Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How did you decide you want children or don't?

(54 Posts)
KiKiKiKi Thu 27-Mar-14 12:22:32

I am 27. Until I was about 23 I was certain I didn't want children. After then I started thinking that I probably would have children if I were to marry a man who wanted them, mostly because it seemed like the 'done thing,' only with a man who would be happy to take on at least half the childcare. My mother and friends have always said I would one day feel the biological urge to have children - I haven't yet, and feel far too young to consider it. I have plans which don't involve children, but a stable and well-paid job, so could support them if necessary.

I've never been around children, am an only child with a small older family, and have always been very focussed on my career and hobbies, learning, and travelling. I don't really like babies though I am ok with my friends', and I like children from the age of about seven upwards.

I'm now dating someone who seems pretty much perfect. He has made it clear he doesn't want children. I haven't said anything either way to him but I think he will ask outright soon.

I don't think I do but I can't be certain I won't regret that decision. Did you always know, 100%, that you wanted children?

Estrellita Thu 27-Mar-14 17:06:57

I had a series of unsuitable partners before I met my DH, and I didn't want children with any of them and that was fine, because they didn't want them either. I knew I'd just be a single mum in the case of that happening. But especially as I got past 30, I knew I would be grateful to have the experience of motherhood if I could love and raise a child in a happy, stable family. Fortunately, DH felt the same and that's what we are doing together. It was the right decision for me. Hard work, but worth it beyond words.

You don't need to decide yet, keep dating your lovely man and see where it goes. However, I do think its best to come to decision by around age 30 if you can, especially if you would like more than one child. If you'd like to stay child free and are happy with a partner who wants the same, then lovely. But if you feel you'd like to have a family, and are with a person who doesn't, or is perpetually on the fence, then it is best to not waste fertile years on them.

Fwiw, I met DH at age 31, married at age 34 - would have married sooner but there were immigration issues involved. Started ttc right after the wedding. Had 2 mc, then DD at age 37. 39 now and can't have any more due to medical reasons. Would like to if I could but happy with one and DH.

ravenmum Thu 27-Mar-14 17:09:21

I spent quite a few years in childhood as an only child with a difficult single mum, lots of boring childminders and being looked after by people who had no time for me. Then after she remarried and quickly had two children I really enjoyed living with the chaos you get with children (instead of hearing the clock ticking), coming up with ideas to entertain them, reading them fun stories and kind of extending my own childhood that way, but with a lot more fun, games and laughter than I had enjoyed until they were born. So in my mind children brought life into your life. I could have settled into a life without them, but felt very lucky and happy when we then did have two children. The sleepless nights and bum-wiping were a pain but as soon as they started to react and show their characters it made up for that. I was happy to go back to work afterwards, but I did feel that my role as a SAHM for the first few years was important and something I benefited from enormously. I think it is largely down to my initial feeling that my half-sisters were a great addition to my life. That clinched it for me.

Corygal Thu 27-Mar-14 17:14:38

I've never had the slightest urge to have a child and in my 30s, when I might have changed my mind, the sight of my exhausted, half-mad friends attached to a sling just finished me off forever.

I love my DNs and DNeices more than life itself. And my pet, fat tabby Mr Cory, is very spoilt.

Groovee Thu 27-Mar-14 17:18:11

When I discovered I was pregnant. Dh was always adament he wanted kids. But I wanted a bit of married life first. Dh asked if he could be a dad by 33 which gave me 4 years or if I took it to 34 it would be 5. I agreed because that sounded plenty. I then got a positive pregnancy test the following month. Cried for days but knew I wouldn't terminate.

AnotherFurry Thu 27-Mar-14 17:23:39

I have always known I didn't want them. I have always been able to imagine my life childless and happy but when I imagine my life with children it is the opposite so it was never in doubt for me. Even if my husband begged me I still would not have children so it's a good job that he doesn't want any either.

