Why this film? Why now?
So when I was deciding to come out about living childfree there were a number of great books on the subject, Meghan Daum’s, Laura Caroll’s etc etc But there was only one english language film and it didn’t quite hit the note that I was looking for. To help me, guide me, support me, give my some laughs and some cries.
I’m a filmmaker and I was stunned that nothing existed in my world that could speak to me, so over the years as I was moving through my decision to live childfree, it wouldn’t 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 and here I am 5 years later, so close to being done. The film will be finished this year.
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, while being able to show that, “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!’”.
So why did I feel the need to make the film. I’m going to get a little personal. A 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 that way. We need to bring these conversations out in the open so no one feels judged for what ever decision they’ve made. I’ve now had amazing conversations with Moms/Mums saying that not having kids isn’t a crime ….of course we know this but it’s not us childfree or childless folks have been lead to believe. So Moms, please shout this from the roof tops, everyone needs to hear it. And of course that’s in the film.
I’m also fed up of feeling somehow that if I say I don’t have kids that people don’t know how to react. I’ve got away lightly but others have been disinhertited from their families will, told that they aren’t real women, had to move away from their homes, been 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 had these reproductive choices. For example, I met one woman recently who really struck me. There was this a point in our conversation where she took me back to this moment where it seemed to fully dawn on her that she could 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 this awakening moment for her.
And 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 it is this realization that many women still feel so much pressure to have kids, alongside this possibility that having conversations like the one I had with her can free women to make their reproductive choices without the weight of so many “oughts”, that also plays into why I’m making the 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 intern’s working on the film put it very elegantly, if we can show motherhood is a choice, and men want us to make that choice, then maybe they’ll finally elevate the role of motherhood. So Sisters (and great supportive men) let’s do this, let’s support all of our choices.