is a classic example of how the overpopulation myth is used to skew impressions. For years the country was thwarted with socialist policies, and the country experience the most poverty imaginable. For the past 15 years the country has liberalized its regulations and the country has leveraged its “overpopulation.” They’ve had the largest economic boom in the world.

                      Same with China. They are in their prime time, their population in their most productive age. However, they’re headed to impending doom because of their aging population. India didn’t make the grave error of thinking human capital was a curse. China did and will suffer demographically.

                    • Overtaxed

                      India, while perhaps booming economically, is probably the worst place I’ve ever had to go for work. There are just so many people, so much filth (because there are too many people), and untold suffering because they are so overpopulated.

                      I’d like the future of this country to look more like Scotland (a underpopulated area with awesome quality of life, green space for 100’s of miles, friendly and patient people) than India. But that may be where we disagree. If you love big city rush and seas of people, than I can see how this world looks under populated to you. I can’t stand it, which is why it looks overpopulated to me.

                      And yes, while India may have an economic boom, the impact on their population of having all those children is devastating. It’s one of the countries with the biggest rush of people trying to get out (to live in another country). They will never achieve the standard of living that the US has because, simply, there are too many people to try to pull up to that standard of living.

                  • lanmanna

                    Murica.

      • Overtaxed

        And, Chris, if everyone had a brood of children, we’d live in an overpopulated disaster. Demographic realities are just as easily brushed aside by the pro-natalists as the childfree. And, right now, IMHO, the childfree are right; we do have too many people and we need to deal with the “horror” of a shrinking population. There’s not enough “pie” to go around, not in the US, and certainly not in the world.

      • Elaine Walkden

        Why do you keep regurgitating some form of that “if everyone believed in childfree bliss” line? I assume you are smart enough to realize that every single human being on the planet is not going to think the same thing, ever.

      • lanmanna

        Why does it matter once you’ve passed? If the human race is ever in trouble of dying off, it would be rectified.

  • Alan Smith

    Firstly, I really, really hope that the first line of this article is a misprint. Surely no-one with an IQ above single figures would really have 16 children. Didn’t they find out what caused them until too late? And assuming someone is… and sorry, there is no other word for it… retarded enough to produce that many offspring… how could they possibly assume they have done the world any favors?

    Unfortunately, despite the evils caused by overpopulation, people who produce massive tribes of offspring seem to regard themselves as heroes, and they are even encouraged in this by certain followers of the Judeo/Christian superstition. About this, unfortunately, rational people can do little. Despite the advances made by science, many people feel obliged to conduct their lives according to the tenets of an outdated set of beliefs, which includes (to the detriment of the environment) the production of hordes of children.

    So far, I guess, so good. People make a choice to breed, find out too late just how unattractive screaming, wailing, tantrum-throwing little bundles of joy are, and then it’s too late. Their house smells of sick and stale milk, their entire lives have to be structured around their brood, and, essentially, any chance of enjoying life is gone. The cruel would dismiss their misfortune with the simple epithet “bed. made. lie.” though some might feel the same degree of sympathy as they would when encountering anyone who has made a bad choice, and has to repent it for the rest of their existence.

    The problem comes when, in a pathetic, sorry attempt to make themselves feel better, the victims of pregnancy try to put a brave face upon their lack of planning by attacking those intelligent enough to have conducted their lives more sensibly.

    You see, some of us were intelligent enough to know how unpleasant a house full of children can be. We did our research. We have seen the wailing, demanding meltdowns of children in public places and decided that this life is not for us. We do not relish the smell of urine and feces, We dislike the constant screeching and “gugguggug” of the human larva. We prefer not to burden ourselves with a creature around which we need center our entire lives. We investigated the concept of contraception, and made use of what we learned.

    So sorry, breeders. If you got stuck with one or more of the revolting creatures, all we can spare are fleeting commiserations. But if you are stupid enough to produce 16 of the things… well, frankly, one wonders if you are fit to are fit to be roaming the streets. By all means, put a brave face on your multiple mistakes. But please stop these pathetic, sad, jealous attacks on those who made better choices.

