Why not to have children… ever

From the time I was about 8 years old, I’ve been pretty adamant about not having children. As a child, I even disliked baby toys. Especially those creepy dolls with the eyes that closed when you lie them down. :S Flash forward to present-day me. I still have absolutely no desire to pass on my genes. A few years ago, my friend was 28 and she was desperate to find a husband and pass on her genes while her eggs were “fresh.”

Yes, fresh. Her words, not mine. Countless other friends have gotten married around the ages of 27 or 28 and had children soon after. It’s not that I dislike children. Well, I kind of dislike babies. But I am good with children and perhaps more surprisingly, children seem to like me. However, I have no intention of ever becoming a mother.

Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt via Flickr

Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt via Flickr

So why not have children?

For me, it’s a multitude of reasons:

  • I like who I am and I don’t want to change for the sake of a child. And for better or worse, motherhood changes you physically and emotionally. Suddenly, you’re not defined by your self, your accomplishments or your goals. You’re defined in terms of your relationship to your child. I never want to be a point where another adult greets me with, “Hi, you must be Jane’s mother.” No, I am who I am. To me, the potential of losing my sense of self and my identity is the primary reason I will never have a child.
  • It’s damn expensive. A 2011 study by the Manitoba Department of Agriculture suggested that a child born in 2010 would cost $191,665. In the US, costs were similar at around $230,000. Not including inflation of course. I could retire on that much money.

For other people… who knows? Everyone has a personal story and I would not pretend to understand each one. However, I will share this tidbit:

A 2003 meta-study of 97 children-marital satisfaction studies (Campbell and Twenge 2003) found that each successive generation from the 1970’s onwards was increasingly unsatisfied with their lives after having children. Now, this is not a study of 97 families – this is a study of 97 studies, each of which looked at a number of families. The studies were conducted by different investigators, different institutions and done in different locales. Hence, “meta-study” – a study of studies. Yet together, they showed the same pattern – why?

The authors noted that as the modern world progresses, people tend to delay marriage and child rearing to later years. As a result, according to Twenge: “My hypothesis about why this is, in both cases, is the same. They become parents later in life. There’s a loss of freedom, and a loss of autonomy. It’s totally different from going from your parents’ house to immediately having a baby. Now you know what you’re giving up.”

So perhaps my reasons are not so different.

Is it selfish not to have children?

I absolutely hate it when people – friends, relatives, strangers – would suggest that it is selfish of someone to choose to not have children. Do we all do things only for the greater good? Do we donate every extra dime we have to charity, spend all our leisure time volunteering, and refuse to do anything for ourselves in order to be productive for society? No, of course not.

It is your life. And you only have one. If you choose to not have children, it is just that – a choice.

Sure, it is a little selfish. After all, my existence only serves to further the species, biologically speaking. However, since my mothering instincts are in next-to-none, I feel like removing my genes from the gene pool actually furthers human evolution a teensy tiny bit. Plus, I’m near sighted. :p

Will I regret not having children?

Yes. I do believe that people who don’t have children will one day feel at least a little bit of regret. But it is human nature to wonder about what could have been. There are a lot of things I wonder and feel regret about:

  • Renting an apartment in first-year instead of sharing a dorm.
  • Not starting to save aggressively until I was 22.

And so on and so forth. But it doesn’t mean that those regrets impact my happiness now. They are fleeting bits of regret that float in and out and disappear. So sure, you might regret not having children – but that doesn’t meant that you’re going to be unhappy. And on the flip side, if you do have children…you might end up regretting them.

Benefits of not having children

For me, there are a lot of benefits to not having children:

  • I’m going to save a lot of money – $191,665, apparently! These numbers are a bit high, but even conservative estimates are striking. For us, a child would cost us about $500 extra a month: $100 for food, $100 for clothes, grooming and household supplies, and $300 for the cost of having a den or extra bedroom to house him. I would also budget another $1000 or so a year for medical costs and other incidentals. Of course, a baby would cost more during the first few years due to diapers and other age-specific costs, but I’ll ignore that for the sake of brevity. That’s still $126,000 over 18 years, NOT indexed for inflation.
  • Reduced stress. I don’t ever want to be the couple that fights about stupid issues about their children. Brian and I have enough stupid issues to fight about already! 🙂 Stress reduces your lifespan and I am not certain that (for me) the benefits of having children would outweigh the stress of caring for them.
  • Time. Perhaps the most important aspect for me is that by not having children, I will have the time to pursue the things that are important to me and time to just be me. Sure, they’re selfish and self-serving interests, but it’s my life.

