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Category Archives: Childfree
Only One in the World: Pioneering NotMom Summit to Connect Childless & Childfree Women – PR Newswire (press release)
Posted: February 7, 2017 at 8:22 am
The conference is hosted by TheNotMom.com and its founder and chief executive Karen Malone Wright, the international expert about women without children. The blog is distinguished by its embrace of women who once dreamed of motherhood as well as those who never did. The inaugural conference held in 2015 was a resounding success, attracting women from three continents, five countries (Canada, China, England, Iceland and the USA) – and 18 states across America.
In 2017, more American women are childless by chance or childfree by choice than at any time since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking them in 1976. Today, about one of every six women will never give birth, compared to one of every 10 women 40 years ago. Even so, mothers represent the majority of women, so for us, ‘I’m not a Mom’ is a common self-descriptor,” Wright said.
“The tired old trope of ‘selfish, childless cat ladies’, doesn’t hold in a world where Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, British Prime Minister Theresa May, IBM CEO Virginia Rometty and media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey reflect the intellect, philanthropy and concern for future generations demonstrated by women without children every day,” Wright said.
The theme of The NotMom Summit, Redefining Feminine Legacy, weaves through presentations by expert speakers from the United States and United Kingdom including academics, counselors, business owners and other professional women on topics ranging from financial planning to small-batch cooking.
Saturday’s keynote speaker will be Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women, the global support network reaching almost two million women who are childless by chance. She is author of Living the Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks to Your Plan B for a Meaningful and Fulfilling Future Without Children. A portion of event proceeds will be donated to The NotMom charitable partner, The Global Fund For Women.
“When you don’t have children, you approach life differently, from how you spend your money and plan your life, to how you relate to your family and friends. And, thousands of women who aren’t mothers – aunts, godmothers, teachers, social workers and others – gladly share their time and resources with other people’s children,” Wright said.
“At The NotMom Summit, both women who chose a life without children and those who didn’t can enjoy the very rare opportunity to come together offline and acknowledge the shared aspects of their lives,” Wright said.
For information on sponsorship and other partner opportunities, please contact Karen Malone Wright at Karen@TheNotMom.com.
The NotMom.com is a distinctive resource of news, commentary and connections for and about women without children by choice or by chance – one of every six American women with comparable numbers around the world. The NotMom is American in focus but global in scope, focused on the unique dimensions of life without children in a Mom-centered world. The NotMom engages and influences a growing community of more than 25,000 women age 26 and up through the blog, events and social online networks. The NotMom Summit, the only major conference of its kind in the world, brings these women together offline to acknowledge and enhance the shared aspects of their lives.
This press release was issued through 24-7PressRelease.com. For further information, visit http://www.24-7pressrelease.com.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/only-one-in-the-world-pioneering-notmom-summit-to-connect-childless–childfree-women-300402277.html
SOURCE The NotMom
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Posted: February 4, 2017 at 1:54 am
Props to Jesse Nichols(@HappyNinjaUX) for reminding parents that childfree adults indeed childfree couples dont hate children. Not necessarily. Not in his case, at least, nor in my case. Kids have been (and will continue to be) an important part of my life. As a teacher, coach, advisor, uncle, friend, and unabashed man-child, children 
At 29, female and happily married, there is one question I despise more than all others. Its the dreaded, When are you going to have kids? People always throw it in there casually, too. Usually between such innocuous questions as, Hows your mother? or, Wheres the bathroom? Just as Im getting comfortable in a conversation, 
How tinted do your grievance glasses have to be to see a bias TOWARDS parents in todays economy? Im sorry, employers value parents? Trying to work and raisechildren at the same time in this country is exhausting and expensive No wonder parents are miserableBut most of the issues articulated in thisFortunepiece are work-life balance issues, 
Since the 1970s, being childfree not wanting children has slowly become more recognized as a legitimate choice[but]we still have a ways to go when it comes to society accepting those with no children without judgment or stigma. This lack of acceptance has played out in the workplace. (Source: The Brutal Truth About Being 
Childfree articles in the press usually get a lot of below-the-line debate. Lilit Marcus, writing for The Guardian about some of the factors behind her decision to remain childfree, definitely stirred the pot last week. Some didnt bother disguising their vitriol, but Ive discovered that theres a new passive-aggressive approach on the block. This approach 
Read the rest here:
Posted: February 1, 2017 at 4:58 pm
Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the lifelong voluntary choice to not have children. This includes avoiding having biological, step, or adopted children.
The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people are those who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.
In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.
