Are childless women immature?

Does not having children cause a woman to miss an important stage in becoming a mature adult? Does she remain the perpetual daughter and never learn to put others’ needs before her own?

I have asked these questions of many women. The answers vary. Some admit that yes, the childless woman misses some of the critical lessons that come with motherhood. In fact, a recent New Zealand study maintains that mothers have been proven to be smarter than non-mothers, possibly due to the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy or to the demands of motherhood.

Other childless women claim that that’s ridiculous, that in fact in some mothers are less mature than they are because they have had less time to work on their own development. And many say that childless women learn the same lessons in other ways, perhaps by caring for other children, their own aging parents, a spouse or people they nurture in their jobs. I’ll add taking care of animals to the mix. Of course it’s not the same, but sometimes their needs do outweigh yours.

What do you think? This is the next chapter I’m planning to tackle in my book. I don’t have the answers to my questions, only opinions. I’m sure that no one answer fits all. What have you seen or experienced? Does one need to have kids to fully grow up?