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FARGO - Nicole Reak Turchin kept waiting to be hit by “baby fever.”
Although she liked kids, she never really thought of herself as a mom. Even so, everyone told her that would change. She would get married and want to have her own children, they insisted. Just wait and see.
In the meantime, Turchin graduated from college at NDSU, established a successful marketing career and reconnected with a former college boyfriend, Terry Turchin.
They married in 2010. But that traditional next step – the need to fill their house with cooing infants, diapers and baby monitors – never followed.
Now in their early 30s, the Fargo couple remains a perfectly contented family of two.
“When we were dating, he said at one point that he didn’t know if kids are something that I want,” Nicole says. “We both came to agree that this was not something we needed to have in our lives.”
The Turchins represent a growing number of Americans who have opted to be married without children.
The most recent U.S. Census data reports that 1 in 5 women aged 40 to 45 don’t have children. That’s a significant boost from the 1970s, when 1 in 10 women in that age group didn’t have kids.
Younger couples also are making the childless choice. A 2011 study by the Center for Work-Life Policy finds that a surprisingly large number of Generation Xers – people born between 1965 and 1978 – are delaying parenthood or forgoing it completely.
The center reported that 43 percent of Gen-X women and 32 percent of Gen-X men did not have kids.
The study linked this generation’s increased childlessness to extreme work schedules, strong career ambitions and tumultuous economic conditions.
But there’s less societal pressure too. A 2011 MacArthur Research Network survey found that only half of U.S. consumers cite marriage and parenthood as required milestones of adulthood.
Laura Carroll is a San Francisco-based writer who 10 years ago wrote one of the first books on voluntary childlessness, “Families of Two: Interviews with Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice.”
“It just boiled down to never really having an interest in having my adult life revolve around raising children,” Carroll says when explaining her own situation. “I thank my parents, because when raising (us), they told us we can grow up and have any life we want, and it can look any way we want it to look.”
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