Do you ever wonder what Childfree Life really looks and feels like?
Sure, there are the party days of your 20s & 30s (which we both crushed by the way!) but what happens when things start to "slow down" at 50?
Is fun still a priority? Does the worry about the elder years increase or decrease? Does regret set in or fade into oblivion? Is building community with new childfree friends possible?
We share answers and insights to all of this PLUS, wecover topics that matter to all of us- health and wellness, relationships, investments, career, travel and lots more!
It's Veronica's turn as she describes her personal childfree journey and how different areas of her life guided her to this difficult choice. Veronica’s road to choosing childfree was very bumpy and included 10+ years of confusion, doubt and panic. She spent a significant amount of time reflecting, researching and exploring what being childfree would mean to her. Now, she is a proud and confident childfree woman who spends her time helping younger women explore and dissect why they are leaning towards a childfree life but still don’t feel at peace with choosing childfree.
Rick: [00:00:00] Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand Here we go. Hello.
Veronica: How are you?
Rick: I'm good. I'm good. I'm excited because today we're going to interview you, specifically, are you, how do you feel about that? That's good. Um, for those who might've not heard this first podcast, Veronica, or the second podcast, I should say, Veronica really dove into my history, family, so on and so forth, and how I handled my whole child free journey and how it came about really.
And now I really want to get into yours. I think I'm excited about this. I've been preparing for this and I have some questions that you may not even be expecting. This
Veronica: is your first time asking me questions and interviewing me. So this shall be interesting.
Rick: Are you nervous for my questions that I'm going to be asking you?
Veronica: No, not at all. Actually, I completely trust you. But, um, no, no, no, I'm good. And [00:01:00] also I think it was really good that we Ask you questions, too, because a lot of the times the man's voice isn't really represented. So that was really important, too. So I'm happy to go take my turn.
Rick: Yeah, no, I'm happy that you interviewed me.
I thought it was a great conversation and I can only hope to live up to your interview. Yeah, let's do it back in the kitchen. Here we go. Cool. Okay. Our third episode, very, very exciting. Um, what I'd like to start with is really your childhood and tell the listeners where you grew up, what that was like and where you were born and where you grew up and what that was like, because it was very different for my upbringing, so
Veronica: yes, we had.
Very, very different upbringings. So I was born in Argentina, specifically in Mendoza, which, um, if there are any Malbec drinkers out there, they'll know where Mendoza is and just wine in general. Uh, it's a [00:02:00] beautiful, um, there's just wine country. There's mountains, tons of skiing. Uh, it's just really a beautiful area.
And I came to the United States when I was. It's about to turn five, I believe, or had just turned five and, uh, went straight to New York. And as you can imagine, it was just a whole new, different world. Well, let's
Rick: back up because you already are out of Argentina and I'm not, I know that you were much younger, but I do want to talk about, you know, what that experience was like, your family experience.
What was the family dynamic as you can remember in Argentina specifically, I know it was different when you moved to the States, but what, can you recall some memories? I
Veronica: don't have a lot. I don't have a lot of memories. They're very sporadic. Um, a lot of them don't make sense. I couldn't really speak to the family dynamic because that really didn't settle in with me until we moved to the United States, uh, because my parents came here first for [00:03:00] about A year and a half or two years while my sister and I were in Argentina.
So those were pivotal years that I think I wasn't really sure what was going on. So it wasn't until I moved to the United States that I really got a sense of what our dynamic as a family was.
Rick: Yeah. But it was your mother and your father and your sister living in Mendoza, correct? Exactly. And you had family nearby?
Veronica: Yeah. I mean, we have a huge family that's still there. Uh, but when we came to the United States, especially in the eighties, it was not easy to stay. Stay in touch with people. It was very expensive to make those long distance phone calls and it just definitely made our family grow apart. As far as the family, the 4 of us and the rest of the family.
I have tons and tons and tons of cousins and aunts and uncles, but I don't really know them or really speak to them.
Rick: And you don't have a lot of recollection of hanging out with them when you were in Argentina, nothing like that? Nothing that's [00:04:00]
Veronica: really significant. Like I said, I have little memories of playing in the park.
You make fun of me because I told you I used to play in the dirt all the time and make dirt pies. That was like my very favorite thing to do. I was quite a tomboy. I do remember that. I remember hanging out with my male cousins and playing. Uh, outside. Um, but yeah, no, I don't really have a lot of memory about the time I was there.
Um, specific ones at least.
Rick: I just want you to, I should reference that. I, I make fun of you, but it's really adorable. I think it is very cute because you used to tell me that you used to go to a, like, get empanadas, you have that memory.
Veronica: Well, yeah. I mean, eating empanadas as an Argentine is. It just goes hand in hand, right?
It's like having a hot dog or a hamburger for an American. So he, you make fun of me because I still am obsessed with empanadas and, uh, you always say you can just imagine me going to the little empanada window and like ordering mine [00:05:00] for whatever it was at the time, a penny or five cents.
Rick: I just picture it and I think it's absolutely adorable.
Veronica: Yeah. And it was, uh, my parents came together, um, you know, very, my dad was at most in his family, middle class or maybe close to it depending on who it was in his family. And then my mom's family definitely was low socioeconomic. situation. Got it. Okay.
Rick: So you, like you said, you came to the States in the mid eighties, you'd say roughly, does
Veronica: that sound right?
Uh, well, not roughly. I can tell you, I think it was 80
Rick: or 81. Okay. So early eighties, what were your memories then? Because I find now this, this you, we have discussed, it is no surprise to you, but it always fascinates me that, you know, you came in, you immigrated to the United States and you kind of were just thrown into the.
