From Childless to Childfree

Some of you may remember that I had a little issue on Twitter a few weeks back. In the course of having the abbreviated conversation that Twitter allows, I inadvertently insulted several childless people.

This exchange, along with some other bits and pieces I’ve read recently got me thinking about what qualifies a person as childfree. For example, do you have to know from a young age? Can you end up childfree accidentally? Can you fall in love with someone that has children and still be childfree?

And what about those that desperately want children but cannot have them? On it’s face it would seem that the childfree and the childless are separated by an enormous gap.

Read Rachel’s story below. Afterward I think you’ll realize that the gap is really not so wide, at least for some .

The Childfree Infertile

Rachel & her husband

Rachel & her husband

Hi! I’m Rachel and I am childfree after infertility.

My husband and I tried for almost three years to have kids. We had all the tests done, I took my temperature every morning to determine my fertility on any given day, I took the fertility meds (even my husband took fertility meds for a while), but we never got pregnant. We even started planning for IVF. We were saving our money and planning which month to do it. Then we had a realization – Our quest to get pregnant was making us miserable. It had gone from a desire for a child to being something massively unhealthy. We talked and weighed the pros and cons and we came to the decision to stop. No more “timed intercourse” (yeah, that is about as fun as it sounds), no more hormones and no more doctors. We realized that we deserve some happiness. We were not happy spending our lives hoping and waiting for something that might never happen.

Since making our decision we have embraced the label of childfree. Many people in the childfree community do not see us as childfree. They call us childless. I hate that word – “child-LESS”. It is so negative. It implies that I am in some way “less” just because my uterus has never been occupied (my eggs got together with my husband’s sperm and decided they were NOT the 99%).

Childless also implies that I didn’t make a choice. I did. I made a huge and very difficult choice. I put aside my dream of being a mother and decided that my happiness and health needed to come first. I recognized that my dreams needed to change.

That does not mean the transition has been easy. I found out a couple of days ago that my brother and his wife are pregnant with twins. The news was crushing for me. I am not jealous that they will have four kids to provide for. I am not jealous that they will never sleep again or that their house will be constantly loud and messy for the next twenty years. I am jealous that reproducing has come so easily for them and it didn’t for me. I am still grieving the unfairness of the choices I was given. I am working through the years of emotional trauma I went through trying to get pregnant. Healing from that takes time.

Everyone wants to feel like they fit in. I don’t fit in with the mommy mafia. I’m also frequently made to feel like I don’t fit in with the childfree club either. Many childfree people think that because I did (and sort of still do) want children that I cannot be part of their group.

I don’t have kids and I probably never will. I’m just trying to enjoy my life like all of you are. Does it really matter how I got here?

I enjoy my childfree home just like you do. I like getting to watch whatever I want on TV, not having to censor my language, and going to nice quiet restaurants. I LOVE that I will never have to pay for someone else to go to college.

I am not so different from you. The only difference is the life experiences that brought me here.

Rachel blogs at

UPDATE: a follow up to this post can be found here

72 Responses to From Childless to Childfree

  1. Delta1 May 29, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    The book “shallow, selfish and self absorbed” by Megan Daum explores this issue really well I am a childless women (my son was stillborn) who now identifies as child free.

  2. Noel June 6, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

    Just to clarify people with children do actually sleep, to varying degrees at first, but they do sleep and eventually they resume the same sleep patterns childfree people enjoy. Also having several children is not necessarily a burden. Many people enjoy providing for several children and can easily afford it and find it a fulfilling use of their income. I understand the choice to be childfree and respect it. I don’t understand why people who choose to be childfree try to make having children sound like it’s a burden instead of a joy. If you want respect, show some respect.

  3. Sarah December 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Thanks for your post, Rachel! I certainly do not have the same story (I would be absolutely devastated if I became pregnant, and march myself straight to an abortion clinic) , but I empathize with yours and trying to find a sense of “belonging.” Since so many of my close friends have children, sometimes it is necessary to find an on-line “community”…I have been wildly unsuccessful at that, but this group seems (somewhat) more promising. Militant childfree folks are as grating to me as militant “I’m all about parenthood and have no other identity!” folks. Strict little packages and barriers and lines and labels are only defense mechanisms. I certainly don’t blame folks for their defense mechanisms…but if you want to embrace childfree life, go for it!

  4. cathie August 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    wow some of you women are total bitches…Just by reading your comments, I feel/see that you’re the old grumpy cat/dog lady types or will soon become that. You resent kids and will not let anyone tell you what to do or let others in your little sad “club”- spoken like true old batty feminists…It’s a fucking word get over it, if she wants to be child free now she can be- you don’t own the fucking word.

