• arekidsforme

Bonus Podcast Episode - Marcia Drut-Davis

If I don't count the trailer, this is the 10th episode of the 'Are Kids For Me' podcast so I wanted to mark this milestone by interviewing a very special guest - Marcia Drut-Davis!


Marcia is a life long campaigner and advocate for the childfree lifestyle, as well as being an author, teacher and sought after public speaker. She is now in her 70's and can give the perspective of an older childfree person that we don't always get to hear.  We talk about the many ways her life has been influenced by her decision to not have children and she shares some great advice on how to get the most from your childfree life.


You can follow Marcia on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/childfree_guru/?hl=en

and her private Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/913125648801584/?ref=pages_profile_groups_tab&source_id=523538741024989.



Episode Transcript:


Mgt O Connor

Welcome to the Are Kids For Me podcast. This podcast is for you if you have ever asked, or are currently asking yourself this question. It's a big question which can be hard to answer for lots of reasons. And I'm hoping to provide you with some information that can help. In each episode I will speak to people with personal and, or, professional experience in this area. My own name is Margaret O'Connor, I'm a counselor and psychotherapist who offers specialist counselling on this topic. I conducted my master's research and how women in Ireland make the decision to become mothers or not. And I really really love talking about this topic. I hope you find it useful.


I'm delighted to speak to my guest Marcia Drut-Davis today. While I am trying to focus on people in Ireland for this podcast, Marcia is a legend in the childfree community and I wanted to talk to her as she has so much to say on the topic. Marcia is 77 and we typically don't get to speak to many child free people of that age. We talked about her life which has been greatly impacted by her choice to be child free, both positively and negatively. She shares some really good advice on how to get the most from your child free life, and several other topics that popped up along the way. This interview was done via Zoom as Marcia lives in Florida so there is a little background noise at a few points. And also I need to apologize for absolutely fangirling my way throughout this interview, I couldn't help it. I am sorry. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.


Okay, so I suppose once again, I just really want to thank you, Marcia, for agreeing to talk to me today. And I was trying to think of how to introduce you, and there's so many so many words, I wrote a list. So you are an author, an advocate, a teacher, a mentor, cruise organizer, public speaker, crusader, campaigner, all around inspirational person. Excuse me as I fangirl, seriously here (laughter).


Marcia Drut Davis

I'm beginning to feel like five foot nine (laughter)


Mgt O Connor

But I think all of those words apply. I've taken those from various websites and from other people's opinions as well as my own. So I think just to give people a flavor of some of what you've done. And then that's really just why I thought it was so important to talk to you, because you have.. you are and have.. you are living and have lived a child free life. And you're a huge inspiration to everyone who..


Marcia Drut Davis

I think I think the fact that I'm 77, you know, so many of the childfree people are young and they look forward. I can look forward, I hope, and also look back. What I've learned is what I want to help you with and your listeners with.


Mgt O Connor

Absolutely absolutely, because we don't unfortunately, maybe have many people to look to or who maybe speak so openly, certainly as you. So there's a huge amount of experience to to, to learn from really. And I suppose a question I kind of have been starting to talk to people about is how they came to realize or decide that they were child free? Was it a process? Was it a lightning bolt..lightning bolt moment? Was it a slow thing? How was it for you?


Marcia Drut Davis

It evolved, remember, I'm older (laughter). And for me at age, I think it really came to a head when I was 34, around that age. It started probably when I was a little girl and the big game when I was a young kid was to play house. And we would fight over the role of mommy and I would be happy to take the baby because I got all the attention. And I didn't have to do all that work and scurry around and clean up. Everybody just took care of me. I thought ok, this isn't that bad. I didn't know at that time what I was thinking and feeling. But as I continued to grow, and to observe and to see some realities, I began to question, and in those days and even now, those questions are like, ooh, something's wrong with me. I'll have to wait. That maternal urge will come. If I just sit back. If I fall in love. It'll change. Well it didn't.


Mgt O Connor

Yes.


Okay, but it's interesting because in your book and you have two books so the the one I have here 'Confessions of a Childfree Woman', you do talk about that and you talk about how you you presume you will have children at some point even though it's not something you hugely wanted at that time, kind of in your in your 20s. And later on and you assumed that when you got married and when you did those things that the desire would come..


