PDF A Child Without a Choice

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Every time I go to a special event—bar mitzvah, wedding, etc. On the other hand, I have friends whose children have been killed, committed suicide, have emotional problems, or just completely ignore them, and I realize that's a never-ending source of agony that I don't think I would have been prepared to deal with. Most of the time I am comfortable with how things have turned out Perhaps the reason is that I was the youngest of four children and had little experience with babies. A decision point came when I married a man who, because of his troubled family history, was opposed to fathering a child.

I honored that decision, as we both agreed that the world did not need another mouth to feed. That marriage lasted only three years, which only confirmed the wisdom of my decision.


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Now, 72 years old, I have never regretted it. My career as a public school teacher and university administrator kept me in touch with the vitality of young people. In my personal life, I was able to support emotionally and in some cases financially friends who were raising children on their own.

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I have been able to work and to live in several countries other than the U. These life, career, and financial decisions were made easier by being childfree.

Seven decades of feminist activism have enabled us to challenge many long-accepted limiting roles for women. Crucial to this ongoing 'liberation' from a patriarchal system is control over one's reproductive decisions and increased opportunities to earn one's own living.

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Voluntary childlessness

I am grateful to our foremothers and to the brilliant activists and authors who made this possible in my lifetime. My hope is that current and future generations of women will defend and expand these rights. I was 39 and he was 46 when we wed. We found neither of us was passionately for or against, but we agreed certain things made having children problematic.

Children in single-mother-by-choice families do just as well as those in two-parent families

My own parents had been religiously divided; I wasn't sure I wanted the pressure of being scrutinized for bias in the faith teaching of our children. As it turned out, we discovered my husband is neurologically atypical, which seems to run in his family to some extent. We had a challenging few years making our marriage work, and I think we both agree having children would have put an unbearable strain on it. My husband is the youngest of four siblings, and has many cousins.

The children and grandchildren of these kinships are in many ways the children we didn't have. We're working on our own arrangements for living with assistance as we grow older, planning for probable needs that children might take care of for their parents otherwise. Our marriage is a good one, and we have no regrets that we didn't have children. I've only had a few days of my life when I veered from that. However, I soon confirmed that I still didn't want kids, and my brief stress was simply about wanting the decision to be mine, not anyone else's.

Aside from those few days, I've never doubted my choice, though other people do all the time. Nor are they conducive to raising children to be happy, healthy, and responsible members of society. While some people look at me pityingly, I am thrilled with my life and my decision not to have children. I was hospitalized for a summer at 25 and particularly remember one woman who had had a baby six weeks before, whose RA, mild before her pregnancy, had swept back with devastating severity in the weeks after the birth.

In addition to being ill and in great pain, she was distraught about being unable to look after her baby.

6 powerful benefits of giving your child a choice - Motherly

There were pressures, in my late 20s and 30s, from people wanting to know when I might have children and I'm not ashamed to say it was useful to be able to deflect such inquiries by pleading my health problems. If I ever had any doubts during my 30s, I only had to see a young mom, fit and healthy, struggling with two small children, bags of shopping and a stroller, to come to my senses.

When my husband died suddenly, nearly nine years ago, I did briefly regret that there were no children, for a part of him to carry on. That feeling faded as I got to grips with my new life and now, at 65, I rather enjoy living alone amid cats and tottering piles of books, pursuing my interests and keeping the hours that suit me.

And there isn't anyone to suggest I might be better off in a nice tidy apartment somewhere. The friends I am closest to do not have children.

Here are six important benefits to building choices into your little one's daily routine:

I do know that as I get older I'll have more problems because of my health. I will be on my own but I'm building my resilience and honing my coping skills. When I was a little girl, teachers or adults would ask, 'What do you want to be when you grow up? My answer—an emphatic 'None! I have experienced incredible love and passion—as well as done a lot of things I never would have had the opportunity to do, such as travel and maintain a degree of spontaneity in my life—if I had chosen to have kids.

I was never the type of child who thought about weddings or babies. I grew up with a single mother, in poverty, and she struggled with serious mental health problems, so I had to grow up very fast and mother her.

An Abundance of Upsides

I have lost boyfriends over the years when they realized that I was not gung-ho to have kids. When I hit my late 30s and was dating, I met men who were actively looking for a wife to give them children. They re-defined themselves and only spent time with other couples who had kids of similar ages.

The friends who did keep me in their lives basically integrated me into their families and I became the fun and supportive aunt. There are days when I do regret not having kids. I missed out on a profound experience. I wonder if I passed up something really sacred. I also sometimes feel like an outsider, and resent how I am perceived at times as selfish etc. But usually these doubts creep in when I am having a bad week, so the regret is arbitrary in some ways.

Life Without Children

I did consider adopting, I really admire people who adopt because I feel like it is less selfish than creating new babies. It could still happen. Maybe I will foster when I am older and not traveling as much. But as the movie progresses it becomes clear that the protagonists will not be proper adults, let alone happy ones, until they have a baby of their own. The thoughtful writer Meghan Daum has edited a book about being child-free, which has just been published, amusingly titled Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed.

Sixteen authors — female and, pleasingly, male — have each contributed an essay about their child-free lives. Some are moving, some are clear-eyed and straightforward, and some are straight-up funny. As chance and synchronicity would have it, an essay by Sabine Heinlein about choosing a child-free life has been doing the rounds this week. As with Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed, the writer gives her take on the subject, her title inspired by the reaction of others to her choice: The Answer Is Never. Any adult who has passed 35 without having children will know the chasm that opens between you and your friends with kids.

Those who feel constantly judged for not having children laugh ruefully at this jealousy. Contrary to what society still might claim, there is no right answer when deciding about parenthood. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Parents and parenting Opinion.