Choosing Not to Have Children


Happy Vietnamese Couple
Photo by Bùi Linh Ngân via via Wikimedia Commons

Many people around the world are choosing not to have any children. Bruce Gulland and Liz Waid look at reasons people would make this decision.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Bruce Gulland.

Voice 2 

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

According to UNICEF, there are over 2 billion children in the world. In many parts of the world women have many babies. But some people choose not to have children. This choice is becoming more common in some countries. Today’s Spotlight is on why people make the choice to not have children.

Voice 2 

Bri Seeley is 31 years old. She lives in Los Angeles, California, in the United States. When she was a child, her friends talked about being mothers. They talked about what they would name their babies. Seeley talked about businesses she would start. She talked about becoming a writer, fashion designer, or an activist. She never thought about having children.

Voice 1 

As an adult, she decided to be sterilized. This operation would make it impossible for Seeley to have children. Seeley found a doctor who would give her the operation. After it was done, she wrote:

Voice 3 

“I will never forget the feeling of freedom and comfort that I felt after the operation. There is nothing wrong with our decision to live a child-free life. And there is nothing wrong with women like me as human beings. The decision to not have children does not make us less than women who choose to be mothers. Yes, we are all born with the biology to give birth. But we are not all meant to be mothers.”

Voice 2 

Many other people - men and women - around the world feel like Bri Seeley. They do not want to be parents. This is especially the case in Western countries. But people anywhere in the world may feel like this.

Voice 1 

People want children for many reasons. They may expect the children to help in the family business. They may want to just see what their children will be like. They may want to give their own parents a grandchild. Or they may just have a strong feeling that they should have children. And some people have babies even though they did not plan to or want to. They may not have access to birth control or education about becoming parents.

Voice 2 

The fertility rate measures how many children an average woman in a country will have. In some countries, the fertility rate is high. Average mothers have more than six children. But in some countries, the fertility rate is falling. For example, the Wall Street Journal newspaper reports that one quarter of Italian women never have children. In Japan, people are also choosing to have fewer children. They have had fewer and fewer children since the 1970s.

Voice 1 

Experts around the world have studied why people in some areas are having fewer children. One of these experts is Kaye Walters. Walters lives in California in the United States. Walters and her husband have decided not to have children. She wrote a book called “Kidfree & Lovin’ It – Whether by Choice, Chance or Circumstance”. She also manages the website kidfreeandlovinit.com.

Voice 2 

On her website, she offers resources for people who do not want children. She also gathers information from them. And she used this information in her book. Childfree people can fill out a survey on Walters’ website. Walters gathered information from over 5,000 adults in more than 60 countries around the world.

Voice 1 

Walters organized this information. She found five main reasons people choose to have no children. First, she says the most common reason is that they just do not ever have the feeling that they need children. Raising a child takes a lot of time, sacrifice and responsibility. Walters believes it is difficult to provide these things if a person does not want children.

Voice 2 

Second, many people decide not to have children because they will have to change their lifestyle - the way they are living. Walters explains:

Voice 4 

“Lifestyle changes that happen after having a child usually include less time and money for your sports, hobbies, and travel. They include less time to sleep the hours you choose. A once peaceful home may now be too busy with noise and toys. And you may lose the ability to do the things you want when you want to.”

Voice 1 

A third common reason Walters sees for not having children has to do with child care. In many countries, people believe that raising children is a woman’s responsibility. People expect women to take care of the home and the children. However, many women do not want to do this. They want to have a good job. Walters says:

Voice 4 

“Women find that doing everything - being a mother and working - means that you cannot do anything really well. Both their job and their children suffer. This is one of the reasons some women choose not to have children.”

Voice 2 

Fourth, raising children is very expensive, says Walters. Many parents believe they do not have enough money. They fear they cannot give a child a good life. Or, they may want to spend money on other things, instead of on children.

Voice 1 

Walters suggests one final reason that people choose not to have children. They believe that having a child will change their relationship with their husband or wife. They believe that having a baby will mean less love in their relationship. They are happy with their current relationship, and do not want to change it in any way.

