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Category Archives: Childfree

9 Childfree Women Explain What Life Is Like Without Kids …

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:20 pm

I was recently working in a caf when a dad strolled in with his toddler daughter. They set up shop at the table next to me and it immediately became 10 times harder to focus on my writing. Kid was cute. Like, unbearably soshe was around two years old with full cheeks, wide eyes, and a cap of caramel-colored hair that turned up at the ends. She excitedly announced every dog she saw outside, and she face planted into a croissant in a way that really spoke to me.

A few years ago, seeing such a blatant display of adorableness would have made me excited to be a mother . I always assumed I’d have children, and that little girl would have only reinforced that idea. But I’ve recently realized having children is a choice, not something that will inevitably happen to me without my say. While I’m still undecided, the following nine women have decided they’re in the childfree camp . Although they’re quite happy with their choices, they acknowledge that there are both upsides and downsides (just as there are if you decide to have kids). Here, they discuss how being childfree affects their lives, from dating to nosy strangers to reclaiming their sense of purpose.

“After my doctors told me it would be difficult to have kids due to a medical condition, I got used to the idea of it. The luxury of not having children has allowed me to always be on the go, and I can’t imagine it any other way. But to be completely honest, sometimes I do wonder if it’s the right choice. Then I see my friends who had kids young and couldn’t do things like finish school, pursue their careers, or travel.Combined with my tainted view of relationships I see so many of my friends struggling to raise kids on their ownI’m satisfied with my decision.” Katie S., 26

“I’m the classic ‘I didn’t like kids even when I was a kid’ person. I spent several years looking for a doctor who would sterilize me, but no one would do it unless I was married and had two kids. Luckily, I’m married to a woman, so it’s not an issue anymore. I’ve never doubted my decision.

People always expect me to love kids because I love doing things children enjoy like going to the petting zoo and doing silly craft projects. But you don’t have to have a toddler to go to the science center, I promise you. And sometimes it seems like I don’t check off the boxes to be a ‘real’ adult unless I’ve had a baby. Small talk at the bank will turn into a bank teller grilling me about my life choices and my sex life, which is frankly not a good sales technique.But now that I’m older, strangers are less aggressive about thrusting their viewpoints on me.” Cori C., 31

“Eversince I knew it was a choice, I haven’t wanted children.I’ve never had the desire on a biological level, and I wish the question ‘Why DO you want them?’ were just as valid in our society. What I do have is a deep desire to leave a legacy, but I find it very fulfilling to create that through my business and my creative projects.

In my 20s, I got a lot of ‘Oh, you’ll change your mind’ from friends and even my ob/gyn . I’m finally at an age where people respect my decision, but there are some downsides. The worst part of it is feeling alienated from my best friends whose lives change when they have kids.” Ciara P., 37

“When I was 13, I was helping out at a daycare that had kids from a few months to 10 years old. I experienced teething babies, installing car seats, first periods, and ‘early onset teenager condition’ (yes, I made that up). It showed me some of what parents go through on a regular basis, and I want no part of it.

If I tell people like my mother, a random nosy person who asks, or my ob/gyn that I’d rather remain childfree, I’m usually met with disbelief and then dismissed with, ‘Wait until you get married. You’ll change your mind.’ The truth is that every once in a while, I do question whether it’s the right decision. Then I just go curl up with a book and enjoy the childless silence.” Jasmine W., 23

“When I was younger, my friends would talk about what they would name their babies. I’d come up with a list of names too, but I was really thinking about them for future pets. Don’t get me wrongI have a tremendous amount of respect for people who decide to become parents. ButI don’t want my worth as a woman to hinge on my choice to have or not have children.

Luckily, my support system including my husband, parents, and extended family have been respectful of my choice. I feel sad when other women get pushed into thinking that their decision not to have children isn’t ‘legitimate.’ I want other women to know that it is OK to just be a woman, not a mother.” Kristen M., 26

“There are so many things I want for myself that having children could inhibit: travel, luxury, freedom. Also, depression and alcoholism run strong in my family, and the world today is not so kind! My parents have always respected my decision not to have kids. My sister, on the other hand, feels strongly that I should have them. She often jokes that when I change my mind in my mid-40s, shell go to the fertility clinic with me or help me with adoption.Ive also met many ob/gyns who refuse to tie my tubes . Even my current one indicated that she would only consider it in two years when Im 38. “Jessica B., 36

“I knew I didn’t want children when I was about 11 years old, although I briefly revisited the question in my late 20s when I had a partner who really ** wanted them. But my current partner tried to get a vasectomy when he was 15we’re so on the same page.

My job deals with sex and sexuality, so I live a pretty alternative life. From what Ive seen of human nature, many people would not be kind to a child of mine. To fully do the work that I do, Ive chosen not to have a traditional family. Ive had people imply that Ive made the wrong life choices because it meant I wouldnt have kids. But its not a womans job to have children.