    • You deserve an award for your first sentences “Firstly, I really, really hope that the first line of this article is a misprint. Surely no-one with an IQ above single figures would really have 16 children. Didn’t they find out what caused them until too late?”

      I agree with you.

  • Stephanie

    I am 24 years old, my husband is 31, we have no children and don’t want any. Overpopulation is not a myth, it can be proven by the destruction of our environment (and I’m not even an environmentalist) and the habitats of multiple animals, by the dwindling resources on this planet, and frankly, humans are farther from extinction than any species on this planet. So I don’t think something like that should even be a part of the discussion, it’s not a good argument.

    I am in a good position to explain to you why we can “know we don’t want something we’ve never tried.” For the majority of my childhood I helped my mother run a daycare, the kids ranged in age from 6 weeks old to 10 years old. When that part of my life was through, I moved in with my then-boyfriend’s family and took care of his 13 year old autistic brother because his mother was a dirtbag who was never around. When that was done, 3 years later after having missed out on the majority of my senior year of high school in exchange for parenting a special needs child, I started my current career, and am currently raising my now 16 year old brother, in fact, today I am touring a high school football program with my 3 year old niece in tow because my sister thinking childfree=babysitter. So let me explain to you why I absolutely have “tried it” and know I, under no uncertain circumstances, want to have a child. The financial burden alone is ridiculous, the loss of free time, personal identity, (I laughed out loud about how much your wife has ceased to be the wonderful woman you fell in love with and become “the mother to your amazing kids”) and closeness with your partner is simply not worth it. To trade all of that for what? Sleepless nights? Destroyed property? Teenage hormones? Field trips? No thanks.

    Then there’s this http://www.secret-confessions.com/hate/hate-being-a-mom

    and this http://www.confessionpost.com/20676/i-hate-being-a-parent

    and this http://www.stylishandtrendy.com/parenting/teen/why-some-parents-hate-parenting/

    and this http://nymag.com/news/features/67024/

    You, sir, are the selfish one, in addition to all the kids I have raised by circumstance, I volunteer for kids in foster care through CASA, and big brothers, big sisters. If you weren’t selfish, you would stop breeding for a minute and help the kids who are already here and need help, or you would have stopped selfishly making your own children and visited this site http://www.adoptuskids.org/meet-the-children/state-photolists you don’t care about kids, you care about YOUR offspring, you don’t care about Americas future, you care about YOUR future generations, you are the selfish naïve one and I feel sorry for you

    • Stephanie

      Oh and to your comment that your children will be supporting me when I age, first of all, if they had to at all, I wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with that considering that me and my husband are in the top 10% of earners and currently pay an astronomical amount of taxes because we are young and childfree, in addition to the outrageous cost of our health care, all to pay for over-breeders like yourself, and schools and health care for your currently non-taxing paying offspring, so I would consider it a return on an investment I never wanted to make. But fortunately, I (at 24) have a considerable amount in savings, a 401k, and could, right now, “retire” for about 5 years, so when I get to 65 or whatever age I retire at, trust me, I will not only not require the meager tax dollars of your brats, I will be even more stable than I already am, so when can I stop being burdened with them? You know, in the interest of fairness.
      And maybe you should run the numbers, if your children have children and are not in a high-earning tax bracket, they will get the majority of their taxes back at the end of the year anyway and will be no good to anyone, oh, except I guess, for your ego and superiority complex, they seem to be very good at stroking those things, so talented, children are.

  • Guest

    sounds like another butthurt child-worshipping Jesus freak to me.

  • JanetMermaid

    Wow what a pretentious snot. I announced at 16 I never wanted kids. I’m now almost 60 and have never regretted my choice for one minute. Let’s look at just a couple of points:

    1. “demographic horrors of a declining population” — in other words “oh my god, white people may not remain the majority in the world where I come from”

    Our species is seriously out of balance on this planet. It is vital that we learn to control our numbers. Nature ALWAYS seeks a balance in all things. If we refuse to get our numbers back in balance nature WILL do it for us, and we won’t like how nature chooses to do this. And who cares what color the majority is? All I care about is how kind they are and how much they respect each other, other life forms, and the earth as a whole.