The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance. The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).
Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons for their view:
According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children. (Or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have.) Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.
Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s. However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014. In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011). Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries, although one child families are very common there.
From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s. The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957. Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.
The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.
In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.
While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.
Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.
Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.
Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).
Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others. However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes applauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.
There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.
Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood. In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.
On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order” and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother. Nonetheless, in 2010, Brown gave birth to a son.
However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.
Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs. Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.
Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.
Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.
The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.
Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.
There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime. Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should. Furthermore, in two different places in the Bible, Luke as well as Matthew, Jesus himself warns against having children in the end times. Also, Jesus as well as Paul, to name a few of several men as well as women, are childless.
Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.
Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be “selfish”. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).
Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large. As philosopher David Benatar explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.
There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.
Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents. It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.
The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day.Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.
There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle. Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.
More recently, websites such as Reddit have created online communities specifically for childfree people. As of October 11, 2016 the Reddit Childfree community boasts of having 108,847 subscribers or ‘jet ski owners’. The Reddit Childfree community has created many resources specifically for the Childfree. The Reddit Childfree community has created their own list of nearby Childfree friendly doctors who will perform sterilization procedures without hassle. The Reddit Childfree community also provides links to specialized services such as a Childfree focused dating site YesChildfree, a dating site created by Reddit user ‘YesChildfree’ in March 2016 to cater to the Childfree community that have no interest in dating a parent or person who would want to become a parent that are often found on mainstream dating websites.
Follow this link:
Posted: at 4:58 pm
If I had to pick one subject thats emblematic of STFU, Parents, it would probably be mommyjacking. Nothing makes a person want to shatter a windshield more than a good mommyjacking round-up, especially when the examples surround people who are childfree. Weve examined this phenomenon before with posts like Have a Kid! and Wait Til You Have Kids,yet parents continue to bully, patronize, and generally annoy the living shit out of their friends by making weird parenting-related comments at the dumbest and/or worst of times.
This much is clear not just in my inbox, but on newsstands, too. Take a look at the TIME magazine cover storyThe Childfree Life,which inspired a lot of conversation online as well asmy new Mommyish columnand this post. The media will never stop comparing childfree/childless people and parents something I canpersonallyattest to even though the subject is suuuper boring, and its still as irritating as ever (if not more so) when parents condescend to their friends just for not having kids. Whats the point? Cant we all just get along?? Lets check out some more examples of parents mommyjacking their selfish, clueless, and unimpressive non-parent friends:
1. Congratulations, You Dont KnowShit
Its taken a few years, but Zoeys comment might trumpthis mommyjackingin its display of earnest assholishness, which is a real feat. Congratulations on being the yin to Karas yang, Zoey. The world stays balanced because of people like you.
Adriennes cryptic-sounding status update isnt so cryptic to her Facebook friends, who know shes been working toward becoming a nurse for some time now. That said, becoming a nurse cant really compare to becoming a mom, PLUS nurses get paid! What kind of BS is that? Pay nurses for knowing how to treat a stab wound to the trachea, but dont pay moms for doing almost the exact same thing? Thats called discrimination.
3. The Dog/Baby Void
Oh,dog people.When will they ever learn that you can never fill a baby void with dogs. German Shepherds, English Bulldogs, pitbull-Jack Russell-terrier muttsthe list goes on and on. You can try to fit as many as 100 beautiful rescue pups into that baby-shaped void, but NOTHING will fill it like a human baby. Its like trying to fit a St. Bernardinto a Baby Bjorn. Not gonna happen.
4. Sun-kiss That Tan Goodbye
Aww, you got engaged andyourso tan! Really adorable considering you have no ideawhat will happen once kids enter the picture..LOL hope you had fun with THAT. Ask yourself one question: Have you ever met a mother whose tan is even? LOL thats what I thought!! Sucker. Just wait. 🙂
5. Enjoy those days
Im considering staging an Apostrophe Intervention because my eyes are so tired of reading plural words with apostrophes. For the love of god, if youre going to mommyjack, do it with some class. Or, heres a thought: Dont do it at all, because it leads to comment threads like this one.First, Red pops in with the old, Holy shit, NOON???, which I can actually understand from a (non-parent) parents perspective. From there, however, it goes from patronizing doll days to Ugh. Ditto on the kids. which is *kind of*another way of saying, Bitch, please.
Ultimately, sleep is a parent vs. non-parent battle that will never be won. As much as it sucks that parents parents never get to sleep in, its also sucky to begrudge a friend who doesnt have kids for doing so. Dont hate the sleeper, hate the nap. Or the wailing child whos keeping you up. You know what I mean.
