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How/if you came to terms with the decision not to have children?

(18 Posts)
GilMartin Thu 05-Jan-17 13:10:32

And are there any regrets?

Both me and my wife are in our late 30s and until about a year ago were both adamant that we didn't want children ... until (with crushing predictably) several of our friends had children and I have enjoyed interacting with the children (and I totally appreciate they're at the cute stage and I only see the fun side and not the grunt work) it has made me reconsider my views.

My wife' has always been clear that she's never wanted children, doesn't enjoy being around them particularly and doesn't consider herself suited to parenthood. I completely understand and respect that (it is my views not hers that have changed after all). In most other respects our marriage is happy and I haven't attempted to persuade her to change her mind. I also acknowledge that in practical terms it would be quite hard (no family support, limited income, would finish the career of whoever was the primary carer)

And yet, part of me feels slightly empty and like something's missing.

It might just be a phase or a 'wobble', bought on by our peers having children and the fact my gran is seriously ill or a reflection of the fact biologically time is running out and it will be out of our hands in a few years time.

I'm wondering how people managed to reconcile differing views on this topic and managed to come to terms with the desicions they made as a couple or is it just inevitable to wonder about the 'road not taken'.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Thu 05-Jan-17 13:16:26

Place marking here. We've just been told we can't have children and are debating between IVF, adoption and living child free.

I don't think wobbles are unusual.

PlayingGrownUp Thu 05-Jan-17 13:20:43

I'm very openly childfree but even I get wobbles especially when they are young and sweet and adorable. My friend has twin boys and for 6 months I desperately wanted a baby and then it waned again. They are now 4 and while I adore them I don't want my own.

The main thing I'd bring up is that for a lot of people children are a non negiotable -for and against.

KittyOShea Thu 05-Jan-17 13:22:40

I think you'll always wonder about the road not taken. DH and I had the choice taken out of our hands by my infertility (although tbf I was dithering as to whether I wanted children or not anyway). That just left us wondering what would have happened if we'd tried to conceive earlier (infertility due to early menopause)

The thing that worries us was whether our lives would just continue to be the same routine forever- get up, go to work, go on holiday, back to work etc right up to retirement or ill health so we decided to shake things up a bit: we are planning on career breaks next year and spending a few years working overseas.

Costacoffeeplease Thu 05-Jan-17 13:22:53

I'm 51, post hysterectomy and menopausal, so will definitely continue to be happily child free.

I can't actually think of any reason why I would want to have a child

GilMartin Thu 05-Jan-17 13:44:53

The main thing I'd bring up is that for a lot of people children are a non negiotable -for and against

That's a very fair point. It isn't even something I'd attempt to try to re-negotiate as she has been clear and consistent since the early days of our relationship.

Handbag101 Thu 05-Jan-17 13:48:44

I've never wanted children and neither has my husband. I'm 44 now. I was adament from about 5 years old so knew early on.

Been mortgage free for about 10 years and have a lovely lifestyle - no debts, lovely holidays, spa days, all the littleness extras.

Plus I get to I spoil my little niece who i adore beyond belief.

However this is just my own perspective.

ShatnersWig Thu 05-Jan-17 13:48:50

42-year old man here. Have never, ever wanted children. Have never, ever had even one slight wobble. I have a goddaughter but even being around her occasionally has never, ever made me doubt my choice.

I feel like something is missing, but that's a partner, as I have been single for years because it is very difficult finding women who don't want or don't have children. But when I was with an ex-partner (who didn't want children, shame it didn't work out for other reasons), neither of us ever felt we were "missing" anything.

GinAndOnIt Thu 05-Jan-17 13:53:31

Watching with interest. I actually posted a similar thread last year although it has disappeared from Chat now. We are childfree but I have been dithering lately.

I am an ex nanny, and feel very lucky to have been able to help raise lots of children, and also to still have them in my life now that they're older for sleepovers etc. But sometimes I worry that I will regret not having children of my own and ultimately being alone in the elderly years once my nanny charges have quite rightly grown their own families.

GilMartin Thu 05-Jan-17 13:58:04

Gin part of me thinks/worries about being alone when old too, but then I guess there's no guarantee children would be willing or able to stick around. My sister and I both live over 100 miles away in opposite directions from my parents.

