Child-Free Couples: Thriving Without Kids
Relationship experts and couples who chose not to have kids reveal the secrets of a successful child-free marriage.
Child-Free Couples: Still Battling Stigma continued...
"Most people say that we are the type of people who would be the best
kind of parents," McKay tells WebMD. "They feel we could financially
and emotionally offer an excellent environment for a child. Our friends see how
we cared for our dog for 15 years and felt that we had all the nurturing skills
we would need to be good parents. We disagree."
"I tell people that we are very comfortable with our decision not to
have kids and have no regrets," Gomez adds. "Not everyone's priority is
to be a parent. We direct our energies elsewhere, such as animal-rights causes
Barbara Fisher, a licensed professional counselor in Atlanta, says that for
some, the choice not to have children is spiritual. "For many people, being
child-free has to do with their destiny. They may not be here to
Scott says her research has shown that couples, more so than singles, suffer
the greatest pressure to have kids and the greatest social stigma.
Vincent Ciaccio, a spokesman for No Kidding, believes that women more than
men bear the brunt of the stigma. "I am aware of [some women] who just
don't mention they are child-free in mixed company."
Making the Choice to Remain Child-Free
In an ideal world, both partners would be in agreement on the issue of
having -- or not having -- children. Some couples, like McKay and Gomez,
discussed the possibility at length early in their relationship and agreed not
to delve into parenthood.
"We discussed the pros and cons of having kids and came to the
conclusion that there are too many reasons not to have them, and not
enough good reasons to have them," Walters adds.
But sometimes the issue must be negotiated.
Atlantans Duane and Robin Marcus married young -- at age 20 -- and have been
married for 34 years. Duane says he never felt "capable of being a
father." His position was resolute.
But 12 years into their marriage Robin's biological clock started ticking.
"I was never a strong believer in having kids -- I was about 75% sure I
didn't want them," she tells WebMD. "It was more a body urge."