This site reports on childlessness in the news, research about childlessness, and portrayals of childlessness in the arts--past, present, and future. It is the companion site to Rachel Chrastil's book project Childless: A Historical Companion for the 21st Century.
Nearly 1 in 5 women in most Western countries today do not bear children. Yet this is not a new trend, but one that extends back hundreds of years to the towns and villages of northwestern Europe. Since around 1500--with the exception of the baby boom--childlessness has been, in many times and many places, the experience of 1 out of 5 women.
The long history of childlessness illuminates a wide range of issues, including:
how we make choices about our lives and navigate the landscape of regret
how we flourish as humans
our households and the stuff that passes through them
our relationships over the lifetime with extended family, friends and communities
radical critiques of national politics and economic thought
the stories we tell about ourselves regarding work, vocation, ambition and creativity
our legacies and responsibilities towards future generations
We need to keep creating a broad conversation about childless and childfree people. After all, the ability to choose to be childless is one of the things that makes us human.
Rachel Chrastil is a historian of modern Europe and an award-winning teacher. She is the author of The Siege of Strasbourg and Organizing for War: France, 1870-1914. Chrastil lives in Cincinnati, where she is Associate Professor of History at Xavier University. Learn more about Rachel Chrastil.
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Childless, Child Free: News, Research & the Arts, a blog by Rachel Chrastil, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.