Ever Heard of DINKs?
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First published: January 15, 2006
So instead of going to parent and teacher meetings, or picking up kids from school, these couples are instead doing other things together as a couple. They are traveling more, have more time and money for entertainment, dining out more and focusing more on each other as couples. No late nights over crying babies, worrying about babysitters or feeling responsible for a helpless little human being. The reasons for this choice are as diverse as the couples that are following this trend. Gone is the idea of the conventional family standard. Gone is the stereotypical trend of getting married, buying a house and a car and topping that with having children.
In earlier generations this DINK phenomenon was unheard of, perhaps even considered scandalous by some but these days more couples are choosing this option, despite tremendous pressures from family and friends. Countless couples who are childless by choice feel like outcasts and are misunderstood. One of the biggest misconceptions about this trend is that DINK couples are childless because they are selfish. Many people simply do not understand women who say that they just do not feel the biological urge to have children, or men that are no in a rush to carry on the family name. But there are also other myths about such couples ranging from they do not like children, to they must have had difficult childhoods, to they do not have the patience to raise children, to their lives are incomplete, to they will be sorry someday when they are older to they lack the willingness and maturity to raise children.
However despite all these misconceptions, more people are ignoring the societal pressures and making the choice to be childless. According to studies and statistics, childfree couples are on the rise. American Demographics Magazine projects that the number of married couples without children will rise by 50%, to more than 31 million, by the year 2010. Several articles have appeared in a Portland newspaper (The Oregonian) that discloses recent US census figures, and recent information on the growing numbers of childless women since 1970. Canada follows closely behind.
One of the most famous childless couple is Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham, but there are numerous others. Fans have long hoped Oprah and Stedman, a motivational speaker and author, would have a child together in the belief they'd make perfect parents. Oprah Winfrey -- the most powerful woman in Chicago's media explains the decision by saying that she can't have it all. She decided against having children and eventually against marrying her longtime Chicago boyfriend, Stedman Graham.
"I learned that you can't have everything and do everything at the same time," Oprah realistically told the Chicago Sun-Times reporter Cheryl. L Leed. "As my career progressed, I decided I wanted to stay so busy that I hardly had time to breathe. The truth of the matter is, had we gotten married, we wouldn't be together now. Stedman is a traditional black man, but I'm in no way a traditional woman. To take on that role just doesn't fit."
Photo courtesy of the oprah.com website
Understandably magazines have been launched to cater to this segment of the market. Magazines that promote dining, theatre, art, collecting, travel, gardening, home decor and gourmet cooking for two are on the rise. One of them is called Dink Magazine. It is a magazine that provides options for DINKS to keep themselves busy and explore more. The Editor, Crystel Fox-Cabrera- an admitted DINK herself, explains this phenomenon in a clear way.
Most people feel that it is part of the natural order to partner up and have a couple of kids. As Dinks we know differently. We know that our natural order is to have order. It's not that we don't like children (I am Auntie to many), we just choose not to have them.
I feel thankful that I live in a generation where I have a choice to have or not have children. I am thankful that I have a partner that chooses the same as I. I am thankful that my dear mother has given up on the idea of grandchildren from me.
There are also books written about this. One of them is called Families of Two: Interviews with Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice by Laura Carroll, a writer and industry psychology consultant. She was featured on CNN, the 'Men are from Mars - Women are from Venus' Show, hosted by Cybill Shepherd and appeared in a December 2005 issue of PEOPLE Magazine.
Families of Two is a book which takes us into the lives of the growing number of couples who are choosing not to have children, and dispels the myths commonly associated with this choice. It provides insight for couples who are deciding whether to have children, and to friends and family of couples who have chosen or may choose not to have children. It celebrates the many people who are living lives that do not include parenthood, and the many ways to live happily ever after if it is at all possible.
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First published: January 15, 2006
Jane won the Miss Africanada beauty pageant 2000 in Toronto where she was also named one of the new voices of Africa after reciting one of her poems. In 2004, she was published in T-Dot Griots-An Anthology of Toronto's Black storytellers and in February 2005, her art piece Namyenya was featured as the poster piece for the Human Rights through Art-Black History Month Exhibit.
She is the recipient of numerous awards for her poetry, art and playwriting and is becoming a household name in Toronto circles. Please visit her website at www.nteyafas.com.