Childfree – reddit

TL;DR at bottom.

I work part-time as an hourly employee at a small professional firm in an administrative capacity. My job involves lots of professional phone calls, emails, filing, scanning, spreadsheets, etc., and I generally like it. I’m paid pretty well for the amount of work I’m doing – my only complaint about the job (up until today) would be that I hope they expand my hours.

It’s a small business. I work directly for the two owners/partners of the firm, generally doing whatever administrative tasks they assign for the day. I’ve been here for over two months now and things, like I said, have been pretty good once the rhythm was found.

But today one of my bosses came in around noon (I work from 10am to 2pm) with a kid – his nephew, who was probably about 6-ish (I’m bad at guessing children’s ages). The firm rents several closed-door offices and part of the central open floor space of a little boutique office building. My desk is outside my boss’s door, in the open space. Anyway, my boss put the kid in one of the firm’s empty offices to color. The kid was quiet for about an hour and a half. Everything was fine.

Then around 1:30 (in my last half hour of the day, when I’m supposed to be finishing up my daily projects and inputting the day’s records), the kid wanders out of the office where he’d been and into my boss’s office to talk to his uncle. A minute later my boss calls me in and tells me to print out some coloring sheets he’s going to email me. Alright, sure, I’m often asked to print things out for them.

The problem is that the kid then follows me out to my desk and hovers around me, talking loudly and inanely and trying to grab things off my desk and coughing on me and generally being very distracting/annoying while I try to print out his coloring book pages after scrambling to hide the very not-kid-friendly work-related things that had been up on my monitor because I didn’t know I would have a six year old trailing me when I got back to it.

(Side note: while I was frantically minimizing windows the kid somehow locked himself into a pair of handcuffs(?!?) he’d been playing with. Where the fuck this kid got handcuffs I have no goddamn idea, but he locked himself into them and then started whining at me to get him out and wouldn’t go back to his uncle to deal with it, so I had to spend a good 5 minutes figuring THAT shit out.)

My boss, meanwhile, as I hear through the open door, is talking with the other two people currently in the office about their own children and how cute they are at that age etc… while having pawned the kid off on me. And I’m sitting there for five minutes wondering if my glitchy computer is screwing up on me again before realizing that my boss hasn’t emailed me the coloring book pages because he got distracted.

And by this point it’s been 10 straight minutes of having the full force of a six year old just hammering at me (including the kid, I feel I have to state again for the fucking ridiculousness of it, fucking locking himself into a pair of handcuffs from nowhere), and I have a very low tolerance for children to begin with, so after I get up and remind my boss to email me the stuff I have to run to the bathroom to have a panic attack after seeing the kid had stolen my office chair and was now spinning around in it.

Factoring in time for the panic attack in the bathroom and the glitchy slowness of my computer and printer, it took all the way up until 2pm, when I was leaving, to finally get the kid his goddamn coloring pages so he would leave me the hell alone. I practically ran out of the office at 2:00. Fled. To break down crying in my car from all the stress.

I don’t blame the kid. I tried to be very nice to and patient with the kid to his face, because it’s not his fault he got dragged to a boring office building for what must feel like forever. But I don’t know how to bring this up to my boss. I cannot handle this happening again. I just don’t know how to tell my boss in a nice, polite, professional way that babysitting was not in the fucking contract I signed and I cannot/will not deal with that shit even one more time.

Seriously, they are not paying me enough to make having to deal with children worth it.

TL;DR: Boss brought his 6(?) year old nephew into the office and let him wander around to bug me for half an hour. So stressed out I had a panic attack in the bathroom and a breakdown in the car after leaving. Need advice on how to make sure this never happens again.

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Childfree – reddit

Welcome to The Childfree Life | The Childfree Life

This childfree website is a supportive environment for people who dont have kids and dont plan to have children in the future, as well as those who are still considering whether to have children.

Deciding not to have children, for whatever reason, can make you feel like an outcast, and the object of many negative stereotypes. The childfree choice is easy for some people, but for others it can become a quandary that lasts for years. Having no children means you may lose friends to the demands of parenthood or because you no longer have much in common. You may even find yourself facing strong pressure to conform from people close to you. Being childfree is a decision that cannot always be easily explained or understood.

We offer articles and resources for those who dont want children or cant have children, and invite you to join us in The Childfree Life forums for an honest discussion with like-minded people about all aspects of life without children.