You know, just thrown into the mix. Like there was no real formal kind of introduction. And that makes, I [00:06:00] sound like an ignorant American, like, Oh, but you know, I always think, you know, I don't, I didn't understand that process. And when you walk through, like it's, there's no like handbook, like you take You pretty much like come here and you take the plane and you figure it out, which is must have been really scary as a child.
Do you have memories of kind of figuring it out? Yeah, of
Veronica: course. It was terrifying. But it's also the story of millions of immigrants in this country, right? Like you just You just get dumped here and your family is just basically in survival mode. You're trying to survive. Uh, your parents are not, uh, at least for me, not available because they're working two jobs at least, and they're just trying to make ends meet.
So it was definitely a matter of trying to keep ourselves financially stable, trying to keep somewhat of an emotional state. which our family was not great at. And then at the same time trying to learn [00:07:00] the language. So that was difficult as well. I feel that it was easier for me because I started first grade, uh, in the United States.
So I'm learning the basics at that point where the rest of my family and my sisters, uh, over six years older than me, she, she was already. thrown in and, uh, you know, assuming that she had, she knew the language and my mom and my dad really struggled. And to this day, my mom doesn't speak it. So it was definitely a lot more challenging.
Rick: fortunate that age was about right for you to really kind of just jump into schooling and start to grasp English in a real way. So, yeah. You know, that, that makes sense. And, um,
Veronica: yeah, I think I was also a very determined little kid too. Uh, I love being challenged. As you know, I love to learn. It's probably my favorite thing to do.
And so I embraced all of it. I was really excited about all of it.
Rick: So do you have moments that you can remember [00:08:00] once you got here and you were a little older, not maybe when you first got here, but what first got to the States, but then when you were a little older? Really stuck out with you as far as this new place that you were living in and what that was like.
And did you have some recognition around that, you know, or was it just kind of like this is happening in front of me and this is what I
Veronica: know? Yeah, there wasn't really any time for reflection. I mean, and also I didn't even know what reflection was. Uh, I wouldn't have even known to stop and think that just wasn't available.
Um, I think that my entire family was. basically on a hamster wheel, just trying to make it every day and trying to survive and trying to do better as best that we could. Uh, so no, and I couldn't even tell you that I was at a point where I was comparing, uh, what it was like to live in Argentina and what it was like to live here because I don't think my mind really comprehended, you know, that I got on this plane and went really, really [00:09:00] far away to this.
It's foreign land and, uh, and yeah, I don't think that I was able to understand that for a very
Rick: long time. Okay. So you're just kind of chugging along, kind of just doing what you were doing in that grade school.
Veronica: It was just hard because you come into this. My parents had to be gone for, like I said, I don't know, two years or something.
And I remember my mom saying that. I didn't recognize him. I didn't write because my dad was actually gone the longest and that I didn't recognize him. I didn't want him to pick me up. I didn't want to speak to him because it was like some strange man to me. Um, so I mean, it definitely felt off and weird the whole experience, but you know, then you start acclimating as time goes on.
Rick: Okay. So let's fast forward a little bit. So, you know, kind of your tween teenage years. Talk to me about what that was like. You know, once you really started to kind of, you know, you got more comfortable with the language, what was, what did your day to day feel like your family dynamic? What, what, what, what do you remember from that period?
Veronica: it's interesting because my family dynamic was [00:10:00] traditional in the fact that the roles were really defined. But my mom worked just as hard as my dad did. And, uh, I don't remember a time where my mom wasn't working and that she was home just taking care of us and taking care of the home. So it was interesting to me that she was working as well and still coming home and doing the cooking and the cleaning and the laundry and the ironing.
And my dad was working, but he came home and he didn't have those duties. So that. I recognized, I mean, really early, really early, the inequality of the roles. I mean, I can remember specifically probably being around 6, 7 or 8 and thinking to myself as I was watching how they, um, how they operated. I would remember thinking to myself like, this seems Off to me, like, I don't love this and I don't know why, right?
Like, I just didn't understand why it seemed off to [00:11:00] me and why it brought me the wrong way. But, um, I just remember being like, when I'm older, I don't want to have this dynamic.
Rick: In dynamic meaning that your father was kind of went out, worked hard. Your mom went out and worked. hard and you were left alone, kind
Veronica: of the dynamic that she had to still do the rest of the housework, like the female focused tasks that society had put on her more
Rick: traditional, even though your mom worked and she wasn't
Veronica: working, but she was to do all the, you know, female jobs around the house and it was just always very confusing to me and irritating.
And I remember specifically, you know, for example, my dad would be on the couch watching TV and maybe I'm on the couch next to him watching TV. And then we, you know, he'd be like, go, go to the kitchen and get me something. And I understand that parents do that. I mean, I would assume that some. still do, but it bothered me so much, you know, cause I'm like, [00:12:00] why?
Like you're sitting right next to me. Why can't you get up and get it yourself? And it wasn't that I didn't want to do it for him. Cause of course I wanted to be kind and nice to him, but it was the principle. Like I was just so aware of. the principle, the dynamic, the roles. I, I just became uber aware of them super, super early.
Actually, when I was in sixth grade, I was in this oratorical contest, which I did really well in. And, um, I wanted my school. And then I went on to compete further with Susan B. Anthony's speech, giving, uh, women the right to vote. And I mean, I'm in sixth grade and I am giving this speech, like, It's real time that it's really having an effect on government.
