The Chosen Lives of Childfree Men

By Patricia Lunneborg | Go to book overview

Chapter 11
Mixed Feelings

To summarize, it is not surprising that the majority of notmothers I spoke with are challenged by moments or periods of internal questioning related to their childless state, no matter how committed they were to that state. Participants experienced rumblings and engaged in speculations about what might have been if they had had children. Rumblings were not considered problematic by most, but rather just temporary musings that happen from time to time depending on circumstances. . . . Weak moments were most often associated with a mild emotional tone, like wistfulness, or a feeling of generalized anxiety about the future. Only occasionally were such rumblings described as painful. ( Carolyn Morell, 1994, pp. 108-109)

Morell's childfree women experienced rumblings at the death or illness of a family member, during transition times, times when work was stale, times when they were going through a period of boredom or loneliness. Sometimes rumblings happened at family gatherings when children were present. To see how men compared with women on this issue, I asked the men if they had any regrets or felt a sense of loss for having not had kids. This chapter contains everything they said in response to that question. The majority, in contrast to women, denied that they had any regrets or sense of loss.


WHAT IF? REGRETS

Some men occasionally wondered what it would have been like if they'd had a child. How would life today be different? Jerry, the single, Jewish newspaper artist, wondered what it would have been

-105-

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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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