Do you call yourself childless or childfree? I just finished reading a book called Being Fruitful Without Multiplying, which is an anthology of stories by women and a few men from all over the world who have chosen to be childfree. Not childless, no. A few struggled with infertility and decided to embrace life without children, but most simply chose not to have children. Many say they knew from early childhood that they would not be mothers or fathers.
The stories are neatly arranged by age, from 20 to 61. Although I can’t personally identify with never wanting children, I think we can all identify with the incessant questions–when are you going to have a baby? Why don’t you have children?–the comments that we must be selfish or strange, the warning that we’ll change our minds, and with feeling left out when our friends all seem to be obsessed with their children or grandchildren.
While I have trouble understanding how so many people can believe that having children will ruin their lives and I wish we had more examples of how they are “being fruitful,” readers without children will certainly find that we are far from alone and may find comfort in these stories of lives being lived well without offspring.
How about you? Childless or childfree? If you are not voluntarily childless, how do you feel around couples who say they never wanted children?
6 thoughts on “New Book: Being Fruitful without Multiplying”
Hi Sue, I feel like I'm childless, though I'm not sure. I'm 44 and going through menopause, not sure if egg donation is going to even work for me and my hubby…but if it doesn't, I have to make the transition to being childfree, though maybe I am already?
It sounds like you're starting to think about it anyway. I wish you luck.
I read the book as well and I was a little disappointed that the writers didn't include much about how they found meaning and a full life without children. It seemed to be primarily people who never wanted a family so didn't feel like they were missing out to start with. My concern about not having one is mainly how hard it is to feel like I have a place in the world, expecially as I get older. I wanted to hear more from the 40 and up people about how they deal with this and what they are doing in their lives that give them a sense of belonging.
Anonymous, I totally agree with your feelings about the book. I applaud them for doing it and for giving a voice to all these people without children, but it's not my voice.
I'm not dealing with it very well. I always wanted children, so being denied that desire has been terrible for me. I helped at a Halloween party this weekend and could hardly contain my emotions at seeing all the sweet children and knowing that will never be me.
Holidays like Halloween can be very hard because they're so child-oriented. I find that now, after menopause and many years of being childless, I don't mind so much. So it does get easier. And it's okay to shed a few tears while trying to enjoy being with the little ones.