Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the popular Eat Pray Love, has a new book out, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage. Like the couple I wrote about in my last post on Dr. Phil, in Committed Gilbert speaks to her genuine lack of desire to have a child:
” … while the vague idea of motherhood had always seemed natural to me, the reality … only filled me with dread and sorrow. As I got older, I discovered that nothing within me cried out for a baby. My womb did not seem to have come equipped with that famously ticking clock. Unlike so many of my friends, I did not ache with longing whenever I saw an infant. (Though I did ache with longing, it is true, whenever I saw a good used-book shop.)”
For many childfree writers and artists, their creative endeavors are their act of creation, and they are devoted to that creation. As Gilbert says,
“… as I aged, I discovered that I loved my work as a writer more and more, and I didn’t want to give up even an hour of that communion.” You could say that in this way that many childfree are “pro” creation, just not participating in reproduction as their act of creation. The fact is there are many ways to leave a legacy.
Gilbert also speaks to how she and her husband love the fact they will not become parents together–“That relief — the great thrumming relief that we both felt when we discovered that neither one of us was going to coerce the other into parenthood — still sends a pleasant vibrating hum across our life together.” I can relate. My husband and I came to our decision easily on kids, although for awhile he thought I would change my mind, and as I assured him, I did not. We have been able to create for ourselves individually and together more than we could have ever created alone, and this is deeply gratifying. Our creations just have not involved our own reproduction!
Childfree–what are your acts of creation? What is your legacy? Stories, please!