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I don't want children... AMA

129 replies

MrDarcysMa · 11/07/2020 12:08

Anticipating the most common one : yes I am aware this is a parenting website, I signed up to MN because over the last 10 years everything I googled - fashion/ consumer stuff had a thread about it on here!

OP posts:
TeaStory · 12/07/2020 11:56

From saying “you reap what you sow in life”, you clearly think OP is wrong @Heyhih3, and yes it sounded pushy.

dodgeballchamp · 12/07/2020 12:21

It’s clear that someone who deeply desires children can’t empathise with someone who doesn’t. Like others, I’ve always just intrinsically known that I don’t - it wasn’t a case of actively making a decision, I feel much the same way about having children as I do about getting cancer. There’s no deciding or pondering required.

As for the other things, as OP has said, nothing is required to “replace” having children as there is nothing missing. My life experiences are for me to enjoy while I’m alive. I have no desire to spend my time and money on anyone else (except my dogs and even they piss me off sometimes as much as I love them) - I enjoy having those resources at my disposal for me only.

Given the rising number of women staying child free it is entirely possible that there’ll be friendship groups of single, child free women (and men) that keep going well into their 70s. Clubs, social groups etc. I have no plans to look after my parents when they become incapacitated so I don’t know why my hypothetical kids would be obliged to do that for me. As for what happens when I’m dead... well, I’ll be dead, so I doubt I’ll be too concerned by it.

Theskyisblueithink · 12/07/2020 17:09

I don't know of that's true @dodgeballchamp
I think I can see both sides. I've certainly experienced both.
I've always known I wanted children. I was panicking by my mid twenties that it hadn't happened yet. It's not about wanting part of me or being remembered or looked after. For me it a strong inherent in me urge to nurture.

However, my mother never wanted children. She never hid how much she resented it. How she'd felt pressured by society and family expectations. It wasn't a good childhood but I don't think it's so awful or strange to not want to be a mother. Not everyone is maternal. I feel strongly that women (and men) shouldn't have children unless they themselves want them. It's not fair to the child otherwise.

That said It's vital anyone without children plans as best you can for potential hard times. I agree with a post up thread. If you get ill or lose your job you're on your own. Make sure you have savings and income protection insurance if you want to keep a roof over your head.

RoseyLentil · 13/07/2020 08:52

@MrDarcysMa thanks for answering my question xx For myself, I was 14 when I knew I didn't want children - I'm now early 50s. I had a very happy childhood and I love my family and have a lovely niece and nephew. I have lots of friends with and without children and I'm very sociable and outgoing. Married with chickens 🤣🤣

Desiringonlychild · 13/07/2020 11:50

Sorry but as I am not originally from the UK, this has always confused me. How do childless people manage in their old age when they get dementia/need long term care. I get that most people self fund their retirement/care cost whether from selling their property/savings/the council pays for it. However, there is still some admin with regards to making medical decisions, choosing care home, organizing carers etc. Who does it if you don't have a child. if you are 85, most of your friends would have passed on or be in a similar stage of life or might have moved away, so how do you cope if you are all alone and have dementia? Sit at home and wait for the council to come and help? I mean, if you had a child, even if the child wasn't the most committed, it would be an estranged child who would allow his mum to live in a filthy house with dementia, a child could arrange with the council to have the mum put into care and then go on with his or her life.

Who does that if you don't have a child? I get that not all children help out but most children do some of the leg work

Caramel78 · 13/07/2020 11:59

@Desiringonlychild I have nieces I’m very close to, and I’m also the godmother to 2 other kids. I refuse to believe that if I become very old and frail that there would not be a single person in the world who would ever check im ok. And if they didn’t then I suppose I would just fade away and die at home. I’d probably rather that then spend years in a care home before I die.

Caramel78 · 13/07/2020 12:04

@Desiringonlychild it also seems absurd to me to only have a child just incase I might need someone to help with official decisions regarding my health In old age.

