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Posts Tagged ‘no children’

too-late“Welcome to the Otherhood.” That’s what Melanie Notkin, author of a book of the same name on the topic of  childlessness wrote in my copy. I don’t actually want to be part of a group that calls itself “other” but I get why she did it. So few books available show exactly what our lives are like, outside the mythology of the woman hiding out with her cats, her career, and her lonely grief. So, when a book, or an article, or a video sees the light of day, we childless women – and some men too – come out of the woodwork to say thank youRead more from my Zoomer Singles article

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nokidsAwhile ago, I met the write  Molly Peacock and began, by chance, to talk to her about a piece I was trying to work out about being childless and how hard it was to a) reconcile that fact, in a world where motherhood is revered, and b) how silent the process is because there’s so little written on it, and it’s rarely discussed. What I didn’t know was that she had written an entire book on her choice to be child-free and how it had defined her life.

I devoured Paradise Piece by Piece and, though my childlessness has happened more from circumstance than choice – it would never be my choice – I still related to a great deal of what she wrote. That’s because to be a “non-mom” is still fairly undefined and misunderstood.

Here are two essays I wrote on the topic for  TVO The Agenda. They both struck quite a nerve and I heard from many childless women, and men, who felt relieved that someone was speaking up.  I also heard from family members, who told me that they had no idea I had been feeling so distressed about not being a mother. But, all they really ever had to do was ask me.

So I have to wonder, why is the subject of childlessness so taboo?

The Murky Truth About Fertility, TVO The Agenda Insight

The Invisibility of Non-Moms, TVO The Agenda Insight

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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.

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