As my kids recently splashed in our vacation spot’s pool waiting for their dad to get back in and play with them, I took a few minutes to study Heather Wilhelm’s Commentary article titled “Childless! By Choice!,” a review of novelist Meghan Daum’s new collection of essays: Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision to Not Have Kids.
Wilhelm’s review is insightful enough on its own, even if you don’t plan to read Daum’s book—which Wilhelm discourages anyway. To give you a taste, here are five quotations (via Wilhelm) from the childless-by-choice writers:
- “[Children] would have messed up my apartment. In the main, they are ungrateful. They would have siphoned too much time away from the writing of my precious books.” – Lionel Shriver
- “I didn’t want to feel such love for someone else. I still wanted to be the object of that tidal wave.” – Michelle Huneven
- “I decided to take the love that I’d have for a child and give it to myself instead.” – Danielle Henderson
- “Human beings … are basically big complicated Rube Goldberg contraptions constructed by genes to copy themselves, and only as an unintended side effect build mosques, make screwball comedies, and launch interplanetary probes.” – Tim Krieder
- “Not having children isn’t selfish. Not having children is a perfectly rational and reasonable response given that humans are essentially parasites on the face of a perfectly lovely and well-balanced planet, ploughing through its natural resources, eradicating its endangered species, and ruining its most wonderful landscapes. This might sound misanthropic, and it is, but it is also true.” – Sophie Gilbert
It was after this quote that a Nerf water cannon drenched my magazine. Stupid parasites. Don’t they want me to have any fun?