Marcia Drut Davis

Well if you, if you, in the first book I explained when I was at that the big wedding, you know, the huge 200 people sit down roast beef dinner, 10 piece orchestra wedding, which I never should have married the guy. But I mean, the first thing they gave me was an album of the wedding and a little coupon saying, this is for your first baby photo. And I thought to myself, oh my god, I haven't even learned what sex is like, I'm not going to think about a baby yet. Are they crazy? That was the beginning. That was the beginning. But I never said anything to my then husband. I would never. That's like, oh, what's wrong with me?


Mgt O Connor

Okay, okay, so they were thoughts you had, you presumed the fault was with you, that it's something you should have wanted?


Marcia Drut Davis

Yeah, it would happen. But of course not now. I had to learn what it's like to be a wife, and learn how to clean the floor and the toilet. Which I didn't know because I had a wonderful mom who did all that. I called her up one day and said Mom, how do you clean the bathroom floor? She says you got a mop? (laughter) Go get a mop!


Mgt O Connor

So there was a learning curve (laughter). Okay. And did you feel like you were the only one, had you any, any friends or anyone to look to that had similar feelings?


Marcia Drut Davis

No, all my friends who were married.. By the way, I thought I was the quote old maid in those days that's the name, because I was 22, and that was very old to be married at 22. Every friend who married had a baby or two. For me, it was well, I'm just gonna wait. It's gonna happen soon. No the divorce happened. That's what happened (laughter)


Mgt O Connor

Okay..because of that, or because of..


Marcia Drut Davis

No, I married too soon. I certainly did not pick the right man. He was abusive. It wasn't not, there wasn't that heart connection that I have now that by the way, do not judge me, it took another one in between to find the one that I have now. But um, you know, that happens. Just learning. No failures only learning (laughter).


Mgt O Connor

It worked out, it worked out in the end (laughter). Okay, okay. And was so this was.. you you learned obviously from that experience, and you knew that that was something you didn't want. And what happened after that? Were there more.. because you were very young?


Marcia Drut Davis

I did. I married another man who I was sort of happy with for a while until he fell in love with my girlfriend. Um, that's okay. Everything's fine now. And when I married the second husband, again, I was older and boy, not only was I being pressured by a mother in law, who said go home and practice. And by a clicking you know, the clock, that biological clock, that said, hey, you know what, you better.. and I made excuses. We made excuses. We didn't have enough money. We're still struggling. It takes so much money. It was always about money to raise a child. And then we would just sort of leave the topic alone. But one day, this book changed my life.


Mgt O Connor

Oh yes, so that's 'The Baby Trap' by Ellen Peck.


Marcia Drut Davis

We lost her too soon to cancer in the 50s. I mean, when she was in her 50s. This book changed my life and if I have anything to say about books, and then how meaningful they could be. I think that's why I wrote the two books. Just to reach at least one heart. This opened my eyes. For the first time I said, what..there's a choice and what? I've been led to believe that this is my biological destiny when it doesn't have to be. It was earth shattering when I gave it to my then husband, I think he read the book in one night. We sat down and we said we're child free.


Mgt O Connor

Wow okay. And that must have been a really big, huge milestone, I guess. Yeah.


Marcia Drut Davis

Huge! I mean, it was a burden that was taken off my heart. And I didn't know it then but his heart. He had written a song for me. A beautiful song on the guitar. Picturing me and a babe in my arms on the back porch. So I was very fearful of handing him this book, but so relieved to know that he went phew!


Mgt O Connor

Okay. And, and I suppose I know a big thing, we can't not talk about it is the the interview that you you did so I suppose just to explain for here. So (laughter) you were interviewed on a on a show called the 60 minutes, 60 minutes, which was, I looked it up here, is the oldest and most watched news magazine on American television, apparently. So it's been going since the 1960s. And you were interviewed as a segment. So you campaigned kind of around rights for parents and parental choice at the time. And you agreed to.. so you broke the news, you and your husband..


Marcia Drut Davis

The first time my mother and father in law ever heard that we did not want to have children. It was that moment that was captured on that film. However, understand one thing, I had not known what editing is, I had not known how devious shows can be where they want the slant to look one way when it is not. And that was an eye opener for what pronatalism means, what editing means and how dangerous it could be to be in the media. And speaking without knowing what you're saying, and what could come from it. I mean, knowing what you're saying, but how it could be twisted. If you can imagine we were there for two hours. We were actually I think it's a 10 minute segment or a 20 minute segment. And during that entire segment, you see my then husband just going like this, like this and like this to his mother and father and me, not saying a word and I'm the bitch.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah. And I suppose I had read about it because you talk about in your book, but I saw the clip. So you you took part in Maxine Trump's documentary so 'To Kid Or Not To Kid", and the footage some of the footage is shown in that, and it's it's heartbreaking, like the four of you are sitting there. There's a camera, it feels so intense, even though obviously it happened like in 1974. You just really get or I certainly got this kind of feeling like okay, you're in this room. There's 4 of ye, there's a camera, there's bright lights, and then they're gone..


