Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Childless Revolution

Utne Reader

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50 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City - New York News - Runnin' Scared

Runnin' Scared:
25. Except in select 'hoods like Park Slope and perhaps the Upper West Side, children are viewed as mysterious beings, rarely sighted and only occasionally understood, like pixies or magical small butlers. Until they scream, in which case, they are banished from the palace.
Which is why, when asked if I live in Park Slope, my answer is "Oh my god, no." My 'hood is very good for small dog spotting, though.

Is NYC the childfree capital of the Americas? I happen to think so.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Your Facebook Profile Photo Says About You

"Family Photo How to Spot It: A photo of the subject's children and/or baby usually without the subject.

What It Says About You: The only thing you have accomplished in your adult live is having children. You used to be fun and fabulous and have lots of friends, but now all you can talk about is play dates, potty training, and Dora the Explorer. But don't worry, being a mother/father is the most important job there is. No really. We mean that. Yup, totally."

That is all.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Childfree as Families of Two - Technorati Lifestyle

Technorati Lifestyle by Laura Carrol
"While not having kids by choice is becoming more accepted with each generation, some attitudes remain a bit more stuck.

One is the idea that two people in a committed relationship who live together and have no kids by choice aren’t considered a “family.” The childfree feel they are a family, but aren’t often seen that way by others with children or those who want them."
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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Zellweger on Motherhood: Not an Ambition

Technorati Lifestyle:
"In the 70s childfree started as a reaction to this “less” concept. While it has more positive connotations than “childless,” “free” is also interpreted negatively, reflecting someone who shuns the responsibilities of parenthood, aka “adulthood.”

Zellweger’s characterization got me thinking maybe the challenge is not so much how to describe yourself as someone who does not want kids as it is to go to the bigger arena and find language that helps disconnect womanhood from motherhood.

Using words like “ambition” when referring to motherhood is a way to do this. If motherhood is seen as one kind of ambition, motherhood is no longer synonymous with womanhood. Motherhood is one thing of many that women can go after in their lives."
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Monday, October 04, 2010

Are Pets the Childfree’s “Kids”?

Technorati Lifestyle

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GAO Says Female Managers Still Earn Less Than Male Counterparts

GAO Says Female Managers Still Earn Less Than Male Counterparts:
"Women with children had lower salaries than those without: Mothers earned 79 cents for every buck a man took home in 2007, but childfree women earned 83 cents for every dollar a man earned.

'We found that being a mother was associated with lower pay,' Andrew Sherrill, director of education, work force and income security for the GAO, said at the Joint Economic Committee hearing."
Gee, really? Having a major outside commitment affects your job? You don't say.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Babies: An Unalloyed Good
"So a few days ago, I mentioned the insanity and evil of Child Free zealots who loathe both children and humanity, saying things like, “The AIDS epidemic, rather than being a scourge, is a welcome development in the inevitable reduction of human population. .  .  . If [it] didn’t exist, radical environmentalists would have to invent [it].” calling fertility “the real inconvenient truth” and demanding for a “planetary law” limiting women to a single child in order to “reverse the disastrous global birthrate” which is responsible for climate change.

The response was volcanic and deeply illustrative of the principle that sin makes you stupid, most especially with those people who spend all their time worshipping the Intellect instead of using it. "

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Perhaps someone more schooled in the formal labeling of logical fallacies can give a rundown, but without such tools at my disposal, a thorough criticism would take more effort than this tripe deserves.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Childless by (100% Regret-Free) Choice

MORE Magazine:
"Authors Scott, Fisher and May are all confident that society is turning a corner on childlessness. So are the other women I interviewed, almost all of whom said their parents and friends accepted their decision. Even the majority of Vincent Ciaccio’s friends were, if not fully supportive, at least tolerant of his decision. Ciaccio is a braver soul than I am—he had surgery to make it physically impossible for him to have a child. The vasectomy took place 10 years ago, when he was 23. (His family knew he was considering the procedure, then learned he had gone through with it when he appeared on Sally Jessy Raphael to discuss his decision, and Grandma happened to be watching and saw the caption under his head.) His reasoning: The procedure would be less invasive for him than a tubal ligation would be for his then-girlfriend (they've since married), and doctors tend to give men seeking sterilization less grief than they do women—a theory reinforced by the stories Ciaccio heard when he and his wife, a corporate lawyer, became spokes people for No Kidding!, an international social club that arranges get-togethers for childless people.

