Though it’s a hard pill for some to swallow, the reality is not every woman wants children. There are women who live a full, rewarding and fulfilling life without ever having given birth.

A new study, published in The Journal of Marriage and Family, scientifically supports this truth. It found that although women may feel social pressure to reproduce, those who don’t show little distress about their lifestyle. The takeaway? It is very possible to be childless and happy.

Still, despite the study’s findings, most women feel compelled to have children and beat their “biological clock” due to social constructs. Generally, when we see an adult woman without children, we are socialized to pity her. Assumptions are made about her reproductive abilities (it can’t be that she’s simply chosen not to have children). She’s seen as lacking substance and purpose in her life, as she’s never had that the privilege of being called a mother. These assessments are unfair. A woman’s worth is not just her ability to give birth.

Motherhood is indeed a beautiful thing, but it ain’t for everybody. And women shouldn’t be made to feel inadequate if they don’t choose to bear children, especially when, as the study proves, they can be completely fulfilled and content with their lifestyle without kids. Now that science has caught on, hopefully, the rest of society will too.

What’s your opinion, Clutchettes? Do you think women of a certain age are pressured to become mothers? Why won’t society embrace the idea of being childless and satisfied?

  • Real Talk

    Young women say the same thing about marriage. That is until they get over 35. They then want to get married but guys who would have married them 7 or 10 years ago don’t want them anymore. The case of you don’t miss/want something until it’s no longer available.

  • Cocochanel31

    It’s 2012 and people still think like this?? So glad I live in a progressive area ( DC) where women are encouraged to live however they see fit, with or without children.

    I don’t think it;s society that makes women want to have children, it literally is our biological clock. I don’t know too many women that want to be just starting to change diapers at 40. Hell I’m almost 30 and tired now, can’t imagine starting motherhood at 40 if given the choice.

  • Ann

    I am

  • Cocochanel31

    You are what?

  • Lady P

    Where’s my original comment?

    I have a few friends who don’t have kids and aren’t interested in having them at all. It’s really not a hard pill to swallow. One feels as if kids will slow her down. As crazy as it may sound to some, another one of my gfs believe that having a child will give your mate more opportunity to roam. They both enjoy travel, freedom, and having themselves as their only responsibility. Motherhood isn’t for everybody and it is for sure not a bad decision. And for certain; no one shouldn’t be made to feel bad because of their choice or looked upon as a lesser woman regardless of what studies reflect them being happy or sad. I just think it should be looked upon as a respectful decision and less as a judgmental one by society.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    I actually read comments from people boo-hooing that Oprah didn’t have any children. Never mind all that the woman has accomplished in life; she’s to be pitied because she didn’t reproduce. *side-eye* I actually believe that some people (unfortunately, a great deal of them are women) hate when they see others living an alternative to their own life choices, and living happily to boot.

  • since1989

    I think most women feel pressured to become mothers because that is our God given role like literally…that is why we have wombs. Simple as that. Nothing wrong with women who want to remain childless but as a rule I think most women should feel increased pressure to become a mom, if otherwise how would the earth multiply?

  • LMO85

    @since1989, what about the men who have sperm but no children, are they still men? Is it their God given role to have kids as well? WE have enough people on this earth to last a few more lifetimes, we truly don’t need any more.

    And on that note:

    To CLUTCH– the correct term for women (and men) who choose NOT to have kids is Child-FREE. Child less implies they are still lacking something or doing without, which contributes to society’s notion that women should be WITH children. For women who want children and cannot have them, I think the term “childless” more aptly applies.

  • LMO85

    The correct term is CHILD FREE as the study cited indicates.

  • apple

    and men have sperm..is that they role to have kids.. sperm maybe great protein but yea that makes kids too , so stop it

  • Echi

    At this point in time, who really thinks that the major earth-shattering challenge of our time is that we simply we do not have enough people?
    I think if there’s a contingent of women out there who are happy in their child-free-ness, I think the rest of the world will more than happy to (over) compensate.

  • Cocochanel31

    Actually more people need to think about NOT procreating becaused LORD Knows being born female does not make one a GOOD MOTHER, nor does it mean that every woman even wanted her kids, which you can usually tell by their lack of attention/care to the child.

  • The Comment

    I feel for sistahs who live in the South where it is your duty to have children. I’ll sing this song again; why can’t they ask you when are you going to start your own business? Travel the globe? Ask yourself this question when you are greeted with a mindless question. Ask yourself; why is this person asking me why am I going to have kids? Are they successful in anyway beyond keeping a 9 to 5 job? How many times have they been married or divorced? do they speak another language, have a diverse group of friends? Are their kids all that? Are they struggling to make it?

