No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood by writer/actress/director/producer Henriette Mantel is an engaging collection of essays by her and 36 women writer friends who don’t have children. The honest and forthright stories by baby boomer women…
…take readers through the twists and turns in their lives that landed them with no children, whether they knew they wanted them, didn’t want them, or weren’t sure – and tried to have them anyway.
If you are in the baby boomer generation and have no children, some or many of the essays will likely resonate, and may very well inspire you touch in with yourself about where you are at with having no children right now in your life.
If you are a 20-30 something, you’ll learn from women who are farther down the road and able to look back at their choices about motherhood. Their stories may help you sort through your own parenthood decision.
These women’s stories reflect a truth about how women end up bypassing motherhood – that it’s often not just a straight path to it happening or not. Like so many things that evolve and unfold in life, their stories
show us that often it happens as a result of many different factors, decisions, priorities, and things that happen to us in life.
Keep in mind that it represents a unique slice of the childless/childfree population – Mantel’s childless/childfree friends who went against the motherhood tide.It’s not an overall representation of the baby boomer generation of women with no children, nor is this Mantel’s intent.
The intent that stands out is to relate personal stories, inspire discussion, and impart some pearls of wisdom. And that Mantel and her friends definitely do. Here are just a few of those pearls:
“Socrates said, ‘Know thyself.’ I may not understand a lot of things…but one thing was certain to me—I was not meant to be a mother. It is the greatest thing I never did.” ~Julie Halston
“…I’ve never actually wanted children, but I don’t usually think about what I don’t have, nor do I describe myself by others’ terms.” ~Andrea Carla Michaels
“..To thine own self be true….those words have served me well. Although we may try, we cannot deny who we are. And we are our best when we are self-defined.” Judy Morgan
“…it looks like I am going to be using my life-giving skills elsewhere. I’m a natural teacher, healer, nurturer; and I’m hysterical on stage. I’ll give life, all right. I’ll create culture.” ~Vanda Mikoloski
“Occasionally, some over-extended, stressed-out friend-parent of mine utters, ‘You’re so smart you didn’t have kids.’ And you know something? They’re right. For me, it was smart. Because it’s not just accurate-or interesting-to assume everybody’s life plan looks the same.” ~ Cheryl Bricker
Like the collection of essays in Pride & Joy by Terri Casey, another lovely book of voices from women with no children, the women in No Kidding help us to better understand the choice to have no children, and the women who make it.