Kristen Hatten

TIME Magazine asks: who needs kids, anyway?

Kristen Hatten
By Kristen Hatten
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August 7, 2013 (LiveActionNews) - I miscarried my first child less than a month ago, so I see babies or lack of babies everywhere. When the latest issue of TIME arrived at my home (it was free, okay, shut up) with the words “THE CHILDFREE LIFE” emblazoned across the cover, I just sort of rolled my eyes. “When having it all means not having children,” read the sub-head. I looked at the cover photo of a young, relaxed couple lounging on the beach. The woman wore giant sunglasses and a little Mona Lisa smile that I guess is supposed to communicate her disdain for her uterus and her utter satisfaction with her size-4, cellulite-free, vacation-filled life.

Cover Photo Lady has lots of company: the American birth rate has literally never been lower in our recorded history. That includes the Great Depression, when people were too busy being Greatly Depressed to have babies. TIME tells us that the birth rate declined 9% between 2007 and 2011, which apparently is like whoa.

In other words, more and more American women are looking at the motherhood and saying, “You know what? No.” And after exploring the many reasons why women might decide not to procreate (and it’s usually looked at as a woman’s decision, not so much a man’s), TIME‘s Lauren Sandler decides that this is a pretty cool decision.

So what are the reasons? Unfortunately, they are painfully obvious and, in my openly biased opinion, tiresome. “Our lives are so great already.” “My mom had 16 kids and she was always tired and her life sucked.” “I wanna do what I wanna do.” “I’m afraid I would be such a devoted and awesome parent that everything else would suffer.” Et cetera.

But in some of the women interviewed for the article, there are – surprise, surprise! – hints of regret. Take Leah Clouse, a 27-year-old Knoxille, Tenn. woman who keeps a “baby box” in the closet “with a pink tutu she once bought for an imaginary infant girl.” Her explanation is that the box is “indulgent of a life I have to grieve. If we decided to have children, we’d have to grieve the life we currently have.”

And what life do they currently have? Leah “commits her time to working on her own creative projects and starting up a bakery.” Her husband writes a blog and works in customer service at a credit card-processing company. Ahem. Ahem hem.

Does anyone else feel like one day Leah and Paul might find the grief for the family they never had far outweighs their grief over blogging and baking?

Hey, it may sound nuts to me to give up the most creative project of all – baby-making – to write blogs and bake, but then that’s me. Who am I to judge? I am one of those rare pro-lifers who doesn’t believe in forcibly impregnating women with the seed of country music singers and Republican senators and replacing all their highfalutin’ books with Bibles and recipes. I know most of you are totally into that, but hey, not me.

Look: if you don’t want to have a kid, no one is forcing you to. But even when I try extremely hard to be objective, I can’t help but think some of the reasons couples give for avoiding parenthood are deeply, deeply lame.

And guess what! This means I’m dumb. At least that’s what Satoshi Kanazawa at the London School of Economics says. He has “begun to present scholarship asserting that the more intelligent women are, the less likely they are to become mothers.” But don’t hang your heads yet, Mom: many of his peers have found fault with those findings. (And may I add, again: surprise, surprise.)

Lest you start thinking the childfree life is all fun and games, it’s not. It gets lonely, especially in your 30s and 40s. I can attest to that, although I am not childfree by choice but because I was kind of a late bloomer when it comes to settling down and having kids. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a wife and mother ’til I was in my late 20s. I spent most of that decade in creative pursuits and having both a lot of fun and a lot of decidedly not-fun. I’m sure my conversion, at age 28, to Catholicism from Semi-Pagan Agnostic Pantheist Hotmess-ism was instrumental in my recognition of my own desire for children.

In any case, at nearly 34 and no children yet, I can tell you it is lonely. It’s hard to find friends who can hang out, and when they can hang out, it’s usually at their place with their kids. Even if you love kids, maybe especially if you love kids, that can be hard after a while.

But the childfree-by-choice have chosen their fate. They don’t want kids. So it’s hard for me to shed a tear for their loneliness. After all, that annoying idea that children are a blessing is as old as time. It’s biblical, in fact. So, when you deny something that’s pretty natural, you may have to – and I say this with gentleness and love - get an app that blocks your friends’ babies from showing up on your Facebook and replaces them with fast cars or kittens or whatever you like. Because apparently that is a thing. And that thing kind of says it all.

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See, some women claim they don’t have a maternal instinct. And maybe some truly don’t. But is that always an inborn characteristic – or lack thereof – or is it a result of living in a culture that is increasingly self-obsessed? This is a selfie society. Young people are being taught to share the highlight reel of their lives via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and kind of marvel at their own brand. In another time, all that oohing and aaahing would be directed at our children, not at ourselves.

