More Italian Women Are Choosing to Have No Children


#1

MILAN— Fiorella Fiori took her mother aside years ago to break the news: She planned to never have children. Despite pressure from family and friends, she has stuck to her guns even after marrying.

“I just didn’t want children,” she said. “The idea is shocking to most of my friends. And my mom keeps on reminding me that I’m 40 and I can’t wait forever.”

Ms. Fiori, from Sardinia, is part of a trend toward childlessness that is gaining momentum here.

online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702303949704579457662674779306-lMyQjAxMTA0MDIwMjEyNDIyWj


#2

At 40, without medical intervention, she has probably missed the boat. This is not to say that it is impossible. My mum had me at 40 and my wife had our only child at 41, however egg quality etc speaks against an easy pregnancy.

Many women in Australia are childless from choice as it interferes with a lifestyle that some may see as selfish and indulgent and others as freeing and independent. However it is their choice and motherhood may not be their vocation. Who is to judge?

However the loneliness of old age and lack of relationships of value come readily to mind as counterweights to a relative economic security, and self interested choice as your standard default mode of thought.
Population decline demographically eventually affects government ability to support an aging population with a decreasing working group to be taxed.


#3

They’ll regret it when their birth replacement rate drops below 1 like Japan is dealing with now.


#4

I’m Canadian, and I married my wife when she was 52,
we never had children when she died 8 years later.


#5

The Italian birthrate is already abysmal.

Well, the Italians will live on in America and Brazil I guess. :confused:


#6

FWIW, supporting people in their old age via government (and also via economic systems supported by borrowing) is a modern fabrication. For 99.9% of mankind history this was not the case. Furthermore, societies where no there are no children exist, such as the Catholic religious, yet they’ve figured out how to take care of themselves and their elderly. And when investors finally pull the plug on worthless currency, we’ll figure out a way to take care of our elderly as we always have.


#7

Instead of children as a previous thread noted,women are opting to have fur babies instead:eek:
My 37 year old niece,who just married for the first time last year,has no intention of having children.She just completed her doctorate and wants to devote her time to her career,this mindset is so short sighted.
My grandkids and really my adult children for the most part bring me so much joy,I can’t imagine life without them.


#8

This is a problem all over the world, not just Italy. Lots of countries in every continent (except maybe Africa) have issues where the birthrate is below replacement. Even the US is getting there. Things are heading to a point where populations are going to start to decline. Of course this is what some people want. We’re going to have an issue where for the first time in human history where the average age of the population is going to be very high. There will be less people coming into the workforce than are leaving it. This will have a huge economic impact in the future.


#9

The headline could also be written, More Italian Women See No Italian Future.


#10

When is the last time you heard a priest give a sermon about this? I don’t think I ever have.


#11

This is a trend that I totally do not understand. My life would be less full without children. We currently have one and are working on number two. My daughter is the sunshine of my life. I don’t think one fully knows what love is until you have children. The love one has for the parents and siblings is different than the love of a child. Which is also different than the love of a spouse. But the most selfless love is that of your child.

When will people learn that we “work to live, not live to work”? Too many people let their careers define them.

This almost makes the people who have kids because they are “supposed to” actually look good.

:frowning:


#12

I was fortunate to grow up with five siblings, all fairly close together in age. It was not an easy thing for my parents to afford, and that was a long time ago when college was fairly affordable. My wife and I have had five children and now have 12 grandchildren and growing.

For some time now, I have wondered some whether people who grow up in a household with maybe one or two children consider that to be the ideal situation simply because they can’t imagine what it would be to manage more. Seems that’s more the case all the time.

And, too, there’s nowhere near the sacrifice in terms of work, time and money required for one or two children versus six or more. It’s a very different way of life, and I don’t think many people anymore can imagine it, let alone try it.

And, when it comes to people who choose to have no children at all, though married, I am not entirely certain of the motivation, but I know some people in that situation, and I sometimes think it’s rather like a mental trap. They struggle to get a lifestyle established; the one they think they ought to have. The next thing, it almost seems mandatory. Having children would destroy the whole plan. And the next thing you know the choice is against having children at all because the lifestyle choice simply doesn’t seem to allow for it.

Something else I have noticed. Kids from sizeable families tend to think of that as normal. They tend to think of various things as normal or at least acceptable, like working one’s way through school (yes, and incurring debt that must be laboriously paid off). I understand that in college dating now, sooner or later the relative economic situations of each person comes into the conversation. Some literally will not consider marrying someone with debt or even without significant inheritance potential. And, it’s no longer just women who consider the earning potential of a future spouse, either. Men now look at marriageable young women the same way, more and more.

And why? Probably it’s not quite as intentionally mercenary as it sounds, it’s probably that “expectation of normalcy” again, and “normalcy” is an expected lifestyle and prosperity level. I sometimes wonder if we’re slowly getting to a point something like one finds in old 18th and 19th Century British novels, in which one’s station in life determined who one would marry, and depending on that station in life one might have few or no children precisely because the children would be presented with that very same determination later on. Undoubtedly that underlay the old British custom that the eldest son would inherit the estate, the next would enter the military and the youngest would enter the clergy. Daughters would inherit the cash and moveables.