Dont forget to check out my new column’How Not To Mommyjack Your Childfriend Friendsover on Mommyish!
(submitted by Anonymous)
Posted: December 31, 2016 at 2:54 pm
I remember being tired before I had kids. It sucked. I was so tired!
Then I had a baby, and I got even more tired. I mean, I dont know how much more tired Iwaswith a kidthan I used to be, or if I was moretired than my childfree friends have ever or will ever be, but I definitely feltmore tired most days than Iremember feelingback then. To make matters worse,I had to keep my kid alive while being this insane new level of tired.
The tiredness just kept growing, exponentially. I just had my second baby. The tiredness hasnt stopped. It never will.
But I shouldnt say that out loud. And I definitely shouldnt say it online. Fitness guru and mom Jillian Michaels found that out the hard way when she posted what she probably thought was a harmless parenting meme about being exhausted. Unfortunately, in todays landscape of instant outrage, nothing is harmless anymore.
It doesnt matter that shes right (COME AT ME!) All that matters is that the childfree somehow felt victimized by the meme, because if theres anything worth getting upset about, its Facebook memes.
Some well-balanced people feel differently, leaving comments on the post like, Thats YOUR story, but then you obviously werent suffering with long term illness, looking after sick relatives, working 80 hours a week, working 24 hour shifts, looking after sick animals, working three jobs to make ends meet or any of the other tons of reasons there are to be tired!!!!!
Nope. Just one reason to be tired, as the meme CLEARLY states.
Jillian is a new parent and a famous fitness guru, so she knows from exertion, but she is not a scientist, so she should just shut it, according to this kind soul: Hey, genius. Its called being human. Everyone gets tired, whether they have kids or not. Thats what the human body does. Try studying science harder next time.
No one said anything about childfree people not being tired. Again, I was childfree. I was plenty tired. Im sure there are EMTs and medical students and people with insomnia and people with no eyelids who are just as tired as parents, and congratulations, we all tied in the Tired Contest.
Except newsflash:there is no Tired Contest! I was pulling your leg!
Tiredness is not something that can be measured, and neitherMichaels nor I nor those kids staying awake for days on end just to avoid Freddy Kruger can prove theyre more tired than anyone else, but honestly? WHO GIVES A SHIT. Were all tired.
But those of us with more responsibility are probably maybe? a little more tired than those without much? I dont know how much responsibility you have, and neither does Jillian Michaels, unless she has a personal relationship with all 3,035,511 people who like her Facebook page,(If she does, she definitelywins the Tired Contest!), but I know that kids are a lot of responsibility.
You cant sleep through your kids. Once you have a baby, your sleep starts suffering, and you never get it back, at least not until theyre teenagers. And so parents have very limited opportunities to catch up on sleep theyve missed. Maybe youre childfree and you cant catch up on sleep either I dont know your life but if so FUCK YOU FOR OFFENDING ME except not really because getting upset about a humorous (YMMV) meme meant to appeal to other parents is a tremendous waste of time and energy.
In fact, if youre one of the people who went online to scream about this, like this guy?
You may have been cute back then, but you grew up to be a c***. Why arent people allowed to be tired if they dont have sprogs? You chose to have the little c*** goblins, yet all parents seem to do is complain about everything, and try to bring everyone down to their misery. We get it youre tired. Know who else has a better reason for being tired? People who work 40+ hours a week. They arent allowed to be tired? When did moms become so selfish and entitled? Youre making yourselves look like Bitches.
Wow. If youre leaving a psychotic rant like that on a celebritys harmless Facebook post, you clearly have a lot more energy than me.
BOOM! I win.
Continue reading here:
Posted: August 10, 2016 at 9:14 pm
I couldn’t resist when an old friend of mine posted this on Facebook. My reply was, “I don’t have kids and I put others before myself”, to which she replied, “That is rare in this day and age!”, which is true, but let’s take a closer look at why it is true. I would argue that being oriented around others is so rare today in large part because today’s PARENTS – by virtue of adopting the notion that once a person has kids they become the center of the universe – have created a bunch of coddled, narcissistic entitled monsters who expect the corner office on their first day of work and who spend their days angling their IPhone for the perfect selfie and then staring down it all day long to see how many “likes” they get.
Of course, it stands to reason that only parents can put others before themselves. How could someone like me – a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a colleague, a volunteer and a companion to 3 cats, even imagine putting someone before myself? We all know that only parents know how to do this,whereas people like me are completely self-centered and spend not a single moment thinking of another person (insert sarcasm here).