Voice 2 

There are many people around the world who are happy without children. Some of them organize special events where they can spend time together and not talk about children. But some just enjoy their lives without children. For some people, not having children lets them enjoy other peoples’ children more!

Voice 1 

That is the case for Heather Gentry. She lives in Georgia, in the United States. She is 28 years old and married. Even from a young age, she knew she never wanted children. Her husband agreed. So Gentry had a sterilization operation – now, she cannot have children. After her operation, she explained to the Huffington Post:

Voice 5 

“Something about making that decision was helpful. I can be clear and true to myself. If I am at the grocery store and I see a cute young child, I can say ‘Look at him! He is so cute!’ I have had no regret about my operation. It is one of the best things I have ever done.”

Voice 2 

Having children is a personal choice. But many things influence a person’s decision – culture, beliefs, family, and more. Do you want to have children? Or would you like to remain child-free? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Liz Waid. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Choosing Not to Have Children’.

Voice 2 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Would you like to have children? Or would you like to remain child-free? What are some reasons people may decide not to have children?

Comments


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son.nguyenhuy
said on March 09, 2015

it’s difficult to understand why someone want to live without children. In my country that idea is completely unable to accept.

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son.nguyenhuy
said on March 09, 2015

so, I don’t know why you (Spotlight) chose the photo of a Vietnamese couple to illustrate for the topic.

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Makhnyuk
said on March 09, 2015

I have one question for people who don’t want to have children: Would you encourage your own parents if they decided not to have you?

JoaoVBR's avatar
JoaoVBR
said on March 10, 2015

In my country, Brazil, this issue is well accepted. Choosing not to have a child is a completely personal choice, and everyone must respect it. I agree with the things Walters said, but I think people can choose a contraceptive method instead of the sterilization operation. We must think that sterilization operation is a extreme act, and there is the possibility that the sterilized person may regret about the decision.

Learning Everything's avatar
Learning Everything
said on March 12, 2015

In fact, some of couple they want to try to live together before they married. They spend their time to work for getting more income, then they travelling somewhere and enjoying with out responsibility.

But this time is not too long for them because they will be feeling boring. If they have a child, both of them take care his/ her every day, their family is more happy.

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PakaAnka
said on March 12, 2015

Hi friends. I am a proud father. When my first son arrive to my live this was a will be a blessing. Is real, be parents is great reaponsability, dedication, take care, patien, money too but wake up each day and can see your children is a miracle. Thank God for this blessing.

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Jimmy Roberto Espinoza Mercado
said on March 14, 2015

Unless some State regulates it, regard to have or not have children seem me fully acceptable choices. Having children is a choice that forces to think about the great love that God has for us. On other hand, neglecting the children could take them to any evil of the society. We can see in the news that crime is begger each day by influencing the children and the youth, who are the most vulnerable group. Moreover, jncreasingly the jobs require more trained people, so parents must provide them suitable education; let alone the difficult situations of the life where they need a good and loving guide to encourage them

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Jimmy Roberto Espinoza Mercado
said on March 15, 2015

Aside from the enthusiasm to create a new family “to have children” demands a great responsability. Despite all of it I gree to have children, they are lovable. Thank you!

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Valeriyam
said on March 16, 2015

Hello to everybody. I’m Valeriya. I’m fromUkraine. Thank you Spotlight for today’s program.

Today’s spotlight has caused a lot of emotions and thoughts.
I agree to have children or live child-free life it’s personal decision. I also agree that not all can be good mothers and fathers even that we are all born with the biology to give birth . And may be better when such people that just do not ever have the feeling that they need children to live child-free life.  At the same time in this world all is changing and we are also. Most shocking choice of girls that made sterilization.Today is your man or husband takes this decision, tomorrow he wants children. And he will be looking for the woman who can give him the happiness of fatherhood. And why to these extreme methods resorted women, not men?