To me, it seems that you should have a good reason or desire to become a mother, rather than the other way around. After all, isn’t not having children kind of the default while becoming a mother is the action that requires commitment? I’m not looking forward to getting older and having to defend my lack of child-birthing to others. Actually, it’s more like I’m not looking forward to giving people withering glares while Brian attempts to smooth things over with vague remarks. Is it strange to decide so early to not have children? Am I going to change my mind in 5 years?

Finally if you are looking for more on this, consider checking out a copy of Corrine Majer’s No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not to Have Children. Its got 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.com and sells for less than 15 bucks. It gives a realistic point of view on what it takes to have kids, and the things that you’ve already thought about having kids but aren’t socially acceptable to say in public. Some people love it, some people hate it. Pick up a copy if you get a chance.

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  1. Everybody is different, and if you feel this way now, you likely won’t feel any different in 5 years. I don’t think it’s selfish not to have kids (very much the opposite; people only HAVE kids for selfish reasons. It’s not like they do it to bless the human race with their crappy genes.. lol), but I do think that nobody would have kids if they looked at the financial side of it. It’s so much bigger than finances and really, money isn’t important in life. If you removed the cost of having kids, and still felt that you really, really didn’t want kids, then I think you probably have made the right choice.

    • CF says:

      Well that’s the thing too. Regardless of what stage of life I’ve been in (to date) I’ve never wanted kids, money or no. But the money and time is a side bonus, admittedly.

  2. Jose says:

    I have kids, they’re in their late teens and getting ready to start their adult lives, so we’ve been through the drama and trama (not to mentione the financial stress) that having children inevitably brings to ones life. Would I do it again? Absolutely yes, watching each one of my kids grow to an adult where I’ve influenced and guided to become what they are is priceless. I could have had an early retirement if I didnt have kids but I wouldn’t change having had them. One last thought, I have a theory that humand don’t actually age, it’s having kids that make us age 🙂

    • CF says:

      It sounds like you’ve been lucky enough to have a very satisfying family life. 🙂 Here I think it is my selfishness talking again – I’m not willing to make that tradeoff for potential satisfaction in the long term.

      • Jose says:

        CF, I don’t blame you one bit and I don’t consider it selfish at all. I look at it as making a responsible decision. Making the decision not to have children, for whatever reasons, is commendable. Too many children are already bought into this world by parents who arent ready, financially or emotionally and suffer from it.

        • SaraG says:

          I think that you are right Jose, there are too many children that are brought into this world by parents that aren’t ready.

          That’s what I’m struggling with right now. From a very young age, I said that I never wanted children; I was dead set on that and so was my now husband! Then he got me pregnant unexpectedly and I miscarried soon afterwards. Absolutely devastated when I found out and absolutely devastated when I lost the baby.

          Because of that, I’ve been going back and forth for about three years now, trying to decide if I want kids or not. My sister having her first baby very recently, doesn’t help either. I know that I’m not ready, financially or emotionally. My logical side is telling me to wait and my heart is telling me to do it now. We have plenty of logical reasons not to have children right now; the biggest being my husband going back to school in the fall and me never having gone back to school yet. I wanna travel the world and take vacations whenever I want, job permitting, but that would be very difficult with children.

          I admit that I don’t know what I want to do right now and in the past, my heart usually wins the battle. This is a much bigger decision than most though and after three years, I’m still struggling to make it.

  3. Ahhhh, the children thing. I wonder if I will truly regret it when I’m older, or if I will change my mind enough to be willing to put up with something for 20 years!!
    The selfish one irks me as well. Like Daisy said, there are so many ways that having children is selfish.
    I also think that any kid I had would cost more than 200K. Heck, I had a sporting habit that cost a quarter of that when I was in high school, then I took a delightfully expensively styled education. These are all things that were incredibly important and formative for me and therefore opportunities that I would pass along to my children, assuming my financial position didn’t drastically change from its current state.

    • CF says:

      It’s a big commitment. That always runs through my head too… 20 years… maybe longer if they can’t get themselves going! LOL.

      Ah that’s true. I didn’t really consider any extra activities or sports. Even for me, I took piano and guitar lessons as a child, and those added up!