The proclamation posted above does capture one thing correctly. Parents must spend the rest of their lives putting that child before themselves, whereas a non-parent like me can simultaneously attend to the needs of others as well as to her own needs, without feeling resentment and without giving up her identity in the process. Yes, I am a devoted wife, friend, daughter, etc., but not one of those roles defines me or imprisons me. I don’t have to neglect my own needs or put them on a shelf for 20 years because another being is sucking the life out of me. I can have my cake and eat it too.
Imagine if a childfree woman posted self-congratulatory posts on Facebook about being childfree. How do you think it would go over? Can you imagine the response I would get if I posted something like:
Originally posted here:
Posted: July 31, 2016 at 5:50 am
TimeMagazine’s recent cover story “The Childfree Life” has generated a good deal of controversy and commentary. The photo that graces the cover of the edition pretty much sums up the argument: a young, fit couple lounge languidly on a beach and gaze up at the camera with blissful smilesand no child anywhere in sight.
What the editors want us to accept is that this scenario is not just increasingly a fact in our country, but that it is morally acceptable as well, a lifestyle choice that some people legitimately make. Whereas in one phase of the feminist movement, “having it all” meant that a woman should be able to both pursue a career and raise a family, now it apparently means a relationship and a career without the crushing encumbrance of annoying, expensive, and demanding children.
There is no question that childlessness is on the rise in theUnited States. Our birthrate is the lowest in recorded history, surpassing even the crash in reproduction that followed the economic crash of the 1930’s. We have not yet reached the drastic levels found in Europe (inItaly, for example, one in four women never give birth), but childlessness has risen in our country across all ethnic and racial groups, even those that have traditionally put a particular premium on large families.
What is behind this phenomenon? The article’s author spoke to a variety of women who had decided not to have children and found a number of different reasons for their decision. Some said that they simply never experienced the desire for children; others said that their careers were so satisfying to them that they couldn’t imagine taking on the responsibility of raising children; still others argued that in an era when bringing up a child costs upward of $250,000, they simply couldn’t afford to have even one baby; and the comedian Margaret Cho admitted, bluntly enough, “Babies scare me more than anything.” A researcher at the London School of Economics weighed in to say that there is a tight correlation between intelligence and childlessness: the smarter you are, it appears, the less likely you are to have children!
In accord with the tenor of our time, those who have opted out of the children game paint themselves, of course, as victims. They are persecuted, they say, by a culture that remains relentlessly baby-obsessed and, in the words of one of the interviewees, “oppressively family-centric.” Patricia O’Laughlin, a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist, specializes in helping women cope with the crushing expectations of a society that expects them to reproduce. As an act of resistance, many childless couples have banded together for mutual support. One such group in Nashville comes together for activities such as “zip-lining, canoeing, and a monthly dinner the foodie couple in the group organizes.” One of their members, Andrea Reynolds, was quoted as saying, “We can do anything we want, so why wouldn’t we?”
What particularly struck me in this article was that none of the people interviewed ever moved outside of the ambit of his or her private desire. Some people, it seems, are into children, and others aren’t, just as some people like baseball and others prefer football. No childless couple would insist that every couple remain childless, and they would expect the same tolerance to be accorded to them from the other side. But never, in these discussions, was reference made to values that present themselves in their sheer objectivity to the subject, values that make a demand on freedom. Rather, the individual will was consistently construed as sovereign and self-disposing.
And this represents a sea change in cultural orientation. Up until very recent times, the decision whether or not to have children would never have been simply “up to the individual.” Rather, the individual choice would have been situated in the context of a whole series of values that properly condition and shape the will: family, neighborhood, society, culture, the human race, nature, and ultimately, God. We can see this so clearly in the initiation rituals of primal peoples and in the formation of young people in practically every culture on the planet until the modern period. Having children was about carrying on the family name and tradition; it was about contributing to the strength and integrity of one’s society; it was about perpetuating the great adventure of the human race; it was a participation in the dynamisms of nature itself. And finally, it was about cooperating with God’s desire that life flourish: “And you, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it” (Gen. 9:7).
None of this is meant to be crushing to the will, but liberating. When these great values present themselves to our freedom, we are drawn out beyond ourselves and integrated into great realities that expand us and make us more alive.
