For All of the Anti-Breeding Women Out There...

kellym78's picture

The atheist community seems overrun by people who have no desire to reproduce. Not just that, but some even despise the concept and those who continue to do so. This is likely due to the fact that people with high levels of intelligence and education tend to have smaller families, and I am by no means trying to criticize anybodys personal choices, but the oft-quoted and equally misconstrued studies about that correlation lead to division between the "breeders" and the childless.

In the spirit of informed choice, I feel that it is necessary for both groups to understand that repercussions of their chosen lifestyle. The following piece is a tidbit that represents only a small fraction of the data on women's health and childbearing. Contrary to popular opinion, having children makes you healthier. Maybe also insane, but it significantly lowers the risk of certain diseases, including things like breast cancer if you breastfeed (which you should, but that's another topic).

And don't worry--I haven't forgotten about Vox Day. I'm just giving my readers a break.

From http://geniusbeauty.com/news/women-having-children-are-healthier/

Quote:

There are many women who decide not to have children at all. But this is a wrong choice, because childbirth makes women healthier. Sounds strange? No. Women with children have better eyesight, coordination and memory. They are more energetic and stay so even at an advanced age, than their peers having no children. But what makes those women so?

Scientists at University of Richmond have found the described fact. The reason of these qualities of women with children is that during pregnancy and childbirth the woman’s body develops a significant amount of hormones, which cause changes in the mind. Due to them women having children can also see and remember things better. By the way, this also refers to animals. Thus, the advantages of pregnancy stay for long years.

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vjack's picture

Just what we need - women

Just what we need - women wanting to have children to improve their own health! Then again, I suppose that would be as valid as any other reason I've heard.

jackal's picture

Quote:... the woman’s

Quote:
... the woman’s body develops a significant amount of hormones, which cause changes in the mind.

Ok, so why not make the pregnancy hormones available to all women so that we can all have the benefits of pregnancy without the risks and children?

Hambydammit's picture

It's interesting that you

It's interesting that you should mention this now.  I'm working on my continuing series of articles on human sexuality, and this installment is on sexual selection and runaway selection.   If we were to work in reverse, we would predict that females who had developed beneficial "side effects" would outbreed those who didn't, so it's not surprising at all that nature has given women perks for reproducing.

I think I sometimes get a bad rap because I'm one of the childless, and shamelessly advocate it for anyone and everyone.  I was hoping to surprise everyone with a section devoted to the benefits of childbearing for women, but now you've gone and stolen my thunder.  Since it would just look like I was kissing ass now, I'll go ahead and give away the punchline from my essay.

"Higher" moral decisions are often made in spite of our instincts.  The classic example is laying off of sugar even though we crave it more than just about anything else.  Our sugar craving was a life saver... literally.  Now, it's a death sentence.  I would say that all instinctive behaviors should be scrutinized through the lens of realistic goals, and women should consider not only the long term health benefits of childbearing, but the negative hormonal effects that often happen, and then should consider the social, environmental, and humanitarian elements involved with having kids. 

Oh, and for what it's worth, men who have kids live longer too.  It's been theorized that they lead more docile lives after childbearing, but I don't know that the evidence supports this as a sole cause.  A factor, certainly, but not the sole cause.  I have noticed striking correlations between childbearing in men and a sharp decrease in artistic creativity.  This does not fit the "more docile life" scenario well enough to write it off.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
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The Doomed Soul's picture

IAGAY post

IAGAY post in

3...

2...

1...

 

 

>.>

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:IAGAY post

Quote:

IAGAY post in

3...

2...

1...

 

 

Then again, in his last post, he noted that he's out of rum... We've never seen what happens when he runs out of rum...

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Renee Obsidianwords's picture

All of my mothers whining

All of my mothers whining hasn't made my husband and I sway in our decision to remain childless... this argument of 'better health' hasn't either.

I am 36, no kids, good shape including fantastic cholesterol and blood pressure, good vision and don't have a clumsy bone in my body. I am high energy and according to my doctor - very healthy. Now of course I rarely drink and I have never smoked in my life, I get 8 hours of sleep a night and do not have a stressful job.....SO, when do these negative effects kick in? A family friend and his wife recently died childless...he in his early 90's, she her late 80's.

 

-Renee

 

Slowly building a blog at ~

http://obsidianwords.wordpress.com/

Hambydammit's picture

Renee, it's a fair point you

Renee, it's a fair point you make.  Also, we have to factor in the realities of whether or not your life would be what you want with kids.  Happiness has been shown to be an accurate predictor of longevity, and it's really hard to cross correlate these two studies.  If you'd rather not have kids, but you do, will your decreased happiness offset the minor increases in health benefits from having kids?  Hard to say.

The bottom line, as I've said, seems to be weighing all the factors against what you really want.  Hell, I enjoy alcohol enough that I'm shortening my life by drinking several times a week.  It's an informed choice, too.... just like parenting ought to be, IMO.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

totus_tuus's picture

As a  member of the loyal

As a  member of the loyal opposition here at Rational Response Squad, I never thought I'd find myself saying this, but I agree with Kelly on this issue 110%.  Also, as the surviving spouse of a woman who did all the "right" things concerning breast health, but still contracted breast cancer at the age of 40, and who succumbed to the metastasis of that disease four years later, I urge women to be aware of their family histories of cancers as well as doing these right things.

Thanks for the article, Kelly.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II

EXC's picture

How much does this have to

How much does this have to do with religion hijacking "family values"?  Churches have convinced people that without religion children will grow up without any values. So instead of atheism causing people to want to be childless, the opposite is true. I think cause and effect are reversed. People who don't want children don't find a need for so called family values that supposedly only religion can provide.

We are victims of the greatest marketing campaign in history. Namely, that you don't care about children unless you join our religion. Every day is like Mother's day or Valentines day, you don't love your mother or wife if you don't buy our shit on the day we tell you. You don't care about children, if you don't indoctrinate them with our religion. 100% Bullshit.

I think there needs to much more organized and groups to mirror what the churches do for children. Namely things like Sunday school, summer camps, fun activities. Morality based on common sense and mutually beneficial relationships.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca

Another downside to the

Another downside to the tendency for atheists to not want to have children is the fact that it makes it that much harder to lower the percentage of believers when they are popping out 3-4 kids a piece or more and we are not.  Not that I'm suggesting we just have a bunch of kids to improve our ratio, but it is a problem.

Women having children

I wanted to add some information to this thread. As Kelly mentioned, this is not meant to criticize any woman for her choice to have or not have children. I am only looking at the peer reviewed literature, and this is something that has been studied (and is still being studied) for many, many years. I couldn't find the study Kelly mentioned in the literature, but perhaps it hasn't been published yet.

Currently, according to the literature, there is no significant difference (this is a statistical term, not a subjective one) of health between parous (women who have had children) and nulliparous (women who have not had children) women; however, women who have children are more likely to:

1. have diabetes

2. have high blood pressure

3. suffer from depression

4. be obese

5. have vitamin D deficiencies

6. get divorced (and have 8 times more arguments with a spouse than women who are married and have no children)

7. have gingivitis (!)

8. have bone loss

This is the short list!! The literature also suggests that women who have children may have a better sense of well-being (during a lifetime), but the studies were statistical, so such a result is questionable. Some studies say the opposite...that women who have children are more likely to be depressed.  But there are so many variables that it is a hard thing to study. 

I have never had children, but I have pets, and when I lose one, I feel as though I lost a child, and it affects me to the very core of my being. I get depressed and can't function for weeks, months. Heck, I never get over it. It just hurts less as time goes on.

And it is a fact that having a pet is good for one's health. I haven't looked to see if anyone has scientifically compared (I don't even know it this is possible) pet ownership to parenthood...some people get angry if the subject is brought up, insinuating that a comparison can't be made between losing a child to losing a pet. I disagree, but of course my opinion doesn't really count because I haven't had a child and lost him/her.  But I do have a sense of well-being when I am with my pets. They make me happy (most of the time).

There is no doubt that having children is a difficult thing physically, socially, financially and emotionally. I am very thankful that I had a choice though. My choice was not to have a child. I don't regret it, but admit that my husband and I are very close to many of our friends' children. They are like children (well, they are in their 20s and early 30s) to us, and we are very involved in their lives. We are "Emergency Replacement Units"(analogous to godparents) to 3 babies (they, if we had been parents, would be our grandchildren GAH!!!). 

The literature is quite clear about other things; women who work have better health than those who do not, and married women are healthier than non-married women. Women who have more "roles" have better health trends.

Here's just one article that mentioned the well-studied fact that women who have children are less likely to have cancer of the reproductive organs...but also lists some of the negative effects.

