Can grown women live the "childfree" life without judgment?


(CBS News) Many women from different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds face isolation and judgment for opting out of motherhood at increased rates in the United States, according to Time Magazine contributor Lauren Sandler, who penned the latest cover story, "The Childfree Life" and authored a book on the subject titled, "One and Only."

"I think that a lot of women just don't have the jones for it. And they're frankly feeling a little bit more empowered to stand up for that right now. Also, kids are really expensive, and as we all know our economy is not helping us support that," Sandler said Friday on "CBS This Morning."

The birthrate in America is at its lowest point since the Great Depression, with the most recent data showing it declined nine percent between 2007 and 2011. This spans across a variety of social, economic, racial, and ethnic populations in the country.

"I found in my own reporting that a lot of people told me about not playing with dolls as kids, not wanting to babysit, not playing house. But often I think that it's just a real commitment to following your own desire. And for some people, having kids is a big part of that desire and for other people it's not," Sandler explained.

The response to more women choosing to live childfree reflects cultural debates over women's roles.

"Instead of saying 'Okay, live life on your own terms,' we tend to judge them for it," said Sandler about a common reaction to all childfree women.

There are men without children who want to be parents, but Sandler pointed out the larger conversation revolves around women because it's a relatively new position for them in human history.

"What is an adult woman if she's not a mother? It's something that we haven't come to terms with yet," she said.

While some demographers and economists are concerned about the lowered birth rate, others feel the issue is the lack of support for women not choosing motherhood.

"I think that we're dealing with it as more of a present tense issue than something that we have to fear in the future," said Sandler.

The article will appear in this week's edition of Time Magazine.