Like I was just so passionate about it. I loved her entire speech because she's basically saying like the men are completely taking credit for everything that has ever happened in society. But. We're here to we're present. Yeah, [00:13:00]
Rick: I find that fascinating. You know, it's such a young age and maybe there were some other people that at that age were that self aware of this dynamic.
I certainly wasn't. We talked about that in my last step with the last episode when we talked about me at that age, you were a lot younger. It
Veronica: was huge for me, and that's where the feminist started in me, but it was never anti men like, that's what, you know, obviously feminism is. It's, it's just a sense of equality, not that.
Men suck. At least that's not what I believe. But I never remember being anti men as much as equality. Like, why can't we be seen a certain way? Why can't we make our own choices? Why can't we? So, yeah, it's interesting, even as I talk to you now that I felt so strongly back
Rick: then. Yeah, you know, you've told me the story before, but it really resonated with me just now at how young you were and how it wasn't just this speech you gave that you won, but it was a It was a factor in [00:14:00] your family dynamic that bothered you.
Veronica: it was huge. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I was also aware and it didn't just bother me my family. I was aware of it on TV. I was aware of it and movies and anytime that a woman wasn't able to decide for herself. I would just be like what's going on here,
Rick: right? Right. Okay, so that's so then you start entering high school, did you carry that philosophy with you?
Or was that a moment in time? Or did you did you feel that kind of empowerment, feministic feelings that you just kind of carried with you into your relationships into high school, into your education, all
Veronica: that? Yeah, I mean, it just once it grew inside me and planted some seeds, it just got stronger and stronger as time went on.
And I think it's because I just kept being presented with more and more examples of inequality, especially, you know, when I started working, um, you know, it was just so easy for me to see and catch that it only furthered my [00:15:00] belief of what. I was thinking was true, uh, which it is, is that, you know, women weren't seeing the same.
Rick: So it's a, it's a great segue into, you know, what we do in the Child Free Connection. You know, that is kind of seems to be where your foundation really began as far as choice and women empowerment. And when did that start to carry over to the traditional family dynamic? And when did you start to question whether that's something that you even wanted?
Veronica: Like I said, being very young and seeing how my parents interact with one another and what my mom's role is, I think as early as that, I started questioning, is even marriage something I wanted? Is this what I'm looking for? Are these traditions Is me? Do I belong in these boxes that women are put in? So I think it started quite young, those, those thoughts.
Um, and then [00:16:00] as I became more educated, um, and as I just I studied about all these concepts and really got the information that I needed. I think it just confirmed for me. I don't feel like this is the right path for me, but I wasn't sure why I felt that way. I wasn't even sure that that was the way because deep down inside, I think as so many of our listeners feel like that's just what you do and that's That's the way that it is.
So I really wasn't aware that I had real choices to make.
Rick: You recognize that that was an issue. You knew that that's not a direction you wanted to head in. You ruled that out as far as that kind of traditional, you knew you were going to break tradition in some way. I think you were just. You were poised to do that,
Right. I did not like the steps. I did not like the checklist.
Rick: It begs the question. What did you envision? You know, did you at that point really envision anything? Or were you just like, I don't want this, but I'm not sure where I'm [00:17:00] headed in. If I'm not choosing this type of route that most people do choose or a lot of people I shouldn't say everyone or most but a lot of people choose.
Veronica: Yeah, I didn't really have any role models and I've thought about that throughout my life like role models really weren't present in my life. Um, I've tried to be a role model to lots of people because I think that. I've always lacked that and wanted that so badly. I didn't have a role model in someone that I felt was empowered, was confident, was strong, and didn't follow the traditional path.
So I think I just knew enough to know that. That traditional path wasn't for me, but I didn't really know what the alternative was. I hadn't, I couldn't really find it or see it anywhere.
Rick: I'm going to ask you a little bit of a personal question, and this is just something that's curious to me, um, and I'm not trying to psychoanalyze you at all, but do you feel that because [00:18:00] of the way you were raised in the confusion, there was probably a lot of confusion around it and what you had witnessed as far as the way your father and your mother, that whole entire family.
Dynamic as use that word again, that dynamic was happening. Do you feel that really pushed you in that direction? And you almost repelled that in a sense, or was this something more organic coming up from within you?
Veronica: At that time, it was probably a combination of the two, because I think that. I felt very strongly about not wanting to repeat that whole, my upbringing again.
Um, but I wasn't even taking that information and turning it into, Oh, I don't want kids like. Uh, my brain was not even doing it at the time. It was just more like, like my priority really was to, um, you know, when people say like, what do you want when you get older? Like, I just wanted [00:19:00] to feel at peace. You know, I want it to, if I ended up with a partner, like.
That was always something that was in my mind if I had a partner, I wanted to have a good relationship, and that meant so much more to me. And by good, I mean, one that is, um, that is stable, one that is peaceful, one that, uh, represents understanding and love and commitment and communication and I guess pretty much everything that I wasn't seeing at home.
So that became more of a focus for me than having a bunch of children and raising them and then going to that next level of what is that going to look like? I kind of would get stuck there.
Rick: Yeah. And the reason why I brought it up even and whether it was like an organic feeling is because you know, if you really look at it.
In a sense that you, and I'm only speaking cause I know you, but I think the listeners should know that you're very much a caretaker, even though you're not a mother, [00:20:00] you're still a caretaker in a lot of ways. You're very maternal in the way you treat your friends, even though maybe that's not the right word, but you know what I'm talking about?
Nurturing better, better word. Thank you. You're very nurturing in the way you treat me, that your friends, you often, most often put other people first. So in a lot of ways, you did extract a lot. of that caretaking from some of your family, but at the same time, you had this fuel of feminism and, and, and empowerment.
