The House of DaVinci

Monday, February 05, 2007

Book 4: nobody's mother: life without kids edited by Lynne van Luven




This is very interesting book. It is a collection of essay's by 21 women who don't have children. Even the sentence I just typed has been affected by the book - a couple different essays deal with the language of having no children. Some women consider "childless" to be much to negative for the state they are. Many feminist writers are taking on the term "child free" which is too radical for others. And oddly enough, most women don't seem to like "barren" much. Whatever word is used to describe them, this is a diverse group from young to old, radical to conservative, gay to straight, defiantly child free to the heartbreakingly childless.

This book had a lot of press before Christmas. It was featured on the national radio program "Sounds Like Canada" (indeed, the host of that show, Shelagh Rogers, wrote the forward to the book) and then was on again just with reactions to the first show. It was also featured on our local Maritime Noon, where it took the entire second hour phone-in portion of the show. Normally callers have to give their full name and location, for this show, where women were talking about not having children and possibly not even wanting children (oh my!) they got to just give their first name so no one would know them. I found it disturbing that not wanting children would put you into the witness protection portion of a radio call-in show. I also found it amusing that all the callers that I heard were so adamant about stating how much they did love children - as if finding creatures that spit up, pee and poop on you, cry all night and day, could be anything but lovely and charming was a crime.

I really liked this book and would recommend it to all women - child free or not. It covered a lot of view points, some certainly not very politically correct. One essay was quite concerned about the women having children, because obviously if they were deluded enough to want children they shouldn't be the ones whose genes are being passed on. However, most of the women were desperate to show how they were "mothers" - whether they had step-kids, or extended families, or were environmentalists who "mothered" the Earth. The same "I love kids" vibe I got from the callers on the radio show. I loved a couple of the women who were partially glad they didn't have kids so they had a lot more time to read. An excellent trade off in my mind.

Also, apparently there is a wide spread epidemic of child free women being hounded by mothers who think they are unnatural, selfish (that term came up often, and it still alludes me how being child free is selfish, as opposed to the other way around),or just don't know their own minds and it will all change once they have a child. Luckily, I am not surrounded by these women. While I am child free, I am happy for those I know who have children, and if they think I'm "selfish or unnatural" they are keeping it to themselves. But, if such an outbreak ever occurs I'm going to be prepared. One of the authors, Laurel Bernard, is seriously thinking about having the following card made up to hand out:

YES I AM CHILDLESS. NO, WE HAVEN'T BEEN TRYING. AND NO, I AM NOT TRAGICALLY BARREN. YES, WE HAVE A HOUSE AND JOBS AND COULD BE BRINGING UP CHILDREN, BUT THIS DOESN'T MEAN WE'RE EITHER BON-VIVANT SWINGERS OR CHILD-HATING YUPPIES. NO, PLEASE DON'T THINK HOW NICE IT MUST BE TO HAVE LOTS OF DISPOSABLE INCOME, A MARTHA STEWART HOME AND UNLIMITED FREE TIME. WE HAVE NONE OF THESE THINGS. YES, WE HAVE PETS, BUT WE DO NOT REGARD THEM AS CHILDREN. YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO LOOK AT THEIR PICTURES. I DO NOT CARRY WALLET-SIZED SNAPS. WE ARE REASONABLY EASYGOING, NORMAL PEOPLE, JUST LIKE YOU. WELL, EXCEPT FOR THIS CARD.

I love it! Luckily, I don't need it.

This was a thought provoking, intriguing book. It was a quick read, but I one I really recommend.

1 Comments:

  • At 2:59 PM, Blogger North of Nain said…

    I must order a copy of this book immediately. How nice to see something that supports my point of view.

    I don't think having kids is wrong, it just isn't for me. I don't rag on my friends for having kids, why do they rag on me for not wanting them?

    Told to me third hand....a few days after I told my mom that I was scheduled for my tubal (yes, I have my tubes tied...so I won't have children!!!) she mentioned to my sister that she wished I'd have just one (baby)...just to see. Right...like having kids is like having a beer. I'll have one, see if I like it and then if I don't, I won't have another. It doesn't work that way...

    Off to chapters.com to order me a book...

     

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