Also, I was born not that long after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After learning about that and Holocaust concentration camps, I was left with the overwhelming sense that we had created an increasingly dangerous world. When I browse Google News, I am actively grateful that I dont have to fear for my children.” Carol Q., 58

“Around age 26, I realized having kids was a choice, not a requirement.I’m not maternal, and I can’t imagine having them. Potential partners have met my decision with hostile reactions; I’m single because I haven’t found anyone who wants to also remain childfree. I keep meeting men who become very offended that they can’t change my mind. Loved ones have gotten used to it, but I still think my parents wish things were different. But I know what’s right for me. I enjoy a full life and am not missing anything.” Sophia M., 34

“When I was 10 years old,I turned to my mom and said I didn’t want to have kids. She laughed and responded that I was a bit young to decide that and I might change my mind. But I’ve never had a biological clock go off at all, and I think my mom resigned herself to the fact that she won’t be a grandmother. She used to think I’d change my mind when I met the ‘right’ person, but I told her the right person would be someone who didn’t want or have kids.

I actually worked in childcare and as a preschool teacher for over 15 years, I’ve just never felt the need to have any kids of my own. I don’t worry about my legacy or carrying on my name because I’m doing what I need to right now: making the most of each day and not worrying out what may happen after I’m gone.” Rachel W., 46

Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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9 Childfree Women Explain What Life Is Like Without Kids …

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How Not To Be A Dick To Your Childfree Friends

Posted: August 11, 2017 at 6:22 pm

I’ve decided that bringing a squalling, blood- and pus-covered infant into this world is not for me. I have no major ish with other peoples squalling, occasionally blood- and pus-covered offspring – in fact, I find some of them downright adorable.

Most of us of the childfree persuasion do not recoil in horror at the sight of a binkie, nor do we bathe in the blood of unbaptized babies. We just, you know, dont want babies of our own. This doesnt mean we hate your babies, or cant remember what it was like being a kid, or have no real purpose in life.

But it does mean we occasionally get annoyed at all the strange things people say to us about our lifestyle choices. Thus, I give you a list of Six Strange Things People Say to Childfree-by-Choice People:

1.I thought I didnt want kids, too – but then I grew up.

Other versions of this include, Youll change your mind when you get older or Youll feel differently once youve matured. Or even, Oh youre just going through a phase.

This line of reasoning is scarily similar to things queer people often hear – its just a phase, youll get over it, youre just trying to be edgy/trendy.

But by declaring that your childfree friend will change his or her mind implies two things:

Of course, quite the opposite on both points is often true. Arriving at the decision to never have children – not just maybe not have children or well see about children – is a tough one that typically involves quite a bit of soul-searching and introspection. Not least of which because those of us who make this choice know we are going to be spending the rest of our childbearing years defending our choice.

The conclusion: Self-awareness is a hallmark of maturity, and it takes a lot of self-awareness to choose to remain childfree with eyes wide open. So there.

2. So you must really hate kids, then.

No. No, a thousand times no. Anytime I ever express with even a whiff of certainty to someone that I dont want children (nope, not even adopted ones! Just furry ones, OK?), the next time I speak to them I get gems like this one: So, I know you hate kids, but I was wondering if youd be OK if my niece hung out with us today?

Just to clarify: I said I didnt want to invite a tiny tyrant into my house to live, permanently, holding me hostage to “Blues Clues” and whatever else the kids are watching these days, every day, for the next 18 years. That is a far cry from kicking it with someones rad offspring every couple of weeks.

Just because I dont want a pet lizard or a pair of sky-high Manolos doesnt mean I hate either of those things. Lizards are super-cool! I like that they exist and I appreciate visiting them in the zoo or at friends houses, but I personally prefer a different sort of pet. Manolos are beautifully constructed shoes but alas, my feet just arent suited to that sort of life. Cest la vie – everyones different and differences are good!

3. Youre just selfish.

Despite this statement being a bitter, vitriolic insult, for some reason people feel comfortable saying it to my face when in the kid context. The thing is, no one would call me selfish if I had said, No, Id rather not lend you $241,080 youll never pay back, thanks. ($241,080 is the average cost to raise a child in 2013 according to CNN Money, by the way – and thats not including college tuition.)

So while refusing to lend your friends money or let a stranger borrow your car is just common sense, politely declining to live with and care for an expensive, time-consuming human being that you actually kinda-sorta-no-wait-really dont want? Thats just selfish! (Riiiight.)

If you think critically about it, not having kids – and all the vigilance that entails for many people – is actually a pretty unselfish choice. If you dont want to be a parent, you may not make a very good one in fact, you may wind up resentful and bitter, or even abusive (emotionally or physically).

The mythology surrounding parenthood – self-sacrifice, unpaid and often unappreciated hard labor – goes a long way to support the idea that childfree people are just selfish. But at its core, choosing to have children (and dedicate your life or large part of it to them) is a self-motivated – and therefore selfish – act.

Yes, parenting is hard. And it does require sacrifice and it is underappreciated – but that still doesnt make me selfish or wrong.

4. One day, itll just happen.

This phrase is magical thinking mixed with horrible euphemism, and leaves me feeling a little violated. Its so bizarrely perverted; if you dig beneath the surface, what the person is actually saying is this:

You say you dont want kids now, but one day all those preventative measures youre taking will inevitably fail, and BOOM! Youll have responsibility for a human being you never wanted! Isnt the miracle of life just incredible?

