Childfree Lifestyle: Debunking Myths and Stereotypes

Childfree are people who, for some personal reason, have decided that they do not want to have children. Translated from English – “free from children”, or you can also find the option “voluntarily childless”. If once childfree were not a very large group, now the conscious rejection of parenthood has ceased to be a curiosity.

childfree meaning

The discussion about whether it is OK or not OK to be child-free is only gaining momentum in society. There are arguments for and against both those who support the idea of ​​​​refusing to have children, and those who consider parenthood an integral part of happiness.

Difference between “Childfree” and “Childless”

Before going any further, it is important to understand the concepts. After all, not all people who do not have children are child-free. Their peculiarity is precisely in the conscious unwillingness to have their own children. You may be surprised, but some consider themselves childfree, even as parents. For example, they gave birth at an early age and then decided that they no longer wanted to be responsible for the appearance of a new person in the world. And some even do special operations for this.

There is also childless (childless) – these are people who cannot have heirs for health reasons or medical reasons. For many people in this group, having children is a very painful topic, and in order to avoid unnecessary questions, they pretend to adhere to the concept of “childfree”. In such cases, the arguments of the supporters of childbearing often “hit” their nervous system. Because once again they emphasize that the dream of ” a baby in her arms ” will remain a dream.

Childfree are men and women who appreciate the rhythm of life they now have and do not want to change anything. They can relate well to nephews, children of friends, and godchildren. But they always leave the opportunity to return to the rhythm “for themselves”.

Childfree should not be confused with childcare. The first ones chose for themselves the decision not to give birth, but they can sincerely rejoice at other people’s children. But child haters are those for whom the very presence of a baby is an annoyance factor, an unpleasant barrier that awakens the desire to be aggressive.

Childless reasons

Let me briefly summarize:

  • Childfree – do not want to have their own children, but in general, they have nothing against them;
  • Childless – cannot have children for health reasons;
  • Child haters – have a negative attitude towards the very presence of children and everything connected with them.

In 2008, researchers Heather Joshi and Dylan Neal from the UK identified two more groups among the supporters of the childfree concept:

  • Wavy refusers. Change their minds about whether children are planned. They may first want, and then refuse, and vice versa. And then change your mind again.
  • Those who keep postponing. In general, they are interested in the idea of ​​having children, but sometime in the future. And that “someday” is constantly moving away.

Children, freedom, and responsibility

Let’s be honest, when you have kids, you can’t just leave the house in the evening with only one backpack and return a month later after a spontaneous hitchhiking trip. Sometimes you can’t even spontaneously go out for a coffee with friends.

For childfree, the freedom to belong to oneself is an important value. It manifests itself in the choice of place of residence, work, social circle, and ways to spend money. Freedom from children is also on this list.

Children, especially young ones, are very dependent on the help of adults. Organization of the daily routine, breakfasts, bathing, brushing teeth, attending circles, or treating colds – all this is impossible without the help of parents, at least at the initial stage.

Changes have to be made to the usual rhythm of life-related to the additional responsibility that is an integral part of parenthood, even if the child grows up quite independent.

Of course, if you want, you can build a comfortable rhythm of life for the whole family, but most mothers will agree that it is difficult to avoid the Groundhog Day period.

CON: “ Child makes you more responsible. Freedom does not depend on them but on your ability to manage plans ”

Focusing on the concept of childfree, there is a risk of perceiving children as the only obstacle to a spontaneous change in the rhythm of life. On the other hand, work is for many an equally significant factor of limitation. And you don’t go to coffee with friends, not because you have a daughter or son (grandmother agreed to sit with them), but because the report needs to be completed today for yesterday.

There are families with a life full of various activities, and there are those whose route is repeated day after day, year after year. And the presence of children does not affect their ratio. Freedom and responsibility are, first of all, about personal qualities and skills.

Why Do People Choose to Be Childfree?

Reproductive pressure is another aspect of the child-free issue. Men usually encounter it less often. But many women are familiar with the situation when a gynecologist, after a certain age, begins to remind you of a ticking clock.

child free lifestyle advantages and disadvantage

This has a biological basis. The female body has a certain reserve of eggs (ovarian reserve), which is laid before birth and is not replenished, but reduced with each cycle. First of all the best material goes on maturing. That is why as women age, the chances of getting pregnant decrease. But spermatozoa are updated, so the reproductive age of men is longer.

