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TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 16, 2021

We Spoke To 10 Women Who Are Childfree By Choice

In this Q&A, we spoke to ten childfree by choice women to understand the scrutiny they have to go through and why they think the decision not to have children is still so hard for society to accept, even in 2021.

Much like choosing to have children, the decision to be childfree by choice is a personal one. It’s a life choice that seems to invite well-meaning but often unsolicited and insensitive opinions and comments from family members to colleagues and beyond. Women’s bodies are always up for discussion, and particularly upon turning 30 our reproductive rights seem to be heavily criticised and analysed, either way.

Societal pressures and expectations forever perpetuate the notion that choosing child-freedom is a regrettable decision, or that we’re somehow deemed ‘less than’ as women for not procreating.

“You’ll change your mind” is up there with the most frustrating remarks any childfree by choice person has to deal with, as if they’re more familiar with your body than you are and by denying it of this fundamental moral imperative, you’re almost self-harming.

There are many reasons why someone might decide having children isn’t for them and whether it’s overpopulation, mental health, freedom, finances or – here’s a radical idea – they just don’t want children, it’s really not for anyone one else to psychoanalyse their lives.

In this Q&A, we spoke to ten childfree by choice women to understand the scrutiny they have to go through and why they think the decision not to have children is still so hard for society to accept, even in 2021.

Heather

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice?

Up until I was about 22 I, like many women, saw children in my future. I saw the husband, the house and the baby. But in the past 4 years I have realised that this isn’t what I want in my future, my mind convinced itself that this was the path for me because of societal expectations.

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future?

Up until recently I usually ignored it and answered with a non committal “yeah maybe” but a recent experience with a doctor has made me change my tune. He tried to convince me of the fact that I WILL change my mind and I ended up leaving the appointment (Which had nothing to do with reproduction) very upset and like my choice had been totally dismissed as indecisiveness. I now respond much more firmly with “I won’t as it’s a choice I have given a lot of thought to, much like people do when they decide they do want to start a family.” It doesn’t always come out quite that concise but people get the idea!

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term?

I was in a long term relationship when I came to the decision about not wanting children. My partner and I had discussed children earlier in our relationship but we were still very young and not in the right place in our lives to consider kids seriously. By some luck, it seemed we had both arrived at the same decision organically over time. I think like myself he had felt pressured by societal norms. We saw that the life we wanted to have together would involve a lot of travel, time-consuming jobs and we both wanted to hold onto our sense of spontaneity which is harder with children. 

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise?

I am very lucky in that my parents are understanding of my choice, they are supportive of all my decisions and know that this isn’t something I’ve taken lightly. I often joke with my mum that she’ll be getting grand-dogs instead and she’s happy with that! I do sometimes feel as though other family members feel bad for me, like they think I’m missing out on something but they don’t voice it. Overall, I know I’m very lucky because some parents almost expect grandchildren and I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to have to deal with that.

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice?

On most occasions, I don’t feel the need to engage with people who offer their opinions as to why I’ve decided to be child free as most of the time I find it’s like arguing with a brick wall. I do find it upsetting when people think I’m mean or somehow uncaring because I don’t want children. I am still a loving and caring person; I enjoy nothing more than spoiling and caring for my friends or relatives’ children. I sometimes feel I need to justify to people I’m not an evil old witch, as silly as that sounds!

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel?

The opinions that people offer about my decision to be childfree often make me feel as though I’m doing something wrong. Like I’m a woman so if I don’t have children what else am I expected to do? My own personal experience with people like this is to generally shut the conversation down if I feel they are being rude but I do understand that some people are generally curious because they couldn’t imagine a life without children. My general rule is that if someone doesn’t bring up their plans regarding children then you shouldn’t ask because you don’t know what is going on behind closed doors. 

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could? 

The ability to just get up and go! I have lived between the UK and Australia for the past 15 years and I love to go on impulsive trips. I have so many things I want to achieve in my life; from buying an old home to renovate, living in New York, studying animal care so I can one day live and work in Borneo with Orangutans. The financial freedom is also something to consider, raising a child is expensive so having more control over my personal finances is a big win. 

Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice?

I think that because of the steps women have made, even in the last decade to own our power and live independent and fulfilling lives some people believe the decision to not have children is somehow a rebellion, like we are going against the grain to make a point. I’ve heard people say that it’s such a final decision to make in your twenties, but equally having children is also a pretty final decision!

How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

We are lucky to live in the age of social media, although sometimes all-consuming and potentially harmful if used irresponsibly it is also a wonderful way to raise awareness. I think that showcasing successful fulfilled women in their day-to-day childfree lives is a great place to start.

It is frustrating to still be in a place where we feel the need to justify this as a decision but like those before usHeather

Showing women of all races, ages, gender identities, sexualities and being aware of the fact that success/fulfilment to someone may be running a company but to others, it could be volunteering at a dog shelter. It is frustrating to still be in a place where we feel the need to justify this as a decision but like those before us, we need to have these conversations in order to move forward as a society. Representation and education are a good first step, much like this article!

Millie

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice? 

I would say, that around 17 when everyone was in sixth form talking about their future careers and children, I realised that I never saw children in my future. I think it was more of a conscious decision at around 21 when I had a copper coil fitted, and opted to have the 10 year one, rather than something more short term.

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future? 

If it is a casual acquaintance, I generally brush it off, and say maybe I will, but right now this is my decision. I am not a particularly confrontational person. For family, I have tried to explain that it is not about how they have raised me or how they raise their own children, but having children is just not right for myself and my partner. I would rather regret not having children than regret having them.

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term? 

My boyfriend actually knew before we started dating. It came up in a conversation over lunch with friends, and we both said we didn’t want them. We have discussed it several times since. Mainly around when we were buying a house together. For us, it is very important that we are on the same page about it.