Marcia Drut Davis

It was my mother in law's living room.


Mgt O Connor

Oh, okay. Your mother living room. And then the lights are gone and you're left.. like your life.


Marcia Drut Davis

Everybody was in the kitchen, all the appurtenances, all the directors, producers, Marian golden was the producer. It was one camera person. And us. And then all they said was go ahead, talk. And what you don't know is the next morning, my mother in law wrote a poem, we stayed over in their house. She put it under the door and it ended something to the effect of to whom will you leave all your worldly goods, to the robbers, the junkies or just the plain hoods. But this is how our story ends. Our children though married are really just friends.


Mgt O Connor

Wow...Wow..Okay.


Marcia Drut Davis

And it showed her pain. And her bewilderment. What? How could we not want to have a child and we were Jewish heritage. So we had to fulfill the wish of the souls that were lost in the Holocaust to replenish the earth with more Jewish people. It was a Shonda. And that means a shame.


Mgt O Connor

Oh wow, ok..


Marcia Drut Davis

It was devastating, just devastating. Why get married she said.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah. So she really did question, she couldn't understand why you would actually get married if you weren't planning to have children. There was no other point or purpose really,


Marcia Drut Davis

To answer that I said to her..well, should we have taken a paternity test to see if I was fertile? And if Warren was fertile? I mean, is that a reason not to get married or to get married? Just to have children? I mean, it's crazy.


Mgt O Connor

And that interview has huge repercussions for you personally. So just to summarize some of them, you you lost your job, you were fired from being a teacher. And it caused obviously a lot of stress and disharmony with, with your your parents in law. You were..you got hate mail, you got death threats..


Marcia Drut Davis

Death threats. I had to go when I finally decided I needed money. So I would talk on the subject. I wasn't invited to the high schools, to the seniors to.. we had a very high high rate of teenage pregnancies. So under the guise of think first before you think about babies, by the way, there was always babies, not teenagers, babies. Wait, it wasn't don't, it was wait. But I would have to go past picketing lines. And there were signs that said 'Godless bitch'. 'Not in this school'. 'Keep her away from my kid'. But the first time I saw that, I said to the police, is this a teachers union thing? I can't pass this I'm a teacher. They said no, some woman's going to talk about not having kids. I said oh, that's me (laughter). I think they scurried me into the building.


Mgt O Connor

Oh my god, it must been devastating to see it because it was so personal to you.


Marcia Drut Davis

Yeah, and I wasn't doing any harm. I was simply saying, there is a choice. Please wait. The teenagers should not be having.. a baby should not be having a baby. And, and by the way that has caused a tremendous amount of loss in my pension. Because it was about almost 15 years that I was blacklisted from teaching. It wasn't until I remarried, and had a new name. And then I decided to teach English as a second language that I got back into teaching. But I lost an amazing amount of money from my pension. A huge amount.


Mgt O Connor

Wow. Okay. And I suppose it sounds a bit dramatic. I mean, it was dramatic. And it sounds like oh god, that would never happen, though. But I think we.. things have improved, but there's still a lot of stigma and negativity. And I want to say misunderstanding of what child free by choice is or what it looks like.


Marcia Drut Davis

It's better in the United States. I don't think it's great in Ireland. It is horrific in some other countries. And in the second book, and there's one chapter of what happens internationally, if you dare and believe me some people do not dare, to say I don't want to have children. It blows you away from what people are suffering in other countries. It blows you away.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah. So there is still there's still work to be done.


Marcia Drut Davis

Thanks to you.


Mgt O Connor

Well, I suppose..on the one hand, I wanted to have something really focused on Ireland. And on the other hand, I think I've seen such universal themes, when people talk, wherever they're from, it could be anywhere in the world, about being child free, a lot of the same themes come up. And so I think it's important to try and maybe balance, both. And as well as with most things, America is usually a bit further ahead of the rest of us in campaigning and awareness and things like this. So we need to look and see what has worked or what has happened in other places as well. And that's why it's so good to talk to you. So you had a whole process, I suppose after that and dealing with all of that, but really just trying to figure out what was child free life gonna look like, can you remember how you did that? Or where you started?