I think all you can be is honest with the other person in any relationship.

lisac99 Thu 27-Mar-14 17:30:48

I'm having similar(ish) thoughts - Has anyone had a child not because they ever felt like they wanted one, but because they thought time was running out?

I'm 32, not married and whilst I'm seeing someone, I don't know whether it will be a long term thing. I'm lucky enough to be in the position that I could pay for full time care as I feel (although I appreciate noone knows for sure) that I would want to go back to work very quickly and continue my career.

I have never felt broody... nor have I ever thought there were more pros than cons about children - however, at 32, I appreciated that I have limited time to make that decision and therefore am wondering whether to just 'have kids' as that way, it's done as opposed to not having kids and then regretting it 15 years down the line.

That's literally the ONLY reason at the moment - the worry that I will regret not having them.

flowerflo Thu 27-Mar-14 17:47:33

I never wanted kids. Didn't like babies or children, didn't want to go through pregnancy and the thought of giving birth was horrific to me. However I was then diagnosed with a serious long term health problem. When I thought I would be unable to have children, my outlook suddenly changed. I decided I wanted one! I now have a lovely 2 year old and can't imagine life without her. I loved being pregnant and loved giving birth and really enjoy being a mum. Definitely the best decision I ever made. In a way I'm glad for my horrible health condition as otherwise I probably would have just carried on and never made a decision. I still don't like other peoples kids though lol smile

flowerflo Thu 27-Mar-14 17:50:33

Oh and I thought I'd miss work and want to go back ASAP, but actually ended up having a year off on maternity leave which I loved every minute of! Didn't want to go back to work but went back part time as I needed the money. Would happily be a stay at home mum if I could (and if you knew me you would know that there is no way in the world I would ever, ever have said this before). Think my friends find it quite amusing!

BigPawsBrown Thu 27-Mar-14 17:52:43

You're still so young though. I am 29 and over the last 6 months or so I have had a few "it'd be so nice if there was a baby in the room" thoughts...

olathelawyer05 Thu 27-Mar-14 18:26:11

"I'm now dating someone who seems pretty much perfect. He has made it clear he doesn't want children. I haven't said anything either way to him but I think he will ask outright soon."

I find this unlikely. If he has MADE IT CLEAR he doesn't want kids, why would he keep 'checking in' with you? For as long as you don't say anything, I imagine he'll (logically) assume that you are happy with the position.

tessa6 Fri 28-Mar-14 03:09:56

I feel similarly. Never had children, never felt broody, but can't imagine NOT having children if you see what I mean. If I have a child I should do it soon. I feel like my partner would be a great father to the child but I'm not so sure about being the perfect partner to raise a child WITH. It's never occurred to me I would be tied to someone else forever through flesh, or at least I thought it would feel inevitable and entirely natural if it did happen. but it makes me feel a little….tied down and frightened.

http://therumpus.net/2011/04/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-71-the-ghost-ship-that-didnt-carry-us/

tessa6 Fri 28-Mar-14 03:10:27
freakyfryme Fri 28-Mar-14 05:37:44

I didn't want children, never felt broody, had no biological clock niggling away. People have always told me I was wrong to feel like that as I was missing out and it's "the best experience ever!" But these were also the people that whinged about how "you have no idea how it changes your life", like they hadn't been listening to what other parents had been telling them before they took the plunge and seemed to have gone into it with rose tinted specs on. I felt I had been listening, that it did sound blooming hard work and a huge life change and I wasn't up for that.

Met my wonderful DH late 20's, married early 30's and partied until turning 38. DH was of the same mindset as me, although once a year he would mention drunkenly how he always wondered whether we should try for a child, mainly out of curiosity of what our baby would look like! And because we weren't getting any younger, which made me start to wonder whether I would regret not having a child. Then we also realised one by one, all our younger friends were having babies, and we could no longer avoid them!

