The closest I’ve come to wanting kids was last year when I was getting a haircut.

Rebecca, my stylist, was pregnant with her second child, and all the stylists were hanging around picking boy names.   Rebecca and her partner had already chosen the name “Tula” if the baby was a girl.  They were still uncertain about boy names.

The conversation was sheer joy.  The delight was palpable among these hip women and artsy gay men.  Babies on the brain.  A million possible names. People touching Rebecca’s stomach. Everyone laughing with excitement.

Suddenly outta nowhere!

Ohmigod!

I wanted a baby!

I wanted that kind of attention from people.  I wanted to feel the excitement of all that possibility!  I wanted people to be excited about what to call my kid.

(Let’s face it.  Not many people get excited about what you’ll name your next CD.)

Mostly, I wanted a daughter. And I wanted to name her “Tula.”

I began to play with the name.  I imagined cute clothes for my hip artist daughter, Tula.  I left the salon in a state of near hysteria. I called my friend Joy and left her a 10-minute message about how “Ohmigod what if I never have a girl named Tula? Is it possible that I’m making a huge mistake here?” (I think Joy still has that message saved for future use.)

I have friends who don’t have children and who never have moments like this one.  They simply love their choice to not have children.

I, on the other hand, do have occasional moments of doubt.  Usually these moments are superficial, and have less to do with me wanting to be a mother, and more to do with me getting approval and attention.

When it comes down to it, I find that I want to want to have kids. I just don’t ever hear that deeper calling.

The truth is that my creative career has been my focus. I love what I do. I grow from what I do.  I am of service in what I do. Just like those reasons to have kids in the first post, this path I’ve chosen teaches me about unconditional love, present moment awareness, enlightenment and healing.  No, it won’t come to visit me in the nursing home. But then again, Tula wouldn’t either.   Let’s face it. She’d be too busy in her world travels to think of the mom who raised her to be so independent!

(Besides, I’m planning to spontaneously combust before a nursing home is necessary.)

The Hardest Parts about Not Having Kids

The requests I’ve received to write this series of posts have come from women who are in the midst of making their own choices about children.

So, here’s the deal. There are great things about both choices. And there are hard things about both choices.

Here are some of the bad things – from the profound to the petty – about not having kids.

1 – Your “Social Role” isn’t easily defined.

This has been huge for me.

When you don’t have children (and you’re a woman), you have to dig a little deeper for a social place and a purpose – which is a common quest for women in their 30’s and 40’s, when that nurturing energy kicks in.  I’m lucky to live in a town where there are lots of women who chose not to have children – so I have models on this path!

I once heard medical-intuitive Caroline Myss talk about breast cancer.  She described seeing it in some women who chose not to have kids but who never dealt with their social role and their innate need to nurture and create a purpose in life.

I believe that we are placed on this planet to serve.  I believe this is our purpose.  This is a very real energy.  When women don’t have kids, they need to dig a little deeper for their calling and their “place.” (I think women can do this even when they do have kids, too!)

2 – The approval from older women/other women.

I was among a circle of women recently. All mothers.  They all agreed that the approval and crooning of older women is a huge perk when you’re a new mom.  Now, I know this can seem like a petty thing to crave.  (After all, people applaud me every time I show up for my job – isn’t that enough?)  But there is the slightest bit of sadness that I won’t ever experience the attention a woman gets when she’s pregnant or with young kids.  Women supporting women is quite a powerful thing – and it feels good.

Note: The women in this circle who had older children said that when your children grow up, you find yourself missing all that cool attention you had when they were babies!

So, maybe the gist is that we all just need lots of support and love no matter what we’re doing in our lives!

3 – Not getting the good parking spaces.

I will never get to park in those “Stork Parking for Pregnant Moms and all their Cute Little Kids” parking spaces that are popping up all over the place.

(I happen to think there should be parking for “Women who aren’t moms who are having one of those days when they’d really like a good parking space.” So far, I haven’t seen one of these signs.)

4 – Getting angry emails from parents who read my posts about Courage

They always say things like, “Easy for you to say! You wouldn’t feel that way about taking chances if you had a few kids!”

5 – Fewer natural connections with women my age

Face it.

Women who have kids talk with other women who have kids. They talk about their kids.  This is natural and normal.

I am blessed to have the best friends a girl could have, for sure.  And I notice that when I am talking with, say, a high school friend I haven’t seen in many years, the conversation is almost always about her kids.

I can listen and laugh and take part because the kid thing is a universal topic of conversation that any woman understands.  However, the choice to not have kids and be an artist and a ‘pioneer’ isn’t a universal topic. So it’s a little more challenging to find that common ground on my end!

Again, I treasure the friendships I do have. (I also hire my fair share of coaches and mentors who support me, and help keep me on track and moving in a positive direction. This is huge.)

——-

Now, obviously none of these items is painful enough or motivational enough to make me breed.

After all, let’s say Tula turns 9 and asks, “Mom, why did you decide to have me?”

I’d like for my answer to be more profound than: “Well, dear, I wanted some random angry emailers to like me, and I was tired of not getting the good parking spaces.”

The Best Parts about Not Having Kids

There are many days when I’m grateful that I don’t have children.  I can either criticize myself for creating a life that is so perfectly designed for me and my quirkiness.  (The old struggle-addicted part of me will occasionally do this.)  Or I can marvel that my soul has led me to design a life that is peaceful and creative and adventurous all at once.

Here are the best parts about not having kids…

1 – No one tells me how to live my life or raise my dog.

2 – I get lots of silent time.

3 – I have lots of free time.

4 – I can travel whenever I want.

5 – I don’t have to re-live high school by watching my daughter go through it.

(This is enough to make me do a dance.)

6 – I learn to trust my choices even when they aren’t the social norm.

7 – I get to be the cool aunt to my nieces, and they get to be super-special!

8 – I can have occasional emotional days and not wonder if my dog will need therapy someday because of them.

114 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Paul

    I’m a guy, but I found most of this post to be relevant. Everyone is telling me I need to have a baby and I don’t even have a girlfriend! It’s driving me nuts. This post helped me feel less crazy about me not wanting kids. Why do people want kids so bad? Are they insane? That is the most illogical step you can make in the modern world! And then when you get old and it’s time to die a peaceful death, they throw you in a nursing home and force you to live through the worst part of life! Hell no. I’m never having kids.

  • Lisa

    Growing up in a large family, and listening to people around me, I just assumed I would have children, although, I never felt a huge tug for it. When it did not turn our that way (husband had vasectomy in first marriage; we tried the reversal, didn’t work; casually tried adoption route, but didn’t pan out) I eventually realized that being childfree was a positive for me. I feel what happens in life is a “meant to be”, and being happy, as they say, is more about being grateful for what you have, not wishing for what you want. Oh – and the “selfish” topic – on the other hand, could someone bringing a child into this challenging world maybe be considered selfish also? Complex issue, and something to think about.

    • Paul

      Good point. I’m like the only person I know who isn’t grateful to have been born. My life is pretty decent compared to most people’s I feel. But why go through the struggle at all? It’s cruel to create a new life on this planet.

  • Elizabeth

    Christine – I love your blog, and as I sit here reading the comments, I feel so nurtured and blessed to have found a community of other women who are childless, mostly by choice. Thank all of you for sharing what is in your hearts, the joys and doubts and regrets and gratitude about your life choices, and life experiences. At 61, the decision not to have children is long behind me. I married at 36, after decades of waiting for my prince, and I was not ready to share him right away with another little being who took up all of my time and energy. I wanted to immerse myself in all the joys my girlfriends had experienced when they first married, years younger than I had – the wedding, sleeping and snuggling with a man every night, cooking for a man, choosing a home together, taking vacations together, intimate dinners and trips to the grocery store and picking out cars and planning a life together. I had been alone far too long, and reveled in now sharing life with an incredible person who loved me. I also did not want to deal with the increased risks of having my first child when I was in my forties, so it was have a baby right after marriage, or never. My husband has never wanted children, and when we went through weeks of pre-marriage classes at our church, he even insisted we skip the chapter on parenthood. He has been the most incredible husband I could have ever dreamed. He is as imperfect as I am, but no one could have been more loving, supportive, fun, and fascinating over the past 25 years. He is my soul mate, and I adore him.

    I have experienced most of the doubts and regrets of others who have written here. No point in detailing all the rejections, warnings, criticisms, etc. by those who chose to become mothers, others have done a great job of telling all about that. I have never heard anyone tell my husband how unfortunate and deprived his life has been for never having been a father; in fact, other men envy him. The fact that he chose to place his relationship with me highest on his list of priorities, and to allocate his time, love, and life on me, makes me feel more special and cherished than the few years of joy I would have experienced from having children who took me away from him and then turned on me as they grew up and did not need me anymore, and said all the cruel things that teenagers and adult children say to the parents who birthed and took care of them for so many years. Our relationship is as fresh and exciting and fun as it was on our honeymoon.

    Yes, someday I will probably be a widow, with no kids to come visit me in the nursing home. So will most mothers. I went to see my own mother every single day during the months she was in a nursing home. I can count on one hand the number of other visitors I saw there, although the place was populated almost exclusively by mothers. Their adult children (including my own brothers) could rarely be bothered to spend a few hours with the women who adored and sacrificed and supported them since the moment they were born. Yes, holidays can be lonely. And as someone said, after we are both gone, no one will care to look at our wedding photos, our high school yearbooks, or our grave markers because we were not anyone’s parents or grandparents, only an eccentric aunt and uncle who never had kids. Our love story ends with us. But I do not know another couple, parents or childless, who has had a more wonderful marriage than I have, and perhaps it is best that our love story and life together ends as it began, something private and intimate and complete without the need for another participant, in life or in death.

  • Tarsi

    Wow. I truly feel like God led me to this post. I am in my mid-thirties, have been married for 10 years, have a great career, and am at the crossroads of kids/no kids. In this crossroad I have had a series of, let’s call them, “salon” moments. Brainstorming names, helping friends pick out nursery stuff, shopping for ANOTHER baby shower, seeing the umpteenth post of someone’s baby on Facebook and the 75 likes accompanying it, etc., have all shocked me into a frenzy of wanting a child or better yet, wanting people to understand my me.

