A couple of weeks ago I shared a newsletter titled “My thoughts on… to baby or not to baby?” and it went wild. I have never had such a huge response to a newsletter topic before and I received an influx of DMs, emails and messages across all social media platforms from women expressing gratitude for me opening up the conversation. It made me realise that this is something so many of us are conscious of, thinking about and are perhaps a little overwhelmed by; but it feels a little taboo to express any doubts you have about the choice you want to make.
So today I wanted to firstly reassure you that so many women are feeling confused about the decision of whether to start a family, and secondly share some of the content from the newsletter, in hopes of it helping more of you find your own clarity on the subject.
This content might not be appropriate for everyone, and I wanted to pop in a trigger warning for any women who are struggling with conceiving – as I know having children isn’t just a simple choice for many. Some of you reading this might be happy mothers or aspiring mothers, some of you might be dead set on a child-free life, and some of you might not even be thinking about what to do with your womb.
Me? I have absolutely no bloomin’ idea what I want to do. But the one thing I do know is that whether I decide to have kids or not, I want that to be an educated decision based on a solid background of reading, conversations, reflection and experiences. Making the choice to grow a baby and push it out is pretty life-changing, and I don’t just want to do it because everyone else is. I want to do it because it’s the right choice for me.
To help me understand motherhood further, not only have I been speaking to those around me, but I have been actively consuming content related to the subject of raising children as well as being childfree by choice. I wanted to share some of those resources with you today:
The brand new Novel from Emma Gannon follows a young female character, Olive, who makes the choice to not have children and her experience of challenging the expectations placed on her.
This incredible book focuses on being a black British mother. It is honest, raw, straight-talking and eye-opening, giving insights into the pressures, injustices and micro-aggressions black mothers experience. I literally devoured it in two days as I couldn’t put it down.
An honest account of the highs and lows of parenthood from Giovanna Fletcher, with a focus on the highs, who also wrote the best selling Happy Mum Happy Baby.
A book exploring conversations with women who have made the choice to be child free, including the good, the bad and the unexpected.
Another personal account of motherhood, this time from a mum of 5. Sharing the overwhelming joy, moments of loneliness, and everything in between.
A collection of essays from different writers who argue that parenthood isn’t the only path to happiness.
There are so many incredible articles around this subject, but my ultimate favorite is The Ghost Ship That Didn’t Carry Us. Instead of sharing other peoples experiences (which will never truly reflect your own) and giving advice (which is almost impossible when they don’t know your specific circumstances), the author provides questions and prompts to help you look inward and reach your own conclusion.
There are quite literally whole podcast series dedicated to the conversation around whether to have children. Two that I have listened to and enjoyed are: “To Baby or Not to Baby?” and “Maybe Baby“, which both have a similar style focusing around conversations with people who have different perspectives on the parenthood debate. I also find it interesting to listen to more general motherhood podcasts such as “Birth Stories” and “Happy Mum Happy Baby“. And not forgetting stand alone podcast episodes on this subject, such as the recent episode on The High Low “The Child-Free vs Motherhood Dialogue” and the At Home With Anna and Lily episode titled “Motherhood: Unfiltered“.
PEOPLE TO FOLLOW
There aren’t many content creators who are open about being child-free by choice, but two who I enjoy following are Emma Gannon and Farah Storr. Both are journalists and have published articles about this subject.
Ultimately on all fronts, I am trying to expose myself to both happy mothers and happy child-free women, and learn about the differing perspectives and experiences of them all. I know this can be a touchy and controversial subject, and quite honestly talking about it makes me nervous; but if anyone else is constantly being asked about whether they want kids but doesn’t know the answer, then I hope these resources can help you work towards reaching your own conclusion.
It can be tempting to follow the traditional life path of buying a house, getting married and having kids without really questioning it. This is the most common life trajectory for a reason and if it makes you happy then please – go for it. But if it doesn’t, do not be afraid to forge your own path.