Social Question

chinchin31's avatar

For those that have children. Why did you have them ? I really need some advice.

Asked by chinchin31 (1480points) August 28th, 2014

I am married but I just don’t feel very motivated about having children. I have very mixed emotions about it and often the thought of having children makes me depressed.

However, I came from a religious background and therefore feel guilty for not having them. As a christian I was always taught that you get married to have a family. So my not wanting to have children is making me feel like a sinner but at the same time I don’t think having them will make me feel better either.

As a matter of fact it terrifies me. I just feel like it is just a lot of work that has no reward in the end.

I think if you go having children you have to go in expecting nothing in return.

Also the fact that my parents got divorced when I was younger doesn’t help either. It makes me feel like I might end up getting divorced if I have children.

I just feel like having children changes your life so much. I don’t know if i could handle being responsible to that extent for another human being.

Sometimes I can actually understand why some women end up killing their children. I just don’t think it is for everyone and unfortunately some people realize it when it is too late.

Especially nowadays where we no longer have extended families and/or children usually end up living far away from their parents when they grow up, I just think I am going to end up alone anyways and there is no guarantee my children will be around when I get old, so why bother.

I just feel like so many people just have children to fill a void in their life and I don’t want to be like that.

I just don’t feel like it is for me.

Also I come from a broken up family and think it is not fair to a child to raise them in isolation. I think children should grow up among their aunts and uncles and grandparents etc, however I cannot provide them with that.

What was your motivating factor for having children ?

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63 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

My motivating factor was simply that I wanted them. Looking back, I kind of wish I’d had one more.

If you don’t want any, then don’t have any, please.

What does your husband say?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Can someone without children weigh in?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I don’t know. I’m not the OP, but I’m interested in your POV, @Adirondackwannabe.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ll wait on chinchin.

canidmajor's avatar

I agree with @Dutchess_III, don’t let yourself be coerced into having children.

I very much wanted children, and spent an enormous amount of time and money to be able to have them, and have never regretted it.
One of my sibs has had a 40 year marriage without having children and has never regretted it.

Your concerns are valid and reasonable, I wish for you the life you want to have.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Oh well, my s/o and I chose not to have kids because we weren’t sure we’d be good enough at being parents. Small babies made me very nervous. Turns out we’re both really good at handling them. You just have to treat them as little people without much of life’s experiences. But god they are a lot of fun, as well as a lot of work. and you will be exhausted at times caring for them, but I think it’s worth it.

LornaLove's avatar

Not everyone ‘should’ have children. Some live to have children, some live through their children, others have them enjoy them and can let go. I feel compelled to comment that possibly the people that killed their children did not do so because they had changed their minds, but rather were mentally ill.

I did not choice to have a child, my child came along by accident. I was 19 at the time. I did the best I could, considering I felt pretty much the same way you do. Not a great family background, my own issues and really, I was not a person that ‘should’ have had a child. However there are plenty that land up in that predicament and do okay with it all.

Anyway, don’t feel bad for not wanting kids, don’t feel bad that you do not enjoy them, this is your life and your choice. If you do not want them, then you are quite in your rights not to have them, nor like them. This might change, for many though, it does not change.

@livelaughlove21 I find that comment rude and crass considering this person is simply expressing their own individual opinion and that statement was uncalled for.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe guys had kids after all? The post was kind of confusing.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

No, we didn’t have kids. It’s the nephews and nieces we’ve been really amazing with. Their parents don’t have any qualms about having us care for them. I thought we’d suck at it. Hey I guess I found my answer for the when were you wrong question.:)

ucme's avatar

Because my seed is like gold dust, shame to waste it on tissues.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

If there ever was someone who should NOT have children it’s you. “you understand how some people kill their children”. Really? YIKES!

We had two children (a boy and a girl) because we wanted a family. I couldn’t even imagine not being a mother. I came from a divorced home and my husband was the youngest of nine who’s father died when he was a baby.

Now we have three beautiful grandchildren that would not be here if we decided not to have children.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree. The comment about “understanding how some people kill their children” was pretty disturbing. I’d actually like you to expand on that. When have you ever been in a situation that would bring that thought to the forefront?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@LornaLove If someone feels the way the OP feels about having kids, they have no business having kids. She said some pretty shocking things, as mentioned above. She’s not a bad person for not wanting children, but with feelings like these she really shouldn’t even consider doing it. There’s no reason to.

cookieman's avatar

We became parents because we really wanted to become parents. Pretty simple.

