Stigma associated with couples choosing not to have children

Apr 15, 2024 | Canadian News, News

Growing up and starting a family is a dream most people have since they are young

But as of recent times any couples prefer not to become parents for several reasons, including preferences, relationship status, health, and income. Nevertheless, the stigma associated with that decision connects these individuals all.

Newly married couple Daniel and Amanda Warren said it’s frustrating because they’re young and want to experience life with each other before settling down and bringing kids into this world.

“We are in no rush when it comes to having children for the next couple of years. It’s just not something that we see as a priority in our relationship as of this moment,” Amanda said.

For those who choose to remain childless sometimes it is not deliberately but taking the time to find what may be the right person.

Michael Saini, assistant professor at the University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, said more people are taking a harder look at whether they want to get into a relationship.

It’s also difficult to find a person to have a child with, so people are having a hard time figuring out who they want to be in a long-term relationship with, he said.

“With dating apps and other ways of using technology to try and find mates. It’s difficult. Some are finding it way more challenging than perhaps one would have thought,” Saini said.

He said young couples are choosing to live their lives together instead of having to take on the financial and physical burden of having children. But other times they are stressed by questions from their families about when the kids are going to come, Saini said.

He said sometimes it can be uncomfortable for couples to explain to their families that they are comfortable with their decision to not have children.

“It’s really uncomfortable saying actually, ‘we’ve decided not to have children,’ and then how to build that narrative so that you’re comfortable with your decision of not having a child because there is that pressure for others in a way even when you are gonna have your first baby,” Saini said.

“And there’s a lot of hype around having children. And so, it is stigmatized and it can be stigmatized,” he said.

Daniel said every time we attend a family gathering we’re met with the million-dollar question: when are the kids coming?

The Toronto couple says it’s annoying to repeat the same answer every time because the answer doesn’t change.

In every serious relationship, there should be a conversation about whether either partner is okay with having no kids or compromising and having one, said Nokha Daroub, a Registered Social Worker, psychotherapist and family mediator.

She said one of the things she has talked about in her work is, that there are important conversations to be had in the early stages of a relationship.

“Those conversations include, you know, ‘Do you want to have kids when do you think you want to have kids? How many kids do you want to have,'” she said.

“There’s even a difference between one and two. So, these are really important conversations for people, too,” she said.