  5. Monica Cortes Viharo July 15, 2014 at 3:17 am #

    Rachel, if you want to call yourself child free, go ahead. You have decided not to be a parent and that is all that it means. You could have adopted but chose instead to embrace you child free life!

  6. marian June 1, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

    To every woman its always a joy that after marriage the next should be holding her child, I did gave birth to mine but after 4 months I lost her and since then I have not been able to conceive again for the past 7 years after I lost my child. I have been to so many hospitals and I have done series of tests. Though I have a very supporting and understanding husband but I was always thinking about it. It became my major problem every time I see children calling their mommy .i was willing to do any thing and willing to pay any price at all just to have a child of mine own. So one day I came across a post of this man and how he has been helping people of the same problem, I told my husband about it and he said will should give him a try and this is the last, I immediately contacted him on the address I found on the net and I got to he. I told him all that I have been facing and if there is any solution to mine to my greatest surprise he told me to calm down that I was going to have a child soon I did not believe it. He told me that he was going to send me medicine which he did and advice that I should meet with my husband which I did. After some weeks I was feeling really weak I told my husband about it. The next morning I went for a check up after the test I was told by my doctor that I am pregnant I could not believe it I was happy in side but I could not control it so I have to show it out with a tears. Am so happy now because he has restore my life and my home. if you are reading this comment and you have the same problem or you know any one of the same problem please contact him. Here are his contacts or call him on +2348169591194

  7. Sarah December 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Rachel, I came across your article in search of someone who has gone through infertility issues and came out on the other side with the decision to seek happiness and acceptance with their situation. I would lile to share my story with you. Having children has never been a desire for me but when the time came (in our mid 20’s) for my husband and I to try to conceive we found out it would be near impossible without fertility treatment. I grieved the reality that I “wasn’t like OTHER women” and couldn’t give my husband the children I thought he wanted. After about 3 years of coming to terms we realized having kids really wasn’t for us. We live in the south, where everything is about kids and big families and lots of ‘kin’. Having kids isn’t something you question, you just do it when it’s time to. We are Catholic too. Our church community is all for having as many kids as the Lord allows. I once reached out and asked for everyone to pray for my husband and i because i was having my 3rd laproscopic surgery for endometriosis and the goal was to unblock my tubes. I have such severe endo that the docs could not unblock my tubes and said if I hadn’t been wanting to conceive they would have taken my reporductive organs then because they are in such bad shape. They wanted to give me the option to try for IVF if we wanted. We too decided it was too expensive and the risks involved were more than we were willing to take. I have since been searching for where I belong in regards to other women. I am happy about my circumstances now. It was only a brief window of time in my 32 years that I wanted to have a baby. I can honestly say that it wasn’t really that I even wanted a baby so much as it was the isolation I felt from my fellow women. I was less than and someone to be pitied-which I could not stand! I have since found through the internet that there are so many other women out there like me. I have found humor and understanding from the CF community. If I were to label myself, it would be childfree by circumstance. I know my husband and I made the right decision in not persuing fertility treatment. Children are good for some but I am not a fan. I love to sleep in, rest on my days off, curl up with my cats and read a good book.
    I want you to know you are not alone in your journey to find acceptance and serenity in your choice to remain childfree. It is liberating to go from the despairs of infertility to true happiness in your life and your circumstances. You have overcome something some women never get over and for that I applaude you AND your husband. Don’t let others tell you that you aren’t childFREE either. Who deemed them the “label-nazis”?? Anyone who says otherwise is a bully and should be ashamed of themselves. We are FREE of CHILDREN and all the responsibility that comes with them. We can laugh and relate to the memes regarding spoiled brats at restaurants, on planes, etc and that’s okay! It helps me to understand I am not so different after all. Thank you for sharing your story and putting yourself out there. Please know you inspired someone today. God bless and carry on!

  8. JustMe September 17, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Something one CF person stated is like the mantra of any CF woman who truly intends to remain that way. I call my womb ‘Fort Knox’. Jokingly yes but truthfully it is. I hate birth control. Have tried many and had many forced on me by insurance companies that refuse to pay for the more expensive yet better kinds until they’ve tortured my poor body with their less expensive options. All in the name of ‘what’s healthy’ for me. Bull. Most made me ill, gave me mood swings, weight gain and even cause horrific pain until I had met their timeframe for torture well enough to qualify for the expensive birth control that I knew worked for my body from a previous insurer. I’d do it all again to avoid having a child.

    Please understand that I feel for those who are infertile. I commend you for seeing the wisdom in no longer torturing yourselves. I can see your ‘side’ as well as I can understand what those who are opposing you mean. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. It seems you’ve already figured that out. Identify yourself however you like.