KNOWITALL's avatar

CHristian with no kids here. Use your time & money to help others. My life’s pretty great. Take the path less travelled!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wish she’d come back! I hate it when people do this.

talljasperman's avatar

My birth wasn’t planned. So I don’t know how to advise you. Only have children if you can take care of them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Neither was my son’s. We tease him that he was an “accident,” so that explains his accident prone behavior from the git go! :D

talljasperman's avatar

@Dutchess_III My grandparents where pressuring my parents to have a boy, when they got me they didn’t want me as much as they were hinting at. So I was left to do what ever the hell I wanted , even to watch tv in my room from 6 years old. The French channel had soft core porn which I welcomed at nights. Unfortunately I never learned any French because the volume was too low.

Mimishu1995's avatar

You shouldn’t have children. From what you have said it is clear that you aren’t so enthusiastic to be a mother. Being parents need a lot of patience, responsibility, caring, and devotion. If you aren’t enthusiastic, you won’t get all the traits needed for parents, and you won’t be able to raise your child properly. If you can’t raise a child, it will be a disaster to have one.

hominid's avatar

If what you are saying is remotely accurate, you should not have children. Seriously. Don’t.

Every word you just wrote is very persuasive. I am convinced that you are not intersted in having kids. And that is ok. Ther are people who are truly torn. You are not one of these people. Enjoy this fact. You’ve figured it out.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I second @hominid. You don’t want kids and that is OK.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

We have been married for over twenty five years and chose early on that having kids was NOT for us, her side of the family freaked and pushed us for years to have kids , but we stood our ground, and after ten or so years they gave up.
As far as I an concerned it was the best choice for us.
DO NOT let anyone pressure you into it, if you find out later that you do, and the body wont let you , you can always adopt.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Having children is a deep commitment, and those words don’t come close to the true meaning of having children. Imagine, being forced to leave your home, and go to live in another country, where you really don’t understand the rules. You try hard to comply, but just when you get the hang of things, the rules get changed around. Your life is ruled by a very demanding leader. You come to love yoour new home, and want to be a good citizen. Suddenly, you realize the leader has been betraying you, sneaking around, invading your privacy.
Yhat is not exactly the way it is to be a parent when you want children, and wanted to make that huge commitment, but is very much how you would feel, if you are uncertain. Babies absorb your entire world. It is wonderful whenit is what you want. It is torture for you and them, if you deon’t.
You must never bring a life into the world for other people’s reasons.
There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty about not wanting to bring children into your happy life.
Don’t rock the boat. Stay true to yourself. Be happy. My cliches are done.

jca's avatar

I had my only child when I was 41. I was at the point where I would have been fine without a child. My life was good, my pay was decent, I enjoyed traveling when I wanted and I did a lot of different things. Having a child adds a new dimension to your life. Yes, it’s a lot of work but it’s rewarding in a way that’s hard to describe to someone who has no kids.

I think 99.9% of people who have kids don’t regret it.

What you don’t want to happen is to get past the point where you are able to have children and then regret that you are childless.

rojo's avatar

I honestly cannot tell you why we had kids.

When we got married we made a conscious decision not to have kids for a few years. Not that we did not want them, just that we wanted to be an unencumbered married couple for a while and enjoy each other for a while. We also knew that neither of us wanted more than two kids. (as a friend of mine said, “Having three kids means someone has to make a second trip to the car to get out the sleeping baby”).

After five years of marriage it was kind of a “Do you want to have a kid?” “Sure, why not” type thing and we had one. Then we talked about how we wanted to enjoy our time with our child for a while before our next but not wanting to wait too long before we had a second because we wanted them to be friends and felt that there are those who wait too many years between kids and the elder never feels close to the youngest.

We also felt that a five year span would be enough so that the first child would be semi-self-sufficient and we could give the second a little more love and attention that way. So after five years we started trying for the second. And, after nine months of trying (God how I miss those days) it took a relaxing vacation to finally be able to reproduce a second time.

And I can say that despite all the trials and tribulations I am happy that I have two fully mature adult children who are both very fond of each other and are still very involved in being a family and have added four grandchildren into the mix for me to spoil and send back home.

rojo's avatar

Children do change your lifestyle, they do take an inordinate amount of time to raise correctly and they will definitely put a kink in your party lifestyle.

