Why Childfree Couples Should be Praised

The Childfree Lifestyle

As a result of advancements & improvements in contraceptive methods, more couples are electing not to have children at all.
As a result of advancements & improvements in contraceptive methods, more couples are electing not to have children at all.
Childfree couples are often negatively judged in this pronatalist society. They are oftentimes viewed as self-indulgent, immature & irresponsible.
Childfree couples are often negatively judged in this pronatalist society. They are oftentimes viewed as self-indulgent, immature & irresponsible.
Many couples elect to be childfree for a myriad of reasons.It could range from purely socioeconomical to merely psychological.
Many couples elect to be childfree for a myriad of reasons.It could range from purely socioeconomical to merely psychological.
Even though this culture strongly asserts that every couple should have children, there are many couples who have no desire to have children whatsoever. Having children is not for every couple.
Even though this culture strongly asserts that every couple should have children, there are many couples who have no desire to have children whatsoever. Having children is not for every couple.
Childfree couples consider the pros & cons of having children before making their final decision to be childfree.They refuse to have children because of outside pressure whether it is parental, religious, or societal.
Childfree couples consider the pros & cons of having children before making their final decision to be childfree.They refuse to have children because of outside pressure whether it is parental, religious, or societal.
Many people are pressured to have children although they DO NOT want them by parents, relatives, friends, and others.They have children much to their UTTER REGRET. Childfree couples WILL NOT let OTHERS dictate THEIR lives.
Many people are pressured to have children although they DO NOT want them by parents, relatives, friends, and others.They have children much to their UTTER REGRET. Childfree couples WILL NOT let OTHERS dictate THEIR lives.
More & more couples are deciding to be childfree for personal, emotional & financial reasons. Their choice should be respected, not derided.
More & more couples are deciding to be childfree for personal, emotional & financial reasons. Their choice should be respected, not derided.
Childfree couples lead happy & fulfilled lives. Children are not instrumental to a couple's happiness.They have careers, hobbies, friends, &/or activities to occupy their time.Many have nieces/nephews/cousins & non-related children they relate to.
Childfree couples lead happy & fulfilled lives. Children are not instrumental to a couple's happiness.They have careers, hobbies, friends, &/or activities to occupy their time.Many have nieces/nephews/cousins & non-related children they relate to.

Childfree Couples Should be Lauded Instead of Being Criticized

There is a social gathering of ten married couples. A couple who has five children ask another couple if they have children. When the couple proclaim that they are childfree, the couple with the five children look puzzled and shocked, asking, "Why you don't have any children?" The childfull couple adds that ,"You are missing OUT on SUCH MUCH!" It is assumed that when a couple gets married and/or become fully committal, they will have children. In the days when contraceptive methods were not so advanced, having sexual relations inevitably led to having children. Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, there were vast improvements and more varieties in contraceptive technologies which resulted in couples choosing to have small families or no children at all.

In spite of advanced and more reliable contraceptive methods, people are inculcated from childhood that when they marry, they must children by parents, relatives, peers, society, and organized religions. Religions exhort that people should have as many children as possible. However, people choosing to be less adherent to religious doctrine and following their own wishes, people are taking their own reproductive choice into their own hands. Still people are told to have children because "they add so much to the familial dynamic."

A study done by Anne Landers in the 1970s stated that over 70% of the couples surveyed stated that if they had to do all over again, they would not have become parents. Let face it, children are expensive and it costs near a million dollars to support children from infancy through college. Children dramatically reduces a couple's freedom and changes their lifestyle.

Many couples prefer not to have their lifestyle encumbered by children and elect to remain childfree. Studies show that childfree couples are happier and have more fulfilling relationships and sexual lives than couples who have children. Studies furthermore substantiate that there is a correlation between the number of children in the family and the stress levels of the family. These same studies show that childfree couples are the happiest while parents with a brood of children are the unhappiest.

There are many reasons why couples elect to remain childfree. They are on a career fast track and believe that having children would derail their career plans. Many couples prefer to have a very free and uninhibited lifestyle and having children would interfere with that. In high school, I had a religious teacher who stated that she never wanted to have children because she and her husband loved to go out and travel a lot and she believed that having children would put a damper on her plans. Other childfree couples realize that having children involves planning and a lot of responsibility in raising them and they do not want that.

Many childfree couples think long and hard before deciding not to have children. The mantra of childfree couples is that every child should be wanted and loved, adding that if a couple does not want children, do not have them. Many couples, who have children, do so because of parental, societal, and religious pressure. They are told that married couples must have children in order to be fulfilled and happy. They are further told that children add so much to family life. These couples did not want children at all. This is obvious when you go to stores and shopping malls when you see parents screaming constantly at their children.

Most people, it is obvious,neither wanted nor enjoy their children, hoping that they grow up as quickly as possible and leave home. They are just perfunctory parents. There was a magazine article which a couple of parents stated that they could not wait to get away from their children to spend time with themselves. Studies show that childfree couples have the most enduring and stable marriages.

Many couples just want one-on-one time together to pursue intellectual and cultural pursuits such as travelling where and whenever they chose, going to fine and expensive restaurants, enjoying expensive vacations to exotic places, and attending Broadway plays. Having children are not the be all and end all to relationships. Many couples have a life and hobbies that do not revolve around children.

