Recently I was having coffee with a friend whose kids had just graduated from high school. She talked about how excited she was for them, one of whom is entering a program to pursue acting and the other who is launching a career in music. I shared in my friend’s excitement, noting how impressed I’ve been by their performances in our community. We’d been talking about them for no longer than five minutes when she gasped, “Oh my god! You just wrote a whole book about not liking kids, and here I am talking about mine.”

As a childfree person who also studies the experiences of non-parents, I hear versions of this comment a lot. In this case, it was polite and well-meaning. In others, it’s less so. But however it’s presented, it’s a reflection of a common misconception about people who choose not have kids: that because we don’t have them, we must not like them.

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