Child-Free by Choice, Circumstance or Biology

Teenage Caucasian Girl with Her MotherIn a culture that seems obsessed by all things mommy, it’s startling to learn that nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. do not have children, the lowest birthrate in this country’s history. But why? That’s what women across the country are talking about right now, especially following the buzz-worthy stories recently published in Time Magazine (The Childfree Life), More Magazine (Childless by (100-Percent Regret-Free) Choice) and the Huffington Post (Childless and Middle-Aged  – What’s Wrong With You? and The Truth About the Childless Life).

The women in our video conversations below are child-free by choice,  by circumstance or by biology, but all of these non-moms – Jane Gassner, Melanie Notkin, Karie Bennett, Sheryl Holladay and Beth Harris – have a lot to say and much wisdom to share about what it’s like to live in a society that associates womanhood with motherhood.
Here is a short clip to get you started:


Here’s more of this fascinating and heartfelt discussion:


????????????????Melanie Notkin is the founder of Savvy Auntie and national bestselling author of Savvy Auntie – The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids (Morrow 2011). Her next book, Otherhood (Seal Press/Penguin Canada) will be published in early 2014.



Jane GassnerJane Gassner is the founder and editor of, an on-line magazine that showcases the best voices of the internet’s midlife writers.  She has plied her craft as a writer in just about every situation that calls for putting words on paper or screen: non-fiction book writer, blogger, magazine feature writer, documentary producer,  scholarly writer, business writer, print editor, radio reporter, and creative writing teacher.


Sheryl Sheryl Holladay is hair colorist, educator, salon/spa owner and now beauty industry executive with 30 years of experience. She is a daughter, sister, friend and auntie extraordinaire.




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMary Beth Harris was her mother’s caregiver for more than 10 years. She has shared her story in her book Me? A Caregiver?, which won the Caregiver Friendly Award for 2013.

bioshotKarie Z. Bennett cut her own bangs on her third birthday and wrote a book when she was 8. She has been a hair stylist for more than 30 years. Her salons – Atelier Salon Spa and Atelier Studio, in San Jose, CA – have captured a number of industry awards. She has launched her second career as a writer, and is attending the Writer’s Studio program at Stanford University; she writes for a number of national magazines. She is a super auntie to 10 nieces and nephews



  1. Lisa Williamson says:

    I really enjoyed the clip of the chat between women without children, but I would like to point out that it is also possible to be fulfilled and happy with no children in your life at all. I think kids are wonderful; I just never wanted my own and have rare occasion to be with others’ children, and that is perfectly fine with me.

  2. Darryle Pollack says:

    You’re right; if the chat left that impression, we didn’t mean to imply that kids have to be in your life in order for you to be happy. Thanks so much for your input and for watching.

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