I haven’t read the article, so apologies if what I say makes no sense!
I am childfree, ie, I do not want, and will never want, children. For me, this is simply because I do not want them; much like I am attracted to men, I just don’t want children, it’s not something I’ve particularly ‘chosen’. However, there was a time when I assumed I would have them, because stupidly, I believed you kind of ‘;had to’, that it was just what everyone did, and that there was no choice; thankfully, I came to my senses!
I don’t know how I feel about people giving up their children. On the one hand, ‘bed, made, lie’ springs to mind: these people have CHOSEN to have children, so tough sh*t if you don’t like it. But on the other hand, it is far from that simple. Firstly, an unhappy/resentful parent/s is not good for a child; best case scenario, a parent who is resentful of their children and wishes they hadn’t had them, might be a bad parent, who isn’t particularly loving or caring, and doesn’t invest as much time in parenting their child as they should; worse case scenario, they could become violent or abusive. In those cases, surely it would be better, and safer, for that child to be givne away?
Secondly, I think the biggest issue here is that we have it drummed into us that we ‘should’ want children. I am a very rational, logical, strong-minded, independent person; yet even I at one point thought I ‘had’ to have children; it was only by speaking to a childfree customer at work that I had a light-bulb moment and realised having children is a CHOICE; and not one I wanted to make. The problem is that a lot of people don’t realise this until it’s too late; and I can sympathise. As someone who is childfree, the amount of crap I have had to deal with from friends, family, and strangers over my decision is frankly astounding. My choice not to have children affects no-one but myself and my partner (positively, I might add); so why do these people get so upset by it? Why am I told I am ‘unnatural’, ‘unfeminine’, and ‘selfish’? Why am I told I will regret my decision (despite always having hated children; I literally cannot be in the same room as them for longer than a few minutes)? Why am I told that it’s ‘different when it’s your own’ (yeah great; still hate children, still have no desire for them)? This IMO is the biggest problem: people feel like they have no choice, and then people who clearly are not cut out for parenthood have kids, discover that actually, they STILL don’t like kids, they would have preferred to be childfree, and that it ISN’T different when it’s your own. So, while my knee-jerk reaction is ‘bed made lie’, I actually have a lot of sympathy for these people for falling into the trap.
IMO the solution to this problem is not making it acceptable to relinquish your responsibilities and dump your kids when you find out you hate being a parent; but instead to try to change this attitude that we all have to have children, and to accept, and promote, the fact that some people DON’T want children, and to say ‘you know what? Having kids is a choice. You don’t want them? That’s cool!’. Unfortunately, I think that’s a LONG way off.