Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Childfree In India

Recently I was interviewed by a reporter who was researching an article about the childfree for The Sunday Indian, a national magazine out of New Delhi.

The resulting article, written by Anu Gulmohar, was published on Mother’s Day, and cited the Childless by Choice Project study and another study of eighteen and older childless persons in India. Turns out urban childless Indians feel pretty much the same way as North Americans in their perceptions of parenthood. The majority (73 percent) of Indians surveyed felt “that having children will curtail their freedom” and 87 percent felt children were “a full-time job.”

Like many North Americans, these childless Indians felt pressured to procreate and they felt that the “the biggest motivator for having kids is not their desire to experience parenthood (12%), or the sheer love for children (10%), but the pressure applied by their society and families!!”

Another assumption that appears to have gone global is the perception of selfishness. A childfree man who was quoted in this article had this to say:

“Tell me one thing that is selfless about wanting to have children,” retorts P Srivastava. “Is there any altruistic sentiment behind it? I feel none. Everything that causes one to procreate is selfish in nature. You want to create your own flesh and blood, you want someone to look after you, you want happiness for your family, you want happiness for yourself. Is not all this selfish?”

Having heard a version of this from my interviews with the childless by choice, I could empathize with this man. Some people do equate parenthood with happiness and they want that for themselves. However, the Indian survey respondents were willing to wait for parenthood, they were choosing to postpone parenthood far beyond the age their parents likely had the first child. The average age at which these young adults saw themselves having children was thirty.
Flickr photo by premasagar (cc)


Don B. Reed said...

Another interesting trend among the childfree in India is the adoption of the VHEMT doctrine. Check it out on You can even visit the parent site on

Anne said...

Choosing to be childfree is definitely an evolving concept in India.While the reasons behind this choice is varied and completely personal, in today's scenario, the women in question must also be prepared to face inquisitive questions, biased judgments and a phenomenal amount of pressure from the present Indian society. Here is another interesting article about some Indian women who chose to be childfree