What follows is a comprehensive listing of books for and about childfrees, in alphabetical order by author. When available, a brief review is given as well. Titles link to their individual pages on Amazon.com, where you can see more information and/or purchase the book if you wish. If you know of a childfree-oriented book that isn't listed here, please send the book's author, title, and your thoughts about the book to us.
Will You Be Mother? Women Who Choose to Say No (1995)
A collection of interviews with British women. Ethnic and cultural variation make this an
The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless (2000)
From Amazon: Who stays late at the office when Mom leaves for a soccer match? Whose dollars pay for the tax credits, childcare benefits, and school vouchers that only parents can utilize? Who is forced to take those undesirable weekend business trips that Dad refuses? The answer: Adults without children -- most of them women -- have shouldered more than their share of the cost of family-friendly America. Until now.
The Childless Revolution (2001)
From Amazon: A fascinating and incisive look at a growing demographic: women without children.
Due in part to birth control, later marriages, and the emergence of two-career couples, 42 percent of the American female population is childless, representing the fastest-growing demographic group to emerge in decades. These women are reshaping the definition of womanhood in a fundamental way, yet they are largely misunderstood. Whether childless by choice or by chance, they are alternately pitied and scorned, and are rarely asked directly about their childlessness; like the elephant in the living room, childlessness is a taboo subject.
Childfree and Sterilized: Women's Decisions and Medical Responses (2000)
From Book News, Inc.: Campbell, a feminist researcher and counselor, examines the relatively new social and medical phenomenon of women in the developed countries of the world choosing to remain childfree and electing for sterilization. She allows 23 voluntarily childfree, sterilized women to tell their stories and to reveal the struggles they faced in being women without children in a society which expects women to be mothers. She employs feminist and sociological perspectives to highlight the fact that voluntarily childfree women are perceived as abnormal and are often the target of negative and critical comment.
Families of Two (2000)
From Amazon: Families of Two takes us into the lives of the growing number of couples who are choosing not to have children, and dispels the myths commonly associated with this choice. Families of Two provides insight for couples who are deciding whether to have children, and to friends and family of couples who have chosen or may choose not to have children. It celebrates the many people who are living lives that do not include parenthood, and the many ways to live happily ever after.
Carter, Jean and Michael
Sweet Grapes: How to Stop Being Infertile and Start Living Again (1998)
From the American Society of Reproductive Medicine's Fertility News (December, 1989)... "Dr. Jean Carter, an obstetrician-gynecologist, and her husband an English professor, coauthored this book. Together they have pesonally wrestled with the many issues of infertility and have resolved to live 'childfree.' Their unique circumstances have enabled them to write a book that is both informative and entertaining. Few, if any books in this are deal with the issue of chidlessness and resolving fertility desires as well as this text. The authors' approach is best summarized in this quotation from Linda P Salzer, author of Infertility: How Couples Can Cope...'When you are chasing the dream of a baby, it is easy to forget that life has the potential for many other dreams and fulfillments.' "
Pride and Joy : The Lives and Passions of Women Without Children (1998)
From Amazon: This is an enlightening collection of first-person interviews with twenty-five women who have decided not to have children. This book shatters the stereotypes that surround voluntarily childless women--that they are self-centered, immature, workaholic, unfeminine, materialistic, child-hating, cold, or neurotic.
Childfree and Sterilized : Women's Decisions and Medical Responses (1999)
From Amazon:(Campbell) allows 23 voluntarily childfree, sterilized women to tell their stories and to reveal the struggles they faced in being women without children in a society which expects women to be mothers. She employs feminist and sociological perspectives to highlight the fact that voluntarily childfree women are perceived as abnormal and are often the target of negative and critical comment.
The Parenthood Decision (1998)
From Amazon: Deciding whether or not to become a parent (and if so, when and how) is one of life's biggest decisions. For some people, the choice to have a child is intuitive -- something they've always known they would do. Nonetheless, questions arise for them. How can I know if the time is right? What are my real reasons for wanting a child? Are my motivations questionable? For others, the question is whether or not to have a child at all. What if I want to parent and my partner does not? Am I capable of being a good parent? Is my partner? What about money issues?
Ireland, Mardy S.
Reconceiving Women : Separating Motherhood from Female Identity (1993)
From Amazon: Based on in-depth interviews with over 100 women, explores the lives of women who are not mothers, and their self-identity in a society that generally equates femininity with motherhood. Examines primary relationships and creative endeavors, and some of the psychological theories about the development of women's identity.
