Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice
I sometimes think that what we call ‘our choices’ might be better understood in terms of ‘what we would have liked’. Women ‘choose’ to become pregnant and find that they cannot. Women ‘choose’ to be childfree and find that they are pregnant. Women ‘choose’ to delay parenthood and later find they cannot conceive. Women ‘choose’ to put their careers first and have babies before their studies are even complete. Women ‘choose’ IVF to assist with the conception of a baby and it fails. Women ‘choose’ IVF to assist with the conception of a baby and find themselves with three. Women ‘choose’ to form families and end up as single parents. Women ‘choose’ single parenthood and end up in blended families. In short, babies don’t always get the memo that we have made a choice one way or the other.
The idea that we have the power to choose parenthood (or not) also implies that we all select from an equally viable, workable array of options. In reality, our choices are likely to be shaped very significantly by pre-existing variables such as our relationships, financial situations, careers, health, support networks and ages. No doubt, some women whose lives could easily and comfortably accommodate children choose not to have them, while others choose to be mothers without even basic means or support in place. It is certainly sometimes possible to defy our circumstances in the choices we make. But the reality is that most of us will be guided, if not directed, by our circumstances. So I think our ‘choices’, then, are much more constrained than the term generally implies.
If you’re interested in the idea of the choices made by childless and childfree women, you may also be interested to read about managing the doubts and what-ifs and also the relationship between choices and circumstances in a woman’s childless or childfree status.