Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice
Are non-mothers more involved with charities and social justice movements than other women? In her book Childfree and Loving It!, Nicki Defago dispels this idea as a myth about childfree people.
“It would be … misleading to suggest that we’re keeping the charitable needs of the world afloat; some do appreciate having the time for community and voluntary activities, but others simply prefer living without children.”
I think Defago is probably right, but while compiling the pinboard of inspiring childless and childfree women it has been striking to see how many were real movers and shakers in terms of their courage and devotion to the causes they’ve supported. Even those who gained celebrity in other ways seem often to have contributed a great deal to charities and movements that were important to them.
On the one hand I think focusing on this impressive collection of ‘good works’ is a fantastic way of addressing any stereotype of the non-mother as lacking in generosity or interest in her fellow human being. But on the other hand, I hope the emphasis on charitable works in some of the literature on childlessness and childfreedom doesn’t reflect an idea that non-motherhood-is-only-okay-if-you-prove-that-you-are-as-much-like-an-idealised-mother-as-you-can-possibly-be (i.e. endlessly giving, self-sacrificial etc).
Personally, I am definitely in favour of all people devoting time and resources to helping out their fellow human beings and creatures. I do my best to contribute and I plan to do so all my life.
But I don’t think there should be any special expectation or obligation associated with non-motherhood.
If you’re interested in perceptions of non-mothers, you might like to read about where the books about our lives get shelved or the problem with regarding choices and circumstances as completely separate forces in the lives of childless and childfree women.
But in the meantime, how about you? Do you think of yourself as a ‘giver’? And do you think there is any connection with being childless or childfree?