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When it comes to becoming young adult there can be several ways in which a person can develop, whether it be social and personality. With early adulthood there comes decisions with such development, it’s the time in one’s life where they make choices for themselves. Choices such as higher education, buying a house or car, getting married, having kids and so on. One such decision that affects people and is even changing how people view said option in modern times is the choice of having children.
Words like childless and childfree may be words you have heard before or seen in articles. Childless and childfree sometimes are used interchangeably, while they go hand in hand with each other they both mean different things. Childless is the term meaning someone who doesn’t have kids, while childfree is the term for someone who doesn’t want kids. These two words are changing how young adults are have children.
Since the 1970’s birth rates have gone down into today where there is a record low decline of birth rate as simply more women are choosing to delay having children or choose not to have children. With nearly one in five women of childbearing years not having children compared to one in ten from women from the 1970’s. As women now have more choices and options presented to them, whether it be to focus on their education or career.
But it doesn’t stop women from being perceived differently, as it saw that childfree women perceptions were more negative than mothers. With childfree African-American women were better fared with children than not. As no matter the ethnicity childfree women were still viewed more negatively, since while childfree women are still in small numbers there are still more of them then in the past. It shows of awareness of different people and their life choices can have a greater understanding of being perceived better. It shows us that childfree women have more an increasing presence in today’s world that deserved to be understood rather than be viewed negatively for a choice they made.
Women today have choices in what they do with their body, as women can be the deciding factor if they have children. With being childless or childfree, a lot of it falls back onto women and having their own say. Since motherhood might have been viewed at one time as mandatory. When it comes to women and their decisions to becoming childfree, some were active or passive reasons.
Active reasons would be women choosing early in life that they wouldn’t have kids, while others thought they would become mothers but later changed their minds. While more passive reasons could be they simply didn’t have a partner and didn’t want to face single motherhood. Or simply women felt indifference towards the idea of children with neither the pull or push for children. As women had several factors for becoming childfree rather than have one single moment in time for them.
While women who were certain with active reasons felt stressed due to their surroundings or the people around them. There were also women also their childhood played a factor in them becoming childfree. With women who changed their mind about becoming mothers had factors such as financial unpredictability or the vast responsibility that came with having a child.
With women discussed having a strong social pressure from others that they needed to fulfill a motherhood role as they felt it would be expected of them. With women who had active reasons desired to be independent. Passive reasons with women could explained how it happened naturally. With some women being ambivalent to having children, which could put them into a term of their own called “fence-sitters” But with women who made had passive reasons were content with their reason to remain without children.
Active reasons women were all white who were certain with their decision, while women who drifted with the choice of motherhood and then became childfree were what the women of color fell into. With women valuing their childfree lifestyle and seeing motherhood as more of a sacrifice, and the social pressures that came with motherhood as they felt they wouldn’t live up to be a “good” mother.
Some women never had children naturally with something they didn’t give it a thought to while other women knew from the start they wouldn’t have children. With the reason to choosing to be childfree, there was big focus on freedom and independence. It shows us that women each have their own factors and reasons for not having children, with each reason being different from woman to woman.
Another factor to look at would be childless or childfree couples, as they too were also viewed more negatively. They are minority and are often overlooked in both marital and family literature. As they may be seen as not fitting into the conventional family archetype. As there can be stigma attached to couples who don’t voluntary have children and are often not even seen as a family themselves.
With surveys showing from in 1976 eleven percent of women were childfree compared to today with twenty percent of women. With childfree couples up from ten percent to eighteen percent, they are more likely to be white and less likely to be a part of a religion than parents. It also showed more childfree women worked full-time compared to momentarily childfree and older women. As well as childfree couples also had the highest family and single incomes and the major percent employed in professional and managerial occupations. Explicitly, childfree couples earn an average gross annual income of $12,500 more than parents.
With childfree couples motives to remain childfree were interested by characteristics of “introversion, sensitivity, anxiety, perfectionism, and impatience.” As they felt these traits cooperated one’s skill to become a parent. They determined that couples saw continuing to be childfree as a way to a better-off life though evading possible undesirable consequences present in parenting. With men exactly, freedom has been named as the most significant influence in the choice to be childfree.
Life satisfaction for childfree couples is cited as quite high as well at high marital satisfaction as well. It could be viewed that they had higher levels due to more time and income to pursue their interests that they wouldn’t be able to do with children. That without children they could leave a poor relationship. With their emotions as such stressors as employment, decision-making, handling labels and stigmas, and dealing with social and family pressure can give way to depression and anxiety. It was found that men and women both mentioned loneliness as the highest negative feeling related to their lifestyle.
The choice as a couple to not to have children is often one makes a couple. Since the stigma attached to being childfree is one that burdens more women in the men. As the stereotype of being a childfree women with such words as “selfish, deviant, immature, and unfeminine.” They stated childfree women often experience trouble with being acknowledged by society as adults, associating motherhood with womanhood. Women may have the most problems of the pressures that family and friends enforce on them. Sigma is appointed more powerfully to women, men also may experience stigma attached to being in a committed relationship and not having children. As both parties face sigma, with couples faced judgment and men were viewed dishonestly and less sincere and reliable than fathers.
With childless and childfree men and women as well as couples growing by the decade, it’s often a type that is overlooked in society. But when pay attention to is one that is attached with sigma and judgment. I’ve learned that both men and women or as a couple can face judgement, but the sometimes not even feel like they don’t have a family. That people view having a family is something you have once you have children. That other people whether friends or family can pressure others.
It shows me the growing number of men and women compared to the past that are childless or childfree. How their lifestyle can be much different than parents. I learned that childfree people deserve to have respect for who they are and their life choices. That couples should be considered their own family.
I’ve learned of a number of people who call themselves childfree and a look into their lifestyle, but also their own choices and factors that made them childfree. It’s very diverse and varied, as no matter the face people still made their own choices. It’s a topic that is quiet and sensitive one, one that doesn’t get talked about much and is often ignored by other family types.
That men and women have their own factors to becoming childfree and that they themselves can make choices as a couple. That childfree couples exist and are also on the rise as well. It showed me a complex and intricate look into people who consider themselves childfree. As more often than not there a price to using that term, with men and women being viewed differently from others. Being childfree shouldn’t be something that is viewed negatively, but something instead that should be understood as simply a different choice someone made. That shouldn’t have judgment and stigma attached to the term.
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