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According to the 2002 census, the number of childless women in Russia was 5–7%. We are talking about those who, after leaving the reproductive age had no children. This share has not changed since the first census of the population — 1897.

However, in the 2000s, the rate began to grow. According to estimates by the Institute of Demography of the Higher School of Economics, in the generations of women who were born in Russia after 1979, this proportion may be 12–14%.

“It’s impossible to say that the growth of this indicator is due to infertility. It is now being treated and often avoidable. We are talking about the movement of voluntary childlessness — people who deliberately decided not to have children, ”says Olga Isupova, senior researcher at the HSE Demography Institute.

According to Isupova, it is not clear to more and more people in Russia why children are needed and how to raise them, often not in the simplest economic conditions.

In social networks and video blogs, the topic of young people’s unwillingness to have a child has become increasingly discussed. The couple, who decided not to have children, told the BBC how this decision could be motivated.

Alena Koroleva

Yoga instructor, 31 years old.

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A grandmother from the age of four told me — I will not die until you give birth to a girl. Grandmother is still holding and waiting.

In childhood I didn’t argue with my grandmother. I grew up in a paradigm in which there were no other options than to become a mother in the future.

Five years ago, when my girlfriends began to give birth and began to communicate with me in a mode of constantly demanding attention, screaming a child in the background, I began to wonder if it was necessary for me.

I can assume that a child is a great joy when you really want it. And all the difficulties in this case probably fade into the background and do not frighten. But I, at least for now, have no such desire. My personal comfort and my life that I don’t want to change is very important to me.

Children in general do not cause me any emotions. I look at them, and I have no interest, desire to play with them. When they are left with me, I fall into a stupor and do not know what to do with them.

“To give birth to a child and become a full-fledged woman — there is definitely no equal sign between these phrases. Unfortunately, the criminal chronicle confirms this: not all women who gave birth became full-fledged mothers and women. You may not want children, not have them and be a beautiful woman. Maternity is only one of the female roles that absolutely everyone does not need to want. ”

Marina Travkova
Family psychologist

I haven't discussed this with many people before. But more recently, after seeing Tatyana Lazareva’s interview with Yolka, the singer and journalist Alena Doletskaya, and after reading the comments on this video, I, to my surprise, understood that there are many people like me. I wrote a post on Facebook and received feedback from women who are also in no hurry to have children.

Of course, I come across people who say that “the watch is ticking”. And in general, my husband and I often have to answer tactless questions.

I recently got a job at a fitness center as a yoga instructor. And the girl administrator, seeing the ring, asked: "And what, there are no children yet?".

First, why so far? Maybe never will be.

Secondly, why should I even discuss this issue with a man whom I see for the first time in my life? I understand that you love children. But I, for example, love dogs. I do not ask: "And what, the dog has not yet brought?".

Or recently we met a couple. They have a child, and they apparently want to find him friends and ask everyone if they have children. And to our answer that we have no children, they said: “Oh, what a pity!” What is this “pity”?

Anastasia Krasilnikova, creator of the telegram channels "Your mother!" And "Daughter of the robber":

“The desire to have children is a topic that for some reason concerns everyone, although this is a private matter of each particular couple. It is believed that anyone can ask about this — from a distant relative to a recruiter and complete strangers on the streets.

These tactless questions are so common in our society that they are often received by women who cannot have children and make unsuccessful attempts, often costing huge sums of money and carrying great risks to the health of women. Imagine how difficult it is to receive such questions when you have difficulties with reproductive health.

Questions are still the most innocuous form. Often people use statements and phrases: “this is your destiny”, “you must give birth”, “you are a woman, children are such happiness”.

When Lesha and I started dating, we discussed that we wanted children. Lesha loves children, and he, unlike me, has contact with them.

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When I realized that I was not ready, I had a feeling of guilt in front of him. One friend even told me: “Alex is so good with children, you must give birth to a child for him”.

But after our conversation with him, I realized that it was not. He supported me. At first I asked: do you want to have children at all or right now? And then, on reflection, he replied that, even if this never happens, it is also okay.

Alexey Korolev

Children's photographer, 37 years old.

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It is really very easy for me to find a common language with children. When I communicate with the child, I feel that I communicate with something real. With adults there are always some kind of social masks, and children are alive, real, wonderful.

Portrait photography of a child for me, unlike shooting an adult, is much more fun. With adults, you ask for something to do, and they do it right away. With a child, you need to approach the task in a playful way, come up with something.

But I understand that it is one thing to love children and play with them, to photograph, and another thing is upbringing. It is the responsibility and decision of not one person, but the family.

Childbirth is a monstrously difficult experience and a 360-degree change in life. This is what you find yourself completely unprepared for, precisely because you live in a paradigm where children are your main purpose and the greatest happiness. Only having given birth, you will find out what it really is, and you are completely dumbfounded by the discrepancy between reality and your expectations.
Anastasia Krasilnikova

Several times, when mothers saw me taking pictures with their children, they asked you, you probably have your children. And with the confidence that I am a pumped father, since I communicate so well with the children. When I replied that it was not, at that moment every time there was some kind of awkwardness, and from both sides.

When I communicate with my friend's wife, she periodically asks: "When do you have one?" I just see that this is such a social pattern. You are a couple, so you must have children. And if you drop out of the template, this most often causes misunderstanding and surprise.

Already at a conscious age in my head was a picture that I would have a wife, three children, three dogs and a house in which we all live. When Alyona told me that she was not ready for the birth of a child, I asked myself the question: “Why do we need children?” — and still have not found an answer to it. I realized that the picture with which I lived is not really mine. And taken from the series "so it is necessary."

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Marina Travkova:

“The family is diverse now. The traditional family — mom, dad and child — is one, and perhaps not even the most common option, if you look at Russia. We have a lot of children being raised by one parent, usually a mother. The third generation is often involved in raising children. We also had children from surrogate mothers. There are childless families.

A family today is any human union where there are warm emotional relationships, shared life, finances, obligations, and the feeling that we are, and everyone else is. ”

As for the future, I calmly think that Alain may not want children. Our life together has already shown that everything must happen in due time. And if this does not happen — it means only for the better.

See also: "I feel sorry for giving my body to be torn apart": monologue of childfree.

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In this material, additional visual elements may be legally placed. The Russian service of the BBC is not responsible for their content.

Chief editor of the blogFelix.

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