From the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, V39

Long term effects of childbearing on health

V Beral

"Information on whether a woman had ever had any children was recorded for all deaths registered to ever-married women in England and Wales between 1938 and 1960. Analysis of the relation between parity and cause of death for 1.2 million women aged 45-74 years revealed that parous women had lower mortality from breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer than did nulliparous women but a higher mortality from diabetes mellitus, gallbladder disease, cancer of the uterine cervix, nephritis and nephrosis, hypertension, ischaemic and degenerative heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and all causes of death. There is a parallel between the long term effects of pregnancy and of oral contraceptives on health."

 

Great subject Kelly!

Hambydammit's picture

I love science so much.Great

I love science so much.

Great post, ento, and yes... great subject, Kelly.

Here's another angle.  When we observe the rest of the animal kingdom, we see that childbearing is often detrimental to one or both parents.  It is not hard to imagine that we, just like other animals, have been selected such that the mother is weakened for the sake of the child.  There's some evidence of this from the relationship between the fetus and the mother during gestation.  What was previously thought of as a mutually beneficial symbiosis is beginning to look more and more like parasitism.  There's a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy, and is the result of a deficiency in a hormone that prevents the fetus from taking too many resources.  The fact that the hormone exists in the first place is evidence that this is a war, not a peaceful agreement.  My brain's a little fuzzy at the moment since it's been a long time since I studied this stuff, but there are lots of negative things the fetus does to the mother's body.

The flip side of this is that we have been programmed with some really odd emotional responses to childbearing.  I mean, let's face it.  We need to be irrationally attached to our children, or we'd abandon them after about the tenth vomit-inducing baby shit.

It goes well beyond that.  Children are, in biological parlance, closer to parasites than anything else.  Yes, we do get happy from raising them, but in terms of resources, they're nothing but a drain.  In order to raise children, we have to work harder and make sacrifices.  Ask any parent.  The thing is, there are two sets of consequences.  You lose contact with your friends, you don't get to go on vacations, you lose interest in sex, you become more conservative and conscious of your mortality, and all of these things have negative emotional consequences.  These consequences are normal and natural, and are designed to discourage us from doing bad things.  When we are not raising children, those kind of behaviors would not be beneficial.  To counteract this, we get an emotional benefit from our bond with our children.  Women are crazy hormone factories because they have to be.  Without the swings of hormonal emotion, the degree of attachment necessary to raise a child wouldn't be possible.  For extreme emotions, it takes extreme drugs.  (Pardon my teasing of a previous post.)

Though most people don't want to say it this way, having a child is both an intense high and an intense low.  Every parent, because of their intense attachment (and let's not forget public scrutiny) is loathe to say that their children are anything less than the best thing that ever happened to them.  However, we have to be careful if we're talking about science.  Statistically, it's debatable at best whether childbearing is beneficial to the parents.  Psychologically, it's not much better.  Socially, well... duh.  No children, no society.  But, these are three very separate realms.  If indeed it proves to be detrimental to the mother's health on balance, we need to be brave enough to admit it when the facts are in.

Ok.  Here's where the parents blast me for not understanding.  Oh... and not understanding because I'm not a parent...

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Bottom line: Atheists should

Bottom line: Atheists should not have children unless they feel there isn't enough drool, snot, and puke in their lives. There's plenty already in my life so no thanks.

The Doomed Soul's picture

rageforthemachine

rageforthemachine wrote:

Bottom line: Atheists should not have children unless they feel there isn't enough drool, snot, and puke in their lives. There's plenty already in my life so no thanks.

 

close your mouth, blow your nose, and eat healthy foods...? problem solved! ^_^ now go swap inferior genetics

What Would Kharn Do?

Anti-breeding women

Wow, just. . . wow.  I know you meant no offense, but for someone who claims to be in a rational response squad, your skeptisism is sorely lacking.   This is entirely anecdotal, but I am a breeder who, if not for the miracles of modern medicine would be dead, with my first child, and if not from that one then definitely with my second.  I suffered complications from both, including a category 4 tear, which would have lead to death from bleeding.  Since then I suffer from depression, hair loss, high blood pressure, and memory loss on a scale that leaves me unable to work in my chosen field.  Also, did this study look at mortality rates of people in lower incomes, or did the incidence of depression not come up because the subjects were perhaps in a better place on the socio-economic scale?  Now, do I regret having my kids?  No, but I would have been in much better health without them.

Also breeding to keep up with the Jeebuses is stupid, as I'm sure there are plenty of people on the earth as is and a lot of them tend to reject god later in life, like myself.

Please do forget about Vox Day

There are already more web references to material mocking Vox Day than to his actual material.  I tried finding "Vox Day" with Google and had to go to the second page of results before I could find the first reference which didn't say he's a moron... and of course it was his own page.

The audience for your blog is the web.

The web already hates Vox Day.

Jeez, just move on already.

Tilberian's picture

I guess it is up to me to be

I guess it is up to me to be the pro-kids voice again. Get ready to hate me, Hamby.

People who do not have kids have no idea what they are talking about as far as the emotional and lifestyle impacts of having children. This is why parenting and child rearing are so baffling to them. Everything about it appears negative, yet almost all parents report that they wouldn't have it any other way. Why? Because they love their children and having them has made their life richer. Not always better, but richer in terms of variety, depth of experience, new and stronger emotions. It is like you were on the kiddie coaster at the amusement park and now you are on the Swirling Vortex of Death. Shortly after having kids the tendency is to wonder how you could have been so obsessed with the pointless shit you used to do.

Science can reveal a lot, but this shit is pretty hard to study and quantify.

Hamby likes to dismiss statements of this sort as being hopelessly warped by the instinctive feelings of attachment and love that parents have for their kids. Ya, so? Aren't feelings of attachment and love good things and worth some sacrifice in their own right?

I would characterize the choice between having kids and not having kids as similar to the choice of whether or not to travel to distant places around the world. To many people, travel might seem like an irrelevant thing to do, possibly interesting but expensive and not a high priority. To others, travel will seem positively threatening due to the risks of having a bad time. But people who do travel almost always find it enriching in ways that are very hard to describe. Part of it is that travel changes your perspective and opens up new options in your imagination that you never would have otherwise had access to.  No matter whether your experience is good or bad, someone who has traveled has learned more, done more and is a more complete person than someone who has not. Child rearing is like that. Whether you love it or hate it, you will grow from it and your personality will advance to new places that you cannot imagine from where you are today.

Then there is the philosophical question of what the hell is your life for if not to reproduce? The contents of your brain are going to be dust in 100 years, no matter how fabulous they are now. Unless you think you have it in you to produce some immortal work of art or the like, everything you do and think is worthwhile is so only within the solipsist confines of your own skull. Death, my friends, is out there for all of us. IMO, kids are one of the few good answers to that problem.

But all of the above continues to miss the point. It is a mistake to analyze childbearing as a personal lifestyle choice that is about what it will do or not do for you. Ultimately, it is about the children and your desire to make their existence possible on its own merits. It really is about putting those lives ahead of your own, for their good and for the good of your family and your society. It is about getting out of your own meager existence and trying to achieve a higher good. I remember when my wife and I were thinking about starting a family my feeling was that we had so many resources and so much love and time and other good things that it was a shame to just blow it all on ourselves. I felt that having kids was a great act of generosity that I could be proud of and that would outlive me and any other accomplishment that I could make in my life.

 

Anyway, those are some reasons why I have kids and would recommend it to others.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Hambydammit's picture

I don't hate you

I don't hate you tilberian.  I understand that you have no choice but to feel the way you feel.  Everybody, atheists included, has blind spots, and yours is that you can't see the double standard you impose on logic when it comes to parenting and childrearing.

I would argue against your post, but it would be pointless, since there isn't an actual argument contained in it, only your opinion on the matter, which is only as good as any other unsupported opinion.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

darth_josh's picture

I will remain silent on the

I will remain silent on the issue since anything I have noticed concerning my spouse *cough*better ass*cough* and her health *cough*tighter*cough* would merely be dismissed as subjective AND anecdotal.

 

Now, on to the topic of women wanting to improve their health through pregnancy...

I'm sure that I can help some select women with this issue as soon as the youngest child moves out on her own. Of course, there will be several practice sessions using prophylaxis until the results of the mandatory STD tests arrive and show negative for all.

Shortly thereafter, an entire day will need to be set aside to insure proper impregnation by repeated intercourse in multiple positions.

No fee will be charged, but the results of the post-partum physical examinations will be checked for accuracy and published in respected medical journals.

I'll do it for science, baby.

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Renee Obsidianwords's picture

Tilberian wrote:I guess it

Tilberian wrote:

I guess it is up to me to be the pro-kids voice again. Get ready to hate me, Hamby.

"People who do not have kids have no idea what they are talking about as far as the emotional and lifestyle impacts of having children. This is why parenting and child rearing are so baffling to them. Everything about it appears negative, yet almost all parents report that they wouldn't have it any other way. Why? Because they love their children and having them has made their life richer."

And once you have a child you MUST take care of the child. You can't just put the little loin muffin on the couch and continue life as you did. People who say "OH, your life changes when you have a child!" are right...it HAS to change or you would be arrested for child abuse.

