As I’ve journeyed through infertility these last 7 months (two years if you count the time we were trying to have children before my diagnosis) I’ve come to learn different terms associated with infertility that I never knew before. Perhaps the two terms that I feel a connection to more are Childless and ChildFree. However, I think these terms mean two completely different things with the former relating to infertility and the latter a lifestyle choice.
Childless by circumstance to me means someone who doesn’t have any children due to infertility. It acknowledges loss and acknowledges the couple/person desires to have children but is unable to for whatever reason. It is not a lifestyle choice.
Childfree on the other hand is a lifestyle choice by a person or couple that did not want any children. Too many times (including by resolve) this term is misused for those infertile couples who don’t end up becoming parents. I think the reason is that the term sounds upbeat and that those people don’t hurt. The reality is it does hurt and trying to put a positive spin on it doesn’t change reality.
As I look to work through our childless life with my wife I wish people would stop saying we are living “ChildFree by choice” when in reality we are living “Childless by circumstance”. Saying we are living ChildFree by choice annoys me to no end and is the furthest thing from the truth.
On edit, what got me thinking about this topic was a blog written by an adoptee/adoptive mom’s
Rebecca Hawkes. She is another one of my favorite people in the adoption community. She is a very open genuinely kind person who is always willing to provide you with thoughtful feedback. In her piece she presented maybe the best outside perspective of IF and the decision to live Childless/ChildFree that I’ve read. I highly recommend reading her blog.