Although Sandler’s article is dismissive of branding childfree-by-choice women “selfish,” I think she may be lacking objectivity. Whether it’s bad or wrong or what, it is most definitely selfish. ”It takes all of you, and I don’t know that I want to give it all,” said Leah Clouse of motherhood. Simple as that.

Furthermore, in my experience, there is far more of an anti-religion, anti-family, counter-cultural attitude to many of these women’s choices than TIME feels the need to explore. “Babies scare me more than anything,” says radical fauxminist Margaret Cho, in a delicious display of the pot calling the kettle scary.

I have known many young women who are self-described feminists, radicals, or liberals who delighted in disdaining babies and children and the desire to have them. In fact, in my 20s, I was one of those. Very deep down, I wanted children even back then. But in the circles I ran with, of actors and artists and filmmakers and punk rockers, wanting a baby was a weakness. It was for mainstreamers and sell-outs and church people. If you did have a baby, it was after getting pregnant by accident and considering abortion.

The article does not touch on how many of the couples interviewed use hormonal birth control to maintain their childfree existence, but I’d guess it’s a lot. I’d imagine there have been tubal ligations and vasectomies, too, and to be honest, the thought of human beings sterilizing themselves like animals irks me, and I don’t care if that makes me a lame church person. And of course, many people who insist on remaining childless have “oopsy-daisy” moments that lead to abortion. In other words, they’re not willing to sacrifice their comfort or convenience for a child, but they have no problem sacrificing a child for their comfort and convenience.

Still, if all these people were remaining childfree using a technique such as Natural Family Planning that didn’t end even the teensiest-weensiest human life, I’d probably still be bothered by it. (And, yes, it is okay to feel bothered by something other people do, even while accepting their right to do it.)

I’m all about people finding their own way and choosing their own happiness, but I find it difficult to believe that none of these people are going to wish they’d made a different decision. And that bothers me for them. I read between the lines of Leah Clouse’s interview, I picture her hiding her “baby box” in her closet, and I anticipate pain, regret, and loss. She already describes her feelings as “grief.”

It boils down to this: I’ve met lots of people who regretted not having children, but I have never met a single one who regretted her child.

Kristen is Vice President of New Wave Feminists. She tweets as @walkertxkristen and can be found on Facebook if you know where to look.

Reprinted with permssion from LiveActionNews

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Dr. Miriam Grossman speaks to large audience in Mississauga, Ontario Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Lianne Laurence

VIDEO: How DO you to talk to kids about sex? US sex-ed critic gives practical tips

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

MISSISSAUGA, ON, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Talking to their children about sex is “anxiety provoking to say the least,” for parents, says American sex-ed expert, Dr. Miriam Grossman.

“Some people just can’t even do it, and that’s okay,” the New York-based psychiatrist told the crowd of 1,000 who packed a Mississauga conference hall August 18 to hear her critique of the Ontario Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.

After Grossman explained how the Liberal sex-ed curriculum is dangerously flawed and ideologically driven, she used the question-and-answer session to give parents much appreciated and sometimes humorous practical advice on how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”

“If you feel you can’t do it, maybe there’s someone else in the family or in the constellation of people that you know you can trust that could do it,” said Grossman, author of “You’re teaching my child WHAT?” and an internationally sought-after speaker on sex education.

A child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with 12 years’ clinical experience treating students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) clinic, Grossman said explaining sexuality and procreation to children is “a process,” that “shouldn’t ideally happen all at once. A child is not a miniature adult, and absorbs…new information differently than adults do.”

And parents need to be sure just what their child wants to know.

To illustrate this, Grossman referred to her earlier story about a father who gave his son every detail on human procreation after the boy asked him, “Dad, where do I come from?”

After the father finished, his son replied, “Well, that’s funny, because Johnny told me that he came from Montreal.”

“Try to find out what your child is really getting at, and, don’t give it all at once,” Grossman said. “You start with a little bit at a time…and you know, there’s so many variables here, and people have their own traditions and their own ways of explaining things, and something that might be right for my family might not be right for your family.”

She also advised that, when confronted with a four, five, six or seven-year-old asking about a pregnant woman, or where babies come, a parent can ask, “What a good question that is. What do you think?”

And parents can also legitimately put off the discussion when appropriate, telling the child, “That’s really not something you need to know about right now.”

