Childfree from 1974 to 2013 – Marcia Drut-Davis

Marcia Drut-Davis is a pioneer in the childfree movement. She is the author of Confessions of a Childfree Woman, runs the site Childfree Reflections, and can be followed on Facebook here.

As you’ll read below, Marcia put herself ‘out there’ nearly 4 decades ago and paid a price for it. While she may think not much has changed since 1974 we have to respectfully disagree – at least slightly. Because of people like Marcia, people like Amy and me have a much easier time being childfree than we would have otherwise. Marcia…please give yourself some credit for the changes you’ve been a part of!

So read and enjoy, send some love to Marcia for making it just a little more acceptable to live childfree, and (most importantly) pick up her book!

From 1974 to 2013

Picture of Marcia Drut-Davis, Author "Confessions of a Childfree Woman: A Life Spent Swimming Against the Mainstream"

Marcia Drut-Davis, Author “Confessions of a Childfree Woman: A Life Spent Swimming Against the Mainstream”

In 1974, I “came out” telling the world I never wanted to have or raise children. It was the year I felt empowered by “The Baby Trap” by Ellen Peck. That book told me I wasn’t a freak of nature. It changed being “less” to being free of children. It was the year I was interviewed on 60 Minutes and lost my job because of that exposure. It was the first time I heard the word, “pronatalism” and started to understand what it meant.

I never knew how much people felt threatened by those of us who simply never wanted to have or raise children. What business was it of others? Why was it so awful?  Who would I hurt by this personal choice except possibly my mom and in-laws who wanted a grandchild.

I spent the next thirty-nine years happily living the childfree lifestyle. Pronatalism had scared me into staying vocal only when I felt safe. Fears lingered due to the awful reaction of that 60 Minute exposure… death threats really terrify! My eyes started to open and kept getting wider every year. I saw pronatalism everywhere: songs, art, advertising, movies, magazine covers of famous people showing off their beautiful babies. I kept hoping things would change. I kept seeing that not much was changing.

When I took a writing course and shared my secret goal of writing my memoir, I didn’t get warm, fuzzy responses of acceptance.  As I read my work, it brought out the same old things I had heard so many years before in my writing class:

“Isn’t that a selfish choice?”
 
“Weren’t you really immature?”
 
“Did you have a terrible childhood?”
 
“I hope you don’t regret that choice when you’re alone and too old to change your mind!”

My teacher, Justine Tal-Goldberg from writebynight.net, and her fiancé David Duhr, had differing opinions. They encouraged me to write my book saying it was important, even now, when there is supposed to be acceptance about personal choices. (I later learned they are also childfree by choice!)

When I finally had the courage to write my memoir “Confessions of a Childfree Woman” I faced publisher after publisher, agent after agent with comments like, “Great writing! Riveting story. Sorry… but nobody will read this. It’s acceptable not to want kids today.”

Cover Picture of Confessions of a Childfree Woman

Confessions of a Childfree Woman

I wish I could tell you there’s acceptance. From the responses I get everyday on my blog and Facebook site as well as the numerous support sites now growing like weeds on the Internet, acceptance is not here. (Maybe the word “weed” isn’t good because unlike a weed you want to pick and cast away, these sites give  support and insights into the childfree lifestyle.) Families and friends still reject childfree people. Some tell me their parents have taken them off their wills, as they are not going to have grandchildren to carry on the family’s DNA! (I can’t make that up.)

I recently had an NPR local radio interview about my memoir. At the end, when the microphone was turned off, the woman interviewing me said she wouldn’t say where I lived, as she feared what people could do. Her husband is a policeman.  She told me there were many crazy people out there who may hate me for saying I never wanted kids.

The one positive thing I’ve noticed is more and more people request childfree restaurants, areas on planes, and resorts.  Although businesses are starting to listen they are met with disdain from parents who say they are child-haters! Also, more men are starting to share their important feelings when it used to be only women.

So, it’s up to us. We must keep on keeping on. We must speak our choice with pride and dignity. In my opinion, never get into any push/pull confrontations. Never insist we are “right” by attacking other choices because that’s exactly what we don’t want for choosing our childfree lifestyle. You may say, “You’re happy with your choice?  Terrific! I’m happy with mine”. I urge you to walk away if you’re verbally attacked. We’re proud and happy to be childfree-by-choice. If enough of us calmly and happily share why this lifestyle gives us so much pleasure, there may come a time when all these books and childfree cites aren’t necessary. Right now, they are. In my opinion, nothing much has changed since 1974.