“For close to 10 years I spoke with people from all over the country and even the world,” Ciaccio says. “And I think in part the problem comes down to some doctors’ mindset of, You say you don’t want kids now but, you know, you’re going to change your mind because all women want kids. So I’m not going to perform this procedure because I know you better than you know you.’ ”

Though his wife is still active in No Kidding!, Ciaccio bowed out in order to concentrate on his PhD thesis at Rutgers University. The topic: men who don't want children, a group he feels has been underresearched. "
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Rising trend: Not bringing up baby

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Screaming children not welcome in one N.C restaurant

Screaming children not welcome in one N.C restaurant

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The dog-walkers vs. the 'breeders'


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The Childfree Movement, Archetype of Evil \

Yeah, this is one of those groups that thinks overpopulation is a myth, ("Do they really think God would create a world that we could outgrow?") I was raised in the line of Catholicism that thinks people dying from lack of potable water is a bad thing, so I can't really relate or comment.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Childfree: Do They Regret Their Choices When They're Old?

Technorati Lifestyle:
"But are the childfree more likely to not to have anyone there for them when they are old? Studies indicate that it’s not the case. Those without children tend to seek out form stronger social networks than aged parents (whose support network is likely their family, for better or worse). These kinds of relations contribute to feelings of well-being in their senior years.

What else contributes to well-being when you’re old? The common thought is having one’s kids around, but research tends to indicate otherwise. Kids don’t help create well-being as much as having one’s spouse or partner around, and lack of financial distress. In a word, feeling good in later years has more to do with if your partner is around and if you have enough money.

And research also indicates that old people without kids have more money. They suffer when their partner passes just like parents, but will likely have someone there for them, just not loved ones by blood. "
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Love thy neighbour? Not with kids

Love thy neighbour? Not with kids:
"We live on the third level and there is a large balcony that’s great for the kids to play on. A few weeks ago, we had friends over and their toddler threw three individually wrapped lollies over the edge. They landed on the grass of a courtyard below.
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Kids... what can you do? She was three, so we took the lollies away.

This week my daughter and a friend were playing with a rubber handball on the balcony and, you guessed it, it took 10 minutes before it too landed in the courtyard.

I was inside doing motherly things at the time when I heard a female speaking in a raised, aggressive tone. I did not realise she was yelling at my children until I heard one of them apologising.

Apparently she was so incensed by the unwanted lollies appearing on her lawn and now a ball landing on it, that she was going to report the children to the site manager before telling the girls she was “getting really pissed off” and marching inside."
Erm... really? She didn't like things being thrown onto her property? Go figure.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Having kids changes your relationships with certain friends

I went to stay with a mate of mine a couple of weekends ago – she’s pregnant with twins, so obviously she hasn’t got any toys in her house yet. My two ended up playing with her dustpan and brush for entertainment! I’m certainly not expecting people who don’t have kids to have toys on hand just because we’re coming to stay, but going to stay with people who do have kids is much less stressful."
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Taxing the Childless in Russia

Russia Profile - Childfree at a Price:
"A recent poll conducted by the independent Levada Center found that 73 percent of Russians do not plan to have children in the next two to three years, and 11 percent said that they do not want children at all. At the same time, 20 percent of respondents support the idea of imposing a tax on childlessness. But experts are skeptical of the idea – extra taxes or other financial restrictions won’t change people’s reproductive behavior, they say."
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Call for child-free flights - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Can the "childless by choice" ever be as happy as parents?

Parenting: Curious Dad:
"So what do you think? Should we take child-free folks at their word when they say they're content with their decision not to procreate?

Or do some of you still suspect that -- despite their protestations -- the childless just don't know what they're missing?"

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Parents And Childless Both Have A Role To Play | Lifehacker Australia

Lifehacker Australia

On the article I posted yesterday re Giliard:
"The whole opinion piece is well worth a read, though there’s a part of me that remains frustrated that the point has to be made at all. Having kids is a personal choice, not a permanent disqualification from social participation."
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why Children, and Society in General, Need the Childfree

Childlessness, a parent's best friend
"Frankly, it's pointless to resent, disapprove of or criticize these choices or different circumstances of others. The childfree and those with children are interdependent. We need each other.
The childfree are often the people available to cover the overtime or work project that a sick child or a school concert prevents a parent being able to attend to. The parent might be the one who teaches their work colleagues about multi-tasking and good time management. The parents are the one's producing and bringing up the future taxpayers of Australia who will eventually be helping to pay for all of our retirement. The parents are supporting educational opportunities which will see new generations of thinkers, carers, artists, doctors, teachers, scientists and researchers cure cancer or write new symphonies. The childfree are consuming less while families suck up energy driving kids to and from school and sport and weekend activities. The childfree might be more financially independent, contribute more discretionary spending to the retail economy, thus supporting the employment of the sons and daughters of us parents.
The childfree might have the time and energy to lead a political party or a movement for world peace because they know that they have the support and encouragement of their siblings and friends with children, and because those parents and children inspire them to create a better world."
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Monday, August 09, 2010