Marcia Drut Davis

Well, you know, I.. I'm not sure I understand the question. What was child.. what I didn't know about the future is that it?


Mgt O Connor

Just figuring out what your life was going to look like then?


Marcia Drut Davis

Right? Well remember, at that time, when I lost my job teaching, I had to do other things. I started my own advertising business. I mean, I did a lot of things, including selling cemetery plots, door to door World Book encyclopedia, music lessons, bridal bridal packages, 'oh, you're having 10 people for your wonderful bridesmaids. Oh, I'm so excited'. I couldn't care less! But I did well, you know, so I was busy. I was busy. And then of course, you know, I was a married lady and I and there were things to do as far as that when I remarried at that time, and then, sadly, faced another divorce, which was shattering to me. It affected my health. I had Epstein Barr Virus. I was shocked to find a girlfriend of mine was having an affair with my second husband. So it was hard. But I went back to school at that time. And I got my master's along the way and so I was focused on education. I was supported by my parents who helped pay for that. So that gave me something to do. I was always busy, and I was always involved. And of course, you know, speaking was a big thing. I didn't write the book till later, way later. And I'm glad because I could look back. And also it opened my eyes to what was going on with my friends who were raising children. And it was, it was a way of saying to me, you made the right choice (laughter). I mean seeing what they went through day to day it was.. I would come home and just get a glass of wine and sit back and think not for me.


Mgt O Connor

Mm hmm. And I think what I love about your book is that you are so honest. So you acknowledge that there are times that you've maybe wondered, you know, am I missing out on something you know, like,


Marcia Drut Davis

I'm so so glad you mentioned that because that chapter 'Childfree vs Childless' has to this day given me hate from within the movement, because I did admit, at one point in my life, getting close to menopause, you know, I knew I couldn't anymore, where a friend had a baby and she was holding the baby to her breast. She had just given birth, and the room was replete with flowers and balloons, and people were coming and she was getting adulation. And I watched her and I thought, ah, oh, maybe I am missing something. Of course, it was right around when the biological clock was beginning to stop that ticking. But in the book, I wrote, wait a minute stop, what just happened before this? Oh, I don't know about the pregnancy. Wait, I don't know about what she suffered through in birth. Wait, I don't know what she's going to have when she goes home and the child screams in the night. Maybe the child gets ill, and she's up all night, or maybe God forbid, something happens to this child. So it was that moment, that that that myth laden miracle, fuzzy, wonderful moment that came to me. But I've been faulted for that. And if you go to Amazon, you will see somebody took a picture of that paragraph without the last part of that chapter explaining that moment. So thank you.


Mgt O Connor

Well I think it's important because I suppose it's very hard to be black and white about this as well. Some people are very sure. And there's a lot of people that are very unsure in the middle. And I suppose the whole thing, like you're very clear is a lot about the impact of pronatalism, which as you said that..it will all be worth it, you know, everything. You know, we don't talk about the difficulties, we show all the beautiful moments. And they exist, of course they do.


Marcia Drut Davis

There are beautiful moments. We cannot deny that there are not beautiful moments. Just to say that, you know, we're missing nothing is truly.. I don't think very fair. At the same moment parents are losing moments. You know, and many will argue whether it's worth it. And I hope they can say that it is worth it. Yeah, that's a very important, very important point, Margaret.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah. Because you say, I think what does.. I think you say like, with every choice, there's a consequence. So I suppose every time we pick something, we give up something else. And that's with every decision, I think in life, but just to acknowledge, like, it's not necessarily easy. But it sounds like you were able to keep yourself grounded, you didn't get carried away by that one moment, you were able to come back and weigh up the wider context for yourself.


Marcia Drut Davis

Right, the biggest question I get now, the biggest question is, what about when you're old? What about when you're dying? What about who's going to take care of you, that question. I don't know if you're going to ask me that later or if I can speak about it now.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah (laughter).


Marcia Drut Davis

And I do cover that in my second book, because I faced cancer. And when you're sitting with chemo, and you're lying there, and you look and you observe, and you see families surrounding their loved ones, and you think, whoa, am I gonna make it? Is this it, am I done? There's nobody here, my branch is going. The tree is broken. In the book, I say, wait a minute, wait a minute. How many of these people are not their children, but darling nieces or nephews, or neighbors? And then I would look around and see people by themselves. How many of them have children that can't be there? Maybe they died. Maybe they have sickness. Maybe they're 3000 miles away. What guarantee is having a child and should it be a guarantee? Is it fair to a child to put that on them, that they have to take care of you as you get older? Yeah, it was a powerful revelation to me, and a very relieving moment, when I saw that, that and by the way, the nurses were so loving, and I still go back and hug them and kiss them. Not now because of COVID but I write letters to them. Like, I can't tell them how much I love them for what they love, how they love me. And those people in my life who are not in my family necessarily, who called and said what can I do, who bought me food who took me to chemo and radiation. I mean what a testimony to love, and it isn't necessarily family. It isn't necessarily family.


