Will Childfreedom Ever Be Accepted In Modern Society?
Ah yes, parenthood. The eventual goal all married couples set for themselves, or so society programs people to think. We’ve been told by society time and time again that children are an integral part of any successful marriage, and that couples without children are infertile or whatever, but that they really want children.
Truth be told, as you and I all know, that’s not the case at all and there are couples and individuals (myself included) who make the conscious choice to not have children, and that number is growing. Last time I read, some 20% of married couples are without children, and the most growth has been made in the demographic that makes the choice not to have children (though in a way, you could argue that all 20% of those individuals have made that choice because there are other avenues for infertile couples to have children).
That said, there is a big difference in how people react to the two. If a couple is struggling to get pregnant, the get all the moral support they can find. Conversely, if you tell someone that you’ve made the conscious choice not to have children, you get marginalized.
Childfree people are regularly discriminated against in social circles and in the workplace. In my experience, businesses more readily hire parents than non-parents for reasons that escape me. There’s also the accusation of the childfree choice being selfish (when in reality having children is more selfish), stuck-up, kid-haters (only true in some cases), or whatever other crap they come up with to try to shame those who have chosen to be childfree into having children. There’s also a lot of childfree-shaming that goes on in the parenting community where they talk down to the childfree, insult them, say how bad of people we are, or whatever.
In that light, I have to wonder if childfree is the new gay. Being gay is more accepted now than it used to be but it’s far from universally accepted. Same with childfreedom. I can only hope that society comes around and realizes that childfree people aren’t bad people and that we just have different priorities in life (which are not any more or less valid than their priorities). With time perhaps society at large will become more tolerant toward the CF. Do I expect to see that in my lifetime? Absolutely not, but perhaps in another couple of generations this will all blow over like racial discrimination.
What do you think? Will it ever be considered “acceptable” to remain childfree?