Monday, September 17, 2012

Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance by Ellen Walker

I was recently at a neighborhood block party talking with the mom of a toddler. She mentioned that she had just read Bringing Up Bebe and I said that I had also read that book. She said, "That's weird that you read that book and you're not a mother." Hey, lady, it's a free country! I didn't tell her that in addition to having just read Bringing Up Bebe, I had also just read Complete Without Kids.

There are lots of parenting books out there (and yes, I've read some of them even though I'm not a mother!) but not so many books out there about NOT having kids. I think that reflects where our society still stands in terms of having kids. Until the 1960s and the introduction of the birth control pill, not having kids wasn't really an option. And although now we have more control over reproduction, our culture still views having kids as an obligation or a given, rather than an option.

This book explores the decision to have kids or not. The circumstances around not having kids affects a couple's lifestyle and later thoughts (and/or regrets) about the decision. For example, there are people who would have liked to have kids, but for various reasons, did not. Had things been different (like if they had gotten married or gotten married at a younger age), they would definitely have wanted kids (childfree by happenstance). Other people consciously choose to not have kids (childfree by choice). Other people can not have kids (childfree by circumstance).

This was a fascinating book to read (just as fascinating as Bringing Up Bebe!). It was very thought-provoking as well. There are questions to consider at the end of every chapter which I think would be useful for any couple deciding whether or not they would like to be parents.

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