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to think that having children is not a "lifestyle choice"

(438 Posts)
YorkshireTeaGold Wed 21-Jan-15 12:19:53

Sooo, saw a thread on aibu where the op complained about childcare costs and was told by another poster that she shouldn't complain as having kids was a lifestyle choice.

I've heard this so many times recently, both on mn and in rl and it massively pisses me off! My father actually told me not to complain about morning sickness as I wanted children.

I have 2 dcs and think that this is just maintaining the equilibrium of the world. Reproduction is a biological need, like eating or survival, it's not like taking up golf or buying a yacht. I can see maybe having no kids could be a lifestyle choice for some, as could having 9. But a couple? Not a lifestyle choice.

Plus it hides a political issue in that it's really difficult to afford to bring up children atm. I did a online check (think it was in the guardian) and dh and I are 75th centile for earnings. However 1/3 of this goes on the mortgage, 1/3 on childcare and 1/3 to barely cover the bills. It's ridiculous that this is the case, and if only people who truely afforded it had kids then it'd just be an elite minority reproducing. The government should organise the country so an average family can afford to buy a house and work.

DamsonInDistress Wed 21-Jan-15 12:25:00

YABVU. Biological need my arse. Psychological maybe, but still a choice.

Trinpy Wed 21-Jan-15 12:26:41

yanbu. I thought the same when I read that thread but didn't want to derail.

HolyTerror Wed 21-Jan-15 12:26:50

I don't agree. Having children in the first world with access to reliable contraception and not under the kind of pressure you get in patriarchal societies where a 'barren wife' is shunned, mistreated or discarded, is a choice. Not a biological necessity like eating or breathing, or a 'right'.

I agree that the costs of childcare are far too high as a percentage of the average salary in this country, which has the knock-on effect of dis-incentivising women returning to work - that is the political issue, for me - and would like see something kier like the French or Scandinavian systems. But I think that's nothing to do with reproducing being a necessity.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 21-Jan-15 12:27:04

You're not maintaining any equilibrium of the world, there's plenty of children available for immigration all over this very over populated world.

Having children is a choice and a selfish act - entirely done for self.
(Note: I'm not using 'selfish' in a pejorative way, only descriptive)

fanjotastic Wed 21-Jan-15 12:27:13

Well, it is a choice isn't it?
I could understand before contraception that this may not have been true but nowadays it is a lifestyle choice.

I have many friends who have chosen NOT to have children.

Sickoffrozen Wed 21-Jan-15 12:28:00

I see it as a lifestyle choice for me. I have one child and didn't have another as I liked my life being back to normal after those early years and enjoy just having one. I could afford more but choose not to.

skylark2 Wed 21-Jan-15 12:28:26

It's a lifestyle choice.

Why would it not be just for people with the same number of DCs you have?

Rinoachicken Wed 21-Jan-15 12:28:51


It's a choice. No one makes you do it. Getting pregnant is not like getting an illness, it's something that requires a conscious action to make happen.

strawberrypenguin Wed 21-Jan-15 12:29:49

I think it is a choice but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to complain about the cost of childcare etc everyone has life moans regardless of what their life choices are

rootypig Wed 21-Jan-15 12:30:07

Well if it is, it's about as much a lifestyle choice as drawing a pension that other people's kids are currently paying for.

YANBU. It's the ciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiliife
tra la la la la

Either that or we should all push our grannies off a cliff.

Speaking of grannies, where I live there are lots of Chinese couples with young kids, and the grandparents look after them (since virtually by definition, each set of grandkids has all their grandparents to themselves - no cousins). Works well, if you think looking after babies is a good way to spend your retirement.

Amethyst24 Wed 21-Jan-15 12:30:16

If having children were a biological need, then not having them would by definition be a sacrifice, no? And no one says that's the case. A disappointment, sure, if you want them desperately and can't have them, but not some noble denial of a biological imperative.

Both are lifestyle choices as far as I'm concerned. YABU.

Apatite1 Wed 21-Jan-15 12:30:47

Of course its a choice! It has been since the dawn of contraception. Just because it's more expensive than ever to raise kids hasn't changed that fact. Are you actually arguing it's not a choice?

The population of this planet is growing well beyond its resources, you're not maintaining equilibrium by having kids at all.

CaptainHolt Wed 21-Jan-15 12:30:57

It is a lifestyle choice. It's still a shitty thing to say to a nauseous pregnant woman though.

Costacoffeeplease Wed 21-Jan-15 12:31:16

It is a choice though, whether to have children or not, the human race is not exactly endangered like the white rhino. The planet is overpopulated, we're not at risk of dying out, and with contraception so safely and easily available it is an individual choice

Pootles2010 Wed 21-Jan-15 12:31:28

It is a choice yes. Having said that, would our economy not collapse if people were to stop having children?

Of course, I didn't have children to maintain our economy grin simply pointing out that it's probably in the best interests of the government to keep it so that it is affordable for people to keep having children.

googoodolly Wed 21-Jan-15 12:32:08

Of course it's a choice. Nobody MADE you have children, you chose to have them - by not having safe sex and then by accepting the consequences - ie, keeping the baby and not having an abortion.

My mum had me, and then decided to get her tubes tied so she couldn't have anymore. That was a choice, just like having five children is a choice. Nobody's making you do it.

LetticeKnollys Wed 21-Jan-15 12:32:13

I suppose you make the choice to have children, but I always think that "no sympathy, you chose to have children" is a pointless, unhelpful reply. Especially in threads where the OP is struggling to make ends meet. What is she supposed to do then, send them to the workhouse? Get in her time machine and abort them? The fact that a poster doesn't think the OP should have had children/so many children doesn't change the fact that they exist and need caring for, and the mother is still a person with needs as well.

stubbornstains Wed 21-Jan-15 12:32:49

Well, individually it's a choice. But collectively, if everybody who found the cost of having children a struggle (pretty much our entire generation at the moment) decided not to have kids, in 30/40 years we'd be fucked. Fuckity fuckity fucked with an extra side order of fucked.

Fairylea Wed 21-Jan-15 12:33:13

Of course it's a lifestyle choice. No one is obligated to reproduce. People might feel the need or want to but to choose to is just another one of life's many choices.

dexter73 Wed 21-Jan-15 12:33:36

I think choosing to have 2 children rather than endlessly reproducing is a lifestyle choice. If you used no contraception and just let nature take its course then that would be more natural/biological than choosing to reproduce a certain number of times.

PicaK Wed 21-Jan-15 12:34:07

Of course it's a lifestyle choice.
How ridiculous.
And of course you bear the cost of having them. Don't want to pay out then don't have them.

expatinscotland Wed 21-Jan-15 12:34:50

'I have 2 dcs and think that this is just maintaining the equilibrium of the world. '

The world's population is growing far faster than the planet can accommodate.

Having children is a lifestyle choice and reproducing is not a need like eating, don't be daft, you die if you don't eat.

The government can open its borders and cover all its needs through immigration, there are plenty of people to do this.

SunnyBaudelaire Wed 21-Jan-15 12:35:06

"Reproduction is a biological need, like eating or survival, it's not like taking up golf"
No it is not a need it is a choice. Luckily for us.

Ineedacleaningfairy Wed 21-Jan-15 12:35:24

I think having children is a lifestyle choice in developed countries, I do think that complaining about childcare costs is also valid, but I think it's ok to complain about things which affect your lifestyle choices.

I also don't believe that pregnancies can be a supprise or accident (apart from very rare cases) we are lucky to have access to reliable contraception, our fertility is very much within our control apart from when infertility happens

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