I ran across again a couple of articles I saw in summer 2009 that are worth a read if you have not seen them. Macleans Canada ‘s “The Case Against Having Kids” by Anne Kingston discusses childfree issues, trends, and gives some recent stats. What struck me most was the discussion about getting flack for the decision. Vancouver etalk reporter Elaine Luiwas still getting pressure to change her mind six years after telling the public that she and her husband decided not to have children. Kingston also talks about how Corinne Maier, the 45-year-old French psychotherapist who authored No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children got serious flack in France when her book came out.
After this article came out, Kingston wrote another one, The “No-Kids Debate Continues .”
In it she talks about just how controversial the first article was, and all the reader letters she got, many of which were downright cruel.
So many of the hundreds of childfree people I’ve talked to have experienced pressures from others to change their minds. Some childfree experience nasty judgments and rejection. One experience that is not so uncommon entails the husband’s family blaming the wife as the one who made their son and his family so unhappy, even when the husband makes it perfectly clear to his family it was a joint decision.
Despite this, since Families of Two, I’ve gotten a general sense that judgments and pressures people put on childfree have lessened a bit in the last several years. But reactions to Kingston’s articles evidence that lots of serious judgments still exist about this choice and the people who make it. While books continue to come out that educate readers on the childfree, it is high time we take the discussion to a new level, and challenge the sources of the judgments people seem so stuck on, starting with deep pronatalistic values that no longer apply in today’s society.
Do you think that the choice not to have kids has more acceptance today than say, ten years ago? What kind of pressures, negative reactions or treatment have you seen?
I was browsing around after looking at your current posts and ran into a post I thought you might like! The quote that made me think about your blog is “Babies are the newest archetype on the happy ending, therefore not wanting them is tantamount to not wanting to be happy.” The whole article is at: http://tiny.cc/llFFo
Go Polly Vernon! I love her point re needing to stop pretending that childlessness isn't happening…Love to know her source for the stats re birth rates in Europe being in “steep” decline–40% of UK university graduates aged 35 are childless and that at least 30% will stay that way permanently. Census researchers in the States would also agree that “much of this childlessness is involuntary or, at least, unconsidered, the consequence of infertility, a lack of opportunity or leaving it too late.”