Saturday, May 9, 2015

What's wrong with children who don't want children?

 ..and f*ck you Pope Francis.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

One regret on being childfree?

Kitty Flanagan writes in Fairfax about being childfree. For her, there's no earth shattering angst over becoming, what she likes to call, a "barren spinster".

 "For me, it just didn't happen. I simply never met the right person and it wasn't something I wanted to do on my own. Sometimes it's just the luck of the draw."

Her only regret? It's a corker!

If I regret one thing about not having children, it's the fact that, apparently, it precludes me from having an opinion on parenting. Any thoughts I might have about raising children are inadmissible. I am not a mother ergo I do not get to have an opinion on motherhood. Which is curious because I get a lot of opinions about my standup from people who have never done standup.

On the rare times broken through the impenetrable cone of smug motherhood and proffered a sensible suggestion, I've been met with often stunned and surprised looks. The one that's a cross between "wtf?" and "that might just work?". You see, in my professional life I actually work with children (keeping them well),   nannied a small baby, attended births, actually been pregnant (however briefly) and shared a house with three children under the age of three. Oh and I was one myself once and am been blessed with a remarkably good memory.

Many people go into parenthood with less experience, yet they're meant to instantaneously know it all.

Strangely, the majority of women in this country with private health insurance choose to be cared for by a male obstetrician. A person who has never been pregnant, has no idea how mind corroding tiring gestation is, nor ever managed to push out a babe himself. Yet he can be an expert.

It takes a village to raise a child, so perhaps it's time to give the childfree members of the tribe our dues.

I'm doing the world a favour simply by not being a parent. Cos no doubt I'd have been just as tedious as the rest of them. That's right, my barren spinsterhood has spared you all and you are welcome.
Thanks Kitty!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Life lessons from Cosmo

I'll admit Cosmopolitan is an unlikely source for witty retorts the time that person at a party corners you and reals off the litany of hackneyed 'OMG you don't have kids! You don't know what you're missing' utterances.

ARE YOU MY UNBORN CHILD FROM THE FUTURE? No? Well then I guess you don't have shit to say to me.
Take a read of 10 Things to Never Say to Women Who Don't Want Kids.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

When you're a boy...on Mother's Day

I’d begun writing about Mothers Day last week, as if to psyche myself into the inevitable choice on the day of either brazening it out in the world on my own or cowardly retreat instead.

But today I’ve been diverted, by David Bowie no less, and realised when you’re a boy – Mother’s Day is no biggie.

And David, while you’re about it – when you’re a boy:

You don’t have to form your own Women in Science group at work.
You don’t have to justify why white men just like you are always the best candidate for the job.
You don’t consider it's offensive to call a woman in her early 30’s an "older women" and think it’s actually a pick up line…

But that was last night’s delightful dinner conversation (and thanks M for not being offended by being the token male and bearing the brunt of it!)

So, if I was a boy I doubt I would have written the following in the lead up to Mothering Sunday (or the day that launched a thousand unwanted foot spas, as I like to think of it).

For the past two decades I’ve hated Mother’s Day.

Going forth into the world solo on such a day I feel more of a square barren peg in a round fecund hole than usual.

Public spaces are populated by family groups, the movie queues snake with mothers accompanied by dutiful offspring and forget about catching up with a friend for Sunday lunch, even if they’re free of family duties, finding a table it tough. 

But something changed last year. My mother died. The first mother-less Mother’s Day approached. I cringed, fearing an onslaught of grief, and waited.


Somehow Mother’s Day became oddly sanitized. No longer did it memorialise my own lack of being a mother or living in a country without my family of origin, but a day when I was no longer mothered.

Two negatives really can make a positive

The world is full of mothers and children regardless of the date. I’ve reached the twilight zone where I’m mother-less on either end of the axis. Somehow the sadness from both directions has cancelled out the bulk of the pain.

...and if all else fails today, I'll think like a boy and get over myself.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

ABC Lifematters, Shelly Horton and childfree by choice

Excellent discussion last Friday on ABC Radio National's morning show Life Matters. You can currently listen to the podcast and read the comments on the show's site.