It is finally with relief and a burst of joy that we realize that our lives are not about us. Traditionally, having children was one of the primary means by which this shift in consciousness took place. That increasingly this liberation is forestalled and that people are finding themselves locked in the cold space of what they sovereignly choose, I find rather sad. Originally posted at Real Clear Religion. Used with author’s permission. (Image credit: TIME Magazine)
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Posted: July 25, 2016 at 3:52 pm
The nominations for 2016 Childfree Man and Woman of the Year have gone to the Selection Panel.Winners will be announced on August 1, International Childfree Day!
Meanwhile, want to know about past winners? Check them out Here!
TODAY is the Nomination Deadline for the 2016 Childfree Man&Woman of the Year! Know an amazing childfree person? Its time to nominate him/her for the 2016 Childfree Man/Woman of the Year! Heres How Check out last years winners How did this start? Check it out!
by Laura S. Scott
When I was writing my book, Two Is Enough: A Couples Guide to Living Childless by Choice, I reflected on my early role models for childfree living. I was what I call an early articulator. I knew in my early teens that I didnt want children but I didnt have a lot of role models for that life decision-making in my neighborhood, or in my family. However, I did have a TV and there I could find a number of really inspiring role models who appeared to be without children and were apparently quite happy to remain so. Continue reading
by Rachel Chrastil
I find inspiration in both famous childfree people and the less-sung individuals who created meaningful lives for themselves without children. We sometimes find them in unexpected times and places. One such person is an ordinary woman from pre-revolutionary France who had no children a skilled tailor named Louise Le Mace. Continue reading
Posted: July 3, 2016 at 6:39 pm
Sometimes I wonder whether, if I married someone else, or if my husband and I followed a different paths, if I would have ended up having kids. I should note from the start that I’m not seeing this through the lens of regret. Quite the contrary. “What if” isn’t always a sad, regretful scenario. I am extraordinarily lucky to have had the opportunities I’ve had, and there is no regret here.
It’s a weird thing to wonder, though, especially since, in theory, someone determined to be a father would be incompatible with me, but it’s something I’m thinking about while I’m feeling kind of nostalgic tonight.
My husband wanted kids when we got together. It was a really big issue early on in the relationship. I knew what I wanted, and it didn’t involve kids. It’s part of why I lost my best friend at the time, because she wouldn’t stop insisting that I was being stupid by making it a deal-breaker issue.
But it was a deal-breaker. I wouldn’t get engaged until I knew he understood that this would be a childless marriage. I needed to know he could live with that.
As the years went on, I wondered whether he’d have regrets. We’ve built a pretty amazing life for ourselves, which I think it part of why he hasn’t wavered, and we talk about it a lot to make sure we’re still on the same page. Thankfully, though, we remain solid and together, especially on this issue.
Sometimes, though, I wonder if we ended up on a different path, if we’d have looked at the idea of children differently. If we didn’t have the money to travel, or the house we really love, would we have made different choices? What if we lacked the rich social life and the amazing groups of friends who keep us so busy?
What if he never went back to school and was still working customer service? This is, perhaps, the biggest what if of all. I never would have left my corporate job to become a freelancer. The risk would have been too great. We wouldn’t have this house, certainly, and we wouldn’t have traveled to the conventions we visit every year, and certainly we wouldn’t have experienced other countries and cultures as we have, which means our world would be much, much smaller. We’d have less free time, and would be far less involved in the geek community where we’ve met so many friends.
If he never went back to school, our household income would be less than half of what it is right now, and that matters. One of us would likely have experienced a long stretch of unemployment during the last decade. This house would only exist in our dreams. We would still probably have only one cat and would likely be in the same apartment. Maybe we’d have bought a small house, but money would be a much bigger issue than it is today.
The question I ask myself is, without the travel, the cultural experiences, the amazing friendships that we’ve developed because we have been so fortunate, would we have looked differently on having kids?
In a lot of ways we’d have a lot less to lose, even though from a purely numbers standpoint we’re much more equipped to raise a hypothetical family than we ever would have been. Would we have succumbed to the short burst of baby rabies I had a couple years ago?
Now, mind you, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I would be a different person if those were the choices life led me to make. But it’s interesting to think about how vastly different our life would be if my husband never finished college. He earns well over twice what he earned when he left his job to go back to school, which has afforded me the luxury of working for myself.
I don’t think our life would be worse if we followed another path, one where fulfilment came from family rather than cultural and travel experiences with each other. But it would be so very different. And I can see us ending up in a position where we the sacrifices involved with raising a kid weren’t so bad.
It’s interesting to think about, but I’m so glad we have the life we have, the friends and kids in our life that we have. As far as lives go, I ended up with a pretty great one.