2020 Childfree Trending

Looking Back: 2020 Childfree Trending

What a year. Like in years past, I have closely watched childfree trends in 2020. To start off my latest end-of-year childfree trending piece, how can we not start with the pandemic.

The Pandemic and the Childfree Choice

The impact of the pandemic has spurred talk that relates to the childfree choice in a couple of ways. The first has to do with whether the pandemic will result in less judgment of the childfree choice. We’ve seen a good deal of post, forum and article discussion this past year on this reason not to choose to bring a child into the world. One of my top picks that captures the themes of discussion is Samhita Mukhopadhyay’s piece in The Atlantic.

My take — the jury is out on the answer to this question. In our pronatalist world, it may very well be more that the pandemic reinforces reasons to delay having children, or wait to have another. We will get more of a sense of whether the pandemic might have had a positive impact on how society views the childfree choice once we’re not in the midst of it.

The second has to do with an issue that has been with us in the workplace for a long time. Even more than in ‘normal’ times, during this pandemic, we’ve seen a good deal of discussion out there regarding how those without children end up picking up more slack for employees who are parents. While many people weigh in that, as labor and employment lawyer Domenique Camacho Moran, states, “Employers need to be consistent — the best plan is to know what your business can tolerate, so you’re not treating any group better than the other,” the situation during the pandemic continues to put a special type of strain on people juggling their parenting and professional lives under one roof that those without children don’t have. That is not to say those without children don’t have stresses of their own. The pronatalist default, however, all too often still reinforces priorities of parents in this difficult time.

Continued Increase in Childfree Talk Globally  

I have loved seeing even more talk about the childfree choice in different countries this year, especially in India, Asia, and Africa. Here are just a few highlights:

Woe Is Me! How Do I Live in India Peacefully While Choosing Not to Have Children?

I Won’t Have Children: The Trials of Choosing a Childfree Life

We’re Married And Chose To Have No Kids — Here’s Why

When a woman doesn’t want to have children

Meet Nigerian couples who wish to have no kids

Motherhood? No, thanks! Women’s right to choose

I’ve also seen even more of an increase in global tweeting with the childfree hashtag than ever before this year! My latest follow: @ChildfreeMalawi.

The Childfree Choice and the Climate Crisis

Speaking of global, like last year, more people continue to chew on how the climate crisis is influencing the childfree choice. Two years ago I put this topic in the “worthy of mention” area in my trending piece. In 2019, it made the trending category. And it does this year as well.

One piece in The New York Times, “How Climate Anxiety Is Shaping Family Planning,” takes on the idea that “forgoing children as a means of fighting global warming is entering the mainstream.”

I have pondered whether I think this is the case. In 2020, a good number of articles have addressed angles to answer this question. Here are just three:

No Children By Choice, Where Feminism Meets Ecology

Parenthood or the planet? Choosing the fight against global warming over having children

Why a generation is choosing to be child-free

More and more people have talked about this topic each year, and increasing numbers in younger generations are considering the childfree choice in relation to it, but entering the ‘mainstream’ would connote it’s starting to be seen as a widely accepted choice.  My take — a little more time will tell.

Childfree, Child free & Child-Free

In years past in my childfree trending pieces, I have bemoaned the various ways the word ‘childfree’ is used.  In 2020, in the twitter world, I have seen more of a trend of parents using #childfree to mean they are ‘free of their kids’ at the moment, and in more general narrative usage of ‘child free’ and ‘child-free’ to mean the same.

However, childfree and child-free continue to be used to reflect people who don’t want children as well.  At least in my online reading travels, I tend to see these two terms used most this last year, and less of ‘childless’ and ‘childfree by choice.’ For parents and not, the odds are these patterns have their roots in algorithms that have higher search strength for given audiences. We also still often see many of the possible terms used in one piece for what I surmise is the same reason.

Downticks & Upticks

This year I have observed a bit of a downtick in what I will call more ‘general’ childfree articles, e.g., how to respond to why you don’t have kids, 10 Best Things about the Childfree Lifestyle, and the like. I’ve seen a bit of an uptick in more in-depth and specific examinations. Of note is The Guardian’s childfree series, which included inviting childfree women to write in and share their stories and experiences.

We’ve seen continued features on the childfree choice in major publications, but of note are more stories of the problems childfree women experience when they want to become sterilized as a permanent form of birth control.  This past year I have seen more discussion threads, posts and articles lamenting a variety of ways medical paternalism manifests and prevents women from exercising this reproductive right. The pronatalist notion that doctors know better than women themselves do about their motherhood decision still has way too much of a hold on controlling this facet of women’s reproductive lives.

While social and cultural challenges surely remain, when I look in the 2020 childfree rear view mirror, my biggest takeaway brims with gratitude. Thanks to the ever growing global childfree community of voices, in 2020 even more of the world has been talking about the childfree choice, which continues to foster its path to societal acceptance. Having been on this mission for over a couple of decades now, this makes me happy.

Here’s to more global expansion in 2021!

trick-or-treaters

The Childfree & Treats to Trick-or-Treaters

I sure remember loving Halloween when I was a kid. I loved figuring out my costume and carving a scary pumpkin.I had no clue of the roots of this holiday, and I bet that’s the case for most kids today. Of course I loved being able to run around the neighborhood with friends, stopping at every house to add to a growing bag of candy. It was rare for a house to be dark – as in no one was home – so we would not ring the front door bell, and yell “trick or treat!” there.

Continue reading “The Childfree & Treats to Trick-or-Treaters”

Valentine's Day

Childfree Love: Making Every Day Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day brings to mind one of the many bennies of being in a childfree relationship: because the childfree don’t have kids, they have more time to devote to their relationships. Continue reading “Childfree Love: Making Every Day Valentine’s Day”

What the Childfree Like Most and Least About the Christmas Holiday

On my blog, La Vie Childfree, for awhile I did a monthly “Childfree On-the-Ground” question. At the beginning of the month, I asked a question, collected people’s responses over the course of the month, and then reported back on what people said at the end of the month.  Here is one “OTG” question Continue reading “What the Childfree Like Most and Least About the Christmas Holiday”

Christmas

Assumptions about the Childfree and Christmas

At this time of year, people without children by choice can come up against inaccurate assumptions others make about them. Many people can assume that this growing segment of the population tends not to celebrate Christmas because they don’t have kids. Continue reading “Assumptions about the Childfree and Christmas”

aging parents

Author Francine Russo on Siblings Caring for Aging Parents

Staying on the theme of one’s later years –

During the last year of journalist and author Francine Russo‘s diabetic mother’s life, her aging husband and youngest daughter took care of her. Francine’s sister never asked her to do anything, and she didn’t volunteer. She got the dig from her sister — “You’re not around.”  Continue reading “Author Francine Russo on Siblings Caring for Aging Parents”

Growing Research on the Childfree in India

As an author on the childfree choice, I am always keeping the pulse on international trends. Awhile back I posted on the growing numbers of childfree in India. It seems research in this area is growing in this country as well. Most recently, a research scholar at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai who is looking for research participants contacted me. Continue reading “Growing Research on the Childfree in India”

What Is One Single Decision to Reaching Long-term Financial Goals? The Childfree Life

Nadia Taha wrote an excellent essay recently in the “Your Money” section of the The New York Times.  She is in her late 20s, and she and her husband are like many couples – they want to buy a house, have savings, and comfortable retirement years. They’ve decided they don’t want children. Why? They see it as the “single decision” that can best help them… Continue reading “What Is One Single Decision to Reaching Long-term Financial Goals? The Childfree Life”