Here at Childless by Marriage, one reader after another reports the same problem: One partner wants kids and the other does not. Period. End of discussion. If infertility is an issue, there are ways to work around it, such as in vitro, surrogates, donors, or adoption, but no. They don’t want to talk about it. I always encourage readers to keep the conversation going, but I had a tight-lipped first husband who wouldn’t discuss it either, so I understand if you keep running into a dead end.
Why are some people so sure they don’t want children? Let’s look at possible reasons:
- ·They hate children–Kids are needy, whiny and sticky.
- Money–Raising children is too darned expensive.
- Conflicts with existing kids–They already have children from a previous relationship. Between child support, dealing with the ex and taking care of these kids, they can’t imagine bringing more children into their lives.
- Fear–of pain, conflicts, cost, life changes, and passing on physical or emotional problems.
- Age—They don’t want to be the oldest parent on the soccer field.
- Career—Having kids will totally screw it up.
- Freedom—They want to do whatever they please whenever they please.
- Marriage—Will having children ruin their relationship? Will the wife focus all her attention on the kids? Will they fight over how to raise them? Will they never have sex again?
- Inadequacy—They’d be a lousy father or mother.
- Responsibility—Don’t want it.
- Overpopulation—The world has too many people already.
- Messed up world—Why subject a child to wars, terrorism, climate change and a culture gone to hell?
Do any of these sound familiar? Can you add anything to the list? Do you think it’s possible to change their minds? I look forward to reading your comments.
17 thoughts on “Why Wouldn’t He/She Want to Have Children?”
Selfishly speaking, I want my own kiddos. To carry one for 9 months & rant on about my pregnancy woes & delivery experience. In response to fertility challenges & “why don’t you *just* adopt.
Also, I’m not sure I wouldn’t project my anger about my infertility onto an innocent baby or child were I to adopt one. It doesn’t seem fair or right to me. I’m still working through deep & buried pain about this. The baby I adopt deserves better, it seems, for me to be more settled and healed on the subject.
That totally makes sense to me, SilverShilOh.
My husband had his one and knew he never wanted to do that again.
Just again this week, I was told “be glad you don’t have kids because they… Blah blah blah…” It’s so dang easy for someone with kids to say that, and I find it highly rude and insensitive. I equate that to telling someone in a wheelchair to be glad they can’t walk because their feet would get tired if they had to stand on them all day. Grrrrrrrr………
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I agree with you Candy, and the wheelchair thing is a pretty good analogy. Sometimes I get comments like that when I tell someone about a trip or a vacation. Recently I mentioned that I was in Las Vegas the previous weekend and I got a “life is good without kids, huh?” As if I decided to forgo the family I always wanted and potentially die alone so I can be in Vegas for three days. Sure, I love traveling and do it as much as possible but of course I would give it up if I could have children instead. Traveling and vacations are just my consolation prize.
I agree with your comments. I never thought about the wheelchair scenario, but you are right! I have been told oh you know kids are not everything, I miss my life without them when I could go out to bars… I can’t remember what I say. I usually don’t say much and feel awkward. One particular occasion, a pregnant coworker had just sent a global email out to the entire office! Hi everyone, oh I’ve only got so and so days left, then I am free of this place, I won’t have to work…. (Yes these emails are sent out and no one thinks anything of it) Eventually the pregnant coworker came over and was chatting to the coworker next to me and then within earshot of me said I can’t wait to be able to go and be with my toddler and baby, etc. etc. and forget about being stuck here, I had sat and listened. She knew my situation. I thought here we go again, normally I would go to the bathroom and cry a little, but on this day I pulled myself together, turned and said to my pregnant coworker, ooh do you hear that? Pregnant coworker said no, I said but that’s the sound of my bedroom at night. Silence. I turned and went back to my work.
I am in no way an unkind person, but sometimes enough is enough.
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Love the story, Cheryl!! Thanks!!!!
I have one child. My husband wants another but I am content with the one we have. Really all those reasons not to have one are good reasons not to have another. As much as I love my kid, I have days where I wish we didn’t have one.
Well Jar, I find comments like your comment upsetting. I don’t think you realise just how upsetting. Your comment I have days where I wish we didn’t have one. Jar, I would give everything away to have a child and someone to call me Mommy. I go through the grief of not being a mother almost every day. We are excluded and will never be part of the mommies club. We apparently never understand and are often excluded from invites where children are. I am not going to say another word. I might type something inappropriate.
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That was my first reaction to Jar’s comment, too, Anonymous. Yesterday I was having one of those days when everybody around me had children and grandchildren and all I had was me. And that was unbearable. So yes, let’s all try to be kind to one another.
What’s kind of weird is Jar’s comment made me feel sort of better. I can see how you would view it as insensitive and maybe this was the wrong forum to post something like that, but it made me feel better to see that even the people who got the thing that I always wanted are still unsatisfied and unhappy. Sometimes it can seem like having a child would be the only thing standing between me and a good life but it’s kind of a good reminder to realize that it probably isn’t. Maybe even if I had been lucky enough to be a mother, I’d still find something else to be sad about, or I wouldn’t appreciate it the way I thought I would.
I hope that made sense.
This is a perfectly valid feeling, JAR, although I know society tends to become outraged when women say that they wish they didn’t have children, even if the feeling is fleeting. It’s normal to look back and want what you used to have (from a life of freedom without constantly worrying about another person, which could even be a life before marriage, to the toned legs and natural hair color of our youth) or to think about what life would be like if some things were different. If we assume women who don’t want children will change their minds and accept it willingly, why do we never accept that some women might have children and realize that it wasn’t really for them? Both can and certainly do happen, just as there are women who never have children without regret and some women have children and enjoy every minute of it. (JAR, I’m not saying that you completely regret having a child, of course, so this is just a basic example.)
We need to quit looking at women’s feelings about being women, about being wives or lovers, about being mothers (or not) and yelling at them that they shouldn’t feel that way. No two women are the same and not every woman wants the same things out of life. I can’t get mad at women who can and do have children easily when I know I can’t, because it’s not as though they are doing it to spite me. (I also can’t get mad at women who don’t want children when they physically could have them, just because I want a child I’m not able to have. It’s not their responsibility to live my dream for me just because they are able to when I’m not.) Women who have children are allowed to want moments out of their children’s shadow and are allowed to just be women first and mothers second (or, even more shockingly, women first and wives second and mothers third, if they so choose). I know this isn’t necessarily what society prefers, but it shouldn’t make it less true. Another person’s desires regarding what she personally wants out of life that goes against what you feel or believe or want for yourself isn’t an attack on you personally or what you desire for your own life.
Yes, Jesusita. You said it much better than I did.
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Terrible admission here. If I find myself in a situation at the doctor’s or at the supermarket where another middle-aged woman makes one of those “You know what kids/teenagers are like…” comments, I just nod and let them continue in their assumption that I have kids, too.
It’s almost as though you’re not part of the club, otherwise.
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Aspa, I do exactly the same thing. 🙂
Me too. I do have stepkids – who I knew from when they were 10 and 12 – and now have ‘step-grandkids’ who are 5 months and 19 months old – so I do tend to talk about them all, as if I was a ‘real’ mum/grandma!! It is just easier sometimes – and makes me feel more normal
I’m afraid that I was the one in the couple (actually, we broke up) that didn’t want a new child… And certainly my reasons were 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. No special order, but 2 and 5 ranked high. I can’t figure myself having a 20 y/o son in my early 60’s.
These things happen, Dean. But being in my early 60s, I’d much rather have a son in his 20s than a preschooler! Thanks for sharing this.