The August issue of Time Magazine features an article titled “Having It All Without Having Children.” Lauren Sandler states, “[t]he American birthrate is at a record low, as more and more American women decide not to have children.” It further states, “From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.”
I am astounded by this research, and quite frankly, find it difficult to believe there is a baby shortage. In fact I think to myself, what planet are these researchers living on? Everywhere I go I see babies! They are in big cities, suburbia, and rural America; they are on the airplane, on the subway, in the restaurants, and around every street corner. Plus, orphanages and the foster care system are overflowing with children—unwanted and neglected children. It seems like every 4 women of childbearing age I come across is pregnant, longing to be pregnant, or has 2 or 3 little ones trailing behind her. Baby shortage? I think not.
God bless the woman who has decided to have children, especially if she really wants kids and is in a position to take care of them.
God bless the woman who knows she is not cut out to be a mother and has decided not to have children—saving one more child from a life of neglect, anger, hostility, addiction, and emotional pain.
Having kids is an awesome responsibility—one that should not be taken lightly. Yet, it often is. Many women have kids simply because they can, with little regard for how they will take care of the child.
The author of Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself, Amy Richards, says, “There’s more pressure on women to be mothers, to fulfill that obligation, than I’ve ever seen.”
Societal pressure and the powerful mommy lobby are formidable. To go against such a force takes great courage. Women who choose not to have kids are often branded as selfish. Perhaps in some instances that’s true, but more often I find that not to be the case. In fact, is it not selfish to bring a baby into the world that you cannot care for, do not want to care for, or simply want to use to hook a man, or get back at a man? Is it not selfish to have a baby when your job is so dangerous that you risk leaving that child parentless? Is it not selfish to be a mommy in name only, but have the nanny raise your kids?
What are your thoughts? Are you interested in discussing this topic with me? Let me, Francine Ward, Esq. know regardless of your opinion. Join in my conversation on my Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, or in a LinkedIn Group.