Today we present part 2 of Childfree in New Zealand, the ongoing saga of the lives and loves of the childfree in the land of the Kiwi!
That’s not right. I mean the Kiwi.
That’s actually not right for more reasons than just the Kiwi mixup. It’s really the story of one couple – Lisa & Daniel – in New Zealand. Yesterday’s post was all about Lisa, so in the interest of equal time, today we’ll learn a bit about Daniel, a real-life childfree guy. I’m excited about this because childfree guys that are willing to share their stories seem about as rare as a Kiwi or a Kiwi – or even a Kiwi – in Maine.
So grab a glass of Marlborough Sauv Blanc, sit back, and read on.
Daniel’s Childfree StoryNote: Daniel’s story is in the 3rd person as Lisa elicited it from Daniel
Daniel is a male from New Zealand. He is 26 years old. He is an elder brother to one sibling. His brother is 6 years younger, and luckily for Daniel their mum did all the “baby chores”. Daniel did have to do some babysitting for his brother.
In high school, Daniel knew he had three life path options. His first was the usual, find a partner and have children (or not). His second path was to become a scientific genius in some hardcore career; he would have no time for romance, because he’d be working so many hours in some kind of lab! Daniel’s third path was the one he avoided but it did seem like an only option at one stage: to be forever alone.
Daniel always knew he had the choice of having kids, or not. There was no decision to sway one way over the other. He said if he was going to have kids, he would have kids. The same for not having kids; if it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen. Although without kids he has more freedom and definitely hates the idea of “child chores” especially baby chores. Being childfree means never having to change nappies, or feed a screaming child. Financial reasons never came into the decision of being childfree. Although having a child would mean the financial burden of paying for a nanny who would be looking after said kid for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Daniel’s future plans? Freedom, freedom, and more freedom. He doesn’t have exact plans for the future. But he suggested that if he wanted to travel, he could. He would travel the world, staying in 5 star luxury adult-only resorts.
Lisa: Who do you get on better with – kids or adults? Why?
Daniel: Probably adults. Because adults can hold more rational conversations.
Lisa: What are your views on reproductive choice in New Zealand? Is it easy to access contraceptives? Is long-term contraception, i.e. vasectomy, easy to obtain?
Daniel: It’s pretty easy to get condoms in New Zealand; You can get them from the supermarket, chemist/pharmacy or your doctor or you can get them on prescription from your doctor. $5 (NZD) is 6 months worth of the pill, or 144 condoms (12 packets). Long-term contraception? I’m not sure. I don’t want to get a vasectomy yet. I know you [Lisa] want to get a tubal ligation. Your body, your choice. It’s quite hard to get it for a woman though, they make them jump through so many hoops. I hear it’s easier for a guy to get it [vasectomy] done.
Lisa: Is it easier to be childfree if you’re male or female? Why?
Daniel: I think it’s easier as a guy. I wouldn’t know what it is like as a female anyway. I guess societal pressure is higher on a female. There’s no pressure on me as a male to be married and have children. Or be a stay at home mother. Unlike for you [Lisa], you’re asked at the doctor’s how many children you have…there’s so much pressure on you from society. I guess us guys don’t get this pressure on us.
Lisa: If you had a child right now with Lisa, how would your life be different? How would your relationship be different? Why?
Daniel: First of all there would be more financial worry, we would have to feed, clothe, and school the kid. There would be the costs of doctors and dentists. We would also have the real possibility of Lisa’s mental health getting worse. Her and her mum have a history of depression, so it would be very likely that Lisa would get post-natal depression. This would add to the financial strain, as she would need medical help for it.
I would have to be acting in a more responsible way! [Lisa comment: Dan is actually a really responsible guy. He’s being modest!] I also might have to learn how to drive a car – so I could help out with the “school run”. [Lisa comment: Dan doesn’t drive, Lisa does all the driving, and they don’t own a car – they live in the city and don’t need one.] We also potentially couldn’t live where we do, as we live in an apartment. It’s small – 2 bedrooms and has no real outdoors area (does a balcony count?). Lisa suggested we would probably need to buy somewhere in the suburbs, so we would have a backyard and all that crap. That being said, we are currently about 5 blocks walk from a local primary school. In the next suburb over is a local high school. And across the street is a university campus! So in terms of schooling, it’s not a bad location!
Lisa: In New Zealand there’s a huge focus on family being the number 1 thing. Do you think we should be talking about the childfree choice in sex education classes in high schools? Should churches embrace it as an option? Why?
Daniel: Churches aim at family groups so they can increase their membership numbers – if you convince one, you get a group of them. Right? childfree people only have one or two people, tops. I think Sex Ed. classes should talk about being childfree as a choice. It would invoke debate and may open the minds of young people in school. They might also encourage them to think outside the ‘natalist’ box.