So… why have kids? #Families#kids#parenthood August 8 2014 | Megan Finley Horowitz meggyfin Why? (by: Emran Kassim – CC BY 2.0) I am at the point in my life that I want to decide whether to have kids. In a logical sense, I am able and capable of having children. My husband and I are in the fortunate position that we are both healthy, and fertile, and have good careers, and supportive families. But I'm not completely satisfied with having kids merely because I can. When I asked my OB/GYN about it, her advice was to start taking a prenatal vitamin. So I am curious how people, who had the luxury of deciding, decided on having kids? Any good books on the subject? Why should I grow my family? -Cass OMG THIS QUESTION! Truth time: I had even thought of asking this question to the Homies, myself. I know that I don't want to have kids. On a daily basis I seem to come up with so many wonderful wonderful reasons to not have them. But I haven't really ever come up with, well, any reason to go ahead and have them. I am extremely curious about the motivations behind having/birthing/adopting/raising children. All that being said, I'm really excited to present this question to all y'all and to read your answers. So guys… why have kids? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Megan Finley Horowitz When Megan's not writing, traveling, and sleeping, she's eating like the fate of the world depends on it. (You're welcome, world!) You can snoop into her personal life over on her website The Dash and Dine! @meggyfin @thedashanddine @meggyfin PREVIOUS What do you mean you "bake all your own bread"? And answers to other frequently asked bread baking questions NEXT How do we get '70s beauty salon-style glittery walls? Show/Hide comments [ 242 ] Years and years ago, I read this satirical book called The Hipster Handbook. On children, they wrote it would be a pretty tough world if everybody had to grow up with lame, super conservative parents. Personally, the thing that swayed me to the have kids camp was I realized that after I created a pretty sweet life for me and my dude (and our dog Zoe), despite all of the down times, I could handle having little humans to chill with. There's this weird attitude out there that having children will be so hard that it robs you of something. But if we can still have a good time working around all of our other responsibilities and add love and happiness to our little communities, why not? 42 agree Reply I have a very similar answer. I want to share my awesome love and life with more people. I'm torn though, between adopting and having our own. I feel like it would mean so much more to give that to someone who is already alive and doesn't have it, as opposed to creating someone to experience it. 25 agree Reply If you do adopt, please refer to them/it as "your own." 42 agree Reply I should have said "making our own." Good point. I have a stepdaughter and I don't introduce her as such. She's my daughter, she has a bio mom that she lives with most of the time, but she's a huge part of our life and most times there is no reason to differentiate. So, i would never call an adopted kid such and would never treat them as anything but my own. 😉 5 agree Reply I feel very strongly myself towards adopting for the above reason. My sister always said, "You'll feel differently when you get to be my age." I'm just one year shy of the age she was when she conceived her first child and I still feel that there are too many children without a loving family for multitudes of reasons. I want to give someone the chance they never thought they had. I've been told before though that it's selfish to not want biological children. I get slightly offended when it's directed at me but for some points of view it does seem selfish. Don't want to "wreck" your body to give birth. Denying parents and grandparents a legacy (especially true of only children or multiples that all can't or will not have kids). Want to live lavish lives/travel/have no "chains" tying them down/just don't want to spend the money it costs to raise children. In the end though the flip side is true that it can be selfish to want biological children. It's really a personal thing. I take no sides, but I do see children as a wonderful and weird way to leave a lasting impact on the planet, even if only a new little hippie living in the sticks is the result ;P 2 agree Reply Hmmm. I'm going to think about this so I can give a more through answer. But my gut reaction is: I simply can't imagine never being a mom. I never thought I'd get marred but for years my plan was to adopt at thirty hire a nanny and call it a day. For me the desire to be a mom is something I can't explain…I just know its something I desperately want to do. 31 agree Reply This is exactly how I feel. When I was younger, I wanted kids because having kids sounded like just The Done Thing. Then I got older, and realised I could choose to be childless…but I still wanted kids. I want to be someone's mum. I'm in my mid-twenties, and neither my partner or I are ready for kids, even though we both want them. I'm wondering whether I'll ever consider myself ready for kids, so I've told my partner that in about three years, we have to definitely make the final decision on whether we are going to have kids or not. If we ultimately decide not to have kids, I know I will always be surrounded by my friends children and the next generation of my family. I'm sure I'll make my life fulfilling and exciting. But I still hope to one day be a mum. 4 agree Reply Please don't set a deadline. I did and it made my life a living hell, because I knew I "had to" make a choice. My life went upside down, I ended up divorced, and then decided five years later that I did want kids. Ok, so being an "old" mom has some drawbacks, but it also has some fabulous advantages! 10 agree Reply Please don't take this the wrong way, but I wonder if your timeline and the pending decision played a role in the breakdown of your marriage? Because I've often seen relationships that went well as long as there was no talk about the future, but when levels of commitment, timelines and general life planning were discussed, people discovered that they had different ideas of what kind of life they wanted to live or that they actually weren't THAT satisfied with their relationship and simply couldn't imagine staying with their current partner in the long term. That hurts and I'm sorry for everyone going through this. However, though I don't want to interpret you personal experience, IN GENERAL I think it can be a good thing to discover that you and your partner have differing life plans – and the "procreation talk" can trigger realizations like that. I would like to hear your perspective! 5 agree Reply the thing with those life plans though is that they rarely work out how you think they will. How can you know what you will really want in 5 or ten years– everything I thought I wanted 5 years ago is completely different now. I talked so much about the future that my partner freaked out and left (obviously it is more complicated than that)– but I really wish in hindsight I had focused more on the present. 1 agrees see it being a soul-deep desire is a good reason. in the same way that you can't explain WHY you might have a yearning to travel or become a doctor or juggle flaming swords. there's practical and fun and interesting things involved of course, but when it comes down to it, you just WANT some things. that said, i think that you really should feel that soul-deep desire if you're going to have kids. it's irresponsible and cold to do so because "meh, why not?" or "that's just what you do at that age". every child should be really wanted, not there by default. 16 agree Reply I like the "soul-deep" idea, but for me it was VERY biological. I thought for a long time I never wanted kids, but once that clock kicked in, that was it for me. I physically feel the need to raise kids. It's kind of a weird ache. 8 agree Reply As a young feminist I smugly informed everyone that a "biological clock" was nothing more than a campaign of societial pressure used to coerce women into having children before they wanted them. Then I turned 28. Hahaha! Oh, naive baby-self! How very, very wrong you were. 23 agree Reply My boyfriend and I spent years declaring with no doubt that we never wanted to have a kid and therefore had no reason to get married (having a kid while not married is fine, but our personal feeling was that we'd want to be married if having a kid). We'd been living together for almost 5 years when we both coincidentally changed our minds. I'm really not sure how that happened, it doesn't even sound possible. Well, we were engaged that year, married the next year, and along came baby the year after that. I can't speak for my husband, but for me, I started loving the idea of bringing a life into this world with a fresh slate. We'd have a new member of the family to help discover and learn EVERYTHING. It's overwhelming but really awesome. Each day has excitement, and I am definitely better at appreciating the little things in my life now. I watch him and can't fathom how I spent years not wanting this. That being said, I think it's fine if people choose to not have children. You can still have a full and satisfying life. I just chose to add a kid to mine. 21 agree Reply I don't have rose-colored glasses on toward the idea of motherhood, but I had a truly amazing conversation with a friend who is one of the smartest women I know, and wanted to share her insight. At the time, I was pregnant (didn't work out then and hasn't worked since) and was really, really fucking scared. We had tried, the baby was "on purpose," but I was freaking the fuck out. What she said to me was that the desire to have children is simply not rational. It's just not. We know it's a massive life change. We understand that it will be hugely stressful- on our bodies, on our relationship, on our finances, and on our self-identities. But the desire is still there, and sometimes that is enough (for the people who feel it.) I'm sure other people here will cover all the joy of motherhood, but for me, understanding that it isn't, and doesn't have to be, rational gave me the freedom to admit that my heart wants it even if my brain is scared shitless. And my heart is obviously committed. We wouldn't have been trying for 18 months and counting otherwise. 70 agree Reply Hang in there, hon. I had miscarriages before both of my successful pregnancies. (Um. Yay, PCOS.) I had a baby at 26, got a divorce, then a new fiance, and had a baby at 38. I don't know your situation, but I know it is heartbreaking to lose a pregnancy you want. But don't give up, because when it DOES finally work for you, it will be so worth it and all of that pain will melt away. Hugs and luck and baby dust to you! 13 agree Reply This is really it for me. I never "decided" I wanted kids. I NEEDED a child. I had always known I wanted kids, but by the time we were trying I was crying myself to sleep with every period. There was a big gaping void in my life. I'm not saying that it isn't possible to have a complete life with out children, but it sure as hell wasn't possible for me. The need for a second is similar, if not quite as painfully strong. It's not rational. It doesn't need to be. 5 agree Reply I think there are a myriad of reasons I chose to. But, from the other side, one thing I didn't fully realize before is that parenting is the greatest personal growth experience imaginable. Marathon training, college, grad school, challenging but fulfilling work…. None of these even touches parenthood in regards to helping me grow. It's a daily look at who you really are and constant opportunity for reflection on who you really want to be. It has changed me at my core for the better. 42 agree Reply This. Just to expand, having that 'blank slate' really made us/me think about what we/I really want in life and what is truly important to us. What important things do we want to teach him? What values are important that we'd like to impart? Even seemingly little things that we value; do we put him in catholic school like mom, or french immersion? (Canadian here) While I would bare a child for someone else just so I could have a full nights' sleep sometime, my son has been a wonderful addition to our family. 4 agree Reply I had a big family which I adore so I always knew I wanted kids, but when it came down to deciding when to have them I found myself looking for REASONS and didn't really find them. I went for it anyways. I just had my second, 22 months after my first while halfway through my PhD (so not what any one else might call ideal timing). I still don't have a REASON, except that my boys are SO FUN. I was afraid I would have to put everything else on hold, but kids are surprisingly flexible. Also, like any other role you play as an adult, you get to pick how you play your part. Don't let other ppl's stupidity stop you from being an awesome parent. 14 agree Reply So fun. I really think that's plenty of reason right there! Because it really is. And it's okay to make huge life decisions based on fun. I think in our society you're expected to make so much more of it. How it changes you into this glorious, life-giving being. But all of that stuff is intangible and it also gives you a terrible sense of how it should be. When you're cleaning up puke, you're supposed to feel great about the all-powerful being you've become? No. You just get it over with and get back to having fun. Like so many other things in life. It's simple, but wonderful. 13 agree Reply I've been asking people this question for the past couple years. The problem for me is that I need a rational reason. "I want one" isn't good enough (at least not right now) because there are lots of things I want. And the want for babies is influenced alot by hormones and pictures of my friends kids plastered all over Facebook (love it!) Maybe rational and kids doesn't go together. I really appreciate all of the answers everyone is giving, it's great to have perspectives I wouldn't otherwise see. 19 agree Reply My brain has a firm grasp on knowing that I don't want kids. I am not responsible enough, I am too selfish of my time, I can't even handle cleaning up after my dog's messes without fighting back barf…the reasons go on and on. My uterus, however, hasn't gotten the message. I find myself sometimes overwhelmed with the desire to have a kid and guide it. I feel like I have some pretty awesome things to pass on to a kid. I think that I could turn out a pretty great person that would add to society. But I know this hormone based want is not enough of a reason for me to have kids, man it gets tough sometimes though. Last year my sister thought she was going to have a kid. Long story full of many questionable decisions that I kept getting thrown in the middle of. It was a high stress and anxiety time for me (I have a weird family). In the middle of it all, I found myself being over the moon about being an aunt. I instantly started looking at all the great books I could share with kid and all the music and being able to crochet the cute baby shit that would be weird for me to make now. She ended up not having a kid and it crushed me. I didn't expect it to have such a big impact on me, after all it was her and her possible kid. My baby brain went into over drive. With time this has faded thankfully. My husband is firmly in the no kids camp. He hates all kids because they are messy and sticky and loud. We were talking about it just last week. We got our 2nd dog in the middle of one of my baby crazed brain episodes and he has been a great addition to the family. He joked that he'd let me have a zoo if that's what it took. We're probably going to end up with that zoo 😉 Interesting side note though…even with the baby brain, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt no kid will ever be coming out of me. That shit is just weird (to me at least). Even if my husband and I both someday miraculously change our minds and decide to go for kids, it ain't coming out of my body. No way I could handle that inherit invasion of personal space. 27 agree Reply Hubs and I are the same way. We've set a time to re assess the desire for kids in 5 years because things might change. We seem to like other people's kids (though he doesn't really like parents, that's another story) but right now we're more sold with having a zoo. My friends and family with kids all live far away, so I'm not sure if we lived closer would be more or less helpful. Reply I have your situation, totally flipped. Kids, I got this. They make sense to me. I really want a dog. Or any animal. But I feel like I'm too irresponsible! I feel like I wouldn't know what to do! A lot of my Child Free friends have pets and say they couldn't handle a kid, and I always think "But you have a dog! That's much harder!" 🙂 11 agree Reply Pets are also messy, sticky, and loud and they don't grow out of it. Your husband's rationale confuses me. Also, pregnancy and birthing are not weird. They are processes as essential to human beings as — well any other human function. There are plenty of valid reasons not to want your own kids, even just not wanting them is perfectly valid. I do think we can take fear of dirt and pain to extremes and make otherwise total normal, healthy, essential human things into huge deals that they just aren't. 7 agree Reply Pets are messy, sticky and loud things that you can train to not be so messy, sticky and loud quite easily, and are also much easier to give to other people if they're too messy, sticky and loud for your tastes and if they don't grow out of it. And you can also leave them at home during the day while you work. And you can get other people to look after them easily if you go away for a weekend. Pet's messiness, stickiness, and loudness, is tempered by the fact that they are much easier to look after in that regard. Pregnancy and birthing are a very personal experience, and I don't think you can really tell anyone that their experience of them (or anticipated experience of them) is wrong. I know plenty of people that do not want to have their own children because of fear of the birthing/pregnancy experience, and they are more than welcome to have that as a valid reason. 23 agree Reply Your rationale confuses me. For me, pets are no comparison to the chaos that follow kids….for me. I think that's an important detail that you glazed over. It is very bothersome when people try to obliterate my reasons to not have kids and write them off like I am being overly dramatic about the messes that come with kids. I realize to people that want kids, these messes aren't necessarily looked on as messes. But, to me, they are. Ultimately it comes down to the fact that every person is different and looks at the various parts of life differently. We should all be allowed to look at the variously parts of life differently without being made to feel shamed for our viewpoint. That's what makes the world interesting. 19 agree Reply I need this article. I'm 29, and my husband and I have been married for two years, and recently bought a house. We keep talking about "when we have kids…" and that's all fine as long as it's *someday*, somewhere off in the vague future. But when I truly internalize and think about being pregnant and holding my own baby….I feel nothing. I don't seem to NOT want kids, but I don't seem to WANT them either. While I feel like I would be totally fine never having children, I want my husband to be a father…if that makes sense. I don't feel any desire to hold babies, but I do get the slightest, teensiest feeling of something when I imagine HIM holding a baby or putting barrettes in someone's hair. So, I feel like I WANT to want to have kids, and I just need a bit of a push to get that desire. 64 agree Reply This is actually what pushed me over the edge from 'babies are ok, I guess,' to 'BABIES NOW.' My husband is awesome with kids, and watching him with his nieces and nephews over the years we were together eventually made my hormones go insane. I blame him 😉 I was definitely one of the women who didn't like kids or babies before she had one, and now… I still don't like most kids, if I'm honest, but my own kid? Totally rad, and I can't wait to make another one. Having babies is pretty dang irrational, and my super-ordered brain has a hard time accepting that, but I'm glad I made the leap to being a parent. 