That’s just messed up.

And: Saying this to straight people is bad enough. But saying it to queer people? Hilare. Believe it or not, Ive actually had people say this to me, and one day, when Ive had exactly the right amount of martini, Ill respond with: You do know how babies are made, right?

5. So, whats your purpose in life, then?

The idea that people without children have no purpose is deeply disturbing – not just personally, but on a philosophical level. Humor my “woah, dude” moment: If every humans greatest purpose in life is simply just to reproduce, then what are we? Mindless replicating machines? To what end? We have children so that they can have children so that they can have children and nothing anyone does outside of that has any value or worth? I dont want to live in this dystopian world.

It boggles my mind that there are people who think this way, but it comforts me to know that perhaps they havent thought too deeply on the subject. Even profoundly dedicated stay-at-home parents surely measure their worth and guide their lives by multiple criteria, just like the rest of us. Good partner, loving parent, rock-star entrepreneur, environmental activist, kick-ass sister, long-distance Frisbee champion – its a veritable smorgasbord of lifes-purpose choices out there, and limiting yourself to just one thing means youre going to get a heck of a lot less out of life than you otherwise could.

6. But wholl take care of you when youre old?

The state, duh.

I kid, I kid. But seriously, since when is everyones offspring required to sign a legally binding contract that they will care for their parents in their old age? American culture is such that counting on your kids to visit you more than once every few years at the nearest Qwik-E-Retire-Mart they abandoned you at in exchange for your signature on a living will is asking a lot.

I joke, but the state of elder care in our nation is in serious crisis. Sure, some peoples kids grow up to be responsible, caring adults who are financially sound and emotionally mature enough to care for aging parents. But, some peoples kids grow up to be deadbeats, or assholes, or too poor to be able to help much.

Counting on children as a retirement plan is a gamble at best. Best to make other plans, even if you do have kids.

I anticipate these sorts of comments will continue unabated until I hit menopause. Putting up with people questioning my motives and stick-tuitiveness is just a side effect of making a life choice thats a little out of the ordinary.

And thats fine – I feel pretty secure in the knowledge that not wanting my own children is not the same thing as being a heartless, selfish, baby-hating bon vivant. (Im just a regular bon vivant, thank you very much.)

I look forward to a life full of other peoples kids – and being one kick-ass aunt. But I still dont want my own babies – and theres nothing wrong with that.

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How Not To Be A Dick To Your Childfree Friends

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Calgary bucking national trend of couples with fewer kids, census … – Calgary Herald

Posted: August 5, 2017 at 6:25 am

Postmedia Calgary Downtown Calgary as seen from The Bow building on Thursday May 11, 2017. Gavin Young/Postmedia Network Gavin Young Gavin Young, Gavin Young Gavin Young Gavin Young / Gavin Young

Calgary is bucking the national trend of couples having fewer kids, according to new census data released Wednesday.

Canadian census data from 2016 shows partners across the country have shown less interest in starting families over the last five years, yet Calgary couples are opting for more baby rattles and cribs.

University of Calgary sociology professor Pallavi Banerjee said it could be the result of conservative family values across Alberta, a growth in immigrant populations in the city and a fairly stable economy until recent years.

Calgary, until recently, had the largest growing immigrant population, many of which align with conservative values that consider marriage and having children as important to family life, explains Banerjee.

The city has seen over 61,000 births since 2011.

Despite minor changes in national family dynamics since the previous census in 2011, dramatic shifts have taken place over time.

Census 2016 data shows 21.3 per cent of couples in Canada are common-law compared to a mere 6.3 per cent in 1981.

In Calgary 15.5 per cent of all couples are common-law, including Sam Ridgway, 24, and her 30-year-old partner. They have lived together for almost five years and said their recent decision to get married next year was nothing but a practical choice.

We took a long time to even talk about getting married because we didnt think it was something we needed to do, Ridgway said. It became a pragmatic thing because we want to move to the U.K. and I have citizenship, but Andy doesnt.

She said if it wasnt for their future plans its unlikely they would ever tie the knot.

Weve seen our parents get divorced. Weve seen our friends parents get divorced, said Ridgway. Its not a magic piece of paper and I think people are just willing to accept that if it has meaning you should do it, and if it doesnt you dont have to.

Its a huge expense to get married, have kids, have a house and its just something that most of the people your age arent in a position to do, like our parents were, said Ridgeway.

The new data also shows Canadian couples are having fewer children.

Partners with children make up 26.5 per cent of households in 2016, compared to 31.5 per cent in 2001.

I think it has become slightly less stigmatized for women to remain childfree thanks to the feminist movement, said Banerjee. Women now have the vocabulary to say that they would like to remain childfree without being social ostracized and there are more and more male partners on board.

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Ode: Divorced and dating again, childfree by choice | KWIT – KWIT

Posted: July 28, 2017 at 7:20 pm

“You must have babies so the Muslims dont take over!

