This post on NewStatemen blog The V Spot asks why it’s so hard for us to believe that childfree women might actually be happy.
Why is the happily childless woman seen as the unicorn of society?
Non-mothers are often told they’ll “change their mind when they meet the right person”. Between that and being forced to worry who will visit you in your old age, it’s no wonder society seems to believe the happily childless woman is more myth than reality.
By Rhiannon and Holly | Published 03 July 2013 9:36
Being a parent isn’t always a walk in the park, according to the World Happiness Database unveiled in Rotterdam this week. In fact, it could be bad for your mental health: one of the activities which sends happiness levels plummeting, according to the research, is having a child (although, it hastens to add, your happiness increases when they grow up and leave home – which hardly seems a glowing recommendation for having them in the first place). Meanwhile, it was reported by the BBC that China has just passed what it is euphemistically calling the “Elderly Rights Law”, a piece of legislation that makes it compulsory for adult children to visit their parents in a country with a rapidly ageing (and lonely) population. In other words, you sacrifice happiness to parenthood in the prime of your life, enjoy a brief but halcyon retirement, then are abandoned in your twilight years to the extent that the government has to force your children to pop in for a cup of tea. No wonder we’re all procreating less.
But the fact remains that the “childless by choice” – or, as some prefer it, “child-free” – are still looked upon as dangerous oddities, possibly with some sort of social disease. Even worse is the female half of the dreaded “childless by choice” couple, all settled down with someone they love in a perfectly good home with a spare bedroom that could be easily transformed into a nursery and just downright refusing to warm up a bun in her oven. “Tick tock”, publications aimed at thirtysomething women sing-song, as you scour the magazine rack for something that doesn’t make you want to throw up, move countries, cry, or all of the above. “Your ovaries are getting old! Your eggs won’t last forever! You’ll change your mind in a few short years – and where will you be then?”
At the end of the article, Rihannon and Holly share three tips for “how to stop the constant barrage of criticism if you are to live life as a contented childfree female human being”: 1) Ignore magazines aimed at 30-somethings; 2) Have faith in social progression; and 3) Grit your teeth and bear in mind that it is parents who may ultimately wind up changing their minds. What tips would YOU add to this list?