While listening to talk-back radio today as I drove between appointments, I heard the news of a recently conducted study that reported men in their 20's and 30's are just as 'clucky' and want children just as much - if not more - than their female counterparts.
And how do we refer to those men and women who don't have children?
The Professor from Newcastle University called them 'childless' people.
I prefer 'child-free' people.
Think of the word 'less' - it means something 'less than', 'inferior to', 'sub-standard' ... or 'reduced' in some way.
It was 3 ½ long years before my husband and I conceived our son, and I couldn't count the number of times I heard the words "Oh, you're childless, are you?" At the time, I felt even the tone with which this was said was demeaning and unkind.
Logically I know this was rarely (if ever) the speaker's intention - but the phrase hurt nonetheless. Especially when followed up by "Oh - that's right - you're such a career woman, you probably don't want kids."
Little did they know the ache in my heart for my yet-to-be-conceived child.
So, 2 things:
1. Women - let's aim to be more supportive of each other and be aware that other women may not have children, not because of a choice they have made, but because of some deeper more sensitive reason.
2. Language is important. Whenever we add the suffix 'less' at the end of a word, the subconscious mind may well be processing this with negative connotations.
10-October-2012 at 8:02 pm
While I can see your viewpoint, I think you're being a bit too sensitive. I don't have any children right now, nor do I plan on having any any time soon. Fact is, I'm child-less. It is how it is. It doesn't denote whether I want or don't want, it doesn't say if I'm trying or not.
Child-free to me sounds like I would have been giving children away (Get one as a gift with every purchase) like a store promotion, but that's just me.
I wish you all the best in your journey to motherhood, and strongly support the one point - being supportive of each other. There is hope,as my friend Jules over at
found out - 10 years of trying, and they now have 3 beautiful girls.
16-October-2012 at 12:04 pm
Hi Rose - so nice to read your thoughts - thank you for taking the time to share them.
I admit I may be sensitive about this particular topic ... I think all of us can have our perspective shifted on a subject once we've had personal experience of it in some way.
And thanks for your support of my point about women supporting each other - and I support you back!
Look forward to hearing from you more in the future, Rose - thanks for dropping by.
I recently attended a three-day women’s festival that I attended for the first time in 2016. It’s never the same the second, third or umpteenth time around is it? First of all, there’s that ‘first time newness’ that we can only get once. “Wow! Look at that!” “Goodness, that’s amazing!” And so on … because we are seeing things through fresh, first-time eyes.
In our subsequent visits, while we look for that same magic, but logically know it will be different than our beloved ‘first-time’. We then start to notice what’s not there that we liked the previous year(s), and lament “But I really liked that!”
So this year, I decided to focus instead on what was new, different and intriguing. And that’s how I came across The Release Tree.