Monthly Archives: May 2012
One of my and many other CFers biggest pet peeves is being referred to as “childless.” Maybe it’s petty, maybe it’s ridiculous, and maybe we’re artificially putting a negative connotation to the term, but it does irritate us. Maybe that’s why we coined the term “childfree” to describe ourselves instead.
On the surface it seems like a technicality really. In English, the suffixes -less and -free actually have very similar definitions. The suffix -less means “without, so for example “careless” means “without care.” Well, so does the suffix -free, and the word “carefree” also means “without care.”
However, the definitions and connotations of these two words are completely different! Careless is the antonym of “careful,” or in other words, a synonym for “reckless” if you will. This obviously has a very negative connotation, and if often used to describe something in a negative light (careless driving, for example). The suffix “-less,” in that light, seems to imply lack. Carefree, on the other hand, means without worry. For example, when I’m dancing Lindy Hop I’m carefree as to whether or not I look stupid (I know I do, but I just don’t care, or worry as the case may be). In that way, “-free,” though it means “without” doesn’t really imply a lack of something in quite the way “-less” does.
In much the same light, the terms “childless” and “childfree” have very, very different connotations, and in my mind and the minds of many others, mean completely different things. The term “childless” with emphasis on the suffix “-less” here seems to imply that people without children are somehow less for it, or put another way, like we’re somehow lacking something in our lives. The term is generally seen as negative, and is often used, quite frankly, as an insult to married couples in particular but also to middle aged adults without child. The term “childfree” on the other hand, emphasizing the suffix “-free” seems to imply that our lives are not any less without children, which is absolutely true. We childfree people just prefer to spend our money, our time, etc. elsewhere. We don’t feel like we’re lacking anything. Childfree people do live fulfilling lives, just without children.
This is why being called “childless” bothers us. Hopefully now you understand why, and will be kind enough to refer to us by our preferred label “childfree.”
Sorry I haven’t written anything this week. I’m still trying to work through the pain and deep sense of loss I feel in my heart. I’ll be back soon, I promise.
In the meantime, here’s a poem I wrote, dedicated to Baby Z, titled “I’ll Never Forget.”
I’ll never forget when you first came home
How I could hold you in the palm of my hand
And how ever perfectly you fit there
I’ll never forget the first time I fed you
How I had to direct you to the bottle
And help you latch on to the nipple
I’ll never forget the many sleepless nights
How I’d wake up just to feed you
And just to comfort you when you were alone
I’ll never forget watching you open your eyes
How I broke down in tears at the sight
And knowing that all I did for you was worthwhile
I’ll never forget the way you attacked my hand
How you growled and yelped and pounced
And the way you nearly gnawed my thumb off that one time
I’ll never forget how you ran across the room
How so uncoordinated your little legs were
And how we all laughed at the sight of it
I’ll never forget your teddy bear face
How big and floppy your ears were
And your ever-so intent “doberman stare”
I’ll never forget the gut-wrenching news
How badly I was crushed
And still am crushed today
I’ll never forget the way you enriched my life
How many things you taught me in your short life
And how many things you still teach me to this day
I’ll never forget
PS: To the callous bastard who said he’d un-bookmark me if he saw another animal picture on my site, go ahead. I don’t give a fuck, and quite frankly your lack of empathy is disgusting. Maybe I’ll post pictures of my cats soon just to piss you off.
I just figured I’d share this YouTube video which I randomly stumbled upon with you. I got a kick out of this because this is what we CFers go through day in and day out in putting up with our “proud parent” counterparts. I hope you enjoy the laugh.
Just when it seemed like our beloved Baby Z was going to turn into a healthy, happy, big Doberman, things took a turn for the absolute worst yesterday early morning.
He woke up at 2 AM yesterday morning screaming and crying like I’ve never heard him before. I just thought he was extremely hungry so I made him a bottle. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I picked him up and he was extremely hot, had no appetite, and shortly after he threw up on me. Fever + no appetite + vomiting? That’s a classic presentation of parvo. I didn’t want to even think of our baby having parvo, but I rushed him to the Animal ER anyway, and the tests did in fact confirm parvo and he was admitted to the hospital.
Aggressive treatment was started, but it wasn’t enough, as this was no ordinary case of parvo. The vet said that this was one of the most aggressive, fastest progressing cases he’s seen in his entire career. Even with early detection and aggressive treatment, Baby Z lost his battle just 29 hours after the initial symptoms appeared. He passed away at 6:52 AM this morning.
