A collection of articles about the childfree choice
Of course it's "OK" for women to be childfree
The Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts couples without children to be the fastest growing household type, overtaking households with children by 2031. The proportion of women between 40 and 44 who were childfree in the 1970s was 10 per cent – that figure had doubled by 2005.
And while the statistics show women deviating from the old narrative of find a man, get married, have a baby, McGrath says the cultural attitudes toward women who don’t follow the old patriarchal goals are still lagging.
“I hear over and over and over the same old stereotypes and have experienced all of these myself too.”
New federally funded clinics emphasize abstinence, natural family planning
Despite not offering forms of hormonal birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Obria’s health-care providers would take part in birth control “discussions” and “emphasize the value of abstinence,” according to Obria’s Title X application to HHS.
“Contraceptive education and counseling, especially for adolescents, will emphasize that avoiding sex is the only 100-percent effective method to prevent pregnancy and STDs,” the company wrote.
Rita Levi-Montalcini: A 103-Year Legacy
“But how will you leave a legacy if you don’t have children?” This is a question many childfree people hear time and time again. The truth is, there are many ways to leave a legacy that have nothing to do with having children.
Rita once said, "My experience in childhood and adolescence of the subordinate role played by the female in a society run entirely by men had convinced me that I was not cut out to be a wife.
Babies did not attract me, and I was altogether without the maternal sense so highly developed in small and adolescent girls."
I don't want children and I don't owe you an explanation
“We push toy prams around before we’ve even uttered out first words. We play mummies and daddies in the playground before we’re taught how babies are actually made. The significance of 13-year-old me being asked my favourite baby names doesn’t escape me. Then when we do become adults, our parents pine for the grandchildren we’ll ‘give’ them one day. If anything, it’s quite a miracle I’ve managed to emerge from it all with such a strong anti-birthing mindset. It’s been far from easy.”
Childfree men on 'leaving behind a legacy' and other pressures
Great to see the perspective of childfree men as well!
"I enjoy my freedom and actually relish in it. I have a wonderful life and an amazing, beautiful and fiercely intelligent wife. This, for me, is a life of plenty.”
“I don't care about passing on my genes and continuing the family lineage … and personally find that whole ideal one filled with arrogance and hubris.”
Notes from a childfree TV and film lover
Twenty percent of women won’t be having kids. That’s roughly 33 million women! That’s a huge audience that don’t see themselves represented anywhere in TV and film.
“If you don’t see us, do we not exist? Where have all the childfree heroes gone?”
To Kid or Not To Kid. The movie director Maxine Trump looks for positive depictions of women who chose not to have children, and struggles to find any.
The fact that I don't want children doesn't have much to do with kids at all
As a childfree woman I am often regarded as an abnormality of sorts. Though the trend of smaller families, or no children at all, is growing- women who don’t aspire to motherhood are still often looked down on. I’ve analyzed the reasons for this and I think most people just assume I (and other women like me) hate children. The truth is, not wanting kids doesn’t actually have much to do with kids at all. And I think a lot of childfree women feel the same.
I know it’s easy to paint a picture of the kid-hating, childfree woman. I mean if you don’t want kids you must hate them- right? Wrong. When I think about having children I think beyond the child stage. For me the question is “do I actually think I should bring another human being into this world?”
When I get old: Living the childfree life
“But who will take care of you when you’re old?”
Anyone who announces their intention not to have children has inevitably been asked this question. Here is my response:
Who will take care of me when I’m old you ask?
Well, if I’m so incapacitated that I can’t do it myself then it will probably be the nursing staff at a nursing home that I’ve saved money to pay for.
The same nurses will probably take care of you when your children decide you’re too much of a burden for them to take on.
Please, stop trying to include women without children in Mother’s Day
Sending Mother’s Day messages to someone without kids is not appropriate — people without kids are not parents. People haven’t sent me messages on Boss’s Day, or Secretary Day, or Father’s Day, or any other role-specific holiday that doesn’t apply to me. Only on Mother’s Day.
