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Think Out Loud

As We Are: Child Free

Pete Springer/OPB

It’s not uncommon for people to ask young, healthy couples if they have children. When the answer is “no,” there can be an awkward pause… and then maybe a question: why not? Some people choose to put off having children until they’re financially ready or they’ve gotten to a certain point in their career, while others may have made the decision not to reproduce at all. The next installment of our As We Are series explores the idea of being “child free,” and the varied reasons behind the choice.

People who choose not to have children may have medical limitations that would make childbirth or child rearing particularly onerous, or they may have physical traits that they would rather not pass on to the next generation. Others may choose not to have kids because of how it would change the way they live their lives. Some may put overpopulation and environmental concerns at the top of their list.

Have you chosen not to have children? When and why did you make this choice? How have your thoughts and feelings shifted over time? Have you felt pressure from your family or friends to have kids? How have you dealt with it?


  • Phyllis Reynolds: Retired psychologist
  • Tiffany Lee Brown: Writer and interdisciplinary artist
  • Patrik McDade: English teacher and community organizer
  • Abby Steichen: Fourth and fifth grade teacher
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