• Thu, Oct 11 2012

Shocking Study Says Childless By Choice Women Are Shockingly OK With Being Childless

childfreeIt’s hard-hitting science here, ladies. Hold onto your aprons (or margaritas?) as a University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist just determined that not only do childless by choice women feel more pressure to reproduce than women without children, but that they’re actually cool with never having kids –ever! Blew my socks off, I tell you.

Study author Julia McQuillan queried a national of sample of almost 1,200 American women who did not have children. Upon pressing them about their reasoning, she determined the following:

“Motherhood is so highly connected with adult femininity in the United States that many women feel that they need to be mothers,” study author Julia McQuillan, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist, said in a statement. “Yet we also found that there are women who have low or no distress about not being mothers, even if their friends and family want them to have children.”

The mythical child-free woman who wants to stay that way reveals herself! Much like a unicorn sighting or perhaps a photo of Big Foot! An individual who doesn’t want kids is hardly headlining news — unless they’re a lady. Then it’s lots of craning necks and whispers of “really?” and odd squinting like she’s a specimen in a test tube. But how can this creature exist?!

According to Livescience, these unicorns are becoming more prevalent as about 20 percent of American women “exit their childbearing years without reproducing.” Only 10 percent of women reportedly followed the same path in 1976 according to 2003 data. And there are quite a few valid reason to choose from: infertility, finances, educational and job demands, lack of the right partner, and last but not least, choice.

In her research, McQuillan also determined that women who had medical reasons for not having babies were, understandably, the most “distressed” of all the women in her study. These ladies also had the lowest family income versus the childless by choice crowd that had the highest family income. Religious women also felt “less pressured by social messages” to procreate than less religious women.

Nevertheless, McQuillan suggests that child-free women shouldn’t all be looked upon with the same pity for not having reproduced. Try as our culture might to sometimes paint childless by choice women with the same heavy-handed brush, they’re actually different individuals:

“While some may be devastated, others are content and finding fulfillment through other avenues such as leisure or career pursuits. Rather than assume that women without children are missing something, society should benefit from valuing a variety of paths for adult women to have satisfying lives.”

Unicorn watch concluded.

(photo: suravid/ Shutterstock)

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  • meteor_echo

    I know, right? :D Absolutely shocking that some women don’t need to be mothers to have happy lives!

  • himhum

    You know what’s even more fun is that no one even considers asking a man if he wants kids or not, because he’s just there for the party, and the lady is going to end up taking care of the kids anyways, right? Yeah yeah, as a lady it sucks to have society think you’ll be popping out a tot sooner or later, but at least the choice is yours, right? Guys can’t have kids on their own, they must find a woman they’re willing to parent with (setting aside adoption, which is it’s own mess for single men). Even if you find a partner, she’s still calling the shots for when and where and how many kids are born. I’m not saying the man should get to decide (and many men probably at least get some say in the matter), I’m just trying to point out that women are bemoaning what is actually the very powerful gift of choice.

    Kids or no kids, if you’re a woman, the choice is yours and yours alone. Even when a woman gets pregnant, it’s ultimately her choice if she keeps the baby or has an abortion (again, it *should* be her choice), leaving any willing or hopeful father SOL. And guess what, even if you gave in to society and had a kid, let me ASSURE you the annoying, invasive, pestering people do not subside. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right? You just get a whole new slew of uninvited questions and opinions, now directed at your parenting rather than your lack of procreation. People are annoying SOBs, it’s best to just think up some fun, snarky one-line replies and otherwise ignore them (yes, your family and friends too!).

    Basically, the next time someone pesters you about your lady business, just remember that it’s the small cost of having the great privilege of being able to choose if/when/where you have a child.

    • lea

      Very good point, him hum. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it that way before. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Emily lane

      Thanks for sharing. It is indeed a small cost of having the privillege to choose. I’m surprised that most people who try to tell you being parents are the most important thing are the ones have “problem” kids, those who have very well mannered kids, they are respectful to other women’s choices.

  • LiteBrite

    Well, slap my face and color me shocked. Who knew women without children were actually leading fulfilling lives? And here I thought all of my friends without kids, the same ones posting about their travels, their hobbies, and their pets on Facebook, were just sitting at home, pining away with jealousy over those of us with kids.

    Actually I was a little surprised to read this: “Religious women also felt “less pressured by social messages” to procreate than less religious women.” I would’ve thought religious women would feel more pressure. However, they did say they felt less pressured by “social messages.” Maybe they’re more pressured by religious ones?