30 agree Reply I babysit for friends sometimes. I think I'm an ok babysitter, I can handle kids, I don't panic, I know how to deal with them, but I am not fond of kids. I often think that I hope I will love my kids a lot more than the kids I know so far (I know it's an odd comparison, but I love every cat, why don't I love every kid?). Well, I am sure I will love them and be a good mum and all, but so far there aren't any clues of that happening. 4 agree Reply I felt this exact same way. I was never one of those girls/women who just DREAMED about having kids and being a mom. I didn't dislike kids, but I wasn't like OMG BABIIIIIIES!!! either. Truth is, after the hubs and I got married, the thought of getting pregnant terrified me. We were broke as a joke and I was still in college. What's more, I knew I wasn't emotionally mature enough to handle children. But I graduated, and we both got better jobs, and we kept growing up. And one day it hit me that my dream job was being a mom. If you have to find reasons for having kids, my advice would be, at least for now, don't. I'm sure you know this, but having children and being a mother does not complete you or make you any more of a person. It's a decision you have to come to personally and with your partner, and if you don't feel like it's right for you or you're emotionally ready yet, tell yourself that, at least for now, you won't be having kids. Say that to yourself, and see how it feels. If that's okay, then IT'S OKAY and don't let anyone tell you anything different. If the thought of not having kids isn't okay with you, then you can just figure it out from there. 21 agree Reply This is EXACTLY how I feel. It's nice to see there's someone else that understands, I was beginning to feel like the only one. 11 agree Reply I kind of have the same feelings- I'm pretty apathetic towards kids in general and the idea of kids but I knew I wanted one theoretically. What changes you is when you get pregnant. The hormonal and spiritual changes are profound. I got pregnant- I was over the moon. I miscarried And was sad but I figured it would happen again. Two years later I'm still trying and still fairly apathetic to it but I know that the process is what changes you. It's a shamanistic journey that will rock your spiritual world and it freaks people out because it is completely unknowable until you've done it and hold that baby in your arms. I've been to 5 births of first time mothers. It's always a transformation that you can't even grasp right now. 9 agree Reply I never felt that. I, too, had a miscarriage and it sent me into a horrible depression. A year later I had my twins. When they arrived, I was like "YES THESE GUYS ARE AWESOME", but never did I feel transformed. I feel like the same person I was before. Sure, I've changed in the past few years, but I haven't changed at any higher pace than I did before children. 16 agree Reply Thank you for writing this. I'm 8 months pregnant, and everyone wants to play "welcome to the mommy club" with me, but I really don't want to focus on kid-and-body-related stuff but rather have regular, 'normal' conversations. Everyone seems to think I should be magically chaaaaaanging already, but I'm the same old me, just bigger. I don't think I'll change that much after the kid is here, and in the light of the ever present "YOU'LL SEEEEEEE", I'm really happy about your comment. Is that age-related, maybe? I'm 35 already. Really wondering here. Normally I don't give a flying fuck about numbers and have true friends of all ages. But maybe your personality is already more defined when you're an older mum, so you aren't as susceptible to kid-induced character changes? 16 agree Reply We were young parents (18 + 23) but the only changes that our munchkins have caused were positive ones*, and not the "I'm a parent now, I must behave in a certain way!" type. I'm not sure if it's because we're both stubborn people or if it's because we always intended to have kids. I also think that for me, the lack of change might be due to the fact that I can't remember a time where I haven't been a mother because I raised my siblings from when I was 7, they've turned out awesomely and I am incredibly proud of them. (They are amazing people despite my muddling along). (* My dude and I were raised to be racist/homophobic/transphobic. Having kids made us look at our beliefs and realise that we didn't want to pass the hate on, nor did we want to miss out on relationships with our kids due to holding those views. So we changed and it has made us much happier people.) 4 agree My best friend's little one is almost a year old, and her experience sounds similar to yours. For the longest time, she didn't even want kids, and then she did (while I used to want them and now don't). But she's gone to things with other new moms and her general feeling of it was "these b*tches are crazy!!!" Her son is of course hugely important to her and her main focus, but she doesn't want to talk all baby all the time and she really did not enjoy being pregnant. When I see her, which is relatively frequently as I'm happy just hanging out at the house, playing with the baby and talking to her, we talk about her kid, but we also talk about the same stuff we always have, such as very long conversations about out cats. 🙂 3 agree Totally agree – I'm basically in the same boat as you, Miss Megaphon (also about 8 months along). My friend was like, "feeling it kick was the most amazing feeling EVER" and was somehow soaking it all in. I mean, it's cool to feel the little guy kick and I'm happy in my pregnancy and all, but it doesn't feel life-changing, soul-crazy transcendent. Glad to hear it's not just me! 2 agree Hmmm…. I wanted to weigh in on this. I took a very rational decision to have a child. Partner and I weren't particularly emotional about it, we just decided to do it. While I was pregnant I was determined not to change, and I shot down any baby talk and insisted I was still the same me. After I had the baby, I felt like I was transformed into a different person, against my will. It wasn't a pleasant, blossoming, transformation. I no longer felt like myself and it made me depressed. I was totally unprepared for that feeling. Everyone around me said I hadn't changed, but I felt like I had. I think what happened to me is pretty normal, as is what happened to you. Just a heads up to potential parents-to-be that you don't always get to choose whether you are transformed by becoming a parent or not. Also want to add that I'm an older mom too, with a successful career and feel pretty established in my life. Sometimes things just knock you for six. 5 agree Reply Wow. Thanks for the heads-up! You say that you no longer felt like yourself and that this made you depressed. Do you think you suffered from postpartum depression? Are you better now? Did you seek help or did you just wait it out? Any tips for people (like me) who might find themselves in a similar situation at one point? I hope I'm not too nosy, I'm just trying to prepare mentally for what might be ahead. Thanks for replying, your perspective is really interesting! 1 agrees Yup, can totally resonate with this. The identity shift was really hard for me, too. While I loved my son from the moment he popped out of me, it has taken close to 3 years for me to really settle into this whole mother/mama/mommy/mom identity. And for awhile I took that identity shift being slow as a BAD THING, but I realized…dang, it took my like 12 years of schooling to feel like a 'student' and I still don't feel like a great yogi after 1 year of doing it 3-4 times a week, and even after so many years working I still feel like I'm so new in being a career or working woman. Meh, sometimes it takes awhile to get used to new things, ESPECIALLY identity shifts. 1 agrees Wanting to want to have kids really resonates with me. In my case, I've never been particularly interested in having kids, but my partner REALLY wants them. This has been and continues to be a real emotional journey for me. Prior to this relationship, I had a 10 year relationship during which I transitioned from 'definitely never want kids' to 'maybe someday, not too bothered'. That relationship broke down just before I turned 28, and then I had several years single. In that time, I felt like having kids might be off the table – I think during the previous relationship I had always felt like if I suddenly decided it was a priority then the option was there, and turning 30 single made me realise that was no longer the case. Now I am with someone who really wants children, I am realising that it really ISN'T important to me. I love kids but I don't have a burning desire to have any of my own. But I do want to see my partner become a father and to bear his children, and I can definitely imagine growing our family and enjoying it. I don't think I would be having children solely 'for' him (he's not pushing me into it or anything). But it is super scary not to have that strong personal desire for it, and sometimes I lie awake at night worrying that we will have a kid, it will be hard (because it is!) and I will resent having made that choice. I am also so happy with my partner just the two of us that it feels like a terrifying risk to change the dynamic. One of the things I find hard is that without that personal desire, a lot of the 'pros' parents cite sound a lot like cons. I don't want it to be the most fulfilling and life-changing thing I ever do, for example. I think my resistance to this is a lot to do with having lived through years of pressure from other people (especially my mum) to have kids – those conversations often tend to position parenthood as somehow better than other life achievements. The rational part of my brain knows that it's possible for it to be valuable and wonderful without that making everything else less valuable, but there are still some negative associations there. I'd love to hear from other people who were ambivalent about having children but went ahead, and whether they were glad they did or regretted it. (I know most people love their children when they have them and wouldn't not want those individuals in their lives, but do people sometimes feel like they could have been just as fulfilled if they had gone in another direction?) 32 agree Reply I'm on the other side of this question, in that I get the baby-wants, and my husband just doesn't. He knows how important having kids is to me, and he pretty much accepted early on in our relationship that marrying me would mean someday having kids, so he's open to the idea of having kids in a few years (neither of us feels that this would be a good time), but I'm scared that if we do have kids, he'll regret that, or that I'll be stuck with more of the crummy parts of parenting (midnight wake-ups, diaper-changing, dealing with obstreperous toddlers, etc.), or that it'll come up in an argument ("this was your idea!"), even though I know he's not like that (he's basically the most easygoing person in existence…). And logically, there's no reason that having kids actually seems like a good idea. We already feel like we don't have enough time to do everything we want to. We really like getting enough sleep. It's also super-nice to not have as many people giving us random advice as I know will probably happen when we have kids (planning a wedding was bad enough on the random advice…). And yet, when the baby-wants set in, all of that logic goes out the window, and Uterus Wants Baby Now. 5 agree Reply I had the same issues with the whole "most fulfilling thing you'll ever do" aspect. Possibly because my mom treated motherhood like the only important thing in her life. But I've found that it really doesn't have to be that way. And I fight people a lot on it, too. It isn't the most important thing a person can do, and it isn't the only fulfilling thing in my life. With anything else, you need balance. I have a career I'm really proud of, fulfilling hobbies, a rewarding marriage, a house I'm quite pleased with, and a wildly incomplete spiritual/identity journey. My kids fit in, but I won't let them take over. It wouldn't be healthy. 37 agree Reply THANK YOU for this comment. I'm basically in the same bat as the OP (though I occasionally go through the baby fever flare ups), but my fears about this "transformation" that all my baby making friends and family keep touting are really causing some hesitation. Your comment is delightful and really, really helpful for someone who's terrified of turning into A Mom, as opposed to a mom, a wife, a writer, a hobbyist, a person, herself. 6 agree Reply I can help with this! The thing that Totally convinced me was that I wanted to have my husband's babies! Little tiny versions of him, sounded the best thing ever. But at the same time I was Terrified that I would hate having a baby, resent it and that it would ruin our wonderful soulmate perfect life together. When I found out I was pregnant, I went and hid in bed and tried not to think about it. I didn't find pregnancy remotely spiritually transformative. I actually had to make myself be a bit more into it, as it seemed mean to be indifferent. Having the baby was godawful (specifically our problem, her leg got stuck so we ended up with an emergency c section, the whole thing messed us both up for a while). And I wasn't particularly OMG BABY once the baby arrived… She had reflux, screamed a lot consequently and woke up every two hours for more than a year. Which was awful and hard. But if you guys love each other and talk and cut each other slack, you can survive that if it happens. It probably won't 😉 Anyway, 16 months in and yeah, it's good. We both find her such fun and she's this happy tiny person who chatters and bounces around our house. We still get to snuggle and go have fun on her nursery afternoons. She looks like my hb which is fab! We haven't got to go away alone yet which sucks, but won't be a problem if you have willing babysitters. During the really hard first year, i did totally regret it Tons. But that has gone now (probably sleeping more helps) and we survived it 🙂 so. Ambivalent and now keen, yep, even after a Horrendous start. reasons to have children: they really are awesome fun. but whilst i think if you had them, chances are you would end up finding them awesome (because they really Are such cool tiny humans), being super happy in your relationship minus children is perfectly fab too. but yeah, worked for us, and i was Totally where you are! 13 agree Reply That's so encouraging to hear! Especially that you had a really rough time early on and still ended up in a good place with it. Thanks for sharing 🙂 9 agree Reply This! I am indifferent to having kids and could take it or leave it. My husband is amazing with kids and he's so excited to have his own and I want him to have that. We often joke that he'll be a stay at home dad and I'll keep working 🙂 4 agree Reply This is actually what we do with my 1 year old. It works well for us, and I am just glad she isn't in daycare! (Daycare is fine, just not my first choice if I have a choice.) 2 agree Reply Just curious why you 'joke' about you continuing to work while he stays at home. Why is that a joke? 48 agree Reply I absolutely understand. I am 100% on the fence about kids–after getting married in March, and living together for sometime before that, knowing we are both plenty old enough with decent-paying, stable careers–I have been thinking about it, and just can't seem to want them any more than I don't want them. But my husband kind of wants them. His parents, and my parents, would love for us to have them. My husband is agnostic, but I'm Christian, so I told him what we could do is take some time where we are NTNC (I think that's the right acronym for basically just going on prenatals and throwing the Pill away?). He's willing to let me "let God decide." During this time I'll be doing a lot of praying that, if I am meant to be a parent, we wind up pregnant, and if I'd be a crappy one or somehow regret my decision, then we don't. But after seeing my brother and his wife go through YEARS of trying everything in the book, only to end up with a miscarriage late in the second trimester, I told him I certainly will not be willing to go to great lengths to have them. I need to be able to stay in the place I am in now, where I am fine either way, and if I invest a ton of emotion (and money!) intro trying to make it happen, I'm afraid that won't be the case. 4 agree Reply response to Jamie, re "But when I truly internalize and think about being pregnant and holding my own baby….I feel nothing." Our current potential solution to this issue is to skip the baby bit (because it doesn't attract us, nor does pregnancy) and adopt a child who is 3 years plus. Just a thought, in case that appeals to you 🙂 4 agree Reply As an adult I have realized that my mom and both of my grandmothers didn't (and don't) really like kids. They were all great with me but have a very short fuse for other people's kids. Its a weird realization but I don't think its that uncommon. I turned out fine. 3 agree Reply Full disclosure: I am not yet a parent, but we're working on it. For me, there's a bunch of irrational reasons that stem around desire and whatnot. For the rational side of things, I know I want to have some sort of impact, however small, in the world. I know there are people who've been impacted by me, but I think of the ways in which my own parents influenced me and my world view. I want to know I can pass the curious, strange and loving parts of me onto someone else in a direct and tangible way when I have children, making sure that those traits live on. I don't want to make a clone of myself, but I do want to get the best parts of me out there into the cosmos to help make the world a better place. That sounds uber hippy all at the same time, but there's really only a small group of people in the world that you directly get to influence how it is they see the world and that's your children. 9 agree Reply I had a kid mostly just because I wanted to. I thought a lot about when the right time to have kids would be, but it was never a question of if, always when. It's just something that I sort of longed for and honestly, I didn't see any of the downsides outweighing my biological desire for children. I don't particularly like other kids, but I felt strongly that having and caring for my own child was something that I wanted. I knew it would be hard (it turned out to be way harder than I imagined) and I knew it would be life changing (not always in a good way,) but I wanted to do it anyway. And it's been awesome. Sure, there are challenges, but overall, having a kid has brought me a great amount of joy. Of course, I don't think that children bring everyone joy and I think it's absolutely something that should only be done if you really, really want to, but if you have that desire and are looking for some logical reason, I'm not sure you'll find it. I'm of the go-with-your-gut camp when it comes to procreating. 4 agree Reply Before our daughter was born, our life was pretty full and fun. A great group of friends, great family, and our hobbies and interests kept us pretty busy. We didn't think we could have a baby, but when we had a surprise natural pregnancy, life all changed. The friends and family are still there, the hobbies and interests are still there, but then there's this neat spark that puts those aside a little. The bright, curious looks from this little being who is discovering and learning and exploring the world. We see things so differently as she grows, and the laughter and hugs and silly expressions and messes make life so much more… differently… interesting! Exhausting at times, frustrating at others, but the smile on her face and the love in our hearts makes those times worthwhile. J, I don't know that rational and kids go together. I knew I wanted to be a mom, and really couldn't say why beyond a vague "I want a baby/child." 