Mgt O Connor

Because we can have a very narrow definition of what family is. And I think you you demonstrate like you have, I don't know what the word is.. contacts, people that you are really close to, that have had different..


Marcia Drut Davis

I call them my my daughter/son friends. My niece friends or my grand child friend. I have one student who just had a little boy. She said to me, oh my god, oh my god, and she's getting pressured to have the second. And she's saying, oh, no, no, but her little boy calls me Marma, Marcia grandma. And he calls Jim pappy, and gets on with us and is so excited to see our face. You know, and I love it. And just because I don't want to have kids, doesn't mean I hate kids or I don't want to be near kids. Although it's perfectly fine to not like kids. There is nothing wrong, just don't hurt them.


Mgt O Connor

Yes, of course. And you have, I mean, you your your whole life through teaching and helping people reaching people like you have...But yeah, yeah, with people and giving and receiving. And it's lovely to see that, you know, again, it doesn't have to be in the strict family sense. You're, you're moving much wider.


Marcia Drut Davis

And I do encourage people who are in the childfree lifestyle, to wrap your hearts around people, humans, give to them, love them. If there's an older person, befriend them. If there is a younger person how do you know that they have love in their life. I met a young woman in a meetup that I went to, where she and I are now forever. We are connected forever. And her mother abandoned her, her father died. She had nobody. So I'm not her mother. I never raised her. But she can turn to me and know that I care. And I'm there for her. She she's just gone shopping for me. Luckily, she lives near me. The others don't. But she said stay home, do not go out, I'm doing your shopping. I mean, that's what love is. So we build love, but it doesn't necessarily happen from being born into what should be love.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, absolutely. There was a child free summit.. I think god was at this year? I've lost all sense of time! But you spoke at it and I just I thought your talk was so interesting. Because you gave quite tangible advice to people. So kind of how to make the child free life work even better for you. Would you mind sharing some of that advice with us now?


Marcia Drut Davis

By the way, did you know that that child free summit was also one half childless?


Mgt O Connor

Oh, okay. I don't think I did, no.


Marcia Drut Davis

Oh, could you imagine, I'm the keynote speaker, I have all these beautiful faces. Women looking at me, and here I am, child free by choice, not by fate. And here's like, some of them left. Some of them couldn't take me, because they didn't reach a thing called acceptance. It's like the stages of death. You have to accept that now this is your life and wrap your heart around it. Because the other keynote was Jody Day. And she is the childless guru. She helps those bridge the gap. So the main thing I just said is how your life is a reflection of what you do with it. And it's so personal. I personally love giving, feeling, touching hearts, making a difference. It could be in planting plants and seeing them grow. I recently had a grandchild from one of my mangoes that came and my avocado tree has just produced babies. In 10 years, I thought I had no babies from my avocado tree. And now I have avocados and to me, I'm joyful in doing that. Donate your services to a pet, a pet sanctuary or an organization that you can really enjoy. That's not saying that there are people who are blissfully happy going home reading a book, having a glass of wine and doing nothing. Again, a matter of choice.


Mgt O Connor

Yes, absolutely. And you have great advice on how to kind of..I'm going to say..deal with or manage people who may disagree with your opinion. If you if you find yourself having random conversations with people about this very, very personal decision, you have years of experience of dealing with that..


Marcia Drut Davis

Well, that what I used to do before I learned, is I called it the dysfunctional push pull cha cha cha. I'm right, you're wrong. I'm right cha cha cha, the dance goes on the dance goes on. I learned there are a few words you can say if you've reached the point where you don't want to discuss it anymore. Nothing you're going to say is going to matter and you know that you're talking to somebody, there's a wall. What I say is this, you know what you may be right. And they go, what? But they can't go on. You're saying you may be right. Now I'm not saying they are right. I'm giving them permission to be right, because they'll never be wrong. So I say you may be right.


Mgt O Connor

Okay. You just don't give energy to try and persuade them to accept your position?