    For years I was the one at the baby shower confidently saying, “yup, kids are not in my future.” Then, a year ago, after a series of moments, I decided…why not, why not try. Well, I tried and nothing happened. And, as any type A person knows, trying for one full year and not succeeding when 90+ percent do is f****** exhausting.

    Your post helped shine a light on why I am really trying. It’s not because I really want a child…it’s because I want to be loved, to experience the biology of procreating, to have the opportunity to name something, to relate to my and all other mothers in my life, to get back some of the friends I’ve lost, and to make sense to the world. The fact is, I agree with you Christine, I don’t want to tell my daughter, whom I would love to name Virginia, “I had you because I wanted to understand and be understood”. That’s not good enough. What is good enough is the path that I’m on and the impact I can make by continuing to do what I am truly passionate about.

    Thank you so much for shocking me back into myself, my truth, and my personal journey. I really needed to read your words. God Bless.

  • Sally

    I would like have a baby and I am married for 11 years and still no baby. I have been sick but fine now. Now I want to try again but my head space is not in the right place. I hate the up and down of trying

  • Aimee

    Thank you for this post.
    I have decided that I do not want kids, just have to convince my fiance before we get married… I suspect that it is not going to be easy. Any tips?? anyone??

  • GM

    I am going through the same issue. I am 30 and have been married to my husband almost 10 years now. We always talked about having kids but now that we are reaching that clock-ticking phase, we are getting more nervous because we have to make a decision already!
    People are always pushing us to have kids, but before I always had an excuse: finish my bachelors, my husband not getting deployed, buy a house, be financially stable, finish law school, start my career…etc. Now I have run out of excuses, and I wonder why? Was I making them as an excuse, or I really did want to have children ON MY TIME and remain in control?
    I always ponder in the pros and cons, but my cons or my reasons do not look anything like this article. My pros are very similar: free time, travel, less responsibility, more money, more career success, more time to enjoy my husband…etc. HOWEVER, the cons that ponder in my head are: miss being part of something magnificent (what is greater than creating a life and help shape a human being who could grow up to be something great?); what would happen after my husband dies? I would be left all alone; miss feeling what others call the greatest love you will ever feel (I mean, they can’t all be wrong about this); lonely holidays; miss on passing on my legacy or truly pass on my experiences for others to learn… etc.
    Of course, because I have listed more cons than pros doesn’t mean that I want kids, but that I have thought long and hard about this. I don’t care about having extra money to buy handbags or that I am not getting enough attention from other women (which I feel it is incredibly superficial as a reason not to have children). My main fear is to lose who I am, to lose freedom to be whatever I want to be and that my mistakes would have larger repercussions because I have someone that depends ENTIRELY on me. ANYONE FEELS LIKE ME HERE?

    • eLena

      Yes, GM, you are absolutely right.
      It is so frightful to get such a huge responsability.
      I believe that is problem of all too responsable people – thinking too much before taking a step in unknown.
      Interesting, if by now your thoughts has changed..?

  • Ambyr

    This is very helpful to me in many ways. Thank you!

  • Vince

    Hi I am a guy and liked the article. I would like to add some input. I am 49 do not have any children. I am the only one of siblings in my family that can carry the family name. My older brother has passed on and my sister does not want kids. Honestly I do not want kids. Am I being selfish? I have told some people before that you look at the economy and the way the world is going, do you think that the world of today is a place for kids? I do not think so. Some people disagree with me and tell me that if I had really wanted children I would have had them. All it takes is love. I have to say, it is more than love you have to keep children happy and you do not have to be rich but you do have to have a steady income. I was in a relationship with a woman who had a biological clock that was ticking like a time bomb. She wanted to pump out 4 kids and told me that I would have to be the one works because she refuses to after that. So I broke off our relationship.

  • Lisa

    Thank you. Although this was written a while ago, it is as relevant today as it was in 2008 and has offered me solace that I am not alone in these occasional urges. I grew up with a mom who was divorced early and a grandmother who was freed as a widow. Both were major influences in my life and taught me to be independent and never “live off a man” (and those bring home the bacon commercials didn’t help either). I learned only too well and have been the primary financial supporter in two marriages and didn’t feel that “OMG, I have to have a kid now or no ‘mommy club’ for me” until 44. I don’t know if it is the “right” decision to not have kids, but I do agree with the digging deeper to give back. A lot of mommies have very strong opinions about those who are not moms but please try not to judge. There are many reasons why people fall into or decide not to become mothers. This isn’t an apology as much as a request for respect.

  • Maya

    Great post! I’m currently a 32 year old female who has had a career and is back in school again to become a registered nurse. I think for those who think it’s “selfish” to not have children, your mind needs to be opened. My plan is to devote my time, energy and resources to touch and help as many children, adults, or seniors who already exist. The money I would be spending on my own child, I would be spending on traveling to underprivileged places in the world to help those people, or donating to causes that help those in need (whether it be people or animals or environment), the time I would be spending staying at home to take care of my children I would be spending it working long hours in the hospital, or in the community, or learning sign language/other languages to better help those in need by increasing my ability to communicate, or volunteering for various causes, and the energy I have, instead of just using it on my own children, will be used toward giving patients (and those in need) as much of my attention and love and care as possible. Those who are already in the world had no choice in it, and there are MANY who are not happy, and are in dire need of attention and love. I can touch many more unfortunate souls in the world if I am childless than if I were too busy taking care of my own children. Now tell me, what part of that is selfish?

    • eLena

      Thanks God, there are people like you, Maya!
      Blessings and all the best!

  • Jules

    Omg I am so glad I came across this article. I am 32 years old and I am married with three step kids. I have no biological kids but have assumed the role of a full time mother with my step kiddies… Love them to death by the way. Anyway I am scheduled to have a procedure in 72 hours that will provide birth control for the next three years. I know that once this is preformed that I will not change my mind so I have to make a decision about having a baby with my husband. He is on the fence he could care less if we have one or not, I however found myself in tears fighting with whether I was depriving myself of a baby. The pro and cons provided in this article have really helped me seal the decision to stay baby free. Thank so much

  • Aubrey

    I typed in “dealing with not having children” It is not a fertility problem that I am having issues with…it is that my boyfriend doesn’t want to have them. I never really thought about kids before this, I could have taken them or not. So – it was really refreshing to read your blog and the reasons why you felt that you sometimes wanted them. I could really relate to it and in a way lead me to realize that those were some of my thought processes as well for potentially wanting them. Being truly honest with my self I don’t think I have the capacity to deal with them. I have a big heart, love my nieces, nephews and younger cousins but I do like my time. I actually will admit that I am a bit selfish or that according to what you have said I am unselfish because I know this about myself. I wouldn’t want to bring a child into this world and mess them up if I am not whole heartedly into having children and raising them for the long haul.

  • Levanna

    My wife and I got married 6 months ago, we’re both 31 (and both women).
    I’ve always felt that children were a certainty for me, for her she feels she’s not “grown up enough” yet and all that and often talks about “what if we didn’t”.
    It’s difficult because we can’t just spontaneously decide one day to have children, it has to be a certain and well thought out plan to conceive. We also both feel that no matter when (if) we were to do it, people would always question our timing, unlike they would with a straight couple, because they KNOW we had to plan it.

    There are many reasons not to have children that are super valid and compelling (and exciting really!!)..
    But as compelling as they are, valid or not, I think more about the downsides. I don’t ink so much about babies and cuteness and all those things. I think about raising little adults and sending them out into the world to hopefully do something amazing. I think about how wonderful it would be to watch my wife as a mother (though she doest feel particularly maternal, I can see it’s in her to be one of those “I hate kids, but love my own” types).

    In our community of lesbians we see a lot of childless couples of course. Outside of that we seem to know a number of straight couples over the age of 40 who don’t have children. Some out of a conscience choice, some due to meeting later in life and some because they put it off too long. I am currently house sitting for one such couple (met too late in life). Their home is filled with momentos of their lives, and her parents lives (who lived with them until their deaths last year). I see their pictures, their marriage certificate framed by the front door and I think.. No one will care. All their memories, everything they’ve collected.. Their love story.. It all ends here. No one will cherish the things they are cherishing.

    I guess maybe I’m being judgmental in a very light way – but it just fills me with sadness. Maybe because I know they both wanted to have children at some point, but it just didn’t work out. Her mother lived with them until she died and I think that’s amazing that they did that for her, opened her home to her, but then I think. Who would open their home to them?

    I can’t imagine having no one to hand down my mothers best recipes, our love story, our wedding pictures, all our letters etc to. It fills me with a profound sadness to think “that would be it!”.

    So I know that children are for me. Because, even with all the amazing reasons not to have children, and how exciting that life could be in my 30’s and 40’s.. I want more from my 50’s and 60’s.

  • Jess

    “4 – Getting angry emails from parents who read my posts about Courage
    They always say things like, “Easy for you to say! You wouldn’t feel that way about taking chances if you had a few kids!”

    I have to say, this kind of complaint is one that has never made sense to me. Yes, it IS easy for me to take chances because that’s the life I chose. How can this possibly be anger-inducing in one that has chosen to childed road? I assume that all parents feel fulfilled and purposeful. That someone else chooses a different path to fulfillment isn’t an indictment of parental life.

    And if my parents had chosen not to have children? It’s rather obvious that the point would be moot, isn’t it?

  • Kelly

    Just stumbled across your blog and i must say this particular entry stood out for me.
    I am a married 30 year old women and we do not plan on having children. I relate to your observations about wanting the attention from others about announcing pregnancy, thinking of baby names etc etc. but thats all.

    My husband and I love spending time with friends children but would never want to have any. (I have 2 beautiful dogs which take up enough time) However I get do odd comments like ” you will want children when your older” or “your soo selfish!” or “what are you going to do with your life”. These really annoy me. I am a grown professional woman and it hurts when some people completely disregard my thoughts and choices as it goes against their beliefs. I think that women who decide not to have children, have made their choice after a lot of thought, rather than a random spur for the moment decision.