7 agree Reply I agree with the other ladies that I didn't sit down with a list of reasons to have a baby – it was a gut desire to make a new person that was part of me and my husband (and my second husband). Now, if you want the pros and cons of having kids, I can give you that to a degree. Cons: it's expensive, exhausting, heartbreaking, and permanent. Pros: You have never experienced love like the love you have for your own kids. (No, not even when you really love your dog like he's your kid… you don't , I promise. I was one of those people, too, and when I had my son, I was like – Oh yeah, that dog thing.) It is the most beautiful, fulfilling, sometimes lots of fun, and utterly amazing things you could ever do. It's a legacy you leave to future humanity to raise a human to show compassion and be a good citizen. You can't see it on paper, but unless you have some severe emotional issues you haven't dealt with yet, you won't regret having a kid. 9 agree Reply See, for me, i love my husband and the kid the same. It used to freak me out when people said you'd love your kid Most and i am glad it is equal for me. And different equal too. I love hb completely and utterly and always. I love kid cos she is tiny and awesome and i will crush anyone who upsets her. 12 agree Reply I am so happy to hear this! I hate the idea of a child 'taking over' and love the thought of 'different equal'. 8 agree Reply I don't know, I think that the population of people who NEVER wanted children and ONLY EVER wanted dogs might love their dogs as much as other people love their kids. I guess we just can't know unless we're in their shoes. 20 agree Reply *hand raised* I'm not saying I wouldn't develop a certain fondness for a kid if I had one, but I think I would resent it too much to ever give it the love it needs and deserves. Hence, no babies. Meanwhile my mothering instincts are definitely warped towards dogs. Documentary on starving children? "Oh, huh, that's really sad." Literally any book with a dog on the cover that looks like it might be even remotely sad, joyful, or sentimental? Instant tearing up. Heart explosion. And I'm not even talking about picking the book up, let alone reading it. There's a book with a pitt on the cover that I've only ever seen on Amazon called "I'm a Good Dog" … Literally got misty just typing that. And yet I gag whenever anyone waxes sentimental about, like, the birth of their child and how it was the best moment of their life or something. Ah well- my head's all wonky but might as well embrace it. 23 agree Reply Those suffering children things never really moved me (well, they moved me as much as suffering people or animals always do, which is actually quite a lot, but the point is it was proportionally all the same) until after I had kids. Now? I can barely stand to hear/watch about horrific things happening to kids with out a panic attack. SVU was one of my husband and I's favorite shows when we were dating and we just viewed the kid episodes as less interesting than the sexual ones. Since the kid, though, I can't watch the show at all because if it even mentions the kids stuff … I just can't. I assume that you HAVE a dog you love dearly. Thus, when you see the dog stuff you imagine your pup suffering. Not having a kid, you have no chubby cheeked, kiss giving, hugging, happy little child you instinctively imagine being destroyed by the horrors you're hearing about. That makes a huge difference. 7 agree Reply Ditto. Couldn't and still can't handle dog stuff. Wasn't remotely bothered by kid stuff until i had one. Now omg, it's just soul destroying watching the news, kids in peril in films, anything! 1 agrees Yeah I haven't even seen the book you're refering too and I got a bit misty just reading that. Seriously, I love my dogs so much sometimes it makes me cry a bit. Pretty sure I love them like they're my kids. Reply I have real issues with the idea that you should just go ahead and have kids. No way you'd regret them. That just isn't true. I've known parents who not only regretted their children, they resented the kids. Even if you don't intend to, you'll do some serious damage to kids if you don't WANT them. I'm not taking the risk. I'm not against kids, but I'm not for either. I like some kids, and detest others. I'm not going to bring a child into the world if there's a chance I'll be indifferent to their well being because I'm ambivalent now. 13 agree Reply I'm not sure I ever had a real reason for wanting kids. It's just always been in my heart that I wanted to be a mom. I've always just had this urge. So when our first came along as a surprise I was so scared but thrilled as well. The same thing is happening right now in the last few weeks of my second pregnancy. I'm glad I get this chance to experience motherhood, but I can totally understand how others may not be into it. For me it is fulfilling and I do feel more complete, but that's just me and not a general feeling that everyone feels. Reply I'm happily childfree, so much so that I even consider tubal ligation when my IUD expires. I'm much with you Megan about all the reasons not to have kids. After having some conversations with moms and would-be moms, it seems that, all hormones and irrational desires aside, one of the most convincing reasons I've heard is when you are convinced having a kid is going to be a life experience that will make you grow instead of holding you back. 35 agree Reply "… one of the most convincing reasons I've heard is when you are convinced having a kid is going to be a life experience that will make you grow instead of holding you back." I love this. That's such a fantastic reason, and one that I can't say I would have thought of when we decided we wanted to have kids. But that's so true! 15 agree Reply Have you considered adopting? I am in a similar boat as you. When I sat down and realized that I had no attachments to birthing biological children with my matching DNA, I realized that fostering and adopting would be a great path for me. So many people are attached to the idea of their children having the same genes as themselves, but there are still so many children that need to be adopted by loving, healthy, supportive parents. So, here's your reason: adopt kids, because they are already out there and they already need you. Do it because you can where others will not or cannot, and because they will matter to you and enrich your life. 5 agree Reply It is important to know, though, that adopting kids is often a different ball game than having your own, especially in the emotional department. It's easy to say 'there are a lot of kids out there,' but if you examine the infant adoption business (yes, business) that myth of lots of infants out there is really not the case. And there are a lot of kids in foster care, but not are all available for adoption, especially in states that are focused on reuniting with biological families. I think it can be a wonderful thing to do, but in some ways raising an older kid from foster care comes with a different set of challenges than raising your own biological child from infancy. It can amazing and rewarding, but in my work as a crisis counselor I get jaded meeting with predominately adoptive/foster parents who went into it with great intentions but had a hard time adjusting to an 8 year old with their abandonment and other emotional needs. Ya know? 🙂 26 agree Reply This is my worry about adoption (of especially older children). I saw my aunt & uncle go through a difficult adoption with a child who had a severe emotional deficit. It got to the point where the parents' safety was endangered. He is now 17 and living in an assisted living-type situation because they honestly could not be a family with their adoptive son. It's a shocking reality that has put me off of the idea of setting out to adopt (or "save") an older child. 8 agree As an adoptee, I struggle with this mentality. I truly believe that adopting children should never be done as a favour to them. It should always be done for selfish reasons. Sounds weird, but abandonment issues are huge with many adopted kids, but I have seen way less of that when the adopted parents have adopted because they desperately want children. It is a great feeling to know you are wanted, rather than someone giving you a home and family out of pity or a desire to "better the world ". 16 agree Reply As someone who works with children with trauma backgrounds, I agree that the child absolutely has to be wanted. However, I've also seen lots of times that adoptions have fallen over because the child doesn't match what they "wanted" in their mind. Before adopting a child (especially an older child), please please please do your research and make sure you have a lot of support around you. They need A LOT of emotional, physical, mental and financial resource. 8 agree This part of the thread is more interesting to me…. Even as a little kid, I never pictured myself having "my own" children, I only ever saw myself – if I were going to have children in my life at all – adopting an older child, maybe 8 or 10 years old. I have no use for babies; I'm plenty fatigued enough as it is without getting up every hour during the night, I'm the sort of person who puts my car keys in the fridge and searches for my mobile phone while I'm talking on it, so I would definitely forget about the baby in the back seat of the car, and someone told me they can't wipe their own asses till they're 5 years old! I don't have many very admirable qualities, but the one thing I do have in abundance is patience. 3 hours to clip a neurotic spoodle? No problem. 6 months to house-train my not-so-bright puppy? easy. And I will listen to your problems all day. I'm also quite good at moral support and encouraging people to try things they would be good at. And I feel like I'm pretty accepting as well… I feel like with an older kid, you don't have to have that awkward "well actually, you're adopted" conversaiton… and I think it would be easier with an adopted kid to make decisions and work through situations together more easily than with a bio-kid, because you don't have the temptation to go "because I'm your mother and I said so." that always gave me the shits with my mum, cuz "because I said so" is not a reason. And yet generally, I don't like other peoples kids (there are a few exceptions). But I don't feel like if I adopted a kid it would be someone else's kid. It would be my kid, but I wouldn't nessicarily be it's parent. A while ago, there was an incident with a friend of my in-laws' where they took in a kid who was having family issues, and my MIL commented that she didn't know how they could do that, and she couldn't love an adopted child or grandchild, and I found that really offensive. I didn't say anything, but I just thought "well if that's how you feel, you needn't have anything to do with our children" as if it was all sorted and that's what was happening. Is this a thing? I've never really tried to explain this feeling in so much depth before. Anyone? Reply Yes! This is me! I've always, always wanted to adopt – I have no idea when I first got this into my head, but I must have been pretty young because I don't remember feeling any other way. I have no desire to be pregnant or give birth, but I do want children, and I want to adopt them. Then I met my husband, who really wants biological children. Before we were married we were in a make-or-break situation where I didn't know if I wanted to give birth at all, and he really did. We worked through it, and have agreed that we will have biological children and adopted children. I've heard horror stories about mixed bio and adoptive families, but I've heard some lovely stories too, so I know it can work if we work hard at it and are intentional about making sure everyone feels 100% loved. When we're in a more stable financial position (and possibly feeling a little more grown up!) we'll be really to bring out first child into the family, one way or another! I grew up in a home daycare, so my mum was a work-from-home mum and I was always surrounded by little kids. Taking care of babies and kids was a huge part of my development, and I got to learn firsthand all the awesomeness of children: the creativity, the problem-solving, all the "firsts", the humour…along with all the hard stuff. I knew from a young age that motherhood was going to be part of my life. I can still remember walking with my husband and the two girls I was nannying after the end of university, and my uterus aching because I saw him holding hands with one of the little girls…the physical need to have a kid was very very strong. I can also remember our minister in marriage prep talking about how couples needed to create, not necessarily children, but to make something with their lives. I knew that would involve teaching as well as having my own children. Other reason: it's fun and a bit like having a second childhood. Watching my daughter's reactions to things like going in a canoe or ferris wheel for the first time, getting to bake muffins, listening to her as she plays with her dollhouse…it's awesome. It's hard work, but the moments of pure joy make it worthwhile for me. 6 agree Reply Looking forward to reading these responses. I am happy that more and more I am finding others who are not sure whether or not to have children. I know that for some people, it's a thunderbolt of certainty, either DEFINITELY YES or DEFINITELY NO, but society makes it seem like this thunderbolt always strikes and up until now really hasn't offered much rhetoric for those of us that aren't sure. I have been waiting 30 something years for the thunderbolt to hit me one way or another but it hasn't. My husband and I are getting to an age where we should probably think about childrearing sooner rather than later, but the ambivalence has yet to resolve… 16 agree Reply Ugh, yeah, I wish I could just know one way or the other. I assumed for most of my life that I wouldn't have them, and that was fine up until some point last year when I suddenly started wanting a kid for no reason. It subsided (and might have had to do with adjusting to new birth control) and was fine for a while. Now it's happening again. Ovaries: Ooh, babies are really cute you know! We could- Me: SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP I think it is confusing because it's not a rational desire. And it's a really hard decision because there's no halfway about it. I hope you and I both work it out in ways we're happy with! 8 agree Reply If it helps, i Hated the baby stage. Never mind babies. They're just a means to get toddlers and children. Who are Fun! Mental but fun. 6 agree Reply My husband and I went into our marriage openly honest with each other about being undecided. It's such a huge deal! And for people like us, we have to play out a bunch of different scenarios in our heads and consider a million alternatives before settling on a decision. He actually guessed that I wanted them BEFORE I even knew. And I was sensing his reluctance, so I had to coax it out of him WHY he was reluctant. He had some legitimate fears, some of which I also share and was relieved to address. The more we talk about the concept of having a child and parenting, the more we find that we're on the same page. If we had talked about it more and more and came up against disagreement upon disagreement, I can't say that I would still want children because our relationship trumps that for me. 5 agree Reply When I was younger, I was not at all sure about having kids. By my late twenties, after being married a couple years, my husband and I felt like we wanted something more than just the two of us. We wanted to raise some decent humans and share our love with them. We had three kids who are all now intelligent, thoughtful, independent adults. Raising kids is definitely the hardest, but most worthwhile thing I've ever done. 1 agrees Reply What else are you going to do? haha. Lot's of people have perfectly great reasons not to have kids, but personally I've never been able to understand it. Travelling is fun, having nice things is fun, having money is fun…. but not by yourself! Not having children to me is equal to not having a partner or friends. We have children in our life for companionship and love. There are all sorts of families. You don't need to physically have children or adopt them. Maybe you have nieces and nephews or close friends with babies. Maybe you volunteer with kids. Kids are the coolest people I know; they are genuine and honest. Nothing in life worth having is easy. Kids are not pets, so this might be a poor example. Why do people own dogs? They are only work, they cost money, you have to clean them and feed them and walk them. I know a lot of people who don't like dogs, I'm just not one of them. I just love puppies! 7 agree Reply "Travelling is fun, having nice things is fun, having money is fun…. but not by yourself!" I disagree with this. I find all those things to be very fun by myself. I understand it might not be fun to you… but it is to me. 57 agree Reply Also "with my husband" isn't alone 😉 It's a lot cheaper and easier to travel (or do almost anything, really) with a partner or friend than to bring a whole family! 17 agree Reply "What else are you going to do?" – Oh, maybe cure cancer, achieve peace in the Middle East, write a best-selling novel or blockbuster screenplay, explore your inner mind, start the next Fortune 100 company, teach the world to sing, etc. etc. Simone De Beauvoir (French feminist author), Katharine Hepburn, & Rachel Carson (who wrote "Silent Spring," pretty much starting the environmental movement in the U.S.) are just a few of the hugely influential women who chose not to have kids. They found plenty else to do. 59 agree Reply While I get what you're pulling at here, I think, I find that it's dismissive to those who choose or who are destined to be childfree. There are plenty of options in life that don't even involve being married or in a relationship, let alone having children. It may not be the choices either of us would like to make with our own lives, but I'm not going to drink up the haterade on someone else's choices. 29 agree Reply Whoa, I really seem to have hit a nerve here! There are all sorts of families, and I support them all. I try to understand why people don't want kids, or pets, or living with other people… I just don't get it cause I'm not one of those people. What I'm trying to say (and obviously doing a bad job at) is… life is a long time to spend alone. We all need family of one kind or another; friends, significant others, parents, siblings, pets, pen pals, birds, and/or kids. I choose kids, cause I think they are funny, cute, and I like 'em. You know they can eat for free at most places! I'm an engineer, I draw and paint, and I volunteer as chair of a steering committee. To assume that I cannot have a rewarding life outside being a mother is dismissive of my lifestyle. In my opinion, it's more offbeat to have kids, then not to have them. Reply I am going to agree with the original commenter in this thread. I am biased, because I always wanted kids in the irrational way. But I didn't meet the right man until I was 39. By my late 30's, I was already bored. Seriously, what am I going to do with my time? I had ridden out the learning curve on all the things that interested me. What, I am going to go to another Ultimate tournament? There is nothing about a house party in SF that is new to me. Take up a new sport? Remodel my house? I traveled and came home and that was lovely but travel is extremely self-absorbed time. Unless I proposed a serious change of life-style (switch to farmer, become a religious alcolyte, move to a very different kind of country), I had run down the options that appealed to me. I was bored. I have a theory that any hobby/vocation is good for about 10 years, maybe 15 if you are lucky. After that, the learning curve is done and new gains are just too hard for almost all casual interest. Most people just switch to something adjacent. Having kids is a constantly moving, engrossing project for about 15 years. Those are actually hard to come by. Sure, learn textiles if that interests you more (in year 8, switch to dyes!). But if you start that at 25, by 35 you'll start looking around for something new. If you like 'em, kids are a good way to spend a couple decades of your life. You get eight or nine such projects in your fourscore, and kids could be two of them. 8 agree Reply Speaking of ultimate… one of things that convinced me that having kids could be ok was seeing female ultimate players have kids, take a season off, and then come back continuing to play. I also love the parents who bring their kids with them to the games and say things like "Tonight, you're watching mommy and daddy play frisbee, but tomorrow we're watching YOU play soccer!" 