Elena Kagan’s childfree status: The mean take and the green take

"I get that parenthood can inspire new perspectives and skills, but so can a childfree life. Either choice brings trade-offs. Either can be 'jammed with joys and fears, unpredictability and intimacy.' Either can bring 'real-world wisdom.' I'm not sure why 'feminists' are parroting Sarah Palin's Mama Grizzly pablum, but the feminism I want to be part of embraces and sticks up for all women, including the nearly 20 percent of us who don't have children, whether by choice or circumstance. How heavily populated will the world have to be before we get over the notion that childless people should be viewed with either pity or suspicion?
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Friday, August 06, 2010

Polly Vernon on why she never, ever wants a baby

Be sure to check out this month's Marie Claire for a great article by a journalist who gets second-guessed for her certainty she never wants kids. One line really stuck out for me:
Although to be honest none of that was, or is, as big a factor in my decision to remain childless as my instinctive feeling that I just didn't want children.
I feel the same way, and although I feel obligated to rattle off some reasons when doing press interviews, I always try to get this point in. I don't think we should be asking why as if we need reasons not to procreate; we should not be treating parenting as some mandatory default you need an excuse from. It is simply enough that I lack that desire that all parents should have.
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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Childless Careerist Lady Gets Better Job

The Awl: "Childless Careerist Lady Gets Better Job

Elena Kagan is definitely one of my role models, even though she did assign a lot of reading. :)
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Why flying with children can spoil a dream trip

BBC News - Fast Track - Why flying with children can spoil a dream trip

"'I know this is public transport and I am not a child hater but the crew neither spoke to the parents nor did anything to try to shut the kids up. I still have a headache.'

It is an issue some airlines, like Lufthansa, have tackled by adopting a child-friendly approach with a mascot, gifts and a children's lounge, which they believe makes good business sense and benefits everyone on board.

'When our flight attendants see that a child is not calm it's their first priority to help out and see what's going on,' says Aage Duenhaupt, director for Lufthansa's corporate communications in Europe.

Gulf Air has gone a step further. In 2003 it introduced crew members specially trained to keep children entertained.
Seven years on they can now be found on all long-haul flights.
I know it sounds like pandering to parents, but having the staff entertain kids really does benefit us all. I have only taken two cruises; the first was overrun with children so as to make the pools and hot tubs unusable. The second was quite peaceful. The difference? The latter had a kid's program to keep them entertained all day with children-appropriate activities. It was called - I kid you not - Troll Land.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Review - Two Is Enough

Review - Two Is Enough - Relationships: "In summary, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has made the decision to live their life childless or childfree by choice. Those in this group are likely to find the results of Scott's research to be extremely validating as well as to gain a great sense of acceptance for their choice thanks to Scott's efforts.
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Keepsake Bag for Pregnancy Test

Memorializing Pregnancy » Sociological Images

I don't know about you, but after I urinate on something, my instinct is to get it out of my home as quickly as possible.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

The perfect parent trap

The perfect parent trap
Polls show that the views of these proud non-parents are on the ascendancy. The Pew report noted that most Americans now disagree that childless people lead less fulfilling lives, only a minority regard children as very important for a successful marriage and fewer than four in 10 believe that the trend toward intentional childlessness hurts society.

Such statistics can comfort infertile couples weary of impertinent strangers hounding them about their failure to be fruitful and multiply. But the 'child-free' movement and its increasing acceptance in American culture portend something more serious than a relaxation of social pressure to procreate. They signal a serious shift in the way we think about child rearing, from regarding children and the sacrifices they entail as a natural part of life to seeing them as extraordinary, even unreasonable burdens.

It's a subtle shift, not easily detected amid our pop culture's self-conscious celebration of children. The childless-by-choice crowd complains that we live in a 'baby-crazed' and 'kid-centric' society, and in some ways, that's true. Pictures of Brangelina's newborn twins fetch $14 million. Reality TV shows like '19 Kids & Counting' score ratings gold. Parents spend themselves into debt to give their children everything from designer baby clothes and exclusive sports camp experiences to the latest tech gadgets. Parenthood today is an expensive, exhausting and angst-ridden enterprise, perhaps more than ever before. Surely we must love children if we focus this much money and mental energy on the project of parenthood.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

BBC News - The women who choose not to be mothers

BBC News - The women who choose not to be mothers

Julia Wallace, at 40 a step-mother to three children who live elsewhere, says she is questioned about why she has no baby of her own.