Once upon a time, there was a group of intelligent, thoughtful, funny and wise people who met on another internet forum, and talked at length about their childfree lives, choices, and problems. As this forum was on a womens site, mothers that dropped in saw fit to complain about what they read. They didnt like our language, our opinions, or our choices. The site owner (a parent) agreed. As a result, the rules were changed, the site was censored, accounts were deleted, and the group felt the need to move on. We took that opportunity to create a new home for ourselves, and for other moderate childfree people. The Childfree Life is the result. We hope you enjoy it.

Theres a number of great childfree resources on the web, and more are springing up every day. Were a growing movement, but as yet, theres not a huge public awareness of who we are, what we represent, our hopes, dreams and motivations. Wed like to change that. Our vision is to become a hub of the online CF community, a central location for articles, resources, and thoughts about all things childfree, including the best and busiest forum on the web. We know that some of the childfree communities are a little hardcore for the average person, but theres a lot of parent-pleasing on the more women-oriented sites. Wed like to be somewhere in the middle a moderate voice, if you will.

We welcome the opinions and questions of childfree people of both genders, and supportive others. Were here to lend a sympathetic ear, give an opinion, and support people without judgment in their childfree choices.

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Welcome to The Childfree Life | The Childfree Life

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the voluntary choice to not have children.

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1] The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23]

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24]Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day. Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

Continued here:

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Nine Things I Love About My Childfree Marriage

October brings so many of my favorite thingscool weather, chunky sweaters, pumpkin everything, Colins and my wedding anniversary! October also means vacation in our household. You see, when my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we got to wondering why people only take one honeymoon.What prevents us from doing this every year?For many, the answer is kids. For us, it turns out the answer is nothing! So, for the last nine years, weve spent our wedding/anniversary date away from home. This got me thinking about all the things Im grateful for in our childfree marriage. In honor of nine years with my hubs, here is a listicle with nine things I love about my childfree marriage:

What do you appreciate most about your childfree relationship? Let me know below!

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Nine Things I Love About My Childfree Marriage

Home | Childfree Women UK & Ireland

We’re a private website, meaning that your content here is only visible to other approved, logged-in members of our network. ‘Content’ encompasses anything you publishon our pages- for example, profileicon, profileanswers, forumposts, groupsyou create, eventsyou attend, etc.

Each of our profile questions requires an answer as part of the registration process in order for your membership to be approved. This is for the safety of all members.We can’t force ID checks on everyone as that would exclude anyone who can’t pay the fee, so making it mandatory for you to tell us a bit about yourself upon signupis our way of vetting applicants and deterring trolls. We need everyone to play ball for it to work, but we’re not asking you to bare all – we just want to get a sense of who you are, and see genuine indicators that you identify as a happilychildfree womanand that this topic means something to you. You can amend and/or make any of your answers invisible at any time after your membership hasbeen approved.

We also require that you upload a profile iconsooner or later. This is again for the safety of all members as part of our ‘human check’ to deter spammers and imposters. Youriconcan either be a photo of you, or an image ofsomething meaningful to or representative of you -for example, your pets, your favourite flower, a holiday landscape, a piece of art you’ve made, etc. Profiles without an icon will not show up in Member Search results, so it’s worth having one in order to get the most out of our service. A uniqueprofile iconalso has generaladvantages socially by making your profile appear more approachable and trustworthy to potential new friends, and aneye-catching image can serveas a conversationstarter when other members are reading your profile.

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Childless and Childfree Marriages and Divorce | Divorce Source

Most observers believe that many marital failures have what is termed masked breakdowns where the couple keeps up a front for the sake of the children.

Some 27 percent of divorces involve no children, but only 9 percent of marriages are childless. Childless marriages always appear more prone to breakdown, especially if failure results from of a lack of desire for children. This may reflect the temperament of childless couples and the unwillingness of a responsible couple to have children when they feel their marriage buckling. Absent children, however, there less need to stay together.

Couples without children divorce more often than couples that have at least one child, according to researchers, despite numerous studies that marital happiness nosedives in the first year or two after the birth of a child and sometimes never quite recoups.

The terms childless and childfree carry affective and in some cases, political connotations. Childless refers to people who have no children due to biological problems or genetics, waiting too long to have a child, a failed relationship, an illness preventing conception, unsuccessful fertility treatments, not finding a suitable partner, or not having the means to raise a child. People often cannot have the children they may once planned. Some childless individuals move forward with no children in their lives; others struggle along a path they had not anticipated. For the childless, infertility can be a source of great sorrow. Childfree refers to people who decided not to bear children. Their lives do not include procreation. Childhood influences, life satisfaction without kids, the lack of desire, enjoyment of ones freedom, environmental concerns, financial concerns all motivate some people to take a pass on parenthood. The fact remains, whatever the reason, being childfree is a good option for many. For the childfree, the absence of offspring is cause for joy.

