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If you chose not to have children, what were your reasons?

(380 Posts)
NCPuffin Thu 07-Jun-18 20:36:08

I am aware that not having children can potentially be a sensitive topic. Please know that I do not mean it as such - I am really curious to find out why some people choose not to have children.The desire for me was so strong, I can't imagine not feeling that way. Just to reiterate, I am quite aware that some people are unable to have children, either due to fertility problems, lack of a partner, or other reasons. So, if you are childfree by choice, what were your reasons for this decision?

NCPuffin Thu 07-Jun-18 20:38:39

Sorry, just realised that the link between the last two sentences reads somewhat flippantly - please replace 'so' by 'but'!

KevinTheYuccaPlant Thu 07-Jun-18 20:41:29

No reasons other than I simply don't like children and have never wanted them.

Johnnyfinland Thu 07-Jun-18 20:42:13

The desire for me NOT to have children is so strong, I can't imagine wanting them. I don't relate to it at all. When I think of what my life could be like with children all I feel is utter despair, terror and regret (and I haven't even got any!) I feel like I'd lose my purpose and identity, I'd destroy my life as I know it, and I'd be reduced to a vessel whose existence was now about sustaining another life rather than my own, and that makes me feel like I'd rather jump headfirst off a cliff. Genuinely, if I had to choose between having children or losing a limb, I'd lose a limb. I'm being as honest as I possibly can be here, so I hope you don't take this personally, that's just how it makes me feel

KevinTheYuccaPlant Thu 07-Jun-18 20:42:31

(Now nearly 43 and the first time I remember realising this was when I was about 5 - a friend was really excited because she was going to see the neighbour's new baby and I couldn't understand what was remotely interesting about that!)

Olddear Thu 07-Jun-18 20:43:15

Not in any way maternal. I never wanted children.

ScreamingValenta Thu 07-Jun-18 20:45:51

Several reasons:

No strong maternal urge

I wouldn't make a very good mum - I'm too selfish and impulsive. I would struggle to put the child first all the time.

I would hate to see a 'miniature' version of myself running around, as I hate my own voice and mannerisms, which a child would imitate.

I worry all the time, and a child would be another thing to worry about.

Olddear Thu 07-Jun-18 20:46:09

Johnnyfinland you said it so much better than me! That's exactly it!

GetInMyNelly Thu 07-Jun-18 20:49:00

@Johnnyfinland shock you've just said everything I'd have said pre children.

I now have one and my life is exactly as you described!

lljkk Thu 07-Jun-18 20:50:30

I grew up planning to get sterilised when I was 18. I decided 'no hurry' when I was 19, though. I do have kids, but I didn't want any until I was 22. I think I would have been fine if I had been infertile (can never know, though). Many people were shocked when I said I was pregnant (they said I was very not maternal.

I didn't like kids, enjoy spending time with them or understand them. Kids are gross, babies are even more disgusting, & I am quite squeamish. I still hate having to organise other people's lives (irk ugh yuck). I like long lie ins. I don't like conflict. I love my space. I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to have kids with me (or even be my partner), could see nothing appealing about parenthood.

One of my colleagues adores her nephew but has horror about being a mother herself. Quite healthy.

Johnnyfinland Thu 07-Jun-18 20:51:49

@Olddear it's good to hear someone relate to that as I was starting to wonder if my aversion was a bit extreme! As Kevin said upthread as well I have less than zero interest in babies and kids, I don't find them cute or interesting or exciting at all.

Another thing I often see on here, is partners getting annoyed because one gets more time away from the family/with friends than the other. Obviously I can see that it isn't fair for one partner to constantly be left at home with the kids, but I would HATE to have my social life policed like that, or to have to arrange everything around kids. The idea of prioritising home and family life over other friends and activities is bizarre to me - if I lived with a partner, I'd be more committed to arranging social occasions alone 2/3 times a week because I can see my partner anytime I'm in the house!

Personal responsibility is also very important to me, as is independence, so keeping your own friends and interests away from a partner/family is important to me. I'd also never want to be financially dependent on another adult

NCPuffin Thu 07-Jun-18 20:53:43

I'm being as honest as I possibly can be here, so I hope you don't take this personally, that's just how it makes me feel

I'm not taking it personally at all! Fascinating though, that people can feel so differently about these things! I remember crying in the kitchen because I wanted a baby. Now. DH reminded me we'd start trying soon, but that wasn't good enough. Bloody hormones! Fortunately I am pregnant now! @ScreamingValenta - did you consciously consider whether you would make a good mum? I have never thought about this, just assumed I'd be OK blush I do worry sometimes that I will be too selfish.

Interesting to see that so far most replies focus on just not wanting kids - in the media I had mainly come across people saying they don't want kids because of their own horrible childhoods, how it limits their lifestyle and what it does to their bodies.