There is a societal assumption that if a couple elect not to have children, they are selfish and irresponsible. Not so! Couples who elect not to have children are some of the MOST UNSELFISH and THOUGHTFUL people around. They looked at all the options, seeing the pros and cons of having children and how it would affect their lifestyle and they also considered whether or not they would be good parents for their children. They take into consideration how children would affect them emotionally, psychologically, and financially. Childfree couples are also some of the MOST RESPONSIBLE of all couples in that they believe that children should be wanted and that people should not be having children for the sake of having children.

The issue of having children is not an option for everyone. The majority of people mindlessly have children which has deleterious effects on them and particularly the children. Children often alienate couples causing stress within the families. The majority of couples argue over the issue of children. Furthermore, studies show that couples who have children find it very difficult to be just a couple after the children have left home. These couples placed emphasis on their children, putting themselves in second place so it is hard for them to reconnect why they have an empty nest house.

Childfree couples do not have this problem at all as they have been connected to each other all the time. It takes courage in a pronatalist society for a couple to be childfree and to live one's life as they choose. Childfree couples know that there is life besides and outside of children and how to make their lives fulfilling by having hobbies, friends, and other intellectual and cultural activities.

© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments 81 comments

Laura Carroll 5 years ago

As the author of Families of Two and blogging at la vie childfree, http://lauracarroll.com, all I can say is Thank you for writing this piece -- there needs to many more out there like it. Not only is it challenging to go against the pronatalistic tide, I have found the the press is all too ready to focus on the stereotypes and myths associated with this choice, not on the positives...if they did, oh no, would more even people get the fact that parenthood is truly optional? Indeed! Thanks again~Laura


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To Laura Carroll: Thank you so very much for your wonderful imput!


bootsy 5 years ago

thanks for the great article. there are countless reasons for wanting to stay childfree. but for many of us, it's just the fact that we just don't want kids. people are all different, and thank goodness for that diversity. being childfree allows me to be present and active in the lives of my nieces and nephews and children of friends. i wouldn't want it any other way.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To bootsy: Thank you for your response. I applaud you. Many childfree people are kinder to nicer to children than their parents are.


EnglanE 5 years ago

One of the best childfree articles I have EVER read. The results of the studies were particularly interesting, too. Very reassuring and good to know... So sick of the smugness of 'baby bore' couples! Well done. =)


Emily 5 years ago

Unfortunately, couples without children (or with only one child) are more likely to divorce than those with two or more children. I don't see this entirely in a negative light. It might mean, for example, that people can leave highly unsatisfactory or even abusive marriages more easily if they're not worrying about the effect on the children. But to claim that couples without children are less likely to divorce is not reality.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To Emily: Your presumptive idea is totally ludricous. Studies show that childfree couples and couples with only one child are the happiest and are the least likely to divorce. I know of couples with two children or more who divorce. There is a well-known psychologist who had eight children whose wife divorced him. Emily, please use logic and reason in your argument, not presumption.


Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

Being a parent isn't for everyone, but it really is a wonderful job. My parents wanted 13... but they only had us 5. They were the happiest couple I had ever seen. They were in love and loved being parents. But I also know my aunt couldn't have children and her and her husband are still together and happy 40 years later.


Emily 4 years ago

I'm not 'presuming;' I'm using actual statistics. By the way, I myself have chosen to have only one child so I don't have any personal stake in citing these figures. Can you cite your studies? Here are a few of mine:

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-008-x/2006001/pdf/...

http://www.socio.ethz.ch/people/andreasd/publicati...

http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2007-02...

I'm actually very satisfied with my choice to have a single child. As I said before, I don't necessarily see the higher divorce rate among couples with one or no child as a disadvantage. However, making unfounded statements wouldn't help my cause.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

There is nothing wrong with having children as long as they are wanted and loved. To each his/her own. What many childfree couples object to is the constantly interferring by well-meaning parents, friends, and other associates/relatives to have children whether the couple wants them or not. Divorce can occur in many couples, both childfree and those with children. I personally know a couple who have seven children who divorced after decades of marriage while I know many childfree couples who are happily married for decades.


Emily 4 years ago

My own parents, with two kids, stayed in a trainwreck of a marriage 'for the sake of the children' (notice how no one ever says 'staying together for the child) until they finally divorced in a War of the Roses affair after 25 years of marriage. I'm not really sure that staying together really benefited anyone, including my brother and me, but it strikes me that if they hadn't had children or had only one, they could have gotten themselves out of their misery a lot earlier than they did. So I can't view the higher divorce rate among childless/one-child couple as a tragedy in every case.

About childfree couples being pressured to have children... I know how they feel. Couples/individuals with only one get the same thing, plus the guilt trip that we're going to raise a spoiled brat and/or deprive our existing child of a sibling. Hm... maybe those criticizing my choice to have only one child should listen to my seven-year-old niece, who declared in front of the whole family that she would prefer to be an only child because she had an 'annoying brother and demanding sister.' Kids...


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To emily: You have made many intelligent points in your comments. I totally concur with your premise that not only childfree couples are discriminated against by this pronatalist culture, single-child couples are also discriminated against. In this pronatalist culture, it seems that the more children, the better which is NOT necessarily the case.

There is nothing wrong with only children. Only children have individualized time with their parents that children in multichild families do not have. Only children do not have to compete with siblings for parental attention. Studies also show that only children have the highest self-esteem because they are not constantly compared to siblings nor are subjected to the gameplaying and mindgames that children with siblings often have to endure. In fact, only children are the most independent and creative of all birth orders. You have made some excellent points. Always feel free to stop by and add to the discussion. I welcome your input very much. God bless.


