“I have never for even one moment regretted my decision to be childfree!”

Mary Gay, 79, USA

I always from my earliest recollection knew I wanted to be childfree! I didn’t even play with dolls except Raggedy Ann and my relationship to her was more like her social worker than her mother. I remember planning how to make her life better.

It wasn’t easy and in my youth one had to explain the abnormal choice to be childfree. All of my friends were planning their lives with children and in those early years birth control wasn’t so easy to use. I didn’t consider getting married or sexually active until the pill came along and my first career job was facilitating adoptions for other people who didn’t want to be childfree but with the normal path to motherhood seemingly closed to them. I was a social worker all of my professional life in the areas of child welfare, adoption and school social work and I was especially attuned to the challenges of motherhood.

When I was in my late 20s and in the graduate school of social work the theory of zero population growth was developed because the resources to provide for all of society were stretched and there were reliable means of birth control available. I was a big advocate of zero population growth .

When I analyze why I took the road less traveled I think it was multiple factors. When I looked around me at the women in my life the happiest, most satisfied woman I knew was Aunt Blue. Aunt Blue had run away from home in the World War I era to join the Navy and had truly seen the world beyond Marmaduke, Arkansas. She had never married and now retired she entertained me with stories of her travels to amazing places like San Francisco and Hong Kong and Shanghai and all the exciting places Navy Nurses traveled on their hospital ship where she was the Director of nursing. She showed me pictures of her surrounded by other young attractive fun loving friends while all the other women in Marmaduke were mired in the toil of running households, working in the cotton fields and of course raising their children.

My mother had become my mother at 16 and didn’t seem to be pleased about it! My teen parents seemed burdened. My Aunt Blue assured me there were much better options than parenting. She considered ice cream and root beer floats an adequate dinner!

I have never for even one moment regretted my decision to be childfree! Now I am almost 80 and have had a wonderful rich life that I expect to continue until I am a hundred years old, thanks to Aunt Blue who gave me my model of childfree.