Motherhood

Would You Ever Decide to NOT Have Kids?

We talk a lot about babies, but what about making the choice not to have children? Would you consider that? Here, five readers reveal their reasons…

Even asking the question “Why don’t you want kids?” makes a statement. “People are still expected to provide reasons not to have children, but no reasons are required to have them,” wrote Christine Overall in the New York Times. “It’s assumed that if individuals do not have children it is because they are infertile, too selfish or have just not yet gotten around to it. In any case, they owe their interlocutor an explanation. On the other hand, no one says to the proud parents of a newborn, Why did you choose to have that child? What are your reasons? The choice to procreate is not regarded as needing any thought or justification.”

Funnily enough, my mom’s husband—who, as a retired psychology professor, is unfailingly philosophical—turned to me one morning at breakfast when I was pregnant with Toby. “Why do you want to have a baby?” he asked me. “It’s just like having a pet.” After thinking about it, I laughed; he was kind of right. In the past, families may have needed kids to help work on the farm and that kind of thing, but for us there was no real reason to have a baby. I just wanted children in such a deep way that it felt separate from rational analysis.

But what if you don’t feel that way? Many people don’t—in fact, nearly one-in-five American women now ends her childbearing years without giving birth, up from one-in-ten in the 1970s, according to a 2010 Pew study. Of course some of those women may have wanted children and couldn’t have them for whatever reason; but others simply chose not to.

Here, five wonderful readers spoke to me on the phone about why they’ve decided—definitively—not to have kids…

********

Jean, 31, Portland, married
“I’d be the biggest basketcase mother.”

I get stressed out easily. When I was little, I was the kid who freaked out when my brother went to high school because I thought he’d start doing drugs! I get really anxious about people I care about. When I got older, I realized that the fewer people I get really attached to, the less anxious I get. I’ve loved my husband since I was 14, and when we finally got married I felt like I’d won the lottery. He’s the first person I’ve been truly attached to other than my parents and brother, and that brought on a whole new level of anxiousness. I realized how much that would get amplified if I had kids. I’d be an emotional wreck. If my kids went to school and got teased, I wouldn’t be able to handle that. I think about the teenage years; oh my gosh, I would probably die. I want to spare myself that.

It’s about knowing yourself well enough to know what is best and what you can handle. Right now we have a cat, and it’s perfect. In couple years, when we slow down, we get a dog. And they won’t turn on me and tell me they hate me when they’re 12.

When my friends had kids, I felt that emotional hormonal rush like, “Oh, I need to have a baby.” But the logical part of my brain was like, “No, you shouldn’t.” Still, I feel that twinge. It’s really hard because you do have to be honest. I love kids. I do want them. But I’ve chosen to not have them. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. I had to look at myself honestly and think, oh my gosh, I would be the biggest basketcase mom. You want to make the decision from your good-choice-making brain, not the I-need-to-be-a-mama side of your brain.

It’s weird because if you say you don’t want to have kids, everyone assumes you’re selfish or not nurturing or not compassionate. For me, that that’s not the case. I still have that strong desire to nurture something. I tell my husband, I still need something to take care of. I need to get some chickens.

********

Christina, 38, NYC, in a relationship
“I didn’t want to end up like my mom.”

I didn’t have the happiest childhood with two parents who loved and respected each other, so the idea of having a husband and children was never one of my life goals. The women who fascinated me the most were the ones who never married and never had kids and got to travel everywhere and live life on their own terms. My mother said repeatedly that she ruined her life by getting married and having a child (thanks, Mom!).

As a single person, my mother worked for Pan Am and loved it. But then she got married and moved across the country. And my dad wasn’t exactly Husband Of The Year. So all of a sudden she’s stuck with an alcoholic philandering husband and a kid in the California suburbs. She would have been so much happier as a single career woman, versus a stay-at-home mom in the ’burbs.

If I’d grown up in a family where being married was the best thing that ever happened to them and having a child was the second best thing, I might feel differently. But I don’t know…I always knew I didn’t want to end up like my mom. The whole image of having a husband and a kid isn’t always rosy.

The women I looked up to were the ones who didn’t have to do the family thing. They were so well-traveled and glamorous. And they seemed happy even if other people looked down on them. People in my family would say, “Oh, there’s Aunt Connie, she’s the spinster.” But she seemed perfectly happy to me!

********

Alexandra, 30, NYC, married
“I want to have a grown-up life.”

Growing up, you figure that you’re going to have kids. But one day in my early twenties, it kind of dawned on me: Who says I have to? What if I didn’t? I never had that overwhelming desire to have kids, like lots of women seem to.

When I met my husband, we fell madly in love, and we both admitted early on that we didn’t want children. People say you’ll regret it at Thanksgiving when you’re 50 and you’re not surrounded by family, but to be honest, I’d rather be sitting at Thanksgiving with my husband.

I like the idea of grown-up activities. It’s not like I have a specific hobby, I just really like the grown-up life. If I’m not going to recitals, that’s ok with me. I want to be married, not married with a child.

Still, I’m one of those people who gaze at every single baby photo on Facebook. It’s not that I hate children; that’s just not the life that I want. When my first really good friend had her baby, I cried out of sheer joy for her. But it actually strengthened my feelings about not wanting to have children because I felt overwhelming pride for her but no jealousy.

I read all these stories, like Moms Unite! And I kind of want to be like, Women Unite! I feel like I’m part of a minority. Why can’t we all help each other and be nice to each other? You don’t always have to identify yourself with a group. You can just be a person.

********

Muriel, 26, Atlanta, in a relationship
“I have different priorities.”

Deciding not to have kids is tough to talk about. It’s like being a teenager and feeling self-conscious about your body. When you say, I don’t want kids, people look at you in a certain way. You think, oh my god, maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Maybe I should have just smiled and nodded. You feel that same awkward teenage feeling, like my legs are too long, I’m too tall, I have acne.

I was on the fence for a while. My mom wanted grandkids, so I went back and forth… procreation, human beings, evolution…I thought about all of that. But in the end, it wasn’t right for me.

For some people, parenthood is their calling. I respect that. Whereas for other people, it’s not in their personality. Some people are meant to be artists, some people are meant to work in finance, some people are meant to be parents. And some people aren’t. You don’t want someone who is bad with numbers dealing with your IRA.

People say, what do you mean you don’t want to have kids? This is the pinnacle of your existence! This is what we’re here for! And I’m like, I’m sorry, it isn’t. My friends are like, when are you getting married and having kids? That’s when you’re an adult. But I’m like, no, I’m a homeowner, I have a good job, I travel, I have a car…I’m a grown-up!

Remember that Atlantic article about having it all? She defined “having it all” as having a job, marriage and kids. But in the end we’re all different people. Our “all” is not the same for everyone. My “all” might be, I want to travel and visit the entire continent of Asia. For you, it might be you want to have three kids, one boy and two girls. For another person, it might mean working for the Peace Corps for the next 15 years. We’re all different people, we all have different dreams, so it’s kind of sad that we’re all placed under the same umbrella.

