Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tia T., Age 41

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.?

As long as I can remember, I've never wanted to have children. Being a mother never appealed to me at all. I can't say that my decision to be childfree was made by something specific. It just was right choice for me.

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?

Freedom, unlimited options to exercise that freedom, to have a better quality of life financially.I truly enjoy being childfree in spite of the negative image that childed people want to place on childfree people.

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?

Most of the reactions I've gotten is that of disbelief and not being taken seriously, that somehow I haven't thought my decision through enough. My family and friends, especially those who have children are supportive of my decision. Most of the women I work with, who are mothers, can get very defensive about me not wanting children and being comfortable with that decision. I most certainly feel that childfree individuals are discriminated against in the workplace and in society as a whole. That we are expected to work longer hours...cover work duties of parents when childcare issues arise and not to complain about it. One of the major conceptions about childfree people are that they are selfish and not as mature as childed people, which is a bunch of bullsh*t. Excuse my french. :-)

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 have never regretted my decision to be childfree. I know I made the right choice for my life.

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

My aunt is childfree...not because she made a conscious choice..just the way her life turned out. I admired how she was able to educate herself, travel extensively and nuture others.

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?

My childed friends have expressed to me how much they envy my life choice. I know that I have advantages and opportunities that they don't and may never have. Their lives are not their own.

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

If you look at any magazine cover at any supermarket check-out counter, you see nothing but Hollywood's glamourization (sp) of celebrity pregnancy.

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

They're truly misleading. It sends a misguided messages about bringing children into this world is really like. These celebrities have financial means to have nannies deal with their children. Their life perspective to totally out of reach for the everyday woman.

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 Nana has told me that is she had had a choice, she wouldnt have had as many children as she did. (She had 8 children by the time she was 27).She tells me all the time "Baby, if you don't want them, don't have them"

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