    The CF group isn’t all that popular with mainstream breeders as I’m sure you’ve discovered. The very IDEA that we would willingly CHOOSE not to procreate is an insult to most of them. That we would allow our perfectly useful wombs to remain empty. There must be something WRONG with us. This is a position I’ve had to defend many times with most conversations ending in a condescending smile from the breeder and the usual ‘you’ll change your mind one day’ line. OR worse, ‘maybe it’s for the best’ with this terribly pitying look like I have mental issues and forgot my meds. The kicker is I can’t say that to them since they’ve already done the deed. It would be an insult of epic proportions to their parenthood to insinuate they may regret their choice (misery loves company?). I’ve also found that some of the best parents completely accept my view and those who seem miserable are typically the most aggressive regarding my viewpoint.

    To each their own. I wish you happiness and fulfillment. Enjoy life. Embrace who you are now and allow no other to make you feel less…

  9. Mandy ( September 14, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    After reading this article and all the comments, I am honestly so disappointed that we are subscribing to these strict labels and definitions. Such a shame that simply not having children can’t be enough of a commonality to come together. I find it sad that adult women are resorting to this type of exclusionary behavior. I am child free, regardless of whether it’s by choice or not, I had no idea that even mattered until I read this.

  10. Remi September 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    A lot of the negative pushback from the childfree is because we are always hearing about people who “Didn’t want kids, but then they got pregnant.” or “I have a friend who was childfree, but they changed their mind when they had a kid.” It’s easy to get defensive in situations like this. We feel like we already have a hard enough time being taken seriously, but it’s also not fair to lash out at you because you are making the transition from “Potentially childed” to “Probably Childfree”. There is a third option, a place that anyone without kids belongs, regardless of if it came about by choice, by chance, by a combination of those, or because they just aren’t ready yet. It’s called being a DINK or a SINK (“Dual income, no Kids”, or “Single income, no Kids”) See also: THINKER. Please, check out DINKLife, we’re very welcoming, and you might find you like the term DINK or SINK better than Childfree.

  11. Bea September 11, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    While most of these comments are perfectly fine, logical ways to open up discussion – holy hell some of these comments are mortifying. So just in response to the inexplicably horrid comments (and my apologies to the rational ones)…

    I have an idea… because we love it so much when others do it, why don’t we crawl up into everyone’s uterus with a flashlight and check for purity of intention? And then if she passes, what then – do we make her wear something embarrassing in public or do we do it old school and just beat her in? Maybe after initial initiation we can make them fill out some simple paperwork, that way if we don’t remember one later on we can simply say ‘show us your papers to prove you’re one of us’.

    Genuinely don’t understand why it’s worth anyone’s time to fuss about over how someone else chooses to label themselves. Certainly don’t think it’s worth my time to shit-kick someone out of what is apparently perceived as the cool table. Particularly when it’s in response to someone saying ‘I feel like I don’t belong everywhere’. Haha, you don’t fit in here either! (Amazing). And I’m REALLY not going to do that and justify it to myself because I’ve been misunderstood so I get a free pass. We really have to stop complaining about being misunderstood if we’re not willing to try to understand anyone else.

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

      Hahaha!!! I nearly peed myself laughing on this one. You are awesome. Thank you.

  12. susan September 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    I support Rachel and her husband saying they are childfree. Instead of wallowing in the tragedy of infertility they have chosen to embrace a childfree lifestyle. Congratulations. Just because my husband and I never tested our ability to bear children doesn’t make our choice that much different fron theirs.

  13. KD September 11, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    Rachel, with all due respect and support, people may feel as though they are sharing their perspectives the same as you are sharing your perspective. If any soul searching must be done, some of it is on your end. Did you expect 100% agreement or 100% support from people with varying perspectives?

  14. Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    Instead of bashing me and my life choices maybe we should focus on the point I was really trying to convey. What we do have in common? I, like you, absolutely hate people telling me that I don’t have a family simply because I don’t have children. I hate when people assume that I would want to hold their screaming newborn. I hate being told that I don’t know what real love is because I’m not a mother. If you don’t call me childfree that is just fine. I don’t need anyone else’s approval for how I identify myself. If the responses to this post have shown me anything, it is that. But I do think some of you need to open your eyes and mind to the fact that the gap between childfree and childless is pretty narrow.

    • Lance September 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      I agree with you Rachel. People come to the childfree decision by different routes AND at different rates. Stating otherwise is untrue. Wishing it were different is a waste of time. Disliking people because of it? Mehh.

