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Childfree by Choice

Updated on July 8, 2010

Childfree is the active, cognizant choice to never have children. Childfree individuals have existed for as long as humanity -- you likely have at least one friend or relative who never had children. The prevalence of the childfree “movement” is only now gaining rapid attention, which is why it suddenly seems as though a large number of people are suddenly abstaining from reproducing. In fact, practicing “childfreedom” is nothing new, and millions of people have lived long, productive lives without ever giving birth by choice.

Why Choose to be Childfree?

The childfree community cites a myriad of various reasons for abstaining from having children. Some have a strong desire to focus on their education or career, while others want to travel the world. Some choose not to have children because they have a hereditary illness or disorder that they do not want to pass on. Some simply do not want the responsibilities of raising and caring for a child, while others just don’t like children, period. There are dozens of reasons for choosing to be childfree, each equally as valid as the next, and each as varying as the reasons why people do choose to have children.

Why Bother Getting Married if You’re Childfree?

Because being childfree has nothing to do with marriage and relationships. Indeed, most childfree people do marry, go to work, own homes and do everything else that couples with children do. The only difference is that instead of coming home to their children every night, childfree couples choose to focus their time and efforts on other things. The myth that people should marry solely for the purposes of reproducing is silly and completely archaic.

Isn’t it a Sin Not to Have Children?

That depends on your personal beliefs and interpretations. Nowhere in Christian or Judaic literature does it state that we are all required to give birth to children. While the Bible does say, “God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth,” (Genesis 1:28), it says nothing about the sinfulness of never having children. If it did, what would become of those couples who want children, but cannot have them? Are they sinners, too?

Besides, calling it a “sin” not to have children assumes that we are all practicing the same faith. There are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists who choose to be childfree -- and the beliefs vary significantly between all backgrounds.

Childfree vs. Childless

Many confuse the concept of being childfree with being childless -- that is, without child, but not by choice. Childfree and childless are not the same thing; while the former chooses not to have children, the latter does want children, but has not yet done so for some reason. Childless individuals want to have children at some point, but they may be waiting until they are older, they are more financially stable, or they just cannot conceive. Childfree individuals will never have children, regardless of their circumstances, because it is not something they ever want to do.


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    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To CarrieFerland: Loved your hub. I agree that not every couple should have children. The majority of people have children because of parental, peer, societal, and religious pressure to do so. There was a study done in the 1970s stating that if 70% of the couples had to do over again, they would not have children.

      Studies further show that childfree couples, next to couples with one child, are the happiest couples as there is less stress in the household. Also childfree couples and couples who have one child are not as financially strapped as couples with a brood of children. Childfree couples have hobbies and plenty of intellectual and cultural activities to occupy them.

      Contrary to the myth that childfree couples are "selfish", childfree couples are some of the most unselfish and caring couples around. They put a lot of thought as to the pros and cons of having children and elected to be childfree. I have found that it is couples who have large families who are the most selfish, satisfying their pathological baby hunger and not being concerned with the children that they have already given birth to e.g. octomom, the Duggars, and most large families. I believe that the childfree couple is to be applauded for following their own drummers and not societal dictates.