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2001 Kidding Aside 
(The British Childfree Association)
Last modified: 
October 30, 2002

 

Some Childfree Books

The Baby Boon : How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless - Elinor Burkett

Reviewed by a KA supporter:

This book has two natures, firstly it is a piece of journalism and secondly it is an event. On the latter it is exemplary, this is the book which has brought the Childfree movement into the spotlight in the US recently. ON the former it is good journalism nothing more. The economic and moral arguments never really appear what we are instead given is first person accounts of America's Childfree and a few facts here and there about American taxation. This book does what it is supposed to do, introduce a lay public to the problems facing the US Childfree, in this it succeeds totally and unequivocally. However, this is not the CF bible that it could have been and many suggest it is - buy it, read it, digest it, and then think about how it applies to us in the UK.

Pride and Joy : The Lives and Passions of Women without Children - Terri Casey
Journalist Casey talks with 25 women from their middle 20s to middle 80s who have chosen not to have children. They talk about the contributions they make to their communities through their careers, causes, and families. They assure readers they are leading happy and satisfying lives and so can others

Childfree and Sterilised : Women's decisions and medical responses - Annily Campbell
Examines the social phenomena in the West and the "developed" countries of the world, that of women's elective sterilization. The study identifies that a minority of women choose not to become mothers, opting for voluntary sterilization in order to remain childfree. A number of issues relating to choice in contraception and women choosing to be sterilized are explored from feminist and sociological perspectives, using feminist research techniques based on oral and written histories. The 25 women who are the participants in the study reveal the struggles they faced, not only in being women without children in a society which expects women to be mothers, but also in overcoming the many barriers encountered on the way to voluntary sterilization.

Reviewed by a KA supporter:  

All of the women in the book (excepting the author, who has children) have been surgically sterilized. Most of them had much difficulty with the NHS and many hoops to jump through before they could have it done. Only one of them regretted it & sought a reversal.

The book discusses the paternalistic attitude of the doctors and the arguments and patience the women used to get control of their fertility (in some cases, after several years and abortions). It's a bit dry, but if you're interested in a tubal ligation as a childfree woman, it would be valuable reading. There is almost nothing out there about women with no children who choose to become sterilized; everything you read (including regret + desire for reversals) is about women who already had one or more children prior to seeking the procedure.

I'd give it three Amazon stars out of five (I really don't see why the author had to describe her own experience, as she is not childfree, and I wish that there had been more interviews in the book--23 isn't a very big sample). At the very least it can give you ammunition for your own consultation.

Reconceiving Women : Separating motherhood from female identity - Mardy S Ireland
Based on in-depth interviews with over 100 women, explores the lives of women who are not mothers, and their self-identity in a society that generally equates femininity with motherhood.

I'm okay... You're a Brat! - Susan Jeffers

Reviewed by a KA supporter:

This is a book of extremes. It is at times extremely good and at times bone crunchingly awful. It is an attempt by a self-help author to address the myths surrounding parenthood and confront the reader with many of the unhappy truths such as why it is people actually have children and why some of us choose not to. The good bits feature analyses of the reasons most commonly given for having children which tend to not stand up to close scrutiny and a very encouraging chapter of Cfdom. The worst bits are inherent in the fact that this is a self-help book so we are treated at times to the usual psychobabble. Definitely worth giving to friends who might be fence sitters.

Without Child : Challenging the Stigma of Childlessness - Laurie Lisle
In a society where most women grow up thinking they will become mothers, not having a child is often met with incredulity. This text on the examination of childlessness points out that childless women are part of an ancient tradition. It looks at relationships between childless women and mothers, with their own mothers, men and their bodies.

The Chosen Lives of Childfree Men - Patricia W. Lunneborg
Arguing that men need to be more active participants in the decision not to have children, this volume - based on interviews with 30 American and British childless men - explores the motives and consequences of voluntary childlessness from a man's perspective.

The Mask of Motherhood : How Becoming a Mother Changes Everything and Why We Pretend it Doesn't - Susan Maushart

Barren In The Promised Land : Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness - Elaine Tyler May
Chronicling the shifts in public attitudes towards reproduction, this book traces attitudes from colonial times to the 1990s. In colonial days barrenness was associated with sin, from here the progression is traced to the laws of compulsory sterilization in the early twentieth century, the baby craze of the 1950s, the rise in voluntary childlessness in the 1990s, and the increasing reliance on reproductive technologies. The author reveals the intersection between public life and the most private part of life - sexuality, procreation, and the family.

The Childfree Alternative - Kate Harper

The Childless Revolution: What It Means to Be Childless Today - Madelyn Cain
Thanks in part to birth control, delayed marriages and the emergence of two-career couples, 42% of the adult female population is childless, representing the fastest-growing demographic group to emerge in decades.  This study uncovers the many reasons for childlessness - from infertility to a focus on a career or even political action - and explores the ramifications, both personal and sociological.  It includes the stories of over 100 childless women, who give voice to their experience and validate the many emotions women feel about being part of such a controversial population.

Cheerfully Childless: The Humor Book for Those Who Hesitate to Procreate  - Ellen Metter, Loretta Gomez (Illustrator)
This is a lighthearted reminder of both the benefits & valid reasons for deciding to refrain from reproduction.

Childless by Choice - Marian Faux

Childless by Choice: A Feminist Anthology - Irene Reti (Editor)

Reviewed by a KA supporter:

This is another illuminating book on the topic of voluntary child"less"ness. It was interesting to read the thoughts, life stories, and poetry of the women profiled in this book. Every childfree woman should read this book - because it reveals that many childfree women - regardless of background or lifestyle - have similar motivations - and sometimes completely different ones....but we all have in common the stereotypes and judgements that others try to assign to us. I know what I believe in - but it gave me personally more insight into my contemporaries. Sometimes it's challenging to find other childfree women in your area to discuss these issues with - so this book was a nice "virtual" visit with many of them. This book can be read in just a few hours - but the impact will last forever.

Voluntarily Childless Couples: The Emergence of a Variant Lifestyle - Ellen Mara Nason