In a recent New York Post article, “We say no to babies and yes to NYC,” Sara Stewart explains how fewer women are having children and are content about it. But the article also told of how “Many childless women say they’re branded ‘selfish’ for choosing a life without kids.”

One of the interview subjects in the article, TV news anchor Taman Fadal, responded in a Huffington Post blog and explained that at 40-years-old, she is still making her decision about whether or not she wants to be a mom. She mentions that she read comments posted below Stewart’s article that called women “selfish” and “self-centered” if they didn’t have children, and wrote“ those were the nicer comments.” She also said that “At first I felt sad, then frustrated then scared” but then realized that this is her decision and she is the only one she has to answer to.

After spending several years interviewing almost 350 women, for my book, “The Baby Dilemma: How to confidently decide whether or not to have a child and feel good about it,” here is what I learned about the “selfish” issue.

First, almost all of the childfree/childless women I spoke to said that someone called them or referred to them as being selfish for not having children.

Second, almost all of the MOTHERS I interviewed shared that at some point they were called or referred to as being selfish for HAVING children. One mom told me that she was called selfish for having kids when she complained about the high cost of education and was told, “It’s really selfish of you to bring kids into this world, if you can’t afford them.” Many were told they were selfish because by having children they were utilizing and wasting the earth’s precious resources and contributing to the degradation of the planet. And some were told that they were selfish because they were staying at home with their children, rather than doing something productive in the world.

Both groups – childfree women and mothers – have been called selfish. It seems, women just can’t win. If you decide not to have a child, you are selfish. If you decide to have a child, you are selfish.

And, the more I thought about it, I realized that maybe there is some truth to the thought that both groups are being selfish in making their decision. But, I had a difficult time figuring out why being selfish about making a life-changing decision is seen as a negative?

If a woman decides she wants to pursue a career or have a relationship that is childfree, she contemplates her talents, interests, skills, abilities, desires and dreams, strengths and weaknesses and then decides what’s in her best interest. Her sense of fulfillment may come from studying financial markets, working for international aid program, creating art that expresses her internal vision, or working with children. Her work can touch and contribute to the world in different ways than having a child or her own. There is nothing wrong with this choice.

And, when a women contemplates having children she is also thinking about her talents, interests, skills, abilities, desires and dreams, strengths and weaknesses to make her decision. Her sense of fulfillment may come from nurturing and caring for another human being and helping them learn and develop into adulthood. She may feel complete and satisfied with this role. And, she may decide to work after having a child. There is nothing wrong with these choices, either.

Inquiries a woman, or man for that matter, makes into her (or his) personal preferences when making a decision seems to be inherently selfish. The decision to have a child requires a woman to consider her wants and needs. And, why is that a problem? I think when a woman takes the time to understand who she is and is honest with herself she will make the best decision for herself, and be happier about it.

So, the next time a mother or a childfree person is called selfish, maybe instead of being offended we should ask, “What’s wrong with that?”

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I had no idea who Casey Anthony was until a week ago. I didn’t watch the Casey Anthony trial on TV and I only read a few articles over the past week when it seemed to be everywhere on the news. But, it didn’t take me long to review most of the pertinent evidence and think that she was guilty, and find the jury’s verdict puzzeling.

There was so much circumstantial evidence that pointed to her guilt. Although I never practiced criminal law, but rather corporate law, I clerked for a judge while in law school who worked the criminal docket for about about nine months. During that time I witnessed a typical problem that juries usually face with circumstantial evidence and the death of a person. If no one witnessed the defendant actually kill the victim, juries are hesitant to convict. It’s easier for the defense to create a reasonable doubt in the jurors’ minds.

And, that is why I support any legislation to make it a crime against a parent to not report harm to or a missing child immediately. If juries can not convict parents from killing their children because no one actually saw them do it, then maybe we need some type of law to help juror’s realize the importance, severity and unnaturalness of a parent’s innaction. Because, it seems, that when parents are not immediately acting to protect or help their child in trouble – especially young children – they are usually spending time manufacturing their own cover up.

Michelle Crowder of Durant, Oklahoma has started a petition on to encourage passage of Caylee’s Law, which will make it a felony for a parent or guardian to not notify law enforcement of a child going missing in a timely manner. So far, more than 923,532 people have signed the petition and at least 16 states have pledged to introduce their own Caylee’s Laws. More and more people are signing it by the minute. Since I started writing this blog – 2,500 more names have been added to the petition.

