For someone who has committed parenting an obscene number of times, it strikes me odd that most of the people I feel close to, in mid-life, don’t have children.
When your kids are young you don’t pick their friends, they pick yours.
You meet other moms and dads at preschool, the arena and the soccer field, dance recitals and the emergency room.
One doesn’t necessarily like all the adults attached to her own spawns’ peer groups. But no one would risk alienating a potential play date, or offending someone in possession of a driver’s license who could be called upon to manage a car pool.
Before we go further down a road meant to be somewhat thoughtful but lighthearted, it has to be said that not being able to have children is a painful reality for many partners.
Approximately 13 per cent of couples in Canada struggle with infertility. The pain and dysfunction that can create in a life or a relationship is inconceivable to the rest of us.
It even makes a mother of four feel a sense of guilt, when she can apparently be impregnated by accidentally using her husband’s toothbrush.
‘Childless’ has negative connotations – maybe because it sounds like jobless, toothless, shoe-less, or homeless. Who doesn’t want a job, teeth, shoes and a home?
As it turns out, a lot of people don’t want children.
Almost half the couples in Canada – 48.9 per cent – are childless. In the majority of cases that must be by choice.
The provincial breakdown is interesting to be sure. If you’re someone who doesn’t particularly like the ankle-biters – I have one friend who believes children should be smothered and not heard, or at least not be allowed to eat in restaurants unless said eateries have a bouncy castle – you should consider becoming a Blue Nose.
Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of empty nests in the country, at 57.2 per cent. B.C. pretty much mirrors the Canadian average.
Couples in Nunavut and the North West Territories are by far the most prolific, with 76.5 and 61 per cent respectively going forth to multiple.
Not much of a surprise when you think about it. What else is there for those people to do?
Children do not come cheap. The average cost of getting a human being to the age of 18 in this country is $243,656 – and that’s before anyone considers post-secondary.
I recall a long time ago, in a T.V. room far away, watching cartoons. A commercial came on for Disney holiday packages and one of the boys piped up.
“If you and Dad didn’t have kids you could afford to go there!”
That same deep thinker also noted, when we were pregnant with the last of the progeny, that the world doesn’t need any more blond haired white people.
I enjoy my childless-by-choice friends immensely. They are happy, fulfilled, smart, successful, well-read and well-travelled. They have interesting hobbies and beautiful homes. (In fairness, they’ve had way more sleep than me.)
Every single one of them would rather starve to death than eat day-old macaroni and cheese off someone’s highchair tray.
Regrets? Not a single one for a single second.
The DeMeer tadpoles have all dropped their tales. They are positive, contributing members of society with good hearts and good jobs. Collectively they comprise the foundation of my retirement plan.
(Oh yeah I am so getting my million bucks back.)
Three of them insist they are never having children of their own.
And that’s okay. Turns out I really like people who don’t have kids.
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