And this is while according to statistics, in the world no less than 70 million couples can not have their own children from different reasons: diseases, GMO products etc. For a long time it was believed that infertility - a predominantly female disease. However, recent evidence suggests that the incidence of detection of male and female infertility are about the same.

If you watch the statistics of the countries, the United States, for example, every eighth couple suffers a disease of infertility, which is about 7.3 million people.

In Israel, every tenth pair need help in solving the problems of infertility. However, infertility treatment in Israel is at the highest international level and solves all the problems of the Israelites.

According to statistics from Russia, considered infertile 6 million. And 4 million women. Men. Thus, in Russian infertile about 15% of couples. Every year, the figure tends to increase the number of infertile - up to 250 thousand man.

According to statistics in Ukraine infertility occurs in approximately 14% of married couples, which is about 1 million. At the same time women becomes infertility in 40% of the cause of infertility and infertility male - 30-40%. In other cases, the cause of infertility compatible.

In Belarus, the approximate number of infertile couples, too, is about 15%. A few years ago were considered sterile 60% of women, the latest statistics show an advantageous number of men - about 65%.

Summing up, I would like to say that today we have a lot of objective reasons to live without children: heavy, unstable economic situation, the change of priorities in life among the young, increasingly manifested as infertility among women and men.

It is hoped that the number of childfree people for fear of lack of a comfortable life without problems (sacrifice and responsibility, less time to sleep the hours you choose), will decrease rather than increase. And these people do not represent the majority of the world community.

Unfortunately, for many couples - children’s laughter in the house - it is a great dream, which is not given true.

What is our primary mission on earth? Procreation, reproduce their own kind. Maybe it sounds like something in a scientific way, but it’s a fact.

I sincerely wish to all people in the world Peace, Love and Happiness of motherhood and fatherhood.

Today it is very difficult not to be influenced by external factors, but I believe we have enough strength to resist all that is changing our minds and prevents us from believing in the high family values and love.

God bless you.

 

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A.Dahab
said on April 12, 2015

first I like very mach to have a children an I think that there are the flower in our life and I think there is no reason to decide not to have children.
Second I enjoyed very mach to join with this site

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Dela
said on May 20, 2015

The decision of young couples to have children often conflicts with their desire for enjoying life generally which means having a possibility to feel free to travel, try hard to get education just as to build the great career mainly. Later with time the young women may begin to want being mothers but it cannot become the reality because it is too late. On the other hand, many couples have to undergo the complex long-term medical treatment because of their inability to have children, these procedures sometimes are successful, fortunately. At all events, the young couples shouldn’t throw away a chance to become parents because they might regret that later in future!

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Bella1990
said on June 22, 2015

I am 25-year old single female and I’m undecided when it comes to being a mother. At this moment I wouldn’t like to have children but I know that my parents wouldn’t accept my decision. Let alone it would be hard for me to find a husband who would like not to have children as well. Perhaps I’ll change my mind and decide to have children in the future but at this moment I’m against it.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on February 25, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ( SEVERINO RAMOS - From Brazil )
To: spotlight
Subject: Comment about the question
Date: Thrusday 25, February 2016
Dear Liz Waid, Bruce Gulland, and Michio Ozaki:

Yes, I would. Yes, I would. There are many reasons such as : financial problems, dificult to do a perfect lifestyle to the children, when a man or a woman does not have a wife or a husband to join to form a Family, and etc. I would like to have a couple of children (Twin children). But I do not have any.
All the best,
Severino Ramos

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georgino
said on February 25, 2016

Hi,
Everyone
I agree with free decision of the people not have children, because many children are suffering around the world and any goverment do anything to help us look at the immigrants in Europe
without words…....
Bye ,bye

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saos88
said on February 27, 2016

Hi
yes, I would like to have children so I think there is no reason to decide not have children

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RUHAAN
said on June 30, 2016

Freedom is a good way to survive the life but everything has own limitation then we need someone who will love and care us.One smile of child is sufficient for whole life with true happiness this is all about the feeling. It’s happened when they aren’t fit to born baby and they utilize the disadvantage into new concept,They are here because their parents did not do like this….