Why childfree and not childless?

ChildfreeInfertility Resources
October 13, 2020


Last week on our blog we discussed a variety of reasons for why living the childfree path is oftentimes not talked about or even considered. If you missed it, check it out here. This week we’re exploring the difference between childless and childfree – two terms commonly used when living without a child.

The journey to living without a child differs depending on the path that brought you here. For some it’s due to infertility, for others it’s based on life circumstances like not being in partnership or due to cancer. No matter how you arrived here, we believe it’s important for you to consider how you’ll refer to your version of living without a child. 

Words have significant weight and meaning behind them. Some words conjure up wonder and awe, and others feel heavy or burdensome. Let’s look at the two terms commonly used to describe living without a child: less and free


Merriam-Webster defines “less” (adjective suffix) as: destitute of : not having

This definition gave me pause. Being without, not having or destitute of, was not the route I wanted to take. I was looking for something more positive, uplifting. Maybe you are too. 

Now, let’s look at the word free.


Merriam-Webster defines “free” (adjective; this list goes on for quite some time; here are a select few) as: 

  1. not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself

  2. not taken up with commitments or obligations

  3. not obstructed, restricted, or impeded

  4. not restricted by or conforming to conventional forms

After being weighed down by the emotional, mental, and physical burden that is infertility, this definition felt more appropriate for me – It felt lighter and put a positive spin on what was yet to come. I’m a bit of a rebel so “not conforming to conventional forms” also resonated with me.

Being intentional with how you move forward will help you not only process and eventually accept this life-altering decision, and also shape how you view your life for the long-term (positive vs. negative). 

We encourage you to take a moment and consider what word or phrase of words feels right to you, and why.