    Luckily I have a fantastic friend (who is a mum) and she has told me she enjoys spending time actually not talking about babies or children, when we catch up.
    Every woman’s choice should be accepted and not dismissed purely because it is not the 1950’s (sorry we are in 2012!!!) norm.

  • Garnett Livingston

    Interesting post – thoughts to ponder……how different would your life be if your parents had chose not to have kids?

    • Catherine

      I am wishing they had chosen that actually. I am not understanding why my father and mother were so eager to reproduce given their respective mental and intellectual disabilities. I am the only one however of my siblings that was cursed with them. I guess they knew they also carried good genes and it was a crap-shoot. Thanks guys. But on a less personal note; we are all going to die. So this gift of life will be taken away forever from each and every one of us. Your kids, to whom you have given this “gift” will have to live with the realization that it will be taken back. we all do. And that realization is very difficult for human beings, and this is why there is so much religion. So..no I don’t feel like I am depriving my non existent offspring of anything – nature is going to cruelty deprive them of the life you give them anyway.

    • GM

      Completely irrelevant and ready-made argument. Everyone’s lives are different. What worked in our parent’s life does not necessary work in ours. Do not assume everyone’s lives are the same.

  • Zofie

    Nice Post,
    Found myself here when I googled “not having children”
    The very fact that I googled that indicates that I need a sense of reassurance.
    At 35 and few failed ivf`s, I do question my reason to have children.
    I have had success in my professional life and happily married for 11 yrs. Having children was postponed due to college and circumstances.
    We are at a good point in our life to raise a child. But life has a different plan for us.
    Growing up, I took care of my younger siblings and found myself babysitting most of my younger days. So, I was never in a hurry to have kids of my own.
    Now in my present situation, I truly wonder why I want children?
    1. ego – the feeling of failing as a woman
    2. social pressure – so many mothers around me
    3. the next thing to do in life
    4. Life is good and stress free now- Time to add another challenge 🙂
    5. The camaraderie of being a mother and growing children
    6. Possibility of future regret if I do not have children
    7. People pitying me for not having children

    All this comes after all my justification of not having children

    1. My life is not tied down [ but people and family expect more of our time just because we have no kids.]
    2. We can travel [ everyone travels just different destinations and face it how much do we travel indeed]
    3. I have freedom [ We are already free ]
    4. Kids are brats these days [ we were too ]
    5 Society has changed so much how will i cope up as I am not living in ignorant bliss
    6. The stress and fear of dealing with drugs, predators, bullying, etc [ It seems to have reached a different level]
    7. There are 4 billion people already eating up resources. nature is trying to control our population if do not kill ourselves already.

    Whether we like it or not as many here have pointed, People judge us on being childless.
    Then again they judge us on many things as well. The problem is within us as we have our own feeing of failure.
    We do not need to give a justification why we are childless. Life happens and we have decisions to make based on our own life and experiences and destiny.

    In spite of all the knowledge and understanding, we life reassurance and support.
    Thank you

    • Aubrey

      I really enjoyed your reply. I too am struggling with the possibility of not having children. I think I can relate to the feeling of ‘failing as a woman’ and stress free life. It is great to know there is a network of woman who chose or deal in an emotionally intelligent way that they can’t have children and choose to look on the brighter optimistic side.

    • Lisa

      I agree. You summarized many of the same feelings and thoughts I’ve had very succinctly. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone. Best Wishes.

  • Artemis

    I am 40 and I don’t have kids. For the longest time I reveled in the freedom, feeling of independence and strength of my choice. I made artwork featuring my IUD as Artemis’ bow. (the fiercely independent virgin goddess – I’m a virgin to having kids). Only in the last couple of years as I see that narrow space left in the closing window do I start to panic a little – to question myself. Am I missing out on life’s greatest experience? It’s not all the time – it is usually when a cousin or sister-in-law is pregnant, and they are so celebrated, so special, so supported. They share a profound common experience with other women that I will never share. I’m not in the core circle… again. I will have to find my sense of purpose somewhere else. I am sick of justifying my choice. No one ever asks moms ‘why’ they are choosing to have kids. I am tired of listing the ways I actually do cherish children. I adore my nephews and niece, I want to be the eccentric and supportive auntie. It’s easier for people to take if I keep it ambiguous… “It’s not in the cards for me…” They come to their own conclusions, often with sadness in their eyes. I have wished for a malfunctioning uterus so it’s not my ‘fault’ to not have kids – I am spared the judgement. I can’t wait for that window to slam shut, so I can let go of the lingering question – “should I jump… should I just do it?” and go get on with my life.

  • Michelle

    Wow I am glad to come across this blog today. I was feeling very much left out by all my friends and family who are having little families of their own. I think what brought this on today was a friend again suggesting we have kids of our own. I found myself going to those “are you ready for a baby quizzes” and purposely trying to fail them. LOL. I am almost 30 years old and have been married for almost 8 years. While we have no children we do have lots of animals (rabbits, dogs and cats). We built our dream home out in the country before we got married. We enjoy traveling together (mainly road trips) and we spend a lot of time together. We have toyed with the thought of having kids….but when the decision came down to kid or truck? we chose truck 🙂 lol. I am super excited to spend time with my brothers girlfriends kid. I like little children. I think babies and toddlers are cute as heck. But we are both very annoyed with kids older than 6, they seem like cry babies and brats (esp last week when there was a table with 8 kids at a restaurant OMG we thought it was like birth controL! LOL). There was a time when we thought we would like to have a child…..and then my young husband barely over 30 had a heart attack, and it required a very serious operation. There was a part of me that wished I had a child so that I’d have a peice of him still around if he didn’t make it….but now that’s it’s over I see how that was the worst time of my life going through all that and I realize how much harder it would have been with kids. It took us a year to get back to “our normal”. We are just now back to that happy place. And through all of that I think I learned what is important and what is not, along with who is important and who is not. But also with that I learned what I could and couldn’t do on my own. There was so much that I couldn’t take care of on my own aroudn the house, it was crazy. The truck battery died, I needed help replacing that. I couldn’t keep up with mowing the field and the yard, neighbors helped with their tractors. I just realized how helpless I really am. How could I ever care for a child. And even more so the fear of things you can’t control worries me about kids. I almost lost my husband and now I am so protective of him. I worry about him being around people who smoke or eat bad….how could I ever have a kid-I’d worry worse! And what if my kid was sick-seriously sick….what if my kid was a jerk….what if my kid didn’t listen and got hurt…..just too many what if’s. I think for now we are going to focus on us and not think of having kids…..if that feeling changes we’ll be ready for it. But as for now….it’s just us and the pets 🙂 and fun kids around us to visit and do things with when we want. The most thing I worry about when it comes to not having kids is what if it’s too late? I think we only have 5 more years (I think they say after 35 it’s risky for a woman) so what if when we are passed that age we regret it? that’s all I ever worry about. I keep thinking that yea my friends kids are cute now, but wait till they grow up and cause them grief. This may or may not be the right way to think of things. And maybe I’ll change my mind….but for now…I was happy to come across your article to make me feel like I still fit in somewhere…..

    • Cristina

      Hi Michelle,

      I have been struggling for many years myself regarding this issue. I am 34 and I also have NEVER been one to follow the crowd. My husband and I both feel the same way about not having kids and all of the close people in our lives who we thought felt the same way all decided to have kids….
      My husband and I have a very special relationship, after 17 years of being together, we still act like new lovers and are also very best friends. We do not want this to change at any point but I struggle with the fact (daily) that if I were to ever lose my husband, would I regret not having a part of him left behind (a child)?? I remind myself that no matter what, that child will not be him… heck that child could have the total opposite personality, who knows!
      Until I read your comment, I thought I was the only one in the world to think about all the things you mentioned and now I don’t feel so alone! We seem to have a lot in common and I have no friends to share this same issue with. I know this article is a couple years old but if you ever want to email, it would be great to chat!
      Thanks,
      Cristina

  • Chrissy

    It’s nice to see another creative soul who doesn’t want kids. We’re such in the minority. I’ve also visited a lot of other forums that discuss this topic, and the mothers on here who are commenting for whatever reason seem to be very cool and non-judgmental and it’s nice to hear them say positive things. I like the lack of tension on the subject here. I wish more people would just live and let live between childfrees and parents.

  • BJ

    I recall being in my early 20s and at a family reunion of sorts with all my female cousins and aunts going on and on about their babies and birthing experiences ( which sounded horrifying to me). One of my aunts mist have sensed my discomfort with the whole discussion and said to me – in front of everybody – “Don’t worry – having kids doesn’t make you any more of a woman. Skip it if you want to.” she herself has one child. I always remembered that whenever I found myself in one of those situations where my gal pals who had started having babies were going on and on about it and sort of treating me like an outsider (OK maybe I just felt like that).

    One thing that did drive me nuts was older women asking when I was going to have kids and when I replied that I wasn’t intered in having children they’d tell me that I’d change my mind. Around the time I turned 40 they finally stopped asking 🙂

    • eLena

      BJ, thank you for sharing your very personal experience on this sensitive topic.
      May I ask you, if you have ever felt like, if you were given the chance to start over, you would opt for having a child?

      Thank you!

  • Farnoosh

    Hi dear and empowering Christine, I was sent here by a good friend, Lance Ekum, who told me that after my last post, The Path to Fulfillment: To have or not to have children, which got crazy attention, that I must connect with you and boy did I enjoy reading EVERY SINGLE WORD here! It’s funny – the reasons you mention for wanting to have kids are not even important to me. I don’t care about the parking spaces and I really don’t want angry email ;)! – I also don’t care about the attention people give each other about babies, I think women with babies often forget to be women first – they lose their identity in their children and along with it, they lose who they were….I know it’s lovely to think we become someone else but there is nothing wrong with the fabulous person we are now! I can add a thousand more reasons not t have them but that’s not the point here. The point is that I will get the guilt trip especially from both Moms and I will never make my parents as proud as I wish I could no matter what they say, I know they want me to have babies, and all of this will feed me a bitter regret that I have to taste for the rest of my life, and all of this is alone for me to want to choose my path. Oh dear, I did get carried away. Well, I’ll find you and come see your show :)!!

