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Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family and Creating a New Age of Independence

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  227 ratings  ·  52 reviews
From Dr. Amy Blackstone, childfree woman, co-creator of the blog we're {not} having a baby, and nationally recognized expert on the childfree choice, comes a definitive investigation into the history and current growing movement of adults choosing to forgo parenthood: what it means for our society, economy, environment, perceived gender roles, and legacies, and how unders ...more
Hardcover, 279 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Dutton Books
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I am not a fan of Taylor Swift’s, but I think many times she gets unfairly criticized. No, I’m not talking about the whole thing Kim and Kanye or her copying/ripping off of Beyoncé, I’m taking about comments about her personal life. She’s not married. She can date as few or as many men as she wants. Also, people need to stop asking her about her womb. It isn’t our business. I mean, do they ask men about their ball sacks?

I am an unmarried and childfree woman and for years, I have bee
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Childfree by Choice is a thoughtful, timely, and engaging look at what it means to be a family. As growing numbers of women and men create their lives without choosing parenthood, this sociological research helps us understand the meaning and context for those decisions. Childfree by Choice combines many sources of existing data with original research to illuminate and break down common myths about the childfree. Through dispelling these common assumptions, Dr. Blackstone highlights the tensions ...more
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Never have I heard such a thorough examination full of research, data, and personal stories from all ages and sexual orientations on why men and women get judged, belittled, and considered less-than for being childfree.

Women probably catch more flack because somewhere, somehow our value has been solely tied to our vaginas instead of our individuality. Dr. Blackstone puts forth such a well-researched treatise from which we can draw our knowledgable conclusions. My conclusion? We, as a society, c
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Solid, a little bit too political correctness and virtue signalling with the language used. An interesting subject to me, on a pretty personal level but a very big emphasis on how mean people with kids are to people who choose not to procreate. People are mean if you breathe wrong. Not really worth crying over honestly. Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read this pre-release, all opinions are my own.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book better. I really did. It seemed to be made up mostly of study findings (which were interesting at times) and childfree people reaffirming that it's okay the choice that my husband and I have made.

I don't want kids. My husband and I don't plan to have kids. My friends and coworkers may have kids. And that's okay. Either choice is okay. I shouldn't have to feel that my choice is invalid or that I'm "less" of a human being. This book collects people from aroun
Annie Rosewood
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Couldn’t put it down, actually. Even though I already have a childfree mindset, I loved having all of my ideas and frustrations (as well as other arguments that I hadn't considered before) presented in such a coherent and engaging way. More than that, I like that Blackstone isn’t trying to coerce or preach - she simply presents information and data in a thoughtful way.
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Excellent Premise. Good yet flawed effort. As an introduction to the childfree movement and its history, this book serves as a solid primer for anyone who does not know either or both of these topics. As someone who is childfree and is active in various levels of working within the childfree community, I had *very* high hopes for this book. Unfortunately this book just had too many flaws to rate it any higher than the three stars I decided to give it. For one, it makes scientific claims using on ...more
Alicia Bayer
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read for me as a woman who has five kids but has many loved ones who are childfree (whom I've always wholeheartedly supported in that choice).

Parts were difficult to read, because Blackstone almost seems to have a need to tell us why those of us who do want kids are wrong and how miserable we all are once we have them. I'm not at all sorry to have my kids, and I suffered nearly a decade of miscarriages before I was able to have them. I don't agree with her assertions tha
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As long as I can remember, I’ve never wanted to have kids. Even as a child, I was certain of it. But, I thought that maybe adults knew something I didn’t. So, if I did eventually understand that mysterious compulsion when I grew up, I decided I would adopt a child. Cuz hey, there were dozens of orphaned kids on the street already. A child’s logic.

At 37, I still haven’t changed my mind. I’ve experienced many flavours of questions & judgments. “You’re selfish”, “You’re making an unnatural dec
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 19-perhaps-now
What a fabulous book! Well researched and practical, it laid out the guiding principles for choosing a childfree life while discussing the history of the movement. I can’t wait to dive into more books on the subject but can’t imagine one better written than this. Highly recommend!
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
This book is wonderful and so needed. I think it should be a must-read for parents and non-parents alike.
Cynthia D
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
*** I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley. ***

As a millennial, I really relate to the premise of the book. I know a good number of other people who are child free or not expecting to have children until their 30s, but one of the most common questions I’m asked is how many kids I have.

I appreciate how the author goes into details about the societal expectations of having children, and how there are racial and class implications to these expectations a
Allen Adams
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing

There are plenty of people out there in the world who will tell you just how wonderful it is to be a parent. For these folks, there is nothing quite so rewarding as becoming a mother or father. That notion of the importance of having and raising children has been part of our society for so long as to have become engrained in the communal discourse.

But what about those who choose not to be parents? Those who choose to be childfree?