I don’t have that feeling that I want to have babies. I have other priorities in my life. I have friends where even though their kid just pooped all over them, they’re like, this is the greatest joy I’ve ever had. But I’m not that person.

I first told my mom on my birthday, because I figured then she couldn’t yell at me. She was taken aback and sad at first, but really supportive once she heard my reasons.

If you decide not to have kids, you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. We all have free will; we should all be able to make our decisions regardless of other people’s beliefs. You have the right to do whatever you need to do to chase your dreams and love your life.

********

Cat, 30, Brooklyn, married
“I never had that maternal calling.”

My entire life, I knew that having kids wasn’t for me. I really think it comes down to human biology. Most people have an urge to create a copy of themselves. But I never felt that way.

It’s such a major life change. It’s not something that anyone should enter into flippantly. If you met a base jumper, they wouldn’t be like, come on, base jump! What do you have to lose? And having a kid, it’s at least 25 years of life, most of your money, potentially affects your body and relationship…for people who harass you about it, it doesn’t make sense.

When my brother had a kid, I was like, what will I do? I honestly don’t enjoy the company of children 90% of the time. But fortunately I had some really great aunts in my family, so I was like, I want to be a good aunt. Partially because my brother has really different political views, so I wanted to imprint mine on them as much as possible!

One day, my mom was like, are you sure? Are you really serious? I was like, Mom, I’ve thought about this a lot. Now she steps up and says, Catherine’s going to be the very best aunt.

When I met my husband, we talked about it early on. He feels the exact same way that I do. However, I’ve seen women who say no, no, no, but then they reach their thirties and they’re frantic to have a kid. So I told my husband that if my opinions ever started changing, we should have some talk-down speeches ready for me. And when my husband wanted to be a high-school teacher, I imagined him getting soft, so we made up some talk-down speeches for him, too, just in case! But we haven’t needed them.

More than anything, we’ve never felt a calling. There are three positions people should probably feel a calling for: any sort of religious leadership, teaching or childrearing. People shouldn’t do it because of expectations or because their parents did it. They’re such influential roles; no one should take those positions lightly.

********

Another reason to choose not to have children is financial. My friend Corrie took financial concerns into account when deciding whether or not to have a baby, and the New York Times just published an essay about opting out of parenthood with finances in mind.

What about you? Where do you fall on the scale? Were you born to be a mother? Do you definitely not want kids? Or somewhere in between? I’d love to hear your thoughts…and thank you to these wonderful women for bravely and honestly sharing their insights!

P.S. My friend Corrie’s fascinating essay about trying to decide whether or not to have a baby.

(Top photo of Spencer Tracy with Katharine Hepburn, who never had kids)

  1. Ella says...

    I really needed to read this. Im currently pregnant and im going to do an abortion. I know, its terrible and I hate that Im going to do it, it should of never happened but I thought I was protected and still got pregnant. I never doubted for a second what I wanted to do, I just dont feel like being a mother and its not fair to bring kids to this world in those circumstances. They are such a beautiful thing and they deserve 110% the best of this world. Just thinking about strollers, responsability, path of life etc. It makes me somewhat depressed cause I dont wanna do that, atleast not now or soon! I just turned 27, Ive tried to even convince myself that im just afraid and it will go away. But I dont recall any of my friends feeling like this, all of them were so happy and felt a connection right away… I just dont. Maybe im selfish to feel like I cant give this baby what it deserves, also cause I know my health is weak, Im tired often, have nothing serious but anemia, allergies, asthma, migraine… I literally have to spend most of my time in bed cause im tired all the time. Im just trying to promise myself that I will have kids one day (almost to cover my guilt). But who am I kidding, that feeling might never come! My partner has a daughter from a previous relationship, and we both are kind of on the same page. we dont need kids but we havent really said we are never gonna have kids. We just know now that oue circumstances are not the best, we moved to a new country and we are starting from scratch again. It feels nice to hear other people feel the same way. And that it is ok! children deserve the best parents!

  2. Kelly says...

    This article would have been a lot more interesting if it was about childless women whose fertile years are over. Women who are single and now find themselves abandoned by friends who all have kids. Retired women who are of the grandparenting age and don’t have endless funds to travel and are trying to figure out what gives their lives meaning. It’s very easy to be 31 with a great boyfriend and a great job and loads of money and say “I’m never having kids” especially when you know you still have the better part of a decade to change your mind if you really want to.

    • Jessica says...

      Kelly: I am 55 and have no children – by choice. And while I do have a partner, we are neither married nor live together. I value my independence far too much.

      I do understand why you see a future of abandonment by breeder friends. But trust me: It doesn’t work like that. Of my friends, 90% are other child-free people my own sort of age. Of the rest, 5% are much younger and be-kidded, but not besotted with their kids. And the final 5% are gay (and not, as far as I know, wanting children).
      I detect a distinct note of regret in your post. But having children just to stave off a possibly (with the emphasis on POSSIBLY) lonely old age…? Do you really think that’s the way to go?
      I am interested in your comments, because you raise what I think is an important discussion point.

    • OMG this is so dark, and so needed.

  3. It’s wonderful to give voice and consideration to all the very good reasons not to have a child, difficult as those reasons and their attendant consequences may sometimes be. I have, at 38, had to recently give a lot of thought as to why the abortion of my fiance’s child was the right choice for me, though I am now unlikely ever to become a mother. As with so many of these choices and the reasons behind them, it’s never easy or straight-forward.

    I hope we can continue to expand our conversations about women’s health and reproductive rights to include ALL the variation life throws, including the fraught need to terminate, and to do so without shame or fear. JG, the forum you provide here and the honesty of your mission is truly awesome. Brava. I wrote here about my decision:

    https://carolinemcooper.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/anesthesia-to-the-maximum-i-could-take/

    Warmly,
    Caroline

  4. Jen says...

    I’m so glad I found this and to know I’m not the only one out there who doesn’t want kids! I’m getting married in a month and my husband to be and I have always been on the same page (for the 9 years we’ve been together) on not having kids. I’ve been feeling like a freak lately with everyone popping out kids 1 year after they get married, thinking “why don’t I feel like I want to do that?”. This article lifted my spirits and has some awesome points!

  5. I’m so glad that I came across this article. I am in my early 30’s, recently married and all of my friends have had or are having children. It’s hard for me to decide yay or nay on the subject. Somedays I really do want to have children, and I know that my husband would make a great father. Then other days I think, we are just living comfortably in our dream home…. can we really afford it? Is our life meant to have children in it? Am I not busy enough already? It does sound selfish and a lot of people might think it’s a selfish way to be, but why is it that as soon as you get married you are expected to have children? Why can’t it be a smart decision not to have them? Reading every single one of these stories has made me feel so much less alone and has given me even more to think about. Thank you!

