Childfree by Choice, is it the right choice?

posted 3 years ago in Family
Post # 17
5161 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2010

mrsbjj17 :  

Your husband certainly sounds childfree. Like me, it sounds like he has reasons that range from not only his feelings about kids overall, and disinterest in parenthood, and financial, career, and lifestyle changes, but environmental, political, etc. In my experience that range of factors is not one that easily shifts, especially in one’s 30s, to suddenly want children. I know myself I even lean towards being rather anti-natalist because of the environmental isssues, etc. So that is something to take into account as this can be a dealbreaker issue if you do decide strongly you want children.

You also sound leaning childfree to me, for your own reasons, but what is holding you from making that declaration is a worry you are “missing out” on something based on what OTHERS may have felt was important to them or experienced, not a genuine desire or pull towards parenthood. I dearly loved my mother, who has recently passed, and she often has remarked what her children meant to her…but she also always lived a full life outside of motherhood and observed having children was much harder than she had ever expected, and never pressured any of her own children to have children (I am definitively childfree, but my siblings also in their 30s have not had children). Because, as my own mother was aware of, your mother’s experience is not going to be your own.

What if you had kids who moved away (so common to live a distance apart these days – I am one that moved a distance away for career). What if your child(ren) were special needs and needed a lifetime of your care? What if your personalities did not mesh, and you just were not that close? Or, not to be negative, but all those adults who are addicts, in jail, and so on have mothers too, and they aren’t always that way due to a lack of good parenting. You can’t have children based on some fantasy as to what sort of adults and independent beings they will become, or because of how they might serve YOU in the future (be there so you are not lonely, etc). Have children because you genuinely WANT not only a vision of adult children, but also CHILDREN. Because you genuinely want to take on parenthood and all its own joys and pains. Because you are willing to embrace the uncertainty of who they will also become.

The truth is, taking one path here means not knowing another. If you choose to not have children, you will never really know what it would have been like to be a parent. If you choose to have children, you will never really know what it would have been like to live a chidlfree life (because living without “before” children is not the same as living “forever without” children). Neither path is right nor wrong, just may be right or wrong for YOU.   For me, given my own feelings and knowledge of who I am I doubt ever regretting not having kids, but still I think the risk of regret of not having children is one preferable to the regret of having children; because despite the tropes, I do know parents who love their kids but also deeply regret choosing parenthood. If one regrets not having kids, the only ones impacted are themselves.

As mentioned, I am childfree. I had always been ambivalent about having my own children but really recognized my childfreeness at about 30, after I was married. It was not a dealbreaker in my marriage, but it was a risk it could have been, but I knew in my heart parenthood was not the path for me. About seven and a half years later, and sterilized, I am just so happy I made the choice that was right for me. Like I said, I have many reasons for being childfree, but ultimately at the heart of it…I just did not want them. I just did not want parenthood. I did not feel called to it. Rather, the idea of having children brought anxiety and stress as it felt like it would be contrary to all that I loved and wanted in my life. I greatly enjoy my life, my wonderful marriage that is just “us”, the opportunities I can take because I do not have the obligations of children be it for career, or travel, or starting a new business, the time and money available for my other life passions; I am excited about my future rather than fearful of it. But only YOU can decide what is the right path for you. 

Your furbaby is adorable! Here’s our fuzzy dictator…er, furry family member. We adore her to bits:

Post # 18
10584 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

mrsbjj17 :  

I knew at age nine I didn’t want kids.  At twenty-five, I tried to get my tubes tied, but the doctor said I was too young.

Decades later and past my child bearing years, I celebrate the wisdom of my decision not to have kids.  It was so right for me.  

