Woman sitting alone on table

The Childless Dilemma: What’s with this horrific word?

Childless – to be without child.* Hm. As I was researching this week, I came upon the word childless and it really got me thinking… WTF!

Being a child free by choice blogger has its perks. I get to talk to some pretty incredible people every day (PS. all people are incredible to me) about real life. We discuss why we’re child free, the pros and cons and the issues around relationships. Generally, everyone I talk to is pretty positive and happy about their decision. It’s nice to have a community of people who believe in the same things.

But, we are not all created equal. We all have different reasons for being childfree. The one thing we have as a common ground is that we believe in choice. We believe everyone has the power to create their own reality by taking decisions, like whether to have children, very seriously.

Why Childless Isn’t the Right Word

Honestly, does the word “childless” really evoke a positive or even neutral emotion for you? Yeah, I didn’t think so. According to Google/Wikipedia, childlessness is the state of people not having children. But, what does it really mean?

If I take words like meaningless, clueless, needless, helpless, friendless, the addition of the word “less” to the root word makes it real sad. For instance, what if I said, “Look at Jimmy over here friend free”? Doesn’t that feel different than saying, “Look at Jimmy over here friendless”? It’s just so… negative. I’m sure those people who can’t have children due to circumstances out of their control wouldn’t appreciate if we called them childless.

It feels a little derogatory and maybe it’s because it’s a really outdated way to explain living life without children.

Voluntary Makes It All Better – I Think Not

My favorite part of the research comes next. Are you ready for it? Add the word “voluntary” to childless and suddenly we have a synonym for “childfree by choice”. Good one!

Adding this extra classification certainly doesn’t help. My favorite way of describing my mission is that I’m on the path to make sure the word woman isn’t confused or used synonymously with the word mother anymore. Because of this, my first priority is to remove the negative associations with choosing to not have children. Choosing to not have children is in fact liberating! And, when you can truly own it and be proud of this decision, it’s even more refreshing.

It all starts with putting an end to this “Childless” and “Voluntary Childlessness” nonsense. If we’re moving away from putting labels on people, then we must also be prepared to stop judging people for whether or not they have children. Choosing to live child free is simply a choice, just as choosing to have children. Both are important decisions in anyone’s life and if you’re thinking about either option a little more, then I’ve done my job.

I know this topic is a hot one, so I’m fully prepared to have these discussions. Message me on social or leave a comment! Let’s discuss!

xo, A

*This blog is intended to discuss being childfree by choice and not child-free due to infertility or other situations. Although, I’m on a mission for people to stop calling anyone childless because it’s just cruel.

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