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Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

Child Free Vs. Child Less

The other day I wrote a blog called The Choice NOT to have a Baby, Even When You Really Want One, inspired by a blog post by Savvy Auntie, Melanie Notkin. This inspired conversation on Facebook about all the ways that people become childless not by choice. This further led to a conversation about the choices people make when faced with involuntary childlessness – and what language we use to call the decision not to have a child through birth or adoption.

People experience involuntary childlessness for lots of different reasons such as infertility, the desire to be partnered or married to have a child, illness or even a lack of agreement in a couple as to whether or not to have a child.

So if you decide no matter what your life circumstance – that you are not going to build a family through birth or adoption and live your life without having a child – are you “Child Free” or “Child Less”?

I have also gone with the term “Child Free” as I always feel like it comes down to a decision even if you feel like the decision is forced upon you.  Everyone always has a choice – even if the choice is one that is filled with sadness, regret and pain. But not everyone buys that.

Some feel that since the choice to have a child easily through birth was taken away – that they are child less.

What do you think? I would love to hear your perspective on this.


About Pam Madsen
Talking, writing, educating and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years
3 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. At 40, I got married, feeling the edge of the baby clock going off. I really wanted one. During a tremendous upheaval in my hot/cold marriage, I actually LOST my period due to stress, which I felt was Nature telling me not to have a child with this partner. Needless to say, we divorced after 3 years, and I had not become pregnant even tho we had not used birth control. Fertility? I had an abortion at age 22, and twice more had caused miscarriage thru herbs as a morning after treatment. So I did have 3 pregnancies.

    My one regret is not going thru the biochemical changes and breast feeding, I feel that would have been a fascinating experience for me, since I am totally into Body Awareness. Having said that, I am content with my destiny – that I did not have to weave my life around the needs of a child, I would have had a very very different path, and perhaps not accomplished all the gifts I have to share in healing for so many, as a teacher and world traveler…

    Most people who meet me and see me interact with children or youth, ask me “how old are yours?” because I am so at ease with being Mothering through any appropriate circumstance. After studying & teaching Pregnancy massage & helping at 10 Labors, and working with kids creatively all my life, I do NOT identify with CHILD LESS, NOR with CHILD FREE.

    I have 4 beautiful nieces and a God-daughter that are dear to my heart and I do my best to stay in touch with them.

    Instead, I identify with being a CHILD at HEART and interacting with everyone’s INNER CHILD, so I am CHILD FRIENDLY, and you can always sit next to me on the airplane!! – Your Auntie Marci

    • Auntie Marci!

      I say “childfull” – since you choose to love the children in your life. The term Savvy Auntie certainly applies to you too.

      As I say:
      Babies are born from the womb. Motherhood is born from the soul. There are many ways to mother.

      Melanie Notkin, Founder, Savvy Auntie

  2. While the term ‘childless’ has shown in recent studies to have profound effects on women who are not mothers by a certain age (learn more here:, ‘child-free’ implies not a circumstance, but a chosen lifestyle. The term was coined to describe women whose state is not childlessness, but a proactive choice to never have children because they do not want to have children. (This is a very valid choice for those women.)

    On the flip-side, by a certain age, perhaps when a woman is in her mid-thirties, it’s no longer considered ‘natural’ for her to be childless. Her born state is no longer acceptable in our pronatalist society. But the real choice is to change from the natural state of childlessness, to a state of motherhood. There is no choice in being childless. It is how we are born.

    I don’t choose to be child-free. I yearn for a baby of my own. I mourn my menstruation like a woman suffering from biological infertility. It is no more a choice for her to get her period than it is for me to get mine.

    I am a natural woman. I am whole. I am not less, nor am I free. I simply just am.

    Melanie Notkin, Founder, Savvy Auntie

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