I have polled men without children if they are similarly pinged with messages on Father’s Day, and they are not. So why is this happening?
This is happening because we have conflated the identity and worth of women with motherhood.
Is childfree the new conscientious choice?
Since I was a small child, I’ve had no interest in playing caregiver to an infant. And since learning where they came out, I’ve had zero desire to create one from my body. Even as a kid, it seemed so strange and unnatural that anyone would want go through that, let alone spend all their play time pretending about it.
"As someone who has spent most of my life at or below the poverty level, this behavior makes no sense. I haven’t added another life to this unstable, unpredictable, and at times unsafe existence of mine."
To the people who keep asking me why I don't have kids
This was written by a writer who decided not to have children when she was diagnosed with lupus.
"This is a very personal story about my body. I’m sharing it because there seem to be a ton of people out there who enjoy asking women why they don’t have kids. There are also people out there who tell us women that they know better than we do, that we will absolutely change our minds after we assure them we don’t want to be mothers. I’m hoping that by sharing my story some of those people will read it and realize how detrimental (awful) those questions can be."
Being a Black woman who doesn't want kids means twice the judgement
"I dream of a day when society will not automatically force me to defend my autonomy as a Black woman. I dream of a day my existence is no longer viewed through a lens of duty. I dream of a day people won’t ask belittling questions and make dismissive statements about the decisions I make for myself.
My identity as a Black woman has secured for me a two-fold bond of oppression: sexism and racism. While white women who don't have children also face criticism and ridicule for forgoing motherhood, Black women and other women of color experience a special kind of oppression when it comes to this decision."
"It's a pretty nasty world" Why more Indians choose not to have kids
“The planet is in crisis, be it climate change, crime and violence, pollution levels,” she said. “I think I would be totally irresponsible to bring a child into this world. Not only would he/she have a questionable future, but they’d put more pressure on a planet that’s gasping for breath".
I can’t be your grandbabymama
"Oh, it’s just one little baby, you think. Babies are easy.
Because you can’t fathom someone not wanting children, you keep the pressure on Sam and Loverdoll to produce one for you. Only, It’s not really pressure, you convince yourself, because Of course deep down they want children. You’re just hurrying them along, speeding things up, reminding them how silly and young they are for thinking they don’t want a child. Who doesn’t want a child?"
5 ways not having kids in your 30s is different from not having kids in your 20s
“For a while, it was easy to be childfree. My peers were also young, single, career-focused, and not worried about meeting The One, let alone procreating with The One.
Then I turned 30. Now that my friends are partnering off and starting to have kids, the way that I configure my childfree identity has changed.”
Not having kids is nothing new. What centuries of history tells us about childlessness today.
“We might think that we’re living in a unique situation with little to guide us. Instead, the long history of childlessness can help us to debunk myths, tell our stories and expand the range of our possibilities. It’s time to draw on the vast human experience with childlessness".
Stop expecting women to be mothers.
“As more women choose to stay childfree, it may help to shift the thoughts of society. Women don’t exist solely to be mothers — those who choose to remain childfree have value beyond their ability to give birth. Society needs women who don’t have kids, because all women have a role to play in the world — not just as mothers, but as people.”
Satire: Nation baffled by childless woman who doesn't even have high-powered career
“Unsure what to make of the mid-level salesperson who is both unmarried and not pregnant, Americans were reportedly baffled Monday by Andrea McGovern, a childless 32-year-old woman who doesn’t even have a high-powered career.”
What women need to know about getting their tubes tied
A good, informative article about tubal litigation in Canada. Also how refreshing is it to see reproductive options discussed and the term ‘child-free’ mentioned in a major news publication?
“The report noted that Canadian guidelines suggest any woman who understands how permanent the option can be is eligible for the procedure.
“Often, these women have other role models in their life who are also child-free,” Dr. Dustin Costescu, a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., told the paper.”
