Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Challenge of Finding a Truly Childfree Africa

I recently received an email from a 35 year old African woman from Nairobi, Kenya who wanted to share her story. I will call her “Kris” as she asked to remain anonymous. She is a good example how an “early articulator” feels and copes as she navigates in a pronatalist culture. Here’s her story:
I have always known I'd be childfree. I told my folks this when I was about 7 years old, and they have only just started 'believing' me about 2 years ago. My gynecologists still insist I might change my mind, so no there is no sterilization in sight. In my country there is little respect for women's reproductive choice (a woman 'knowing her mind'), even among the most educated in the medical fraternity.
I am motivated to remain childfree by an innate knowing which has become firmer as I grow older and trust my instincts more. I have an absolute respect for motherhood, which I believe shouldn't be entered into with the slightest doubt, and I believe that nurturing and creating can be fulfilled in so, so many ways. I am inspired by childless/childfree women and men who have consciously and creatively left their mark on the world, and on hearts. Personally, I learn from and gravitate more to nature and animals than humans.
My 10 year partnership was on its last legs and imploded last year and my childfree stance was used as a convenient scapegoat to explain the problems. My partner had 'hidden' this decision from his parents and when I told them about it, they were shocked and totally against it. This discussion was the first agenda in my current relationship, and it's understandably a major decision for my partner. I've engaged many enlightened men, but even the most eccentric are revolted by the idea. Proof of manhood is intrinsically tied to procreation. Procreation is so completely engrained in the social, religious, cultural and even economic life, it's barely discussed--it's assumed. I couldn't, in good conscience, deny fatherhood to a man (though I'm quite certain not many of them think deeply about the responsibility of good parenting). I've never met an African CF man.
From personal experience, marriage for me would come with the inherent challenge of being stigmatized by my in-laws and the obligation to accept that my husband can have children by any other means (e.g. second family/polygamy). It'd take a very strong man not to cave to the sustained social pressure. I'm coming to the conclusion that marriage and civil partnership could very well be elusive, which is sad. I revel in being slightly eccentric but I've only just started coming to terms with the implications of my decision. This could be a lonely road, but it's a reality I've accepted.
I trust Kris will eventually find a man who is like-minded but it is interesting that in many communities men feel as culturally compelled to procreate as women do. When parenthood is the assumption, there is little room for the idea of personal choice in the matter of procreation. Over time, I believe this will change. I would love to hear your stories about the challenge of finding a like-minded partner. Please comment below...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Register Now and Join your Childfree friends on a 7 day Caribbean Cruise!

We've been talking about it. Now it's finally happening!

A Caribbean Cruise with your Childfree friends!

Join us on Dec 5-12, 2015 for a cruise with Laura Scott and other Childfree authors on the stunning Italian cruise ship MSC Divina sailing from Miami, Florida! Register before March 31/15 to get this 7 day Caribbean cruise starting at only $349.00 per person, featuring childfree excursions and day on Stirrup Cay, a private island.
for more information Mention, "LAURA SCOTT sent me for info on this great deal!".

It's just 100.00 per person to hold your cabin on this cruise! ALL deposits are FULLY REFUNDABLE 80 days from cruising.
Looking forward to sailing with you!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why Having Kids Won't Fulfill You

I was interested to find that the author of a recent Time Magazine article titled "Why Having Kids Won't Fulfill You" was written by a woman who struggled and finally succeeded to have children.

Her article was in response to actress Jennifer Aniston's recently published complaint that "“I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women – that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair."

Maria Guido, author of the Time article said when she did, eventually, have children her life did change but not in the profound ways many women imagine. Her life just got busier and more complicated. She points to her mother's experience of being a divorced single mother and her claim that her children were the only thing that gave her happiness as the reason she felt compelled to follow in her mother's footsteps. Guido notes that 40 years after the women's liberation movement, we still don't believe we can be happy without children, and she asks, "Everyone is always looking for the latent sadness, the regret. What if it’s not there?"

Guido's feelings are summed up in this paragraph, which serves to reassure all childess women who might be feeling the same way as Jennifer Aniston:
I never questioned my desire to have children, because I didn’t have to; I took the well-traveled road. That desire is expected of me – it’s expected of all women. It took me decades to realize that the maternal drive I carried with me my entire adult life, the one that led me to try for five years to have children, may not have been a biological imperative at all. It may just have been a program that was placed into my psyche by the repeated mantras of a woman who was let down by a man and comforted by her children. That’s okay. I love my children and I’m happy about the experiences I’ve had and the paths that have led me to this place. But if this isn’t your place—whether you’re a famous movie star or not– you didn’t take a wrong turn.
Guido's article reminds me that fulfillment is not found following in someone else's footsteps; fulfillment is found is found by following the beat of your own heart.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Unplanned pregnancies linked to birth control failures or "less than perfect" use!

Used over 10 years, with less than perfect use, most birth control methods fail!

We know we are supposed to take the pill every day (or as prescribed) and use a new, well-fitting condom every time we have sex but how many of us do?

Apparently very few, according to the latest data on unplanned pregnancies.

In fact, used over ten years, less than "perfect" male condom use will result in an unplanned pregnancy for 86 of 100 women. The stats are even worse for ovulation method, spermicides, and withdrawal. Over 90 of one hundred women will have an unplanned pregnancy if they don't utilize these methods "perfectly" over 10 years of use. That is why they are called birth "control" methods, not birth "prevention" methods. If you don't use these methods properly and consistently, over time, the chances are very high that you will get pregnant.

So, what are the most effective methods of birth control?

