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None of my siblings want children, is this normal?

(48 Posts)
Debbierocket123 Mon 12-Mar-18 15:31:35

Hello mumsnetters smile

I was having a conversation with my brother and my mum recently about parenting. We all have long-term partners but none of us feels the need to have kids and I feel like it upset my mum a little bit. She jokes that she's not ready to be a nan but she said she would like to have grandchildren one day. Is this normal? Maybe we all had fulfilling childhoods and are happy the way things are?

OutyMcOutface Mon 12-Mar-18 15:35:02

Well are you all quite young? Many people don’t want children until they get a bit older.

Debbierocket123 Mon 12-Mar-18 15:36:06

younger brother is 26 I am 31 and my older brother is 35.

OutyMcOutface Mon 12-Mar-18 16:02:31

Ok, there is still a good chance that one of all of you will still change your minds then. If you don’t then you should go out and buy lottery tickets, you may be some kind of lucky statistical anomaly.

CoffeeOrSleep Mon 12-Mar-18 16:11:25

Have many of your friends started having dc? Have many got married? In our friendship group, there was a bit of a baby boom around 2/3 years after the wedding boom (the 2 years on the run when it felt like I gave all my wages to various wedding gift list companies and every other weekend between Easter and September either we were at a wedding or the now DH or me had a stag/hen do to go to.).

If your friends have started settling down, getting married and having dcs, then it might start appealing. Late20s/early 30s seems to be when that happens.

It would be odd otherwise for 3 children from a family with a happy childhood to not want dcs ever.

(It could be a case that at least one of you is with the wrong partner, it's amazing how many men say they don't want kids, until they are with a woman they want to have kids with, woman seem to know if they want children or not, regardless of who they are with.)

bigfatbuddha Mon 12-Mar-18 16:16:30

Most people I know that didn't want children now have children.

Riverside2 Mon 12-Mar-18 16:21:37

most people I know that didn't want children really didn't want children and don't have them - in 40s and 50s. including me & my sis.

I also know a few people who wanted them and then when close friends or relatives had them and they saw the daily reality up close, they changed their minds and decided not to have them.

I have to say, not having children is probably the best decision I've ever made in my life. Please don't worry that something is awry just because the majority of people do have them.

Trills Mon 12-Mar-18 16:25:16

Approx 1 in 5 45 yr old women in the UK have no children
(easier to measure with women, for obvious reasons)

With 3 people you don't have a large enough sample size to say "this is unusual".

Lottapianos Mon 12-Mar-18 16:30:09

'I have to say, not having children is probably the best decision I've ever made in my life.'

That's nice to read. I'm increasingly feeling that way myself

OP, I guess 3 childfree siblings in one family is a bit unusual, but there's nothing odd or strange about not wanting children of itself. Your mum doesn't get a say!

Trills Mon 12-Mar-18 16:34:26

Let's play with maths grin

We don't know how many of the 1 in 5 people who don't have children chose it, rather than having it happen by circumstance, so let's say it's half.

(this is obviously a guess but we have to pick a number and this doesn't seem unreasonable)

So 1 in 10 people chooses not to have children.

(it's also true that there are people who end up having children not entirely by choice, so the number of people saying "I don't want children" aged 30ish may be higher than this)

For 3 people to all not want children, the chance is 1/10 * 1/10 * 1/10, which works out as 1/1000.

(if those people are choosing completely independently, which they aren't, but never mind)

1 in 1,000 families-of-three-siblings all not wanting children would be rare, but not rare enough to be extremely surprised.

SpringHen Mon 12-Mar-18 16:37:32

I know two women who didnt want children but were convinced by others that they would feel different once they had children so had them and regret it (they love their kids & parent them fine, but regret the choice)

All of the women I know who said they didnt want children & changed their minds & happily have kids now said that when they were VERY young. The ones that were still saying it by mid 20s still dont want them now in their 40s

Some womem who do want children say they dont to protect themselves if their doubts about being able to concieve/carry/parent come true.

Riverside2 Mon 12-Mar-18 17:04:20

Spring, yes, I know a couple of regretters. It's really hard to see someone regret something so undoable. well, obviously harder for them!!

but I do think it's a worry when society paints a picture that you must be weird if you don't want children - I never used to have sympathy for people who got talked into it, but now sadly I've encountered enough regretters to feel a lot of sympathy.

one particularly angry friend said to me that she didn't believe in PND - she doesn't mean that, she was just so furious with herself - and she thought "PND is just people realising they made the wrong choice and they can't undo it".

I was very worried for about 18 months because she basically went out drinking every night but after her family asked her to get liver function tests, she calmed down. Her DP does the majority of parenting, and both sets of grandparents do a lot. But it's still a strange world to live in for her I think - she was so adamant about a lot of biological clock shite and I think she feels completely had.

Lottapianos Mon 12-Mar-18 17:05:26

'We don't know how many of the 1 in 5 people who don't have children chose it, rather than having it happen by circumstance, so let's say it's half.'

Jody Day from Gateway Women suggests that only about 10% of women without childfree made a positive choice to remain childfree. The other 90% are childless by (a hugely wide variety of) circumstance

Lottapianos Mon 12-Mar-18 17:07:07

'she was so adamant about a lot of biological clock shite and I think she feels completely had.'

That's really sad. I think she's far from alone in her thinking

SpringHen Mon 12-Mar-18 17:11:19

Riverside I kinda see her point.

One of the women I mentioned felt really pissed off with herself and everyone else after the baby arrived because she still felt exactly the same as before, i.e. not wanting to be a mum, but still nobody would listen/believe her & kept telling her she had pnd and one that passed she would feel like a mum as promised.

