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Childfree Living a Talk Show Topic

a blog by Jennifer A. Redmond, September 18, 2013

I watched Monday’s episode of Katie, Katie Couric’s talk show which focused on couples who are childfree by choice. She featured two couples who made the decision not to become parents, and also Lauren Sandler, who wrote a Time Magazine cover story this summer, “The Childfree Life.”

As Katie mentioned, today’s birth rate is the lowest in history. Economic, social and cultural reasons are factors. And of course, some people choose to remain childfree following an infertility diagnosis or failed infertility treatment. Disappointingly, this demographic wasn’t featured on the show.

It’s not news that infertility treatments are exhausting – physically, emotionally and financially. Comedienne and actress Aisha Tyler made that tearful admission on The Talk just last week. Tyler also said she and her husband have decided not to pursue further treatment or adoption. Maybe it’s too soon to consider other options. Or maybe she will stick with that decision.

Deciding not to have children is a difficult choice to make. I know. It can be isolating, and people will judge you. But for many couples, even those who have started out on the path to have kids, it can be the right choice and a wonderful choice.

But how do you get there? “The key to moving on is metabolizing grief and loss,” says Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD. A psychotherapist and author On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility, Adrienne says answering these questions is a starting point in getting past confusion about next steps:

  • Am I giving up too soon?
  • Am I obsessing too long?
  • Am I stuck in grief?
  • Do I feel punished because I am not fertile?
  • Am I so driven that I cannot take a break from trying, and if I took a break would I feel renewed energy or would I know it’s time to stop?
  • Am I being influenced for or against by prejudices of my family or friends?

"These are part of the mental noise that, once considered, needs to be put aside so your answer can emerge," Adrienne says.

I would recommend enlisting the help of a mental health professional as you are charting your course, to make sure you are thoroughly examining all your feelings, your partner’s feelings and all your options. I can’t stress that enough.

And on a final note, the term “childfree” never really resonated with me. I just prefer to call us a family.

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