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Spotlight on Childfree Books: I’m Okay; You’re a Brat

Around the time I decided I didn’t want to have kids, I went in search of childfree-related books. I found that the selection is slim. On Amazon, a search for “childfree books” will return just 85 results as of today. Taking out “books” and searching “childfree” in the books category returns a bit more: 124. By contrast, a search for “parenting books”, as of today, returns 99, 949 choices. Taking off “books” and searching “parenting” in books doesn’t even return results; it takes you right to the Parenting & Relationships category with all its attendant choices.

Given that the majority of people have or intend to have children and that children have different needs at different stages, I’m not surprised that there is a huge difference in the numbers of available books. However, given the fact that, in 2008, 20% of women age 40 to 44 had no children, which is double the number of childless women of the same age range 30 years prior, I would think the might be more of a market for and selection of childfree books. There is an upside to a small selection, however. While I might be spoilt for choice if I wanted to read a parenting book, with childfree books, a smaller selection to choose from may make it easier to select those most applicable to me and most likely to hold my interest.

Cover of I’m Okay; You’re a Brat by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Click to be taken to the Amazon page for this book.

Since I figure I’m not the only one who looks for childfree reading, I decided to bring a “Spotlight on Childfree Books” to my Childfree Corner to share some of the childfree-related books I’ve read and to share some passages that stood out to me. Even though I have already made my choice, it’s still interesting, and sometimes validating, to read about the experiences of others who have made the same choice. And sometimes, even parents write books that might be considered childfree-related, such as the first childfree-related book I read and the first I’ll spotlight: I’m Okay; You’re a Brat by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Though this book was written by a parent, I found the cover’s statement dubbing it “a must-read for parents, wannabe parents & the cheerfully child-free” to be true. If you’re on the fence and want to be pushed to one side or the other, this is a good one to read, and I think it may help you to make a wise choice. Those who are already childfree by choice will likely breathe a sigh of relief, or several, that they made the choice they did. If there are any parents reading this who don’t always love parenting, you may feel less guilty about some of the choices you’ve made after reading this book because the author spends a good deal of time going over some of the myths of parenting and freeing parents from “guilt-peddlers”. The author herself said that she did not love the parenting process despite loving her children.

While the author doesn’t talk about the childfree choice a lot throughout the book, when she does, it’s in a way that supports that decision for those who make it. Much of the rest of the book talks about many downsides of parenting that aren’t always discussed, the majority of which made me glad they are things I’ll never have to experience. Although I was disappointed to learn that Susan Jeffers passed away a few months after I read this book and thus I can’t thank her today for writing it, I am glad that she did. I was already over the fence and onto the childfree side when I read this, but recently so, and it really made me even more sure that I made the right decision for me. If you’d like to know more about the author, you can find her official and unofficial bios as well as a photo here.

A few of my favorite childfree-related quotes from the book:

“In my professional and personal experience, and among all the interviews I’ve conducted for this book, I have never met a man or woman who chose not to have children and has regretted that decision. I’m certain that some may exist, but I have never met them. Yet I have met those who chose to have children and have regretted that decision (pp. 156-157).”

“We need to be strong. We need to take a stand. We need to think for ourselves. It doesn’t serve us well to become embroiled in irrational pressure from society. We need to be sure that if we decide to have a child, it is a wise choice on our part; and we need to be sure that if we don’t have a child, it is a wide choice on our part (p. 213).”

“Some of the happiest families I know consist simply of two people who love each other enormously and want to spend the rest of their lives together (p. 214).”

“To me, living proof of the love a couple shares is demonstrated, not by the creation of a baby, but by the way they treat each other. Living proof lies in the caring, sharing, thanking, and appreciating that we give our mates, whether we have children or not (p. 222).”

Have you read I’m Okay; You’re a Brat? If so, what did you think? If you have a favorite childfree-related book, please share in the comments. 

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7 Thoughts on “Spotlight on Childfree Books: I’m Okay; You’re a Brat

  1. That sounds like an interesting read! I will definitely put it on my reading list. I have not made the decision yet so maybe this will help to clear my mind a bit! 🙂

    • It was. I read it a couple of years ago, and though I don’t remember many of the specifics, I do remember that I got a lot out of reading it. I haven’t updated my Recommended Reading board in awhile but this was the last book I had put on it. I’m glad you want to check it out to help you. Whatever decision you make needs to be the right one for you and made wisely, so I think it will help to consider the various things Jeffers discusses.

  2. HI, Author of Families of Two and The Baby Matrix here…ran across your post on Jeffer’s book – over the years I have referred many people who are trying to decide whether to have kids or not to her book! She has excellent questions, that if one answers Yes to – the odds are they are more likely to enjoy the process of parenting. http://lauracarroll.com/2011/08/im-ok-youre-a-brat/

    My most recent book, The Baby Matrix, looks at longstanding social and cultural forces behind assumptions our society makes about parenthood and reproduction, challenges them and puts forth ways mindsets need to change and why. You might enjoy!

    http://lauracarroll.com/shop/the-baby-matrix-why-freeing-our-minds-from-outmoded-thinking-about-parenthood-reproduction-will-create-a-better-world/

    Laura Carroll

    • Hi Laura. Thanks for posting your review and info on your book. I agree that Jeffer’s book could help people decide if they’re likely to enjoy parenting. I am sure I could find things to like about it if I entered into it, but reading that book I was just filled with relief that I had made (and had the ability to make) a different choice.

      I have actually had your book on my to-read list for awhile. I’m in grad school so I haven’t gotten to do much reading for myself lately (even this post was put together from notes I had taken when I read this book a couple of years ago), but I will definitely read it in the future. 🙂
      Amanda

  3. This sounds interesting! I made up my mind years ago and haven’t looked back, but this sounds like it could be really helpful for anyone who was on the fence.

    • Yeah I had recently made my choice when I read it, but reading this just made me more sure of it. I am sure if I had been on the fence, it would have been helpful in pushing me to one side or the other (and in my case to the childfree side).

  4. Pingback: Adios, 2014 | Baby No Baby

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