  • Becky

    Thank you very much for that post. I’m 34 and have been married for a long time, and I feel that pressure and disapproval from relatives, and society in general. I love kids but somehow I feel being a mother is not for me. I always look for role models such as yourself to feel better about my choice. What Sukie said is really accurate: I get more hostility from people who are not totally happy with their lives, and envy the freedom and “youthfulness” of mine.
    I guess some people get a little insecure about their life choices when they see me so happy and fulfilled! Also it’s funny how many people talk about being “on vacation” when their kids are away. Yes, it is a full-time job, and no, it’s not for everybody.

  • sukie

    Thanks for this post; I think it’s a subject that mothers and non-mothers, both, need to give thought to. I always wanted kids. An abusive childhood left me incompetent in most areas of functioning throughout my twenties and thirties. I sometimes felt a strong temptation to have a baby just to find someone to love, some kind of real family. Fortunately, I didn’t give in to this selfish desire, remembering what it was like to be raised by psychological cripples. With a good deal of effort and therapy, I finally got things pretty much together personally by my late forties, but by then my marriage had started to fall apart. We divorced — and then menopause settled the issue.

    I mourned this loss and made peace with it. However, right about this time, some of the women at the new department I had recently transferred to at work began to make comments — sometimes several times a day — about my childlessness, how childless woman aren’t “real women,” about how fulfilling motherhood and grandmotherhood are. Several of them decided that I “didn’t like children” (I love being around kids) and would rather pointedly apologize to me if their kids or grand-kids visited them at work, ignoring my protestations. There was such an undercurrent of hostility centering around this subject. Oddly enough, they never did this to an openly lesbian woman (also childless) with whom they’d worked for years — just me.

    Eventually, I noticed that not all the mothers in the department were so critical of my childless status. Paying closer attention, I finally realized that the kinder, non-critical mothers were in fact happy and fulfilled in motherhood, while the mean women seemed to have constant problems with their families. Seeing that really helped.

    So I hope that anyone else who encounters this kind of cruelty from other women will closely consider the source.

  • Marie

    Great post. I’m over 40 with my own business and no kids. Never wanted any.

    The thing that bothers me is that I’ve thought about wanting them twice – both times when my work and business were not going well (or I was just miserable) and I thought “well, this isn’t working, maybe kids would give me something to do for a few years.” Wrong. Wrong reason to have them. Wrong to put that on another person (hi, I had you because I was bored and you seemed like you’d fill some time).

  • Joe

    Hey I’m 20, not married and don’t have kids. I don’t want any. I’m not that kind of person. Having a little person run around that looks just like you that spawned from you is the scariest feeling in the world. And I’ve been through more than enough pregnancies scares to help me realize having kids isn’t for me. I’ve been influenced by alot of older people in my life and for awhile I was trying to figure out what makes them so different from everyone else is because they don’t have any kids! I want to be just like them, I want to be my own man, not paying tens of thousands of dollars every year to maintain a child, when all that money could go towards feeding myself and my future wife. That’s all I want, to eat dinner with my wife at our kitchen table every night for 50 years straight. Which is why if I found the right girl I would so get married right now, it would certainly help me reach all my goals and dreams and help me out financially, us being the dinks, having a dog and a cat, a spic and span house, no messes, no hair falling out, no obesity from stress, no whining or crying, no stupid questions, ahh I can’t wait to get older just to enjoy the feeling of not having kids.
    BTW I don’t care about socially condescending people who will think we’re weird or crazy and it’s ungodly to not have children like the almighty creator intended us to. jesus christ didnt have children, he had the right idea. so i wont either.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for these posts. They have been really helpful, especially today… My fiance just told me today that he does not want anymore kids (he has a 12 year old that lives with us). I feel like I now have to choose between him and having kids… Still not sure what to do…

  • Jamie Woods

    As your blog regarding the best and worst trickled into my inbox, I read with shear bewilderment that you had written this fantastic article about me!! I am 36 and have no plans to have babies…(I have 4 and they all have 4-legs and a tail!!) I have received more than enough “friendly reminders” that I will not have any visitors in the RETIREMENT HOME, and that I must be selfish to now want to have babies!! Funny, my husband and I see it quite the opposite. That we are not so self absorbed that we have babies for the need of attention, or to satisfy society’s expectations of our age-group! I will not lie, I have that fleeting desire to decorate a little girl’s room…but it is just that FLEETING!!! I think the biggest part of being a non-parent is the sorority of soccer moms that I will never be a part of. I live in small but substantial university town where there is this whose who connection of whose little league team you kiddo is on and well, frankly, if you are a 30 something without kids, you must be destitute!

    I love my life, I love my husband and I absolutely love my 4 Boston terriers! Sure I wonder what a reproduction combo of my husband and I would look like, but I think I will just live in mystery!

  • janet

    I have enjoyed reading all of the different opinions on this blog and I love your you tube videos Christine.

  • liza

    Thank-you to everyone for your input on the having kids issue. I am 35 and have been married for 15 years. I know in my heart that I do no want to have children and cannot think of a time throughout my life when I did want children.

    This is a very big milestone to reach, especially as a woman. I have tried to understand why people do want children. For some people it is just natural and flows with their life path. However, I do think that many people (both women and men) choose to have children for reasons that are troubling to me. People feel that being a parent gives them legitimacy in the eyes of greater society but especially among their family and friends (especially their parents).

    I think that many people, in their late 20’s/early 30’s begin to have a glimpse of a spiritual crisis- who am I, what is my purpose. Before it gets too scary they fill in that blank space by becoming parents. After the kids go off to college, the empty nest kicks in and who returns… yep the who am I, what is my purpose feeling that was put off for 2 decades.

    This is then when parents start to long for grandchildren – ahh… yes now my purpose is to be a grandparent and hopefully have a grandson so that as I approach the end of my life I can feel that my family (and name) will continue on.

    This then adds to the pressure for a whole new generation of people in their late 20’s/early 30’s to start to have children… and on and on it goes.

  • Mariana

    Well hello, I am in my early 20’s but I don’t think I’ll ever get the urge of having children. I was thinking about this and googled for some opinions and found this amazing blog. Yes, it may be hard sometimes and for society it may be part of women’s role, but what about our role as a single person? I have some friends that have been wanting to have kids since they were 15. Then, there was me that even during adolescence was being judged for not wanting a kid. So there was one time when I thought… is something wrong with me? or should I go to a shrink. Am I really that different? Finally I got to the answer. People are afraid of being alone.
    Its not that much of a certain role or anything is about companionship. That dreadful question that everyone ask themselves once in a while, will I end up alone? Even if you get married and think that you’ll have the love of your life beside you always, there is a certain possibility that you won’t. After all what are statics for? So people have kids to be in a certain box, a box that says “yes, today I’m alone, but tomorrow my kid will show up or something”. I think of it as an excuse to fase the horror of being SOLO.
    Anyway, I happen to be an only child so I won’t ever get to be that hip and cool aunt that you are so proud of being. I’d love that, that’s why I’m becoming a godmother soon enough and I’ll be that cool aunt although not blood connected.
    Another thing just hit me. I have an aunt who just had a kid at 45. She’s judged for having a kid too old. I mean do you have to have children a certain age for people to accept you, too???

  • sandra

    there once was an actual need to bear children; to help work the fields in order to feed the family. it was the natural order. now it’s soccer practice and expensive camps during school breaks and the headaches of public schools and two working parents and junk food.

    there is no biological imperative to have children. they are clearly an amazing life-changing experience but you are not required to have them! AND it is definitely NOT SELFISH to not have kids considering how many people look down on you! it’s obvious in the above posts that many people feed off the attention and built-in social life that parenting brings. it’s the child-free that are on the outside. so who is being selfish, really?

    before anyone calls a child-free couple selfish they should ask themselves why they had children themselves. was it because NOT having them was too out of the norm, too weird? that alone is selfish – to have children out of fear of societal judgement…

  • Kate

    Hi Christine-

    I happened to come across this topic and I’m glad I did. The posts here have been so enlightening.

    I’m in my 20’s and have been married for 2 years. Neither me nor my husband wants children, especially after seeing our sisters’ have daughters. We love our nieces but we see how difficult and trying it is to raise them and change the daily routine.

    I’ve *never* been one to follow the crowd, but within the past few months, quite a few women I know closely and not closely have gotten pregnant. At some point, I stepped back and thought “WHOA….they are all around my age.” One great thing I took from your first post is that there’s a part of me that wants to want kids. However, nothing deeper on a maternal level is there. I may be somewhat young but this is an issue in my life and it will probably continue to be, especially since my mother-in-law is old-fashioned and expects us to have a child one day. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on such a sensitive topic. I will check out your music!

  • Terri Anne

    I sense some animosity among some of the women with kids vs. those without. This is the very issue about choosing to not have children. You are out of the “club”, because you don’t have a child. I do not have children and have friends that have confessed to me if they had it all to do over, they would not have children. Often it is not the children, it is how their lives change, how their husbands change, how their day to day routing changes, how money changes, and how other things change that they don’t anticipate! Not that they would ever admit this to one of the mom’s with kids, but to a single childless women (aka: me), they all have their weak moments, several more than once….

  • Jen

    Hi Christine,

    I’ve been reading your blog for maybe a year, and I appreciate your perspective. I wanted to tell you that I completely agree with your point about receiving support from other women. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I felt that support/attention when I married, and I was completely blindsided by it. I had not felt any support like that before or since, and because we are not having children I don’t expect to feel it again.

    I think that support is why I occationally envy my friends with kids. I know their lives aren’t easy, but when I think of them that’s the adjective that pops into my head. I think that support system is why I think it’s easy, but I had never been able to articulate that before. Thank you.

