Some women don't want kids. And that's OK. This comic breaks it down.

Kate McDonough doesn't want kids, and some people can't seem to wrap their head around that.

She's thoughtful, patient, and enjoys working with kids. She even hopes to be an art therapist one day. But that doesn't mean Kate is interested in motherhood.

"I have never felt the desire to be a mom, even when I try to force it," she wrote on her blog."It’s just not in me. I think it would be much worse to become a mother to a child that I do not want than to disappoint people who expect motherhood of me."


Photo by iStock.

McDonough isn't alone — more women than ever before are choosing not to be parents.

For most of them, the decision is easy. Some may choose to focus on their education or career; others may not be able to afford it or might choose not to for medical or health reasons. And some just aren't interested in raising kids.

Frankly, their reasons aren't anyone's business. Because the only problem with not wanting to have children is how much other people take issue with the choice. Women who choose not to have kids are often singled out for being selfish or not understanding what "real love" is (whatever that means). While other questions or remarks are less malicious, that doesn't make them any less frustrating or hurtful.

"Part of the problem is that child-talk has become ingrained in small-talk," McDonough wrote in an email. "Many people don't even realize how invasive the question can be. There are a million different reasons someone may not have children, and it's a sensitive topic."

Photo by iStock.

She decided to illustrate her frustration and pitch-perfect response in her comic "Pretty, Pretty Ugly."

The resulting strip beautifully depicts why McDonough doesn't want kids and offers support for other women making their own choices.

Comic by Kate McDonough, used with permission.

McDonough's story is not every woman's story, but that's the point. Motherhood is a personal decision.

Since she posted the comic to her Tumblr seven months ago, most of the feedback has been positive.

The original post has more than 58,000 notes. Many readers thanked McDonough for putting their feelings into words (and pictures). Even parents chimed in to voice their support. And the feedback wasn't limited to McDonough's peers either.

"I've had girls in high school ask me if I worry I'll regret the decision someday and I've had women in their 60s and 70s tell me they don't regret their decision to remain childless at all," she wrote. "It's pretty awesome to see all the encouragement. It gives me hope that demands on the next generations might not be the same!"

No matter how you look at it, kids change your life.

Choosing to raise a child is not an easy decision and looking to your partner or trusted friends for support can be valuable. However, it's not anyone's place to suggest or assume they know you better than yourself. You know your situation, preferences, and lifestyle best. Trust it and make the best decision for you and your family.

And if you choose kids, pack wet wipes. So, so many wet wipes.

Photo by iStock.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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