childless by choice
In my interviews with over 100 happily married childfree couples (and in-depth interviews with 40 of them), I found many interesting parallels.
I've elected not to breed -- from a very young age I just never thought of myself as a mother. I've never pictured myself in that role, even though I didn't know what I did want from my life.
I believe our purpose is to experience life from our unique perspective, and be happy -- not simply reproduce. That is just one of the countless experiences available to us.
I have to come clean: this not actually about a pot, even though it kind of is. This is really about being single, childless, and therefore not ever receiving a Le Creuset or a salad spinner or a dream catcher or anything ever as congratulations for having hit one of the marks of adult society.
The mandate that you must have children to be a "real woman" is completely false, but you are real. How could anyone ever tell you otherwise?
Children can't be let out in the yard to play until you get up at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday because you were out late the night before. Dogs can. Cats don't even need to be let out, you can ignore them.
Why does non-parenthood continue to be pitted against parenthood? It's like continuing to ask: "Are children the key to happiness in life?" and continuing to try and prove the answer is yes. Yet the real answer is already known.
Whose business is it, anyway? Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I want to experience child birth. Just because I am the youngest of eleven doesn't mean I want a bunch of kids. I love inspiring and teaching children. I don't want any of my own. And, I'm not alone.
What if our lives get boring without kids? What if we have no one to hang out with once everyone we love has little ones, then bigger ones, to look after? What if one day I'm in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery and I don't have anyone to make sure the nurses are taking good care of me?
It's time to stop going round and round with the "who's happier" question when it comes to those with and without kids. It's not one group versus the other. It boils down to how we define happiness in the first place for ourselves.
I recently watched the movie Tootsie with Dustin Hoffman. I actually thought, "Wouldn't it be sweet to have a president who can speak Tootsie-style?" She fearlessly ripped open the curtain to reveal the dysfunction all around her/him. It woke everyone up in a painful, yet positive way.