Sunday, November 22, 2009

Optimism Unwarranted for Past President of the National Organization for Non-Parents

Last month I got this email message from Marie Bernardy, who once served as President of NON/NAOP, one of the first childfree groups in the United States:
Hi Laura -

I was just forwarded an AOL article about your book on childfree couples. My husband and I were members of the National Organization for Non-Parents in the 1970s and 1980s; both of us served as president of the organization. Below is a wikipedia reference, in case you haven't run across it, which gives some details on the history of the "childfree movement."

I had my tubes tied at 23; my husband had a vasectomy at 24. We've been married 35 blissful, childfree years. I feel sad that so much of what we worked for so many years ago (education, acceptance, insurance equity, etc.) is still a problem for so many. Physicians are still reluctant to perform sterilizations, families continue to pressure for grandchildren, friends with kids ostracize those without.

Keep up the good work.

Marie was right. People like her have been working for decades to promote understanding and acceptance for the choice to remain childfree, yet not much has changed. She told me that NON/NAOP shut its doors in 1982, because of lack of funding the “thinking that the concept of being childfree was well entrenched” and that other organizations like Planned Parenthood and ETR would continue to provide materials that would invite people to consider the childfree life as a viable option. Marie now says “We were probably more optimistic than was warranted.”

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