His family really struggled to understand that I didn’t want children and I wasn’t willing to put a rift between him and them and make him chose over it.Millie

Weirdly it was these discussions that led us to the decision to get a pet together. In former relationships, my boyfriends have always started out saying they are fine with it, but then have always pushed me about it later. In the case of a 3-year relationship, it was the reason we ended. His family really struggled to understand that I didn’t want children and I wasn’t willing to put a rift between him and them and make him chose over it.

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise? 

I find my friends are fairly understanding. I do dread family events though. My parents feel it is a reflection on their parenting of me that I do not want children and were initially very upset. After over 10 years of saying I don’t want children, they are beginning to accept it. I do think they still hope I will change my mind or there will be an accidental pregnancy. My boyfriend’s family in particular do not understand, he has two sisters and five stepsisters. A lot of his family are also teachers, so struggle to understand why we do not want children. For them, they see us playing with nieces and nephews, and do not understand that we are completely happy being an aunt, uncle or cousin to young children, but have no desire to have that responsibility full time. 

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice? 

I would say I probably don’t handle it that well. I never get angry at the person that is judging. Everyone is entitled to their decisions and opinions, but I do find myself getting hurt. It has taken me a long time to accept that this decision does not make me a failure, and that possibly by admitting it is not right for me is actually a very mature decision rather than the immature one it is often made out to be. I do however find myself at 3am scrolling through social media looking at celebrity pregnancy announcements, and parenting blogs trying to figure out what I am missing that means I don’t want children.

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel? 

They make me feel like a mix of guilt, failure and anger. Guilt that I am somehow depriving my parents and my boyfriend’s parents of the opportunity to be grandparents. Failure because isn’t that what we are programmed to want as women, so how have I failed to want that. Anger that people think I am too stupid or young to know my own mind, and know what I want, and what I can cope with.

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could? 

This is a super hard question. I am not sure I have necessarily achieved anything different, I would just say I don’t have to plan or do life admin in the same way as if I had children. All my friends and family members with children seem to permanently be on a timetable and budget, which seems very stressful. One thing that was affected was house shopping. We bought our first house not long back. We bought a 2 bedroom converted chapel. A house that if we were intending to have children we could not have bought, as it is just not practical. Beautiful, but not at all child friendly.

All my friends and family members with children seem to permanently be on a timetable and budget, which seems very stressful.Millie

For me, buying a house, and being secure in that house is a massive life dream. I know I could have bought a house practical for children, but it would have cost us considerably more, or we would have been moving within several years to make everyone fit. We would not have been able to have a house this impractical, until we were maybe in our 50’s, possibly later.

Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice? 

This feels like a very controversial thing for a woman to say. In my personal experience, and those of many of my friends, womwn, are almost led to believe that if they do not have Children they have somehow failed. Whenever I say “oh I don’t want children”, people look at me as though I am mad or a horrible person. I think for a lot of people it is one of the tick boxes of life, go to uni, get a career, meet your partner, buy a house, get married, have children, retire to the country. It can be very hard for people to opt to do something different, and by not ticking that box, you are not completing the list, you don’t pass go, and collect £200. People innately want to fit in, and they want to help others fit in. Choosing to not have children is seen as not fitting in. A lot of people also seem to take it as a sign that you think they have failed as a parent to their children. I think it plays on a lot of people’s insecurities about how they are doing in life, and this is projected back as we are too young, or too selfish, to realise what we are missing.

How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

 For me, we need to stop asking people when they are going to have children. I find it the rudest question, you have no way of knowing what that person is going through, be it infertility, abusive relationships, miscarriage or early pregnancy, or just that they don’t want to be parents. I think opening up the conversation about family is very important just without that question. Every time I see a pregnancy announcement on social media, be it a closer friend, family member or even a celebrity, I am happy for them. I am happy that they got something they desperately wanted. I am also happy for somebody when they achieve another life goal, be it a house, a car, a dream job, starting a new business or even saving up and buying their dream handbag. I think we need to work on driving awareness that families come in all sizes. For some, it is two parents, and two children, for others four parents, and multiple children, and for some, it is two people and their pet. They are all families. We should be focusing on that person’s life goals, not necessarily societal life goals.

Neesha

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice?

My decision to be childfree was really made when I knew I wanted to become a doctor. Now, this isn’t saying you can’t be a Neurosurgeon and have children, of course, it is possible, but it’s just a personal preference. I have a strong desire to have my career set out and be financially secure before children, which will be a few years after I finish my Education and Training. This means for me, waiting until I’m at least 30 to have any children, and I am ok with that, I think having a career first that I’m especially proud of is really important to me. 

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future?

I think a lot of the time, I thank them (politely) for their advice, but I am so certain that I want to be a Neurosurgeon and have had many people tell me “I can’t” or that I “will change my mind”, that it doesn’t phase my decision at all. I also think it’s the fact that I know myself the best compared to anyone, so I know that this decision is one that will benefit me long term. Making sure that I make ME happy first, as I’ve gotten older this has become more and more important!

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term?

This one was an easy one. I am lucky enough that my partner has a similar mindset to my own, in that our careers come first, it was one of the first things we discussed when we first started dating. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. But, my best advice would be to just be honest. It might be a difficult conversation to have, but being honest about how you feel makes sure that expectations are managed, both of yours and your partners! I’m sure for most situations, your partner would just want the best for you! 

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise?

For the most part I think my friends and family have a good understanding and support my decision. My immediate family, luckily know how important my career is to me so understand why I’ve made my decision. 

Being of an asian background, I am always asked when I’ll have a babyNeesha

I do 100% dread events where extended family however may ask. Being of an asian background, I am always asked when “I’ll have a baby”, which sort of makes me dread the event as it forces me to confront any criticisms that they may have – that’s the worst part! I think, for me it’s just explaining my point of view, and if that’s not understood, that’s okay! Not everyone will always agree with you! I always remember that it’s me living my life and in my body, so ultimately it’s always going to be my call!