And I don't want this kind of pushing you in the, uh, into the direction of something that you could say was a little unknown, right? I mean, you didn't know where it was going to head. You just knew that you wanted to put other people first. As well as not take this traditional route, which is very commendable, but it also feels a little isolating and maybe lonely.
Veronica: I don't think that I made that decision to put other people first, because that's something I still work on, as you know, like codependency issues, um, being [00:21:00] an empath and just caring so much and about how other people are feeling, carrying the weight of what's going on with them. I actually consider that one of my faults, to be honest with you, because.
That part of me that has taken me throughout my life to put myself last has been the cause of a lot of pain in my life and a lot of, um, discomfort and, uh, and it's something that I'm trying to work through, but I am a nurturer by nature and I also, and I also, um, didn't make the connection that because I'm such a nurturing person, because I love taking care of people, well, I should use that skill set to be a mom.
I wasn't really making that connection.
Rick: No, I completely get that. I just find the dynamic very, very interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So let's, let's move forward a little bit here. So What kind of engagements did you have with children [00:22:00] around that time, or maybe if it was a little bit older, fast forward to like your first time where you started really, you know, whether I would assume it was before your friends started having kids, right?
I mean, you were around Children to a certain degree as far as, you know, your parents, friends, kids, or I don't know. Not
Veronica: really. I wasn't around Children very much. I mean, yeah, sure. If if a friend, a random friend or a neighbor had a A baby or something like that, but it wasn't like I was in the presence of kids a lot until I was older.
I mean, the only thing I can think of before my 20s was in high school. My friends had little brothers and sisters, but I didn't really hang out with them that much. Maybe they were around when I would be at their houses, but no, I definitely didn't grow up. Changing nippers and feeding and all that, although I can do all that, all those things really well.
Um, I didn't grow up with it at all. I, I really don't think until my friends started having kids [00:23:00] is when my real interaction with babies
Rick: came along. You didn't do any babysitting. You didn't do any of that type of stuff.
Veronica: I tried it. I, I did it. I did it once for a friend and once professionally, and that was it.
And, uh... The one time I did it for a friend, it was, uh, her son, and it's so funny because he just graduated from college, uh, is this his first year out of college or second? I'm not sure, but this is how fresh this is in my mind, and she always laughs when I tell this story because it was her, he's her oldest, she has four kids, and I just remember talking to her and her being so I was so stressed out and just going and going and going and she was telling me like, I haven't washed my hair in so long, like I haven't gotten a manicure in so long and just all these things.
So I said, you know what? I, I, I can come over and, um, watch. Your kid, he was a toddler at the time, um, maybe three or four [00:24:00] and you can go do all these things. Like, why don't you spend a whole day, like going from hair to nails to whatever you need to do. Um, and she was very appreciative of that, but I didn't really know what I was volunteering myself for.
Cause like I said, I wasn't really around a lot of kids. And I mean, I would think tops, she was gone four hours. Maybe five, but I didn't know what to do with myself. I mean, we played every toy We went through every room in the house We built everything he had and knocked it down started again snacks this that I was Exhausted when she got home like it was almost like I was like waiting by the window desperately like waiting for her to pull up because Just He had just taken every bit of energy out of my body, and he, I mean, ador like, he was adorable, like the cutest thing, and just had [00:25:00] completely taken me out.
And after that, I was, I was just, I couldn't believe it. I was just like, how do people do this every day? Right? And that's when she had her first. She had three more after that. But I'm just, I just couldn't believe it. And it really stuck with me. And she thinks it's so funny that I still bring it up. Like I said, because That's how deeply it stuck with me that I still think about it today And I still think about of how exhausted I was.
My professional, my only professional Um, Babysitting gig was another not great experience where the the girl was around one I want to say because she she walked but she was in a in a In a, I'm like, what is that thing called? In a crib. She was in a crib. So there was a lot of um, She was, I know what a crib, I don't know, it wouldn't come to me.
But, there was a lot of diaper changing, and there was a lot of like, [00:26:00] food everywhere, and there was like laundry involved, and I don't know. I was just, again, so exhausted when he came home. That was it. I was like, I can't do this. This isn't a job for me. I don't want to do this at all. So that was it. That was my babysitting experience.
Rick: were really baptized by fire in a lot of sense. Like, I mean, you were thrown into the pit very quickly because you didn't have a lot of that growing up, as we discussed. Right. And then all of a sudden, you're in this situation where you're taking care of Two babysitting incidents is really, and you're just this impact was just a nightmare to you.
I mean, it was like they were adorable. I get it. But for you, it was like chaos, crazy. I got to ask, was it at that point? And I know you were again, kind of headed towards doing things differently and not necessarily lining up for the traditional family kids life. But at that point. Did it start to solidify that this is something that I don't
I wish it did. I wish it did. Because I still didn't [00:27:00] really realize that I had a choice. And at this time, my niece and my nephew were also born. And although my sister did not leave them for hours ever, where I was there alone, or, or ask, I did spend a lot of time with them, a lot of time with them because after I graduated college, I lived there for about a year, year and a half.
So I got to spend a lot of time with them and they, they all, I mean, I love them to death, but they exhausted me. I don't know. It's like I try to think back and I think I just rationalized it that, It would be different if they were my own, because I would get to, you know, make the decisions, set the rules, raise them the way I wanted, but never because I can't wait to have this, but more coming from a place of, I need to do this thing that everybody else does, and how am I going to do it in a way that I'm not, I don't feel crazy and
It's so funny how some of us come from that place, at least [00:28:00] our generation. You know, I should speak for our generation, but you know, that it's just what you do. We keep coming back to that.