    This is for young women who feel the pressure.

  • Patience

    It is not the responsibility of women to find out how to make another Earth planet. Isn’t that up to the universe or something?

  • dirtychai

    I’m the oldest of 9 and had a lot of responsibility in caring for them while my parents worked. Missed out on a lot of life. This factors into my not wanting to have them. I’m done running behind kids.

  • YouGoSwirl

    love this!

  • YouGoSwirl

    that’s not really true- i know plenty of women who got husband #1 after age 35 and stayed with them- don’t put a age limit on finding love because there is none

  • since1989

    @ LMO85 My opinion is based off the notion that men and women were put on this earth to procreate and women feel more pressure, moreso than men because we don’t have an unlimited lifetime supply of sperm like they do. Once we lose an egg every month it is gone for life. The idea that ‘the earth already has enough people, who needs to be procreating’ is quite silly to me, since we have wars, disease and other contributing factors that all lead to death at some point or another. It’s not like I condemned women who wanted to remain childless, I can see both sides of the coin. Excuse me for having a not so popular opinion.

  • ?!?

    Don’t be surprised by this. People are always making digs at women about their looks or aging. I think this is what the PUA community calls negging lol. It’s supposed to put us in our place or something like that.

    There is a very high divorce rate. People get remarried all the time. Those women they show on the Match.com commercials aren’t all 21 year old Playboy bunnies. There are lots of women past the age of 30 who are able to find men. You simply can’t deal with people who think like the person above. If a woman is 35 but physically fit, attractive, and a great companion, she will probably not have a hard time meeting men. And with all the creams and surgery out there a lot of 35 year olds who look just as good as the 25 year olds if they take care of themselves. Have you seen Gabrielle Union and Halle Berry? These women look as young as Rihanna. It’s not because they’re celebrities. It’s because they take care of their bodies. Also all of that black don’t crack stuff lol.

    I’m in my early twenties, but I see lots of fit 30 year old women winning in the dating game. Men who put an expiration date on women are usually only interested in sex or negging lol. And any 30+ year old woman interested in a healthy relationship should ignore these shallow men. Megan good is 31. Nia long is in her 40s. Sanaa Lathan as well. These women probably have no problem meeting men. All you have to do is take care of yourself, stay away from situations that can create baggage and emotionally and physically hurt you, and you’ll be okay. These actresses are not exceptional. They take care of their body by exercising. Any woman can do that. If you’re overweight now, you can start.

    People are so into trying to tear women down these days for not being attractive, not getting married young, not having children young, and not dating the nice guys who complain about not getting dates. Some people such as conservatives are upset that women don’t get married right out of high school as virgins start having babies and keep the home. The idea that a woman would not have kids or not get married til later in life is preposterous to them. They think it makes you selfish.

    I don’t want to get married late in life or be childless, but I don’t see anything wrong with women who go that route.

  • Bekah

    I don’t want kids. I don’t have the tools necessary to be a mother. I’m not the nurturing type, I can’t cook, not financially stable enough, amongst other things that I feel would make me incompetent as a mother. Until I feel I possess these qualities then maybe I’ll consider entertaining the thought.

    I doubt it though. I’m content in knowing that my actions, for the most part, only affect me. It may be selfish but it’s just not in me to adjust my lifestyle to raise another human being. No children for me and I hope to find a partner in life who is okay with that.

  • http://gravatar.com/mimiandy1683 MimiLuvs

    Since the age of eight years old, I knew that I didn’t want to ever become a mother.Even when I was a child and I would play “House” with my friends, I chose to portray the role of the family pet than to be either parent. Fast forward to the age of 29 (my current age), I still do not want to become a mother. Sure, my opinions of children has slightly altered (now, I tend to find the cuteness factor in kids. Back then, I would rather not be around them), but the desire to have one of my own is not there.
    But, I would love to have the experience of being a wife. It just has to be with a man, who shares the same sentiment.
    Trust me when I say this: I am too much of a selfish person to have children, which is more likely the most self-less thing that I could ever enact, from my entire life.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Not surprised I am starting to see many take the child-free route. Personally I love people who are honest in their choice of not wanting to be a parent instead of going with the status quo of that is what one supposed to do. Being a parent is a big lifetime commitment and sadly these days a lot of people don’t take it seriously. Personally kids aren’t on my radar yet nowhere in the foreseeable future. Not every woman goal is to be a mother

  • Eric

    @?!?