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice?

I think, within STEM anyways, there’s lots of stigma about being a woman in general! I think this very fact, means that being childfree for most or all of your life can seem very controversial, I think it’s really important that most fields are becoming more diverse and inclusive, so it’s likely the people who don’t necessarily “get it” are a very small minority! Even so, I just remember “why I started” with Medicine and Biomedical Science and that motivation in becoming a Neurosurgeon, is enough for me to just let it go over my head. I think it’s so important, especially now not to let other opinions and criticisms taint your own decisions! You are you! and more than valid in making your mind up!

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel?

Honestly, they can make me feel like I’m “missing out” or sometimes even that I’ve made the wrong decision and it would be harder to conceive later in life, should that be my choice. But, I think for me, because of the field I am in, I know that science in fact prevails over other opinions. Generally, they do make me feel a bit like I’m missing out but like I’ve said it’s my life and it’s my happiness that matters! Ultimately, opinions may be perceived to come from a good place, so more needs to be done to make people more aware of how much these topics can be perceived differently. 

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could?

I think it’s not having to worry as much and working on myself, doing what I want, travelling the world (when restrictions allow it) and building a career with 100% of my attention and effort! I think having children is wonderful, even waiting later in life with a good career built will mean that I can have more time!

Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice?

I believe that it’s just ingrained into us to follow the natural order of life, marriage, kids etc. I think being childfree for most or all of your life breaks that widely accepted timeline that everyone has adhered to. It’s really a mixture of traditions and culture for me, explaining that to someone whose whole life has been centred on these values will no doubt be difficult! It’s human nature not to like change! But! I think at the end of the day! Other people’s opinions don’t matter! It’s how you feel that counts at the end of the day. 

How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

It’s so important that we normalise being childfree by choice because women need to be able to voice their opinions whatever the matter, controversial or non-controversial. As our society becomes more inclusive with women in STEM and other higher-paying positions, I think it’s only right for women to be able to carry pride in being able to speak freely about their decisions without the fear of being judged! 

As our society becomes more inclusive with women in STEM and other higher-paying positions, I think it’s only right for women to be able to carry pride in being able to speak freely about their decisions without the fear of being judged! Neesha

 I think it’s also about just dissolving expectations that have a “one size fits all” policy, making it more known that you can’t just tell someone they “shouldn’t do something”! The boundary firmly lies, in my opinion, on accountability between driving awareness and keeping your life as private as possible; the expectations that other people have will; make you accountable to them, but it’s important to remember that you are only accountable to yourself. I think that’s the most powerful thing, we can spread awareness without feeling obliged to go into depth or share our why. 

Nicola

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice?

 I knew by 25 that I didn’t want kids. It was just never in my life plan. I’ve never really been maternal and I liked my freedom too much to give it up.

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future?

 At first, I would just laugh it off and say “oh maybe” with a forced chuckle but as I got more towards​ my 30s, I just said no and people cottoned on to the fact that I was being deadly serious.

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term?

 My last relationship of 6 years, recently broken up (boo to men) we had the conversation quite early on and luckily he too was of the persuasion of no children. The talk needs to happen earlier rather than later so you both know you’re either on the same page or if you’re not, to go your separate ways so you can both be happy.

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise?

Everyone who knows me knows I’m quite open about it and have totally accepted it so they know not to ask ha.

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice?

I honestly couldn’t care less about what other people think. It’s my life to play, they’re just spectators. I’ve only ever felt guilty once and that was down to my mum recently passing away from COVID and her never having grandchildren but I know she would want me to live my life how I want to.

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel?

When I first made the decision, I was scared of what people think because we as women are expected to lead the Stepford wife life of getting engaged, married and children. As I grew up, I realised that we don’t have to live by society norms, we live our lives how we want to. Yes there is a fear of retribution but it is not anyone else’s decision, it is our own.

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could?

 The best thing is the freedom. I am a band 6 nurse and currently working towards a specialist degree and it’s a hard slog. My colleagues who have children are stressed with it because they have little ones to look after and I’m just sailing along with the work.

The best thing is the freedom.Nicola

I could never have done it if I had kids. I also love going on holiday. I’m a big Disney nut and I love going to Florida every year, sometimes even twice a year and that brings me such happiness. I can afford to go so often because I go alone and just enjoy myself without other responsibilities. That may come off as selfish but so be it. My happiness is my number one priority. I am one of those selfish childless millennials that go to Walt Disney World and go on all the rides and eat all the food and take the experience away from the kids (as that STUPID woman once wrote on Twitter saying we are ruining the experience for her kids haha).

Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice?

I think people have a hard time with it because we’ve been conditioned all our lives that it’s what is “normal”. It’s all around us. I think it’s hard for parents to accept because I think most people who have kids would love to have grandkids and they secretly hold out hope. My step mum was like that but she’s now accepted that the only grandbabies she’ll get are my guinea pigs lol.

How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

It is so important to talk about it because it allows people to be open and honest and live without the constant questions. If that is a decision you’ve made, own it. If people want to question it, you’re not accountable to answer them. It’s your life, your body, your happiness. Let’s normalise this and talk. Talking is so good for mental health and this topic is one to tick off the list to normalise.

Angie

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice?

I’ve known since I was a teenager, to be honest. I’ve never had that maternal urge!

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future?

This gets really annoying! I am usually just polite and say something like “I won’t, I know my own mind and body.” They normally reply with “oh kids are everything” which also bugs me because of course children are wonderful, but not everyone needs them to make their life feel complete!

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term?

At the moment we both feel the same. 

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise?

