SOCIETY

Childfree Women Anonymously Flock To Blogs And Forums

Facing stigma offline, women who choose not to have children seek online support

SOCIETY
Alamy
Aug 12, 2015 at 12:33 PM ET

Tons of women are anonymously going online to discuss a lifestyle choice: The decision not to have children.

In the U.S., more women are childless today than at any time since 1976, when the government started keeping track, Time reported. Many of those who are childfree by choice are looking online for information and support through blogs and forums.

Some have turned to Beingchildfree, one of Tumblr’s rising feminist blogs, where readers have often anonymously shared personal stories, asked for advice and offered resources and support for women across their networks. “Based on my conversations with fellow non-parents who are similarly private in this manner… I believe some women hold onto anonymity in these discussions due to fears associated with being identified,” said the 22-year-old graduate student who runs Beingchildfree. She asked that her name not be published due to concerns that she could face repercussions in her personal of professional life for choosing—like many of her readers—to remain childless.

On Reddit alone, more than 84,450 users subscribe to a subreddit called “Childfree.” On popular forums like The Childfree Life, which says it has more than 4,000 members, women regularly share information about birth-control and horror stories about social stigma over their lifestyle choice. They also arrange offline meetings and support groups. Others are communicating on Twitter and Facebook pages such as Childfree is Not a Dirty Word. In October, the website TheNotMom.com plans to host, for the first time, “a major conference for women without children by choice & by chance.”

For many women looking to these outlets for support, the access could be critical. “Misconceptions are widely spread on the decision and those who make it,” said the graduate student blogger. “In comparison to narratives on parenting, our culture struggles to provide sufficient resources and acceptance for childfree lifestyles.”