Sarah Paulson on being childfree: ‘It’s selfish, but… the word selfish gets a bad rap’


Sarah Paulson covers the latest issue of Town & Country because she is still promoting her supporting role in The Post, the Steven Spielberg movie about the Washington Post’s publication of the Pentagon Papers. Paulson recently covered The Edit to promote the film too, and she talks about a lot of the same stuff, including why she chose not to have kids, and why she’s never particularly wanted to be a mother. She’s 43 years old, her girlfriend/partner is 74 years old, and Paulson just likes to work. She doesn’t have time for anything else other than herself, her own interests, her job and her girlfriend. All of which is fine – I sort of wish Paulson wouldn’t feel the need to “defend” her choice to be childfree, but I’m also sort of pleased that she’s representing those of us who are happily childfree. Some highlights from her

On her cast mates in her latest film, The Post: “These are arguably the most respected filmmakers and actors of their generation. That made it a very extraordinary place to be. It was a pinch me moment.”

On being a working actress in her 40s: “I’ve got a window as a woman of 43. …I’m trying to keep it open with both hands, as wide as possible, for as long as possible.”

On the rise of her career: “Going to the next level means that you’re at the bottom of the next rung. Look, many of them [top-tier actresses] have won Academy Awards. I don’t expect to get offered those roles before them, but I still want them. All it means is that I have to keep working the way I always have, leaving my ego at home and trying to just think about what is true.”

On her relationship with Holland Taylor: “I do not want to be defined by who I share my bed, my home, my soul with. My choices in life have been unconventional, and that’s my business. …Our relationship represents a certain amount of hope and risk. Maybe there’s something brave in it. Maybe it encourages others to make brave choices. What else can I say? We love each other.”

On fear of having children: “I don’t want to be torn. I don’t want to look at my child and say, ‘You’re the most extraordinary thing that ever happened to me, but also the death knell.’ It was hard for my mother to be everywhere, to come to the school play and make a living, I’ve always known what I wanted out of professional life, and I didn’t want to turn around and go, ‘If I had only made the choice to just dedicate this time in my life to me.’ It’s selfish, but I think the word selfish gets a bad rap.”

[From Town & Country]

People do act as if being childfree is the most selfish choice to make, and while I can see that argument, I also see it like Paulson sees it: why is self-interest such a bad thing? Why do I have give everything to a baby when that’s literally the last thing I want for my life? I’m honestly feeling slightly overwhelmed these days because I got a kitten before Christmas and it’s such an adjustment of my schedule (and he woke me up at 2 am this morning). Anyway… I’m Team Paulson. I love her. I think she’s amazing.


Photos courtesy of Victor Demarchelier for Town & Country.

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163 Responses to “Sarah Paulson on being childfree: ‘It’s selfish, but… the word selfish gets a bad rap’”

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  1. Jordan says:

    I don’t believe it’s selfish. I was one of those women who didn’t want children. Now my daughter will be 7 in march and I’ve never been so in love with anyone. Kids are a personal choice, not for everyone. I don’t understand why some women are tortmented for saying they’re too selfish.

    • Jess says:

      I agree – it’s a choice. I have kids and I’ve had friends tell me I’m selfish for doing that. I don’t take offense either way – having kids is one of the biggest decisions a person can make and there’s no right or wrong, it’s whatever is best for that individual.

      PS I adore Sarah Paulson!

    • Sky says:

      This its not selfish at all to not have a kid.

    • Luna says:

      I’ve known couples who were grinning ear-to-ear, because they found out they were finally pregnant. Then these giddy-with-delight couples would call people who didn’t want children “selfish.”. I don’t know how they could be so bursting with joy for doing something they considered self-less. I know the religion I grew up in said God would not make a soul until humans produced a new child and every child would have the grace to achieve heaven. So the pressure was on for megafamilies! And maybe that produced unhappy, overwhelmed parents. But nowadays I firmly believe parents think the joys will outweigh the sacrifices for them. So .. why call others “selfish.”

    • flan says:

      Not selfish at all. There are too many people in the world already, so don’t see what’s selfish about not creating some extra humans if you don’t want to.

      • Doc says:

        There are not too many people in the world.
        How much would be too many or too few? And in which countries exactly? Please make yourself aware of how potentially dangerous those statements can be and where they have their roots.

      • Lexter says:


        There *absolutely* are too many people on Earth – overpopulation is the root of a plethora of environmental and social issues. Waste, clean water, food supply, high density living and the resulting health issues, climate change, poverty (both first and third world), overflowing orphanages, natural disasters, declining quality of life, obesity from poor eating due to mass produced crappy food.

        How can you not see that? If you don’t want a child DO NOT HAVE ONE and accept a hi 5!

      • flan says:

        @Doc, you try to change the narrative by acting as if I’m talking about specific countries, while I’m not.

        Overpopulation causes problems in both the richest countries, where every new person creates a disproportionate amount of waste and polution, to the poorest countries, where more and more people have to live off the same (or even shrinking) amount of resources.

        A lot more conflict in the world is caused by people competing for resources than we often realize, because it’s often cloaked in language about religion or racist belief systems. (It’s much easier to say you deserve a bigger piece of the pie because you believe in a certain god, or are an ‘uberhuman’ than ‘just because’).

        And it’s often the people at the top of the ladder who encourage the ones at the lower rungs to have many children, as people are better controlled when they fight with each other over limited resources. It’s no accident that a lot of religions are against birth control.

      • magnoliarose says:

        That is a myth but was true a half-century ago. The annual birth has fallen steadily in the past 50 years.
        It is also HOW we use the resources and how we produce what we use. It is the lifestyle not the number of people.
        Fertility is decreasing, but consumption has not declined even though the birthrate has.
        It is a myth with no base in facts and is often repeated instead of doing what needs to be done, and that changes to sustainable living, small farming, less waste, clean energy and a plant-focused diet.
        The countries with the highest birthrates are Africa, Latin America, and Asia so white people cry about overpopulation, and that is where the Quiverfull and like movements came about to encourage white people to have more children. White people are declining in numbers faster than the drops in birthrates of people of color.
        The myth is rooted in racism and eugenics and has nothing to do with facts. So when it is repeated like it is a truth, it is, in fact, pushing racist propaganda.

      • AmunetMaat says:

        @magnoliarose, Your entire post is the truth. The biggest issue truly is HOW we are using those resources. Fertility is dropping and so are birth rates but our consumption is not. The world being overpopulated is a myth being propagated by White Supremacists groups for the reasons you expressed.

      • flan says:


        As I clearly said in my post above; overpopulation is also a problem in the richest countries, where people use an unfair amount of resources and cause way more polution than in poorer countries (sometimes to the degree that we cause more polution in a few days than people in other countries do in a year). This is very different from encouraging white people to have more children, which you seem to think is the only reason people can have concerns about population pressure.

        The world population became six billion people in 1999. It hit seven billion people in 2011, only twelve years later. So yeah, it’s growing and rapidly.

        I agree that resources are used unfairly, which only adds to the problem. In the meantime, population pressure does cause problems in many obvious ways. This can be in the richest cities in the world, where people in menial jobs have to live further and further from their place of work, since more and more people with more money decide to live in the better neighbourhoods surrounding their workplace. They commute more, live in more cramped, perhaps unhealthy conditions etc. It also happens in poorer countries, if the same plot of land needs to feed 20 people instead of the 10, for instance.

        As long as resources are not being used fairly and don’t grow proportionately with the amount of population growth, population growth will be an issue that puts strain on resources. The result of this? Conflict.

        And are there racists who want to use this as an argument for their ideas? Yes, as they do with almost anything to argue their crazy ideas. Does that mean that we can not talk about population pressure causing issues at all? I don’t think so.