It’s a mix! Some are totally cool with it and others say “oh you’re married now.. when’s the baby coming?!” Which is private and none of their business in all honesty. I usually just smile and change the subject. 

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice?

It’s difficult but most of the time I’ll say it’s my choice, no one else’s, it’s my body. I’m not maternal for wanting my own children. I’m just the coolest Aunty and best mate to my friend’s kids! 

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel?

They can make me feel like I’m failing, like I should follow the “norm” and have a child. And they make me annoyed as they don’t know if I may want kids but cannot! (I don’t but they don’t know that!)

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could?

I can travel anywhere, not have to worry about finding childcare or taking kids along. I can sleep! Lol. I can have a lie-in. I don’t have to get up for the school run. Many positives! 

Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice?

I think it’s the way society has moulded us to think women are there to bear a child to fulfil their life. When we’re not..anymore. we have career goals, travel goals..some of which can include being childless. 

How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

I agree, no one should need to justify their choices at all. At the end of the day, it’s their lives. No one else’s. I’d prefer to focus on helping the planet, recycling, eradicating types of pollutants, and focus on conservation and fitness. I don’t think bringing a child into the world to make other people happy would do any good.

Even when I say I may consider adoption one day people say ‘oh but you need to carry your own baby!’ which is so rude.Angie

Even when I say I may consider adoption one day people say ‘oh but you need to carry your own baby!’ which is so rude. There’s so may unwanted children waiting for loving homes. So I think it is really important to address this subject on being child free and happy with our judgement. Each to their own after all! Like you said we don’t say wow well done you’ve helped the earth for having a baby, so why should we say “oh you should have a baby” when it’s your choice!

Jordan

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice?

I think I’ve always kind of known. Even when I was a child I had no interest in babies and I remember when my younger brother was born I didn’t even want to hold him. I’ve always been extremely interested in animals, but never had any kind of emotion around children, that maternal instinct just never embedded itself in me. 

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future?

It’s frustrating but usually, I just say, “Thanks, but I won’t”. I’ve had some really hurtful comments from people about this but if they want to have their opinion then so be it! 

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term?

I told my fiancé on our 3rd date that I never wanted children. At the time he said that he did and so he had to think about it. I’m always very upfront about the fact that I don’t want them because I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. He came back to me and said that he was happy to not have them. 

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise?

All of my friends are extremely supportive! I think that comes from being around the same age as me. Most of the time its family members who don’t really know me that get a bit judgemental and I think my mother was a bit disappointed at first as she really wanted grandchildren, but she really thinks I’m making the right choice now. 

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice?

It can be hard, especially when people tell me that I’m ‘selfish’ and will ‘never experience real love’ because I won’t have children. I have to try and ignore it and remember that if I had a child for anyone else except myself then it would be the wrong reason to have one. 

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel?

It can make me feel like a bit of a rubbish human being, I won’t lie! There have been days when I’ve sat and thought that I’m some kind of robot because of it and maybe I am missing out on some amazing thing. It’s frustrating that it’s still considered so ‘odd’ to not want children. 

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could?

I have always loved the freedom of adulthood without children. I have a dog so I have a degree of responsibility with him and that is far more than enough. I can’t even imagine how I would find it to have to find childcare or think about another human being every second of the day. I also love that I can pretty much focus all of my income on myself and my partner. We can travel where we want, when we want and don’t have to worry about holidays or child friendly vacations.

There are so many experiences in my life that I still haven’t had and I know that I have the rest of my life to do them all, without worrying about a child alongside it. 

Jordan

Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice?

I think it’s just ingrained in society at this point. The idea that you need a child to be ‘complete’ is in so many media portrayals, TV shows, movies. I’ve seen TV shows where women have outright said that they don’t want children and then somehow the story makes them change their mind or they are forced to and they end up ‘happy’ because of it. It’s just assumed that as a woman you are born to be a mother in a way that men aren’t assumed to be born to be fathers. 

How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

I think it’s extremely important! I think allowing people to really consider whether or not this kind of commitment is for them is crucial before they have a baby just because they believe it is expected of them. Not only that, but allowing childless people to enjoy their lives without the guilt that is pushed upon them by friends and family members seems to be just fair to them. I think the more people talk about it the better and hopefully one day it will be as normal as it is to have children. 

Kathryn

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice?

I think it was when the first of my close girlfriends told me she was pregnant. Whilst I was so incredibly happy for her, I just couldn’t ever picture myself as a mum. I think I was about 26 and up until that point, I had never felt maternal and I had never felt that desire for children but definitely felt like it was expected of me as a woman. 

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future?

As I am 33 now, those people have got a lot quieter. I won’t lie – my mum was quite disappointed. I am always happy to listen to their point of view, but I am totally honest about my views and when they realise it’s not going to be a debate and my mind can’t be changed they tend to stand down. 

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term?

James and I were best friends for years before we got together and we never really had a big/serious conversation about it, we just knew each other felt the same. We’ve also always agreed that if we ever feel like our minds are changing it’s something that’s always up for healthy discussion.

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise?

They are understanding now, as I have been vocal about it for many years. I do remember being at a hen party and one of the ladies spending an extended amount of time when we could have been drinking and dancing, showing me pictures of her child and trying to change my mind. 

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice?

I think that because I am so sure of myself, I don’t let any judgement affect me. I feel so strongly about my choice, that I just don’t see “the positives” listed from parents.

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel?

An opinion from a friend or family member is easy to get past and happens less and less. I obviously don’t enjoy unsolicited opinions from colleagues, or people who just don’t really know me. It makes me feel exasperated, like they are blinkered, and they are just going along with what society expects. 

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could?

