child free

Completing Fertility? – Parenthood Not Required

I was reading with mild interest an article in the New York Times on how the U.S. fertility rate is down, but more women are mothers. Analysis of census data by the Pew Research Center looks at how 86 percent of women ages 40 to 44 have are mothers. To each there own, I respect peoples’ decisions to have children and wish that they respect mine to not.

What caused me to sit up while reading was the term for measuring if a woman has had children or not “completed fertility”. This makes having children sound like some sort of required merit badge. The funny thing is “had children” is a shorter phrase and is also a yes/no question.  Being a parent isn’t required for being a complete human being (despite the societal pressure that some try to put on those who are childless).

I tried doing some search about the history of the term, though I had difficulty finding that information. In my Google search, many related scholarly articles appeared, so it appears to be a term that has been around for a while and is frequently used.


I think there are bigger issues with language in the world today, but this is just an example of how we Other each other when alternative language is possible.


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