Years ago, sociologist Paul H. Jacobson documented that divorce is more frequent among marriages without children: For couples without children, the divorce rate in 1948 was 15.3 per 1,000. Where one child was present, the estimate rate was 11.6 per 1,000. The figure thus continues to decrease, and in families with four or more children, it was 4.6. Altogether, the rate for couples with children was 8.8 per 1,000. In other words, the rate for childless couples was almost double the rate for families with children.

More recently, according to journalist Anneli Rufus, whose number crunching discovered that of the divorced couples in the United States, 66 percent are childless compared with 40 percent who have kids. Evidently, the absence of children leads to loneliness and weariness.

On the other hand, others say that marriages without children may be more satisfying to the spouses. Ive been tracking the childfree for over 10 years now, and see many, many happily married childfree couples out there, says Laura Carroll, who blogs at La Vie Childfree and is the author of Families of Two: Interviews with Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice.

Couples without kids have more time, energy and money to spend on their careers, friends, each other and themselves. According to recent surveys, one for No Kidding!, an international social group for people without children, and one by Laura S. Scott, author of Two is Enough: A Couples Guide to Living Childless by Choice, couples often decide not to have kids because they want to put their relationship first.

This raises the question why more couples without children end up splitting.

People assume children are the glue that holds a marriage together, which really isnt true. Kids are huge stressors, says Scott. Despite that, there is a strong motive to stay together. The childfree dont have that motive so theres no reason to stay together if its not working.

Says Lori Buckley, a certified sex therapist, A lot of couples come into my office and the only reason they are working on the relationship is because of the children.

Absent children, divorce is often easier, legally and financially if not necessarily emotionally. The parties focus on the terms and conditions of property division; no custody issues, no family court, no Parental Alienation Syndrome. Some states even make it almost a breeze; in Tennessee, for example, couples with children meet higher standards to divorce than those without children. In Virginia, couples with children face a mandatory waiting period of about a year before they can get a divorce; those without children often have to wait about six months.

Not all the childfree are intentionally childfree couples, Scott discovered in her research after talking to hundreds of couples. Many are postponers who delay parenthood. Sometimes couples delay to the point that fertility problems arise. Then the question of When should we have kids? morphs into Should we have kids? Scott says, forcing couples to explore other ways to have a baby, such as adoption, surrogates or in vitro fertilization (IVF). That, she says, can be extremely stressful and can lead to a fracture that a couple cant get past. In fact, many infertility specialists recommend marital counseling.

If one partner desperately wants to try to have a child and one partner might not put as high a priority on it, that could be a deal breaker, she says. Often a couple hasnt discussed what point they stop trying how much money, how much time, how many procedures. Many women often feel like failures and feel less close to their partners; for many men, the fertility process can turn sex into anything other than pleasure. I hear from men who say, This isnt fun anymore. I feel like Im sperm on demand,’ Scott says.

If couples cant agree, theyre more likely to split.

Fewer people believe children are essential to a happy marriage, according to a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center. About 65 percent of us believed they were back in 1990, but just 41 percent of us believe that now. About 7 percent of Millennials those born in or after 1982 say they dont want kids and 19 percent arent sure. But if that 19 percent waits too long, they may be the next crop of infertile, and perhaps divorced, couples.

A lot of people dont have the kid conversation before they get married. They just assume parenthood, Scott says.

It is difficult to say definitely whether children actually contribute to marital breakdown; however, it is possible to make a tentative generalization based on the comments of many married parents. Almost without exception parents believe that children enhanced a strong marriage but probably dealt the deathblow to a floundering marriage. Children may make a good marriage better, but they make a bad one worse, or as novelist Peter de Vries said, The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.

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Childless and Childfree Marriages and Divorce | Divorce Source

the rinky-DINK life | a childfree space to speak your truth

The childfree community has been abuzz with the amazing new novel, The Age of the Child, by the equally amazing (and childfree, might I add) Kristen Tsetsi. I had the chance to speak with Kristen about her book, the motivation behind it, and about being a childfree woman in todays society. Check out our conversation []

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the rinky-DINK life | a childfree space to speak your truth

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the voluntary choice to not have children.

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1] The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23] (Nonetheless, in 2010 Brown gave birth to a son.)

However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24] Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day. Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

Go here to see the original:

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the voluntary choice to not have children.

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1] The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23] (Nonetheless, in 2010 Brown gave birth to a son.)