  6. Selina says...

    Do not want, never want. And at work, everyone in the room turned around and made me justify why I don’t want kids. I felt like telling them to piss off. I’m not maternal, never have been and very awkward around kids, I just don’t get baby talk or talking down or simplifying things to kids, I can’t handle it. I’m also a selfish person and you don’t want that in a mother. No kids for me, I just have to spend the whole of my life justifying why of course

  7. I so love this post. I can’t imagine a life with children. I have been able to spend weekends helping the homeless and spent long periods of my life working in African countries setting up schools. I crossed the Alps on my bike and travelled 6000 miles across Japan and South east Asia to raise money for the schools. I have lived in Italy also and learnt the language and had my feet set on every continent in the world. If I had had children like I nearly did in my 20s I would never had done any of these things. Currently doing an MA alongside my wife on social psychology and hoping to become an aid worker. i’m also deliriously happy with my wife and love her dearly and respect her for not caving in to social pressure to have children-she very independently minded. For us it was the right decision but good luck to those who felt a different calling…diffrent strokes I guess

  8. I chose to have one (she was an oops when I was 19) at 23, I chose to have a tubal ligation. I love my daughter, but I could never go through having a baby again. Emotionally, I’d lose it. I also am not willing to sacrifice my body again. I couldn’t chance my boobs looking even worse or more stretch marks. The changes my body made has made me extremely hateful towards myself and I have an eating disorder as well as have self injured because I hate my body and am ashamed. I feel like a nasty, used up old hag at 28. I love my daughter very much, but I will never go through that again.

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  10. I am now in my mid-40s and I have honestly spent no more than 5 minutes regretting my decision not to have children. I love my career and my volunteer work and most of all my husband. I love traveling and my friends and my pets and quiet Saturdays. I think I would have been a happy parent, but I know I am happy with this wonderful life. I am so grateful we live in a time and place where women have so many good choices.

  11. lb says...

    I’m 51, been married for almost 30 years, and we have no kids. We’re super happy! Each of us completed grad school, which was the big dream for us; we both have doctorates in our fields. There hasn’t been any point where we felt like something was “missing;” we enjoy being a child-free family. We *have* found that as we’ve aged, many of our friends have dropped away as they’ve had kids and become absorbed in parenting. Some friends have just drifted off; with others, there was a very pronounced sense of “You don’t belong to our club!” I think some people with kids feel uneasy, for some reason, socializing with child-free families. Our closest friends have always been same-sex couples, with whom we find we have much in common; those are the “couples friends” who we can count on to be there for us, who understand everything, no explanations needed.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing these responses! I’m only 22 and just graduated from college last year, but I’ve had reservations for a while about social traditions like having kids, marriage, weddings, changing last names, etc. and these are increasingly frequent topics of conversation lately with family and friends. I always get a shocked “what!?” when they find out I don’t want to do any of the above, even though I’m in a serious relationship, and it’s frustrating I have to justify why I DON’T want to do something when it makes more sense that everyone else should have to justify why they actively WANT to do something. The question should be “why?” rather than “why not?” especially given the serious financial burdens that having a child or throwing a wedding can incur. I loved reading the different perspectives and responses from all the women you interviewed. I’m glad to see the tide is turning and hopefully in a few more years, women who choose not to have children won’t be villified as heartless or selfish.

  13. I have wanted a child ever since high school. I have recurring dreams about a daughter and going into labor. I want to watch my little one grow, hit mile stones, and experience the world. Besides having 3 separate fertility problems, I may never have kids. Im 32. Married. But I also deal with depression and have attempted suicide in the past because I had been grieving so strongly. I’m now considering not having kids (though it breaks my heart) because if I ever lost my child, I would fall apart completely, and I worry I would never move forward in life, hurting my husband even further. I know myself so well, I would want to die if my child did. My mom lost her twin sister at 33 very unexpectedly to a heart attack. I have since watched my mom in the 23 years since move forward, even having another child. Her mom, my grandma, lost her child (my mom’s twin) in her 50’s. She went on to live 20 years of a fulfilling life. But I don’t think I’m strong enough to deal with my child’s death. Why the obsession with death? I have had so many deaths in my life. Very unexpected. Besides grandparents, there was my Aunt when I was 9, a friend at 11, my history teacher at 14, my classmate I had a crush on at 17, my teammate at 25, my neighbor growing up who I always had a crush on (only 33 from lung cancer, did not smoke) just last year when I was 31. On between those last few, 2 grandparents who should have lived longer lives if it weren’t for diabetes. My mom had 6 miscarriages mid pregnancy, and Jennifer, still birth at 8 months. I worry enough every day about my husband’s safety. He was held at gunpoint last year, and he refuses to wear a seatbelt. I dream all the time about my younger brother and sister and that they are in danger and I’m trying to save them and I wake up sobbing. I simply could not bear losing a child or seeing him/her go through something like a severe illness. Or get my depression genes, or my chronic pain condition, or infertillity issues to battle and struggle to have a child.

  14. Thank you for such an honest post. I too sit very much on the fence at age 34. It’s not a comfortable place to be – and this is where sharing honest opinion helps a great deal.
    Society has changed a great deal for humans over the last 50 years and we have so much choice now. I can’t answer the question – why do I want kids? and the instinct isn’t strong enough. I hope that will change but until it does I shall stay nurturing my 14 year old labrador!

  15. M says...

    Thank you for this article. I wish more people took the time to think parenthood through.

    It’s definitely a battle to explain to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. why I don’t want children. 99% of them do not understand. Some even ask “then why get married?” Some simply say “that’s not an option. You must have kids.” And of course, the “you’ll regret it” line.

    Parenthood isn’t for everyone. I wish people would accept us for being childless by choice. It’s better that we’re honest with ourselves than to have children because everyone expects it, then be miserable… not to mention how messed up the kid will be.

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  17. I didn’t read through all the comments, but what everyone seems to completely ignore, is the potential child’s good.

    I don’t want kids. I’ve never wanted kids. I’ll never want kids. This is an established fact. People tell me I’ll want them some day, that I’ll change my mind. I won’t.

    Now say I did – by some unfortunate accident – have a baby. How would that child’s life be, with a mother who’d rather be somewhere else, doing something else? A mother who regrets the child?
    How is it selfish, to not want children, when – if you did have children, you’d probably do a shit job, and completely ruin them?
    I mean, I’ve killed cacti. I’ve killed all kinds of plants. When I was looking after my parents’ dog I forgot to feed it for a whole day. I’d be a terrible mother, even if I’m great with kids.

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    into such or any kind of problem contact this man and i guess he will also help you out good bye

  21. I really appreciate all of the insight and comments. I am currently 28, and considering a childfree life. I identified with the story shared about “not having a maternal calling.”

    What I really appreciate most is hearing women who are mothers say that they think it is okay to not have children. I have a very judgmental sister that spews hateful comments towards women that don’t want children. I have nothing but utmost respect for those that choose to procreate, and wish that I received some respect for my decision as well.

    It is not out of selfish reasons. I knew at 16 that having children was not for me. I just simply do not feel a desire. The desire that other women have to procreate is simply absent in me. I often thought something was wrong with me. I don’t think it is an easy path to take either. I feel like there is a lot of judgment and stigma attached to this path. I am coming to accept it though, because this is my life that I am living, and these are my choices to make.