    2. “to show their life is really not all that bad” — I LOVE my life. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m retired at 58. I spend my time (and a significant amount of my money) volunteering for, and serving on the board of, multiple non-profit organizations whose goals include everything from performing arts to picking up trash. And in my “spare time” I travel the world. I’ve now visited 20 countries. Working on more later this year.

    3. “The world can use more mentally, financially and spiritually mature people.” Yes it can, and those people are the ones who realize that everything doesn’t revolve around them and their progeny. They are the ones who choose to spend their time and money for the greater good of all, not just to pass on their genes. Choosing to not have children is ultimately a selfless act.

    4. All that mention of “engaged selves” — the world NEEDS more engaged selves. People who have chosen to focus outward instead of in their own little self-centered world. Instead of “my children this” and “my children that” it is “my city” and “my state” and “my country” and “the world.” Those who remain childfree aren’t stuck on soccer, band, softball, dance practice, cheerleading, etc., etc. ad nauseam. We’re actually more focused on other people and on the world as a whole. We know what’s going on, we follow politics (worldwide!), we follow corporate power-mongering, etc.

    5. “When they are old, my family of entrepreneurs will be supporting them” — FIRST, having children is NO guarantee that they will be there to care for you. Just visit any nursing home and take a survey. Second, every childfree person I know (and they’re all happy and fulfilled by the way) has made arrangements, such as prepaid services or an “elder care” insurance policy. We KNOW there will be someone to care for us. We won’t be dependent on spoiled and thoughtless children, not even anyone else’s. And speaking of selfish, I can’t count the number of adult children whose personal lives have been torn asunder because an elderly parent demanded care. They were financially ruined, marriages were torn asunder, jobs were lost, etc. In some cases the parents were, shall we say, less than stellar, but now expect 100% care and attention from those same children they used to beat and/or neglect. I can understand why some kids choose to dump elderly adults in nursing homes then never see them. I wouldn’t have blamed my Dad one bit if he’d done that to his own mother.

    6. “I meet people all the time who regret their childless decisions.” Really? You don’t move in the circles I do — probably because you polluted the earth with SIXTEEN kids. Geez, way to be selfish, there, buddy. Anyway, I know many many childfree adults. I do not know ONE who has any regrets. NOT ONE.

    7. Near the end you tell us to “party up.” Is that really how you think we live — constantly partying? Although I will freely admit I have a 1000′ square foot tricked out tiki bar at our 100 acre ranch (with 8 acre lake), we spend most of our time contributing to the world in other ways than proving we f**ked multiple times. When is the last time you volunteered 40 hours in one week toward cancer prevention, health and wellness awareness, pollution prevention and control, etc? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    Parent’s have this whole nose-up-in-the-air self-righteous attitude about how selfless and giving they are. But their giving is all within a tight circle of their own genes. And selfless? HA! You may be “selfless” toward your own children, but toward others, toward the planet, toward the future? You are some of the most selfish people I’ve ever met. Just ask a parent why they chose to have kids and you’ll find 99% of the time the answer begins with, “I wanted…”

  • Maria Linden

    I’m not immature because I don’t want kids. I know myself. I would not make a good parent. Im not going to TEST THAT by ruining my career, my body and my mental health! I want to travel, work for embassies and governmental organizations. I don’t even believe in the institution of marriage. Who are you to call me immature? Nobody. I like my life, and what it will become. Your life sounds like a pile of crying and no sleep and snot and vomit and poop and those awful mom-gatherings where everyone has kids under 5 and they get into arguments over whose birth was the most painful (I’m supposed to want this?) and how they didn’t use any pain medication, and hemorrhoids and stretch marks. Women aren’t necessarily for breeding anymore. I like sex, I like freedom. I don’t like kids. I don’t like holding them, playing with them, feeding them or cleaning up their disgustingly unrefined bodily FLUIDS, ok? You wanna do that, cool. Don’t tell me I don’t know what I want or it’s somehow wrong, just because you seem to use your wife as a brood mare. Missionary for the purpose of procreation, anyone?