Ally Karsyn tells her story live at Ode. The theme was “Stigmas: An ode to the power of opening up.”

In the long-term parking lot, I meet a middle-aged woman wearing sunglasses, sneakers and yoga pants. Her hair is casually swept into a ponytail. Shes flying to Phoenix for business. Im off to Seattle for fun. She cant remember the last time shes gone on vacation. I go somewhere every year.

Something about our conversation makes her ask, Do you have any little ones at home?

No, thats why I can travel like this, I say. Just pick up and go anywhere.

Do it now, she says, because when you have kids

Her voice trails off. I smile politely. She said, When.

I didnt tell her that there wouldnt be a when for me. Im childfree by choice. I didnt tell her that Im divorced, after four years, and dating again.

Before my divorce was final, my well-meaning mother started saying things like, Oh, Id really like to see you find a nice guy. To which I replied, Ive got nothing but time. I don’t have any biological clocks ticking! But then she said, If having kids has taught me anything, its never say never.

I’m probably not the daughter she expected.

In the small farm town where I grew up, it was acceptable, if not encouraged, to get married at 22 to the son of a farmer with a Dutch surname. (That was better than living in sin.) And it was acceptable to buy that house in the suburbs. Doing these things bestowed comfort and approval in the form of verbal praise, plus gifts.

But panic set in with each measuring cup and Tupperware container I received. What sent me over the edge was the shiny red, 22-pound KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. It dictated I would be spending my weekends baking brownies like my mom did, not biking through rice paddies in Bali, shopping the souks in Marrakesh or eating tapas in Seville.

Being showered with kitchenwares brought back childhood memories of being told to dry the dishes while my older brother played computer games, less than 10 feet away. Id protest, Why cant he help you? Its just cause hes a boy!

I not only rejected the gendered household division of labor, I didnt have much interest in playing with dolls or Barbies. Instead, I took cat photos with my little yellow Kodak camera. I cut and pasted pictures out of magazines and wrote my own stories. I went on outdoor adventures with my three imaginary friends.

These quirks were cute when I was a little girl. Then I grew up.

In my late teens, when I first declared I was never having kids, a family member told me, You must have babies so the Muslims dont take over! Now in my late-20s, the most popular response has been: Youll change your mind.

This sweeping declaration doesnt take into account my underactive thyroid that occasionally hits me with debilitating fatigue or my susceptibility to anxiety and depression when diet, sleep and exercise are compromised. (But hey, kids wont affect that.) It doesnt account for the sense of purpose derived from my precarious journalism career or the desire to travel in order to better understand the world and my place in it.

When I was younger and far more insecure, my college boyfriend convinced me that few men would want to be with an ambitious, free-spirited woman like me. In rural Iowa, I was too different. He promised the kind of life I wanted. Every three to five years, wed move for my job. That was the agreement. That and no kids. I thought, This must be as good as it gets.

I married him.

But after a couple years, my stepping stone became his anchor. He had settled into a comfortable, well-paying technical career. And I was checking JournalismJobs.com every day. My incessant searching finally made him crack. I dont want to live like a nomad, he said. That and his affinity for alcohol made me leave. I took the 22-pound mixer with me.

Then, a strange thing happened. For the first time, I had people telling me, Good thing you dont have kids!

I could look at my starter marriage as a failure or a mistake. But I dont.

By getting divorced and essentially doing the thing I was not supposed to do, I freed myself from crushing expectations. I learned that the only real mistake would be believing Im unworthy of love. Or joy. Even it looks a little different.

Now, I get to try again.

I downloaded Bumble, Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel. I hadnt been on a first date in more than seven years. Back then, these kinds of dating apps didnt exist. Now I stood in line at the grocery store and swiped through med students, airmen, farmers, truck drivers, pro-athletes and engineers. Never in my life have I seen more photos of men holding up dead pheasants, fish and deer. And then there were the ones with kids usually their nieces and nephews. Even that says, Im looking for the mother of my children. And thats not me.

I finally found a match on Tinder, but after 15 messages back and forth about weather and work, he brought up handcuffs and spanking. No thanks.

I had better luck on Coffee Meets Bagel and matched with Marcos the 31-year-old music-loving chef. Latino. Five-foot-10. Religion: Other.

When I asked Marcos what made him want to be a chef, he said, Usually, men arent in the kitchen if youre raised in a Mexican family, but since it was me and my two brothers, my mom taught us how to cook.

His enlightened response won me over. Our first date lasted six-hours, filled with coffee, crepes and great conversation. It ended with a goodnight kiss in the misting rain. We kept seeing each other, and after a couple months, I decided to tell my mom about the nice guy Id found, which begged the question, Whats his name?

Marcos.

Does he have a last name?

Vela.

Is heeeee

Mexican.

Oh, she said, I thought maybe he was Italian.

But she pronounces it, Eye-talian.

When Marcos had his big, black beard, he could have passed as Pakistani or Indian. (In fact, people have come up to him speaking Hindi.) But hes most definitely from Mexicoone of the Dreamers, tossed over a border fence by his teenage mother when he was 2 years old.

