Childless in NYC

by Sarah on August 5, 2011 · 3 comments

Earlier this week The New York Post had an article on women who choose to forego having children, citing various reasons such as conflicting lifestyles, no time, and selfishness.  Childless, or "childfree" women are especially concentrated in New York City, where many hard-working, fast paced women do not think children can fit into their life. One woman in Brooklyn sums it up:
Motherhood is utterly at odds with everything I want from life.
As one of the childless women living in New York City, there's many things I both agree and disagree with in this article. Certainly with my busy schedule with NeW, friends and family, and many other activities, having a child to raise in the middle of all that seems impossible. Yet I have friends who are doing it, with grace and ease. Another issue the article doesn't address is the potential lack of suitable partners to raise children. As we've covered here before, the increased presences of pre-adulthood men has led many women without the option of children.   As we go into the weekend, what do you think about this article? Are they correct? Are they missing the point? Do you think some women just aren't meant to be mothers?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

fran froelich August 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Frankly, it’s far better to admit that you’re not cut out to have kids than to have kids you didn’t want, just to conform to social pressures. And I say that as the mom of 2 very much wanted sons (& 5 miscarriages; I’dve loved & treasured all 7). And there is, of course, the danger of later regrets over not having children once you’re old. It can be damned lonely.
But there are lots of reasons why women are voluntarily childless & it isn’t just about careers or lack of suitable partners. I must admit to being a one-track type myself; had I had a career drive, I doubt that I would’ve felt a strong drive for kids either, but that’s me. And, of course, I don’t believe that it’s good for kids to be raised w/o both parents, tho many moms & dads don’t have a choice. Lack of a suitable partner is a good reason for not having kids.
But here’s one that I’ve not seen explored–what of those women who are so attatched to their birth families that they’ve no time, energy, or desire to marry & have kids? My mom was that way. She got married & had children because that was what she thought she was expected to do. However, she never cut loose from her own mother’s apron strings. My dad, brother, & I suffered for it. We ALWAYS came second to my grandmother as long as she lived. If my grandmother so much as sneezed or raised a disapproving eyebrow, Mom was obsessed w/righting the situation, no matter what. What my grandmother wanted, she wanted, what she didn’t want, Mom didn’t want. I knew that if my grandmother told my mom to throw us off she cliff, Mom would simply click her heels, salute, & say “Yes, Mother. Consider it done, Mother. Always a pleasure, Mother.”
My grandmother died in 1990, Mom just this year. I often wondered if this display of obsessive love & attention was real or a way of trying to gain the attention of a mother who may not have given her the attention she hungered for.
For almost 21 years, Mom went thru the motions of living. No comfort from a husband, 2 children, 4 grandchildren, or the great-grandchild born a few months before her death. In fact, Mom spent the last decade of her life blind, bedridden, & catatonic. It was like she was waiting in suspended animation to rejoin her own mother.
If such articles & debates cause even one woman to carefully consider whether she REALLY wants children, with all the sacrifices as well as satisfactions involved, it’ll be doing the kids a favor.


Author August 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Actually, it is not having children that conforms to the social pressure, especially in places like San Francisco.


Sam Spade August 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

That’s exactly right. Following the ways of others is embedded in human psychology. In NYC, women follow the way of others by not having children; in Toledo, they tend to go the other way. The question is which way is, in general, preferable for most women and, above all, for children.

What is amazing is that so many women still want to have children despite so much pressure from so many sources: college professors, television, magazines, newspapers, Hollywood. Proof that most women want to be mothers, and even the most concerted, gigantic effort by feminists to persuade them otherwise is bound to fail. (Unfortunately, this effort is not without consequences, as shown by the number of women who put off marriage against their own wishes or abandon their children every day in order to go work despite deep regrets.)


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