However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24] Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day.Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

Read the original post:

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the lifelong voluntary choice to not have children. This includes avoiding having biological, step, or adopted children.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1]

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23] Nonetheless, in 2010, Brown gave birth to a son.

However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24] Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day.Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

More here:

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Living Childfree – RESOLVE: The National Infertility …

My husband and I struggled with infertility for several years. I going to say on and off for several years, but even when we werent trying there was always the hope that I might get pregnant.

I have unexplained infertility no reason was discovered for my inability to get pregnant. After six failed procedures, and one miscarriage at 11 weeks, we decided to take a break. We wanted our lives back. We were stressed out and exhausted from all aspects of treatment: injectable medications, the monthly anticipation and resulting disappointment with each failed pregnancy test and the cost.

During this break I joined a mind-body group. The stated goal of the group was not to achieve pregnancy, but rather to regain a sense of control, to de-stress, to come together with other women and couples who were also struggling with infertility and talk about our experiences, learn coping techniques and have an emotional outlet. I was very angry and very sad. I felt like my body, which was created to bear children was defective that I was defective. I felt guilty that I was letting my husband down (he didnt make me feel guilty, I brought that on myself). I remember spending time with girlfriends and their new babies and young children and feeling like the girl without a baby. I had a hard time attending baby showers, christenings and celebratory, baby-centric events. In the group I learned relaxation techniques including meditation, which helped me to being to let go of the anger, the guilt, the sadness and the pain. I started journaling. The mind-body group was life-changing.

The decision to remain childfree evolved. As I mentioned earlier, it started as a much needed break from treatment. We tried it on, and it seemed like it might fit. As time went on, we thought about and talked about the option of continuing this way. I saw a therapist who specialized in working with infertile women and couples, and she helped me explore this further. Remaining childfree a term neither my husband nor I really like seemed like a viable option.

I refer to us as a family of two. Its a more positive and accurate description of who we are. Family is important to us. My husband has five siblings, and I have three; we have 19 nieces and nephews. We love spending time with them, and we also treasure spending time together and with our large network of friends. Interestingly, many of our friends, who we have known for years, dont have children for one reason or another. And, of course, many do.

There are certainly many positive things you can identify about not having children, including financial aspects and independence. Those didnt guide our decision, however, which wasnt always easy, even after we were resolute that it was right for us.

Just as my experience with infertility was a journey, so too is the decision to live our life without children of our own. Along the way a sense of control returned to my life. Infertility brings with it a sense of powerlessness. Each month another treatment cycle is attempted, and you hope for the best, knowing you have little or no control over the outcome.

Making this decision was empowering.

It is the first step in a process, the first step in allowing myself to begin to answer the question supposed I didnt have children, what would that be like? The answer continues to unfold everyday.

Contributed by: Jennifer Richmond

View post:

Living Childfree – RESOLVE: The National Infertility …

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the lifelong voluntary choice to not have children. This includes avoiding having biological, step, or adopted children.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1]

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23] Nonetheless, in 2010, Brown gave birth to a son.

However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24] Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day.Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

Read more:

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the lifelong voluntary choice to not have children. This includes avoiding having biological, step, or adopted children.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1]

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23] Nonetheless, in 2010, Brown gave birth to a son.

However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24] Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day.Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

See the article here:

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Advantages and Disadvantages of Being Childfree …

Any life choice has its positives and negatives, and parenting versus not-parenting is no different. Lets examine three advantages and three disadvantages of each option.

Three advantages of being a parent:

You fit in better with your peer group.

Almost everyone is a parent, and if you like to feel like youre part of the mainstream, then parenting is for you. Not being a parent when in your 20s, 30s, and 40s can mean spending a lot of time alone, as your peers are getting together for play-dates with their children. Even when the little ones are not around, the conversation is likely to be about what the children are doing.

You have something to focus on other than yourself.

Self-focus is uncomfortable for many people, and frankly, having a child immediately puts the emphasis on this dependent being. Having a child means that youll have at least eighteen years of endless focus on the needs of another being.

Youre never bored.

For a person who has trouble filling his or her time, having a child might be the answer. You simply wont have time to be bored, because once you spend eight hours on childrearing tasks youll be so tired that youll be ready for bed.

Three disadvantages of being a parent:

You have limited time and energy for your own pursuits. Many parents are spread way too thin, and they suffer by missing sleep, not having time for exercise, and having neglected marriages that end in divorce. And thats not to mention the hobbies that one might wish to pursue such as art, travel, writing, or golf, and to not have to wait until the golden retirement years to do so.

