Media buzz around adults without children — um, correction: women without children — reached new intensity this week with a Time magazine cover story, The Childfree Life: When Having It All Means Not Having Children.” As the article circulates social media, and Time reporters and editors publicize it on morning talk shows, feedback started quickly, and push-back can’t be far behind. The article is primarily about the by-choice crowd, but I’m betting almost every NotMom will find herself somewhere in its detailed stats and stories.
Noting that the American birthrate is now at its lowest point in recorded U.S. history, Time reporter Lauren Sandler opens with broad insights like this one:
“With fertility treatment widely available, not to mention adoption, even clinically infertile women have more options than ever to become mothers, which increases the possibility that any woman who doesn’t will be judged for her choice.”
When I first saw the mag’s cover headline, I thought, “Here we go – another spotlight on women who happily chose childfree life with no thought to the rest of us who didn’t.” I’m happy to report that’s not the case. For NotMoms who says they are without kids by chance and by choice is this gem from the director of the Carolina Population Center:
“Postponed childbearing is ‘the real story of fertility in the past 20 years. Women put off motherhood because of work, education or the lack of a desired partner and meanwhile, they develop lifestyles they enjoy.”
As owner and executive editor of this site, I was impressed to find so many of the issues discussed here, by me and by readers, popped up in the Time article, too. A NotMom who stopped going to church because she found it “oppressively family-centric.” A Latina who explains that in her family, motherhood is never “seen as an option,” only a given. African American NotMoms who prefer no children to motherhood with a less-educated or incompatible male. Childless men who rarely get noticed at all.
Though dated August 12, 2013, publicity and availability of the issue featuring The Childfree Life kicked off on the first of the month. August first is gaining popularity as International Childfree Day, formerly known as Non-Parents Day. Coincidence? Probably not.
Ms. Sandler ends her piece on the upbeat, pointing to more than 20,000 members of child-free Meetup.com groups in more than 90 metropolitan areas who meet for zip-lining, canoeing and monthly dinners. A Nashville NotMom concludes, “We can do anything we want, so why wouldn’t we?”