      I think that people choose to see life decisions as binary (yes/no) as opposed to a continuum where circumstances might change your decision. For example, for Amy and me, I can think of a situation under which we would become parents (SHOCK!)…if Amy’s sister and brother-in-law died we would become parents to their children in a heartbeat.

      Does that mean we’re not childfree? I think not.

      • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

        Exactly. I choose not make definite decisions on most things in life. The one exception is my marriage. I made that decision for better or worse. But other than that I find limiting myself to definite yes/no answers in life to be very confining and overwhelming. That’s just me. Thank you guys so much for your support!

      • KD September 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

        In fairness, Rachel was presented to a website that is primarily childfree and we have different perspectives. Rachel was not presented as “veering towards childfree”. The tone was more “I am now childfree…accept me.” That perplexed some people based on the details of Rachel’s post. Some of us were not being mean (I hope I did not come across as mean) but were instead baffled as though we misunderstood something.

        I wish Rachel much success and happiness.

      • Lisa December 13, 2017 at 5:23 am #

        I agree with you Lance and do not find any part of your post offensive.

        I was ‘child free’ or ‘childless’ for 43 years and now I have a child. So I’ve now assimilated as part of the Borg.

        Ed & I ‘tried’ for 10 years, but the ‘continuum of life circumstances’ prevented it from happening.

        So, after years of taking temps, timed sex, and three failed IVF attempts when my dad was on his deathbed, I had to change my mindset. I say “I” here because it was really me.

        Once I let go of all of that expectation, I got pregnant. I am very aware that this does not happen to everyone.

        Sure, it was painful, but in looking back, as you recall Ed and I were ready and going to start a new chapter and join you and Amy in Honduras to scuba dive. I still plan to scuba dive. Yes, it may be a while.

        Am I happy I managed to get pregnant? Sure.

        But my issue is that labels are truly artificial constructs designed to simplify our understanding of the world and label where we think we fit in.

        In reality, none of that matters.

        What matters is how we accept our life circumstances and ourselves.

        This is no small task.

        I appreciate your perspective and this website as a sounding board.

        Here is how I truly feel expressed in Song.

        Feel free to listen… or not

        Beautiful World

    • SKB September 11, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      It’s not narrow. No one was bashing you – just educating you on what childfee means. You aren’t it. No big deal – but stop trying to cram yourself into a definition you clearly don’t fit.

      • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

        Actually, it is a big deal. The exclusivity that I now see is part of the childfree community and the eagerness to be cruel and completely unaccepting to someone going through a transition that is hard for them just because it was an easy decision for you is absolutely a big deal. I think many of the commenters need to do some soul-searching and question why they feel the need to adamantly reject someone that they don’t agree with.

        • SKB September 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

          You as a person are not being rejected. The claim to the childfree label is being “rejected” because you aren’t. That is all.

      • Ann Neubauer March 6, 2014 at 8:16 am #

        Wrong. Childfree is by choice chance or circumstance. Childfree isn’t as narrow as you wished it was in order to preserve your wish for a pure group of people.

    • Nazy Ak March 15, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

      Your experience is so similar to mine except we had the discussion before considering ivf or other fertility treatment. I knew from a young age (18/20). Therefore we are childfree by choice of not undergoing treatment to have a child because we feel complete without one! I hate hearing the same things, we’re not a family and there is no other love like a mother’s love for her child therefore indicating that my love for my nieces pets etc are not good enough. The worst is when people tell you ‘such and such person did this treatment they had a child after this many yrs’ etc etc despite knowing your views of specifically not wanting to go down that route! Also thay ‘you’re making a mistake you would make a wonderful mother’ … err. I have children in my life that I love and care for, that’s enough for me! My mental health and other physical health conditions are more important for me to work on than take on the emotionally draining fertility treatment which may or may not work anyway.

  15. Emily September 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Rachel – you rock! You and your husband went through an incredibly difficult situation and then made the choice that not having children was the right one for you. Every one of us who chose the childfree label had different and unique experiences that led us to the decision not to have kids. I sure wouldn’t want anyone judging me on how I ended up at my decision, so none us should judge you. You have a great sense of self, and I think it’s awesome. In my opinion, you can pick whatever label you feel best describes how you feel, and no one else really has any right to tell you otherwise.

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      You rock too! Thank you so much. After reading all these comments I have come to the conclusion that I don’t really care if they “give me permission” to use “their word”. I’ll call myself whatever the hell I want to.