Dr. Amy Blackstone is a professor
This was a well-thought out and balanced look at the choice to be parents or not. Blackstone doesn't try and push an agenda in any way whatsoever, but merely points out the myriad of reasons why someone might want to remain Childfree by Choice. She gets input from non-parents and parents alike; singles and couples, etc. I renjoyed this!
Migdalia Jimenez
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much! As someone who’s chosen (and living a a very happy) child-free life, I’ve read a lot of books and articles on the subject, and I can wholeheartedly say- this was the best.
Dr. Blackstone expertly and non judgmentally explores a wide variety of topics and dispels myths about parents and non-parents citing both research and using personal anecdotes. This was not about a negative choice of deciding not to have children, but a deep dive into and celebration of the positive
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is very well written and easy to understand even though it might be considered academicin nature. The topic is near and dear to me as I’ve chosen not to have children. I feel much better knowing there are others who have made the same choice.
Shimona Hirchberg
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019_faves
A fantastic overview of the contemporary childfree movement and history of how cultures/societies have viewed children/childhood, families, being a woman, motherhood, being single, and so much more (as researched by sociologists and anthropologists). Basically some of my favourite concepts to think about of at least a decade. An interesting, easy-going, thoughtful read. This is now my go-to recommendation for anyone wanting to know more about this type of thing. If any of those concepts are intr ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I Love This

Best for:
I wish everyone would read this. Parents who don’t understand why people would choose to not be parents can learn a lot about society’s misconceptions, but us childfree folks really benefit from writing that treats us as well-adjusted adults, not selfish, juvenile misanthropes.

In a nutshell:
Sociologist Blackstone looks at what it means to choose a life without children of one’s own.

Worth quoting:
I underlined somethi
Angela Tolsma
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted a lot more from this book than I got. Honestly I really struggled through it, the writing especially at the beginning felt very angry and defensive. And that actually makes sense. The choice to not have children is one you have to defend a lot and it gets tiring. I was hoping this book would tell me something new but really it just gave me a bunch of studies and confirmed things I already understood. That said the afterword written by Dr. Amy Blackstone's husband was refreshing and I r ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Biological reproduction has long been epitomized as a capstone of adult life. It has been seen as something generally expected in a lifetime unless people were plagued with infertility or rare vocation (clergy). Once pregnancy and childbirth became decoupled from sex, nonparenthood did not mean infertile. It was spliced into involuntary or childfree choice for heterosexual couples. Dr. Blackstone traces the history of non-parent movement and shares academic research to cite reasons for having ki ...more
Kristie J.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is an academic review of lots of literature related to choosing to have or not to have children from a sociology point of view. The first chapter was very dense, but once I slogged through it, the rest of the book was a bit easier (not too much though). The author examined several stereotypes of childfree people, such as how we hate children, we're selfish, we're going to die alone, we don't count as real families, etc. and reviewed the literature surrounding that subject to disprove i ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I decided to read this book because I thought it would be a testament to Blackstone's decision to not have children. However, this book is definitely more of a description of the movement of being "Childfree by Choice", as the title suggests. Blackstone covers topics including maternal instinct, happiness and aging and compares parents versus nonparents. As a
Rachel P-M
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
As a childfree person, I picked up this book with interest. I have three main critiques.

First, while I understand that good policy lifts everyone up, there was significant discussions about the difficulties of child-rearing, and the pressures of modern parenting. I understand that for many, this is part of the calculus of deciding whether or not to have a child, but for a book about being childfree, there was a lot of discussion about having kids.

Second, it was very heter
Sarah R
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was satisfying to read something that validated and supported a choice I have made, for one thing. Especially since I have certainly gotten the comments or subtle digs. "You'll change your mind one day." "It's different when it's your own." "You don't know what real love is." But it was also interesting to read from a sociological point of view. I loved her explanation of using the term "childfree" not "childless" (because I am NOT missing anything). I enjoyed re ...more
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is meant for people who have children.

That might sound weird, but it's true. As someone who is in a monogamous marriage wherein we revealed to each other, like, a month into the relationship, that we didn't want children, this book felt... elementary, too simple, too "welcome to a world where adults who happily do not have children exist too." I don't need that. I know that. I live that.

There were excerpts where I felt more seen than I've ever felt in my life - reading abo
Jessie Bond
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
So much food for thought in this book. I can't stop thinking about how women are stigmatized not just for having vs. not having children but how many they have--having only one is seen as selfish, and so is having more than three--or the section on the role of childfree adults in the lives of children. It was very validating to read about other adults who don't have or plan on having children who nevertheless work in roles like teacher, pediatrician (or children's librarian!) and find fulfillmen ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
An in-depth exploration of the history of the childfree and the discrimination and societal biases that comes with it. I read another book about this recently that was more experiential but did cover a lot of similar ground, so I only got about 25% into this comprehensive history and then skimmed the rest. As I said before in the review for the previous book, I'm lucky to live in the Bay Area where there's not much stigma, and my sisters have taken any pressure off that we would have gotten from ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommend it for most any adult, especially those on the fence about having kids. However, even as someone with children, I found it informative and useful. It did highlight some interesting points about how child-centric our culture is and how limited our definition of family tends to be (i.e., mom, dad, 2.2 kids).

It also made me realize that the religions who focus heavily on procreation as one of the goals of marriage likely have a very self-serving reason for doing so, such as making more b
Joseph Tasca
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a terrific analysis of the many reasons childfree adults choose to forego parenthood. Blackstone offers an extensive history of the childfree movement, while providing anecdotal evidence and case studies from her own research. As a childfree person myself, this book spoke to me on many levels, although I disagree with some of Blackstone's assertions about how to destigmatize childfree adults. Overall, it's an easy read and well worth your time, especially for parents interested in u ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-ficiton
Lots of good information and research. A bit repetitive at times though. The most interesting chapter was on aging without children. It mentioned some of the fears surrounding the idea of having no one to take care of you in your old age, but also explained how most, if not all, of those fears are unfounded as long as you take proper planning measures. If definitely recommend reading that chapter for anyone planning to remain childfree, even if you skip the rest of the book.
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Amy Blackstone is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Maine.