Did you know that 80% of childless women did not intend to not have children? Unplanned childlessness is a hidden (and growing) epidemic that risks population collapse for economies around the globe.
Involuntarily childless women who wanted children yet remain childless suffer from mental health consequences psychological distress, and even depressive symptoms.
Family life is an important pillar for one’s mental health. Humans as social creatures receive many health benefits from maintain harmonious social connections and building meaningful bonds.
Unplanned Childlessness Documentary (Birthgap by Stephen Shaw)
Stephen Shaw originally trained as a computer engineer and data scientist before taking on his project “Birthgap.” After learning about the reality of collapsing societies, he felt called to a mission to spread awareness about the inevitable consequences of the globally decreasing fertility rates.
The first part of Birthgap is available for free on Youtube.
Additionally, Stephen has appeared as a guest to many podcasts, including with Jordan B Peterson, Chris Williamson, and Lotuseaters.
The documentary is great. His podcast appearances are easy to listen to. Definitely check all of them out on Youtube.
I’ll update this post in the future with more, but for now…
A few important takeaways:
- The #1 reason for unplanned childlessness seems to be “not finding a suitable partner in time”
- Increasing delayed childbearing until later and later poses a risk for inferility and potential medical issues, which often are underestimated and unexpected
- A women’s fertility window is much shorter than most believe it to be
- At age 30, a women without children only have a 50% (at best) likelihood of becoming a mother
- Most people think at age 40 is when people have a 50% of becoming parents (this is simply not the case…)
The solution to the problem?
Stephen Shaw proposes a few interesting ideas to fix the attempt to address the problem for future generations… One thing that stuck out to me was that he proposed that the educational path should be reworked.
It makes no sense for young women in their 20s to spend the majority of the time studying in school. He suggested instead that education should be quicker, so that people can enter the workforce earlier. Ideally with less debt and then with more time to focus on personal pursuits in their 20s.
Additionally, women should know that education is always an option that can be resumed later decades…
If a person’s fertility intentions are to start a family, men and women need to prioritize making it possible to have their first child. Fertility treatment is risky, expensive, and not guaranteed to work later in life. A person’s biological clock is the reality.
Intended and unintended childlessness has consequences for childless men and women. This will affect general population as well because the birth rate is so low that the population is below replacement capabilities. An aging population affects people economically because the government will not be able to afford its costs with less support from less working age people.
Every young person should watch them and this is a very necessary conversation that should be at our forefronts for planning for fulfilling lives.
I was blessed that a high school teacher told my class about this when we were teenagers… I mark his words that “25 is the age that for women when after the outcome of marriage and family rapidly decline every following year.”
I made it my goal to start a family by 25. I became pregnant at 25 and birthed my beautiful baby boy at 26.
Motherhood has been one crazy journey, but it has genuinely been the most fulfilling experience. I mean, look at this cutie…
My heart is full.
His dad & I agree that this is what life is meant for, but becoming parents was something we both hoped, prayed, worked, planned, and risked it all for…
So very worth it.