Millennials and Gen Z are talking about going child-free and it’s all the more important to hear them

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadMar 02, 2023 | 16:24

Millennials and Gen Z are talking about going child-free and it’s all the more important to hear them

In Sex and the City 2, Carrie is met with disapproval by a couple at Stanford's wedding for choosing to remain child-free. Back then abortion was still legal in the US. Thirteen years ago, a decision of a woman or a couple to go "child-free" by choice was met with disdain. 

Thirteen years later, the number of women or couples going the Carrie way when it comes to children has not decreased. Just scroll through social media. But abortion is illegal in many US states and society's view too remains mostly unchanged.


If you go out now and tell someone you don't plan on having children EVER, you are most likely to get these responses:

  • Oh, it's just a phase; you will grow out of it.
  • You might change your mind later. 
  • You will regret not having children. 
  • Don't be ridiculous Andrea. Everybody wants this.
  • Who will take care of you in your old age? 
  • Who will pass down your culture and heritage? 
  • You will spell the end of humanity! The population is declining.
  • Killing a non-existent life form is a sin. 
  • You won't know true love. 

But Influencers on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok are proving the above wrong by sharing what their lives are like after deciding not to have children. The answer are wonderful. 

It doesn't matter what gender you are. For ages, society, your parents, and the media have fed us with this "fairytale" of traditional family life of falling in love and having children. Most of us grew up thinking that motherhood or fatherhood or having children is inevitable. 

But there were always people who never wanted to have children, but they did so anyway due to societal pressures. The term child-free has existed since the early 1900s. For long, their narratives have been eliminated from the discourse. Now, the tide is changing direction in terms of breaking silence over choices.


The debate has shifted to-

  • Choice: Choice of women in particular. Do you/we want to have children?
  • Morality: Not just a talk about choice, there's also a legitimate question about "should you/we have children?".


Why are the young averse to having children? 

There are several reasons why Millennials and Gen Z are opting to remain child-free.


The choice:

  • Some have come to the realisation that they just don't like children or being parents. There's also a rise in child-free weddings. 
  • Women are more aware of how irreversibly damaging childbirth and raising children can be for their physical, emotional and economic well-being. 

There's nothing romantic about the vagina being torn apart and damaged forever, the bleeding, the high possibility of death and complications, the torso being cut open and suffering from mental health issues for the rest of your life. Most of us aren't Kylie Jenners or supermodels like Gigi Hadid, to have immense wealth to care for our bodies and health.  

  • Others are bogged down by the economic hardships of the world, buried in inflation, student debts, unaffordable housing, broken healthcare and education system. They don't know if they can 'afford' to have children.

The morality:

  • Many more think that it is simply cruel to bring a life into a world full of misery, climate change concerns and more. 
  • Others simply think that procreating is adding to the burden of climate change. And we need to focus on bettering the lives of the unfortunate rather than creating more miserable lives. 

Child-free vs Childless

Going child-free is different from being childless. Child-free is when someone consciously chooses to not have children. And childless is when someone is unable to have children due to various reasons such as infertility and a lack of a willing partner. 

  • One of the rebuttals used to answer anti-childfree groups is that people who decide to not have children have thought about and understand the pros and cons of having children more than those who did have children.  

Why is it important to talk about it?

Advocates of child-free lifestyles have been labelled selfish for putting their own needs and health before that of unborn life. For women, it's the usual trope of being labelled a lonely cat lady. It's a dangerous notion for deep-seated patriarchy in our world where women start to have control over their bodies. A look at the anti-abortion movement gives a glimpse of the insecurities of our patriarchal society. 

But it is all the more important to talk about these choices to ensure that people, especially women, around the world have a sense of community and like-minded individuals; a place where they aren't threatened and belittled for choosing to live on their own terms.

Last updated: March 02, 2023 | 16:27
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