They left Acapulco. The coastal city in southern Mexico is part of a region densely populated with descendants of African slaves. Or people who, today, identify as Blaxicansblack Mexicans. A heritage he is proud of yet removed from.

A few weeks ago, we were walking through a flea market. In between the nostalgia-inducing model airplanes and My Little Ponies, he pointed to an illustrated reprinting of The Man Without a Country and said, Thats me.

Instantly, I knew that feeling of being out of place when you want to belong. But cant.

When I told my mother more about the talkative, well-groomed, fashion-savvy man Id foundthe one who can pick out my clothes and cook for meshe said, Just make sure he’s not too different. Which I took to mean, Make sure he’s not gay.

From our first date, I knew Marcos was different.

Over brunch, he answered a call from his mom. He was boyishly embarrassed at first but still told her, I love you, before he hung up. He apologized for the interruption and went on to tell me about his job at an upscale, modern American restauranthow he works from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. five days a week and teaches free music lessons in the Latino community on one of his days off. He shared his dream of opening his own restaurant, one in Australia, then Germany. He admired my confidence and wit, my independence and ambition.

Going against the advice on the Internet, I told Marcos that Im divorced and I dont want kids.

He stared at me with his deep brown eyes, reminiscent of two perfect little cups of coffee that I could drink in all day. His face softened into a smile and he said, Me, too.

Ally Karsyn is the arts producer and weekday afternoon announcer at Siouxland Public Media. She is also the founder, producer and host of Ode.

Odeis a storytelling series where community members tell true stories on stage to promote positive impact through empathy. Its produced by Siouxland Public Media.

The next event is 7 p.m. Friday, August 4 atBe Yoga Studioin downtown Sioux City. The theme is Little Did I Know. Tickets are available atkwit.org. For more information, visitfacebook.com/odestorytelling.

This story was produced as part of anImages & Voices of HopeRestorative Narrative Fellowship, which supports media practitioners who want to tell stories of resilience in communities around the U.S. and abroad.ivohis a nonprofit committed to strengthening the media’s role as an agent of change and world benefit.

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Ode: Divorced and dating again, childfree by choice – KWIT

Posted: July 26, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Ally Karsyn tells her story live at Ode. The theme was “Stigmas: An ode to the power of opening up.”

In the long-term parking lot, I meet a middle-aged woman wearing sunglasses, sneakers and yoga pants. Her hair is casually swept into a ponytail. Shes flying to Phoenix for business. Im off to Seattle for fun. She cant remember the last time shes gone on vacation. I go somewhere every year.

Something about our conversation makes her ask, Do you have any little ones at home?

No, thats why I can travel like this, I say. Just pick up and go anywhere.

Do it now, she says, because when you have kids

Her voice trails off. I smile politely. She said, When.

I didnt tell her that there wouldnt be a when for me. Im childfree by choice. I didnt tell her that Im divorced, after four years, and dating again.

Before my divorce was final, my well-meaning mother started saying things like, Oh, Id really like to see you find a nice guy. To which I replied, Ive got nothing but time. I don’t have any biological clocks ticking! But then she said, If having kids has taught me anything, its never say never.

I’m probably not the daughter she expected.

In the small farm town where I grew up, it was acceptable, if not encouraged, to get married at 22 to the son of a farmer with a Dutch surname. (That was better than living in sin.) And it was acceptable to buy that house in the suburbs. Doing these things bestowed comfort and approval in the form of verbal praise, plus gifts.

But panic set in with each measuring cup and Tupperware container I received. What sent me over the edge was the shiny red, 22-pound KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. It dictated I would be spending my weekends baking brownies like my mom did, not biking through rice paddies in Bali, shopping the souks in Marrakesh or eating tapas in Seville.

Being showered with kitchenwares brought back childhood memories of being told to dry the dishes while my older brother played computer games, less than 10 feet away. Id protest, Why cant he help you? Its just cause hes a boy!

I not only rejected the gendered household division of labor, I didnt have much interest in playing with dolls or Barbies. Instead, I took cat photos with my little yellow Kodak camera. I cut and pasted pictures out of magazines and wrote my own stories. I went on outdoor adventures with my three imaginary friends.

These quirks were cute when I was a little girl. Then I grew up.

In my late teens, when I first declared I was never having kids, a family member told me, You must have babies so the Muslims dont take over! Now in my late-20s, the most popular response has been: Youll change your mind.

This sweeping declaration doesnt take into account my underactive thyroid that occasionally hits me with debilitating fatigue or my susceptibility to anxiety and depression when diet, sleep and exercise are compromised. (But hey, kids wont affect that.) It doesnt account for the sense of purpose derived from my precarious journalism career or the desire to travel in order to better understand the world and my place in it.

When I was younger and far more insecure, my college boyfriend convinced me that few men would want to be with an ambitious, free-spirited woman like me. In rural Iowa, I was too different. He promised the kind of life I wanted. Every three to five years, wed move for my job. That was the agreement. That and no kids. I thought, This must be as good as it gets.

I married him.

