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Anyone made the decision in their late 20's/early 30's to *not* have children?

(38 Posts)
Toohotcats Thu 23-Jul-15 11:46:24

Because I think OH and I have decided. We had a big discussion a few days ago and came to a decision that it would be best if we don't. I'm 30 and he is 40 and he has never wanted children, he mentioned something at the beginning of our relationship about liking the "idea" of children. I felt broody at the time (I was 27) but as time has gone by this feeling has disappeared. I honestly think id make a terrible mother, I have depression and so did my mum (much worse than myself and had to spend time in hospital) and witnessing her struggle with me was scary. I don't have a "support network" my oh'a parents are old and don't want the hassle (and have told he this) my dad is miles away and the only parent/family member left alive or that I have any contact with. The little contact I do have with him doesn't really constitute him helping me with a baby.
Our house is small but we could move in theory.
I'm certain OH won't change his mind over this although I have worried, that one day he could run off with a 25 year old and have lots of kids!! This may be irrational but it would be easy for him, after all.
I also worry that he might one day think "what's the point" in having a relationship if children aren't involved and that he may as we'll be alone - not entirely sure why I think this way.
Would it be unreasonable to suggest the snip, since then I can at least stop taking hormonal contraceptives.....?

Vernazza Thu 23-Jul-15 12:29:23

Insofar as he has never wanted children and you have been broody before (and may someday be again) and you seem concerned that the relationship may not go the distance in the long run, then a snip for him seems the logical solution if you decide as a couple to do something permanent. That way if someday you guys do break up and you meet someone else and change your mind again, you're good to go! He on the other hand, doesn't want children and never has.

CtrlAltDelicious Thu 23-Jul-15 13:01:50

Yes. I've always known motherhood wasn't for me. Sought advice on sterilisation after an unexpected pregnancy and subsequent termination when I was 29 but was effectively laughed out the room, as I couldn't possibly know my own mind.
I have to say, it's taken the pressure off finding a partner as I move through my 30's now but I have also had that same thought as you: if I did meet someone, they might think "what's the point."

Also, I witnessed the agony of a close friend who was with her partner until she was 42, childless - mostly by his choice. He ended it and went on to have 2 children and a life abroad, while she bitterly regrets not having children when she was able.

How does your DP feel about a vasectomy? Have you mentioned it yet?

Lavenderice Thu 23-Jul-15 13:11:30

For me it was more like I never made the decision to have children. I've never felt like I wanted them so there really wasn't a decision to make. I've always made this very clear at the start of a relationship and luckily have never had a partner who wanted them.

I also reached a point a few years ago when I realised I wanted to stop taking hormonal contraception so opted for a copper coil. Luckily my current partner is infertile and never wanted kids anyway so when I'll just not have my coil replaced when it's time. In your position I would at least broach the vasectomy question as it may clear things up for you.

GirlDownUnder Thu 23-Jul-15 13:18:08

Hello Toohotcats

It's a very personal decision and one you should only make for you, not because of your OH iykwim

I've always known I never wanted children, and I love kids, and have no reason not to have them. I just never had the urge, and much prefer my nephews and nieces, etc. I'm 44 now and no last minute panic has hit me either.

I'm lucky that I fell in love with, and married a man who felt and still feels exactly the same way.
He decided to have the snip because the operation for me was harder / higher risk and saw it as more certain than other forms of contraceptive.

Ctrl's friend is a perfect example of my point about a choice you should only make for you.

You've also given lots of practicle type reasons why you maybe don't want children, but if the problems as you see them weren't there would you see things differently?

My question is really just rhetorical - just maybe somethung to think about.

SmileAndNod Thu 23-Jul-15 13:18:49

Yes. In my early twenties, when I met DH we decided we didn't want children. I went to the doctor and begged to be sterilized. He refused and said to go back in a few years. Time went by, not feeling much different and then we hit 34. Don't know what happened (suspect it was that biological clock thing) but knew we had to have a baby.

Thank God we were very lucky and now have three. I do often wonder how life would have been if the doctor had agreed that day. Personally I wouldn't advise my daughter's to close that door so early. You just never know what's around the corner.

LiviaDrusillaAugusta Thu 23-Jul-15 13:26:02

I am another one who, like PP, never wanted to have children. I also got laughed out of the room for wanting a sterilisation at 25 - I was so against the idea of being pregnant I was on the pill but insisted my DP used condoms and I still used to do pregnancy tests on a regular basis.

I'm now 44 and have had one termination. That was 14 years ago and I have only had sex twice since then. I don't have a partner, for that very reason.

Lots of people make a choice to be childfree and never change their minds. I have never regretted it and truly can't see that I ever will.

Toohotcats Thu 23-Jul-15 13:39:34

I like the "idea" of having children but know that I wouldn't like the reality. I like being around other peoples children but I don't envy their lives really. I think I'd worry more if my OH had said he wanted them in the past and now doesn't, as id think that there could be other chances for him to change his mind again.
I think even if I had a huge support network, I still wouldn't want to. I enjoy my freedom too much. The only major thing I don't like the idea of is being old and alone. Or not having the opportunity to pass on your knowledge/experiences.