So as I approached the end of my 30's we talked about it whilst sober. & decided that we still couldn't decide! But what we did know is that were we to be blessed with a baby (we fully accepted it also may not be possible by this point) we were finally ready for the all encompassing change to our lives if it happened which I believe was the key. 4/5 months later I found out I was pregnant, with many mixed emotions, but fate had decided.

And here we are a year later with our gorgeous DS! We have been blessed with a very healthy and laid back baby so far, which has made the transition into parenthood far easier than expected. We both admit 3 months in that it's still like living in a parallel universe as we still can't believe WE have a BABY! But I am very aware that our reaction to DS coming along could have been so very different, and I hope to goodness that I in turn never chastise someone else who says they don't want kids as I know it is not a decision to be taken lightly yet all too often is. It is not the best thing for everyone, and no one can guarantee you'll love it. I have been so lucky and am enjoying motherhood enough that I almost wish I had wanted this earlier, but I wouldn't be the parent I am otherwise, so no regrets.

There has been some really good advice so far on this post OP and we'll only ever be able to tell you how it happened or not for us. Just please don't put yourself under pressure whatever you do, or hurry into any decisions when there's no need. Good luck x

BadLad Fri 28-Mar-14 06:03:18

Then we also realised one by one, all our younger friends were having babies, and we could no longer avoid them!

I thought that was an excellent post, apart from this sentence.

Why can you no longer avoid babies just because your friends are having them?

mammadiggingdeep Fri 28-Mar-14 06:22:08

I always wanted to be a mum, it was never a case of 'will I?' But 'when I have kids'.

I think youighy regret not having them, I'm not sure you would regret having a child though.

What I would say though is even with the most responsible, 'weigh-pulling father it is the mothers life which is more affected every time. It's you that carries the baby, gives birth and it is you that has the career affected etc etc. I have a friend who says she 'll have a baby only because her partner wants one- I think this is where somebody could resent becoming a mummy.

Newgoldheelsrock Fri 28-Mar-14 07:08:53

I hadn't really thought about it until I met DH. Just kind of knew I wanted to experience many things with him, and the biggest and most exciting thing seemed to be parenthood. Then I got pregnant a year after we met, unexpectedly (I was 28 and thought my life had ended!) Now I am 33 and expecting no. 3 in a few months smile But I do wonder whether I'd have gone down the road if that hadn't happened (both in terms of meeting DH/having more time to think about the reality of it all).

I went from being a VERY intolerant person in regards to babies/children (used to wish they were banned from planes shock) I was a bit of an idiot. I now genuinely love all babies and children. I love watching them discover things, learn and grow - the whole growing process absolutely fascinates me - I am amazed by my children every day. They drive me up the wall at times as well, but I really am happier than before I had them. A bear hug from my 2 year old or being told I'm my four year old's best friend makes me happy for the rest of the day.

The euphoria and joy of being alive when I was handed my baby after each labour...the intensity of the love I felt at that moment - I am glad I had children for that alone.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 28-Mar-14 07:17:15

I just always knew that I wanted them from a very young age.
I can quite see why people don't.
They change your life and there is no going back, so it is not something to 'do' just in case you regret not later.

freakyfryme Fri 28-Mar-14 07:27:06

Badlad - I meant that with our friends now having babies, one way or another, children were becoming a part of both our lives. Neither of us grew up with babies or younger children around, so I guess that made us less drawn to them if they were about as they were a bit of an unknown entity. I think I also didn't want to spend time with other peoples children as even though not broody, it got me asking the question why wasnt I? Why didn't I want children when so many others did? I felt fairly alone in my decision like many of the other posters here say they are now, so yes, I think I actively avoided kids! It was easier than dealing with a niggling question that no one could give me an answer to.

NotNewButNameChanged Fri 28-Mar-14 08:48:53

I'm a man. Now 40. Don't want kids. Have always known I don't want them. The downside is that makes me like a leper in the dating pool!

