Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Child free" is often "circumstantial" and not always "by choice"

There is an interesting autobiographical story today by Melanie Nortkin examining the increased rate of childlessness in American women, appearing on AOL and the Huffington Post, link here

She describes what she calls “circumstantial infertility”. This seems like a combination of the increased ability of women to provide for themselves, increased tension in the workplace over parental benefits, and a tendency for many (usually heterosexual) dating partners to become increasingly fussy about openness to children. 

She also describes herself as maternal and eager to experience a kind of substitute motherhood for others.  That is something some people (artificial fatherhood) have tried to suggest or prod from me, and I find myself resenting the idea.  If I am going to be responsible for someone, I want to have “ownership” of the family in the usual sense.  For example, overseas child charities encourage donors to correspond with “matched” children benefitting from contributions. I have never been comfortable with that.

But it’s an interesting article. I wonder how Philip Longman would respond. 

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