Gatekeepers of the void: On award-winning docs 'Honeyland' and '143 Sahara Street'
“Existing at the edge of the world is not so different from existing in the center of it. Those vantages (and their remove from modern mandates) might as well be parallel, as two of the best documentaries of 2019 can attest. Hatidze, an aging woman, childless and unmarried, subsists as a wild-bee keeper, following ancient methods from the remote valleys of Macedonia, in a village largely abandoned for generations. Malika, another aging woman, childless and unmarried, subsists in a Spartan stone hut just off a vacant stretch of the Trans-Sahara Highway in Algeria, selling tea, scrambled eggs, and cigarettes to the infrequent passersby. They are seemingly unmoored from the political and socioeconomic systems that dictate the world just beyond their purview.”
They say: A poem about being a childfree woman
“They say a woman is not truly a woman until she becomes a mother.
As if there is a level to be reached
Like being alive isn't enough
My womanhood challenged by the decision not to have children
Quick to judge
No interest in my background
No knowledge of how I got here
How the decision was made
They look at me with pity
"You will never feel real love, “The kind of love that only a mother can feel”
They have made me question myself
Turn my woman parts
Useless, selfish, unholy
My contribution to the world null & void
I'm never having children - Why does that make you so upset?
I don’t remember when I first realized that I didn’t want to have kids. But I do remember the first time I articulated that sentiment to my mother. I was 18 and we were in a grocery store parking lot. How we got on the topic I don’t know anymore; could have been the baby-food aisle or a toddler in the checkout lane. But I vividly remember the emotions I perceived coming off my mom in waves: surprise with an undercurrent of sadness and an overtone of what did I do as a parent to make you feel this way?
Read the full article on Refinery 29: I'm never having children, why does that make you so upset?
I’m childfree, and I don’t mind sitting next to your baby on a plane
Parents of the world: I see your struggle.
Being childfree by choice I don’t know, but I can empathise, with how difficult it must be trying to rock a baby to sleep in a giant tin can 30,000 feet above the surface of the earth.
I mean, I can’t sleep on planes anymore, so god knows how your baby manages it.
So, here is my pledge to you: sit next to me. In front of me. Behind me. And I will not tut, or sigh. I will not beg the stewardess to move me. I will not give you dirty looks. And I will certainly not demand to be bribed with little bags of sweets in exchange for acting like a god damn empathetic human being.
Read the full article on Last Year’s Girl: I’m childfree, and I don’t mind sitting next to your baby on a plane
How Do I Tell My Mom I’m Not Having Kids?
I also do not want children, biological or adopted, for many reasons (financial instability, fear of perpetuating the cycle of abuse, and just plain not wanting kids). Up to this point, I’ve just stayed quiet every time my mom has brought up “when you have kids” or “when I’m a grandma.” The statements aren’t pressuring me to have kids anytime soon. I’m in my early 20s, I’m still working on my education and establishing my career, and my mom supports me focusing on that. (She didn’t get married till she was 30 and had a stable job in her field.)
Read the full article on Slate: How do I tell my mom I’m not having kids?
Woman’s fiancé asks her to go to therapy for not wanting kids
Having children is a huge decision for anyone to make. This we know. Bringing a human into the world is quite the responsibility, and honestly it's not for everyone. In the past, it has been generally understood that the natural progression of life is: go to college, get a job, find love, get married, have kids, eat hamburger helper together as one happy family. But now more than ever, some people are opting out of childbearing. Wanting kids is still the norm, but people are finally feeling validated in their desire to live a child free life. And that's fantastic. However, it is important for these people to be in agreement with their partners on this issue, if they are in fact in a partnership.
Read the full article: Woman's fiancé asks her to go to therapy for not wanting kids
Why we need to stop making women over 30 feel pressured to have children
If ever there was proof that gender inequality is still alive and well it's the pressure on women in their 30s to have children.