Marcia Drut Davis

No, giggle giggle to yourself and go back to your childfree lifestyle, walk in your house and go peace. Open up the door and smell the flowers, have dinner, don't have dinner, go out, don't go out, take a bath, don't take a bath, watch TV, don't watch TV. Enjoy the childfree lifestyle. Giggle giggle to all those that are saying to you, oh, you're selfish. Oh, you're hedonistic. Oh, how unloving. How uncaring. You're going to regret this when you're old and dying, and nobody's there for you. Okay, let them think that, so what? And there are now people who are saying, I'm sorry, I just don't want to discuss this. And then they change the subject.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah. Okay, I think that's good advice (laughter). I really loved two other things. Two things for from that talk you gave, one was, you went through that advice. And the last piece of advice you gave was get a good financial advisor.


Marcia Drut Davis

Oh my god. So important.


Mgt O Connor

It's wonderful advice, just on a practical basis, (laughter).


Marcia Drut Davis

Carl, wherever you are. He is the best. Yes, a financial advisor because that is a fear. And it's a real fear. I don't care if you're a parent or not a parent. Do it now, you're not too young. Now. Now's the time to start saving, of course during COVID it's not exactly easy. But yeah, now is the time, make goals in your life. And then be very careful of how you spend your money, where you spend your money. Make sure that you have somebody helping you to make the right choices. Very important.


Mgt O Connor

People seem to think..


Marcia Drut Davis

Do you want me close the door, I can hear my husband speaking, is that a problem?


Mgt O Connor

If you want to but I can barely hear him but


Marcia Drut Davis

Ok, I'll continue.


Mgt O Connor

There, there seems to be a bit of a myth again that you have endless time and endless money as a childfree person, which is not true. So I just thought your your advice was very practical and grounded. So we do have..


Marcia Drut Davis

There are many childfree people. I can I do cruises. And there are people who struggle with trying to pay for it. But they'll put aside money a little by little, some can't afford it. And some are unhealthy themselves some have ill mothers and fathers in their own lives. Some are jobless. I do have a site called childfree... I think childfree people looking for jobs. I mean, there are people who are suffering who don't have children, because they're not financially wealthy. You know, there was a big, big magazine with a couple lying on the beach and going the childfree lifestyle, by the way they ended up having a kid.. the beauty of the child free lifestyle. And I thought to myself, damn, I wish I could do that all the time. I can't. And I live two miles from the beach (laughter). I have things to do. I have other people to reach. I have hearts I have to help. You're going to be one of my torches. I'm looking for torches.


Mgt O Connor

It's true though so nobody, nobody should feel shame if they're not living on the beach full time just because they're child free. They're not, it's not automatic. It doesn't happen unfortunately like that.


Marcia Drut Davis

It is easier, without a doubt. Yeah, I mean, look, I'm 77, this is not what 77 looks like like, this is injections called radius that cost 1200 dollars a year that I pay off on care credit. And then I go to the next year and do it again. I get..that little 1200 dollars goes to me and I can afford it. But if I had a child that I was raising and a grandchild in need, I couldn't spend that 1200 dollars comfortably and not worry about it, you know am I embarrassed about this? Hell no. I like to feel like I'm not 77 (laughter). Well, my glasses are failing me, I'm I have cataracts. I can barely see you. But that's ok (laughter).


Mgt O Connor

Now you mentioned cruises, moving from one topic to another. And can you tell me about those because they sound amazing?


Marcia Drut Davis

Right now you know the cruise industry is is just about at a standstill. It's been horrible. I've had four of the most amazing experiences with the most amazing people. Because it's one thing to listen to a wonderful podcast, or to read my book or another book or see a documentary. Spend a week with childfree family and you come out of it another person, you become so validated. And it's fun. It's a chance to just hear other people say, you know what, I think the same thing. Where do you live and I still have these people together on a secret Facebook site. They are all reuniting in 2022, which will be my 80th birthday celebration in Alaska. I have already 25 sold cabins for that, two years in advance. So yeah, it's it could be life changing. And in Book Two, there's a young lady Samantha who came from Australia. Yes, she spent hours in a plane just to meet me, which to me was..because you know two hours in the plane to me, and I'm sucking my thumb in a fetal position. But this young lady wrote an entire chapter about how her life changed. From the moment she met me and the other people who became her validating force. It's an incredible chapter. I love you, Samantha, if you're listening (laughter).


Mgt O Connor

And that seems to be a theme among people as well, the importance of finding like minded people, because you might not necessarily just have them in your in your own friendship or family group. So it takes a bit of being proactive, going out there actually finding people, meeting people, whether it's in person if you're able to go on cruises, joining Facebook groups, you know reading books..