You have to worry about a child who is dependent on you. Im hearing more and more stories about adult children who are still living at home or have returned home after college. Many of these kids appear to be quite immature and not only financially, but also emotionally dependent on mommy and daddy. Parents these days seem to have trouble cutting the old apron strings.

You have to make life decisions based on whats best for someone else, rather than whats best for yourself.

When you become a parent, you ideally put your own selfish desires behind those of your child. This is all well and good, but what if it means passing up a job opportunity in another city, staying in a dead marriage, or neglecting old friendships?

Three advantages of being childfree

You have time for self-care and for other relationships.

I love spending time alone with my husband, and we have a lot of this due to not being busy raising a family. I also enjoy nurturing my terriers, and for me the time and energy this takes meets my personal caretaking needs. Its also great to have the ability to carve out time to write letters, make phone calls, or meet with friends socially.

You can dedicate your time to your career or to other interests that will help the world as a whole.

Lets face it, parenting takes a lot of time; time experts say that it takes eight hours a day to raise two children to the age of 18. Im amazed at how people, especially women with children, can manage a fulltime job on top of parenting. They often appear to be exhausted and less than enthusiastic about being at work, and its apparent that theyre spread too thin.

The world will be less crowded and resources less depleted.

Think about a future with fewer mouths to feed and the possibility that we might restore diminishing natural resources such as life in the sea and fresh water. I am hearing more and more young people these day say that parenting is not a given, and Im hopeful that only those who truly want to be parents will become moms and dads.

Three disadvantages of being childfree:

You will be a misfit among your peer group.

There have been many occasions when I looked around the room and realized that I was the only one who didnt have kids. This can be a real problem when Im with women friends, as they tends to always want to talk about their children; now that Im entering my fifties, some friends are talking about grandchildren. One in five women who have reached the end of their childbearing years is not a motherthat means that four out of five are!

You will miss out of what many consider to be a crucial life role.

Ive missed an entire chapter of life that is considered by many to be essential. Sometimes I feel out of step, especially when Im ahead in many ways such as saving for the future and building a career. Many women are just, at my age, returning to work after years of part-time employment or none at all.

You wont have anyone to take care of you in your old age.

I live far from my parents, but we talk at least weekly by phone and they know that they can count on me if need be. Not having kids, Im aware of how critical it is for me to be making plans for my future, whether this is putting my wishes down in writing or saving up to be able to pay for the help Ill need.

Its great to realize that young people today truly have more choice, and that theyre stepping back and evaluating whats best for them rather than simply following the common path.

More:

Advantages and Disadvantages of Being Childfree …

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the lifelong voluntary choice to not have children. This includes avoiding having biological, step, or adopted children.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1]

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23] Nonetheless, in 2010, Brown gave birth to a son.

However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24] Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day.Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

See the original post:

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

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Home | Childfree Women UK & Ireland

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the lifelong voluntary choice to not have children. This includes avoiding having biological, step, or adopted children.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1]

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23] Nonetheless, in 2010, Brown gave birth to a son.

However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24] Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day.Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

More here:

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the lifelong voluntary choice to not have children. This includes avoiding having biological, step, or adopted children.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1]

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23] Nonetheless, in 2010, Brown gave birth to a son.

However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24] Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day.Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

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Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Childfree or Childless: Does Terminology Really Matter?

I am childless but thats not the adjective Id use to describe myself. Theres no question that not having children is a big part of my identity. However, I like to think Im more than just that. And, for starters, I like to view myself as childfree as opposed to childless. You, on the other hand, may prefer the reverse. But, well get into more detail about that later. At this very moment, do you think our choice of descriptors change anything? Whether you go by childfree or childless: does terminology really matter?

When I was doing research for a piece on the stigma of mental health, I learned about the power of labels. Think of how often we use crazy as a way to describe someones behavior. It seems harmless enough but if we use that word to describe someone who has a mental health disorder, it quickly becomes an insult.

I also learned that taking control of a word can draw the power out of it and, as a result, you become the one in charge. The word is rather useless without a mouth to harness it.

For example, someone you know may have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Therefore, he or she is bipolar, right? I would have said that at one point in time but, no. That person is so much more than their diagnosis. That personhasbipolar disorder; he/sheis notthe disorder. The way a person refers to their diagnosisand how we refer to others diagnosescan make a difference.

What am I getting at here? Well, you could apply the same thinking to childlessness. No, Im not insinuating childlessness is a disease, disorder, or disability. Nevertheless, how we utilize it can make a difference. I assume this is how the term childfree was born.