    The best of any group will be fine.

    The “best” ugly girl, the “best” old girl, the “best” fat girl, the “best” single mother will get play. Best = top 20%

    It is the average of a group that always has issues & does the most complaining

  • Jenisha M

    no childfree doesn’t feel right either. to say people without children are ‘free’ from kids as if it’s a burden.

    we can argue back and forth about diction all day – the point remains the same.

  • Jenisha M

    no childfree doesn’t feel right either. to say people without children are ‘free’ from kids as if it’s a burden…

    we can argue back and forth about diction all day – the point remains the same.

  • Mademoiselle

    I won’t say I don’t want kids, but I also won’t spend time hoping and wishing and trying to live up to anyone’s expectations of when and how many I should have. If I pop any out before menopause, then that’s that, if not, I suspect I’ll manage to continue enjoying life. Considering how much work families are, I’m just not trying to wish all that extra responsibility on myself sooner than I have to.

  • http://menloveblackwomen.com B.James

    I do feel a little pressure to have kids, but it comes from myself because it’s something that I want and I never wanted to be an old mother. However, it does NOT bother me in the least when other people ask me why and when. They’re not out there trying to find me a husband nor will they be there to help me raise the kid as a single mother if I have to go it alone. So I don’t feel pressure from society at all to have children. If I wanted to be childless, I’d be just fine with that……but I don’t.

  • http://menloveblackwomen.com B.James

    And I just went and read the article at the link and what they are saying is pretty much common sense. If you decide to be childless you’ll live your life and won’t be sad that you don’t have kids. But if you wanted to be a parent and it didn’t happen (for whatever reason) you will be unhappy and unfulfilled.

    Duh. LoL

    If you really WANT to have children, of course you’re going to feel bad if it never happens. If it’s not something you desire, then why would you be stressed out about not having any?

    That can be said about anything else, too. Education, financial status, etc….

  • Overseas_Honeybee

    Yep. Children are simply not for everyone and I do believe some of the “backlash” is rooted in secret envy. Alot of those same folks (pressuring you) may have had to deal with “unplanned” pregnancies and probably wondered what life would have been like if things had turned out differently.

    I love my life right now and I don’t really see children in the picture anytime soon especially without a husband (that’s just how I choose to roll). So … unless you plan to be up with me every night changing diapers and fixing bottles, keep it moving.

  • African Mami

    Society is set in its patriarchal ways. All you can do is live your life, and stop worrying about societal norms and expectations. If you do not want kids, you don’t need to validate your decision.

  • dirtychai

    I relate so much to all of this. I knew at around age twelve that kids were not for me, but I would love to be married and can see myself doing wifely things for the right man…like laundry…I can’t cook, lol.

  • Keepitreal

    Why the pressure? Because there is a vocal contingent who feel a woman in and of herself is valueless unless she “keeps” a man and or pops out kids left and right, whether or not she has the resources.

  • ?!?

    @Eric – My point is that the majority of these average people only have to work harder on their appearance and personality. If an average complainer really wants to become the “best” then she can start a new exercise regimen and get some self-help books about personal growth.

    I’m not talking about lazy complainers who want the world to accept them as they are even if that is overweight and Debbie downer. I’m talking about complainers who may be overweight and attitudinal who decide that they want to improve. The only difference between these two types of complainers is laziness and willpower. When these new and improved average complainers improve, they stop complaining and people just think that they’re the best of their group lol.

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    Well if you look at it- kids are a major responsibility and a committment. Once you have one, they’re yours to keep- you can’t put ‘em back in the womb or trade ‘em in for something new (unless you’re a shitty parent). So I feel that childfree is an appropriate term

  • apple

    i am unsure about kids now… i semi want them but i semi don’t.. if my life doesn’t look up or start to move then kids may not even be an option.. and honestly i’m too mentally fucked up to have kids right now.. i dont want to ruin someone elses life like my mom did with unhappiness…i think shes a big factor in that..she has shown me time and time that my birth was a hindrance in her life goals.. and honestly i feel right now if i had a kid, i would hate her/him.. because i would see in them what i see in myself…a burden..

  • Comment

    I’ve been thinking about this for some time. I secretly pity women who DO have kids — especially more than one. I can’t imagine the pressure of having additional mouths to feed. You can’t make any decisions in your life without first considering your children. I have never understood the pressure behind wanting to have kids so badly… Is it because you want someone with your DNA? Maybe, that’s understandable.