    • Mina says:

      I agree, there’s nothing selfish about choosing a different kind of life. I find more selfish those people who say they want kids so someone will take care of them when they are older.

      • Doc says:

        @Lexter Just by emphasizing *absolutely* does not an argument make. Overpopulation has very little to do with the number of people. It’s the relationship towards resources. So while one partbof the world uses a plethora of disposable plastic cutlery walking around costco on a Saturday morning eating food (*sampling*) that they absolutely don’t need and not putting the cutlery in the recyclable part of the bin, a large part of the world is undernourished. Reducing the number of children in costco land will not suddenly nourish the one or two or five children in another part of the world.
        And again, if the premise is true, thatvthere are too many people- which places in the world need to reduce their populations? Who is to say? There have been monsters throughout history who have *tried* to regulate that…

      • magnoliarose says:

        Tell me about it.
        My people were almost completely wiped from existence, so I hear that language, and I know it is code for “those people” not “us.”

    • ol cranky says:

      I don’t get the being child-free is selfish argument at all. I think it’s the height of selfishness to have a child you [knowingly] don’t have the time, energy, ability or inclination to care for just because you “want” to have children (especially if the only way you’re willing to have a child is if it is biologically related to you).

      Many, if not most, people who are child-free by choice make the decision not to have children not because they’re selfish but because they don’t think being a parent fits in with their lifestyle, don’t think they’d be the kind of parent they think a child deserves or other, completely legitimate and non-selfish reasons

  2. paranormalgirl says:

    It’s not selfish. It’s a choice. For many people, being childless is the right choice. I adore my spawn. Love them so damned much. But I could have made the choice to not have children and have been perfectly fine with that decidedly NOT selfish decision.

    • BengalCat2000 says:

      Thank you! I honestly never considered my choice to be child free as selfish. I feel like I’m being selfless because I have never had the desire or mental energy to raise a child.

      • Lorelai says:

        You’re not selfish! Some of the best, most interesting and generous people I know are happily child-free.

        IMO it is *much* more selfish for one to have a child they don’t truly want due to societal pressure. That is ultimately so unfair to the child.

        As Minx said, ridiculous that this is still even a topic of conversation in 2018.

        ETA: The headlines on that cover are hilarious. Even for T&C. :)

    • minx says:

      Yes, are people still calling that decision “selfish” in 2018? This isn’t the Fifties. I think we have bigger fish to fry.

    • magnoliarose says:

      I wasn’t sure I would have children and didn’t yearn to be a mother until I married. My stepchildren gave me the confidence to leap. I was fine being the cool young aunt, but I fell in love with my stepchildren and realized it was something I wanted to do. They were prepared, and we made sure they knew the new children weren’t replacements but additions.
      Now I can’t imagine life without them. I miss them when I am away too long, and it is like a bottomless well of love I have for them. Sometimes the love is so powerful it hurts.
      I hope that they grow up to be decent people and great citizens. I hope they make other people’s lives a little better in some way.

      This is how it is for me but I don’t think what works for me is the right thing for anyone else. We should be happy with the way we choose to live and what feels right for us.

    • FLORC says:

      This. It’s not like she’s not holding out on a duty to the world so she can have more money to herself. She’s making the best choice for her.

      When I was married kids seemed like the next move. Divorced. I’d rather work. Focus on myself. Enjoy life. I don’t feel the tick tock of the bio clock. I’d rather improve the world in my own way. That’s not selfish. Imo.

      • magnoliarose says:

        It is not selfish.
        You have to be happy on your terms, and it takes all sorts to make a society viable. We need childless people with more energy to do things while we are covered in baby goo and weeping from sleeplessness.
        Just kidding.
        I just think no one should feel pressured to do things they don’t want to do because someone else decided it was normal. There is no such thing in my view.

  3. Lindy79 says:

    Why would anyone call it selfish, and I say that as a mum??
    Its your decision and good for anyone who makes it.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I don’t get the selfish thing. People who don’t want to be mothers shouldn’t have to be mothers; dudes don’t have to deal with this shit. As the child of a deeply ambivalent mother who’s said she wouldn’t have kids again if she’d had her life over: it’s better for everybody if women have the freedom to choose child-free lives.

  5. Beth says:

    That’s definitely not selfish. She has the right to put herself and her career first instead of making the huge mistake to have a child she never wanted just because there’s people who say all women should be a mother

  6. Franny says:

    It’s not as selfish as some of the reasons people do have kids!

  7. equalitygadfly says:

    How is it selfish? I’ve been told I was selfish for not having kids, but truly don’t understand how. It could be argued (not that I believe this, just a devil’s advocate argument) that having children is selfish.

  8. lightpurple says:

    Sure. How selfish of me to get cancer and then take treatments that caused infertility.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      (((Hugs lightpurple)))

      I don’t think Paulson was referring to people who are unable to have them or, like in my case, people who were abused as children and never wanted them for years.
      Although, curiously, I ended up being in your group as I developed serious health issues, which could lead to my death in case of pregnancy, and I ‘selfishly’ decided to survive instead of having ‘orphans’.

      And before someone jumps all over me, women with chronic conditions are not considered suitable to adopt.

    • tsc tsc says:

      oh, come on. i’m sorry for what you’ve been through but that’s definitely NOT what she meant, jfc

  9. Kelly says:

    I agree with disliking her label of selfish. There are plenty of selfish people who have children they don’t really want, or are unwilling/unable to prioritize.

    Having children is inherently selfish, which is why it drives me insane when a parent pulls the, “I did everything for you and this is how I’m treated?” As if a baby makes the decision of where and when to be planted.

  10. Rachel says:

    Kittens are exhausting. Your kitty will stop the 2am play time at 2 years of age. And trust me, you’ll miss it. Eventually.

    • Kelly says:

      Mine didn’t stop. She sprints about the house all night long, racing up and down the stairs and doing gymnastics on my pilates machine (the only action it gets). I once heard a person describe their rescued squirrel as a “toddler on gunpowder”, and that’s how I think of Arya.

      • HungryCanukster says:

        This is *literally* the first time I have ever responded to a thread on this site – and I have been reading it for 10 years.

        We adopted a 2 year old female about 4 weeks ago – she is hilarious, full of sass and a joy – however! She is a wee tornado at 4:00 am. I have taken to playing with her heavily with a “feather fishing rod” (that’s what I call it anyway) it’s like CRACK for her! So it wears her out a bit! LOL

        Also, never had wanted to have kids, never will and dont feel selfish at all. I support whatever choice is right for the mom, family or whomever is raising the child so long as it is done with love and respect.

        Hope that was ok for a first post. :)

      • Nicole (the Cdn One) says:

        @HungryCanukster – great first post!

        We adopted our girl when she was 1.5 and she was exactly the same way – except she liked 2 am. She is still nocturnal (she is now 6), but making sure she does not nap too much in the evenings and tuckering her out has definitely helped with the tornado aspect. However, without fail, at 2 am, she’s in your face looking for a snuggle. It’s to the point where when we travel, I still wake up at 2 and I’m actually disappointed she is not there to snuggle. I wish you much joy with your newest addition!

      • Kelly says:

        @HungryCanukster, that was a lovely first post! I used to have this amazing upright revolving laser pointer that would keep her busy for a good amount of time, but then it broke. She still doesn’t realize I can’t see in the dark, and we frequently collide on my way to the bathroom. She thrives on dashing horizontally before my feet, and attempting to “herd” me. I named her Arya after the very feisty character on Game of Thrones, and later wished I’d named her after the calmer, quieter Sansa. Lol.

        @Nicole, when my kitten is not galloping throughout the house, she sleeps on my side. She’s learned how to balance and accomodate when I turn to the opposite side. I’ve always found that a funny trait in cats. A dog will lurch and scramble to get out of the way in a pinch, even if he ends up tripping you, but not cats. My forever favorite, Jasmine, refused to move from the front of the fridge, so I’d slowly open the door and she’d slide right along with it.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Both of mine never stopped!!

