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How to decide if you want kids

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  • #678745 Reply
    Avatar photoJuliecatharine

    I’m 37, my husband is 46; we got married in October. He doesn’t want kids and I’ve gone from being on the fence towards almost definitely not. We’ve had a lot of conversations about it because at our ages it’s pretty much ‘do this very soon or don’t do it’. If I got pregnant (unlikely since we are scrupulous about bc but it can happen) we would embrace it but we aren’t interested in trying. I’d rather consider fostering or adopting anyway since the idea of being pregnant and giving birth horrifies me, plus there are way too many unwanted kids in the world to be making more when I don’t have a driving desire to do so. We have animals and that’s enough for us but everyone is different. I do worry that 1,2,10 years from now I’ll regret not having kids but I don’t think that’s a very good reason to creat a person.

    #678748 Reply

    I’m on the @Kate side of things – never wanted kids, perfectly content not having kids in my life in any way. I’m only 38, but I haven’t had any regrets about choosing to opt out of parenthood. Probably the biggest advice CFers usually give those on the fence is get as involved with kids as you possibly can. Offer to babysit for your friends for a night/a weekend/a week – they get a break and you get a small taste of “being a parent.” Volunteer with something like Big Brothers/Sisters where you spend a lot of time around kids. If you are really serious, and don’t have kids in your life to try the long-term babysitting plan, consider going through the process of being certified as foster parents – you don’t have to foster, but if you are certified as a foster you can provide respite care for actual foster parents, where you take their foster kid(s) for a weekend or a week when they need a break. (If that sounds daunting, think how much more daunting an 18+ year minimum commitment is to raising a child.) The upside to the latter is, for you, since it sounds like maybe you can’t have biological kids, you’d already be in the foster/adopt system if you DID decide you wanted to adopt.

    #678750 Reply

    I have known since a very young age I never wanted kids. It was really tough when trying to date as I learned more guys wanted kids than I realized.

    I just always knew this about myself. People always said “You’ll change your mind.” and at 30 I had to have that talk with my parents “you need to know I never want to have kids.”

    I sometimes think to myself and wonder if I’ll regret it later on but I don’t think the fear of regret is great enough to alter my entire life. I imagine I wouldn’t much enjoy being a mom.

    My boyfriend has kids, so I live through his, and that’s just fine.

    Think about why you started trying at first. Are those reasons still valid? Are you open to adopt? Think of other options too.

    #678757 Reply
    Avatar photofreckles

    I’m not sure why I started trying to be honest. I was ready about two years ago, and it took my husband another year to get there too. I had always pictured myself with kids (even though I never liked them), which I now think has more to do with societal norms than my own actual preferences. After I got married the urge didn’t kick in, and now that I was in a committed relationship, and the possibility started to arise, we leaned more towards not having kids. It just wasn’t something that appealed to either of us. Then about two years ago I got the urge seemingly out of nowhere. I talked to Mr Freckles, but he wasn’t there yet. After another year or so, he decided he was ready and we started trying. However I have a strong suspicion that it is mostly biology more than anything else. I can’t really articulate why I want children. The reasons I gave in my first post are pretty flimsy. Teaching them things? Watching my husband be a father? Raising someone that’s like us? I mean those are pretty small for an 18+ year commitment (or more, since if I have any, I’m definitely having more than one; I hate being an only child). THe

    Getting involved with kids is a good idea. Although I’m with Kate – if I had to volunteer, I would steer way clear of anything to do with kids. Boys and Girls Club, mentoring… none of that appeals to me. (Maybe that should tell me something?)

    In 10 years I’m not sure where I see myself. What I do see was 20 years from now having older children. I think I would enjoy adult children, but the idea of 18 years to get there is what scares me. I don’t know if I have it in my to be a parent to a small child. I’m impatient. I dislike irrationality. I don’t like children’s activities. The idea of teaching them to read, or watching them learn new things does appeal to me. But not taking them to soccer. I do value my freedom, so rearranging my life so they can go to soccer on Saturdays, and piano lessons on Sundays, and the mall on Friday night, and a birthday party on Tuesday… I dunno. I definitely would not be the type of parent whose life revolves around their child, I do know that (at least that would be my intention). So maybe it doesn’t have to be all bad. There are so many people in America who revolve around their children, and maybe that’s what I’m afraid of?

    I guess I just hear parents talk about how much joy their kids bring into their lives. And it’s a struggle but it’s so worth it. Or it’s the most rewarding thing they’ve ever done. And I know that that isn’t for everyone, but I guess I’m afraid I’ll be missing out on some huge joy in life.

    Also I definitely agree about a therapist. I’m trying to find one now, because this is a huge thing that we’re going through and I think I need someone to talk to.

    ps @Janelle, that move is When Harry Met Sally. I love that movie!

    #678758 Reply
    Avatar photofreckles

    To those of you who don’t have kids who shared your perspectives about never wanting kids and not regretting it, thank you. It’s good to hear that side of it. Thinking about it, I don’t actually know anyone close to me who decided not to have kids, so I don’t get to see that positives of that side of it.

