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Childless Living

By: Lisette Schuitemaker
Narrated by: Lisette Schuitemaker
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Summary

An exploration of the self-fulfilling lives of people who, by chance or choice, have no children of their own

  • Investigates the life choices people make around having children and alternate ways of finding purpose in life 
  • Based on a global survey and more than 50 in-depth interviews with childless and childfree women and men aged 19 to 91 from different cultures and walks of life 
  • Enables listeners to place their own circumstances in a larger context as they gain insight in the worldwide trend of people who lead a self-fulfilling, childless life 

Not having children is on the rise in many countries across the globe. August 1 has been named International Childfree Day, with a Childfree Woman and Man of the Year Award. Yet being childless is a subject not much talked about—the focus tends to be on having families and raising children, in rural, town, or city life. Let’s talk about not having children, about what people like us do with our time, about how we spend our money, and—most of all—how we find purpose and fulfilment in our lives. 

Never attracted to family life herself, Lisette Schuitemaker began openly discussing why people didn’t have children and how that was for them, resulting in intimate conversations with childless women and men and surprising insights. Inspired to delve further, she interviewed non-parenting people aged 19 to 91 across the globe. She found that no story was like the other and that many had been waiting to be listened to with sensitivity. She heard stories across the spectrum, from exhilarating to painful, from people still on the fence to the childfree who have always known starting a family was not for them. Complementing her interview findings with a worldwide survey and recent research, the author paints a rich picture of the individual lives of childless and childfree women and men. 

This book is for everyone who has not gone the way of parenthood, who has close family or friends who lead self-directed lives without offspring, and for all those who are still contemplating this essential life choice. The stories in this book also testify that not having children of your own in no way means the joys (and trials) of children pass you by altogether. This book shows that it is OK to celebrate not only the parenting way of life and the children who come to those who love them, but also those who are brave enough to follow the lesser known path of non-parenting. 

©2019 Lisette Schuitemaker. All Rights Reserved. (P)2019 Inner Traditions Audio. All Rights Reserved

Critic reviews

"In Childless Living, Lisette Schuitemaker creatively takes readers through the seasonsof the lives of those who have no children by choice or circumstance and offers worthyinsights for fulfilling life journeys that don’t include parenthood. It will inspire rumination and reflection, no matter what season of life you’re in!" (Laura Carroll, author of Families of Two and The Baby Matrix

“As most of her work, this latest offering of Lisette Schuitemaker is an affront to conventional thinking. She offers a radical reformulation of what is described, in many cultures, as ‘a curse’, as ‘lacking’, or ‘a barrenness.’ She challenges definitions of women asguarantors of reproductivity and as responsible for the continuation of the tribe at theexpense of choice. Instead, courageously, she hugely expands our understanding of generativity as a choiceful and joyful embracing of what circumstance or biology seeminglyimposes upon all women. Highly recommended.” (Bernd Leygraf, consultant, psychotherapist, and founder and director of Naos Institute)

Childless Living is a beautifully crafted and wisely written book addressing an ever-growing section of our society, which has traditionally been looked down upon as lacking. As the real-life examples based on rigorous research by the author show, life is notless for not having had children. I wish this book had been around when I was needingsome clear guidance that I was not weird for feeling ambivalent about having children.It would have saved me many hours of therapy!” (Jane Duncan Rogers, author of Before I Go and founder of Before I Go Solutions) 

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interesting and helpful perspectives

An interesting and reasonably well-structured listen. made me feel a lot less lonely in my decision not to have children, but also aware of potential hiccups I should anticipate. Having non-native English speaker narrate was noticeable.

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  • Felicia W.
  • 26-06-22

The affirmation I needed

A seeker of truth in the blessings of a potentially childless life. 👋 Hello. I’m a 36 year old married woman with a full time career.

I constantly think of whether I should have children or not. Why? My past.

My mom left the family when I was four; my sister 11 mo. Dad raised us and he married a non-English speaking El Salvadoran woman.

From age 4, I raised myself and my sister. Later, in our teens, my dad became addicted to drugs, and my sister was emancipated.

I’ve worked since I was fifteen, bought all my cars with cash, never had debt (except education debt for BA and MBA), paid for all my healthcare, and rent.

Due to working so much in my 20’s (still do, want to slow down) and un-therapized (new word!) emotional trauma, I didn’t date much or find healthy love.

Now, 36 and married to my amazing man, I want to enjoy life… to keep growing as a person and find a way to live my purpose of serving others… to help fostered teenagers transition into self-sufficient life… to be a stable home for people who need it and who give back love, too. I want to love on my dachshunds (16 & 17 yrs!)… to put my dad in a nice care facility when time comes… to stay with my bestest friends when they need my support (they are Mama Bears ❤️)… so many things!

Plus, I do wonder if I won’t be a good parent because I never had an example.

There is so much responsibility to mold a wonderful human being, and so much to risk if they aren’t. It can be a risk to anyone that interacts with them. And, Generational.

In Childless Living, Lisette Schuitemaker speaks to people who have tried to conceive, tried to adopt, never committed, chose not to, never wanted to, and, to mothers.

This book helped me see the value I bring to other children and parents in my community. The different types of bonds and impact people can make on developing individuals. Lizette helped me see my value as a person, as a woman without kids.

Fast read (3 nights). Very fast audio book (one night).