Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Spotlight on Childfree Books: Childfree and Loving It!

Childfree and Loving It by Nicki DefagoAs if on cue, when I cracked open Childfree and Loving It! by Nicki Defago, the baby in the apartment above me began screaming. Ah, thanks for yet another reminder why I don’t want children. This book is full of reasons you may have thought of for not having children and maybe some you haven’t. Some chapters include The Childfree Stigma, Consumerism, Environment and Population, What You Won’t Be Missing Out On, and a section of Positive Stories of Childfree People.

While some of the information will be repetitive if you have read other books on the topic, Childfree and Loving It! does as the back cover says it set out to do: provide “a broad, definitive exploration of non-parenthood, challenging the myths of parenthood and boldly proclaiming the joys of a childfree life”. As Defago points out “If you have or are about to have a baby, you’re extremely well catered for in the reading department. Amazon offers more than a thousand titles on the single subject of what children eat, but if you’re undecided about starting a family or resolutely childfree, you’ll go hungry” (p. 5). As of today, searching “childfree” in the books section of Amazon brings up just 132 titles, which is up 8 books from when I searched last year. Childfree and Loving It! is a welcome addition to the relatively small number of books available to the childfree compared to what’s available for parents.

Here are a few of my favorite things Defago said within the book:

“My own analogy is that I chose the chocolate cake over the flapjack. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have liked the flapjack, but I like the chocolate cake better” (p. 24).

“‘You’ll be lonely’, childfree people are warned, but we’re not—we’ve been out there living our lives (or at least curled up on the sofa with a pot of coffee and a good book). In a cruel twist, real loneliness hits mothers who’ve devoted their lives to their children with little thought for themselves” (p. 200).

 “When I tell people I don’t want kids I am usually met with surprise and the hackneyed phrase, ‘You’ll feel different when they’re you’re own.’ I told someone once how ridiculous this sounded—that if I’d said I didn’t like dogs, for instance, no one would say to me ‘You’ll feel different when you get your own puppy!'” (p. 218).

Defago also quoted others, some of them childfree and some of them parents. I appreciated the addition of other voices, especially parents willing to acknowledge the reality of parenthood: 

“You won’t regret not having children. You absolutely won’t. You can do whatever you want to do. You can’t put a price on freedom. People die for the right to be free.”~~Marcelle d’Argy Smith, writer and former editor of Cosmopolitan (p. 20)

“Motherhood is a demotion. My relish for it approximates that of the average filing clerk . . . The hardship of parenthood is so unrelievedly shocking. At its worst moments, it does indeed resemble hell, in the sense that its torments are never ending, that its drama is conducted in full view of the heaven of freedom . . . Motherhood is an exercise in conformity from which no amount of subterfuge can liberate the soul” (Rachel Cusk, writer and mother (p. 80-82)

Have you read this or another childfree-related book? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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