“Wow, what a novel idea: Telling a child that they could wait until they’re older to discuss that subject,” Grossman said, adding that parents wouldn’t brook a six- or even fifteen-year-old child asking how much money they made or had in the bank. “Excuse me? Not every subject has to be an open book.”

However, the time will come when a child needs to know “about how her body’s going to change, about reproduction, about how a new life is created.”

That time, Grossman advised, is puberty, or “as puberty is beginning,” and this is especially so for girls, who, if unprepared for the surprise onset of menstruation “might think [they’re] dying.”

“The actual nitty-gritty about the birds and the bees and intercourse” can “be told in bits and pieces, or it can be told all at once, if you feel it’s necessary,” she said, adding that it’s beneficial if the parent acknowledges his or her awkwardness, because the child will think: “This must be such an important subject that my mother or my father is sitting there squirming, but he’s doing it anyway. I’m really loved.”

“And the children need to understand that as you grow up, you change a lot, not only physically but emotionally,” Grossman said, “and what may seem odd or disgusting when you’re ten years old, or whatever age, it becomes something very special and beautiful when you’re older and you’ll understand it later. You don’t have to understand it now.”


Know your child and guard your home

But as an essential foundation for this discussion, parents must both know their children and guard their home from the encroachments of a culture that Grossman described as “very, very sexualized” and “really horrible.”

“Children need parents who are loving but are also firm and authoritative,” she asserted.  “They don’t need best friends. They need us to guide them, to know what they’re doing, to be on top of what they’re doing.

So parents need to be aware of whom their child is “hanging around with, and what kind of movies are they watching…what’s going on with your child.”

“You need to know that anyway, even if it’s not about sex education,” she pointed out. “Try and know your child. Every child is different.”

And Grossman emphasized that it is “extremely important to be careful about what your child is exposed to in the home, in terms of television and Internet, obviously.”

Children need to understand that “just like you have garbage you take out of the house, you put it in the garbage bin, it’s dirty, it smells…there are other things that also don’t belong in the house.”

And children learn quickly what is, and is not, permissible inside the home, Grossman said. “Me, I keep kosher…If I go into a store, my kids know from a very young age, we don’t eat that.”

So they are used to the idea of “the world outside and the inside world, of inside your home, and inside your heart as well.”

Parents can also convey this by telling their children that “the world is an upside-down place, and sometimes the most special, holy subjects are…just thrown in the gutter. And that’s a bad thing. In our family, in our tradition, we don’t do that.”

“Sexuality is one of the subjects that in this upside-down world, it is sometimes just in the gutter,” she said. “And so I want you to tell your child to come to me when you have questions, I will give you the straight story about it.”

Grossman herself is “not even sure,” as she stated in her seminar, that sex education should be in the schools: “I believe sex education should be at home for those parents that want to do it.”

She also noted that parents “can make mistakes. We all make lots of mistakes but it’s okay, you can always come back and do it differently,” adding that this is “another wonderful message for your child. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes, you can always go back and try and fix it.”

Grossman urged parents to visit her Facebook page, website and blog. “I have so much information you can get there that you’ll find useful,” and added that she will be publishing books for children, and has posted her critique of New York City’s sex-ed curriculum, which is similar to Ontario’s.

The parental backlash to that sex-ed curriculum, set to roll out in the province’s publicly funded schools this September, has been “amazing” Grossman noted.

Grossman’s seminar was sponsored by Mississauga-based HOWA Voice of Change along with the Canadian Families Alliance, an umbrella group representing more than 25 associations and 200,000 Ontarians opposed to the curriculum. The report on her devastating critique of the sex-ed curriculum can be found here, and the video here.

Ontario readers may find information and sign up for a September 2 province-wide protests at MPPs offices here. So far, there are protests planned for 92 of Ontario’s 107 constituencies. The parents’ movement seeking removal of the curriculum is urging all concerned citizens to join this special effort to influence individual Ontario legislators.

See related reports:

Ontario’s dangerous sex-ed is indoctrination not science says U.S. psychiatrist to large audience

Videos: US psychiatrist tells parents “stand firm” against dangerous sex-ed

See the LifeSiteNews feature page on the Ontario sex-ed curriculum containing nearly 100 LifeSite articles related to the issue

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Did the pope just endorse a gay children’s book? Of course not, says Vatican

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

ROME, August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- While mainstream media is gushing with news today that Pope Francis allegedly praised a children’s book that promotes gender theory, the Vatican is decrying what they called the "manipulation" of a cordial letter from an official in the Secretariat of State to suggest that the Vatican is promoting teachings contrary to the Gospel.

