The different ways people look at not having children boggle my mind. I follow posts on three different Facebook pages devoted to childlessness: Being Fruitful Without Multiplying, Childless Stepmothers Support Group, and Childless Not by Choice. Trying to compare them is like trying to compare apples, oranges and potatoes. All of these groups are closed groups, but you can join by invitation. If you want to join, I’ll recommend you for membership.
In the Childfree community, there’s a lot of talk about how having children can mess up a marriage. Check out the new book Being FruitfulWithout Multiplying or any “childfree” website for lots of testimony from writers who cite that as one of the reasons they didn’t want to have children. There’s no question that having a baby can lead to sleepless nights, attention going to the child instead of each other, endless expenses, and physical and emotional changes.
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?
A new book called Being Fruitful Without Multiplying has just been released in paperback and e-book formats. It’s a collaboration of several authors who write about their fulfilling lives without children. My copy is on the way. Help them out and order a copy. (While you’re at it, buy a copy of Childless by Marriage, too). I haven’t read the book yet, but I think it will help us all feel better about not having children.