Emily 4 years ago

Thank you. Yes, I know that people with one child or no children are 'bingoed' a great deal, but despite that, I always laugh and say at least I'm not in a place like Communist Romania where I would be forced to breed at least four children for the state! And unlike gays today, for example, or interracial couples in the past, nobody is stopping people who only plan on one (or no) child from marrying under the law.

My daughter is happy, as far as I know, at being an only child; at least she's never said anything like she wants a sibling the way my niece said she wanted to be an only child. I also read a book about having an only child, written by a mother of an only herself, that said you shouldn't have other kids for the sake of your existing children because they aren't going to be the ones raising the new baby.

If I ever decided to expand my family, I've made it clear that a.) I'd do so through adoption, and b.) it would be because I wanted to do so, not my daughter, my parents, cousins, neighbours, man down the street, etcetera. I also have to say that while previously my mother really felt I should have at least two children, she's now come on board with me only having one. Part of it is because now I'm getting too old to have biological children, and partly because she already has three other grandchildren. Then again, in her day, she said people with only one child were either pitied or considered strange. So I like to think attitudes have changed somewhat since then...


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To Emily, I am so happy that you stopped by. Even though more couples are opting for one child, the stereotypes and the misperceptions about only children still exist. Of course, onlies now consist of 20% of the population and are rising, this is still a sibling society where the multichid family is praised while single-child families are often derided. Hopefully with the rise of single-child and childfree families, the atavistic stereotypes about the two latter families will vanish! Nice to hear from you again and God bless you and your family!


Emily 4 years ago

Here is an essay I wrote about my decision to have one child. I wrote it a couple of years ago, so it's a little "outdated," but I thought I would print it here.

Having an Only Child

The other day my mother and I were sorting through my daughter’s old baby clothes. We put them in two piles, one for things she could wear in the upcoming months and another for those she had already outgrown. We debated what to do with the second pile of clothing: should we give it to my brother and sister-in-law, who are considering having a third child; send it out West to my newly married cousin and his wife; or donate it to the Salvation Army or some other charity? For now we’re keeping it on hold. One option that didn’t come up, though, was saving it for me in case I have another baby. It suddenly struck me: my daughter Gabriella Michelle will probably be my only child.

I didn’t deliberately set out to have only one child. Over the years my ideas on family size have changed. When I was young, I wanted four children, just like my mother’s family of origin with her, my aunt and their two brothers. After I got engaged in college, my former fiancé and I pictured a family of two children, a girl and a boy. But eventually I came to like the notion of an only child. This preference was driven home to me by various babysitting experiences and, more recently, by an outing to the park with my daughter, my brother and his two kids. I remember desperately trying to keep Gabriella and my nephew, both fourteen months, in my field of vision as they scampered off in different directions while my brother tended to my niece. To make the story short: I wished I were a bird (most birds have a 360-degree field of vision). I realize I can’t handle more than one small child at once.

An alternative to having an only child is waiting six years or so for when my daughter is no longer so dependent on me. Given that I’m 43 years old now, however, there’s a good chance I’m either infertile or, in the event of a pregnancy, at higher risk of problems like miscarriage or Down syndrome. In the case of the latter, for instance, I’d rather not find myself pushed into choosing between having an abortion and bearing a Down syndrome child. There are other options besides the so-called “natural way,” namely reproductive technologies and adoption. I’ve never seriously considered the first: while I’m by no means against reproductive technologies, what might be appropriate for, say, a childless couple in their thirties would not feel right for me, a woman over forty with a biological child.

On the other hand, I have looked into adoption more closely. But my chances of expanding my family this way also seem slim. Foreign adoption is expensive, not only in terms of fees for the process itself but in wages lost from time taken off work to travel to the country in question. In addition, my age (and my husband’s; he’s 56) and the fact I already have a biological child would probably place us at the bottom of a prospective adoptive parents list. I’ve explored domestic adoption as well. Unfortunately, most of the kids available here in Canada have emotional and/or developmental problems due to neglect, prenatal exposure to alcohol, etcetera, and I don’t personally feel capable of raising a child with these kinds of issues, though I greatly respect parents who do, like a cousin of mine who adopted a girl with fetal alcohol syndrome. On one website I examined there was a single child I would have considered adopting – a beautiful East Indian girl with a purely physical handicap – but lo and behold, the next time I checked the site she was gone, placed with a family. And I’m sure that if I had applied to take her I would have been competing with other families viewed as more suitable than mine, for the reasons mentioned above.

So now I basically have come to the conclusion that I’ll probably have only one child in this lifetime. Most of the time, I think of the positives in this. They include being able to spend more time with my daughter, meeting with friends, and at solitary endeavours such as writing this article. The extra time with my daughter has created a special closeness between us (not that parents with two or more children can’t be close to each one of them). For me, it’s not so much the “quality time” that I cherish but rather the simple things like singing with her as I do the dishes, carrying her around the neighbourhood in my “pouch” (Baby Bjorn), and reading her the stories she loves. I also appreciate the fact I don’t have to deal with trying to divide myself between two small children who both need my attention, worrying about money, or breaking up sibling squabbles. Don’t get me wrong: I admire people like my brother and sister-in-law who can handle two or more small children at one time. I just don’t know if I could do the same.