What influenced my decision about Ms. Anthony’s guilt and the need for Caylee’s laws, was her strange lack of response when her child went missing. A few years ago, I had my own missing child scare when young son went missing for almost an hour. Within 30 minutes of discovering his absense, I dialed 911 and was on the phone with the police dispatcher.

On an Easter afternoon, my husband and my 4-year-old son were going to go bike riding in our Arizona suburb which is a family-friendly golf community outside of Phoenix. There are sidewalks, bike trails, playgrounds and parks interspersed throughout the community. Our house was across the street from a very large park and playground. My son was in front of our house on his bicycle ready to go and my husband ran in the house to get his sun glasses, which he forgot. When he went back outside, my son was nowhere to be seen. My husband spent about 15 minutes searching for him himself outside the house, the park and around our block, as I was unknowingly in the house.

When my husband couldn’t find my son, he came in to tell me what happened. I immediately felt a rush of adrenaline and anger at my husband, as in “How could you let this happened?!” I called for my son inside the house and searched every room, closet, bathroom, under every bed – it only took me a few minutes. Then, I went outside to help my husband search. I got in my car and drove around our neighborhood seeing if my son was riding his bike around the neighborhood. I was crying from fear, as different scenarios went through my mind. I thought about how we lived across from a park where a child abductor could easily wait for unattended children. My imagination went wild. I stopped neighbors and told them what had happened. Other people who were riding bikes were informed and they all dispersed looking for my son. I didn’t care what they thought of this crying mother searching for her son. I just wanted help in finding him.

After about 15 minutes of driving around, I remembered what I heard somewhere in the media. It was something to the effect that if your child is missing, the first 24 hours are critical. I returned to our house and dialed 911 explaining my son’s disappearance to the operator and asking for help. She said they were going to send a squad car over. My husband, in the meantime, was driving around the neighborhood searching for my son and I was communicating with him via cell-phone telling him what the dispatcher was advising me to do.

Within another 15 minutes, about 45 minutes from the time my son disappeared, three squad cars pulled up in front of our house. After I explained to the police what had happened, my husband called to tell me he had found my son. He was a few streets over at another park we liked to frequent. Since my son knew the park and had been there before, he decided to go by himself. The police waited with me as my husband brought my son home. When my son saw the police he became very shy and started crying. A policeman spoke to my son very kindly and told him how important it was not to ride off without his parents. The police were supportive, kind and reassuring that I did the right thing to call them immediately. (Tears come to my eyes as I recall my sense of loss I immediately felt when I learned my son was missing and then the support the police showed me – making me feel like a responsible parent instead of a hysterical, overreactive mom.)

After the police left and we made sure our son was all right, we quickly opened the bottle of champagne we were saving for our Easter dinner, not so much to celebrate the finding of my son – of which we were extremely relieved – but to soothe our frazzled nerves.

Having dealt with my own scare of having a young child go missing, I find it beyond suspicious that Ms. Anthony would not immediately look for her missing child and then make up stories to police about her child’s disappearance. Although I am not one for creating more laws in our over regulated society, there are times when they are called for. Most loving and conscientious parents will not be affected by these laws. They will probably call for help immediately if they sense their children are in trouble. And those parents that don’t seek help when their children are missing or in harms way, will be looked upon suspisciously and penalized. As they should.

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Media Needs To Ask Male Celebrities About Having Kids Too!

June 1, 2011

Last week, before Danica Patrick raced in the Indinapolis 500, the 29-year-old female racer was asked by a reporter about her intention to start a family. In the article entitled, “Children Not In Danica’s Future,” Danica, who started Kart racing when she was 10-years-old and has been married to Paul Hspenthal for six years, is [...]

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COO of Facebook Suggests How to Get & Keep Women in the Upper Ranks

May 11, 2011

At the Professional Women of California’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco yesterday, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, and mother of a 6 and 3-year-old, explained why there aren’t more women in higher levels of corporations and what women can do to improve the situation. Ms. Sandberg revealed interesting statistics: Even though women make up [...]

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No kids, natural childbirth, c-section – Whatever you chose, be true to your self

May 9, 2011

May 8th -14th is National Women’s Health Week. Take time to remember to care for yourself and learn what your body needs to be healthy. Although we have access to a lot of information these days, maybe too much information, people still don’t seem to know much about their bodies…..especially when it comes to childbirth. [...]

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Do You Want To Have Children?

May 8, 2011

Join my e-mail list to take the free “Do I Want To Have A Child?” quiz Since the mid-1960s, with the passage of birth control legislation in the United States, more women are not having children. According to a Pew Research Report, “The New Demography of American Motherhood,” by Gretchen Livingston and D’Vera Cohn, that [...]

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