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It Is Okay to Decide Not to Have Kids

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

For many women, the choice to become a mother is an easy one. To these women it feels natural; they look forward to it and, usually, love it once it happens. For other women, the choice is also clear – the choice not to become a mother. For many women, this is an easy choice to make, but not such an easy one to share with their loved ones. After all, we still live in a culture that expects women to become mothers. A girl becomes a woman, gets married, and has kids. A woman who deviates from this plan is somehow “wrong.” Women have fought so hard over the years for equal rights, including the right to make choices for themselves – so why are we still so hard on women who make the choice to remain child-free?

Lately, the ranks of childless women have been speaking up in a big way. They are making themselves heard loud and clear: We don’t want kids. Period. Not, we don’t want kids now, but we realize we might change our minds later. Not, we can’t have kids. But we don’t want them. It is not going to happen.

These women will not be made to feel guilty because so many women want kids but can’t have them. Nor will they buy into the idea that they are selfish or bad because they choose freedom over babies. And they do not accept the premise that they somehow do not understand their own desires or “will change their minds later.” They are bravely claiming for themselves lives of free time, solitude at will, career immersion, or vacations at the drop of a hat – basically, they are choosing to do what they want to do, when they want to do it.

Unfortunately, an “us and them” mentality has begun to take shape around this issue. Moms, understandably, get defensive when they feel like their choices are being disparaged. Childless women feel ostracized by moms. This is a disturbing trend that we should nip in the bud, because women can potentially be such a great support system for each other.

And let’s be honest: the fact of the matter is that no matter what you choose, you are going to be judged for it. You are either fat and lazy or thin and stuck-up. You are either poor and uneducated or rich and mean. You are either a bad mother with too many kids or you are a selfish, close-minded woman with no kids. You can’t please everyone, and sometimes, you can’t please anyone but yourself. So please yourself. Life is short; how you live yours must be your own choice.

As women, it’s time we stop tearing each other down and start empowering each other to make individual choices – and supporting each other in those choices. It’s not “us and them.” We are all still women, with dreams and plans and feelings. Let me empower you: it’s okay not to have kids – and it’s okay to have them. No one can make the choice for you but you.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.

Ease of Use Most Important Factor in Contraceptive Method

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

A wide variety of women use contraception in the modern day, whether they are simply putting off having a child for the time being or they have decided not to have a child at all. The type of contraception that a woman chooses can have a big impact on her life, and is one of the most important decisions that she can make. One study examined the contraception methods used by a variety of women, across both age and social lines, to determine what factors were most important in determining the type of contraception used.

Not surprisingly, one of the most important factors used by women in determining their method of birth control is its ease of use. The birth control pill can be notoriously difficult for some women to keep track of. It must be administered at the same time, every day, to be effective. That is why an increasing number of women are turning to other contraceptive methods, such as IUDs, to prevent pregnancy.

However, as a doctor I feel it’s my duty to urge women to think a little bit more about what contraception is best for them. There are a number of other factors besides ease of use to consider when choosing a method of birth control, from the permanence of the method you want to use to biological issues which may play a huge role in determining the efficacy of your chosen method. For example, an IUD may be best suited for a woman who has already had children and is looking for a more long-term solution to prevent pregnancy. Before making a decision about your birth control, be certain you engage in a dialogue with your doctor to determine what solution is best for you. There are so many options out there that it is easy in this day and age to find something tailored to your individual needs.


– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.