Costacoffeeplease Thu 05-Jan-17 14:12:18

Having children so you're not lonely in old age is no reason to go ahead

Children may not be around, for lots of reasons, better to have a good network of friends and a lot of hobbies and interests - and aim to be able to afford care if necessary, given you haven't had the expense of child-rearing

Birdsgottafly Thu 05-Jan-17 14:25:37

My DDs fourteen year relationship has just ended because she doesn't want children, but after the birth of her DN, her Partner decided that he did.

She's also decided that she won't seriously date a man with young children.

She likes her lifestyle and she couldn't meet the needs of children and carry on with it.

dollydaydream114 Thu 05-Jan-17 14:26:46

I'm 41 and my partner is 49. When we met, I mentioned that I found the idea of having kids a bit terrifying and had never really felt 'broody'. He said that he hadn't completely ruled it out in his head, but by this point he was 35 and had been single for a very long time, and just sort of had a hunch children weren't going to happen, but he certainly wouldn't say 'no' if I wanted them.

By the time we'd been together long enough for the relationship to feel committed enough to think about children, neither of us really wanted kids. I love babies, and I can't pretend I don't sometimes wonder what it would be like to have one, but I don't think I regret our decision.

For the early years of our relationship we were quite skint, and we also live 250 miles away from any of our family. We also lived in an area where I wouldn't in all honesty have wanted to bring up a child - great for singles and couples, but no facilities for kids, no good schools, no green spaces etc. I do sometimes wonder if things had been different if we'd had more money that would have made it easier for one of us to give up work for a few years to be a stay-at-home parent, or if we'd lived near our families who would have loved to babysit, but overall I don't have any regrets.

The only other thing I sometimes think is 'But when we die, what will be left?' I have nieces and nephews but although I'm fond of them, we're not particularly close. I sometimes feel slightly sad at the thought of us leaving behind all our precious and personal sentimental items when we die and them just ending up in a skip. I know that's a really weird thing to worry about, and it's not like I'll even know about it when it happens because I'll be dead, but it does cross my mind. Certainly doesn't bother me enough to want to have kids for that reason, though!

Generally speaking we really love our lives they way they are, and I suspect our relationship has been as easy and harmonious as it has partly because the added stress of children isn't a factor. We don't regret not having children, and I think whenever we go somewhere where there are lots of kids, we both think "I'm glad this isn't us." I also know that I would colossally anxious all the time if I had a child. I worry enough about something awful happening to my partner, to be honest, let alone a helpless child.

I do think it's completely natural to think 'what if' and to think 'that could have been me', especially when you see a particularly lovely parent-child moment. But for every one of those moments I see a child behaving appallingly or a teenager being obnoxious or parents being stressed out and I think 'Thank god that's not me.'

TheWorstNoel Thu 05-Jan-17 14:28:39

This is just such a sad reflection of where MN is right now - I was about to post some supportive thoughts (43, married DH who had 3 teens already, decided not to try, sometimes feel sad, sometimes feel intense relief particularly when reading threads about childrearing nightmares that have never even occurred to me), but then thought, do I really want to see this in the Daily Mail?

And I thought, no I don't.

Sorry, OP. I suspect your best bet - until the Mail fucks off and pays its journalists to either do some journalism or make up their own anecdotes - is to search old threads, because there are lots and lots on this topic.

BillyDaveysDaughter Thu 05-Jan-17 14:31:07

I never ever wanted children - when I met my DH 19 years ago, he already had 3 children and didn't want more. So we were a good fit.

He has never wavered, but I had a wobble when I watched the bond between my goddaughter and her mother - for a year or so I wondered if the mild emptiness I sometimes felt was a missing baby.

My poor DH was terrified that I would insist. Luckily, the feeling waned again and I am now 44 and very happily childless. Sadly not debt free though!

heron98 Thu 05-Jan-17 15:13:01

DP and I have chosen to remain childfree, although technically we have a short window of time left if that changed.

It's not something I have felt I have needed to "make peace with" as such. I do sometimes wonder what it would be like, especially as my sister has had a baby now, but the more I see what it's like to have children, the less I want them!

DailyFail1 Thu 05-Jan-17 15:38:13

Could your wife change your mind if you tell her how you feel? You owe it to yourself to have the discussion. She needs to know how you feel

GilMartin Thu 05-Jan-17 16:03:44

daily I think she does know as we've talked about it after visiting friends with children No she won't change her mind and I don't think it is fair for me to attempt to. It really isn't something she wants or has ever wanted and finds children hard work. I understand that practically remaining childfree is the rational choice and I need to come to terms with this.

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