    I love children but would rather have the freedom to travel, change careers and really experience life. If you’re feeling motherly at some point in your life and ready to settle in there are many kids who are already here who need a loving home.

    All of that said, my truth on the table, I really admire mothers. I admire their strength and commitment. Becoming a mom is a major sacrifice — your children become more important than you and your personal desires (unfortunately not everyone is able to admit that).

    I encourage all young girls and women to really think about all of this before you make a decision that will effect the course of your life.

  • Comment

    I had the misfortune of witnessing an older woman try to brainwash a young college girl with this mindset. Basically she told the young girl to pick a career that would be ideal when she gets married and have kids. I looked at the lady like she had lost her mind. She looked haggard, slightly overweight and a little like life had beaten her down. Why would you try to lead a bright young girl down your same path? As soon as she left I set the girl straight, couldn’t let that one slide. I told her she can be whatever she wants to be. She was thankful. We really have to be careful about the messages we give to young girls, and boys for that matter.

  • Anon

    I’m childless and unmarried; single and broke. I’d like to be financially self-sufficient and stable before I marry. I want to marry BEFORE I have kids. I’m in my mid 30s, so I am a bit unhappy/disappointed for not having achieved this by not (marriage and kids), but I come from extreme poverty, and for me, dating has been a challenge because of it. I’ve only dated when matters at home were taken care of. I haven’t found a mate because I just didn’t know what I was looking for, went through a lot of heartbreak and just decided to ‘take my time’.

    It’s disappointing, but it could be worst. I could be single, broke and with children to care for on my own, without a mate or any supporting income, as my parent was.

    People are so quick to judge single women, but from what I’ve experienced, single women with children, get just as much criticism. The single mother with 2-4 kids who works two-three jobs, drops her kids off at daycare/babysitter for most of the day, is also viewed as irresponsible and selfish.

    So do married women who have a lot of children. For some reason, people start looking at married couples who have more than 4-5 children as selfish and irresponsible, let alone an ‘octomom’. The brunt of the criticism is usually directed at the wife.

    People view women who don’t want to have kids, marriage, the same way?

    What gives? Either way, a woman is going to get criticized, whether someone is helping her or not; whether she’s on welfare or not.

  • LMO85

    NONSENSE worrying about eggs. There are other options. There are plenty of children on this earth who already need homes and supportive families. If people were serious about raising children, they would take in and adopt the children who need homes, not worry about how many @!#% eggs they have left.

  • LMO85

    That doesn’t make sense. If I do not want children, it could be because I DO see them as burden, a heavily financial one, among other things. So in that case, I am child free, and people like me have the right to call ourselves what we want. Hence the term: Child FREE.

  • LMO85

    Where is my comment? We have enough people in this world. AND PAHlenty of children who need homes if one is so inclined to take on the responsible role of parent. Women can also freeze their eggs and use surrogates. There are other options so women do not have to be made to feel threatened by this biological notion that they better hurry up and have kids. You need to get with the times.

  • LMO85

    The family pet? Ha! That is so cute!!!

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    my husband and i decided not to have children and people (usually the ones who have or want kids) call us SELFISH. i think it’s better to be selfish, then to have a child for the wrong reasons and act like it’s the kid’s fault your life was shit…

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  • Diane

    I’m glad to read an article giving an alternative opinion, women who are childless, happier and less stressed out. Children are not a walk in the park.

    Also with the way this society is setup, its very stressful to raise children. Alot of women are opting out. If you’re having a hard time paying your rent/mortgage because of this economy, imagine trying to raise kids?! No thanks. I’m in my mid-twenties trying to make ends meet after graduating college. Maybe I’ll think of kids in 10 years.

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  • Snicks

    My colleagues at work:
    - One has two children, and has been divorced a long time
    - One has one child from an ex wife, remarried & had another kid, then separated from that wife.
    – Another has 2 kids. He & his wife separated. Lack of sex life… Tried living together again, then divorced. Now due to financial problems live platonically together again.
    - Another has 2 kids and divorced a long time ago.
    - another, 3 kids and divorced a long time ago.
    Two others are just starting out with young families. Seem optomistic and happy.
    A friend has a young child. His wife had to also get a job. She works weekends and weeknights. They take turns taking care of their child and chores and rarely see each other. He loves his kid and wife, but is tired and frustrated.
    Another has a young child. He loves his child, but while having a few beers told me he now truly dislikes his wife. She is not fun or pleasant anymore, he said.

    My wife and I are happy being childless. Snuggling, walk hand in hand. Travel

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