10 Years of Planned UnParenthood

September 2022 will mark the ten year anniversary for my first book. Beyond a slight formatting revision in 2015 that was necessary, I have no other plans to ever revise the content given the content is still just as fresh, the discussions just as relevant. To the best of my knowledge, this remains the first book to have been written from a male perspective about not having children.

I’m not a proponent of reading my books once they are completed. That is because I would have to resist the urge to rip the entire thing to shreds and do a complete revision. With the tenth anniversary, I’ve decided to revisit the book to examine the documented perspectives and expand on them where necessary. Much has changed in the childfree / childless landscape over the decade since this book was released. What appears on this page will be in the order of subjects as I revisit them in the book. If you want to quote any of the referenced content in your written work, please ensure you properly credit me and the book title.

People still make comments to me about how I am “missing out” on the “joys” of having children. What has not changed in ten years is the idea that somehow I am still missing out. There are now two nieces in my life that I enjoy being around even though I only see them a few times per year. There are plenty of video-calls and chats with them that to me are just as grand as an in-person visit. I’m ok not being their favourite person in the family.

I’m of the view that women are still heavily targeted for speaking up about not wanting to have children. While more people in general have been telling their stories over the years, it is painfully clear that society still has an automated expectation for women to become parents.

“Biology Isn’t Destiny” was a phrase I ran across while researching some things online during my first year of college. There was a bumper-sticker style image of the saying which I copied to my network desktop in college. There was more to this story as I was asked to remove it from my desktop by a substitute college professor. I cannot recall exactly how it came up in discussion, but this professor ( a woman) walked by my workstation and saw what I had placed on the background. In front of over two-dozen people she attempted to call me out for having such a statement on my computer. Initially, I thought she was mistaking it as an anti-choice remark. As I recall, I loudly explained the statement was a pro-choice statement about choosing not to have kids. Considering I was one of two males in this class it was important for me to protect any misinterpretation. She still found it offensive. So I removed it temporarily. The professor who normally taught in that program not only understood the statement, he supported it even as a parent himself.

It is up to me to make the most of
life. Having no children is one of the
best decisions I ever made. It hardly
makes me ignorant of the joys of life.
If anything, it has given me more
awareness of the abundance I have.

I’ve become significantly more aware of life in the last ten years. That is a product of age and the experiences from grief and loss of family and friends. What else would I have sacrificed over the last ten years if I became a parent? My health was already taking a backseat. Could things have become worse if I was a parent? While parents need to put their children’s interest front and center, more still need to find a balance where they can do things for themselves.

My grandmother’s compassion for animals and nature was one of my inspirations for not wanting to become a parent. Since becoming vegan I have embraced a greener view of the world around us. Speciesism is very real, and I could no longer be someone who advocates for the rights of animals while still eating them.

In 2001, a Statistics Canada study
found that out of 24,000 people
interviewed, eight percent of men
and seven percent of women
planned to be childfree by choice.
The reasons for making this decision
vary, yet are common among many
childfree families.

Opening from chapter 2 “Just Say No To Midnight Feedings”.

I suspect these numbers are likely much higher now in 2022. This will be something I intend to follow-up on with Statistics Canada and/or any academic institution that pursues an updated study survey.

The ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic may be partly responsible for employers rightfully accommodating anyone requiring time off to take themselves or loved ones to medical appointments. Still, I am regularly hearing and reading of stories from people who have been denied leave because of their childfree or childless status. It is discriminatory behavior to assume people without children have more time on their hands.

Chapter 4 is where I commence my critique of government programs that favour families with children. My open criticism of Canada’s National Child Benefit Supplement was extended later in the book to the idea of National Daycare Programs. I started to express a less critical view of these programs over the course of the last ten years. Just within the last few months, most of the provinces outside of Quebec have signed on to more affordable childcare programs. I acknowledge that there is a vital link to these programs and the success of people who benefitted from them. Parents have been able to continue their education and further their careers by having access to affordable childcare. The Benefit Supplement has no doubt assisted many low-income families with being able to get by a bit easier. Still, there is a disturbing level of poverty in Canada and other first-world nations. That is a whole other discussion by itself.

I stand by my words that governments still base their definition of families as being households with children. This is antiquated thinking that needs to vanish. Governments needs to represent all people. If you do not have children, you are still part of a family. If you live with someone or on your own, you are still a person and still part of a family. Even a single-person household is a family.

The environmentalist side of me would still prefer that the world not produce as many children. That being said, over the last decade I have grown subconsciously more empathetic to the plights of those who cannot have children, and those who struggle in their quests to build a family. A reunion with some old friends a couple of years after the book was made available took that empathy to a sky-high level. We all had been hoisting a few and talking about family. One of those friends went into how he and his amazing spouse had been trying for kids over ten years. I will never forget seeing his eyes water up and all of us in the room just feeling that pain. They now have two adopted girls, and I have a greater level of awareness.

“A gradual decrease of global
homophobia has resulted in many
people now finally acknowledging
that LGBT parents can provide just
as loving of a home environment
and family life for the children they
either adopt or have through
medically assisted procedures
.”

I never thought the world would take the turn it did after a certain superpower country elected an administration that empowered bigots and haters to come out by the thousands. The “gradual decrease” that I spoke of felt like a massive increase after 2016. The effects of that hateful empowerment are still being felt and may take decades or more to heal from. I firmly believe the younger generation may be the ones to turn the tide in favour of greater acceptance and tolerance. If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community you have every right to want to become a parent.

There are still questions to be raised about the efficiency of education taxes paid as part of property taxes. In the book I argued vigorously against paying education taxes. The argument has long been why should I pay to raise children I do not have? There is still some validity to this point. However, I cannot help now but think that those education taxes may be directly responsible for contributing to a more positive future where science reigns supreme over superstition and the world could be a better place.

There is much more I could comment on after re-connecting with this book. If I continued at this pace, too much of the content might be given away. Ten years later, the impact of this book is still being felt. Thanks to new and previous readers, the discussion keeps going. I want to retain my optimism for what the future holds for those choosing not to have children. I want all voices in the discussion to be heard and read. It is an honour to be part of those discussions.

Thank you.

Dann Alexander

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