048 You’re Killing Your Mother! Vegans Who Don’t Want Kids

Are you someone who doesn’t want kids? Do you get a lot of shit for it? The girls talk about all the weird ways society tries to make people who don’t want kids feel bad.

In This Episode

Nichole and Callie, inspired by our listener Kim and an article over on Bustle called The One Thing That Scares Me About Not Wanting Kids, talk about not wanting kids and all the bullshit that comes with telling people. Popular media represents childless people as immature, irresponsible and selfish, but this isn’t the case. Our culture uses scare tactics to try to make us think that not having kids will be a huge mistake, or that we won’t be able to find a partner, or that we’ll never mature. But most people who don’t want kids, don’t want them for good reasons. Being clear of what you do and don’t want in life, and being able to communicate it to others is the height of maturity. As women, we are all too aware of the stereotypes and presumptions that are put on women around having or wanting children. We tried to get the male perspective on this experience through polling our guy friends on Facebook and reading this informative, thoughtful article by Rob Greenfield on why he got a vasectomy at age 25. Included is an interview with a couple, Holly from Rise & Resist and her partner Ed, who are proudly child-free and are getting a vasectomy in early January to make it official and permanent. Holly and Ed have had a great experience with their friends and family being open about not wanting kids, providing an encouraging view of how things could be.