    Much love to all the kind comments from mothers and support from other childfree commenters.

  22. Enjoy the film but have been recommended to try the book which is apparently much better :)
    50 shades of grey movie
    Really after reading book its all visible after that movie…would be rocking…

  23. Enjoy the film but have been recommended to try the book which is apparently much better :)
    50 shades of grey movie
    Really after reading book its all visible after that movie…would be rocking…

  24. Tae 36, MI
    I had my 1st baby at 26 & due to the fact i had horrible doctors (they didnt NOT want to give me a c-section due to my weight even tho i needed one) my son was born with Cerbal Palsy he died at 11 months and for eight years after his death i did not want to have kids but for the past 2yrs i have been wanting a child again i feel almost desperate to have at least one but i still remember that feeling of being someones mother one day and waking up the next day and having all the things you need for a baby and no baby so i often contemplate having four or five but IDK if at 36 that is an option and if i really want that many kids!

  25. I don’t want children because living is so overrated.

    I would rather be ‘not alive’ myself. I am not suicidal, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think I am really missing out anything if I wasn’t alive now. I would actually prefer not to exist, not to experience this so called ‘life.’

    Because I feel this way about my existence, it wouldn’t feel right if I bring more beings in this world. What is so fascinating about being alive anyway?

  26. I completly understand and have the same feelings. Its nice to know that im not alone even if i am in the UK. I feel very similar to Jean, 31, Portland however i find it even harder as my partner has kids but i dont. We couldnt afford kids if we did want them as he has another mortgage and a lot of his money covers his half of the mortgage which houses his kids and ex wife. This can be frustrating sometimes as i have never had a partner with children before. in the future i may look to foster as i stll like to care for something or someone but just dont feel the need to create a human being myself. People do struggle with this but more and more people are choosing not to have children so society is changing its opinion on people like me.

  27. From the time I was a kid, even though I was supplied with all the baby dolls and playhouses a girl could want, I yearned for the outdoors and to be on a horse off to grand adventures. I babysat ONCE and that experience completely cemented the fact that I never wanted kids of my own. Now fast forward, after one bad marriage that ended in divorce, I remarried a man with kids and they were pretty young. I had a GREAT time being the STEP Mom! But since they were never with us more than a few days at a time I got my “maternal stuff” out and was completely satisfied with that. I will be the same with my step grandchildren….love em’ but will gladly hand them back at days end. So I feel like I kind of got the Kittybird seat here. I have had the life I always dreamed of, had my career and had some kids to hang out with. But I have NEVER regretted not having my own children. NEVER.

  28. I LOVE this article. I’ve definitely been pressured by several women throughout my life, some who barely knew me, to have kids (never men though, who respected that it was my decision, more proof that it’s often women that oppress women). I’d tell them I’ve never wanted kids and they’d say, almost in a threatening or attacking way, that I’d change my mind, didn’t know what I wanted yet, would have to have them, and other misogynistic things.

    Why isn’t equal pressure put on women to get college degrees? Even stay at home moms would be aided immensely—made better teachers and homework helpers for example—by having an education, and would have it to fall back on if their partner were to die.

    There’s no reason why some women should feel a need to insult or attack women who don’t want to have kids or treat us like you think you have a right to judge us and act like there’s something wrong with us because we don’t want kids. Neither side should get insulted or attacked; insults could fly equally both ways but why start that? There isn’t something wrong with those of us that don’t feel a maternal call. Some of us feel an intellectual or athletic or adventurous or other call and there’s nothing wrong with that. Also, it doesn’t mean we’re not true grown-ups. There are many ways to be a grown-up; buy a car or house, organize a charitable fundraiser for a cancer patient, adopt shelter dogs and care for them, etc. Britney Spears and Bristol Palin are mothers and I certainly wouldn’t consider them adults. People who are happy with their own decisions in life don’t attack people who’ve made different decisions—the decisions that are right for them in their own lives.

    I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t respect every human being’s choice to have or not have children (as long as they’ll care and provide for any children they choose to have). I had one wonderful uncle who never had kids and was great with all his nieces and nephews. People who don’t have kids are family too and may feel strong familial connections and make other contributions to the family and society, such as through volunteer work or paying the taxes that pay for those with kids to have public schools and other services for their kids.

    It’s sad that some people still feel the need, maybe because they aren’t happy with their own life choices, to say it’s psychologically unhealthy for any woman to not want to have kids or act like there’s something wrong with any woman who isn’t maternal. Not all women are motherly or martyrs or Mother Mary and that doesn’t make us bad people. How about respect for each person’s individual wants? Also, there are many people who just have kids to get on welfare and other bad reasons—being a parent isn’t in itself a sign of selflessness. Some parents are incredibly selfish; some really only have kids so someone will take care of them when they’re old, rather than that they have things to give to their children. And those of us who’ve decided against kids for life may do volunteer work, give blood, etc. and may have the time to do so that parents don’t. We’re contributing tax-paying members of society too. And our taxes pay for the tax breaks that those with kids get—how about a little appreciation for that?

    Above all else everyone really should think over all the big, important decisions in life like education, to have or not have a family, buying a house or renting, etc. Parenting is the hardest and most important job in the world and no one would think you should just mindlessly jump into any other critically important job. That said, it’s refreshing to see so many people here did give real thought to having kids instead of just doing it because it’s there, and that some people do respect that it’s each person’s own decision and no one is a bad person, bad woman, or not a real adult if they don’t have kids.

    –Ava Collopy, author, dreamscaperealities.weebly.com

  29. I just turned 32 (today) & my husband is 33. We have been married for 7 years and trying for 5 months. Kids were always something I wanted & never something my husband wanted.

    We talked periodically & after being around friends’ kids (particularly close friends who have twin 8 year olds and a 6 year old-all girls), my husband became more and more comfortable with kids & I started to see us being able to be a family more easily.

    We actively began trying in March 2013, ovulation kits and all.

    Coincidentally, we had plans this past weekend to take the friends’ kids, the 8 year old twins and their 6 year old sister, to an amusement park, and spend the night at the a nearby hotel to get everything in during those two days. It was a b-day present for the twins & it also gave the added benefit of giving our friends a weekend off, which they never have.

    We have taken the girls for day trips before & there were trying moments, but we’ve spent weekends with them and their parents in the past (usually multiple times a summer) & we thought that we were up to it.

    Going into it, my husband & I were so excited. We love spending time with the girls, and this would be so fun for us.

    Some parts of the weekend went great, and the kids were (& always are) awesome. We spent too long in the park (of course), which led to the girls going to bed too late & getting too little sleep going into the 2nd day, but over all the first day went sooooo well.

    Then the 2nd day, the girls were over tired and more whiney/irritable than usual but over all, really good.

    My issue is that when they were have their moments of going crazy (ie. grabbing and hitting each other in the car, wrestling each other in the middle of a gift shop and not listening when I tried to warn them about leaning over a railing that led to a 30 foot quarry for fear of them drowning), I found myself yelling and getting genuinely mad at them.

