Childfree Choice and Personal Growth
Are You Thinking about Remaining Childfree? The Baby Decision shows you how to make the most of this choice.
What a world of possibility opens up if you decide to be childfree! With more control of time, money, and energy, you will create a meaningful life based on your own talents, interests, and values rather than others’ expectations.
The Baby Decision helps you make a solid commitment to the childfree choice. Many people tell me, “I’m pretty sure this is the right choice for me/us. But what if I wake up when I’m fifty and wonder, ‘Did I made a mistake? Am I missing out?’ ”
The book makes you confident about your decision:
- Self-exploration exercises in “Secret Doors,” Chapter 2, such as “Yucky Babies,” pp. 35-36, steer you away from babies and toward your own goals.
- By answering the question, “Which decision will you regret least?” (p.53) you begin to trust your choice more fully. Knowing that it’s normal to be ambivalent about any major life decision, you will take in stride occasional moments of wistfulness about parenting (if they ever happen). You will still be confident that you made the right decision.
- “In and Out of the Pressure Cooker,” (Chapter 3) shows you how to withstand pressures from family, friends, and others. You’ll be confident and prepared with an arsenal of responses to comments such as “You’ll be sorry when it’s too late,” or “You’re not a grown-up (or a real woman) until you have a child.”
- You’ll be ready for meaningful conversations with your parents that invite their respect and acceptance, even if they don’t approve your choice. You will lay the groundwork for a positive relationship with them, despite their disappointment.
The book helps you make the most of your childfree life by:
- Refuting the idea that you have to do something spectacular to make up for not having children.
- Making your own decisions based on what matters most to you (and your partner) at home, at work, in the community, rather than having the choices imposed by parenthood.
- Understanding ways to meet the needs that parents meet through their children, such as nurturing, enjoying family events, being playful, staying connected to the younger generation, and preparing for old age.
- If you’re in a relationship, knowing how to make the most of it, for instance, traveling, enjoying closeness without interruptions, sharing home projects or volunteer work.
- Taking pride in your significant contribution to the environment by not adding new carbon footprints, including those that would have been generated by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on.
You’ll find everything you need to make the most of the above factors in “Embracing Your Childfree Life,” pp. 219-236.
How this book helps if you disagree with each other about the decision
“The Tug of War” Chapter shows you how to talk to each other and listen respectfully, based on ground rules and honoring the “Bill of Responsibilities to Your Partner.” You will brainstorm ways you might make your choice more palatable to your partner. If you can’t get unstuck, The Baby Decision shows you how to negotiate the choice that will work best for the two of you.
Special advice on coming to terms with being childfree “not by choice but by chance”: deciding to be childfree after infertility or adoption losses and disappointments, or after conceding it was the best choice for your relationship, even if you longed to parent. You’ll find this information on pp. 223-224.
CHILDFREE READINGS AND WEB RESOURCES
Cain, Madelyn. The Childless Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2001.
Carroll, Laura, Families of Two. Xlibris, 2000
Daum, Meghan, ed. Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids. New York: Picador, 2015.
Lang, Susan. Women Without Children: The Reasons, the Rewards, the Regrets. New York: Pharos, 1991.
Safer, Jeanne. Beyond Motherhood: Choosing a Life Without Children. New York: Pocketbooks, 1996.
IF CONSIDERING CHILDFREE AFTER INFERTILITY
Bombardieri, Merle, “Childfree Decision-Making” article available in a childfree information packet at www.resolve.org.
Carter, Jean and Michael. Sweet Grapes: How to Stop Being Infertile and Start Living Again. Indianapolis, IN: Perspectives Press, 1998.
Manterfield, Lisa. I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home: How One Woman Dared to Say No to Motherhood. New York: Steele Rose Press, 2001.
http://www.childfree.net connects you to many websites and resources
http://lauracarroll.com author of Families of Two and The Baby Matrix, environmental advocate
http://www.nokidding.net social networking online and off, local chapters
https://www.thenotmom.com This site offers a wealth of advocacy, support, and connection for all “Not-Moms, whether childfree by choice or chance (infertility, a partner who didn’t want a child or other life circumstance). The blog and other resources are superior. The founders and others are clear-eyed critics and analysts of pronatalist politics and beliefs. Very empowering at the personal level as well.