6/2/13 UPDATE: The survey is now closed.
This week, TheNotMom.com invited women without children in America and elsewhere to take our new survey called One-Fifth & Growing: A Survey of Women Without Children. The objective is to learn more about who these women are and how they live. But, within 24 hours after its release, it was clear that I’d made a big mistake.
A year ago this month, requirements for a business plan for the website included hours of research — at the library, online…wherever I could find the data I needed. Parameters had to be set. I selected women age 34-64, a range I viewed as a 30-year span beginning as the possibility of lifelong childlessness is a recurring thought and ending after menopause has confirmed it. As a childless by-chance woman, I thought that by the mid-thirties, a woman would know “for sure” whether her choice to live childfree was valid.
Thanks to several 20-something women who sent messages asking why they were locked out of the survey, I now see the errors in my thinking.
Certainly, there are many women in their early 20s who know beyond any doubt that they will never have children, by their own choice. There are also younger women in that age group who know beyond a doubt that they are physically incapable of childbirth.
And that’s why assumptions are bad things. The survey has been modified to accept responses from women in their 20s. I’d always hoped that this survey would shake up misperceptions about childless women. I just didn’t expect to be the first person to have updated thinking.