It’s an issue explored by Channel 4 drama, I Am Hannah, starring Gemma Chan. Hannah seems to have a nice life – a good job, meaningful friendships and a nice flat. The 'problem' is she’s 36 and single. In depressingly relatable scenes, she tries online dating to meet three unworthy men who leave her feeling more dispirited. One man asks why she’s wasting his time when she tells him that she’s not sure if she wants children... Her friends talk about their babies constantly without paying much attention to how downtrodden she’s becoming, or how engaged she is in the conversation. Her mother tells her she’s worried that, unless Hannah hurries up, she’ll miss out on building a meaningful child-filled life, prompting her to agree to having her eggs frozen. She refuses to accept that her daughter could be happy in her current childless state.
Read the full article in Harper’s Bazaar: Why we need to stop making women over 30 feel pressured to have children
No, You Don't Always Love Kids Once They're Yours
Something happens when you get married. It isn’t just a change between you and your partner, or even a change within yourself, but a total transformation in how others see you. People start treating you like an adult when, the day before your wedding, even if you’ve lived in domestic bliss for years, you were still a child to them. Very Serious Topics start coming up with greater frequency. “Are you thinking of settling down in the area?” “Any plans to buy a house?” But one remark dwarfs all the others in both frequency and impact. Very often, when a stranger or acquaintance finds out that I’m married, they ask the question that I most dread: “So, when are you two going to have kids?” A question bound up in assumptions.
Read the full article in Refinery 29: No, You Don’t Always Love Kids Once They’re Yours
I’m 36, single and here’s the thing: I don’t want kids
I do not want children. To say this here feels a bit raw and revelatory. Every time someone contacts me and expresses gratitude for my point of view, part of me is elated, motivated, and pleasantly shocked. The other half of me feels like a liar. I like to think I’m just another single girl, but the truth is I I believe I have it easier than single women who want children. I want a partner, I don’t need one. And if you want to have kids, there is of course a part of you that wants a partner, but there is also some component of need, and certainly some component of urgency.
I let go of any urgent feelings surrounding my singleness when I admitted to myself that I don’t want children. My partnership desires are now motivated by one concept only: I think it’d be nice. Not, I want to have a baby and biologically there’s only so long my body can physically accomplish that task. Isn’t being a woman just — pun intended — the tits? We have to concern ourselves with unequal pay, sexual harassment, and longingly looking at the desk chair in the oval office like it’s a brass ring, and our own bodies pressure us more than any nagging relative ever could. Oh, and we should smile more, right?
Read the full article in Refinery 29: I’m 36, single and here’s the thing: I don’t want kids
5 New York Women on Why They Don’t Want Children
How would you describe a woman who has decided that she never wants children? Selfish? Just going through a phase? Bound to feel alone as she grows older? Our culture has a lot of labels for childless females. One word you don't often hear in reference to a woman and her personal choice not to procreate? Empowered. But, that's exactly what these five New Yorkers are.
Now more than ever, a woman's choice to maintain a happy, stable life without adding a family to the equation has been a hot topic of conversation. (The New York Post recently reported that the city's birthrate is the lowest its been since 1936.) Although we're living in one of the most socially progressive generations to date, that doesn't mean a woman's choice to live child-free is always an easy or accepted one.
Read the full article in Refinery 29: 5 New York Women on Why They Don’t Want Children
Not having them at all: Why childfree women are banding together
If Shakespeare were a woman his most famous line from Hamlet would have been written, “To be a mother, or not to be a mother: that is the question.”
Indeed, when it comes to online feminist discussions about motherhood, seismic rifts have arisen between mothers and those who Karen Malone Wright, founder of TheNotMom.com, calls “NotMoms.” Inspired by passionate conversations on her website, Wright has created an offline outlet for childless (women who either cannot or do not have children but want to) and childfree women (women who do not want children) in the form of the NotMom Summit.
Read the full article on Quartz: Not having them at all, why childfree women are banding together