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Planning to be childfree... but feel very judged!

(108 Posts)
C1239 Thu 12-Dec-19 10:41:03

I’ve never really seen myself having biological children, can’t really explain it just have felt it’s not in my life plan but thought children could be involved in my life somehow.
I’m now 35, been in a relationship for 5 years and am stepmum to my partners two sons under 10. I enjoy it, I’m lucky to have a fantastic relationship with the boys which I think was helped my meeting them when they were so young. There have definitely been challenging times and it’s been a real eye opener into how tough parenting is. But I feel happy with my situation, I love seeing the boys and the family time we have but I also love the time just me and my partner have.
Since I’ve reached mid 30s though the pressure to have my ‘own’ children seems to be massive, from parents, random comments from work colleagues, some friends , all saying it’s completely different with your own, you will regret this when you are older, what do you mean you don’t want your own children you are an amazing stepmum...!
Throughout my 20s I was able to laugh comments off but sometimes now I really feel the pressure and even question myself that I’m making the right decision even though I’m sure my gut feeling is being a biological mum isn’t for me.
Has anyone else experienced the same? Any advise? Are all these people right and I am making a massive mistake?!

AryaStarkWolf Thu 12-Dec-19 10:43:26

No one can tell you if you're making a mistake or not, you're the best judge of that but having a child to make other people happy would be ridiculous

MadMadMad Thu 12-Dec-19 10:46:08

Sadly society seems to expect that everyone should want to be a biological mum but it just isn't for everyone. I have every sympathy for those that would love a child but for whatever can't have one but also think that being childless by choice is the right thing for some people. I adore my children but always knew I wanted them and would have been very upset if I hadn't been able to have them, equally a close friend doesn't have them (now in her fifties) and still thinks it was the right choice. She loves other peoples and often has another mutual friends child to stay over but she just didn't/doesn't want one of her own. No-one can say if you are making a massive mistake and will one day regret it if you don't have any but as well as the above friend I know of several other people (less close) who are also very happy without children and for whom it was a definite choice.

DDIJ Thu 12-Dec-19 10:47:37

Try to avoid getting into these conversations with people. It is incredibly rude and thoughtless to ask people if they will be gaving children and you just don't have to engage with these people. It would be quite in order for you to say you don't feel comfortable discussing something so personal.

MsChnandlerBong Thu 12-Dec-19 10:48:17

But I feel happy with my situation

Those are your own words. You feel happy, so screw everyone else! The societal pressure on women to reproduce is huge! I would honestly ignore all the 'well meaning' hmm advice and, if you are happy, then change nothing!

Areyoufree Thu 12-Dec-19 10:48:49

Not having children always seems a more acceptable choice for men than for women. Women are supposed to have this instinctive desire for children, and work or career is supposed to be secondary. It's annoying. I had extremely successful family members who never had the urge to have children, and never regretted it. I think this cartoon gives quite a nice response to the question!

Emmapeeler1 Thu 12-Dec-19 10:49:09

It sounds like you have a lovely set up with your step-children.

I don’t really understand your friends’ comments though about how it’s different when you have your own. I’m sure lots of adoptive parents would disagree with that.

SpoonBlender Thu 12-Dec-19 10:49:53

As childfree myself (and loving it), I must be incredibly lucky or perhaps just in different social and work circles. I've never had any pressure at all from anyone, and many of my friends are coupled but intentionally childless too - or in the same situation as you where they've acquired stepkids and don't want their own.

Sorry you're not so lucky in your nearby people sad

lifeisgoodagain Thu 12-Dec-19 10:51:55

You need to follow a path that you are happy with, it's nobody's choice but yours. The only thing I would say is that many women I know felt like you at 35 but by their early 40's they were desperate to be a mum and having ivf at great expense.

LolaSmiles Thu 12-Dec-19 10:53:44

If you feel happy then that's what matters.

I know a few people who are child free by choice and they don't regret it at all. They love their step children, nieces, nephews etc but don't want to be a parent.

There's a strange thing in society where people feel they have rights to comment on women's reproductive decisions on anything from whether to have children or not, when to have children, how many children to have, what age gap between them. Don't have children and you're heartless, have one and they'll obviously be lonely, 2 is acceptable but people will comment on your age gap, 3 or more is obviously ridiculous and you can't provide for them all adequately. Have them when you're young and you're throwing your life away, haven't had them by 27 and people will start hassling you about your family plans, have them in 30s and you'll be reminded you're an older mother. There's no satisfying rude people so it's best to ignore them.

harriethoyle Thu 12-Dec-19 10:55:20

I had this constantly in my 30's. Now I'm in my 40's, people raise it far less. It's SUCH a pain... one friend of mine, when asked whether she and her husband were trying for children replied "well, we're really into anal at the moment, so not any time soon." Genius!