  11. HK9 says:

    Am I the only one that doesn’t think parents are inherently selfless? My mother, who was amazing was also really selfish. My cousin, who is an amazing mother is also the paragon of selfishness. I also know mothers and those who are child free who are not. Being a parent dosn’t make you selfless, it makes you a parent. I don’t need a child to have the ability to think of someone other than myself.

    • Slowsnow says:

      My dad, who I love to pieces, is a very self-entered person. Even selfish sometimes. So, yes, parents are not these selfless saints. I am a parent and really need to find that selfish place where I only think of myself and for myself at times.

      • wood dragon says:

        My father had five children and was lousy towards all of us. Except for his second wife who was just as terrible , the rest of us were lucky in that our mothers wanted us and we’re good parents.
        For a variety of reasons I am childless and it’s for the best.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      This entire discussion is so insane. Yes, to be a good parent you have to have the ability to put someone else first. Is that selfless? I don’t know. Not necessarily. But the reasons for having children in the first place are 100%, entirely selfish. Nobody has kids for the kids’s sake! You do it for yourself. How is this even a thing we’re talking about?

      Not having children by choice in turn may not be selfless but that does not mean it is selfish either. You know yourself well enough to make that decision. You consider the options and you decide. And yes, it CAN absolutely be selfless if you do want them but know you should not be a parent. I’ve never met a childree person (childfree by choice) who said “Oh it was technically not planned but I’m SO happy.” WTF? Parents say that a LOT. So who’s the better planner? Who made the conscious decision? I’m so over this selfish sh*t.

      • Maria says:

        People should give birth to sulky teenagers. The birth rate would go way down. It’s the baby most people want.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Depends on the people. The desire to have children isn’t that easy to identify since it is a biological impulse in the cycle of life. Cats don’t have kittens for selfish reasons, and some cats are terrible mothers and abandon them or even eat their kittens. If some had the choice, they wouldn’t do it. Breeders have said they have cats they no longer breed because they don’t like mothering. Some even won’t let the male near them unless they are in heat and even then some are resistant. I believe it is the cat’s way of saying they don’t want to have kittens and if left alone they wouldn’t have had them in the first place.
        They aren’t wrong or defective they just don’t want kittens.
        We are animals, and the urge to procreate is natural and as we have evolved the urge not to procreate has also become understood as natural.
        We can make choices, and our reasons are probably not easy to articulate.

  12. Meghan M says:

    You could also make the argument that having children is selfish since overpopulation is destroying the planet. So, in the end, it’s just a choice and could be called selfish or selfless, both for valid reasons.

    • ElleC says:

      To be fair, it’s not overpopulation, but overconsumption that’s destroying the planet. The richest minority are responsible for the vast majority of carbon emissions, while emissions in the poorest countries have flatlined since 1990. I’m not saying this is what you’re doing, but sometimes I worry that talk of overpopulation, which is often framed as a developing world problem, shifts the blame to vulnerable populations who will be hardest hit by climate change, and lends itself to racist ideologies.

      You’re right though, when it comes to Westerners, not having kids is the single biggest thing an individual can do to reduce their carbon footprint (decidedly unselfish!).

      • Baby Jane says:

        “Westerners” have significantly fewer kids than non-westerners already. Having 1 (or even 2) children is, by most demographers, NOT considered a burden to the planet. Having 7 is.

      • Mei says:

        @Baby Jane

        It depends on how much resource each child uses; a child in the West using a lot of energy (inc. electricity, heating, travel, etc) and eating x amount over their lifetime can easily outweigh the resources used by/carbon footprint of a child in other parts of the world I would imagine.

  13. VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

    I see what she is saying.

    Colloquially, selfish has come to mean that you are only concerned with yourself, etc. Well to be a parent, you have to be concerned with another person/life, in a very intimate way. So in that case, it’s not a terrible term. It means that you do not want to focus on someone else–your main focus is yourself and all that comes with that.

    • Meghan M says:

      What? Childfree people don’t have friends, parents, partners they love and care about? Only themselves?

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        In general–there is a difference between having a child dependent on you for everything, and your relationships with your siblings/parents/friends/spouses. Of course, it’s all work to maintain–but for the most part, a child is really the only person who is dependent on you/the parent.

        My comment had nothing to do with how much love/care a childfree person has to give to any other person in their life–but that for the people who choose to be childfree, there is a marked difference between how a child impacts your life vs. a spouse or a sibling, etc. A person can break up with a spouse/partner, be estranged from adult family members–but it is a whole different situation for a child.

        And some people don’t want that…..”responsibility”. It is a responsibility. And it’s a choice–to say I want to focus on me/my romantic relationships/familial relationships/work/passion or hobby, etc and not focus on a child.

      • magnoliarose says:

        It is a very different commitment. I have friends and family and animals I love, but I don’t have to sacrifice my time or desires to have them in my life. I don’t have to think about my actions and how they impact someone else’s sense of self and emotional development. I rearrange my life around theirs.
        The selflessness of parenting comes from thinking of someone else first and giving up a lot of things the parents want for the sake of the health of the child.
        Without children, a person’s life is entirely on their terms all the time. Therefore it is seen as selfish.
        Both sides can be either or both. I think both sides are a mix and hopefully, for parents, it is a lot heavier on the selfless side since other people are involved.
        One is not better than the other. There is no need for either side to feel superior since the only person anyone can understand and speak for is themselves.

        It is annoying when childless by choice people are derisive and patronizing to parents when they don’t want to be treated that way. I know what is like not to have children but childless people don’t know what it is like to have them.

    • Lightpurple says:

      I’m the childless, primary caregiver of an 89 year old with mild dementia and some major medical issues. And a cat.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        Ok I don’t think I’m explaining it well enough???? I’m not saying child free people don’t have responsibilities and/or don’t have people that are dependent on them. But I think there is a difference between choosing/not choosing to have a kid and taking care of an elderly relative, etc.

        She is saying that she is choosing to primarily focus on herself vs. a kid, hence the word “selfish”, and I am saying I get that she is saying that “selfish” isn’t technically a bad word. It’s how we’ve used it.

      • SilverUnicorn says:


        I get what you’re saying but it depends on the parents. My brother and I started to work quite young (about 12-13), I still remember my father stealing money from our little wallets to go gambling.

        Who was dependent on whom then?

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        You’re talking about a very specific scenario. Sarah Paulson is basically “redefining” the word “selfish” to say that to be “selfish” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She chose to be selfish i.e. presumably focus on her career and passions, instead of using that energy and time into having a kid. In that context, “selfish” isn’t truly a bad word–we’ve just used it differently.

        The point is–IN GENERAL, a kid overtakes your life. It is an enormous amount of time and resources and missed opportunities and a constant balance. I have a friend who had kids, who pursued her career in marketing for a long time and was fairly high up–and eventually quit and started a more flexible career, because all the energy she put into her job (which was working over 12 hours a day–the only time she did not spend with her child that didn’t involve her working, even at home, was when they ate dinner together), resulted in her child preferring her other parent, because she spent almost zero time with my friend.

        So in SP’s context–she is “selfish” about not wanting to divide her time into someone who is dependent on her.

    • KL says:

      I think “selfish ” is a funny word to attribute to not wanting to have kids if you want to get into how we use the word… Generally, selfish behaviour is viewed as negative when you care about yourself to the exclusion of other people. In this context, though, the only “other people” in the equation are children who don’t actually exist. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        It depends on the person. My mom has a friend who travels a ton for work, and generally lives a very good lifestyle–she is not married and doesn’t have any kids and describes herself as “selfish” for not having kids. She said “I’m selfish. I want to spend money on me. I want to spend my money on nice hotels and spas and purses.”…..