'They say, 'you don't know what you're missing, you won't know until you've had a child that that's what you wanted to do'. That's a hypothetical question - if you've got no motivation to have a child in the first place, why would you do it? I wouldn't chose to become a nurse on the chance I might love the career once I get there.'
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Family-friendly working practices can cause resentment among child-free team members Human Resources - News | HR News | HR Magazine |

Family-friendly working practices can cause resentment among child-free team members

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

To have or have not? The baby question - Other Views -

To have or have not? The baby question - Other Views -

I think no study can capture how transcendent parenting makes you feel, but this data certainly points to an unmistakable reality: Modern parenthood is hard. Our expectations -- especially of ourselves -- are so much more complex and demanding than they used to be. They're leaving us exhausted.
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[The childfree] have social groups such as No Kidding!, that lend themselves to the kind of spontaneous weeknight outings that parents no longer enjoy.
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The kid-free lead rich lives full of pleasures many of us procreators miss: Leisurely weekend mornings! World travel! Regular sex!

Yet there's a tendency among parents to feel sorry for the childless, whether this status is by choice or circumstance. Non-parents face the inevitable ``you don't know what you're missing'' comments. They get dropped off guest lists because moms and dads mistakenly assume they don't like little ones.

And, if they're a celebrity such as Aniston, they get a five-year pity party on the cover of OK! and Star magazines.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

'Non-moms' find child-free terminology offensive

'Non-moms' find child-free terminology offensive
"''Childless' has such a depressing connotation,' says Danielle M. Stern, assistant professor at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. 'Some women and couples are actually choosing to be 'childfree.''
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Though it may seem like trivial semantics, Stern says the language used by a society is indicative of its values.

As child-bearing is brimming with gender and family politics issues, couched within larger class concerns, she says it's important to call attention to rhetoric 'so that we can move toward more inclusive language in both policy and popular culture.'

Pamela Tsigdinos, who spent more than a decade trying, unsuccessfully, to conceive with her husband, says the term 'childless' has become a 'legacy reminder of that painful period.'

She finds the jauntier 'childfree' no more respectful, with its implicit message of embracing liberation from a life of parenting — a sentiment often expressed by those who've chosen not to have kids, but rare among those mourning the loss of the family of their dreams.

Parents have similarly taken offence at the modern term's uprising, as 'childfree' bears a negative insinuation that anyone with kids is somehow tethered down in life.

Though Tsigdinos wishes people weren't identified by child rearing at all, 'non-mom' is her trope of choice for now.

Why would the childless and childfree need to use the same term? Childless is an appropriate term for someone who wants to have children, but has not yet, or can't. And they do indeed feel that there is something missing from their life. I'm not sure why the objection to childfree is there. I thought parents admitted that they were tethered down by their kids? I do understand those who have children in their life, but are not parents, preferring childless by choice. So let's each just use whatever term we prefer to refer to ourselves. Or, shun categorization altogether if you prefer.

After all, it is about choice, isn't it?
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Child-free life suits an increasing number of professional women -

Child-free life suits an increasing number of professional women - "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

"The fact that nearly one in five women does not have a child of her own is an enormous transformation from the past," said D'Vera Cohn, coauthor of the Pew report "More Women Without Children."

A look behind the numbers reveals more of what this trend reflects - a generation of women who are not necessarily choosing career over kids but rather finding that time has passed and their focus has been elsewhere. Women are starting businesses in record numbers, advancing in corporate arenas, and blazing career trails in male-dominated industries. They are the bulk of people getting advanced degrees, and they are getting married later in life. Many of these women say they are happy and fulfilled. Some are juggling as many time demands as me, a mother of three. Others have come to peace with their life's path.

Read more:
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Voluntary childlessness "unnatural" and "evil"

Voluntary childlessness "unnatural" and "evil"

But after writing a lot about the abortion debate in the last couple of weeks, I'm struck by the similarities between the vitriol Vernon reports and typical anti-choice rhetoric. She receives "terrifying" letters and e-mails calling her "selfish ... unnatural, evil." She is "now routinely referred to as 'baby-hating journalist Polly Vernon.'" Ring any bells? How about this -- men more than women, Vernon says, often respond by becoming "aggressive, sneering ... Perhaps the idea that there are women at large who are not actively pursuing their sperm is an out-and-out affront to a certain kind of man. The same men who have spent years believing that all women secretly want to trap them into commitment and fatherhood, probably."