With any decision, whether it’s living without children, having only one child, or reproducing a la Michelle Duggar, there are pros and cons. On the rare occasion I’ll get the urge for a second baby, small and sweet like my little girl. My biggest questions, however, have to do with my daughter herself. Am I harming her by depriving her of a brother or sister? My mom once told me the good thing about siblings is that they are still there when your parents are gone. One book called siblinghood the longest-lasting bond. On the practical side, if I become incapacitated in my old age will my daughter resent not having someone else to share the burden of caring for me with? Overall, though, I’m confident she’ll be fine. I’ve researched the academic literature on the effect of being an only child versus having siblings, and it’s been fairly reassuring: some studies show only children do better than their peers; others suggest they suffer disadvantages; and still more find no difference between the two groups.

Of course my lifestyle is not for everybody. Though I don’t like societal attitudes that label parents of onlies as “selfish” or only children as “spoiled brats,” I don’t have any problem with the two-child family being the norm. And I can’t entirely rule out the possibility that I might have another child, by adoption. But in all likelihood I will remain a mother of one, and I am content with this.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To Emily, I applaud your decision and may God bless and keep you and yours.


Express10 profile image

Express10 4 years ago from East Coast

This is a very good article on a subject that many feel strongly about. I have never been pregnant and will never be by choice as a young adult. There are many other things in life that I wish to focus on and it irritates me greatly when I see people who cannot afford to be independent having a child or several. Voted up and interesting.


Sawfishlagoon profile image

Sawfishlagoon 4 years ago from Shallow, brackish water

What happened to live and let live?


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Totally agree with your premise, Sawfish! There is still underlying prejudice in this society against the childfree and those who elect to have one child. There is a hubber who portend that parents who have one child are irresponsible! Can you imagine? You are right-live and let live!


Child-free for life 3 years ago

To the world; you're welcome.


Peanutritious profile image

Peanutritious 3 years ago from Cheshire, UK

gmwilliams, this hub is excellent, i applaud you. I couldn't agree more. I'm sick of the 'you're too selfish to have children brigade', it's so patronising. People that make the decision not to bring a child into the world have probably thought long and hard about their decision and are actually being unselfish. In my years of teaching, i have worked with a huge amount of kids with parent's that couldn't care less about them, there are far too many bad parents out there. Why can't people who love children help the unwanted children out there by adopting them? Why the great need to produce your own? Is it so they look like you, do all the things you're frustrated that you didn't do yourself, carry on your gene pool? I adore my nieces and nephews but am happy to remain childless myself.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Peanutrious, TOTALLY AGREE. People who are childfree thought long and hard regarding their decision. They are totally unselfish regarding their actions. They used their brains and refused to go along with the societal pronatalist consensus.

There are people who mindlessly have children and they are perfunctory parents at best. Many people have children because they were inculcated by parents and other authority figures to have children. There was a study done in the 1970s which revealed that over 50% stated that they WOULD NOT have children if they had to do over again. Yes, there are many perfunctory parents out there. At least, the childfree couples are THINKING people who refuse to follow the pronatalist crowd.


Rain Defence profile image

Rain Defence 3 years ago from UK

Why should child free couples be praised? Whether they have children or not, they shouldn't be treated any differently to couples that do have them.


HattieMattieMae profile image

HattieMattieMae 3 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

Well I believe that people choose to have children or not have children. That is their choice, and of course some inbetween are unable to have them. While some people deliberately don't take precautions. This is still a choice to have children. Of course you know the responsibilities that come with having sex. So really if a couple chooses to be with out children and they are happy, that doesn't make people with children any less happy. There are so many different couples, and reasons why people have children or don't have children. So of course it is worthy of praising all couples whether they have children or not. It just depends on who you are, and your choices and what you determine is happiness.


izettl profile image

izettl 3 years ago from The Great Northwest

If you don't have children, you don't know what you're missing so I suppose you would be happier. I was happy not having sex for 21 years as a virgin, but then I finally did and realized what I was missing. Happiness, in my perspective, has nothing to do with kids, etc. You will find studies to back up either position of kids or no kids.

I grew up believing I would never have kids- had no desire to. I got the career I wanted and didn't feel that ultimate high or satisfaction I thought I would. I also believed I did not want to contribute to the population and the world isn't heading where I'd like it to be. Then I got my head out of my ass and realized I am the exact responsible type of person who should have kids. There are so many idiots having a bunch of them that I started thinking I may be able to add to the population of people who make a positive difference in the world. So I took a chance when I was in my 30's- now I have two at 37. Damn is it ever hard sometimes, but you won't find a marathonner stop running because it's hard. They keep going because it's soooo worth it. After Christmas with my kids...nothing like it. Nothing like giving and receiving their love, learning about life myself through them and teaching them to be wonderful human beings. Most important job on earth, but like I said before if I never had them I believe I'd still be happy, but now that I have them can't imagine my life being fulfilling without them.


vibesites profile image

vibesites 3 years ago from United States

It just depends on the couple's mutual preferences. If both of them love kids and really really want to have a child/children on their own, it's fine. If they don't want their marriage by encumbered by children and child-rearing, then it's ok as well. Whatever their decisions are, as long as they make every married couple happy and fulfilled, then let them be.


Pinkchic18 profile image

Pinkchic18 3 years ago from Minnesota

Great piece here, you've got some great points. I myself have grown to hate the stereotype that as soon as one gets married, it's time to badger them about children. Awful.


