Thursday, October 04, 2007

Childfree Military Women/Wives

Operation Homefront's Community of Military Wives and Women in Uniform
The question is inevitable. When asked how many kids you have, if the answer is none, then the next question is, “Are you planning on them?”

For many women, the answer to the last question is never. An increasing number of couples are choosing not to have children and are happy about being child-free.

Go on any military instillation, and it seems there are kids everywhere — in the PX and BXs, the commissaries, at unit family functions. Although it seems that most people in the military have families, according to a recent report from the Department of Defense, more than half of all active-duty soldiers — 57 percent to be exact — do not have children.

More and more women instead are focusing on careers, personal interests and their spouses. They are traveling and enjoying the freedom that comes with not having children. So why are they often made to feel like they are doing something wrong?
This is something you rarely hear about. Indeed, I have often heard that military culture speeds along marriage and children, something I saw first hand when a dear friend eloped right after joining the Marines (the former fence-sitter becoming an instant-stepmom)

I suppose it puts the difficulties of civilian culture in perspective. Yet with the statistics cited above, perhaps this is a case of mis-characterization; of a plurality culture defining the whole.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. It seems hard to find other childfree people in our area- especially down here in Saint Marys, GA. My husband is an Active Duty Sailor in the Navy and is a Submariner. We are now 28 years old, have been married for 7 years, & came to the childfree realization w/in the past 3 years.

We've done a lot of soul-searching & after much thought, talks, him going to the store & being annoyed by kids, us going out and being bugged by kids, babies' crying making my anxiety skyrocket...somehow it all naturally fell into place (our decision not to have kids.)

Him being in the Navy can be stressful for me, and I also have OCD (Trichotillomania to be specific,) and I just don't feel I have the energy in me to ever raise a child. Everyone says we'd be great parents- that we're kind, patient,& nurturing. I'm sure they're right, but like both of us say, the reasons for why we want kids are not the REAL & RIGHT reasons to have them: seeing what they'll look like, birthday parties, having pictures taken, ones to tell our life stories to, passing things down, family name, etc. We went from thinking we wanted kids the year or so after we got married to completely doing a 360 degree turn. The reasons we were feeling we wanted kids, in my opinion, is because other young couples around us were having kids-especially people we knew in the Navy, grandparents hoping for great-grandkids at the time (I think they've embraced our decision finally.)

I feel so liberated and empowered by our decision. I'm thankful I/we have the life we do and for all the Navy has given us. I am happy with my life now and there's so much more I want to do still & that we want to do still. We don't know what the future holds. We just want to live our lives & be happy & a little less stressed out than many of the people we know with kids or see out that have kids.

We're happier now than we ever have been because we've let go of all those "expectations" we thought we "had" to do in life because we are married now. We've been married nearly 8 years and together for 13. I think as a woman I had all those thoughts of being a parent early on because I thought it was something I was supposed to do when I "grew up." Being an adult now looking back, no one told me when I grow up that I had a choice, that my husband and I had a choice when it comes down to whether or not we want kids. As far as we're concerned 2 is a family! And we have a darling kitty as well. She is our "baby." ight now we're in that accepting our "by choosing this we're not the norm" phase. I applaud military couples and single or dating military members for not having children and I hope it becomes a growing trend in the military community.