She is an intelligent women and just could not believe she has let herself be convinced that a maternal epiphany would happen to her as soon as she gave birth. And now shes commited to this for life its awful and made even more awful because people STILL dont believe her and even tell her that a sibling for her child will make her feel more complete as a mother!!

Riverside2 Mon 12-Mar-18 17:17:14

Lottapianos " think she's far from alone in her thinking"

you mean you think a lot of people absorb those messages?

It's funny how I'm mellowing in middle age grin
if you'd asked me when I was 25, I'd have said "oh well, if you can't think for yourself"... but as I've grown older and met more people I've realised how much that message is pushed.

is it mostly about control of women or something, I don't know. The really stupid thing about this so-called biological clock is that women can and do have children up to menopause.

also when she came off the Pill she was shocked to get pregnant quickly - and she wasn't the only person I know who thought that. how does anyone square this with "miss one Pill and you risk pregnancy"?

it was a really weird time...shocked she was pregnant even though it was planned.....pissed off throughout pregnancy, ragingly angry and drinking heavily immediately after the birth....after it went on a few months my mum wondered if she was hoping the DP would just go off with the baby.

anyway, this is too depressing so I'll stop now.

but yes, OP, if you don't want to have children, don't have children, it's all fine!

Riverside2 Mon 12-Mar-18 17:20:58

xpost with SpringHen "She is an intelligent women and just could not believe she has let herself be convinced that a maternal epiphany would happen to her as soon as she gave birth. And now shes commited to this for life its awful and made even more awful because people STILL dont believe her and even tell her that a sibling for her child will make her feel more complete as a mother!!"

yes, that's terrible. If you have no one to confide in who will believe you it must be worse, but it sounds like she can confide in you so that's good.

I've seen a few posters on here who have had a second unwanted child to keep the first one company - don't see how that's a good idea either.

SpringHen Mon 12-Mar-18 17:23:51

I think the shock of the reality of a pregnancy is often unexpected even if you actively TTCed

Lottapianos Mon 12-Mar-18 17:26:00

'It's funny how I'm mellowing in middle age'

It's quite nice when that happens grin

Yes, I think a lot of women and men buy into the fairytale version of parenting and think that a baby will make life complete, and I think for many people, the relentless hard work of parenting comes as a dreadful shock. I have worked with parents for many years and a lot of them seem to expect tiny children to entertain themselves or "play nicely" without adult interaction. Like you, I have also known a few women who came off the pill in an extremely half hearted way and were pretty stunned, maybe even horrified, to get pregnant immediately. I think many people are ambivalent about parenthood but go along with it for various reasons. It's absolutely promoted in society as the 'normal' choice, the 'right' thing to do and something that 'everyone' does. It can be very hard to resist all that

SpringHen Mon 12-Mar-18 17:34:31

. Like you, I have also known a few women who came off the pill in an extremely half hearted way and were pretty stunned, maybe even horrified, to get pregnant immediately.

I know some people who were on the fence re kids and decided to "leave it to fate" i.e. come off the pill but not track ovulation or deliberately do it at fertile times etc.(& A lot of women assume they will struggle to concieve).

They do know how babies are made. But didnt make a firm decision IYKWIM just more "if it happens it happens if it doesnt it doesnt"

juneau Mon 12-Mar-18 17:38:27

Well I can understand your DM's disappointment that out of three DC none want to have any DC of their own. As for 'is it normal?', I think the answer to that is probably 'no', unless you had an awful upbringing! However, given your ages there is plenty of time for mind-changing or slip ups with contraception, so your DM may yet get what she's hoping for. I think though that the decision not to procreate is becoming more common - or at least it seems to be from the media. From real life, I would have to say that in my generation (early-mid 40s), the vast majority of people I know do have DC. Some had them early, others late, but most got there in the end and have at least one DC.

Riverside2 Mon 12-Mar-18 17:38:34

okay I haven't left the thread, it's too interesting, lol. (Plus I'm waiting on my boss to send me something and it's going to be a long evening when that bit of work arrives).

Lottapianos "Like you, I have also known a few women who came off the pill in an extremely half hearted way and were pretty stunned, maybe even horrified, to get pregnant immediately"

well, no, they didn't come off it half heartedly. They planned it because they got the idea from somewhere that it would take their body ages to get back to a point where they could get pregnant. Which makes no sense when you know that missing a Pill is a problem.

I think I read somewhere that abortion stats,, while decreasing among teens, have gone up in women c40 because they've got the idea that they are unlikely to get pregnant?!

"the relentless hard work of parenting comes as a dreadful shock"

I find that really bizarre tbh. I didn't grow up with any babies in the family but the sheer relentlessness - and tedium to me - is incredibly striking with only a small amount of knowledge.

how anyone can live on Planet Earth and see "fairytale parenting" is beyond me.

SpringHen Mon 12-Mar-18 17:38:55

& lots and lots of people continue relationships where theyre not both on the same page re kids just hoping for the best.....

Im always amazed at how many of my friends have run into issues with their husbands where for example they FIND OUT after having one child that their DH only ever wanted one but they always wanted 5.

People either dont have this conversation pre marraige or else dont believe each other. Prob mostly the latter

juneau Mon 12-Mar-18 17:44:16

As for the woman who had a DC because other convinced her and really regrets it and wishes she'd never had a DC - why the hell doesn't she give up her DC for adoption then? There are thousands of people up and down the country who would LOVE to give an unwanted DC a loving home sad

SpringHen Mon 12-Mar-18 17:53:13

WTF???
She loves and cares for her child, she just regrets being a mother. Its not mutually exclusive.

Her DH very much wanted the child. It has loving grandparents etc.

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