Childfree By Choice – Reasons Why Women Are Opting Out Of Motherhood

childfree by choice

It is not easy being a single woman, especially when you’re nearing your mid-30s and still show no signs of ‘settling down’ as they call it. But women who choose to not have children or are childfree by choice despite being married are the ones who take the real brunt of society’s remarks and judgments.

As a single woman, there is a quote that resonates with me: “Just because you have a womb doesn’t mean you need to bear a child, only as much as a person with vocal cords needs to be a singer.” Society has certain boxes for women and if you don’t happen to tick any of them, you invite a lot of wrath.

Nowadays, women, being more career-oriented, are delaying motherhood or simply opting for voluntary childlessness. And boy, society ensures they hear no end of it. I, for one, don’t want to have children and experience the ‘magic’ of motherhood. How much am I going to be judged for my decision? Well, the answer is – A lot.

6 Responses To Women Who Don’t Want Children

Motherhood is not womanhood. It is merely one aspect of it, and being judgmental of women who don’t want kids or say no to motherhood is no one’s right. Like every other lifestyle choice, the decision to be childfree should be respected. Why is it that men don’t have to go through the same intensity of pressure over embracing fatherhood? Isn’t parenting a two-person job?

Is it normal to live a childfree life? Yes, absolutely! Women are used to societal expectations but don’t let these expectations become a duty for you to fulfill. I am not ready to be a mom and I constantly have to explain to everyone why I don’t want to have kids despite being 30. I have my reasons, but they’re never enough.

Why is it difficult for society to accept women who don’t have children or couples who want to lead a childfree lifestyle? Well, because people don’t want to understand what it’s like for married couples to not have kids. They refuse to accept that childfree couples or a woman deciding not to have kids can be happy. These are some of the reactions I get when I say I don’t want to have children:

1. Who will look after you in old age?

Well, it is too far off to think about it now, honestly. But some kids turn out to be total jerks and abandon their old parents when they need them the most. We read plenty of stories of how senior citizens have been abandoned by their children on the streets or outside hospitals or left at old-age homes. So no, this is not a reason to have children. Besides, a child is not an insurance policy that you can encash in your old age to live off comfortably.

Related Reading: Had To Sport A Fake Pregnancy Bump, Thanks To Our Society

2. You become a woman only once you embrace motherhood

Get real. Like I said before, motherhood is merely one aspect of womanhood and does not validate your existence as a woman. You don’t need a child to feel complete as a woman. A woman is complete on her own. She has her own identity. This statement is disparaging to a lot of trans-gendered women or women battling fertility disorders. Being a mother has got nothing to do with giving birth. You can be childfree by choice and still feel complete as a woman.

3. Don’t you want to continue the family name?

This is one of the most common reactions I get for choosing not to have children. When I tell people the reasons why I don’t want kids, they get appalled and try to ‘educate’ me about my responsibilities to carry forward the family name. Why exactly should I do that? So what if my family tree ends after me?

Surely that won’t cause an apocalypse. I would rather donate all my belongings to a charity, where they will be put to better use. This practice has corrupted the very essence of being a mother. You don’t need to give others reasons to be a childfree couple, just do what’s best for you as an individual as well as a couple.

4. You will feel lonely seeing all your friends with kids

No, thanks! I chose a different career than most of my friends and I am happy getting paid peanuts for it. My passion comes first and, in no way, causes me to envy those with better jobs than mine. If anything, my friends should respect my decision to not have kids or put my career on hold to have a child. Besides, not every woman’s goal in life is to be a mother. They can have different priorities. Motherhood, anyway, comes with too many responsibilities and I’m very happy living a life without kids.

5. You were a kid once, too

Well, I certainly was a kid once, but that was not my choice. My parents chose to give birth to me because they wanted a child. I have the right to make my own decisions and I choose not to have children. I want to continue being a child and have fun when I want to without getting weighed down by the responsibilities that come with being a mom. Personally, I think I’d make a terrible mom and I’m okay with that! Plus, I have the right to decide for myself.

Related Reading: My Wife Does Not Want Children, But I Do

6. It’s a different feeling you get when you hold a child

I feel extremely happy to the point of being delirious whenever I hold a small puppy or a kitten in my hands. So, no, I don’t regret not birthing a child and damaging my private parts or going through the intense physical pain of giving birth just to hold a newborn and experience ‘the feeling’. What if I have a child but am unable to cater to their needs and overall well-being? Is it not unfair to them? Why doesn’t anyone think about that?

