‘Childless By Choice’ Women, Couples On The Rise

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — An increasing number of women are choosing not to have children, according to a Bay Area author whose book explores the repercussions women and couples face when they decide to go childless.

“Many of us who are childless by choice have friends, family and loved ones who do not get it,” said Karen Foster, author of “No Way Baby,” a new book about how to cope in a world where deciding to be “child free” is often questioned.

According to Foster, “Many of us have chosen not to have children still constantly have to defend ourselves against comments like: You’ll regret it.  Who’s going to take care of you when you get old.  It’s different when they’re your own.  You’ll never know true love.  It’s your duty to go forth and multiply.  One of my favorites: But I want grandchildren!”

But despite the pressures, Foster says about 4 million women in the U.S. have decided not to have kids, and the number is growing.

“In the women’s movement in the 70s and 80s our mothers and grandmothers fought for us to have choices and have careers,” said Foster.  “But now what I see around me are women who are working 60 hours a week and then doing the fulltime job of raising a child.  And something’s got to give.”

CBS 5 reporter Juliette Goodrich saw their worlds collide when Foster came to her house for an interview and two of Goodrich’s kids were home because of daycare issues.  Ages four and seven, their mother instructed them to play quietly upstairs.  That lasted for about 20 minutes before peeps and giggles began leaking into the interview.

“As a mom of three I have to ask: Do you not like kids?” asked Goodrich.

“That’s not the case at all,” insisted Foster.  “There are people that are childless by choice that don’t like kids.  And, I would say good — then don’t have any!”

Foster said she’s doing society a favor by not having children, especially with the world population expected to hit seven billion this year, and 15 million children living in poverty in the United States.  And yet, child-free adults are often accused of being ‘selfish.’

“A lot of people in the childless-by-choice community will say that, will say parents are selfish,” said Foster.  “I think what it really comes down to is we are all selfish.  Because we are all pursuing the life path that we think is going to make us most happy.  If you are making your decision from a healthy, well-thought-out place, then most people around you will accept that.  And those that don’t, that has to do with their issues, not yours.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

  • Laura Carroll

    Hi–author of Families of Two here and San Francisco long time local~some of the same issues Foster speaks of were true when Families of Two came out, but over the last ten years there has been more exposure and education about this choice than ever before. Some myths die hard, like the selfishness one, as well as we must have had troubled childhoods and we must not like kids because we don’t want the role of parenthood in our lives. Still swimming in the tributaries but I do see the stigmas lessen with each generation. We’ll see– I am doing a 10 year longitudinal study with 20 something childfree women and look forward to following them over time re their childfree status, feelings, etc.
    ~Laura Carroll Families of Two http://laviechildfree.com

  • SF Mom

    Finally women and couples with intelligent! I think making the childless decision is a noble act! It calls for clear thinking, maturity, and planning! I, put on hold a good career to stay at home with soon to be three kids (all planned), applaud these women who are making their own choices. I treasure my time with my kids and do not regard my decision. People should not judge others’ decision, period! Everyone should respect what a couple want and don’t want. Being a mom IS a full time job for the rest of one’s life. And I have seen plenty of parents out there who DO NOT put in the efforts to be a good parent to their children. Like one woman said, it is the child who suffers. Leave these people alone and let them be who they desire to be.

  • Man

    The writer , off course, didn’t mention (not politically correct) that these are predominantly white folks. SO while the white population snuffs themselves out the rest of the community keeps multiplying…………

  • http://undecidedthebook.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/the-marriage-and-motherhood-myths/ The Marriage and Motherhood Myths « Undecided

    […] child are rising, and numbers of women who’ve chosen to be child-free are steadily on the uptick, as […]

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