39-Year-Old Woman Goes Viral For Honest Videos On What Her Childfree Life Looks Like

I had no idea what my life would look like if I didn’t go down the path that everyone expected me to go down.

In recent years, there has been a growing number of women who have been vocal about remaining child-free. The reasons behind their choice vary, but common ones are concerns about financial stability, the desire to focus on personal interests and careers, and broader things like overpopulation.

39-year-old Vancouver-based photographer and artist Jackie Dives is one of these advocates. In addition to her creative work, Jackie uses social media to break the ice and invites the public to talk about (not) having children.

More info: Facebook | Instagram | TikTok

Photographer Jackie Dives has made a conscious decision not to have kids

Image credits: Jackie Dives Photo

To normalize the discussion about this choice, she runs a TikTok vlog series

Image credits: jackiedives

“I was surprised by how many people have commented that they experienced the same thing,” Jackie explained to BuzzFeed. “I think the root cause of this is that everyone tells women they will change their mind. You might have a strong conviction that you don’t want kids, but if everyone in your life is telling you that you will change your mind or that you will regret not having them, it can be very difficult to walk away from someone you love to stay true to your convictions.”

“People need to stop asking women when they will have kids,” Jackie said. “Women need to be encouraged to do whatever the hell they want with their lives. Like any stigma, the more we normalize it, the better it will get. People need to stop gaslighting women about what they want from their own lives.”

Here’s an example of ‘A Day in a Life of a Child-free Woman’

Image credits: jackiedives



Image credits: jackiedives
Image credits: jackiedives
Image credits: jackiedives
Image credits: jackiedives

Here’s the entire video

@jackiedives

When my partner left our relationship after 5 years because he wanted to have a baby, I knew I didn’t want to be a parent, but I felt lost because I had no examples of what my life could look like. This is what a happy childfree life can look like. #childfreebychoice

♬ original sound – Jackie Dives

A 2021 Pew Research Center survey found that 44% of non-parents ages 18 to 49 think it is not too or not at all likely that they will have children someday, an increase of 7 percentage points from the 37% who said the same in 2018. Interestingly, there are no differences in data if we divide the respondents by gender.

Experts are not surprised by the numbers. “This is a trend we have been seeing for years; the birth rate is declining. It was declining before the pandemic. We did not see a pandemic baby boom, [as] some people expected,” Christine Whelan, director of the Money, Relationships and Equality (MORE) center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, told TODAY Parents. “Instead, we saw a further decline during the pandemic, which makes sense because when you are concerned about your future — especially from a health perspective — then you don’t really want to bring children into the world.”

“What’s interesting to me about this Pew data is the percentage of people who are saying, ‘I don’t plan on having kids because I just don’t want to,’” Whelan added. “This is an important first because that statement would not have been socially acceptable like 15 years ago. So the idea that it is socially acceptable now to say that is a big switch.”

Whelan’s referring to the fact that a majority (56%) of non-parents younger than 50 who feel it’s unlikely they will have children someday said it’s because they just don’t want to.

(Among adults who named some other thing that pushes them to remain child-free, no single cause stood out. 19% said it’s due to medical reasons, 17% said it’s for financial reasons, and 15% said it’s because they do not have a partner.)

(Roughly one in ten said their age or their partner’s age or the state of the world (9%) is the reason they don’t plan to have kids.)

“You can live a childfree life that is not lonely”

@jackiedives

You can live a childfree life that is not lonely. #childfreebychoice #artistsoftiktok #solotravel #solotravelwoman

♬ Sunshine – WIRA

Image credits: jackiedivesphoto

Recently, another TikToker, Maelen S., turned to the platform, asking: “If you are [in your] 40s and up and a woman or even a woman with a partner who has gone their entire life childless (on purpose), please tell me what your life is like now”

And Jackie provided an honest answer, explaining why it’s important to talk about the subject

Image credits: jackiedives

The woman revealed that she even ended a relationship because of her decision

“I often get in s**t on TikTok for saying, like, this is how a childfree person does XYZ or this is a day in the life of a childfree person. People are like, “Why do you need to put in there that you’re child-free? What difference does it make?” And the reason I do that is because I want women, like the person who I’m stitching, to see what a life without children can look like.”

“I’m 39, and I’m child-free. My experience of being childfree was that when my partner decided that he wanted to have children, we’d been together for five years, and he actually left our relationship. So I had to decide very sure that I was willing to let my partner go in exchange for living a child-free life.”

The woman revealed that she even ended a relationship because of her decision

Image credits: RODNAE Productions (not the actual photo)

“I really loved my partner a lot. And a lot of people were telling me that it was crazy to let him go and not just have a baby with him. I knew in my heart and in my gut that I didn’t want to be a parent. But after we separated, it was really hard for me to visualize what my life would look like.”

“I could see what my life would look like if he and I had stayed together, I would be with him, and we’d have a house and a baby and a family and like, great in-laws and a white picket fence, the whole thing. But because we are never shown examples in media or pop culture about what it looks like to be a woman who doesn’t have children, I had no idea what my life would look like if I didn’t go down the path that everyone expected me to go down.”

Jackie wishes there was more representation of child-free women

Image credits: freestocks (not the actual photo)

“It felt really lonely and strange. And I had to go seek out other women who had also made that choice. So that’s why I always say in my videos, this is what a day in the life of a childfree artist looks like, because I want women who don’t want to have kids to have an example of what your life can look like.”

However, those who choose the other path aren’t regretting their way of life, too. While a relatively small share of parents places a high level of importance on their own kids having children one day, the vast majority – including among mothers and fathers and across income and racial and ethnic groups – views being a parent as the most (30%) or one of the most (57%) important aspects of who they are as a person.

36% of moms and dads feel that being a parent is enjoyable all the time. Another 44% find it enjoyable most of the time — that’s a total of 80%! Similarly, 25% describe parenting as rewarding all the time, and 58% described it as rewarding most of the time, for a total of 82%.

So I guess the key here is, as with many other social issues, to understand that different people want different things and instead of forcing them to adhere to our beliefs, we should strive to understand where they’re coming from so that we could all coexist in peace.

People on TikTok are really thankful for her content, since they agree there’s not enough positive light shed on this particular group













Many also share their own experiences