A viral Twitter thread lashing out at millennials who do not have children has – quite rightly – sparked a furious backlash online.
It all began with an account belonging to someone called Shane Morris, who claimed millennials who are “very cavalier” about not having kids will soon “realize life is only half over” in their 40s.
They asked: “What do you do at that point? Keep trying to be sexy and have fun?
“Without the natural connections and belongings that literally emerge from marriage and fertility, the latter years become very cold and lonely. Those ‘Friendsgivings’ will get old, quickly.”
Millennials who are very cavalier about not having children are in for a shock when they enter their 40s & realize life is only half over. What do you do at that point? Keep trying to be sexy & have fun? I expect to see a lot of sadness & confusion about what to do at that point.
— Shane Morris (@GShaneMorris) August 23, 2022
Without the natural connections and belonging that literally emerge from marriage and fertility, the latter years become very cold and lonely. Those “Friendsgivings” will get old, quickly.
— Shane Morris (@GShaneMorris) August 23, 2022
Somehow, the Twitter thread gained more than 29,000 likes (yes, really). But common sense prevailed as people started pointing out the pretty obvious points it missed out about parenthood.
As others noted, not only are some people unable to have children in the first place, the pressing issues around the world right now – from the cost of living crisis, unaffordable housing and sky-high childcare costs, oh, and the climate emergency – mean raising a child has (unsurprisingly) fallen down the list of priorities for some.
It’s also very expensive to have children. In the UK, the cost of raising a child until they’re 18 – including housing, childcare costs as well their basic needs – averages out to around £185,413. That’s pretty steep.
Not to mention the huge population the world already has, with 7.753 billion people already inhabiting it as of 2020.
I don’t have kids because the previous generation spent the past three decades ensuring I’d have to be rich to give them a decent lifehttps://t.co/vQeoDuXOKF
— Zack Budryk (@BudrykZack) August 23, 2022
Having children is not for everyone. Actually, having children shouldn’t be for everyone. Reproduction is no longer the “point” of it all and definitely isn’t a necessity in this economy. https://t.co/VMgP2O7op4
— oni ku’ulei ☁️ (@lmnhzd) August 23, 2022
We’re all for having kids if that’s your jam. But the idea that the only way to find happiness is by having kids isn’t fair on anyone – especially your hypothetical offspring. Young people are under enough pressure today, without the implication that they exist purely to serve their parents’ wellbeing, rather than live their own lives.
Using tiny humans to fill your life until they can fend for themselves is also not exactly a perfect strategy to avoid loneliness, as seen among all parents who suffer from empty nest syndrome.
you should not have kids if you want them to fill a void in your life or if you think they’re gonna add value to it. they’re not toys. they’re actually future adults who will carry the trauma of your parenting. just like having kids cant save a mariage, they wont give you purpose https://t.co/lKOfhTs6dW
— 🌻🍯 (@honaemenu) August 24, 2022
This is the dumbest thread I’ve read all day. Some people put so much stock in family as if that’s the only worthy or longstanding emotional, personal relationship an individual can have and that’s just false. So, kids don’t guarantee happiness. At all. https://t.co/4MedbNMbOv
— NO! (@KirkWrites79) August 23, 2022
The original tweet also takes a pop at Friendsgiving, an alternative celebration the day before Thanksgiving, where people honor their friendships.
But, frankly, having a group of people round who all like one another to enjoy a meal is probably more of a guaranteed win than most family get-togethers.
Assuming that your children will even like you back is also bit of an ask, according to some tweets.
Millennials who are very cavalier about having children because they think it will give them something to do after 40 are in for a shock when they realize their children are gonna grow up to hate their guts. https://t.co/EMRsjaSrd9
— AVC (@annevclark) August 23, 2022
Not to mention having a child can force some women to put their happiness on hold. Becoming a mother usually triggers a series of intense life changes for the person who gave birth, from complete alterations to your body, pivotal changes within your career, or just deprioritising your personal life to care for others.
We’re not saying motherhood is bad, but let’s not pretend it’s all roses, either.
Being able to use contraception has enabled women to put their lives first, and women should be able to enjoy that, rather than face further pressure to reproduce.
It’s no wonder that according to research from confused.com, one in five women, aged 40-44 in the UK do not have children. The UK also comes third in the world in this study for having the most couples choosing not to have children.
Plenty of others simply choose not to have children, for whatever reason – and, at the end of the day, it is a personal choice, not one that is up for discussion.
why does it matter to you? like, what’s your problem hey? are other people’s life choices a direct attack on yours? will seeing them suffer validate you? get a grip, shane https://t.co/rYjzSvPr9v
— miss honey 🍯 (@foyinog) August 24, 2022
Finally, there’s the claim that people in their 40s can no longer “keep trying to be sexy and have fun”.
We’d love to know what the likes of Winona Ryder, Leonardo Di’Caprio, Oprah Winfrey, Renee Zellweger, Keanu Reeves,and Helen Mirren (all over 40, all without kids) would say about that.
Fuck kids, respectfully. I’m gonna be 75 going to dinner parties all over the world and getting gently dicked down by artificial intelligence https://t.co/TJbdggJxyy
— London Hughes (@TheLondonHughes) August 23, 2022
see something, say something: it’s illegal to be sexy and have fun when you turn 40. know the law. know your neighbor. https://t.co/AYFYebMpEP
— Edward Ongweso Jr (@bigblackjacobin) August 23, 2022
Choosing to be child-free was one of the best decisions of my life. The social pressure to reproduce is enormous, and seeing how it’s turned out for everyone I know that did has been relentlessly validating. I do whatever the fuck I want, whenever I want, and it’s so awesome. https://t.co/UB84kVGWDN
— Jon Jones (@jonjones) August 23, 2022
Oh.. I don’t have kids and it’s never been a problem for me? Do you know you can have your own life without children? https://t.co/vC5nNBnJPv
— Deborah Meaden 🇺🇦 (@DeborahMeaden) August 23, 2022
And you know what, some people just don’t want to follow the traditions laid out for us by previous generations. And that’s fine, too!
So, in conclusion: if it’s your body, you can decide what to do with it.
And for the tens of thousands of people who liked this thread, we hope we’ve opened your eyes, just a little.