4 agree Reply I relate to this a lot. There are so many things I want to do and experience before I have kids (if I have them, also undecided here), but I do sort of have the "but then, what?" mentality as well. However, I chalk this up to my personality and tendencies, rather than to the idea that "what would ANYONE do with ALL that time?!?" There are many people who are way more wrapped up in and consumed by their hobbies and interests than I am – I mostly consider those things time-killers between the moments when I get to be with the people I love. So the idea of creating more people for me to spend more time loving is not wholly unappealing. I sometimes think, aside from a personality thing, it also might be about the kind of hobbies and interests you fill your life with – mine are all kind of similar (reading, puzzling, dining out, cooking, etc.) and very much the type of sedentary activities you can sneak in here and there even when you're really busy. Maybe if I was an avid parasailor or ultra-marathoner or global nomad, I would feel like potentially losing out on some of these things would be more of a, well, loss. I also agree with what some commentors have said about feeling like you want to have a baby with your partner in particular – to see him parent and share that experience with him. Also, my family is very close and I love being a part of that and want to continue it so that I can still enjoy it as I age. But, I know you can create a chosen family and that is certainly what I will continue to do if I don't have kids. It's encouraging to hear so many of you say that, although it is challenging, parenting is not your be-all, end-all and can be fulfilling and fun without being all-consuming. I think loss of identity is more of a concern for me than the actual loss of free-time, sleep, etc. 5 agree Reply The only 'logical' positive reason I can really come up with to have a kid is that you'll have someone who loves you and will visit you when you're old; but that's a lot of sacrifice for a handful of weekend visits… Three of our siblings have kids, and if I don't have a kid, I may be able to afford to send the nieces and nephews (4 so far) to college (none of our siblings will be able to help their kids financially) but then again I still have the feeling of wanting to try it (unfortunately once you have the kid, you're stuck, no rewind button) I get overwhelmed trying to decide what I want my life to be like in the next 2, 5, 10, 30 years, and I have to decide within the next 5 because I turn 30 in a few months; I've thought of doing IVF to freeze embryos just in case I decide when I'm 40 to take the plunge. Should I to add more wiener dogs to I our family, or a human?!?! 4 agree Reply Yeah, the "someone to look out for you when you're old" argument was one thing I thought of when my guy and I were talking through the possibility of kids, but the truth is there's no guarantee your children will have the means or the desire to visit, or pay for a nursing home, or come over and clean out your gutters. It's a comforting thought but it doesn't always work out that way. You're right: it's a ton of sacrifice for just the possibility of security in old age. 18 agree Reply Yup, not a guarantee at all–my dad is no longer on speaking terms with my grandma, though my uncle and I am. Having a kid so that they can take care of you later or to keep you company just seems like a lot of pressure, too, if that's your main motivation. I myself moved across the country from my parents after college, and while I know they miss me, they're also very proud of the life I've built as an adult and don't feel like I owe them anything but phone calls and the occasional visit. 8 agree Reply EXACTLY! I want to know what the return on my investment will be, and this is one VERY high risk investment! 🙂 8 agree Reply Well eventually, the human children can help care for the dog children, OBVIOUSLY. 🙂 3 agree Reply I was never sure how serious my parents really were, but basically they told me growing up that the reason they wanted so many kids was so that there was enough labor on "the farm" to keep everything up. And I just thought: that's a terrible reason to have kids, you should downsize your living situation if you can't take care of it yourself. 6 agree Reply It is my understanding that that's how is was on farms back in the day. And the kids had to drop out of school at a certain age to help or at least during planting and harvesting seasons. I was joking about using your children to care for dogs 🙂 My younger sister is just as obsessed with dogs as my parents are, so for them it is a family thing. I am kind of curious if the editors are going to post the opposite question- why NOT to have kids. (Labor, pet care, child care, living dolls, etc.) 7 agree Reply Yeah, I want to see the opposite too! I know all the reasons TO have children, and I'm still not convinced. I'm waiting for something to ring true for me. 4 agree I want this question too! 2 agree Because when I close my eyes and build a family in my mind, it includes my children, and the only real choice for me after realizing that was timing. For me, "reasons" barely came in to play. More than the changes it brings to your life, having a child is bringing a whole new person into the world (even if your child isn't biologically related to you, your choice to bring up this person fundamentally shapes who they will be)– there's no pro and con list that could possibly encompass the magnitude of that. 4 agree Reply Full disclosure – I'm sitting here 41 weeks pregnant today, (impatiently) waiting for our first little one to make her arrival. For a very long time as a teenager and young adult, i swore i would never have children. I think this was mostly a defense mechanism and reaction for the difficulty i had navigating my somewhat dysfunctional family. I always cared deeply for children, and went into a field where I was an advocate for abused and neglected children. But for me, the thought of the responsibility of making a loving, stable home for kiddos seemed overwhelming, and like a huge risk. I have friends who are still in that camp. The world is too evil and too hard of a place to willingly bring children into. And i respect that position. Somewhere along the way, however, i found friends, family, and community that have convinced me that it can all be done and done well. When my husband and i started to have the "kids" conversation, to be completely honest, the single biggest reason i can point to (aside from all the fuzzy, irrational, nebulous feelings) was that i can't imagine my life without them. But i don't even mean my life right now. I'm somewhat terrified of how my immediate life is about to change. But when i think about it, i cannot imagine my life, when i'm 60 years old, without having children and a family. Maybe that is a little short-sighted and un-creative, but i just feel like i don't want to get to 60 years old and have no children to continue sharing the joys and pains of youth and excitement and exploration with. When it came down to the question of biological or adopted children, my husband would have been completely happy with no biological children, however, i felt like growing a human is something my body is capable of, and i would really like to experience it. So, here we are. This may be my first and only pregnancy, as both my husband and I are also very committed to adoption for a number of reasons. And for now i'm excited about the prospect of growing our family, and figuring out what that means for our adult lives too. 15 agree Reply Congratulations in advance! I hope your baby makes an appearance soon!! 3 agree Reply " I think this was mostly a defense mechanism and reaction for the difficulty i had navigating my somewhat dysfunctional family." I never thought about it that way, but yes, this is exactly why I swore as a teenager that I wasn't going to have kids. My partner and I have been having the kids convo since we started dating 7 years ago, and so far have only figured out that when we picture the far-off future, it involves having children (or rather, involves having adult children and maybe grandchildren). He wants that to happen biologically if possible. I'm entirely ambivalent. I think the clock is ticking for him more than me—our age gap (4 years) puts him in his 30s now, so I think "I have plenty of time" yet he's thinking "if I have kids, I want them while I'm young," and to hit brain, 32 is not exactly spring-chicken territory. I think maybe we'll hit a point (after the wedding in two weeks) of not not trying, and see what happens until something convinces us one way or another. When I think about raising kids, though, there's definitely a huge factor of a.) realizing that while there may not be a "right" way, I won't do it like my parents did, and b.) just wanting the chance to guide future responsible adults through their childhood. 2 agree Reply Well said! I am 14 weeks pregnant and still ambivalent about whether I really want a baby. This was even a planned pregnancy. I was charting my cycle to determine fertile periods, and yet, actually getting pregnant was still a shock. But I think you hit the nail on the head for me with your comment about not wanting to be 60 years old with no children. Somehow I can't imagine changing my life to add a baby now, but I also can't imagine being 60 and having no children in my life. I'm scared to have children right now but I also know I don't want to miss my chance to have them. And at age 35, I don't have a lot more time to wait to "feel ready." So baby is on it's way and I am working on changing my inner narrative toward babies in general. I've been surrounded by messages my whole life that babies ruin your life but I look around and for lots of people that is simply not true! I'm looking forward to a new narrative. 10 agree Reply I love the piece about changing the narrative. I've definitely gotten the message that babies are life-ruiners, and it's so concerning, but then, looking around – it doesn't seem to actually be true, which is encouraging. 7 agree Reply Very similar story here, 35 years old and 32 weeks pregnant. Ideally, I want more than one child, and I look forward to both home-made and adopted kids. 🙂 1 agrees Reply I've always wanted kids, so there wasn't really a time when I "decided" that I would have them. We are trying but don't have any yet, and I'm jealous of my friends every time someone posts a pregnancy announcement on Facebook. For me, it's a desire to help another person learn about and explore the world. I want to be able to influence at least one (or two or three) little people to be caring, contentious, open-minded adult people. I know that my future kids might take a path that is different than the one I idealized for them, but I want the chance to try. I want to pass on my knowledge, tests some of my theories, and experience love like that. Part of me also deeply wants to be "mother" to another human being. That's a strong bond, a huge role in someone's life, and I want to be that person. Also, I just think it will be fun. Kids are fun to be around, they're funny, they see the world differently and I think that's cool. So, not really a "rational" reason at all, but a bunch of really strong emotional needs and desires would be filled by procreating. Reply Here's the most compelling reason I've found so far: To have someone around who loves you when you're so old that most of the people your age are gone. People of baby-making age rarely think about the end-of-life stage – usually the word "kids" evokes toddlers and school children. But grown kids are the other half of the bargain, there to help you out when you're suddenly the one who is not very independent. My mother's parents moved in with Mom and Dad so that they could spend their last days surrounded by people they knew and loved, and we're all so glad they did. And my dad's mother is a wonderfully intellectual, energetic senior who at 85 has outlived her husband and most of her friends. My dad calls her every night after "Jeopardy!" to discuss whether or not they each got the final answer, my uncles and aunts make sure someone is dropping in every weekend to help her out in the garden, and my husband and I truly enjoy phoning her up and exchanging emails. She may very well have another ten years in her of living it up and if so, they will be spent almost solely with people who are 20+ years younger than she is. I find myself hoping for the same sort of network of loved ones if I ever get to be her age, especially if I end up outliving everyone I know and love right now. 10 agree Reply I hate that reason. A lot of parents do think of that. I know mine did and frequently brought it up to me ever since I was a kid. I resent the idea that I was created to be their nurse someday — the very idea meant that they didn't see a future for me where I was adventuring or following my heart or having a big important career… only that I would be in their same area forever with enough free time to take care of "less independent" parents. Better to save the money and just hire a geriatric nurse if that's what you need. It seems really selfish to birth a child knowing that your dream is for them to limit their life to accommodate you. 2 agree Reply I think the only real answer to this question is "because you want to." But I think that manifests differently for everyone. I definitely want kids, and so does my husband. For me, it's currently manifesting two ways. On the biological side, every cell in my body is telling me to FUCKING PROCREATE ALREADY. Otherwise known as the "biological clock," though I've always found it to be more like the biological Jehovah's Witnesses ("Hello, do you have a moment to talk about BABIES?"). But that's nothing new. We're all slaves to our very horny DNA. On the emotional side, things have recently changed. Before we got married my desire for kids just manifested as daydreaming. We would talk about the things we'd do with kids, what values we'd raise them with, etc. But recently, I've started to feel like our family is incomplete without them. Not ALL families – it only takes two, after all – but mine. For holidays and vacations, especially, I miss the kids who don't exist yet. I love sharing Christmas with my husband, but I really look forward to the day we can light the Advent candles with a squirming toddler or watch a 7-year-old who's hopped up on chocolate open a Lego set. My family of two is fantastic, but the whole family hasn't arrived yet. 29 agree Reply "Biological Jehovah's Witnesses ("Hello, do you have a moment to talk about BABIES?")." This is my new favourite way of describing that feeling! 36 agree Reply I second all of this, and I love your sense of humor about it, especially "We're all slaves to our very horny DNA" 3 agree Reply TLDR comments; The decision to have a baby is at most a 5% rational decision. The remaining 95% is completely irrational, because nobody ever is really prepared for parenthood. And there's only one end of the pool to jump into…. the deep end. I think if the decision to have children was a purely rational one, most people would never have children at all. 14 agree Reply My dad is convinced that educated child-free people like myself are destroying society, because we are not reproducing. (I think mostly he's kidding.) But in all seriousness, someone really smart told me once "If you have to talk yourself into doing it…don't do it." Meaning, if you aren't sure, if you think that there is any possibility that being a parent isn't something that you want to do, if you're at all doing it for the "wrong" reasons (family pressure, spouse pressure, societal pressure), and if you have to really really think super hard about whether it's right for you to procreate…it might be a good idea not to. Because being a parent is hard, and life-consuming, and it can't be taken back. So, if you do it and find out that it is REALLY not what you wanted after all…that's a long period of your life during which you will be mostly unhappy. And, it's not fair to a child either really. Not saying this applies at all to your situation, just something to consider. In my first marriage, I was pretty sure that I was committed to be child-free, which I'd been determined to be mostly since I was about 12 years old. I was facing lots of spouse and his family and societal pressure to "grow our family" and I spent months reading parenting websites and books and yadda yadda trying to force myself into sucking it up and doing it. That piece of advice…given by someone who has children but who hadn't necessarily planned on being a parent at all and didn't find it easy after the fact…was really helpful to me at the time. TL;DR be really honest with yourself about what you really want even if it means asking yourself some really hard questions and facing the judgement of others. 22 agree Reply "If you have to talk yourself into doing it…don't do it." Ditto a million billion times. My husband & I briefly tried to talk ourselves into it, due to external pressure. A lot of friends were popping out babies & certain family members were asking questions. But a year or two of soul-searching let us stick to our original plan of no kids, cats only. We have better things to do with our lives together, & we each want to leave our creative marks on the world 🙂 8 agree Reply Have you seen the movie Idiocracy? Your dad's point is pretty much the plot of that movie. 11 agree Reply Haha, no, I haven't seen it, but I'm sure he has. I should check it out. Reply My husband and I often joke that we need to have kids because of this movie! 3 agree Reply Well, I can't speak very precisely because I don't have kids at the moment, and we aren't even trying yet. So I have no idea what the future holds that could change my opinion (infertility, finances, adoption… who knows!!) But at the moment, one of the (maybe weird/depressing) reasons I want to have kids is because I don't want to be alone in my old age. I know, you can have friends, you can have other people's kids or nieces or nephews… but it just doesn't seem the same to me. I see a few of our parents' friends who have been left by their spouses, and never had kids and they just seem… so alone. Having kids… I mean, for sure it doesn't guarantee anything… but at least it gives you a good shot at having someone around, for a very long time, even if your spouse passes away… someone to come visit me when I have Alzheimers or something. Depressing? Yeah, kinda. But I love having people around me, I always have, and I love a sense of community. Having kids to build on that is what I know, and it's what I (personally) want. Reply Well, recent studies have shown that people who never had kids usually feel less lonely in their old age than those who have. In theory, they would have expanded more effort into keeping close relationships with friends, other family, mentorees, etc. They would also have developped more hobbies and interests, and be more comfortable being by themselves. On the other hand, people with children often fall into the not-so-healthy pattern of closing in on their own family and not maintaining other relationships as regulary. Because they expect visits from their kin (and some, think they are owed attention), they feel much more lonely when it doesn't happen as often as they'd like, which is all too common. Plus, having kids is no guarantee that you will like the adults they've become (and vice versa) or that you will enjoy their company. What I'm saying is that, while it is not impossible that children will play that role for you, if that is your main concern, your best bet to not feel so lonely is to look somewhere else. 25 agree Reply Can you point me in the direction of these studies? Of course having kids is no guarantee you'll like them and vice-versa – there's painful estrangement among a handful of my own family members – but I have yet to meet any senior citizens who are being truly taken care of in their final years by people who are not relatives and not paid professionals/community service volunteers. But I'm happy to stand corrected if there's data proving otherwise. 