October 30, 2007

Is Marriage Good For You?

Generally, yes, according to David Popenoe, a sociology professor and co-chair of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. In an article posted on the Discovery Health website, Dr. Popenoe exposes the benefits and myths around marriage.

So what are the benefits?

More wealth for women and better health for men, and more frequent and more satisfying sex for both genders, compared to unmarrieds.

What about the myths? Well, here’s one Purple Women™ can identify with:

Marriage Myth 2: Having children typically brings a married couple closer together and increases marital happiness.

Fact: Many studies have shown that the arrival of the first baby commonly has the effect of pushing the mother and father farther apart, and bringing stress to the marriage. However, couples with children have a slightly lower rate of divorce than childless couples.

Currently, divorce rates hover just below 50 percent of first marriages in the United States.

So how do modern marriages compare to those of our parents? Popenoe observed that modern marriages are not any happier: "Some studies have found in recent marriages, compared to those of 20 or 30 years ago, significantly more work-related stress, more marital conflict and less marital interaction."

Flicker photo by Pencils and Pixels (cc)

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October 24, 2007

Purple Kudos

Purple WomenTM,
My thanks to you all. Our blog has made the top 100 of syndicated blogs with BlogBurst -- rank #63 out of 100! BlogBurst is a blog syndication program, wherein major daily papers with online content feature interesting blogs on their websites. I signed up for this program and our content was accepted by their editors after the BlogHer '06 conference last year.

Life has a way of changing when you least expect it. Keeping up with the maintenance of this blog has not been easy as I transition household locations and jobs. Real work that is attached to a paycheck always has to take priority to a hobby of blogging that pays nothing is lots of fun or I wouldn't do it.

The cash reward of $75 is a nice token, my first true earnings, but the greater honor of being in the top 100. My only true expenses, other than the donated time to run this blog, are for proofreading and the official PW buttons. Let me know if you want one by sending an email to me directly with your name and a mailing address. (No I don't sell your address, nor am I building one for any other purpose -- trust me a little!)

I am grateful to our extended team of current and former Regular Contributors, as well as all our featured Guest Contributors. When I created this blog two years ago, I was not sure our topic was broad enough to keep it going this long, but it seems there is always a unique perspective or some new controversial aspect to our existence as Purple WomenTM, and we do a pretty good job of keeping the dialogue going about it. My thanks especially to our readers for keeping it clean, not mean -- and for keeping it real.

Blog on my Purple Sistahs & Be Well!
Teri Tith
Creator & Contributing Editor
Purple Women & Friends

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October 17, 2007

Been There, Done That

What do you do? Do you choose the man, or the baby?

What happens when the man you fall in love with is over the baby thing and you aren’t quite there yet? A woman named Candace posed this question to me in an email forwarded through my website:
Hello- As a childfree women, I am very interested in your project. I am also interested in doing some research on women who basically chose marriage over motherhood; ie, they wanted kids and thought they would have them, but then fell in love with a man who already had kids from a prior marriage and didn’t want or couldn’t have anymore. So, they had to choose between marriage and a child. What did they choose, how did they come to that choice, and are there any regrets?
I couldn’t offer a response. I haven’t met many women who have been in that situation. Most of the men and women I had interviewed for my project were childless…by choice. So what do you do? You anticipated children of your own and the man you love can’t, or won’t, sign up for the deal.
What now?

Flickr photo by Monceau (cc)
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October 13, 2007

Missing Out?

by Shelley
Regular Contributor
Purple Women & Friends

Tell a parent that you’re childfree, and chances are you’ll hear the timeless retort,

“You don’t know what you’re missing.” This comment exasperates me to no end, usually because I take it for what it is: a thinly veiled, critical judgment of my choices.
But as much as I dislike this loaded statement, I have to admit, there is a good chance I really might be missing out on something.

Sometimes I wonder how it would feel to love my own child. I love my husband more than anyone else in the world, so I try to relate how I’d feel about a child to how I feel about him. Our connection is so intense that sometimes it overwhelms me, and I think that losing him would be like losing myself.
Would my love for a child be similar? Or would it be even stronger, since the connection would be both physical and emotional?
I tend to think I couldn’t love my husband as fervently if I had to share my devotion with a child, but what if it doesn’t work that way? What if I was able to have two great loves in my life, and could have twice as much joy? Unfortunately there’s only one way to find out, and that’s quite a risk to take.

As much as I dislike society’s mystification of the bond between parent and child, I can’t deny that there must be something uniquely special about that connection. After all, even God used the father-son relationship to explain His love to the world. There’s something powerful there that I’ll never be able to experience.

Yes, I know that part of what I am “missing” involves loud unpleasant noises, in-depth contact with various bodily fluids, and a terrible restriction of personal freedom. No big loss there, that’s for sure. And for me, I don’t think there’s any other loss either.
I know that God doesn’t want me to have children, so that must mean He’s got something better in store for me. There must be something pretty special that parents are missing out on too.
Flickr photo by Mr.mt (cc)

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October 11, 2007

Consider "Child Free Living"

Consider "Child free Living."

This from two of the top infertilty doctors in Mombai, (formerly, Bombay) India.

Dr. Aniruddha Malpani, MD and Dr. Anjali Malpani, MD have an infertility clinic in India. They wrote a book titled How to Have a Baby: Overcoming Infertility.

How do you overcome infertility? According to the Malpanis:

Choosing not to have children at all is an option which you can select - to live childfree. Remember, childfree living is a choice you can make - choosing not to have children isn't the same as having childlessness thrust upon you.
This is a quote from chapter 31 of a their book, which can be read (free) in its entirety on the Malpani Infertility Clinic website.

