Men and Women Who Don’t Want Kids — and Get Judged for It
Not wanting kids: sometimes it’s complicated, and other times it really isn’t
Not all that long ago, people who did not want kids — women, especially — were reluctant to say so. That’s not so true anymore. Perhaps inspired by books such as Jessica Valenti’s Why Have Kids? from 2012, Meghan Daum’s 2015 anthology, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, and Orna Donath’s provocative Regretting Motherhood, in 2017, more and more people are openly discussing their life choices, even though they realize they will not always have receptive audiences.
I’ve been revisiting some of these writings as I republish here at Medium some blog posts that originally appeared at a site that has been discontinued. (1) Part 1 begins with Jessica Valenti’s account of what happened when Nebraska passed a safe haven law so people could safely drop off babies they were not prepared to care for. Even though I already wrote about this, dipping back into it left me stunned all over again. (2) The second part is my review of Daum’s anthology. (3) In the third part, I highlight some key quotes from the anthology, on topics such as reasons for not having kids and getting stereotyped, stigmatized, and asked invasive questions about it. (4) The last section is a collection of quotes from celebrities, not because I’m star-struck, but because they offer some great insights and quips. My favorite is the very last one, from Oprah.
Not Wanting Kids Should Be No Big Deal
In 2017, an article at Atlantic magazine, “Not wanting kids is entirely normal,” made the list of most popular stories of the day. I clicked the link and was riveted.
The first fascinating thing was that the article was originally published in 2012, and here it was, making the Most Popular list in 2017.
I’ve never wanted kids and never felt “abnormal” because of it. The decision was never an emotional one for me. I’ve loved many of the children of friends and family but just never wanted kids of my own.
Still, I was surprised by what I learned in the Atlantic article, which was an excerpt from Jessica Valenti’s book, Why Have…