1 agrees Reply I seem to remember reading it in this book : L'envers du landau I'm really not sure it was ever translated though. Moreover, all that was mentioned in the previous comment was the loneliness and the lack of community. "but I have yet to meet any senior citizens who are being truly taken care of in their final years by people who are not relatives" That, indeed, would require paid care in most cases. But again, having children does in no way ensure that they will be willing or able to care for you in that way, and in most cases you will need paid/institutional care anyway. 3 agree Reply Not to be little Debbie Downer…but my husband was, several years ago, forced into assuming a caretaker role for his abusive mother. Which meant that I assumed that role, because I didn't feel that he should have to expend any more energy than necessary caring for someone who had been a negative force in his entire life and from whom he had been voluntarily estranged for years. That estrangement didn't stop anyone (other family, her friends) from just assuming that since she had a son, it should be his responsibility alone to deal with her end-of-life care. And I'm not trying to imply that I changed her diapers or cooked her meals. We live 600 miles away from her…I spent time on the phone setting up the best quality care we could afford for her and managing the caregivers. But that care was given by strangers, and I'm sure they did a better job of it than we would have been capable of. My husband and I, though we joke about our best friends' son picking our nursing home, are realistic about the fact that our choice to be child-free means that we have to set that stuff up for ourselves if needed. My own parents are adamant about the fact that they don't want my brother or me taking care of them when they are unable to take care of themselves. They have spent the last 10 years taking care of my grandma, and it has been burdensome to them, so they have already set up arrangements for themselves should they ever need it. Of course I feel like this is stupid and unnecessary and think that since they took care of me I should take care of them…but in the end it's as much up to them as it is to me. And, I have the luxury of having had an awesome set of parents who I have a great relationship with. Not everyone has that. Just the idea that you'll need someone to take care of you when you're old is not a great motivation to have a child. Yes, sometimes I get the sads when I think about myself in the home without grandchildren to visit me…but even if I did have kids that would be no guarantee that my end of life care would be any different than it will be as a child-free person. 6 agree 'Having children does in no way ensure that they will be willing or able to care for you in that way, and in most cases you will need paid/institutional care anyway.' I will NEVER say that children of abusive parents should maintain relationships that are ultimately toxic. But our youth-obsessed culture's tendency to speak dismissively rather than practically about where we'll be and what we'll need toward the end of life is largely responsible for the crisis of loneliness among elderly people – and disabled people! – in the West today. Not being able to live 100% independently shouldn't be automatic grounds for institutionalization – for spending most of your time in the care of strangers running on shifts. I lived in a hospital for five months as a teen and my happiness level went through the roof when I was allowed to transition to outpatient care and live with my family again. This is why, despite the difficulties, I totally understood how important it was for my mom's parents to move in with us for the last three years of their lives, and how important it is to call and visit my last surviving grandparent. She is still vivacious and mostly independent, but her social life depends on her kids and grandkids, as she has outlived her husband and every friend and sibling… It would be lovely to see more people developing mentoring relationships with younger people who can then be there for them both physically and emotionally when they're in need of care (whether due to old age or sudden illness), but a relationship that can handle *that* much commitment might as well be called familial, no? 🙂 2 agree @Emily Sullivan Sanford "Not being able to live 100% independently shouldn't be automatic grounds for institutionalization – for spending most of your time in the care of strangers running on shifts." I think that is besides the point of having children or not, as it is a societal problem. I am all for multigenerational homes and the benifits they have on all generations. I'm just saying: that is not a good solution for everyone, even if you are related by blood, and that is certainly not (in my opinion) the best reason to have kids, although a nice advantage if it can be arranged, if it is your main reason. Also, there is a BIG difference between living with someone who's not 100 % able to be independent (as you seem to describe your grandmother) and people with heavy disabilities. My own grandmother was completely paralized in bed for years; she had Richardson's syndrome. No eating, no talking and barely blinking. Believe it or not, my grandfather did manage to keep her at home until her very last week. But that required extensive help from nurses, aids AND his 3 daughters. But still, yes, paid help. As a person who will not be having children I plan for my end-of-life requirements because I had very direct experience of what they actually might be (although thankfully, Richardson syndrom is not hereditary). But everyone should plan for that, regardless of their family situation, because you just never know what kind of situation you will be in. @Aldbrana Regarding the two grandparents who lived with us for the last three years, one had dementia and the other had full-blown Alzheimer's which is absolute HELL. Nurses needed to drop by regularly to handle a lot of the care, but my parents' commitment to keep them both in our home, surrounded by familiar faces was very inspiring to me, and something to bear in mind as they research whether or not Alzheimer's is hereditary. I met a lot of quadriplegic young adults at the hospital I lived in whose parents had decided they didn't want to provide 24-hour-care. So obviously family bonds are not unbreakable. But in talking about this with a childfree friend, we observed that if someone's children don't end up helping them out toward the end of life, it's *very* rare to see anyone else in their social circle step up to the plate. (The same goes for a lot of severely disabled people.) Of course, when it does happen, it's beautiful to see. But we concluded that the longer you've known someone, the less likely you are to abandon them when things get tough. And family members tend to have known each other longer than anyone else. 1 agrees Definitely. I don't speak to my biological father at all because he's a terrible person. He thinks that now that he's old and dying, we should contribute to him financially or visit him. But he abandoned our family and never paid one red cent of child support, not to mention the many promises of visits and family vacations he broke. nopenopenopenope…. I'm not going to put myself through the pain of being near him just because he is struggling. We were struggling too, once, and he was nowhere to be found. So I guess in a nutshell, if you don't actually want kids but do want to have someone to take care of you, DO NOT HAVE KIDS. Do. Not. Have. Kids!!!!! Kids may not take care of you when you get old, but the odds they will are inversely correlated with how shitty a person you are. 11 agree Reply I want to have a kids because I love my family- my original, mom, dad, sister family. We had such an amazing time as a family, our vacations, our dinner table conversations… everything about my childhood, I just loved it so much. I want a kid so I can do it again with my own spawn. 5 agree Reply When I think about having kids, the only part that appeals to me is Christmas. I loved Christmas growing up, and I still do, and it would be fun to give that same "magic" to another generation. But having kids the other 364 days of the year doesn't appeal to me at all soooo…outvoted! 4 agree Reply I really understand this…and I won't lie and say that my decision to be child-free isn't occasionally fraught with thoughts of my own super fun childhood and good parents and the idea that I should want to be like them and do what they did. 4 agree Reply I'm firmly child-free. Conclusion from observation: Contrary to child-free people who are constantly asked to justify why they DON'T want kids, people who do decide to have them are never asked why exactly. So I'm not sure you'll find much literature about that. And from what I've heard from friends, that's it: their desire to have children just "is". There doesn't seem to (need to) be anything rational about it. And it think that's alright; it mirrors my feelings about not wanting kids. When it comes right down to it, there is no "why", I just don't. Maybe you'll find something that resonnates with you in the answers here. But the only arguments thatw ill stick are the ones you'll find in yourself, and a sincere "just because I want them" is a fine argument too. 18 agree Reply I hear you. Like you, I just don't want kids. When I envision my future, there are no kids by my side, at any time. I can rationalize that feeling by saying that I think having kids will hold me back (cf my previous comment). But really, I just don't want them. And that's fine. 5 agree Reply I'm the OP and the only literature I have found is labeled as "pre-conception". These books largely come from the perspective that the reader has already decided to have a child some time in the near future. Very few I have come across get into the psychological, emotional, or economic reasons to decide to have (or not have) a child. 1 agrees Reply Yes, that's what I suspected. Maybe another avenue would be to read childfree books and take them a contrario? 1 agrees Reply Any suggestions for books on child-free living? Reply "Two is Enough" by Laura Scott is based off of her interviews with childless couples as part of the Childless by Choice project. "Maybe Baby: 28 Writers Tell the Truth About Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence, and How They Made the Biggest Decision of Their Lives" Edited by Lori Leibovich is a collection of essays broken into people who decided to AND decided not to (or couldn't) and how they arrived at those decisions and/or dealt with the consequences. I'm a big proponent of "Don't understand it? Read a book about it!" and I did find these books helpful, but ultimately, as many others are saying, I feel like it's such a personal decision and there's so much that's unknowable about where it will take you that you just have to come to it on your own. However, it's always great to gather other perspectives to help you get there, which is something both these books helped me with – just gaining insight and clarifying my own feelings when they were set against other people's experiences. 5 agree Unfortunately, I don't have any English language suggestions for you as I've mainly read about it in French. But for those who would like to read about it in la langue de Molière, the best one for me was L'envers du landau, by Lucie Joubert http://www.amazon.ca/Envers-du…2890316785 I also found Le ras-le-bol des Superwomen, by Michelle Fitoussi http://www.amazon.ca/Ras—bol-superwomen–Ned–Actualit%C3%A9s-ebook/dp/B00AGKD5ZQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407775675&sr=8-1&keywords=le+ras-le-bol+des+superwomen That last one has a larger focus on modern women, but the author talks quite a bit about children and family. Full disclosure: she had children, but openly says she regrets it. I admit she's a bit negative, and of course it's all in a French (as in France) social context, but it made me reflect on how I viewed the issues she raised. Also, Offbeat Home & Life and Offbeat Families have great archives on different child-free reflections/situations/issues. I'll be sure to check out "Maybe Baby", sounds really interesting. Let's ask another question: Why have a significant other? Why date? Why get married? You have to compromise, you can't always do or get what you want, you have to put up with crap you don't like and someone else's needs become as important as yours. Sometimes, it's just plum annoying. And yet the majority of us want it and do it. I'm 32 and my wife and I have three kids five and under. It's hard work. DAMN hard work. And you're talking to someone who's completely DIY renovated his home from the ground up over the last eight years and opened a retail store two months before the bottom fell out of the economy and somehow kept his small business afloat. So, I—like many of you—know "hard" intimately and this is harder. And yet, I'd do all over again in a heart beat. It's difficult to explain why anyone would want kids. Just the other day, my three year old and five year old were in a screaming death match fight over who got to play with a plastic cup with a wet piece of paper in it. Seriously. A room full of toys and I had to raise my voice multiple times and give a time out over A PLASTIC CUP WITH A WET PIECE OF PAPER IN IT. But yet, parenting can be amazing. I do not love anyone more unconditionally in this world than my children and at least right now, that comes back around the other way. I didn't know that kind of love and passion before I had kids. They do for one part of my heart what my wife does for another (and what pets do for others). Maybe it's selfish, but they fulfill me. They make me feel like I'm doing some worthwhile and important. And, you know, I'd like to think I'm raising amazing, independent children that will improve the world or the people around them some day. They're also ridiculously funny. When my six month old poops out of her diaper and up her back to nearly her neck and my five year old creates the name "poodeo" for that type of up-the-back baby poop, I find supreme joy and more laughter than I get from an episode of The Daily Show. (Non-parents might not understand the leap from poop to joy and laughter and that's probably valid, so just go with me on that one.) As with any difficult challenge, there is a satisfaction with parenting. When your three-year-old uses the word "concur" accurately or you're able to successfully navigate your son deciding that he'd be prettier wearing dresses and skirts and you realize he's probably a stronger person than maybe even you are… The first steps, the first words, the hugs that seem to stop time, the "I love you soooo much daddy…" Watching them become fascinating, intelligent, passionate, independent human beings and knowing you helped them become who they are, there are no words to express how meaningful this has been to me. How FULFILLING it's been. Then again, I haven't slept in five years, so there's that too. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm already planning a three month train trip across Europe with my wife in 18 years, when the last one has turned 18 and we are about as free as we'll ever be again. I know I'll enjoy the next phase of my life but right now, I can't imagine my world without my little life companions. There are days I'd rather hang out with them than my adult friends. Plus, my five year old plunges a French press better than I do and I'm looking forward to the day he learns how to mix cocktails and delivers one to me on the back deck in my favorite yellow chair. We wanted to have kids for the same reason we wanted to do anything challenging in our lives. Emily and I like to push ourselves and grow from the experience. We like to create something from nothing, hike as far as we can go, see if we can build a deck or shed or renovate a whole kitchen on our own. We like to mount a challenge like a bull and ride that thing as well and as long as we're able. And if we get tossed off, we climb right back on… Or have steak for dinner. It keeps life interesting, meaningful and sometimes, just darn full of fun. 44 agree Reply I just want to thank you for sharing your perspective. It was beautifully written. 🙂 13 agree Reply *tear* 5 agree Reply "A room full of toys and I had to raise my voice multiple times and give a time out over A PLASTIC CUP WITH A WET PIECE OF PAPER IN IT." This reminds me of my dog who will be sitting in a pile of 15 overpriced toys and whining because I won't let her tear up the cardboard toilet paper roll ;-P (Not to compare kids to dogs, but… well sometimes little kids are kind of like animals, haha.) 9 agree Reply I have dogs in addition to kids and some days, trust me, it's an apt comparison. 7 agree Reply I often have to stop myself from following up a friend's "my kid did X" story with one about my dog doing pretty much the same thing ;-P (unless it's a really good friend, anyway, heh.) 2 agree Reply I think that's probably pretty wise. You can never predict what one of those sleep deprived parents will do… 😉 I do that too! My good friends understand, but with acquaintances I preface it with "Well, my dog is my baby, and…" THIS! I think you answered the question perfectly. 1 agrees Reply We're planning to have kids *someday,* but just not right now (as I've politely but firmly have told many family and friends in the year since we got married). For me, it's just something in me that says "I was built to be a mom." I've always been good with kids, wanted to have them, and loved the experience of being around them. For my husband, he has that same "I want to be a father" mentality. I don't think it needs to be much more than that: do you feel like you want to be a parent (as opposed to "having kids," which is sometimes more of a novelty to people than the "parenting" portion of it)? Are you emotionally, financially, and physically able to bear, rear, and support that child or children for the rest of your life? Then go for it. As long as you and your partner (if applicable) are able to say yes to both of those questions without having to convince yourself, then I think that's all you need. 8 agree Reply I really like that perspective, 'do I want to parent ' rather than ' do I want a kid'. 18 agree Reply I guess in the most basic sense: biology. Why else are we here? To make more of us. I don't have/will not be having kids, not that I don't sometimes think about what it would be like. I think it would be awesome to try to raise a compassionate, creative, productive human being (no guarantee that will occur). I'd love to do things with a kid, they are pretty awesome. My SO would be great with a kid, and my parents would be over the moon. I have no illusions that a kid would be guaranteed to love or even like me, or would be there for me when I'm old, but it would be nice to know there would hopefully be someone there when I'm old. None of those are strong enough reasons to counteract my general response every time I ask myself, "Ok, how do you feel about having/fostering/adopting a kid now?" Answer: a resounding "Eh". 5 agree Reply I keep coming back to the biology argument. Often I find it quite compelling. But I'm not sure it's fulfilling enough to me as an individual to make a decision simply because I'm a human and designed for it, because I'm also designed to be child-free, as I am currently. 2 agree Reply I think I say biology because when you get down to it we're pretty much programmed to make more of us. So if the only reason you have is "Because I want to" or "Why not?" it may just tie into that urge. Sometimes I think I don't want kids because I am a contrarian. ETA: Several years ago I came to the realization that I may enjoy being a parent if I could be a dad. My observation of families has led me to believe that dad's have different relationships with their kids than moms and it's the kind of relationship I'd prefer (people in these relationships feel free to disagree with me). 1 agrees Reply If it's helpful to think about at all, you can have whatever relationship with your child that you choose. Set healthy boundaries with your child and your spouse, and you can be happy too. Being "a mom" doesn't mean just one thing, or a specific kind of relationship. You can just be "a parent". And if you enjoy being a parent, on whatever terms, your kid will pick up on that and probably turn out okay. If you think that the "dad" relationship is somehow lacking, you may be able to find people who are more than happy to fill the "mom" role, be it a partner, grandparents, aunties, or a hired nanny. 