A new Australian study – of 50 women, mind you- has resulted in the headline claiming childless women are less healthy than women with children. The study did not distinguish between physical and mental health. The researchers are apparently now looking deeper into the reasons women are childless and to her credit, Dr. Melissa Graham, the spokesperson for the study, conducted at Deakin University, had this to say about childlessness:
“Our previous research, along with that by others, with women who did not have children suggested that childlessness is perceived predominantly negatively and this may have consequences for the health of childless women.
“If childlessness was reframed as a natural and familiar way of being the apparent negative health consequences of being a childless woman may be addressed.
“Childlessness should be accepted as an appropriate outcome of adult life for women and motherhood should not be the only valued position.”
More information and context is needed. It’s not enough to lay down sparse facts resulting from miniscule studies. There is already so much non- and misunderstanding about childlessness in our culture, despite the fact that it is on the rise world-wide. Childless women go through a great deal of rationalizing, both internally and externally and it really is not fair. With all the everyday challenges life has to offer, this is a needless added one.
After all, there’s not only one way to live.