  4. I can’t remember exactly how old you are, but 5 years ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly with most of this post (except for the part where not having children is selfish – THAT I will never understand).

    But sitting at 30, and feeling like I need to decide the whole kids/no kids question in the next two years, it’s tougher. Sometimes I think I wouldn’t f*** up my kids the same way that my parents did, but then could I ever forgive myself if I did?

    I’m undecided, and indecision and delay may be the deciding factor… but I think we need to get rid of the assumption that not having kids is selfish. You know what’s selfish – having kids when you don’t want them or can’t afford them. That’s selfish.

    • CF says:

      It’s great that you’re questioning yourself. I think that in the end, whatever decision you make, you’ll be more comfortable with it since you actually took the time to think about what you want.

  5. I had some issues with my parents that took a while to resolve, and I thought I never wanted kids until I turned 30, then I started seeing myself as a 50 or 60 year old without a child and it seemed sad. I think lots of people maybe regret having kids because they didn’t plan well or had them with the wrong person. By the time I finally got my head around and started to really want to get pregnant I was 33 and I only ever wanted one. People always assume you want more than one too, so I get asked when the next one is coming. It’s a personal decision and don’t ever feel bad if you don’t want any. I personally don’t mind anything I’ve given up to be a Mom, but that’s me.

    • CF says:

      It seems that you took the time to think about your decision though, and made a choice that worked for you. I wish more people would do that.

      As an aside – I will never understand why people believe that my reproduction or potential reproduction is a topic of conversation. Bleh!

  6. I think the estimates are a little high. There’s no way we spend even the conservative amount on our kids every month. Especially the clothing budget.

    I really respect your decision. I obviously made a different one, but this world is expected to have a billion more people in the next decade and we’re already having major issues because of competition for resources. Thanks for helping keep that number a little lower. Seriously.

    • CF says:

      It’s hard to estimate accurately for everyone – I was trying to give a roomy ballpark estimate. I agree that many people will spend less (and good for them! :D) My mom made homemade baby food for me and my sisters when we were little, so she definitely didn’t spend an extra $100 a month.

  7. eemusings says:

    I don’t think it’s selfish at all (see: http://nzmuse.com/2012/10/if-staying-childless-is-selfish-so-is-procreating/). Unfortunately, the status of your womb seems to be a free for all judgement zone, according to some people.

    Personally, I do want kids (eventually! not right now!) but if for whatever reason I couldn’t, I would be ok with that.

  8. Bridget says:

    I share your point of view, though I’m more undecided. I genuinely adore children, so that tips the scales a bit. But on the other hand I love the freedom of being unburdened by a a family. I like being married to my career. While I’m sure I will eventually grow out of my habit of late nights, I don’t think I’ll ever lose my wanderlust for traveling or love of peaceful nights in. The deeper I get into the guts of my life and my identity, the less I want to give it up for a child. I really expected the opposite to be true: I thought as I aged my biological clock would tick until it reached a deafening volume. Instead, it’s disappeared almost entirely.

    • CF says:

      I sympathize! I have a lot of pride in my career as well and my abilities. I would be super sad to have those qualities of my identity take a backseat.

  9. april yedinak says:

    I don’t see anything selfish about knowing you do not want to have children. Selfish and horrible are the people that have children and refuse to make the necessary changes in their lives to ensure their children have a good life. I never wanted kids, never liked kids and was certain (mainly due to a medical condition) that I would never have any. I changed my mind about wanting kids when I (unexpectedly) got pregnant for my first child. I now have three and they are my world. I love my children with an all consuming passion, but I still don’t like most other children- though I do love babies. On the other hand, I have friends and family who always wanted kids, had them, and then regretted it. The poor kids live their lives knowing they are resented and a ‘burden’ (their parents words, not mine). I am glad you have made a well-informed choice. The world needs all kinds of people, not just parents.

    • CF says:

      I’m happy for you – so many people have children unexpectedly and then resent them, or even planned to have children and resented them, as you say. I’m glad your unexpected surprise had a happy ending!

  10. Pauline says:

    I am still undecided. I wanted to have kids so bad in my 20s, and I have been with several men, current relationship included, who don’t want kids. Sometimes I wonder if my mind knows something I don’t, deep down. I still hope to have some kids, and at 32 should start looking for who to have them with but I guess they’ll come if they are meant to. Being a teacher at heart I would love to teach them everything and see them grow. But I am also very selfish and happy to live an independent life where it would be hard to fit kids. It is great that you both agree on the subject though.

