5 Things your child-free friends want you to know

11 Apr 2015

I’ll admit it. Now that I have kids and am knee-deep in parenting, I forget that not everybody cares about my kids as much as I do. Not everybody wants kids, and that is a perfectly valid decision. For those of us who have forgotten how the other side lives, child-free Redditors have some important insight to share.

First, it helps to know that there is a distinction between child-less and child-free. A child-less couple may plan for kids in the future or struggle to conceive. According to the child-free sub-Reddit, “‘Childfree’ refers to those who do not have, and do not ever want, children (whether biological or adopted).”

The child-free sub-Reddit is one that every parent should read. Even if you already have kids, a child-free point of view can provide an outside perspective on parenting and keep you sensitive to your single friends.

Here are the top 10 takeaways from the child-free community.

1. Adult time is for adults
Harsh but true. One child-free Redditor explains why most people don’t appreciate parents bringing their kids out at 10 p.m.: “Went to a very obviously adult event at a bowling alley, crappy family comes in with sick kids, kids are obnoxious, mom tries to force feed her baby birds chicken soup Ended up leaving and forfeiting the rest of our games we had paid for just because that family was so out of control.”

2. Child-free is a conscious choice
Some smart, self-aware adults know from a young age that they never want kids: “As a little girl, I never played with baby dolls or played ‘Mommy.’ I always played with stuffed animals instead. When I was about 10, I told my parents that I never wanted kids, just dogs and horses. They laughed and told me, ‘That will change!’ Eleven years later, and nothing has changed.”

3. Child-free people are still human
Child-free people have feelings and reproductive organs too. One Reddit thread reveals that infertility is still a struggle, even for the child-free: “I likely wouldn’t have been able to have children without medical intervention, and I’ve never wanted them anyway. Still, the discovery of my infertility was something I had to come to terms with. My initial reaction was elation, but there was a time when I went through a mourning phase of sorts. I felt miffed that my body formed in such a way that it denied me the choice.”

4. Fear of pregnancy is a real thing
Some women choose to never have kids because the thought of being pregnant is unbearable: “I have a horrible fear of getting pregnant. It’s getting so bad that I don’t even feel secure while having sex with my boyfriend.”

5. Grandparent guilt never gets easier
Every couple has been down this road before, but for the child-free, the “give me grandchildren” guilt is constant: “I have some in laws who think that having children is the best thing ever and don’t understand why we’d be [child-free]. They have a daughter who is currently pregnant and plans on giving them plenty of grandkids. My husband has told his mother and father that we plan on being [child-free] and to please to not ask us about it. They usually don’t ask when we’re together, but alone his mother always tries to change my mind.”


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