Have you always known you wanted children, or did it sneak up on you, perhaps once you were married or with a partner? Maybe you were undecided for years and then something made you decide to bite the bullet. For most people, when to have a baby is a very personal decision, made after some considerable thought.
Which is part of the reasoning behind 38-year-old Los Angeles-based comedienne Jen Kirkman’s new book about definitely NOT wanting children, which has taken New York by storm and has settled nicely in at number 25 in the New York Times best sellers list, and has even led to Jen’s appearance on the hallowed Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Because of Jen’s profession, the book, published in April, is very funny, but there’s no mistaking Jen’s underlying frustration at even the most casual acquiantance’s inability to understand the concept of a woman simply not wanting to have a baby, and their subsequent feeling they have the right to ask the most personal questions about why not.
“But you’d be such a good mum”, is the response Jen possibly finds the most annoying when she tells people how she feels, that and, “You’ll change your mind”.
“There’s a notion,” the author says in the Times, “that those of us without kids are lacking some built-in or instinctive moral code. Having a child, for me, is not a simple equation of just adding one more chair at the table. It would be a complete renovation of who I am. Telling me I will change my mind is telling me that who I am is not socially acceptable.”
Latest figures published earlier this year by the Office for National Statistics state that one in five women is childless by the age of 45 and that within a generation, the likelihood of a woman becoming a mother at all has fallen by more than a third.
So, MfM would love to hear your thoughts on whether you’ve always known you wanted children, whether there is still pressure to have kids “just in case”? Jen adds, “How will you ever feel fulfilled” and “Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old?” as two other reasons people love to offer as proof she’s making an horrendous mistake.
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I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids is published by Simon & Schuster.