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Misconceptions About Childfree Women

Childfree women are bored and unfilled with their lives.

With almost eight hours more per day of time than their parenting peers, one might imagine that a childfree woman might have trouble finding ways to pass the time. Most childfree women fill their schedules with social activities, volunteering, developing their careers, and enjoying hobbies such as cooking, art, and reading.

Plus, not having children means there’s a lot more money in the savings account, and more cash equals more opportunity for travel and leisure activities that a parent may not be able to afford. And since many mothers claim that being a parent is the most fulfilling role of their life, childfree women are unfulfilled, right? In interviews conducted with dozens of childfree by choice women over the past couple of years, I did not come across a single one who was not filling her life with rich and fulfilling activities. They all claimed that their lives were complete without kids.

Childfree women secretly yearn for a baby.

Jennifer Anniston was recently photographed holding a teddy bear, and the press immediately jumped on this image, saying that she secretly wished she were holding a baby. Most humans enjoy snuggling and cuddling, and childfree women are no exception, but one doesn’t have to snuggle with a baby to meet this healthy need.

Examining this from the parent’s perspective, ask any mother if she’s ever had days when she envied a friend who is childfree, and if she’s honest, she’ll say yes. That being said, it’s normal and common for women without children to occasionally have the thought that it would be nice to have a child.  This idea might come up on a family focused holiday, especially Mother’s Day or Christmas, but the feeling of wanting to be in that parenting role tends to fade quickly for most childfree women.

Childfree women don’t have children because they aren’t able to do so, and they are in a perpetual state of grief as a result.

I met a ninety year old woman who told me that she never got over the grief she felt about not being able to have a child. Fortunately, her story is not what you’ll hear from the majority of women without children. Our cultural norm is still to reach adulthood and at some point reproduce, so it’s natural that many people would jump to the conclusion that if a woman is childfree, it must be because she’s barren or unable to find an appropriate partner. After jumping to this conclusion, many people feel pity for the childfree woman.

Childfree women continue to be a misunderstood group in our society, but we are speaking out more boldly in protest of the misconceptions about us. For me personally, I hope that the next time a stranger asks me if I have children, I’ll be ready to share that I’m childfree by choice. Perhaps my sharing will help shatter some of the notions she has about women who aren’t mothers and open a dialogue that will increase understanding and respect for each of our life choices.

Dr. Walker is a licensed clinical psychologist born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Recognizing that there is no one type of childfree adult, Walker guides clients through the positive and negative aspects of childfree living, taking into consideration the different issues faced by men or women, couples or singles, whether gay or straight.  She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Seattle Pacific University and has a clinical practice in Bellingham, Washington.  She and her psychologist husband, Chris, enjoy an adventure-filled life with their two terriers, Bella and Scuppers.

Get to know more about Dr. Walker on her website Complete Without Kids.  Her book, Complete Without Kids; An Insider’s Guide To Childfree Living is available on Amazon.com.

Related:
Pressured to Have Children?

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157 comments

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2:53AM PDT on Aug 26, 2011

Thanks for the article.

10:44AM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

Thank you for writing this.

10:32AM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

I really loved reading this opinion piece, it's just kinda sad folks have to write them. It should be we accept other people's choices without judgment. My choice to not have kids in not illegal nor does it affect anyone else. Therefore, why does anyone give it a second thought?

People can't tell by looking at me my health issues nor my family background. I don't need to put someone else with my genetic code on the planet. Not to mention, I don't have a desire to be a parent. I feel like I am making a great moral choice to make sure I don't get pregnant.

5:43AM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

Great article, thank you very much for writing it.

6:06PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

While I agree with many points in this article, the claim that "ask any mother if she’s ever had days when she envied a friend who is childfree, and if she’s honest, she’ll say yes" is FALSE. I have 3 children. I enjoy time away from them, but I have never, not even for ONE SECOND, envied any one of my many childfree freinds. Honest.

5:07PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

"Reproduction has been described as a fundamental human need." Yes, it has been described so to rationalize (or even 'sanctify') human sex drive. The reasons listed as 'fundamental needs' are in no way fundamental (prosperity is a man-made idea which didn't exist before agricultural era).

Our fundamental needs are the ones that evolution wired into our basic psychology, long before people realized that sexual act and childbirth are somehow connected. On a conscious level, people were breeding for thousands of years just because they had sex, not other way round. Some fundamental needs include giving and receiving love, a need to be accepted and recognized in a group, need for physical (food and shelter) and emotional security, a need to learn and enjoy the world, need to relate to something/someone greater than ourselves... All these can be (and are better) met without kids. Kids have been factored into human existence as an unavoidable fact - only recently humans dared to question its necessity.

4:10PM PDT on Aug 16, 2011

Let's not forget that there are plenty of kids in this country and around the world who have insufficient or no adult nurturing. Childfree adults can be mentors, tutors, coaches, foster parents, and hospital volunteers. There are many babies in hospitals whose parents are unavailable due to a variety of problems from disease to addiction to poverty, and volunteers are needed to simply come and hold them and give them human affection. Sick children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds need adult role models, who could become a defining influence in their lives. People who don't have children of their own are in the best positions regarding time and energy to help children most in need.

6:09AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Great post!I only had a different perception at one point:since i have no kids and currently no commited relationship,women around me(those who don't know me well)see me as a threat,as i spend my life getting laid and party all the time,and i'd seduce their husbands.

6:05PM PDT on Jun 12, 2011

The woman at the party, portrayed in the article as the one with kids, is the one who comes across as egotistical, non-emphatic, social unintelligent, prejudiced and the lot! Very civil of you to even want to stand next to her, being so rude!

6:06PM PDT on May 14, 2011

Love this article. Thank you for writing it. I am one of those women who doesn't want to have children, and who devotes my time and love to my career, working in impoverished areas of the world. I have plenty of love and affection for my family members, and hate that people assume I am a cold, horrible person when they discover I don't want children. I also teach and tutor children part time, and am not a child-hating monster. I just don't want my own for many of the reasons listed above.

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