    It’s funny, everyone jokes that being around them would let me know if we are ready for/want kids, but being around them has always and still does make me want kids. I woke up this morning missing them, but I am just overwhelmingly sad that I don’t think I will be a good mother based on this weekend and am considering talking to my husbant about halting our baby making plan.

    My mother left when I was 1.5, and I was raised by my grandmother and my aunt who was only 15 years older than me. There were times when she was abusive, and I never want to have a temper or be like that. I did not want to hit the girls, but feeling angry at them made me scared.

    The girls seemed to be upset that I’d yelled, when I yelled at them, but they still said they had a great weekend and did not want to leave.

    I just don’t want to be that mom who is always yelling and freaking out. I want my kids to feel safe and happy with me. I want to be like the girls’ parents whose lives revolve around their kids, and they treat every moment like it was their gift.

    Mostly, I don’t want to be a bad mom, because I don’t want to let my kids down. I strongly believe that if you are going to be a mom, you have to do everything you can to be the best mom you can be. Your kids deserve it, and you are the only mom they will ever have.

    I always knew that when/if we had kids, I would be the disciplinarian. My husband has little to no ability to get mad, and he has endless patience with the girls. I know he was looking forward to this weekend as much as I was, and I know he had a great time. He even told the girls multiple times, “When we come back next time”.

    However, it all makes me think that maybe we are meant to just be the aunt and uncle. I think that if I told my husband that I genuinely don’t want to have kids anymore, he would be okay with it. After all, he only agreed to it for me.

    I am just at a loss. Does anyone else feel this way? What should I do???

  30. “I read all these stories, like Moms Unite! And I kind of want to be like, Women Unite! I feel like I’m part of a minority. Why can’t we all help each other and be nice to each other? You don’t always have to identify yourself with a group. You can just be a person.” – so then you really mean “people unite” right?

  31. I just feel nice to know there are many women out there who have consciously decided to be child free for whatever reasons….It helps to know you are not alone…

  32. I dont want kids altho I am an awesome aunt.ive never had that desire..sometimes I feel super guilty becuz I am adopted. My parents sacrafised alot to get me and my brother overseas..sometimes I feel I owe it to have kids. Owe it to who? God? My parents? Do I owe it to someone since my parents gave me such a gift. I am 35 and really struggling. My husband and I are fine with no kids..its this guilt and hope my parents put on me. Im so stressed. I cant find the words to tell them ‘I dont want kids’..I so torn. Then sometimes im like , fuck it, fine ill have a kid and then I think id resent the kid-becuz I never wanted it in the first place. Any advice out there

  33. What I love about this article and all the comments is the fact that so many women have taken the time to think about their decision to not have children. I live in a culture that it really is the expectation to have children. What’s even more frustrating is the way motherhood is projected onto you. As a married woman if you are sick, tired, or moody, you must be pregnant. I’m not judging my friend who have started families, but I often wonder how much thought went into planning for the child. Deciding to have a baby has been the hardest decision for me. I know that I want kids, but when I think about it or discuss it with my husband, it never seems to feel ‘right’. So I really hate when people try to guess or assume I’m pregnant. When we have a baby I want it to be because we thought about it and planned it out, because we want the child, not because we have a duty to society. I really appreciate the honesty that was shared here. My only hope is that whether you decide to have children or not, that some thought and consideration go into the decision. Not for others, but for yourself.
    http://www.ruminatingroom.com/2013/05/no-baby-boom.html

  34. I am 26 years old and lucky enough to live in a prosperous country. I am smart, educated, successful and single. And I don’t want to have kids. Contrary to expectations, I had a normal childhood and I don’t dislike children. I love being around kids and I adore my little nieces, nephews and cousins.

    But I also have big plans for myself. I feel that if I had children, I would have to put my career on hold. Children are a lifetime financial commitment with risky returns. Economically speaking, I don’t know why anyone has kids. I also don’t want the changes that pregnancy will cause to my body. I like it the way it is.

    If I ever have children, or my partner does, I will consider adoption. That way, I get to give a loving home to a child that needs it rather than bringing in yet another human into this overpopulated planet.

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  36. I feel like the only way to describe my feelings on being undecided on whether or not to have children is to call it frustrating. What’s even more frustrating is that I’m 23 and single. I’m at an age and place in my life where I certainly don’t need to be thinking about having children – I have plenty of years ahead of me to decide that! And yet, in the last year, it’s a thought I continuously find myself returning to.

    Where most people would use their incognito browsers to search for things like porn, I find myself looking up pictures of pregnant women and being both fascinated and terrified by the idea of having a child growing in me. I will read article after article on reasons for a woman to decide to go childfree and think to myself “Sure, that makes a lot of sense and I totally agree! Children are gross and needy, and who says I’d make a good parent at all? I like my career, and having a child could ruin that!”, while at the same time I’m on baby websites weighing the pros and cons of why Rosanna is a cute, classic name for a little girl and how I’d love to have a little girl and call her Rosie, or a little boy named Ben. And then it dawns on me, why do I feel the need to hide something like this? Most sane women who know they want children wouldn’t use incognito browsing to search for things like this, would they? And why can’t I just stop thinking about it until I’m older, more mature, and in a lasting relationship? It’s frustrating.

    Sometimes I feel like it’s a battle between my body and my brain. My brain knows I’m not ready for children yet, so it’s trying to convince itself that it’s childfree in an effort to calm my body’s urges to start popping out kids…

  37. Nice start guys…I went through the website and I found that you made decent point here. Keep up the topic that everyone can choose one of the best. Thanks.moving companies california

  38. I always knew, from about the age of 15, that I didn’t want kids. When I got to about 35 I tortured myself because I realised time was running out – did I REALLY not want them? If I did I had better hurry up, I thought. I had been with my partner/married for quite a while and we were in the perfect situation to have one… then I thought about it and realised that if I had really wanted it, I would have done it without even hesitating… I really think, if it’s a decision you need to scrutinise about, is it really for you? Now I’m nearly 41 and feel so great about my decision. I went to a funeral last week and it really reinforced how happy I am about not having kids. So many people say “Ooooo what are you going to do when you’re old and you have no kids to look after you?”. Yet who can be guaranteed of getting old at all, and in addition, why should your kids be there to look after you? Personally if I had kids I’d want them to be off having a great time, rather than looking after me. My life is so incredibly full without kids – I have travelled extensively and am planning for an early retirement in Thailand. But you know what? It really comes down to whatever floats your boat! People who want kids should go for it – surely it must be the most rewarding job in the world. But if you don’t want them, I really can’t see how it can be deemed “selfish”. Comments like that are narrow minded in my opinion – what’s more selfish is having kids when you don’t really want them, and in turn not giving them what they deserve (and they deserve the world). Do you have them or not? Seek the answer in your heart – it’s in there – and don’t be afraid to follow it! :)

  39. My reasons for not wanting a child (yet, possibly in the future if and when both I and my SO are ready for it) are in large part that at this point in my life I know I wouldn’t make a good mother. It would be selfish and immature of me to give in to the biological drive to procreate without passing it through the rational filter first. You don’t give a kid a puppy just because all their friends have one and they want one too. You give a kid a puppy when they want it AND are mature enough (and able) to take responsibility for its care.