Post # 20
926 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

mrsbjj17 :  I knew from a young age that I didn’t want kids. I’m a few months shy of 42 and still feel the same.  My mom LOVES being a parent and grandmother and loves being around kids. We all have different things that give us purpose and makes us happy.  I think it’s important to really know yourself and honestly ask yourself if parenthood is compatible with the life you want to live and if you’d be a good parent. For me the answers are no and no.  I love spending time with just my fiance. I don’t like noise, clutter, or mess. I like spending my weekends outdoors hiking, especially in the winter.  Being around kids exhaust me. I don’t like doing kid centered activities and would be resentful if that was my life. If I really wanted kids I’d sacrifice all that because we sacrifice for what’s important to us but I don’t and  so I’m not willing to.  I also don’t like the selfish label. The world isn’t lacking people.  Someone not having kids isn’t depriving the world of anything. Someone having kids isn’t doing some selfless act towards the world. Both having kids or not is just doing what’s right for you. One isn’t more selfish than the other.

Post # 21
1670 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018 - Our Backyard

I’m 40. I have never wanted kids. Still don’t. I literally never felt the pang of wanting a baby. I am unapologetically anti-kids. I think WAY too many people feel like they’re supposed to have kids so they do. Now we have too many damn people on this planet-many of whom are miserable.

I was always told (still told), “but you’d be such a great mom…” I probably would. I’m super organized and love doing little crafty, thoughtful things, I’m creative, I’m playful, but it still doesn’t change the fact that I have ZERO DESIRE for children. My nephews and niece are adorable but I can always send them home. Life’s cruel twist? The love of my life has kids. A boy and a girl – 10 & 13. FML. The only saving grace is his ex has them 90% of the time. Also, he knows my feelings about kids and does not expect me in any way to always be thrilled, excited, or present when they come over. He told me I can disappear as often as I need to. They are good and smart and funny, but they’re still kids and I have little patience-especially with his son who does dumb shit just because he’s a boy and can’t help it. 😝

Anyway you still have plenty of time. 32 is not old. My best friend had her baby at 37. My sis had her first at 33 and second at 35. Just be true to yourself and don’t let society pressure you into a a life sentence. Oh, and I was given a guilt trip about being a “lonely” old lady if I didn’t have kids. Asked, “who would take care of you when you’re old?”  Who says my kids would even do that? Maybe they’ll tragically die before me or just be assholes and not want to take care of an old lady 😂 Don’t do something now for a “just in case” scenario in the future. The future never quite works out how you think anyway. 

Post # 22
326 posts
Helper bee

I hate when I’m told as CFBC woman that I might change my mind and it’s part of my instinct as a woman. It’s not helpful and says as a woman you’re failing because you don’t have a natural instinct to be a mother. Anyways, OP it sounds like you’re CF. Being a mother should be something you truly truly want. I know a couple women my age (27-35) who have mothers that aren’t worth a damn. Mothers who clearly just had kids because it’s what society tells them to do. Im not saying you wouldn’t be a good mother but there’s a lot of times when women have kids that really shouldn’t. And society really should teach women that we have a choice. There’s nothing wrong with being CF, if you don’t have a desire to have a child I doubt you’ll regret your choice. And there’s nothing wrong with having kids. It’s only wrong when you do either of these things because it’s what someone else want. 

Post # 23
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Well as for the pet angle… I’ve raised a puppy and it does prepare you for parenthood some, but in many ways dealing with babies is much much harder. Pets get fairly self sufficient quickly, chances are you’re not going to need to teach them to eat solids, they teach themselves to walk and they’re much better at entertaining themselves. They don’t disrupt your life nearly as much, for example you can go off to work and leave them alone… with kids, that’s just not an option and either you have to stay home with them or shell out a small fortune for child care. Pets are easier in all ways but one… sadly, they get old before we do.

Overall though, your husband’s a assessment of how much they would disrupt your life sounds spot on and I totally see the argument about whether it’s worth bringing a child into this world. It’s just a question of, is years of the aggravation of parenting worth the eventual payoff to you? Where do you see yourselves in a decade or two – with or without kids?

Post # 24
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Darling Husband and I are firmly CFBC, and we know it’s the right choice for us. We only recently went through with his vasectomy, and even though we’ve always been very open about not wanting kids, we still received some backlash when family found out (mostly those who I think believed they know better than us, and always assumed we would change our mind). 

