Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Patti S., Age 39

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 at 35...I was too impatient and easily frustrated at the time and didn't feel that I would be a good parent. DH sort of wanted a child but wasn't overtly enthusiastic.

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?

1. Too easily frustrated to be a great parent when I was younger 2. the idea of pregnancy/birthing process "grossed" me out 3. Financially unable to be a stay-at-home mom, which was the only way I'd want to do it. I enjoy being CF because of the quiet, privacy, freedom and the extra money by not having a child isn't bad either.

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?

Parents were supportive, have had no issues with friends or strangers giving me grieve about being CBC. Several of my co-workers feel the same as I do and do not have children. It seems very common where I live that couples my age do not have kids. I have never felt discriminated against due to being CBC. Selfishness is the most common conception about CBC, and to a certain extent I agree. However, I have never felt that "selfish" is necessarily a bad thing.

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 occasionally regret not having a child because now at 39 I feel that I would be a good parent and DH would be an excellent father. However, the regret is rare and passes quickly. I would consider adoption or fostering at a later point in life, DH has had a vasectomy, so no possibility of nat'l childbirth.

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

No role models that I can think of.

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?

Advantages: joy of raising a good kid hopefully and teaching them positively; distadvantages-no quiet and always a parent 24-7 for at least 18 years. I cannot evaluate the advantages/disadvantages/overall life satisfaction as I have not been in a parent's shoes.

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

No, not anymore...maybe 15 years ago but not now

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).

Yes-a few have mentioned that they wouldn't have kids again. No jealousy

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