      • susan September 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm #


  16. oddballfeline September 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    you can consider myself a militant childfree of those online groups. I am not going to lecture you on how you can’t call yourself CF; I am more concerned about this: why do you need to label yourself to fit in into a standard set by bunch of strangers on the internet? please don’t worry about it too much, just enjoy yourself and your newly found freedom. Surely the connection you make with other people are not always solely based on your reproductive choices, are they? Time to expand your social circle 😉 there are people who will understand you and accept you for who you are, no matter what your label is. Cheers!

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      Well, why do you feel the need to be involved in childfree groups? Why do you call yourself militantly childfree? It’s sounds like you define yourself by your reproductive choices as well.

    • Ann Neubauer March 6, 2014 at 8:18 am #

      What? You’re questioning her want to label herself and saying “You don’t need a label!” While at the same time saying you’re a true part of that label and proud of it. What?

  17. Suzy Soro (@HotComesToDie) September 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Rachel, I followed your latest post from Twitter and just read this and HAVE to comment. For starters, I’m in an anthology that came out in April called No Kidding, 36 of us who are child-free. One of our contributors went thru 15 in-vitros that failed and she finally gave up. We would never not count her as one of us. Child-free is child-free and all these people on here saying that those of us who never wanted kids would reject someone like you is ridiculous, wrong, and rude.

  18. Nikki September 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Rachel, if you can honestly say, with 110% conviction, that if you became pregnant, that you would not have the baby, then maybe you are childfree. But from reading your posts, you aren’t truly childfree, as I think it’s apparent that you would be happy if you became pregnant.

    • Beginningtoendo September 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      Now this is BS. I know child free couple who take all precautions to stay that way, but if they somehow managed to get pregnant they would choose to keep the baby because they don’t agree with abortion or they believe that there is a reason they still got pregnant. The choice made after a surprise pregnancy has no measure in the title of child free

      • Brooke September 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

        Agreed. I had no idea “would 100% abort” was a requirement to use the label “childfree” uncontested. Like everything else in life, there is a spectrum, and people of different ideals can identify with a group of people with more lax and extreme perspectives.

  19. Alice Longworth September 11, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I think that you are overlooking why truly CF persons are not sympathetic to your desire to join their ranks. It is not any loathing of you personally, it has to do with the goal of CF groups.

    When we intentionally socialize with other CF (as opposed to random encounters) we are seeking to spend time with like-minded person in an environment WITHOUT children and without the discussion of children and childbearing. We want to share OUR fertility disappointments, such as coming from a family that doesn’t hit menopause until their 50s. Would you be sympathetic to my complaining about being fertile? I have a right to complain without someone telling me how “lucky” I am, or that I shouldn’t complain because so many women would like to be in my place. Hey, if I could magically switch with an infertile woman I would. However I can’t, and I want to bitch about my fertility with those who “get” me. You may be a wonderful person, but I doubt that you could truly share where I’m coming from.

    • Brooke September 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      I’m actually fine with your bitching about being fertile. If you don’t want kids, you don’t want kids. I don’t want you to have them if you don’t want to parent, no matter how fertile you are. Just like I don’t rag on a woman suffering from secondary infertility (having one child, but struggling with conceiving another) – having obstacles of any sort to the family you envision sucks, and I’m not out to judge anyone’s vision of “family.” I’m not trying to join your ranks – I know we will always be different. I don’t want your sympathy (though I’m sorry that you can’t have sympathy for someone who wanted something unattainable in their life). However, the end result is the same. We are families of two. We live free of children of our own. I spend my free time advocating for infertility, educating, strengthening acceptance and understanding. Maybe the childfree community could benefit from a little openness, too.

      • Lance September 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

        “Maybe the childfree community could benefit from a little openness, too.”

        Take a look at today’s post and let me know what you think.

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

      No. I haven’t rejoiced in the fact that I am infertile. I think it sucks that my body doesn’t work like its supposed to. The condition I have causes unwanted hormonal imbalances and quite a bit of physical pain. But I don’t think there is a damn thing wrong with you bitching about having to use birth control. I hate birth control. It causes weight gain and mood swings. I 100% would support you in never ever wanting kids. I wouldn’t tell you that you were lucky if you got pregnant. I would feel bad for you because that is not what you want. What we do have in common? I, like you, absolutely hate people telling me that I don’t have a family simply because I don’t have children. I hate when people assume that I would want to hold their screaming newborn. I hate being told that I don’t know what real love is because I’m not a mother. If you don’t call me childfree that is just fine. I don’t need anyone else’s approval for how I identify myself. If the responses to this post have shown me anything, it is that. But I do think you need to open your eyes and mind to the fact that the gap between childfree and childless is pretty narrow.