    • CF says:

      Well, to be honest, Brian wasn’t as set on not having kids as I was, but I think he understands my position on the matter and we are in agreement now.

      I don’t think you need to worry about finding someone to have kids with – It would be sad to look for a life companion just so that you could have kids with them – better to find someone who’s awesome for you and if you happen to decide to have children, so be it.

  11. I just recently became a father. I don’t think there is anything wrong with your position. We all have to make choices that fit what we want to accomplish in life. I would never call someone selfish for not wanting children, that is just ridiculous. I am on the fence about wanting another or just raising one. Many people call me weird for only wanting a single child.

    • CF says:

      Congratulations! I’m always amazed at how many criticisms people can come up with regarding other people’s reproductive choices – if you only want one child, then definitely have only one child.

  12. Catherine says:

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not wanting to have kids. I have a daughter and cannot imagine my life any other way. My life, in every way- marriage included- actually improved when we had her. She connects me to my husband,friends and family in an entirely different way. Funnily enough I never LOVED kids growing up, I adore my daughter and friends children but generally don’t get all warm and fuzzy about strangers kids. We don’t spend anywhere near that number either, 100/month on clothes?! and though she doesn’t eat much now there’s no way she’ll eat an extra $100 worth of groceries a month. We do contribute to her RESP though…which is money for her education but our money until we hand it over…I don’t think you’ll change your mind in 5 years which is totally fine, family life isn’t for everyone! If you do though, it’s an amazing experience.

    • CF says:

      It sounds like your family really came together beautifully – that’s awesome 🙂

      I don’t think a baby would cost $100 in food per month, but that is what Brian and I give ourselves each per person, so that’s what I would estimate for one extra person in the family. Clothing-wise, small kids are cheap but teenagers are expensive, so again, it’s a generous estimate (which was still lower than the ones that many news outlets post!). But, having worked in Babies R Us when I was younger, I can tell you with a lot of certainty that there are A LOT of parents who do buy $100 or more in clothing, shoes and accessories for their small children per month.

  13. I really like your post and the way you summarize your reasons for not wanting children. I similarly do not want them, and no one ever believes me. It’s also weird when people say things about “when we’re all mothers someday” and I’m like “wait, what?”! 🙂

    • CF says:

      I know eh?! I have gotten a lot of condescending remarks from people about how “when you’re older and have children…” and I’m like, “Um…” When it comes to children, a lot of people seem to have trouble understanding the other point of view.

  14. Regretting not saving aggressively until you were 22?!?! That’s something more to be proud of. I wish I started saving aggressively in my early twenties, rather than my mid-late twenties.

    I’ll sometimes try and envision myself holding my own baby, pushing a stroller in the park, holding that child’s hand or them being in the back seat of my car. I can’t, no matter how hard I try, the feeling is just not there. And I don’t think it will change for me in the next few years either. Although, my mom had me when she was 32, which during that time was considered late. And now having kids before you’re 30 is considered young and having kids in your 30s is the new norm!

    • CF says:

      Haha… I guess I just regret it because I *know* I made a decent amount of money between the ages of 18 and 22 through various part time jobs, yet I don’t have a lot to show for it. So that does make me a bit sad. But on the whole, I’m happy with where I am, yes.

      That’s a good trick – I tried imagining myself just now with a stroller and it just didn’t happen. I don’t even know what that would look like. :/

  15. We don’t have any children and thought if we have them we do if we don’t we don’t. If it happens, we will be thrilled, if not then that was what was meant to be. We changed, we were looking at life from a different perspective at the time only one we could understand. Now we look into the future and it seems blank by choice, no family,no firsts, no Christmas, no birthdays, just us growing old, no one to visit us it all hit us like a rock. We had choices and still do and look forward to what the future may bring, maybe start building that path. It’s great that you have made your decision at least you know what you want.

