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What Is the Price of Parenthood?

On New Year's Day I celebrated not only the start of a new year, but a new phase in my life. I became a parent and my life was irrevocably changed. On the journey to parenthood I knew one thing to be true—that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. What did parenthood have in store for me? Would I experience greater joy or pain than I had previously known? Read More

You're not asking those

You're not asking those questions yet.. as you shared, you're just two months in with a quiet baby swaddled next to you at the moment. When wondering about those who are childfree (childless as you mentioned) I must point out that your biases are quite apparent. It's great that you feel happy at the moment you wrote this post but I'm sure the day-to-day is not quite the same.

As a happily single and childfree woman, I'm glad you have found your calling but don't assume that other childfree women are young or don't know what they want. For me (which I acknowledge is not how a lot of women are), I have no interest in dealing with baby bodily functions (or my own from the extreme trauma and stress of pregnancy). There are many flavors to life and your article really made it feel quite segmented. I respect that your baby and your new life are a different world for you but don't so quickly try to categorize the rest of women who are not mothers. There is much more to life than that identity.

So true.

I'm a 50 year old woman that wasn't sure whether I wanted kids or not. I decided not to have kids and not to marry. Now that I'm older I am glad I didn't have children or marry. I am able to take greater risks, have more hobbies, exercise and eat right, activities I probably couldn't do if I had a spouse and children. The biggest choice which means so much to me is that I am able to live in a geographic location that very few men would tolerate and wouldn't be okay to raise children. My life would be much less had I created a family.

Not all women have regrets.

Not assuming childless is not a choice

Although my examples are comparing parents to childless peers who have not yet or cannot have children, I make no assumption about the reasons that people do not have children. Instead, my goal is to point out that there are many different reasons that people do not have children and comparing someone with a child to someone who wanted a child but could not have one is very different than comparing that parent to someone who did not want children and made the choice to be child-free, and making these distinctions is critical for clarifying the literature.

You bring up an interesting point that I think is rarely covered in the literature - how being a parent affects our happiness is likely also a function of our personality and the life goals we have. This is something that, unfortunately, is not touched upon in the review article I read. But I do think it is a critical piece of the puzzle.

Thanks for reading!
Amie

The price is much too high

I've always known I didn't want children and made sure I wouldn't have any! The condescending comments I sometimes receive are hilarious.

Yep, love my brilliant childfree by choice life.

It all depends what works for

It all depends what works for you. When I was young and single partying, college,and hobbies were great but I also felt really empty and unfulfilled. After meeting my husband and becoming a mom I felt a sense happiness I never experienced before. Some days are stressful but that's with anything in reality. However each challenge my family and I overcome makes our lives better. Overcoming obstacles together is the overall key to happiness.Some people don't want a family life and they are satisfied with that. As long as you are happy either way is just fine.

Last night

Last night an amazing thing happened to me. I was putting my three-month old son down for the night, like usual. Usually I rock him a bit and he falls quickly to sleep, but not last night. Last night he was squirmy and uncomfortable, and I was getting pretty frustrated. So I picked him up one more time, bounced him up and down for a second, and then he let out a gigantic burp. Satisfied, he immediately drifted off to sleep in my arms, and at that moment, I don't think I've ever loved so much.

This is what it's like to be a parent. My son looks exactly like me. He is completely dependent upon his mother and I. He is a little "old man" with a quirky personality that he probably gets from me. There is no one like him, and each day brings something completely new and different. He is beautifully content when looking at us, and his smiling at us wins our hearts anew each time. His life is the most amazing thing that's every happened to me.

That is all.

Your experiences sound much

Your experiences sound much like my own to date. I'm so happy you are finding parenting rewarding because it definitely can be difficult and overwhelming sometimes but it sounds like you are doing a great job of focusing on the positive experiences and feeling love, joy, and gratitude.

Thanks for reading!

Everyone is free to make his

Everyone is free to make his or her own choices. I am a single 59 year old and I love my life, because freedom was the most important thing for me. I know a 23 year old who has 3 children and she is happy because all she ever wanted was to have children. She would despair of my life as I would shrivel in hers. And when all's said and done what on earth does it matter trying to find out who's happier than whom?

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Amie M. Gordon, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral scholar in Social-Personality Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. 

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