But after a couple years, my stepping stone became his anchor. He had settled into a comfortable, well-paying technical career. And I was checking JournalismJobs.com every day. My incessant searching finally made him crack. I dont want to live like a nomad, he said. That and his affinity for alcohol made me leave. I took the 22-pound mixer with me.

Then, a strange thing happened. For the first time, I had people telling me, Good thing you dont have kids!

I could look at my starter marriage as a failure or a mistake. But I dont.

By getting divorced and essentially doing the thing I was not supposed to do, I freed myself from crushing expectations. I learned that the only real mistake would be believing Im unworthy of love. Or joy. Even it looks a little different.

Now, I get to try again.

I downloaded Bumble, Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel. I hadnt been on a first date in more than seven years. Back then, these kinds of dating apps didnt exist. Now I stood in line at the grocery store and swiped through med students, airmen, farmers, truck drivers, pro-athletes and engineers. Never in my life have I seen more photos of men holding up dead pheasants, fish and deer. And then there were the ones with kids usually their nieces and nephews. Even that says, Im looking for the mother of my children. And thats not me.

I finally found a match on Tinder, but after 15 messages back and forth about weather and work, he brought up handcuffs and spanking. No thanks.

I had better luck on Coffee Meets Bagel and matched with Marcos the 31-year-old music-loving chef. Latino. Five-foot-10. Religion: Other.

When I asked Marcos what made him want to be a chef, he said, Usually, men arent in the kitchen if youre raised in a Mexican family, but since it was me and my two brothers, my mom taught us how to cook.

His enlightened response won me over. Our first date lasted six-hours, filled with coffee, crepes and great conversation. It ended with a goodnight kiss in the misting rain. We kept seeing each other, and after a couple months, I decided to tell my mom about the nice guy Id found, which begged the question, Whats his name?

Marcos.

Does he have a last name?

Vela.

Is heeeee

Mexican.

Oh, she said, I thought maybe he was Italian.

But she pronounces it, Eye-talian.

When Marcos had his big, black beard, he could have passed as Pakistani or Indian. (In fact, people have come up to him speaking Hindi.) But hes most definitely from Mexicoone of the Dreamers, tossed over a border fence by his teenage mother when he was 2 years old.

They left Acapulco. The coastal city in southern Mexico is part of a region densely populated with descendants of African slaves. Or people who, today, identify as Blaxicansblack Mexicans. A heritage he is proud of yet removed from.

A few weeks ago, we were walking through a flea market. In between the nostalgia-inducing model airplanes and My Little Ponies, he pointed to an illustrated reprinting of The Man Without a Country and said, Thats me.

Instantly, I knew that feeling of being out of place when you want to belong. But cant.

When I told my mother more about the talkative, well-groomed, fashion-savvy man Id foundthe one who can pick out my clothes and cook for meshe said, Just make sure he’s not too different. Which I took to mean, Make sure he’s not gay.

From our first date, I knew Marcos was different.

Over brunch, he answered a call from his mom. He was boyishly embarrassed at first but still told her, I love you, before he hung up. He apologized for the interruption and went on to tell me about his job at an upscale, modern American restauranthow he works from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. five days a week and teaches free music lessons in the Latino community on one of his days off. He shared his dream of opening his own restaurant, one in Australia, then Germany. He admired my confidence and wit, my independence and ambition.

Going against the advice on the Internet, I told Marcos that Im divorced and I dont want kids.

He stared at me with his deep brown eyes, reminiscent of two perfect little cups of coffee that I could drink in all day. His face softened into a smile and he said, Me, too.

Ally Karsyn is the arts producer and weekday afternoon announcer at Siouxland Public Media. She is also the founder, producer and host of Ode.

Odeis a storytelling series where community members tell true stories on stage to promote positive impact through empathy. Its produced by Siouxland Public Media.

The next event is 7 p.m. Friday, August 4 atBe Yoga Studioin downtown Sioux City. The theme is Little Did I Know. Tickets are available atkwit.org. For more information, visitfacebook.com/odestorytelling.

This story was produced as part of anImages & Voices of HopeRestorative Narrative Fellowship, which supports media practitioners who want to tell stories of resilience in communities around the U.S. and abroad.ivohis a nonprofit committed to strengthening the media’s role as an agent of change and world benefit.

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Home | Childfree Women UK & Ireland

Posted: July 5, 2017 at 9:19 am

We’re a private website, meaning that your content here is only visible to other approved, logged-in members of our network. ‘Content’ encompasses anything you publishon our pages- for example, profileicon, profileanswers, forumposts, groupsyou create, eventsyou attend, etc.

Each of our profile questions requires an answer as part of the registration process in order for your membership to be approved. This is for the safety of all members.We can’t force ID checks on everyone as that would exclude anyone who can’t pay the fee, so making it mandatory for you to tell us a bit about yourself upon signupis our way of vetting applicants and deterring trolls. We need everyone to play ball for it to work, but we’re not asking you to bare all – we just want to get a sense of who you are, and see genuine indicators that you identify as a happilychildfree womanand that this topic means something to you. You can amend and/or make any of your answers invisible at any time after your membership hasbeen approved.