I was in a serious relationship for five years. But, I had made it clear to the guy that I don’t want to have kids. Maybe, that is why he was bitter toward me for a long time. But I didn’t want to stand in the way of him having a family, so we both moved on.

We had some good times and bad times, but my not wanting to bear a child was the clincher for him. He mocked me often that I refused to grow up and take responsibility. In retrospect, I think he may have been right, but the word ‘permanent’ scares me. That’s why I don’t even want tattoos, leave alone a baby. I’m very happy being childfree by choice.

Reasons Why Women Are Going Childfree

Comebacks for kids

An increasing number of women and couples are deciding not to have kids or remain childless by choice. A 2021 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that 44% (a 7% increase since 2018) of adults between 18-49 years of age don’t expect to embrace parenthood at all, citing reasons ranging from remaining childfree by choice to financial reasons and environment and climate change concerns.

A whopping 74% of adults under the age of 50, who are already parents, said that they have no plans to have more children in the future. The birth rate in the United States has been on the decline for years, even before the pandemic wreaked havoc across the world. Plus, decades of surveys and research have shown that childfree couples tend to be happier than those who have children.

Another study conducted by the Institute for Family Studies in 2018 concluded that married women with children were less happy than their childfree counterparts. They took into consideration 40 years of data on the relationship between happiness and parenthood in the United States. Besides, there’s no denying the fact that there are environmental benefits of not having children, as stated in another study published in Environmental Research Letters.

There can be several reasons why women opt for a childfree life. Not every woman has maternal instincts. Motherhood is not the sole purpose of a woman’s life. She can have different priorities or a different set of goals in life and she should be respected for making those choices. We list a few reasons why an increasing number of women are choosing not to have children:

  • They just don’t want to be parents
  • They don’t want the responsibility that comes with having a child
  • They are more committed to their careers
  • Medical and financial concerns
  • Environmental and climate change concerns
  • They are more focused on their education

No matter what the reason behind opting for a childfree lifestyle may be, a woman should never be judged for deciding not to have kids. People refuse to understand that a woman is not being selfish if she chooses voluntary childlessness. Motherhood or parenthood is not a walk in the park. For some women, raising children is not the most fulfilling experience of their lives.

Related Reading: What We Need To Learn About Relationships From The Women Of Game Of Thrones!

And, of course, there is always this question thrown at women who choose to live a life without kids: “Don’t you regret your decision to not have kids?” Remember that scene from Season 4 of House of Cards where a house guest asks Claire Underwood, “Do you regret not having children?” and she responds with a counter-question, “Do you ever regret having them?” It is such an important and rare moment that shows how women, who are childfree by choice, are perceived as selfish and morally corrupt kid-haters.

I had my life figured out. At 15, I knew I wanted to be an entertainment and lifestyle writer and the second thing I knew was that I never wanted to be a mother. I am 29, and I have made an informed choice about getting married only to a guy I connect on a deeper level with and someone who knows how to respect a woman and understands that women can choose to not want kids and focus on their career or other life goals instead.

It is fine with me if someone else chooses motherhood because I like to respect the choices women make for themselves. I expect the same from people around me as well, but alas, no one knows when we will get to see that day.

FAQs

1. Is it normal to not want a child?

Absolutely! If you’re not ready to be a mother, it’s actually better to embrace that fact rather than being a bad parent. Having a child and then not being able to take care of their needs is unfair to the child. Why should they suffer for no fault of theirs? Being childfree is any day better than being an unavailable parent.

2. Why do people get offended when you say you don’t want kids?

They think having a child is detrimental to society. They believe that the sole purpose of a woman is motherhood and that all their other goals are irrelevant. Society just doesn’t want to accept or believe the fact that women, who choose not to have children, can be happy and satisfied with their lives.

3. How do you respond when someone asks why you don’t have kids?

Just be honest. Tell them the idea of motherhood doesn’t appeal to you, that you’re focusing on other projects that will better you as a person, and that your priorities in life are different. 

4. Are millennials choosing not to have kids?

Yes. At least that’s what several surveys and research suggest. An increasing number of couples across the world are choosing not to have kids. There are also studies that have claimed that couples with children are less happy than their childfree counterparts. Having a child is a personal decision and one that should be respected.

5. What is involuntary childlessness?

Involuntary childlessness is a condition that causes a sense of loss and bereavement for not being able to conceive a child for several reasons including infertility, declining mental health, medical reasons, wanting children after having crossed childbearing years, and financial insecurity, to name a few. If a woman has miscarried or can never have the chance to try for a baby, it can cause severe mental distress and grief.

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