What used to draw blank stares is now attracting national media attention.
The choice not to have children has landed Bangor sociologist Amy Blackstone on the “Katie” show, with host Katie Couric.
The University of Maine associate professor, who does not have children and is over the age of 40, was whisked to New York in late August to talk to Couric, the former co-host of “Today Show,” about the topic of child-free living.
Sidestepping motherhood by choice has fascinated Blackstone for years. When she saw that Couric was looking for guests to talk about the emergent trend, she jumped. Her segment is expected to air at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, on NBC — locally WLBZ2 in Bangor and WCSH6 in Portland.
“I had a blast. They flew us to New York City. It was a whirlwind,” said Blackstone, chairwoman of UMaine’s sociology department.
The notion of living without children is a contemporary phenomenon. Time magazine’s cover story “ The Childfree Life” hit newsstands last month, shortly after International Childfree Day. Blackstone has researched this societal shift for years and broaches it in classes she teaches on the sociology of gender and family.
Blackstone, who made the decision in her 20s not to have kids, says the stigma in our society that having it all means a baby in tow is starting to recede.
And she is part of the reason.
Blackstone and her husband Lance started a Central Maine Meetup group two weeks ago to talk about the issues facing those who choose not to have kids. She also blogs on the child-free life at WereNotHavingaBaby.com.
“Those that live child-free are perceived to be more selfish than others, colder, less nurturing — less concerned about the good of the society,” she said. “That is not true at all.”
Blackstone’s choice does not make her opposed to children, but could signal the rise of the anti-mommy blogger.
“I’m not against them, we don’t hate children. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We have kids in our lives that we have a blast with,” she said.
As for her time with Couric, Blackstone admitted that being interviewed by one of her heroes was nerve-racking at first, but noted that Couric “had this demeanor that helped put me at ease.”
“I really did grow up admiring Katie Couric,” she said. “This is a woman who is smart, kind, interesting and eloquent. She had all the qualities I admired.”