    Jen

  • Chris Hartzog

    Hi Christine –

    I am a guy, so here is my perspective from my own life. In the earlier years of our marriage I/we really wanted children and I had hopes for a large family. Then eventually the reality hit home that we were infertile. During those years when many of our friends were having families I felt like someone on the outside looking in. It took me a long time to get over that. But eventually I let go and moved on.

    After that we decided to adopt….but that process had it’s own quirks as you suddenly find yourself and your life being put under a microscope to determine if you are good enough. But as the adoption process continued to drag on year after year with no end in sight, we finally came to a point where we made the conscious choice to stop and choose to live child free the rest of our lives. There are multiple good pathways each of us can choose to go down during our journey through life. However, before we got around to calling the adoption agency and canceling our plans, the agency called us and told us we had been chosen by a birth mom!

    So now, being parents has had its own set of unique joys and hardships and we could not be happier. I always tell myself that life is what I make of it and I will try to enjoy the journey no matter what road I am on. There is always something different and fun to look at.

    Best,

    Chris

  • Stephanie D.

    Hi Christine,

    I love your blog. Thanks again for the kid talk. I requested the topic so I was especially excited when you wrote about it. I just wanted to hear some enlightened women’s voices … kind of like a collective wisdom or a frame of reference. I thought it might help me to find some clarity. I am so grateful to everyone who commented on these 3 posts.

    I’m responding to your comment: “As with anything, if you think too much, you can always find too many pros and cons. And maybe if you HAVE to think too much, then it’s simply not the right choice for you!”

    For me at least I think this is not the case. My “thinking” isn’t cerebral like a pro/con list. It’s more of a whole-self journey to my buried truth. Some people (like me) have to make a conscious choice, though I wish I were like your friend for whom it was perfect to have a baby without thinking about it.

    Even if deep down in our hearts we long for children, that may become obscured by major fears that must be overcome so we don’t make the fearful and wrong-for-us choice to not have children. Overcoming well-founded fears can take time and work. We may have circumstances to sort out, like building a relationship with someone we’d like to have children with. We may be working to get spiritually fit to be a parent, to let go of destructive thinking/behaviors and find some inner peace. We may be learning to take care of ourselves so we can take care of someone else too. We may be so confused that it takes a long time to realize we have always wanted children.

    I’ve been waiting for some kind of message from the universe, all the while journeying to the place where the universe would finally reveal me to myself. Sorry for getting so flowery. It’s hard to explain and that’s just how it came out! In essence, I think that all my “thinking” is a clue. If I didn’t want to have children, I wouldn’t agonize so much over it. Like Naomi, I would have simply forgotten to have kids! 🙂

    Peace,
    Stephanie

    • eLena

      Dear, Stephanie!
      Your comment is interesting. And the point about forgetting is good corner stone.
      In my experience, however, I DO forget about the issue, still there are persons from outer world, who wants to convince me, that I’ll regret not having children later in my life, when I’ll become old and “in need”…
      I believe, it is very sad, that so many people argument number 1 for having children is fear of lonliness in future.
      As we know, there are no waranty on future, in whatever is our choice.
      I’m 34 now.
      So my point is to get clear, if I really don’t want children, as I’ve always thought.
      That just doesn’t seems easy choice to me at the moment, as I still don’t have any feelings about babies, no urge to have mine own and at last I have partner who doesn’t want to have children at all, and I love him and cherish a lot our relationship.
      The only thought once in a while (read once a year) comes in my mind is, that it would be kind a nice to have a little girl (5-7 years old) to share the world with.
      But the fact I do love children of that age doesn’t seems to me as good argument to have a child.., in first place, because there is before and after that age, then – it could be a boy…
      In this period I’m telling: I really do not know if I want children at all. That “don’t know” is not so sure as was my “never” before, but it is not “I want a child”.
      So I’m wandering, is there some check questions, which could help me to understand better, if there are any “yes” to child possibility in my head, heart and future life?

      P.S. Many thanks to Christine Kane for the article!

  • wesleyjeanne

    Oh my God, Christine…It never even occured to me that I’m going to have to relive high school through my daughters! And I have two of them, so I’ll have to relive it twice!

    Maybe I can send them to a convent before that happens. Can I?

    Seriously, I think it is such an individual choice, what makes an authentic life for a person. For me, it’s having children and living authentically and creatively with them. Your “work in the world” as you say, involves something else entirely, which is what is right for you. I don’t think either of us has to validate our choice by making it better somehow than the other. What is right for you is right for you; what is right for me is right for me. And, as you’ve so nicely illustrated in your post, there are plusses and minuses for either choice.

    I still can’t believe I didn’t think about that high school thing…

    • mp

      I thought the high school comment was funny, but ultimately not really true. My high school experience was different than my mother’s and different than my sister’s. I doubt that I will have to relive high school if I choose to have a child.

  • Sheri

    I love it. As a 45 year old “girl” who has never felt the urge to have kids, it’s so great to be a part of the subject matter. If you ever pick up an O magazine or any other popular womans magazine, they are packed full of articles and tips on how to manage your life as a mother and put yourself first. While I totally appreciate the role of mothers and the challenges they face – it’s pretty rare to find reading that speaks to those of us who are happily married without children.

    As an added bonus – we remain ageless because we don’t have kids that remind us just how old we are!

    Cheers!

    • Eileena

      I am with you Sheri. I am married with no kids. Me and my husband never argue, travel, always have money/savings, etc. It is a great life! No stress!

      • Shelly Young

        I have friends with both children and not. The ones that don’t have a definite amount of self absorbtion and inward focus which you don’t see so much in mothers. I personally think you become more well rounded person because you have learnt to be less selfish, more compassionate, patient and more community minded. I’m not saying either is better just that there is a noticeable difference.

        • Christine Kane

          Shelly – Your observation may be true for you — but keep in mind that “self-absorption” is a judgment call and not exactly objective! 🙂

          The women I know and coach who don’t have children often give boatloads of their souls and lives to their clients and friends – and that is how they step out of the ego traps of “it’s all about me.” There are many ways to rise above ego. Not just having children.

  • Elana

    Thank you to Cynthia (comment: October 19th 10:55am)! I can completely relate to everything you’ve said. 🙂

  • Elana

    I am 33 years old, a single parent to a 4 year old, and made the decision to have my son when I was 28 after having spent my whole life up until then wondering why anyone in their right mind would want children. I love my son, absolutely, and wouldn’t trade him for anything HOWEVER as a musician/writer with a highly creative side I struggle daily with the frustration of not being able to take the necessary time to cultivate my innate desire to pursue writing & producing music, travel etc. Whatever your decision – both choices have their pros & cons. Raising a child is all consuming and not for everyone. And one day, I’m going to sing about it.

    • Eileena

      I appreciate you being honest. I don’t want kids at all! People try to convince me but I am not interested, no way!

  • Lauren

    Christine – I’ve been reading your blog for ages – I often seek it out when I find that fear or frustration is overtaking me and need a quick wakeup call. Just wanted to directly comment about the angry e-mails you mention from parents, challenging the notion that courageous choices are possible for parents. For my husband and myself, having our son nine months ago was actually the wake up call to living more courageously. We want him to grow up with role models who create their lives intentionally and joyfully, not parents who are resigned to becoming martyrs of the practical. I left my career in higher ed to start teaching baby and toddler yoga and spend more time at home and with friends, and my husband is turning his passion for physical fitness and wellness into a career as a trainer. I even offer childcare services to his clients! And next year I’ll be taking an adult yoga teacher training, something I’ve wanted to do for ages, but have felt “not good enough” for. For me, something about birth and my son’s infancy just shook away layers of fear and self-doubt, and made me really, really open to possibility. And I keep stumbling upon other people whose new lives as parents have inspired them to open up even further. You’ve inspired me to start writing about this journey at earthyyogamom.blogspot.com. Thanks!!

  • Christine Kane

    hi beth – i think the “hs phase” is probably quite universal. I know I’d be feeling it! But congratulations anyway! I really do think that pregnant women are just gorgeous!

    (And yes, the song “off the ground” is on my cd “This Time Last Year.” You can get it on iTunes too. Thanks!)

    ——

    And you know, as i’ve read all these comments, I keep thinking of a conversation I had with a friend of mine who has one child. She was saying that probably it’s fine to just HAVE kids without thinking about it. (She was saying, “What’s wrong with just being in your 20’s and cluelessly having kids?”) As with anything, if you think too much, you can always find too many pros and cons. And maybe if you HAVE to think too much, then it’s simply not the right choice for you! Thanks for all the cool thoughts on the topic!

  • Beth

    Christine- I fell in love with your song “Off the Ground” when I heard it on a CD called “Women’s Work”. I haven’t even gotten through enough of your site to see if I can find it (lost the CD). I just have to comment on this blog. Until recently, I felt very much the same about the kid thing. Now, I find myself six months pregnant and in utter disbelief that this is actally happening to ME! I’m so glad to see that someone’s offering this valuable advice and an open forum regarding such an important choice. As for me, I’m just going to have to get past this “holy shit” phase, but thank you on behalf of those questioning their decision not to be parents.

  • Stephanie D.

    Christine,
    Thank you so much for these thoughtful and thought-provoking posts on the big decision of whether or not to have children. I’ve been mulling it over for years, and it’s getting down to the wire. It is incredibly helpful to read your ideas and to hear so many different experiences and perspectives in the reader comments. Where else would I find such diverse honesty on such a personal and sensitive topic? I still have some writing and “meditating” to do, but so far I’ve picked up that I don’t want to make my decision from a place of fear.

