Almost exactly year ago, TIME magazine ran a cover story called “The Childfree Life” about the rising number of Americans who were opting not to have kids. One of those couples was Paul and Leah Clouse, who both felt that they couldn’t balance their creative interests (a bakery for her, a blog for him) and also be good parents. “If we decided to have children, we’d have to grieve the life we currently have,” Leah said.
Now, it looks like the grieving time has begun. Because the Clouses are having a baby.
Articles like this are a little frustrating, because people who don't understand the inclination to never have kids will read this and think that we don't know our own minds - that someday, we'll change our minds about not wanting kids. It gives them more fuel for their "bingoes".
An important thing to keep in mind with articles like this is that there is a difference between "childfree" and "childless". In the childfree community, the term "childfree" is used to refer to someone who has thought about it, and decided that they don't want to have kids. Not just not right now, but not ever. "Childless" refers to someone who doesn't have kids, and doesn't want to have any right now, but does want to in the future.
Childfree people didn't just wake up one day, read an article on the internet and think "that sounds pretty cool, I think I'll be childfree, too." For most of us, it's something we have thought about for years. Many of us have children in our lives, whether it's students, nieces and nephews, or whatever. Some childfree people like children, but just don't want any children of their own. Some of us don't like children. (But as I said before, it doesn't make us bad people).
So please, if you meet someone who is childfree, don't tell them that they'll change their mind someday. You don't know that person better than they know themselves, and it's very arrogant to tell someone they'll change their mind about a decision when you don't have any idea what went into making that decision.
Don't tell them that they don't know what they're missing (because we do. Trust me, we do. It's part of the reason many of us decided not to have kids).
Don't tell them that they just haven't met the right person yet (another arrogant assertion).
And most of all, don't tell them that it would be different when it's their own child. Some childfree people would love nothing more than to have children, but can't, and making a statement like that, besides being arrogant, is incredibly hurtful.