Links and Information

News Mentioned in the episode Related Content

A compelling case for paid maternity leave, and another layer to the hypocrisy: we’ll pressure you to have kids, but then provide no support for you to spend time with them or heal from the delivery.
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    • OMG THANKYOU!!!! This is such a relevant and important topic!! As a person who has never wanted kids (and has admitted it since elementary school!) my family is starting to pressure me to ‘settle down’ and start popping out kids (I’m talking to you DAD and GRANDMA!). Now that all my friends, cousins and especially my younger sister are married and are either raising or preparing to raise children, I can tell Christmas is going to filled with comments about my lack of boyfriend/husband/children. So thanks for giving me some arguments to use during the holidays – and thanks for making me feel like I’m not alone!!!!
        • It’s so weird to me too when families have children who ARE “settling down” and popping out kids, and yet they’re still obsessed on pressuring the children who don’t. Like, how many grandkids do you need?? And I HATE how much focus is put on dating and being with someone. It’s the number one thing anyone seems to care about. As if you can’t be a happy, interesting person otherwise! Thanks for checking in, Karina, I’m glad this topic resonated with you! – Nichole
    • I’m a new listener to your podcast, and I’m glad I started with this episode, because I was like jumping up and down applauding. I especially loved when you pointed out how babies are thought of these cute little things like a puppy or a Giga-pet (haha), but people forget that they will grow up. And YES, having a child is thought of as no big deal, but not having one is the biggest deal ever. How backwards is that??
        • Lisa, I’m so glad you found us and that you liked the episode! It IS crazy not having a kid is a bigger deal than having one, blows my mind. Seems like we have a lot of vegans who don’t want kids, hopefully we can all band together to change things!
          – Nichole
    • Thank you so much for this episode! I can so relate to the more ambivalent approach to kids, where I was open to it when I was younger, but now I’m not sure that’s where my life is going and I’m fine with that. I come from a pretty big, close-knit family that definitely is focused on having kids. I’m the only girl, with three brothers who are married, and now that I’ve turned 30, basically every family gathering is an opportunity for people to ask me about my dating life and when I’m going to have kids. One of my sisters-in-law basically admonished me to settle for whomever because no man is perfect, and implying that being married (and having kids) was so essential that I should just learn to be content with the first tolerable guy I can snare into marrying me. HOW IS THIS GOOD ADVICE? It’s madness! The marriage and kids racket is a collective madness, and it’s oppressive and hurtful to the people who don’t fit neatly into its confines. All this to say, THANK YOU for being voices of reason. And thanks so much for the podcast in general. I’ve only just found it this week and am burning through the episodes. I’ve been a long-time vegetarian that finally went vegan recently. I don’t have a vegetarian or vegan community to engage with in person, so I tried to find one online, and I’m so, so happy to have found this podcast! I’ve loved every episode so far. So informative and hilarious! I also spend a lot of time thinking about the skills I’ll need for the zombie (or other) apocalypse, and I think I can garden pretty well and play some musical instruments. Can I join the post-apocalyptic team???? 😀
        • Hi Allison! I’m so glad you enjoyed the show, it seems like a hot topic. I think there’s a lot of us who feel luke-warm to “definitely not” about kids – hopefully we can all band together to change the culture. I HATE HATE HATE when people say “no one is perfect” and pressure people to settle. That is seriously bad advice. No one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wait for someone who is perfect for us. I’d rather be alone than have an unsatisfying relationship. And yeah, that is a great plan – find someone you can tolerate sometimes and then make more people with them. That sounds totally rational! I’m really glad the podcast is helping you feel a sense of community, that was what Callie and I wanted more than anything for our listeners. And hell yeah you can join our post-apocalyptic team! You’re only the second person with any actual survival skills, we need you! Thanks for reaching out 🙂
    • I know I’m a little late to the party…but I recently started listening to ya’lls podcast and this episode definitely hit a topic that I identify with! My husband and I have been married for over 3 years and neither of us want kids. I am constantly getting comments like, “oh I said that, too when I was your age” or ” you’ll change your mind- give it time” or “What?! You would be such a good mom, though!” When we first got married, people were always asking when we were going to “start a family”. I have never had the desire to have children. Honestly, babies terrify me (I don’t know what to do with them!). I enjoy kids (both my jobs involve working with youth), but I am self aware enough to know that I am not ready in any way for the intimidating responsibility of raising a human life for the rest of my life. Luckily, both of our families are extremely supportive. My husband’s nana refers to us as “the smart ones” for not having children (lol)! And my mom and dad have never uttered the words “grandchildren”…only “grandpuppy” :). I completely support anyone who takes the courageous step into parenthood and I love my nieces and nephews. It’s just simply not for us…and for some reason that drives people crazy! Thanks for a good discussion on the topic!
        • I’m so glad you found us and related to the topic! I can’t wait to adopt a few “grandpuppies” someday soon, haha. Totally stoked to have some fur babies and then be a cool, awesome Auntie to my adorable nephews 😉
    • Great episode!! I’m a new listener, I heard your colab with the Bearded Vegans and think you guys are hilarious and seem like people I’d love to be friends with! My husband and I don’t want kids. I grew up in a very conservative family, my mom had three kids like immediately after getting married rather young and then proceeded to adopt several more, which I was obligated to care for through my formative teen years. At 19 I had an unplanned pregnancy and due to my parents’ beliefs, I was forced to carry the child and then give him for adoption. (Sidenote, this is eventually why I went vegan, I made the connection between what I felt when I had to give my child away to the plight of dairy cows every day.) So I kinda feel like I’ve already done the whole parent thing; I’ve helped raise children and I actually birthed a child and I don’t want to do either of those things again. One bit that was not touched on in your show was the physical aspect of having a child. Pregnancy can ruin you. If nothing else, it changes you and puts you through a lot of pain that many of us just would rather not have to deal with. And that’s perfectly fine. I think that even if your ONLY reason for not wanting children was not wanting to carry something in your body for 9 months and then painfully spit it out is a completely reasonable reason! Again, thanks for this episode, you guys are great, keep up the great work!!
        • Hi Jordan! I’m so glad you liked our collaborative episode, we had a great time working with Andy and Paul. I’m so glad you bring up the pain and body changes that come with pregnancy. I’m sad we missed this on the episode because you’re right, it’s a very valid reason to not want children! I don’t know any other avenue of life where you’re told you’re selfish for not wanting to put yourself through immense discomfort, pain, and potential danger. I also want to thank you for sharing your story. I’m touched by your connection between your experiences and those of dairy cows – it’s a heartbreaking to picture you going through that so young (or ever), and impressive that that experience made you more compassionate and helped you make a connection. I also basically raised my sisters (and my mother, especially during her drinking), so I feel such a strong resonance with feeling like you’ve already done the parent thing. I had to potty train my youngest sister when I was only 10-11. I remember she had an accident one day and even though my parents were actually home during it, they made me clean it up. So fucked up. I love children but I just don’t have anything left inside to give out to them, not in that all-consuming way that parenthood requires. I’m just now starting to undo the damage of my childhood, just starting to connect with who I really am, just starting to have the resources to travel a bit and buy a few nice things and have room and time and space to breathe. I refuse to feel bad about not wanting to cut that all short just to make other people happy. Thanks for reaching out with such kind words, and for adding to the discussion! I’m honored you wanted to share your story with us, and I’ll mention your point about pain as an update on the next episode because it’s such a good one!

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