Wow, I could have written this myself just a few months ago!
I’ve never really been maternal, and never realy imagined children being a part of my future; I always imagine getting married, getting a nice house or flat, and having a couple of dogs. Then I got together with my OH, and started to say I wanted kids; but I don’t think I ever did actually want kids; I think I wanted him to be happy, and thought it was kind of what we ‘should’ do, and what I ‘should’ want, and that I’d like them if we had them even though I’ve never liked children.
Then about 18 months ago, a customer at work said ‘Oh god no, I don’t have kids thank god!’ when I asked him if he was collecting vouchers for schools. It was like a light-bulb moment: I realised that you don’t HAVE to have kids, and that there are people out there in their 40s and beyond who don’t have kids and who are happy about that. So I started to really think about my feelings, and gradually came to the realisation that I don’t want kids, for many reasons, but the main one is simply that I don’t WANT kids; no part of me wants them, and my not wanting kids is just as innate and beyond my control as another woman’s desperate desire to have them.
Once I’d realised I definitely did not want them, I was faced with the seriously tough task of telling my OH; we’d been together nearly 6 years, been engaged 6 months, and here I was dropping a major bombshell. But I had to do it, because I knew I couldn’t have kids just for him, and I knew it would be unfair to lie to myself and him and hoe I might change my mind, as that was unlikley to happen. Telling him was possibly the hardest thbing I’ve done, because I had to be totally honest, and had to give him the option to walk. Thankfully, he took some time to consider my feelings, and to analyse WHY he wanted children; and he realised that his reasons just weren’t good enough, and that he could easily imagine a great life without children; and so, he said he’d decided children aren’t for him, and we’re now extremely happy.
At first I thought children was something you can compromise on. I’ve realised that it probably isn’t. If you don’t want them, you shouldn’t have them; and if you have them, there is every chance that you WON’T love motherhood or be happy to make the necessary sacrifices, and that you will resent your children. I believe all children have a right to loving, caring parents who truly want them; so I could never bring myself to have them unless I wanted them.
As for regretting it at 40; I guess that’s a risk. But I’d sooner not have children and regret it, and enjoy the next 20 years of my life, than have children and regret it and constantly think about everything I’ve missed out on.