NornsMercy profile image

NornsMercy 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

As soon as I got married, everyone was like, "So when are y'all gonna get started baby-makin'?!" (Okay, so maybe that's how it sounded in my head.) I wondered how someone could say anything at all about my sex life with a straight face. It kind of grossed me out, to be honest. Me and my husband think it would "be cool" and we want to "see what it would be like", but we can't exactly back out if we change our minds... thanks for writing this. People look down at me and call me selfish for not wanting kids even though I don't think people who have them are any less of human beings. Voted up and awesome/interesting.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 3 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

I never wanted children for many different reasons; I was very happy with my partner; loved my job; had money to spend on things I wanted and mostly I had time for me and my partner. Then my partner told me he wanted children and I avoided the subject finding the very idea haunting. I avoided the subject for years and years; then I told my still very muched loved partner we'd give it ago till Christmas. That was last year. I now have a 7 month old daughter, that I adore so much and the relationship with my partner of 18 years (we met very young) is better than ever. We are so happy and I now understand why parents want other adults to be parents: it's not about the diapers or the sleepless nights (mine sleeps right through so I haven't had those) it's about her first smile; her fits of giggles; the way she floats in the bath; her delight at something new and mostly they way she looks at you: pure love.

I understand both sides and it's not about surveys or satistics, it's about want you want from your life. I never bothered about things people said before I had my daughter and I still don't. If your happy, tell them your happy.

Stop looking for reasons why not to have a baby based on other peoples life. Live your own and be proud of it.

I love being a mother and I never thought I would, but I would never try and influence another persons life in such a way.

I wish you all the best :)


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carlajbehr 3 years ago from NW PA

One of the greatest gifts, a wise woman once told me, was the gift of understanding. What this means to me is that we respect the life decisions of other people. Some of the most wonderful couples I know are childless (some by choice, others not so...), but they are friends and family and even my own children. No one should ever make another feel bad about a decision they have made regarding whether to raise children or not. In fact, there are some parents who shouldn't be parents sad to say. It is often difficult to write a hub that might bring criticism, I respect you for speaking your piece. Happy New Year!!


ZipperConstantine profile image

ZipperConstantine 3 years ago from United States

I thought the article was good in that it brings to light fact that responsible people who do not want children are not having them. That is the way it should be. Not everybody should have children for all the reasons you mentioned. That is good, too many children are born to parents who do not want them or are thrown into a responsibility they are not ready for.

I want to add that a couple in a stable relationship who have the money and patience it will take to raise a child can be so blessed by them. There is noting more rewarding than to watch a little piece of yourself grow up. I love children with all my heart, they never cease to amaze me.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To all, thank you for your insightful, intelligent, and well thought out responses. It is greatly appreciated. This is one of the reasons why I LOVE writing for Hubpages. This is such a beautiful and intelligent community.


redtailross profile image

redtailross 3 years ago from North Beach, Maryland

I loved this post, as a wife of 11 years, we will not be having children, In fact we have made sure that is not possible, to take the "Surprise" out of it (if you know what I mean). But I wanted to add another view of why people may choose to be childless... we are a military family and have endured many deployments of late which in my opinion is no place to bring up a child. We both come from two parent families. The military can not provide the security that he will always be around to assist in the upbringing etc... Also I am an Expat, my home country is Britain and I didn't want to bring up my child without the support of my parents... or of his parents. We have never been based near family whether overseas or stateside, which I feel is (Family) is a HUGE part of a child's upbringing.

His 20 Yr Air Force career is our life choice by the time we are out we will be too old for children and we do not regret that one bit.


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ravenphotography 3 years ago from Memphis, TN

I loved this article. I have made the choice to not have children and have taken the proper precautions to make sure that it doesn't happen. I have been working on getting my own business started and right now a child is not something that is needed right now. Another major factor is today's society. It just isn't any place to try and raise a child. The economy sucks, I can barely make ends meet, and to even think about having a child? No way. My mother has finally stopped pestering me about a child and realized that I am actually being responsible about all this.

I have thought about the fact I may meet someone who I want to have children with. I have realized that on top of all the reasons I don't want children I also realized that I don't want just anyone donating to the gene pool. I have yet to find someone I would want to have children with. Yes I have people I don't mind dating and hanging out with but not someone I would want to have children with.


alwaysamber 3 years ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this article. My significant other and I do not have children, yet. We are in our late 20's and although he and I do plan to have children, we are not planning at this very moment. I think that society looks down on you if you aren't married and have children by a certain age, which is ridiculous. When people ask us when we are getting married and having kids, I want to reply, "When you give us the money for a wedding and to raise children, then we will proceed."


yoginijoy profile image

yoginijoy 3 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

Thank you for addressing this topic. As a member of a child free couple, I am harassed constantly about when we will propagate. It is so refreshing to hear someone else explain the reasons. Another one is simply that those of us that are already here realize we need to work on ourselves before we bring others. I mean this spiritually.


alwaysamber 3 years ago

I agree with the comment above. I feel the exact same way.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

See, there YOU go. You and your significant order are smart to plan and strategize this way. So many people do not and that is why we have the social problems we do presently.


