we’re {not} having a baby!’s Year in Review

2016 was a big year for childfree people, politics, and events. Here is w{n}hab!’s Top 10.

Source: Ranker.com

Top: Scene from Idiocracy, Bottom: Scene from real life today, Source: Ranker.com

10. We promise not to make this entire post about the state of politics in the United States but… 2016 did make us realize that Idiocracy, the 2006 movie often recalled when people lament our low birth rate and in which intelligent people have become an endangered species, may have been more future commentary than fictional comedy.

9. Around the globe, we seemed to have become more accustomed to the idea that women without children are entirely capable of being political leaders. Of course, this realization hasn’t come without push-back from some people who’d like to see more women in the kitchen and fewer in congress (e.g, this, this, and this). In July, Amy wrote an OpEd in Ms. arguing that using motherhood as an indicator of women candidates’ concern for the future is wrong and that making motherhood a necessary criterion for public service is a strategy designed to keep women in their place.

8. Italy introduced a disastrous campaign aimed at promoting fertility. The Ministry of Health then quickly withdrew the campaign when it backfired, having the effect of pissing off a bunch of people and highlighting the country’s poor social supports for working mothers.

Cecile Richards, Source: Wikimedia

Cecile Richards, Source: Wikimedia

7. It’s certainly not new this year, but in 2016 the war on reproductive choice rages on more fervently than ever. We’ve seen reports of concern over a possible decline in access to contraception and abortion once our incoming Presidential administration is in power, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards got put through the ringer by a rabid House oversight committee, Texas de-funded Planned Parenthood altogether, Holly Brockwell made headlines – and caught hell – for making a deeply personal and informed decision to undergo voluntary sterilisation, and in a move that Ms. Magazine called “outright paternalism and mistrust of women” the CDC told women that they should avoid drinking alcohol unless they are using contraception. These are just a few examples of the ways that our freedom to choose and women’s bodily autonomy were targeted in 2016.

6. The trial of an injected male contraceptive drug was halted because participants didn’t like the side effects which included acne, mood swings, and muscle pain. You know, all the things the already-approved female contraceptive pill does to women.

5. In happier news, President Obama and Speaker Ryan advocated for expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for adults without kids. And the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put out a report showing that strengthening the EITC for adults without kids would promote work and reduce poverty.

4. Jennifer Aniston got mad as hell and decided not to take it anymore. You go, girl!

3. Turkey’s President said some really dumb stuff about childfree women (like that they’re “lacking” and “incomplete”). Perhaps he was inspired by the Pope, who said some really dumb stuff about childfree couples (like that their marriages will end “with the bitterness of loneliness”) a couple of years earlier.39370184_Logo 2016

2. The 2017 NotMom Summit was announced for October 6 and 7. Amy will be speaking and, given the success of 2015’s inaugural event, it is sure to be a fun and informative time. Mark your calendars!

1. New research came out that helped us learn more about who makes the choice not to have kids, how we do so, and what the lives of childfree people actually look like. Amy and a colleague published a paper on how the childfree decide not to have kids (turns out we’re quite thoughtful about the whole thing) and findings were covered in TODAY, Huffington Post and New York Magazine. A team of sociologists led by Jennifer Glass published work on the ever-popular “who’s happier” question, covered in the New York Times. In Glass et al.’s piece we learned that, when comparing 22 nations, differences between the happiness of parents and non-parents are greatest in the United States and that parents are least happy in countries lacking parental support policies. Perhaps of most interest for childfree readers is the finding that parental support policies also seem to increase the happiness of non-parents. Apparently happiness spreads! In other research news, a review of the research on intimate relationships found that the decline in relationship satisfaction is nearly twice as steep for couples who have kids than it is for couples without kids. We also learned that people without kids sleep better than those with kids.

Finally, a bonus 2016 highlight: We here at w{n}hab! did NOT change our minds about not having kids! Despite popular misconception that childfree people live miserable, lonely lives and that one day we’ll wake up to regret our choice, we’re happy to report that no such thing happened to us this year. Instead of regretting our choice, we celebrated it – at home, under the sea, at the Acropolis, and under the Tuscan sun. We know, we know. Pathetic.

Wine in Italy

Wine in Italy


Athens, baby!

Ready for Bangor's Winter Wigout Weekend!

Ready for Bangor’s Winter Wigout Weekend!

Diving in Roatan

Diving in Roatan

Hanging at home, supporting reproductive choice

Hanging at home, supporting reproductive choice

3 Responses to we’re {not} having a baby!’s Year in Review

  1. Terrie St. Clair January 5, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

    Thanks, Amy, for this excellent summary! Your OpEd in Ms. was brilliantly written and thought-provoking. I am grateful for your support of the childfree, and I wish you and your husband a very happy new year filled with freedom and adventure! Cheers!

    • Amy January 6, 2017 at 9:59 am #

      Thank you, Terrie! Happy new year to you too!

  2. therinkydinklife December 27, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    Great summary of 2016. Whew, quite a year! #6 cracks me up though understandable as I’ve seen how my husband reacts to catching a cold 😉 #4, yay Jen! I’ll always have a soft spot for her because of that article she wrote. #2, I’m hoping I’ll be able to attend this year’s summit and hearing Amy speak, as well as the other childfree ladies I admire. And lastly #1, that’s amazing! I’m going to start reading that paper as soon as I can!

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