I do have to say though; I respect parents for their patience and the sacrifices they make to raise their children and I guess I would say thank you for populating the world Smiling

Slowly building a blog at ~

http://obsidianwords.wordpress.com/

science is not anti children!

Please note that there are many links in this post. I tried to be thorough. I apologize in advance for writing such a long post.

 

Well, say what you want about how you disagree (???)...but the "pro kids" stance doesn't hold up to the conclusions of the scientific literature. As I wrote, having children in general, is NOT good for women for many reasons. This is not my opinion...I am simply looking at the conclusions of the studies which cover about 50 years of research. And the research is/was not "anti children". It was about effects of pregnancy, childbirth, and raising children on the short term and long term health of women.

Although Kelly and I (and the rest of the planet) do not always agree, one thing for sure is that she never sounds as though she is proselytizing about anything, no matter the subject (including this one). Thank you Kelly. You are literally the only person I know who has kids who has not given me a lecture!

Why are those of us who choose to be child free often lectured by those who have children? Why the need to proselytize about how "great" having children is? Why the need for a "pro kids" stance? To this day, I am questioned about my "lifestyle" (with insinuations that something is psychologically pr physically wrong with me because I didn't feel the call of motherhood), insulted (I'm selfish, etc.), and harassed (I have no right to cite the literature because it is only science and can be interpreted in other ways....) because I chose NOT to have children.

I have even been discriminated against because I chose NOT to have children. When I worked in audio, I wasn't entitled to the same vacation as employees with children, despite having worked more than a decade for the same company and despite being the top salesperson for almost 16 years. I did not receive the same pay (my base pay was always less than employees with children) or the same benefits. I was literally penalized for my high sales volume (I was told that I was making more because I sold more, which was true, but my base pay should have reflected my years in the business and it never did). Now that I think about it, it pisses me off even more, the bastards!  Ach!! That is why I left and decided to get educated. No more retail for me.

And when I was a member of an art forum, it was a regular thing for new members to PM me to say that they were praying for me to get pregnant (this was about 10 years ago) .  My "about me" page had my "# of children = 0" which seemed to upset a lot of people.

Let's get back to the science and take out the emotion for a bit (if that is possible).

There are other types of tests that show that childless women are more likely to end up in institutional care than women with children (from a 2007 study that tracked elderly women in England from 1991-2001). This is because they could not support themselves and end up in state care.

The current studies indicate that there is no statistical difference in women's well-being whether or not they had children. If anybody would like a pdf file of of the studies listed, PM me.

Life-history related differences in possible selves in very old age, 2007. Hoppmann, C., Smith, Jacqui.  International journal of aging & human development. 64(2):109-27.

BTW, look at the interesting abstract of this article re "family themes":

"The impact of early life events that take place under specific historical and societal circumstances on adult development have rarely been investigated in old age. We examined whether having started a family in young adulthood was related to the contents of possible selves generated by women aged 85 to 100+ in the Berlin Aging Study (N = 129; M age = 93 years). Health-related possible selves dominated in the entire sample. However, mothers (n = 79) and lifetime childless women (n = 50) differed in their endorsement of family- and friend-related possible selves. Contrary to expectations, childless women mentioned more family-related themes, while mothers addressed more friendship-related themes. Despite these differences both groups of women reported equally high levels of well-being. These findings indicate that starting a family in young adulthood still has an influence on the self up until very old age and that these distinct pathways can still lead to similar aging success."

While researching for this post, I discovered that there is a professor at my university (UF)  who specializes in all of these subjects. Dr. Tanja Koropeckyj-Cox  published a study about childless women in old age, etc. (if you click on her name above, you will see her fields of study).

UF Study: Remaining Childless Does Not Lead To Loneliness In Old Age

Here is another study:

Never-married childless women in Australia: health and social circumstances in older age. 1982. Social science & medicine. 62 issue 8 :1991-2001.

"A growing proportion of women reach older age without having married or having children. Assumptions that these older women are lonely, impoverished, and high users of social and health services are based on little evidence. This paper uses data from the Older cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health to describe self-reported demographics, physical and emotional health, and use of services among 10,108 women aged 73-78, of whom 2.7% are never-married and childless. The most striking characteristic of this group is their high levels of education, which are associated with fewer reported financial difficulties and higher rates of private health insurance. There are few differences in self-reported physical or emotional health or use of health services between these and other groups of older women. Compared with older married women with children, they make higher use of formal services such as home maintenance and meal services, and are also more likely to provide volunteer services and belong to social groups. Overall, there is no evidence to suggest that these women are a "problem" group. Rather, it seems that their life experiences and opportunities prepare them for a successful and productive older age."

To have or not to have children is a personal choice. I don't think a WOMAN should be criticized either way for making such a choice. I'll step out on a limb here and state that a lot of people who have children...shouldn't have them. If a woman can't take care of herself, why would she want to bring a child into the world?

I'm not talking about women who have no choice. For them, I am furious that we live in a world that allows women in some countries (even here in the USA) to have no power over their own bodies. This is UNACCEPTABLE! That woman who is pregnant with her 18th kid...I think her husband should be put in jail. But that is another thread. I'll leave that one up to Matt Shizzle.

And let's be honest here, the literature indicates that if women who had children could go back in time and do it all over again, between 40 - 85 % WOULD NOT HAVE CHILDREN. 

PLEASE DO NOT GET MAD AT ME...THIS WAS NOT MY STUDY. I AM MERELY POINTING IT OUT!

The first non-scientific study was done in the 70s by Ann Landers. In her survey, about 70% of women said they would NOT have children if they could do it all over again. The question was:

If You Had It To Do Over Again—Would You Have Children?

The question was NOT, "Do you regret having children?" or "Do you regret getting married?" or "Do you not love your children?" or "Do you not love your spouse?"so PLEASE, don't respond by telling me how much you love your children and your spouse. This has nothing to do with the question asked on the survey.

Many point out that this was not a scientific study, which is true. But people who study this kind of thing are quick to point out that answering "no" to such a question is a social taboo. That would be AWFUL to admit such a thing! The women who took Ann Lander's survey were anonymous because it was a mail in survey, therefore were probably being honest.

Dr. Phil (yes, I know, he's an asshole) did a survey that is in the process of being published. It was a scientific study. And it isn't the only one. There are zillions of them. OK...not zillions. But many!

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/09/10/earlyshow/leisure/books/main642634.shtml

Here is great site for childfree (Happily ChildFree) people, and those with children (who want to give us a lecture) should check this site out because it has a list of the insults that the childLESS (by choice) get on a daily basis.

http://happilychildfree.com/faq.htm

Here is the 2000 US census. It has some interesting information.

Other links of interest pertaining to these subjects:

Why Women Have Fewer Babies

Third of graduate women will be childless

Sydney Brenner: Biological Evolution Is An Obsolete Technology

The Mommy Gap

Educated Women Have More Orgasms (sorry, I couldn't resist putting in this one!)

So please, I don't care if you have kids...but please respect my decision NOT to have them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hambydammit's picture

Geez.  It's going to take

Geez.  It's going to take me a long time to get through all of those links.  Thanks for doing the legwork, ento!

Quote:
I have even been discriminated against because I chose NOT to have children. When I worked in audio, I wasn't entitled to the same vacation as employees with children, despite having worked more than a decade for the same company and despite being the top salesperson for almost 16 years. I did not receive the same pay (my base pay was always less than employees with children) or the same benefits. I was literally penalized for my high sales volume (I was told that I was making more because I sold more, which was true, but my base pay should have reflected my years in the business and it never did). Now that I think about it, it pisses me off even more, the bastards!  Ach!! That is why I left and decided to get educated. No more retail for me.

I'm sure it's worse for women, but I have experienced the same things to some degree.  Granted, I haven't had salary discrimination, but then... I'm the boss.  However, consider this.  When I taught private music lessons (for about 16 years) I regularly lost students when their parents found out I was single and childless.  Apparently that makes me a predator.  In fact, I will go out on a limb and say that I've lost more students because of being a childless bachelor than an atheist.  Statistically, children are most often abused by someone in the home, but there it is.

To this day, people are flabbergasted when they hear that I've had a vasectomy. 

Them: "OH MY GOD!  What if you change your mind?!" 

Me: "I'm not going to, but if I do, I'm still making sperm.  There are ways of getting it done."

Them: "But don't you want to know the fulfillment of being a parent?"

Me: "No.  I like the fulfillment of having lots of money and the freedom to travel unencumbered."

It goes on and on like this, as if I'm somehow doing something horrible to the human race by not making it "Population: Six Billion and One."

