The Chosen Lives of Childfree Men

By Patricia Lunneborg | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Not to Be a Father?

Population is stabilising not because we are looking out for posterity, nor for society as a whole, and certainly not for our genes, but because we are looking out for ourselves. The world over people, rich and poor, are trying to juggle different aspects of their lives--work, family, friendships, pleasure--in the pursuit of happiness. For most of us, it now seems that having more than two or three children (indeed, for some of us, having any at all) is to risk letting those juggling balls crash to the floor.

We have a completely different mindset to our ancestors of just half a dozen generations ago. We no longer see children as bringing security in our old age. We know we can choose their number using fairly reliable and cheap contraception. Why incur the expense of a big family? And why, when the time and even the love we can put into parenting is finite, risk spreading those precious commodities too thinly? ( Nicholas Schoon, 1998, p. 15)

Worldwide, the number of people being added to the global population is falling with each passing year. The United Nations says the highest growth rates are behind us and we'll never see their like again. Closer to home, the U.S. Census Bureau says that in 1995 the rates of childlessness among American women had risen to 27% for those between 30 and 34 years of age, to 20% between 35 and 39 years, and to 18% between 40 and 44 years ( Bachu, 1997). The same trend is true for Britain. Monthly, if not weekly, our newspapers tell us--in the US and the UK--that one in five women today does not, and does not intend to, have children. But, what does this mean for men? Nobody's saying.

-1-

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The Chosen Lives of Childfree Men
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter 1- Not to Be a Father? 1
  • Chapter 2- Personal Development 13
  • Chapter 3- Relationships 25
  • Chapter 4- Work and Money 37
  • Chapter 5- At Home 47
  • Chapter 6- Avoiding Mistakes 55
  • Chapter 7- Not Liking Kids 67
  • Chapter 8- Early Retirement 75
  • Chapter 9- Avoiding Stress 85
  • Chapter 10- Staying the Way We Are 97
  • Chapter 11- Mixed Feelings 105
  • Chapter 12- Men and Overpopulation 113
  • Chapter 13- The Father Connection 121
  • Chapter 14- To Sum Up 129
  • Appendix Reasons Why People Say No to Kids 137
  • References 139
  • Index 141
  • About the Author *
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