I have a female friend who is about to turn 37. Her boyfriend of 5 years dumped her just before she turned 30 as they were discussing buying a house together. She said at the time "I won't ever have kids now".

Three years later she said she probably didn't want children. Four years later she said she wouldn't MIND children - if she met a man who wanted kids, fine, if they didn't, that would be fine too. Then it was back to probably not wanting. Then her sister-in-law had a baby through IVF and my friend decided she probably did want kids and got broody.

Now she's back on the fence and is genuinely happy with either outcome depending on the man. Unfortunately she's been single 7 years - a few dates here and there so the decision is looking like it'll be out of her hands anyway before too much longer.

AnotherFurry Fri 28-Mar-14 09:08:55

I am in 40s and a women and I am amazed at how many people had said I will regret not having children but I know I won't. I like my life and get great pleasure from doing the things I like and the people I see. I guess the difference is I 100% know for me having a child would change my life for the worst.

If you are sitting on the fence it must be awful because once you have a child you can't take that decision back. Unfortunately society still assumes the women will take care of the children in any split so I also think that if your undecided think about how you would feel as a single parent with little or no help. And yes a lot of men would step up and want 50\50 care of the kids in a split but there are am awful lot that walk away.

When you are doing the things you like think about how having a child in the mix would change it. Can you imagine finding joy in that, would it enhance you as a person. Do you want to share your life and experiences with a child? Not an easy decision so wish you all the best.

pointythings Fri 28-Mar-14 14:31:35

I always, always wanted children. So when DH and I became a couple, it was one of the first things we discussed. Fortunately we were on the same page as it would have been a deal breaker for me.

My Dsis never, never wanted children. Neither did her DP when they discussed it.

We are both happy with the way our lives have turned out.

It must be very hard not to be sure, can't imagine how that must feel. As long as you are always honest with yourself and any partners you have though you will come to the right decision.

heyho1985 Fri 28-Mar-14 14:59:53

I would love to be so adamant in my decision as some people are. My friend in his late 20's is so sure he never wants them and I believe he knows 100%. Must be brilliant to know your own mind!

ThePost Fri 28-Mar-14 15:15:04

I think it is useful to preface any decision with "In these circumstances, right now I think..." because people do change their minds. If you were to stay in a relationship with this chap, OP, how would you feel if he changed his mind? How would he react if you decided in a decade that you did want a child?
If you don't change your mind, what would happen if you were to become pregnant unexpectedly? Would you be prepared to terminate? Would your partner demand or expect that you terminate? It's a good idea to chat through these scenarios and often very illuminating!
There's no right answer so no one else can tell you what to do or what will leave you with the most / least regret. Everyone comes at this from their own perspective.

RedRoom Fri 28-Mar-14 18:04:00

Hubby and I discussed children before trying: we both agreed that not having children was perfectly lovely and gave us freedom (and, if you want to be materialistic, more spare money!). However, we do like children and felt that we'd be good parents should children come along, which is when we started trying for a baby. I never had any sort of a 'I must have children or I'll die!' feeling, but I did go a bit squishy over friend's and relative's new borns when I had a cuddle. I guess I made the decision based on how much love I thought I'd feel for a baby, and I always thought I'd love them a lot.

cerealqueen Sat 29-Mar-14 00:22:09

I was never a baby person, didn't know what to do with them and got irritated with people bringing them into work and everybody cooing.

I met DP late in life, and we had a drunken conversation about babies. I realised my negative feelings were a fear I'd never have children, as my love life had always been a bit sad, and it was easier to say 'I don't want them' rather than 'I'm worried I won't have them'.

So we decided to leave it to fate - ok to have one, ok to not, given our ages, 40+.

A year later, I wasn't pregnant and I looked at a life without babies. I decided it wasn't what I wanted so we tried properly and a month later, DD1 was conceived. Three years later, DD2.

I am now one of those women peering into prams and cooing, and happily so.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now