I promised some followups with the women I interviewed for my Childless by Marriage book. I think lots of people who are still deciding whether or not to have children wonder how they’ll feel when they’re older. So I asked. The first response came in from Diane. She didn’t actually end up in the book. I had so many great comments and only so much space, plus Diane was childless by choice rather than by marriage, but it’s good to find someone a little older than me who can tell us how her story turned out.
Diane, 63, lives in California and works in marketing and communications.
If you were with a guy when we talked, are you still with him?
“My husband decided in May 2008 that while he still loved me, he no longer wanted to be married. My belief is that this was a type of mid-life crisis, as he decided during the week we spent in Baltimore for his stepfather’s funeral. It was and still is very amicable. We are still legally married, so that I have the benefit of his job’s platinum-plated health care plan, until next year when I can switch to Medicare. We still file our taxes together, too.
Did you wind up having children after all? Is there any chance you still might?
No. Too old both [to give birth] naturally and to adopt. I prefer to adopt animals.
When people ask you now why you don’t have children, what do you tell them?
There are 7 billion people on the planet now and I think that’s about 3 billion too many. 7 billion people and maybe 1,000 wild tigers. So which is more precious, more rare, more worthy of our protection? We’ve made a trash pit of the planet and it will only continue to get worse. I chose not to contribute to overpopulation. Too many people in the world have children with absolutely no thought for how they will support them and no concern for the larger issue of global overpopulation.”
Do you regret the choices that led to you not having children?
Not at all!
Are you worried about being alone in old age?
I am sometimes, but my plan is to surround myself with friends in my age group, as well as younger and older.”
What would you say to others who are dealing with partners or spouses who can’t/don’t want to have children?
Consider that having your own children is an insult to the planet given overpopulation. It’s insanely selfish! Consider the cost. What else could you do with your life and for the world with the money it costs to raise even one child? Worst case, consider adoption as a compromise—better than adding to the 7 billion! But do so with a clear sense of how your life, your wishes and your goals will be altered, even compromised for the rest of your life.
I expect to hear some rebuttal to Diane’s comments. Many of us are sad about not having children, but maybe it will turn out all right. If I interviewed you for the book, and I have not contacted you, please comment or send an email so we can find out how you’re doing.