Veronica: I mean, we get it from our members all the time and our community and, and you know, our, I'm sure our listeners are feeling the same way.
You just kind of go, go about life and this is what's coming next. right? And you're like, okay, here's next. Uh, but you don't, um, really see, uh, an alternate option. I mean, being child free, uh, like, like we said, I'm, I'm 47 now. So when I was in my early twenties, mid twenties, thirties, uh, mid thirties, uh, and, um, actually probably not until I was.
40 was that this was a topic that was discussed, obviously, when social media started the Internet, we didn't have the Internet for a while, you know, we started to have it in college, but education on this topic wasn't really available, nor was the idea that. You had this choice, you know,
Rick: I have to add. I mean, it is much more, you know, the one more education around it now, but it's [00:29:00] still very, uh, dark path in a lot of ways.
You know, there isn't. I mean, that's one reason why we're both so passionate about it because it's so important to show that if you don't choose to have Children or you can't have Children biologically, that there is such a fulfilling life out there. And that's really what we strive to do here on on every single of thing.
Every project we work on with this. And I think it's so important. I just had to add that because yeah, of course, I know there's a lot of people that probably feel that they're in that position of like, well, if I don't do this, what everyone else is doing and what my friends are doing, what do I do? And that is what the child free connection is about.
I really, I brought that up because the way
Veronica: it, I mean, it can feel very isolated, especially when all your friends started having kids. I mean, I was the only one without a kid for a really, really long time. So you do feel like an outcast. You do feel isolated. You can't take part in the conversations that everybody else is having because it's around the kids and you have nothing to, [00:30:00] I mean, I'll ask questions, but I don't have a lot to add.
I don't have a lot of insight. Um, so it does become um, Challenging if, uh, we don't have the right tools to deal
Rick: with it all. You offer beautifully in your course, which we'll get to in a little bit, but I do want to talk. So before, um, so that happened and you still kind of took on this, you know, I'm going to probably do this.
Hopefully it'll look different than the nightmare that I experienced and I'll be able to handle it and I'll mature into it. Perhaps maybe you were thinking
Veronica: that. And then I was also like, there was a part of me was like, this isn't a thing that I'm like, Hold towards like I'm not I'm not excited about it.
You know, I'm not I would walk by and see a mom putting a stroller in the back of an SUV. And I was like, like, I don't, I don't want to do that. You know, like, every time I saw like an action, um, it was very, uh, As far as something difficult goes, or not even difficult, the [00:31:00] day to day, right? I was very focused on the day to day.
It just never really appealed to me and, you know, as you know, it took me a while to realize that I was just, I had been conditioned into believing like, this is what you're going to do eventually. You're going to have to figure it out, even if you don't. Crave it. Even if you don't desire it. Like you what it is.
Rick: It really makes me wonder. I mean, there are this, you know, what you call snapshot moments, which is all the great moments of having a child that we see aren't necessarily always true. If it's maybe a fraction or a percentage, I won't say fraction or percentage of what, you know, having a child is about, you know, the throw in the ball with your son in the backyard or whatever it happens to be.
I do wonder if there are women and maybe, you know, this Being, you know, surrounded by a bunch of your friends that are mothers, are their mother, are there women out there that do look at like putting a stroller in a car or like going crazy? The chaotic part of raising kids. Did they [00:32:00] look at that and be like, Oh, I can't wait to like an experience that
No one's ever told me that. I think that. When my mom friends have talked about it's all the lovely magical moments that they're waiting for. Like, I can't wait till, um, I can dress up my daughter with the same outfit as me. I can't wait till my son is at a game and I can cheer them on from the sidelines.
I can't wait till my kid wins an award and I can be there for it. Or is Valley's Victorian? Like it's all been very positive things that they're looking at. No, I have never had Anyone in my whole life say I can't wait to get home from work and make lunches for the next day and do homework and projects and read a book and be up all night now.
Rick: just wonder how many people don't take that into account. You know what I mean? When, when you, because you're, like you said, you were witnessing this visually. You were seeing, you know, your friends, uh, are you not your friends, but you were [00:33:00] seeing people. hustling and bustling and, and, and doing their thing to manage and maintain a family and a children and so on and so forth.
Yeah. So it's... I
Veronica: think that, sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off. No, no, no, go ahead. I don't think that it's possible to, let's say you have a desire to become a mother, to really understand what the day to day exactly looks like, right? Like maybe you can see what it looks like for somebody else. Maybe you can have a good taste of it because maybe you're a nanny or, uh, you know, these sort of really limited ways to have a real understanding of what it is, what it's like to raise a child.
Um, but I, I, I would imagine that it's quite difficult to. Truly get the nuances and, and the happenings and, uh, and, and the last minute, whatever is to understand that. And I
Rick: think when you make a decision, you look at the good and bad generally. [00:34:00] And I find it interesting that with this particular decision, it leans so far in the good and not the bad.
And I'm not saying the bad is bad. I'm just saying it's part of that experience. And it seems odd to me that whether it's influenced from your friends and we'll get to that a little bit too. Or whether it's what you witness on the street or on TV and the media and whatever, that it always leans to like happiness.
Amazing. This is what you need to do, but no one ever sits you down and says, listen, before you make the decision as a parent, let me give you the real deal of what you're up going up against. And I, I just find that fascinating, you know,
Veronica: I mean, I wouldn't say it never happens. I mean, I've heard there's been people following us that are moms and that tell us like they're very vocal with their children about their choices and what this is and how hard it is to be a parent.