This is what we need to remember when men like William Saletan, Ross Douthat, and even our president go on about finding "common ground" between pro-choicers and anti-choicers. It's a lovely idea, and if I believed for a second that the organized "pro-life" movement would actually get behind improving access to birth control and emergency contraception, not to mention teaching honest and comprehensive sex ed in schools -- measures that would actually, you know, reduce the number of unintended pregnancies -- I'd be thrilled to sit down and chat. But the controversy is not just over when life begins or whether a fetus has human rights. The controversy is over women controlling their own fertility. It's about whether we have the right to decide for ourselves if and when to have children, whether we're autonomous human beings with full rights or if our primary purpose on earth is to birth and nurture the next generation. When you're talking about abortion, specifically, you can muddle that basic issue with questions about fetuses' rights. But it becomes crystal clear when you take the fetus out of it: A woman says she doesn't plan to have children and is thus taking measures to prevent unintended pregnancy indefinitely, and she gets the very same load of crap: She's unnatural, evil, mentally ill. She obviously can't grasp the gravity of the situation. If she follows through with her plan, she'll inevitably regret it and perhaps even suffer from depression for the rest of her life. It's our duty as a society to convince her she's wrong.
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Childfree Couples on Good Morning America (Aug 2007)

I'll be posting a series of videos from news programs in case anyone missed them the first time they aired.

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Childfree Couple on Tyra Banks (Oct. 2009)

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Doctors deny mom's tubal ligation

They are decidedly young -- she's just 21, he's 23 -- but it is obvious that they are focused and determined to create a good life for themselves and their growing family. Seymour is five months pregnant with their second baby, and while her family wasn't thrilled with her early parenthood, she always knew she wanted to have her children early and Sylvester agreed. "I want to be young with them," he says. "I want to run in the park with them, stuff like that."

They also knew that with two children, their family would be complete.
. . .
To ensure things unfold as they should, they asked her obstetrician to tie her tubes during her planned Caesarean section in October so they won't have any more kids.

"No, I won't do it," Dr. Kayode Ayodele told her unequivocally. "You're too young."

A tubal ligation was simply not even open for discussion. He told her that she might get involved with someone else down the road and regret her decision. He told her it's a permanent sterilization method and he's had so many patients wanting it reversed, that he won't even consider performing one now on any woman under 25.

Seymour and Sylvester were shocked.
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It takes guts to say: 'I don't want children'

The Guardian
Last week, [Cameron] Diaz proved herself especially sensible. I'll go further. She was wise, insightful, right.

The actress told Cosmopolitan magazine that being a woman and admitting you didn't want children is taboo. "I think women are afraid to say that they don't want children because they're going to get shunned ... I have more girlfriends who don't have kids than those that do. And honestly? We don't need any more kids. We have plenty of people on this planet."
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[In a previous column,] I talked about how weird it is to be disconnected from this baby-crazy culture. Like being sober while everyone else is drunk. I talked about how strange it is to not even care whether or not I'm infertile, when apparently it's all anyone else thinks about.

Was I antagonistic? Possibly. I tried not to be, but I am passionate about this. I was certainly a bit sensational, a bit flippant. The headline referred to the rise of the "dummy mummy" generation - an inflammatory turn of phrase.

The reaction to the piece was terrifying. Emails and letters arrived, condemning me, expressing disgust. I was denounced as bitter, selfish, un-sisterly, unnatural, evil. I'm now routinely referred to as "baby-hating journalist Polly Vernon".
. . .
I've registered a gender split in the way people respond to it, if it comes up socially.

Women might think I'm in denial, but they let me get on with it now. Men, meanwhile, are astounded. Flummoxed. They become aggressive, sneering. They psychoanalyse me, they try to work out what's wrong with me. Who knows why? Perhaps they feel rejected. Perhaps the idea that there are women at large who are not actively pursuing their sperm is an out-and-out affront to a certain kind of man. The same men who have spent years believing that all women secretly want to trap them into commitment and fatherhood, probably.
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Here's the thing: we need to stop pretending that childlessness isn't happening to us. It is. The birth rate in Europe is in steep decline. We know this. We know that, currently, 40% of UK university graduates aged 35 are childless and that at least 30% will stay that way permanently. We know that much of this childlessness is involuntary or, at least, unconsidered, the consequence of infertility, a lack of opportunity or leaving it too late.
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You Are Never Going To Make Everyone Happy With Your Womb, Ever

