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Last weekend it was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. For gals of a certain age with older relatives, family dinners can mean a whole lot of questioning. Do you have a boyfriend? When are you getting married? Children? Now, if you’re like me and low on the ranks of cousins that have to get married then this probably is far from on your mind. But if you’re next in line for tying the knot and settling down, now you have a study on your side to get people off your back.

New research from the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests that, despite the pressure your Great Aunt Mildred may be putting on you to reproduce, if you decide you simply don’t want kids you’ll turn out just fine! In fact, you’ll have more money and likely never wake up feeling like you “forgot” to have children. Everything will be A-OK.

Author Julia McQuillan, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist, conducted a study of 1,200 American women without children inquiring why they didn’t have babies. If you think you don’t want kids here’s what McQuillan found you can anticipate from your peers and elders: Increased pressure from others about choosing not to have kids, but don’t expect to feel guilt over the decision.

And being childless is on the rise. Estimates from a 2003 study suggests approximately 20 percent of American women will not have children. Women tend only to feel distressed if they think being a mother is important.

Leah graduated from Ryerson University with her Bachelor of Journalism. She’s currently interning at a design magazine in Toronto and spending her spare time baking tasty cupcakes. You can follow her @ElleandBee.

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