Not surprisingly, the four most effective birth control methods are IUD's, Sterilization (male or female) and hormonal implants for females. These are not totally, 100%, effective but they are "fool" proof.

If you want to take a chance on any other methods, read the instructions carefully and be extremely diligent in proper use of them. And cross your fingers!

Photo by Jenny Lee Silver

Thursday, August 28, 2014

We Don't have to have a Child to Care!

Social Media is all a buzz over the Video clip of Jennifer Anniston puzzling over why people feel compelled to demand "When are you having kids?" as if that were the only way a woman can contribute as a human being.

Commenting on this video clip, Today Show's Tamron Hall speaks about her own experience of being a mid-forties single childless woman. I could really identify with the pain around that and it is one of the reasons why I wrote the book "Two is Enough"

The assumption that you must be devoid of caring or empathy because you haven't had the experience of birthing or raising a child is totally off the mark.

I was pleased to see Tamron's co-workers on the Today Show empathize. I think they got it. Now if we could reach the rest of the world...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Childfree Women will be at the Forefront of a Creative, Cultural Renaissance, says Futurist

Faith Popcorn, a New York –based Futurist Marketing expert and author, says the SHEvolution is coming and childfree women will be taking the lead, redefining family, exploiting their gifts, following their passions. Here is an excerpt of her Huffington Post article:

With more opportunities in education and careers, women are eschewing traditional family structures. The old "college, marriage, home-ownership, then parenthood" sequence has been shaken up, turned upside-down, and transformed. We are customizing our own life timelines to do what satisfies us at a particular moment. 

Women are opting to have kids later: The number of children born to women 35+ has increased 150 percent, and egg-freezing is up 28 percent. Soon, egg-freezing will be a commonplace graduation gift for young women starting their careers.

Many of us are choosing not to have kids at all. The number of women between age 40 and 44 who remain childless has doubled in a generation. In 1976, it was one out of 10; by 2006, it was one in five. More and more women will decide that children are not for them. 
We call this group Childfree by Choice or CxC. These females shatter the stereotype that not having kids is sad, shameful or pitiable. Because they are free to spend more time focusing on their own goals, CxC women will be at the forefront of a cultural creative renaissance, starting more companies, leading more social initiatives, creating newer and better solutions. They are becoming the envied class.
When my book Two is Enough was published in 2009, there was still significant stigma associated with childlessness, chosen or otherwise. However as more women delay or forgo parenthood, they will be increasingly be recognized for their contributions outside of the role of mother.

In recent years, Female entrepreneurs drove the economic recovery here in the U.S. as they started new companies and grew existing ones. They continue to be in control of the “purse strings,” but now the purse has turned into a portfolio. Women under age 30 earn, on average, more than their male peers in the U.S. A. and they are savvy investors.

They bought homes, got degrees, and were voted into office. They retired then began again, in an “encore” career (some of them as volunteers) making a difference in their communities and ensuring their legacy as women leaders, business people, professionals, educators, philanthropists, humanitarians and humans BEing.

As I always say, in reference to the demographic we call the childfree by choice, “this is a trend, not an aberration. This is not a ripple, this is a wave; a cultural tsunami.

Are you going to going to nod and take notes or are you going to get on your board and surf this?!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Studies Don't Support Pope Francis' Opinion that Childless Folks are Destined for a Life of Loneliness

The Two Is Enough Facebook page blew up over comments made by Pope Francis saying that couples should have kids instead of pets and vacation villas or they will be destined for a life of loneliness.

"Where's my villa?!" asked some. "Why doesn't he take his own advice?" asked others. "St. Francis loved animals, why can't we!?" All legitimate responses, for sure. However, the best response came from an excellent article from Amanda Marcotte writing for the Daily Beast which makes the very strong case that Pope Francis' assumptions about a childfree life just don't hold up under scrutiny.

Here's an excerpt:
My first instinct, as a deliberately childless person myself, upon reading Pope Francis’s remarks was to think, “If you think having children is so important, then why don’t you go first?” But while sarcasm is a satisfying hobby, it’s perhaps better to look to empirical science to answer the question of whether or not it’s actually true that childless people will be punished with loveless marriages and age into loneliness.
Luckily, there’s been a lot of research into both those questions. In fact, the question of whether or not having kids makes marriages happier or not is one that has been looked at again and again, to the point where you start to wonder if they’re trying to get a different result this time. The answer keeps coming back the same: Childless couples have happier marriages, on average.
Or, to be more specific, studies that measure the day-to-day satisfaction of parents shows that satisfaction with your marriage starts to decline rapidly when you have your first baby, goes up and down with the stresses of child-rearing (with a particular low point around adolescence), but it stays relatively low, only rising again after the kids move out of the house. The daily grind of child-rearing and the stress of sharing responsibility seem to be a big part of it. That may explain why mothers are less happy than fathers. After all, they spend more of their time with the children.
And, on the loneliness question, Marcotte writes:
Nor is it true that childless people are doomed, as the pope warned, to be lonely and sad in their old age. A 2003 study that looked specifically at this question found that having children was no guarantee against loneliness in old age. After surveying nearly 4,000 people ages 50 to 84, researchers found no difference in the loneliness rates of people with children and people without children. Common sense should suggest the same. Relying on a phone call a week from your kids is hardly a panacea for loneliness. Non-lonely seniors are usually the ones with plenty of friends, and being able to make friends isn’t dependent on your status as a parent or not.

I have reported on most of these studies, and more, on this blog, so if you still aren't convinced that childfree people report greater happiness and well-being than their peers with children, just dig a bit deeper in the archives of this blog.

And if you want children, that's good. You can still be happy if you choose and BONUS! you will have the blessing of the Pope.