No matter how many significant strides we make as a society, the expectation that women of a certain age (say, anywhere between 28 and 40) will have children just refuses to go away.
If you’re in that age bracket and appear to have everything sorted out on paper (Partner? Tick. Stable job? Tick. Roof over your head? Tick!), it’s inevitable that people will start asking the question.
The assumption that having children is the next logical step seems tied to a trend that no longer accurately reflects the reality of our society. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian birth rate hit a record low in 2020, with 294,369 births registered that year, down 3.7 per cent from 2019. In the past 30 years, the total fertility rate has slowly continued to decline, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that sometime in the next decade, the number of couples without children will overtake the number of couples with.
As an increasing number of Australian women opt to live a child-free life, we were interested to find out what’s behind their decision. Refinery29 Australia readers shared their reasons, from concerns around climate change to the cost of living, mental health challenges and the lack of a 'maternal instinct'. Read on to find out why 17 women have decided not to have children.