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Complete without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance [Paperback]

Ellen L. Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 12.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group LLC; 2 edition (7 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608320731
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608320738
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.1 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 703,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Complete without Kids Examines the often-ignored question of what it means to be childfree, by choice or by circumstance, in a family-focused society. Offering support, guidance, and questions, this guide is for any reader considering the childfree path. Full description

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This book was excellent as an introduction for about some of the issues surrounding deciding not to have children. It was also excellent as a free Ebook. However, I think it can't be regarded as anything more than a starting point for the topic because it lacks any in-depth analysis or even anything that goes beyond basic anecdotal evidence from a limited number of people. There isn't much research and the research that is used isn't used or examined extensively. At times it can come across as quite patronising - it repeats parts of the text that you're supposed to find important and writes them in bold, suggests questions at the end of every section in case you weren't capable of finding the questions the book raises for yourself, and there's just something about the writing style, the constant repetition and the explanation of some of the terms that makes it sound as though the author is trying to explain herself to a very dim-witted person. Still, that doesn't really spoil the experience of reading the book that much, I suppose.

The only element of it I'd serious contend is the way that it examines the childfree lifestyle in relation to the advantages it has. The author sets out to try and show that people who decide not to have children are not just 'selfish' and that it can be a dignified and meaningful way of life - which is definitely true - but then goes on to look solely at how the people she's interviewing can indulge themselves at weekends, pursue their own hobbies, have great sex, eat what they want, go out when they want, do what they want, spend their salaries (that they keep more of because they don't have kids) on whatever they want and the emphasis is always that they can do all this WITHOUT BOTHERING TO THINK OF OTHER PEOPLE.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read 24 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. It is the first book I have read about deciding not to have children and felt it was a good introduction. I did find the repeated text that the previous commenter mentioned unnecessary too (the original text could have been bolded for emphasis) though all in all, I enjoyed it and found it useful. I am in my mid thirties and am happy with my decision to be child free but I actually found the exercises at the end of each chapter useful and thought provoking. It's not the 'usual book format' but I felt that the style of the book, helped take you on your own journey and unearthed some questions and thoughts for me that I hadn't considered before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful 26 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book could be, for someone who's uncertain about their child free status, a really thought provoking read. For me, it simply confirmed a lot of what I already knew about myself ... But it is nice to be validated sometimes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kidfree Guide 20 May 2013
Format:Paperback
Reluctantly, I confess that it is strictly my own decision and idea to be child-free (since the age of 8). I say reluctantly because my husband expressed his feeling that I would have made a good mother and that we would have had beautiful children together. However, his decision to spend the rest of his current lifetime with me is constant even with my choice to be child-free.Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance by Ellen L. Walker caught my attention because of my interest to seek out books that support a voluntary choice to be child-free. There are more than enough families who have more than four children per household (just in the United States of America alone) to make up for the number of men and women who voluntarily decide to stay child-free.I admit that I'm not sure how my biological mother and adoptive mother would have felt about my firm decision to stay childfree. This is only because both women died within 18 months of each other and before I married my current husband (who I met in 2002 and married in 2004). However, I would like to think that both my biological mother and adoptive mother would have been supportive about my certain decision to stay childfree (if they were still alive today).Additionally, most women that I see who truly enjoy being mothers are depression free, are prosperous enough to afford help in caring for their children and/or have parents around who would immediately drop what they were doing to help look after the children.I am thankful for all of my family members and friends. Additionally, some of the celebrities and people that I admire in real life are parents. However, it is important to me that I collect information on others who bravely share their stories on being childfree. Read more ›
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book with varied perspectives! 19 Aug 2011
By Sara A. Strand - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
had my kids in my early 20's and I've been very honest about not knowing what I was doing. Had I known how much work it was really going to be, how emotionally draining it was going to be, how hard it would be on my marriage, and how much of what makes me... well, me would be sucked away I would most definitely thought twice about having kids. That's not to say I don't love my children.

On page 32 I found a line that struck an immediate chord with me: "Dr. Jeffers emphasizes the difference between loving your children and actually enjoying parenting them." and later in that paragraph, "The thing I regret most is that everyone told me how amazingly fulfilling and fun mothering is, without mentioning the negatives, and especially the fact that once you sign on for the job you cannot quit." Those two lines alone sum up my feelings. I love my children dearly but I would by lying if I said that I haven't had many days where I question what the hell I was thinking when I decided I wanted children. The book also raises a really good question about whether discussing being child free by choice is a valid conversation piece to have with young girls in the same breathe as safe sex and/or abstinence. I know with my children I will talk to them openly about these things including how you don't have to have kids. I don't ever want to be that person that pressures my kids for grandchildren because I know first hand how difficult it is to be a parent. Not everybody is cut out for it, yet you don't really hear that in Sex Ed, do you? I know when birth control was discussed it was always, "take it until you're ready to be a parent" but nothing really beyond that.

What's really great about this book is that it doesn't sway your opinion. I didn't walk away from reading this book feeling strongly about either side, I could really relate to both sides. I also felt like the author did a tremendous job talking to real life people from all types of economic standing and backgrounds to really give you a full perspective as to why some people choose to be child free. And those who would like to have kids but can't for a multitude of reasons, there is adequate perspective from them as well.

