Monday, April 4, 2011

The No-Baby Boom

Thank you to CFVixen for alerting me to an article in Details entitled The No-Baby Boom: A Growing Number of Couples are Choosing to Live Child-Free. And You Might be Joining Their Ranks. The author of this article writes from the point of the male half of a married couple who caved into the decision to have children (even though they were at best indifferent) and then changed their mind after a miscarriage and now embrace the childfree life. Lots of statistics and information you and I already know, but still a good read nonetheless.

10 comments:

brettc said...

That article was pretty well written in my opinion. Lots of perspective from CF people, and no major bingos like a lot of supposed CF articles include. Plus it's nice to see it in a fairly major magazine. It's sad that it took a miscarriage for them to decide to be CF. Maybe other people that are on the fence will make the decision to become CF after reading it.

redwings19 said...

WOW. Did you see those comments? This is the attitude of other parents? "I'm GRATEFUL that I decided not to give birth. I would hate to raise a child AND combat your hate and judgment. Just who do you think you are? It makes me afraid for my niece and nephew." Yes!

I thought it was a great article. Very honest and very open. I have known since I was 12 that I didn't want to be a parent. I almost got talked into kids in my first marriage but it was a "whenever the stars align" type of conversation at best. It was never gonna happen. And I was 20.

I applaud anyone who is strong enough to embrace their decision and own it, whether that decision is to have children or not. GOOD FOR YOU, now rock it my friends! And quit harrasing the other side. Seriously, we need more judment thrown at us? How about support from both sides in these troubling times?

kim said...

I have kids and I enjoy your blog. I'm certainly among those who question my decision and wonder "what if"...but I can't quite say I regret it. I think both options should be honored for their separate virtues. I also often wish I could have had two lives to live so I could do both, but we've all just got our one trip 'round the sun, as they say. Thanks for your great writing and your perspective.

HappilyCF said...

This article really resonated with me. I've been reading your blog for several months now, and find myself nodding my head vigorously to just about everything that's written - but I always wonder if my situation is a little bit different from the situations of most intentionally child-free people. Sometimes people on here will comment about how it's not an achievement to have kids - if they wanted to, they could get knocked up at any time. I can't say that - I DID try to get pregnant - for a year - and was unsuccessful.

But, despite that, I consider that I AM child-free "by choice." My husband and I are very much like one of the couples in this article. We were pretty much totally indifferent toward kids, and really, probably leaning away from the idea. I've never, ever been one of those girls who dreamed about motherhood and felt that I wouldn't be complete unless I were a mother. But, everyone I knew was getting pregnant (literally 20 or more Facebook friends were pregnant at the same time at one point - I couldn't even log in without an announcement or ultrasound picture coming up in my newsfeed.) And, we wondered if we might regret not having children, and given our ages, figured we'd better start soon if we wanted them.

After 12 months of well-timed sex, we still weren't pregnant. I do have one chronic but very well-controlled health problem which could have contributed to the infertility, but we really don't know what the cause was. Our insurance doesn't cover anything related to infertility, and quite frankly, I realized that I didn't want to pursue even testing, let alone treatment.

Each month, I had such conflicting emotions, something I've never heard any other infertile OR child-free couple talk about. I'd be crushed when I didn't get a positive HPT because I felt so defective - how were all these people I knew getting pregnant so easily? I had a coworker who gave birth TWICE in 12 months! (That's a whole other issue which would make a great topic for an article on here... in 15 months, she took 6 months fully-paid maternity leave when she'd been at the company only one year at the point of the first leave... so in working there for just over two years, she got paid for not working for 6 months.)

At the same time, though, I had this sense of relief. First, it was faint, then as the months went on, my sense of being "defective" increased, but so did my sense of relief when I wasn't pregnant. It's weird - my sadness over being infertile is strong, and genuine. But my relief over not being pregnant was also strong, and genuine. The genuine part is important - I'm not pretending to embrace childfreedom just because I can't get pregnant. Had I found this blog earlier, I might never have even tried to get pregnant. It's odd how I can feel two conflicting emotions so strongly. It also sets me up for some awkward interactions... in conversations about children, if I say I don't want them, I get the "you'll change your mind," which makes me want to say, uh, no I won't, but even if I wanted to, I can't GET pregnant. But then if I say that, no doubt people will secretly think, "ahhh... that's what this is all about." But I can't simply present myself as some poor infertile woman, since I don't have the strong desire to have children.

HappilyCF said...

My last comment was too long so I had to remove some of it...

cont'd

In any case, I feel like I am unusual in being child-free by choice but also knowing that I can't have children... most people don't know they're infertile until they try to get pregnant, and most people who don't want kids don't try to get pregnant! The couple in this article who had a miscarriage and were not devastated do not exactly have my circumstances, but it's the closest I've seen. And I admire them for talking about it... if you say on any "TTC" board that you had a miscarriage and you're not absolutely devastated and grieving, and you'll basically be driven off the board. I made the mistake of questioning giving your "loss" an actual name and genuinely grieving over it (as opposed to just being disappointed) when you have a chemical pregnancy - a positive result which goes away before your period is even due and your period comes on time - and BOY, was that a mistake. For someone to have what I assume was a later miscarriage, and not to be totally devastated, would be unheard of.

My husband and I are very happy with our decision to not have children, and are very glad that we didn't manage to get pregnant. I know I would have loved my child, but really regreted the decision overall. I just wish that I could hear from more people with stories similar to mine. The assumption seems to be that if you tried to get pregnant, you really WANTED, strongly, to have children, and therefore are not really child-free by choice. And even the infertile community doesn't understand, because they're busy talking about how devastated and grieving they are - they say that if anything, their desire for children is stronger than the desire of women who can get pregnant. (And I don't want to dismiss the real pain of women who desperately want to get pregnant and can't, but I don't like the fact that there's little room for a woman who can't get pregnant and is really kind of indifferent about it and even happy about it in some way.)

lauracarroll said...

Hi--I like the fact that the article deals with what happnes to some couples -- they are lukewarm on the idea about parenthood and halfheartedly "try" and thank god realize they don't want kids That much or at all really before they get pregnant! ~Laura, Families of Two, http://laviechildfree.com

Livken said...

I happened to be looking at some US population statistics online and was surprised to see that we seem to be getting married much more often than we did in the first half of the century; between 1900 and 1940, at least 26 percent of women (and up to 40 percent of men) said they had never been married. After WWII that number dropped dramatically and as of 2006 it was only back up to 22 percent (for women). Made me hypothesize that, birth control being what it was, the decision not to marry could have often been more of a decision not to have children. (I do think that, left to their own devices, many, many people really aren't all that excited by the idea.) Would explain a lot, as well as go some way to discredit the "unnatural" argument.

Betty said...

@happily CF - I can really relate to your comment. We "tried" half-heartedly for about a year and then when we talked about starting to get tested and starting infertility treatments we were both like...nope don't want kids that bad. Each cycle that I wasn't pregnant it was a combination of aw shucks and huge relief. There is a part of me that in a weird way wants to know well if I wanted to I could have.

Betty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty said...

"You want kids?" "I don't know…do you?" "Um…not sure." "I'll have 'em if you want to. Do you?" "I don't know." "Wanna go see a movie?" "Sure!"

I believe we have had word for word this very conversation!