HappyStep1 Thu 12-Dec-19 10:59:03

Your situation sounds very similar to mine but I am now in my early fifties.
I have a great relationship with my DSCs but never wanted (enough) my own.
I felt the same pressure in my late thirties and at forty three was seriously considering whether I should try, but realised I was actually being pushed by friends who had children later in life, to "not miss out"!
My standard phrase was
The reasons I don't have my own children is my business thank you.
But also I rarely give a fuck what others think! grin

ohprettybaby Thu 12-Dec-19 10:59:40

I'm child-free through choice and, like you, was concerned at comments saying I would regret it. I am now past child-bearing years and I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever. I always knew I didn't want them and ...... I was right. grin

PooWillyBumBum Thu 12-Dec-19 11:01:28

You feel happy, you have an insight into what parenting entails and don’t want it for sod everyone else.

I’m a mother and I think children are overrated. I would have a very lovely and full life without them. I have a very lovely and full life with them but I’ve sacrificed energy elsewhere for that to happen. I do regret it occasionally!

BlackSwanGreen Thu 12-Dec-19 11:04:20

I think that to some extent the people asking these questions are seeking validation in their own life choices. The rest is just idle chit chat. Ignore!

TopOftheNaughtyList Thu 12-Dec-19 11:06:19

Having children is not for everyone. My DB and his DW decided they didn't want children and he had the snip to make sure it wouldn't happen. They're very happy with their life choice and have lots of nieces and nephews they can spoil.

It's extremely rude of your colleagues to make any comment. I think you need to shut them down with a firm "this is my choice, I'd rather you didn't express an opinion on it". Friends and family feel they have the right to say these things, but they're projecting their own thoughts and feelings on you. Have you actually sat down with your parents and explained that you don't want to have children? Again, I believe you need to be quite firm and tell them it's your choice to not have children and you'd appreciate if they didn't exert any pressure on you to change your mind. They may want to have grandchildren, but it is you who will have cope financially/emotionally/practically. They've had their kids. They need to let you make your own life choices.

OneDay10 Thu 12-Dec-19 11:09:00

People need to mind their own business and you tell them so. It's sad that a womans worth is tied to having children. I bet that its women that you mostly hear this from?

toomuchtooold Thu 12-Dec-19 11:09:24

TBH if you're female, once you're over 35 you get judged either way. If you don't have kids you're a selfish, hard-hearted cow (you're not!) and if you do have kids - well, the judgement starts with what sort of birth you end up having and just carries the fuck right on forever. Don't worry about it. People are total dicks.

AgeLikeWine Thu 12-Dec-19 11:10:45

Only you can make that decision. I’m child free by choice, and I always knew that was the right decision for me. If anyone questioned it, I politely shut the discussion down fairly quickly. If some rude people still didn’t drop it, they were instructed to do so.


I always like this quote from Steve Jobs:

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

SerenDippitty Thu 12-Dec-19 11:13:45

TBH if you're female, once you're over 35 you get judged either way. If you don't have kids you're a selfish, hard-hearted cow (you're not!) and if you do have kids - well, the judgement starts with what sort of birth you end up having and just carries the fuck right on forever. Don't worry about it. People are total dicks.

And if you can’t have kids you’re a pitiful creature living half a life. Even if you think you have made a fulfilling life in other ways, you really haven’t because nothing compares to having kids.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 12-Dec-19 11:15:50

I tell you what would be really selfish: to have a child because you were afraid of missing out, rather than because you were willing and able to give everything you have for that child, including the time you currently give to your partner and stepchildren (because that's not just enjoying yourself, it's making them happy too). Suppose you did that and then realised you were right after all, parenting isn't for you? That wouldn't be fair on the baby either! People need to butt out and stop thinking they know you better than you know yourself. It's not as if the world needs more human beings.

OK, I had four, myself. (DSis and DB said I had their share as well, thus letting them off the hook.) But I really wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't absolutely sure that being a mother is what they want to be.

Pootles34 Thu 12-Dec-19 11:16:21

You must ignore them. If you did have children, everything you do will get judged anyway - right from pregnancy.

I really hate it - its so misogynistic, and insulting to those of us who have kids as well - like our sole role in life is a mother. It's bullshit.

As others have said, it might be worth telling those close to you that you definitely do not want children, and would prefer it didn't get mentioned? Just to shut them up a bit.

QueenWhatevs Thu 12-Dec-19 11:17:08

These people are just pissed off because they only have one thing to judge you for; if you could just toddle along and have kids they could judge you for so many choices! They're wankers, what you do with your life is your decision not theirs.

Wild123 Thu 12-Dec-19 11:19:35

I get judged because i only have 1 child and I don't want and won't have anymore but I'm absolutely happy with my decision and i don't care for anyone else's opinion on the subject.

OP you do what is best for YOU. You don't have to explain your decision to anyone and don't let anyone try and persuade you otherwise.

AutumnRose1 Thu 12-Dec-19 11:20:24

People endlessly criticise women for choosing to be childfree

It’s pretty shocking. I asked an aunt in her 60s when it stops and she said, it just changes to “don’t you want grandchildren”. The absolute state of it.

Don’t have children if you don’t want them. That’s not fair to anyone.

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