NO KIDS… AND LOVING IT
The vast majority of Australians who do not want to have children, are childless by choice.
That was the news from the academic world this week. But didn’t we already know that?
A survey by Edith Cowan University ( WA) lecturer in psychology, Bronwyn Harman found three quarters of people without children had made an active choice to not have them. While almost 30 per cent said they may have children later in life, a similar amount said they simply were not maternal/paternal.
“Many of these said it was not one particular reason, but not being maternal was the closest possible explanation,” Dr Harman said.
Women without children were often treated harsher in relation to their lack of children because of a preconceived cultural belief that women were meant to have children and were defined by their ability to raise a child, she added.
Alana Schetzer knows all this, by heart. This is her story…
For as long as I have been aware of my conscious thoughts, I have never felt the urge to have a child.
And yet when I tell people this, they don’t believe me.
At first, I wondered if I had spoken too softly or whether I just kept speaking with people who had hearing problems. No, it wasn’t that,unfortunately.
It turns out a 29 year-old woman living in the year 2012 declaring she doesn’t want to procreate is still too bizarre for a lot of people to accept. Even though I look after myself and earn my own money, it appears I’m not deemed mature enough to be parted from
the mythical female desire to go forth and multiply.
I know I’m not the only one. It brings no comfort to be part of a group that constantly has to justify their own decisions.
Depending on what research you read, up to one in four women living today will not have children. That’s a big chunk of people. And yet the bigger group – the 75 per cent of women who do have children – don’t have their motive or decision questioned.
It’s viewed as a ‘natural’ thing to do. In fact, a woman’s announcement that she wants children is still seen as the fulfillment of womanhood.
The idea of criticising a pregnant women – “Are you sure you want to do this?” – would be rightly viewed as insulting and offensive. But not the other way, apparently.
Even my mum, who knows me better than anyone, will occasionally question my decision. Maybe she thought my decision was cute 10 years ago, when I was still a teenager and that decision had no real consequences. But now that I’m in the “now or never” age bracket, I’m made to feel like I should reconsider.
And it’s not just my Mum who talks like that. These questions and comments have become so prevalent that I have a stock of pre-prepared answers when they strike:
“Do you hate children?”
” No, I love my nephew and niece with all my heart, and then some.”
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