I’ve always wondered about women who call themselves childfree and later become mothers. I’ve wondered what that shift in their thoughts and feelings demands.
I’ve wondered what it takes to transform your life to that extent, to have your main priorities fade and give way to those of another human being.
I’m not questioning the right anyone has to change their mind about their ‘childfreeness.’ My questions come from a place of curiosity. So, I went hunting for answers online. I would lie if I said I have found all the answers, but I did come across a few interesting things.
There is one thing I’ve seen come up a lot that I find a bit jarring, and it’s that sometimes the shift from childfree to motherhood carries with it a certain blindness to the past. What I mean by this is that most childfree people dislike being lectured by parents about how we’re missing out and how we might change our minds, because even if we are/do, that’s our problem, right? Yet, it seems that some of these former-childfree-newly-born-mothers forget about that, and they decide to pitch in their unsolicited 2 cents to childfree conversations.
Charlotte Clymer, a writer and Army vet, tweeted the following on Dec 30th, 2019:
“A few weeks ago, with friends at a holiday lights thing, I saw this toddler in the cutest little jacket and experienced an unexpected impulse to want kids someday. Anyway, that thankfully passed, and I’m pleased my cold, childless heart has returned for the new year.”
It is a light, funny, and very real post, the kind of comment that is very common in our community. It is not inviting a discussion, asking a question, or opening the floor for arguments.
However, one user decided she had to add to the conversation, and did so as follows:
“FWIW (For what it’s worth) I felt that way until I got to be about 38, and now I have two of the most amazing kids on earth, born at 40 and 42 respectively. I’m glad I waited. You never know.”
This is the kind of comment that childfree people abhor. That condescending, patronizing, eye-roll inducing comment that we usually get from parents who are very much pronatalists.
So, if you are childfree today and down the line you change your mind, that’s fine, because it’s part of our human identity to change our opinions about anything. You’re entitled to do with your life as you please.
But if you ever do change your mind, and if I can offer you some unsolicited advice now, this would be it: do not ever forget what it felt like to be childfree in this pronatalist world, and don’t you dare turn around and tell anyone in your former childfree community that they too might change their mind.
Isabel Firecracker is the founder and firebrand of The Uprising Spark, a platform designed to help modern, childfree women define and reach their life goals. She is a world traveler, an avid kitesurfer, and loves dogs. Pragmatic, no-nonsense life coach and host of The Honest Uproar podcast. Childfree intersectional feminist.