16 Responses to Childfree from 1974 to 2013 – Marcia Drut-Davis

  1. ChildfFreeMatchmaker (@ChildfFreeMatch) August 1, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Congratulations to Marcia Drut-Davis for winning the 2014 Lifetime Childfree Contribution Award. I wish there were awards for all the childfree people who have done the same thing.

  2. Scott December 6, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    The whole “won’t you regret it later?” question is very popular out there.

    However, it’s really hard to find real-life stories of people who consciously decided to be childfree and then regretted it later in life. You’ll find some, but you have to search high and low. It’s much, much easier to find people who regretted having children. Even with an incredibly powerful taboo against admitting that you regret having children, people all over the web report it anyway.

    Look around for older people who are devastated by the regret of never having children. What you’ll find instead are a lot of happy, fulfilled older people who think the question is kind of silly.

  3. Dee Kay October 19, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    I think it is so valuable to have someone of this age group take a stand and say, I didn’t want children then and I don’t regret that choice now. I think the bingo that takes the longest to refute is the “You’ll regret it one day b/c who will take care of you when you’re old?” But Ms. Drut-Davis is showing that she’s aging beautifully and is just fine without kids. I would never have a child merely to subject it to servitude when I am infirm, and I think that having a child to “use” them later is unconscionable. Meanwhile, Ms. Drut-Davis demonstrates every quality that I hope I have as I live my childfree life: she is calm, rational, reasonable, confident and secure in her life decisions, and most of all, happy and free of regrets. Thank you, Ms. Drut-Davis, for setting such an admirable, fine example for all of us.

    • Scott December 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

      As for “taking care of you when you’re old,” all you have to do is visit your local nursing home or senior citizen center and see how many people there are parents and how many are not. The vast majority of them have children but are being taken care of by someone else anyway. As a childfree person, I will never be abandoned by my children.

      I know a man in his 90’s who is still paying the bills for his lazy, skiving 60 year old son who hasn’t held down a job in 30 years. Don’t assume that when you’re older your kids will take care of you. It could be the other way around.

      The way I see it, when I’m 90 years old my attorney can write a check to the nursing home just as well as my children could, and I’ll have more money in the bank because I didn’t have children.

      [I’m an American. Did I use “skiving” correctly? : – ) ]

  4. Anonymous October 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    I wish the book was available at B&N. =(

  5. Radoslaw October 12, 2013 at 4:31 am #

    It’s right to say that you represent a child-hating standpoint. The idea of having child-free areas in restaurants and other public spaces is very discriminating. There’s no requirement for people without children to avoid certain areas, and any idea of creating no-go areas for parents with children is plainly wrong. People like you were brought up by parents and you yourself wouldn’t wish to be chased away from a restaurant just because you were very young back in time.

    Besides, if all people shared your hedonistic view, the world would simply die out. Logically, in order to promote any childfree movement around in the future, you need to have people who raise children now. Moreover, when you get old and sick you will still need to be cared after, and for that you will also need someone younger than you. Please, have common sense and remember that having children is critical for the common future of you as much as anyone else, and so discriminating parents with children is equal to harming yourself.

    • Lance October 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      We discriminate based on age all the time. There’s a voting age, a drinking age, ages allowable for children to see movies and for people to draw social security benefits. Bars and liquor stores in many states are off limits to minors and you have to be 18 most places in the US to smoke. So, placing age limits on children’s ability to be certain places or to do certain things is in no way a new thing. It certainly does not rise to “child-hating”.

      The desire to have more places explicitly free of children is actually shared by many parents and has really only become “a thing” as more and more parents seem unable to understand that it is socially inappropriate to bring their children to certain events and into certain environments.

      You’re right that if all people shared our view – hedonistic for some, but not for most – people would die it. However, the world would be fine…but that’s another story. It’s simple-minded to think that since some people choose to be childfree that this will become the norm for all of society. I don’t have a cat because I choose not to have a cat and there are lots of people like me, but that doesn’t mean domestic cats are in any danger of dying out. In fact the human birthrate is RISING and the population will become unsustainable unless many more of us choose to not have children.

      • Radoslaw October 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

        Well, all your argument is fine but children are not cats or dogs to be treated as such. There’s no objective need for excluding children from places like restaurants, it’s more of a lifestyle choice to discriminate parents with children and treat them as if they were worse than other kinds of people. As a principle, this is really wrong.

        100 years ago, British colonial authorities banned Chinese people from entering public parks in Hong Kong. Wouldn’t you call it racism? Why would excluding parents with children from public spaces be any better than that?