Quote:
"The impact of early life events that take place under specific historical and societal circumstances on adult development have rarely been investigated in old age. We examined whether having started a family in young adulthood was related to the contents of possible selves generated by women aged 85 to 100+ in the Berlin Aging Study (N = 129; M age = 93 years). Health-related possible selves dominated in the entire sample. However, mothers (n = 79) and lifetime childless women (n = 50) differed in their endorsement of family- and friend-related possible selves. Contrary to expectations, childless women mentioned more family-related themes, while mothers addressed more friendship-related themes. Despite these differences both groups of women reported equally high levels of well-being. These findings indicate that starting a family in young adulthood still has an influence on the self up until very old age and that these distinct pathways can still lead to similar aging success."

I don't feel like digging the book out of a box, but in "The Way We Never Were," by Stephanie Coontz, there's a detailed account of how family themes are distinctly not the norm for aging families.  Contrary to the Rockwellian notion of kids taking care of their parents during "the Good Ol' Days," there was never such a time in American history.  If anything, people are taking more care of their parents now than they used to, but it's still not a prevalent practice.

Since you've got access to all the journals, if you get a chance, I'd like to know if there's anything fairly recent involving hormonal changes and mental stability after childbirth.  Anecdotally, I have seen LOTS of cases where women's personalities changed drastically, and often for the worse, after childbirth.  I think I remember reading something about the onset of Bipolar disorder and childbirth, but it's fuzzy.

Quote:
The question was NOT, "Do you regret having children?" or "Do you regret getting married?" or "Do you not love your children?" or "Do you not love your spouse?"so PLEASE, don't respond by telling me how much you love your children and your spouse. This has nothing to do with the question asked on the survey.

In the 1960s, Redbook Magazine solicited letters from mothers who felt "trapped" by motherhood.  They received 24,000 testimonials... the most ever received from any question.

 

From the Childfree website:

I hate this one.  I don't talk about only the negative.  I just don't talk about the positive as if it's heroine and I need a fix.

It wouldn't bother me, but I don't particularly desire it.

Damn straight.  Never had to, and gee... I go out of town whenever I want, and have enough money to eat at the nice restaurants.  In fact, I think tonight I'm going to have sushi.  By myself.  It'll be awesome.

See previous answer.  I haven't spent 10k on diapers... it's in an IRA.

Yeah... I'm smart enough to know that there's precious little genetic correlation between a parent's intelligence and their children's.

With any luck, a young, nubile college student who likes to wear maid outfits.  That's why they make basement apartments.  For free rent and some spending cash, I guarantee I won't be hurting.  Oh, and the really awesome thing... college students are better than family because if they treat you like a petulant child, you can fire them and get someone who will be nice to you.

 

Anyway, I could go on, but I won't.  Thanks again, ento.  Great research.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Tilberian's picture

Hambydammit wrote:Everybody,

Hambydammit wrote:

Everybody, atheists included, has blind spots, and yours is that you can't see the double standard you impose on logic when it comes to parenting and childrearing.

And yet you can't point out a single logical flaw in anything I've said.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Tilberian's picture

Renee Obsidianwords

Renee Obsidianwords wrote:

And once you have a child you MUST take care of the child.

Believe it or not, once they have a child most parents actually want to take care of it.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Tilberian's picture

entomophila wrote:So please,

entomophila wrote:

So please, I don't care if you have kids...but please respect my decision NOT to have them. 

Let me ask you this: do you "respect" my decision to not learn how to play the piano?

Oh, I'm sure you recognize that I have made a personal decision that is entirely within my rights and capabilities. I'm sure you acknowledge that you could not know all the highly personal factors that went into the decision and understand that only I could make such a decision for myself. You probably don't even care a lick whether I play piano or not.

But do you "respect" the decision? In what way has that decision increased your respect for me? After all, what has the decision really revealed about my character? Well, I have not done a thing that would increase my options and capabilities as a person. I have stalwartly refused to grow or change. I have avoided an activity that would require work, discipline and sacrifice on my part. I have made sure that something positive has not entered my life.

In what way is any of that worthy of respect?

Having kids is the same. Like eating your Wheaties, it is a good thing to do that you can choose to do for yourself or not. I think everyone who doesn't want to have kids is well within their rights and I would not dare to question or criticize their personal decision. But I don't have to respect it.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

respect

Tilberian wrote:

Let me ask you this: do you "respect" my decision to not learn how to play the piano?

This is such a ridiculous question I am not going to answer it.

Tilberian wrote:

Oh, I'm sure you recognize that I have made a personal decision that is entirely within my rights and capabilities. I'm sure you acknowledge that you could not know all the highly personal factors that went into the decision and understand that only I could make such a decision for myself.

Here we go again. Another lecture.

Tilberian wrote:

You probably don't even care a lick whether I play piano or not.

See my first comment.

Tilberian wrote:

But do you "respect" the decision? In what way has that decision increased your respect for me? After all, what has the decision really revealed about my character?

It depends upon the situation. If you are capable of taking care of yourself and your children, I respect your decision. If you have a family history of mental illnesses, violent behaviors, are an alcoholic or drug addict, etc., I would NOT respect your decision to have children.

Tilberian wrote:

Well, I have not done a thing that would increase my options and capabilities as a person.

OK. I believe you.

Tilberian wrote:

I have stalwartly refused to grow or change. I have avoided an activity that would require work, discipline and sacrifice on my part. I have made sure that something positive has not entered my life.

Another lecture.

 

Tilberian wrote:

I think everyone who doesn't want to have kids is well within their rights and I would not dare to question or criticize their personal decision.

No you don't. You just wrote an entire post in which you insulted us, one by one (Hamby, Renee and me...and anyone else in the same situation) because we choose/chose (I am, thankfully, beyond childbearing years) NOT to have children. And you lectured Ad nauseum about the supposed "benefits" of having children, which is not supported by the scientific literature. And you followed up on it by saying that you don't respect our decision.

You sound like a christian!

So let me get this straight, you think it should be mandatory for every human female to have children whether she wants them or not? If you respect only people who have children, logically, this means only women with children are worthy of your respect. That is just sickening.

Maybe this explains it (OH LOOK! UF again...yay!)

Childlessness Bothers Men More Than Women

 

 

 

 

Renee Obsidianwords's picture

Tilberian wrote:Renee

Tilberian wrote:

Renee Obsidianwords wrote:

And once you have a child you MUST take care of the child.

Believe it or not, once they have a child most parents actually want to take care of it.

And MOST of those parents plan to have the child and are well aware of the time and effort raising it will be. They commit and reproduce with the desired outcome of a wee one.

Slowly building a blog at ~

http://obsidianwords.wordpress.com/

Rev. Real's picture

I'm childfree and proud of

I'm childfree and proud of it.  The childfree community tends to look at people that have children as inferior, but not all of them.  I love other people's children, but have no desire to have any of my own.  I call my "children" the people I take care of like crackheads, streetwalkers, friends in need of help, etc.

OK look there's a childfree wiki!

http://nokidding.info/wiki/Childfree

Here's the points that apply to me:

A range of motivations are cited for choosing a childfree lifestyle; these individuals may agree with one or more reason across the range.

Lack of desire for children

  1. Lack of a compelling reason to have children
  2. General dislike of the behavior of children.
  3. Seeing the effects of children on family/friends.


Personal environment and advancement

  1. Not wanting to sacrifice privacy/personal space for children
  2. Not wanting to commit to increased financial responsibility or burden
  3. Perceived or actual incapacity to be a responsible and patient parent
  4. Not wanting to commit to reduced free time for leisure, hobbies, friends, second jobs
  5. Prefer to maintain ability to change career or city of residence at short notice (spontaneous mobility)
  6. Wish not to redesign home to fit a child’s needs and safety (for example, expensive houses, art pieces, and collectibles)
  7. Belief that childbearing would reduce career advancement.

-RR

Hambydammit's picture

Tilberian, I've spelled out

Tilberian, I've spelled out for you many times already the flawed logic.  You claim that you must be a parent to speak authoritatively on parenting.  This fails on two levels.  First, it does not take into account the well documented ability of humans to empathize with others.  As I have said before, we do not ask psychologists to experience everything they are going to help people with.  We teach them to recognize sets of behaviors that correspond with certain states of mind.

Second, you are setting up an unfalsifiable claim, just like Christians.  "Well, you have to love Jesus before you can know what it's like to be a Christian."  Horse-shit.  You have busted many Christian balls when they try to pull that, and yet you cannot see the beam in your own eye.

Quote:
Having kids is the same. Like eating your Wheaties, it is a good thing to do that you can choose to do for yourself or not. I think everyone who doesn't want to have kids is well within their rights and I would not dare to question or criticize their personal decision. But I don't have to respect it.

I try to remember that my perception is not the only valid one on the planet.  It makes me less of a prick when dealing with people who have vastly different, yet valid, goals and aspirations.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

kellym78's picture

Rev. Real wrote: The

Rev. Real wrote:

 The childfree community tends to look at people that have children as inferior, but not all of them. 

