Commenting on former Olympian Victoria Pendleton, who says she won’t be pressured into marriage or family, Emma Palmer explains in the London Telegraph why it can be the hardest thing to admit, saying: “Like Victoria Pendleton, I know how hard it is to trust your instincts and choose not to have children.” 

She says that as a “fellow child-free woman”, she knows how hard it is to be honest with oneself, to follow one’s “gut instinct to not have children” — and “that, of course, is without the enormous pressure of being a public figure and one of the UK’s most successful female Olympians”. 

Her own situation was different to Victoria’s in that until her late twenties she always assumed she would have children, whereas Ms Pendleton says she never dreamt of doing that, but didn’t “pipe up and object to it”. 

Ms Palmer recalls:  

Throughout my teens and twenties, if asked — and it is annoying remembering how often I was asked – I would say I would have children “by the time I’m 30”. It wasn’t even so much that I objected at the time to the social pressure. In truth, and slightly embarrassingly, it was only when I was 28 that I actually realised I had a choice in the matter, despite being independent, with a successful career and very little familial pressure to reproduce.

However, she adds: “Realising parenthood is a choice and a decision — for most of us, although tragically not for those who find themselves childless not by choice — was a turning point.”

In these days of “choice” one would have thought that no one would question the choice not to have a family, but she says:

I now realise that I came face to face with rampant pronatalism; the belief that childbearing is essential to a meaningful life. The thing is, pronatalism is often implicit, not explicit. The messages are often hidden, not necessarily “out there” and obvious — although it is still fairly frequently reported when a woman is either criticised for not being a mother, or hounded to become a mother.

Many who are mothers have actually found all the pressure to be in the other direction: that reproducing, or possibly thinking of reproducing, is now considered a crime against the Planet. However, she insists:

The first step is realising how much we are shaped by societal messages, something I spend a lot of time doing as a counsellor and psychotherapist, supporting clients to start living more authentically rather than following a pre-programmed script assigned to them from a young age.

The idea that little girls are programmed to want children recalls the trans ideologues insistence that gender is “assigned at birth”, and, far from her claims about the stigmatisation of the childless, she reveals:

For me it was an honour on August 1 2018, international childfree day, to be named as Childfree Person of the Year. Sharing what is happening (or not, in my case) in your womb can feel exposing and I am by nature quite shy, so it was a joy to be celebrated.

Apparently, not only do you get a medal for doing nothing, but Ms Palmer is just one in a long line of women (strangely, no men) all loudly insisting that they must not be silenced for saying that they do not want children — indeed, it seems to be a regular complaint that the issue is never mentioned.

Aside from Victoria Pendleton, in July this year the BBC newsreader Naga Munchetty announced a similar story, while, in July, writer Lottie Gloss complained: “Doctors refuse to sterilise me as they think I’m too young. ”

Fellow writer Bibi Lynch claimed in December last year “Losing my parents hurt, but being childless is worse“, but in June this year she insisted: “I’m proof that it is possible to be single and happy — so why do people still pity us?” She also said that “not having a baby is  the worst thing that ever happened to me”, complaining that “notions of happiness are woefully outdated“.

In September last year she said: “I’m not less of a woman because I don’t have a child — so don’t treat me that way“, although in May this year she maintained: “Having one child and being childless are not the same — don’t hijack my grief.” 

Ms Palmer, along with other writers on this subject, fails to mention the possibility of adoption — indeed, in September 2017 Bibi Lynch included adoption in her list of “10 things never to say to a childless woman over 50 — believe me“.   

While we hear of thousands of children languishing in care for want of couples to foster or adopt them, we are also told about the joys of adopting rescue dogs; and while the freezers of the “fertility” clinics are filling up with frozen embryos, aborted embryos are being washed into the waterways thanks to the “anywhere abortion” policy of sending pills in the post. Granted, some childless couples have adopted frozen embryos, but even that has become a matter of contention. 

Ms Palmer is a counsellor and therapist, but given her views on the subject, it is doubtful that she will counsel anyone to have children as therapy for their childlessness; rather she may use the opportunity to reassure other women that having children is not the be-all but rather the end-all of life as they know it. 

And despite her claims about stigma, the “childfree” movement will be hugely popular with employers, who will not have to worry about maternity cover and benefits. Governments will not lose their tax contributions, and it will also please modern feminism, aka the militant wing of the population control movement, since for at least 30 years feminists have celebrated the child-free, commitment-free, values-free woman, eerily reminiscent of the kind of man they complain about. 

The “childfree” movement might just as well be a politically-correct front for the Malthusians, and although congratulatory cards for abortion might be a step too far — at the moment — they would probably like to eliminate birthday cards, and ban that annoying celebration of new life, Christmas. At the very least, these childless “experts” on having children would probably like to stop people talking about the joys that having children brings, lest it give women the right idea. 

However, perhaps Ms Palmer and her fellow-thinkers protesteth too much: having  a child is not just an intellectual decision but involves a much deeper instinct than the instinct she claims is prompting her not to have one.

It could be that by protesting so vehemently they are trying to suppress their own instincts towards childbearing; that they are shouting so loudly because they are trying to drown out the still small voice of conscience telling them that as they have been given life, so they should consider giving that gift to another.

Not even child-free non-parents are parent free. 

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Ann Farmer lives in the UK. She is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign (CUAP, 2008); The Language of Life: Christians Facing the Abortion Challenge (St...