Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Childless in Babyville: Navigating In a Pronatalist World

Childless in Babyville is the title of a chapter in my book Two Is Enough: A Couples Guide to Living Childless by Choice. It’s a chapter that acknowledges that if you are single or in a committed partnership you will at some point feel the stigma of remaining childfree. I have yet to find one person who has not been second-guessed, challenged, or perceived as odd or seriously flawed because they have chosen a childfree life.

Recently I received an email from a 26 year-old woman whom I’ll call “Bella” who had seen me in a segment titled “Childless by Choice” on CNN’s Joy Behar Show:

I just wanted to say that I have just recently discovered your website after seeing an interview on one of the news networks and very much wanted to share my feelings about this. Let me start by saying this has given me confidence in myself knowing that I am not the only woman who shares these feelings about remaining childless.

I have no desire to have my own children and I have known this since I was 10 years old. I didn't realize until later in life how much this decision would ultimately affect me and could actually be a little stressful.

I work in the design department for a baby clothing company. I love my job and love the people I work with but there is this stigma that there is something wrong with me because I do not share the same interest to bear children like the rest of the woman I work with. And I don't understand why I am questioned so often as to my personal decision not to have kids. Sometimes I am afraid that it is going to affect keeping my job. Just because I don't share the need to have kids doesn't mean I don't like designing clothing. I am a creative, talented person with a lot to offer.

When ever having or not having kids is brought up I am always asked “why?” Sometimes I just didn't know how to respond without sounding strange. I am often told I am "weird.”

When I found this site and started reading the blog, it made me feel so much better about my choice (even though I have never questioned it). I am so glad that there are other people out there that share the same view.

I am not the only "weirdo" :)
Bella is right, she is not alone. There are millions of people who feel exactly as she does and struggle to find ways to navigate in “babyville.”

Flickr Photo by Ex.Libris

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