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Motherhood: A Choice, Not A Rite Of Passage

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Women who choose not to have children are often subject to brutal scrutiny in our culture. Putting career ambitions or other passions before childrearing can leave many child-free women open to all kinds of suspicions regarding their roles as a women in society, as well as common insults that they are selfish. But women without children are occupying a larger role in America, as according to a recent Pew study one in five women of childbearing age doesn’t have or want babies. This statistics are up from one in ten childless women in the 1970s.

Our contributing editor, Lilit Marcus, was on the TODAY show to discuss her decision to not have children and the reaction from her peers revealed that living child-free as a woman is still quite controversial. In an accompanying article on TODAY, Lilit observes:

Despite the advancements that women have made in the public and private spheres, our bodies –  and the choices we make about them –  continue to be a battlefield.

She points out that although she has always loved children, she always knew from a young age that motherhood was not her calling. Janet Taylor, a psychiatrist, observes:

Society expects that one of the main transitions and roles that we should aspire to are to be mothers. The bottom line is, it is a choice and for women, we don’t have to feel like motherhood is a rite of passage that we necessarily have to have.

Parenthood is not for the faint of heart, and women who admit that they’re not up to the task should be praised for their honesty. Not all women, by virtue of being women, are designed to be dedicated parents. And given that the well-being of our children is what ultimately matters, anything less than dedicated simply won’t do.

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