Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jesse M., Age 35

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.?

Deliberate decision, neither husband nor I are willing to sacrifice our lifestyle.

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?

Lifestyle, husband's age, finances - bad things are really only familial pressure.

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?

Friends are very supportive, family not very much - I hate people who assume everyone wants to have children and furthermore assume everyone SHOULD have children. Family is "disappointed". I think many people look at childfree individuals as "selfish", which may be, but in my opinion it's only being true to oneself.

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?

Very happy with my decision, no regrets, I don't believe I will have regrets later.

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

Yes, mother's best friend

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 feel my marriage is stronger because I don't have children. I am more financially secure and not tied to my husband.

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

That if you don't have children you're not really "an adult", "you'll understand when you have children".

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

Inaccurate. People make the best choices for themselves.

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).

My best friend has told me (she has 3 kids) "unless you're waking up in the morning dying for children, don't do it."

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