I was never ready for children, I never felt like I was financially prepared or mature enough to have them. I always thought that when you became an adult you have all the answer or at least be given a big book of all the answers in it but that did not happen.

I came to realize that I would have to wing it and that my parents had done the same thing, as had my grandparents and so on down the generations. No one ever feels like they are fully prepared and ready for children. You just have to finally come to grips with the fact that you will have to “fake it ‘till you make it” and hope they never catch on. But, by the same token if you are planning on having children because that is the thing you do when you are married and have no real desire or even harbor an intense dislike of the little rugrats perhaps children are not for you. Don’t let anyone force you into doing it because that is the way it is done. We fought our parents for five years with all kinds of little “When are we going to be grandparents” snips until we felt that we could handle them (not confident you understand but at least capable).

Darth_Algar's avatar

Having children has always been out of the question as far as I’m concerned.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@jca doo you wish you had been even five years younger when you had your child or has age not been an issue?

jca's avatar

@ZEPHYRA: Age has not been an issue. I don’t regret anything with regard to the timing – I did a lot of fun stuff that probably wouldn’t have been done if I had a child at the time.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

What you don’t want to happen is to get past the point where you are able to have children and then regret that you are childless.
^^ Hey @jca that sounds sorta like trying to guilt the OP into having kids,sooner instead of later, my inlaws played that line as well,and it didn’t work.
Having children can be the biggest blessing ,or the biggest curse,it is up to the OP and their spouse to really soul search and decide.
After twentyfive years I am still super glad we chose the childless path.

jca's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: I offered my opinion. I am not trying to make her feel guilty and I resent that you are implying that I am.

Of course, having kids is someone’s own personal decision and nobody can make them do anything. I think the OP is aware of that.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@jca SORRY but that last sentence sure sounded like it, you wouldn’t have believed the pressure from my inlaws about having kids,but after the ten year mark they just went silent on the subject, guess they moved on, and now we get along quite well.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I know of many situations of people who actually can’t have kids but tell people they never wanted any. just sayin…...

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat If that is true then why didn’t they look into adopting then?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

To get back to the ASKER, if you and your spouse are happy with not having children, then by all means let NO ONE change that.
As I stated in an earlier post if you find later in life you change you mind, and your body wont let you, then there is nothing wrong with adopting.
I have NEVER understood this flesh and blood B.S anyway,adopting is a very noble way of making an unwanted child wanted and loved ,then bringing another human into this overcrowded screwed up planet we live in.

syz's avatar

I chose not to have children and I have never regretted it (not even when my husband, who entered into our marriage knowing my feelings, changed his mind, resulting in our divorce).

You will get incredible pressure (“You’ll change your mind when they’re your own”), but you deserve to do what’s right for you. Why exactly are you required to bring a child into the world, anyway? It’s not like our species is at risk of extinction. It’s a messed up world, it’s expensive to raise a kid, you can’t exactly change your mind and send it back to the factory.

This sums up my views pretty well

Darth_Algar's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat “I know of many situations of people who actually can’t have kids but tell people they never wanted any. just sayin…...”

Right, because it simply isn’t possible that people could legitimately not want children. Got any other little nuggets of knowledge you pulled out of your ass that you’d like to share?

hominid's avatar

^ I think you misinterpreted what @BeenThereSaidThat said. “I know many situations of people…” does not mean “There are NO people who do not want children”.

Darth_Algar's avatar

The implication is perfectly clear, especially with the ever snide “just sayin….” tacked on at the end.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@hominid he just likes to argue (the poor thing). He always seems to have a “bug up his ass”.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@syz I loved that link, sums up Mrs Squeekys and my views on the subject quite well too.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

How come no one with kids can’t answer this askers question other than ( we really wanted them) that all you got??????

hominid's avatar

This seems awfully familiar to the religion/belief questions we used to have here on fluther. Calm down. Nobody’s out to get you. And I promise you that what you think is being implied simply isn’t. Nobody is being persecuted. In fact, the complete opposite is the case. It’s ok to not want kids. It’s ok to believe in god. Everything is ok, people. What is fascinating to me, however, is when reactions point to something greater. If you gently touch a vase and it breaks, maybe the vase was not what it appeared.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@hominid I get what your saying, but to me it seems people that don’t want children have to defend their choice harder than those who choose to have children, does it not seem that way to you?

hominid's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: “does it not seem that way to you?”

