I am reading Ashley Judd’s memoir, All That is Bitter & Sweet. I have been a big fan of her acting work, and now learning more about her international humanitarian work – Amazing and inspiring. And she is childfree – Early on in the book she describes why she chose not to have children…
“…the fact is I have chosen not to have children because I believe children who are already here are really mine, too. I do not to go making “my own’ babies when there are so many orphaned or abandoned children who need love, attention, time, and care.
I have felt this way since I was at least eighteen and I had an argument about it with a childhood friend. He maintained that people with our genes and opportunities are the very people who should have kids;’ I countered that folks with our awareness and ability to contribute should instead focus on the children already born and suffering so needlessly.
I figured it was selfish for us to pour our resources into making our ‘own’ babies when those very resources and energy could not only help children already here but through advocacy and service transform the world into a place where no child ever needs to be born into poverty and abuse again. My belief has not changed. It is a big part of who I am.”
Talk about an enlightened, post-pronatal view!
What if more people had this view about children? Think how much better the world would be.
One does not need to be a movie star – humanitarian to devote resources, time and energy to help children already here.
She is very involved with Population Services International. I have a goal of becoming involved in global birth control access efforts, and the more I read about her work, the more I am inspired to take action to find my way of plugging in to this important issue.
Are you childfree and resonate with Ms. Judd’s view on children? Please share.
Childfree and involved in helping children already here? Let’s hear your stories….
My husband and I chose not to have children. This frees us up financially to sponsor two children through Compassion International – a boy in India and a girl in Guatemala. Kudos to Ashley for her advocacy work!
Angela, What a wonderful thing you are doing. I have heard of Compassion International. You inspire me to look into it again..thanks!
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always been baffled at people who ignore the needs of orphaned, abandoned, and needy children that are already born. I remember it coming up in a discussion about gay couples adopting, and I pointed out that plenty of those children would give an arm and a leg to have a loving, stable family, no matter what the genders of the parents are. The same sort of idea came up again recently: why spend all this time and money forcing people to have children, when that could be better spent trying to better the lives of children already here? Even before it sunk in that having a kid was entirely optional, I entertained the idea of adopting – mostly because I’m tocophobic, but also because it would mean objectively making some existing person’s life better, rather than objectively making a non-entity’s life worse by starting it.
I can’t do much right now, but I’ll definitely look into PSI when I’m in a better position to do something! Thank you for the link 🙂
I do some volunteer work with several area schools. My goal is to send the kids I work with home to their parents in a happier frame of mind. Then I can go home happy, too, to my childfree home.
Judd is wise, but can she beat Mitch McConnell for U.S. Senate next year? I can only hope!
Hi Deegee, I don’t know if she can beat McConnell but I sure love that she is may just go all the way to try to do it!
I think it’s a pretty common reaction among caring, perceptive people, people with an ounce of sense at all, really, that when they travel to really poor parts of the world they start to re-evaluate assumptions about what it means to have children. They naturally question what the reasons are to add more children to the world. Sounds to me like she’s someone with an excellent vocabulary and good looks saying what is just decent common sense.
I agree with Scott that this is a common response. We need those folks to articulate their decision more frequently.
Judd clearly has mastered if not excised her “DNA ego.” For the herd, it is all about “my DNA.” I supposed we are at some level, at the animal level, hard wired this way. But as sentient beings, once we reach a certain state of development we ought to be capable of being ego-less vis a vis our DNA. My own DNA has some things to recommend it however a harsh examination of family health history suggests it could arrive at oblivion with no serious harm to humanity or the Universe.
I would just like to give props to Steveo1965. I read your comment on being egoless with regards to our DNA and agree so, so, so, so much. My husband says this, too, that people who want to become biological parents in this day and age are just being egoistic. Like you, I think there are some really wonderful things in both my husband’s and my DNA but looking around at both of our families, and in the darkest bits of our psyches as well, I would say that there’s a lot of weird and harmful stuff lurking in our genes and I’m pleased not to give those personality traits any more chances to manifest in this world. I definitely don’t think that the best “gift” we could give humanity would be more of us. The best things we can do are things *we* can do, right here and now in our lifetimes, to help the people *already here* and our overtaxed planet – as Ashley Judd and so many others in this thread have already stated so well.
Dee Kay / all – here is DNA ego run amok (plus other human foibles):
To me, the major red flag and sign of utterly out of control DNA ego (in spite of obvious evidence such ego was out of bounds): “The couple’s three children were all premature and two of them struggled with ongoing health issues.”
Oh and BTW, the egg was anonymously donated, so this was pure male DNA ego.