  40. Having children is only about the woman’s choice and what her friends say. It is not about what is good for the child, religion, politics, or what anyone else says if they disagree with you. Only do whatever you want whenever you want regardless of the consequences. It feels good and there are drugs to reduce the pain of pregnancy anyway. They say guilt is not a real emotion and you can ask for forgiveness for all the mistakes you will never make. You are always right. Just think positive. How else will you live forever? Compete to have the most children and as back ups in case anything happens to one of them. Plus more kids = more bragging rights. Doesn’t welfare give money per child too?

  41. I’m not allowed to post my opinions? Life is suffering the end. I’ve got decades of it to back up my claims. Don’t have kids. Please. Thank you.

  42. Life seems to be a gift that gets taken away or a curse. Either way all life is doomed. I hope death is the same as never existing. Don’t repeat your parent’s mistakes by having children. Idiot’s and the selfish have children. Life is a gamble so don’t bet on it, suicide rates are through the roof and it’s no wonder why.

  43. There is so much suffering in life, is life a gift and a degift or only a curse? Who hasn’t had been victimized yet? Hypocrites go around having kids out of selfishness and ignorance. Do you want to bury your kids or is it better that they grieve while the dead I pray feel nothing. Because we may be headed downstairs, nobody knows anything about life or death the definition for both change constantly. The Endless corruption from people in churches, politicians, to doctors, and even the food we consume. The problems are so massive it’s hopeless. I have it better than others and have realized just how evil I am, I resent my parents for creating me a decade later these feelings haven’t changed. Perhaps one day I will kill myself in a gruesome manner for the public to see as a means of more effective birth control. Stop having children we are only as capable of righteousness as our surroundings allow us and its only getting worse.

  44. I’m wondering if there are any women out there that wanted kids but chose not to because their partners didn’t want them. I have recently broken up with my partner, he has two kids from a previous relationship and I have none. I love this man so much and want to be with him but the urge to want a child is very hard to resist. But, as I wonder as I get older if I chose not to have any and be with him if I would eventually feel differently… as I wouldn’t REALLY know what I was missing.

    His kids love me and I adore them, of course it’s not the same as your own but they are there and they need love and support and I could be there for them and give the love I would have for my own child to him and his kids. Love to hear thoughts from anyone who’s been down this road…

  45. I’m wondering if there are any women out there that wanted kids but chose not to because their partners didn’t want them. I have recently broken up with my partner, he has two kids from a previous relationship and I have none. I love this man so much and want to be with him but the urge to want a child is very hard to resist. But, as I wonder as I get older if I chose not to have any and be with him if I would eventually feel differently… as I wouldn’t REALLY know what I was missing.

    His kids love me and I adore them, of course it’s not the same as your own but they are there and they need love and support and I could be there for them and give the love I would have for my own child to him and his kids. Love to hear thoughts from anyone who’s been down this road…

  46. I’m wondering if there are any women out there that wanted kids but chose not to because their partners didn’t want them. I have recently broken up with my partner, he has two kids from a previous relationship and I have none. I love this man so much and want to be with him but the urge to want a child is very hard to resist. But, as I wonder as I get older if I chose not to have any and be with him if I would eventually feel differently… as I wouldn’t REALLY know what I was missing.

    His kids love me and I adore them, of course it’s not the same as your own but they are there and they need love and support and I could be there for them and give the love I would have for my own child to him and his kids. Love to hear thoughts from anyone who’s been down this road…

  47. I’m wondering if there are any women out there that wanted kids but chose not to because their partners didn’t want them. I have recently broken up with my partner, he has two kids from a previous relationship and I have none. I love this man so much and want to be with him but the urge to want a child is very hard to resist. But, as I wonder as I get older if I chose not to have any and be with him if I would eventually feel differently… as I wouldn’t REALLY know what I was missing.

    His kids love me and I adore them, of course it’s not the same as your own but they are there and they need love and support and I could be there for them and give the love I would have for my own child to him and his kids. Love to hear thoughts from anyone who’s been down this road…

  48. I enjoyed reading this post and even though I found it by accident I will tell a few of my friends about it. Now as I read through some of the comments I got a bit angry at some of the previous comments are saying everyone feels they should have a child, your mind will change as you get older, it’s selfish not to want to have a child. In my own opinion, I think it’s very selfish to WANT to have a child. Now i’m only 17 so I haven’t gone through the ‘hormonal stage’ of wanting a baby or even getting married. Its not important to me. Now I think it’s selfish for people to want a baby just because you’re in love with your spouse/partner/whatever type of relationship you’re in. Just because you are in love you don’t need a baby to show it. Or if you decided to have a baby in the house and can afford to have a child (that really is a big issue now a days) why shouldn’t a couple think about adopting first. Many couples who want a child think of giving birth to the child before adoption, that’s where people are selfish in my own opinion.
    I myself don’t plan on giving birth to children because i was told that they will most likely have a number of life threatening diseases. I also don’t want to bring a child into this world. Our world isn’t as nice as it once was and I dont want to live with myself knowing that i purposely brought a child into this chaos. I plan on waiting until my late thirties to late forties before i even adopt a child. This way i have a significant nest egg prepared and have lived a good portion of my life and will have more patience.

    • B says...

      you’re absolutely amazing. I loved your comment and your view on the situation. However, speaking as a women in her late 30’s (ugh) who is married with no kids and zero desire to have one; you definitely will not have more patience, probably less lol. Thanks for sharing! :)

  49. I don’t usually read your blog (though I have heard about it) , but I googled “why don’t I want to have kids” and I’m glad to have found this post. I feel like I’m demanded by society to come up with a valid reason, which I don’t have, that I need to google it just in case I could find some answers.
    We shouldn’t have to explain why we don’t want to have kids, just like we don’t find out about someone getting pregnant and ask them why.

  50. I’ve chosen to refrain from entering into a relationship and have children due to a lot of genetic defects in my family. It’ll be sad and kind of tough getting by on my own, but it’s for the best. I realize have to put the good of the many before my own desires.

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  52. I’m sixteen, and I know it sounds kind of funny seeing a teenager talking about parenthood, but I’ve always known that I’ll never want to have kids. My biggest fear in life is being pregnant, and I have incredibly bad anxiety when it comes to just about everything! I don’t think I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night because I would worry if the baby could breathe, or that something terrible would happen in the middle of the night, etc. I also have four younger sisters all under the age of nine, so I’ve seen my mom be pregnant a few times and seen what it does to marriage for some. I’ve never really been totally into the idea of marriage either, but kids was always a much scarier thing. Of course so many marriages only get better after children, like my aunt and uncle’s marriage is thriving after having two girls, but for my parents it was the opposite. I’ve told my family how having kids sounded very unappealing to me, but they all just laughed and said, ‘yeah right. when you meet the right man and settle down, you’ll have kids.’ But I really don’t see kids ever being in my future. I can see the whole appeal 100%, but just not for me.

