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October 24th, 2009

Review: Two Is Enough

Review: Two Is Enough

When I started reading Two Is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice I wasn’t sure how I’d like it. I already knew I was childfree so what would I get out of the book?

I finished it last night and wow-I loved this book! Laura S. Scott does a good job mixing her research data and personal stories to make a compelling read. It was a pleasure to find out I had so much in common with other childfree people.

Scott categorizes the childless into different catagories. Apparently I’m an “early articulator”. As a young girl I knew I’d never have children. I never liked baby dolls. It felt like I was being forced to play mommy which felt wrong. (Barbie was different-she was an adult, dated Ken, fought the evil Osmond dolls and never had a baby.)

Scott had four categories for her study:

“Early articulators are those who make the decision early in their lives, generally without influence from a significant other.

Acquiescers are those who make the decision to remain childless primarily because their partner wanted to be childfree.

Postponers are those who delayed having a family and ultimately decided they didnt want kids.

Undecided are those who are still in the decision-making process.”

I was surprised by how many of the childfree heard the same myths as I did. “You’ll change your mind when you get older.” “It’s different when they’re your own kids.” “You’re selfish.” Her chapter Marginal and Misunderstood challenges the myths of the childfree life and was one of my favorite chapters.

Another outstanding chapter is Eighteen Reasons (and More) Why We Don’t Have Kids. I found myself agreeing with many of her “Motive Statements” such as “I love our life, our relationship, as it is, and having a child won’t enhance it” and “I value freedom and independence”.

Scott gives a realistic outline on the work that needs to be done for the childfree. Too many doctors are hesitant to provide sterilization to childless couples. I wrote about our frustrating journey towards Mr. Radical’s vascetomy here. There’s not nearly enough childfree role models in our culture. Family and friends still pressure couples to have children, ignoring the couples stated preference. Mr. Radical’s grandmother used to send me birthday cards featuring babies because we hadn’t popped out a grandchild yet. When his sister had kids the pressure finally eased up. Scott’s chapter A Place At The Table outlines ways the childfree can be more accepted into society.

One downside of the study was the lack of diversity. This isn’t Scott’s fault. She worked with the participants she had. But I’d like to hear perspectives from gay couples, those that choose to remain single, those in polyamorous relationships, people with non-traditional religions and atheists.

Hopefully her book and study will inspire more research.

Who’d like this book? Certainly the childfree. Amongst my friends and family Mr. Radical and I are definitely in the minority. It was a joy to read about other childfree people and know that there’s others taking this path. If you’re debating whether or not to have children this book would give you a good perspective on the childfree life.

I’m not sure this book will entertain parents. Certainly you won’t find me picking up books on parenting so why would a parent read this one? Maybe you’re like me and enjoy reading about sociological studies. Or maybe you’re curious about the motivations of the childfree. Scott goes out of her way to be respectful to those with children. She makes the point that many websites get nasty about parents. I’ll fess up that I throw the term “breeder” around when parents piss me off. But her book is very courteous to parents so you won’t be insulted if you read it and have kids of your own.

I definitely recommend this book! Want to know more about the childfree lifestyle? You can also check out Scott’s Childless by Choice Project.

Posted by Vixen as Reviews at 10:48 PM CDT