Childless and childfree women come in lots of shapes and sizes. We are all colors, all cultures, and all ages. As much as we have in common, we are also very different. “Mom” is not anyone’s easy label for us. We are not mothers, without apologies. Childfree blogger Laura LaVoie interviews women bloggers and others without children who answer the question, “If you’re not a mom, then what are you?”
Can you explain what you mean by the ‘Divine Feminine’? How is it connected to women without children?
The Divine Feminine acknowledges that God has feminine attributes as well as masculine attributes. God is both Father and Mother. God is a shepherd and a housewife (Luke 15). The term takes seriously the implications in Genesis where both man and woman are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). If women are made in God’s image, then that means we can use feminine names and titles for God. It means we must use feminine names and titles for God in order to have a fuller picture of who God is. Masculine names and titles only give us half the picture.
I think it’s connected to women without children in that it shows that women made in the image of God are autonomous beings who can make their own decisions. We are not afterthoughts or derivatives of men created solely to be wives and mothers. Read More
Cari Bee of Busy Bee Blogger
I get a lot of “oh you don’t have children”? Or “how many kids do you have” and when I tell them I don’t have any… it tends to be an awkward silence. I am 34, so I know my own biological limitations at this time in my life, but I also understand how hard it is for people to try not to judge me while involuntarily judging me. It’s hard to relate to someone whose life is not anywhere near what you thought it would be.
Then there are my friends that tell me they wished they were me. They are married with kids, and they tell me they would love my freedom to do whatever they think I want to do. I like that idea, but I still have bills to pay, and obligations to meet, of my own. Read More
On your site you make a strong distinction between Childfree and Childless, can you explain this a little more?
We think the term ‘childfree’ is a little better in that it specifically speaks to the idea of choice. That does not mean that everyone agrees on what ‘childfree’ means either, but we’ve solved this handily. We use the term as defined by Amy in her research: “People who have made the intentional and explicit choice not to have children”…
This does beg the question of what people in these other categories are; categories that have no names. What do you call someone who wants kids but doesn’t have them yet? What about people on the fence? We don’t have good descriptive names for these categories. Some people may think that the terms don’t really matter. They probably shouldn’t on a day-to-day basis.Read More
Tell us about yourself, your blog, and your writing career.
Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice came as a result of my own personal questions. When I had been happily married about 10 years, I went looking for a book about long-time childfree married couples –- their lives, how their marriages were going the distance, and the like, and I found no such book. So I decided to do the book myself! I interviewed over 100 couples across the U.S., conducted in-depth interviews with 40, and then chose 15 to include in the book that best represented the range of couples and interviews.
The book received international attention, and paved the way for me to become a sought after expert on the childfree choice. For over the last 10+ years, I have appeared on major media, including The CBS Early Show, Good Morning America, international syndicated radio, and interviews for major news publications. My newest book is The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World. Read More
Nicole Ciomek of Real Life & Thereafter
How does this experience make you feel about your life without kids of your own?
For a long time, I was very frustrated and upset that I did not get to choose if I wanted to have biological children. The choice was taken away from me. If someone tells you that you have invasive cancer, you do what it takes to get rid of that. The kid issue falls to the background.
So, in recent years, I haven’t had to recover so much from having cancer as I have had to recover from the infertility and the anger that I didn’t get to choose. I may have still chosen to not have children, but I wanted the option. Read More
Whitney Clem of Childfree Life Adventures
Tell us about yourself and your blog.
I live with my husband Paddy in Seattle, WA, and we love traveling…I started this blog to share our adventures together as a couple without kids. We both enjoy learning and love to share information with others to help them have great adventures as well.
What do you want other women without children to know about travel and adventure?
You don’t have kids! Get out there and see the world! Life is short, and you won’t regret it. Read More
Do you feel you are treated differently as a woman without children and if so, how?
What bothers me is not that I am different from everyone else (I’ve always felt different), or that I am treated differently. What bothers me is this expectation that one day I will change who I am and give up what I want for myself to have children and conform to this social expectation. It’s the look of pity and impatience that people give me, followed almost immediately by, “Well, you just don’t understand yet. When you have children, you’ll see how great it is.” Read More
Tell us about yourself and your blog.
Until a little while ago my answer to that question would have been: I live in London, England and run a theatre called the Lyric Hammersmith. But a year ago I ‘came out’ about my decade-long struggle to have a baby…Someone once described me as a ‘fertility veteran’, which I rather like. It’s definitely true that I’ve had every test known to woman and doctor and have been through more rounds of IVF than is polite to mention in my pursuit of motherhood.