    • Whoops when I said “I don’t think I wouldn’t be able to sleep” I meant I don’t think I would! My bad, typo.

  53. No one questions your mental capacity if you buy a truck over a car, or a get a cat over a dog, or prefer country over heavy metal – but the whole world seems to feel that it’s OK to question your character if you’ve never had the urge to have children.

    I knew when I was a little kid that I didn’t want to be a mom. For years I battled the “you will change your mind” ” one day when you meet the right man” “you’re young now, but wait until you’re older”

    It wasn’t until I was about 13 when I asked my older child free cousins who were dynamite school teachers why they didn’t have any kids of their own. My aunt said to me, some people just don’t “feel” the need to be parents for many different reasons. I admitted that I didn’t feel the need either and that another family member had said that not having children was selfish.

    She laughed and said, that she heard that all the time. Then she went on to tell me, that sometimes when you know, you know and that I could possibly change my mind, but that I should never let anyone make me feel guilty for not having or wanting children because in the end, it’s my decision.

    Thanks to her, I felt like less of a freak and as I got older, it gave me the courage to stand up to those that tried to belittle me because of my non-urge.

    This year my husband and I celebrate our 22nd year of extremely happy marriage. We chose not to have children because we didn’t feel the need, urge, or even the ability to be decent parents. We knew that parenthood was not for us for a whole host of reasons, but the biggest reason and really the only reason, is we didn’t want to. Yes it IS that simple.

    We sat down and said, what would be our reasons for having them ? All the reasons we could come up with were selfish to us.
    To have someone in our lives when we were older. To give my parent’s grandchildren. To have someone to leave our stuff to when we die. To carry on the family gene/name/business. To have someone to love. Because we want to appear normal to society. In fact, other than adoption, we couldn’t think of a single unselfish reason to actually HAVE biological children.

    So we opted to follow our heart and do what we knew was best for us and that was not have them simply because we didn’t want to.

    Today we live a decent lifestyle. We are mortgage free and we get to travel a fair amount.

    I resent those that tell us that we “chose” money and freedom over children. I’m very quick to point out that money & career had no bearing in our decision not to have children, but 20 years down the road I will admit that our current lifestyle is certainly a RESULT of having no children.

    Yes there is a difference.

    I fully support people no matter what their decision is when it comes to parenthood, but I will also vehemently defend the honour of those that do not feel the urge to provide this world with DNA offspring.

    Just like cats or country music, parenthood is NOT for everyone, and yes it IS that simple.

  54. As a married childless woman, it is infuriating to me when women who choose to be parents view childless women as selfish. Being able to be honest with yourself and others about personal reasons for why parenting may not be your bag is an extremely selfless thing a man or woman can do. Labeling us as selfish for doing what is best for us is merely judging us for choosing a different path in life. As mentioned above, people used to have many children because they needed them to do work. Those living in industrialized nations no longer need to procreate for that reason so it’s only natural that in the age in which we live, we can actually ask ourselves if parenting is necessary. Labeling us as selfish implies that we are not participating in something that the majority of our society seems to think is our obligation.

  55. I LOVE this post. It’s so refreshing to hear the phrase “I don’t want to have children.” I’m a little or well actually quite different from probably almost all the women who have commented I do plan on having adopted children one day and why not there are hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care across the U.S. who deserve loving families just as much as any biological child does, but I refuse to have a biological child. I’m sorry and excuse me for being graphic, but I will NOT have my vagina ripped and split and torn apart for a baby and go through all the pains of pregnancy and of course the six week healing process afterwards that NOBODY talks about. So I always love to find post about people who (although for much different reasons than my own) have decided not to have children. I unfortunately have zero support from my family and friends and even co-workers who barely know me. I have become used to “Oh you’ll change your mind!” (Thanks I didn’t know you have a crystal ball.) and of course my favorite line “You’ll never love an adopted child as much as you will a biological child.” which is just plain grates my nerves to pieces how random people can be so selfish to say that! But anyway thank you so much for writing something that so many people really don’t talk about, because it’s just not accepted in society.

  56. I have asked myself the question since I was 25 b/c I always wanted to make sure that I was making decisions based on not just my gut, but logically. I’m now 33 and happily married and don’t have much more time to ponder…I’d love to hear from women who decided not to and are now in their 40s and 50s. Thanks for introducing the topic on your blog. I really appreciate it and all those who have commented as well. Well done, ladies.

  57. I haven’t had time to read all the comments yet but I’ve read several where folks are hoping to hear from somewhat older women who are child free by choice. As one of those I thought I’d comment before I went to bed, which I have to do soon because I’m getting up early to go see Santa with my 11-year-old friend.

    I’m 43 (44 next month), never married, currently single, and I’ve never wanted children. The idea of being pregnant makes my skin crawl. There’s a photo that went around the internet a few years ago of a pregnant belly with the perfect image of a foot stretching forward into the skin like it’s about to pop through and I got the vapors over it. Surely that visceral reaction has had some influence over my general feelings of not being “called” to parenting.

    I have always said and maintain that if a child were to be dropped on my doorstep I’d be a good parent and happy to fill those shoes but it’s not something I’d ever seek out. I love kids. I’ve been a teacher, an auntie, and a mentor. I was fortunate to have childfree women in my life who were deeply influential as a supplement to my parents. I believe with all my heart that children are the responsibility of our whole society and helping them to grow up into well-educated, caring, responsible members of the community should be a top priority for all of us. Because I believe that it seems crazy that I would put a premium on bringing a child of my own blood into the world. Just look how many kids are already here and who don’t have adequate support, how could I justify not throwing my weight behind them and diverting what I have to offer to a new pipeline? That’s the choice that often seems selfish to me but since I never felt the “calling” I don’t feel comfortable categorizing it that way. We have to do what we feel is right and having children is so intensely right for some.

    I’m as thrilled to be a minor, watchful presence in the lives of the kids in my neighborhood as I am to have annual traditions with kids I’m closer to like tomorrow’s trip to see Santa and our summer outing to march in the Mermaid Parade and our monthly brunches. I’m also the only child of aging divorced parents. I’ve got plenty of people to take care of, why would I manufacture another one?

  58. I think it’s fantastic to see women who are thoughtfully considering whether or not they want to have children. I agree with many above comments that if all women were to be so thoughtful about this decision, we would have stronger and more caring mothers. However, I have not met a single person who had kids (whether on purpose or not) who regretted it. I recognize that there are people out there who do but I personally don’t know any. This is a hard decision because until you are a mother, you will never know what it’s like to be one. That being said, this is not a good reason to become a mother, simply because you don’t know what it’s like. But I think in life you can come up with so many reasons not to do something, but until you do it, you’ll never know.

    I respect these women for their decisions and would never want them to feel pressured into a decision they don’t agree with. I simply want to address the other side in a way that hopefully will also be taken into consideration and that doesn’t come off as judgmental or pressuring as society most definitely does with this issue.