RealLifeHotWaterBottle · 13/07/2020 12:07

Desiringonlychild With my neighbour, as he became older and his wife passed away his GP arranged for district nurses. He made the choice to move to sheltered accommodation.

I was led to believe he had outlined with a solicitor what his wishes were for a number of eventualities.

Another neighbour who had been friendly with him continued to visit and passed along the odd update until he passed away.

Desiringonlychild · 13/07/2020 12:15

@Caramel78 Agreed it shouldn't be a reason.

But DH and my grandparents all have very difficult and onerous health problems. I have a grandma in Singapore who suffered a stroke and needs 24/7 attention. My parents hired a maid for her and pay for it and she lives in a room on the ground floor of the family home. My husband's grandma died of cancer in London this year, also needed carers coming in and out and night nurses (very hard to deal with). He has another grandmother in a care home and she had dementia for years. For years, her son and wife visited every week to take her out so that she would have something to do other than sit at home watching telly. Her daughter lives abroad but she visited 3 out of 12 months and then when she was there, she helped a lot as did her children (even I as the grand daughter in law helped bandage her legs and give her massages).

Seeing the health problems of our grandparents made me think- if I am not lucky to have a child, I would definitely be going to dignitas as there is no way anyone can navigate those issues without help from children. between us, Our grandparents live in 3 different countries- germany, uk and singapore. But without exception, if there was no family support, our grandparents would have ended up lying in a filthy house in their own excrement as the state is really bad at dealing with such issues without family members pushing and negotiating. So so bleak. I also had a family friends whose childless aunt and uncle (both with dementia) got preyed on by a confidence trickster who extracted quite a lot of their money before they were rescued by their niece who took them to London. Thankfully they are safe now, but only through the intervention of family. Without their niece, they would probably be bankrupt and dead.

Desiringonlychild · 13/07/2020 12:19

Btw this isn't judging anyone who doesn't have children. Its the failure of the state to care for old people which unfortunately means the baton is passed to family/friends.

Caramel78 · 13/07/2020 12:20

I will have one of my nieces or godchildren made power of attorney when I get a bit older. My neighbour did this and her godson was able to make all the legal decisions on her behalf when she ended up having a serious stroke.

MrDarcysMa · 13/07/2020 14:09

I agree that there are some extra things to plan/ do in preparation for old age. Thank you to those who have pointed them out in a kind and considerate way. Although it must surely be the same for those who are unable to conceive - so doesn't only apply to those of us who don't wish to have children.

OP posts:
Homersimponsbestie · 14/07/2020 23:50

Does your partner not want children either? What age is he? Have you both made the decision together?

TeaStory · 15/07/2020 08:35

I used to get asked a lot, usually in a shocked tone, if my husband knew I didn’t want children. As if something so important wasn’t one of the first things we discussed.

MrDarcysMa · 15/07/2020 18:58


Does your partner not want children either? What age is he? Have you both made the decision together?

He's never been fussed @homersimpsonbestie.
We both said early in our relationship that we weren't keen- I suggested we remain open to the idea in case we changed our minds but that hasn't happened. As more of our friends and family have had kids it's cemented that it's not something we want to to.

He also works away during the week with the nature of his job - often out of the country - and understands that isn't the type of parenting I'd want to do anyway even if I did want children!

We are both late 30s.
OP posts:
MrDarcysMa · 15/07/2020 19:01

@teastory in my experience it was usually the guys I was dating who said they didn't want kids which was an issue..... And I always wanted to remain open to it as I thought some urge would come one day and it was just delayed or something Confused
Maybe looking back I've always subconsciously been attracted to the type of bloke who doesn't want them ?

OP posts:
User55783330102837 · 15/07/2020 19:12

"And yes I think a lot of it sounds bad- lack of sleep/ time constraints/ horrible pregnancy and childbirth experiences. Which I imagine obviously pale into significance if you love your child of course. But I'd be lying if I said it sounded appealing"

I have 4 kids but I'm totally with you on this.
Parenting is so much more than those first few years though.

