Fertility, miscarriage, and choosing not to have children
Sometimes it can feel like the world is judging women’s choices on these matters. Whether it’s questions from family members about when you’re going to have children, or the expectations around giving birth and parenting in a certain way, the pressure can cause women to keep quiet about their experiences.
Whether or not you decide to have children is a personal decision, or at least it should be. Sadly, 44% of women who are child-free by choice feel that people are constantly trying to change their mind, while 40% feel misunderstood and 48% feel strongly judged by society. When people did speak out about it publically, 40% felt belittled.
Fertility is one topic that isn’t often discussed, even though 1 in 7 UK couples find it difficult to conceive.3 Despite so many people going through fertility issues, there can be a sense of shame around having to undergo fertility treatment. Our survey revealed that 45% of people felt like others pitied them for having fertility treatment. Due to the stigma of going through treatments like IVF, we found that 42% of people tried to keep their fertility treatment as secret as possible.
The secrecy around childbirth can also do a lot of damage, particularly in the unfortunate cases where miscarriage occurs. Many women choose not to announce their pregnancy until after having their 12 week scan. As a result of this secrecy, of the women we surveyed who had sadly experienced a miscarriage, 39% said they couldn’t grieve openly without fear of judgement. While some grieving mothers feel like they can’t speak about their miscarriage, just under half felt that people also avoided asking them about it. But 53% said talking openly about it helped.