Why this film? Why now?
When I was deciding to “come out” and make the decision to live childfree, there were a few books on the subject Laura Caroll’s “Families of Two”, Meghan Daum’s “Selfish, Shallow and Self Absorbed” hadn’t come out yet. There was one hour long documentary and it didn’t quite hit the note that I was looking for. Something to help me, guide me, support me, make me laugh, make me cry.
I’m a filmmaker and I was stunned that nothing existed in my world that could speak to me. Over the years, as I was moving through my decision to live childfree, this fact just would not let me go. I did my very first film shoot for To Kid Or Not To Kid back in 2012, just to see if it would take hold (after all films can take years to make)…and of course it did take hold. Here I am, 5 years later, now so close to being done. The film will be finished in late 2017.
I also felt that this subject would be best served in a less formalized, less talking-head type of film. This is an emotional subject and I really wanted people to feel what some of us go through. I also really wanted to show “Look, we’re cool, we’re fun, we’re caring, we aren’t these child-hating witches...we are actually normal, healthy, integrated people, and we might just live next door!”
But that wasn’t the only reason I wanted to make this film. Let me get a little personal here. A while back, a very good friend totally misunderstood a comment I made once about not wanting to have a family. It really damaged our relationship and caused a lot of hurt. And it shouldn’t be this way. We need to bring these conversations out in the open so no one feels judged for the decision they’ve made. I’ve now had amazing conversations with Moms/Mums where they tell me that not having kids isn’t a crime. And of course we know this, but it’s still something the childfree and childless need to hear more often from society at large. So Moms, please shout this from the rooftops, everyone needs to hear it. And of course that’s in the film.
I’m also fed up of the times where I say I don’t have kids and people don’t know how to react. I’ve gotten away lightly, but others have had real consequences from their “coming out”: disinherited from their families, told that they aren’t “real” women, forced to move away from their homes, sacked from their jobs. So I’m making this film for them too.
Additionally in my research, some women — especially women from less urbanized/cosmopolitan areas — didn’t know they even have these reproductive choices. I met one woman recently who really struck me. There was a point in our conversation where she took me back to the moment where it fully dawned on her that she herself had the power to make this most elemental choice, of whether to have children or not...and that it was OK if she opted out of being a mother. She said it was a true awakening for her.
She isn’t the exception; many women can come to recognize these choices in a deeper way once this topic becomes the talking point that it should be in our culture. So many women still feel so much pressure to have kids. Having conversations about this can help women to make their own reproductive choices without the weight of so many “oughts.” These facts all play into why I’m making this film.
We live in the 21st century, and women should have the right to choose, but we’re so often kept in the dark by what society and culture leads us to believe. One of the interns working with me on the film put it very elegantly: if we can show that motherhood and fatherhood is a choice, then maybe society will finally provide better benefits for those who choose to have children, maternity and paternity leave anyone? Afterall it’s a big choice and I leave it to my family and friends who absolutely know being a parent is right for them, to do it. So sisters and brothers let’s do this, let’s support all of our choices.