It’s time to look back on the year and talk 2021 childfree trending!
The Pandemic, Climate Crisis & the Childfree Choice
Last year there was growing talk about how the pandemic was causing people to put having children on hold or decide they did not want to have them at all. With the pandemic still being with us, this dialogue has continued in 2021, and has been coupled with the ever-worsening of the climate crisis.
Although climate crisis-related reasons to delay or not have children have surfaced even more this year, as I expressed last year, I would still not say that “forgoing children as a means of fighting global warming is entering the mainstream” (New York Times, “How Climate Anxiety Is Shaping Family Planning,” 2020).
Having said this, current birth rates are down even more this year, which has had governments concerned. A number of countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Russia and Estonia have put forth attempts to boost populations and incentivize having children. Others like China are attempting to increase the birth rate by restricting reproductive rights. Despite the uncertainties and impacts that will come with bringing more children into a world dealing with an ongoing pandemic and climate crisis, large pronatalist forces against having fewer children or none remain pervasive.
More on Language & Global Dialogue
In my previous childfree trending pieces, I have discussed the varied terms used to mean childfree and its confusing use to mean a number of other things. This year is no exception. However, this year what I have noticed most: the word childfree (not child-free or child free) has been used more to reflect not having children ‘right now.’ Rather than meaning not wanting children now or ever, its use could mean people want children in the future, or that they are not sure. Either way, they are ‘childfree’ at this time. A piece in Stylist, “Fertility: 7 women over 30 share their honest thoughts about being childfree,” is just one of many examples this year of using childfree in this way.
Building on prior year trending summaries, this year we have continued to see increases in global conversation of the childfree choice. In 2021, we have seen even more coming out of Indonesia, India and Africa in particular. Just three examples include:
Childfree options and the realities of raising a child
I’m a Bangladeshi woman who decided to be childfree. We exist
I never want to have children and no one has the right to keep asking me WHY? | Lynn Ngugi Show
In other countries of note: out of the UK, When are you having kids series and Choosing to be Childfree on The Conversation; by The Straits Times in Singapore, the short film, Childfree: Four women on why they don’t want kids | CloseUp.
Highlights of Childfree Community Strengthening
This year the childfree community has grown in wonderful new ways. The first online Childfree Convention was held and the first digital Childfree Magazine launched! International Childfree Day had its ninth year of celebration as well.
In the last two to three years, we have also seen an uptick in childfree podcasts. This year, more podcasts have done episodes that feature the childfree topic in some way, such as “Childfree Utopia or Just Sad?” on The Fat Skinny, “Choosing to be Childfree” on Girls Gotta Eat, and “Childfree by Choice” on Unladylike. Even better, now there are more podcasts than ever that focus only on topics related to being childfree. In 2018, Ben and Chris Franz, the Childfree Group of the Year, were one of the first to do a childfree podcast, and theirs was called Married Without Children: Living a Childfree Marriage. In 2021, we see the childfree podcast-sphere having grown to include:
Do you have other(s) to add you have listened to this past year?
With signs of growth in mind, I wanted to try and take a pulse on what today’s listeners would say is their favorite childfree podcast. I put this question out there for a week this month and encouraged people to write in. Of the 128 respondents, three podcasts mentioned most as favorites were: Are Kids For Me: 38%, We are Childfree: 21% and We’re Not Kidding: 10%.
I’d love to hear from more of you ~ Feel free to add your favorite in a comment to this post!
While this year and last more dialogue on making the childfree choice has come as a result of health and climate crises, it has also inspired forthright conversations about the childfree life and why it needs to be accepted. The growing orchestra of voices from around the world continue to shine light on this life choice and those who make it, and here’s to even more of this in the coming year!