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Being childfree – Why we make this choice

Being-childfree

Women of today are a force to be reckoned with, we are starting to make the most of our (relatively new found) political, economic and social freedom. Following decades of women fighting for our rights, we are experiencing some greater independence. There is still a long way to go on the road to equality, but along the path women are making their own informed choices, one of which is to be childfree, so why do we decide to do this?

There is a stigma

There’s no denying the stigma against women who don’t have children by choice. The current generation are, compared historically, composed of more childfree households than ever before, and the discourse of infertility cannot cover all of them. Furthermore, the constant talk of infertility limits the ideology behind being childfree – that it must be something biological rather than anything else. This is also offensive to motherhood, not just ‘otherhood’ (as coined by Melanie Notkin), because being a mother must not always constitute pregnancy and childbirth. It is the act of raising a dependent – no more, and the task ranges from traditional parenting to adoption and fostering to the newer concept of co-parenting.

How has being a mother changed?

The idea behind not choosing to have children comes from all sorts of pressures in life, and ultimately can be a selfless, sensible and thoughtful choice. The most interesting statistic to emerge last year was the growth in the number of single mothers, there are now around 2 million in the UK,  in recent years (since 2013) it has been marking itself as a majority for the first time. A number this high suggests that single motherhood does not just come from father abandonment, a stereotype that is still perpetuated. Single motherhood is desirable for some due to their increasing flexibility and management of work, finances and social hours, in fact one third of working mothers are now the main breadwinner. Whether single or not, motherhood it seems depends most on your daily routine, and if yours is too busy, which it can be for many reasons, then the option becomes less attractive.

How has being childfree changed?

Being childfree can be logical, yet for some women it is still hard to accept because they may not have the confidence to say “I don’t want to be a mother”, nor do they feel safe in the knowledge that womanhood is not inextricably linked with motherhood. Indeed, changes in attitudes towards non-parenthood are starting to show themselves in today’s society, since it is now thought that 1 in 5 women will remain childless (predicted to rise to 1 in 4 in the next few years). The lack implied in child ’less’ is being changed to the more positive child ’free’ when it is by choice. We’re demanding less media on how to get a partner, and baby and children related media has become more specialised and separate from women’s magazines and publications. We are embracing the idea that being a woman has no special requirements. [10 positive things about being childfree]

Modern mother

From the 1990s onwards, we have seen increased efforts to grant women greater rights in education and in the workplace. As women’s opportunities for personal development grow, instead of celebrating new found abilities and capabilities, there has been a noticeable negative reaction to strained time on being a mother and raising a family. We are running out of excuses for being childfree, so why should you excuse it? Perhaps it is time that we accepted childfree women without prejudice.

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Photo Credit: Copyright: elwynn / 123RF Stock Photo

Tags:childfree, free

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This article was contributed by Pink Moods.