According to a recent New York Post article, 43 percent of college-educated women between the ages of 33 and 46 are childfree. And many of these women appear to be bypassing motherhood altogether, as opposed to simply postponing it. There are some very good reasons that more and more women are skipping out on what has generally been viewed as a necessary life experience.
Women no longer believe that "We can have it all".
Over the past few decades, we've been fed the notion that, "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never, never let you forget you're a man." This was a Peggy Lee song from the 1960's that was then used in a perfume commercial-and those of us growing up during that time thought that it must be true! And while the song doesn't mention kids, they were a given, because it was what all women did. But, throw raising children into that mix of bacon frying, money earning, and husband pleasing, and you end up with one exhausted, irritable woman who can't possibly keep up with the demands of work and home.
Time researchers have found that it takes eight hours a day to parent two children up to the age of eighteen, so when you do the math you find many women putting in a full day at the office and then another full day at home. After sixteen hours of work, there are only eight left, so something must give. These days, more young women who have put years into schooling and getting established with a career are recognizing that parenthood is an option, not an obligation, and increasing numbers are choosing to skip it. Plus, with more celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Helen Mirren, and Rachael Ray, vocalizing their decision to remain childfree in a positive way, young women are seeing that not becoming a mom is a fine life choice.
Women are making more responsible and less selfish choices.
I'm a big believer in birth control, and more and more women today are taking their future in their hands by avoiding pregnancy until they're sure it's what they choose. As a nation, we are speaking out finally about the importance of having birth control covered with no copayment by all insurance plans. We must move away from the "oops" generation with the old saying that you were planning to get pregnant at some point anyway, so now is as good a time as any. Unplanned pregnancy is nothing less than selfish! Come on girls, let's all agree to take charge of our lives rather than turn our futures over to chance!
I'm also hearing about women choosing to not procreate because of family history of mental illness or health issues. After all, there is some risk already of complications during pregnancy and birth, and of having a child with disabilities, so why would a person intentionally go into a situation with increased odds. It's simply not fair to the child.
And then of course there are the environmental reasons for not bringing more children into the world. We're fast approaching seven billion, and there's daily news of famine and death. Some of us envision a world with far fewer people who are all able to have a quality life, with adequate food, water, education, and medical care. This is simply not going to happen at the current growth rates. Let's face it, we can't take care of what we have now, and many of us are feeling a deep shame that we humans are sitting back and not taking action. Many women are speaking out and saying that they are willing to make the personal sacrifice for the greater good.
The bottom line is that more and more young women are questioning the need to become moms and recognizing that choosing other pathways can be equally, and for some, more gratifying than mothering. Take a moment to thank the next childfree woman you encounter for her proactive and unselfish choice!