wileyspeaks profile image

wileyspeaks 3 years ago from Auburn, Indiana

It is an interesting hub and I thank you for presenting the other side of this debate. I do have friends that do not have children yet into their 30's and are happy with their lives. I also know ones that do not want children and never did want to have children. I find that totally their choice and although it wasn't my choice I don't have any problem with it or feel the need to question people about it. I get it the freedom and I was single for a long time for most of my 20's and dated my husband for 2 years before we got married and started our family. However, I feel like child free couples and couples with only one child, that I know look down their noses at me and I only have 2 but always wanted 3-4. I have always wanted a houseful of kids and laughter and big family holidays so I don't see why me choosing to have more then one child or children at all should be considered irresponsible. I believe to each their own and I completely see how it would be hurtful to couples with no children that others feel the need to be so intrusive and judgmental. Great article.


wabash annie profile image

wabash annie 3 years ago from Colorado Front Range

What an insightful and excellent Hub you have written! So many couples give in to peer and family pressure to have children when their preference is to remain childless for a variety of reasons. Thanks so much for presenting this point of view so well!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To Wabash Annie, you are quite welcome indeed.


lesliebyars profile image

lesliebyars 3 years ago from Alabama

I love this hub. I didn't have any children with my first husband and my fiancé and I do not want any children of our own. He has 2 from a previous relationship. I love them like they are my own. If I could change one thing it would be that the mother of the daughter not feed her negative information about her father. In the past, I have felt a lot of pressure to have children but, I have pretty much told everyone in my family that I don't plan on any children. I voted up and awesome.


Bremma profile image

Bremma 3 years ago from USA

I empathize with what you are saying. The truth is, people are judgemental. It would not matter if you had kids or not. People would find other things to say about how you are living your life. Of course there is no getting away from the parents who want grandchildren. To that, I say that we are all born to live our own lives. We are not our parents extensions and cannot make choices according to what they want. We have to live our lives, not them. Anyone else that has issues with your choices I would have to ask what is up with them? Likely they regret their own choices and see your life as free and easy. Few people have the kind of marriages in which they are content enough with each other that they don't need to introduce new lives into the picture. Enjoy what you have and don't feel that you owe anyone any explanations about your choices. The one thing I would ask though, is why does it bother you so much that others question you? Do you secretly feel guilty for not wanting children? Do you feel there is something wrong with that decision? Are you possibly questioning your own decision? If you were so sure about your decision, I would think that what these other people had to say would not matter to you in the least. What is the thing that is not quite right in your life to make you care? Just some food for thought! There is no right or wrong way to live, just the way that is right for you. Good luck to you!


A Driveby Quipper profile image

A Driveby Quipper 3 years ago

What difference does it make? It is all personal choice, so leave it in that arena. Why go on this crusade when there is a world hunger problem?


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 3 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

"Most people, it is obvious,neither wanted nor enjoy their children, hoping that they grow up as quickly as possible and leave home."

Holy smokes. What study are you going to cite for this one? Were they working with a valid statistical sample??

"The majority of people mindlessly have children which has deleterious effects on them and particularly the children."

Again, any external support for this?

"At least, the childfree couples are THINKING people who refuse to follow the pronatalist crowd."

I'm pretty sure there are thinking people who are happy to be parents as well. This is very antagonistic.

This entire hub is about huge, sweeping generalities going in the opposite direction of those about which you're apparently irritated. You've swung too far to the other side and are overcompensating with insensitive statements of your own. I understand your frustration, but some of your words actually seem to be attacking those who actually wanted to have a family. If your entire premise is "let people live their lives" then you seem to be violating your own premise.

I very much agree with Gabriel Wilson's statement below:

"Stop looking for reasons why not to have a baby based on other peoples life. Live your own and be proud of it."

As a side thing, you haven't even bothered to acknowledge that many couples who do not have children are dealing with the emotionally devastating reality of infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss. Can you not see how insensitive it is to say that couples who do not want children should be "praised" while implying that there's something wrong with those couples who actually want them? What about those who were abandoned by their families because their parents got pregnant, later regretted it, and walked away? Should these parents be praised as well? You have made many arguments here for why not to have children as if you're talking the rest of us into abandoning our child-rearing desires. In my opinion, this should offend those of us who were once children. You've essentially said that we weren't worth it. I can tell you that my children are very much worth every sacrifice my wife and I made to have them. I would never presume to tell you what you should do with your life. I agree that those people are being insensitive and judgmental. Why would you then pick up their torch?


A Driveby Quipper profile image

A Driveby Quipper 3 years ago

Oh. Good answer.


Anna Sternfeldt profile image

Anna Sternfeldt 3 years ago from Svenljunga, Sweden

Interesting hub and lots of input :-) Something that I think should be added to the discussion is that the world is overpopulated and so we should consciously try to reduce the amount of people on earth, which means having less children. We have misused the earths' resources and we need to turn the tide.

I know a married couple who decided to not have children and instead spending time trying to make the world a better place, which I believe is a good deed.


andromida profile image

andromida 3 years ago

Having or not having children depends on the couples own decision, not one else's. We should be be conditioned by the society and the culture.very interesting hub and your points are well understood.I've tweeted it to my friends.Thank you.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Quite welcome indeed!


