A review by amythibodeau
Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids, by Meghan Daum

4.0

"I wish that we had more conversations about childlessness that didn’t force us to approach them from such a defensive place."

I found this book mostly refreshing, save for the essay by Lionel Shriver, which struck me as bonkers with its focus on what seemed to me about the pressure to pass on good, European genes. I'm a woman, in my 30s and I never want to have children. Though I personally haven't experienced a lot of the pressure some of the authors in this book have, I wish the default assumption wasn't that people should have kids.

As a professional woman, I feel like much of the writing about "having it all" presupposes children. A lot of the work/life balance conversations are about balancing children. I'm concerned with having it all and work/life balance, but there isn't a lot of acknowledgment or support for someone like me.

What I'd love to see happen, and what this book begins to do, is change the base assumption about having children. It's an option, and a great one for many people. But it is only one of myriad life choices. Instead of being seen as the default position, I wish we could all just make the life choices that are right for each of us with less assumptions.

To end, here's a quote from Beyond Beyond Motherhood by Jeanne Safer:

"Real self-acceptance, real liberation, involves acknowledging limitations, not grandiosely denying them. It is true, and should be recognized, that women can be fulfilled with or without children, that you can most definitely have enough without having everything. How fortunate we are to live in an era when we can make deeply considered choices about which life suits us, and that now the world looks slightly less askance if we go against the flow."

More of my favorite bits here: http://www.amythibodeau.com/blog/2015/4/12/reading-highlights-selfish-shallow-and-self-aborbed