Words cannot describe the pain and the sense of loss I’m feeling right now. I spent many hours feeding him, cuddling him, playing with him. I sacrificed many hours of sleep to make sure he had a full tummy and was comfortable. I even took him to work with me on several occasions to care for him while my mom and sister were away doing something and unable to watch him, where he would lie down and sleep between me and the First Officer up in the cockpit.
However, even though my heart aches, I feel a tiny sense of relief knowing that he’s no longer suffering and that we gave him a shot at life. We gave him the loving care that every puppy deserves. If not for us, he’d have likely died a lot sooner.
Though this saga has a sad ending, I have no regrets. I learned so much caring for Baby Z, and not just about puppies/dogs, either, but about the sacrifices parents make for their human children. It’s given me a greater appreciation for my mother, and dare I say it, my father (as disgusting of a man as he was). It’s given me a greater respect for all the good parents out there. Above all, the experience taught me a thing or two about unconditional love. For these reasons, I’d gladly do it all over again, and maybe one day I’ll be able to. Not for awhile though, since I think we all need to allow ourselves ample time to grieve before we do.
RIP “Baby Z” 4/16/12-5/17/12. Forever in our hearts. We’ll never forget.
Wishing all you mothers out there a very happy Mothers’ Day. It’s often a thankless job, I know, and thank goodness for all the good moms out there. Seriously. You good mothers make my childfree life easier because you actually know how to parent and control your kids. 😛
At any rate, here’s to you all. Kids (and especially grown kids), do something special for your mother today. She deserves it.
With that, I’m giving my most recent painting to my mother as a gift. It’s kind of like a self-portrait, but since I suck at painting faces, I did a still-life type scene with objects of significance that speak to the person I am. Here it is:
You think she’ll like it? She actually hasn’t seen it yet (I don’t let anyone see my art until it’s done). I’m not a professional artist, but hopefully it’ll do. I’ll probably take her out to dinner later, as well. Technically Mother’s Day was 3 days ago here in Mexico, but oh well. Better late than never, I suppose. I have an excuse because I’m American-born, I suppose.
Do a Google search for “childfree” or any variant of the word and you’ll pop up a ton of hits to childfree bloggers all over the net. Also notice that a vast majority of them have one thing in common: they’re all run by women.
All of this makes me step back and scratch my head, because in my experience from people I know personally, of the men I know vs. the women I know, there is a larger percentage of men that identify as childfree vs. women who do so. Now, I know my sample size is teeny tiny and might not be really anything to gauge the demographics of the childfree community on, but I have to step back and scratch my head at this phenomenon.
Is it that childfree women are more outspoken about their childfreedom than the men? Are men ashamed to admit they won’t be passing down their family lineage/surnames? Are men more afraid of the backlash they might receive than women? Are they more fearful of rejection that childfree women?
Whatever the case, I think we need more childfree men to step up and get vocal about their childfreedom. For one, our poor female childfree counterparts need like-minded men for relationships/marriage. For another thing, though we both face many of the same issues for identifying as childfree, childfree men also face a completely different set of issues than do childfree women. Issues that are equally important to the issues faced uniquely by childfree women. However, because men aren’t as outspoken, many of these issues are overlooked or not brought to the attention of the general public. This is not a good thing.
With that, I issue a challenge to all you childfree men out there: publicly make your childfree declaration and make it big and loud! Make sure the whole world knows that you’re CF. Further, I challenge you to start raising hell about the issues that stare you in the face as a direct result of your childfreedom and start vocally fighting to even the playing field, because you know as well as I do this world favors breeders/wannabreeders over the childfree. Every additional able body we can get to step up and fight for our rights (male or female, quite frankly) makes our movement that much stronger.
Are you game?
So it’s been two and a half weeks since our little baby Doberman came home to be with us. Needless to say I’m feeling worn out like a beaten dog (no pun intended). Feeding into the wee hours of the night, cuddling with him, holding him, etc. It’s been no easy task to care for the little guy.
At first we weren’t sure he was even going to make it. He was so skinny and didn’t look so good when he was first brought home. He’s since tripled in size easily, now weighing over 2 pounds. It’s amazing how fast they grow.
For me, however, the big turning point wasn’t until this past Friday. I was off work on Friday so I had the task of the morning feedings. Well, as I was feeding him at 12:30 PM (not exactly morning, I know) as I got done and started cleaning his face I befell a sight so beautiful it literally moved me to tears. As I was cleaning his face after the feeding, he opened his eyes for the first time. I literally watched the entire thing. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, really. I cried like a baby for a good half hour or so.