Annie Colbert, London 3 years ago

An interesting debate. I think having children is fine as long as people understand that they are individuals who will grow up to want their independence. They are not forever indebited to us because we happened to rear them. So many young couples have children under the assumption they will 'have somebody to take care of them when they are old.' Sadly, this is not always the case. I'm a 67 year old woman living in a nursing home. My three grown-up children all have their own families now and not one of them came to see me at Christmas. I won't complain as I've had a good life, but the strange thing is, my lovely friend who shares the opposite room never married and is childless. Yet ironically the two of us have ended up lonely in our old age despite choosing very different life paths. Yes children are a blessing and the joy they bring is wonderful, but it is a rocky path and not all sweetness and light. If you want children, fine. But understand you can't live your lives through them forever. Keep some part of you for yourself so that when they fly the nest you are not at a loose end. I wish I'd worked harder on my relationship with my husband but I put the kids first and now look where I am.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

I am extremely impressed by the reasoning and response of sonfollower above. I had an almost identical reaction when I read this post, but did not have the time to respond carefully and in detail and I do not believe in simply leaving short negative comments, so I said nothing at the time.

gm , you have some useful points and suggestions to make, and it is unfortunate and wrong for people to press the necessity of children upon those who choose a life without children, but your Hub really is an angry and antagonistic tirade.

I am used to calmer, more reasoned discussions and arguments from you. I think these issues can be productively discussed without so many negative and sweeping generalizations.


Ellen K 3 years ago from Dallas area, but really does it matter

While I certainly would not insist that those who don't desire children go out and breed, I do think there's a certain level of selfcenteredness that can come along with the choice not to have children. These are often the first groups to want school taxes lowered. These are also often the demographic groups that don't have a problem with kicking economic problems onto the next generation.

As a parent of three grown children, I won't say that it wasn't difficult to raise three children. There are many things my husband and I have learned to defer for the benefit of our children. We were the ones who stayed up with these children through childhood illnesses and teen angst. Treated with love, they will return love. Down the road, who will take care of these childless seniors? The State? Do you really trust that option?


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Ellen, there are childless people who have others who love and will take care of them in their old age whereas there are PLENTY of older people WITH CHILDREN who routinely place them in nursing homes and/or otherwise, refuse to have anything to do with them. Having children is not guarantee that you will be taken care of in your older years. Let's be realistic regarding the issue. If one has children, it should be because they are wanted and valued for their own unique beings, not to be used as security blankets and insurances. The latter is very egregious indeed.


andromida profile image

andromida 3 years ago

There should be a little correction on my previous comment.I wanted to say that "we should not be conditioned by the society and the culture". Thank you.


mariahbernt864 profile image

mariahbernt864 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

A few typos, but overall a very well written article! I just had my first and I am 20 years old. I know I'll be missing out and this article only reinstates that, but I'm ready for the ride and a lot of people aren't, so I'm glad you are letting those people know it's okay if they aren't ready for children yet!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you Mariah, corrected the typos.


minikitten profile image

minikitten 3 years ago from England

Excellent hub, it's so hard to find people open to the idea of voluntary childlessness, especially amongst the (non)working class where many women have children straight from school (no offense intended, white collar workers just tend to be more open-minded). I find a lot of people use the argument; "but who will replace you when you die?" clearly forgetting the overpopulation problem the world is already facing. But I think you've hit the nail on the head when you say how responsible it is to be child-free, personally I know I'd make a terrible parent; I'm on a low-income, I have a very short temper, sleep til the afternoon and my house resembles a dusty bombsite; I wouldn't have wanted to grow up in that type of environment so therefore I wouldn't bring up a child in it either. Some people just cannot understand the logic in that, thanks for creating a hub I can point them too.


LauraGT profile image

LauraGT 3 years ago from MA

Interesting hub. I've always wondered at how such a huge majority of the population chooses to have children, given the financial burden and amount of impact it has on adult lives. I'm the happy mother of two children and would not change a thing, but I do see the benefits of not having children and fully support people's decisions not too. I will say that in furthering the cause to help people understand why some people don't have children , I would caution about making some assumptions about parents - for example, just because parents covet some alone time or look forward to time when their children are more independent does not mean that they shouldn't be parents or don't love their children. Both decisions, to have or not to have children, should be respected.


gypsumgirl profile image

gypsumgirl 3 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

Thank you for this interesting hub. Having lived child-free for over 15 years with my husband, I appreciate the fact that there are, indeed, people out there who understand the reasons behind the choices we have made about children. I feel that more so than not, others see our choice to live as a family of two as strange or put the decision in a negative light. It was refreshing to see that we aren't "bad" for doing what we're doing with our lives.

Thanks again!


tanniew78 profile image

tanniew78 3 years ago from Montana

Im not sure about child free people being praised, but I believe that a person shouldn't be ridiculed for their personal choice. There are pros and cons to both sides of this issue. If I had my way, I would not have had kids. I love mine, but they are way too much for my nerves sometimes. I love that I can go to work and be child free for about 9 hours out of the day! School is amazing!

However, there is also the flip side.... lil kid snuggles. Giggles floating through the air from another room, hot chocolate and coloring parties.... It is fun to have kids but very hectic and messy.

I commend those that recognize they dont want children. There are far too many people that have kids that dont want them and something tragic happens. There is nothing wrong with not having kids.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

The word praised was an issue of pure semantics. However, I staunchly believe that those who elect to be childfree should be respected regarding their choice.


lindsay123 profile image

lindsay123 3 years ago from Philippines

really interesting..this issue would depend much on the culture of someone.. in our place.. this would be close to impossible.. Surely, there are a lot of advantages of having no children in a couple, but still a family would be best..by family we say a mom, a dad and children


ysingh 3 years ago

I think its fine if some one wants to be childfree ofcourse they have great time for themselves and also its cost effective they need not think about future savings for their childrens, their education and wedding.