        ………it depends on how you use it. I mean, we use the term “selfish” in a bad way, almost exclusively. But all it means is that you are putting yourself/your self interest before others. In some circumstances, that’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

        For example–say someone asked you to watch their dog. But you hate taking care of dogs/animals, and even though you are literally doing nothing at that certain time frame–is it a bad thing that you are putting your own self interest before someone else’s need to have their dog watched while they are out of town? Not necessarily.

    • Christina says:

      I understand what you’re saying, Virgilia… When you have a baby, you can’t just drop it and do whatever you want to do at a moments notice. So there is self interest in not wanting kids, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s nothing to get offended over. To each their own.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        That is the root of it. That is one of the first things a person should learn about deciding whether or not to have a kid–can they handle that their time is not their own anymore?

        I mean–one of the things I want to do is become a foster mother. But I also want to travel, and I am really grappling with the fact that whenever I do decide to become a single foster mother, that I would not be able to just get up and go. So do I decide to wait or what? There are a lot of things that I am able to do, because I don’t have kids. Sleeping in, for one LOL.

      • Kelly says:

        @Virgilia, maybe you can focus on short-term or emergency fostering while you’re travelling.

  14. Slowsnow says:

    Sheesh, women who have children have to justify why and how they do. Women who don’t have to justify why they don’t. Can we please start a trend of not asking women about kids?

    Btw, having and not having are equally selfish but different kinds of selfish so let’s not describe it like that ok? It’s such a nasty way to qualify two equally beautiful choices of life.

  15. Mew says:

    There is absolutely nothing selfish not to have kids. Is it also selfish not to have a dog? No. Neither is not having a kid. Nobody gets a kid for greater good these days, everyone gets one or more because they want them. Could just as well be said that getting kids is selfish.

    • MissAmanda says:

      I feel like I know people who:
      a. had a kid because their parents were bothering them about it
      b. had a kid because they weren’t sure what else to do with their adulthood
      c. had a kid because it’s just ‘what you do’

      if we’re talking about the ‘greater good’ here, NOT having a kid is better for the human race and the planet at this point. Also it’s just a kiss, hope and a prayer that anything positive will be left for your child born in 2018 by the time they’re adults themselves.

  16. kay says:

    or…. we could always choose to not use words like ‘selfish’ to describe a decision to or not to have children.

  17. Ginger says:

    Having a ‘mini me’ when there are so many kids who need to be adopted could also be considered selfish.

  18. MissAmanda says:

    Sorry not sorry, i do not see how not wanting to spend the rest of your existance raising children is selfish…

    i don’t get that argument. the carbon footprint of a child ALONE is more ‘selfish’ than not wanting to dedicate your life to raising one. you’re choosing what YOU want (to be a parent) over what is best for the human race and the planet in a way.

    And also, I’m SELFISH because I’m going to NOT dedicate my life to another person THAT WOULDN’T EXIST HAD I NOT GONE OUT OF MY WAY TO CREATE THEM?

    If children were delivered randomly by the stork and a man or woman said ‘eh…no, i don’t want to raise that child, i don’t want my life to change like that’…then I can see how that choice might seem selfish…

    but children do not come from nowhere. most parents make the conscious decision to raise a child, and just because you’ve made that choice and someone else has not doesn’t make them selfish.

    woman doesn’t want to be a mother = selfish
    man doesn’t want to be a father = bachelor, living his truth, totally OK “I can’t see him as a dad anyways”

  19. hmmmm says:

    hey Kaiser, if anything it’s the less selfish choice! Overpopulation is a problem, and I forget the exact numbers at this point, but we are pretty close to the earth’s carrying capacity (or past it, already). Not to mention, having a child for the wrong reasons (like – “everyone does it” “I want to see how a little me comes out” are often making a selfish choice that severely hurts the child). People have children for themselves. I’ve never understood the argument that it is selfish. Selfish implies taking something away from others in favor of one’s self (at least, as I have always understood it).

    • Baby Jane says:

      Most demographers estimate the global population will cap at 10-12 billion, thanks to increasing access to birth control, education, and opportunities for women. That is far below the planet’s carrying capacity; however, those 12 billion aren’t (well, won’t be) equally distributed across the Earth’s surface- that’s where “overpopulation” problems exist, in the densely populated regions of South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, West Africa, Europe, and the northeast US coast.

  20. Nicole says:

    I’m selfish because at this moment i don’t want kids and don’t foresee myself having any. If that changes then it does but i would rather be ready and committed. there are so many parents unprepared and should not be parents. Those kids later become my clients.
    If you dont want to be a parent you shouldn’t

  21. perplexed says:

    I don’t think she’s selfish, but she probably decided to say it about herself before anyone else could.

    I remember her last interview igniting the selfish vs. selfless debate.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I agree, I think she saying it to deflect potential criticism. Either that or there is someone in her life who does keep referring to it as a selfish decision, and the idea is stuck in her head. I don’t think either way is a selfish decision. You have to do what is best for your life.

  22. Jess says:

    I’ve always said the choice to not have kids is selfish, but selfish doesn’t have to be a negative term here. It’s YOUR life and you should do whatever makes YOU happy! There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first. It’s selfish to have kids too, most people don’t bring children into the world for the child itself, they have them because it fills some selfish desire they have deep down to reproduce, it’s nature and biology, and there’s nothing wrong with that either😄

  23. Angela says:

    Oh my God this flew all over me! I’m so mad I’m almost sick. To say that you’re selfish because you chose not to have kids is the most ridiculous, horrible thing I’ve heard and I can’t believe she felt compelled to say this. I’m coming from a place where I can’t have children and my husband and I chose not to have IVF or adopt. That was our personal choice and I don’t have to explain or justify this to anyone. It certainly isn’t because we’re selfish and if you choose to not have children YOU ARE NOT SELFISH! You just don’t want kids. It’s okay. Just say I don’t have kids. If someone challenges you tell them straight up it’s none of their business why you don’t and tell them to never ask anyone else that question ever again. I’m 50 years old and I’ve dealt with this for 20 years. I know what I’m talking about. Plus I’ve talked to many other women who have gone through the same thing or who are childless by choice. They get the same questions. If you don’t have kids and choose not to ever have kids you are not selfish. You are you. You have other interests and people you care for in your life. Fini.

  24. Lucy says:

    Whenever I hear the word “selfish”, I think of someone who chooses not to share anything at all with anyone, ever. That includes friends, partners, and relatives other than children. I’m pretty sure Sarah has plenty of those It has never crossed my mind that such a concept could apply to not wanting children.

  25. Kitten says:

    As someone who just found out that she’s pregnant for the very first time, on Christmas Eve and two days before my 39th birthday, I have to say that my decision to terminate is probably the least selfish thing I’ve ever done. To be blunt, the past two weeks have been the hardest two weeks of my life.
    I’m keenly aware that this could be my last chance to have a baby and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll probably never know if I made the right decision. But I also know that being pregnant is something we should both be thrilled about. We should both want this baby. This baby deserves being born into as-close-to-perfect circumstances as we could provide for it.

    We are not there right now and we still have plenty of bumps to get through before we will be there.

    My decision is what’s right for my baby and has absolutely nothing to do with what’s right for me. My decision to remain childless is quite literally the opposite of “selfish”. “Selfish” would be having this baby simply because I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to again without taking into consideration the baby’s needs and what would be an optimal situation for him/her to grow up in.

    In short, f*ck her.

    • Slowsnow says:

      That s*cks @Kitten. But a wise decision will eventually feel good.

    • Tina says:

      @Kitten, you deserve all the love and support in the world. That sounds like an agonising situation and you have my very best wishes from across the pond.

