It's no surprise these days that families are getting smaller, women are moving up in their careers, and Fox News is crying about "the war on men."
TIME magazine's newest issue explores this phenomenon, simplified as the "child-free" life, discussing findings that more women are having fewer or no children than they were in previous generations. The TIME piece says that todays birthrate in the United States is at an all time low.
"From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there's data, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s,” says writer Lauren Sandler. The Pew Research Center also found that the National Center for Health Statistics confirmed a record low birth-rate of 63.2 births per 1,000 U.S. women aged 15-44.
Pew Research Center chart on declining birth rates
Enough has been written about the ticking biological clock, the fear of finding a man with whom to settle down and raise well-adjusted contributors to society - now the controversy is over women who prefer to remain childless, and the family members, economists and politicians who hate them.
In the piece, Sandler discusses a book titled What to Expect When No One's Expecting by Jonathan V. Last that presents the idea of women who would rather not bear children. According to Sandler, What to Expect asserts that the "selfishness of the childless American endangers our economic future by reducing the number of consumers and taxpayers."
Here’s the thing: while having children does boost our immediate economic future, it’s frankly no one’s concern to lecture women, and couples, who happily choose not to have a child. Additionally, there is a growing consensus that having fewer children limits overpopulation, controlling such evils as overconsumption and pollution whose rhetoric Americans know all too well.
The article profiles women who knew from a young age that they didn't want kids, couples who organize couples-only adventures like zip-lining because their friends are busy with their children, and women who have had to disregard the fact that they don't want children in order to date a guy.
What saddens me is that some women feel the need to hide their values in order to attract a partner. I aspire to be like these women who choose to be childless. At 21, I don't feel the need to have a child in the long run. Maybe I'll change my mind, but you know what? Whatever! People are having tons of babies all over the place! I'm perfectly happy calling the shots with my body, and totally annoyed that people like Last feel like it's okay to disrespect a woman's choice NOT to fulfill that milestone of motherhood.
Between carrying a child for 9 months to 18 years, pushing a mass the size of a watermelon out of an organ the size of a lemon, and the inevitable fallout on my career, relationship and body, I'll take a raincheck on motherhood, thank you.