Well the first thing about the book that you might notice is that the author is in fact a a parent, she isn’t herself childfree which is very much evident from her opening statement “About ever six months, I have dream that is essence is always the same: My husband announces to me, in some time frame before out wedding, that he does not wish to marry. The news devastates me. i am too old, I know in the dream, to find anyone else. Therefore, I will never be able to mother. In an instant, I am swirling, accurately aware of all that is lost to me. In the kind of reversal that only happens in a dream, the joys I have experienced mothering my daughter are sucked out of me in a blazing vortex and I keen for that which I cannot recapture and which is now denied me.”
I do admit that for an opening statement it makes me not hold much interest in the book itself and for that reason it was hard to get started into the book itself let alone take what I was reading of any value in general since for me the books got a tainted view. Which might or might not be the actual case but from my own side of things it just didn’t sit well reading a book on being childfree from a parents view even if she did do “research” and interviews of those who don’t have children. It is good that she wrote the book in general and that she does talk about there being an option to be a parent vs being childfree – its good to read that there are some parents out there who support however limited that it is a choice that ones does make.
The author divides the book into three main categories those being “Choice”, “Chance” and “Happenstance” which she breaks down into those who have made the choice to be childfree “Choice”, the other are those who for what ever reason are unable to have a child of their own and choose not to adopt “Chance” and then then there are those who at one point in their life put off having a child because it just wasn’t the right time to do so (didn’t find the right partner, didn’t feel stable economically to do so, etc) “Happenstance”. The last part of the book is “Misconceptions” and covers some of the questions and assumptions that people who do not have children face from those who are parents.
Another thing that actually helped me to read the book though more then once was the statement at the start of the “Misconceptions” chapter where the author does state “”I thought every woman wanted children. I had a lot to learn.” that statement actually brought its own light into the writing in general because the author actually acknowledged she “short comings” about what she thought about other women in general when it came to being a parent and the fact that she apparently did come to understand that she did make a choice in her life just as other’s have made in theirs.
One thing that I really like about the book is that the author actually names some fair famous women in history who where in fact childfree for what ever reason was their own they choice to make an impact on the planet instead of becoming a parent. It makes one feel a little better if you are still not sure if you are childfree or not or even if you are just looking to know that you are not alone in the choices you have made.
The end of the book before she gives her final statement of her personal speaking says a lot about the book in general and the journey she herself went on in writing it ” More women than ever are choosing a life that does not conform to the old standard. The time has come to absorb into our consciousness a new version of femaleness, one that is predicted on the measure of a woman’s character, not on the issue of her body.” that last statement to me sums up a whole lot of things about society as a whole and about women and our future.
I feel the author did a good job in writing the book and though she is a parent and her views on being a parent and other women who are not might have changed she at least is open enough it does feel from the writing and her final personal statements to the matter that she has given a vice to those who are not parents that someone who is a parent might actually put some weight on should they choose to read the book, because some times reading what a fellow parent has to say speaks louder to another parent then something which someone who isn’t will ever speak to them.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who wonted to get a rounded experience on what it means to be a parent and be childfree, well worth reading for all that is for sure.