    Elizabeth,
    I relate. I get the impression that some of my friends think if they didn’t have children life would have remained carefree- all fun, youth, relaxation, and freedom. They forget that everyone grows up, whether we have kids or not. We all deal with aging and its related energy/health/identity issues. We all grow more emotionally complex as we face our difficulties … the ones we weren’t mature enough to see and work through before. We all find ourselves with the responsibility of doing it all … running the “small business” that is our own life, fully particiapting in the world, taking appropriate care of ourselves and those we love. We all struggle to find the motivation, courage and time to find our bliss/passion amidst the pressure to deny ourselves. We all pay opportunity costs based on our choices. I sometimes pine for simpler times too! But then I remember even though I’m no longer the ingenue, I hope I’m becoming the wise woman of substance I always wanted to be.

  • Nancy

    Hi Christine,

    A very thought provoking post.

    I always “knew” I would have children someday but there was a time in my mid and late 20’s that I couldn’t imagine ever being ready. In fact, I remember, the thought of have children scared the heck out of me. So much responsibility and fear of the unknown (or even fear of the known for that matter). Then it happened, my pregnancy was unplanned and I was unprepared. Now, I’m 50 and I have one grown and one almost grown boys. I’ve never stopped being creative. And actually grew in creativity; I went from oil painting (before) to poetry and photography (after). For me, having children has been a complete blessing in every way. Though I believe everyone has their own choices to make and paths to follow and all are equally honored. However I sometimes wonder if “planning” is only an illusion. What will be will be.

  • Deb

    All of this “to have or not to have kids” reminds me of visiting my childless and not by choice aunt and uncle when I was newly married.

    She was irritated at a women’s group in her neighborhood and it’s assumptions about numbers of children certain couples had. She remarked (to me) that the group’s opinion about all those kids being the result of too much sex was all wet because she thought people who didn’t have any kids were probably having a lot more sex trying to have them.

  • Elizabeth

    It is refreshing to be part of a thoughtful conversation on these topics. Thank you! I often find that my friends who are coupled up and parents make assumptions about my life in a different direction–and they often are pretty invested in those assumptions. Many seem to put what they miss onto me (“she doesn’t have children, she must be staying out late, romantically adventuring to jazz clubs and moonlight adventures. No way would she want to hang out with us–we have to get the children to bed at 8pm!”). And, while I don’t say no to the perfect moonlight adventure, in fact I frequently go to bed myself at 9pm (I see the hour before sunrise much more frequently than the hour after the moon comes up). I love an early evening on a porch just hanging out and having a conversation. Sometimes I think I’m performing a public service by being the repository for those fantasies! Other times I just enjoy being able to choose either option. But it is a puzzling miscommunication to me. Anyone else?

  • bea

    About school: if you live in the US or Canada (and many other countries) your kids do not have to go to school. You can homeschool (or even better: unschool.)

  • peggio

    As one who wanted kids more than anything, one who always pictured herself a mother “someday” and went through significant distress in my 30’s because it didn’t happen, I applaud you for speaking so clearly and logically about this topic.
    It took me years to finally let the dream and longing go … to let go of the feeling of “stigma” attached to deciding to NOT have kids and be ok with that (even tho’ it was out of my control, people still always asked) and just be me.
    As it turns out, I nurture in my work and wonder if I would be as good at that if I did have kids of my own. Who knows? At this stage in my life, I have made peace with the fact that although it was a previous dream of mine, I am totally and thoroughly happy that my life took another direction and I enjoy some of the same “perks” you have listed. I love spoiling my nieces and nephews, they get a relationship w/me that is totally different from their parents and we all enjoy that bond of family.
    I love reading your blog, Christine … thanks for sharing!

  • Carolyn

    I may rethink my comment later, but at the moment (I’m 51, with 2 grown children) I sense this discussion in like being on one roller coaster while wondering if you would rather be on another roller coaster. Children have brought me my greatest joy and my greatest anguish, but I realize now it has been is my perception and reaction that has made is so. During those years I also felt turmoil that I had not found a career path. I did not consider parenthood as a deterrent to a career, but blamed my own lack of decision. There is potential for the same “Ohmigod! I want a ______ (baby/career)” [circle one] feeling no matter WHAT you choose. Finding Love and Joy and developing those within yourself is the greatest challenge, reward, and gift.

    A related quote:
    “Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman

    Carolyn2

  • Robin

    My perspective on this topic:
    My wife and I were married twenty years before we adopted our first daughter. We married very young, I was 40 and she was 38 when we became parents. Most people assume we couldn’t have biological children but that was not our case. We talked about children often, but like Christine I don’t think we felt the calling. Life was too good the way it was. We borrowed our neices and nephews whenever we wanted. We were free to travel and had disposable income. Still we talked about children from time to time. Because of our ages we started thinking it was time to do something or quit talking about it. I talked Lori (my wife) into going to an International Adoption Agency just to see what would be involved. I think we both felt adoption would be an option for us because we liked the idea of children, we just didn’t feel the need to reproduce.
    The day we went to that meeting was when we turned a corner from thinking about it to wanting it. They had books with all these photographs of orphans and families who had adopted and it touched us deeply.
    Thirteen months after that meeting I watched a social worker hand my daughter to my wife. My whole perspective on life has changed. I believe to this day had we chose not to have children we would still be happy. I don’t think children are right for everyone. Social pressure and need for personal attention are strong powers but should not be the driving force of reproduction. People can and do contribute to this world without raising children.
    I will also say watching the wonder of the world through your childs eyes is like seeing it for the first time yourself. If you think you are proud of your accomplishments you should feel the excitment of seeing your childs. My oldest is six years old now and I have been trying to teach her guitar. I never heard a sweeter “D” chord than the one I heard last night.

  • Jules

    My friend from high school, Fiona, posted this and I thought it was interesting. I just skimmed it for now, but I do feel a lot of these things socially because of not having living children by my age.

    I’m sure it mentions it, but a big part of how my peers view me right now is that I couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to have children and that it must be nice to not have the responsibility of them. Somehow I’m an outcast because a live full term baby hasn’t shot out of me yet.

    On the other hand, some people get freaked out by me because they don’t know how to react to my losses and I think they secretly think that miscarriage is contagious.

    So, my perspective in all of this is a woman who has has 4 lost pregnancies, a failed attempt at in vitro… and I’m 34.

    It’s not that I don’t want kids. Sometimes it feels like the universe is wanting me to not want kids. But losing them after bonding to them — it’s made me long even more to someday be a mother. It probably won’t happen biologically and that frustrates me.

  • chris zydel

    Hi Christine,

    As one of those artsy types, now 56 years old, who is also childless by choice, I appreciate you talking about this issue. I have not much else to add to all of the collective, heartfelt wisdom that is contained in your blog and the comments. However, I am an expressive arts/ intuitive painting teacher and I run workshops for all types of women to help them find their way back to their own creative source, and just recently one of my students ( who is a very happy and fulfilled mother) thanked me for NOT having children. She thanked me because she said that she recognized that I would not have been as available to serve and nurture all the women I have worked with over the past 30 years, if I had chosen to be a mother. Of course, I am a mother. I have many, many daughters, just none that I have raised from scratch and not a one has been named Tula!

    Thanks again for your always thoughtful and intriguing posts.

  • Marisa

    Wow, so these posts are finding a space right smack in the middle of my questing, restless, vocation/avocation seeking 29 year-old, 2 years married in a brand new big house soul… I am focusing on living with the moment and watching my cycles continue to follow the moon and just praying that there will be some clarity about what we are “supposed” to do or what we “want” or what we “need.” (It is amazing how expectations, wants, and needs just become an enormous tangle…). I am very sensitive to those who commented about motherhood even being a choice. Though I have no reason to worry about our ability to conceive a happy, healthy baby, I think I refuse to allow myself to “need” to be a mom just in case the Universe has other plans for us.
    Thanks and blessings for giving us all a forum to think about something that is so essential yet often remains unspoken.

  • Rosemary

    Christine,

    Thank you for these posts — as another childless by choice woman and full-time artist, I am so there. But you left out one of the pluses (for me anyway) — the extra close relationship I have with my husband. Now at the risk of angering all the moms, from what i can see, our relationship contains a lot less stress, sleep deprivation, and money worries — and a lot more love, kindness and consideration for each other. I think it’s because we have time and energy just for each other. I mean no offense and I know it’s different for everyone, but that’s what I see and hear from my married with kids friends.

    At a very young age, I decided that, among other reasons, I couldn’t be who I wanted/needed to be and also be a mother. I wouldn’t have been good at either one. Yeah, it’s been hard at times (that being excluded from the club thing) but much more often than not, I am really really happy with my choice. And let me know about that spontaneous combustion thing…

    Thanks for speaking up for us! I read once that 25% of the population does not have kids — so even though the media often focuses on those who do, there are a lot of us out there…

    Peace and light to all,

    Rosemary

  • Caroline

    Christine, thanks so much for starting this post. Everyone’s comments are so amazing and heartfelt. I am a single woman, doing my art and my music. Just following my path in all it’s twists and turns. I have not been blessed with a child yet. I am open to the opportunity to have one and I am totally fine if I do not have children…Luckily, my brother and sister have kids and I get to be the cool Aunt. I feel like we are all on this planet together as one, and we just should help each other out. Support the Love of all the children of the world.

  • cynthia

    I always wanted a litter of kids, but I only have one – it’s just how it turned out. Now that my daughter is almost 11, I have more freedom to explore my interests than I did when she was younger. And, here’s my confession, I’m often jealous of my childless friends! They have freedom to do whatever they want, when they want and where they want.

    With that said, I don’t regret having my daughter – I love her in a way I can’t describe. It is unconditional and the experience has been a great journey filled with happiness, frustration, pride, fear, love – a real roller coaster of emotions.

    I’ve made choices to be the best mother that I can be, but that has also meant that I work at my art part time. Do you know how hard it is to pull away when I’m in the midst of a creative streak? It’s hard to maintain the juju when I have to take a break to run to the bus stop and pick my daughter up from school.

    I also know that she will start out on her own life in the near future and I will have that time to do what I want.

    As to socializing, most of the people I hang out with (but not all) do have kids. It’s just easier because they understand the schedule.