  20. Brooke September 11, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    I, like Rachel, have chosen a “childfree” lifestyle after struggling with infertility. My husband and I actively avoid pregnancy (don’t get me started on the “abortion clinic when necessary” comment – you can’t tell me every last childfree person would be open to that). In 20 years, when I’m past the child-bearing phase of life and it’s just me and my husband and the family we choose, people who are just meeting us will probably assume we chose our lifestyle from day one. I can only hope we’ll be associated with compassion and understanding, and not with the smug “this is our word” vigilantes I meet online all too often.

  21. JHoy September 11, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    I think its great that you are finding a way to move past your infertility and live life to the fullest. I don’t understand why you need the title of childfree. I understand you are looking for a community and place to belong, that’s normal human nature. But this doesn’t seem like the place. I think the bottom line is: if a childfree person were to become pregnant, that person would not be happy about it leading to in some cases abortion. If you were to become pregnant, however slim those chances are you would be Thrilled and Happy. There is nothing wrong with either response to a surprise pregnancy but I believe this makes your situation different from the others here.

  22. Brittany September 11, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    This is one of my problems with the IF community and I am so sorry people are being so extreme rude to you. Why must we focus on the labels? My struggle was different/harder/more challenging than yours so therefore you cant use the same label as me. Child free vs Childless … You explained why you didn’t like the later term. Shouldn’t that be enough?

    The fact of the matter is that you had a tough struggle and an even harder decision and I am so sorry for that. I hope you and your husband are at peace with your decision & find a way to be happy in your every day life!!

  23. Cassandra September 11, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Those of you bashing her feelings and how she chooses to see her life are being way too much high and mighty and judgmental. If Rachel wants to wear a shirt everyday saying child free then so be it, until you walk in someone else’s shoes you have no right to tell them how to cope with the life they have been dealt. I admire her strength of acceptance and CHOOSING to be happy with her self and her life instead of blaming others or hating her self. Rachel, I think you are so amazing and beautiful. My heart aches for you and your husband but I’m so happy to know you two have each other to love for the rest of your lives. And never forget life is full of surprises 🙂

  24. KD September 10, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    I forgot to mention this part of the blog post:

    “Many childfree people think that because I did (and sort of still do) want children that I cannot be part of their group.”

    Think about this. If you truly understand the childfree, you will understand why most of even the least militant among the childfree would not consider you “childfree.”

    Be happy with your life however it works out. Instead of focusing on labels and titles, think about what makes you fulfilled. I hope acceptance from the childfree at large is not among those things. Take care.

  25. KD September 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story. I would not consider you childfree. You are “child preferred” since you do not like childless.

    You would prefer to have biological children and would do so if your circumstances were different. You also said “…and probably never will” which means you are not thrilled to be without child and are leaving the door open.

    As an aside, I do believe in childfree stepparents for the people who do not assume a child rearing role–even children who live in the house. Households have different dynamics. Some stepparents have a “cool uncle or aunt”/”big brother or big sister” role that does not have the centrality and inconvenience of parenthood. That includes stepparents for grown adult offspring.

  26. RHH September 10, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    A “childfree” woman does not jump through all of the hoops you did for years in an effort to BECOME pregnant. Rather, a true childfree woman would go through something of the same intensity to AVOID pregnancy. You do not like the term “childless” only because it reminds you of the fact that you could not have the child that you so desperately wanted. A true childfree woman would NEVER have that desire to begin with. See the difference now?

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 2:35 am #

      So people can’t ever change their minds? You’ve never changed your mind about anything?

      • SKB September 11, 2013 at 3:36 am #

        Wow – and yet again you prove you’re not CF by throwing out that tired old bingo. You’re not childfree. Get over it.

        • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 7:49 am #

          So changing my mind from wanting kids to not wanting them makes me not childfree? Huh. Okay.

          • Dee September 11, 2013 at 9:18 am #

            It’s quite obvious from your responses here and your blog posts that you do still want children, so you never actually changed your mind. You imagine the genuinely childfree to be some sort of club you want in on and give lip service about not wanting children to belong. But if you got magically pregnant right now, you’d be so elated and keep the pregnancy and then go on the Mommy forums and claim how you used to be childfree and changed your mind.

            And I always find it so interesting that adoption is never an option.Spend $$$ on fertility drugs and treatments, sure.

          • KD September 11, 2013 at 9:36 am #

            I think they interpreted you as saying you could change your mind and decide to become a biological or adopted parent.

            There are childfree who were aspiring parents, some of whom struggled with infertility. The difference is these people do not express themselves as still preferring to have children if the opportunity arises.