Marcia Drut Davis

It's so important, because it's sad to say but we need the validation, we need to not hear all the negatives and all the whys and the selfish and the blaba blaba blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It's it's a it's a hunger to be with people who feel the same as we do. It's a tribe. And it's not, you don't feel so isolated. You know, I'm gonna have to shut that door, hold on one second. I'm sorry.


Mgt O Connor

You're fine, no problem...So that seems to be really important. Again, it's just kind of one of those themes that comes up so people can feel very isolated. They might feel like they're the only one who feels like that, or the, you know that idea that there's something wrong with them. But when you can sit with a group of 25 other people and have what is then a normal conversation and hear other people saying the same things as you, it really is as you say, it is really validating and getting grounded again, I guess.


Marcia Drut Davis

Yeah. And it is life changing. I have one young lady who's going to be my guest speaker. And by the way, I have the author...oh my gosh...Welcome to 77...(laughter). .And one of them is a girl who was on the last cruise, who was sort of like in a cocoon. I now call her my butterfly. She is a force to be reckoned with. From that experience that one week. Childfree star I think on on Instagram is her name. And she's on tik tok. She, she's incredible. Zarina.. her life has just dramatically changed from that cruise.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, that's fantastic. And that.. I had started off with a list of things there a second ago when I got distracted, but you reminded me, you asked a question in that in that summit and it was about how many people are kind of almost in the closet, or so people who don't feel able to admit the fact that they're child free because of that the fear of being rejected or the fear of being pitied, like the fear of all this negativity. So even you're just seeing there like the effect that it can have of finding, even if it's a small quality group of people, who feel the same as you, it can have a really transformative effect.


Marcia Drut Davis

You know, you know what else Margaret, I learned, which was really new for me, the entire LBGQT community has reached out to me to say, Marcia, do you know that if me and my partner were to adopt, or have a child through surrogacy, we are more accepted. Isn't that interesting? Because if we are partnered, and we don't have children, it's not as good. That's amazing. And sad. You know that that has to happen. I had never experienced you know, growing up that kind of situation. It was all hush hush, you don't talk about it. But my goodness it's bad enough what we have to go through and then you're in a loving relationship and you're delighted and happy and you can't be as proud as if you have a child.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, so pronatalism really gets in everywhere. So that idea, I suppose that having children is a good thing, and we're not saying it's not, but it's the assumption that it is. It doesn't always have to be the right choice for everybody.


Marcia Drut Davis

No, I'm very happy when people do have children who are committed to the lifestyle, who are good parent material. By the way, I don't know about your education in Ireland, but I know our education in the USA has not one course about are you parent material? Oh, you learn how to put the condom on the cucumber. You know how the little spermy does the backstroke up into the vagina. That's all told. God forbid, you mention well, maybe you shouldn't have children. And in your country, which is very religious..I know we're not there, so I would be shocked if you said to me Marcia, we do have that course.


Mgt O Connor

No, no, we barely have sex education, or a proper decent one (laughter).


Marcia Drut Davis

You don't even have the cucumber with the condom. Right?


Mgt O Connor

I don't know, we definitely didn't when I was in school. So I don't know if that has changed. I'll have to check that (laughter). But we definitely don't have the parenting discussion. And it's such an important element. So again, there is this assumption that everybody will a) want to become a parent, and b) is able to, and that is such a huge assumption to make.


Marcia Drut Davis

That sad, it's so sad. Because to me, the most important job of a life is raising a child, if you choose it, the most important job and as a teacher, I am sorry to tell you what I have seen has made me go home and cry many times. The abuse of children, the neglect of children, not understanding what it means and you know what's coming out now that COVID has existed - an appreciation of teachers. Parents are saying how do you do it, how do you do it? And I was so faulted so many times. You don't know what it's like, you never had children. How could you say bla bla bla bla bla. I took more courses on how to raise children and how to take care of children and cognitive development and all the different things that are important in a child's life than a parent who doesn't take anything. Our garbage people do better historically. You have to pass a test to be in the post office. Nothing to be a parent.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, absolutely.


Marcia Drut Davis

(laughter) I sometimes get a little emotional.


Mgt O Connor

No, you are absolutely right. So I suppose to I mean, in summary..basically, you have been through so much, had so many different life experiences. You have been very open to considering you know I will one day and maybe I won't. And are you happy or are you sad about that. You finish your book clearly saying that you have no regrets about your decision not to have children.