So if they do decide to do it, they better be very aware of what they're getting themselves into. And I feel that [00:35:00] there are parents out there trying. To just make sure of that. I mean, it's limited and I'm, but I'm just basing that on our own experience with the child free connection. I think that it's natural for anyone.
I mean, think about when we, you know, we get the dream job, right, that you've always wanted and then you get into that job and. It's a toxic nightmare inside because of the people, because of the hours, because of whatever. So, naturally when we move towards something, we tend to focus on the positives. But with parenting, if people are not sharing with us what those, I don't even know if I want to call them negatives, but what, um, because they might be negative.
for us and not parents, but like what the real deal is. If no one's giving you that information at all. Yeah, you're going to walk into it blindly and be really surprised. Yeah,
Rick: yeah, that's a whole other podcast. We'll cover that at some point. I want to get back to you. So I want to get into my favorite subject with you.
[00:36:00] Which is your past relationships, and I say that sarcastically. Is it your favorite subject? No, it's not. I'm joking. But we need to talk about it because I think, you know, I don't want to go through every relationship you've had, from high school to college and so on and so forth. But I think in general, why don't you walk me through what that experience was like?
Did you, was the mass majority of boyfriends did, and I know you were married and you should bring that up too. You know, did they want to have children? Did, was it not discussed? What was that experience like for you in your relationships? If you can sum it up a little bit, I, you know, we could talk
Yeah. I mean, it's interesting because people have said that I've been lucky and different aspects of my relationships, right? Um, number one is to answer your question. That the men that I have, even my ex husband and the men that I've dated, no one has really been interested in having Children. [00:37:00] Um, so they were actually really appreciative learning that I wasn't interested in having Children to I have.
I'm trying to think if I've ever dated someone that was, you know, really trying, like excited about being a dad. And I can't think of one at the moment, maybe high school. Maybe I'm not really sure, um, if they ended up having kids, but, but yeah, I never had that just like the same, like I never have been in a relationship where that traditional female male, uh, role is in.
is, uh, present inside the home. For example, I've never had to pick up after anyone or, uh, clean up after them or someone who can't really be independent and hold their own. Uh, I've never had to do that. And people are like, Oh, you're lucky you've never. been with like a slob or you've never this and that.
And I'm like, I mean, I don't know. I think a lot of it is in the people that I choose. Cause I [00:38:00] feel so strongly about it. Right? Like if someone's going to tell me I can't go do something because, you know, as a man, they're telling me not to do it. I mean, it's not going to fly. Right? Like it's. It's not really going to work at all.
Uh, so that pattern has been with me my whole life. So
Rick: sorry to interrupt, but do you think it was don't mess with me type of thing? And that's why a lot of men didn't bring up kids because it's like, if I want kids, I'm going to tell you because that's what it sounds like.
Veronica: No, I think I've been very kind and open hearted.
I'm open for discussion, obviously, but I, I've never even had to really have this discussion that much with my ex boyfriend. Uh, we were both leaning in that direction when we met and I, I think a lot of people ask like, well, you know, my husband or my partner says if I really wanted, they'll do it. And I think we mentioned it from your side a little bit and that didn't really make a lot of [00:39:00] sense to me because I.
I feel like, you know, let's say my ex husband was like, well, I want one, but, or, but if you don't really want one, that's fine with me. That would have been really strange and weird to me to accept that and not dive deeper into it because I don't want to not do something that someone else really wants.
And I don't want to prohibit that from that experience, but I also don't want to feel like this huge... Life altering decision is on me. So then if things for whatever reason aren't going well, I can get the finger pointed at me like, well, you wanted this so I'm out. 'cause you need to figure this out. Um, I felt like it was such a collaborative, obviously, as it should be decision.
Um, so yeah, no, I, I, I, maybe with my ex-husband, we talked about it a little bit, but I think it was just more. Um, checking in, like, are we still on the same [00:40:00] page? And I do remember at one point having a moment where I thought to myself, uh, I think I was just in therapy and I was reflecting a lot on my, how I grew up.
And this happens actually with so many people that we talk to as well, is that you fall into that. Well, I didn't. I didn't have it so great while I was growing up, so let me, this is, this will be my redo, right? Like maybe I'm actually Making the wrong decision. I should have children so that they can have the life that I never did and that philosophy is completely off, right?
I just had to like really think about it because it just like if you really want to clarify that and we can talk about it in another episode like that takes a lot of reflection and thinking like where is that coming from? And is that really what it is? And. My conclusion was that that wasn't actually what I wanted to do.
It was more about me and me having the [00:41:00] opportunity to have fun and do all the things I wanted to do when I was a kid. And that's why I kind of am a little kid now many times. Cause you know how much I love. Fun and activities and you know all that stuff. I would say
Rick: you're playing out the childhood that you didn't have that's a serious thing, you know And I'm happy you did that and it's you know unfortunately, there are some people that fall into that trap of you know, I'm gonna fix my childhood by having kids and Children
Veronica: Some people choose to do that and maybe could be healing for them.
Maybe they get joy. It's just a very individual thing. Like for me, after examining it, examining it, it just wasn't. It wasn't. Um, that's just not what I needed. That's a redo. Wasn't what I needed. I know it works
Rick: for some people, but I always question when you make a decision based off of something that you're trying to fix within yourself.
You know, you [00:42:00] should almost In my opinion, you need to make decisions based off of something that you want, you truly have thought about and you that you want that you will desire that's going to bring you happiness and joy and fulfillment in your life, so it's unfortunate. But yeah, sometimes it does work out to your point because
Veronica: maybe they think about and that will bring them fulfillment and joy and all this stuff.
