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Category Archives: Childfree

Deciding whether to have kids or not is hard, but there is a way forward – ABC News

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 11:15 am

I struggled with how to start this story, and maybe it's no surprise given I'm paralysed by the very thing it's about: whether or not to have a baby.

As friends welcome newborns, deal with infertility or proudly announce they want to live childfree, I wonder how do they know?

I'm baby-curious, if you like. But what once felt like the freedom of choice has at 34 become something I worry about every day.

It's been a relatively private torment until I started hearing from other women experiencing the same anxiety of indecision while writing about people who are childfree by choice.

"There are a lot of people who are undecided, but there is not a lot of permission to speak those words," says Ann Davidman, a marriage and family therapist from California who has been helping men and women make a call about parenthood since the '90s.

"People will say they feel tortured by not knowing and not knowing how to move forward when it appears everyone else seems to just know."

I am still in limbo despite lots of soul searching, Deep and Meaningfuls with my partner, quizzing mum friends, and reading plenty of books and articles.

But I did learn a thing or two from speaking to Ms Davidman and a perinatal psychologist about the ways you can move forward when you're unsure.

When I speak to Ms Davidman, I tell her this decision has been weighing on me for years.

"It breaks my heart when I hear about people spending so much time trying to sort this out," she says.

Ms Davidman co-authored a bookwithDenise L. Carlini,Motherhood Is It For Me? Your Step-by-Step to Clarity,and describes herself as a "motherhood clarity mentor".

Skye will give birth to her first child in the coming days and is looking forward to meeting her "little one". Motherhood though? Not so much.

Typically, she works with clients for three months, a timeframe she says leaves most with enough clarity to make a decision.

"Sometimes I get a picture of their baby a year later. Sometimes I get a picture of their dog," she says.

According to Ms Davidman, the problem for me (and commonly others) could be I'm not working out what I want before I concentrate on what I'm going to do. It's why many of us feel unable to move forward.

"I am always making a distinction between what someone wants and what their decision is going to be. They are not always the same. Also often people are stuck because they think about the two together."

What about you? How have you made a choice about parenthood, or what are the things that help while you're dealing with indecision? Let's chat life@abc.net.au.

In her Australian perinatal psychology practice, clinical psychologist Bronwyn Leigh sees women and men unsure or nervous about parenthood.

They often have two questions.

We all want to be good mums and dads, but Dr Leigh says it can be more difficult for people who have issues with their own parents especially their mothers.

"That can tend to leave people in a more vulnerable position to feel they can't cope with being a parent themselves," she says.

There are a range of other fears and external influences that can cloud your choice around becoming a parent.

Dr Leigh says it's helpful to consider how a baby will change your life.

"The reality is there are lots of adjustments to make in having a baby, and it is important to make those otherwise one doesn't cope very well when baby arrives," she says.

"Think about how your lifestyle and relationships will change."

With that said, Ms Davidman warns against making lists of pros and cons.

"It's not a process of pros and cons, it's really looking at motherhood, looking at what you want for you," she says.

Clickable headlines for me include: "Why I regret becoming a mother." "Childfree life is the good life." "Becoming a mum is the best thing I ever did."

But Ms Davidman believes research is only beneficial if you do it the right way. And hearing about other people's parenting or childfree experiences might not be it.

"Asking people questions doesn't help you discover what is true for you.

"If you do interview people, ask them what their process was of making a decision you may learn something from that."

From feeling judged to public yelling matches, seven straight-shooting parents share the hardest part about parenting.

Dr Leigh says while I've been researching it intellectually, I should also be looking at it emotionally and psychologically too.

"By all means do all the research on Google, but one has to think psychologically about how would I go transitioning into parenthood and giving up certain aspects of my life?

"What might it be like to have a baby? What would be difficult about that? What would I like?

"Use reflective questions around trying to preview in part what it would be like."

She also recommends hanging out with parents and babies. It's one thing I've been doing right so far.

I asked both experts if there was something to be said for not making a call leaving things up to time and fate and all that jazz.

They said that was still making a decision of some kind, but maybe not the best one.

"If you want to let time or something outside of you decide for you, that is a choice," says Ms Davidman.

Dr Leigh says it would be a passive decision and it's often better to have made an active one.

"If you have made a concerted decision and pursued that, you can hold onto that in time when you feel wobbly."

Something that could come in handy no matter what you choose.

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My next step?

Ms Davidman says I should first accept it's OK to be unsure.

"When we are caught at any crossroads and we're not making headway, we need to take a step back accept it's OK to not to know," she says.

It's comforting to hear that neither choice is wrong or right.

Dr Leigh says while speaking to someone might not help you decide, it can help you feel supported whether that's a professional or someone you trust.

In my quest for answers over the years I came across an advice column on the topic, by Cheryl Strayed. It's something I've come back to it when I've felt lost. One line that stands out?

"There will likely be no clarity there will only be the choice you make and the sure knowledge that either one will contain some loss."

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Since the age of 5, I’ve known that I don’t want to be a mother – CBC.ca

Posted: November 30, 2019 at 10:42 am

At a very young age, I knew I didnt want to become a mother. An old family video shows five-year-old me declaring that I never wanted to have kids or get pregnant.

Before I even truly understood the ramifications of motherhood, I knew it wouldnt be the right choice for me. Yet decades later, Im still questioned by others about this deeply personal decision.

In my mid-20s, I felt intense societal pressure to become a mother. I was of child-bearing age, in a steady relationship and had a career. My friends were beginning to have babies, and people wanted to know when I was going to start my own family. The words, Im not having children almost always set off a volley of questions. It seemed as if my decision not to have children was somehow insulting to others.

