Delaina Harris Contributing Columnist
To Childless People Everywhere:
First and foremost, thank you. Thank you for choosing to remain without children and know that your impact is seen and felt, near and far. Whether you are remaining childless out of choice or out of infertility, know that you are valuable beyond your reproductive abilities; the love and care you pour into your words and actions are worthy of appreciation. I propose that we all start celebrating a new Hallmark holiday, Non-Parent Day (April 30th), halfway between Earth Day and Mother’s Day. Abstaining from having children is the number one way we can all care for Mother Earth by humanely reducing the Homo Sapien population and you deserve to be acknowledged for your huge contribution to changing the state of affairs on Earth.
Thank you for using your time and energy for yourself, for others, for your career, for your friends, for your family, for your hobbies, for your pets, for your community, for the planet, and for just being you and doing your best. Even if the basis of your decision is “selfish”, e.g. you don’t particularly like children, you do not want to put yourself on the backburner, you are not confident that you are able to raise a child, you don’t want to be committed to a single partner for the rest of your life etc., hold fast to them and know that they are valid. If anything, you are selfless and intelligently critical. Taking stock of your capabilities: emotional bandwidth, financial resources, and social support is an important and reflective task that any prospective parent should be required to do in order to procreate. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is not being selfish, it is being responsible.
When the norm causes a storm, it is time for reform. As you may feel left behind by friends and family when they start having children and activities need to be “family-friendly”, stick to what you know is right. If they treat you with suspicion, question you or call you out, be courageous and educate them about your positive impact on the world. Teach others through your example of proactive thinking. Remind them that refusing to have a child single-handedly has the largest impact on mitigating the climate change crisis that plagues our collective future. Remind them that it is your choice and they have no business pressuring you to make a different decision. Remind them that you are going to lead a completely fulfilled life without having to pass on your genetics. Remind them that forming your life around what-ifs and the potential for regret about remaining childless in the future is nonsensical and not a way to live. Remind them that half of all births are unplanned and there are many children and humans that need love and care. Remind them that we all need to do our part to change the status quo from ‘happy mistakes’ to selective and smart procreation. Remind them that there is Plan B but there is not yet a Planet B.
To my childless comrades, keep steadfast in your decision and do not let anyone tell you different or make you feel less-than. You are not broken or heartless. In fact, quite the opposite. Attention to reality and the dire state of our beloved Mother Earth is not for the faint-hearted. Your careful consideration of your impact is an immense act of love for all and you deserve respect, admiration, and appreciation, now and for all times.