At least I hope it does if people make that decision.
Rick: Okay, so we really missed the mark here on the choice part. So I know that, you know, you know. Kind of went into this thinking, you know, this is what I do, you know, this is what people do is they have children and then you had a slew of relationships and even got married and it was discussed, but you still didn't have it at that at that at any time in that.
Period. Did you know, like, make the decision and realize there was a choice here to be made that I'm not going to have children? And am I going to play that out in future relationships
Veronica: vocally? It took me a long time to [00:43:00] be... 100 percent in. Um, I think that it was, for me personally, it was a very long journey of figuring this all out inside me because there were so many things I needed to discover, right?
Like, first. Like, is it stemming from childhood trauma? Is this something that I really do want, but I'm blocking? Is this something that I don't want to do for other reasons? Um, but I need, you know, I needed to know myself enough. Like, well, this could be the case, but could I do it better? Like, there's just so much self examination.
And then at the There's so much coming at you from society, from your family, um, from friends, uh, unintentionally, usually. So, it, it, it just gets very confusing, right? Because you can't, you don't even have the... space to have that clarity sometimes, unless it's offered to you or [00:44:00] unless you create it yourself.
And without knowing how to do that, it can be really difficult. Like for example, I would go anywhere, like it would be random strangers. Like I would go get my hair cut and whoever was cutting my hair would be like, Oh, do you have kids? I would say no. And they're like, Oh my God, I can't wait to have kids are going to have all this hair and blah, blah, blah.
And that hair would come up. Like every time I got a new how my kids are going to have great hair. And even when I said, no, I don't have kids, like it was ignored. Like, well, when you do, right. And I probably wasn't setting the boundary there. Like I don't want kids. I'm happily child free. And at the time I probably didn't have the, um, vocabulary and I probably didn't have the courage to say that to people, but when all this messaging is coming at you in this.
pressure and this you should and whatever. I, I don't, I can't remember. Like, I wish I could say like there was this day and the sun came out and I was walking through the trail and I realized like motherhood wasn't for [00:45:00] me. Like I did not have that moment because it was such a long journey of me discovering.
So many different things about myself and about what I wanted for my future and about who I was as a person and how this all came together.
Rick: So it was more of like a slow progression into this decision. It wasn't like a snap moment
Veronica: of just. Yeah. And then also because I described this to the women in my program too, like it's like you, what it feels like is that you are.
Um, feeling confident about your choice, perhaps, or somewhat confident, and you're climbing up this mountain like towards the child free, you know, the child free flag is on top of the mountain and you climb up and then all of a sudden something happens. Maybe it's, um, you know, you see a movie about how a couple isn't doing, you know, the things that they're going to break up or whatever is happening, but then the child comes along and saves the day, right?
Or then You see [00:46:00] a snapshot moment where you see a mom and she's feeding her baby and there's so much love and there's so, so that sort of sets you off. You see all these things happening around you. You see your friends having kids and you're not invited to friend stuff anymore. So that makes you tumble down the mountain over and over and over again.
So then you're not feeling confident about your choice. Then you're back to square one. Is this really what I. Want to do with my life. And then finally you work it all out in your head and you think you have the answer and you're like, no, I'm going to stick with it. I'm going to be child free and up the mountain you go.
And then something else happens and you roll down and then you have to dust yourself off. And it's this very exhausting, draining. Miserable process that's for the most part happening and happening all inside your head. Um, so yeah, no, I didn't have that [00:47:00] magical moment. It was just a bunch of things that came together for me.
Rick: well, I can say that I've learned a lot from you and, and I think the child free community needs you because, you know, this, you have, uh, you've been, you were lucky to at a very young age to understand that you wanted something different than that. You just didn't fall in line with everyone else. Um, you wanted something different.
And you've really spent your entire life processing and coming to this moment, what you offer, I want to talk a little bit about that because, um, you have a program called is child free for me, based off of all these experiences from a very young age till now, and that progression in those. slips and slides as you kind of go through when you are coming to a decision, whether that's to have a child or not, um, talk a little bit about the program and talk about the program.
What is it exactly? What are you trying to achieve? What's the intention and the overall result that people are getting? I, you
Veronica: know, when we started [00:48:00] to help for connection, like having a problem with this wasn't even on my mind at all. Uh, I, it wasn't something I was striving for. It wasn't something that, um, I couldn't wait to do.
It just happened so organically because I was, um, you know, I think I mentioned it in the first episode that I was under the impression that things were not. The same as when I was in my 20s and 30s, and that things must have completely changed. But the more that people reached out and the more that people wanted to talk to me, I understood that this going up the mountain and rolling down and going up and rolling down and this like very, Self sabotaging and hurtful and painful and, and, uh, just this entire journey was still being experienced by so many women.
And the reason I say women is because it is a very different experience [00:49:00] for women. And you know, we've talked to so many child free men and they, For the most part, in some other countries, we've seen it more where the pressures there are coming from the parents because of this, um, this view of tradition.
But it echoes and
Rick: rhymes, but it's not
Veronica: exactly, but this feeling that I had of just turmoil and confusion and doubt and like, not being able to trust yourself enough to make a decision because of everything that's going on around you. Um, Is, is still so common. So I just thought to myself like, okay, what can I do?
How can I help these women? Because it just broke my heart because I knew exactly how they were feeling. And is there anything I can do actually was probably the first question when I decided You know, I think there is, um, I just started thinking about, is child free for me? Like, what can I take out of my personal experience?