I always think the best part for me is, I really love being “DINK” – double income, no kids.Kathryn

I personally associate bringing up a child with a lot of stress, anxiety and worry. I am already a worry-some and anxious person so I am more than happy not to have any added on top. I always think the best part for me is, I really love being “DINK” (double income, no kids) – this will always give my partner and me a wonderful sense of freedom, which we appreciate. Whenever we even THINK about going on holiday, or a long weekend away we are ecstatic at the thought of never having to be limited to “the school holidays”. I know that having a child will not make me feel fulfilled, so I can only say that the happy little life I am currently living is fulfilling, and will only flourish more as I age.


Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice?

I think, especially for women my age – it was just part of society’s expectations when we were growing up. I remember being in primary school and us girls all played in the wendy house and planned on getting married and having babies. It is so ingrained in everyone to procreate like they can’t see any other way and are unwilling to explore what their life might be like if they went down a different path. Maybe they just associate having children with ultimate fulfilment? Life doesn’t have to be a box-ticking exercise. 


How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

Society seems to encourage childbearing as a necessity.
It’s almost like you don’t qualify as being a “responsible adult”, a “busy person” or “very tired” if you don’t have children. Being a parent is a special club you belong to with its own social benefits. I think it has to be said that everyone picks up the slack for parents and kids, this could be getting out of the way for a pram, being on a flight with a screaming baby, or covering for colleagues who need to leave early for school pick-up, etc. These are just expected social norms; that group of people get a little more respect by default, just because they are parents. I can understand there is a strong pull to want to be a part of that crowd like you’ve made it in life. There are no “rules” in life but the unwritten ones are – grow up, have a good job, get married and have kids. I think it should be the norm now, not to question anyone’s personal choices. It is sad that the way anyone lives when it’s slightly different to what has been done for years is looked on negatively. All we can do is talk about our feelings and be understanding whilst we live our lives unapologetically.

Amy

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice?

There was never a pinpoint moment but since I was a teenager I’ve always felt like something was missing when I thought about children and being a Mum. I’ve never had a strong maternal instinct, yeah babies are cute, but I never thought ‘oh I can’t wait to have my own’. Whenever friends and I would talk about life plans, I would say (like I think we all did) ‘yeah I’ll be married and have kids before I’m 30’ but never really thought about if I actually WANTED children, it was just something that you’re supposed to do. I always thought ‘it’s because I’m young, the maternal feeling will kick in when I’m older.’ I’m 29 this year and it still seems to be missing… 

A big factor, regardless of my personal feelings about having children, is the worry of bringing more humans into this world.Amy

A big factor, regardless of my personal feelings about having children, is the worry of bringing more humans into this world. It can be a very scary place, all of which have been highlighted even just in the first quarter of this year. Whether it’s a worldwide pandemic, racism, conflict in the monarchy, global warming, sexism, online trolling, female safety, this planet and the human race is, unfortunately, becoming more negative as time goes on and to think of how much has changed from when I was a child to now, what state is the world going to be in in another 20 years? It genuinely scares me and the thought of having to protect young people seems like a job too big for me to be honest. 

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future?

This really does infuriate me. I would never tell anyone that they will change their mind about such a huge life decision and I’ll never understand why people think that’s ok to say to someone. If they think that, fair enough, everyone can have their opinion, but to let it leave their mouths is just plain rude and obnoxious. My biggest pet peeve in life is how insensitive people can be around this subject because no one knows what’s truly going on behind closed doors. I have friends who have been desperate to be parents and have really struggled to conceive and yet people are asking them constantly when they’re having children, why they don’t have them yet etc. How is this still happening in 2021? I genuinely think that 8 out of 10 people I know have had an issue in regards to pregnancy, whether that’s struggling to conceive, having an unplanned pregnancy or miscarrying, enough people have been through something to know not to be so insensitive and yet it still happens daily. 

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term?

We’ve spoken about this subject a few times over the 7 years we’ve been together and to be honest, when we first got together it was a flat out; hell no. Now we’re almost 30 (AHHH) and we’re surrounded by friends who are having children and constant pregnancy announcements on social media, we still say not right now but never say never. I’m very open-minded and feel like even in 10 years, I’ll be 38 and yes it would probably be difficult, but I don’t know for sure it would be 100% off the table, biologically speaking. 

My partner is the eldest of 4, he knows how to change nappies and sterilise bottles and is a real natural with children – all friends and family members’ kids are obsessed with him! Whereas I am the baby of the family, I hadn’t changed a nappy until my nephew was born when I was 21, I still have no clue about anything to do with babies and genuinely feel like I would be a useless Mum. That sounds awful I know, but I think that is a huge part of why I feel more strongly to not have my own children. I think I’d be great at the emotional side and putting on birthday parties and making Christmas fun, but for the other 363 days a year, I’d really struggle! The bar was set super high by my own Mum, who I adore. She is an amazing cook, the house was always immaculate, she juggled a nursing career, she makes every occasion so special and memorable, she knew exactly what to do whenever we were ill or sad or worried and still does, we had everything we could ever need and I just can’t ever see myself ever matching that. People have told me ‘it’ll come’ as in, when I have kids, it comes naturally and you just learn on the spot but that’s not something I’m willing to risk.

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise?

I’m very lucky that I don’t have a family who put pressure on me regarding children. I know they would love it and a part of me would love to see a child we’ve created, bond with my parents, but I know that’s not a reason to have children. 

Also, my partner and I live in Australia now and all of our family are in England. If we had children here it would 1) break our family’s hearts that there is so much distance and 2) be such a struggle as we wouldn’t have that support system around us or any babysitters on tap to give us a break every now and then! I know for sure that I would be terrified as a new Mum, as I’m sure most people are anyway, but to think of going through it feeling useless and not having my Mum with me for support and guidance, there’s no way I could do it. 

