Living Without Children in a World of Families

A reader just asked about living without children in a world that is focused on families. If you can’t have kids and it hurts you to see babies and pregnancy ads and fertility tips, then she may be echoing your own questions!

Here’s what Jen said on my How to Live With the Fact That You’ll Never Have Children article:

“If learning to live without becoming a parent is so lovely, why are all of the ads on this page geared toward helping one have children? How does one escape our mammocentric society?”

The short answer is: we can’t escape our “mammocentric society.” We need to learn to live without children in a world that’s all about families, babies, and children. And, we women need to learn about the possibilities for self-identity outside of having kids!

That’s what Complete Without Kids: An Insider’s Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance is all about.

Living Without Children in a World of Families

Realize that the world is full of impossible contradictions

One major example of this – not related to infertility – is that we want our girls to grow up with a strong body image and love for who they are. Yet, we surround them with gorgeous thin models on magazine covers and images of physical beauty that are impossible to live up to (movie stars!). To be healthy and happy, girls and women have to learn to live with these contradictory messages — there is no escape.

It’s the same with couples coping with infertility: we live in a world that focuses on babies and families. We have to accept that we can’t get pregnant, that we may not ever have our own children – and we can’t expect to live in a world that doesn’t include families or pregnancy advertisements! And, part of this world includes articles for women who are learning to live a happy childfree life — articles that have ads for fertility.

We can’t isolate ourselves from reality. And, I think pregnancy ads are reality, even on childfree living articles. And here’s why:

A happy life is a balanced, accepting one

On my Accepting a Childfree Life article, Jen said “Perhaps your advice might be better received if it were not accompanied by…21 ads for fertility help.” This is similar to her first comment, but not quite the same.

Here’s my response in the comments section of that article:

“Thanks for your thoughts, Jen! I really appreciate the feedback. Maybe this blog needs to go in one direction or the other: how to get pregnant, or how to accept a childfree life. Maybe I’m trying to cover too many bases by including both types of lifestyles.

Though, I’m trying to get pregnant AND I’m accepting childfree life at the same time. Does it have to be one or the other?

Anyway, thanks for the food for thought!

Laurie”

Trying to get pregnant AND accepting a childfree life

I am trying to get pregnant, and I am learning to live without children in a world of families. To be healthy and happy, I need to accept the possibility of both lives – and not just focus on one or the other.

I can’t wear blinders and surround myself with things that only support my lifestyle, wishes, or point of view.

Jen, if you’re reading this, I’m very glad that you commented! As I said, I appreciate your feedback and I’ve loved thinking about what you said. If you have further comments, I’d love to hear them below.

If you’re worried about your relationship, you may find Can Your Marriage Survive Infertility? helpful.

What do you think? If you’re living without children, would you be happier if you never saw any pregnancy advertisements or infertility products ever again — especially on articles about childfree living?

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