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Childless Living : The Joys and Challenges of Life without Children
Findhorn Press

Childless Living : The Joys and Challenges of Life without Children

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Childless Living
Author(s): Lisette Schuitemaker

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.”
“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.”
"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!"
“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.”
“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.”
“I was literally there when the seed of Childless Living was germinated and witnessedthe tingle of its upsurge of intention and creativity begin to flow. This is what this wonderful book, I feel, is about. To show us that whether or not we give biological birth tochildren, if we live our lives with purpose we give birth in many other ways--to creativeventures and in a wide range of roles, including as caregivers, custodians, nurturers,encouragers, inspirers, role models, and even soul models.”
“Whether as aunts and uncles leading a ‘childfull’ life with nieces and nephews or by living a fulfilling life despite how we imagined it, Lisette Schuitemaker’s Childless Living is an ode to discovering and celebrating the joy of life no matter the choices, circumstances,and challenges we face when our desire for parenthood is in question--and questionedby others.”
“This book provides new insights into the choices and circumstances of the ‘childless’and ‘childfree’ as we navigate through the seasons of life. More importantly, it paves theway for much-needed conversations on how we are challenging and negotiating astraightjacketed normative world, just by being ourselves. As a single woman, viewingmy own life choices and experiences in the larger frame of ‘childless living,’ this bookgives me greater confidence, courage, and conviction in my own life journey … knowingthat there is a larger solidarity despite our seemingly solitary journeys.”
“This unique ‘seasonal’ approach to living a childless life reveals insight into aspects ofchoice-making entwined with life conditions accompanied by a spectrum of personal andsocietal implications often uncomfortable to voice and examine publicly. Personally, I wasreaffirmed knowing that I was not as much of ‘a renegade’ as I had been thinking. Generally, Lisette Schuitemaker opens a portal for a societal inquiry: How are ‘childless’ livesenriched through diverse expressions of pro-creativity, and how might those uniqueindividual chosen expressions be comparably enriching to societal and humanpotentials?”
“Lisette Schuitemaker’s best book yet! Childless Living brings sunshine and fresh air tothis often dank and stifled topic. With flowing vibrancy, her light touch, and thoroughinquiry, the author brings new possibility to the tender path of living childless. Read itand be nourished, be inspired, and experience that life is richer than you thought. Thankyou for this precious gift, for childless women and men and all of us.”
Childless Living is a beautifully crafted and wisely written book addressing an ever-growing section of our society, which has traditionally been looked down upon as lacking. As the real-life examples based on rigorous research by the author show, life is notless for not having had children. I wish this book had been around when I was needingsome clear guidance that I was not weird for feeling ambivalent about having children.It would have saved me many hours of therapy!”
“This book by Lisette Schuitemaker is a reaffirmation of the fact that there are thosewilling to carve out a life of their own and that it is completely fine to do so, just like itis completely fine to want to go through the usual set patterns. It is a ray of hope forthose souls who may not be joined by nations but by beliefs--the most basic of whichis free will that allows you to make decisions for yourself. It is also a great reminder ofthe fact that individuals make choices depending on their circumstances.”
"A unique and groundbreaking contribution to a critically important and fully contemporary social issue, "Childless Living: The Joys and Challenges of Life without Children" is an impressively articulate and exceptionally well presented study."
"Steeped in thoughtful research, this intimate portrait of childless living would serve as a valuable sociological tool for understanding family structures as well as a guide for readers considering the childfree option."

ISBN:  9781620558386