1 agrees Reply Like I said, looking at parent/kid relationships (especially being able to watch this up close with friends in their variety of parental roles) there seems to be a difference between how moms and dads work in that dynamic (to me) that has nothing to do with boundaries. And I am not interested in the mom dynamic, in particular how it would end up working out with my partner (heck, I'd end up being mom and dad). Thankfully I don't have to worry about it either way since I don't want kids. 1 agrees I am currently asking myself this same question. My husband and I are enjoying successful professional lives, love to travel, and have two darling "dog babies" that we adore. I know that I don't want to give up my career to have a baby but am also concerned about leaving a baby with another care provider. I don't really like infants all that much and am not jazzed about the idea of being pregnant. My mom had very difficult pregnancies and births with both me and my sister and I think that greatly contributes to my fear of being pregnant. I love kids but before they are about 2 they just make me nervous! Still the idea of having young children who grow and shape the world sounds pretty awesome. I just can't decide what to do! 1 agrees Reply What about adopting a child? The older they get the harder it is for them to find loving homes. If they're school-age that helps with the daycare worries. No infants. No weird pregnancy… I'm in the "i don't know" boat for myself so I'm not in favor of anything in particular, it just seems like that might be a perfect thing for you if you do decide you want children. 🙂 3 agree Reply And if you decide you don't want kids permanently, you could always do respite foster care. It gives you a weekend or a week with kids and gives foster parents a break. It's kinda like a win-win 🙂 4 agree Reply This is a thing? I'm intrigued, though I'm not sure this is a program that's offered in my area. 1 agrees Reply https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/service_array/respite/ Here's a good start to find information, it varies by state. I'd be happy to write something up, though my experience is as an adult adoptee working with foster and adoptive families around counseling issues. Thoughts on what might be helpful information? 3 agree Can you write a whole post about your experiences with the foster system? It's really interesting. 7 agree Reply What type of info would be interesting to read? See my comment above about my background… A post on adoption would be great. Some things I'd like to hear about are: challenges associated with adopting children of different ages, do parents (male and female) bond as well to adoptive vs. genetic (sorry don't know correct terminology) children, if you look for adoptive children that would fit well with your current family (be it other children or adults only) or you adapt the family to its new member. Loo, have you checked out Offbeat Families adoption tag? LOT'S of stuff about adoption over there: http://offbeatfamilies.com/tag/adoption 1 agrees My aunt's mom (basically my grandma) has taken in almost 100 foster teens in the past few decades. She even gives lectures on the subject for the agency that she works with and sometimes the state has asked her to, as well. I have had the opportunity to meet so many different kids, it's incredibly enlightening, in good ways and sad. I could seriously go on and on for pages about the things I have learned and the way they've shaped me. A lot of the foster parents she mentors are couples who for whatever reasons, are child free. 3 agree Reply I started out very firmly in the "no kids" camp and then while I was finishing up my bachelors degree I was diagnosed with PCOS at 24. For me, knowing suddenly that having or not having kids may not even be my own choice anymore was actually very shocking. I spent a lot of time re-assessing whether or not I really wanted kids, and if I did when and how became a big part of that reality. My husband on the other hand always wanted kids, so after I was done my degree we decided we actually did want kids. Maybe for me it was a bit of telling my body fuck you and your PCOS. But really, it was something that I ultimately decided I wanted. It wasn't irrational, I enjoy kids, I was even nicknamed Mom in highschool because I was the person who looked after everyone else. I also knew that my husband would be a great dad, and that was something that I didn't want to deny him of. But now after we had our daughter, I know that I'm done, I don't want more than 1. I am admittedly too selfish to dedicate myself to more than 1 little human. My career is super important to me, I want to travel with my kid (and more than 1 it becomes too expensive), I want to share the important things in life with my daughter and I don't want to have to split that time up. 6 agree Reply Wow, your comment just really spoke to me. I've been reading through these comments, waiting for something to actually resonate and push me one way or the other. I was always firmly in the "I'll finish uni, get a job, meet someone, marry, have kids" camp. And then I met my husband, who didn't really want kids. We talked about it lots, and he's come around to it now (in a, "yeah, I could envision some little mini-mes running around", not so much a "YES OMG NOW" way). So now that I'm getting to the age where I really have to start thinking about whether I want to or not (I'm 31, and husband has 2 more years of study to go), I'm finding myself doubting more and more. I like kids, I work with them (child psyc) and I'm a great aunt. But do I really want them myself? Because of the way I did university, while others my age were jet-setting around the world and doing lots of travel, I was working and studying right through my 20s. 2 of my very good couple-friends are firmly in the no-kids camp, and every year they go somewhere really interesting, and I am beginning to think that maybe kids would hold me back from finally doing all those things I wanted to. But you know what? You're right. I could do just one. I always thought 1 wasn't fair or something after knowing some spoiled only children (and my Dad as an only child with his issues). But. I'm not their parents. I'm me. And I could probably do a damn spanking fine job of just one. Thanks so much for commenting. You've made my day 🙂 2 agree Reply When I was a kid, I was always the one taking care of other little kids and was told it was great practice "for when you're a mom." In my early 20s, at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I told myself I would never want to bring a child into the messed up world we have. Now in my late 20s, I've changed my mind on that for what is perhaps a controversial reason. I want to have kids in order to bring more smart and caring people into the world. I had an advanced degree, and I consider myself a person of above average intelligence with a fair bit of common sense. My husband is one of the smartest people I have ever known. I believe that we need more smart people in the world in order to bring peace and order to society, and I believe that if we have kids, they will be pretty smart themselves. I volunteer many hours a month to groups that are important to me, and I plan on instilling that sense of duty of service into my children. We're very progressive in our politics, and I hope to teach my children the importance of helping those around us who need help. I think we need more people like that in our world, and we're going to make a couple of them. Perhaps that's just the overly logical side of my brain trying to rationalize something that isn't totally rational (since we've established that having kids is pretty irrational), but it's honestly one of the top reasons we have for wanting children. 11 agree Reply I've thought of this as well… but there is always a distinct possibility of having a child that is mentally/intellectually disabled, and would that be horrifically disappointing? Not that such people can't be wonderful people, of course, but it's different from having a high-IQ child that you can groom to save the world. 3 agree Reply Of course there's always a possibility of anything happening, and I don't expect my kids to save the world (talk about irrational!). Having kids is a crapshoot, and you never know what you're going to get. Look at all the conservatives who birth Marxists. 4 agree Reply This. This is an argument I use all the time, that Idiocracy is coming true, and us smart people have a DUTY to procreate to save the world! 🙂 Reply I'm firmly in the "no thanks" camp and have been since I was 5 and asked my mom if I HAD to be a mom too. She said no. She said there were lots of ladies who chose to put all their energy into other things. I knew I wanted to be one of those ladies. It seemed so much more exotic to me. There was a kidless lady at my mom's work I was in awe of. She traveled all the time, wore lots of jewelry, and silks, and walked like she owned the place. I thought she was pretty glamorous. Not like my friends' bossy moms who were all up in my business, toting us around in their mini vans and telling us what to do. This lady couldn't care less about what my doll's name was, how long I grew my fingernails, or how much sugar I ate. I liked that! Anyway, I am now engaged and 33, and all my friends are having babies, so there is that biological and environmental pull, as well as my soon-to-be husband's obvious love of children, but when I wake up exhausted every day, barely make rent late every month, hate cooking and cleaning, have barely even touched upon my true goals in life, and sometimes forget my cat even exists until I get home, I just don't think it's in the stars. If I were rich enough to afford to hire laundry help, kitchen help, and daycare at whim, then athletics expenses, cool sneakers, a car, college, and if I could pursue my goals on my timeline, instead of trying to squeeze them in as the sun's going down after an exhausting day at work… I might think about it, but I cannot imagine putting myself in that situation anytime in the next decade, so…my answer remains no. 13 agree Reply I came to wanting kids gradually. Growing up and as a young adult I knew with no uncertainty that I never wanted kids. So what happened? Partly I met the right partner who wanted kids and never made any secret of the fact, but never ever put any pressure on me to have them. He always made it clear that if I decided that I wanted kids then that was great, but if I didn't then that was fine too. Around two years ago I began to notice that during the fertile part of my cycle I was feeling quite broody. This progressed over time and the feeling got stronger until during my fertile period I knew I wanted kids, but then when I was in the rest of my cycle I still didn't want them. I ended up getting quite upset about it because I began to enjoy the feeling of wanting kids and I actually missed it when I felt more like the familiar anti-children me of my youth. Things all came to a head just over a year ago when I was playing with one of our ferrets feet. I began imagining what it would be like to play with a baby's feet instead and I just burst into tears at my rather shocked husband and howled 'I want children'. We waited another two months (his insistence) to make sure that it really was what I wanted and then started trying to conceive. It's been a long journey, with many ups and downs, but I'm now 14 weeks pregnant and I really couldn't be happier. 1 agrees Reply So I sort of jumped into having children; I got the baby fever and we just started trying. We wanted to wait to be more financially stable but understood that that moment never really arrives so we just took the plunge. I never really liked kids and had absolutely no baby experience when I had my daughter. She was a perfect baby, very relaxed and easygoing and was a lot of fun to be with and teach. And then, accidentally, we got pregnant with my son when she was seven months old. We weren't planning on having two so close together and it was HARD. He was the complete opposite: cranky, colicky, codependent, and he never slept. It took a long time for him to become a tolerable person. So basically, what I'm trying to say is that I didn't really think about having kids before I had them: I felt the call of nature and I followed it. I was unprepared and underskilled and now I read things like the "no kids" thread and I feel such jealousy! And then my daughter sings "Twinkle Twinkle" to me and my son gives me his favorite toy with a huge smile and I know that it was all worth it, no matter how many stumbles I take or how many times I sigh "what if..". It is the hardest thing and the best thing I've ever done and even though I feel like I'm trying to mold two stable individuals with good values in the middle of a hurricane, I wouldn't trade it for the world. well, maybe for a couple extra hours of sleep on a lazy Saturday. 3 agree Reply My reasons are definitely more rational. No kids yet for me. We've been off birth control for about 2 years with no results and had our first fertility appointment this past week. And I'm still not POSITIVE that kids will be a good thing for my life right now. Even though we're 38, neither of us has a particularly loud "biological clock". We both have a lot of experience with children: my mom had my youngest brother when I was 12 and i worked 2 years in a daycare right after college while my husband spent a year taking care of his infant nephew. So I think we both have a pretty decent idea how terrible and gross and hard early childhood can be. With that being said, my husband and I have both come to the conclusion that we'll regret not having kids more than we'll regret having them. We know that things will be difficult and money will be tight. But we come from pretty good, stable families and see how much our parents love us and still enjoy our company. If you need an egotistical reason, we feel like we're smart, atheist, liberal, compassionate, offbeat people and we'd probably raise similar people and there need to be more of us! 🙂 3 agree Reply Good luck as you start down the fertility path, as someone who's gone down it. Reply A very good question! And it makes sense that since we are in the sort of new place of making that choice carefully and thoughtfully as members of a modern society, that some might wonder how that choice gets made! I'm 32 and have twins, aged 1.5. My husband and I had been married 8 years before we started trying to conceive and 10 years before we had them. Here were my reasons: 1: An adventure. Really! It's one of the main reasons to have them, I think. I don't mean to minimize the whole thing, but they are entertainment. It's something to do, honestly, in this long life we have on this planet. I simply got tired of all the things we were doing all the time. Restaurant, bar, movie, weekend getaway, repeat. It was great for 8 years and it will be great to return to that life in a decade or two, but I honestly got bored. Some might say that looking at it this way is extremely trivial and demeaning to the child. But it's not like I put a tutu on them and make them play the accordion for me. They're entertaining to me within their environment. They're naturally a great adventure. I think it's a way to see the positives. And if you aren't going to enjoy it, then you shouldn't be having them anyway, right? 2: A new way to see the world. The same reason someone packs up and moves to a new country. A change. A way to see things in a different light. It's one of the many ways to open your eyes to new experiences. One of. Certainly not the only way. 3: I like kids. It seems so simple, but I think that's the main thing to consider. I have always liked kids. Toddlers, school aged kids, AND teenagers (gasp!). I look forward to all of these stages. I grew up around kids so it was easy for me to determine that I liked them. But anyone who's considering it and can't decide, go to kid places and see how it feels. You definitely do not have to like all of them. But if you like being around them generally and feel like one you have some influence over could be a great friend to you, then maybe a kid is a good choice. 4 agree Reply I might have put a mustache and top hat on my infant just for giggles. 6 agree Reply I really love the "angry eyebrows" baby meme. When I babysit my nieces and nephews, I always have grand designs to draw on eyebrows with eyeliner. Though I think they're starting to get a bit old for this. 3 agree Reply "Adventure" is a good answer to the question actually. I think you're spot on with kids being something to do. Granted, we don't know how long we're going to live on this earth but, consider a married couple lives 50+ years together…having kids would give them something to do for a nice chunk of their lifetime. Even more so if their kids have kids. That is not to say that there aren't other adventures to be had because, there are. 2 agree Reply Both my husband and I were an ambivalent place before we had our son. We didn't ever come to a rational decision to HAVE a kid, but we did come to a rational decision to NOT PREVENT having a kid. I guess we liked the game of Russian Baby Roulette and decided that if I were able to get pregnant without any interference and with the absence of 'trying' (like doing any fertility charting) then it was 'meant to be.' Welp, one time without a condom and slightly tipsy BAM there were were, knocked up. The second time around has been much harder. With one totally awesome kid, I find myself really asking the rational "do we want another?" question. Ugh, so hard. So hard that I went the totally opposite direction and got an IUD because I didn't want the decision to have another child be so willy nilly leave it to the gods like we'd done before. Adding a second seems like a decision that needs more care and rationale than just drunken sexy times. But as for why have kids? It's magical. It's really really magical. Over the years I have gone from fundamentalist Christian to agnostic, but I resonate with the OBF post about finding spirituality in our kids. I see this tiny little human, with his curly blonde hair, and the way he scrunches his nose, and I'm like 'whoa, dude, I made that. We made that. From nothing.' As a terrible cook I don't even make food from scratch, and here he is, a little person I made from scratch. He is my moving meditation. Like watching clouds float by I see and am attuned to his moods. It happens so slowly, like seasons changing, and he's gone from chubby infant to toddler to little (presumed) boy. I delight in watching him say "I did it!" as he figures out how to climb a tree for the first time. So many magical moments that make me happy, even though I'm not really a kid person…don't really like other people's kids all that much unless they're close friends. It's fucking hard, sure. And some moments are way worse than others. But I love that I get to have choices in how I raise a little human I created from scratch. And only because of that mystical magical feeling would I ever contemplate having a second. Because diaper changes and puke and stuff isn't really all THAT fun. 