    • CF says:

      I know how you feel. Sometimes, I think it would be sad not to have children to visit me as I’m older and stuff too. But to me, that would be an even more selfish reason to have children! (if that was the only reason)

      And besides, they might not even visit me when I’m old anyways… 😉

  16. Jen P says:

    Growing up I always wanted kids. In my 20’s my husband and I decided that having kids probably wasn’t for us. We divorced in my late 20’s and then I met my current husband. Just before I turned 30 and felt comfortable with my hubby I just all of a sudden realized I wanted to have children. I wanted to be a mom. I wanted something more in my life and that something definitely had to do with having kids, not with my career. I have absolutely no problem with people that choose not to have kids. Its their decision, but don’t be afraid to change your mind if you want to. I was lucky that I started when I did at 30. We had difficulty getting pregnant and it took a few years. With a few months of fertility treatment we were lucky enough to have a handsome son 🙂

    • CF says:

      It’s interesting how you changed your mind along with your partner – maybe your subconscious knew something you didn’t. 😉

      I keep wondering if I’ll change my mind one day, but so far, it hasn’t happened. I’m feeling good about my choices so far, but who knows what will happen in 5 years.

  17. I have mixed feelings on this topic…but the most important thing is that you shouldn’t have kids if you don’t want them. There is nothing wrong with staying childless no matter what the reason is. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.

    • CF says:

      And yet the questions still keep coming! lol. I agree with you, completely, but trying to figure out how to deal with nosy people can be frustrating!

  18. If you don’t want kids, don’t have em! I think the main reason a lot of people get snippy about this topic (I’ve been in a few tiffs over it) is that they somehow feel that your decision not to have kids means that you judge them for having kids. Not true!

    For me, I’ve got seven years before I need to make a decision either way, but if I feel the same way about becoming a mother then as I do now, I won’t be having any kids either.

    • CF says:

      That’s very true! I’m happy for people who genuinely want and enjoy kids – it’s better for everyone, really. I just don’t see why someone who likes kids and wants kids should then assume that *I* want kids as much as they do :S

  19. Jason says:

    Excellent post, CF! I think it’s fun to see the other perspective and where somebody else comes from.

    For years I wanted to have children and then there was a long period where I had no interest in it whatsoever. Now having been married for 3 years, I think there is a part of me that wants to have children. However, I’m determined to wait until I’m completely ready. People preach that there is NEVER a perfect time to have kids, and while I agree, I do believe there is a time that is optimal. While I’m focusing on my career and getting out of debt, I simply don’t think NOW is the right time. Maybe in a few more years…

    • CF says:

      Well, guys have less of a biological clock to worry about 😉 But I would agree with your strategy – waiting until you’re out of debt and making a good living is definitely one of the better times to have a family.

  20. You may change your mind. You may not. Only time will tell. Frankly, I am in the having no children boat as well. I have never had that “pang.” I am interested in fostering one day though because I think that could be very rewarding in itself.

    • CF says:

      Yeah, there’s no mothering instinct in me either. I hadn’t considered fostering (I don’t know much about the system in Canada) but I had considered possibly adopting. A very small possibility, but I have thought about it.

  21. Liquid says:

    I’m still undecided. The cost isn’t an issue for me but it’s the responsibility that makes me nervous lol. I’ll leave this decision up to my future spouse :0)

  22. We have friends who changed their minds and friends who didn’t. Both sets are happy as they move into their 40s and mid-40s. Though the ones without kids get more sleep.

  23. Michelle says:

    I have three little monsters, so I think I’m enough of an expert to say…those numbers are not high! Kids are so expensive. I think it’s a good thing that people who don’t want children aren’t having kids just because other people think they should. I personally love being a mom, but I know it’s not for everyone. From the sounds of it, you won’t regret not having children. It’s the people who aren’t sure but choose not to that I’d worry about regretting it one day. It sounds like you are very aware of who you are and how you feel about this! From a young age, I’ve always enjoying playing house and school, holding and caring for babydolls. My sister and I were really into all things girly and motherly, even as little kids ourselves. Everyone in our family knew we’d both have children one day. However, I have friends who never wanted children and still don’t.

    Thanks for such an interesting and honest post!

    • CF says:

      I have friends who I think are similar to you – people who babysat through school, playing house, etc. One friend even spent two summers abroad as a nanny. She really REALLY loves kids and she’s going to make a great mother. I’m sure you guys must have a pretty fulfilling family life as well.

      Me – I get uncomfortable around babies, lol.

  24. I’m torn, sometimes I want them, sometimes I don’t. Who knows where my life will go? But the only thing that matters is that the two of you agree. It’s great to know who you are.

