Post # 1
I was talking to a family member the other day, telling her that we shouldn’t judge people for not wanting to have kids, if their priorities lie elsewhere, such as traveling or a busy career.
Her response was “that’s very American [selfish]” and “who will take care of them when they are old?” This seems contradictory and not a good reason to have a child. If you are raising a caretaker, that’s one heck of a selfish reason to have children…and honestly, I wouldn’t want to have my children taking care of me if I need bathing or need an adult diaper change….I would much rather have a stranger do that….I can’t quite put my finger on why.
If I end up adopting, my reason would be that I want to give someone the love and support I wish I had at their age.
What is your reason for wanting/not wanting to have kids?
Post # 2
Tell your family member that she’s the one who sounds selfish–breeding to produce caretakers?!! It doesn’t have to have anything to do with other priorities either, not everyone has a desire to change diapers or research preschools or help with homework, or generally be responsible for guiding a young human to adulthood. Why isn’t that okay? It doesn’t require any further explanation.
I always knew I wanted a big career and I always knew I wanted children, even if I did it on my own, and hoped to have a big family comprised of biological and adopted children. My exH backed out of our agreement to add adopted children to our bio family, turns out he wasn’t really into parenting. I’ll have stepkids now so I imagine that worked out after all. It’s hard to place a reason on any of it other than I’ve always had a desire to nurture.
I have plenty of friends and colleagues who have chosen to not have children. It’s not selfish at all–far more selfish to have children if you’re really not into all that’s required to parent just to fulfill some societal norm. It’s such a personal choice; there is no one right answer. We respect each other’s choices and appreciate each other’s lifestyles. There is no prize or medal for either choice, one isn’t better, they are just different. It doesn’t have to be so divisive.
Post # 3
beethree : I agree with you, something about wanting to nurture another being. Other times, I remember that babies poop and pukel and cry all night and am grateful that I am waiting until I truly feel like I have the strength to be a good parent.
Post # 4
lauralaura123 : I also believe there are many ways to nurture without ever having to change a diaper–Big Brother/Big Sister programs, teaching, career mentoring.
Just one example: I have a friend who chose to not have children, has a much-loved dog child, and has played a huge role in the lives of countless young adults she has mentored as a graduate professor, keeping in touch with them and continuing to guide them for years (sometimes decades) after they have graduated.
Post # 5
Growing up in the South, I am all too familiar with this attitude. I agree that’s an extremely selfish motive for having children. I do understand not wanting to be alone in your golden years, and the fear of dying alone. So I understand it from a companionship point of view. But for the motive of someone to change your diapers someday… no. Not to mention, more often than not, many individuals end up going to a nursing home. Not that many people keep their elderly in home and care for them in that way. So it’s kind of a gamble as to whether they will actually take care of you. That’s completely beside the point though. I’ve gone back and forth in my own mind over whether I want kids. I love kids and have always wanted to be a mother, but the weight of that responsibility seems overwhelming to me at times. If I do have kids, it will be because I want to love and nurture a tiny human and guide them through life. NOT because I’m thinking of what free services I can get from them in the future. SMH.
Post # 6
I decided to have a kid because I felt the need for it. Honestly, I think that is a bit selfish of me. If someone decides not to have a child, I don’t consider that selfish at all. My husband has a great aunt who is 80-something and never had kids. She does just fine on her own. She’s super independent and would never ask someone to take care of her.
Post # 7
Well first off , anyone banking on their children bring their caregivers should go take a tour of a seniors care home.
As for why I don’t want? I just don’t. The desire is not there. At all. Zero. There are logical reasons I don’t want as well. Just as some women have an innate desire to have kids… well I just don’t.
Post # 8
There are always people to judge your life choices no matter what you choose. I get judgement because I only have 1 child. I get judgement because I had her at 21. I get judgement because I chose to be a single parent rather than choose a different option like abortion or adoption. I get judged for having a high pressure career while being a mom. I get judged for putting her in a high level activity. The judgement you see as a human being is daily.
In my opinion it’s the epitome of selfish to have a child just so you have someone to take care of you in your old age.
There are so many ways that you can be a positive influence in a child’s life without giving birth to them. Making a choice to not have children is deeply personal and only the person making that choice knows what’s best for them.