Worse than the questions were the snide remarks or laughter. I was repeatedly told that I would change my mind or that I was making the wrong decision. Often, these comments came from the most unexpected people. My dental hygienist looked at me in shock and asked, Really? Never? Youre never having children?! A new colleague told me I was too young to know what I did or didnt want. A nail technician was so insistent that I have children that I finally stopped going to her shop. (Her reasoning? I was letting down the entire country by not making new Canadians.)

Having reached my late 20s without meeting another soul that didnt want children, I finally went in search of others like me online. I just wanted validation that I wasnt the only woman in the world who didnt want to become a mother. But I wasnt able to find any communities that spoke to me a young, educated, childfree woman.

So I created that space. I procured a loan through Futurpreneur Canada, and then created a website and online community, naming it Childfree is Not a Dirty Word to describe the way people had reacted to my choice. The community quickly became a haven for other childfree people around the world and is now more than 40,000 members strong.

As a Canadian, Im lucky to be able to share my story with people from around the world, especially people living in places that are far less accepting of a childfree or even childless-by-chance life. Here in Canada, I may get quizzical looks or questions about my choice, but ultimately, Im free to choose the life thats right for me. In other countries, people talk about losing their jobs, being left by their partners, getting shunned by their families and being cast out of their communities because they dont have children.

According to a report from Statistics Canada, based on results from the 2016 Canadian Census, proportionally fewer households are composed of a mom, dad and kids family, and more Canadians are living alone or as part of a couple without any children.

From 2011 to 2016, the number of couples living without children rose faster (+7.2%) than the number of couples with children (+2.3%), the report adds. As a result, the share of couples living with at least one child fell from 56.7% in 2001 to 51.1% in 2016. This is the lowest level on record.

Despite the increasing number of people deciding to forgo parenthood, our lives are still mysteriously absent from mainstream media. A few sitcoms, including The Big Bang Theory, have developed a strong, childfree female character only to have the character change her mind, reinforcing the stereotype that no woman can be truly happy without children. This subliminal messaging, while irritating for the childfree, can be heartbreaking for the childless, people who wanted children but were unable to become parents.

A deeper examination of the childfree choice will be presented to Canadians in To Kid or Not to Kid, a documentary presented by The Passionate Eye. The film follows Maxine Trump, a filmmaker, as she decides whether she wants to have children. To Kid or Not to Kid confronts the notions that living childfree is somehow wrong, strange or selfish, and delves into why this choice is often mischaracterized or considered too taboo to talk about at all.

Watch To Kid or Not to Kid on The Passionate Eye.

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10 top tips to take the stress out of Christmas shopping – Offaly Express

Posted: at 10:42 am

Edenderry's Ciara Dempsey from the My Camera, My Boys and Me blog to bring you all things family life, parenting, fashion and lifestyle. This week Ciara has 10 top tips to take the stress out of Christmas shopping. Hallelujah!

1. Shop during school times

Try to time the majority of your shopping when the children are in school and the shops arent so busy. Not only will you be childfree but so are the shops.

2. Online shopping

With four children I've discovered the joy that is online shopping. Not only do you avoid the chaos of the shops like the crowds, parking and the noise, you can do it all in the comfort of your own home without having to set foot off the couch.

3. Late night shopping

Coming up to Christmas shops extend their opening hours, so this means another good time to shop is in the late evening when all the children are in bed. So it's not only a great time to get those certain special gifts but also time out for you.

4. Start early

As crazy as it sounds if you can start in September then do it, pick up little and often. Before you know it most of your Christmas shopping will be done before December rolls around.

5. Savings club

My husband and I have a savings club in stores like our local food store and butchers. This takes away a lot of financial stress on the run-up to Christmas. We start saving as little as 5a week as early in the year as we can.

6. Make lists

Make lists of who you have to buy for and what you have in mind for them. If needed include sizes of clothes and shoes. This will take away unnecessary pondering while out shopping.

7. Buy in bulk

See a good deal on toys, chocolates or candles - get them. Buy plenty if your Christmas list is a long one. Selection boxes and candles are always ideal to hand out over the Christmas period.

8. Divide and conquer

If you and your partner manage to go shopping together, split up. That way you're getting double the amount of gifts in half the time.

9. Eat well and leave early

If you make sure you hit the shops very early in the day you will avoid the usual lunchtime hustle and bustle. Also if you ensure to eat properly before you leave you will avoid the usual task of wrestling for a table in the food courts when the hunger kicks in.

10. Remember its the thought that counts

It's simple but true, dont spend time agonising over the perfect gift. The thought and the effort are what mean so much more to the person in receipt of the gift.

Hope these tips help and remember happy shopping. For more from Ciara, head over to her Instagram account HERE.

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Im childfree, not childless heres why that difference matters – Stylist Magazine

Posted: October 24, 2019 at 11:39 am

This is why I advocate for the use of the descriptor childfree instead of childless for women like me. Childfree implies a choice that many women dont know they have. A freedom its right there in the name. More than that, its a rebellionagainst societal expectations and community norms.

Historically, society doesnt like women taking freedoms for themselves, especially when the survival of the entire species is apparently at stake, so its vital to express solidarity, be a role model, and promote preferred terminology like childfree. Its a way to own my status.

Claiming freedom from societal norms is never without cost. Having children is perceived as a duty, first to the individual family or genetic line, secondly to the immediate community (at a family funeral a few months ago, the religious leader informed us mourners that a womans job was to have babies) and lastly, to the species. Theres an implication of What if every woman thought like you? as though I personally am supposed to be responsible for the continuation of the entire human race.

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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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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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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.

Continued here:

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Posted: July 5, 2017 at 9:19 am

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