Musing Out Loud: Do I or Don't I Want to Have Kids?

posted 3 years ago in No Kids
Post # 3
Member
312 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

It sounds like you’re very ambivalent. I can’t tell you which side you should come down on, but maybe you want to think on a few things…

I have heard it said again and again, by parents as much as non-parents, that having and raising a kid is something you need to really, really, really want to do — because it’s ridiculously difficult and it changes everything, and there are no “take-backsies” if you change your mind about being a parent.

I have also heard it pointed out that there are many paths we do not take in life. Many careers we might have loved and excelled at, but did not pursue. Lovers we might have met, had we not made a commitment to our husbands. Journeys we might have taken, had we not chosen to build a life here instead. Regrets and roads-not-taken are a natural part of life. But NOT taking those roads also enabled us to lead the life we’re living today.

Not having children is simply another one of those “what-ifs” or roads not taken. If you decide to have children, you will be giving up on other possibilities for your life. It’s always a trade-off. If parents say it’s a trade-off they’d make again and again, you have to take into account that they HAVE to believe this — otherwise the sacrifices they’ve made for their kids, the opportunities they’ve turned down in order to be steady providers and good parents, might be far more bitter for them to reflect on.

Anyway, just some thoughts, since it sounds to me like what you’re worried about is not so much missing out on mothering, but about the regrets you might have for foreclosing that possibility forever. You foreclose on possibilities all the time. How often do you stay awake at night worrying about what you’ve missed? Many would say that only societal pressures make the issue of kids seem different.

Post # 5
Member
2878 posts
Sugar bee

@engagedsagebrush:  It’s not an obligation to know without a doubt. And to be fair, there should always be some kind of doubt, as it proves that you’re thinking about this issue in a very rational and responsible way, until you make up your mind and take a decision.

I’m childfree by choice, but I used to think I would have kids (I never wanted them, my Barbies were childfree as well, lol). It’s only when confronted to the first pregnancy among people my age (an acquaintance who got pregnant at 19) that I started to think about it seriously. It took me a few years to be at peace with this idea. When I started telling people I didn’t want kids at age 23, I was emotional, I didn’t manage to share my views in a more mature way. I was so angry that society wanted to dictate what I should do with my uterus, that I probably sounded like a girl who just wanted to provoke others and be rebellious, thus I got plenty of ”I knew a girl who was just like you in her 20s, but she got kids one day and she’s so happy”, and it made me even more angry.

Once this anger passed, I grew more confident about my decision. I guess I somehow had my ”coming out” as a childfree woman, and I had to learn how to deal with it, and especially, how to deal with people who would attempt to tell me I was wrong. Now, I’ve learned to smile and let it go. 

But have I stopped doubting ? Not totally. Although FI and I are chilfree and pretty darn sure we’ll never have kids on our own, I was the one to bring up the subject of freezing his sperm before he would get a vasectomy done. We talked about it. I felt I would feel more secure if we did this, because I don’t know, if something was to happen to him, who knows, maybe then I would regret not having his child, and him not leaving a legacy, because those are emotions you can’t control until you’re living this traumatic experience. And I wanted to allow myself to always have a choice, and FI agrees with me. It doesn’t make me less childfree or less ”confident” about my decision. 

All this to say … it’s not like one day, you’d receive the Great Illumination. This is a thinking process, a learning process, and it should always be, wether or not you want kids : learning about yourself, thinking about your expectations in life, about your values, about your projects and lifestyles. It’s healthy to second-guess yourself from time to time. You are trying to make sure you’re taking the right decision, and it’s not a decision (either way) that has to be taken lightly. 

Post # 6
Member
488 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I could have written this, it’s exactly how I feel. I have always talked about how I will raise my kids etc with people but never really felt the need and want for babies, kids or pregnancy. When I think about it I feel everything you say fear, stress, worry about the loss of my own life and freedom, trapped, resentment and struggles in my marriage, no more money or travel etc. I’ve only had one very minor scare and I cried when I thought I could be pregnant. I really don’t know if I will change my mind- I’m 26.5 yrs old, but I wish I knew for certain what I wanted. I think it doesn’t help my mind when DH has no interest in babies or children even the idea of having his own and we’ve discussed if we do have children we will only have one. 

I say to him all the time I’m not promising that we won’t have kids but I we will only have one if we do. The other problem is since we would only have one, I only want a girl (which DH agrees with) I feel this so much so that (and I’m going to get hate for this) I’d prefer to be childfree then to have a son, so this is a concern of mine as well, like should I even bother or just not at all.

Im sure DH and I could have an even better relationship if we don’t have kids and just enjoy each other, travel every second year and we have our pets.  But there is that fear that will I regret it later. 

