Friday, October 25, 2019

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum (Editor)

There was a time in my life that I had assumed that I would marry and have children of my own when I became an adult. However, by the time I was about 16 years old, my decision to have children in the future quickly fell by the wayside and I wanted to be childless forever. There were several reasons for this decision that I won't get into here.

As a side note, it's always been amazing to me that people assume that you will have children once you've become an adult, have finished college, started a career, and are finally married... In fact, you no sooner start a serious relationship as an adult and people start peppering you with questions as to when you'll get married... Then no sooner are you married, the questions start coming from well meaning family members and friends as to when you'll both be having children!! And, it seems to me like the woman in the relationship is always asked these types of questions about when children will be coming along, etc. and RARELY is the man ever asked these types of questions. 

Additionally, I've received some strange comments in the past from people that I barely know when I said that I wasn't having children. Mind you, these comments were made after I had been asked when my husband and I were having children. Hence, I was never simply volunteering my decision not to have children. Most people have been polite and respectful with my decision not to have children, especially close family members. 

It's just weird that a few people have had a problem (or have made the odd comment) with my decision not to start a family when it was never their decision to make in the first place.

So when I came across Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum, I looked forward to reading these essays. Thirteen of the essays were written by women and three of the essays were written by men. The essays are diverse and varied. I enjoyed most of the essays with the exception of two of them.

The following is a summary for Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum from Goodreads:
Sixteen Literary Luminaries On The Controversial Subject Of Being Childless By Choice, Collected In One Fascinating Anthology.
One of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed "fertility crisis," and whether modern women could figure out a way to way to have it all--a successful, demanding career and the required 2.3 children--before their biological clock stopped ticking. Now, however, conversation has turned to whether it's necessary to have it all or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life. The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media.
In this provocative and controversial collection of essays, curated by writer Meghan Daum, sixteen acclaimed writers explain why they have chosen to eschew parenthood. Contributors Lionel Shriver, Sigrid Nunez, Kate Christiensen, Elliott Holt, Geoff Dyer, and Tim Kreider, among others, offer a unique perspective on the overwhelming cultural pressure of parenthood.
Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed makes a thoughtful and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path in life, taking our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. What emerges is a more nuanced, diverse view of what it means to live a full, satisfying life.
I am giving Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!


  1. I have plenty of feelings about this subject as well which I don't intend to share on any platform. Two authors I admire are among the contributors here and I am interested. What ever happened to the idea of worrying about over population? It seems these proponents of everyone having kids are operating on some very ancient ideas. Thank you for your review.

    1. To have a child or not is a sensitive topic for sure.

      And yes, we do have to think about over population of the planet, but I wonder how many people think of over population when deciding whether or not to have children of their own?

  2. Interesting and probably conflict provoking... thanks

    1. It was definitely a really good read as there are many viewpoints on why people don't want children.