My Grandparent’s shocked me actually because recently when we were catching up on FaceTime and the topic came up, I explained how my partner and I don’t feel like we will want to have children, they both said ‘we don’t blame you!’ They said although they of course love their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, they can 100% see why people would rather skip that chapter of life. They said the stress and worry never ends, even now they’re in their 80s, they’ll always worry about their kids, who are both in their 50s, hoping that they’re happy. It was refreshing to hear that because I thought they would feel the opposite. 

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice?

When I was younger, I used to keep it to myself because I didn’t have the courage to explain my point of view. I don’t like conflict and even now, sometimes I just choose not to elaborate or be completely open because some people I know can judge the decision very heavily and I am definitely the minority. At my old job, the talk of me having children, for some reason was constant. I’ve actually had a couple of experiences that some of my closest friends have no idea about and I definitely didn’t want to share with people I worked in an office with but it just fueled my anger about my previous point; no one knows what people could be silently battling and people need to tread lightly. There isn’t anything more life-changing than having children and yet people have conversations and ask questions so flippantly. I often say how confusing it is that if we wanted to adopt a dog, we have to have house checks and visits with the rehoming charities and fill out 100 forms and prove that we would look after the dog to the best of our abilities, but if we wanted children, we could ‘pop out’ 10 without question...

I can’t wait to be a dog mum. I think when I was created, I missed out on the maternal instinct for humans and doubled up when it comes to dogs. I’d happily have a house of 80! 

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel?

Some people’s words have really stuck with me;

‘The sole purpose of a woman is to create children’

‘Your life will never be truly whole until you have children‘

‘You’re going to be really lonely when you grow old’

I still can’t believe these are words that have left people’s mouth’s when I’ve told them I’m not interested in having children. It makes me really sad that there are so many narrow-minded and insensitive people in the world. I have to just brush it off and hope they find peace in their own life because I’m not sure why they feel so passionately about mine. (I don’t mean for that to sound as sassy as it does haha!) Words do stick with me though and I don’t think people realise how what they say can have a lasting effect. I have often thought ‘maybe I should have children and these feelings I’m missing will come’ but I quickly snap myself out of it. It’s not fun feeling like something is missing in my DNA because I don’t have this desperate need to have children like so many people I’m surrounded by do, but that doesn’t mean I’m unhappy. I’ve created a life I’m really proud of, I have a great relationship, a loving family, the best friends, I’m healthy, there’s not much else I can ask for and I feel proud that I’m enjoying life and not chasing something else to bring happiness. 

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could?

We were able to move to Australia from England, which I know 100% we wouldn’t have done if we were parents. It was a hard enough decision just for us two but the thought of having the added pressure and stress of children is scary. You have to think what’s best for them, you can’t keep uprooting because children need stability, it’s an added financial stress, you have to think about schools etc – it gives me a headache just thinking about it! I know so many people with families have done it so it’s definitely achievable but personally, I know if I ever had children, I would want to be around my family so they could have a strong relationship with my parents, grandparents, sister, nephews etc. 

Secondly, we are able to still be selfish with our time. We can enjoy a lazy day on the sofa, we can go for a night out, we can book a spontaneous weekend away, all without feeling guilty that our attention/time/money should be going to our children. Again, I know these are all things that are achievable while being parents.

What I’ve realised while writing this is that I don’t want to offend any parents. I keep feeling the need to apologise for my feelings or state ‘I know you can do this as a parent too’ and I’m not sure why. I wish the same respect was received when I tell people the opposite! 

Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice?

It can all be blamed on society and what we are told/taught to believe. As I mentioned, at school I’d talk about what age I will have children at, I never ever took a minute to think if I actually wanted them. It didn’t seem like a choice, every female I knew (who was older that my school friends and I) had children or had made it clear they were going to have them. My sister for example, all she ever wanted to be was a Mum. I’m so happy that she’s given me two beautiful nephews and she’s living the life she always dreamed of but I can’t relate. That doesn’t mean I don’t agree with it, it just means that I can’t see that happening for myself and that’s ok. 

For some people, especially older generations, it wasn’t a choice, it’s just what you did. Thankfully as time goes on, people are realising that they can design their life. You don’t HAVE to go to university, you don’t HAVE to get a 9-5 office job, you don’t HAVE to get married, you don’t HAVE to get a mortgage and you don’t HAVE to have children! Live life on your own terms. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, what’s the problem? The most important thing in life is to be happy and if I’m happy without having children, I don’t see why that is such a negative to some people. 

How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

It is so important to keep having these conversations. Personally, the fact there is even going to be an article on a public forum about this topic makes me feel less alone. I’m surrounded by people who have children or are super excited to have them in the future, which is great, I don’t have any negative feelings towards them, but it does bring up those feelings within myself that I feel like I’m missing something, or something isn’t right with me for not feeling the same. Selfishly, I’m really excited to hear from other like-minded women so I don’t feel like a weirdo!

There is definitely a stigma around women especially, who don’t want children and unfortunately, I don’t know how to fix this. When I really think about it, it confuses me. People are judged when they choose not to have children and then they are put down by parents for not relating or understanding. For example, I’ve been in situations where I’ve been told I can’t ever say I’m tired because I don’t know what tired is unless I’ve been up in the night with a child and I don’t know how lucky I am to be able to have a night out or to go away just my partner and I.

Sometimes I’ve felt like saying ‘stop complaining about something that was your choice’ but of course would never. They chose to have children, and unfortunately lack of sleep is part of the deal with a baby. Everyone knows that, it’s not a shock. So why make me feel guilty for not having children and being able to do things that they also did before having children?! Madness. 

Can we all just be a bit kinder? Regardless of what the situation is, everyone has an opinion, everyone has a choice and everyone is going through something, so let’s all just be kind and live life on our own terms. 

Daisy

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice?

