As A Childfree Woman, Every Day Is Independence Day

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I’ve never been someone who likes to commit to anything too far in advance.

In high school I had a boyfriend who always wanted to make plans for the following weekend during the weekend we happened to be enjoying at the moment. I didn’t like feeling pinned down. What if something awesome came up that I just didn’t know about yet? What if I didn’t feel like it next week? What if I changed my mind? His attempts to schedule my time felt like attempts to control it. Needless to say, the relationship didn’t last.

In college, I chose my major by selecting the option that came with the smallest number of required credits, though I graduated with a higher total number of credits than required for my degree. I couldn’t be fenced in to just one area of inquiry when there was so much of interest out there to explore! After college, the structure of working a 9-5 job drove me back to school to pursue the PhD I expected would give me the flexibility to work as, when, and how I wanted. It’s mostly done that and I landed in a career that I love.

My 20+ year marriage represents perhaps the longest commitment I’ve ever made – both freely and a great majority of the time, happily.

When I got married, I assumed kids would soon follow. You know; love, marriage, baby carriage – that whole thing. My husband and I married at early ages – I was just 22, he was 23 – so we had plenty of time. But my standard “I’m too young” in response to the incessant “WHEN ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO HAVE KIDS?!” queries stopped sounding reasonable around the time I hit 35.

For us, it turned out, the answer was never.

The childfree path is not one that appeals to everyone. Trust me; I hear the cries of Selfish! Stupid! Decadent! loud and clear. But for a person who resists committing to a plan further than about a week in advance, doing time for 18+ years with a human I was sure I’d love but wasn’t sure I’d like sounded like a prison sentence.

I wanted the freedom and autonomy that I worried parenthood could stifle. I wanted every day to be Independence Day. And knowing that I wanted those things, the most selfish thing I could do, it seemed to me, would be to bring someone into the world who needed me perhaps more than anyone but to whom I wasn’t certain I could commit.

I do my job (even well, I’d argue). I contribute to the well-being of my community by volunteering my time and donating to causes that matter to me. I feel concern for others and care deeply about social justice and equality. I maintain close friendships and a solid connection with my family. I nurture a marriage that matters to me.

These are relationships, beliefs, and obligations to which I’ve happily committed. If these things place me in the category of selfish, stupid, or decadent, then I embrace the label. As a childfree woman, every day is Independence Day. And I love it.

This piece originally appeared on Huffington Post.

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3 Responses to As A Childfree Woman, Every Day Is Independence Day

  1. Lori the Naz July 15, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    Yes! Thank you for mentioning and highlighting how the childless contribute to the well-being of our community, we volunteer, we donate and we are active on social issues. With a lot of people that stops when they become more concerned and consumed about contributing to the well being of only their family unit, their child’s school, their child’s sports club etc. That’s what I always bring up when I get the “selfish” cries.

  2. Andrea July 10, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi! I’ve been reading your posts and let me tell you I just love what you’re doing. I totally agree with you.

    • Amy July 13, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

      Thanks so much, Andrea! Glad to have you here!

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