Should you have children or lead a childfree life? Whether you’re wondering what’s right for you, or even if the decision has already been made, I recommend a new book that may help clarify your thinking.
Complete Without Kids: An Insider’s Guide to Childfree Living By Choice Or By Chance features the questions and intimate, real-life examples of people of varying ages who are content with their status, even if friends and family aren’t.
Author Ellen L. Walker, Ph.D.enjoys life with her psychologist husband and their two terriers. Dr. Walker is a licensed clinical psychologist who is childfree by choice. She explains the concept locus of control — a psychological term describing whether or not a person feels in control over her destiny — as one way to discern a person’s acceptance with living childfree.
The book offers support, guidance and suggestions for women in and out of childbearing age. It includes dozens of true-life stories as well as well-thought-out questions that can lead a couple —or a woman— into deep thought and conversation for hours at a time. For example:
- Do you feel that your partnership is stronger because you do not have children?
- Have you been accused of being selfish because you don’t have children?
- Have you felt a yearning to “parent” a child or young person? What steps have you taken to fulfill this need?
- Even if you’re at peace with your decision to not have kids, are there times when you feel a loss because of pressures from friends and family or from the media?
- What are the primary differences between you and your friends who are parents? Have you had more or less change in your life compared with your friends who are parents?
- What are your thoughts on the belief that we can “do it all?”
Personally, I genuinely enjoyed reading Complete Without Kids, in part because my path of self-questioning was similar to Ms. Walker’s, and also because of her non-partisan writing style. If you didn’t read the back cover, I doubt you’d be able to discern the author’s parental status. That’s as it should be.
In today’s do-as-you-please environment, young women have many options before them. For the first time in U.S. history, more adults disagree that people without children “lead empty lives”, according to the General Social Survey. As Dr. Walker states, ”Life is about choices, and we simply cannot take all paths.” She believes, as I do, that the numbers of childfree women will continue to grow.
What I enjoyed most about this book was its explorations of core differences between Moms and NotMoms…parents and non-parents…before, during and after childbearing years. According to Dr. Walker, “childree adults are more playful and less serious than our peers who have children.” That’s certainly true for me…how about you?
Most of all, Complete Without Kids made me feel less like an anomaly or weirdo all because there’s not a Big Wheel or basketball hoop in my driveway. Topics that can be hard to discuss with friends (with or without kids) are openly reviewed in this book, and the shared stories of other women often felt like a comforting hug. One NotMom made this very personal statement that drips authenticity:
“Because I’ve always lived next door to my sister and helped her out quite a bit in raising her daughter, I’ve gone with them to many social gatherings through the years. I can’t tell you how often I’ve felt ignored by the mothers there, almost like they felt that I didn’t have the right to be there or that I was invisible. I can’t even put into words how this made me feel; it was really awful. I wonder, in retrospect, if these mothers felt that I was criticizing or judging them. I suppose I’ll never know.”
In just 166 pages, Dr. Walker introduces readers to women who are childfree by circumstance, by choice and by happenstance. Selfishness, sacrifice, controlling natures, retirement planning, are just some of the very adult issues brought into the spotlight.
**If you’d like a chance to win a copy of Complete Without Kids: An Insider’s Guide to Childfree Living By Choice Or By Chance, simply leave a comment about today’s post. The winner will be announced on September 6th.