Sunday, March 23, 2014

Article: "The no-baby boom"

This week's issue of Macleans, Canada's national newsmagazine, features a story called "The no-baby boom" by Anne Kingston -- illustrated with a large photo of everyone's favourite "will she or won't she (procreate)" poster girl (or, as the article dubs her, "the mother of all non-mothers"), Jennifer Aniston.

Macleans has run previous articles on pregnancy loss and childfree living that set my teeth on edge. This time, though, I think they've (finally!!) got it right.

Recent mainstream media articles on childfree living have tended to focus on the childfree by choice (case in point: the infamous Time magazine cover story from last summer). The Macleans article actually shines the spotlight (for once!!) on those of us who are childless/free-not-by-choice. It also talks about the often-neglected matter of "social infertility" or "circumstantial infertility/" (I don't particularly like the term -- I think it's hard enough to get people to take true medical infertility seriously as a problem without muddying the waters.  But I do agree single women who want to be married and have children are a segment of the childless/free world that tends to be ignored or left out in the kids/no kids discussion.)

For the most part, I think our stories have been presented thoughtfully and with respect. Maybe that's because the author has consulted and quoted some of the leading spokeswomen of our community -- including Jody Day of Gateway Women, Melanie Notkin (the Canadian-born founder of Savvy Auntie), and Lisa Manterfield of Life Without Baby, as well as francophone blogger Catherine-Emmanuelle Delisle of Femme Sans Enfant. She also mentions bloggers Pamela Tsigdinos & Tracey Cleantis.

Topics covered include:
  • The lack of positive role models for childless women.
  • There are many reasons why women might end up without children.
  • Childless women are a large and growing segment of the population.
  • The impact of "social infertility."
  • PANKs (Professional Aunts, No Kids) and their growing economic clout.
  • Some choices (to become a solo mother, freeze your eggs, rely on IVF, etc.) aren't true choices and are more complex than most people realize.
  • Discussion about childlessness is framed in terms of personal choice, failure and medical infertility, as well as cultural narratives of motherhood and womanhood, which tends to shut down conversation.
  • Women outside the maternal matrix are suspect, a threat to the status quo.
  • Things are changing and childless women are becoming increasingly vocal.
  • Rising childlessness and the fetishization of motherhood are linked, and the result of fundamental societal shifts. New models are required and being shaped.
Read it and let me know what you think!


  1. dear Loribeth,
    thank you for the link. Yes, this is a good article.
    (and yes, Time's article last summer was really bellow all expectations).


  2. Thanks for sharing the story, Loribeth, as well as for your astute commentary. Delighted to see such a well sourced and thoughtful piece. How refreshing to see some dimension and range applied to a topic that usually gets short shrift. I added my two cents on my blog.