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Friday, April 20, 2007

Secret Confesions of a Childless Woman!

Author: Peggy Butler

Where is it written that all women were meant to have children?
Is this a foregone conclusion or the pompous attitude of a society that believes a woman isn't complete until she gives birth? How absurd!

I've tried baby sitting and I've tried cajoling my cousins, all seven at once. And as a result, I've learned a very valuable lesson, children and Peggy don't mix. Coming from a small family
where I was an only child, everyone assumed that I would get married and have a house full of kids. Fortunately, I didn't hitch a ride aboard the Wedding Train Brigade, which I have never regretted. As for kids, I'm all for having them, as long as they're someone else's.

As a baby boomer with a thriving free lance writing career, I'm tired of hearing that my fertility clock is in the final stage, and within a year all my eggs will be shriveled up. Heck, I'm so busy thinking about writing the next best seller, the last thing on my mind is shrunken eggs. Besides, where is it written that all women were meant to have kids?

Since I was a child, I've been told there is a verse in the Bible that says "Be fruitful and multiply," that has served as the chief factor for some folks reproduction continuance. Several family members who shall remain anonymous, have told me umpteenth times, that women were put on earth for that reason. Whew! Does that mean every time a woman has sex, she does it for the sole purpose of having a baby ? Now, I don't know about other women, but I make love for the feel and thrill of it. Any questions?

Traditionally, women are noted for their maternal instincts. And society automatically assumes motherhood is always somewhere in the back of our mind. So it's only natural when I tell people I don't have kids, they become curious and question my sexual orientation and/or reproduction cycle. In defense of myself I tell them that I love men and as far as I know having a child would not be a problem, if I so desired.

Not surprisingly, this does not deter them from asking more questions. So to end the debate I ask them, "Are you telling me that I should have kids just for the sake of having them to prove to the world that I'm normal?" This usually causes them to respond with a nervous laugh followed by "No, that's not what I'm saying." I quickly follow up that with "Based on what you're saying, women who don't want kids because of fear of giving birth or lack of finances are abnormal?" As the argument ensues, they explain that there are thousands of women who give birth and can't afford to give their child all the things he or she needs. My response is generally, "So, why should I bring a baby into the world if I can't afford to feed, clothe or educate them?" This usually ends the conversation and the irate busy body walks off in a huff mumbling words I've yet to decipher.

Okay, now that we've dealt with the psychological aspect of being childless, let's focus on the false perception of the parenthood trap. When I see friends and relatives with four or more children struggling to make ends meet, I know I've made the right choice by choosing to remain childless. Similarly, when I see women "tracking" their boyfriends so that they can get money to buy their infant a can of baby formula, I know I made the right choice. Lastly, three years ago when I was doing research for an expose on dead beat dads, I recall the hundreds of women who petitioned the HRS on behalf of their children to pay child support. In reviewing these public documents, I noted that only a small percentage of the women received financial assistance from the biological fathers. Now tell me, what's so intriguing about that?

For the sake of argument, who says I don't have the right to remain childless? Is there a law against women over 40 not being a mom? Where is it written that I must succumb to the whims of society and give birth? It's ironic that all the women who tell me how selfish I am for never having children, have difficulty taking care of their off spring because they receive no financial support from the fathers. Can you say "utterly confused" ladies? Fortunately, this is the lifestyle they have chosen. However, that is not for me. With so many great things going on in my life I don't have the time or energy to knock someone's else's lifestyle. Moreover, I'm the last person to tell a woman what to do with her body; even when it comes to women who have chosen to have as many as 16 children, I reprimand them not, because they are free to live their life based on their specifications. Likewise, I expect society to let women who remain childless by choice to live theirs.

As a columnist who loves writing about controversial issues, according to the National Center of Health Statistics, the percentage of women who are able to have children but chose not to, increased from 2.4% in 1982 to 6.6% in 1995, and that number is expected to rise in the 21st century. Certainly, not a huge number by any stretch of the imagination, but the increase gives credence to the fact that being childless by choice is becoming more ACCEPTABLE. Now, how's that for a dose of reality?

About the author:

Peggy Butler is a freelance writer based in North Central Florida. She has written for various magazines and Internet publications including Africana.com., TimBook Tu, and Emerging Minds ( a popular ezine based in Atlanta). Moreover, Butler who lists collecting 60s memorabilia among her hobbies, writes news, features, sports and entertainment articles, as well as
commentaries and humor pieces. Visit her website at www.Psbwrite.com

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  • posted by Fertility Goddess @ 4:12 PM

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