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Letters to the Editor: Don’t shame child-free women. We’re fully realized, unselfish people

Illustration for Rachel Cargle  op-ed on on being childfree.
(Chelsea Charles / For The Times)
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To the editor: Thank you for publishing Rachel Cargle’s piece about being child free.

As a 64-year-old woman who has not had children, I am often looked upon as an anomaly. When getting to know someone new, the second question they ask, after “What do you do for a living?” is “Do you have any kids?” When I answer no, they are usually disoriented and unsure how to respond.

When someone I know gushes about the joys of motherhood and makes statements along the lines of “I never knew what love was until I had a baby” or “motherhood is the greatest joy you can experience,” I feel diminished because I didn’t procreate.

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On the other hand, I am working hard at living my best life. I enjoy concerts, travel, nights out and visiting with friends. Please keep in mind that childless people, especially women, should not be shamed or embarrassed by not having kids. We are fully realized humans, even though we have taken a different path.

Jennifer G. Bispo, Thousand Oaks

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To the editor: I agree with the author’s last third of her op-ed article as to why I chose not to have children, when she mentions overpopulation, caring for disabled parents and breaking cycles of illness or abuse.

I was a neo-natal intensive care nurse for 38 years and had the privilege of taking care of very premature sick infants. I was the eldest of three sisters who watched over her siblings when my parents were too busy working jobs to support us. I was able to care for my dying parents and mother-in-law with as much love and support as I could give back to them.

I never was the little girl who dreamed of being a mother with lots of babies to play with, because I never had that maternal instinct. I never saw that as a character flaw, nor did I judge myself to be selfish for not wanting to procreate. I knew in my heart I would make a complete mess of motherhood.

My gift was being involved with the upbringing of my two nieces, which my sister and brother-in-law generously allowed. Like Cargle, I am the “best aunite in the world,” and while no one leaves this earth without some regrets, not having children isn’t one of them.

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Cynthia Kokawa Lerner, Los Angeles

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