Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Supportive Sister

When you ‘out’ yourself as childless by choice you get all kinds of reactions. I documented many of them in my book, Two Is Enough--they run the gamut from disapproval to envy.

Bonnie has experienced most of them as a 53 year-old married woman who never wanted kids. Many of her peers and colleagues don’t understand her decision because she taught elementary school for 23 years, but her younger never-married sister does understand and support her older sister’s decision because she’s childless by choice too.

For many years, my 43 year-old sister and I have discussed the fact that we have made the right decision to be childless. We've also groused about society thinking that we are ‘not quite right’ to not want children. We've been treated like we're not ‘real women.’

We've seen women with children take advantage of health care, sick leave, and ‘mommy duties.’ We're the ones who pick up the slack at work, and then aren't fully appreciated for our efforts, since we don't have children at home. (We do, but they're the furry kind.) I've taught elementary school, working with children of all races and economic situations, and can honestly say that I've seen more BAD parenting than good.
Bonnie and her sister feel the lack of support most acutely around celebrations like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They feel excluded.

My sister and I decided that WE need a day of recognition. We've wanted to go national with a ‘Childless by Choice Day’ but don't know how. We were not sure of a good day for ‘our’ celebration, but just prior to Mother's Day seemed ideal for us. For ourselves, we vowed to make that special day the day before Mother's Day.
Others have felt the same way which is why people around the world now celebrate “World Childfree Day” on June 4th. How you choose to affirm or honor your decision is fully up to you but I think it’s great to take a day or a moment to reflect and feel gratitude, especially with someone who loves and supports you.

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