As we're all aware, having children tends to be the default social norm and one can start to feel like an outsider when all of their friends start having kids. Suddenly, everything understandably revolves around the children, and that can be quite isolating if you don't have your own children.
I'd see it being multi-purpose:
* To chat with like-minded people socially
* To provide support and advice to people in relation to topics like relationship difficulties where one person is childfree and the other wants kids, or contraceptive choices
* To discuss media portrayals of child free people
* To share and discuss resources
* To create a sense of community and belonging for people
Childfree by choice groups exist all over the world, but there's very little in Ireland apart from one largely inactive Facebook group. I think boards could capture this gap in the market nicely.
This forum suggestion was made some years ago but it appears to have been locked without a clear admin response. However, a great post in that thread addressed many of the "What's the point" questions, and I'll post it here:
Originally Posted by https://www.boards.ie/mobile/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=92074250&postcount=35
Why is it assumed that every topic of discussion would be some sort of rant or moan?
As the OP requested, a forum to:
I also think that for such a forum to be a helpful and active, that any negativity would need to be restricted to a 'general rant' thread, so the rest of the forum would be a valuable resource for those who are involuntary childless, have regret over choosing to be childfree or are undecided. Or quite simply, for those who are childfree, who really don't need to hear about it!
Its difficult to compose a list of what people might want to talk about but here goes:
(you can take it that these are all topics to be discussed from a view to being childfree, currently childless or at least considering a childfree life)
- Childfree in the media - which would range from celebrity related articles to articles on the social, or economic aspects. There are plenty such articles published almost everyday. Books and film pertaining to the childfree choice. References therein and what you thought about it.
Thoughts on the coverage of Jennifer Aniston's childfree choice
Malaysia Airlines introduces childfree class
Time Magazine: When having it all means not having children.
Film: We need to talk about Kevin
Links to books: https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/childfree
- The decision to be childfree; how you arrived at it, why you decided, when you decided ... perhaps you are undecided, perhaps there are factors in your life that are influencing your decision and you want advice from the childfree about how X and Y works in their circumstances or how they arrived at the choice. Steps involved therein, discussions/advice/experience on sterilisation. Recommendations of unbiased service providers, doctors/clinics/counselling.
'Does anyone else go back and forth?'
'She wants them, I don't'
'Best time to bring up the subject of children'
'Do you have any regrets'
'What brings meaning to your life'
'I'm 22 and I am considering a vasectomy'
'At what age did you know?'
'Undecided and career move forcing my hand'
'Has anyone travelled for tubal ligation'
-Relationship advice, dating and relationships, partners changing minds, partners on the fence. LGBT couples with difficulties in becoming parents/haven't discussed it, who have chosen to be childfree/or undecided about regrets. Relationships with parents of children and how to manage them. Social aspects, PC advice on how to keep your life as childfree as possible.
'I don't want to offend my friend, but I won't be going to her baby shower'
'Childfree by choice, considering foster'
'My sister is dying and she wants me to have custody'
'What do I write on my wedding invitation; children not allowed'
'Maintaining relationship with friends who are parents'
'Suggestions for an adult weekend away'
-Legal and family related matters: Inheritance, marriage, care in old age. Business related matters.
Article in the media recently about a new establishment in London barring children under 12... anyone even know what the legalities surrounding this are (here)?
'What are you plans for retirement?'
'Pros and cons of marriage for the childfree'
(From personal experience, have a childfree friend who regrets getting married as they have shot themselves in the foot taxation wise, they both only work to support themselves)
-Involuntary childlessness, may be as simple as not having found a partner, topics that would provide inspiration, support and advice. Perhaps you haven't really ever thought about it, and are reaching an age where you have questions.
These are not all limited to one topic, people have different interests, perspectives and circumstances and they may want advice/experiences regarding theirs.
Then there are all the umbrella topics that people want to pitch to a childfree audience.
-In religion and agnosticism they discuss, relationships/ marriage/ abortion/ family
-In farming they discuss finances/legal/taxation (and I see, philosophy )
-In LGBT they discuss relationships/family/friends/legal/social and media related topics.
All pitched to a forum of like-minded individuals to get the most appropriate advice/support.
If parents can have a forum to discuss life with children, child-friendly services, restaurants and holidays - why can't the childfree have a forum to discuss the same?
I know this is a lengthy OP, but it hopefully captures what the forum could offer!