Two Things I’d Add to My Chat with Katie Couric

UPDATE: The show is scheduled to air on Monday, September 16. Woohoo!

Yesterday I had the chance to fulfill one of my biggest professional goals – to discuss the contributions of sociological research in a broad-reaching, national forum. Ok, ok, the REAL goal was always to do this on Oprah. But then Oprah up and ended her show before I had a chance to get there. Two Things Id Add to My Chat with Katie Couric childfree by choice childless by choice childfree life childfree living no kids life without kids life without children no children DINKS GINKS

So what’s as spectacular an outlet as Oprah? Why, Katie, of course! So Katie it was.

w{n}hab! Takes Manhattan

Two Things Id Add to My Chat with Katie Couric childfree by choice childless by choice childfree life childfree living no kids life without kids life without children no children DINKS GINKS

Amy & our trusty #crazybaby checking in at ABC studios in New York.

On Monday, and on a moment’s notice, Lance and I were whisked to the Big Apple and treated to the experience of a lifetime. We met some wonderful childfree people and others including Madeline Lane – the brains behind ChildfreeNYC, Piper Hoffman - attorney/childfree advocate/blogger extraordinaire, Lauren Sandler – author of the recent childfree TIME article that has made such a splash, and, of course, KATIE!

Sound Bitten (Twice Shy?)

While I wouldn’t necessarily dub myself Ms. Media Maven, I am no stranger to interactions with the press (see, e.g., Exhibits A, B, and C – C has nothing to do with being childfree, I know, but roller derby is awesome so it’s always relevant). I’ve learned from my share of past mistakes to repeat stuff you really, really, REALLY want to be sure makes the cut into the story (really), to keep things upbeat and personable, and to talk – even about hard stuff like research – like a person, not like an academic robot (Lance doesn’t call me the AS4000 for no reason).

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

All in all, I was super happy with how the whole thing went down. I didn’t trip on my way onto or off of the stage, Katie was a GREAT interviewer, and she even liked my shoes (fabulous leopard print heels, in case you’re wondering). I got a plug in for the power of socialization (yay, sociology!) and had the chance to mention research findings showing that the childfree DON’T regret their choice not to have kids.

But there are always things we wish we would have had the chance to say, things we later realize we could have said, and things we know we should have said. For me, there are two points I was prepared to make but, because the interview is a living thing that takes its own path once begun, it just didn’t happen.

The great thing about having our own blog is that we do get to share the stuff that doesn’t make the cut elsewhere. While I haven’t seen the final version of the show yet so don’t know what else may or may not have made it through, here’s what I know I didn’t get a chance to say but wanted to share. And what I’d really like people to know about the childfree:

  1. Many studies comparing the happiness of nonparents to that of parents suffer what I view to be a serious methodological oversight: they lump the childless together with the childfree into a single category of “nonparents.” As any involuntarily childless person or happily childfree person will tell you, we’re two quite different groups. There are lots of good reasons to think that happiness levels vary between those who choose not to have kids and those who want them but can’t for some reason. We lose some VERY important nuance when we don’t distinguish these two groups from each other.
  2. The childfree fare well as they age. Thankfully, I did get a chance to share that the childfree don’t tend to regret their choice. But I also wanted to say that as the childfree enter old age, they are not alone. Research shows that the support networks of nonparents are more diverse than those of parents, and include stronger links with a broader range of relatives, friends and community members. In other words, those without kids have more diverse networks of people to rely on than parents. For the childfree, the experience of aging is certainly not the picture of decrepit loneliness and regret that some pronatalists would have us believe.

The Rest of the Story

In the end, I’ll take any opportunity to help dispel myths about the childfree and share sociological and other research findings. I’m grateful for the support, trust, and encouragement Lance and I got throughout the day from our Facebook and Twitter communities and I can’t wait to see the show when it airs. Having come into adulthood watching and admiring Katie Couric from afar, I’m over the moon at having had the chance to not just meet her but be interviewed by her! Get your popcorn ready. We’ll let you know when the show airs!

11 Responses to Two Things I’d Add to My Chat with Katie Couric

  1. Mother by Choice September 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I watched the show and found myself quite upset at your comments regarding oxytocin being the reason the “maternal instinct” kicks in. This totally discounts those of us who have become mothers via adoption and fails to explain mothers who give birth yet never have a interest in their child’s well-being. I did not need oxytocin to have maternal intincts toward either of my children and I showed signs of an internal drive to become a mother from an extremely young age. My father’s job meant that I was equally cared for and nurtured by both my mother and my father and yet I mothered baby dolls before I could even walk or talk even when other toys of either gender were readily available. Discovering I was infertile was a huge issue as that meant I may not ever carry or birth a child (and I now know that I won’t). The other hobbies I picked up and the career path I chose did not go in the way society tends to shape girls and I never felt as though society was telling me I must be a mother yet I knew my life as I wanted it would never be complete until I was. I was thankfully blessed to become a mother twice over via adoption and I cannot imagine loving or feeling more instinct towards either of my kids had I experienced oxytocin during their births.

  2. Piper Hoffman September 12, 2013 at 2:23 am #

    We’re on this Monday! Getting nervous? ;>

  3. Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    I cannot wait to see the show!

  4. Laura Carroll (@LauraCarroll88) August 28, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Amy – So glad it sounds like all went well! I am sure you were great. I have heard that Katie is a sweetheart in person, and am glad she and her show wanted to do the childfree topic. The more people like you can educate people on the research, the choice and those who make it the better!

    Does she know you roller derby – now a show on gals who do that I bet she’d go for too ; )!
    ~Laura Carroll, author, The Baby Matrix

  5. laura August 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Amy – So glad it sounds like all went well! I am sure you were great. I have heard that Katie is a sweetheart in person, and am glad she and her show wanted to do the childfree topic. The more people like you can educate people on the research, the choice and those who make it the better!

    Does she know you roller derby – now a show on gals that do that I’d love to see too : )
    ~Laura Carroll, author, The Baby Matrix

    • Amy August 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      Thanks, Laura! I love the roller derby suggestion! Think I may need to look into making that happen. :)

  6. Ashley August 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    Congrats on fulfilling such a great task, can’t wait to watch. Maybe condescending parents will start to get the hint when they watch your segment and stop haranguing us perfectly happy childfree folks.

  7. Emily August 28, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Congratulations, Amy! Can’t wait to see the show. And, judging by the crazy momentum behind the childfree conversation, I imagine there will be lots of opportunities to discuss the “coulda-shoulda” comments. We’ve all been talking about it for years, but it’s great to see it come alive in a broader context. Thanks for representing us all so well!

    • Amy August 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

      Thank you, Emily! Yes, let’s hope the conversation continues. There’s so much more to say! :)

      • KD August 28, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

        Congratulations, Amy!

        Do you know when we can view the show?

        • Amy August 29, 2013 at 9:51 am #

          Thank you, KD! Not sure of air date yet but producers said it’s likely to be sometime in September. We’ll definitely let everyone know as soon as we know!

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