My daughter, Anya Wait, at about the age of 4 months. And of course, me, age 24.

Let it be: parenting is NOT about selflessness.

Georgia NeSmith

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In support of “Childfree Women, Please Quit Doing This.”

No one should have to defend their choice either to have or not to have children.

Let me be clear: I am not childfree myself. I have one daughter (see photo above) whose presence in my life, despite all the pain involved for a helluva variety of reasons, I am thrilled to have in my life. And only three miles away at that!

I am definitely not grandchild free, either. My daughter adores babies and has made a career out of her love of them. She had five of her own (lucky lucky me — with grandkids you get the fun, usually without all the self-sacrifice).

But in many ways that was “career training.” No, not career as a mom, but helping other women have the best birthing experience they possibly can, and providing a wonderful photographic record of those events.

Nonetheless, she and I both recognize that the condition of motherhood is not for everyone.

Let me be clear on this: choosing not to parent does not reflect “selfishness” as so many say. Indeed, opting for a child-free life need not be selfish at all, but rather a form of caring deeply for others.

For instance, a childfree female scientist on the verge of discovering a cure for devastating diseases is hardly selfish. (Incidentally, have you ever noticed that the pejorative “selfish” is rarely attached to men who choose not to parent?)

But you don’t have to be involved in a career devoted to “saving” others to be “selfless.” The simple act of choosing not to parent can be the most selfless thing one can do, depending on circumstances.

For all too many parents, the urge to birth is more about pushing their kids to represent the parents’ own selfish needs and interests. Those kinds of parents are among the worst kinds of parent of all.

My mother gave birth to five kids in 8 years, after 7 years of infertility that looked to be permanent. She did so…

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Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.