Marcia Drut Davis

No, not one. Not one. If anything, you know what the regret I have is that I didn't do this sooner as far as the book goes. Because I was filled with fear, when you get a death threat, Margaret, I can't even describe what that is like. Terror, just terror comes over you. And by the way to write a book, it took me three years to write one book and close to four years to write the other book. This doesn't happen overnight. It's very expensive. I am not writing 50 Shades of Grey, so I don't have 4000 million dollars. I don't have an editor. The first book I self publish. The second book was picked up by a hybrid publisher but there is still money involved. And I never wrote the book to make money. I knew I would never make money but I wanted to reach hearts. I needed more people like you to hold that torch and go forward because I know how important it is. And my days at 77, I mean I hope they're forever but they're not. So you will continue it, and people who read the books will continue it or watch the documentaries like Maxine did. And there's another one coming called 'My So Called Selfish Life' by Theresa Shechter it's about to be birthed.


Mgt O Connor

And it seems or it feels a bit like at the moment that there is a lot of material coming out which is fantastic. So Maxine Trump's documentary 'To Kid Or Not To Kid'


Marcia Drut Davis

No relationship to the President.


Mgt O Connor

Oh yes, absolutely, yes. Very important to state! There are books, there's websites, there's Facebook groups..there are options, you might have to look a little for them, but they are there. And it's brilliant to see different avenues of support and connection becoming available.


Marcia Drut Davis

And for anybody who says you have multiplied, thou has multiplied the nation, I say thou has multiplied the nation and not increased its joy. That is Isaiah nine three. I don't know the Bible, but I've learned that. So for the religious, the deeply religious who feel it's their duty, read that part of the Bible. It may be more of a duty to reach out into humanity to help this planet, with non sentient things, or those poor dogs who are being abandoned. There are so many other things that we need people for. When you have a child that isn't as easy to give of yourself.


Mgt O Connor

Absolutely. Okay, I want to give a shout out, I'm going to read out the titles of your books because they are really important and I want people to know about them. So we have 'Confessions of a Childfree Woman, A Life Spent Swimming Against the Mainstream'. So that was the first book.


Marcia Drut Davis

And I don't swim well, let me tell you.


Mgt O Connor

And the second book is "What?! You Don't Want Children - Understanding Rejection in the Childfree Lifestyle'.


Marcia Drut Davis

The rejection part was the most sought after need that I felt for the second book.


Mgt O Connor

For Facebook groups and cruises, how do people find you?


Marcia Drut Davis

The most important Facebook site for me is 'Confessions of ChildFree People'. You will be vetted by seven very, very determined administrators. There are questions you have to answer so that we stop the trolls. I have many others, but that's my favorite one. On Instagram, it's childfree underscore guru. And if you want to reach out to me about the cruise in 2022, it's marciadavis@ketravel.com



Mgt O Connor

Okay, brilliant. Thank you very much. That is fantastic. Marcia, it's been so wonderful to talk to you and I really, really appreciate your time. And the wonders of modern technology so that we can talk from Limerick to Florida, it's a first for me (laughter). But really, really brilliant. And I really do appreciate you're always so open and honest with your time and I know we've messaged before on Instagram. For the first bit, I was like, oh god, is this really you? Has somebody hacked your account?


Marcia Drut Davis

Some people say they're star struck and I go what me? Where's the star? It's just me. Just a human sharing something that's important. That's one more thing. And if I forget about this, I'll be angry with myself. In book one, there is a chapter about me being a stepmother. This has caused quite a to do from haters. I call them the purists which I talk about in book two. I admit that my third husband had two daughters from a previous marriage. I attempted to be a friend to these daughters, not a mother in any way, shape, or form. And if you read that book, you will see why. To this day, we have nothing to do with them. They have divorced us. It's been close to 20 years. But I am faulted as being a fake and a phony and only out to make money because how dare I call myself childfree when I once had a title of stepmother.. pure rubbish, pure rubbish. Okay. I just had to say that.


Mgt O Connor

Absolutely. Look there's enough what's the word.. criticism, I guess from other people. We certainly don't need to be doing it to each other.


Marcia Drut Davis

Our own people, we need to stay together and work together. Not divide us. But we want to end on a good note and it is that you're here and that you're going to reach other people and that there are other people and we will keep on walking this path with pride. Not defense.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, that's great. Thanks so much, Marcia. I really, really appreciate it.


Marcia Drut Davis

Stay connected.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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Margaret O'Connor MIACP      ©2018 by Are Kids For Me. 

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