Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Friendship and Fear

It's ridiculous how I censor myself to avoid hurting feelings.

Several years ago, there was a huge argument brought among friends (which extended to me) when my friend joined the Childfree Community on LiveJournal. My best friend insisted that it was the equivalent of joining a hate group. She honestly believed (or believes -- I've been too timid to ask if she still feels this way) that a childfree community was akin to the KKK or something.

I can appreciate this to a point. A lot of childfree people use terrible words when describing terrible parents or misbehaving children, and my best friend knows that I find this unacceptable. That said, I still crave the camraderie of likeminded folks who don't care to have children around them on a daily basis.

Yes many of us have a low tolerance for misbehavior and a high value for our personal space. We voice our frustration and vent, and we don't want to hear how "it's different when they're yours". We just don't.

So here I am, contemplating joining such a community again, and I quickly chickened out. I feel like I would die if she found out about this blog, not that it's private or anything. There is a fundamental difference between us now, and I understand that. But she's got to realize that as much as she enjoys talking to other parents, I enjoy talking to other childfree folks.

And, here comes the age-old argument… it's different when it's kids I care about. It's true! I love her boys, I love my niece, disclaimer disclaimer another effing disclaimer.

I hate that I have to be so afraid of my friends. Christ, it's just Livejournal, it's just an effing blog, yet I'm so afraid to talk about it I have a special "Childfree" filter on my LJ and I keep this and my CafePress store a secret. I'm proud of my decision to have no children, yet still when I tell my best friend about my IUD she says "that's good, then if you change your mind…" or when I talk about my career move she says "then if you have kids you can stay home".

If I called her today in tears and told her I was pregnant, she'd squeal with glee and shout congratulations all over the place. She doesn't get it.

I understand why she doesn't get it -- she can't imagine not being a mom, and that's okay. I don't say anything when she makes comments about "if" we have kids (at least it's not "when") because I understand it's her nature now. But I make room in my life for her, and I feel like I've been very accommodating. I keep the childfree commentary out of her face, and I genuinely adore her children. She's so sensitive and I'm so terrified of hurting her feelings, though. I just want confirmation that she gets it, and that it really isn't personal. Because noisy children in a restaurant make me angry, unattentive parents with squealing babies irritate me, and I'm just plain not fond of the babies of strangers, that doesn't mean I'm a bad person and it bears no reflection on the people I care about.

I just wish I could stop being afraid and just start being myself again.


twiga92 said...

Hi there again! You might find the Positively Childfree board a breath of fresh air. They can be found at Also, there are a few of us doing a blog about being childfree. We are at - feel free to join us over there if you'd like to meet other women who are childfree and have a positive perspective.

M said...

I think you should be open with your real friends. They expect you to get their situation, and you do, as much as you can, and they should also try to get yours. You will eat yourself up holding it all in. Start by just saying next times it comes up, "Husband and I have decided we don't want to have kids at all. We are 100% sure." It will get easier after that (with your real friends at least). I'm sure of it.