When I meet former classmates again or after a long time at family gatherings my uncle and aunt again, I am asked again and again: “And, how is it? Is not it soon time for you to start a family? “Even new acquaintances land on the second or third question on the topic at the latest:” Are you married? Do you have children? “My no will often be followed by astonishment. Hardly anyone believes that a woman over 40 can be one hundred percent happy if she does not have a stable relationship and has offspring. Why? It would never occur to me to define the value of other people over it.
Of course, sometimes I think about my age, about my diminishing fertility. I am 42, probably I will remain childless. But is that so bad? Am I an egoist because I have no children? Does my life miss the point? I think: no! Even if some people want to persuade me something else. I’m fortunate enough to have a job that fills me – and through my success, I can achieve something for others. I believe in the social community and I am absolutely committed to advocate for the next generation. But there are several ways to do that: Some start a family, others find it more useful to volunteer.
Better than compelling children to self-procreate and place them in a world where they are often not really welcome, I believe supporting those children who are already in the world. Many millions of children live in dire need on our planet. That’s why I co-founded the association “Bread and Books”. In this way, we support the education of children in the Third World and help the Erich-Kästner-Kinderdorf in Germany, which gives physically and mentally abused children a new home.
I understand why a state like Germany is interested in having as many children as possible. After all, somebody has to pay the parties, the state budget and later our pension, to look after and feed us as we grow older. But that’s why you should not flirt with a special tax for childless, as some politicians do! As a historian, I can only shake my head. What a hopeless idea … That’s what the Roman Emperor Augustus tried to do when he introduced fines for the childless. What especially increased by this was the number of divorces.
And quite apart from that: The state engages itself too little. Every other day, a child under the age of six is killed in Germany – but to save neglected and abused children, the control organs are lacking in money. The better equipment of kindergartens and schools as well as the appropriate reimbursement of child educators fail because of the money. Instead, Germany invests in armaments, in new tax subsidies for large corporations or agrarian barons. If I make that clear, then I understand all those who do not put children in this country.
Sure, from time to time there are situations in which I regret not having children. For example, when I watch parents with their offspring in the park on a nice day, I sometimes think, “Oh, it would be nice if I had that too!” But that feeling certainly does not make me walk home, me to the computer and write a desperate ad: “Single woman, 40 plus, seeks father for future children – as fast as possible!” I could have imagined, to be a mother. If I could have been sure: My partner will always be there for his child – whatever happens between us. But this man did not meet me. Childless in Germany
How many women in Germany do not have children?
Of the 44- to 48-year-old women, around 21 percent have no children. Such high values are otherwise only reached in Austria and Switzerland in Europe.
Incidentally, this proportion is significantly lower among older generations: only eleven percent of the 69 to 79 year old women in Germany have remained childless.
Source: Federal Statistical Office
With selfishness my childlessness has nothing to do. It is precisely this prejudice – I am a career woman who only thinks of herself and therefore has no children – that I have often met. I find this argument backward and narrow-minded. Obviously, we have not quite gotten rid of the classic role model yet. It is propagated that women should be selfless, devoting themselves to parenting – everything else is selfish. I ask you (and this is a rhetorical question): Will men who make a career be considered selfish? Emancipation still has a lot to do in this country!
After all: I have the impression that there is a change in society, a process has started, that prejudices against other people are slowly being reduced: We currently have a childless chancellor, who is married for the second time, a foreign minister, the self-confessed homosexual is, and a Federal President, who lives as a pastor in a wild marriage – and this government is considered conservative! That gives you courage for the future, right?