In my experience, it seems as though the more religious someone is, the more they believe that everyone should share in the joys of child rearing. Sadly, I have often felt uncomfortable in church because I am truly the only one there who is single and does not have “a family of my own.” I get asked more questions at church than anywhere else about where my husband and children are, or when I will have children.
Recently, I commented on a fellow bloggers Facebook post (Maybe Lady Liz – like her on Facebook!). Apparently, all of my Facebook friends could see that I commented on her Facebook post when I had no idea people could see that. If anyone knows how to change that privacy setting, that would be awesome! Anyway, the post was asking for parents to write in with their reasons for wanting to have children. Maybe Lady Liz reported that she had already gotten a lot of stories about why the childfree had chosen to remain childfree but needed more stories from parents. I commented that maybe she was not getting as many stories from parents because many parents do not consciously make the decision to have children. Many people just grow up assuming they will have children. Then they get married and have kids because that’s what they always knew they would do, not because they put in a lot of thought to it. Anyway, this is what one of my family members posted:
“The Bible commands us to be fruitful and multiply. The reason He told us that is because it completes the life cycle or circle that is part of each life, just as birth and death. Life is perpetuated by birth and completed by that cycle. Most people want children because it makes them feel completed and it gives that sense to one that their life will continue after they are gone. Lastly, there is nothing that can even begin to compare with the emotions and feelings that a mother/father has when that tiny human being is laid in their arms and looks up with eyes that trust every move you make, every word you say and is fully dependent on you for a time. After that comes the challenges of raising a child but also for every challenge there are hundreds of rich rewards. It goes on and on through our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There is no other feeling like having your children come home and bring grandchildren. I fully believe that God gives us grandchildren to make getting older a joy rather than a hindrance. I also believe that the grandparents are there to teach and demonstrate unconditional love and help guide them to success as adults. There is nothing in the world like being a parent and grandparent. It would take another book to even begin. thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts on this subject……”
This then caused me to delete all of my family members off my Facebook page and block them so they can no longer see I even have a Facebook page. I don’t mind throwing my business out there (obviously, since I have this blog) but I don’t want others to make me feel guilty or not worthy because of something that I say or do. Especially since I only made a very easy comment about people growing up assuming they will have children rather than really thinking about it. It’s not like I said I think people who have kids are awful people and should be all placed on their own island. I could see someone giving me a speech about that. But was the condescending attitude in her statement really necessary? And the above comment about God giving us grandchildren to make getting older a joy rather than a hindrance; so because I will not have grandchildren I have nothing to look forward to? Getting older will only be a hindrance to me? Does God really want me to have a child when I don’t want one, or to suffer the consequences of the hindrance of getting older? Since the Bible “commands” us to be fruitful and multiply, does that mean that God no longer loves me because I have decided to not have children? What about those who really wanted to have children but are unable to?
I grew up in church. My uncle is a pastor. I have two cousins who also grew up on church (in fact one is the pastor’s daughter) who have also chosen to not have any children. But otherwise, I feel as though religious people judge me more than anyone else. I understand that the Bible says to be fruitful and multiply, but that is certainly not the only thing in the Bible. You cannot focus on one thing and take it at face value. I absolutely believe that God still loves me no matter how many children I choose to have or choose not to have. As long as I’m making the best decision for myself, and not harming anyone along the way, I think God loves me just as much as he loves my friends who are parents.
I don’t want to go back and change several things in this blog, so I’ll say now that what I mean mostly is really conservative religious people. I know there are a lot of churches out there now who are more liberal and probably would be more open to my childfree lifestyle. But I can only speak to what I know and I grew up in a very conservative, Christian church with very conservative, Christian family members.