Inspiration for childless and childfree women

Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice

picking up the best bits

For me, online forums and groups are a bit of a mixed bag. It’s not easy to find like-minds among people who identify with the label ‘childfree’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we’re all pretty different from each other in lots of ways.

Personally, I could never get involved in the hostility and even hatred often expressed about children and parents in some of these groups. Hatred and hostility are a million, million miles away from the choices and circumstances that have created my own life as a non-mother. It is actually a close friend and parent-of-three whose enthusiasm for the idea of this website propelled me into action!

So one of the things I’ve enjoyed about sticking around in a few different groups for a while and getting past all the (to me) slightly awkward ‘I like children…with sauce’ jokes, is that I’ve found there are many other people who don’t come from a place of hatred or hostility either.

Here are some more of the things I love best about about being childfree online:

– I love reading about the special pleasures people associate with their lifestyles, like the time they spend with their partners, families and friends, the interesting work they so often do, the traveling, the reading, the leisurely breakfasts and the lovingly created living spaces.

– I love that there are places in which it is understood that people truly do say astonishing and outrageous things to and about non-mothers. (I don’t think many of my everyday-world-friends really believe it!)

– I love it when people talk about their own childless or childfree role models, like aunts or godmothers or writers or activists who have inspired them.

– I love it when someone posts about feeling downcast or discouraged and lots of people chime in to offer support and affirmation and encouragement.

– I love those exhilarating moments of yes! yes!  I can’t believe someone else has noticed that/felt like that/wondered about that too!

– I love the idea that perhaps these kinds of discussions are, in themselves, helping to create meaningful choices for women by showing that being a non-mother can be a brilliant way to live.

So in my opinion, finding and creating lots of value in being childfree online is a matter of picking up whatever you feel are the best bits and leaving the rest alone.

If you’re interested in issues affecting childfree groups, you might like to read a post about the common accusation that we are making a big deal about nothing, or perhaps a post describing an alternative to the popular ‘breeder bingo’ approach.

But in the meantime, how about you? What (if anything) do you value about being childfree online?

[The gorgeous image at the head of this post is by Rachel at Cornflower Blue Studio.
You can find her beautiful work here and here.]


11 comments on “picking up the best bits

  1. Kaitlyn
    March 22, 2012

    I like the fact that I’m not alone, and I get support from other childfree men and women. My entire family is still convinced that I’ll change my mind one day, or I’m too young to know I don’t want children (I’m 19), or that my fiance will leave me because we aren’t having any children. I always hear “Oh, you’re young. You’ll change your mind when you’re older.” and “Children will make you feel complete and loved.” and the hurtful “So you and your fiance aren’t going to have a family?” Last time I checked, getting married WAS starting a family.

    • olivia
      March 22, 2012

      I agree with you, Kaitlyn – two is a perfect family if it’s what works for those two people. And the support factor is huge. I wish you and your fiance beautifully happy lives together!

  2. Amy
    March 22, 2012

    I found a forum, but quickly ditched it, as I found it too toxic. There were a few aspects of it that I liked, but the anti-child, anti-mother sentiments, unfortunately, overshadowed the good parts. In fact, that’s what drew me this blog: the positivity. I can certainly empathize with feelings of anger, but sometimes it feels like an overindulgence (a nice way of saying “pity party.”) I think attitudes will take a while to change, but working toward it with anger, instead of setting positive examples of how rich the childfree lifestyle, seems to be hurting the cause.

    • olivia
      March 22, 2012

      Amy, thank you so much for your thoughts here. It sounds as though our experiences of some of these groups have been really similar. I wonder if you already know of ? It’s a lovely site and is another hate-free zone, advocating women supporting each other in their different reproductive choices and circumstances, rather than tearing each other down.

      • Amy
        March 23, 2012

        Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely check it out.

  3. Nicole
    March 22, 2012

    I love the support I get for the rest of my life. I feel in my day to day dealings I get a lot of the “You should try to have a child at all costs” and people don’t seem to get why I am not into that.

    But, in the online world, I get a lot more – “you are awesome!” about all aspects of my life. I feel other childless/childfree folks really understand that there are a lot more aspects to life going on, so I feel more accepted as myself. Finding people online through blogging has been so great for support.

    I love your blog so much. So much positivity and optimism. Thanks 🙂

    • olivia
      March 22, 2012

      You’ll get a big bunch of ‘you are awesome!’ here, Nicole! I’ve loved reading about your story on the ‘conventions’ post.

      Thank you for your lovely feedback on the blog!

  4. Red Nelly
    March 22, 2012

    I love all these things too! I’d like to have babies but the reality is I might not. The internet is awash with smug mummies and bitter ‘infertiles’ – I want to read about the inbetweeners, people like me who are searching for a third way to understand womanhood.

    My lovely mum had two kids but is always telling me how wonderfully different her life and marriage would have been if she’d remained childless. She doesn’t regret having us – it just made everything different, that’s all. She’s taught me to stay positive in the face of infertility because no matter what the outcome is, my life will be as fun and fruitful as I decide to make it.

    • Nicole
      March 22, 2012

      Red Nelly – I totally hear you. I am infertile, but just stumbled into it via cancer. So, while I do understand and relate to a lot of infertile women, at the same time, I wasn’t trying to have a child, I just ended up infertile due to cervical cancer. I had never 100% decided I wanted kids… I was just in this “who knows?” land. So, I too like finding more spots with women who were sort of more vague on their feelings… it feels highly relatable to me.

    • olivia
      March 22, 2012

      Red Nelly, your mum sounds fantastic. (I have the sort of supportive mum who can talk openly about these things with me too – I’d say you and I are both thoroughly lucky in this department!)

      I really, really like your idea of there being a third way of understanding womanhood. I hadn’t thought of it in those terms exactly and it’s such an interesting way to conceptualise the ‘inbetweeners’!

      Thank you very much for your comment 🙂

    • Mali
      April 9, 2012

      I think if you look around on the interent you’ll find a lot of women who are infertile and couldn’t have children, and who are joyously embracing their childfree no kidding life, whilst still acknowledging the fact that society’s expectations and our own losses can continue to bring pain unexpectedly. One of the things we hate is the stereotype that we are “bitter.” Most of us are not.

      I tried to have kids, I don’t have kids, and I love my life.

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