Sleepless nights get better, kids become more independent.

How do you feel about parenting school aged kids or having a teenager, or your child being an adult and maybe having your own grandkids one day?

Fair enough if you know you don't want them though. No one should become a parent just because society says you should, or because their mates or doing it or whatever.

Itisbetter · 15/07/2020 19:12

I’m interested in why you felt you should “want to have children”? I have a large family and people often ask “if we always planned a large family?”. I don’t particularly feel I need to defend my choices or that they were supposed to be different. I didn’t for example wait to see if I’d change my mind as you seem to have. Was it expected that you would have children?

MrDarcysMa · 15/07/2020 19:26

@itisbetter When I was younger (child/ teen) I assumed I'd have children- I kinda thought thats what people did when they got older. I didn't know many child free adults at that point in my life apart from (a weird uncle) so I guess the environment/ society I grew up in?

OP posts:
wildone84 · 15/07/2020 19:35

@MrDarcysMa - I can totally relate to what you have written in this thread. I'm 36 with no kids, I'm probably about 85% not wanting kids and 15% wanting kids. I love kids but the main reason I won't be having them is I can't afford it. I still haven't yet got on the property ladder and I have financial goals I don't think I'll reach until my early 40s, and if I have a child soon then it will delay me reaching those goals in the long term.

If I had loads of money and could afford a nanny, I'd maybe have them. But then I don't want to give birth (after seeing my sister do it, it looks horrendous) and I don't want to carry a child or breastfeed. I also love my sleep and don't want to be woken up in the night.

So if I don't want to be giving birth to a child, or look after them, then it looks like I don't really want a child.

As for the question of "who will look after you in your old age?" Personally I have no contact with one of my parents, and I've known some other people who don't have a lot of contact with theirs. I am one of 5 and only see one of my siblings, the rest of them we have nothing in common and don't talk that often.

There's a lot of uncertainty around how family relationships could turn out so it's not possible to just assume you'll have a child you actually like, who also likes you, and who will want to take care of you in your old age.

I know too many people for whom that scenario doesn't fit.

MrDarcysMa · 15/07/2020 21:40

Haha @wildone84 same here. I don't hate the thought of being a parent generally. But I don't like the thought of being pregnant, giving birth, looking after a child all day for 3 years etc etc. So I guess it's not gonna happen 🤷‍♀️
I understand the money thing too. Posters have asked what I'll do when I'm older if I lose my
Job or whatever. I assume I'll have healthy savings because I won't have paid for childcare/ uni fees or had a career break.

OP posts:
Jocundest · 17/07/2020 06:26

I entirely understand the decision not to have a child, having been happily childfree with no intention of changing that till the age of 40.

However the implicit and explicit assumptions underlying many of the questions are very revealing about a certain mindset, and there is clearly a significant minority that actually quite enjoys the idea of a childfree 80 year old lying in her own filth and being cremated by the council because she wasn’t savvy enough to have a child to ‘look after her in her old age’. Because she’s, like, ‘unnatural’ and ‘selfish’ and ‘reaping what she’s sown’.

Desiringonlychild · 17/07/2020 08:55

@Jocundest definitely don't think that. Just that it's the set up. Not sure why the government doesn't really look after old people- maybe because majority have children/family or there isn't voter pressures to do so People want to feel independent including those with children and no one wants to believe that they would be in that situation. But they may be. And the system is not great for the old and feeble; and with an aging population and the government debt at record high, I don't see how it would improve?

I think euthanasia would be a lot more common in future.

MrDarcysMa · 17/07/2020 12:23

@desiring having children still does not negate this issue. I probably won't be caring for my mother and she certainly won't be needing money from me.

OP posts:
GlummyMcGlummerson · 18/07/2020 22:53

How did you have such good foresight?
I have 2 kids. I can't with all honesty say I'd have kids if I had my time again. Sad

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