So delighted knowing Mumsnot is reaching hearts. Coming from the title of “childless” to “childfree” is a big step and not for the faint of heart. To get there, the stages of grief must be felt: denial, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance. It’s what people need to do with extreme loss. Most often, only associated with death.
And, this is a death of an unfulfilled, promised dream! You’re supposed to have a biological, revered destiny of becoming parents. Your religions taught you to be fruitful and multiply. You may feel you’re missing out on life’s biggest “blessing”. You may fear growing older and being alone. All these fears are myths and not reality. Many parents are alone when they age. However, even knowing these facts, you may still feel your bodies have betrayed you. Have they? Maybe this opened a new path of equal joy?
I’m not one who faced infertility. I’m childfree-by-choice. However, I’ve learned from many infertile dear hearts who reach out to me every day. Their stories are filled with grief and bewilderment. I’ve learned how devastating it is hearing you can’t have your own children.
I validate the need to have others who reached acceptance reaching those who have not. In their stories of seeing how the childfree (not less) lifestyle can be a rewarding and joyful experience, many are viewing the opportunities to live in other nurturing ways: careers, volunteering, traveling, gardening, social activism, actively being loving aunts or uncles… and simply being at peace in their own homes. I will forever extol those who now speak out to overcome pronatalism, offering the infertile population better clarity of how lovely (with unlimited possibilities) it is not having or raising children can be.
I’m now 78. The one question I’ve been repeatedly asked as a younger woman was, “OK. It’s all well and good now! You can travel and do what you want. But what about when you’re old and can’t have kids? What if you regret your choice?” That usually follows with a puppy dog look. Maybe a little smirk?
Of course, I missed things parents enjoy such as: first steps, first words with chocolate kisses, as well as many meaningful child-centered celebrations. And how many parents may have missed what I’ve experienced too? My memory is filled with my travel experiences, connecting with others, enjoying the peace of reading a book when I want to or sleeping as late as I want. Gardening makes me feel proud as I birth yet another plant or vegetable. I would rather want to regret as a childfree woman… than as a parent.
More and more parents are now stepping up to the truths of not enjoying being a parent. Or, not enjoying pregnancy. Or, not enjoying the amount of time, money and energy necessary to be a good parent.
I loved being a teacher. Indeed, many past students I now call my daughter/son friends. One has a son who calls me Marma. (Marcia-Grandma). I‘m also an aunt, neighbor to others’ kids, and volunteer teaching ESL to many living in a poor trailer park. I’ve helped many kids who needed school things, food or clothing. I’ve loved doing this although you don’t have to connect with children. I’m not sharing this to prove I care about children. Many childfree people choose careers that help children. Many don’t feel that need. Looking back, I can honestly say living the childfree lifestyle has been and remains a joy! I can honestly say… I have no regrets.
Marcia Drut-Davis is a 78-year-old pioneer in the childfree movement. Her two best-selling books are: “Confessions of A Childfree Woman” and “What? You Don’t Want Children?” She can be seen in the documentary, “To Kid or Not To Kid” by Maxine Trump, on Amazon Prime in many languages worldwide. The next documentary she’s featured in is, “My So-Called Selfish Life” by Therese Shechter. It will be screened on a gala cruise with her childfree and childless family that she’s hosting in Aug of 2022 to Alaska. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org