I’m trolled for being selfish because I chose not to have kids – people think I’m a threat but I couldn’t care less
THERESE Shechter has never wanted kids, and she refuses to explain herself.
“No one ever asks parents why they want children,” the 60-year-old documentary filmmaker told The Post.
But, for some reason, even strangers feel comfortable asking her why she doesn’t.
Her new film, “My So-Called Selfish Life,” explores the scrutiny that childless women face — and the barrage of propaganda and messaging they receive trying to push them toward motherhood.
“What does it mean to live in a world where motherhood is our destiny? And what happens when we say ‘no’?” Shechter asks in the documentary.
Shechter interviewed an array of historians, health professionals and childless women for the film, including Marcia Drut-Davis, who made history when she appeared on a 1974 episode of “60 Minutes,” in which she told her shocked in-laws that she and her husband did not want to have children.
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That admission was so unheard of that her mother-in-law suggested Drut-Davis “may have a selfish attitude.”
Almost 50 years later, that judgement persists.
Just this January, Pope Francis slammed couples for choosing to have pets instead of adopting or having their own children, labelling them “selfish.”
A childless woman, in particular, is seen as a threat according to Shechter.
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Shechter said: “If you [as a woman] push back, something is wrong with you. You’re not following the rules . . . Society thinks that women need to be mothers to the exclusion of everything else and at the expense of her ambition, health, career and relationships.”
“Any time a woman does something they want to do, they are called selfish,” she added.
A panic has risen due to declining birth rates. Researchers have struggled to pinpoint why people don’t want to have kids, blaming factors such as the climate crisis, rising housing rates, increasing student loan debt and the pandemic.
While these issues may influence some women’s decision to forgo having children, Shechter insists that some women just don’t want them — and that they shouldn’t have to explain their choice.
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“Ultimately, we only have one life, and people need to be able to think deeply about what they want out of that life and be able to do it with the proper tools, information and support,” she said.
This story was originally published on the New York Post and has been republished here with permission.
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