    That’s another thing I’m afraid of – losing my close friends. I know once they all have kids, it will be harder to hang out. I think Mr Freckles and I would just have to make a better effort at making new friends who have more time, who can go to that happy hour at the drop of a hat, or go on a quick weekend trip to the beach. I want to make sure my life is still full if we don’t have children.

    @RedRover, I agree that I don’t think we’ll be devastated if it doesn’t happen. I keep saying to my friends we’ll be ok either way. Because you’re right, we won’t feel like our lives have no meaning without kids. And that’s comforting. I also like the perspective you shared, about how we all have things we wish we did or didn’t do, and we find happiness in the things we did. That’s a good way to think about it, and something I will try to focus on. Thank you 🙂

    #678759 Reply

    @frekcles, in re. to friends with kids… just on Saturday the guy and I went to my friend’s house. They have two kids (9 month old and 2 year old). We ordered pizza, watched basketball and hung out. It was a really good time. I’ll also occasionally go over after they put their children to bed, so at like 8:00. And we’ll have a drink or three.

    Your outings may change, but it is possible to be friends with kids.

    Then again, there are two couples who don’t have children we hang out with. One will never and the other is maybe a possibility several years from now. And then I have a few single girlfriends that don’t.

    #678760 Reply

    I’m definitely not a take-your-kids-to-a-million-sceduled-events type of parent. To me, that seems exhausting both for me and the kids. I grew up as a “free range” kid, and that’s how mine are gonna grow up. They can have one thing – right now it’s swimming – and that’s it. When they’re older and can get to things on their own, they can have more than one.

    I wouldn’t volunteer with kids either. I have no interest in teaching or coaching them. I really only want to spend time with my own kids.

    Honestly one of my main reasons for having them was that I was getting tired of my life the way it was. Like, we had a great mareiage, my career was going great, we had money to travel and do whatever we wanted, we had a home we loved, we had two cats who I adored. And yet, I found myself thinking, is this it? That’s when I really started considering kids seriously. Before that, I was just sort of meh about the idea.

    It’s hard though. Really hard. I don’t miss my old life though. I mean, I wouldn’t mind having it back for a month or so, don’t get me wrong. But not forever.

    #678761 Reply
    Avatar photoCrochet.Ninja

    i used to really want kids when i was younger, then changed my mind when i was married to my first husband. with husband #2, we talked about it early on because he already had 3 with exes, and we decided as a couple we wouldn’t have any of our own. every once in awhile (usually once a month :p) i have a glimmer of ‘what ifs’, but I have 0 regrets about having my own. i love his kids, i like kids in general, but i’m 100% ok with not having any of my own. it was the right decision.

    #678762 Reply
    Avatar photofreckles

    Honestly one of my main reasons for having them was that I was getting tired of my life the way it was. Like, we had a great mareiage, my career was going great, we had money to travel and do whatever we wanted, we had a home we loved, we had two cats who I adored. And yet, I found myself thinking, is this it? That’s when I really started considering kids seriously. Before that, I was just sort of meh about the idea.

    This is true for me too. I’m already feeling that a little bit, and I’m worried it’s just going to get worse. Doing the same thing over and over and getting bored. Wanting something more.

    #678763 Reply

    I know I don’t want kids. I didn’t think I wanted them, and as I got older (through my late 20s), I began to know for sure. I have been in situation where I’ve watched parents doing normal daily parent stuff, like trying to cross a street with a kid or trying to wrangle a kid at the airport, and it sounds like pure hell to me. I can’t imagine that being my every day life. I also think about the other stuff, like teaching them how to drive and then worrying about them, having them vomit on me, etc., and none of that sounds pleasant. I also really appreciate sleep and doing what I want, and in imagining myself as a parent, I think I would miss it a lot.

    Now, those things are not pleasant to anyone. But for me, it was also realizing that I don’t have the desire for kids or expect the amount of joy in having children that would make it worth it. Most people who have kids know that there are bad parts, but the joy outweighs all that. I know for me that I don’t really like kids much, and so there’s not enough of a draw for me to put up with the bad stuff.

    I will say that doing things out of fear of regret is not a good thing to do. Regret is a part of life, and how much of a part of life it is depends on how much you let it be. People always regret something throughout life. That’s what happens when you have to make choices. But the issue with regret, IMO, is that it makes the assumption that the other choice would have been better, despite having no evidence to draw from. You could choose to not have kids or have kids, and not really be able to know for sure whether the other choice would have been better. It’s just your perception of that. That’s rambling, but hopefully it makes sense.

    #678764 Reply

    Same, Dinoceros. I KNOW in my heart that any joy I would get from kids would be far outweighed by discomfort, boredom, fear, pain, stress, etc.

    As for feeling like, “is this it?”, that’s how I’ve literally always felt about life, I think it’s a form of mental illness, and I wouldn’t drag a kid into that.

    #678765 Reply

    *for me it’s a kind of mental health issue, not for everyone.

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