Society is not very accepting of people who don’t want children, even though some would argue this. I experience it every time someone asks me how long have I been married/do I have children/when will I have any, etc.  When I share that I won’t be having any/don’t want any, I hear pity, confusion, even anger. 

However, none of this changes the simple fact that I don’t enjoy children. I don’t like them, and I have no interest in changing a life I love having, to become a mother and literally make my entire life about someone else, who may or may not end up being worth it. 

Like PPs have said…you will know if you really want to have a child. And it’s OKAY if you don’t really want to. I think even those of us who are CFBC deal with accepting that the things we want are okay, especially when those things don’t include being a parent. 

Post # 25
10584 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

2ndchance :  

FWIW, I never felt that pang either.

Post # 26
685 posts
Busy bee

You could also compromise with your husband like Chef did.

Post # 27
56 posts
Worker bee

There’s no right or wrong here. If you don’t feel that having children is right for you (which is completely fine) then it’s best not to have them. It seems like you feel you should conform to society but that’s not reason to have kids as you won’t be happy and will end up resenting them which will result in an unhappy life for all involved.

When you’re older, if you feel that you want to add to your family but don’t want to bring up small children, you could look at fostering or adoption. There are millions of older children who are/will potentially be in need of homes and doing so could make a huge difference to them, but only if you feel it’s right for you. There are many pros to having children but there’s also many pros to not as well. I don’t think it’s selfish not to have them, selfishness is when a person has a child but still tries to live a carefree life as if they didn’t, that’s selfish.x

Post # 28
1670 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018 - Our Backyard

sassy411 :  my cousin described her “uterus  hurting” every time she saw a baby or heard one cry. I’m sure she was just being dramatic, but I still never experienced anything even close to that! 

Post # 29
23 posts

My sister was a firm believer in CFBC but then regrettted it in her late 30s.  She was able to conceive twice and has two lovely little girls.

However, I had a cousin who was CFBC and by the time she reached her late 30s/early 40s she changed her mind, but by them it was too late and she remains childless (she’s in her 50s now).

Honestly, I don’t know what your financial situation is like, but I’d freeze my eggs if I was in your situation & then they’ll always be there if you and your SO change your minds about kids. 

Don’t have kids now because you feel pressured to; only do it when or if it’s right for your situation. 

Post # 30
6999 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

There’s no right or wrong answer. It sounds like your Darling Husband is pretty much childfree, and most likely you are too. I think the “what if” is normal, because as women we’re programmed from an early age that being a woman means having kids so even people who really don’t want them can often have feelings of “how do I really know?”. Don’t have kids because you’re worried you might miss out. That being said, don’t pass up on it out of fear if you think it’s something you do want.

I always wanted kids, it was just something I knew. Then about a year ago I had a period where I was sort of one the fence. In a perfect world I would have been married early and done having kids by the time I was 25. In the real world Darling Husband and I didn’t get married until I was 27 and here I am 31 just now TTC. Most definitely the older you get, the more set in your ways you get. Last year I was feeling a little down, even though professionally I was having the best year yet I felt personally like everyone but me was moving forward – and the more I thought about it I had a moment where I felt like I could go either way with having kids. Almost like a nervousness that because I’ve waited this long would I be able to give up all my freedom?

Here’s the thing, while I definitely believe being a parent means putting your kid first – I think WAY too many parents cease to be themselves once they have kids. I wasn’t raised that way, but as each new generation starts to have kids I see this pattern of helicopter parenting where you’re basically shamed for having a life outside of your children. When I see people say that they’re on the fence because they love to travel, eat out, etc….I just have to remind myself that *I* don’t have to parent the way other people parent. My parents continued to do all those things after having kids, as do many of my closest friends.

I know a few CFBC people who regretted it, but I also know people who have kids and clearly aren’t happy with their life.

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