If you follow me just for the food you might as well scroll on past. Unless the title applies to you, then please read.
Being vegan opens you up for ridicule, judgment, and unwarranted aggressive conversations from others who don’t understand. It comes with the territory. It’s just something you have to get used to and learn how to appropriately deal with. Developing a thick skin is recommended. This is to be expected from others that don’t live the way you choose to because it’s different and most people fear what is different so they feel the need to defend themselves. What is surprising is some of the harshest comments you get are from fellow vegans. There seems to be a contest going on that I don’t know about. Something along the lines of: How vegan are you or what level vegan are you? It’s ridiculous and it gets old really fast.
Recently, there was a post made to a Facebook group I’m in, Vegan Humor, about vegan couples choosing not to have children. I commented with something funny since it is a humor page. It may be a humor page, but it always ends up turning ugly- vegan vs. vegan virtual shouting match. I read some of the comments and I couldn’t believe the things that were being said. I had to change my notifications on the post to stop getting them because I couldn’t handle the stupidity any longer. So if anyone responded to my comment about being a vegan couple with children I didn’t get it. Knowing the kinds of things that were already being said I’m sure it wasn’t nice anyway so I really don’t care.
The large comment above is one of many from a particular person, all of which were equally as nasty. There were plenty more similar comments from other people that I could have showcased. Why these people think their crude opinions of something they have no understanding for needs to be heard by all I do not know. Those comments really made me think about writing a post on here. I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to or not until I read an entire article dedicated to making vegan couples feel bad about having/wanting children. That was it, I knew I had to say something.
From the vegan perspective there were a lot of comments regarding choosing to have children to be one of the most unethical choices you can make. This point was made for a few reasons and my favorite is that your child might grow up to become a meat-eater despite your efforts. Because this is a possibility you should just not have children. Yup, that’s the best argument ever. That’s like asking any one person, “If it could be scientifically proven that your future child will grow up to be a murderer, would you choose not to have children?” What kind of question is that?! Obviously, if we could predict the future in that manner the world would be a very different place.
The only response I have to that is hindsight is 20/20. Yes, our children might not stay vegan. Just like most of us weren’t raised vegan and we decided to become one. You can’t force your children or anyone to be something they don’t want to be. At least we are giving our children the knowledge they need to make an informed decision later in life. Our children will be exposed to a level of compassion and understanding that the average family will not. We realize there is a great possibility that our children will not stay vegan. This doesn’t mean we will disown them or love them less. It will definitely not make us wish we never chose to have them.
If our choice to have children makes us ineligible to be level 5 vegans then so be it. I would rather not be a member of a self-righteous group that live for berating others and their personal choices.
On a side note: I would like to point out something else that is not being addressed. I am a part of two other Facebook groups called What Vegan Children Eat!, both the open and private one. There are over 5.300 members in the open group alone. The majority of these group members consist of already established families making the switch to veganism and looking for advice and support. Times are changing. If you are so concerned about more meat-eaters joining civilization maybe you should make yourself aware of the changes that are already taking place before you use that argument.
Let’s put aside the vegan aspect because this conversation has a lot more to do with people feeling they can make their life decisions right for everyone. I have some statistics and charts for those that need them.
Most of the arguments I’ve heard revolve around contributing to the problem and the population growth. There are more and more couples deciding not to have children. In 2010, the number of childless people doubled from 1979. Their reasoning ranges, but mostly it’s about those individuals knowing raising children is not for them. A brave thing to admit when it is expected of you to reproduce. Here is another great read that breaks down childlessness by all kinds of variables. I know quite a few of those couples and even more individuals that are single and already know they probably won’t ever have kids.
Because of this increasing number of childless couples our population growth rate is noticeably slowing down. Notice the change in the graph below and the future prediction. In the United States alone, between 2005 and 2012, the birth rate decreased by 1.4 per 1,000 people. Not everyone needs to stop having children. Otherwise we are only going to make ourselves extinct. If that’s what is supposed to happen it will without your help. Something to consider though, the more people that decide to be childless the more it will effect our future. Having no children to take care of you when you’re older means you will be relying more on government assistance. This will no doubt create a fluctuation in our taxes and cost of living.
The other argument I’ve heard offers a solution for those couples that do want to have children without the guilt of adding another person to this planet. We should all adopt! That pretty much compares couples that want children to people who want dogs. The don’t shop, adopt/say no to breeders campaign. I agree with that campaign 100%, but people aren’t dogs. Maybe if we were having children for monetary gain I could understand this argument.
Adoption is great. I have nothing against adoption. In fact, we have discussed this as an option for our third child. The thing is adoption is not the answer for everyone. A lot of people get rejected through the grueling process as well. The other day a conversation took place about vegan couples having problems adopting for the sole reason of being vegan. I learned from the conversation that you basically have to lie about your veganism in order to be considered good adoptive parents. I do know some couples that have adopted. In 2012, US families adopted more than 7,000 children. That isn’t much compared to the number of orphaned children in the world, but it is still something. That’s 7,000 children that now have permanent homes. There’s a reason why the number isn’t higher. Plain and simple, adoption is not a viable choice for every family.
For those that are suggesting adoption to be the answer, what are you doing to help these orphaned children that you are so concerned about? Do you at least donate money or items to help them since you obviously have no interest in adopting them yourself? If so, good for you. If not, get off your high horse.
Now that I have defended our responsible, conscious life decision I can now say that it’s none of your business to begin with. The choice to have children is not an ethical one. It is a personal one. One that should only be made between the two people planning to have these children. Just like it was OUR decision to plan on having three children. It would still be OUR decision if we wanted to have six children. It is MY decision to breastfeed our children until they are at least 2 years old. It is OUR decision to have a home birth. It is OUR decision to home school our children. It is OUR decision to vaccinate our children. Everyone seems to think their decision on each of these controversial topics is the right one for all. Sorry, it’s not. So go ahead and pass your judgment to feel all superior about your life choice to not have children. Your decisions will not affect ours one bit, no matter how hard you try, because we are living our life just as you should live yours.
Actually, I would like to applaud you for having that conversation with yourself and your partner and deciding to not have children. Everyone should stop and take a moment right now to really decide whether or not having children is something you really want in life. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I knew the answer years ago when I was a child myself. I made sure to tell the guy I wanted to marry that children were part of the package from the beginning. It is important to be on the same page before choosing to spend your life with someone. Luckily, the guy I wanted to marry wanted the same thing and we had our children’s names picked out before we walked down the aisle. We knew exactly what we wanted out of life and now we are working on fulfilling our dreams and goals.
The Tummies most recent family portrait, with me about 2 months pregnant.
What was your decision then?
YES, we want children! Good for you, I’m glad you got that sorted out. You won’t regret it if it’s truly what you want.
NO, children are not for us! Even better! I’m happy that you are being honest with yourself instead of following a societal norm that says you must have children after you get married. One or both of you should probably go get fixed right now so that a “mistake” doesn’t happen in the future.
Speaking of mistakes, I have an idea. Instead of attacking people for wanting to have children how about we do something to stop people from having children that didn’t want them in the first place. That’s the real contributing factor to the problem if you ask me.
The last thing this world needs is another child that wasn’t wanted or can’t be cared for.