CON: “ Not having children increases the risk of cancer ”

Some gynecologists are of the opinion that the rejection of pregnancy increases the chances of facing cancer (breast, ovarian, endometrial). This is associated with the lack of “rest” of the body from ovulation and the influence of the period of bearing a child on hormonal regulation. There is a study ( available here ) that one pregnancy reduces the risk of endometrial cancer by 15%. But taking oral contraceptives has a dual effect: on the one hand, it increases the risk of breast cancer, and on the other, it reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.

The period of pregnancy and childbirth has risks for women’s health. Fear of giving birth (pain, ruptures, postpartum recovery) and a difficult pregnancy (severe weakness, nausea, excessive weight gain, problems with the cardiovascular system, etc.) is one of the reasons why women choose the child-free concept for themselves.

The argument that “my body is my business” is often heard from “voluntarily childless” in response to older relatives who ask tactless questions. Especially if they do not inspire with their life example of building relationships with their loved ones.

AGAINST: “ You will change your mind when it is too late, and you will no longer be able to give birth ”

With age, the likelihood of chromosomal pathologies in the embryo increases. In general, the risk of problems with fertilization is significantly increased. Opponents of the child-free concept note that you can change your mind, and want a child, but physically the body will no longer be able to do this. As a result, a deterioration in the psychological state and an increase in the tendency to depression or suicide.

Modern reproductive technology allows you to “freeze” your eggs in case you change your mind. Yes, the procedure is not cheap, but it makes it possible to increase the chances of a case of “change of mind” and changes in life values.

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But after the birth of the child, there will be no turning back. Supporters of the concept of childfree believe that it is better not to give birth than to leave the child in an orphanage.

The cost of parenthood: what do people invest in children?

Parenthood is a life change that should be understood before the test shows two lines. The appearance of a child once and for all divides the life of a woman and a man into BEFORE and AFTER. And it will not work, as with a smartphone, to roll back to the factory settings.

Above we talked about the fears of women associated with childbearing and childbirth, but the subsequent period often causes no fewer worries. After all, even if the process itself goes without complications, the recovery time can still be difficult. Fatigue, lack of sleep, stress from not being able to handle a child, and a feeling of “attachment” to him.

Mom’s fatigue is often associated with a lack of skill to ask for help. It is important not to take on all the tasks associated with caring for a child. Men often complain that women first remove them from the baby, and then demand to suddenly “turn on”.

In addition, you can and should involve other family members to help. The greater the number of assistants, the easier it is to establish a comfortable rhythm of life for yourself.

The birth of a child is stressful not only for the mom but also for the dad. After all, for a man – this is a significant increase in responsibility. Now he cannot lose his job or drastically reduce his income – he is not on his own, two more people depend on him.

what do people invest in children

In addition, Dad is also faced with mom’s stress, does not always understand, and takes into account the effect of hormones on her reactions.

In society, there is still often an opinion that it is women who should be engaged in raising children, and a decree is generally a vacation.

For a woman, the birth of a child has significant financial risks, as her career is either on pause or in double stress, when one eye is on the computer, the other is on the child.

There are cases when employers refuse a vacancy because a woman can go on maternity leave or already has children (and these are potential sick leave, because mothers take them much more often). And in the event of a divorce, the man’s money is his money, the woman’s money – and where is it?

Men have their own opinions regarding the triangle of “Money-children-divorce”. They see children as an investment. Since children often stay with their mother or are under her influence during divorce, male childfree advocates believe that they would “lose” their investment in this way.

Yes, children completely change your life, make you stay awake at night when they have a temperature or teething, and you no longer have the same freedom. But when babies laugh, take their first steps, and gently hug you with their arms, the feeling of happiness that embraces at this moment cannot be caused by anything else in the world. Is it possible to exchange these feelings for travel and work? – this is one of the strong arguments of the opponents of the child-free concept.

If once it was enough that the child ate and sometimes washed up, now in the first grade he should be able to read and write. Razvivashki, circles, and a lot of activities require not only money but also a strength: find, collect, bring/take, and match schedules. And all this objectively requires significant resources, both monetary and temporary. Therefore, one of the reasons for the inclination towards the concept of childfree – is after evaluating the resources decide that they are not in favor of the child.

Opponents of the child-free concept emphasize that it is normal to try to give children opportunities that we did not have. However, no one forces you to drive to all possible classes and sacrifice your interests in favor of the child. It is perfectly normal to limit yourself to general interesting entertainment until a certain age and take various courses when the child becomes a little more independent. In addition, there are many formats of online classes that significantly save time on the road.