SlaggyIsland Thu 23-Jul-15 13:56:14

In terms of thinking "what's the point" of the relationship if it's childless, my DH and I love how not having children allows us to focus exclusively on each other. We really are each others everything and are still deeply in love after 7 years together.

GirlDownUnder Thu 23-Jul-15 14:04:15

Toohotcats your reasoning sounds very similar to mine, and I've never wavered either.

I like my own time and freedom too much now anyway!

Having kids to avoid being old and alone is something I also thought about briefly, but there is no way I wanted to have children as a 'pension' apart from the fact there's no guarantee that kids would be around that much either.

Knowledge and experience can be passed on in so may other ways, we both mentor some young adults, and I'm sure my nephews and nieces have learnt things from us too. Also it's way more fun to be the naughty / fun aunt then pass them back to their parents smile

Toohotcats Thu 23-Jul-15 14:17:24

I think another reason is that I'm scared of pregnancy and childbirth. I always told myself if I did become pregnant that I'd push and push for a c section on medical grounds, I.e mental health .. But I know it's hard to get this agreed and I definitely wouldn't want to be in a position where I couldn't have one - I'd be terrified!! It's not even the pain as such because I'm sure I could deal with that - it's everything else, it's so hard to explain. I think I made a mistake reading the childbirth section of the forum.. This isn't the main reason, just one of them really. I do think women that go through childbirth are very brave.

ButterDish Thu 23-Jul-15 14:17:28

I think you should think carefully and make the decision based on what you want, especially as you sound slightly distrustful of your partner and the longterm viability/longevity of the relationship.

I fully respect the decision to be childfree as a completely valid life choice which should stop being stigmatised and viewed as odd - and I have never myself believed in our experienced the much-famed 'biological clock' - but there are a few things in your OP that do strike me. Mainly that you sound anxious to get the decision over and done with, maybe because if you don't close off the option of having children, you may need to end your relationship with a man who doesn't want any, and begin to look for someone who does,mor go it alone? Ie, deciding you might want a child in future may bring the end of your current relationship, and this is unsettling you?

I'm struck also by you thinking your partner might end things and have children with someone else, and that your desire to get him to have a vasectomy is partly about closing that option off for him - as well, obviously, as removing the need for you to consider contraception. And leaving you technically capable of conceiving in a subsequent relationship...?

My own experience was of a happy longterm relationship with a man who shared my lack of interest in ever having children. I never felt broody, have suffered badly from depression, all family in a different country, and we were both very work and travel-focused, but we did ultimately decide to ttc when I was 40, because we thought it might be a nice thing to do. Honestly, we weren't that bothered, and were a bit taken aback when I conceived immediately. We now have a gorgeous, stroppy toddler, and life is differently rich.

I suppose all I'm saying is that while all those 'OOH, you'll change your mind!' comments (which I got for almost 20 years) are insulting and tiresome, and plain wrong for many people - there are things about your OP that suggest you're rushing yourself into a decision out of anxiety, rather than out of complete conviction that a child isn't for you...

ButterDish Thu 23-Jul-15 14:19:07

I also shared your birth phobia, OP, and was able to request a CS on mental health grounds, which was straightforward (as was the CS). I wouldn't let that make your mind up either way.

SmileAndNod Thu 23-Jul-15 14:23:39

Agree that a fear of pregnancy and childbirth shouldn't sway your decision. That could be overcome as and when, and you can request a CS on medical grounds anyway - though don't believe that a CS is an easy option, it isn't necessarily.

I was terrified of becoming pregnant and all the changes that would involve despite wanting DC1. And actually it was fine. Lovely in fact. Though that was just my experience. Midwives are used to seeing terrified mums to be!

Toohotcats Thu 23-Jul-15 14:27:06

Thank you Butterdish. I do feel the need to "close off" the subject.. And I think this is because I feel like I've either ran out of time now anyway or will have in the next few years. But some women, like you still conceive late on which I think goes against the whole "biological clock" thing. I find your story quite reassuring actually.

Toohotcats Thu 23-Jul-15 14:31:40

Think I'm also anxious to make a final decision on the matter because I start an Nhs degree in September which will be quite full on for the next 3 years. I'd like to have some sort of career after this, otherwise there won't have been any point! So I'd be looking at being 35 .. At least before I started thinking.. The more I read the thread back the more I sound unsure but I think circumstance has almost made my decision for me , but there are still more reasons for me not wanting to, than wanting to.

CtrlAltDelicious Thu 23-Jul-15 15:44:35

I wish I could direct you toward some kind of online support, OP, for childless-by-choice people but the only site I've found is fairly horrific in its judgement of people with kids.

