Monday, September 18, 2017

Scared to Have a Vasectomy? Bring your Bro!

Snip! Snip! Why is it that these two simple words trigger fear and loathing in the most manly of men?

It's a simple procedure, taking less than 15 minutes with very little pain or down time, yet some men cringe just at the mention of it--even though studies show that guys who get snipped get laid more often than guys who haven't undergone the procedure. Click here to read more from Men's Health mag.

The GMA journalist who interviewed the good Dr. who performs "Brosectomies"--vasectomies for guys who want to "share" the experience, finding safety in numbers--noted on air that he had unconsciously crossed his legs during the entire interview.

Watch the interview on Good Morning America for a good chuckle and see how two friends turned their vasectomies into a party! Share with a friend!

Any vasectomy stories you want to share?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Why People Feel Compelled to Challenge Your "No Kids" Status

Anna Goldfarb, writing for the New York Times, shares her experience of people asking "intrusive" questions about her childfree status after she married her boyfriend of many years. Most of us who are childfree have experienced this when we partner up and reach the age where most couples choose to have a family (usually the 30's in the United States) and it always made me wonder, "Why do they care so much if I choose to opt out?" Who am I hurting by making this very personal choice?"

Anna believes that when we make this alternative choice, it challenges a very primal belief system, and people become upset. I agree. It's a clash of values and beliefs. You think having a kid is an important milestone, critical to your maturity and happiness, and I beg to differ....

Here Anna's thoughts from the NYT article titled: "What to Say When People Ask Why You Aren't Having Children." 

For some, staying childless contradicts their worldview

When people push back about it, they seem to be more upset at having their sense of order questioned. Sometimes that can lead to interactions that feel hostile. 
Many people assume that having children after marriage is the natural progression of life. They may even see my reluctance to have kids as a personal affront, as if I’m criticizing their choices. 
Not only is it exasperating to justify myself to people who have no stake in the process, but people have rarely been enthusiastic about my decision unless they’ve decided to be child-free too.

As far as how we might respond to these intrusive inquiries. Anna responds with some restraint, particularly with people she doesn't know well:
When strangers ask about my plans for a child-free life, it can come off as if they’re really asking what kind of person I am. 
It takes effort to keep my cool. After a few deep breaths, I run through my usual answers in a measured tone: Yes, I love children, but I don’t feel an urgent need to have my own. No, it’s not because I’m a selfish jerk. Then politely assert that my husband and I are making decisions based on what’s right for us as a couple. I don’t elaborate more than that if I don’t want to.
Personally, I usually make light of it and say "Most of my friends couldn't imagine a life without kids, and I couldn't imagine a life with them!" and then laugh.

How do you respond?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Need a Kid to Leave a Lasting Legacy? Not if You are Dolly Parton!

People assume that if you are not a parent you are not a contributing member of society. Yet, I regularly see news reports of childfree people making a profound difference in their communities. A recent example is the generous help singer/songwriter/entrepreneur Dolly Parton offered families who had lost their homes in the devastating wildfires in her home state of Tennessee.

When I interviewed couples for my book Two is Enough: A Couples Guide to Living Childless by Choice, I noted a similar desire to help people and all living things. Scratch the stigmatized veneer of a childfree person and you will find a volunteer, philanthropist, pet rescuer, mentor, coach, activist, or advocate.

Childfree people may not be nurturing their biological children but they are finding ways to make a difference in their worlds using the time, energy, and resources they are grateful to have; they are finding ways to share these resources with others.

Think back on your own life and recall all those who have helped you--teachers, coaches, youth ministers, mentors, neighbors and relatives. I suspect there is a childless or childfree person among them. Just like parents, we want to leave a legacy, but our legacy justs looks a little different.

What legacy are you creating?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Why 1 in 5 German Moms Regret Parenthood

Many German women feel they have to choose between career and raising children and when they choose children, one in five feel regret. A recent study exposes just why Germany has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe and cites many factors, the most noteworthy being, "Lack of satisfaction from parenting."

This challenges the whole notion, "Oh, it different when they are your kids!!" No, it's not. It's harder because society, especially German society, assumes that every woman wants to stay home full time to raise their babies and provides little or no day care or support for women raising infants and toddlers who may want to work part-time or full time after giving birth. This the hard choice: Kids or Career?

Apparently 1 in 5 German men also regret parenthood and the reasons for the regret are often shared by both partners. The study authors are going back to the male respondents to drill down further on the males' regret but my guess is that they cite the change in the relationship dynamics. As we say in the south, "When Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

Monday, December 5, 2016

Adele on her Motherhood Moments: "I F*ckin' Hate This!"