  25. Suba says:

    We don’t have kids, but are ready to start a family this year. I don’t think it is anyone’s business whether you want a child or not. If not having children is selfish, so is procreating in my opinion. What frustrates me most are the family and friends who assume it is a sin to not want kids. We have been badgered about when we were going to have kids ever since we got married. Esp. my mom. I love her very much but at one point I wanted to not have any kids just to spite her. Sick, I know, but it was really frustrating if every single time we talk the only topic is kids.

    • CF says:

      Yikes. My mom doesn’t push *too* hard, but she has dropped the “Oh, when you have kids, you’ll understand…” bomb on more than one occasion. Or the “Now that you have a good job, you can start having kids.”

      People mean well, but I know what you mean – when you get nagged about something, it is very tempting to NOT do it (or at least say you won’t do it), just to get that brief bit of satisfaction.

  26. Um, did you go inside my head and write down everything inside it?? I’ve never been so creeped out reading someone else’s post, and having to remind myself that I didn’t write it! This is an honest post and I’m in the same boat. I don’t judge people for having kids so it nearly explodes my brain when people judge me for not having them. However, the fact that I turned into a poor traveling gypsy hobo seemed to get people off my back about it 🙂

  27. Valerie says:

    Children are the best investment you will ever make. You have no way of knowing this either way because you assume your life will be better without children. I thought the same thing for awhile and I could not have been more wrong. Children enrich your life and bring it to another level. Of course most people are happy with their lives and struggle with the thought of changing everything. Change is hard for some. But children are worth every single penny and then some. They really are priceless. I would have ten of them if I could. It is rare to ever meet anyone and have them tell you that they regret having children. However, there are a ton of people in this world that abuse their children in many ways, so having children is definitely not for everyone. The abusers are selfish is every way–incapable of loving their children and using thier own power to destroy the child.

    • CF says:

      It is hard for me to imagine how children could make my life better because I don’t like the idea of changing myself for someone else. It’s hard for me to picture it at all, actually. So I think that having children may be that this will be something that I end up missing out on. But who knows? I still have time to change my mind.

  28. Ronnie says:

    I feel like I am stuck in the middle, leaning more towards not having kids I guess. I do see myself regretting not having kids when I am 50-60 y/o though, and I used to think that I wanted kids when I got married to my husband who does want kids.

    Right now, I can’t picture myself pushing a stroller. I feel like there’s a lot in life that I still I want to do, and by the time that I am done them, it will be too late to have kids. I don’t want to be a 40 y/o mom with a 5 y/o….no no no! I am 29 now. I am very scared to disappoint my husband.

    Decisions decisions!

    • CF says:

      It IS so hard, I agree. You still have time though. 🙂

      There’s so much I want to do as well – build my career, travel, etc. I have enough trouble committing to living in a single location, I can’t myself tying myself down to a child.

  29. leslie says:

    What is it with the pf blogging world that so many intelligent, responsible, and educated people don’t want to pass these traits along and raise intelligent, responsible and educated children?

    This isn’t about you personally, but I have noticed a trend in pf blogging that a lot of couples/people don’t want kids. I find it interesting considering the demographic.

    • CF says:

      Haha, it’s true. I think a lot of us are closet A-types who have a lot we want to do with our lives and at the same time, aren’t very attached to societal norms.

      For myself, I am very determined to accomplish my goals and plans. There’s a lot of personal satisfaction in that for me. So it’s hard for me to consider sacrificing that much of my goals for someone else, particularly a child who would need a dedicated amount of attention and care.

  30. John says:

    whos gonna take care of you and/or your partner when you’re old and unable to care for yourself?

    • CF says:

      It’s something I’m going to have to plan for. But even with kids, there’s no guarantee that your own children will take care of you when you’re old. They might be unable or unwilling, or worse, they might not even care.

  31. Jose says:

    Mmmm, too late for me and my wife. Eh has four and I have four and we have none together! Luckily the youngest are both eighteen and we’re on the tail end of that adventure (and getting ready to start another). Are they financially challenging? ABSOLUTELY? WOuld I do it again, A resounding YES, everyone of my children have contributed to me to make me who I am today and I love all of them dearly.

    • CF says:

      Us childless folk need good parents like you guys to pick up the slack! Hehe. But with all your children grown to adults, you guys still want another? That’s love! 🙂

  32. Samantha says:

    When my husband and I first got married ( at ages 27 and 29), we thought we may want to have kids one day. Then, we just kept putting it off and putting it off until one day we realized that we just didn’t want kids. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love kids and I have a niece and 5 nephews who I totally adore, but personally, I’ve never felt the urge to be a mom and I didn’t think I should be a mom just because other people think I should.