What can I take out of all my [00:50:00] research, all my knowledge in this subject? Um, you know, I've read every book under the sun. I've, uh, talked to hundreds and hundreds of child free women around the world. And what can I do to help these women? And that's just what motivated me. And you know, when I started.
Building it like I just went in. I was like, yeah, you
Rick: literally could have had a bookshelf of all the books that were coming from Amazon. I kept on going on another child free book and you're like, you don't understand. I'm learning so much about this. It was like hundreds of they're still piled up everywhere.
I look, you know, it's just it's just something
Veronica: that. Yeah, but it wasn't even just child free books, like learning about, um, you know, history, uh, learning about. Um, just, uh, women, um, and you know, when the, when, um, just throughout time, like all these pivotal moments that really made, shifted [00:51:00] women into something else that they are not because of X, Y, Z.
X, Y, Z, X, Y, Z reason it was just so fascinating to me because I'm so passionate about history. I'm so passionate about psychology, psychiatry, um, and all these things that I'm interested in just started coming together in my head and I was able to magically somehow. Start putting it all together in a way that is very digestible, in a way that's very reflective, in a way that's safe, that's nonjudgmental.
And, um, you know, I put it out there hoping for the best and being sort of shy about letting people know that I had a program because I didn't really want it to feel like anything, but like, here is my heart. And I'm going to cry.
So yeah, I just really wanted to help. I just really want to help. You're going to make me cry now. Sorry. [00:52:00] So yeah, so that's what I did it. I just didn't want anyone to feel the way I was
Rick: feeling. Yeah. Well, you, well, you are helping and, and you should be very proud of it. Now I'm going to, I'm going to start crying.
Oh my gosh, what's going on? Okay. You know, I've, I've heard here and there from some of your members. I know it's confidential and it's, it's, it's the women, it's for women only. But I have heard some things and some women have shared for me that are in the program and, um, you know, you've changed. You're changing lives, which is unbelievable.
And it's just remarkable to see those transformations happen. It really is.
Veronica: Yeah, and I just got emotional, but I'm like, really happy about it. Like, I'm really happy that I decided to shake off any sort of. Um, things that were holding me back from really sharing my story and speaking my truth. And, um, I just feel like unstoppable at this point.
And I just want to talk more about it. I have so much to [00:53:00] say. Um, and yeah, so. Yeah, I'm
Rick: really excited. I came in, I was bringing the groceries, and you were talking to one of your members, and she was saying something really interesting to me, and I wanted to really get your take on this. She said, you know, I wasn't a program before this, and it was run by someone who was a psychologist, and there wasn't a heart to it.
It felt very analytical and... Basically kind of right out of a book type of education and that type of thing. And she just came away from it a little unsatisfied and she found the experience going through your program and your calls with the members and so on and so on and so forth, just very different.
And maybe you could talk a little bit about the difference between that type of approach and the way you approach it. Cause I really see the heart in your program and, and your honest and true, genuine feelings. Towards these women and, and, and being able to empathize with them and relate to them and, and want to build them and, and nurture them back to that word that you [00:54:00] have in you, you know, maybe you could talk a little bit about that difference.
Veronica: I think that I mean, and also just to give credit to my members of the program, because they are the nucleus of this whole thing. I think just what's different is well, hey, I don't like to I love learning, but I don't like to be bored when I'm learning. So I need to be stimulated in some sort of way.
That's outside of like, let's talk about this topic and be very serious about it. So there is a light heartedness. that I like when I'm teaching something, when I'm showing something, um, and I think they really appreciate the way that the program is set up, that it's really fun and, um, and the way that I build it is not like you're taking a course that you're dreading logging into.
Right? Um, so I think that part is really fun. And I think the part that they love the best is just being able to talk to other women who are in their shoes. And that's really. Yeah. [00:55:00] That's just really, really special to be able to have a group of women who completely understand you who are going through the same thing and they're able to just connect so well and also support each other, um, which has been amazing to watch.
But I mean, I'm just excited that I can work on something and use all my skills. My we didn't get into my career, but that has been really expansive. I have a lot of experience. Um, In both corporate, small agencies, I've had my own business, uh, so, so all of the things that I have learned throughout my life just gets poured into the Child Free Connection and I love being able to and having the gift of combining my skill and my passion.
Rick: That's a perfect way to end it. Yeah. I have to say. Well, again, the community, uh, is so happy to have you. I know that for a [00:56:00] fact, because we hear it all the time. And, um, I'm lucky to have you as well, I have to say. I'm very, very lucky. Aww, thanks, babe. Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you so much. I wanted, I have to ask because, you know, I'm insecure.
How did I do that was my, that was my interview. I worked really hard to prepare for it. I wanted to surprise you because sometimes I come up a little short with the questions
Veronica: and I trusted you. You thought I didn't trust you and I was going to want to see the questions and examine them, but I really did.
I didn't, I didn't let her go in the way we did. You did an excellent job and I'm happy. to be doing this with you now, this is for us and scary and all the things, but we're doing it.
Rick: He spent the first few podcasts really talking about us. And the reason why is because we hope that a lot of this is relatable and moving forward, we plan to getting into topics.
Some of the things we didn't cover, um, we both have a lot of personal. things that we went through, and we'll cover that sporadically, but, you know, we're looking forward to [00:57:00] future podcasts talking about, like I said, different topics of this life and the community and connecting people. Most importantly, it's a whole different
Veronica: conversation, and I think it's really important for people to know who we are, where we came from, like how we ended up in this, uh, really happy for.
Child free life that we enjoy together. So I think it's really important for them to know that. Absolutely.
Rick: Well, thank you so much for sharing and we'll see y'all next time. Bye.