    Regarding the post below about selfishness. More than once, I had people tell me that I was being selfish for having an only child. It’s a slap in the face, so I can understand your position. My sister in law is 42 and is also childless by choice – she has told me that she is happy to be the coolest best darn aunt in the world.

  • Elaine

    Thank you for these thoughtful, well written and thought provoking three posts.

    I am someone who has lived most of her life unconsciously (though seriously working on it now!). Through my life, I have felt those social pressures that you have described.

    These posts have helped me to confirm that I too have never had ‘that deeper calling’ and I understand now that ‘I want to want to have kids’. May be one day I’ll get that calling?! But for now, just knowing this, I’m not alone and that it’s actually okay to think this way, is a huge relief.

    Hey… and Tula would totally understand your need to get ‘the better parking spaces!’ 😉

  • Krista

    Hi,
    For anyone out there seriously on the fence over whether to have kids or not you are welcome to spend the weekend with me and my 15 year old twin daughters, Godzilla and Predator. Fortunately when they fall asleep they change into the lovely children they once were years ago. This gives me hope that one day they will behave like civilized human beings, maybe for several days in a row. Seriously, I love my kids *and* there are many days when I am extremely envious of my friends without children. Only 882 days until high school graduation.
    Krista

  • rebecca

    Christine, thanks so much for this post. What you say totally resonates with me — at 36, with no children here or on the way, I often feel a little disjointed as I lose friends as they have children and move on to friendships with moms in their play groups. I do have some strong friendships that I’ve maintained with folks throughout their motherhood, but it is awkward at times (folks tend to assume that I don’t like kids, which is totally the opposite of my feelings). I find myself wanting to want to have kids, too, but with nine nieces & nephews (and two greats), I know the realities.

    I was having a similar conversation with an acquaintance at a party the other night (this always comes after the do you stay home or do you work question) & for the first time ever, someone said, you know, I think that you are NOT selfish for not having kids. It felt good to have my choice validated rather than dismissed or criticized. So, again, thank you very much for this!

  • Kate

    Hi Christine – I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this series of brave posts. Good writing helps us think AND feel, and your essays have done that for me. Thank your for your honesty and your great skill in exploring a delicate subject.

  • Michelle R

    Thanks for these posts. I may have been there on the day with Rebecca you described. I am constantly surrounded by “momness”. Sometimes I think I want to be one, but I am much happier (i think) being the friendly aunt. The one who plays with B*** but gives him back to his mom after 30 minutes or so. I like walking R*** to school, but I don’t think that qualifies me to be a primary caretaker. I cycle between wanting the attention and love you mention and knowing I am not cut out for the constant vigilance that parenthood requires. Will the confusion ever end???

  • Becca

    Boy did this post hit home! I have chosen not to have kids, and I feel the same things. I would say the low point in my decision-making process was when the check-out clerk at the grocery store instructed me that I should have kids. Complete stranger! I emphasize one point with younger women I speak with who are trying to decide — you may never know if you made the “right” decision, even on your death bed, and parents will never know if they made the right decision (if it actually WAS a decision — it’s hard to tell sometimes). We all make zillions of choices all day long that structure our lives. Think of all the alternative lives we haven’t been able to lead. I find peace in the unknowing, which helps me remember how to live life well.

  • Colin

    Maybe if this is a difficult, roller coaster sort of choice for some artist types, then it isn’t “being an artist” that is the deepest underlying issue. Just a thought.

  • Julia

    Though I do have a kid (he’s 11 now), I’ve always enjoyed meeting my friends without kids. It’s true: if you meet other mothers, you often end up talking about kids, school, etc. And while that may be interesting up to a point, it gets slightly boring after about 45 minutes. With many mothers its hard to change subjects. My childless friends aks about my son and I can talk to them about kid problems, but it’s only one topic amongst many others. I like that. So I don’t think that having a kid necessarily draws you to other mothers (or parents).

  • jannie

    As to “women who have kids talk to other women who have kids… they talk about their kids,” I tend to hang with women who do NOT have kids or other moms, who like me, gravitate to talking non-kid-stuff, for the simple reason that being a mom is not my sole role in life and I feel so stifled with moms whose conversation is limited to their children. (I run silently screaming from those moms.)

    I admit (except for living in a constant house remodel for 14 years – oy vey,) my life is pretty much a dream because having only one child (who incidentally, came along after 3 miscarriages, numerous feminine-parts operations & such,) allows me plenty of time for me and my music and stuff when she is at school and still have lots of time and energy left over for her and my hubby.

    Here’s what I think… If someone wants a child but is scared she’ll sacrifice her art, I say go for the kid anyway, if you can. You can always get your art back, or find even new and better inspiration for it.

    And Christine, thanks for sharing your mind and heart. I would never judge you or anyone for their decision to have kids or not. I applaud that you know what you want and can share it on your wonderful blog in such an entertaining way.

    I love your blog!

  • Christine Kane

    chrissy – thanks for your perspective. I think that the way i presented this in the very first post in the series is that “this is my perspective – and I know I’d write something entirely different if I ever had children.” I’m pretty aware that I can’t speak from your perspective at all. My friends who have kids ARE very artsy and enlightened. AND what I’m speaking to is exactly the trite/superficial stuff that you’re accusing me of in these posts. It’s the social pressure. And even though my mental self can KNOW that it is superficial, that doesn’t stop the force of it from being there. I don’t think I’ve compared being artsy and enlightened to having kids at all. I’ve addressed the issue that many women face when they choose to not have kids.

  • chrissy

    I have 3 kids, and the thing I know is that there is no comparing being artsy and enlightened to HAVING KIDS. You don’t have to be one without the other. I am an artsy enlightened mom. The whole thing doesn’t make sense to me – there is no understanding what it means to “be a mom” from the standpoint of not having kids, except to put labels on what you see of women in Walmart and in minivans. I love your blog because it’s empowering and practical about living a conscious, creative life. This post lacks in consciousness, rather a list of trite rationales undermining a profound experience that is impossible to understand without the experience. To have or not to have, what does it matter? Children, like everything in life, never inhibit a person from living a creative, conscious life unless the person expects, decides or believes their children will.

  • Kara-Leah

    Christine,

    I’m loving these series of posts. You articulate what many women in the 30s come to realise – that they’re ok with birthing things other than children. And you write about it so beautifully.

    Besides – children come into our lives in many different ways – they may not always be ‘ours’, but that doesn’t mean we can’t love them as if they were.

    Blessings,
    KL

  • Libby

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes yes… (And thank you, too) 🙂

  • serenity

    Christine, I want to buy some of your “kids”, um, I mean songs 😉 and I’m not terribly techno-savvy. I don’t have an ipod…Is it possible to buy from iTunes and then somehow have my computer burn them onto a CD? If that’s a yes, will CD players play that potential CD or only computers???

  • Joy (your Joy)

    i think all your posts are brilliant. this one is no exception, and, of course, i really like it when you mention me.

  • Andi

    5 – I don’t have to re-live high school by watching my daughter go through it.

    Boy that would’ve been a deal-breaker if anyone had told me that before I’d gotten pregnant. School, period. My school years were so miserable that when I realized I was going to have to go through the whole thing over again but in a different way, it was enough to make me wish I’d had a time machine so I could go back and tell me that. I love my kids and they have added a lot to my life, *and* I can still miss the life I could’ve had without them in it.

  • Sara

    Christine: Your posts on children are very thought-provoking! Five months ago I broke up with my boyfriend of 9 years because I couldn’t get him to communicate with me. I had a couple of years where I wanted children with him really bad because that is what my body was telling me. Now, at the beginning of my 30s and single, I have a different way of thinking about children and what the real longing for them is. Selfishness is what I feel because I don’t have children but maybe it is actually a choice I have made deep down that I haven’t realized. I do believe everything happens for a reason and I am sure that if children are what is meant for me then it will happen but right now, I am enjoying my single life with my dog that loves me just as I am!

  • Angela

    Maybe I’ve missed something in the posts I’ve read here – but they seem to imply an element of choice in the decision to have kids or not to have kids? What about people who end up not being able to make a choice of their choosing? Or is that their choice by default?! Just curious Christine (I like you blog and posts and read it regularly).

    I made a choice (in my 30’s) to marry a man who didn’t want to have children and at the time, neither did I. But as your posts reflect, feelings can wax and wane. Some years ago, I changed my mind about having kids. He didn’t. The net result? I’m now 45 and don’t have kids and am not happy about the ‘choice’ I ended up with. At present I’m still in a relationship with him – but I’m not sure how long that will continue (and it’s not just because of the reason I stated here – there’s a whole raft of other things). But on reading your posts it made me think about the women (and men) who want to have children and for some reason can’t conceive … really the more I think about it, the choice to have children doesn’t (to me) feel completely like a ‘free choice’ – there are such a lot of other factors involved. We take fertility for granted until it isn’t there. A bit like the environment really.

  • Ellen

    Christine,

    Thanks for this great post. It seems to me that membership is growing in our “club”-albeit slowly.

    Even thought were in our early 40’s, my husband and I get the “but you’d make such good parents, why don’t you have kids?” question all the time-especially from my Puerto Rican sister-in-law, who believes giving birth is the sole purpose of a woman’s existence and the only true way we can feel any true fulfillment.

    I’ve never felt the desire for children, but I’ve always felt the need to nurture. Caring for my dog, cats, garden and career seem to satisfy those yearnings just fine. Only after finding out I’m unable to have children was there a fleeting moment of sadness. And that was only because freedom-loving-me never likes to be told any of life’s options have been taken off the table.

    Fortunately, my inability to have children now provides me with the near perfect shield for deflecting all of the “kid questions.” (Although, I do still occasionally hear the “have you thought about adoption?” question.) It’s been a great conversation stopper, and if I’m feeling particularly irritable, I may even allow the inevitable coo’s of sympathy to carry on for a minute or two before telling them I didn’t want kids anyway.

  • Stacey

    5 – I don’t have to re-live high school by watching my daughter go through it.

