A Talk and Q+A with Childfree Expert and Author, Laura Carroll

This past weekend, the SWaNK Evolution hosted our first guest speaker, Childfree Expert and Author of “Baby Matrix”, Laura Carroll in a beautiful yoga space in San Francisco. I am so happy with the results of this first SWaNK Evolution Talk and look forward to organizing more mixed events like this where we invite those interested in the subject whether you’re a SWaNK or not. Everyone was so engaged and interacting with each other and connecting. Many bonds were created amongst the often misunderstood people (us) who are living as non-parents. We are all aware of the societal pressure on humans to procreate and raise children, and Laura gave us great insights into why and how those beliefs developed and have stuck around for so many generations and how letting go of these beliefs can will lead to a better world for all of humanity. We had both men and women there, married couples and singles and even one person who was a parent. It was a very interesting afternoon.

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Aside

A Long Way From Being Dragged By The Hair Into The Cave.

Today’s modern woman, and in particular SWaNKs, tend to be more educated than they were ten, twenty and most certainly a hundred years ago. The culture around women has evolved in ways unimaginable by the burly caveman who dragged his female counterpart by the hair into the cave for some procreating.

Even “Women’s Lib” is a term that sounds almost archaic now and feminism has taken on many other layers that go much deeper than women just having a voice in the home, workplace and in politics.

Independent, educated, career-minded women are blending in more and more as part of mainstream society, yet we really are not part of the majority. At least not yet. We walk around unnoticed in a sea of people out there in the world. At first glance one would not know whether a woman is single or whether she has children or not, unless her children are with her. However, even if she is seen with children one would not know if they were her children or not. It requires a bit of conversation to determine whether or not a woman is actually single and without children of her own. So, in that sense, we are seamlessly blending in with the “crowd”. We slither around mainstream society until people find us out by asking us those telling questions that eventually bring the truth out about our singleness and childlessness. There is nothing external that gives us away. We are all shapes and a sizes. We are all of different races, cultures and religious backgrounds. Nobody will ever know unless they ask.

But what happens when people do find out that we are single and have no kids especially when we are “older” women? What is swirling around in the heads of the curious. And curious they are. There is no doubt in my mind that questions arise in the minds of those who have been trained to believe that in order to live a full life one must get married and have children.

But, I must say that living in an urban environment like the San Francisco Bay Area, that there seems to be a lot more understanding of career-women, many of whom have chosen to be single, childfree and focused on their careers. I, for one, have enjoyed giving “birth” to so many other things that don’t require diaper changing and constant worry about how well it is doing in school, like creating my artwork, creating entrepreneurial ventures and producing a new event and even creating this seedling of a social movement. The process around creating something and nurturing something doesn’t necessarily have to include a uterus.

I am thankful that women have forged their way in industrialized societies over the centuries and look forward to the day when we can all truly be proud to be SWaNKs and confident that when others learn that we are single and without children that we are not being judged or silently criticized. My hope is that one day all lifestyles can be celebrated.

“I Guess I Can See How You Could Want the Oprah Kind of Lifestyle”

So said an individual whom I was having a conversation with – or rather – an argument with. Oh, wait a minute…it was more like a lecture I was getting from this person. I wasn’t really involved in the conversation at all until the end. I was just the subject of the it. Or rather, the subject of the conversation or lecture was “Why I wasn’t married yet and why I didn’t want to have kids”. I believe I was about 35 years old at the time. I was so taken aback by the attitude of this person and the thought that I wasn’t doing what was “right” in the minds of mainstream society. Near the end of the lecture,  I had a chance to “defend” myself, and I was almost in tears from the forcefulness of what began to feel like accusations. My accuser, in the end, resolved to the fact that his opinion wasn’t going to change how I felt, softened up a bit and summed it all up by saying, “I guess I can see how you could want the Oprah kind of lifestyle”. Since then I haven’t heard any remarks from him about my un-married status and my childlessness.

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