I laughed when I read this article by Shelly Horton in the Sydney Morning Herald. Outside of the term “Clucky” —which I’ve never heard used before and I assume must be short hand for “mother hen” in Australia— so much of what Horton related about her childfree experience in Australia is what I heard in my interviews for the Childless by Choice Project in North America.
It seems whether you are in Seattle or Sydney, you will have people who imagine all kinds of things about your decision to remain childfree—like you just simply decided, over a bowl of mussels and a glass of sauvignon blanc, that you were going to opt out of parenthood. It was that simple.
On the contrary, Horton describes her decision making and how she navigates outside of the norms:
It's not a light decision. I've spoken to a counsellor about it at length. It's never easy going against society's norms. I have some medical issues that mean it would be very difficult for me to have a child. Sometimes if I'm feeling judged or questioned I hide behind that, because saying ''I can't have children'' is more acceptable than saying ''I don't want children''.Yes, Shelly, there are plenty of other women who feel the same way as you and they do speak up. Right here.
I admire women who juggle family and career. I agree it's the hardest job in the world. It's not a job I want to put my hand up for.
If pressed on the subject I retort: ''Did you 'just know' you wanted to be a mother? Well I 'just know' I don't.'' I'm sure there are other women who feel the same way as me but don't speak up.
Flickr Photo by Leoncillo Sabino