One of the interviewees was journalist Shelly Horton, discussing an article she published in 2011 "Childless by Choice".

If pressed on the subject I retort:''Did you 'just know' you wanted to be a mother? Well I 'just know' I don't''. I'm sure there are other women who feel the same way as me but don't speak up.

I've now travelled to 47 countries. Is that bragging? Yep. Is telling me your son was voted class captain bragging? You betcha. Is one worth more than the other? I don't think so. 

I feel like I have to apologise for my choice. Reassure people I don't lack compassion. I give to charity, I donate blood, I've offered to donate my eggs to a girlfriend and I'm in the process of creating a mentoring group for young female journalists. It upsets me that my choice seems to disappoint people. I don't want people to think I'm selfish. I'd just like my choice to be respected. 

One of the positive surprises related to the article is that Horton mentioned of the hundreds of comments, only one was negative (similar to the experience we've had at this site).

The program's presenter Natasha Mitchell made the point that according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics one in four Australian adults live on their own. Single occupancy houses are on the rise, while the nuclear family continues to show signs of decline. Mitchell commented that with the upcoming election she expects this rising demographic to be ignored by politicians once more, with tax cuts and other voting ploys being targeted at families.

If you're part of this new demographic, what message would you like to give to the political parties. Should they continue to only encourage those who choose to breed and ignore the tax payers who remain childfree?

Update March 2013: Horton's revised and reprised her article on this theme in the Fairfax media. No Baby on Board is a good read for the childfree, childless and parents alike. As always, the comments   are as meaty as the article.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gateway women

All these wonderful women have one thing in common. Thanks Cindy for passing this site on.

Check out Gateway Women on Pinterest. And if you like the role models, you'll love Jody's Gateway Women website.

Friday, October 12, 2012

even the Guardian references deliberately barren

With Julia Gillard stirring up the House of Representatives, tongue lashing the opposition leader this week, her feminist speech on misogyny has gone viral.

And so it deserves to. Did you know 'to Gillard' is now a verb in the US?

Even the Guardian editorial got in on the act and resurrected Heffernan's epithet. A week to be proud of Barren Ones!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Deliberately Barren at the Sydney Biennale

Deliberately Barren (the blog) celebrates the choice to be child-free. A lifestyle that has it's share of both pleasure and complications. But for some it's a scar, a wound and a pain that never heals. I was taken by this piece at the Sydney Biennale, on Cockatoo Island. I'm wondering if the contributor to this collaborative exhibition found any healing in stitching her canvas together?

Nadia Myre Nadia Myre works across the mediums of film and video, sound, the Internet, handwork, interaction and performance. She explores themes of longing and loss, and the essentially human desire to reconcile the two. Myre’s interest in scars stems from her concerns with identity and experience, and specific focus on ideas of pain and healing. Scars are a signifier of time, of lives lived, and Myre treats the blank canvas as a body with the potential to be damaged and repaired. The Scar Project (2005–12) is a collaborative effort in which audiences depict their own scars on canvas and write an accompanying text. Treating the cloth like skin, participants cut and stitch the canvas, disfiguring and healing it in turn. The result is an ever-evolving installation that portrays an often unsightly reality in a poignant and compelling light. For the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Myre will continue The Scar Project with a Sydney audience.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


This song added a smile to a barren woman's dial today.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

would Gillard cop less flack if she had children?

Julia Gillard, patron saint of the deliberately barren, under fire once more for her choice to be childfree.

And, to be frank, the fact that Gillard has no children perhaps also limits her exposure to what’s happening in the world outside the rarefied corridors of Canberra or the Melbourne dinner party set. If the PM moved in broader circles or had better political instincts then this would not be an issue but it seems as though she needs every avenue to the outside world she can get and kids can be a great – if often unwelcome – conduit to what’s really going on. Joe Hildebrand

And an interesting analysis by Tim Dunlop on why she’s copping so much flack.

Our little corner of the world seems to be growing increasingly more conservative.