It's becoming tiresome to me, this focus on these studies, as parents always react with a sense of indignation. How dare anyone suggest they might have been happier without children? Yet they seem perfectly happy to declare that their lives would have been more miserable without children. And they seem incapable of looking at empirical research objectively, rather than deciding that if it disagrees with their own experience, then it must be wrong.
And they completely ignored the issue of those who might not have children, but had not intended that this was what their lives would be. They ignore the fact that couples and individuals who go through infertility or pregnancy loss or stillbirth, or who never find the life partner they want to have children with, find that they have to adjust their beliefs and expectations for life. And they do. We do. And in doing so, we often go on to live very happy and fulfilled and engaged lives. Because we know we want to make the best of our lives, whatever they deliver. So I ask people who are tempted to make throwaway comments about those without children, to please don't ever dismiss the loss and the heartache and the personal growth we have gone through to get here.
The announcer - a man who is usually sensitive to different people and lifestyles - then said, "people who don't have children don't miss anything. Their lives don't change."
This is, I believe, a huge injustice to people without children. It's not uncommon though, such a throwaway comment dismissing our lives. I know certainly that life at 50 without children is vastly different to life without children at 25 or 30. So even if he and his guests knew what it was like not to have children earlier in their lives, they don't know what it would be like now. They don't seem to realise that it is very different negotiating life in a pro-child pro-parent society through your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.
One man said "I would not be the man I am today if I didn't have children." That's very fair. Of course having children changed him. But my point is that he doesn't know what kind of man he would be today if he didn't have children. He only knows what kind of man he was before he had children.
PS. And as I write this, they've gone on to discuss the electioneering that has begun, focusing on families not individuals, and now they're talking about school requirements for tablets or laptops etc. I wonder if they'll discuss anything (other than Lorde at the Grammy's) that is relevant to people without children?