            That is why the childfree generally do not like being told “I used to be childfree” and “I am childfree unless/until…”

            I think you are seeing this topic as “parent or childfree” but there is something in the middle. That middle is child preferred (some call this childless). That middle is for people like some of my friends whose dream is to have children. They may never have children but it is not because they will stop trying, stop dreaming, or stop viewing children as a blessing from God that they wish to have.

          • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

            Dee, it’s really interesting that you seem to have such a window into what I really think. Also, on the adoption thing. Do you have any clue what adoption entails? Do you know how the adoption industry works? Unless you do, don’t judge my choices. I have some personal moral issues with the adoption industry. That is why it wasn’t an option for us. We don’t feel comfortable with it. Also, I hate mommy forums. I’d never be part of one. I find the mommy-martyrs to be unbearably irritating. But please, go on and tell me more about what is really in my heart and mind.

    • Annie Neubauer September 11, 2013 at 8:05 am #

      I disagree RHH. I don’t believe wanting to get pregnant or going through fertility treatments automatically disqualifies you. How many thousands, no millions, of women pursued pregnancy because they thought they wanted it or because society told them it’s their path in life really discovered later that wasn’t their calling? My own mother told me she feels she was brainwashed.

  27. Alicia September 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    You have chosen to live a child free lifestyle and it may not have been what you always wanted but as long as you’re happy and at peace with it then that’s all that should matter. I’m sorry that other people are giving you a hard time for calling yourself childfree, just ignore the negativity. You made the best decision for yourself and your husband. And yes I consider myself childfree and it was my choice too!

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 2:18 am #

      Thank you for your kind words! They are a comfort after so much negativity.

    • Lance September 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      Thanks Alicia!

  28. Jane September 10, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    If you were able to get pregnant you would. If you found out you were pregnant all the talk about child freedom would be out the window.That is not child free. Child free is actively preventing pregnancy and taking a trip to the abortion clinic when necessary. You know nothing about child freedom. You are child LESS. Learn the difference.

    • SKB September 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      This. You’re most definitely NOT childfree. I’m sick of people using that term when it doesn’t apply to them.

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 2:34 am #

      Well you’re all pleasant and full of sunshine, aren’t you? I think that maybe the reason you feel the need to exile me and reinforce my LESS-ness is because people who do have kids have made you feel exiled and less than. It’s sad that you feel the need to project that onto another person who is just sharing their personal experience.

  29. Lauren September 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    I guess why some people are reluctant to allow people in this situation into the label childfree is because childfree people actively prevent pregnancy and would not be happy if they became pregnant, many would get abortions. When someone who actually would be happy if they got pregnant calls themselves childfree and let’s just say they did get pregnant it adds fuel to the fire of the “you’ll change your mind” camp.

  30. Kat M September 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Your story is quite different than mine. I always knew I wouldn’t have kids, due to past experiences, etc. I would never have considered even trying for a kid. But it is sensible that you didn’t go all baby crazy and do all those fertility treatments that mess up your body. I’m more of the militant CF type. But then again, I was raised partially by a narcissistic abusive psychopath and the crappy foster care system. I was also forced to raise my 6 siblings because the woman who adopted/had us was completely unfit. I also have extensive experience with the foster care system, and mental health system, which is failing us.

    I wish that people who did have kids put as much effort into the ramifications that breeding as on their relationship, their life, and the Earth in general.

    For me, kids just AREN’T worth it. My life is full and happy as is.

    I’m sorry you struggled with your decision though. But with the tone of your article, it seems to me you are more childless, because you did desire kids and try for them. But just my 2 cents.

  31. Michelle September 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Interesting post, I can’t relate with you in the matters of ever wanting children, I never wanted them for a thousand reasons. I hope that the fact that the vehemently childfree does not make you feel you are not welcomed, is just that we have been ostracized by feeling this way by a very pervasive society and we enjoy the bonding of alike minds. I came to being childfree for also environmental reasons so I am very proud of my realizations and conclusions. I got sterilized because I was too able to have children and that was not my choice even if my body sabotaged my wishes. I am glad you are enjoying your childfree life, and I wish you and your husband the most fulfilling and happy life, even though I will have to accept that you and I probably would not hang out and wonder what women are melting about when they see a baby like I do with my childfree friends by conviction. Sincerely I can’t understand and will never understand the fixation of society with reproduction and they will not understand my inability to relate to their greatest joy, but that is why one comes together only on those issues where there is some sort of common ground.

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 2:29 am #

      Actually, I don’t gush over babies either. I think my niece and nephew are cute but that’s pretty much the extent of it.

  32. Annie Neubauer September 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    “I don’t have kids and I probably never will.” Could the author explain this? This is makes a big difference if she’s CF or CL.

