There seem to be quite a lot of people of the mind that there's no point in having communities, forums, and blogs relating to childfreedom. At least, that's the impression I'm getting. I've seen numerous comments around the web, especially lately, ranging from wonder to why our communities exist to anger and defensiveness at the existence of them. Well, if they think we don't need them, do they think the same thing about mommy blogs and parenting forums? Pet communities? Blogs, forums and communities relating to cooking, music, sports, and video games? No, I'm sure they don't.
I've heard that we shouldn't revel in being childfree. But by that train of thought, maybe they shouldn't revel in being parents or sports enthusiasts.
Fact of the matter is, we need support (and places to talk to like-minded people) just as much as, or even more than, parents or anyone else. Our choice is often looked down on, questioned, and attacked. Why shouldn't we have safe spaces to talk to other people without having to deal with a parent jumping in constantly to try to bring attention to their kid? If we were to try to tell a parent like that to stay on topic and stop bringing up their kids, we'd be jumped on by just about every person in the thread and it would be turned into an 'attack the childfree' free-for-all; I've seen it happen, and I've had it happen to me. No matter how polite you are, you're still suddenly labeled a bitter, horrible child-hater. (Is it any wonder, then, when some childfree people do end up saying to hell with being nice? Seems, sometimes, like there's no point trying if we're going to be attacked either way.)
Why shouldn't we have safe places to rant if something annoyed us regarding children or shitty parenting? Trying to rant about bad parents or bratty children on a general forum tends to only get people jumping on the "well you're just a bitter childless baby-hater" or "you're not a parent so you don't know how haaaard it is" bandwagon. Trust me, I've tried. It just ends in frustration and angry, bitter feelings where they weren't any to begin with.
Hell, just trying to bring up anything childfree on a general forum tends to lead to parents and wannabe parents diving in to attack without mercy; it's like we're magnets. They zero in on the things they perceive as personal attacks (read: anything at all that infers a person doesn't absolutely looooove da wittle babbies and/or have or want any of their own) and then that's it for the childfree person/people involved. Maybe it's just the forums I lurk on, but I've yet to see a CF topic remain alive and un-attacked by parents for very long.
Why shouldn't we have places we can go to if we want to share something that we experienced? How many people on a general forum are going to care if one of us manages to get sterilized? The only people who care are the people who also want it done and know how hard it can be to achieve. Childfree love hearing about sterilization success stories. Parents don't; they don't care, either because they think we're insane for not wanting kids and will regret it one day - and they'll jump in and ruin the mood by saying so - or because they think it's as easy as going to a doctor, saying "sterilize me" and it will happen. We know better - what a struggle it is to find a doctor who will take us serious, who won't be a condescending asshole, will actually consider that we do know what we want.
What's wrong with being able to get support from like-minded people? If we're getting bingoed left and right, or need advice on bringing up our childfree status with loved ones, or finding a CF-friendly doctor, who better to help us than people who've gone through it themselves? I wouldn't ask a parent for advice on things like that.
And sometimes we just need the knowledge that we aren't alone in our choices. When I was growing up, I was the only one I knew of who didn't want kids of my own one day. I was always told I would change my mind. My mom told me that there were people who didn't want kids so I should stop worrying about it. But I couldn't, because I didn't know any of these mythical "don't want kids" people. Everyone I knew said, "Oh, I said the same thing when I was your age! Look at me now! I have kids and I LOOOOOVE them more than anything! You'll change your mind, too." I was sure those were the people she was talking about and she just wanted me to shut up (she wouldn't have kept hearing about it, though, if she hadn't kept up with the "one day when you have kids..."-type shit). I think, among other things, the feeling of being so alone contributed to my depression and social anxiety.
Who likes feeling isolated? But of course, I knew things wouldn't be any better if I ignored my feelings and just followed the crowd. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. When I stumbled on the term "childfree", I was in awe. There really were other people like me. Finding communities and forums full of people who stood by their choice not to have children, and blogs written by childfree individuals, and being able to communicate with them made a huge difference in my life.
I do still feel isolated in real life. I'm surrounded by parents. My choice is often questioned, attacked, belittled by those around me, and some days it's almost unbearable...but I have like-minded people I can reach out to online. They understand what I'm going through. And now I can extend that same lifeline, like they did for me.
I wonder...do parents not want us to have that support, so that maybe we'll give in and have kids, and join them in their misery? Is that it? Or do they feel attacked somehow? Odd, that one, when society bows down so much to parents and kids.
I guess the whole thing can just be boiled down to one more of the many double-standards that some people throw out there for the childfree.