Here’s what they have to say about how infertile couples can "adapt to the decision to live childfree":

Remember, there can be real advantages to life without children: more personal freedom, more time to spend on your own interests, and more emotional energy to invest in your emotional relationships. Start enjoying your time with your spouse more - remember the early heady days of your marriage before you were striving for a child? Try to recapture those magic moments again.
Kudos to these two compassionate people who dedicate their work to helping infertile couples but recognize that childfree living can be a viable and sustainable option for couples who are ready to get off the fertility treatment treadmill.

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October 09, 2007

White Picket Fences

I have from time to time advocated for speaking out. Too often, Purple WomenTM are invisible and blend into the crowd. After two years of blogging here in this topically focused blog about being a woman without children, I have been approached by reporters who are interested in the subject.

My most recent interview was conducted on my cell phone, which got very hot in my ear, while I was sitting in my car in the grocery store parking lot. The story was published today in the TimeOut section of the Valley Times, a publication of Contra Costa Times. I am not in it, thankfully. The story is about regret. The self-identified "childfree" women that I meet here do not identify with being childless, they embrace their choice, whether it is circumstances or health reasons, or adamant super-conscious decision-making alone.

These empowered, self-defined women are not what this article is about. The reporter focuses on those who miss out on the American dream of the car, the house, the 2.5 children and a white picket fence. "Gimme a straight jacket!" It's a depressing read:

Childless by Fate, Choice: Coming to Terms With What Might Have Been by Jessica Yadegaran
I guess I should not be so surprised by the piece. I am living in the heartland of the East Bay suburbia. They have to cater to their readership. The burbs are where people go to raise children. So Purple Women will remain invisible. This newspaper probably has no idea how many of its readership are confidently, childfree or childless by choice. It all depends on your perspective.

Flickr photo by roujo (cc)
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October 05, 2007

Single, Straight, Male, w/ Vasectomy

Would you respond to someone who described himself this way in a personal ad?

According to Toby Byrum, he fits this description and he’s never been worried about meeting Ms. Right. He’s a single professional in a small community in Wyoming but he hopes to marry one day. He came to the conclusion, in his mid-twenties, that he didn’t want kids. He made the decision to have a vasectomy at 28 years old.

His story was featured recently on NBC’s Today Show. Today Show host Matt Lauer asked Byrum, with regards to dating, "How do your bring this up and how quickly do you bring this up?" Byrum responded: "The first date, if not before," he said. "I live in a small area, so some people are already aware of this. I bring it up quickly. There’s no reason to waste anybody’s time. If someone has a different idea for themselves, I don’t want to get in the way."

Lauer also asked if he ever thought about the fact that, as an only, male, child he might regret not leaving a legacy. Byrum admitted he had thought about it but thought that procreating for the sake of legacy "was too vain a reason to have kids"

As is usually the case, the viewer comments that followed the posted video clip on MSNBC are as interesting as Toby Byrum’s story. One comment in particular, disturbed me, because it came from a pychotherapist who felt compelled to do some armchair analysis, based on the 5-minute interview clip. The self-described "licensed psychotherapist in MA" wrote:

[I] can't help but wonder how much a toxic dose of narcissism fuels Todd's choice. (Baggage from childhood too much or not enough mirroring by his parents??)His choice has set the groundwork for him to focus his energy on pursuits and achievements at the expense of meaningful (and sometimes messy) relationships, but what about generativity (giving back to the world)? His choice and apparent lack of ultruism can result in a lonely old man, with nothing meaningful to review when it comes time to do his end of life stage of life emotional reflection. I do not see his sense of spirituality...is he spiritually bankrupt?
It irks me that the choice to remain childfree is still, so often, misunderstood, even by those who claim to know more than "the average bear" about the inner workings of the human psyche.

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Purple is the New Black

Purple WomenTM -- we're in style!

The Color Purple: Fall's Bright New Idea, Associated Press

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October 03, 2007

On Stage in San Francisco

I was contacted by the promoter of a play making its "world premier" at the Magic Theatre (yes, that's the way they spell it) in San Francisco. For you locals, it's located at the Fort Mason Center. I love theater (American spelling). I am excited to have a chance to see how being childfree is portrayed on stage. Please support the endeavor by attending if you are in town for the show dates.

Here's a synopsis:

The Crowd You’re In With
by Rebecca Gilman
Nov 10 – Dec 9.
The setting is a backyard BBQ and offers a close look at modern families, friendship and whether two people in love might just be enough. It attempts to tackle the question of what family really means and why having children is a big deal for some and not for others.

Ms. Gilman is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright with a long history here at the Magic, so she approaches the story of these two young couples with incredible insight and humor. It is a very enjoyable and accessible play dealing with an issue that I know is dear to you and your constituency.

"It would be wonderful if you could pass the word along to your friends and any local No Kidding groups. I would be happy to mail out some postcards or send an HTML email with more information."
Tell a Purple Woman!

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By My Own Clock

I was grocery shopping at 7:30 p.m. The lines are very short then. At 10:15 p.m. I am still putting the finishing touches on the soup for my Chick Flick get together for tomorrow night. I am making Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup, and plan to serve it with salad and tomato- cheese pizza (delivered of course -- it is a work night).

I plan to let the gals select from the three movies I have in house from Netflix: Aliens director's cut with Sigourney Weaver, Notes on a Scandal with Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench, and Premonition with Sandra Bullock. Secretly (well, not if I blog about it here, I hope they pick Aliens...I've always wanted to drive a fork lift!)

I love being a Purple Woman!

Flickr photo by The Consumerist (cc)

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