In the December issue of Vanity Fair magazine, Singer/Songwriter Adele speaks frankly about her experience of motherhood. When the Vanity Fair contributor Lisa Robinson commented that she thought it was brave of Adele to have a child in the midst of such a big, successful career, Adele responded:
"Actually, I think it's the bravest thing not to have a child; all my friends and I felt pressurized into having kids, because that's what adults do. I love my son more than anything, but on a daily basis, if I have a minute or two, I wish I could do whatever the fuck I wanted, whenever I want. Every single day I feel like that."
Adele admits she suffered from postpartum depression, a feeling of being very inadequate, but was afraid to talk about it until she had a vulnerable, quiet moment with a friend who was also a new mom.
"One day I said to a friend, 'I fuckin' hate this,' and she just burst into tears and said, 'I fuckin' hate this too.' And it was done.  [The depression] lifted."
When asked if she'll have another child, she said she didn't think so. Her boyfriend Simon, the father of her child, has a daughter from a previous marriage, so Adele's son already has a stepsister who is a big part of their family.

She understands that her friends without kids really don't want to sit around listening to her "chat absolute mush" about her kid, so she seeks out the company of other mothers who don't pretend child rearing is a never-ending River of Joy and who won't judge her for taking the time she needs for herself--an afternoon a week--when her son Angelo stays with the nanny, and she gets to do whatever the heck she wants!

I have to say it was refreshing to see a woman speaking honestly about her experience of motherhood. Adele is at a place in her life where she really doesn't care what you think. In the hubbub of motherhood and 43 city world tour, she often forgets to shave her legs and shaves only when she thinks the people in the front row might notice the leg stubble as she runs up the stairs to the stage. When asked if her boyfriend minds that she sometimes that neglects her personal grooming, Adele retorts, "I'll have no man telling me to shave my fuckin' legs. Shave yours!"

This rebel energy reminds me of the type of energy childfree women bring when someone suggests  they should just fall in the line and have a kid, like everybody else. It takes a certain amount of courage, and a dose of "f*ck you" attitude, to stray from the conventional. Nothing about Adele is conventional and that's why we love her!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mothers Speak Out about Regret

The Guardian recently published this article titled Love and Regret about mothers who wished they had never had children. The comments that follow this article reflect gratitude that we can finally talk honestly about the hardships of motherhood without trying to paper over the pain and draw a happy face.

If women can talk about post-partum depression or abortion regret without stigma, why can't women talk about regret around motherhood? These women do love their children but they don't love the role of mother. Motherhood comes wrapped up in glittery paper and a bow but often the gift of a child comes with thwarted dreams, gendered roles, health and wellness challenges, and unanticipated burdens and outcomes of all kinds.

 Orna Donath, a sociologist from Israel who was decidedly childfree interviewed 23 mothers who regret having children and published her findings in which she noted that while motherhood “may be a font of personal fulfillment, pleasure, love, pride, contentment and joy”, it “may simultaneously be a realm of distress, helplessness, frustration, hostility and disappointment, as well as an arena of oppression and subordination”. The women she interviewed had expressed “the wish to undo motherhood” and Donath, being a childfree social scientist, did not judge them for it but instead described their stories as the “unexplored maternal experience”.

Kudos to Donath and her study participants for their bravery and honesty!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

An Australian Politician Advocates for the Childless/Childfree

This is my speech on childlessness; it's gone 'viral', as they say. I delivered it in the period leading up to passage of the government's 'No Jab No Pay' legislation. In it, I point out just how much taxpayers' money parents of children receive, money they ought not expect. I go on to thank the childless, who pay more tax, receive less welfare, and worse, get no thanks for their generosity.
Posted by David Leyonhjelm - Liberal Democrats Senator NSW on Sunday, November 22, 2015
David Leyonhjelm, a Liberal Democrats Senator from New South Wales, Australia took the opportunity to speak in support of the "No Jab, No pay" (legislation that would deny government family support payments to those parents who refuse to immunize their children) to say a hearty thank you to the childfree/childless persons in Australia who generously support families through their taxes and get "No thanks for their generosity.

When it was first released this video went viral, and I trust this video will open a dialog around appropriate uses of taxpayer dollars, and shed light on the many ways that the childless and childfree contribute to the common good.

What would you say if you had the lectern for a few minutes and could speak to the law and policy makers in your country?