An exploration of the self-fulfilling lives of people who, by chance or choice, have no children of their own
• Investigates the life choices people make around having children and alternate ways of finding purpose in life
• Based on a global survey and more than 50 in-depth interviews with childless and childfree women and men aged 19 to 91 from different cultures and walks of life
• Enables readers to place their own circumstances in a larger context as they gain insight in the worldwide trend of people who lead a self-fulfilling, childless life
Not having children is on the rise in many countries across the globe. August 1st has been named International Childfree Day, with a Childfree Woman and Man of the Year Award. Yet being childless is a subject not much talked about–the focus tends to be on having families and raising children, in rural, town, or city life. Let’s talk about not having children, about what people like us do with our time, about how we spend our money, and–most of all–how we find purpose and fulfilment in our lives.
Never attracted to family life herself, Lisette Schuitemaker began openly discussing why people didn’t have children and how that was for them, resulting in intimate conversations with childless women and men and surprising insights. Inspired to delve further, she interviewed non-parenting people aged 19 to 91 across the globe. She found that no story was like the other and that many had been waiting to be listened to with sensitivity. She heard stories across the spectrum, from exhilarating to painful, from people still on the fence to the childfree who have always known starting a family was not for them. Complementing her interview findings with a worldwide survey and recent research, the author paints a rich picture of the individual lives of childless and childfree women and men.
This book is for everyone who has not gone the way of parenthood, who has close family or friends who lead self-directed lives without offspring, and for all those who are still contemplating this essential life choice. The stories in this book also testify that not having children of your own in no way means the joys (and trials) of children pass you by altogether. This book shows that it is ok to celebrate not only the parenting way of life and the children who come to those who love them, but also those who are brave enough to follow the lesser known path of non-parenting.
“So many girls and young women are still growing up in a culture of assumed motherhood. This important book draws a line under that presumption. It helps us take an important step toward an egalitarian world where we are free to decide not only what’s best for ourselves but also what’s best for the planet–and each other.” (Tanith Carey, author of The Friendship Maze, What’s My Child Thinking?)
“A colorful, comprehensive, and nuanced treatment of a complex subject, this book brings a new depth nd perspective and helps to liberate childless living from outdated social stereotypes.” (John Clausen, president of the Hygeia Foundation and “a member of the club!”)
“In Childless Living, Lisette Schuitemaker creatively takes readers through the seasonsof the lives of those who have no children by choice or circumstance and offers worthyinsights for fulfilling life journeys that don’t include parenthood. It will inspire rumination and reflection, no matter what season of life you’re in!” (Laura Carroll, author of Families of Two and The Baby Matrix)
“As most of her work, this latest offering of Lisette Schuitemaker is an affront to conventional thinking. She offers a radical reformulation of what is described, in many cultures, as ‘a curse,’ as ‘lacking,’ or ‘a barrenness.’ She challenges definitions of women asguarantors of reproductivity and as responsible for the continuation of the tribe at theexpense of choice. Instead, courageously, she hugely expands our understanding of generativity as a choiceful and joyful embracing of what circumstance or biology seeminglyimposes upon all women. Highly recommended.” (Bernd Leygraf, consultant, psychotherapist, and founder and director of Naos Institute)
“Thank you, Lisette Schuitemaker, for the fascinating research in Childless Living that provides social and cultural context for decisions I made in my 20s not to have children.It’s like reading the story no one has ever asked me to tell about my childless self–through the four seasons of my life. I am so reassured by the final metaphor of endinglife as Open Space. It delights and inspires me for being true to the choices I have made.” (Marylin Hamilton, PhD, CPA(ret), author of the Integral City book series)
About the Author
With a master’s degree in the Classics, Lisette Schuitemaker started and sold her own communications agency and then obtained a BSc in Brennan Healing Science, working as a healer and coach. She is Chair of Trustees of the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland and a happily childless aunt of eleven. The author of The Childhood Conclusions Fix and co-author of The Eldest Daughter Effect, Lisette lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.