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Spotlight on Childfree Books: Eat, Pray, Love

I first picked up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love over a year before I read it, but I don’t think I could have started reading it at a better time in my life. I had recently decided that I didn’t want kids and was surprised and then delighted to find, a few pages in, that the author talks about deciding she doesn’t want children. While most of the book doesn’t focus on not having or wanting kids, it does come up a few times.

I decided to add it to my list of childfree-related books, not because it will help in making or validating a decision  whether to have kids (although it might), but because it was refreshing to see someone discuss choosing not to have children in a book about her own journey through life. A couple years later, as I look at the quotes I had copied down, the first one I’ll list below strikes me as particularly timely, as I recently had that “deadline of thirty” looming over me. I did not, and still do not want to be pregnant and, like Gilbert, I know what it feels like to want something.

A couple of the childfree-related quotes from Eat, Pray, Love:

“…as my twenties had come to a close, that deadline of THIRTY had loomed over me like a death sentence, and I discovered that I did not want to be pregnant. I kept waiting to want to have a baby, and it didn’t happen. And I know what it feels like to want something, believe me. I well know what desire feels like. But it wasn’t there (p. 10).”

“…what if, either by choice or reluctant necessity you end up not participating in this comforting cycle or family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time’s passage without the fear you’ve just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You’ll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don’t have any? What kind of person does that make me? (p. 89)”

Have you read Eat, Pray, Love? If so, what did you think? If you have any favorite childfree books, please share in the comments. 

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4 Thoughts on “Spotlight on Childfree Books: Eat, Pray, Love

  1. I read this a few years back and I really enjoyed it. I watched the film a couple of weeks ago and I was really surprised because in a few shots I had to do a double take because Julia Roberts looked like Liz Gilbert! I can relate to not being ready for children, for sure.
    Gillian recently posted…When Willpower is Trumped by Hedonism…My Profile

    • Yeah it’s been a couple years for me as well. I haven’t seen the movie recently, but I remember it being decent. Definitely don’t have any until you are ready (if you ever might be). Personally I know I’m beyond “not ready”. I just flat out don’t want to do it, and at 30 I don’t really expect that will change.

  2. Yes, I LOVE this book. I’m just up to part 3, the Indonesia section. She is such an inspiration. My coach just held a virtual book club on this book 🙂

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