Not at all. Not in real life, and certainly not in this thread.

Also, this is not what this question is about. OP asked something specific, and from what I can tell, everyone tried to answer this honestly. I don’t see any attacks.

But as a side note – I have 3 kids, and I have had more than my share of “carbon footprint” lectures from my friends who either do not have kids or have one. I completely understand and respect their position. But to me, having kids or not having kids isn’t something that can be approached intellectually and rationally. There is nothing rational about having kids. There’s very little choice in the matter. I like chocolate ice cream. Some people don’t. Explain that or don’t. There isn’t much to discuss.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No one said people without kids can’t answer this question @SQUEEKY2.

Well, it’s not surprising that they have to defend their position. I mean, having kids is “Just what people do,” supposedly. There was a time when having kids was actually a necessity. My grandparents had 9 kids. They were poor, uneducated immigrants who farmed. Mom says they were trying to breed farm hands, but wound up with 7 girls and only 2 boys. So…they worked the girls like they were boys.

In this day and age of over population, not having kids can be smart.

canidmajor's avatar

Like @hominid says, having or not having kids seems to be another soap box opportunity for so many. There is nothing wrong with wanting biological offspring, there is nothing wrong with not wanting to raise children, if you decide to not have children, then you regret it later, guess what, we all have regrets and survive them just fine.. I didn’t marry that guy because I thought I might later regret letting him go. I didn’t buy that property because I might later regret that I didn’t.
To my mind, the “might regret it later” argument is absolutely a non-starter.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree @canidmajor. And there is no way on earth to know if you’re going to regret it in the future or not.

hominid's avatar

@Dutchess_III: “And there is no way on earth to know if you’re going to regret it in the future or not.”

And there is no way to sufficiently extract anything useful from regret. It’s very rare that we are in an actual position to look back and accurately say that “things would have been better” if I had done this or that.

If we want to take a more objective look at the question, there are no shortage of studies:

“If parents choose to be parents, and nonparents choose to be nonparents, there is no reason to expect that one group will be better or worse off than the other once other circumstances are controlled.”

longgone's avatar

Good for you! You figured out what you want, and by saying it this clearly, you’re being extremely brave.

Please, please, listen to yourself. If there were only truly wanted kids, the world would be a better place.

You do not have to look for reasons to not have children. I get annoyed when people get pets without thinking it through, which is a perspective shared by many. Children can’t be taken to the pound, and the average child will outlive you. It’s sensible to think about how this will affect your life, and whether you’re willing to give up
part of who you are.

As to being a good Christian – I’m sure you will put the time saved by not having kids to good use. Who knows how many people you are able to help because of this decision? While enjoying your life…win/win!

jca's avatar

I was thinking about this here and there this afternoon. I was thinking that if I didn’t have children, I’d be perfectly happy now. 48 years old, single, good job, enough money to pretty much do what I want, the freedom to travel or pick up and go if someone says “hey, let’s go somewhere this weekend.” I’d not be able to imagine my life with a child if I were without one.

On the other hand, I’m perfectly happy now, too, with a child. 7 years old, she is, and she’s a good kid but still there’s not as much freedom due to school schedule, etc. It’s all good and she does add another dimension to my life.

It’s not something I can describe accurately and it’s not a position I feel a need to defend.

If I had no child, I’d not feel a need to defend it, either. I have plenty of friends my age or older of both genders who have no children. Nobody asks them, nobody discusses it, they’re not attacked and they appear to be as happy or unhappy as anybody else.

Everybody makes the choice that suits them at the time. It’s all good.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hey…also, is this something you and your husband discussed before you got married? I hope so!

chinchin31's avatar


cookieman's avatar

shhh — no need to yell. you’re welcome.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Jaysus. My ears are ringing.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

She is just excited that so many answered her question.
@chinchin31 your welcome, hope some or all helped, again DO NOT let anyone pressure you into having children if you don’t want to , or are not ready.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The thing that worries me at this point is the attitude of “If it happens, it happens.” If you aren’t using birth control it will happen.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Dutchess_III VERY GOOD POINT, sorry for shouting, @chinchin31 if you have issues and not sure, then until then USE PROTECTION and yes I am shouting, unless you want to test those issues sooner rather than later.

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