    • BengalCat2000 says:

      I’ve been thru the same thing Kitten. Sending love and hugs and positivity your way! ❤

      • Kitten says:

        Ugh I wish I had someone like you close to me right now. I feel so alone. I know I’m not, but I feel like nobody understands…

      • BengalCat2000 says:

        You’re not alone sweet Kitten. Ever. If you need to talk, I’m here everyday even tho I rarely post. You will get thru this. It’s awful and liberating at the same time. I’m glad you have a good man. I always appreciate your intelligence and comments. Take care of yourself!!! ❤❤❤

      • Kelly says:

        @Kitten, do you think a support group would help? I have a friend who terminated at the age of 40. She was married, had three children half grown, and knew she was not going to do it again. Her husband guilt tripped her, had refused to wear a condom because he “respected” her, and did not respect her decision (they’re both Pro-life). Anyway, her due date came and went and the idiot didn’t even notice how much she struggled. She told him she was worried that she was drinking too much wine, and he laughed at such a ridiculous notion. He’s an uptight engineer who presents as a great guy, but after making sure he instilled a lifetime of guilt, he carried on without a thought of that potential baby.

        You may find that in another week or so, your despair will significantly decrease. You may struggle yearly with the day of your procedure or every Christmas Eve. You may find it all goes away and you’re at peace forever. There are so many emotions you may feel, and none of them are wrong. If you’re feeling no one understands, then you are effectively isolated. Please don’t force yourself to just “deal” or stop talking about it to spare other people’s feelings. I know there’s a big push right now to emphasize that terminating is not something to be sad about or even second guessed – and that’s true of some people.

        A support group by definition is going to be women who are struggling to cope, or are looking for someone who understands. Perhaps you don’t even have to share your own story, and just listen to others and their experiences. Please know that post-partum depression is possible after a termination, and your hormones are still balancing out. I’m sending you positive thoughts with endless pics of adorable kittens.

    • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

      Sending nothing but love Kitten!

      When I read the first few lines my heart almost stopped, because I knew you’d said that you hadn’t wanted kids, and then I went “oh fuck” because I knew whichever way you went, it would be a painful/difficult decision.

      I’m glad you were true to yourself and your needs/wants.

    • Lady D says:

      Hugs, Kitten. You too, BengalCat. So sorry people as decent, kind and compassionate as you two have to deal with life at its harshest.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      All the hugs in the world to you, dear Kitten. You know what’s right for you, yourself and for you as a couple. Taking the needs of that potential child as your first consideration is the most loving thing possible. The wise choice isn’t always the easy choice.

      To me, the word “selfish” was used in previous generations to scold children who wanted to grab too many cookies and not share. It really has no place in the discussion of being a parent. Most healthy people are mixtures, we have times of self-absorption and times of selflessness. It’s not a personality type (well, except for POTUS).

    • Kitten says:

      You guys have me crying (again) over here. It’s been like this every day since I found out: crying one second and holding it together the next.

      Thank you so much for all the kind words, love, and support. It means the world to me.

      @v/C- re: children, I have always maintained that I didn’t know if I wanted children or not but that I was never compelled to have them like so many women I know. I have also always maintained since I turned 30 that if I ever got pregnant I would keep the baby.

      I guess that was easier for me to say when I never thought it would happen.

      But my BF has maintained since Day One that he doesn’t want kids. When we found out, he said that he would support me if I wanted to keep the child, that he would change his job, we would get a house, he would do everything it would take and that we would get through it no matter what.
      When he said that, I realized that he will do absolutely anything for me and as such, I need to do right by him and do right by our unborn baby who deserves two parents who are 100% thrilled to welcome him/her into their lives.
      Sorry this is so hard for me to type without losing it so I should probably just stop now…

      Thank you guys again so much ♥

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        That is literally so sweet of your BF! You chose well! I’ve read a few threads where you’ve said you are so happy with him, and this seems to be another instance of him being great. I’m glad you had the support you needed.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        Awwww Kitten, I don’t know if it is fine for me to contribute to the conversation as I am in the position of ‘baby who should not have been born’. I hope I am not making you cry right now, hopefully I will only give you another point of view.
        My father didn’t want children, my mum did.
        I gather your boyfriend is acting lovely now, yet… It is different from saying something and then doing it: a baby is/can be, a lifelong commitment. Forget the 18 years, college, etc. In the future kids will stay with parents as long as possible, life and accommodation will always be more expensive.

        Until I was the only child, things went almost ‘normal’. When my brother was born, just a couple of years after me, my father completely rejected us and the physical/psychological abuse started. Of course, we wanted out of the hellish situation and became ‘independent’ quite early.
        Unfortunately, my brother became seriously and mentally ill in his early 30ies and ‘was’ returned to my father’s home, as he lost job, girlfriend, rented flat, etc. My parents had divorced; my mum is on state benefits and cannot give accommodation to my brother or she loses everything.
        My father, to get rid of him, has basically attempted everything, except murder maybe. Although perhaps he’ll attempt even that one at some point….

        It’s all cute and fine when children are children. But then they grow up; some of them will have amazing lives; some of them won’t. It’s just life. So do not think that you are 100% ‘I am missing the chance of having a fabulous baby’, only 50%. The other 50% could be disgraceful (plus I had depression for all my life so my mother openly describe us as her cross to bear).

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Oh, Kitten. I wish I could reach out and hug you. You are strong, you are wise, you are a lovely human being. Be good to yourself. Big, giant bear hugs to you.

      • Kelly says:

        @SilverUnicorn, thanks for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for what you endured and I’m sending hugs to you.

      • Jayna says:

        @Kitten, I just saw this today, a day later. So I hope you see my post.

        You must do what you feel is right in your heart. Not everybody needs to understand, but everyone should have empathy and compassion for such a hard but thoughtful decision. And you have my empathy and compassion completely and zero judgment, only complete support regarding your decision to terminate your pregnancy.

        And if you don’t feel your relationship is in the right place or he never wanted children, nor do you want to do it alone if it came to that later on, then you have weighed everything and made the decision best for the circumstances as far as what kind of life the child is born into. And no one talks about the possibility of having a child with disabilities that is life-altering and can destroy a relationship not strong enough to withstand the challenges..

        But on the flip side, some people never thought they wanted children, like two of my friends, but once it becomes a reality change their mind and has brought tremendous joy. But your boyfriend seems to have a job he loves. Why would he have to give it up? Too many changes so quickly aren’t always a good thing. You don’t need to get a house any time soon if you both decided to go through with the pregnancy.

        Bringing a baby into the world is a huge decision and a huge responsibility, and you are wise enough to know that both of you need to be on board with an unexpected pregnancy. Just keep communicating with your boyfriend and that way you will know 100 percent the decision to terminate is right for both of you, with nothing left unsaid. The fact that he has stated all of those things to you about supporting you, etc., might mean he is not as opposed to having a child as you think now that you being pregnant is a reality.

        If possible, a therapy session for both of you to talk it out with a third party sounds like the best solution, and it’s best to do that before, not after. I only say that because I’m concerned because you said you are crying so much. You both need to be in a place of certainty and clarity when you terminate, so that it doesn’t hurt your relationship down the road with unresolved feelings coming out, since it sounds like you have a relationship you both cherish and are unselfish about each other’s needs.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I am sorry I missed your post. I haven’t had a moment to check in on the crew and my Celebitches.

        (((kitten))) Hugs and more hugs.
        I wish I had some magic words to make it better. I wish I were there to fuss around you and make you nourishing soup and hold your hand. I am in spirit. I mean it too.
        My heart aches for you.
        I want to tell you that at this time it is the right thing if you feel it is. Only focus on this time. Don’t think about the future or what could be next year or in 5 years. Life has a way of revealing things in ways we never expected.
        Stay in the present and grieve without guilt and love for yourself and what might have been or is. Or even having to decide at all.
        This is not your last chance if you don’t want it to be but that is too big to think about right now when your emotions are raw, and your nerves are exhausted.
        IF you allow that thinking to take over, it will seep into your relationship against your will no matter what you want or if you are ok with the decision. Talk about it as often and as much and as “right” or “wrong” or effed up as you need to until you have processed honestly with yourself and said what you need to your bf. This isn’t the time to hold back and create a festering wound but to talk it through.

