The Right to Chose Not to Have Children (and Enjoy It)

Samantha Stein
4 min readFeb 24

Recently, Chelsea Handler, comedian, actress, writer, producer, and current stand-in for The Daily Show released a short comedy video about the joys and perks of being childless. As with most comedy, the laughs were in the exaggerated content but it also touched on truths.

“It’s amazing what you can do when you have this much free time,” Handler concludes in the view, before adding, “And that’s a day in the life of a childless woman.”

Posted to social media on February 10, the video has gone viral with over 6.7 million views, and has created a firestorm of debate, effectively highlighting how entrenched our societies’ views on women/females and parenthood remain. Conservative pundits mocked Handler and degraded her, referring to her as self-serving, hedonistic, narcissistic (and unloveable), while many other commenters on her video seemed to take her choice not to have children as a personal attack, defending the choice to have children as the best choice someone could make.

However, while many people’s attitudes have not changed about having children, many have–people are making the choice not to have children more and more frequently. Although the majority of Americans have or want children, some 44% of non-parents ages 18 to 49 say it is not too likely or not at all likely that they will have children someday, according to a Pew Research Center Study.

The choice to have a child has tremendous ramifications for the parent (and the world) as well as the child(ren) and for this reason should never be taken lightly. There are probably as many reasons why people chose not to have children as there are people, but here are some common reasons why people make that choice:

  1. No desire to have kids. This is the most common reason: people simply don’t want raising children to be what they do with their lives for 20 years. Perhaps they don’t like children all that much, or they don’t feel a desire to be a parent.
  2. Career. People feel passionate about the career they have chosen and want to devote their time, energy, and life to their job, which they would not be able to do as effectively if they had children.
  3. Environment. Children (more people) take resources and create pollution and waste. People who are aware of the environmental impact and the current state of the earth are choosing not to add more people to the environmental impact.
Samantha Stein

I’m a writer, photographer, and psychologist who (monthly) explores self, relationships, and mental health in an ever-changing world.