    I think this is one of the best (and perhaps most surprising) things about the joy of parenting – you really do get to re-live every bit of your childhood and re-parent yourself along the way. You get to offer what you didn’t get. My parents are awesome but I didn’t get “unconditional” love – there were a lot of conditions, you know? It was like, “sure we love you, but not *that* behavior”. And that’s a pretty hard distinction for a kid to make, in my opinion. So I’ve learned to love myself without condition and I get to give that to my son, too. He’s only 3 but my husband and I have already created his “Freedom Fund”, kind of like college fund. If he wants to go to high school or college – great, but if he wants to take his freedom fund and ride a motorcycle in South America, that will be great, too. My only hope for him is that he follow his heart.

  • Cynthia

    Absolutely brilliant post/series, Christine. Thank you for being brave enough to express what those of us who have chosen to be child-free are feeling!

  • jannie

    I wouldn’t trade my life with my beautiful much-longed-for daughter for anything.

    But hey, if you don’t want kids, you don’t want kids.

    Such a personal choice.

    Anne, thanks you for your comment, beautifully stated.

    And Mark, my husband was 60 (and I 38,) when our daughter was born so don’t count yourself out, you young man, you …

  • deb

    Christine,
    I’m loving this series! I just never had that intense desire to have children. (My cousin wanted nothing more than to “be a mommy” by the age of 10! And now she is, and her kids are beautiful and wonderful and fabulous.) I thought about it at different points in my life, and decided not to…..for various reasons. It’s been a conscious decision that I’m happy with. But it’s only been recently that I’ve had people actually asking me about it! (Maybe it’s the rapidly approaching “BIG” birthday. HA) And I get that ‘they’ don’t understand. But it amazes me that people have the audacity to say some things that they say to me about it all. (As if I’d never thought about it….and once they say something, I’ll go, “OH! Right! I get it! What was I thinking? You know, now that YOU have said something, I’ll get right on that!”)

    It kind of cracks me up.
    😉

    All the best!
    deb

  • Anne

    While I agree that we should be conscious in our life decisions, I also believe that sometimes Life is bigger than us and what we can know.

    If I had waited to “feel like I really wanted kids” before getting pregnant with my first, I probably would never have gone ahead with it. My husband felt the “really want kids” and since I knew I wasn’t against having kids, I consented.

    What I didn’t know at the time was how much joy and how right my son would be for my life…and how I wouldn’t be able to imagine my life without him. Had I trusted my “feelings” on this, I would have missed the biggest blessing and pure, pure joy of my life.

    All I want to say is that sometimes we can’t know ahead of time what is right for us…and sometimes we need to be open to allowing life to change our lives in ways that open us to miracles.

  • Diane

    I don’t think I knew so many had to have the conversation in their head about wanting children. I’m always surprised when I meet parents that said at one point they never wanted children. I understand not wanting them but it is hard to comprehend having such a radical change in one’s point of view. We ALL have to endure comments that probably have a harmless intent. I have to put up with “So, it is just the two of you?!…often given with a sad expression.” Sometimes I reply with a smile and “Yes, aren’t we lucky!”

    I applaud you Christine and the many women that have taken the time to really think about having children…and all the consequences on their lives. I think too many don’t realize the commitment. It is extremely difficult to “have it all.” I pray for the day we can ALL truly accept our own lives and stop comparing.

  • Tracy

    Hi Christine,
    I find it so interesting that so many people have been called selfish for not having children. I guess there was a long history of people in my family who went that path; most of my aunts and siblings. I have also coincidently surrounded myself with lots of friends who haven’t had children either. It never crossed my mind to view their choices that way; nor is that the feeling of most of the people I know. Maybe I never heard that because I did have a child.
    I can say that raising my daughter in a divorce situation, I could have never made it through without all of those “childless” people. They were my foot in the rational world when I was overwhelmed and never failed to pitch in when I needed a “time out”. They were the people who taught me how to parent from my heart, rather than rules; maybe because they hadn’t been inundated with parenting advice from the first sign of pregnancy. They had a totally different perspective on children. Generally, their time with my daughter and I was filled with play; though I do have to say that my brother spent his first time watching my then 4 year old daughter and teaching her how to open childproof caps. He was banned from babysitting after that.
    They have largely contributed to my daughter’s sense of inclusiveness, independence and quirkiness.

  • Sue

    To those here who do not have children, I will say this: Some women give birth to children, some adopt children, and some help others give birth to their souls by the way they nurture and guide. And many of those people in my life did not or do not have children themselves. You are often gifted nurturers. And that is among the greatest needs in this world, no?
    So,thank you.

    Your line about your dog not needing therapy made me smile. Whenever my husband or I do something like argue with the kids all the way to school about something, then in that flash of clarity as they get outa the car say, “Oh…well…have a great day guys. Love you!!”, we always jokingly say, “There goes another month in therapy!” 🙂

  • Susie Monday

    p.s. Maybe you should name your next CD Tula.

  • Susie Monday

    I’m past that hill now — turned 60 this year — so while adoption might be a slim possibility, the in-my-belly possibility is way over. As an artist and a non-mother, I still have moments when I wish I wanted to want to have children earlier — and did so. Now all my friends and most of the universe of women I know are having the best of all possible times being grandmothers, for pete’s sake. Missing out of one tribe didn’t protect me from missing out of being in ANOTHER one. But, on the plus side, I have had the time and money and mental space to nurture many young people — and emerging artists — as a teacher and mentor; I get to be a wonderful aunt and, any time now, great-aunt. And I try to be the older woman approving of the younger women I know who choose not to have children. Pat, pat. It helps to remember that there are hundreds of children in this world who need all kinds of nurturing and any time I wish, I can choose to make a difference in a young life, maybe not the same gifts a parent gives, but important gifts, nonetheless.

  • Michelle S.

    “When it comes down to it, I find that I want to want to have kids. I just don’t ever hear that deeper calling.”

    Thank you for so clearly articulating what I have been feeling for a very long time. I am about to turn 37 and just went through a rough year of really WANTING to want kids, but not ever really getting to that point. Then I found out I couldn’t have kids, and I was frustrated that the choice had been taken from me, but once I got past that, I was really OK; it was almost easier since now I have a reason to not have kids. I don’t think any woman who choses not to have children needs a reason but for me I finally felt a bit more calm about the whole thing. I could stop trying so hard to want them now.

    I adore kids, I love being an auntie but I also adore my alone time and snuggle time with my husband and long walks with my dog.

    THANK YOU for your honesty.

  • Mark

    Thanks for the very candid post Christine.

    “I want to want to have kids…” – your quote really hits home.

    As a 39 year old single guy (artist) I’m leaning on the side of not wanting kids at this time because I so enjoy my artistic pursuits, freedom of movement, and am willing to endure the financial sacrifices that come with it.

    Problem is, from a dating standpoint, most women in my age range want kids. This has been a real challenge for me, because when do you bring up the subject? On date 2?

    I can’t rule parenthood out completely forever, but I also don’t feel ready to sacrifice my lifestyle right now.

    I’ve been slowly learning to embrace my choice…and accept my path…even if it means occasional lonliness. You have to listen to your inner voice – especially when it comes to something as life-altering as parenthood.

    But as my friend Myra says, “How can you know you want kids until you fall in love with the right woman?”

  • Lance

    I speak as a guy – and I think that comes with a different perspective. As a man, there isn’t quite the same stigma (I’m not sure that’s the right word…) about not having kids. And, that’s what I’m going with here today – it’s cool if you do and it’s cool if you don’t. You do what is right and works for you. Some people don’t make a conscious decision about having children (you are making that decision, Christine – and that’s absolutely the right thing to do). The truth is, there are many good things about having kids, but they are also many things that can hold you back because of having kids. So, I think it’s pretty cool that you’re deciding what works for you…

    As for the thing about rubbing bellies…ok, no one better do that to me!

  • Christine Kane

    sari – you can have “tula” if you want! send pictures! 🙂

    and you know, (sari AND lisa) i don’t think doubt (and even some pain) is bad. i’ve met women who told me that although they don’t “regret” having kids, that they do know they’d do it differently if they could do it again. i even had one woman who said, “absolutely don’t have kids. I love my kids, but it ruined the path i was on.” there are sacrifices no matter what you choose.

    thanks michelle! (and you’re welcome!)

  • Michelle

    Thank you for these posts. I am 36 and don’t have kids. At this point in my life, I’m not sure the opportunity will present itself. The hardest thing about not having kids right now is how other people look at me. I’ve been called selfish because I don’t have kids. But you’re right. That’s no reason to have kids. A friend came over last night with her daughter. It was wonderful and it was even more wonderful when they left and I got to cuddle in bed with my dog and watch my favorite show. So, maybe I am selfish. So what? At least I’m finding my own way and listening to my own voice. Christine, thanks for making that ok.

  • Lisa

    I would concur that one of the hard parts about not having kids is not being part of “the club.” I remember that when I was in my 20’s and most of my friends were moms of young children.

    Christine, as I read your first list it seems to reflect what you’ve stated, that you haven’t felt that deep longing. Which I don’t think is some kind of test of womanhood by the way. But having experienced that feeling, I would say that, for me, the hardest thing about not having kids is…not having kids.

    Particularly being around other families with children. I worked in K-8 schools for a number of years and towards the end of that time, in my mid-40’s, it was sometimes physically painful to see the parents picking up their kids at the end of the day, the families reuniting. I’ve been a teacher and had special connections with friends’ children to answer that part of me that wants to nurture children, but sometimes it stirs up a lot of grief.

  • Sari Grove

    Gosh … Now I feel terrible … like how I feel when I get invited to baby showers … like when I had to rush to a rural hospital to check up on a 23 year old girl who just had a strawberry sweet baby girl …not named Tula , but almost … your doubt has activated my doubt … If this helps , I am an artist who chose a long career with a lot of travelling , education , married really late , & no children … (I calculate that maybe I have three years left of absolute possibility , if ever …) Why don’t men feel the lack ? (or do they & don’t tell?) … Geez Christine , now I’m gonna have to con my husband , or bribe him … (I was thinking Emma or Boyd…)