🙂 11 agree Reply When my husband and I first started dating he told me he really (really!) wanted to have kids one day. I was totally honest with him and said that I had never even considered the idea of kids. It wasn't that I didn't want them it was that I never thought about it. Later on in or relationship was now husband was ready to start expanding our family. We talked about it and i was like, "meh, why not." Not the best reason to procreate but not the worst. My introduction into parenthood sucked (birth story: http://offbeatfamilies.com/2012/04/signs-of-preterm-labor ). Twins born at 27 weeks, 3 months in the NICU, 3-4 specialist appts per week for 2 years, etc, etc, etc. Because of all that my husband and I decided that we needed to spend serious time thinking about whether to have more kids or not. We did our research and talked to specialists to find out what we could expect from another pregnancy. Ultimately, after all the research we just decided that our family didn't feel complete yet. So we tried for more. I've been asked a few times now what made us decide to try again. I always tell them we'll keep trying until we feel like our family is complete. Reply I never wanted children. A few of my reasons included: I grew up in a terrible family with a terrible mother; feminist inclinations kept me from wanting to share my life with a needy kid; I had strong feelings about overpopulation. In my mid-twenties, I got randomly knocked up by some dude I barely knew, and for reasons I still can't explain (now many years later) I kept the pregnancy and became a single mother. I did not find pregnancy a beautiful, magical, or transformational time. I found it largely horrifying. I was grossly sick the whole time and the whole rigamarole eventually led to an induced labor that lasted from Sunday-Friday, when they finally had to cut her out of me. And these aren't even all the reasons I expected to loathe parenthood. I also really don't like most kids and I really, really don't like most parents. But even for a crank like me, it turns out I love (with my entire being, and with an enormity I can't describe) being my daughter's mother. I didn't love her the moment I set eyes on her – I loved her over time, as we grew together. She's almost a teenager now, and I am delighted by her weird awesomeness pretty much every day. I'm almost 40 and recently got married. My husband's younger than I am, and I've been surprised how much I do not want any more children. (That he doesn't want any more either is just one of reasons we're a lovely match.) Neither nearing the end of my, erm, fruitful years, nor being "properly" set up with a good partner has made me further inclined toward parenthood. And yet. It's a cool sunny morning. My near-teenage daughter is curled up in an arm chair by the window. She's lanky, bespectacled, eating toast and reading a graphic novel, and just looking at her makes my heart want to explode with love. I feel absurdly fortunate to know her and to be her mom. So, I dunno. I think it's complicated. 🙂 16 agree Reply Yes! I had the same feelings with my daughter, I did not fall in love with her instantly but grew to love her a little more every day. Reply Someone has to, or they'll stop making Lego. 25 agree Reply Based on the Lego-themed wedding I recently went to, perhaps not. 2 agree Reply HOLY CRAP! I'm currently on vacation with strict orders to NOT WORK or even open my laptop, but I snuck in a look at this fascinating thread and I just HAD to comment on this one. Em, you win for giving me the FIRST logical reason for people having kids. Seriously, this entire thread I'm like "eh, okay…" "maybe?" "That kind of makes sense…" BUT THIS!? The best one. 14 agree Reply If you are not actively wanting a kid, you probably shouldn't have one. When I was in my early twenties, I was pretty sure I didn't want kids. I love my nieces and a handful of other kids that I'm close to. But I never heard the biological clock nor got all weepy at births. I decided I would only have a kid if I hit a point in my life where I ACTIVELY wanted one. I wasn't going to do it because it is what I'm "supposed" to do. Now, at 41, I'm married and still child-free. And I'm quite happy with it. If some day, I actively want a child, I'm sure I'll find a way to be a parent. In the mean time, I think that there is a special role in a child's life for adults who love them and don't have their own kids. And I love playing that role for my nieces and a few of my friends' kids. 7 agree Reply Yes, this is so important! Being child-free doesn't mean you never get to experience some aspect of raising children, in one way or another, if you want to. Tons of child-free people work as teachers or daycare providers or child advocates, or play the cool aunt/uncle, or help raise their younger siblings. It takes a village and all that. 3 agree Reply This is a great question which I've often asked myself. It seems that a lot of people have children as the next logical step after marriage and buying a home, but I always wanted to know if there was any other reason than "it's just what you do". Personally I've never had any maternal desire to procreate. I'm not saying I'll never have them but I don't currently feel that its something that's important for me to do in my life. My main reason for not wanting to have children is that I'm concerned about overpopulation. And I know, not that one person not having kids is going to change that, and I certainly don't feel that people who do have children are adding to that problem, I guess I just feel bad for the children who were brought into this world for the wrong reasons or through unfortunate circumstances and who don't get the life they want because of that. I don't personally care about "creating a human being" or having a "fresh start" – I'm more interested in how the kids turn out, what kind of humans they'll be. Someone else mentioned that people rarely think about their children as adults, and I think it's a great point; for that reason I kind of hate the phrase "having babies". It puts the focus too much on the cuteness and the innocence and the infant-stage, as if that's the only part they're interested in. I feel like if you want to bring a life into this world, you should think about what kind of parent you'll be when your kid is 30 or 50 – or even 70 if you live that long. I do think that I'd like to *raise* children someday, either through non-biological parenthood like adoption or fostering, or through a career in something like youth social work or even just teaching. That we are officially and legally "family" is not the motivation for me – I'd like to have an impact on making someone's life meaningful, helping someone find their way and preparing them for the rest of the journey. So I don't necessarily feel like I need to physically create or birth them to do that. Again, I don't judge people who do have their own kids, I only judge people who expect me to, or who try to convince me that I'll change my mind. Do you have a crystal fucking ball? Like I said, I'm not saying I'll never want to have my own children – indeed, I might well change my mind later in life, but right now, in this moment, I don't feel that my life would be incomplete if I didn't procreate. 6 agree Reply While I don't currently have kids, my husband and I are planning to start trying in a year or so. I see it as a way to learn about myself, about my husband, and generally about being human. As with most learning experiences, I expect it to occasionally (regularly?) be painful and challenging, but also to ultimately be deeply rewarding. This is the biggest reason, for me. Deeply rewarding learning and growth can happen through all kinds of avenues, for sure. Different life choices can result in different kinds of learning, I think, and while having children may open up a specific kind of self-discovery or insight into the human condition that might not be available otherwise, I also think that it blocks the opportunity to learn and grow in specific ways from the freedom and independence of living one's life without children, which is equally valuable. But I do feel personally drawn to grow in this specific way. There is also the issue of wanting to give a person a great start in life, and the creative side of researching and planning how to craft as ideal a start as possible. Similarly, I want to contribute a human I helped to shape to the world, as egotistical as that is. I honestly think the world could use more people like my husband and me, and I expect (or hope for?) a child of ours to show us our failings and surpass us in ways we can't possibly predict — this touches on the issue of personal growth — so such a person, I think, would be a great addition to the general pool of humanity. 2 agree Reply I like that idea that choosing to become a parent could help you learn about what it is to be human. 2 agree Reply My fiance and I have chosen to not have children, and I don't foresee anything that would change that. I have a solid list of reasons why I don't want them, some logical and some emotional. But I do have a few reasons in the pro-kids column. The not-so-good ones, because they're selfish and based on fear: -Kids include you in a different social circle. You make new friends. You bond over being parents. As someone choosing to remain childless while most of my friends have plans to have children, I'm afraid of losing time with my friends and having a difficult time making new friends/connecting to people who are parents. -Children are usually the ones who look after their parents in old age. I don't know what will happen as I get older. -I hear so much about how children make you grow as a person. When I'm 50, will I somehow be less interesting, less knowledgeable, less valuable of a person because I was never a parent? The seriously good one: -My relationship with my mom is one of the most rewarding, cherished bonds I have with another human being. I've always been close to her, and as I've grown into an adult we've become good friends as well as mother/daughter. I know she loves me and cares for me beyond all words, and we enrich each other's lives. It would be fulfilling to have that bond with a child of my own. Children still aren't the right choice for me, but I think I'll always feel that void a little bit. 3 agree Reply I had the same fear of losing my circle of friends when I was the first to have a child. It didn't happen. We all adapted. Most of my close friends have stuck with me, and most of them still don't have kids. I'm sure it's different for everyone, but our lives don't have to be the same to stay close. 4 agree Reply Rebecca Walker has a wonderful memoir about choosing to have a child "after a lifetime of ambivalence": http://www.rebeccawalker.com/work/baby-love On the other side of the conversation, Molly Peacock has a wonderful memoir about, among other things, choosing not to have children: http://mollypeacock.org/books/paradise-piece-by-piece/ As a mother, I will say that parenting is not necessarily the greatest love, the most important work, the most significant relationship, or any of the other superlatives you've probably heard, but it is absolutely unlike any other thing I have experienced. 1 agrees Reply Honestly I kind of feel like, if you don't passionately want kids on an emotional, non-logical level… you're probably better off not having them. (Even if you DO want kids on an emotional, non-logical level you might be better off not having them, for that matter.) But I'm a pretty big proponent of fewer-people-having-babies in general 😛 If you don't feel that pressing need inside to reproduce, then why look for reasons to do it anyway? Save your energy for something that you do feel passionately about. 5 agree Reply I wrestled with this question a lot over the past few years. It wasn't that I didn't WANT kids exactly, it was more that I had so much fear and so many questions about what having kids would do to my life and identity. I wasn't sure if it was worth it to me. After lots of soul-searching, I decided that I did want to be a parent and our first child will be born next month. And, honestly, I couldn't be happier. I'm also overwhelmed and sometimes terrified, but ultimately so excited and happy that we made this decision. I read a lot about pregnancy and parenthood before deciding to do this and also found myself wishing that there was more info out there for people who aren't sure about having kids. It's a huge decision and I KNOW there are a lot of people in that boat, even if they aren't necessarily talking about it. I think that being open about the fact that you're not sure about kids is really important. It shows people going through the same thing that they're not alone and makes it less of a taboo subject. And hopefully it'll inspire conversations like these that may actually help in your decision-making process! Two books that I did find and love were Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Jessica Valenti and Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence by Rebecca Walker. Valenti's book inspired me, pissed me off, and was ultimately very freeing. It reiterated that a lot of what I was afraid of (like losing my identity in motherhood, the "most important/fulfilling/hardest job in the world") was not in fact inevitable, but something that we're told to think and believe because it serves society's interest in not having to provide government resources for parents, keeping women in traditional roles, etc. It's been much longer since I read Walker's book so I don't remember it as well, but I found it beautiful, honest, and thought-provoking. When I finished it years ago, I always told myself I'd go back to it if I was ever pregnant. I look forward to picking it up again in the next few weeks. 4 agree Reply Wow those books sound great! I just added both to my reading list. My local library only has Walker's book, so I think I'll start with that. But I love that Valenti's book is likely a feminist expose on motherhood, so I may buy it. Reply I'm in the I don't think so camp, and here are a few thoughts I've had about this: 1. Having kids to complete an ideal you have is a lot of pressure for something not even born yet. Like what if your kid doesn't like you and doesn't WANT to take care of you in old age or sing carols around the Christmas tree/Menorah/Festivus pole? Maybe you're a crappy person or maybe your kid is… it could happen. 2. What if your kid has some sort of major mental, physical, developmental issues? Then what? How do people even handle it? Bless them all. 3. Regression toward the mean is a real thing. My IQ is no guarantee that my kid will be smart, too. That would be a fail on the contribution to the smarter population thing. 4. I think the only way I could talk myself into having kids was if I felt like I could support them being whatever kind of best human they wanted to be AND the child is an inspiration to keep being the best version of myself I could. I think if I felt up to raising an awesome human being and continue to growing myself into someone my kid would WANT to hang with when I'm old, I could make a person. 10 agree Reply A bit of background on me: Growing up I was in the hardcore never getting married, never having kids camp for as long as I can remember. I eventually changed camps on the marriage thing when my life became intertwined with my spouse. I have grown so much from sharing my life with him. I was still in the solid no kids camp when we married and he was indifferent. Life circumstances changed and he decided he wanted kids so our life plan re-evaluation began. I realized that I had grown rather indifferent to children, not in the solid never having kids camp anymore but rather in the I'm never going to be the one pushing to have kids camp. Additionally, my experience leaving the never getting married camp and adding another human to my life was super rewarding for me. Finally, my experience with my partner tells me that we should be able to balance our lives and the care of a child in such away the we can still achieve our other life goals. That was when I realized I could probably survive having a kid, maybe even two. So my reasons for having a child are as follows: – I love my partner, he wants a kid, and I don't have a solid no stance on the topic – I have enjoyed growing by incorporating a new person into my life and find that I am actually excited to see how I will continue to grow with another addition to my life. Reply Sigh. All I can say is that I'm newly single after a 5-year relationship and about to turn 35 (aka "the advanced maternal age birthday") and this thread really isn't helping my current funk. 😛 I grew up thinking that I did NOT want kids. I LIKED some kids — I babysat from age 13 onward — but just couldn't imagine myself getting pregnant or actually meeting anyone I wanted to procreate with or actually feeling "maternal." I was honestly puzzled by my friends who were already talking about having families and babies and whatnot! Well, around age 25 I started feeling like, "oh dang, I think I understand the whole wanting-to-have-kids thing now." It's like a light switch turned on. I was suddenly interested in the idea of making babies and being pregnant… with a good partner who'd help me raise them, of course. Then at 28, my sibling's first child was born and when I held her in the hospital it shook me to the core. My sister was recuperating from her C-section and was in a lot of pain, so she handed my niece over to me so I could hold her. I just… I just wanted to make one right then. That baby even looked like me, more than she looked like my sister, which made it extra painful. I wanted to protect her, I wanted to watch her grow up, I wanted to play with her… I wanted to be a mom. I stared into her face for about three days straight, madly in love, and when I had to leave that baby with my sister and go back to my own life, it killed me. Same thing happened when I met kid #2. I still look at them now and get choked up thinking about how much I love them. And as much as I love my "niblings" and adore being an aunt, I want to have my own. I want the daily experience of being a mom. I want to share that with another person. God, I hope it's still possible. I hope I meet someone to share it with soon. 3 agree Reply I want kids, always have wanted kids. My husband wants one (we're often joking about our future 1.5 child), preferably rather soon (he's 10 years older than me). So we wonder more about "when do we want kids" than "do we want kids". For a long time it felt like what I would do because that was part of life, like going to college, getting married and living in my own home. It wasn't a huge urge for a long time (it's getting to me these couple of months). My strongest (and probably best) reason now is that I want kids. Apart from the unrationality, I think that desire/love will keep me sane when I try to raise a child that cries all the time, barfs everywhere, worries me to death when it's sick and takes all my time, because that's why, on a smaller scale, adopting two cats was one of the best decisions of my life. Among the less good reasons, I want to teach my kids so many wonderful things, and I want to give them good values and to raise them to be good people (yeah, I have the fantasy that I'll be a good mum and THEREFORE my kids will grow into decent people and make the world a better place. Yeah, all thanks to me). But I'm also growing more and more environment-conscious and I very often feel that making kids isn't a very good decision. Too many people for the world to feed, global warming, upcoming extinction of fish and probably of many fish-eating species, etc. I would make more sense to adopt. Still I want to make them myself. 2 agree Reply I'm not a parent yet, but my husband and I are trying to conceive. Why? Because in my head, my children already exist. I don't know how many they will be, what they will look like or what they will be like. I don't know if I will bear them from my own body or become their parent in another way. But they exist, and I love them with everything I have, and I'll do whatever I can for them… including bringing them into the world. Not because of what they'll give me, although I do look forward to the rewards of parenthood: they joys of childhood and growth and discovery and learning. Because they are their own people, people I love, who need me. I hope that they will share characteristics and values with my husband and I because I believe my husband and I are awesome people and that our way of life should continue. But I can't know that they will. I think my genes are pretty good genes and should continue, but having children (even your own biological ones) is no guarantee of grandchildren. If I'm lucky enough to grow old, I like to think that my children will still have a relationship with me, come visit me, but I don't know that any of that will happen. Having children is a gift I'm giving to my children, because I love them. Maybe that makes me sound crazy. Oh well. 3 agree Reply I didn't have a reason for my first — I'd just known that I always wanted kids. When I was pregnant with my second, a childfree friend (possibly the only one of my friends who could get away with saying this) said, "Why on earth would you have MORE children?" I said, "Because my first kid is SO AWESOME, and I know how awesome another one could be. I think it's going to be a lot of fun." I was right. My kids are such awesome people, and I really, really love being their parent, and I love parenting with my partner. 