Thursday, April 17, 2008

Choosing to be Childless: How to Get Over the Guilt of Other People's Expectations

According to Hale Dwoskin, Featured Teacher of the Blockbuster
In fact, according to The Social Health of Marriage in America from Rutgers University, in 2004 (the latest year for which figures are available) one out of five women in their early 40s was childless, compared to just one out of 10 in 1976. Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2004 44 percent of American women of childbearing ages were childless, compared to 35 percent in 1976.
I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate my co-blogger and husband, Vinny C, on his impending PhD studies at Rutgers. He won't be working directly on the marriage project, but he will be conducting research on the subject of the childfree.
Yet, despite the many advances that have been made in terms of women's "traditional" roles in society, many couples who say they are choosing to be childless are met with resistance from their social circles, especially when it comes to family.
. . .
It's worth mentioning that while children are often thought of as joyful, studies have actually shown that childless families are happiest. And in a way, it makes sense. There is less stress about money, fewer demands to take up time, and more freedom to do as one pleases. So people may want to keep that fact in the back of their mind the next time someone tells them what they should be doing with their life.

Ultimately, though, individuals don't owe anyone any explanations. Instead, they should focus on letting go of any guilt.

"First off remember that it is your body and your decision -- not theirs. We often forget that when we are feeling guilt," says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates. "Then allow yourself to release the guilt by either letting go of wanting to be punished for not having children or simply choosing to let go of the feeling directly.". . .
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