I don’t know an exact point, I was around a lot of children growing up and I recall always being aware of how much hard work it was. As a teenager, I remember friends talking about having children and that they “couldn’t wait” to be a mum and at the time I found that so strange. I just didn’t have the same calling. I was thinking about wanting to move out of the small town I was from, go travelling, experience the world. Into my 20’s I was aware of a deeper feeling and knowing that I just didn’t want children and as time has gone on its become deeply ingrained and something I feel very sure of.

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future?

It can be quite triggering, creating anger and frustration at wondering why people can’t respect a decision I have made. In my 20’s it happened a lot, I got to the point where I would just end up smiling and say maybe, maybe not. I have just recently turned 30 and I feel like it is just getting to the point that people do actually respect my decision a lot more and seem to hear me out rather than treating it like a phase I would grow out of.

That said, I do always say who knows, maybe in 5 or 10 years’ time something may change and I may rethink my decision. But until then I should be respected that right now, it isn’t something I see in my future.

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term?

I have been in a relationship for over 5 years and I was quite clear from the start. I don’t recall the exact conversations we had but it’s a topic we kept open to revisiting whenever one of us felt we needed that.

I think that it is something that should be discussed early on in a relationship and as a couple you need to hold space for your partner to honestly share their thoughts and feelings about the subject and really if you don’t agree then to have a conversation about what that means for the 2 of you, avoiding allowing any resentment or pressure to build about the topic.

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise?

Both friends and family are supportive, sometimes people ask questions about children still (almost checking in to see if I still hold the same idea) but always in a way of discussing the topic, I don’t ever feel judged by how they approach it.

I don’t dread any kind of social events, I’m quite an open person and I’m more than happy to have a good discussion or debate about it. That said though I do feel comfortable and confident in my decision, I imagine there may be people who aren’t and we need to be respectful of peoples boundaries.

It is a personal question to ask, someone may decide to not have children, but alternatively, they may say that but actually, it’s because they are struggling to do so. If you are about to approach this topic with someone first of all why do you feel the need to do so? (politely – it isn’t your business to keep asking women about having children) And if it does come up, be sensitive.

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice?

Some people say it’s selfish to not have children which still baffles me! I think the complete opposite it. I have quite strong views on how children should be raised and I think it’s selfish for people to have children and not provide a high standard of parenting to prepare your child to become an adult who is able to really contribute to society. I believe parenting involves so much more than people anticipate, the idea is exciting but are you ready to give up your independence?

It’s ok to take time to consider the options available to you, make sure to really spend time getting to know yourself Daisy

I really try to use my social platform to share my thoughts and to educate people on topics that are deemed controversial (like choosing to be child-free), why it’s ok to take time to consider the options available to you, make sure to really spend time getting to know yourself and what resonates and feels right for you. It’s interesting the questions I get and so nice to hear feedback sometimes that people have similar thoughts but always worry about how they will be received by others. 

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel?

Disrespected. In life, we are all open to make our own decisions about what works for us and what makes us happiest.

Just because society makes me feel like the goal or norm is settling down and having children it doesn’t mean it actually is and no one should feel pressured into doing something they simply don’t want to do.

I do like children, I love cuddling tiny babies, seeing their characters develop and being able to be part of them learning their way in the world. I have 6 nieces and nephews and it’s beautiful to see them growing up and becoming little people in the world. My heart bursts with love for them. That said after a weekend together I always feel grounded in that not having children is absolutely the right decision for me LOL.

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could?

Oh my gosh, I feel that there is so much here, the top one for me is freedom – to go on holiday when I want, to go out and do things on a whim, a good night sleep every night, a peaceful home, career choices, financial freedom.

I work a full-time job, have a small side business and I’m currently studying to become a health coach. If I had children I don’t think I would be able to afford to do this or have the time to commit to working and learning so much, but luckily I do have my evenings and weekends to fill with whatever brings my happiness.

I moved to London at 19 and went straight into full-time work, but now I’m planning to do some travelling in the next couple of years, to hopefully take 6 months off and go experience the world before buying a home. Not having children allows me that freedom plus financially I have been able to save well to afford this break.

My partner and I are both very into fitness, we love spending our weekends going to do a big gym session and then relaxing in the sauna after, getting home and being able to get ready to go out for a nice dinner – I simply don’t want to give those things up.

Quality time with friends and family. I have experienced the change in my relationships with people once they have children, there is suddenly more barriers, not able to meet at certain times, can’t really speak on the phone as much, can’t do things because of not being able to get a babysitter or being able to afford one plus going out. Even down to the attention you receive, child-free friends are different to friends with children.

Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice?

I think it’s sold to use from a young age that you go to school, get a job, meet the partner of your dreams, get married, have kids then just float through life until you retire. It’s what we see in movies, books and really what the majority of people do. So when someone is doing something different, outside of the box, people are suddenly really confused why they aren’t doing ‘normal’ things and will judge that quite harshly.

I also think there is an assumption that as a woman surely you must want children? It’s what you were born to do. I agree it is in our DNA, as humans reproducing is innately a part of us but we have to be understanding that for some people it doesn’t work out that way.

How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

This is such an important topic that we normalise more, we need women to feel supported and empowered to make their own decision and not to feel any guilt or shame about it. I think this is a great initiative to open up the conversation more but to make sure people are aware to be careful how they approach the subject. Just like any subject where people don’t agree it should be approached in a soft way of seeking to understand, hearing what that person has to say and be loving and compassionate of their choices even if you don’t agree.

It isn’t an easy decision to make because most of the world does think you are odd for not wanting to have children and that can carry a very heavy burden of not believing in yourself or thinking that there may be something wrong with you – when it just isn’t the case.

We need to encourage people to remove their judgement, understand we are all able to make our own choices.

Lola

At what point did you know you wanted to be childfree by choice?