Barren: an archaic term for a woman who cannot have children. You can see why a word denoting a woman as unfruitful is no longer used today. These days, a woman unable to conceive may be referred to as infertile. From a technical standpoint, though, the word isnt much different. The words could be interchangeable, however, the connotation is vastly differentas it should.

Reclaiming words and redefining ourselves as women can be a powerful experience. To my knowledge, I am able to conceive but, as you well know, I choose not to. So, for me, childless is my archaic term and childfree is my reclamation.

As all of us are, I was born childless. I grew up childless and I got married childless. Eventually, I started thinking about having kidswhile childless. When my husband and I made the decision to forego having kids, I stopped being childless and I became childfree.

I changed. I made an active decision instead of a passive oneand it wasnt an easy one. When I discovered the term childfree, I knew thats what I was. I wasnt continuing on in childlessness, no, I had redefined myself. Why not add a literal definition to my new self?

Not everyone likes the term childfree.Meghan Daum, author of Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed, doesnt refer to herself as childfreeand thats totally fine. Some men and women dont like to consider themselves as childfree because they dont view their lives as being free of children. Many are dedicated aunts, uncles, teachers, social workers, etc. and they like having kids in their lives in a capacity other than having their own. This is true for me, too.

For over six years, I worked as a preschool teacher. I love kidsespecially toddlers. I like holding babies and when my niece and nephew were young, I was enamored by them. You could say I dont lead a life free of children either. Yet, I will always consider myself childfree simply because I made a conscious choice not to have children.

Even those who are childless due to infertility can definite themselves as childfree if desired. These incredible people still made the choice to, in many cases, stop fertility treatments or other means of having kids. That sounds like childfreeby circumstance andchoiceto me!

Terminology matters but, in this case, it doesnt dictate which words you can and cannot use. Instead, itsyour choice ofterminology that matters. How you think of yourself, how you portray yourself to the world, and how you feel comfortable identifying your stance on kids is what matters. And, maybe it goes without saying, but never forget that you are so much more than this one word.

Sometimes I forget that Im not just childfree. Im a writer (still getting used to this idea), a woman, a wife, a dog-mom, a best friend, and a million other things on any given day.

Do you think how you define your life without kids really matters? Do you prefer childless or childfree?

Id love to hear from you! Comment below!

Related

Go here to see the original:

Childfree or Childless: Does Terminology Really Matter?

Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia

Voluntary childlessness, also described by some as being childfree, is the lifelong voluntary choice to not have children. This includes avoiding having biological, step, or adopted children.

The usage of the term “childfree” to describe people who choose not to have children was coined in the English language late in the 20th century.[1]

In most societies and for most of human history choosing not to have children was both difficult and undesirable. The availability of reliable contraception along with support provided in old age by systems other than traditional familial ones has made childlessness an option for people in developed countries, though they may be looked down upon in certain communities.

The meaning of the term “childfree” extends to encompass the children of others (in addition to ones own children) and this distinguishes it further from the more usual term “childless”, which is traditionally used to express the idea of having no children, whether by choice or by circumstance.[2] The term ‘child free’ has been cited in Australian literature to refer to parents who are without children at the current time. This may be due to them living elsewhere on a permanent basis or a short-term solution such as childcare (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2011).

Supporters of living childfree (e.g. Corinne Maier, French author of “No Kids: 40 Reasons For Not Having Children”) cite various reasons[3] for their view:

According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children (or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have). Overall, researchers have observed childless couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.[9]

Being a childfree American adult was considered unusual in the 1950s.[10][11] However, the proportion of childless adults in the population has increased significantly since then. The proportion of childlessness among women aged 40-44 was 10% in 1976, reached a high of 20% in 2005, then declined to 15% in 2014.[12] In Europe, childlessness among women aged 40-44 is most common in Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom (in 2010-2011).[13] Childlessness is least common across Eastern European countries,[13] although one child families are very common there.

From 2007 to 2011 the fertility rate in the U.S. declined 9%, the Pew Research Center reporting in 2010 that the birth rate was the lowest in U.S. history and that childfreeness rose across all racial and ethnic groups to about 1 in 5 versus 1 in 10 in the 1970s.[14] The CDC released statistics in the first quarter of 2016 confirming that the U.S. fertility rate had fallen to its lowest point since record keeping started in 1909: 59.8 births per 1,000 women, half its high of 122.9 in 1957.[15] Even taking the falling fertility rate into account, the U.S. Census Bureau still projected that the U.S. population would increase from 319 million (2014) to 400 million by 2051.[15]

The National Center of Health Statistics confirms that the percentage of American women of childbearing age who define themselves as childfree (or voluntarily childless) rose sharply in the 1990sfrom 2.4 percent in 1982 to 4.3 percent in 1990 to 6.6 percent in 1995.