We also require that you upload a profile iconsooner or later. This is again for the safety of all members as part of our ‘human check’ to deter spammers and imposters. Youriconcan either be a photo of you, or an image ofsomething meaningful to or representative of you -for example, your pets, your favourite flower, a holiday landscape, a piece of art you’ve made, etc. Profiles without an icon will not show up in Member Search results, so it’s worth having one in order to get the most out of our service. A uniqueprofile iconalso has generaladvantages socially by making your profile appear more approachable and trustworthy to potential new friends, and aneye-catching image can serveas a conversationstarter when other members are reading your profile.

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Celebrating ChildFreedom on the Fourth of July – HuffPost

Posted: July 4, 2017 at 8:23 am

On the fourth of July, the United States celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which to date, happened 241 years ago. Two days before, on July 2, 1776, the Congress for the thirteen colonies voted to declare freedom from British rule. And freedom remains a deeply held value to Americans today.

In America and around the world, another specific group of people greatly value the experience of freedom as well. These are people who are childfree they have no children by choice. Over the years, Ive surveyed the childfree on many topics, and one in particular asked respondents to get to the core of the reason they are childfree. I asked people to answer this question: If you could sum up the reason you are childfree in one word, what would it be?

Of the nearly 600 respondents, here are the top ten words they gave. Starting with #10, which came in at a tie:

And the #1 word people gave as the reason they are childfree: freedom.

Freedom to pursue a life that reflects what is most important to them. Freedom to go after their dreams and goals. Freedom to live their lives as they wish. Many, many childfree see the responsibility of raising children as greatly limiting their experience of freedom. And they value it more than any amount of desire they may have for the experience of parenthood.

From interviewing the childfree since the late 1990s, another word that deserves discussion is relationship. Many childfree who are in committed relationships speak of their concern about how having children would change their relationship, and change it forever. Even if the couple has some level of desire to become parents, ultimately they dont trust that having children would change the relationship in a positive way. To them, their committed relationship is Number One, and many decide that having children is not worth risking what they have right now, which is a great relationship.

For me personally, the two words on the top ten list that resonate most are: disinterest and freedom. Both, however, cluster under a larger word: life. From as far back as my teen years, when I thought about how I wanted to live my life, the experience of parenthood was not something I wanted as part of it. I babysat a lot as a teen, and this experience confirmed these feelings. Over time, I have witnessed loved ones raising their children, and while I see the fulfilling aspects of it, I have never wanted the day-to-day life that parenthood brings or for it to be the central focus of my life.

So, on July 4th, I celebrate what our countrys founders achieved. I celebrate the freedoms we have in our great country, some for which we continue to have to fight. I celebrate the freedom that comes from a life that does not include the raising of children. And I celebrate how this freedom continues to serve as a gateway to learnings, experiences, adventures, and ways of contributing to others and our world that give me a rich sense of fulfillment and purpose in my life.

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Myths and Facts About Living Childfree – RESOLVE

Posted: July 1, 2017 at 9:21 am

Myth: Remaining childfree means remaining just as miserable as we are right now.

Fact: Only part of your current pain is from actual lack of a child. Some of it is part of a grief process youre in the midst of. Another part is the maddening uncertainty of whether or not you will ever get to be a parent.

Myth: A Childfree life is an empty life.

Fact: Living childfree is empty for the couples who do not find new interests. Childfree people fill their lives with work, hobbies, artistic endeavors, political causes and they also fill them with children! Children involved in organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Scouts, etc.,

Myth: Childfree living is never a choice if you are infertile.

Fact: Certainly for many people, alternatives such as adoption, donor insemination, and in vitro fertilization are preferable. For those couples, childfree living would be the end of the road. For some couples however, those who are forced to re-examine their values, remaining childfree is a good decision. For them it is the next best thing, right after biological parenthood.

Myth: If I remain childfree, Ill feel emotionally wounded every time I see a child.

Fact: Once they have grieved and made a definite decision to remain childfree, couples tend to feel occasional twinges of sadness, but no more stabbing pain.

Myth: Arent people who remain childfree selfish and immature? Arent their marriages unhappy?

Fact: Extensive psychosocial studies have found childfree couples to be just as happy as couples with children. And contrary to the stereotype of selfishness, a high percentage of childfree people are teachers, social workers, or people who spend their weekends doing volunteer work with children or for a social cause. Its far more common for selfish, immature people to have children for selfish, immature reasons.

Myth: If we remain childfree, Ill be unhappy in old age.

Fact: Children are no insurance policy against loneliness in old age. You cant be sure what old age will be like. You cant be sure children would live near you, get along with you or be a comfort.

Myth: Well feel like fools if we decide to remain childfree after all of that trying.

Fact: No one else can decide for you whether adoption or childfree living is right for you. Its your life. You have the right to decide what to do with it. Deciding not to have a child does not take away the meaning of those years of trying. The two of you shared something important together, and if youre like most couples, youre coming out the other end more skilled at talking to each other, more aware of your values, and more appreciative of each other. You have the right to shift gears.