This is the problem that I was trying to address. And of course, it occasionally happens to the childless from ignorant asses who would like to force you to get pregnant/impregnate somebody. I never planned any of my children, but I don't love them less than anybody who did plan. I just happen to be extraordinarily fertile. I don't care if people choose to not have children--I feel it is the responsible thing to do if you don't feel like producing progeny. I also don't want to be looked down upon because I have 3 kids.

I certainly also understand the feeling of being trapped by motherhood. It takes a supportive and loving partner/family to sometimes help with the burden of childrearing. I didn't leave my house alone for eight years--I was quite literally trapped. That could have been completely different if my ex-husband wasn't such an asshole, but that's another story.

I think that some of the studies presented by Ento may have some confounding factors, but honestly, I don't have the time to read all of them ATM. Just some of my initial thoughts are that the increase in diabetes is likely related to the weight gain most mothers experience and the subsequent lack of exercise after having children, which can be completely avoided by simply making time to care for your body. The old letting-yourself-go excuse should die a painful death. The increase in hypertension and heart disease can be correlated similarly to weight gain and lack of exercise and not inherent to childbearing. The increase in cervical cancer could be a result of having unprotected sex (kind of a necessity if you want to get pregnant) and likely an increase in HPV infections which can be prevented by vaccination.

There are other benefits not mentioned in the snippet I provided, such as less endometrial cancer due to the reduction in menstrual periods. Ento mentioned other reproductive cancers, but breast cancer is inversely correlated to length of breast feeding over the course of a lifetime--doing it once doesn't provide as much protection. (I'm pretty safe--5 years of breastfeeding. Now malignant melanoma--that's where I'm headed.) I can dig up some more studies, but as we all know, there are studies to support just about any argument. The fact is that if having children was as dangerous as society would like to portray it, particularly the act of partruition, we would not live on a planet with 6 billion people.

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:I think that some of

Quote:
I think that some of the studies presented by Ento may have some confounding factors, but honestly, I don't have the time to read all of them ATM.

I'm trying to make time to read some of them.  I'm wary of the confounding factor problem because it's damn hard to produce any result without them in such a complex situation.  Unless you're separating for a LOT of socioeconomic factors, even things as seemingly clear cut as cervical cancer or breast cancer can be confounded.   For instance, cervical cancer is linked to HPV, which becomes more likely with more sexual partners.  Women who have children and marry early might have less partners, thereby reducing their risk of cancer.  It's not from having kids... it's from having less partners.

I'm also very wary of putting normatives anywhere in a conversation like this.  Saying that mothers should take better care of themselves so that weight gain doesn't confound the data is bad data evaluation.  If mothers gain more weight than non-mothers, then the two are correlated.  Wishing that it wasn't so doesn't make the correlation go away.

Quote:
I can dig up some more studies, but as we all know, there are studies to support just about any argument.

I'd be first in line to ask for more studies with better controls.  I agree with you completely.

Quote:
The fact is that if having children was as dangerous as society would like to portray it, particularly the act of partruition, we would not live on a planet with 6 billion people.

In all honesty, Kelly, I guess this is something I have not experienced.  If I had to guess, I'd say 80% of the hate I see around me is directed towards the childless, particularly women.  Even as much as I advocate abortion and childlessness, I don't have any ill will towards existing parents.  My point of view is that parenting should be delayed until both parents are really, really sure they're ready, and I think that if someone has doubts, they should wait.  If they never get over their doubts... well... see step two.

I know you and I have talked about this in person a lot, so I'm posting this as much for the rest of the readers as for you, but while we're talking about studies that need to be done, I think a good comparative look at bias towards the childless and parents would be a good thing.  I kind of think the childless would be the more reviled group, but I'd like to know for certain.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

More studies...

These abstracts were on the first page when I did a literature search with key words such as "social",  "stigma", "childlessness" or "childless women".

[Voluntarily childless women--wherein lies the problem?]

Tidsskrift for den Norske laegeforening, 2002 Jan 10, 122(1):76-8

NOTE: This article is in Norwegian, I can get it, but you have to translate it!

BACKGROUND: Most present-day Norwegian women choose to have children. This article explores the experience of the small group of voluntarily childless, or child-free, women. MATERIAL AND METHODS: This study is substantially based upon a small number of in depth interviews conducted in 1999 and 2000. The findings are not statistically significant; the objective is to highlight some themes and demonstrate different ways of experiencing and explaining a life without children. All respondents either lived or had lived in heterosexual relationships; at the time of the interviews their marital status were single, divorced, remarried, or living with a partner without being married. All were well-educated city-dwellers. RESULTS: According to their own accounts, the women lived happily without children, though problems arose in their meeting with others (family, friends, colleagues) who did not accept their choice of life-style. INTERPRETATION: Modern reproductive medicine has improved the predicament of women who want children but need assistance in order to give birth. On the other hand, women who do not want children find that their choice is criticized and that people around them fail to take it seriously.

 

Regret and psychological well-being among voluntarily and involuntarily childless women and mothers.

International journal of aging & human development, 2002, 54(2):89-106

This study examines regret and psychological well-being among 72 middle-aged and older women who are either voluntarily childless, involuntarily childless, or mothers. Group comparisons indicate that, when compared to involuntarily childless women, voluntarily childless women show higher levels of overall well-being, rate themselves as more autonomous with greater environmental mastery, and are less likely to have a child-related regret. An unexpected finding is that about one-third of women categorized by researchers as involuntarily childless indicate that they are "childless by choice." These women report making an active decision to accept the childless lifestyle and focus on the future, in essence exerting control over their situations. Results from this small and selective sample should be interpreted cautiously. However, they do suggest that researchers' definitions of childlessness may not map directly onto those of participants, and they emphasize the importance of ascertaining respondents' perceptions of control over their situations.

 

The effects of sex and childlessness on the association between status and reproductive output in modern society

Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 392-398, Nov. 2007    
 

Examining the association between socioeconomic status and reproductive output in modern societies has led to conflicting results. In this study, we used a representative sample of contemporary Swedish men and women to analyze possible reasons for the contradictory results. We found that the relationship between socioeconomic status-described here by income and highest educational level attained-and reproductive output is dependent on sex and the inclusion or exclusion of childless individuals. In men, there is a strong positive association between income/education and average offspring count if childless individuals are included in the analysis; this association is absent when such individuals are excluded. We attribute this reversal mainly to the higher proportion of childless individuals among men of lower socioeconomic background. Among other factors, female choice appears to be a major cause of this association because the proportion of men who never married increased with decreasing income category and educational level. In women, however, including and excluding childless individuals both yielded a negative association between income and average offspring count as well as a null or negative relationship between education and average offspring count.

 

Attitudes About Childlessness in the United States

Journal of Family Issues, vol. 28, no. 8, pp. 1054-1082, Aug. 2007

The study used cross-sectional analyses of the National Survey of Families and Households (1987-1988, 1992-1994) to examine attitudes about childlessness in the United States. It (a) assesses prevalence of positive, neutral, and negative attitudes about childlessness and (b) identifies the correlates of different attitudes in the population. About one fifth of adults disagreed with prescriptive norms that favor parenthood over childlessness, whereas two fifths gave neutral responses. More than 86% agreed or were neutral on whether childless adults could have fulfilling lives. Positive attitudes were consistently found among those who were female, college educated, or childless. Those with negative attitudes were distinct from those with neutral or positive attitudes and were more likely to be older, male, non-White, less educated, or have conservative religious beliefs, net of other factors. The authors argue attitudes reflect acceptance but not endorsement of childlessness, and substantial proportions of neutral responses merit closer examination. [

 

Through the Lenses of Gender, Race, and Class: Students' Perceptions of Childless/Childfree Individuals and Couples

Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, vol. 56, no. 7-8, pp. 415-428, Apr 2007

Earlier research has documented negative perceptions of childless couples, particularly the voluntarily child-free, among college students. In this project we used hypothetical vignettes to assess variations in students' (N = 478) perceptions of childless couples related to the couple's race, occupations of husband and wife, and assumed reasons for childlessness. Perceptions were strongly influenced by occupational status and gender, but we found few race differences. Neither infertility nor chosen childlessness was rated negatively, but couples were rated more positively if they were perceived as temporarily rather than permanently childless. Our findings suggest that delayed parenthood is regarded as normative and that students have few negative biases regarding infertility or chosen childlessness. Perceptions were strongly conditioned by economic and employment considerations, which reflect current concerns about balancing work and family trajectories. Adapted from the source document.

 

Stigma Management among the Voluntarily Childless

Sociological Perspectives, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 21-45, spring 2002

Individuals who choose not to be parents are viewed in terms of negative stereotypes & experience social pressures to alter or justify their status. Data were collected from in-depth interviews with 24 voluntarily childless women & men & a focus group that included seven of the interviewed individuals. Inductive analysis discovered the techniques that individuals used, in self-interaction & social interactions with various audiences, to manage stigmatized identity & preserve a good self. Strategies included passing, identity substitution, condemning the condemnors, asserting a right to self-fulfillment, claiming biological deficiency, & redefining the situation. Primarily defensive, reactive techniques accepted pronatalist norms, intermediate techniques challenged conventional ideologies, & proactive techniques redefined childlessness as a socially valuable lifestyle. Use of these strategies was part of the "identity work" that individuals engaged in to reject discreditable identities as voluntarily childless individuals. 85 References.