  • Dave Cason

    Chris,
    You must have been in the mood for some serious typing practice when you allowed comments on your rebuttal! I for one, have mostly given up on trying to convince people who are wrong about so many things that having children is the blessing that it is. At least with words. I hope that those that care to observe will notice that my kids are happy and healthy and on the path for good productive lives. I’ve found that the people who think the world is overpopulated and believe that global warming is real, (or is it cooling? I forget which is the current myth) just can’t be persuaded no matter how many times their climate models are wrong, how many of their supposed authorities on the matter are shown to have lied, fudged numbers or conveniently forget to count that million square miles of polar ice. Some people want to feel good about blaming others for problems in the world as long as it doesn’t ultimately point to the same selfish mindset that they themselves hold onto. Blame those of us who do things that are a little more old fashioned and are reasonably successful at it. While I don’t believe that having large families is the decision for everyone, and I have definitely met my share of folks who probably would not make good parents, I think that the idea of promoting childlessness and that self-centered living is the way to go is a ticket to a rabbit hole that would eventually doom the species. But some will just never be convinced. In that regard, Chris, folks with families like ours just have to make our point by example.
    But then again, you are a debate coach…
    Regards,
    Dave Cason, proud father of 17 upstanding citizens.

    • Well said, Dave. I allow all these comments on my blog because they speak this truth way better than either of us can explain. =)

    • Overtaxed

      Dave,

      I’m not convinced that global warming or cooling is a real thing. IMHO, the earth changes and we have, over the past 100 years or so, started to keep records that allow us to track those changes. I’m not convinced that it’s us doing it or just a natural cycle; in short, I don’t view “global warming” as a reason not to have children.

      What I do feel is a legitimate reason to not have children, however, is overpopulation. There is a limited amount of oil in the ground and we don’t have a reasonable alternative yet. There is only so much open space in this world and, if you’ve ever been to a place like India you’d see, once you have a certain number of people in a limited space, every person added makes the quality of life worse for everyone. Yes, there are vast areas of green space in the US. I’d like to keep it that way. Yellowstone, Glacier, the Rocky mountains, the Adirondacks.. All of those are real national treasures to me. Places like NYC/Boston/San Fran.. Those are a nightmare in my eyes. If everyone (or even more than a few) people chose to have 17 children as you did, in one generation, the vast majority of this country would look like NYC. That would be an absolute tragedy to me, and is one of the major reason that I, and others like me, would prefer that we don’t encourage child rearing as much as we currently do in this society. That said, I’m a libertarian and strongly believe in personal rights. If you want to have 17 children, I’m happy you’ve been able to follow your dreams and wish you the best. My “beef” is with government policy to encourage childbearing, not with people who really want it and choose to have children they love and can provide for.

  • Stephanie Brisson

    Having that many kids is your choice. We don’t all have to live by your own personal beliefs ! Nobody made you God and it’s simply your opinion. I have known since a young age that I did NOT want to be a mother. My longtime boyfriend and I live a fulfilling life. I have never regretted my decision, NEVER ! I don’t consider myself naive. Truth is, if I had that many kids, or even one for that matter, I just know for sure, without a doubt, I’d be miserable ! I love my FREEDOM ! Selfish ? Maybe, but it’s even more selfish to bring a child on this earth that is not really desired to begin with. There are enough unwanted kids around.That said, this is me and my choice. We are all born different and unique. Therefore, what brings one person happiness will not necessarily make someone else feel the same way. For some, happiness is having children. For others, it’s something completely different. That’s what’s so great about humans. We don’t all have to fit the same mold anymore like we used to back when the Church and all it’s BS said, or should I say dictated we had to. Thankfully, we’ve evolved. This is why I can’t stand the Duggar family. They chose to have many kids and that’s their choice, their business. Not coming down on them for that. But now, they seem to expect their grown up children to live just like them, pressuring their young daughters to get married and start popping out babies right away. If this is what their kids really want, all the power to them ! But what if some of them don’t ? They are against homosexuality amongst other things. What if one of their many sons turns out to be guay ? Will he be shamed by his own parents ? If I were born in that religious cult of a baby factory family, I would of run for the hills years ago ! Some of my own relatives, two of them to be exact and also my neighbour, have openly admitted to me that if they had to start their lives over again, they wouldn’t of had kids. Proof that not everyone is meant to be a parent. That’s just the way it is, no matter how hard you try to justify or debate about it.