Like Polly Vernon, I also do not intend to have children. And as soon as I wrote that last sentence, I felt the need to qualify it with the following truths and explanations: I adore children, I work with children frequently, I plan to continue working with children and children's organizations, who knows how I will feel re: having children in 15 years, there are mental illness issues in my genes that I'd rather not pass on to children, etc. I don't discuss this around women attempting to conceive, I don't talk about with anyone, really, except my fiance, who is on the same page, and the one time I did let it slip around my mother she warned me never to speak of such things, as I may regret it later. This is standard for any woman, I suspect, who makes any statement or decision regarding childbirth (or lack thereof) ever.

Women having many children are criticized for being selfish, stupid, neglectful, a burden on the system, etc. Women who have the "ideal" number of children are criticized for deciding to go to work, deciding to stay home, deciding to have children before a certain age, deciding to have children after a certain age, etc. This is nothing new and nothing surprising, and though I understand Vernon's frustration, I also think that even if Polly or I chose to have children, we'd still be faced with a truckload of judgmental bullshit from people who have no business interfering in our choices.

"Childlessness is going to be a feature in many of our lives; we need to start seeing it as a choice, a valid option, rather than a failing. We certainly need it not to be taboo," Vernon writes. Being childfree does not, contrary to popular belief, have to equal a never-was. Does it "take guts," as Vernon argues, to say that you wish to remain childfree? Sure. But perhaps, in some weird way, the shock and outrage aimed at Vernon's announcement is actually validation that this choice doesn't remove us from women who choose to have children as much as place us in a strange state of solidarity with anyone who has been challenged, questioned, or judged based on what they choose to do with their reproductive system.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Childlessness Up Among All Women; Down Among Women with Advanced Degrees

Pew Research ReportFYI Readers, I made a brief appearance on yesterday's Wendy Williams show. Both Wendy and the mom blogger agreed that there's nothing wrong with choosing to be childfree, making my job pretty easy.
Over the past few decades, public attitudes toward childlessness have become more accepting. Most adults disagree that people without children "lead empty lives," a share that rose to 59% in 2002 from 39% in 1988, according to the General Social Survey. In addition, children increasingly are seen as less central to a good marriage. In a 2007 Pew Research Center survey, 41% of adults said that children are very important for a successful marriage, a decline from 65% who said so in 1990.

As for the impact on society, attitudes are more mixed. About half the public -- 46% in a 2009 Pew Research Center poll -- say it makes no difference one way or the other that a growing share of women do not ever have children. Still, a notable share of Americans -- 38% in that 2009 survey -- say this trend is bad for society, an increase from 29% in a 2007 Pew Research survey.

Compared with other developed nations, childless rates in the United States are on par with some nations and higher than others, according to data compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Among women born in 1960, 17% in the U.S. were childless at approximately age 40, compared with 22% in the United Kingdom, 19% in Finland and the Netherlands, and 17% in Italy and Ireland. Rates ranged from 12% to 14% for Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium and Sweden, and from 7% to 11% for several Eastern European countries and Iceland.
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The Real Reason More Women Are Childless

Conservative histrionics aside, women who have abortions aren't the ones causing the uptick in childlessness. After all, 61 percent of women who have abortions already have one child. And according to a 2004 survey by the Guttmacher Institute, most childless women who have abortions say they are open to the possibility of having kids under different circumstances. However, that doesn't mean that the passage of Roe v. Wade had no impact on the upturn in childless women. Defense of legal abortion led feminists to create a national discourse around the concept of "choice," which helped legitimize the decision to remain childless. This created a space for women who never wanted children to embrace their true desires.

Part of this new self-awareness might mean that women are forsaking motherhood because we're finally admitting that it isn't all it's cracked up to be. As last week's New York magazine cover story documented, parenthood is becoming increasingly miserable because of the exploding expectations placed on mothers—making the child-free lifestyle seem all the more attractive. In 1988, only 39 percent of Americans disagreed with the notion that the childless "lead empty lives." Now a majority—59 percent—disagree that childlessness automatically means you're unfulfilled.
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Oregon State study says having fewer children is best way to reduce your carbon footprint

Some people who are serious about wanting to reduce their "carbon footprint" on the Earth have one choice available to them that may yield a large long-term benefit - have one less child.

A recent study by statisticians at Oregon State University concluded that in the United States, the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might employ their entire lives - things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.
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In this debate, very little attention has been given to the overwhelming importance of reproductive choice, Murtaugh said. When an individual produces a child - and that child potentially produces more descendants in the future - the effect on the environment can be many times the impact produced by a person during their lifetime.