 

Religiosity of Married Couples and Childlessness

Review of Religious Research, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 244-255, Mar 1992

The relationship between religion & voluntary childlessness is examined, based on data from the 1987/88 National Survey of Families & Households (N = 13,017 adult respondents). Results indicate a negative relationship between religion & childlessness, although the voluntary childlessness rate was very low. Those who did not attend church, had no religious affiliation, did not believe in the Bible, & had been married in civil rather than religious ceremonies had higher rates of childlessness. 4 Tables, 14 References. Adapted from the source document.

 

Perceptions of Parenthood and Childlessness: A Comparison of Mothers and Voluntarily Childless Wives

Population and Environment, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 179-189, fall 1983

Samples of 50 mothers & 50 voluntarily childless (VC) wives in Australia selected from an adjective checklist the personality traits most typical of parents & VC persons. Both groups of women described parents as concerned, loving, hard-working, conventional, & patient; but VC wives were more likely to also choose the traits conventional & restricted. VC persons were described by a strikingly different set of attributes, being perceived as nonconforming, self-fulfilled, materialistic, intelligent, & individualistic. VC wives in describing the childless chose more often than mothers traits like intelligent, individualistic, practical, & well-adjusted, & cited less often than mothers the attributes materialistic & ambitious. On the other hand, analysis of the positive & negative comments made about childless persons revealed that the VC were regarded as selfish, unusual persons, more likely to be pitied than applauded for their alternative social reality. HA.

 

 

Tilberian's picture

entomophila wrote:No you

entomophila wrote:

No you don't. You just wrote an entire post in which you insulted us, one by one (Hamby, Renee and me...and anyone else in the same situation) because we choose/chose (I am, thankfully, beyond childbearing years) NOT to have children.

Actually I was very careful not to do that. I'm characterizing child rearing as a good thing to do that some people will choose not to do.

entomophila wrote:

And you lectured Ad nauseum about the supposed "benefits" of having children, which is not supported by the scientific literature.

As I've pointed out, I don't think a study has been designed that addresses the benefits of having children, as I see them. And I don't think having children is about the benefits to the parents.

entomophila wrote:

And you followed up on it by saying that you don't respect our decision.

I'll ask my perfectly relevant question again: do you respect my decision to not learn how to play the piano?

entomophila wrote:

You sound like a christian!

And you sound overly defensive.

entomophila wrote:

So let me get this straight, you think it should be mandatory for every human female to have children whether she wants them or not? If you respect only people who have children, logically, this means only women with children are worthy of your respect. That is just sickening.

My, you are really just lashing out randomly in all directions, aren't you? Anyone would think that you aren't very confident in the strength of your arguments. I never said or suggested that it should be mandatory for women (or men, everything I say goes equally for men) to have kids. I never said that I do not repsect people who don't have kids...I said I don't respect their DECISION.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Tilberian's picture

Hambydammit wrote:Tilberian,

Hambydammit wrote:

Tilberian, I've spelled out for you many times already the flawed logic.  You claim that you must be a parent to speak authoritatively on parenting.  This fails on two levels.  First, it does not take into account the well documented ability of humans to empathize with others.  As I have said before, we do not ask psychologists to experience everything they are going to help people with.  We teach them to recognize sets of behaviors that correspond with certain states of mind.

You aren't pointing out a logic flaw here, but rather disputing the factual accuracy of some assumptions that I have made. Whatever. I don't think the study has been done (and maybe can't be done) that reveals the benefits of having children because the topic is probably too large and subjective. At the end of the day, you have surveys with parents saying their quality of life goes down and those same parents saying that they would do it all over again. You explain the discrepancy by saying the parents are lying. I explain it by saying that having kids is not about improving your quality of life and the benefits lie elsewhere.

Hambydammit wrote:

Second, you are setting up an unfalsifiable claim, just like Christians.  "Well, you have to love Jesus before you can know what it's like to be a Christian."  Horse-shit.  You have busted many Christian balls when they try to pull that, and yet you cannot see the beam in your own eye.

Actually, I have been perfectly willing to accept Christian claims that they are having some kind of experience that I am not familiar with. I have often told Christians that if they have really talked to Jesus and feel confident that the experience was not any kind of hallucination or wishful thinking that they have perfectly rational grounds to at least believe that Jesus is alive in some way. Then I tell them that the day I have that experience will be the day I convert. Of course, when you get them to into specifics about these claims you usually find a number of holes...

Anyway, I do think that people who only evaluate having children on the basis of the improvements it is going to bring to their lives are partially missing the point.

Hambydammit wrote:

I try to remember that my perception is not the only valid one on the planet.  It makes me less of a prick when dealing with people who have vastly different, yet valid, goals and aspirations.

I'm glad to hear you say that, Hamby. Because when you posted this...

Quote:
I don't hate you tilberian.  I understand that you have no choice but to feel the way you feel.

...the words "condescending prick" kind of floated up into my mind. I suppressed it quickly, though.

 

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:...the words

Quote:
...the words "condescending prick" kind of floated up into my mind. I suppressed it quickly, though.

I've been called worse.  If I'm a prick for standing up for people who choose their own path even though most of society doesn't like it... then I'm a prick.

Out of curiosity, have you read any of the studies ento posted?  I'm starting on them this week.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Hambydammit's picture

By the way, tilberian, I'm

By the way, tilberian, I'm dipping out of this because you've misrepresented what I said multiple times in just the last couple of paragraphs.  I don't think you did it on purpose.  I think you've just decided the way things are, and the words on the page aren't going to sway you.

Just to make sure we're leaving this discussion with a clear understanding, will you either verify or correct my understanding of your position?

You believe that having kids is objectively better than not having kids, and that people who choose not to have kids are incapable of understanding parenthood in any meaningful way, right?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

I don't know nothing 'bout birthin' babies!

Tilberian wrote:

As I've pointed out, I don't think a study has been designed that addresses the benefits of having children, as I see them. And I don't think having children is about the benefits to the parents.

The studies mentioned indicate otherwise; you just don't like the results. Obviously, despite all the pain and aggravation, people are still having children. 

I want you to think about your statement that "having children" is NOT "about the benefits to the parents." I'm a forensic entomologist, not an evolutionary biologist, but it seems to me that passing on genes might be of slight benefit to parents. It might be the single and only reason for a carbon based unit to exist. I could be wrong.

Still, the studies indicate that a small % of parents enjoy parenthood. I'll leave out the actual birth process in that argument. I've never had a kid, but I don't think the physiological process is...enjoyable.

Tilberian wrote:

I'll ask my perfectly relevant question again: do you respect my decision to not learn how to play the piano?

Are you indicating that learning to play the piano is equivalent to the childbirth and parenting process?                                    

Tilberian wrote:

And you sound overly defensive.

Funny, I was going to say the same thing about you!    I AM a tad bit tired of being called "pick your negative adjective or phrase" because I chose not to bring forth a rug rat from my uterus.

Tilberian wrote:

I never said that I do not respect people who don't have kids...I said I don't respect their DECISION.

           
 

Tilberian's picture

Quote:By the way, tilberian,

Quote:

By the way, tilberian, I'm dipping out of this because you've misrepresented what I said multiple times in just the last couple of paragraphs.  I don't think you did it on purpose.  I think you've just decided the way things are, and the words on the page aren't going to sway you.

My apologies if I did. It certainly was unintentional, but without more clarification I can't know what you mean.

Quote:

Just to make sure we're leaving this discussion with a clear understanding, will you either verify or correct my understanding of your position?

You believe that having kids is objectively better than not having kids, and that people who choose not to have kids are incapable of understanding parenthood in any meaningful way, right?

I think it is perfectly possible, but rare, for people who have never had kids to understand parenting quite well. But what I have seen consistently from you and others on this board are comments that reveal a lack of understanding that comes from not being parents. For instance, the constant references to health pros and cons and studies that ask parents about their perceived quality of life. These are things that non-parents look at and see as huge barriers that make the activity wholly undesirable. Parents, on the other hand, tend to shrug them off as unpleasant but expected and not really part of the equation when it comes to evaluating parenthood. This is why they will report the most abysmal quality-of-life problems but say in the next breath that they would do it all again.

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:For instance, the

Quote:
For instance, the constant references to health pros and cons and studies that ask parents about their perceived quality of life.

Well, for a start, I don't recall ever talking about studies like that.  Ento's the one who's been posting those studies.  My topics are evolution development and sociobiology.  IIRC, the first time you got your panties in a bunch was when I pointed out the well established scientific fact that humans are polygamous.  Pretty much since then, you've been accusing me of positions I don't hold, which I've taken as evidence that you're blinded by your own parenting emotions.

