Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Roseann B., Age 30

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.?

Not having children has been a result of a deliberate decision. I have decided at an early age of 18 that I do not want to bring children into this world. Having been raised by only my mother, I saw how difficult it was for her to raise me as a single parent. I also felt the pain of not having a father in my life. For this reason, I think it was pretty easy for me to decide not to have children.

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 three most important factors have been my upbringing, my constant need for either a career or higher education, and the fact that I want freedom in my life. I do enjoy being childfree a lot because I have the ability to do anything that I want to do/accomplish. The only negative things about not haveing a child are the constant questions from friends/family members who think I will eventually change my mind.

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?

The people who are closest to me like my mother and boyfriend have been very supportive. However, some of my friends who have children think that this is just a phase. Society as a whole is not that accepting of women who chose to be childfree. I do feel that there is a bit of prejudice against childfree individuals, especially women. Women with children get special attention, parties, time off, front row parking, etc. I feel that one of the most common misconception regarding childfree individuals is that they are emotionless in a sense and sometimes even very critical towards those who have children.

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 feel that my decision is part of who I am. I never felt like I was supposed to have children. I have felt this way from a very young age. I do not have any regrets at all. I may later in life, however that would only be as a result of felling the pressure from society. I fell that I will not change my mind later in life.

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

I have not had a single childfree role model, and for that reason I have a longing to be the first in my family. I have had many examples of "too many children" people in my life that have showed me what I do not want.

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?

Overall, I am able to get a higher education, have a full-time career, travel the world, and go/do wherever/whatever I feel. I never had that calling to mother a child. I am sure it is a wonderful experience for those who have it, but my childfree experience has been wonderful. I enjoy time with friends and family's children, but at the end of the day, it is nice to go home alone.

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

The main message that sticks out to me, is that having children gives you a reason to live, or that children remain a part of you, even after you die.

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

Yes, for the most part children do give people reason to live, but childfree people can leave other things behind, like a great career, that will remain after death.

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 mother is the only parent I speak to, and she has never expressed a downside of having me. She actually feels blessed that she had me, and has remained single my entire life. Most people would think that I'd want a child due to the great relationship I've had with my mother, however I have never felt the need for a child.

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