The other day my husband, Travis, was looking for his wax seal stamp. Like letter-sealing during Late Antiquity seal stamp.
Side note: My hubby can tell a mean Byzantine Empire bedtime story! I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it. ZZzzz.
I told him the stamp was in his desk drawer. A few minutes went by and he came back to tell me it wasn’t there. I was almost certain the stamp was in the desk drawer – so I went to investigate. It was there, and not covered by anything. It was hidden in plain sight.
I just laughed and handed it to him; surprised he didn’t see it, but happy to help him find it.
Lonely In The Lone Star State
While we were dating, Travis got a great job offer and moved from Oklahoma to Texas. Two days after our wedding, we loaded my stuff in a U-Haul and I joined him in the Lone Star State.
The Lone Star State … it was lonely for sure! I was grateful to be able to keep my job and work remotely. But that meant this extrovert was home alone all day, five days a week.
I’d occasionally join my husband and his co-workers for lunch. That’s how I met my first Texas friend. Yay!
She told me that when she was new in town she’d met some friends through Meetup.com. It’s a site that allows you to connect with others in your area based on common interests. I had no idea at the time how much this website would impact my life!
We Might Want To Be Childfree
It was several months later when I happened upon the term “childfree.” Honestly, it seemed quite silly to me. I was surprised there were supposedly enough people who didn’t want to parent to warrant having a term for them.
Travis and I planned to have two or three, maybe four, kids, and assumed we’d start ‘trying’ after we’d been married for a couple of years.
Yet, one night we found ourselves in a casual conversation about childfree people. Then later, another, more serious conversation. Then another. And another. Until we started to think we might want to be childfree people.
But what did that really mean??
Nearly all the couples we knew had children or were planning to have children soon. Travis and I were noticing more and more the disconnect between us and them. Our schedules and priorities were different. Neither bad or good, just different.
So, we set out to meet some childfree couples. We wanted to learn what they are all about.
It Just Felt Right!
I Googled and found the website for a group called No Kidding!, a social/networking club for the childfree with chapters that meet throughout the U.S. (Canada and New Zealand, too). It sounded perfect – but there wasn’t a No Kidding! club chapter near where we lived.
My online search triggered a memory and my friend’s recommendation of Meetup.com came to mind. I set up a profile and logged onto the site.
Just as I had discovered there wasn’t a local childfree Meetup group for us to join, Travis walked past where I was sitting with my laptop. I was shocked to hear these words as they left my mouth:
“Babe, there are no childfree Meetups around here. Should we just start one?”
I was even more shocked that without hesitation, his reply was, “Sure!”
Sure! We planned to have kids someday, we knew nothing about the decidedly childfree, and we’d never been to a Meetup event. But we knew we had to start a group. It just felt right!
Childfree Couples Meetup
The Childfree Couples in Cowtown Meetup group opened that night.
It started out of curiosity. We wanted to know what childfree people are like. Why don’t they want kids? What fills their time? Are they happy?
I had high hopes of seeking out a handful of couples, maybe a dozen childfree people this way.
I was ecstatic when our inaugural member, Jessica, joined! And beside myself when 7 couples (14 people!) showed up to our first event.
The group grew like gangbusters! Within a year, the Meetup included over 225 couples. That’s 450+ childfree people in the Fort Worth (‘Cowtown’) area alone. All looking for connection and community.
Travis and I now live in a DFW suburb where we host a similar Meetup group. It’s smaller in size, but the members are active and engaged.
(check out last Friday’s Girls’ Night pic on Instagram)
Hidden In Plain Sight
Remember the wax seal stamp Travis was looking for? It was right in front of him.
That’s us – the childfree. We’re hidden in plain sight.
With a little help, we can find each other!
What started as curiosity turned into passion. Seeing genuine friendships develop at scheduled Meetups and knowing the members interact between events fills my heart with joy. I love, love, love the relationships that have formed as a result of these groups.
The Childfree Tribe
Through our interaction with these couples, Travis and I learned what the childfree are all about. Which ended up being what we are all about. We are part of the Childfree Tribe.
Although more and more people are choosing to be childfree, those who do still often feel alone – hidden.
Many of the friends we’ve met through Meetup share these sentiments:
The childfree need to know “they’re not alone, and that there are many people out there that have made this decision… I didn’t know that. I thought there was something wrong with us, and I really felt isolated…”
-Kathy, Two Is Enough (Laura S. Scott) interviewee
Stories of self-doubt and loneliness like this break my heart.
Is this your story?
Not wanting to parent does not mean something is wrong with you. And the feeling of isolation will destroy you if you let it. Please, don’t let it!
You are not alone. You are one of us. You are a member of the Childfree Tribe!
“The desire was never put in my heart to have children. I know so badly the pain of feeling alone in this. Sometimes my soul longs to have a conversation with people who understand. We’re not alone, but way too often feel alone.”
-Respectfully Childfree follower
Connection And Community
Do you have connection with other childfree people? People who accept your decision to not parent without judgement or need for justification? If not, take action today to meet members of your tribe.
Community is so, so important!
Feel free to message me directly – and here are some other suggestions:
- Follow a childfree profile on Instagram. Check out @therinkydinklife and of course @respectfullychildfree.
- Join a childfree Facebook group like Childfree People Looking For Friendships!
- Engage in a childfree Facebook page like Two is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice and of course Respectfully Childfree.
- Visit the No Kidding! website and search for a chapter in your area.
- Log on to Meetup.com and search for a childfree group in your area. If there isn’t one – start one!