On Being Childfree – Sarah’s Story

This week we have Sarah’s story, sharing why she’s decided to talk about being childfree by choice. I “met” Sarah virtually online as I was researching vegetable garden growers and we got chatting – I’m so glad she’s found this somewhere she can share in the hope it helps others. As always, I’m so grateful for everyone’s commitment because it is such a personal subject to open up about. Please do read, leave a comment and share as much as you can, I’m really willing this to grow and grow so that we can help as many people as possible who may be going through something similar.

I’ve also started to build a resource list, for those of you who are either childfree by circumstance or childfree by choice. A combination of blogs, communities, individuals who are doing wonderful things in this space. Please do let me know if there are resources you use I can add.

(If you would like to see where it all began, click here. Thank you so much for your support, if you would like to share your own story please email me on booandmaddie22@gmail.com)


We Are : Sarah and Chris, mid and late 30s

Home Is: Northwest

We Do: We work in data and strategy and finance

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I wanted to share my experience of being child free by choice as I very rarely meet or speak to people who have made the same decision. In fact I don’t talk about it or even think about it much myself, it’s just the norm for me, so writing this has been a nice chance to reflect on it.

I have never felt an urge to have children, and my husband is the same. We can see the absolute joys that parenthood brings many of our family and friends and we can, of course, see why people would want to. We just don’t feel that way ourselves.

Chris and I met when I was aged 22 and he was 28 and we have always spoken very openly in our relationship about not wanting children. We do occasionally talk about it just to check we’re both still on the same page but 12 years later, we don’t feel any differently. We have happy and fulfilling lives and have just never felt like anything is missing. In recent years even as our family and close friends have had children we haven’t felt left out or even questioned our decision.

In my experience most people I speak to about it are accepting of our choice and curious to understand it more, and both of our parents are supportive and have never questioned it. But for some, I know it’s still quite a difficult subject to understand.

Over the years some of the comments I have had include people in denial: “you’ll change your mind” or “you’re still young so there’s still time”. People trying to justify our choice to themselves: “well you’re a career girl instead” or “well you’ve got dogs so they’re like your babies really”. And people who really struggle to understand it: “but what’s your purpose if you don’t have children?” or “but who will look after when you get older?”.

I’ve mostly just shrugged these questions and comments off as I know they aren’t coming from a malicious place. I don’t get defensive about it as I am content with the decision I have made. I’m not even a particularly decisive person and I’m very open minded about many things so it’s funny this is one of the things I have always been certain about! I know I won’t change my mind, this is just how I am. I do have a good career and I love my job, but I have never seen having a career and a family as an either/or choice. I love my dogs but they are very different babies so I don’t see them as a substitute. I don’t believe having children is the purpose of life and I will pay someone to look after me when I am older, I would never expect children to do that for me anyway.

I know these sort of comments don’t come from a bad place and more times than not people genuinely want to understand. These questions are reactions to try and understand something that isn’t the norm and they reinforce the fact that we live in a society where stereotypes are so ingrained in us, that topics like choosing not to have children are still quite taboo.

Funnily enough my husband has never had these statements or questions thrown his way. The expectations and pressures tend to fall on women when it comes to marriage and even more so when it comes to decisions around children.

I know this short piece goes nowhere near covering this topic thoroughly and it is just my personal experience and views, I haven’t even got around to mentioning environmental reasons to have fewer or no children, though it hasn’t been the main driver for us. As with most things, listening to and reading about other peoples’ views and experiences helps us all better understand each other as everyone is experiencing life in their own individual way.

Thank you so so much to Sarah for sharing her honest story as a guest poster and sharing her thoughts and views in this piece. As I’ve stressed from the very beginning, this is a warm, empathic platform for people to share their stories, hopes, dreams, fears. Please do read Sarah’s story and leave a comment if you’d like to and share this series if you know anyone it could help. Together we are making changes.

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  1. Kat
    September 11, 2020 / 7:16 pm

    I relate so much to this. Similarly to Sarah, I’ve never felt the urge to become a parent. In fact, from around age 5 I knew that it was just not for me. And yet, random strangers seem to feel the need to question my choice, to tell me that I’m wrong, or in denial, or depriving my mum of the chance to be a grandma (sidenote, my mum’s onboard with my decision). Oddly enough, just as Sarah mentions, my partner has never had his choice to also be childfree questioned. Funny that, eh? Almost like society still can’t shake this weird idea of what women “should” want and how they “should” behave. Also kind of sad that there’s still seemingly such a perception that men don’t really play a role in child-raising. Mostly, I blame the Victorians. So much to answer for…

    • Lins
      September 12, 2020 / 11:03 pm

      Thank you so much Sarah for reading and taking the time to reply. I totally agree – men simply aren’t questioned in the same way women are. Even though my life initially was around not being able to have children rather than it being an active choice (now it’s very much a choice hence why I didn’t pursue IVF further/adoption) it frustrated me so much that even my closest friends only saw a missed opportunity to have been a mother. No-one saw all my many other achievements and were still so blinkered x

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