I recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with a wonderful couple, Vicki Righettini and Nathan Meyers, who were interviewed in Families of Two. They have been married 26 years now, and currently live in Boston. Vicki works as a choral arranger, playwright, and fiction writer. Nathan is a software developer and member of Imagica, an award-winning adult theatre-on-ice group. I still love this interview quote from Vicki: “We have given birth to many things in our marriage-we just haven’t given birth to children.”
What were your reasons for choosing not to have kids, and how would those reasons be different today, if at all?
Nathan: We didn’t feel the urge to be parents. It’s not a “lifestyle” choice (I don’t really care for that term) – you should only start a family if it’s something you’re burning to do, and we weren’t feeling that fire.
Vicki: Added to that for me is the fact that I didn’t have the greatest childhood. So I can’t say I have a lot to recommend it. Plus, I’ve always been more focused on my life as an artist than anything else.
Over the last ten years, was there ever a time when you revisited the idea of raising children?
Nathan: No. Vicki: Ditto! Though I will add that when I fully entered menopause there was a momentary twinge — not that I suddenly wished I’d had kids, but that I hated no longer having the option of eternally saying “no”!
Looking at society general, in the last decade what have you observed about being childfree in our culture?
Nathan: I haven’t noticed a difference over time – not that I pay much attention. But, having moved across the country since our interview, we’ve certainly noticed a geographical difference. Compared to the west coast, life in New England feels much more family-centered. People here spend much more of their free time engaged with their families versus outside activities. For us, that’s made it much harder to meet and keep friends.
Vicki: I’m not sure it’s more accepted. Almost all the childfree couples I know are around our age (we definitely got the message on zero population growth!). If anything, I’m seeing *more* children. That may be a function of living in family-centric New England. I can see how the pressure of not wanting to be an outsider (like us) could be enough to induce someone who’s been ambivalent to decide in favor of having kids. Though, to be honest, I’m not sure most people give it that much thought. It seems to be more a matter of when, not if.
What advice would you give couples who are trying to decide whether or not they want to become parents?
Nathan: I know I’m bucking a major trend here, but if you think you want them: don’t wait too long. Honestly, I have no idea how anyone over 30 finds the energy or endurance to raise children.
Vicki: If you can see yourself being happy, fulfilled, or complete doing anything else, do that. Parenting is not the only way to create.
And create they have. For example, when I interviewed them, they talked about the theater company they once started called Open Heart Theatre-how it “required us to support each other and maintain the ability to do an infinite amount of work to bring art into the world. Many people benefited from what we did at Open Heart.”
They are a great example of the many ways couples can co-create beyond biological offspring~
Thank you, Vicki and Nathan!
What ways have you seen couples living the childfree life co-create together?