As a Child-Free Woman, Am I Allowed to Be Mediocre?

Or must I achieve something big to fill that child-shaped hole?

Charlie Brown
5 min readMay 18, 2023
Photo by GraphiDA on Unsplash

This morning I stared down at the proof that, for the twelfth month in a row, I am not pregnant.

Honestly, I’m beginning to give up on this trying-to-have-a-child lark. Lord knows it’s equally emotionally draining and annoying. I’m tired of it taking over my brain and my life.

As I pondered my child-free future this morning, a phrase popped into my head.

At least if I don’t have a kid, I have more time to focus on making something of myself. Perhaps I can be a famous writer instead.

I checked myself for this, and quickly because this line of thinking fits far too nicely into how we think child-free women should be.

If you can’t experience the “joys” (debatable) of having children, you’ve got to achieve something big to fit into that child-shaped hole, apparently. You can’t possibly be mediocre and child-free. You’ve got to be successful, career-driven, focused. An over-achiever.

Urgh. I’m exhausted just thinking about all the things I’m supposed to be.

Can’t we child-free women be ordinary and nothing more?

Here’s the secret about…



Charlie Brown

Writer of opinions. Wine & food pro. Editor of Rooted, a boostable Medium food & drink pub. Niche-avoidant. Also at