Exploring Your Truth – Child Free by Choice

By Glendyann Mejia

To Have or Not to Have Children-The Choice is Yours

It’s a question more and more women ponder for numerous years. Sometimes it feels like an internal battle between what you want and what society wants.In today’s society where most things are accepted, saying that you are or deciding to be “child free by choice” is not something many understand nor easily accept. Parenting is viewed in our society as an essential milestone to reach fulfillment, happiness, and meaning in life. Being child free often raises a couple of eyebrows and is usually met with questions regarding your personal decision, prejudice, push back, and sometimes moral outrage. This is true for men and women, however women are impacted more so if their cultural status, gender identity, and/ or social values are tied to fertility and motherhood. Making this decision is something many women struggle with and this post is about navigating that decision.

I am a Woman hear me ROAR!

Yes, that’s right. It’s a beautiful time to be a woman and celebrate all of our achievements and how far we have come historically. However, we still face many challenges, particularly choices around our bodies. Our society steers women from a very early age toward motherhood. A “child free” woman is often seen as socially unacceptable or selfish thus making it more difficult for women to be honest with themselves and make the decision that is best for them. There are many different aspects to consider when you’re struggling with this decision but therapy can help in various ways.

Understanding your Choice

Choosing to be child free isn’t a choice that you come up with overnight. It’s something that takes time and something that needs to be processed. Often I have heard “How do I know I’m making the best choice for me?” or “Am I being selfish?” Well understanding where that doubt comes from is key in answering your own insecurities and anxieties. Giving yourself the opportunity to explore these thoughts in the session helps you come to a better understanding of your own core beliefs and can help you understand why you’re pondering this choice and why you are doubtful. It’s okay to feel insecure at times. Our work in therapy forces us to pay attention to these questions, listen to your internal thoughts, feelings, and emotions as well as separating what you want for yourself and what others and society may want from you.

Understanding your Fears

Whoever said this was easy? Yes, as fearless as we may seem, we all have fears and there’s a lot of fear in making the decision to be “child free”. Sometimes we are scared we are not going to be good parents and so we run away from that responsibility. Sometimes we have seen things as children and fear that it might happen to your own future child if you choose to have one. Sometimes we are just simply afraid of the changes our bodies go through in creating a life and just opt out. Sometimes we fear we will not find a partner who will accept our decision and we will forever be alone. These are just some of the fears we toy with internally that cast doubt and increase your anxiety and isolation but understanding your fears helps you to understand who you are and why you feel that way. Challenging these fears will only make it easier in navigating this decision.

Tackling Feelings of Judgment

Will you be judged by choosing to be “child free”? You may… but the truth is no one’s judgment is more important than your own internal judgment. Our work in therapy is not to fixate on what others may think but on what brings us joy and what makes us happy.

Building Your Own Circle

Being child free among friends and family who don’t share these ideas might feel lonely and isolating but if you haven’t heard then I’ll let you in on a little secret… Believe it or not there are many men and women in the child free community. Find your tribe and surround yourself with like-minded people who have the same concerns and struggles. Feeling welcomed and a sense of belonging with like-minded people is also part of healing and helps us understand if we are in this for the long run and more importantly that whether we choose to be child free for now or for life – We will be OKAY! No matter what choice we make.

It’s Your Choice

As I said before, this post is meant to help you navigate that choice and offer insight on how therapy can support you with processing your feelings, doubts, emotions, and experiences surrounding this decision. But ultimately you don’t have to do any of the above. It is your journey, listen to yourself and do what makes you happy. We are here for the ride to support you and provide a safe space to help you.

Looking forward to connecting.