Ahoy there me mateys! Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. I received this non-fiction eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
do you have kids? life when the answer is no (Kate Kaufmann)
Title: do you have kids? life when the answer is no
Author: Kate Kaufmann
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication Date: TODAY!! (paperback/ebook)
Q: “Do you have kids?”
This title caught me eye when perusing NetGalley because it is a question I have been asked one million-billion times. And every single time I answer this question in the negative, there is usually awkward silence on the questioner’s part and/or the usual follow up questions of befuddlement.
Now personally, I have known that I never wanted kids from an early age. – like around the age of five. While me sister was contentedly holding babies, I was always trying to find a quiet spot to resume readin’. Family assumed that I would change me mind when I met “the right person.” In me 20s I ended a five-year relationship because me partner changed his mind about children once he became an uncle. I be childfree and that’s how I love it. The “right person” is the first mate who doesn’t want kids either. And I personally have no problems answering the questions of the befuddled. I always find books with this topic to be fun to see how the statistics have changed and to hear stories about what other women without kids do with their lives.
This book was different from previous reads on the topic in that the women in the story were mostly in the latter stages of life. I felt like most of this book dealt more with people who didn’t have children due to infertility or “destiny.” This book seemed to be geared towards women who feel a need to justify their choice to not have kids or to explain why they couldn’t have kids to those that do. I don’t think that focus is a bad thing in a world where children are valued so highly. Infertility is a serious issue and I do not make light of it. I just personally found other parts of the book to be more interesting.
The sections that I enjoyed most were about some of the unique problems when you don’t have children. In particular the sections about estate planning, end-of-life health decisions, and reproductive cancers were the most fascinating. I also loved the updated studies and the perspective from women looking back on their choices about children. The other books I read tended to focus on women at the beginnings of that choice. The vignettes showcasing personal stories were less productive because there wasn’t always clear delineation when the speaker changed. Also the writing style was a bit erratic and the through-line was hard to follow. But I did enjoy the book. Here of some of me interesting takes from the book:
- 1 in 5 American women will not have kids
- Women’s fertility is linked to farm animals with words like “eggs” and “harvest.” Men’s fertility is linked to finances with words like “collect” and “bank.” Why is theirs not “milk” and “silo?”
- Taking oral contraceptives for 10 years or more can reduce chances of many reproductive cancers by half.
- Unspayed cats and dogs get reproductive cancers. Chimps and other primates don’t even though they share 98% of genetic material with humans. Scientists are looking into if the reasons are in the 2% difference.
- All American adults should have wills and advanced medical directives. A place to start working on this is found in an online checklist called The Conversation Project which is a not-for-profit that “guides people through talking about their wishes for end-of-life care.”
I choose to celebrate me decision to not have children. If ye be interested in the topic feel free to check out this book and other childfree titles.
So lastly . . .
Thank you She Writes Press!
Side note: The first mate decided to entertain me with answers for the question of why I don’t want kids. They were irreverent and made me laugh. So if ye think ye will be offended skip these:
“F*ck you, breeder!”
“I was informed my children would be the anti-christ so I’m doing this for you!”
“I didn’t know you were my mother!”
Hardy har har!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Weaving together stories from non-moms aged thirty-seven to ninety-one, a growing body of research, and the author’s own story, Do You Have Kids? probes the non-mom’s entire adulthood—from the morphing meaning of family to what she leaves behind when she dies.
Today about one in five American women will never have children, whether by choice or by destiny. Yet few women talk much about what not having kids means to their lives and identities. Not that they don’t want to; there just aren’t obvious catalysts for such open conversations. In fact, social taboos preclude exploration of the topic—and since our family-centric culture doesn’t know quite what to do with non-parents, there’s potential for childless and childfree women to be sidelined, ignored, or drowned out. Yet there’s widespread, pent-up demand for understanding and validating this perfectly normal way of being. In this straight-shooting, exhaustively researched book, women without kids talk candidly about the ways in which their lives differ from societal norms and expectations—the good, the bad, and the unexpected.
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