Italian children’s author Francesca Pardi was reported by The Guardian to have submitted a parcel of children’s books promoting the acceptance of homosexuality and gender theory to Pope Francis in June after Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro publicly banned the author’s newest book, Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg), from children’s schools. The book was criticized by pro-family leaders for promoting non-natural family structures of two men and two women.

In a letter accompanying the books, Pardi wrote: “Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us. We have respect for Catholics. ... A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”

The Guardian is reporting that Pardi has now “found an unlikely supporter in Pope Francis,” who through his staff has responded to the author and is presented as “praising her work.” It quotes the following from a July 9 letter to Pardi from the Vatican.

“His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” wrote Peter B. Wells, a senior official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, in a the letter The Guardian is reporting it has seen.  

While the letter gently calls the author to use her talents to spread “genuine human and Christian values,” The Guardian takes it as the pope’s endorsement of gender theory.

“Pope Francis sends letter praising gay children's book,” the paper’s headline states. “Italian book that explores different family types including same sex was banned by mayor of Venice, but pontiff becomes unlikely supporter,” reads the subtitle.

In a press release that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi sent to LifeSiteNews on Friday, the vice speaker of the Vatican, Ciro Benedettini, made clear that the friendly reply letter to the author in no way approves of attitudes or positions that are contrary to Catholic teaching and the Gospels.

The Vatican's statement also says that in the original letter from the secretariat of state Wells merely "acknowledged receipt" of the materials sent by Pardi, and also made clear that the letter was private and not meant for publication. 

"In no way does a letter from the Secretary of State intend to endorse behaviors and teachings not in keeping with the Gospel," says the statement, decrying the "manipulation" of the letter.

Benedettini said the blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was meant to be for the author herself, and not to affirm positions concerning gender theory that are contrary to the Church's teaching. Using the letter to this end is erroneous, he said.

Pope Francis has strongly condemned the notion of “gender theory” on numerous occasions, saying that it is an “error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Poll suggests most US Catholics wrongly believe Pope Francis backs gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A considerable majority of U.S. Catholics are in conflict with Church teaching on abortion and marriage, a new study says, and a startling number of those also believe Pope Francis backs homosexual “marriage.”

Despite Church teachings, Catholics in America also closely parallel the general populace in their support for abortion and homosexual “marriage,” falling short in the Biblical call to be “in the world but not of the world.”

The findings suggest what many Catholics have said is a climate of confusion in the midst of the Francis pontificate. Concerns over that confusion prompted a coalition of pro-family groups to respond with an international petition effort asking the pope to reaffirm Church teaching, drawing more than a half-million signatures.

The survey, conducted by Public Religions Research Institute, found that 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics favor legalized homosexual “marriage,” compared to 55 percent of all Americans. Likewise, 51 percent of Catholics think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 53 percent of the general population holding this view.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman, mirroring Christ and the Church respectively as bridegroom and bride.

The Church also teaches that life begins at conception, that each human life possesses dignity as a child of God and is to be afforded protection, making abortion an intrinsic evil.

Catholics, accounting for 22 percent of adults in the U.S. population, have a favorable view of Pope Francis, the study said, but they are very confused about his take on homosexual “marriage.”

Of the Catholics who back homosexual “marriage,” 49-percent also think the leader of the Catholic Church backs it along with them. Fifteen percent of those Catholics who oppose homosexual “marriage” also mistakenly believe Pope Francis supports it.

Pope Francis has made numerous statements in support of life, marriage and family, but the confusion remains.

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"After Ireland and the U.S. Supreme Court both approved same-sex 'marriage,' a strong reaffirmation of Church teaching could save the sacred institution of marriage, strengthen the family and dispel the lies of the homosexual revolution," TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie stated.  "Young Catholics -- even non-Catholics -- look to the Church as a beacon of morality and stability in our Godless culture, but some of our shepherds have issued confusing statements."

TFP Student Action is a part of the lay Catholic organization American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, and is part of the alliance behind the Filial Appeal, the petition asking the Holy Father to reinforce Catholic teaching at the Vatican’s upcoming Synod on the Family in October.

Ritchie explained how the confusion was aiding the Church’s enemies, and warned of the potential consequences.

"This prayerful petition asks Pope Francis to clear up the moral confusion that's been spreading against Natural and Divine Law," he said. "If the enemies of the family continue to chip away at holy matrimony, the future of the family and civilization itself will be in even more serious peril."

At press time more than 500,000 signature had been gathered for the appeal, including five cardinals, 117 bishops and hundreds of well-known civic leaders.

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