  • Matty

    “Having no children is a self-centered, immature, and unsophisticated choice.”

    Fuck off, m8

  • Bad Girl Bex

    I hate children. Would rather eat rat poison that grow another human being in my uterus. I happen to be ecstatic at the fact that in today’s society I have so many options available to me in order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. I feel free, because I am free. Free from being shackled to something I don’t want. Free from being forced to bear forth any children that happen to be conceived from having a sexual relationship with my partner. When I stop and think of the alternative, to having been born just 50 years ago I feel sick with fear, knowing how utterly miserable I would be. You like your brood of a zillion kids. Great. If you can look after them, want them and have financial means to do so, then go for it. Apart from the fact that you’re probably just creating more indoctrinated religious robots to conform to some holy book. Just bear in mind the fact that everyone has the right to decide whether or not they want to have children and they also have the right to feel really bloody happy to have that right.

    • Lucy Aiken

      Thank you Bad Girl Bex! I absolutely agree with you!

  • Stephanie

    I am not judging you or your beliefs. You are entitled to your beliefs just as I am entitled to mine. What bothers me is that you are trying to force your beliefs on us, the child free by choice. Your beliefs are your beliefs. They are true for you, not for me. Just as you are passionate about your children, I am passionate about not having any. I have ALWAYS known that I don’t want children. I can’t even handle my nieces and nephews for more than a few hours. There is NO part of my being that longs for a child in any way, shape or form. I absolutely love my life and wouldn’t change one thing.
    If I did however want a child, I would adopt. In my opinion, it’s quite selfish to have so many children when there are so many unwanted children in the world. And this belief doesn’t just apply to you. All the childless by choice really want is to be respected and not judged for our decision to remain child free. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. There are enough people in the world procreating. The human species is not in trouble of going extinct. Not now or anytime soon…

  • Joy

    I found your article interesting. However, It’s not true that rejecting something you haven’t tried is always wrong. My mother told me not to touch the hot stove and, based on her authority of experience, I chose to avoid touching the hot stove, at least when I didn’t have an oven mitt. Similarly, many child free women have read the first person accounts of suffering written by moms who face daily solitude, boredom, and endless household drudgery, and who are literally going insane for lack of sleep. Child free women are often basing their decision to not experience child birth based on the experiential authority of real-life mothers who are not wealthy enough to afford household help that would allow a healthy division of labor, or would be that poor if they dropped one person’s income. Lesson learned: unless you have the stamina to tolerate the working conditions of the solo job, don’t touch child rearing without a sufficient financial oven mitt. Sadly, married women have to weigh this reality which their extended families and sometimes their husbands don’t understand. However, in my opinion, the one who will have to do the work every day is the one whose opinion matters the most.

  • So you thought it was a great idea to increase your environmental impact by eight times? Good for you. I hope your offspring have more consideration for the rest of the world.

  • It always amazes me to see the childfree criticised for selfishness and immaturity – as though the only way to know compassion and competence is to reproduce. I would think that in a world so thoroughly replete with humans, it is actually much more self-absorbed to suppose that one’s own desire for a mini-me – or several – is sufficient reason, especially in the resource-guzzling West, to add yet another consumer to the population. You and others like you might think that climate change is a myth concocted by the left to interfere with the wealth-accumulating activities of the already-rich; but like evolution, climate change is a fact, supported by a large and growing body of evidence – and the fact that the climate is changing so rapidly this time is directly attributable to the impact of human industry.

    So please, do tell – what are you going to do to ensure that your numerous offspring have a healthy planet upon which to live and – probably, unless they are more enlightened than you seem to be – raise their own children?