A Response to "The Childfree Life"
... which could otherwise be entitled, "Let's give Jennifer Aniston a break, already."
TIME, just admit it. You like to stir the pot, particularly when it comes to the many issues that pertain to motherhood. This is the same magazine, of course, who put itself in the middle of the attachment parenting debate with it’s suggestive cover of a mother breastfeeding her child (“Are You Mom Enough?”). Never in my life would I think breastfeeding could be perceived as “suggestive,” but you did it, TIME, so kudos to you, I suppose.
It’s true, “the birthrate in the US is the lowest in recorded American history.” This is despite the fact that for those women with trouble getting pregnant, fertility treatments are widely available, not to mention adoption. So, the question pondered into minutia is… why oh why are some women remaining “child free”? A controversial study at the London School of Economics asserts that the more intelligent women are, the less likely they are to become mothers. OUCH. Them’s fighting words (excuse my uneducated grammar: “those” are fighting words).
Certainly, economics has something to do with it. Stepping off the career track to have a baby can aid in lost promotions and salary. If women do choose to return to work after having a baby, there are sacrifices that will be made on both sides. And in terms of financials, babies ain’t cheap. Redfin reports that in New York City, where I live, new parents spend $36,700 in just the first year their baby is born (costs associated with housing, childcare, baby items, healthcare and energy).
But, pardon me while I summarize the article in one sentence: some women just don’t feel the desire to become mothers. End of story. And guess what? That’s perfectly fine. Forget economics and careers and the ability to go out for drinks at the spur of the moment just because you can… At the end of the day, choosing motherhood is just that… a choice. And it’s not for everyone.
Amy Guglielmo, a teacher and author of children’s books, often writes for the website Why No Kids. She states, “Most people (friends and family included) are surprised by my choice. Their questions and concerns make it clear that I am a social oddity. As a woman I feel the need to defend, explain, or apologize for my choice and assure them that I do not hate children. Dr. Seuss didn’t have kids and he didn’t have to apologize! I’m tired of making excuses when the simple answer is I don’t want kids. There are many reasons including environmental and economic strains, but basically it comes down to choice. People don’t always understand that you can choose not to have kids just like you choose to have kids.”
I hope “The Child Free Life” sparks a conversation about how our society perceives those women and couples who choose to remain “child free.” We judge each other for SO many things, doesn’t it just get exhausting sometimes? To let that go – that weighty, powerful assertion that there is only ONE way that’s right — would be so freeing, wouldn’t it?
So Jen, if you’re reading (!), do what makes you happy. With or without the baby.
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