Childless and childfree women come in lots of shapes and sizes. We are all colors, all cultures, and all ages. As much as we have in common, we are also very different, and we define ourselves without the label of ‘Mom. And if you’re not a Mom, who are you?
This series by TheNotMom writer and childfree blogger Laura M. LaVoie features interviews with the women who will be presenting at The NotMom Summit on October 6 and 7, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio.
You’ll meet Laura Carroll in several roles at The NotMom Summit. On Friday, she will showcase the evolution of women without children in public and cultural spaces, and also moderate the Couples Without Kids session that afternoon with panelists Dawn Barnett, Crystal Money and Robyn D’Angelo. On Saturday, Laura will lead the Tribes within a Tribe discussion for By Choice NotMoms. We are so excited that Laura is returning to the Summit in 2017.
We first interviewed Laura for The NotMom in January 2014, long before the Summit was part of our collective consciousness. We are grateful she returned to answer more of our questions today.
Tell us about yourself and your work.
After 15 years as a trial consultant and working with trial teams on high profile civil cases, I transitioned to running Carroll Communications. For the last 10 years, I have specialized in providing editorial services for businesses, non-profits, and individual professionals.
I also write nonfiction. My book, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, received international recognition and paved the way for me to become one of the leading voices and experts on the childfree choice. The book came as a result of my own personal questions.
When I had been happily married for about 10 years, I went looking for a book about long-time childfree married couples, and I found no such book. So I decided to do the book myself. I interviewed over 100 couples across the U.S., conducted in-depth interviews with 40, and then chose 15 to include in the book that best represented the range of couples and interviews.
I have a Masters degree in Psychology and Communications, and since the late 1990’s, I have researched the childfree choice and those who make it. I have interviewed and talked with thousands who have made this choice. Currently, I am currently conducting a longitudinal study on childfree women.
My popular blog, La Vie Childfree, now comprises a 500-post and counting library of childfree-related writings at LauraCarroll.com. I am also the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World, which takes a social and cultural look at why society finds the childfree choice hard to fully accept.
In 2013, I led the effort to bring back “Non-Parents Day,” now called International Childfree Day, an annual recognition of amazing childfree people and their lives. For four years now, ICD has awarded the childfree man and woman of the year, and been a great way to foster the acceptance of the childfree choice in today’s society.
For the last 17 years, I have appeared on major media, including ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS morning shows, many radio talk shows, U.S. and Canadian public radio. I have written and been interviewed for a variety of print/digital media, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine to discuss childfree and related topics.
Do you consider yourself a Not Mom? If so, are you by Choice or by Chance?
I am a Not Mom by choice, for sure. As a child, I was never really interested in playing with baby dolls – I did like being my mother’s little helper when my brother was born though! When I was 14-15, I babysat to earn money, and quickly learned I did not like it. From that time on, I knew that I did not want parenthood to play the central role in my adult life.
I also had a godmother who influenced me when I was young. She was in her 20s, single and didn’t have children. She was an early model that showed me I could grow up and didn’t have to be a Mom. And I had great parents who didn’t push parenthood as an expectation; they encouraged me to create my life any way I wanted, so long as I felt fulfilled and happy.
Why did you want to get involved in the Not Mom Summit?
When Karen Malone Wright contacted me to present at the first NotMom Summit in 2015, I was thrilled. I loved the idea of gathering women who were NotMoms by choice and chance to connect and build community. And that it did!
What are you looking forward to the most?
As I wrote in the Huffington Post, at the inaugural Not Mom Summit, we found connection, commonality and community. Whether by choice, chance or circumstance, women who came wanted to find and connect with women like themselves. While how we came to not have children may be different, the Summit provided a space to share experiences we all had in common.
Childfree and childless communities came together, and how we held space for everyone’s experiences and stories was nothing short of extraordinary. I look forward to building on these wonderful things and more at the second NotMom Summit!
Don’t miss out! The NotMom Summit is the only conference of its kind in the world for every woman without children by choice or by chance. REGISTER NOW!