I'm Okay, You're a Brat (2000)
From Amazon: Whether you are already a parent or just suspect you will be one someday, I'm Okay, You're a Brat is sure to change your perceptions about the responsibility. With individual chapters devoted to topics such as full-time parenting, breastfeeding, custody in case of divorce, and remaining childfree, the realism presented will shatter any remaining illusions you may be harboring. Determined to explode the myth of continually joyous parenting, author Susan Jeffers replaces it with a more realistic view of the life changes and emotional difficulties associated with such a long term and essentially thankless task.
Why Don't You Have Kids? Living a Full Life Without
(1995; out of print)
A warm, funny, helpful, and no-nonsense look at the realities of
intentional childlessness. Highly recommended.
Lang, Susan S.
Women Without Children: the Reasons, the Rewards, the
(1991; out of print)
Lang is just about the only author to face the
aging-without-children issue head-on, and she does a terrific job of it.
She also takes the trouble to dig up nifty statistics and factoids on
Without Child: Challenging The Stigma of Childlessness (1996)
From Amazon: Heavily weighted to history, a defense of women who, by choice or by chance, are not mothers. Author Lisle (Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life, 1990, etc.), now in her 50s, chose not to have children--she is, to use one of her favorite terms, a nullipara (the medical term for a woman without a child)--and found the decision subject to attack from within and without.
Lunneborg, Patricia W.
The Chosen Lives of Childfree Men (1999)
More and more couples are choosing not to have children. While much attention has been paid to this trend from a woman's point of view, men are often seen as having a secondary role in this choice, as ready to accept whatever their partners decide. In an age when men are expected to be caregivers as well as breadwinners and encouraged to take on more parental responsibilities, this volume argues that they need to be active participants in this crucial, life-altering decision.
May, Elaine Tyler
Barren in the Promised Land (1997)
From Booklist: Over 500 childless people responded to an author's query to share first-person accounts of child-free lives. The majority of responses came from women, 60 percent of whom were childless by choice. Combining their stories of nonreproduction with that of America's reproductive history, May's discussion of our country's reproductive trends is a cohesive picture of a place where children were, at first, an economic necessity. Later, Theodore Roosevelt favored eugenics when faced with "race suicide" in a country overrun by the "wrong" immigrants. The couple-centered childlessness of the 1920s eventually gave way to the patriotic baby boom of the postwar years. From the free love of the 1960s through the child-free 1970s, May brings us to the 1990s where childlessness is no longer considered pathological and her respondents freely admit nurturing their own "child within" in favor of the pain of bringing a new life into a ruined world.
The Mask of Motherhood - How Mothering Changes
Everything and Why We Pretend It Doesn't (1997)
Maushart discusses what she believes is the pervasive myth that a
woman can have a child and still do all the same things she did before.
May, Elaine Tyler
Barren in the Promised Land: Americans and the Pursuit
of Happiness (1995)
Contains one chapter on intentional childlessness. Do read the whole book,
though; it's a well-written, well-thought-out examination of the social and
political aspects of childlessness, both voluntary and involuntary, in
America's history. Be prepared to get very angry at some of the things May
Cheerfully Childless - The Humor Book for Those Who Hesitate to Procreate (2001)
Plenty of books look at
the subject of choosing to be childless in a (relentlessly) serious fashion. It's time to
look at the subject with a laugh! If you've been asked just one too many times "So? When will
you be making us grandparents?" this book is for you.
Unwomanly Conduct: The Challenges of Intentional
Feminist take on intentional childlessness, bolstered by excellent interviews and intellectual honesty.
Ratner, Rochelle, ed.
Bearing Life: Women's Writings on Childlessness (2000)
From Amazon: Over 50 women contribute to this engaging collection of essays, fiction, and poetry exploring childlessness. While the expected topics of abortion and infertility are central here, dozens of less-discussed scenarios of choice and circumstance are explored as well.
Reti, Irene, ed.
Childless By Choice: A Feminist Anthology (1992)
Essays, true stories, and poetry by and for voluntarily childless women.
The variety of sources is a welcome change from some of the white-bread
sociological studies. Several real gems, and only one or two duds.
No Kidding (Fiction; 2000)
From bn.com: What happens when everyone around you is blissfully popping babies like so many rabbits, your mother wants a grandchild more than anything else in the world, but you're just not interested? Meet Audrey Mills, a 35-year-old Silicon Valley techie who has a loving live-in boyfriend, a decent job, and a passion for old movies, but who suffers from a sort of divine discontent. Something's missing in Audrey's life and she's determined to find out what it is NOW. Enter Tyrone Power look-alike, Aldo. He's not only handsome, he's smart, fun, and most of all, devastatingly sexy. Should Audrey risk giving up the security and love she already has for this charmer who seems too good to be true? Audrey starts to realize that life isn't a dress rehearsal and you sure can't call "cut" the way you do in the movies. Will she be able to write her own happy ending?