Dyanna Volek never had any aspirations of having children.
She had a deep-seated understanding that she didn’t want children from an early age. Perhaps it resulted from witnessing her mother give up her desire to become a flight attendant and work three jobs to raise her two children by herself. Or perhaps she was more interested in other activities.
Volek, a municipal government employee in San Francisco, declared, “I’m always looking forward to the next thing.” Parenthood was never one of them.
Even so, she didn’t give it much thought because it was taboo to not have children. She didn’t truly come to terms with her sentiments until a few years ago, when things started to get serious between her and her partner. She and her spouse had decided to be childless by the time they were wed in November of previous year.
Volek, who is currently 37, doesn’t anticipate changing her mind.
She feels more liberated than her friends who are parents because she doesn’t have kids. She and her husband can now travel, go to concerts, and eat out without worrying about endangering their child’s safety thanks to vaccinations.
They can strive towards retiring early, which is a goal that would be impossible to achieve in a metropolis like theirs otherwise. They also have enough of time for themselves in their regular lives.
Volek is one of many American women who have chosen to forgo having children as part of a trend that has been going strong for more than ten years.
The birth rate had been falling by an average of 2% annually since 2007. Contrary to early predictions of a pandemic baby boom, births actually decreased by 4% last year as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.
Demographers attribute this phenomena to a variety of variables, including political unpredictability, changing gender roles, and a declining social shame associated with the decision to forgo having children. Some women had already made up their minds, despite the pandemic making clear how little assistance American families receive from the government in terms of childcare and other responsibilities.
Why Are So Many Women Not Having Children? | Matthew Hussey
Here Are 4 Reasons Why Some Women Decide Against Having Children:
1. They don’t want to be in charge of raising children
Project manager Cecilia Sanders, 32, from Chicago, knew she didn’t want kids from the beginning. She felt overwhelmed by the responsibilities and was terrified of becoming pregnant.
She claims that despite this, there were times when she felt under pressure to hold onto her beliefs since doing so would let down other people. She talked to friends who were parents about their experiences and how they found time for themselves while trying to convince herself to change her mind for approximately a year.
It turned out that her friends didn’t have time for themselves very often. They said that their kids came first.
Sanders understood that it would be particularly difficult for her to put aside her own needs in order to fulfil her parental responsibility. She struggles with anxiety and despair, and when those illnesses worsen, she finds it difficult to simply take care of herself.
It seemed almost difficult to raise children and maintain her mental health at the same time.
“After giving it some serious thought for a year, I decided against it. I’m lying to myself if I do this,’ she replied.
They worry about getting no help.
2. Some people choose not to have children because of how the US treats moms
The lack of family-friendly policies in the US, according to Amy Blackstone, a sociologist at the University of Maine and author of “Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family and Creating a New Age of Independence,” is one explanation for the declining birth rate in recent years, which the pandemic made even more obvious.
Parents had to continue working during the height of the coronavirus outbreak, frequently without access to child care or while assisting their children with their academics from a distance. People felt exhausted and upset as a result of the circumstance, which may have made them more likely to postpone or rethink having children.
The pandemic has truly shown us how inadequately American parents are supported, according to Blackstone. “We’ve realised the truth—that parenting is very difficult—that we’ve always known but never said aloud. And we don’t really encourage parents to fill that position.
That was undoubtedly a factor in Yana Grant’s decision to forgo having children last year. Yana is a 24-year-old from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The US doesn’t have a widespread, paid parental leave policy. Finding child care may be expensive or challenging. Additionally, women are still more likely to take on the bulk of childcare duties and housework.
“You have to be a mother first and a woman second as soon as you find out you’re pregnant,” Grant advised. “It seems like men become men, and then they become fathers.”
Grant is a Black woman, thus she also has other concerns. Compared to women of other races, black women are more likely to die from complications during pregnancy. Additionally, they are more likely to have their worries discounted, their anguish ignored, and their personal experiences discounted.
These concerns are legitimate for Grant. She saw a doctor a few years back after noticing her throat was swollen and her heart was pounding quickly. She claims that after telling her to drink plenty of water, the doctor sent her home without examining her thyroid. About a year later, she went to another doctor with the same symptoms and was given the diagnosis of Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition that results in an overactive thyroid.
Grant worries that if she became pregnant and something went wrong, her signs and complaints may also be disregarded.
As a Black woman, “I feel like you don’t have a lot that is yours,” she remarked. “Therefore, the only thing I know I can control is me keeping that part of me. Since it’s quite unlikely that anyone else will do it, I can declare that I took that deliberate choice to protect myself.
3. Their current way of living suits them
Jordan Levey believed that ultimately a “maternal instinct” would take over while she was concentrating on law school and developing her career. She assumed that once she met a mate, they would settle down and possibly decide to have children.
Levey says she and her husband, who have been married for four years and are both 35, have come to like their current way of life. They look after their dog well and own a condo. Despite making comfortable livings for themselves, they both prefer to spend their money on the things they enjoy.
“We are really content with our lives. We both really value our alone time and that self-care, and we both love to travel and cook,” she said. I believe we would make excellent parents, but I do not believe we would love it.
Sanders’ inability to have children gives her the leisure to follow all of her hobbies, including writing, playing the guitar, hiking, travelling, and animal rescue. Additionally, it allows her to concentrate more on her profession, which she views as “the most important thing.”
“I definitely feel I probably wouldn’t be as far in my career as [I am] now and [I wouldn’t be] able to just live my normal life and pursue my hobbies and passions,” Sanders said. Without him, “I wouldn’t be living my fullest life.”
According to Blackstone, it is crucial that women like Levey and Sanders feel empowered to chose a life without children.
Women who would have preferred to avoid having children in the past may have nevertheless given birth because that is what society expected of them at the time. These standards and viewpoints, however, have evolved during the last few decades.
We’re talking more now, she said, about the fact that becoming a parent is a choice and not something that everyone must do.
4. They continue to face criticism for being childless
Perhaps now more than ever, women who choose not to have children are socially accepted. Women who opt not to have children claim they still feel the need to defend their decisions all the time.
They have been accused of being ungrateful, of disliking children, and of regretting their choice when they are left alone in the future.
When it’s clear that nothing could be further from the truth, Volek claims that childless people like herself are perceived as shallow or lacking in understanding of the gravity of the decision they’re making.
“People who choose to be child-free think a lot about it — I would argue even more than people who have children,” she continued.
Some claim it’s also untrue to assume that women without children don’t care about them. Volek enjoys playing with the youngsters of her friends. The time Levey spends with her niece and nephew is enjoyable.
Grant is in a relationship with a man who has a son and is content to spend time alone with the child.
I’ll inquire as to whether he wants to see “Boss Baby 2.” I’ll take him to some of the Smithsonians,” the Oklahoman woman, who intends to relocate to Washington, DC with her spouse, stated. But I won’t go any further than that.
Blackstone says that the people she has spoken to about their decision to forgo having children realise that it’s likely they may come to regret their decision in the future.
But she added that they would rather choose not to have children now than regret doing so later.