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!

To Kid Or Not To Kid

Behind the Scenes with ‘To Kid or Not to Kid’ Filmmaker, Maxine Trump

Award-winning director Maxine Trump (no relation) is close to wrapping the important film, To Kid or Not To Kid, which aims to dispel the myth that making the decision to live childfree is weird, selfish or somehow wrong.  I recently caught up with Maxine to talk about why she is making this film, wonderful synchronicities and deeply personal moments during its production.

Continue reading “Behind the Scenes with ‘To Kid or Not to Kid’ Filmmaker, Maxine Trump”

outrage

© Yuryz | Dreamstime.com

The Childfree, Outrage, and Where It Belongs

A recent study, “Parenthood as a Moral Imperative? Moral Outrage and the Stigmatization of Voluntarily Childfree Women and Men” by Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, has recently received quite a bit of online ink. Continue reading “The Childfree, Outrage, and Where It Belongs”

positive trends

Looking Back: Positive Childfree Trends in 2016

At the beginning of 2016, I took stock of 40+ years of talking about the childfree choice. As we near the end of this year, I’d like to do the same just for this  past year, and this time widen the discussion a bit.  What positive trends have we seen this past year? Here are six: Continue reading “Looking Back: Positive Childfree Trends in 2016”

human slices

The Childfree in Novels and Films: A Q&A with Author Gloria Bowman

I recently had the pleasure of asking author Gloria Bowman about her novel, Human Slices, which has a main female character who is childfree. We also got into the childfree in novels and films. Check it out:
Continue reading “The Childfree in Novels and Films: A Q&A with Author Gloria Bowman”

talking about childfree choice

Where Are We, After 40+ Years of Talking About the Childfree Choice?

As 2015 came to a close, it marked another year of talking about the childfree choice  Let’s take stock. In the big picture, we’ve seen an ascent of talk about this choice in the public sphere since the 70s. That’s over four decades. Where are we after 40+ years of talking about the childfree choice? Let’s start with a quick broad stroke look back in time: Continue reading “Where Are We, After 40+ Years of Talking About the Childfree Choice?”

Laura Carroll, Childfree Choice

Two Questions to Ask When You See a “Who’s Happier” Study

There are scads of nonfiction books out there on the happiness topic. Then there are the “Who’s Happier” studies the media loves to talk about. Earlier this month Good Morning America joined the collection of television and print media with what it says is a “hot button question:” Who is happier, parents or non-parents? When you see these kinds of segments reporting on research in this area, or see the research itself, here are two key questions to ask yourself: Continue reading “Two Questions to Ask When You See a “Who’s Happier” Study”

Phasing Out Childfree Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy

If you’ve ever had an opportunity to watch ABC’s hit series, Grey’s Anatomy, there’s a strong chance you’re familiar with the leading lady’s intelligent, ambitious, and often tactless best friend, Dr. Cristina Yang.

In a role that has elevated Sandra Oh’s career to new heights, Yang not only represents one of few Asian-American regular characters to appear on primetime television, she is also one of very few to be outspoken and 100% committed to her choice to live childfree. Continue reading “Phasing Out Childfree Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy”