Barely one in ten
“If people of childbearing age, who are moving dramatically from, say, twenty to about thirty, for that matter, have a suitable partner today, they usually have children. However, if they still can’t find the good or good, they postpone it – sometimes for so long that they can no longer have children”, explains sociologist Hana Hašková, author of two books on the phenomenon of infertility, who has dealt with this subject all her life.
According to her, there are less than ten percent of Czech women who deliberately decide not to have children. But even for those who claim to be willfully childless, it sometimes plays a role that they are simply trying to interpret and understand their life stories in a rationalized way and give themselves a reason why something happened or didn’t happen. did not happen.
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“Then there is another part of the population who would like to become parents, but they are excluded from parenthood, for example because of their sexual orientation”, continues Hana Hašková. “In some countries, for example, lesbian couples can participate in assisted reproduction programs, whereas in our country they are only allowed to adopt a child individually under existing legislation.”
Other people initially wanted to have children, but their relationships developed in such a way that their life paths did not cross in this direction – for example, in a couple where a mature woman lives with a young man who is still too young to be a father. Another group of childless middle-aged children do not reject parenthood, but postpone it because they fear they will not regret the decision in the future. And then there are the cases of infertility, where the absence of parenthood is felt very painfully.
The phenomenon of recent years, especially in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, is emancipated women, voluntarily childless, who actively take on the role of aunt and consciously prefer it to their own motherhood. In this context, the British newspaper The Guardian stated that the role of a modern aunt could signify a revolutionary sociological change in the future with the potential to significantly consolidate and enrich the modern family. “We will hear more and more about aunts (and uncles) without children. And so far, the critical view of the majority society on its role will gradually evolve for the better”, underlines the daily.
“Now is the time to finally do something and stop pretending that society and family are not changing. We always look through childless aunts and childless women in general, and they have a very positive role and important in more and more families, without which many parents would mourn. We must be aware of this and give childless aunts the respect they deserve,” said Patricia Sotirin, professor of communication at the University of Technology of Michigan, author of several professional publications on childless aunts.
Instead of aunt grandparents
Although the phenomenon of “childless aunts” in the west of us is an attractive subject, it has not yet taken on greater proportions in Czech society. “The large number of interviews with childless women and men did not show that this was common in our country. Despite the fact that the children of their siblings play an important role in their lives and are very happy meet them, they play with them, but I didn’t notice that they would feel involved in their upbringing,” says Hana Hašková. According to her, respondents rarely said that when an emergency situation arises in the lives of the children’s parents, for example, the mother would become mentally ill and her child would be taken away, she and her partner would temporarily care for them, however, even in this case, surrogate parental custody was shared with the adults -parents, who find themselves much more often in this role.
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Obligation to reproduce
Nikola Šrubařová, administrator of the group No Kidding Czech – Voluntarily without children on the social network Facebook, has not yet noticed the phenomenon of childless aunts in the Czech environment so far: , for example, work as teachers or social workers. It certainly doesn’t mean kids don’t like them or have a problem with them. But then they kindly return them to their parents or grandparents and they are happy to have peace at home. It is quite common in our country. »
The group No Kidding Czech – Voluntarily Childless was established in 2014 as the Czech branch of the American organization of the same name associating voluntarily childless. It currently has nearly 3,000 supporters and followers who exchange experiences and share useful advice. Their age structure is diverse – they are people from 18 to 65 years old.
“In general, I can say that we are most affected by misunderstandings, both old people and young people who have children themselves”, says Nikola Šrubařová from his own experience, adding: “Women without children are the most exposed to him. When a man decides not to have children, it does not bother anyone, but when it comes to a woman, it is bad. Remorse and hateful reactions are immediately heard from all sides: You can’t be normal! When you become wise, you will change your mind anyway. You have betrayed the main mission of women, the duty of reproduction. “Nikola Šrubařová sadly notes that she thought naively that in the 21st century, women in our society have somehow emancipated themselves and are not just beings attached to the plate, used mainly to give birth to children.
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Men most often react to childless women. Nikola herself did not want to have children from puberty, she is now 28 years old and last year she was sterilized to seal her decision. “I have no relationship with the children, I can’t communicate with them,” he shrugs. “I know I couldn’t put their needs ahead of mine and I wouldn’t be a good parent. I’m not the kind of meltdown guy who sees a kid somewhere, runs to them right away, wants the bury and cuddle him. Also, I’m pretty terrified of childbirth and all that goes into it. To this day, I remember when we were shown a very realistic documentary about childbirth in eighth grade from elementary school. Even now, I’ll be knocked out when I remember it. Brrr.”
Children are not everything
Our communication with several members of the group No Kidding Czech – Voluntarily Childless has shown that many of them view the procreation of children as merely a passive and stereotypical fulfillment of general expectations, and they respond to this social pressure with their own childlessness. “I’m 35 and made the decision not to stick with having kids in my 30s when another serious relationship fell apart and I went through a crisis where I’m not where I should be. At that moment, I asked myself what I am ready to do to realize these ideas, “says Daniela Stolařová, who, after thinking for a long time, came to the conclusion (that she has since confirmed) that children weren’t something she really wanted, and that her life without them might not only be just as precious, but possibly even better.
This CV frees his hands freely for many other meaningful pursuits. “Furthermore, I have a total of 10 nieces and nephews, who I spend time with quite regularly, I have a great relationship with them, and a significant portion of my income goes to everyone’s delight, including their parents, who do not have sky-high salaries. At the same time, as a teacher, I have been through many life situations with many children and I do not think I will lose anything in this regard in my life says Daniela Stolařová.
Dog instead of a doll
“Not having children is a stigma. People think you are sick or selfish. As a woman of working age, I am literally bombarded with questions about children. I am not ashamed of my childlessness, I talk about it in public, and there is always someone who needs to tell me that I am selfish and that I will die alone. I also say that I never know true love and my life is actually useless. That’s how those around us see us, ”says Eva Baťhová, a 35-year-old engineer, who would have preferred to ride a dog in a pram rather than a doll. When she was fourteen, she refused to pack up and bathe the doll at school, saying she would never need it. At the time, she was threatened with a class reprimand. “I have an absolute absence of maternal instinct and I have in fact found no reasonable reason to have a child,” he concludes.
The decision to have or not to have your own child is one of the most important and intimate in human life. That is why everyone should be able to freely choose what they think is right. Part of that freedom, however, is the tolerance to choose others, even if we personally don’t think it’s right.
For many parents already annoyed by the children’s rampage, short-term help from childless aunts or uncles is a lifesaver.