In 2010, updated information on childlessness, based on a 2008 US Census Population Survey, was analyzed by Pew Research.[16]

While younger women are more likely to be childless, older women are more likely to state that they intend to remain childless in the future.

Being unmarried is one of the strongest predictors of childlessness. It has also been suggested through research that married individuals who were concerned about the stability of their marriages were more likely to remain childless.

Most studies on this subject find that higher income predicted childlessness. However, some women report that lack of financial resources was a reason why they decided to remain childless. Childless women in the developed world often express the view that women ultimately have to make a choice between motherhood and having a career. The 2004 Census Bureau data showed nearly half of women with annual incomes over $100,000 are childless.

Among women aged 3544, the chance of being childless was far greater for never-married women (82.5%) than for ever-married (12.9%). When the same group is analyzed by education level, increasing education correlates with increasing childlessness: not-H.S. graduate (13.5%), H.S. graduate (14.3%), Some College no degree (24.7%), Associate Degree (11.4%), Bachelor’s degree (18.2%) and Graduate or Professional degree (27.6%).[17][18]

Most societies place a high value on parenthood in adult life, so that people who remain childfree are sometimes stereotyped as being “individualistic” people who avoid social responsibility and are less prepared to commit themselves to helping others.[19] However, certain groups believe that being childfree is beneficial. With the advent of environmentalism and concerns for stewardship, those choosing to not have children are also sometimes recognized as helping reduce our impact, such as members of the voluntary human extinction movement. Some childfree are sometimes lauded on moral grounds, such as members of philosophical or religious groups, like the Shakers.

There are three broad areas of criticism regarding childfreeness, based upon socio-political, feminist or religious reasons. There are also considerations relating to personal philosophy and social roles.

Childfreedom may no longer be considered the ‘best’ way to be feminist. Once a paragon of second-wave feminism, the nullipara (childless or childfree woman) is not typically described in third-wave feminism as being superior to, or more feminist than, women who choose to have children. Feminist author Daphne DeMarneffe links larger feminist issues to both the devaluation of motherhood in contemporary society, as well as the delegitimization of “maternal desire” and pleasure in motherhood.[20] In third-wave handbook Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, authors Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explore the concept of third-wave feminists reclaiming “girlie” culture, along with reasons why women of Baby Boomer and Generation X ages may reject motherhood because, at a young and impressionable age, they witnessed their own mothers being devalued by society and family.[21]

On the other hand, in “The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order”[22] and in Utne Reader magazine, third-wave feminist writer Tiffany Lee Brown described the joys and freedoms of childfree living, freedoms such as travel previously associated with males in Western culture. In “Motherhood Lite,” she celebrates being an aunt, co-parent, or family friend over the idea of being a mother.[23] Nonetheless, in 2010, Brown gave birth to a son.

However as the point of feminism is for women to make their own choices, child freedom is considered one of those choices.

Some believe that overpopulation is a serious problem and some question the fairness of what they feel amount to subsidies for having children, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (US), free K12 education paid for by all taxpayers, family medical leave, and other such programs.[24] Others, however, do not believe overpopulation to be a problem in itself; regarding such problems as overcrowding, global warming, and straining food supplies to be problems of public policy and/or technology.[25]

Some have argued that this sort of conscientiousness is self-eliminating (assuming it is heritable), so by avoiding reproduction for ethical reasons the childfree will only aid deterioration of concern for the environment and future generations.[26]

Some regard governmental or employer-based incentives offered only to parentssuch as a per-child income tax credit, preferential absence planning, employment legislation, or special facilitiesas intrinsically discriminatory, arguing for their removal, reduction, or the formation of a corresponding system of matching incentives for other categories of social relationships. Childfree advocates argue that other forms of caregiving have historically not been considered equalthat “only babies count”and that this is an outdated idea that is in need of revision. Caring for sick, disabled, or elderly dependents entails significant financial and emotional costs but is not currently subsidized in the same manner. This commitment has traditionally and increasingly fallen largely on women, contributing to the feminization of poverty in the U.S.[27]

The focus on personal acceptance is mirrored in much of the literature surrounding choosing not to reproduce. Many early books were grounded in feminist theory and largely sought to dispel the idea that womanhood and motherhood were necessarily the same thing, arguing, for example, that childfree people face not only social discrimination but political discrimination as well.[24]

Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam place a high value on children and their central place in marriage. In numerous works, including an Apostolic letter written in 1988,[28] Pope John Paul II has set forth the Roman Catholic emphasis on the role of children in family life. However, the Catholic Church also stresses the value of chastity in the non-married state of life and so approves of nominally childfree ways of life for the single. Some religious interpretations hold that any couple who marries with the intention of not producing children is not married within the church.

