Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ann S., Age 47

Is the idea of having children something that you are open to, or were open to at some point in the past? Is the fact that you don’t have children the result of a deliberate decision or just the way your life happened to work out? If it was a deliberate decision, can you tell me something about how you made this choice, the circumstances, your reasons, whether it was easy, hard, etc.?

I have never wanted to be pregnant. At one point in my life (in my 20s), I would have been open to adoption, but the opportunity never presented itself, so was never pursued. However, since my 30s and later, I do not want any children at all. It wasn't a hard decision by any means -- in other words, there were no mixed feelings about it. I just don't want to raise kids.

What are the three most important factors that influenced your decision to be childfree? Do you enjoy being childfree? If so, why? If not, why not? Are there any bad things about being childfree? If so, what are they?

The most important factors: (1) not wanting to be tied down with kids; (2) not wanting the hassles and troubles that go along with raising kids (i.e., when they get in trouble, act up, etc.). I do enjoy being childfree and there isn't anything I don't like about it.

Please describe the kinds of reactions you have received from others in response to your not having children. How supportive and accepting have your friends and family been? How accepting do you feel society as whole is of the voluntarily childless ("childfree") lifestyle? Do you feel childfree individuals suffer from unfairness, prejudice or discrimination in society? Do you feel there are common misconceptions about childfree individuals or the childfree lifestyle?

I have never experienced any reaction one way or another from other people. In my family, friend, and co-worker groups, it is just "normal" for some people to have kids and some not. No one thinks anything at all about it.

In retrospect, how do you feel about your decision to be childfree? Do you still feel the same way as always on this issue? To date have you had any regrets? Do you think you may have regrets later in life? Is there any possibility you may change your mind about having children at some point?

I doubt that I will ever regret it. I "know" that motherhood is not for me.

Have you had any childfree role models during your life? Please explain.

I've known many people who haven't had kids, but I wouldn't call them role models. I've never felt there was any pressure from anyone to have kids, so I didn't need any role models.

When you compare your life to the lives of women you know who have children (family, friends, co-workers), how would you evaluate the advantages, disadvantages, and overall life satisfaction associated with each kind of lifestyle?

I believe people should do what makes them happy, so if someone wants to have kids, that's great, and that's fine for them. I assume they're satisfied with their lifestyles, and I don't look down on them in any way. Likewise, I like my lifestyle. To me there are tons of advantages to being childless -- for me -- but I realize others might not see those as advantages. I am glad I am not leading the life of many women I know, but I don't think their lifestyles are inherently "bad."

Do you perceive that there are any dominant messages expressed in our culture about having children? If so, what are they?

No. I have never experienced any pressure at all to have kids, nor have I felt that anyone was judging me negatively for it.

Do you feel these messages are for the most part accurate, inaccurate, misleading or something else? Please explain.


Have any parents ever spoken to you about the "downside" of having children or told you if they had to go back and do it all over again, they wouldn't have kids? Have any parents expressed that they are jealous of you for being childfree? If so, please describe the conversation(s).


No comments: