As I was getting my hair done today I picked up the March issue of Elle Magazine to find an article entitled “Someone to Watch Over Me” (not yet available online). The author is a single and childless woman who is approaching forty and looking for role models.
She found one in Diana Athill and quotes some of the passages from Instead of a Letter that I’ve quoted here. She has been looking for the middle ground between “single and loving it!” and “married and smug,” for something that was a real and nuanced depiction of single and childless by circumstance. Athill, she found, is one of the few who provides it.
Am I being delusional and/or paranoid if I think my blog has had influence on other writers? Yes, I think so.
But there’s something in the air.
We are 20% of women at this point– more than just in the aur
Yes, 20% are childless and, according to this report, about half are childless by circumstance:
The study reported there are equal numbers of older women who did not have biological children by choice and those who wanted children but were unable to have them. According to data from the National Survey of Family Growth, 6 percent of women ages 40 to 44 were deemed voluntarily childless in 2002, with another 6 percent reported as involuntarily childless. Another 2 percent of the childless women hoped to have them in the future.
I think that is what is coming out more and more– being childless by circumstance– as opposed to having chosen not to parent due to various factors, or, the bigger stereotype, being a “career woman.” A more nuanced perspective of all the factors that can go into ending up childless is finally materializing in mainstream media. Also, the idea that there are both pros and cons to our situation.
It also appears from that article that a little over half the childless women are never-marrieds.
I think your blog has definitely had an influence – it adds to the sum total of all the new information about this…plus, yours was one of the first from what I can tell. It def has to me – although I may disagree sometimes you have opened my eyes to a much more real and nuanced understanding of it all….thank you. And I’m going to buy the Diana Anthill book.
Your writing has been helpful to me. It’s great that there are a lot of single bloggers starting up on the web. However, a lot of them seem to maintain that they strongly prefer being single. This is good but for people who are more just ending up single, it can be hard to navigate the single-sphere. I think in real-world interactions there’s an incentive to take the single by design attitude. But it’s great having someone on the Internet who talks about dealing with being single as making the most of one’s circumstances. Thanks for writing.
Thanks. I find being single a very mixed bag, and it’s certainly a different experience in one’s late thirties and beyond than it is in one’s twenties and early thirties.