What I also really valued about this book was the absolute honesty about what parenting does to a marriage. I know most couples think that because they have started their marriage strong that it only helps them with parenting. While that is true, it's good to have a solid marriage before you bring kids to the mix, it fails to recognize what a huge stressor it is to have kids. I will say that every single marital issue Matt and I have ever had was directly related to the stress of parenting. We are no longer the people we were when we got married- not even close. I would venture to say the high divorce rates would be tied, at least in some way, to society's push for people to have children. It was mentioned in this book that childless couples are frowned upon in most circles, not because it's a bad thing but because it's not the norm. The norm is for people to get married, buy a house, have some kids, and live happily ever after yet that rarely happens. Also mentioned in the book was how couples with children find it hard to stay connected and eventually drift apart; therefore it becomes difficult to co-exist once the children are grown. They no longer have the common threads holding them together- those had been long gone. Sure you can go on date nights but people frown on that too, don't they? Most people, usually other parents themselves, will make a person feel guilty for spending time away from their kids. I would venture to say almost all of the time it's because they have feelings of jealousy because that couple can and they can't.

I have struggled with this myself. It took me almost five years to figure out I need alone time. I need time away from my husband and my kids to make myself not cry every single night and to not feel like driving my car off a bridge just to check out. I need that time away to be the quality parent my children deserve and a good wife that my husband needs. But I'll tell you- when I schedule a weekend away, or I sign up for a class, or I go to dinner with a friend I have some people around me that scoff and try to make me feel guilty. And it's too bad because I wish they would support me trying to be a better person for my kids.

Also in this book it talked about how friendships change when you have a childless friend and the rest are mommies. I have a couple of friends who don't have kids or who choose to not have kids and I feel bad. I can't always do what they want because... I have kids. I sometimes feel like they have a hard time connecting with me because we don't have a lot in common? My days are full with crying, chores, and kid related things and that makes it difficult to relate sometimes. I can only imagine how hard it would be to be child less and have all of your friends have children.

So all in all- the book was fascinating. I really enjoyed reading it and for me, I felt better about how I was feeling as a parent. Society frowns upon those of us who are not loving parenthood and all that comes with it and it's too bad. Just because I don't love to sit and play Barbies doesn't make me a bad mom. It just means I was ill-prepared for what I would really be signing up for. I always tell people I know that are having babies or thinking about it to really look at the reasons they want to have a kid. Is it because you want to be loved? Because that's just a temporary fix. I know I wanted kids because it was just what you did when you got married. I never questioned not having kids, I just knew I would because it's just what you do. Sounds a bit archaic when I think about it but how many young women think that right now?

I highly recommend this read for anyone. It really opened my eyes to a lot of different child free living assumptions that I hadn't considered before, several that I haven't mentioned. This is a superb book, very well researched and well written.
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding more about what it means to be child-free 10 Feb 2011
By Jill Daniel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Women obviously have many choices in today's world that weren't readily accepted roles for our mothers. Though I am a mother, somewhat late at age 42, giving birth to my only child, I have many good women friends who choose not have kids and live a full rich life. I could've easily been one of them and honestly, though I wouldn't trade being a mother, I do envy women without children at times for the freedom they have. Motherhood is clearly not the right choice for all women, but society puts a definite social pressure on all women to become mothers. Even certain moms I know are guilty of looking down their noses at women who choose not to have children. Dr. Walker does a wonderful job of presenting the tough decision process of whether or not to have children from a biological, historical, and societal perspective--and methods to cope with the pressure to have children from media, family, and friends in a healthy way.
I am giving this book to a few of my female friends in their forties who feel conflicted about their choice not to have a child. With Walker's book, they can more easily see why they can be proud of what they are choosing.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into childfree living 13 Jan 2011
By The Local Cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book takes a balanced approach at helping people consider childfree living, whether by choice or chance or happenstance. As someone who is sort of all three, I really appreciated the psychological detail in which the information was presented, yet the kindness that was throughout. I felt like I was at a very enjoyable therapy session.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book; all opinions are my own.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced perspective about a complex issue 5 April 2011
By Erin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have have been searching for the perspective presented by Dr. Walker in Complete Without Kids for years. I was so relieved to find descriptions others struggling with the same ambivalence about having a child who were also stuck in the terrible morass of potential regret about choosing to forego having a child. This book is a lifeline. After reading it I felt as if I'd seen the sun for the first time after a long period of gray skies...so much so that I sent Dr. Walker the following email:

"I just finished reading your book and feel compelled to write to you. I cannot thank you enough. I am a 39 year old woman who has been struggling for years to find narratives which mirror the complexities of my own experience about being childfree. I have felt immobilized by my ambivalence about having children. While reading your book I felt as if I could breathe for the first time in months. I very much appreciate your balanced perspective.

You say on page 51, "It's not unusual to have ambivalence around such huge decisions in life and to even have regrets from time to time about the choices we have made--the problem is when we become stuck in the 'what ifs' rather than embracing reality and looking for the positives in our individual circumstances."

As I write this, I feel wonderfully un-stuck."
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about CHOICE!!!! 6 April 2011
By Jennifer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a wonderful book. I read it in one day. As a 29 year old female, I have often struggled with talking about the fact that I want to live my life Childfree. My peers often judge me for this choice, and I'm forever hearing the phase... "oh, you'll change your mind" Why do I have to? Why is it absolutely nescessary for me to have children? I love kids... I think that they are wonderful. But just not for me. It may seem selfish and self centered... but who cares? It's my CHOICE!!!! I think that I would regret having missed oppurtunies that being childfree has given me more then the act of being a mother. There are plenty of other ways that I can be a mother and nurture that don't involve the life long commitment of being a parent.

Thank you so much for this book. It came right at a time when I really need to see and think about my decision and re-affirm that this is the path that I want to choose.
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