Myth: If we remain childfree, well be sorry later

Fact: Of course there will be days when you wonder if you would have been happier if youd made another choice. Everyone wonders. Remember that infertile couples who adopt or choose donor insemination, etc. will also wonder. The fact that whatever you choose was your second choice after you didnt get pregnant adds poignancy to the question.

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Can Everyone On RHONY Stop Shaming Carole Radziwill For Not Having Children? – Refinery29

Posted: June 30, 2017 at 12:22 am

While I can at least see why Tinsley wrongly tried to shame Caroles life choices, Ramonas childfree shaming is much weirder and unexplainable, like many of her antics this season. During the “New Low” conversation that broke Bethenny and Ramonas frenemyship for good, when Ramona attempted to use the Skinnygirl moguls 6-year-old daughter to shame her, Carole stood up for her best friend. She calmly asked if Ramona really couldnt see why Bethenny may be ignoring her in that moment. The pinot grigio fan shot back, “You dont have a daughter, so you dont understand.” Ramona point black “insulted” Carole, as the Kennedy family widow put it, because shes never had a child. And, of course, Ramona made it worse, adding, “You cant relate.” Carole rightly pointed out anyone, regardless of their parenting status, can understand empathy. Still, Ramona stares at Carole with blank eyes and shakes her head no, signaling she doesnt actually agree with that statement. Yes, really, Ramona believes only fellow moms can understand why she would attack Bethenny in such a public manner and pull her daughter into the drama.

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Why am I expected to have children just because I’m a woman? – Irish Times

Posted: June 27, 2017 at 7:20 am

The endless stereotypes about women include the myths that we all dream of nurturing a child; although this stereotype is accurate for some women, it is not for all

Im sitting at a table with a bunch of women and a couple of men. The conversation is about children: how many we hope to have, baby names, would we rather a boy or a girl?

It goes around in a circle and everyone is excited to answer these questions. When its my turn to answer, Im not excited. Im a 20 year old journalism student in my second year of college. My whole life is ahead of me. So how many children do you want? I respond None.

The whole room goes quiet and awkward, until someone chimes in, You are young though, you will want them in the future. The next person is asked the same question, he is a man, he also says he does not want children, but this time there is no awkward silence, they accept his answer and move on.

Perhaps most women do dream of having children and of becoming a mother, but the fact is I dont. I want a career and I want that career to be my child, I dont see anything wrong with that.

Throughout my life, I have never wanted a child or fantasised about motherhood. Its not what I want out of life. I salute to the women who dream of becoming a mother and giving birth, for having the strength to deal with breastfeeding and the constant care of another, more vulnerable being.

I empathise with women who want to be a mothers and cant, but just because I dont desire children does not make me selfish. Many female celebrities get pitied for having a child-free life by choice. Successful women who have chosen a child-free life that they have been shamed for and it has only made them stronger in their decision.

Jennifer Aniston lives a child-free life and refuses to be pitied for it. I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad childless human, she told Marie Claire magazine.

Oprah Winfrey also chose not to have children, saying, If I had kids, my kids would hate me, because something in my life would have had to suffer, and it would probably have been them.

Helen Mirren waited to have kids and it never happened: It was not my destiny. I didnt care what people thought. It was only boring old men who would ask me. And whenever they went, What, no children? Well you better get on with it, old girl, Id say No! F**koff!. Nice one, Helen.

When they detect reluctance, parents say things like you have no idea what you are missing but that doesnt make sense. I see mothers everywhere and while I know its not the whole picture I get a clear sense of what it entails. Why would their lives change our minds? If we dont want what we see on the outside, why would we want what we see on the inside?

The endless stereotypes about women include the myths that we all dream of nurturing a child; although this stereotype is accurate for some women, it is not for all. In fact, there are many men who also suit this stereotype.

From a very young age, I have never seen a child in my future. I dont have a maternal bone in my body. I am going to college to get a degree to find a stimulating career path, one I do not want to give up or compromise on for a child. I shouldnt be expected to want a child because I have a uterus.

There are many reasons I dont want to be a parent. I never fully had a childhood myself having spent many of my early years looking after my autistic sister. To some degree, I have already experienced what being a mother is like and I can safely say its not for me.

I also worry that my child might have special needs and that as a result I would not be able to live the life I imagine for myself. My ambition in life is to have a full-time career not to be a full-time carer.

Seeing a woman who is resolutely childfree seems to seems to give people licence to call women selfish, self-absorbed, and shallow. There are many reasons these women do not want children. Pregnancy itself takes a serious toll on a persons life and it consumes the person. Fertility issues are often a reason as when faced with them, people can question the necessity of having kids.

There are a lot of expectations with having children: to be a perfect mother and to make perfect choices. Not everyone wants the pressure (I dont). And not all women are programmed with maternal instinct. Career ambitions can take priority and children do not fit into every lifestyle.

I have my reasons, but reasons should not be necessary. I shouldnt have to explain. Our choices about what we do with our bodies are deeply personal. We should stop pitying or putting down people who chose to have a child-free life.

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