Many couples are ditching parenthood. A record number of women are choosing to remain childless according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, with 47% of women between the childbearing ages of 15 and 44 not having kids.
But even if you and your partner choose not to have children, there can still be a lot of pressure to grow your family. Even celebrities like Oprah and Jennifer Aniston are not immune to criticism for being childfree. Here are some ways to resist the pressure to have children.
Explain that not having children is a personal choice.
Much of the pressure to have kids can come from parents and grandparents. Even when your relationship is new, you may be asked when you’ll have children. But no matter where the pressure is coming from, don’t be afraid to politely explain that having kids is an intimate decision that can only be made by you and your partner.
Meet other like-minded childfree people.
It’s easy for childfree couples to feel isolated with many of their friends posting cute baby pics on Facebook and Instagram. However, you’re not alone. Find other childfree couples you can vent to about nosy relatives or just hang out and enjoy your childfree life together.
“It’s important to find people who will support your choice,” said Amy Blackstone, a child-free sociologist. “There are meetup groups all over the world, and I’ve interviewed many women for whom that’s made a significant difference — finding other childless women to connect with.” Websites like We’re Not Having a Baby and The Not Mom also have forums for childfree couples as well.
Explain how being childfree is a selfless choice.
There are people who believe that childfree people are selfish. There is also the double standard of women being shamed for being childfree because being a mother is supposed to be natural for women. But you can fight the common misconceptions about not wanting children.
Childfree people are criticized for being selfish but are often some of the most selfless people. They take care of their elderly parents, take over for their co-workers who are parents and need help at work, and even mentor other children. Childfree couples can argue that not having children is actually selfless because they then have the time to care for other peoples’ children if they choose.
Childfree couples should live their lives without judgment from other people. As long as you both are happy, ignore the comments from other people and love each other with or without kids. Because wouldn’t it be worse to have a child you didn’t want.