I’d never written anything before, but I was struck by how little available there was about the experience of living with infertility. So I guess I tried to write the book I wanted to read. Read More
It is so rare that NotMoms have such vocal public allies among Moms. What made you want to write The Female Assumption: A Mother’s Story Freeing Women from the View that Motherhood is a Mandate?
Let me begin with the story of the major publisher who declined publishing my book, telling me that I had to “pick a side.” It is my view that all women should be on the same side. So when we speak of allies, I embrace TheNotMom’s vision of Sister-to-Sisterness. I believe that when women join forces, nothing is impossible.
As for writing this book, I have a daughter, for whom I’ve held trepidation about her future since she was in utero. I know the pressures women face, and to help my daughter make good choices has been my mission. I pay close attention to the messages surrounding young females. Read More
Do you feel that being a NotMom was a big influence on Women for Living in Community?
The fact that I didn’t have children was the main reason. I am very motivated! There are many women and men who think that their kid’s job is to take care of them in their old age. Did they tell the kids this? My folks had 2 daughters. Yet, we couldn’t take care of their significant physical needs, nor did they want us to. I had a 60-70 hour/week job in Silicon Valley and my sister had a family and a job.
Those of us without that supposed safety net for our caregiving are the ones I talk to the most. Because of divorce, and often, choosing not to partner, that means we look at the benefits of living together in some model of community as a solution. The benefits are great and the motivation is time-stamped. Read More
What made you start STFU, Parents?
I started the site in 2009 after I noticed a considerable uptick of “kidformation” in my newsfeed on Facebook. I’ve never been a big Facebook user, but I do enjoy scrolling through my feed, and suddenly I was seeing a LOT of status updates about baby fevers and nap times and diapers. Meanwhile, an old work friend (a Mom of 2) sent me a few screenshots of her friends’ obnoxious status updates, complaining that these friends always posted about their “perfect” children. That made me think that other people probably felt the same way we did, so I started the blog thinking it might attract some readers. I’ve received submissions every single day since then! Read More
What is your story? Where are you in your life?
I’m firmly in the middle of my story: middle-aged, mid-career, and on my second generation of pets since I moved out on my own. I’m settled into certain social groups, certain volunteer organizations and certain habits, but I have a feeling that some changes may be coming in the next few years. I have a strong tendency to over-schedule my free time despite the fact that I love spending time at home reading and basically lazing about, so I’m always seeking that balance.
My husband is 10 years older than I am, and neither of us felt particularly driven to become parents. When I was about to turn 35, I had the “Here’s one last chance, what do you think?” conversation with him and we decided we liked our lifestyle the way it was. I am certainly not a kid-hater. I have a wonderful niece and nephew and some honorary nieces and nephews among my friends’ children.
People without kids do seem to find each other. I have dozens of friends in that category. Read More
Liz of Maybe Baby, Maybe Not
Tell us about yourself and your blog.
I’m an early-30s lady living in Los Angeles with my husband and (child-free cliché warning!) two cats. My blog chronicles our ever-wavering decision of whether to remain childfree-by-choice or prepare ourselves for a home permanently coated in a fine layer of Cheerio dust. The topics I cover range from philosophical questions like what Puppy Lust can teach us about Baby Rabies, to childfree celebrity spotlights, to how cooking for two sucks, and everything in between. Read More
How do you feel you are treated as a woman without children?
Once I got into my mid-40s, the questions and pressure (subtle and otherwise) to have children (“it’s still not too late…”) gradually (thankfully) petered out. But I still find there’s that awkward pause when people ask how many children I have, or how old my children are,and I say I don’t have any. (I tend not to talk about my daughter in casual conversation… then it REALLY comes to a screeching halt…!)
I scrapbook for a hobby, and I have had people question why I do it, when I don’t have children! (Ummm, Hello, I have a life and memories that I might want to preserve, too.) Read More
Why did you start blogging?
I’ve got something to say about good eating! It doesn’t have to be this huge, joyless chore where there’s never any pizza or chocolate cake. Good health has gotten a bad rap: it’s unattainable, you have to take 10,000 supplements and pay for fancy water….or ELSE. It’s all very serious and fun-hating. I say, why can’t it be fun, and funny even? Let’s all just lighten up a little bit. Have some cake already. Calm down. I blog to spread this message (and because I like writing). Read More
“Childfree” as a news topic has gotten a lot of press in the US in recent years. What has it been like in Australia?
In terms of media coverage – I haven’t seen too much, but in terms of cultural attitudes towards being childfree [by choice], we still have a culture of expectation in Australia. Particularly for heterosexual women, it seems many see pregnancy and child rearing as something that will eventually happen to them, not something that is conscious choice. Many heterosexual and bisexual women will take precautions to avoid pregnancy but if the protection fails, child rearing is still regarded by women as something that just happens in life.