    Now, we’ve been married for 16 years and still do not have kids. Do we regret it? No way! We love our freedom–we can travel anywhere anytime. We don’t have to save up our money for college and weddings etc. There are so many wonderful memories we’ve been able to share, places we’ve been able to travel to, people we were able to meet because we had no kids to worry about. And whenever I need a kid fix, I invite my niece and nephews over and we have a great time-they are my ‘children’ that I can send home when I need a break!

    Yes, I do get tired of people’s eyes getting really big when I tell them we don’t have kids. And this will only get worse as I get older and people will eventually look at me with pity in their eyes when I tell them ‘No, I don’t have grandkids.’ People always think I must be barren or something….yea, that gets old.

    But, bottom line, we are happy. I’m not going to have kids just to fit into what other people think is acceptable.

    You may change your mind later, but if you don’t, being child free is wonderful and we both have no regrets.

    • CF says:

      That’s awesome to hear – and congrats on 16 years of marriage! 🙂 I also want the freedom to travel and explore my life. Even if children did not cost so much, I would still need to sacrifice my time, and I am not sure if it is worth it for me.

  33. C says:

    Here’s what I think. One needs to sit down (or go for a jog, or take a ride in your car) alone where you have some tranquility and meditate on this. When it comes down to it, you need to ask yourself the following questions, “What is my passion(s) in life? What is my ideal lifestyle?” Now start naming the things that would make up your ideal lifestyle. Don’t go overboard saying you’ll be a billionaire, own a mansion, etc… Make your wants attainable. Example, you want to work for yourself making a steady in come. You want a living situation that lets you move around at will (or you want to settle down in a house), you want to have more free time, you want to help others out, you want to study so-and-so. Now here comes a big part to that vision your drawing out. Does it contain a wife and kids? Would having a wife and kids make you happy? Would this fit into your ideal lifestyle. Think about all the things that a family consists of. Be realistic. Don’t just think of the good. Think about the bad as well. Think about your passion. Think hard about this. Will having a family hinder you from living for your passion? Maybe your passion is to have a wife and kids (or husband and kids). In which case, you know the answer, now don’t you? On the other hand, if having kids is going to conflict with your passion, you really really need to think about things. To many people just settle. They get married and have kids because it’s the social norm and live always thinking about what it would have been like to life that lifestyle. To live for that passion. So what I’m really getting at, is that I believe one needs to do some deep introspection in order to make a firm decision about wanting the lifestyle of having kids or not.

    • CF says:

      I can completely agree with what you’re saying. When I personally think and try to visualize my future self, I can see lots of possibilities – but me running around with a child in tow is not one of them. It just doesn’t seem like *me*. Maybe that’ll change in a few years, but that’s how I see myself at this moment in time.

  34. We have been tracking our budget and the kids are separate. For a child we spend around $70 K till it goes to school.

    This figure exclude birth, travel, etc… just food, clothes & nursery-kindergarten. So I think your estimate is very conservative!

    I have increasingly more people at work having no kids. However you could only say it about yourself in 7-9 years time. Nature will call you soon 🙂

    I think one of the reasons exactly this – people are having kids later. They are simple not that flexible to adapt and accept new things. This is getting harder as you are older.

    I have only one regret -why did not we have kids earlier! My only advise to have kids when you are in your early 20ties!

    You right with the kids you wont have your life back. 20 years they will suck on your money and time. Prior college it is $ 200 K for two kids and college about another $ 400 K:


  35. Jack says:

    I’m truly torn between taking the woman I love (who doesn’t want kids) and trying to find another woman who does or is more of the “whatever happens” kind of thinking. It’s to the point to where I wish I found out I was sterile and the choice was no longer mine. I don’t know what to do. I would love to be a good father, and I know I would. But I also want the love of my life to be with me. We have been together for 3 years and have had our trial and tribulations and a lifetime of experiences and memories. So now we are at the crux of the decision, and it’s one hell of a hard one to make. HELP!