        Again, this is what is right for you at this moment. I don’t believe decisions always feel settled even when it is what we know it is what we need to do.
        But it doesn’t mean you can’t make another decision. Or several. One way or the other some time down the road.
        Someone once told me to think about painful decisions in little pieces at a time until the picture comes into focus and you are ready to experience the whole thing.

        I will send some positive energy to you and hope a tiny bit reaches you, so you know you really aren’t alone. (◕‿◕)♡

    • Jess says:

      Oh kitten, hugs to you. Sounds like a heartbreaking situation either way, I’m so so sorry. You aren’t alone, so many women have been in this situation, myself included, it’s not easy to experience but you just know when it isn’t right. Don’t let those feelings of guilt or “selfishness” creep in either, this is your life, you know what’s best. I wish we all lived closer and could be there for you, my biggest mistake/regret is not talking about it at the time. We’re here for you! ❤️

    • Lucy2 says:

      I’m sorry to hear you are going through this.

    • Grace says:

      Thank you for sharing this, Kitten.
      Lots of love and admiration for your bravery. Very glad you had the support you needed.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Oh dear Kitten I know how you feel because I was in your exact place last year. About to turn 39, in a great, albeit newer relationship, and suddenly find myself pregnant. I always thought if I got pregnant I would keep the baby, especially at 38 because it was likely my only chance for a child. My boyfriend was incredibly supportive but not “over the moon” and I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, let myself feel that way either because I didn’t want to negate his feelings. Deciding to terminate was the most difficult decision I’ve had to make, I cried constantly up until, during, and for about 3 days after. Even though in my heart I knew the decision was the right one for us. It’s still hard 7 months later. I have doubts and regrets and question my decision. There are times where it hits me like a wave and I break down. Times where I feel the extreme sadness and sense of loss overcome me. However I sill feel I made the right, although horrifyingly painful, decision and I allow myself the time I need to just feel sad. I also felt an extreme sense of relief a few days after the procedure but then that made me feel guilty and horrible in a whole new way. That Italian Catholic guilt can be a real bitch.

      I, like you, didn’t think there was anyone out there that would understand. So thank you Kitten, thank you for sharing your painful experience. It’s painful and difficult but you made a thoughtful decision that you feel is the best for you and your partner. I send you love, peace and comfort from San Diego ❤️

    • Anon55 says:

      Kitten, I don’t know if you’re still reading, but wanted to let you know you have my warmest thoughts. I was in your place about 14 years ago. I am 39 now and I have NEVER once regretted, hesitated, or had second thoughts about my decision to not continue the pregnancy. It was the right decision for all involved. The experience has made me an adamant supporter of a woman’s right to choose. I share my experience not to suggest how you “should” feel, but to add another voice. So much of the dialogue on this issue (nationally, not on this site) tries to force feelings of guilt, shame, or regret and that really sickens me because it clouds an already difficult time and (to me) adds an uneccesary, pointless burden. I hope this makes sense and comes across as supportive. I guess what I’m trying to say is…it is absolutely possible to get through this and feel absolutely at peace every day for the rest of your life. And I hope that you do feel peace with whatever decision you make. Again, you have all my best wishes…take care and be kind to yourself.

    • Stardust says:

      Kitten I had to make the same decision about 5 years a go. I do not regret it at all. Coming to this world is overrated, life is inherently suffering surrounded by some happiness. Many people miss the point, they think having kids is “selfless ” while is one of the most selfish things you can do. People basically have to make a person who carries their DNA because they are so incapable to feel love, that is why many will tell you that having a child is “the biggest love you will ever know”. The keep bringing people into this world, when there is already so many of us. The bring them here without thinking about the state of the planet, just because ” omg I can’t wait to see what my DNA mixed with my partners DNA will make!” Not thinking that they are deciding over the existence of another person.
      Most people have kids without thinking about it critically, they just do it because “is the thing we all do” or ” we’ll is our instincts ” like we are not capeable of higher intelligence and just act like animals.
      I support your decision, i wish you alk the best

      • Isa says:

        Kitten- I am so sorry you’re going through this. I cant imagine how you feel, just know I love and support you. If you need anything just let me know. You’re one of the smartest and strongest women I know. I know you’ll make the best decision possible.

  26. Molly says:

    Choosing not to have children can be quite the opposite of selfish. I have kids – always wanted them and couldn’t imagine my life without them – but if that’s not your bag, it is entirely appropriate and responsible to choose not to have them. No one owes the world their progeny.

  27. Olive says:

    not having children you do not want is not selfish. not if the alternative is to have kids you aren’t 100% about in order to fit society’s expectations. THAT is selfish.

    the whole “selfish for not having kids” mindset always seemed to come from people who might be bitter about their choices to have kids that limited their own lives, IMO. “How dare you not sacrifice everything to have kids like I did! How dare you not give up what you enjoy about your life like I did! This is what we are supposed to do!”

    • emilybyrd says:

      I agree, Olive. My mother, who is generally such a caring and supportive person towards me, sometimes has these odd minor outbursts of resentment about my apparently carefree, single, childless life. It took a while, but the more we talked about them, the more I began to realize that the source of the outbursts is some bitterness about how the social expectation that women marry and have children greatly limited her own life. It seems to her so unfair that for my generation, the choice to not marry and not have children is viewed as so much more normal than it was for hers.

  28. Nina says:

    Do people get harassed for not having kids? I’m 46, not a kid in sight and no one has ever hassled me about that. Although perhaps that is because I didn’t bother to get married until 42 when that ship had basically sailed anyway.

    Sometimes people ask me if I have kids. Sometimes they express surprise that I don’t have kids, saying that they think I would have been a good mom. But I’ve never been called selfish or judged for choosing the path I’m on.

    Wow. People are judgy jerks if they feel they can just comment on someone else’s life like that!

    • Lightpurple says:

      Yes. By family members who should know better.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        I’m lucky since my family kind of really only “hassled” me about dating (I went on my first date at 22 a few months ago)…….but kids?? They are probably celebrating that I and a few other cousins/siblings, etc don’t have any, because they’ve had to help pay for them!

        That would actually be an interesting sort of sociological “study” of some sort–will there be a decline in the societal pressures of having kids as more and more grandparents have to to give their children financial help for their grandkids? My mom has given so much to my sister for her two kids, that it would have been cheaper and less just to have them live with us.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Yes. And harassed about pretty much every choice surrounding the issues of traditional womanhood: having children, mode of having children (I adopted as first choice), working while having children and HOW MUCH working while having children and what type of work is appropriate while having children, how to educate those children, how to feed and dress and train and amuse those children, the list is never-ending.

      It’s great being with and raising kids — but I found some of the socially stereotyping aspects of it annoying and exhausting.

  29. HoustonGrl says:

    I didn’t want kids until I met my boyfriend. He seems like he would be such a great dad and that’s been a source of comfort in terms of talking about making such a big decision down the road. In the past, when I thought about kids, I thought a lot in terms of me doing it by myself without having a vision for sharing the load, which was a complete turn off. That said, it is completely UNSELFISH to remain childless. In this crazy world, the last thing we need is more people and more damage to the environment. It’s also quite difficult to go against the tide and constantly be asked about kids, the way Sarah Paulson is! Seems like it comes up in all her interviews!