Under current conditions in the U.S., for instance, each child ultimately adds about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent - about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible.
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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

‘Sex and the City 2’ is the greenest movie of the year

Buy all the Manolos you want, being childfree is still the most powerful thing you can do for the environment
Underneath the high-living, jet-setting sheen, the movie actually has a pro-earth message: It's OK not to have babies. In fact, it's even glamorous.

We learn that Carrie and Mr. Big have decided to go childfree when an overeager fan asks when they intend to have kids. "It's just not for us," Carrie says. "So it's just going to be the two of you?" asks the fan, her voice dripping with pity. (Quotes are approximate. Ever tried to take good notes in a dark theater?)
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In real life, about 20 percent of American women end up childfree, whether by choice or circumstance. In Sex and the City 2, where Samantha Jones joins Carrie in opting out of parenthood, 50 percent of our protagonists are childfree, very much by choice.

While the film (like the series before it) glamorizes the childfree life, it does not glamorize motherhood. The most emotionally resonant scene in the movie (which isn't saying much) has the two moms, Miranda Hobbes and Charlotte York Goldenblatt, confiding to each other how tough the whole parenting gig is, much as they love their kids. "Being a mother kicks your ass," says Miranda. Replies Charlotte, "They're driving me crazy. I feel like I'm failing all the time." And both acknowledge that they have it comparatively easy, as they've got full-time nannies. Charlotte: "How do the moms without help do it?" Miranda: "I have no fucking idea."

Carrie . . . could lead a lifestyle that's twice as carbon-intensive as a parent's -- even three, four, five times -- and still come out ahead in the end. According to a 2009 study by researchers at Oregon State University [PDF], each child an American has compounds her or his carbon legacy by about 5.7 times, because that child is likely to have children of their own and so forth.
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Even beyond being childfree, Carrie leads an exemplary green life in many ways. Really. For starters, she lives in Manhattan, which, thanks to its density, has the lowest per capita greenhouse-gas emissions of any community in the country, as author David Owen explains in his book Green Metropolis. She works from home, so there's no commuting. She's never owned a car (and can barely drive). Sure, she takes cabs, but she also walks around town a lot (all the more impressive because she does it in stilettos).
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Carrie and crew made treacly sweet cosmos (then flirtinis) into the drink of choice for women around the world. They turned Manolo into a household name. Carrie singlehandedly inspired nameplate-necklace and engagement-ring-on-a-chain trends. Could Sex and the City 2 make childfree living the latest craze?
As a childfree New Yorker who doesn't drive and walks everywhere... woot. I'm not giving up my reusable grocery bag or small, sustainable wardrobe anytime soon, but it is good to know that all those Stilettos I bought in my "Oh my god they make sexy vegan shoes" phase can live alongside my Birks proudly. I think it is about time we let being Childfree be glamorous again. Sure, not every childfree person is dripping with disposable income, but just think how much good the myth can do. :)

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Child-free and lovin’ it
Presumably, celebrities had children before, but it has never been so newsworthy. Obviously, the human race has been going at it for millennia, and it's never been such a big deal. It is arguable that before birth control and women's liberation, it wasn't such a big deal, because women didn't really have a choice. People got married and had children, and that was that. People who didn't get married and had children anyway were often ostracised, and people who didn't have children at all were freaks.

Whatever rusticity we left at the campfire on the edge of the savannah, we've retained the quaint notion that women who weren't tied to the gathering portion of 'hunting and' due to suckling young . . . well, something was wrong with them. And to this day, us child-free types are often looked at askance by those who have chosen to raise families.

Men, they get off the hook -- until they hook up with a female and then they, too, are expected to jump on the reproduction bandwagon and start, er, firing away.

The subject is fraught, and gets defensive very quickly on both sides, and it all seems to come down to selfishness. Ooh, child-free people! You are so selfish! You, with your spontaneous weekend getaways, and fancy dinners, and prosecco on the terrace! Self-indulgent and immature, that's what you are!

Ha! You people who keep populating the planet! How selfish are you, creating more bodies to take up more space? Did you know that as of January 2009, the EU population was 499.7 million? Just what we need! More people to drain the resources of our planet!

Hmm. Rather than selfishness, how about putting it all down to choice?
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The 9 commandments of dining with little kids

Better Homes and Garden

The editors removed #10 - Don't Breastfeed at the Table, then issued an apology. Is it really that hard to time it so you're not breastfeeding while you dine out? Never having lactated, I don't know. I don't think we're getting the real answer from the breastfeeding advocates, who are a bit myopic on the matter.