Too often have I heard, “I was hoping it wouldn’t happen this early. I would have liked to have waited for a few more years.” Adoption and abortion are options in Australia, though it is taboo if you choose them. A woman will be regarded as selfish or irresponsible. Read More
What would you like people to understand most about women who are childfree by choice?
1) That we’re not “missing out” on anything, and just because being a parent is the best thing YOU have ever done doesn’t mean it would make me happy.
2) Some of us actively dislike children, but some of us genuinely DO like children, and I am one of them. However, just as not every person is cut out to be a physician or a lawyer, not everyone is a good fit to be a parent. I like playing with kids for an hour or two and then sending them home to their parents.
3) I really, really, really will not change my mind about it, so stop saying that! Read More
Why did you start blogging?
On New Year’s Eve 2011, I decided I wanted to start drawing again. I had barred myself from it due to depression and trauma associated with my inability to have children. I decided that, since I couldn’t create life, I shouldn’t allow myself to create anything of consequence. I put away my paints, brushes, pencils and other tools and stopped myself from doing anything artistic or original that wasn’t directly linked to work.
When I started the blog, I gave myself a year to draw every day, hoping it would re-start my imagination and help me regain my skills. Read More
Tell us about yourself and your blog.
I’m a writer, photographer, and teacher. I started blogging in late 2007 to become a better writer and photographer. Blogging consistently improved my writing and it resulted in a book deal! My first print book, You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) was released in September 2012. Also, my first photography book, My Morning View hit the shelves in March 2014.
How does your faith affect your life as a childfree woman?
My faith plays a big part of my life. I’m someone who wants my faith to shine through in who I am and what I do. Not in a preachy, “Let me tell you about Jesus” way, more of a, “Let me show you that not all Christians are what they seem to be in the news” kind of way…
I’m not disobeying God’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply,” because that wasn’t a commandment at all. It was a blessing given to both man and the birds of the air and fish of the sea. Children are a blessing for many Christian couples, but not all, and I think that He blesses childfree women in different ways. Read More
Why did you start blogging?
I first dealt with the confusion and weirdness of infertility in isolation. This was a time not so long ago (before the proliferation of Internet communities) when information on this topic was available only via the library or bookstore. No one discussed it. That made it doubly hard to reconcile. It was intense and, at times, absurd confronting infertility in an era of Mom’s Clubs and helicopter parents. I was made to feel like an outcast, bombarded with messages implying my life would be devalued, unfulfilled if I didn’t succeed with motherhood.
It was only after my husband and I decided we were done being human lab experiments that I began to realize that overcoming infertility is about much more than making a baby. It’s about coming to terms, when nature and science find their limits, with a meaningful life different than the one so often taken for granted. Read More
What about fictional NotMoms in fantasy?
What those 3 [NotMom] characters have in common holds true with the ones that have kids: I find inspiration from independent heroines who save the day. As it turns out, a lot more characters have kids than I thought. I guess it means I need to keep writing the kinds of characters that don’t have children and hope they can be an inspiration to others someday. Read More
You’ve written about the two sides of childfree lifestyles. How do you feel various circumstances affect individual women’s decisions?
I also noticed a glaring difference in the way that involuntarily child-free women were viewed, as being very different from voluntarily childfree women. As I mentioned in the op-ed, at The Feminist Wire, I believe that child-free women who are unable to have children differ not in decisions that they make, but in the way that society sees them. A woman that is unable to have children is often pitied. The difference with voluntarily childfree women is that rather than being pitied, they are vilified by society as not holding up her part of an unwritten social contract that they are compelled to fulfill because of their gender. Read More
How did infertility affect your marriage?
Unfortunately, it had great impact. I am a 45-year-old woman who was never able to carry a child to term. I was diagnosed with PCOS as a teenager. My rollercoaster ride with infertility/infertility treatments/failed adoptions spanned roughly 15 years, although there were breaks mixed in with attempts to build our family during those years.
I processed my loss for the many years I was experiencing it and some of that processing included bouts of major depression. My husband did not process it in the same way. It hit him all at once at midlife. Read More
What message do you want to send to advertisers and readers about being a childfree woman today?
To advertisers, I would say to not make the mistake of ignoring or discounting childfree women and couples these days, because we’re on the rise.
And to readers, I think I’d say there’s no shame in not wanting kids, so don’t be afraid to question the roles society wants to put you in. Children should never be a foregone conclusion; they should be a deliberate choice. And to readers who are already parents, please remember that not everyone wants the same things you do, so don’t assume a child-free couple is any less fulfilled or happy or selfless than you are. We all have different goals and strengths in this life, and for some of us, parenting just isn’t it! Read More