It’s probably only in the last few years that I’ve toyed with the idea of being childfree; children have never been a thing I have particularly longed for like I know a lot of people do. Over the last few years, I started to meet women in my realm who actively told me they didn’t want children and I think it opened my eyes to the idea that it was a path I didn’t necessarily have to go down. I’ve also been single for over 5 years now and have accepted the fact that I may not meet someone whilst I am still ‘fertile’.

I’ve reflected a lot and actually I love my life as it is – it may be ‘selfish’ but I love the fact that I don’t have to plan my weekends round playdatesLola

I’ve reflected a lot and actually I love my life as it is – it may be ‘selfish’ but I love the fact that I don’t have to plan my weekends round playdates, I get to spend my money how I choose, I get to go on holiday when I want and not have to consider how ‘child-friendly’ the place may be – I also don’t have to consider good schools when I decide where to live. I think when I reflected on those things, I realised I actually didn’t want a little human to come and change all that. Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE babies, I love children – I am a primary teacher so I do love spending time with children. But the thought of coming home after a stressful day’s work and having to think about a mini human’s needs before my own? It may sound utterly selfish – but it for sure is not for me. The last year has also confirmed it for me. The amount of parents I have seen on my social media struggling with their little ones – I bloody loved the fact that I only had myself to entertain and not a toddler or a child too. I honestly think those people deserve medals – it is not for everyone!

How do you deal with the people who tell you you’ll change your mind in the future?

Luckily I haven’t had a lot of people say this to me – and whilst they are right in a way that I could change my mind (I never rule anything out in life) I wouldn’t say to someone with a child/children that they’ll change their mind in the future – can you imagine? 

Also as it’s something I’m on the fence about, I would also say to these people, what if I were to have a child and change my mind then? Of course, I would love that child – but you can’t take it back can you? It’s not something to do just because all your friends are doing it and you think that babies are cute. Whilst I love babies and children – I also like giving them back to their parents. I think a lot of people forget as well, you aren’t just giving birth to a baby – you are giving birth to a human being (obviously), who is going to grow up into a child, then a teenager, and eventually an adult. Now I am 30 and still ring my mum over the tiniest things – essentially you are saying yes to a whole lifetime of having a person (or people) that depend on you wholeheartedly. Now I can imagine for a lot of people that’s ok, but I think for those people that have babies because they just think it’s the next step in life or something you ‘have to do’ to please remember that you essentially giving birth to 24-hour dependants!

How did you have the conversation with your partner / how do you discuss it with someone you’re dating long-term?

As I am single, I would probably make it very clear from the offset if things were getting serious and that if children are something they wanted in their future they would need to meet someone else who is also on board with their goals. I think a lot of men don’t realise how many sacrifices women make to have children and whilst I know there are some fantastic men that are great fathers out there, I also know there are a lot who aren’t, and I wouldn’t be willing to take that risk of potentially being a single parent if things weren’t to work out in that relationship. 

Do you find your friends and family are understanding of your choice, or do you find yourself dreading those social events where someone might try and convince you otherwise?

As I live abroad, not in the UK, luckily I miss a lot of family events, but on the whole, I think these kind of things are becoming a lot more ordinary and my family know my life goals and what I want from it. 

How do you handle judgement or stigma about being childfree by choice?

I remind myself that I am loving and kind and generous and I don’t need children to be happy. I throw it right back at them – at the end of the day, the world is being overpopulated right now and apparently, one of the worst things you can do for the environment has a baby – so normally I throw that fact back at people. Luckily I don’t have many people in my life who would throw judgement back.  

Can you explain how unsolicited opinions on your decision to be childfree by choice can make you feel?

Normally when people have unsolicited opinions it means they’re jealous or not happy with their own choice. Honestly, it would have made me upset a while back, but people will have an unsolicited opinion no matter what you do, so I stand proud by my decisions, particularly when I see a child having a tantrum in public – I do a little silent cheer to myself. 

What’s the best thing about being childfree, what freedoms has making that decision afforded you in your life and how has that fulfilled you in ways far beyond having a child ever could?

I think a lot of people think you need children to be happy – and whilst that is probably true for some people, I also see a lot of moaning, unhappy parents on social media – particularly in the past year having had lots of lockdowns.

I have managed to move abroad to two countries – something that would have been more difficult with children – there would have been a lot more things to factor in. I can go on holiday when I want, although ironically being a teacher – I still have to consider holiday dates. I get to binge watch shows in lockdown and read when I want with peace – I honestly am not sure how people deal with toddlers all day (shudder)

I am also thinking about doing a Masters to advance or change my career – something I am not sure would be financially possible if I had a child. My life fulfils me because these are all decisions I have made which make me happy. Would a child make my life any happier? I’m not sure but I’m not willing to take a gamble to see. 

Why do you think people have such a hard time accepting or believing that being childfree isn’t a phase or a knee-jerk decision but an informed life choice?

I think because we are preconditioned from previous generations that we go to school, get married/meet someone and then you have babies – no one presents you with alternative options when you’re young, so I think unless you meet people that are child-free, then maybe a lot of people get caught in that life-cycle. 

How important is it that we continue to normalise being childfree by choice and where does the boundary sit between talking about it to drive awareness and erase stigma, whilst also preserving your right to live life on your terms, unapologetically?

I think we need to normalise it because there are probably a lot of women out there that have grown up thinking they have to have children, even if it’s not something they necessarily desire. I have read parenthood regret articles where parents have actually said ‘don’t do it, unless you have a heartfelt desire to have a child’. Again as I said previously, a child is not something you can return if you don’t enjoy the experience, you can’t change your mind – so we need to normalise this idea that you can opt-out if it’s something you aren’t even sure about. 

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Can you do a article on why Woman choose to stay single, or something on why woman choose to stay single?

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