Post # 9
I cant stand when people judge others for their choices to have or not have children. Everyones lifestyle is different and if kids dont fit in or arent a priority, then that is the exact reason NOT to have them. My fiance and I both LOVE children, however, we are on the fence as to whether we will have them or not and if we do, we decided it would just be one. Already, i have gotten the “well wont you regret it” “or who is going to take care of you” and “but you would make such a great mother” blah blah. Right now, we have 2 dogs who may as well be our children and are ALWAYS losing our minds busy (just started flipping houses, so we are moving all the time and trying to start a business). We dont have the urge right now to settle down and have kids, we love our life the way it is. But we both agreed that maybe in a few years that will change, and if it doesnt, we are happy with each other. As far as I am concerned, that reasoning is enough for me and if others dont like it, I dont care! I do feel bad for my parents, as they want grandkids terribly and would make wonderful grandparents (apparently grandpuppies dont cut it lol); but that cannot be the reason i decide to have a kid…
Post # 10
I feel the same as you! I have no interest in having a bio child….but adoption has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. If I’m going to have a child, I want it to be one that is already here who needs a family. I can’t stand the thought that there are children out there without a home & a family. Plus with adopting, we can skip pregnancy & the baby stage lol. But even with discussing adopting, people are SO judgemental. I’ve been married a year and already asked so much about babies, and when I respond that we might just forgo biological kids and adopt, people are horrified. Actually, every time I’ve told people that, they respond with, “well, you know, adopted kids can have serious mental issues, I know this person who adopted a child and they were in trouble with the law, etc…” It is awful and very upsetting that people not only would THINK that way but say that to me! People are going to be judgemental no matter what. If you have kids, adopt, or even just have one bio kid, people will always think what you’re doing is not right. It’s so bizarre that other people, sometimes even strangers, can be so judgey about your life choices when it’s not their life. But it’s something you just have to live with.
Post # 11
She needs to mind her business and not fret over what couples decide to do with their marriage bed. Not everyone can have children and just because they don’t broadcast that they are struggling with Fertility doesn’t mean they aren’t. Sometimes it’s easier to just tell the world that you don’t want kids at the moment or that your focused on career when in reality your struggling with infertility. Even if someone isn’t struggling with infertility and actually chooses to not try for children it’s still their choice. Having children just to have someone take care of you when your old is insulting and very selfish. She is wrong for judging anyone because you never know someone’s full story.
Post # 12
Well, the vast majority of the elderly end up in nursing homes anyways (which is not bad because they get to socialize more easily there, get nutritious meals, and have professional caretakers looking after them), so tell her good luck with that idea!
Why did she say that it’s so “American?” Is she American herself, or not? Americans are actually breeding pretty well overall despite the millenial and iGen generations being less likely to have kids. European countries are the ones that have very low birth rates.
I have no bad blood for people who want children. I think raising children is not only extraordinarily hard work, but it’s one of the truest, purest ways to change the world, to alter the course of history. But the notion that childfree people can’t be nurturing is laughable (this is not directed at OP, more just furthering the discussion of PP). I myself have worked in preschools, as has my mother. I also love gardening and one of my great dreams in life is to grow and sell vegetables and fruit. I also volunteer a few nights per week. So I think it’s funny that people just think we burn money in our spare time with selfish endeavors and can’t be nurturing.
I have a long list of reasons for not wanting children, something I feel is not necessary to share. I don’t have to justify my life choices. If you are not paying my bills, thankfully I don’t care what random people have to say about my life, I just wish people would be more understanding.
Post # 13
I have always been on the fence. But will most likely have children.
Why? I guess mostly because I was an only child… and succumbed to all forms of abuse. I was lonely and scared. I now I am somewhat rigid. I don’t like my parents touching me or hugging me (not something they did and weird if they do now) and if they tell me they love me… it seems like a strange thing coming from their mouths.
Why? I want to learn what love is from a parental point of view… and give that to my children. I want to set things right (even though I can’t do that for MY parents) and be one less person that ruined a childhood and instead created a wonderful one. Instead of passing the abuse down the line like mine did. I want to build memories and have a family and start my own traditions since none were ever instilled.
Mostly I just want to be apart of something I never had?
Post # 14
I never understood why it’s selfish not having children – and even if it is selfish, so what? People should be able to decide not to reproduce, how does that impact anyone? I recently heard of a couple who abused their 3 month old baby – I wish they would have been selfish and decided not to have any children 🙁
We decided that we wanted children from a selfish point of a view – we wanted to continue our journey as husband and wife with children.
Post # 15
I’m pretty sure 95% of my mom’s decision to have me was because she fully expects me to care for her when she’s old (both emotionally and financially). She’s still a fully functioning working adult making good money, but asks Darling Husband and I to buy her household goods and other random stuff all the time because “I spent all this money raising you and bought you expensive things when you were growing up.” So yeah pretty sure the other 5% of her decision was because she wanted to have a little doll to dress up, make all pretty, and show off to friends about. If all that’s not being selfish, idk what is. She would have been much more selfless choosing NOT to have me.