5: Childless Women
SEASON 1: EPISODE 5
When we talk about women, we often make the assumption that they are mothers or will become mothers. But one in five women in the US don’t have children — didn't want them, never got married, had fertility issues, or any number of other reasons.
On Episode 5, Meghan Daum, award-winning writer, columnist, and editor of the New York Times Bestseller, Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not To Have Kids joins Amber to discuss her journey and the value of understanding non-mothers.
Childless by choice: Twenty plus years ago, there weren’t very many spaces for women to talk about their plans for motherhood. The majority of them became mothers. However, there has always been a piece of the female population (today it’s one out of five women) who would never go on to have children and a percentage of those women are childless by choice.
Getting to honesty: The conversation about not having children is usually riddled with self indulgent responses — kids are messy, expensive and having them would mean sacrificing good vacations and a nice pair of shoes. However, usually the decision to not have children is a thoughtful and well informed one.
Focusing on me: Having the ability to make your own decisions — to live your own life — is incredibly powerful.
Owning your truth: The vast majority of people want children and will have them. For those who do not, being able to embrace that choice and own the truth is empowering.
Embracing different: Childless women may not be the majority but they do exist. Being an outlier or minority doesn’t mean you’re an outsider.
Meghan Daum recently became a columnist for Medium and is the author of four books, most recently the collection of original essays The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, which won the PEN Center USA Award for creative nonfiction. She is also the editor of the New York Times bestseller Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not To Have Kids. Her other books include the essay collection My Misspent Youth, the novel The Quality of Life Report, and Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House, a memoir.
Meghan has written for numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and Vogue. She is the recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and is on the adjunct faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University's School of the Arts. She also teaches private writing workshops in New York City and Los Angeles.
Learn more and follow Meghan on Twitter at @meghan_daum.
Produced by: Kai-Saun Anderson
Music by: Podington Bear
Author’s photo: David Zaugh