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.