Why More Women Choose Not to Have Children

group of children's silhouettes
group of children's silhouettes

Not too long ago, at a girl's night out with some of my younger friends, the conversation led to the subject of children. One friend questioned whether a marriage could be happy without children, while another friend questioned whether you could be happy as a couple with children. The answers, of course, are as individual as my two friends. And in today's world, where women are offered a myriad of options and choices in which to sublimate their creative urges, many women are choosing to opt out and not have children.

With all of the many reasons to have children, some young women today are finding that they can fulfill their emotional need to create through their work. Never mind that some women, for reasons of their history or temperament, personally recognize that they are neither interested in motherhood, nor suited for motherhood. I applaud these women, who know upfront, that they cannot or are not willing to dedicate a portion of their lives to child care.

Eight reasons why some women no longer choose motherhood:

1. Putting your child first... whether you are tired, overworked or underpaid, you have to compensate for all of your issues by focusing and bonding with your child to be a hands-on parent.

2. Parenting is for the long haul. It's a marathon, not a sprint. And relationships, especially between parent and child, are both complicated and messy. Therefore, a large part of your life is focused on your relationship with your progeny, rather than yourself. This requires a lot of patience, energy, commitment, obligation and responsibility for the life of another human being.

3. Children can impact your relationship with your partner, and not necessarily in a good way. No family is static, but rather always in motion. Thus, feelings can easily be influenced by the stresses of childhood, including health, sleep problems, discipline problems, fears and so forth.

4. If you have a troubled relationship, children will never solve your problems, but rather place more stress on an already burdened partnership.

5. Children can affect your sex life and intimacy with your partner. If you're tired, worried or stressed, it's difficult to put your feelings aside and create the ambience necessary for intimacy with your mate.

6. You're only as happy as your least happy child. All parents know how concern and worry can dominate their day when their child is unhappy or in trouble.

7. Children cost a lot of money. Education today is at an unbelievably all-time high, and from the moment your child is born, you begin to think about how much it will cost to educate him or her. Never mind clothing, medical bills, social activities and so forth.

8. And, then there are all of those prescribed familial expectations that are never satisfactorily achieved.

In the final analysis, almost 50 percent of women today are childless. Though we don't know their individual reasons, it is easy to understand how both the pressures of the modern world and the many options available for women to fulfill their creativity, other than parenthood, may very well be affecting these numbers.

On the other hand, as a mother, I can tell you the greatest joy I've ever experienced is being a parent. For me, it has been the ride of my life, filled with joy, happiness, sadness and hope. And I believe the legacy we leave behind for future generations, is the impact that we have on the present one.