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Excerpt from : Younger Childfreedom (The Choice for Younger Women)

March 3, 2011

JUST MY OPINION—ENJOY!

Child-freedom is simply being free of children. Freedom is a license to do what one wants. Freedom gives you power to determine action without restraint. Freedom is the absence of ties and obligations, and in the case of children, that is a tie and obligation that can last for more than 18 years. Many women are trapped into motherhood. It is something that is permanent and irremovable. Once you become a mother, you are responsible for that child until they become an adult. But motherhood is more complex than just being the woman who gave birth to an offspring in the Western, civilized world.

From almost birth, females are bombarded with images of 1950s housewives and the role of the mother and wife. We live in a patriarchal society where men are seen as more valuable and important than women. Girls are given Easy Bake ovens and little baby dolls to play with, nurturing the “maternal instinct” all females are supposed to have. Television commercials glamorize motherhood idealistically with smiling, perfect families in large detached homes with brand-new appliances and brand-new cars. There are countless shows that portray parenthood as the best thing in the world such as Desperate Housewives, 16 and Pregnant and even the classics like Full House and The Cosby Show.

Females are conditioned to become mothers. Society places pressure on women to marry and have children so they can have billions of households of consumerists and a guaranteed workforce in future generations. The thing is, parenthood is not as perfect and wonderful as the media makes it sound. These commercials, television shows and websites such as the Babies section on www.People.com seem to forget about domestic violence, poverty, sexual abuse and incest, mental illness, unemployment, cheating and divorces and a slew of other familial issues that are the harsh reality of family life.

Whether rich or poor, men and women have children together. For the wealthier families, money is not an issue and they are able to provide leisurely lives for their offspring which may include nannies, private schooling, family cars and vacations abroad. Wealthier families usually do not have as many children as poorer families and society wants everybody to be like the middle-upper class families spending copious amounts of money on Christmas presents and clothing, without the funding to do so. Lower class families struggle and even though it may be common sense that if you are poor you should not procreate, in a bleak world children may be the only happiness the couple (or single mother) gets out of life. Lower class families struggle because of a lack of education, parenthood at a very young age, and dependency on the welfare system. If they knew better, perhaps they would do better.

Babies may not seem expensive at first glance, but they are very expensive. If you factor in things like baby furniture, diapers, clothing, formula and toys and then think about the annual cost of childcare and healthcare; your head will spin. Lower-class families depend on the government to help them with childcare, which has a hefty waiting list and often puts their children in packed daycares and nurseries that are not of the best quality. Regular childcare averages at about $800 a month in the province of Ontario. If the parents go to school or work, they will need to pay this amount. Usually the mother stays home with her baby and loses out on creating a professional career and socializing with professionals.

The politics of raising a child is not something most happily pregnant women think of. Known as “playground politics” if you don’t have a certain brand-name stroller or a Filipina nanny, or if you’re not a Green Earth mama who breastfeeds, you can face being ostracized. You can be ostracized for a various amount of ridiculous reasons and feel like you are not a good enough mother because maybe Mother A makes homemade, organic baby food or Mother B is a working mother and you’re just a stay-at-home mom or vice versa. The need to fit in is only psychological and women face pressure to be thinner, to be perfect mothers and wives and to paint an image of a happy family—always. People will look down on a mother with a screaming baby or a tantrum toddler in public, even if she is just having a bad day. And as kids grow older, parents get more competitive with grades, extra-curricular activities and more. Keeping up with the Joneses and their A+ offspring can become an obsession or lead a mother to depression.

Young women who do not want a life of caring for children make recognize so at an earlier age. They realize they do not enjoy the company of children or find them boring. They couldn’t care less about cute tiny baby shoes or little bonnets. Young women who are ambitious, intelligent and career-driven either save parenthood for later years or do not have children. They realize the many negative aspects of parenthood such as painful births, a lifetime commitment to a child, lack of sex in the marriage and putting the child’s needs in front of theirs. In the community of childfree women, they would rather travel, socialize, focus on their education and careers and leisure time than have kids. Childfree couples have more money, time, romance and freedom and these are crucial things they wouldn’t give up for the world. Some women have their maternal instincts met by caring for pets—which is as much responsibility in their lives that they need.

Only 17 per cent of corporate officers and 13 per cent of directors at Canada’s top 500 private and public sector companies are female. The slim showing represents an anemic gain of 2.8 per cent since 2002, when Catalyst Inc., a business women’s lobbying group, first began tracking the numbers, reports the Globe and Mail in October 2010. Women are putting motherhood before careers, and this diminishes the chances of success as professionals. Women earn less than men and this may be in part because they take more sick days than men and take considerable time off work to raise children. It is doable to be a working mother but there is enormous stress on the woman to care for a child, focus on her career full-time and keep house.

Some women are meant to be mothers. They may enjoy children and want to have a legacy to their family. There are various reasons why couples may choose to have children. But there are also the wrong reasons. To be childfree is to resist societal pressure, which isn’t always so easy. Some women have children to fit in or to give in to familial wishes. They put their own ambitions, wants and desires aside and sacrifice time, freedom and money for their offspring. Offspring that grow up and may not be the ideal little cherubs the parents wanted them to be. Parents become disappointed if their offspring are not as academic-prone, are homosexual, are drug users or have different views than they do. It is no secret some parents regret becoming parents.

Younger women who consciously decide to be childfree have more information on the subject than ever made available in human history. There is countless online blogs dedicated to child-freedom and books written on the subject such as No Kidding by Wendy Tokunaga and Cheerfully Childless by Loretta Gomez, as well as Childfree by Choice by Irene Reti. The important factor here is that women are empowered by making the choice to have children or not to. Their body belongs to them and they can govern it. If they don’t want to spend 9 months incubating a fetus, they don’t have to. Motherhood is not something they have to succumb too if they don’t want to. It shouldn’t have to be a life sentence for every woman.

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