Post # 7
Member
1613 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

My husband and I are not having kids. I have that fear of regretting it later but I think my fear is more that we’ll have nobody to take care of us when we’re old, or that we’ll drift apart from our friends when they start having kids (some have already started) and then it’ll just be us 2 and nobody else. I’m ok with it just being us 2, but one of us has to die first and I would fear that the other person would have nobody left. We won’t have to worry about this for awhile, but it’s still scary to think about!

Post # 8
Member
1899 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - TTC #2

@calendula:  Your resonse is exactly what I planned to say! You’re absolutely right. I always wonder what I’d be doing now if I hadn’t moved country, occasionally wonder what if I’d stayed with my ex, what if I’d gotten pregnant that scare last year… It’s a totally normal thought process.

OP, to me it sounds like you’re worrying about your own feelings of regret/what ifs above any feelings of the potential child. Having one ‘for the sake of it’ would be selfish.. it would be a life-uprooting experience for you both and would tear your relationship apart. 

By the way I was originally plannning to be childless until I met my FI and BAM! I don’t want kids, I want *his* kids. But if you haven’t experienced baby fever by now (I think about babies more than wedding planning these days!) I’d say that’s a pretty sure sign 🙂

Post # 10
Member
2358 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I also can identify with everything u said. I feel guilty to not have any, that is, to not give my husband a child, our parents a grandchild, and to not have anyone to care for us as we age. 

But at the same time, I seriously panic at the thought of unprotected sex. I panic at the thought of a ruined body, pain of childbirth, the lifetime commitment, and the uncertainty of how a child will turn out to be. Not to mention the financial burden, the sacrifice of my own time and opportunities, and the state of the world as it is today.

I just keep thinking….where in the hell would the money come from? I worked too long and hard in college and have too much student loan debt to be able to afford anything related to raising a kid. Where would I find the time? I get home from work at 6 and go to bed at 9. I am only going to spend three hours a day with my own child besides the weekend? How would I also clean the house, do laundry, care for pets, and attend all the.celebrations our families have too? All while working full time? It doesnt make sense. Finally, I get too much anxiety over little things to be able to handle the well-being of a child. And I just don’t like being around them to boot. I have no desire to give anything I have right now up for the experience of raising a kid. It’s just not worth it.

I just keep going everyday not pregnant and I like it that way, so as I age, I’ll just take every day like it is. Childless by choice. 

Post # 11
Member
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

[comment moderated for trolling]

Post # 12
Member
2358 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@mm86:  this is a huge fear of mine as well. HUGE. It has even made me dread and fear aging. I’m really grasping how inevitable it truly is and it’s terrifying to think I could be elderly and alone. But somehow not as terrifying as getting pregnant.

Post # 13
Member
15 posts
Newbee

@engagedsagebrush:  I think vasectomies are reversible if you should change your mind (not totally sure on that), but I’m a big advocate of adoption and think that would be the best option if you ever change your mind, especially if you’re a proponent of caring about children who are “unwanted” and not bringing more children into the world than there already are.

Post # 15
Member
334 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I have an almost 10 year old son.  I LOVE him to death, and do an amazing job parenting him, but I can also acknowledge I’m one of those people who would have been better off not having children.  

There are many ways of getting fulfillment in life.  Kids aren’t the only way (or even best way).  

 

Hubby wanted kids, very badly.  I initially agreed to it, but when push came to shove….I just couldn’t.  Nothing in me wanted to have more kids, and as much as I know I found the love of my life, I would have been 110% miserable signing up for another 20 years of motherhood.

I think you know if you want them or not.  Try imagining that you really are TTC and see how that makes you feel.  Conceptually I could see having more, but when it came closer to a reality I freaked the f out and realized it was a no go.  

 

Post # 16
Member
1613 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@engagedsagebrush:  Honestly, you don’t seem ambivilent to me, you seem to not want kids. It’s ok to say you don’t want kids and still have some small amount of uncertainity, as a PP said it means you’re reflecting and taking the decision seriously.

I have never had the urge to have kids, never.  Not once.  Even in my professional life, I love cuddling babies and then I love giving them back to their mothers.  I’ve wondered if I’ll regret it later….but I know I won’t, deep down if I look past the fears and the “Who will look after me when I’m old?”….(which isn’t a reason to have kids anyways!)

You sound like you know your heart….your heart isn’t leading you to children.  It’s one of those huge crossroads in life, and I think it’s one of those decisions where the options are 1) you want them 200% or 2) everything else.  

Also, you didn’t mention why your partner is having a vasectomy, or his stance on children.  To me, I’d rather have the love of my life with or without children, rather than lose him based on kids.  In other words, if my husband didn’t want kids, I’d rather have him than hypothetical kids.  Thankfully for me, he was happy either way and left it to me (and I booked him his vasectomy after taking a couple years to really think about it).

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