Even in this day and age, many people still assume that childbearing is an automatic part of the female experience but numbers show that women have a different life experience in mind, with females increasingly obtaining higher levels of education and taking on more responsibility in the workplace, many women are opting not to conceive.
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According to the Pew Research Center, nearly one-in-five American women ends her childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one-in-ten in the 1970s. Over the past decade, childless rates have risen more rapidly for black, women, and still remain high among the most educated of women with 24% of women ages 40-44 with a master’s, doctoral or professional degree, having not had children, a decline from 31% in past reports from the 1990’s.
In making this childless choice, many women are left to defend their womanhood questioning their biological purpose. But, does not choosing motherhood make you less of a woman or more of a #Boss? The average cost of raising a child born in 2013 up until age 18 for a middle-income family in the U.S. is approximately $245,340 (or $304,480, adjusted for projected inflation), according to the latest annual “Cost of Raising A Child” report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, potentially, leaving women without children, significantly ahead in the saving curve.
With several issues affecting black women’s financial stability in the US, putting them at risk of poverty during retirement, at a loss, while combating the burden of the wealth gap, and unfair wage issues, the question arises, are educated black women straying away from childbearing, simply making an educated decision that better fits their lifestyles?
Over the past few decades, public attitudes toward childlessness have become more accepting. Most adults disagree that people without children “lead empty lives,” a share that rose to 59% in 2002 from 39% in 1988, according to the General Social Survey. In addition, children increasingly are seen as less central to a good marriage.
When it comes to marriage, relationship expert Demetria Lucas D’Oyley, a contributing editor at The Root, says to one woman in an “Ask Demetria” post, “You need to know that there is nothing wrong with your choice—and that you’re not alone”, and that most importantly women need to be honest about where they stand on the parenting platform (this includes how you feel about raising the children of a spouse). Overall, it’s important to be honest with yourself and your loved ones, despite societal views, which currently seem more understanding of women making the childless choice than they’ve been in the past.