ButterDish Thu 23-Jul-15 15:45:15

Well, I'm glad if what I said was any help, Too. Obviously, I wouldn't bank on conceiving at 40, but you're a long way off that, and there seems no reason why you shouldn't train and work before having a child, if you want one. Again, it sounds to me as if you want to close off the possibility of a child - I was doing an international commute and we lived in a tiny London flat when I got pregnant with DS. No support network at all, and I'm the least naturally 'maternal' person I know.

You'll probably be in a far better place than I was, and a good bit younger, too - IF you actually want to. There's no reason at all to have a child if the idea fills you with boredom/horror, but it doesn't sound as if you are absolutely opposed to the idea...? If you can't ttc for several years, anyway, can you shelve the decision for a while? Or is your DP implacably anti?

Toohotcats Thu 23-Jul-15 16:41:12

DP is totally against. I wondered for a while if it was to do with me personally but I just don't think he has the patience. He isn't the sort of person, I don't think. So if it did happen, even by accident it would be possible that we could split up over it. Either that or, he'd be quite unhappy for a very long time - at least until he/she is able to look after themselves .. It's tough.

Olddear Thu 23-Jul-15 17:08:36

No conscious decision, just knew it was never going to be for me. Love my nieces, nephews and now their children, but never, ever wanted motherhood for myself and luckily my DH felt the same.
Now, the time has passed and I have no regrets whatsoever.
But, of course, no-one could possibly advise you either way.

bertsdinner Thu 23-Jul-15 20:26:09

Another one here who made no concious decision, I just always knew I never wanted children, even as a small girl.
I've never felt broody and the biological clock means nothing to me. I have occasionally had thoughts I'll be alone in my old age, will leave no one behind (not good reasons to have children, I know), and I sometimes look at my friend with her grown up son and kind of envy their closeness. But I'm happy with my childless state, it was right for me.

HelenaDove Thu 23-Jul-15 22:04:31

I knew by the time i hit 20 that i never wanted children. I also got told no when i asked to be sterilized in my late 20s. Im 42 now and dont regret it at all.

I also think it is valid to be scared of childbirth. You only have to read the threads on women being expected to have painful sex after an epsiotomy to see that the medical profession dosent exactly prioritise women and their needs.

Offred Thu 23-Jul-15 22:28:03

I think fundamentally there is no wrong decision here as others have said. You can't predict what will happen in the long term future, if you are happy with the now and the immediate future I'm not sure what there is to think about really?

People cope with things that aren't exactly their choice and people sometimes regret decisions they made but you can't know your future self to know how you will feel eventually. You stand the best chance of your future self being happy if your present self is happy with the decisions you make I think. If it turns out it wasn't what you thought it would be you will actually be fine IMO.

I never wanted DC but life events led me to having four. It's not what I wanted, it's not what I chose, I've had to accept it for what it is and adjust. What's upsetting is not the children but having had the decision taken from me. I think whatever happens in your life if you are making conscious decisions in the present you stand the best chance of being happy in the long run and if things turn out in a way that you aren't entirely happy with and wouldn't have really chosen you will cope and adjust - it actually isn't that huge a deal, just plan for what makes you happy year to year and see where you end up. You'll drive yourself insane trying to control the future.

PeoniesForAll Fri 24-Jul-15 10:16:12

I've always been adamant that I never wanted children. Like others have said here, I just don't have that maternal urge. Nor do I think being lonely in old age is a good excuse...that is more an insecurity of the woman rather than a reason for having children. Thankfully I have had good role models around me, couples in my family who decided to go child free, and have shown me that life without them can be just as fulfilling. My DP also shares my feelings on this.

But OP, it seems that largely the reason you do not want children is because you don't feel like you would do a good job of it, and that your DP does not want them either. Anxiety around childbirth and parenting is understandable. But do you really not want children or do you want children but are fearful about what will happen when you do? I am not undermining your decision maybe just didn't get the answer to this from first reading your post.

Muffin1 Fri 24-Jul-15 15:36:09

I always used to want children...when I got together with my DP he'd already had the snip but we discussed maybe him having it reversed/donation/adoption...I used to cry after seeing my friends with their babies as I would feel so broody!

But...then after a couple of years I changed my mind, and now at 30 I no longer want them at all...the main reason being my stepkids. That sounds awful, and it's not because I hate them, I adore them all, and love having them over...but I also love handing them back and getting the house to ourselves again! The reality of looking after kids is so different to what I was expecting, it is bloody hard, especially as one has severe makes you realise that the image of having the perfect baby etc is often not the reality...and to be honest I don't think I could cope with children of my own.

It does make me sad sometimes, as I know that if I was with someone else I would probably have them...but I've also had the chance to experience looking after kids and decide it's not for me, and to be honest I think a lot more people wouldn't have them if they knew the realities of it!

I've never had anyone say that I'm making the wrong decision...but where I work at least half of the women working on my floor have no children, so it's not that unusual anymore smile

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