Quote:
Parents, on the other hand, tend to shrug them off as unpleasant but expected and not really part of the equation when it comes to evaluating parenthood. This is why they will report the most abysmal quality-of-life problems but say in the next breath that they would do it all again.

You've also shown an astounding ability to ignore the positive things I say about parenting.  Nearly every time I've stated an official position on the pros and cons of parenting, it's been just that -- pros and cons, but you've only focused on the cons.

In any case, since you've decided that I don't know anything, I don't expect you to believe anything I say, so any comments I make about parenting in the future can be assumed to be directed around, under, or over you.  I have no intention of trying to change your mind about anything.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

Tilberian's picture

entomophila wrote:The

entomophila wrote:

The studies mentioned indicate otherwise; you just don't like the results. Obviously, despite all the pain and aggravation, people are still having children.

My point all along. The pain and aggravation are beside the point.

entomophila wrote:

I want you to think about your statement that "having children" is NOT "about the benefits to the parents." I'm a forensic entomologist, not an evolutionary biologist, but it seems to me that passing on genes might be of slight benefit to parents. It might be the single and only reason for a carbon based unit to exist. I could be wrong.

Bravo! You have pointed to a very good benefit that will not be revealed by your quality-of-life studies. Some people, myself included, think that there is very little other point to be alive than to pass on your genes (or other elements of yourself) to future generations.

Strictly speaking, the benefit is to the parent's genome and not to the parent as an individual, of course. However, I would see this as the proverbial "something-larger-than-myself" to which a person might want to dedicate himself.

entomophila wrote:

Still, the studies indicate that a small % of parents enjoy parenthood. I'll leave out the actual birth process in that argument. I've never had a kid, but I don't think the physiological process is...enjoyable.

If all we ever did was stuff that we enjoyed, I don't like to think what shape the world would be in.

entomophila wrote:

Are you indicating that learning to play the piano is equivalent to the childbirth and parenting process?

Yes, in the sense that both require some sacrifice and discipline and both return rewards that are hard to quantify.                                  

entomophila wrote:

Funny, I was going to say the same thing about you!    I AM a tad bit tired of being called "pick your negative adjective or phrase" because I chose not to bring forth a rug rat from my uterus.

Which is why I can't help but feel that you are being defensive, since I never called you any names.

entomophila wrote:

Tilberian wrote:

I never said that I do not respect people who don't have kids...I said I don't respect their DECISION.

             

Not giving your decision the positive accolade of respect is not the same as condemning it or even criticizing it.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Check again...

Tilberian wrote:

This is why they will report the most abysmal quality-of-life problems but say in the next breath that they would do it all again.

 

No this is not right....you didn't read the abstracts or missed one of the points. I can get the pdf files for you if you would like to read the entire articles.

The literature says (there are multiple studies, some by country. Those published are from the USA, Norway, UK, Canada and Germany, just to name a few)  that 40-85 % would NOT do it again. And the people who study these things believe that the actual % is higher, because of the negative social stigma and guilt associated with admitting such a thing. At the very least, half of all women who have had children wouldn't do it again if they could turn back the clock...

You mentioned "the complete lack of understanding that comes from not being parents." This statement is not correct for a number of reasons (Hamby mentioned one or two of them). I understand perfectly well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tilberian's picture

entomophila wrote:No this is

entomophila wrote:

No this is not right....you didn't read the abstract correctly. The literature says (there are multiple studies, some by country. Those published are from the USA, Norway, UK, Canada and Germany, just to name a few)  that 40-85 % would NOT do it again. And the people who study these things believe that the actual % is higher, because of the negative social stigma and guilt associated with admitting such a thing. At the very least, half of all women who have had children wouldn't do it again if they could turn back the clock...

Could you repost this because I can't find this statement in any of the studies you posted. Reading through the abstracts you have supplied, I see that several that are qualifying their results as unscientific, including one from Ann Landers that is the biggest fraud I can possibly imagine (a columnist who specializes in printing true confessions soliciting women to write in about whether they regret being mothers...sheesh). Many of the other abstracts are finding few if any significant differences between the wellbeing reported by mothers and childless women.

Here's another thing: on any given day, 50% of parents will probably tell you that they would not do it again. That is because little Johnny just puked on them. Ask the same question tomorrow and you will get 50% again...but with all the parents who said no the first time saying yes and vice versa. It is too subjective and emotional a question to interpret the results correctly.

Plus, it is a stupid question anyway, asking parents about a hypothetical scenario that they can barely imagine and will never have to face. It has no predictive power, and is, at best, a measure of a short-term emotional state.

I wonder how many grandparents regret having kids.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

no significant difference

Tilberian wrote:

Many of the other abstracts are finding few if any significant differences between the wellbeing reported by mothers and childless women.

That is exactly the point. No differences in well-being!

The Ann Landers survey was one of the first of its kind...and was the starting point for many to study this in further detail. Could it be true that women really didn't want to be mothers?

So, now Ann Landers was a fraud? Isn't that equivalent to shooting the messenger? I think the literature indicates that she was well ahead of her time and certainly right on when she suggested that motherhood was not the number 1 priority of all women, and that being a mother was not necessary for validation of being a woman, and that many women wanted NOT to have a children but wanted a career instead.

Your comment about the scientific testing methodology is 100% incorrect. You are not thinking like a scientist. Do you think that such surveys are randomly sent out in the mail? 

The results of such surveys, and there are millions of them about millions of different subjects, are easy to analyze. The questions have yes/no answers. A yes/no answer is not subjective (well, perhaps only to men who don't understand what "no" means).  There are no hypothetical questions.  If you ask 15,000 people if they are happy (and if you don't know if you are happy or not, then you wouldn't be a candidate for taking the survey), and 40% say no, that is a finite answer. There is no causation, but that is not the point of the test.

I don't see any other study than the Ann Landers one as being not scientific. The Dr. Phil study has been peer reviewed and excepted for publication. He said on Larry King that he expected the actual number of women who wouldn't have children again to be about 70%. That's the number he quotes on his show (I watched the one in which this issue was discussed). We'll see what the literature reveals when it is published. You know what an abstract is, right (not trying to sound sarcastic, if you don't know...it is the short version of the results of a scientific, peer-reviewed study)? 

 

 

 

 

 

I as a parent, can only

I as a parent, can only speak for myself of course. I would not be who I am, had I not personally felt the protective concern, sense of responsibility, and the fun I had, if I had not raised my kitten girl child. I just wouldn't be the same me. 

   I do suppose if a goose dropped a baby on a deserted island I was stranded on, it could be a similar experience. Parenting definitely changed me.  I feel lucky for it.

  Anyway, I like the science approach to hormone benefits. And hey, all girls could have bigger breast milk filled tits !  YUM, better than RUM !   

NO, I don't drink breast milk, but if you've kissed on a ripe womens nipple, you will know of this sweet nectar too .... lucky us !  GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS, (puppies and kittens) .... WOW      

1 girls

2 girls

3 girls

       The waltz    

 

The_Saint's picture

It's pretty disturbing to

It's pretty disturbing to read all the childless folks give their expert testimony on parenting, using cold statistical data to determine the pros and cons of reproducing, as if you were comparing which brand of stereo equipment might give the most bang for the buck. 

Those of you who wish to remain childless?  Be my guest.  If this lifestyle choice is the preferred choice of atheists everywhere (and it seems to be), then by all means, allow my to support your decision.  But for those of you looking for some beneficial scientific reason to have a child, you're wasting your time.  There's only one good reason to have a child, and it's one that cannot be quantified.

The Saint

 

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:It's pretty disturbing

Quote:
It's pretty disturbing to read all the childless folks give their expert testimony on parenting, using cold statistical data to determine the pros and cons of reproducing, as if you were comparing which brand of stereo equipment might give the most bang for the buck.

I'm sorry that you don't realize the benefit of making rational choices even when your emotions are urging you in one direction.  Would you like to claim special pleading?  Only childbearing should be considered emotionally, and other decisions should be decided using facts?

Quote:
Those of you who wish to remain childless?  Be my guest.

Thank you.

Quote:
If this lifestyle choice is the preferred choice of atheists everywhere (and it seems to be), then by all means, allow my to support your decision.

As ento posted earlier, it's more prevalent among atheists, but it's not the majority.  Thank you for your support.

Quote:
But for those of you looking for some beneficial scientific reason to have a child, you're wasting your time.

I guess you're not talking to me now, since ento and I have both been saying that having children is, strictly speaking, not beneficial individually.  That's pretty much our point, though we approach it from different angles.  If you're saying that people who want everyone to reproduce are wasting their time trying to find a logical reason for wanting that, I agree.

Quote:
There's only one good reason to have a child, and it's one that cannot be quantified.