ScreamingValenta Thu 07-Jun-18 20:55:27

I find other people's children quite interesting and sometimes endearing, but that's never translated into an urge to have one of my own. I suppose it's like, I might see an elephant at a wildlife park and think how lovely and fascinating it is, but I wouldn't want to take it home with me.

Johnnyfinland Thu 07-Jun-18 20:56:10

Another thing I'd add is that when I accidentally did become pregnant I was just engulfed with the most dizzying horror I'd ever felt in my life. My reaction was to pour myself a triple vodka and re-start smoking. I'm thankful every day that I could access an abortion quickly and easily and have never given it any thought since - no regrets or negative feelings. That just galvanised for me that everything I was feeling about not wanting kids was correct. It isn't a choice, it's just an innate part of me

JesusInTheCabbageVan Thu 07-Jun-18 20:57:03

Johnny I wanted kids and love DS to bits, but that is exactly how the first year felt.

NCPuffin Thu 07-Jun-18 20:59:52

Do you ever get annoying comments? I have a friend who never wanted children, until her long-term relationship broke up. She now has a new partner and desperately wants a baby. I am so glad I never commented on her not wanting children, but I know people often tell people who don't want children that they haven't met the right person yet...

ScreamingValenta Thu 07-Jun-18 21:00:48

x-posted there, OP.

Yes, my potential as a mother was something I consciously considered very much. Mainly in the context of, would I later regret not having children, rather than actively wanting them. I looked at the things I struggle with - depression and anxiety - and considered how difficult I find it to look after myself, carry on at work, look after the house etc. and it was impossible to think that I could add a child to that mix without the possibility of the child being neglected.

I have a dog, and the relatively brief period of his puppyhood was quite a strain - sleepless nights, not being able to leave him by himself etc. The thought of having that level of dependency for years rather than a couple of months was impossible to contemplate.

Timefortea99 Thu 07-Jun-18 21:00:59

People have told me that I would make a good mum but I have never once felt the urge to be one. I actually like babies and toddlers but the thought of having a child left me numb. I am 53. I don’t regret it. Luckily I married somebody who felt the same. I have a good life, we have no money worries, we do stuff on a whim, we travel, we wear nice clothes. Our peers at work etc who have had kids spend their lives running around their kids, looking tired, being skint. I often want to ask them if it was all worth it. I suppose it must be, if you had that burning urge to have children in the first place.

NCPuffin Thu 07-Jun-18 21:04:47

@ScreamingValenta - interesting. I have anxiety too and worry a lot about coping with sleep deprivation. I think my urge to have a child was just stronger... I will find a way to cope, I always have so far, and my problems are not severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life on the whole.

Johnnyfinland Thu 07-Jun-18 21:06:02

Oh and one more thing (sorry I'll stop spamming this thread in a minute) even my own mother says id hate parenthood and advised me never to have any. Some people find this horrifying but I think she's absolutely right

ScreamingValenta Thu 07-Jun-18 21:07:56

I have had annoying comments in the past; a relative of my husband's once harangued me for denying his mum a grandchild!

Mainly, I've been annoyed by people assuming I do have children by virtue of being female and of an age by which many people have had them. Plenty of passing 'you know what it's like' comments WRT babies, pregnancy etc. from people at work - no, sorry, I have no first hand knowledge of those things.

ScreamingValenta Thu 07-Jun-18 21:12:19

@NCPuffin - from what I read on MN, having a support network helps when coping with anxiety and sleep deprivation. This is another thing I lack for geographic reasons. It would have been me and my husband on our own with a DC, unless a whole host of 'mum friends' had sprung from nowhere (unlikely as I'm not the sociable type).

MrsGrindah Thu 07-Jun-18 21:12:41

Screaming You’ve described my feelings exactly. I like children but never ever occurred to me to want one of my own. Same with dogs. I love newborn snuggly babies...other people’ I love little puppies I,e, other people’s! I’ve known since about age 11 that I would never have a child

MrsGrindah Thu 07-Jun-18 21:14:08

However I have two SDs whom I love dearly and can’t wait until I’m a grandma! Even I can’t figure that one out!

RealityHasALiberalBias Thu 07-Jun-18 21:18:46

I’ve never once had the merest twinge of broodiness or any kind of mental or physical desire to have them. I like kids, love my nephews, but no interest whatsoever in having any of my own.

I think if anyone were to draw up a pro/con list for children that didn’t factor in broodiness, the con column would easily win. So I’m grateful for whatever it is that makes me not broody.

Kids are fun, babies are dull though (unless they make you go gooey - and I know how this feels because give me a puppy...).

I’m 36 now so hopefully it won’t kick in - my partner and I have worked out all our finances for years to come!

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