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 2:23 am #

      I am not on any sort of birth control (it isn’t necessary) so I suppose there is an extremely small chance of pregnancy, but not enough of one to bother with birth control or sterilization. I also am giving myself room to change my mind if I want to. Doesn’t mean I will, but I think it’s good to keep options open while transitioning from infertility to happiness without kids. It makes the transition less dramatic.

      • Annie Neubauer September 11, 2013 at 8:01 am #

        Hi Rachel, thanks for your reply. As you stated, this is a new venture for you so I hope you’ll be open to the feedback you’re receiving from the CF community – You’ll learn so much about what CF is all about.

        What I’m having trouble with, and it seems others are too, is that you are still open to becoming a parent – if it happens you’re OK with that, or the fact that you might change your mind and pursue it fully again. CF folks are NOT open to becoming parents. Due to choice, chance or circumstance that door is closed, locked and barricaded up! No one is getting through 🙂 That doesn’t me we don’t want to interact with people who are on the fence or who’s door is not fully closed, it just means that many of us don’t consider that to be the definition of Childfree.

        “There is an extremely small chance of pregnancy, but not enough of one to bother with birth control or sterilization.” – I would FREAK out if this were me! So would a lot of other CF’ers. We would RUN to the doctor for birth control or sterilization. We want nothing left up to chance. What I’m saying is having a baby is out of the question. If I were to fall pregnant, I would get an abortion and so would many other CF’ers.

        I noticed in another comment you talked about “Haven’t you ever changed your mind?” That was a borderline bingo – EEK! Just in case you are not familiar a bingo is something CF’ers refer to when we get told we are making the wrong choice or aren’t smart enough to know our own minds. I’m sure you’ve heard them too. “You’ll regret not having children!” “It’s different when it’s your own!” and “You’ll change your mind!” For mean leaving that door open while transitioning would be torture – I would want a definitive yes or no.

        I understand the word ChildLESS has a negative connotation and it isn’t something you identify with. Maybe there needs to be another category? Another community and group for folks who are in your situation?

        As stated CF’ers are more than happy to interact with, educate and share ideas with anyone.

        • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 8:28 am #

          Thanks for your feedback. And I do get what you are saying. I do want to clarify on my other comment. That person was saying that you can only call yourself CF if you never wanted kids. I did want kids and changed my mind. I was in no way suggesting that person would change their mind and suddenly want kids. I was trying to make the point that it’s okay that I changed my mind, as I am sure that commenter has changed their mind on something at some point in their life.

          As for finding another label or community – there aren’t many infertile people who decided not to have kids. Most would do anything and everything to be parents. My husband and I don’t feel that way.

  33. Adrianne September 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    I feel like I wrote this myself. After years of IF, we made the choice to stop and took a long hard look at why we were torturing ourselves to begin with. Because society implied that we should? Because we felt guilty leaving our parents grandchildren-less? Because we were afraid of dying alone? The more we processed and looked at our lives, the more we realized this wasn’t what we truly wanted, we were just going through the motions. We are now several years removed from any type of fertility treatment and we are reveling in living childfree. Infertility can be truly heart wrenching, but now I wouldn’t change one thing that we went through because it brought us here. Our relationship is stronger, our bank account is healthier, I pursued my dreams of continuing my education, and I sleep as much as I want. 🙂 Wishing you the best, Rachel.

    • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 2:26 am #

      Thank you so much for commenting. Stories like yours help me feel like less of an outcast. I don’t fit in with most infertiles anymore and judging from the comments I don’t fit in with the childfree either.

      • Jessica September 11, 2013 at 9:42 am #

        I’m also in in your boat. Working on embracing the childfree life and dealing with 7 years of Infertility trauma. The CF want nothing to do with us infertiles who are trying to embrace a new lifestyle and fine our happiness. While the fertiles treat us with kid gloves and we no longer seem to have anything in common. I will say it does get better, there are great people out there that don’t conform to the stereotypes. I have found a great community of woman who are childree free by chance called “Gateway Woman”. It’s an encouraging environment full of women who get it, it’s helped me get through some pretty rough days.

        • Lance September 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

          Jessica – thanks for the comment. Also, please read today’s follow up post and weigh in.

        • Rachel (@RachHasHope) September 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

          I LOVE Gateway women. And you are so right about infertiles treating us with kid gloves. I really hate that. Thank you so much for commenting.


  1. Childfree - Who Gets the Label? | childfreewe're {not} having a baby! - September 11, 2013

    […] Yesterday’s post sure generated a lot of commentary, both here on the blog and on Facebook in various childfree groups where I posted it. If you haven’t read it yet, please do…we’ll be here when you get back. […]

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