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Isn’t it nice to be with someone who makes it look easy? I also evaluated my hubby’s dad potential, so many of us do, and here we are – I was right!

      That said, if you decide to have children, it’s still important to feel confident about your ability to handle it should something happen to your partner – illness, divorce, death. Horrible things to contemplate, but we need to make the irrevocable decision to take on someone’s utter dependency knowing we could handle it. Maybe not easily, and not wanting to do it that way, and probably recruiting a lot of helpers, but still, we are that child’s bottom line. We have to want them as individuals AND as a family unit. Sounds like you’re on that path, and good luck!

      • HoustonGrl says:

        It’s so true, very important to consider. I had a morbid thought in the opposite direction, if I died who would take care of them? He’s the only boyfriend I’ve ever had whom I would leave my unborn non-existent kids with, lol. Takes a lot of courage to start a family, there are so many unknowns. Good luck too <3

      • Kelly says:

        One of my friends was ambivalent about having kids. She had an abortion while with her long-term alcoholic boyfriend. She was one of the few people I’ve known who weren’t charmed by a content baby. I remember her helping me get an EKG on the most adorable, happy baby. My friend crinkled her nose like she had to touch a dead rodent. Fast forward to the one, and she got a little baby crazy. Within a year of marriage (in her later 20s) she had in vitro. Took a little longer because she refused to tell her hubby she has been pregnant in the past, so they tested her first when he was the one with low and slow sperm count. Typical IVF – fraternal twins, boy/girl. Got pregnant the first try, yet talked about the horrors of the process and that she would have never tried a second implantation.

  30. MissM says:

    I had a conversation with someone once who told me I was selfish for not wanting kids but then told me I was responsible when I said that I would like a dog but don’t have time to take care of it. I’m not getting a dog for the same reason I don’t want kids- it’s more responsibility then I can handle. Being a parent doesn’t make you a saint, if anything one could argue that parents who don’t adopt and have their own kids are the selfish ones as overpopulation is the biggest issue that we face right now.

  31. Abbess Tansy says:

    Choosing to not have children is a selfless and responsible act a person can do. For themselves, for others.

  32. Shelly says:

    The bottom line is people who are happy with their own lives and their own choices don’t criticize other people’s choices, period! If someone judges you it’s rooted in their own insecurities or small mindedness and they don’t deserve your energy. This is not something I knew in my 20′s or early 30′s but pushing 50 I actually feel sorry for people who judge me for not having children because I am happy with my life! Live and let live.

  33. Bliss 51 says:

    I don’t have children, never wanted them because I felt I didn’t have it in me to be a good parent, dysfunctional family background and all that. I’ve been called selfish and always rolled my eyes at people. My years of working in schools showed me kids being raised by grandparents, aunt/uncles because mom/dad were in prison, kids being raised in foster care, if they were lucky and in some cases, foster care ain’t so good. It would be all kinds of awesome to have a time machine to go back to those instances of being called “selfish” to have those people witness these very sad cases of children so I can so say “Oh rly? All I asked you is to pass the guacamole and you come at me w/ That?!” I live in one of the poorest states in the country and the cases of child abuse . . .

  34. JA says:

    So look forward to the day when women will no longer have to defend their choice for not having children AND/OR deciding to have as many as they want without fear of judgement from those [usually other women] who think they know better! I support you Sarah…You do you girl!

  35. Janey says:

    Wait, isn’t having a child also selfish? I mean, I chose consciously to have a child. For me – I wanted a child. Me, me, me. Ok the husband had to agree too. lol.

  36. Leigh says:

    I hate when people refer to not having kids as “selfish”. Honestly, with more than 7.5 billion people on a planet that’s being ravaged by climate change choosing not to procreate is a self-less thing to do!

  37. Rogue Economist says:

    Mother of 1 here, He is, indeed, the most awesome thing to have ever happened to me. I’ve been pursuing a career change and advanced degree through his life. It’s been slow going because schooling always had to be fit in AROUND him.

    Paulson is absolutely right in her assessment of being a parent. She’s being realistic.

    And that’s what makes her choice to remain child free absolutely UN-selfish in my opinion.
    Selfish is having a child just because of what his or her presence in your life does for YOU.

  38. Who ARE These People? says:

    The biggest thing to me is that not all decisions about children – to have or not to have – are under our control. Some people want to bear kids but can’t. Some people don’t want kids but are forced into it. Some want them and have them. Some don’t want them and don’t have them. We can’t assume anything about any given woman or man in terms of their intimate and chosen relationships. And ‘selfish’ is a valid term to describe a given course of action but not a personality type, unless we’re talking a narcissistic disorder. It’s an old-fashioned use of the term, like calling kids who do one bad thing “bad girl” and “bad boy.” Yes, we all commit selfish acts sometimes. Yes, we all commit selfless acts sometimes. But to extend that to a blanket description of a person either way – very rare to have a 100% selfish person (especially as POTUS), very rare to have a 100% selfless person too.

    Most parents are just people who became parents for one reason or another; most non-parents are just people who did not become parents for one reason or another. It’s not for us to judge.

    Sarah Paulson has her life the way she likes it, and is probably tired of being told she IS selfish or WAS selfish and is trying to turn that around and claim it proudly. Can’t blame her. It’s so hard to be judged.

  39. j says:

    most headlines lately:
    “selfish woman is selfish”
    “childless eligible bachelors talk about their amazing accomplishments and explain why #metoo has gone too far”

  40. LawBabe says:

    so mad and then sad whenever I read about the “childfree” life choice. First of all, there are children everywhere, and in my experience, their parents are more than willing (if they know you well, duh) to let you hang out with them, take them for mani/pedi or a sporting event. I do not have a child of my own born of my vagine but I adore the children who are in my life and have loved watching them grow into amazing humans. There was never a proclamation on my part to not have children or that I’m going to maintain a childless, “selfish” existence BY CHOICE, as if those are the only boxes to check in creating your lifestyle. The rap about childfree =selfish / family=selfless has become so tiresome. It’s hard to imagine anyone’s life is so one dimensional and easily defined.

  41. Lucy2 says:

    Kaiser I adopted 2 kittens just after Christmas after losing my elderly kitty. They are bananas but so much fun.

  42. HeyThere! says:

    Ugh. I hate this debate. It is not selfish to not have kids, and it is not selfish to have kids. End of!!! When will a women quit being judged for what they do and don’t do with their uterus?! I hope 2018 is better about stuff like this. Every single person has a different situation for both and to put a person in a box for either choice is wrong, and annoying.

  43. U.S and them says:

    I have no issue with people who are childfree except if they choose to become childfree after the child is born. Abandoning your children for no good reason…well don’t get me started, I’ve issues with it.

    As a person who is child oppressed, I can honestly say it is the best thing that ever happened to me. But my life before becoming a parent wasn’t that good, so I wasn’t giving up much. Had I been a person with a vibrant social life and the ability to hop from one attractive partner to the next will relative ease then I could understand why becoming child oppressed wouldn”t seem that appealing. But you play the hand you’re dealt I guess.

  44. cd3 says:

    Am curious to hear what other readers think about the large age gap in her relationship – about 30 years if I’m not mistaken. Other May-December romances get a lot of flack on this site but the thread is curiously quiet about this one… am wondering what people think?

    • Jayna says:

      She’s an adult woman 43 years of age, and accomplished in her field, so definitely not a power imbalance. But at 43 dating a 73-year-old? No, I don’t get it at all. But each to their own.

    • U.S and them says:

      It’s a same sex relationship between two women, so most progressively minded people wouldn’t be comfortable with being critical about it just in case it was interpreted as veiled homophobia.

      But to answer your question, I don’t see the harm in a 43 year old dating a 74 year old.

