Reports from other parts of the world echo this trend, with some places reporting that as much as 35% of the population is currently choosing to be childfree for various reasons and the numbers are growing. The various news articles and reports site birth control, career advancement and meeting the right person later in life as some of the leading causes for this rise in being Childfree or Childlessness.
Why am I using two different terms? Simple answer is many of us who are Childfree by choice see them as two different terms and meanings. Childfree meaning someone who has by their own choice chosen not to have a child and the term Childless meaning someone who isn’t able to have a child but wishes they could have had one some times this is do to being infertile but at others its to do age and no longer being able to have one.
We might be living in the 21st century but for many in this day and age still assume that if you are a married couple that you will have a child because that is the only reason why a couple would get married. Many of us know that this is not the only reason to get married, but it is still one of those reasons that is prevalent.
I’ve read several stories over the years of couples who have been together for several years, then the day comes and marriage is proposed and agreed upon. Yet one area is left out of that agreement, the topic of children. One partner assumes that the other is on the same wave length as them, after all they have been together for X number of years and the topic never came up or if it did there was no disagreement on the matter.
Yet once the agreement on getting married happens one partner finds that they are not on the same wave length as they first though their partner to be. I’ve read this time and time again around the internet and read it in local papers as well (in columns where people as someone advice on an issue). Most of the columnists who answer the questions to have a point that it is something that should have been talked about in length long before getting married came into the picture but as much as that might or might not have happened the person still has to deal with the fact that their love now has opposite views then they first thought.
It can be hard to comprehend what is going on in the mind of one partner who you have been seeing or even living with for months or years. You have transparency within the relationship or at least you feel you have that going on, you share your ideas for the future what you hope to do and what you see happening for the two of you, yes that one area which for many can be a deal breaker might come up but nothing really is said about it. Or if it is there is agreement along some areas but maybe not in full, such as one partner saying that they rather be with you then have a child, yet they would still like to have a child to carry on their family line.
That can be hard to hear if you’ve 100% chosen to be Childfree or if your body has chosen to make that choice for you, and adoption isn’t going to be an option for what ever reason. Knowing that your partner loves you and cares about you but isn’t 100% in your corner on that one area that is important can be hard to deal with. What do you do when your partner wants a child but says they rather be with you then have said child? It can be a tough one, a topic which you need to sit down and really talk about.
In many cases it will just lead to misunderstandings and other issues between the couple as the years go on, it can also lead to one of the partners seeking another who might be willing to have a child with them in the end because their drive to have a child is so strong, that it doesn’t matter what they have told you, they need that part of their life to feel like they have dun something with their life or what have you.
Choosing to marry someone and only finding out after you are married that they now expect you to have changed your mind about children can be heart breaking in the extreme, its like you feel you married a total stranger, not the person you fell in love with to start with. Some people will put aside their wish to be childfree to make their partner’s dream come true, male or female it doesn’t matter one partner might well feel pressured into doing something which they have no interest in doing but do it because they love their partner and wont to keep the peace or similar effect between them. You might even come to love the child that comes if it comes, but you might just as much come to resent the child and your partner who you feel forced you to do something which you wouldn’t have other wise have dun.
It is its own sticky area when it comes to being with someone and life choices you make as a couple. Being on the same page isn’t always an easy thing to be and having open communication between the two of you isn’t any easer. All relationships take work and communication on all levels between the two of you. Knowing your partners views on this at each “stage” of your relationship helps both of you in the long run.
I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to marriage, communication or anything of the like with a partner but I do know what I have seen in person and read from various people over the years, plus my own folks as examples. Thus when I first meet Norman, I asked him his views on children where. This was before we even started dating, his comments and his views on children are what got us into the dating side of things. Because for me there was no way I was going to date anyone who was interested in having them, and since he answered that he didn’t wont any and to add to the fact that he was himself infertile so it wasn’t going to happen just added to my own interest in him.
After dating for a time, I asked him again the same question and I got back the same answer he’d given me when we first meet and started dating. I asked him the same question shortly after he asked me to marry him, and again after we where married and while living down in the US. His answer’s never changed on the matter. Yet for all that knowledge I still had to ask him time and time again if he was sure about it guess because I’d heard one to many stories from other girls about their perfect guy turning tables on them regarding the kid issue that as much as I felt we where on the same wave length I needed the reassurance that we really where, and bless him he fully understood why I kept asking him the same question in various forms.
One thing I did to make sure that my own feelings and why I was asking him as I was about kids was how in the past it had been when holding a baby, it always felt wrong in my arms to do so, even the sight and smell was off putting to me. So when I got a chance to do so I actually held someone’s baby for a time, something I’d not dun since University and back then it had been a really bad experience one that left me feeling very much outside of the female norm and apart from all the other girls in my class. Well this time round it was a little different it still felt wrong in my arms and I still had no idea what to do with it in my arms other then hold on tight to make sure she didn’t squirm out of my arms and hurt herself, but she didn’t feel right in them and Norman actually refused to hold her when he was offered the chance to do so. So I knew then and there that the choice to be Childfree was the right choice for me and for us as a couple.
I know some readers out there are saying “but its different when its your own”, that might well be the case, but it also might well not be the case. I’ve talked to various people over the years and most of them has said the same thing when it came to holding a baby, that it felt right like a warm feeling or the like is what they said it to being. Some said it didn’t feel right, and that when they later held their own child that feeling didn’t change much, when asked do they regret having that child or children several did say that they wish they had been able to hold off till they where better off or at least in a better situation, only a couple of people have actually regretted having a child at all, but since they have a child now they are making the best that they can of it.
So to me that means that there are those of us who have it within us to be a parent, but that there are those of us who might well have it within us to be a parent but for what ever reason its not the right course of action for us to take in being one. Being an aunt or an uncle or even a godparent for us is the better option for what ever reason, and for some of us being that aunt and uncle or godparent is enough to give one that child fix that some wish to have, while others are just happy enough to let other’s have their kids and keep them as far from them as possible.
We live in a world where being a parent is something which is still expected of a woman of child bearing age more so if they have chosen to get married, and the world is geared towards those who choose to raise young, for the good or the ill it matters not its how society in general has developed and just because more and more people are choosing not to have children will not change that area. But we can choose to make of it what we are able, finding those who share our interests and in general doing what it is we love to do, just like anyone else on this planet.
A Few Reference Sites and Articles
* Childlessness Up Among All Women; Down Among Women with Advanced Degrees
* Reproductive Justice Includes the Choice to Be Childfree
* Top Childfree News
* Happy and child-free
* The Rise in Childlessness: Are We Seeing a Childless Revolution?
* Russia To Become Childfree Land Under Western Influence
* Childfree encouragement
* ‘Childfree’ is new word of reproductive choice
I love babies. I love to hold them, bathe them, dress them, coo them. But it certainly doesn’t mean I’m going to have one. I was pretty lucky. When we got married I was only asked once “when are you going to have a baby?” It was a room full of relatives. I clearly stated, “None of your business.” I have never been asked since. 🙂 And really, it is no one’s business what life choices I make other than my partner’s.
Congratulations on your choice.