Also check out this angry rant from a delusional mom who is offended by the notion that she bring a smaller stroller. Also, she can't get her kids to stop screaming because the mean people at Better Homes and Garden dare suggest she only use quiet toys and those with a sound off button.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Breaking News: Childfree Woman to be Next SCOTUS Nominee


Despite the brief hullabaloo (see below) over some pundits demanding a mommy on the bench, it looks like Elena Kagan is Obama's pick for the next Supreme Court nominee. She joins another childfree woman, Soutamayor.

This comes as no surprise, considering the kind of dedication to one's career that one needs to make in order to succeed as these women have. Being childfree or having a spouse take care of the bulk of childrearing (as many male Justices have) gives one a big leg up in this endeavor.

You'll forgive my editorializing here. As a former student of Kagan's I'm a huge fan.
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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Having kids makes you unhappy, right?

Research suggests that people with children are less happy than those without. Commentator Betsy Stevenson suggests maybe we're looking at it all wrong.
When people hear this fact they immediately suspect that happiness gains from children must exist somewhere. Aren't people who are religious happier when they have kids? No. Aren't people with kids much happier later in life? No. Is this only true for those in a specific education or income group? Nope and nope.

So why do people have children if the data suggest they makes us less happy? There are two possible answers: People are making mistakes, or there is more to life than happiness.
But of course, it can't be the former, so the entire enterprise is devoted to why there must be something wrong with the metric. A little digging into Dr. Daniel Gilbert's research would have revealed the answer - we're bad at predicting, and remembering, what makes us happy. But why let a little thing like good research stand in the way of the conclusions we decided upon before ever asking the question.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Mother of All Environmental Problems

Epoch Times
At 50-something I am an adult, but not a mother. And though some will gasp in horror, I consider that to be my greatest achievement as a conservationist. . .For millennia, the relentless ticking of a woman’s biological clock has equated her entire life with only one purpose: childbearing. And for my gender, menopause has always largely meant the end of meaning.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Call for Obama to Appoint a Mother to the Supreme Court are Offensive

Obviously his opinion annoys me. It's also dumb. Why should he separate out child-free women from women with children? There are already enough sore points between the groups when it comes to such things as family leave time. But the fact is, women without children achieve, on average, more in their career lives because they spend more time at work than those with children to raise.
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Eco Etiquette: Should We Stop Having Children?

Huffington Post
I have a friend who always brags about how green her family is, yet she's now talking about getting pregnant with her third child. Wouldn't it be better for the planet for her to not have so many kids? Or not have any at all?
You'll just have to follow through on the link for her answer. :)

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

GINK: Green Inclinations, No Kids

GINK: Green Inclinations, No Kids
The green angle

Here’s a simple truth: For an average person like me—someone who doesn’t have the ability of an Al Gore to reach millions, or of a Nancy Pelosi to advance (if not actually enact) landmark environmental legislation, or of a Van Jones to inspire (and piss off) whole new audiences—the single most meaningful contribution I can make to a cleaner, greener world is to not have children.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Say it loud: I’m childfree and I’m proud

In 1969, graduating college senior Stephanie Mills made national headlines with a commencement address exclaiming that, in the face of impending ecological devastation, she was choosing to forgo parenthood. "I am terribly saddened by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is to have no children at all," she told her classmates.

I come here before you today to make the same proclamation—with a twist. I am thoroughly delighted by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is to have no children at all.
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Inner Brisbane to be a child-free zone

Inner Brisbane to be a child-free zone
Couples without kids and single-person households are the new norm in the heart of Brisbane.

The trend has been revealed in a new study on population change in inner Brisbane from 1996 and projected to 2031.
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It found inner Brisbane is set for considerable growth and will likely resemble the demographic makeup of inner Sydney and Melbourne over time.

"We need to learn from their experiences to ensure that Brisbane remains a better place to live," Treasurer Andrew Fraser said in a statement.
I may be reading this wrong, but they don't seem to see this as a problem, just atrend. If so, that's a first.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Babies in Bars

Should parents be allowed to bring their babies and children to bars?

It is a question in Brooklyn, New York, that's fired up online arguments, prompted unofficial protests and made outsiders giggle. And while the issue may not be exclusive to that area, it's the stuff disputes are made of in what Sasha's dad, Matt Gross, calls the kid-heavy "greater stroller zone" of Park Slope and its surrounding neighborhoods.
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