I have to say it’s probably been good for me to do this. For one, I have a better appreciation of what parents of human children go through. I know it’s not the same, but the level of dedication and work is pretty comparable. Two, it’s taught me a lot about responsibility and maybe even a little bit about the bond parents share with their children. That’s not to say I want human children, absolutely not (and truth be told had it been me that was approached, I’d have probably refused to take on a newborn puppy and really don’t desire to take on another one), but I can better understand the joy people get from their children. I will admit though, I form bonds with animals/pets much more readily than I form bonds with people. They’re less annoying and way cuter than people. 😉
So yeah, in that light, this experience has helped me grow. I may want to do this again sometime down the road, but not anytime soon. I’d like to do it with a kitten though, since I’m more of a cat person than a dog person. Maybe I’ll get the chance?
Isn’t he precious?
As a long-time member of the intactivist/genital integrity movement, I feel though it’s not directly related to childfreedom, it’s time I take a public stand in favor of GI on this blog. Love me or hate me, I don’t give a damn.
People have absolutely no right to surgically alter their children’s genitals against their will without medical purpose, and this goes for male, female, or intersexed children as far as I’m concerned. Every person has the right to completely intact genitals. Male and female circumcision, intersex sexual assignment, etc. is all fucking bullshit without merit in today’s world, quite frankly, and it sickens me that the practices still continue and it sickens me even more that doctors keep making up bogus “health benefits” to ALL of these procedures (male genital mutilation being the most common defended, though sometimes female is as well).
Here in Mexico, circumcision is almost unheard of, in either sex (mostly affecting the small Jewish and Muslim population here, as well as American expats). Most of the developed world is also like this, most developed countries having abandoned the practice years ago. Quite frankly the United Shithole of America is the only country in the developed world that still butchers a majority of baby boys at birth. Other countries who routinely practice both male and female circumcision tend to be third world countries with tribal rituals that call for these “procedures” (if you could even call them that) as sort of an initiation to adulthood. Barbaric? Oh absolutely, and I won’t defend any cultural practice that is disgusting.
It’s not just the fact that it’s medically unnecessary that’s bothersome. Quite frankly as the child grows into an adult, his or her sexual experience is lessened. I don’t feel I need to address FGM here because that’s pretty obvious, so let’s address MGM. Medicalized circumcision as we know it removes the foreskin, which is the single MOST SENSITIVE part of the male sex organ, containing a band of over 20,000 nerve endings and a highly sensitive frenulum attaching it to to the rest of the penis. As such, intact men are about FOUR TIMES more sensitive than cut men. That translates to a lot of pleasure and sensation lost during sexual acts. I can attest to the difference myself. I spent close to three years using different devices and methods to sort of “regrow” a foreskin so to speak, in a process called non-surgical foreskin restoration. You can read more about the process here. Of course, the new skin doesn’t have all those sensitive nerve endings, but the good news is you get that gliding action back and the glans (head) stays covered, making it shiny, supple, and more sensitive in its own right. Post-restoration, I have about triple the amount of sensitivity that I did before.
I don’t want to hear your excuses or defenses for the practice. I’ve heard them all. Want to prevent HIV? Abstain from sex or wear a damn condom, it’s pretty much foolproof. Want to prevent UTI? Then quit pulling that baby’s foreskin back forcefully (it’s not designed to retract in the infant/child stage!!!!), and once it does retract on its own, clean under it regularly. Want to prevent penile cancer? Again, hygiene and don’t smoke (smoking is actually the number one risk factor for penile cancer, and yes, it can and does happen in butchered men as well). Don’t give me the religion defense either. What if your child decides not to follow your religion? You have absolutely no right to slam religion down your child’s throat. Period, end of story.
Quite frankly I think anyone who would cut the genitals of their child needs to be fined heavily and either face life in prison or a death sentence, along with the doctor, mohel, or whoever doing the procedure. It’s akin to surgical rape of a minor. And it’s legal. It makes my stomach turn. Alas, the practice continues mainly in the United Shithole of America, and for one goddamn specific reason: MONEY. It’s big business. Just goes to demonstrate that most American doctors, Big Pharma, and all of their cronies are more concerned about making money than patient health. Absolutely disgusting.
So there. If I lose readers, so be fucking it, but this is where I stand, and if you don’t like it, then that’s just too fucking bad.