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Kamalamani writes from Bristol, UK about her new book: Other than mother: choosing childlessness with life in mind.
In my late teens and early 20s I used to say that I would have children by the time I was 30. It was only on a Going for Refuge retreat at Tiratanaloka (in Wales) when I was 27 that I realised child-bearing wasn’t - and isn’t - compulsory. This realisation encouraged me to think and reflect carefully about the pro-natal nature of our conditioning as girls and young women. I decided to sit with the decision not to have children, just for a year, ‘trying it for size’, as it were.
My 30th birthday came and went, and I was happily without child, engaged in the ordination process, and spending my time between England as a university lecturer and sub-Saharan Africa as a development worker. As both my Dharma practice and ecological awareness deepened, particularly inspired by the Bodhisattva ideal, it became increasingly clear to me that I wouldn’t be becoming a mother after all. I wanted to live creatively, without creating an earthling, a nurturing woman without becoming a mother. When I failed to find the book I was seeking, affirming my decision and supporting this going forth, I realised I would have to write one! Fourteen years later, here we are…
Other Than Mother explores the decision-making process around not having children; a private decision with global consequences. It is in three parts, with each part broadly reflecting the Before, During and After aspects of this decision:
Part I, ‘The Worldly Winds’ explores the backdrop to deciding whether or not to have children, including the cultural changes brought about by a rise in voluntary childlessness.
Part II, ‘A private decision with global consequences’ explores the pros and cons in the decision-making process, including ecological and environmental considerations.
Part III, ‘New horizons and baby-sized projects’ explores living with the decision.
Other than Mother was published by Earth Books last week, available world-wide.
Find out more, read reviews, and buy the book.
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Visit Kamalamani’s website.
Read about Karunagita’s (Sarah Burns’) book on family as a Buddhist practice:
A path for parents.