But on the contrary when we have a child its totally a new and wonderful experience specially for mothers. I would still suggest at least 1 child should be there.


lindsay123 profile image

lindsay123 3 years ago from Philippines

I would agree with ysingh, at least a couple should have 1 child...


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To lindsay and ysingh, a couple should have children only if THEY WANT TO. No couple should be COERCED into having children. Parents who have unwanted children are oftentimes perfunctory parents and the children KNOW it! Many UNWANTED children are abused both physically, verbally, and emotionally. They are also throwaway children i.e. children who have to leave home because their parents are tired of them and/or do not want them. Every child should be wanted and if a couple does not want children, their decision should be respected.


MrsBkay profile image

MrsBkay 3 years ago from Southern California Desert

hey, more babysitters :)


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 3 years ago from Hawaii

You're right - our society really pressures people to have kids. People just assume that, because I'm a young woman, my main life goals are to get married and have children. Maybe I'll have kids one day an maybe I won't, but I want to feel like it is really, truly my choice and I won't be looked down on for a lack of kids. Voted up, awesome, and interesting!


nisargmehta profile image

nisargmehta 3 years ago from SURAT, Gujarat, India

Wow, Very insightful article!!! I am speechless.

[Smiles]


chip1775 profile image

chip1775 3 years ago from Atlanta

I see only one problem with this. The only people who actively choose to not have children are both disciplined and intelligent. If this becomes common practice then only the stupid and undisciplined will reproduce. Do you see the problem with that? I'm not saying that only stupid people have children, only that stupid people will never make the decision to control themselves.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Come now, Chip, that is not nice. There are many intelligent people who have children.


chip1775 profile image

chip1775 3 years ago from Atlanta

Read the whole comment. I'm thinking in extremes and long term trends if we adopt the policy of the hub.


Branko 3 years ago

interesting point chip1775 and funny though! ;)


MrsBkay profile image

MrsBkay 3 years ago from Southern California Desert

eh, I think people should be praised for their talents whether or not they have children. I always wanted to get married and have children early (because of a personal reason). I met my husband when I was 18. We were married when I was 21 and we had our first child when I was almost 23. (My husband is two years older than me). We were married during Spring break in our last year of junior college and had our son in our Junior year at the University. I don't think either side should be made a villain and I do not think we should judge anyone else's decisions or mistakes.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Of course well stated, MrsBkay.


RavenBiker profile image

RavenBiker 3 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA.

Reading your Hub and all the comments, one thing is true: no one family model, studies and statistics that support any family model or any opinion about them is the right model for all people.

The nature of people is to have comfort zones and those who exist outside ot them are frowned upon, discrininated against or out right hated.

Thanks for attempting to dispell some bigotry!


iguidenetwork profile image

iguidenetwork 3 years ago from Austin, TX

Both couples with children/without children should be praised. :)


Glass-Jewelry profile image

Glass-Jewelry 3 years ago from Presezzo, Italy

Hello gmwilliams,

We saw a large participation in commenting on this hub, but I understand that we can not determine in any way if they are right those who have decided to have children or those who have decided not to.

It would be interesting to know the opinions of those who have posted, to see how important is the selfishness that is present in each of us, in expressing their opinion on this issue.

Selfishness or altruism are fundamental elements of our personality.

How much weight they have in the decisions and behavior of couples who have children or those who do not?

Do they take the same attitude towards those who are not their children, but simple people who are outside of their family circle?

Marco


ravenphotography profile image

ravenphotography 3 years ago from Memphis, TN

I can say when I posted my comment in favor of not having children, I did weigh in my current level of selfishness. Which at the moment I would say I am pretty selfish but I am also taking into concideration of how well can I care for a child right now. I am a new business owner and most of my time is devoted to that. I don't think bringing a child into this world while I am in the startup phase still is fair to the child or myself.

As far as other peoples children, I am nice to other children if I know their parents well. If I meet random children then it's usually a smile a wave and small conversation if it's a chatty toddler.

I don't dislike children I have just realized that children for me is not a great idea, especially right now or in my past and I don't regret one bit my decision not to have kids. I really wish more people would plan children. I really think there are to many 'oops' babies and not enough people mentally ready to care for these children.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Totally agree with you, Raven, a multillion percent. I would also like to add that you are being thoughtful, not selfish one iota. More people should think and plan before they have children. There are people who are not ready for children yet they have them with otften deleterious effects on their children.


ravenphotography profile image

ravenphotography 3 years ago from Memphis, TN

Couldn't agree with you more. The effects of people having 'oops' babies is evident all over the media. How many desperate mothers took their frustration out on their children? How many children from homes of ill prepared mothers and no fathers wind up in the streets? In gangs? I live in a fairly large city and I see it every day. Children of mothers who don't want them, didn't plan for them but now have them, being mistreated, abused, if not down right ignored and carried around like dead weight. It's really sad honestly.


Lance Eaton profile image

Lance Eaton 3 years ago from Peabody, Massachusetts

The book, Complete Without Kids is also a good resource (http://byanyothernerd.blogspot.com/2012/10/booked-... and I liked that this article avoided the backhanded insults that some articles on the topic tend to have (like the one I talk about here: http://byanyothernerd.blogspot.com/2013/02/obnoxio...

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