Montreal

Child-Free Day celebrates choice to be childless

Magenta Baribeau has not wanted children for nearly four decades, but still gets strangers telling her she'll change her mind one day. That's why she's organized Child-Free Day between Mother's and Father's Day.

Montreal's Fête des non-parents, or 'Child-Free Day' meant to unite people who don't want children

Magenta Baribeau, filmmaker and founder of Montreal's Feminist Film Festival, wanted to create a space where "kindred spirits could feel safe...and be proud." (Sara DuBreuil/CBC)

Magenta Baribeau has not wanted children for nearly four decades, but still gets strangers telling her she'll change her mind one day. 

"I think [it's] really condescending, because I'm 37 — I've lived with myself for 37 years — and I know myself very well. And some people who met me maybe 20 seconds ago will think they know me better than I do. It's a lack of respect," Baribeau told CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty on Monday.

Some people who met me maybe 20 seconds ago will think they know me better than I do. It's a lack of respect.- Magenta Baribeau

That's one of the reasons she's spent the past six years working on Maman? Non Merci, a documentary about people who are happily childless.

It's also one of the main motivators for why she organized next weekend's Child-Free Day, which will feature a panel on childlessness as well as a group discussion.

Inspired by a similar event in Belgium, Baribeau said she decided to hold the event between Mother's Day and Father's Day to help promote respect for people's decisions to remain childless. 

Montrealer Magenta Baribeau has made the choice to not have children and is organizing a day to celebrate people who make that choice. She's also working on a documentary, Maman? Non Merci, about being child-free. 9:22

Childlessness is not selfishness

"I felt that this choice is really criticized by people," she said. "I've been working on this film for six years now, so I've seen a lot of — well, not a lot of change. That's the problem ... Mentalities haven't really changed. People are still criticizing people who make this life choice."

"This kind of lifestyle is different from the norm, so it scares people," Baribeau continued, adding that outspoken advocates of childlessness are often called "selfish," among other things.

She said she actually likes children, but simply has no desire to procreate. 

"I don't need to have them around me all the time. That's the difference."

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