Cover Image: Without Children

Without Children

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Member Reviews

Womanhood is still so tightly bound with motherhood that being childfree, even in the 21st century, retains a certain stigma. Heffington reminds us that far from being "unnatural," women have been *not* reproducing for just as long as they have, and for similarly diverse reasons. While the focus is on individual women and groups in the U.S., other communities and countries are mentioned where relevant. Heffington also argues that reproductive "choice" inherent in many of today's debates is too simple. The rape and forced sterilization of Black and Indigenous women, limited job opportunities, lack of community and societal supports--these are but a few of the situations shaping whether or not women have children. Instead of constantly policing women's bodies--and each other--Heffington suggests that we shift our efforts into a society that works for all of us.
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This is a well-researched and interesting read about the many reasons people--particularly ciswomen and some transmen--do not have children--economic, physical, because of climate change, more. As a woman who is childfree by choice, it was a relief and even pleasant to read about other such women without judgement or negativity on the part of the author. I appreciated the author's personal honesty and tone throughout, and the book gave me a lot of think about in understanding the choices other people make and how they make/have made their decisions.
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I started Without Children after having a hysterectomy. I am childfree by choice, and that decision has never been difficult for me, but I know it is for many. If only the decision to parent or not was always a choice. Back to the book--I felt that Peggy O'Donnell Heffington's book was an important read for those who may grapple with the many reasons there are for and against procreating. Though these reasons were not part of my personal journey, I know they are factors for many others. I believe this is one of those titles that will leave the reader feeling less alone, and for that reason I recommend it to others who aren't sure if a childfree life is for them.
I just reviewed Without Children by Peggy O'Donnell Heffington. #NetGalley  Thank you to NetGalley; the opinions expressed here are my own.
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A revelation.

Let women be.

Without Children: The Long History of Not Being a Mother was made for me, and others like me, who have never dreamed of fulfilling society's expectations for our sex. It is everything and more, contributing to existing literature about motherhood, or the absence thereof, in an absolutely brilliant way.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity with this title. I found the history shared within to be fascinating, and I enjoyed the tenor with which Heffington approached the topic. A good title to keep amongst the alternative parenting books.
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Without Children by Peggy O’Donnell Heffington explores a topic that had become more relevant in recent years - the choice not to have children. I appreciated that the author started with a discussion of how women without are perceived and categorized differently than men without children. I really enjoyed her investigation of societal expectations and norms and how women are starting to challenge those ideas. What I struggled with was the deep dive into history in the first part. I thought it was too detailed and didn’t really add much. I think this is personal preference. I would have preferred a whole book of theory and current discussion rather than chapters of obscure history.
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Without Children by Peggy O'Donnell Heffington was a wonderful and fun history! I am a mother and nearly all of my friends are childless which I have always understood and always been a huge fan of. This is just not how my life has been lived out. This book is an amazing read for anyone and everyone!
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