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!

childfree sterilization

On Childfree Sterilization: Shifting from Paternalism to Reproductive Autonomy

I sure like seeing more pieces out there these days on childfree sterilization in popular women’s publications. A recent piece in SELF on this topic deserves mention. After Deputy Editor Nina Bahadur relays a few women’s frustrating experiences and describes what male and female sterilization procedures involve, she gets into the ethical issues that need more talking about. Continue reading “On Childfree Sterilization: Shifting from Paternalism to Reproductive Autonomy”

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”

Laura Carroll, LiveTrue books

Would the Solution to Overpopulation in Inferno by Dan Brown Really Work?

Laura Carroll, LiveTrue BooksI recently made the acquaintance of population expert Kurt Dahl.  He has written an interesting essay about Dan Brown’s book, Inferno. While a novel, it deals with the very real issue of overpopulation. In the book Brown has an “antagonist execute a specific solution to the overpopulation problem, but what Dahl wanted to know was if anyone had done a critical analysis this solution – in reality, would it work? Here is his essay and what he found out. Continue reading “Would the Solution to Overpopulation in Inferno by Dan Brown Really Work?”

Laura Carroll, pronatalism

Adiana: What Happened to it as a Permanent Contraception Option?

I have previously posted on two non-surgical sterilization procedures, Adiana and Essure. Both have big benefits over a tubal ligation. But for Adiana it’s past tense-unfortunately, this procedure is no longer available. Why? It boils down to a law suit… Continue reading “Adiana: What Happened to it as a Permanent Contraception Option?”

Laura Carroll, Childfree Choice

On Sterilization and Future Regret

A recent Slate article by Bryan Lowder, titled “Sterilize Me, Please: Why Is It So Difficult For Women to Get Their Tied?” gets at one of the most frustrating experiences for many childfree women who want to choose permanent birth control. I can’t tell you how many emails I have received from childfree women who were having a hard time finding a doctor who was unwilling to do a sterilization procedure, whether it be a tubal ligation, essure or adiana. All too often docs say the women will regret it down the road. But do they? Here are some numbers. Continue reading “On Sterilization and Future Regret”

The Latest in Birth Control For Men: RISUG

When I first heard of a new method of birth control for men called RISUG (“reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance”) that is 100% effective, I wanted to say-Interested men, get on a plane to India! Turns out, it is a bit too soon for that, but it is in its final stages of becoming approved and available there and in many other countries.

How does it work? Check it out. Continue reading “The Latest in Birth Control For Men: RISUG”

What to Know About 2 Non-Surgical Sterilization Procedures: Essure & Adiana

Last June I wrote about a FDA approved non-surgical sterilization procedure for women called Essure. Since then, I have learned of another: Adiana.  Both have big benefits over getting a tubal ligation.

I had a chance to interview Dr. Schwartz, Continue reading “What to Know About 2 Non-Surgical Sterilization Procedures: Essure & Adiana”