    • CF says:

      Wow that’s tough 🙁

      For us, Brian did want to have children at one point. But we were lucky, and eventually came to agree to not have children. I think if you and your partner disagree, you need to do some thinking about what is more important to you – your partner in life *now* or your potential *future* children. For me, I would always choose what is present, because you can’t control the future. Your partner may change her mind or you might change yours. Your children may not even be all that you hoped they would be.

      You seem to have something good going right now. If you decide to leave it behind, I think you need to be very very sure that what you’re taking a risk on is worth it.

  36. Maude says:

    I came across this because I was recently accused of being selfish for not wanting to have children by a cousin of mine. Here’s the truth. I don’t like kids. I didn’t like kids, when I WAS a kid. I have zero maternal instinct toward humans….however, animals are a different story. Simply put, don’t judge me unjustly because I don’t want to have children. Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. I can barely take care of myself. I’m 44 and had a hysterectomy a couple of years back…..and I have never felt more like a woman in my life! I enjoy being a woman and don’t feel that weight hanging over me anymore……….the pressure to reproduce. I’m finally free. Free to be a human. To enjoy this life and the Earth. Oh, and sex, by the way. There are plenty of people in the world. There is no logical reason for me to add to these numbers. I like being me. Living MY life…for me. Call me selfish. That’s fine. I love my husband, and he loves me. we are happy together. And if any of you out there dare ask that question….’Who is going to take care of you when you get old?’. My answer….robots.

    • CF says:

      You and your husband sound like you are very happy – that’s all that matters! I don’t like children either and there are so many things I still want to do and accomplish. I am totally on your side and I’m definitely down for having a nice robot or two take care of me in my old age, haha 😉

    • Chris says:

      I second this comment!! 😀

  37. Chris says:

    My wife and I are not having children. I even got “snipped” last year. Some of us not only don’t want kids, we are uncomfortable around them. Most people love kids and that is great. But, I wonder sometimes how much of what people do is because of societal expectations. Perhaps some people with kids look at us without kids are shocked to realize that it was an option. After all, we grow up being told “this is what you do.”

    The comments about it being selfish always amuses me. Do you know what I find selfish? Looking at the population of the Earth approaching 9 billion and thinking, “You know what the world need right now? More people. Smaller versions of ME ME ME.”

    • CF says:

      You guys sound confident and comfortable with your choices, and that’s the most important part. 🙂 Making the choice to not have children is a lot LESS selfish than having children without thinking it through and then expecting the government or community to support you with your choice.

      I do agree that there’s a huge amount of unspoken expectations surrounding couples and children. And that’s unfortunate because I think a lot of people end up having children for the wrong reasons. I still have to correct my own parents whenever they start going on about “Well, when YOU have children…” :p

  38. Just saw this, since you reposted it on Twitter. I actually find it selfish *to* have a baby for the sake of “having a baby,” as those babies are possessions. Examples abound in my old employment circle where a baby is essentially arm candy. One girl actually said: “I asked my dad for a puppy, and he said no. So I told him I was having a baby, and I did!” It’s just sad.

    I don’t think you’re selfish at all.

    • CF says:

      There are some strange reasons out there for having a child… one of my old friends felt that she HAD to have one because she had “good genes” and that they shouldn’t go to waste. Others have sort of shrugged and said that having a baby was “just what happened”. What…. :p

  39. Nic says:

    It’s better not to have kids, rather than have them suffer because I am irresponsible or I can’t provide for them. I also don’t agree to what other people tell me that it’s better to have a child and not marry. Children should have parents, so if I’m not ready, I’d not procreate or adopt.

  40. It is unreasonably hard to make people who in in the “I want kids” camp to understand why I just don’t. What makes it even harder is when I may be losing my ability to have children due to a medical problem and people are still asking me when I expect to have that first child. Never, people. Never.

  41. While I do not regret adopting my son, I had no clue how much my life would change once becoming a parent. It has been the most difficult thing I have ever done and sometimes I miss my old life. Folks need to respect people’s choices not to have kids. There is nothing more disrespectful than saying “oh, you’ll change your mind eventually.” Like, shut up. No one should feel pressured into parenthood. It is too important of a job to go into it uncommitted.

  42. Santanu says:

    Very interesting article to create an engaging discussion here. Definitely kids are one of the most financial liability of anyone’s life. The amount of money we are earning and spending for them is simple huge. In that case if someone can save that for retirement, then he/she can live a rich life after retirement. But that is how our life has to be. 🙂
    Anyway, enjoyed reading this article.

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