There are, however, some debates within religious groups about whether a childfree lifestyle is acceptable. Another view, for example, is that the biblical text Gen. 1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply,” is really not a command but a blessing formula and that while there are many factors to consider as far as people’s motives for remaining childless, there are many valid reasons, including dedicating one’s time to demanding but good causes, why Christians may choose to remain childless for a short time or a lifetime.[29] Matthew 19:12 describes Jesus as listing three types of eunuchs including one type who chooses it intentionally, noting that whoever is willing to become one, should.

Brian Tomasik cites ethical reasons for people to remain childfree. Also, they will have more time to focus on themselves, which will allow for greater creativity and the exploration of personal ambitions. In this way, they may benefit themselves and society more than if they had a child.[30]

Some opponents of the childfree choice consider such a choice to be selfish. The rationale of this position is the assertion that raising children is a very important activity and so not engaging in this activity must therefore mean living one’s life in service to one’s self. The value judgment behind this idea is that individuals should endeavor to make some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, but also that the best way to make such a contribution is to have children. For some people, one or both of these assumptions may be true, but others prefer to direct their time, energy, and talents elsewhere, in many cases toward improving the world that today’s children occupy (and that future generations will inherit).[31]

Proponents of childfreedom posit that choosing not to have children is no more or less selfish than choosing to have children. Choosing to have children may be the more selfish choice, especially when poor parenting risks creating many long term problems for both the children themselves and society at large.[32] As philosopher David Benatar[33] explains, at the heart of the decision to bring a child into the world often lies the parents’ own desires (to enjoy child-rearing or perpetuate one’s legacy/genes), rather than the potential person’s interests. At very least, Benatar believes this illustrates why a childfree person may be just as altruistic as any parent.

There is also the question as to whether having children really is such a positive contribution to the world in an age when there are many concerns about overpopulation, pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources. Some critics counter that such analyses of having children may understate its potential benefits to society (e.g. a greater labor force, which may provide greater opportunity to solve social problems) and overstate the costs. That is, there is often a need for a non-zero birth rate.[34]

Childfree individuals do not necessarily share a unified political or economic philosophy, and most prominent childfree organizations tend to be social in nature. Childfree social groups first emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, most notable among them the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood and No Kidding! in North America where numerous books have been written about childfree people and where a range of social positions related to childfree interests have developed along with political and social activism in support of these interests. The term “childfree” was used in a July 3, 1972 Time article on the creation of the National Organization for Non-Parents.[35] It was revived in the 1990s when Leslie Lafayette formed a later childfree group, the Childfree Network.[36]

The National Organization for Non-Parents (N.O.N.) was begun in Palo Alto, CA by Ellen Peck and Shirley Radl in 1972. N.O.N. was formed to advance the notion that men and women could choose not to have childrento be childfree. Changing its name to the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood, it continued into the early 1980s both as a support group for those making the decision to be childfree and an advocacy group fighting pronatalism (attitudes/advertising/etc. promoting or glorifying parenthood). According to its bylaws, the purpose of the National Alliance for Optional Parenthood was to educate the public on non-parenthood as a valid lifestyle option, support those who choose not to have children, promote awareness of the overpopulation problem, and assist other groups that advanced the goals of the organization. N.O.N.’s offices were located in Reisterstown, MD; then Baltimore, MD; and, ultimately, in Washington, D.C. N.O.N. designated August 1 as Non-Parents’ Day.Just as people with children come from all shades of the political spectrum and temper their beliefs accordingly, so do the childfree. For example, while some childfree people think of government welfare to parents as “lifestyle subsidies,” others accept the need to assist such individuals but think that their lifestyle should be equally compensated. Still others accept the need to help out such individuals and also do not ask for subsidies of their own.

There are suggestions of an emergence of political cohesion, for example an Australian Childfree Party (ACFP) proposed in Australia as a childfree political party, promoting the childfree lifestyle as opposed to the family lifestyle.[citation needed] Increasing politicization and media interest has led to the emergence of a second wave of childfree organizations that are openly political in their raisons d’tre, with a number of attempts to mobilize political pressure groups in the U.S. The first organization to emerge was British, known as Kidding Aside. The childfree movement has not had significant political impact.

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Voluntary childlessness – Wikipedia