Presenting her research to the British Sociological Association’s annual conference, Edina Kurdi of Middlesex University said that 40 percent of the childless women she surveyed had either not talked about having children, or had only discussed it once early in their relationship.
The online survey included responses from 75 women in the United Kingdom aged 35 and above who were childless. The researcher also interviewed nine of the women face to face.
When asked about discussions she had had with her partner about not having children, 23 of the 63 women who responded to the question said they decided not to have children after one conversation. Three others mentioned they had not talked about the issue at all.
One woman said: “It only needed one brief discussion, along the lines of ‘I don’t want kids — do you?’ ‘Nope, me neither’. Then move onto something more interesting to talk about… and neither of us reconsidered our options. There was no need to.”
Kurdi, a lecturer at Middlesex University, said the results were “somewhat surprising and very interesting.”
“Not having children is obviously a very important decision, and what was interesting from the research was the negligible amount of discussion that couples engaged in,” she said.
“Many are agreeing not to have children in one conversation, or in an unspoken way. One possible reason that couples did not need to talk about the issue much is that they could accurately sense their partner did not want children from their beliefs and lifestyle.”
Her research also studied the reasons why couples remained childless, as well as the attitudes of others towards a childless couple.
“Very little attention has been paid to the negotiations within romantic relations about not having a family, even though developed countries are facing a general decline in fertility combined with an accelerated rate of childlessness,” she said.
Source: British Sociological Association