  59. i hear myself echoed in every one of these women. i’ve known i didn’t want to have kids since i was five years old but no one bought it. now that it’s been 16 years and i’m still saying the same thing, people are starting to agree. but they still act like i’m damaged or voluntarily decreasing the quality of the world by not reproducing myself in it. i’ve thought about it, it wouldn’t be horrible, but i want to be a medical relief worker. i want to live in a different country every year. i want to be able to spend long hours working and not feel like i need to get home to take care of a child. the life i feel called to isn’t one that children fit into well. i’ve accepted that which is truly all that matters. now if only we could figure out how to get other people to understand too…

  60. After years of trying to justify not having kids to the world and having to endlessly explain myself to the cries of “you’ll change your mind” “you’d be a great mom” and “you haven’t met the right guy” yada yada yada.. i just simply started telling people that i am unable to have kids. even to guys that i started dating… its really no one else’s business what i do, and i don’t have to justify my list of reasons. i am now 35 and single- i still get asked the question all the time.. but i am at a good place professionally, i just got relocated to Paris, I get mistaken for 26 all the time (so i guess i am not prematurely aging).. overall, i just am who i am.

  61. Overpopulation is a HUGELY dangerous issue that I feel so so many people are unaware of. We live in a world where there are not enough resources for the people that currently exist (i.e. hunger, starvation, energy needs). I am in a committed relationship, and at 27, I want children badly and feel ready to have them, but I feel guilty for considering adding an additional consumer to a society whose world already doesn’t have enough resources to go around. There are already so many starving/freezing/homeless people on this earth, and what right do I have to create another person to consume food, energy, and resources that could go to people who already exist?

    I feel selfish for desperately wanting my own children, and I feel the only moral decision would be to adopt. I respect but cannot relate at all to the women here who do not feel the urge to be a mother, but I do think we all have a moral obligation to recognize what is a biological urge and decide how we can best accommodate it, personally and within a wider social realm.

  62. “Why can’t we all help each other and be nice to each other? You don’t always have to identify yourself with a group. You can just be a person.” -Alexandra

    Thank you for bringing this topic up and sharing these women’s stories. For me, Alexandra made the best and most valid point in this discussion. I am a mom of a 3 year old girl, Cora Evelyn and happily married. I want to have friends and be in community with all types of folks, old, young, children, no children, married, unmarried. I agree with Alexandra and applaud her point. Happy Holidays!

  63. On the concept that it’s “selfish” to NOT have kids: this is utterly irrational. When there are MILLIONS of children in the world who do not have anyone to take care of them, MILLIONS of children who are starving, impoverished, uneducated, displaced, oppressed, or all of the above – on a purely rational, ethical, and practical basis, what is selfish is choosing to have your own when you could adopt and/or support in some other way all these children in the world. It’s monumentally selfish to blithely have your own children under these circumstances and not consider the implications of doing so on the existing children of the world – not to mention the environmental impact.

    It often feels like people are having children as a vanity project – wanting to see little versions of themselves or their spouses – and this really manifests when couples will go to extraordinary lengths to have “their own” child rather than adopt when they face challenges in conceiving. Why not take care of a child who has no one else? It’s also sad that so many people seem to have kids because it’s just one of those things you do and that society expects – if you do not know and cannot express why you want kids, please don’t have them. The number of times I’ve had seemingly rational people try to convince me to have kids is amazing, and they all seem flummoxed when I ask them to justify their decision to HAVE children as my response to their demanding to know why I won’t.

    I do not begrudge anyone who wants to have kids, but when those people turn around and say that it’s “selfish” not to – that is bizarre, ignorant, and unethical. I can contribute far more to the world by not having children, and that’s what I’ve chosen to do. And when and if the day comes that I want children, I will adopt.

    Oh, and don’t tell me “you’ll change your mind when you get older and/or the right man comes along” – I’m in my 40s and have been married for 10 years to a completely awesome guy. And speaking of “selfish” – the most common argument I’ve had people use to try to convince me to have kids? “But who will take care of you when you get old?” And I’m selfish?

  64. Yes! I love empowering topics like this. I’m one of those people who has always felt called to be a mother – even in grade school, I answered the “when you grow up” question with a career choice that could accommodate motherhood. My desire to be a mom actually surpasses my desire to be married, actually. Because I have this deep desire, though, I totally understand how people would make the opposite choice. I was born to one of those “accidental” moms, and it was rough! Ideally, kids should be wanted by their parents – it’s best for everyone!

  65. I’m really surprised to hear some people think choosing not to have children is selfish! I even looked the word up to make sure I understood what it meant. A selfish person is chiefly concerned with their own profit or pleasure, at the expense of consideration for others.

    It is entirely due to consideration for our unborn children that my partner and I chose not to have them. I like children, I work with children, I volunteer my time to help disabled children. I am not a selfish person. I would want to spare my children pain and suffering. Living in a third world country means I had to carefully consider what it would mean to have a child. I would not be satisfied with the schooling offered in my area. We have extremely high crime rates. Job opportunities are scarce.

    No, what would be selfish is to ignore the wants, needs and desires of my unborn children and to just have them anyway, despite my circumstances, because it would give me pleasure.

  66. Really interesting post, thank you! I’ve always found it hard to understand why some people doesn’t want children and I don’t think I’ll ever fully grasp it, but it helped a bit to read about the reasons in the post and comments. Though I guess it’s like explaining why you want to have children – it’s a feeling.

    I’m 22 and intend to have children in a couple of years with my boyfriend whom I’ve been together with for seven years now. It’s nothing I can imagine having now, because I’m not mature enough for that. I want to be a great mother and in order for that I have to wait. For now we want to travel and enjoy eachother!

  67. and then there are those who have kids who really shouldn’t have kids.
    Working in the school district I can say I’ve seen it all.
    Parents who can’t handle parenthood and think the school and teachers should “raise” their kids and teach them social skills, respect, manners and morals(yes; we like to confirm these skills but really feel that a parent should be the foundation).
    Helicopter parents who feel the world should revolve around their child or at the very least the school where they are presently attending.
    Parents who enable their children to make bad choices and confirm those choices by making excuses for them.
    Parents who have too many kids and don’t have the time to spend with their children to allow them to succeed.
    I applaud the people that don’t feel they would make good parents and decide not to have kids…wish there were more of you.

  68. I had my daughter with 26 and now am 31 years old. The truth is that I didn’t had time to think about that because it came so fast and unexpected. Before I wasn’t very much into kids, I could even say that I was almost against it. Even now the only kid I love it’s mine, the other are just brats…mine may also be, but I truly love her.
    I rember one time, before having her, I opened a shop’s door and right behind me a kid wanted to get out but I didn’t saw him so his hand got traped in the door and I just opended, said sorry and walked away.
    When I saw my daughter for the first time, it was like how can I love so much somebody that I just meet.
    You cannot say you don’t want something that you haven’t ever experienced.