        • Lance October 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

          You need to work on your comparisons. A child is not like a dog…a child is like a puppy and we generally treat puppies different than adult dogs. Why? Because they have not yet learned how to behave. In the meantime we restrict them more than we would a trained, socialized adult dog. Children are children and need to be treated as children. Restricting them from some places is something we do every day as pointed out above. Allowing people to have a relaxing dinner in a restaurant free from noise and chaos is a legitimate form of restriction. Also, you seem to miss the point that the parents are not restricted…only their children are. No one is screening parents at the door, i.e. parents can come in but their children cannot. This is a pretty significant distinction. Your equating this with racism is ludicrous. If that comparison stands then we need to give infants a drivers license and the right to vote at birth.

    • amandapoverseas October 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      No one is saying that parents are worse than other kind of people. No one is saying parents shouldn’t have places to go to dinner with their kids. They’re just saying that there should be more options for people who want to have dinner or enjoy a vacation without having it interrupted by someone else’s misbehaving children. There is no shortage of “family friendly” restaurants. Ditto to resorts where “kids stay free”. There is, however, a shortage of places where people can go that are “adults only”.

      In fact one of the restaurants I’ve seen parents complain about is not only actually more of a lounge than a restaurant (and thus so obviously unsuitable for children that it would be laughable that parents want to fight the restriction if it weren’t so irritating), it’s owned by someone who also owns a family friendly restaurant right next door to it. He’s not discriminating. He just recognizes that different clientele are looking for different things, and he has restaurants to meet both needs.

      It’s not just the childfree who want these things, by the way. I have heard from many parents who indicate that they would LOVE it if some of these things could go through because then they could go out on date night or away on vacation when they’ve forked out good money to get away from their own kids for awhile and know that it’s not going to be ruined by someone else’s kid.

    • Scott December 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      You are right about excluding children as being a form of discrimination.

      However, I bet there are all sorts of age discrimination that you DO like. There are forms of age discrimination that parents benefit from all the time and that parents would never, ever want to ban.

      For example: children’s menus and children’s admissions prices to various entertainment venues.

      If you want to end age discrimination, that’s fine by me:
      Everyone pays the same price to go to the movies. Everyone pays the same bus fare. No special menu items for children only. All children will be tried and punished as adults for all rules violations. In public, everyone speaks to everyone else the same no matter what their age. In every restaurant, kick out ANY patron who loudly misbehaves, no matter what the age of the person. What do you think?

      Let’s be honest. You’re probably suggesting that we keep some forms of discrimination and eliminate others. I’ll be honest. I think some forms of age discrimination are fair and others are unfair. We’re basically disagreeing about which is which.

    • bonniefide April 15, 2015 at 1:05 am #

      The author makes no mention of hating children. Many childfree people love children, just not for themselves. I am a pediatric nurse and I work with special needs children who I love. Yet, I have genetic issues that I would rather not pass on to children and I cannot afford them. Childfree does not equal hedonist. Childfree does not also equal limitless money.

      I am all for having adult restaurants, as are all of my friends who have children. My husband and I do not have a lot of money, despite the “glamorous” life we are alleged to have due to being childfree. So, when we save up to go to a fancy restaurant for our anniversary, I would rather that one romantic night we get each year not be spoiled by a screaming baby. Comparing adult-only restaurants to colonials banning Chinese (as you do in a further post below) is an absolutely ridiculous comparison. One is talking about racism towards an entire race of people. The other is talking about children not being where they shouldn’t be in the first place – a fancy restaurant or a bar at night when they should be in bed anyway. No one is saying kids shouldn’t be allowed anywhere. If I go to Applebees, I know there will be kids; however, if I’m spending $50/plate on a nice dinner, I don’t want to hear little Ainsley cry that her roasted chilean sea bass is overdone and she specifically did not want black olives with her quail terrine.

      A movement of people making informed, logical, and well-thought out decisions about reproduction or lack thereof will not cause the demise of the human race. Humans are doing quite well with that on their own without the help of the childfree.

  6. Jackie October 11, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. I read your book in one sitting and I have to say that I loved it. Amy and Lance are right, you have helped more childfree people than you take credit for.

  7. amandapoverseas October 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    Just the fact that the woman doing the interview thought crazy people might still want to do you harm shows that some things are still not much changed from when you did that first interview. I’m glad you went ahead and self-published your memoir, and you have shown that there *are* people who will read it and benefit from it. There are A LOT of people who pull “you’ll regret it when you’re too old to have kids” and similar bingos. Among other things your memoir provides a perspective from someone for whom that turned out not to be true.

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  1. We Don't Look Down on Anyone Who Makes a Thoughtful Choice That's Right for Them. And We're Not Sorry. | childfreewe're {not} having a baby! - January 29, 2014

    […] childfree fare well as they age and that they don’t tend to regret their choice. Check out Marcia Drut-Davis‘s excellent memoir if anecdotal evidence is more your […]

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