    • Wil says:

      Well .. I have to say that it – the age thing – strikes me as challenging but that is because I am knee deep in Menopause right now and I simply cannot imagine anyone wanting to have sex when the bits dry up. It hurts, things tear .. it is a horror. But if they can make it work .. I have always had a girl crush on Holland and Sarah is quite dishy .. so .. mazel tov girls!

  45. Cafecito says:

    I never used the term childless, without even thinking about it, it just feels harsh. I don’t understand why people use the term childfree, it’s equally harsh but to the people with children.

    • Harper says:

      Agreed; it really rubs me the wrong way. It reminds me of the way people describe having been cured of cancer or something, as if children are some kind of disease. Extremely disrespectful to parents, and particularly to children themselves. Whether you choose to have your own or not, children are human beings. It would not be acceptable to refer to any other group of people in this way (e.g. referring to oneself as “elderly-free” or “disabled-free”). As you point out, though, the term “childless” is equally crappy in that it implies that something is missing from that person’s life, which if course is nonsense. I wonder if there’s a term that is equally respectful to all parties?

  46. Jayna says:

    Why is selfish a word even linked to deciding not to have children or not wanting them? It’s a choice, not being selfish. Selfish is is when parents have children and are shitty parents. Every day you read about abused children or adults talk abut parents who were mentally abusive or too busy for them.

  47. Regina Falangie says:

    I wholeheartedly and sincerely celebrate those who choose not to have children. Whether by choice or circumstance. I think it’s really brave to know yourself and to stand by your choices. Raising a child is very difficult and it requires you to give up SO much and is not for everyone and should NOT feel like a requirement in life.

    For the record, I have 2 sweet babies and I adore them. But, f*ck it’s hard work. To those who are on the fence, wait. You are only young once. Once you’re a parent, you are always a parent. Be “selfish” and enjoy your youth and *your* time.

  48. Lori says:

    What makes me sad is that its(in my experience) mothers who will call childless women selfish. We arent very nice to eachother.

  49. Wil says:

    Ugh .. I hate this whole child-less/child-free versus I have ten kids/I have two nonsense. It TOTALLY thrusts fertility into a realm of “Well of course everyone can get pregnant!”

    Well .. Some of us can’t .. some of us are too old to adopt .. some of us don’t have the financial resources to be able to adopt. AND it just ticks me off when people hold up this childless/childfree thing as a badge and/or use it to pit women against one another.

    Finally, as a tiny side note, the only people who read Town & Country are snotty rich folk who live to look down on others – my rich, awful, but thank god now late Grandmother read this rag to keep up with what was happening in society. It never seemed to touch any reality I was ever involved in any of the times I dirtied my hand to read this rag.

    So .. take this article and who it is aimed at with a great big grain of salt. And just remember .. this whole argument (Children or childfree/less) was created by someone who didn’t think there were enough wedges between women and wanted to add one more.

  50. Jesx says:

    I feel being ‘child-free’ is the opposite of being selfish. No-one’s asked to be born. You, as a parent, are creating and bringing a whole new life into this very complex world. It relies entirely on you and it begins as entirely your responsibility. You need to be up to that, you need to be the kind of person that this child will love, respect and confide in, you need to be the kind of person that deserves those things. I see so many people become parents either because they need that attention or because their hormones crave a baby or because they see becoming a parent a stage of life, all of which I see as selfish as they don’t focus on the needs of the child. No child deserves sub-par parents. Sure, I get it, no-one’s perfect, but a new life deserves a good start. They definitely deserve their needs to be put above a parents wants. When you can’t reach those standards, it is selfish to procreate. In what way is it selfish to not procreate just because you have the ability?

    I think society sees the issue as ‘opt-out’ rather than ‘opt-in’ and I think that needs to change.

  51. monette says:

    You know what else is considered very selfish? Having just one child. Because you rob the child of the joy of having a sibling.
    You can’t win in this fucked up society. You are selfish either way. If you have none. SELFISH. If you have just one. SELFISH.
    If you have 3 or 4 you are a freak show.
    So fuck it with all this expectations and people’s opinions.
    You do you!

  52. Wilder says:

    Oh yes, let’s bring up the whole kids-no-kids-selfish-not-selfish discussion YET AGAIN, making women defend their choice, no matter what it is. It’s just another way to pit women against each other. I hate that Sarah Paulson is forced to talk about this everytime she’s interviewed, and I hate how it forces everyone on this site to feel the need to justify their own choices.

    • Moon Beam says:

      WORD. We are living in 2018, there should be no such concept as an old maid. No woman should feel like she has to settle down to prove anything. You can succeed and have a career and not need to have kids to leave any mark.
      ON THE FLIP SIDE, if a woman strives to be a mom and that is the happiest and most fulfilling thing in her life, why do we need to act like she is a big ol dumb dumb who is setting feminism back? If a woman wants a career and kids, why do we need to analyze how much time she spends with her children??
      I agree about the justifications too. If you just never wanted kids and don’t ever plan on having them, that’s your choice and your prerogative. You wanted kids but couldn’t have them? People who were judgy about that are horrible and I hope karma catches up to them. Love your kids and being a mom? Cool me too. No one on here should have to justify anything, but alas comment wars ensue.
      We can be our own worst enemies sometimes.

    • Patty says:

      I respectfully disagree about this topic pitting women against each other and forcing people to justify their choices.

      No one is being forced to do anything. SP and people on this board choose to talk about, comment, and justify their life choices. That’s their business but no one is being forced to.

      It’s just as easy to make the choice not to justify your life choices to strangers. If you feel the need to do that on a website or if SP feels the need to discuss that’s fine – but nobody is being forced to do anything. Nor is anyone being forced to comment, or divulge personal information.

      I think Kitten recently shared a personal story about a life choice that she was making to remain childfree / childless; I think it’s great that she feels comfortable enough to do so. Was she forced to share? Absolutely not. It was her decision and choice.

  53. SNAP says:

    I respect and admire someone who knows what she wants and sticks to her plan. My sisters chose the childfree road and they are happy with their decision. I became a mom in my 20′s and i am glad i did. Now facing my 40′s and having married the man i consider my soulmate, i’ve agonized over having a kid with him or not. We have had baby fever at times and then after our weekends with our kids from previous marriages we are like “no more kids, for the love of what is sacred!!!”. I never knew i would be so ambivalent about it. One day we want a baby, the other we enjoy taking off wherever we want on a whim and saving for early retirememt (hopefully). I hate this feeling of ambivalence, it is the worst. So reading about people who have made up their minds like this lady really inspires me. Ambivalence is a horrible limbo. Recently hubs and i have decided to forgo the baby, focus on the ones we already have and continue to pursue our goal to retire early. It hurt at first to let go of the “baby” possibility but once you finally choose it makes it easier to stick to the plan and you learn to live with your choice which is a lot better than flip flopping amd agonizing. Way to go Ms. Paulson!

  54. run says:

    By “selfish” they mean you aren’t willing to put a child’s needs ahead of your own, like parents do. But it’s not selfish to know that you don’t want kids so you make the decision to avoid having them. I have 5 kids. If you don’t want kids then don’t have them. I don’t judge. I think it’s better to know what you want before you get pregnant, than to figure it out afterwards. The “you must have kids” haters don’t realize that what’s worse than choosing not to have kids is having kids you start resenting because you realize you didn’t really want them.

  55. Isa says:

    It’s a shame she feels the need to refer to herself as selfish for choosing her best life. There’s nothing selfish about not wanting kids. And since someone mentioned upthread about women with children saying I- I have three kids. I am here for you and support your decision.
    It’s so aggravating to me that women have to deal with this judgment, while men don’t have to. So many men don’t get questioned about whether or not they want kids. Then, if they do have them get away with abandoning them or having a minimal role in childbearing while women have to make up the slack.

  56. Ozogirl says:

    My choice to not have children is not selfish. I am not required to procreate.