An excess of information and social networks, in which only the positive side is usually posted, make you think that if your child at the age of 4 does not know English or poetry, does not dance professionally, and is not a child prodigy at all, but just plays in the mud, then that’s it, write gone. So another reason to delay having a baby, or opt for childfree altogether, is the fear of not being good enough parents.

Alternatives to Parenthood

Balance is very important for the uniform development of the socio-demographic situation in the country.

If there are two children in a family, it can be predicted that after some time society will again receive two citizens who will have two elderly parents in their care. Thus, the system is self-healing, and the balance is maintained.

But if there is one child or not at all, we get a situation where the state potentially needs to allocate a larger resource for caring for the elderly.

All problems with fertility do not bear fruit immediately but over time. If in certain years the birth rate falls, this leads to the fact that at some point in society, there is a critically small number of adults who work, pay taxes, and develop the economy. At the bottom of the demographic pyramid are children who still need to be put on their feet, at the top are pensioners, some of whom can no longer work, and some would like to go on vacation, but will not have anything to live on.

The birth/aging/mortality ratio in Ukraine is not in favor of a bright future, and the war could complicate the situation even more. According to the study ( see details at the link ), since 2012 there has been a steady decline in the birth rate.

The reasons are quite stable:

  • economic crises;
  • emigration;
  • decrease in income;
  • uncertainty about the future.

Someone instead of two children giving birth to one, someone gives birth to their first child much later than the generation of our parents. And someone decides not to have children at all and becomes child-free. As a result, there is a gradual aging of the nation, an increase in the retirement age, and people are forced to work longer than the previous generation.

The good news is that in a world of modern opportunities, work can be part of socialization and fulfillment. Once upon a time, indeed, survival could depend on having children. But now there is both an opportunity and a need to remain active and fulfilled in old age. Increasingly, there is talk that the average life expectancy is increasing, which means that you should think in advance about how to keep the brain in good shape for longer.

Childfree men and women are often accused of selfishness. Like, they live on their own, and then “sit on the neck of the state.” Indeed, there is a risk that a person without children will need more social assistance. That is, other people’s children who have grown up, work, and pay taxes, will actually support the elderly childfree.

On the other hand, accumulative insurance programs are developing, and access to information about passive types of earnings is expanding. But yes, you should rely only on yourself.

Supporters of the child-free concept believe that, on the contrary, forcibly bringing a person into this world, and then demanding that he owes you something, is more selfish than living, answering only for himself.

After all, it is the parents who should make the children happy, but they do not owe anything in return.

Often, parents demand grandchildren from their children. “Here I am at your age…” But. When it comes to helping, for example, to spend a day with a child so that young parents have a good rest, it turns out that the older generation has its own life, and “you gave birth to a child for yourself.” That is, grandchildren need a few (convenient) hours a week, and the rest of the time is for you, the parents.

Let’s be honest, if you do not invest in the upbringing of children, it is not a fact that in old age you will not be in the care of the state. Stories about how elderly parents are bullied are not from a good life and joyful family memories.

Instead of conclusions

For conscious parenthood, a high level of sexual literacy and care for intimate health is important. This allows you to approach the planning of the birth of a child at a time when the couple is psychologically ready for this.

Above, we examined the concept of “childfree” (childfree) from different angles and looked at the arguments FOR and AGAINST both women and men. The final decision, of course, each person makes for himself. I invite you to share in the comments, which position you think is more correct.


1. Is being child-free a new phenomenon?

No, there have always been people who chose not to have children. However, it has become more socially acceptable to openly discuss and choose this lifestyle in recent years.

2. Are childfree people selfish?

No, choosing not to have children is a personal decision that is often made after careful consideration of one’s lifestyle, goals, and values. It is not inherently selfish.

3. Do childfree people dislike children?

No, choosing not to have children does not necessarily mean disliking children. Many childfree individuals enjoy spending time with children but prefer not to have them permanently in their lives.

4. Is it possible for childfree people to regret their decision later in life?

Just like any major life decision, there is always a possibility of regret. However, many childfree people report feeling satisfied and fulfilled with their decision.

5. What are some alternative ways to have children in your life without having your own?

Volunteering with children, fostering or adopting, and even pet parenthood are all ways to have children in your life without having your own biological children.