Oh, don't leave us in the dark.  Emotional?  Love?  Evolutionary drives?  What do you have in mind?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

The_Saint's picture

Hambydammit wrote:I'm sorry

Hambydammit wrote:
I'm sorry that you don't realize the benefit of making rational choices even when your emotions are urging you in one direction.  Would you like to claim special pleading?  Only childbearing should be considered emotionally, and other decisions should be decided using facts?


Not sure about how rational a choice promoting abortion and childlessness is, frankly.  Seems to me that logically speaking, if desiring a culture of rationality over theism holds any import among atheists like yourself, purposefully driving yourselves to extinction would seem to be the wrong approach. 

Quote:
Oh, don't leave us in the dark.  Emotional?  Love?  Evolutionary drives?  What do you have in mind?


Scoff if you will, but love is precisely what I'm talking about.  There is nothing in this world--no amount of wealth, power or fame--that could measure up to the perfect and unconditional love I receive from my child.   Coming here and seeing this transcendental experience reduced to cold statistics and probabilities is more than a little sad.

You can't begin to imagine the life you have chosen to deny yourself.  

The Saint
 

Tilberian's picture

entomophila wrote:Tilberian

entomophila wrote:

Tilberian wrote:

Many of the other abstracts are finding few if any significant differences between the wellbeing reported by mothers and childless women.

That is exactly the point. No differences in well-being!

Given the amount of work and sacrifice that go into child-rearing, there must be some pretty substantial pay-offs for people to not report a decrease in wellbeing versus not having kids.

entomophila wrote:

The Ann Landers survey was one of the first of its kind...and was the starting point for many to study this in further detail. Could it be true that women really didn't want to be mothers?

So, now Ann Landers was a fraud? Isn't that equivalent to shooting the messenger? I think the literature indicates that she was well ahead of her time and certainly right on when she suggested that motherhood was not the number 1 priority of all women, and that being a mother was not necessary for validation of being a woman, and that many women wanted NOT to have a children but wanted a career instead.

You can't even call what Ann Landers did a survey. It was a stunt, and the results it drew tell us nothing about anything.

entomophila wrote:

Your comment about the scientific testing methodology is 100% incorrect. You are not thinking like a scientist. Do you think that such surveys are randomly sent out in the mail?

You are pointing to Ann Landers' information and telling me I'm not thinking like a scientist?

Some surveys are sent out randomly in the mail. Others aren't. It depends on what you are measuring and how you want to measure it. Frankly, I don't see the point of your comment; there are bad surveys done all the time and I have some doubts about some of these.

entomophila wrote:

The results of such surveys, and there are millions of them about millions of different subjects, are easy to analyze. The questions have yes/no answers. A yes/no answer is not subjective (well, perhaps only to men who don't understand what "no" means).  There are no hypothetical questions.  If you ask 15,000 people if they are happy (and if you don't know if you are happy or not, then you wouldn't be a candidate for taking the survey), and 40% say no, that is a finite answer. There is no causation, but that is not the point of the test.

What you are claiming is that these surveys show a high response rate in parents answering "yes" to a question that asks them if they would have kids again knowing what they know now. The question is totally hypothetical, since no one can travel back in time and redo their life. Given the changes that happen in people's viewpoint as they age, it is quite impossible for anyone to accurately predict what they would have done years ago given this or that information. The answers to the questions predict nothing and say nothing about the parents except to describe their current attitude toward child rearing. An attitude that most parents have at one time or another, but rarely retain into later life.

You are actually making the error of drawing causation from these studies. Parents say they wouldn't have kids again (BTW, what were the studies that said that? Because I can't find it in what you posted.) and you are saying that this must be because child rearing is making them unhappy and ruining their lives. But the studies can't even show what the long term attitude of parents toward child rearing is.

entomophila wrote:

I don't see any other study than the Ann Landers one as being not scientific.

At least two of the abstracts you posted state directly that their conclusions regarding parents' attitudes should not be considered scientific or significant.

entomophila wrote:

The Dr. Phil study has been peer reviewed and excepted for publication. He said on Larry King that he expected the actual number of women who wouldn't have children again to be about 70%. That's the number he quotes on his show (I watched the one in which this issue was discussed). We'll see what the literature reveals when it is published. You know what an abstract is, right (not trying to sound sarcastic, if you don't know...it is the short version of the results of a scientific, peer-reviewed study)? 

Do you think Dr. Phil will draw the conclusion from this that people should not be parents, or that parenting is bad for you? Or will he draw the conclusion, that I would agree with hugely, that people should be more knowledgeable about parenting and go into it better prepared than they often do?

 

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown

Hambydammit's picture

Quote:Scoff if you will, but

Quote:
Scoff if you will, but love is precisely what I'm talking about.  There is nothing in this world--no amount of wealth, power or fame--that could measure up to the perfect and unconditional love I receive from my child.   Coming here and seeing this transcendental experience reduced to cold statistics and probabilities is more than a little sad.

You can't begin to imagine the life you have chosen to deny yourself. 

Thanks for illustrating exactly what ento and I have been talking about.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

http://hambydammit.wordpress.com/
Books about atheism

sceince and statistics

Tilberian wrote:

Given the amount of work and sacrifice that go into child-rearing, there must be some pretty substantial pay-offs for people to not report a decrease in wellbeing versus not having kids.

I don't understand what you are trying to say here. For the 9 millionth time, the literature CLEARLY indicates that there is NO STATISTICAL DIFFERENCE in well-being between women who had children and those who did not have children.

Tilberian wrote:

You can't even call what Ann Landers did a survey. It was a stunt, and the results it drew tell us nothing about anything.

Yes I can. You can dance around NOT calling it a survey all you want. That doesn't change the fact that it was a survey...a non-scientific one. I give her credit for many things. I don't need to go into them all here.

Tilberian wrote:

Some surveys are sent out randomly in the mail. Others aren't. It depends on what you are measuring and how you want to measure it. Frankly, I don't see the point of your comment; there are bad surveys done all the time and I have some doubts about some of these.

A true scientific study and analysis would be well-designed and planned in advance.  The population chosen would be planned and chosen carefully, depending upon what was being studied.

Are you qualified to determine what a "bad survey" is, especially if it is done using the scientific method?

Tilberian wrote:

What you are claiming is that these surveys show a high response rate in parents answering "yes" to a question that asks them if they would have kids again knowing what they know now. The question is totally hypothetical, since no one can travel back in time and redo their life. Given the changes that happen in people's viewpoint as they age, it is quite impossible for anyone to accurately predict what they would have done years ago given this or that information. The answers to the questions predict nothing and say nothing about the parents except to describe their current attitude toward child rearing. An attitude that most parents have at one time or another, but rarely retain into later life.

It may be hypothetical...but that doesn't make them any less valid as questions.

Would you like it if your wife/girlfriend had bigger boobs?

Would you like your wife/girlfriend to be thinner?

Do you wish you could win the lottery?

Do you remember the first time you had sex?

Was it a pleasurable experience for you?

Do you wish you had a larger penis?

Do you wish you made more money?

These are just a few hypothetical questions that I could think of on the spur of the moment.  I also predict that if I do a literature search, that I will find scientific studies that used these or similar questions.

I predict, with a high degree of statistical certainty (and a small error rate) that men would answer all of the above questions with a "yes", if given a choice of 2 possible outcomes/answers:

1. yes

2. no

There are a multitude of ways I can statistically analyze the answers. I cannot show causation....but I can hypothesize that it has something to do with testosterone.

Tilberian wrote:

You are actually making the error of drawing causation from these studies. Parents say they wouldn't have kids again (BTW, what were the studies that said that? Because I can't find it in what you posted.) and you are saying that this must be because child rearing is making them unhappy and ruining their lives. But the studies can't even show what the long term attitude of parents toward child rearing is.

Being "unhappy" and "ruining lives" was not a question on the survey.   Long term, it seems that  there is no emotional "benefit" to having children.

Tilberian wrote:

At least two of the abstracts you posted state directly that their conclusions regarding parents' attitudes should not be considered scientific or significant.

If it is an "abstract", it is from a scientific, peer-reviewed study. The sample size may be small, which would result in a higher error rate (among other things), but still, the studies are valid as are the statistical conclusions.  If the study was properly designed and the analysis properly done, there would be no logical reason to invalidate such a study. The sheer amount of research that has been done regarding this subject with similar results tells us something, too. 

Are you talking about this statement:

"The findings are not statistically significant"?

This is a statistical statement....not one indicating that the study lacked merit.

Tilberian wrote:

Do you think Dr. Phil will draw the conclusion from this that people should not be parents, or that parenting is bad for you? Or will he draw the conclusion, that I would agree with hugely, that people should be more knowledgeable about parenting and go into it better prepared than they often do?

I can't predict what Dr. Phil's conclusions will be. But I can predict that the data will be analyzed properly (funding doesn't seem to be a problem for him) and that he will write a book about it and make lots of money.