My grown children married persons of a “station” very much like their own; not poor, not wealthy, just as I did. Just a few steps above working class. In the various families, having a number of children was considered what “life is all about”, and so they have children as my wife and I did, and in so doing are consciously “gambling that the future will work out”. One gives up perceived certitudes as one has children.

But there is a significant price in terms of college prospects, even marriage prospects, though people are usually more comfortable with persons more like themselves “culturally”.

As a young man, I had the “obligatory rich girlfriend”. She was stupefyingly wealthy, pretty, Catholic and I rather did like her. But our “family cultures” were so different. She did announce to me that one child would be the limit she felt appropriate. That child, you see, would inherit everything and be wealthy himself/herself. When I expressed my dislike of that notion, she grudgingly allowed that perhaps we could have two. That wasn’t the only thing that ended the relationship, but it was a very big part of it. She, of course, was an only child and had a nanny besides, when she was a kid. I couldn’t get my mind past that.

I do think people can sometimes move from one “family culture” to another, based on what they think is a proper lifestyle and a lot of it is based on economics, rich girlfriend aside. I do know that in Europe generally, taxes are breathtakingly high compared to those in the U.S. Because of that, net incomes are relatively low in most of those countries and the cost of everything is very high compared to here. I read that in most of Europe, the cost of food alone is, relative to income, double what it is in the U.S. Energy is the same way. I guess it’s no wonder they spend so much time sipping wine in sidewalk cafes. They have a lot of leisure, but a glass of wine is perhaps all they can afford.

And so, while one might not expect it, I think “family cultures” can be very significantly affected by what governments do. And squeezing a populace dry of resources can certainly have an effect.


#13

“Italian men adore their wives, spoil their mistresses, but the only women they will ever love is mama.” Unknown.

Why don’t women want children? Is it because they have see too much infidelity (gossip, media, experience, porno, sexual tourism)? Is it because they have seen too much War & strife (arguments, fights, media, actual war experiences)? Is it because their heads are filled with advertisers filling their heads with coveting? Is it to save the enviroment? Is it because their sexual partners will not provide them a trusting, protective, relationship? Is it because they have never experienced true love, true charity from other human being?

Before my re-version, all of these obstacles lead me to believe children were not going to be part of my life. Each boyfriend, each break-up, each period of struggling on my own put a nail in any thought of having children. I had no hope for my life, and less hope for mankind.

My re-version started me to court our God over several years. Once I was able to experience Gods love, I found an ounce of hope. As I emerssed myself more into God, I became restored, and had faith in myself. Now, I have faith in mankind. Actually, we have two young daughters and since I never watch the news anymore, I have lots of faith in mankind. Where things go wrong, my hope is God will make something good out of the bad. This transformation makes me very open to life. Without it, I too would be with those Italian women saying, “denied!”


#14

The article references two separate issues. First, the dismal economic conditions have caused women (who want children at some point in their lives) to delay having them until their economic condition improves. Second, there are women who simply do not want children. The first issue is worth of discussion. The second issue is not. To lay a guilt trip on women who do not want children is in very poor taste.


#15

That is incredibly sad. Italy is traditionally a Catholic nation if I am right on that which I’m not entirely sure. It is sad that they would not follow the beliefs of Catholicism and have children. This is why we need the New Evangelization.


#16

My parents raised six kids. Even back then my Dad got questions regarding how he could afford such a ‘large’ family

His stock response was " It costs the same to raise six kids as it does to raise one…every cent 'ya got"

I’ve got six kids myself and happily ‘recycle’ that line :slight_smile:


#17

I agree, that no ‘guilt trips’ need to be laid, but that does not also rule out discussing that point as well. The ability to have a reasonable discussion on virtually any topic is a good thing, would you not agree?


#18

From a general or macroeconomic standpoint, then yes. But asking personal and probing questions of someone who doesn’t want to have children is just as bad as the personal and probing questions that might be asked of someone who has a large family. Boundaries must be respected.


#19

Having a relatively large family ( 6 kids), I would state that there are no objections to a rational discussion on the subject. There is a difference between being insulting in one’s questions, and a reasoned dialogue.


#20

You may be right about “poor taste”, as “taste” is simply a matter of societal convention that varies with time and place.

Guilt itself is a useful function of the human psyche. Without guilt, we would all be sociopaths and act as sociopaths do.

So the real question is whether some or all deliberately childless women (or men) ought to feel “guilt” about it. Since their motivations and understandings would vary, we cannot say “yes” or “no” to the guilt question universally.

From a societal standpoint, we really can’t say that “no” woman should feel “any” guilt at deliberately refusing to have children, no matter what. If, say, the world was foreseeably nearing a point at which the young would be entirely inadequate to care for the old, then being deliberately childless on a mass scale would doom mankind to painful extinction for no reason other than one’s preference that it be so, notwithstanding the cost in human misery. That pattern of thought would also justify one’s refusal, say, to ever pay one’s taxes even though one could, or to hand so much of a crust of bread to a starving man.


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