Monday, August 28, 2006

"Childless" v. "Childfree": Which term is more appropriate for the childless-by-choice?

Choosing to be Childless

I could use the term “childfree,” but it just doesn’t sound right, either. “Childfree” has a self-conscious, PC quality that makes the writer in me squirm. It also seems like a jab at people who do have children. Ha ha ha, we’re footloose and childfree, and you’re stuck with a bunch of kids. I don’t want to seem as if I’m judging people who decide to have kids, any more than I want to be judged for my decision to remain childless. In my mind, reproductive choice isn’t solely about legal access to abortion and birth control—that is, it’s not just a matter of choosing when to have children. It’s also about deciding whether one wants to become a parent. True freedom of choice would mean that we respect all decisions related to parenthood.
I have added my own comments - I don't think it is fair to co-opt the term childless. That term does - and should - apply to couples who are unable to have children. The suffix less implies that something is missing, which is never so true as when a couple is infertile and wants children. Even the large and established infertility community (such as Resolve)uses the term childfree for when a couple decides to stop trying to conceive and starts focusing on the positives of a life without children. That comunity is hardly promoting a 'jab' at parents. As a group who have, or still do, want to join that group, I think it is unlikely that they are 'judging' parents for their choice.

I don't think I need to go into why -free is an appropriate suffix. That subject has been covered extensively.

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1 comment:

kalliope said...

Happy to have found your blog. Look forward to reading more.