1 agrees Reply Why NOt? If because you feel each part of your life is full, and you have not desire to procreate, then don't! I waited until I was 30 to think about it. I always thought maybe 1-2 because that was "normal"; But when I left my "career". For something more, it took a near death experience to knock me over the procreation edge. I had aways thought it would happen, and death has a way of saying now or never beotch! I then lost a baby full term, and had horrible guilt from questioning my motives… But 3 years later I now have my perfect, imperfect 1. My boy completes me, in every sense of the word…. I just knew it in my soul. That's why. Reply Am I the only one who's gotten to age thirty in a long term relationship (married just over a year and a half but together for over ten years) without ever having felt the hormone induced baby fever? I sometimes intellectually think it would be good and satisfying to raise somebody to be a decent human, my husband is obviously good with babies and toddlers, and I even know what I'd name my theoretical daughter, but the strongest positive emotion I've ever felt upon seeing a baby is "That looks like a cool baby." I don't necessarily think that means I shouldn't have a kid unless my hormones do start screaming at me; my parents describe the decision of having had me as basically being along the lines of "Well, if we're going to do this I guess now would be the time," and I have no complaints. On the other hand, it seems like even the other women in my social circle who definitely do not want to get pregnant any time soon are being told by their ovaries that they should, and my ovaries don't speak to me except occasionally to try to crawl up and hide somewhere behind my lungs when I hear about particularly unpleasant aspects of pregnancy. 10 agree Reply I'm 28, married, and all my ovaries do is scream "AAHHH fuck that hurts!" when an egg pops out of 'em. Otherwise, silence. I don't really know what people mean when they say their bodies want to have babies… I'm pretty sure mine does not. It mostly just clamors for sleep and refined sugar. But, I'm two years out, we'll see what happens by 30. 13 agree Reply You're not the only one. I'm in my 30's, been married 8 years and never felt even an inkling of "baby fever" . 4 agree Reply Baby-want hit me at 32. Married for years too. Reply Good question! I've enjoyed reading through the comments here, as the subject has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past several years. I often feel guilty and sad, because I know the responsibility of having kids (and a dog) is a strong need for my husband of 8 years. Neither are for me. I've never wanted kids or a pet. He does. We were both aware of each other feelings on the subject of children before we married and, there's never been any pressure from him to have kids. For that, I am thankful. Still, it hurts because, I believe my husband would be an amazing father and I feel like I'm denying him that. When we talk about it, he's always understanding and on my side. I just don't know how to absolve this guilt I feel. Like Cass, the idea of having kids just because I can is not a satisfying one. Neither is having kids just because my husband wants them. 2 agree Reply Someone needs to keep the human race going, but why not let those who can't imagine life without babies cover that? We're heading toward maxing out the earth's carrying capacity (about 7bn people now, doubled since the 70s, with 10-11bn estimated as the most that the world can support). Somebody needs to have babies, yes, but some of us need NOT to. If you're not dying to have kids, why not follow your instincts? 7 agree Reply Does the human race really need to keep going? I'm really mixed about this. 12 agree Reply I didn't know I wanted to have kids until I found out I might not be able to have any. I have endometriosis, and my husband might have some fertility issues, and upon finding all of that out, I knew that having a family containing little ones was something I wanted. We're still being responsible about the decision making process, and I'd still like to adopt, even if we do have a biological child. But as previously said, it's all about what you want. I want to be a parent, and try to help mold a being that will do good in this world. 1 agrees Reply Ya know, I don't even know. We never talked about, never daydreamed about it. The kids were just accidents because we're two adults who really really like sex and couldn't waste time worrying about birth control. But they were happy accidents. With my son we threw around abortion just because my hyperemesis was so severe I didn't know if I could physically handle anymore. But even then we never talked about why or why not to have kids. Something just felt right about being parents. I know a lot of people who aren't satisfied with "when it feels right" or gut intuition, but it has never steered my husband or I wrong. We had known each other off and on for 5 years before dating. 2 weeks of non stop spending the night we decided to elope. It just felt right, and even when we were having the marriage talks, kids never really made it into the conversation. And even as I try to think about it now, I don't know. Maybe I'm just blinded by the ridiculous and sometimes scary love I have for my kids. Who knows? Im usually very methodical about decisions, but it seems like the largest, most world altering two (kids&husband) were solely based on what my guts told me. They didn't even include my brain. Haha. I hate to be cliché, but when it's right, it's right. Reply I always figured I'd have kids *eventually*, and it wasn't until I met my adamantly childfree fiance that I began reconsidering things. The fact that he's my fiance should tell you a lot: I've come around to his way of thinking, after lots of reading and thinking and soul-searching, and we are very much looking forward to a childfree life of work and travel and whatever-the-fuck-we-want together. Here's the critical point for me: having kids is not just about becoming a parent. It's about creating a whole new human being. Outside of your own desires to have a baby, to be a parent, to experience awesome parental love, watch that baby grow up into an adult…you are creating a WHOLE NEW PERSON. That person comes with his or her own personality, wants and needs, expectations about life…separate from just being your child. It's difficult to articulate, I guess, but I see a lot of people becoming parents simply because of their own biological instincts to reproduce, and then expecting their children to fulfill something that it may be impossible or unreasonable for a child to fill. It's so important for parents or potential parents to recognize that they'll be raising little humans, not just an offshoot of themselves. 7 agree Reply I never had that "feeling" from when I was little that I was destined to be a mom, so I never really knew if I'd be able to recognize it in myself when the time came to decide to have kids. And I was terrified that I would make that decision to become pregnant and then regret it or freak. I got married at 26 and loved my life with my husband, living just "for us". When the thought of having kids would enter my mind, it always came with a negative tone: so many responsibilities! Another person to care for (when I can barely keep my head above water just thinking about us)! I will never be able to get up and go! The list is never-ending. Then one day when the thought of having kids crept up in my mind again, I realized that I was (unintentionally) having positive feelings: I imagined our family, I felt more settled, I thought about how it might be. I actually felt calm. And then I started paying more attention to how I felt when I thought about it when I let my thoughts relax. Of course there is a lot to THINK about. But for me it wasn't until I stopped thinking and paid attention to how I truly FELT that the answer became more clear. 3 agree Reply This is definitely something that I have struggled with myself. I have definitely come to the point where I am sure that I want kids even though it kinda scares me at the same time. I can say that I am glad that my soon to be ex husband and I didn't have a kid right away because it would make the situation now so much worse than it already is. I always have wanted kids and had thought that I would follow in my parents footsteps and wait at least a couple of years before starting to try to have a baby. They were married 3 years before having me and then 3 years later my brother. Now that I am going through the divorce I'm glad we didn't, but am afraid that I may never have that. I'm only 33 but it still is a thought that creeps in periodically. Reply At around age 30, I was at a point in my career, which had developed out of a hobby, where I had to decide whether I wanted to give it my all and make this my profession or stay at amateur level, just having fun and not depending on it financially. This is when I realized that choosing that particularly career (performing arts) would, for various reasons, not allow me to have children, which in turn made me realize that, in fact, I DID want kids. This was a surprise to me! I could imagine being happy without kids – I already had a fulfilling life – but I'd rather have the version WITH kids. Before, I had swayed between 'unsure' and 'I don't want any'. So for me the answer was imagining a life without the possibility of children and asking myself if that was what I'd prefer. Reply Lots of useful things are said already. I have a few things to add, because ultimately, everyone's journeyis different. – I struggled with this decision and found this Offbeat family thread helpful (3rd comment in that thread is mine 🙂 ): http://offbeatfamilies.com/2012/05/baby-changing-life – In the end, my decision to have a baby, was 95% hormonal / biological. I acknowledged that and decided that was good enough. Deciding to try to have kids is not rational, I decided 😀 . A reason that have not been mentioned yet: – I was afraid that I would experience regret when I was 40 or 50 and did not have children (I missed out on an important life experience). Of course, this is on its own not a valid reason, but coupled to others (when leaning to the 'yes, let's have kids'-side), it is in my opinion. My pregnancy was awful (I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum) and I spent many hours crying over the worst mistake of my life (that is how it felt). Now that our child has arrived, it has taken me by surprise how awesome it is. I agree SO MUCH with the comments about fun. I would add 'joy' to that (really cheesy, I know, but it does feel that way). And I am a lot like my mom: I do not like kids in general, but my own kid… I can't begin to describe how much I enjoy her and love her. Reply I'm single and have no kids currently. I also have the fears: invasion of space, body changes, responsibility. But I also hope that fears would never stop me from doing something good and that I wanted. So I like the idea of looking to the positive of why to have kids. On a community rather than personal note. The book children of men by P.D. James (also made into a movie but haven't seen it) depicts a world where everybody suddenly becomes infertile. That world is frikking scary. She paints a really realistic picture of how society breaks down without children. In a weird way because children are a responsibility, they also motivate us to want a better world for them. They motivate us on a personal and social level to maintain our societies. Children bring renewal and life. Without children societies just start dying. 1 agrees Reply A little late to the discussion, but I would love if there were more people here with the same hold-ups as me. I've always wanted children, for as long as I can remember. As the time drew nearer to this becoming a possible reality I started freaking out. I still feel the urge and need to have children but I'm so scared I'll repeat my own unhappy childhood. I wouldn't say I was abused as a kid but I was definitely unhappy. My father was never diagnosed but probably has some kind of autistism spectrum thing which means he was at best disinterested and at worst he would fly off the handle for the smallest of things, sometimes physically violent but usually verbally vicious. Being emotional was not acceptable, sadness and anger were ignored or reprimanded, and even outright happiness was sometimes punished. I've had years of therapy and I'm happy now, but how do I keep myself from repeating those unhappy patterns? Or from overcompensating and then fucking up on the opposite side? I've read a (very) little on 'Repetition Compulsion' and it sums up my fears. Just like kids who grew up in a home with domestic violence have a greater chance of becoming an abuser themselves, I have a greater chance of becoming a shitty parent. It would break my heart to take a step back fifteen years from now and see the same depressed teenager I have been myself for so long 🙁 1 agrees Reply You should read Freakonomics. The writers have this theory supported by economic theory that goes something like: if you care enough to try to be a good parent (do things like buy books on parenting) then you are likely already a good parent, simply because you care enough to do better. 1 agrees Reply I've actually read that book! Years ago, when baby making wasn't so much on my mind. It's a comforting thought and I think there's much truth to it. And an excellent excuse to buy some books (yay!). And yet… surely everyone starts out with the best intentions? I know for a fact my mother was unhappy as a child as well and was determined to do better with us. However, I realize I've got two advantages my mother didn't: Years of therapy and an awesome, caring, gentle husband. These will have to be my saving graces 🙂 Reply Kids – kids were something I'd grown up expecting for my life. I was raised by a painfully self-sacrificing SAHM, and this weirdly backfired. Seeing and hearing her talk about how kids were a huge sacrafice and we should be grateful and she had wished she'd done all these things kinda scared me off when I hit my 20s. So I've been struggling with wanting a kid (I think I can make time for ONE at least) and being afraid that my art career will end – despite being in a theater community with examples of successful artist-parents. My partner and I came close to separating, however, and possibly the biggest potential loss to me was the non-existent baby. What. I want this kid because I'm really mad at bad parents and think I can do a better job, which is delightfully arrogant of me, but eigh. I adore my partner and want to see something of them get passed into the future, as well as the things I've cultivated in myself. This is selfish. Having kids is weirdly selfish in many regards. This is OK. FOR SCIENCE. But seriously. I love great art projects that can enrich the world, and developing another human being could be a wonderful work of art to send out into the universe. It could also suck. It's a huge gamble, but the potential for great things is tantalizing. I think the kid might like me as a parent. Sometimes. I have this plan for a Halloween tree and teaching autonomy and feminism from age 2 onwards…. So we'll see. Project kid is on my big list of TO DO BEFORE DEAD – hopefully I'll figure out a non-totally-shitty-time to work on it. 🙂 2 agree Reply The decision to have a child was never really an actual decision for me….just something that I always ASSUMED I would do….go to college, get married, have a family…done. The alternative was never really something I ever thought about….though I do think that the people that question it, probably shouldn't have kids. If the desire to have a child isn't within you, then it's not really something that something outside of you can change, in my opinion. The people I know that knowingly have made the decision to not have a child, are people that have always said "I don't want children". There's no changing their minds. While my 4 year old drives me INSANE 55% of the time, I imagine life would be rather boring and lonely without him. Sure, I'd have a lot of extra money to throw around at vacations and material things I don't need, but I wouldn't really have anything to get out of bed for in the morning. And I wouldn't have ever known how it feels to love someone so much it hurts. I guess it's all a matter of perspective. Now, we are faced with fertility issues that have us questioning how much/if we want another child…. If we are meant to have another child. Issues I never imagined would be a reality for myself. And now I look at the future very differently…I think about my old age, I think about my grandchildren, or lack there of should we not have another child, and it makes me sad…makes me sad for me and more so, for my son. There's nothing wrong with not having children, but I don't think it should ever be a true choice a person has to make. And if it is, then that should probably answer the question. Reply Why have kids by Jessica Valenti Maybe baby by Lori lebovich The parenthood decision by Beverly engel No kidding by Henriette mantel 1 agrees Reply A friend of mine and I had a similar conversation about a year ago. She said the decision to have children is a decision you make with your heart, not your head. If you start making lists of the pros and cons of having kids, then every same person would decide not to reproduce. But of course plenty of mentally stable people do have children, because it's ultimately an act of love. It's not a decision one can make in a rational fashion. For the record, she decided to never have children. I'm currently pregnant with my first. 2 agree Reply I've always been on the no kids bandwagon. Then I met a wonderful man who shared my love of adventure. He always wanted children but knew that I was ambivalent…negatively skewed. A few years ago, I realized that my life could be very nice if I continued to live the way I currently do: in an expensive urban area, on my own schedule and taking fabulous vacations every year. However, raising a child (or children) is another life experience/adventure in and of itself…and that's what skewed me in this direction. I'm now 5 months pregnant and definitely not as enthusiastic as other mothers-to-be but it was a conscious decision to force new experiences and adventures from a perspective beyond just that of my own and my husband's. 1 agrees Reply I really like this idea that having kids is an adventure! I love trying new things and traveling because it is hard and challenging. I'm leaning towards having kids in a year or so and I think raising them may be the biggest challenge in my life. 2 agree Reply My reasons for wanting kids are thus: 1. To teach someone the values I believe are important (like equality and kindness, etc.) in the hopes that a bit of that will make it to the future world. 2. To be able to play pretend games without feeling weird. 3. To be able to hang out on playgrounds without feeling creepy. 4. I actually really LOVE kids. I work with kids, I find them hilarious and fascinating, and I can't wait to see the weird personalities that emerge from the children I will raise. 2 agree Reply I was talking about this today with my 95 year old grandmother. For me, at the end of the day, it is the people in your life that count and I wanted those relationships. No degree, job, amount of countries visited will sit with me at the table when I am an old lady. I am not the "mother type" and up to my thirties was not sure I would have them and was ok if not. But my feelings simply changed and I am grateful for my children. For her, through wars, violence, immigration, poverty and finally happiness, my grandmother looks back at her children and grandchildren and also says these relationships are what is important. I guess just family- came from a strong one and wanted that to continue. Many of my friends and relatives have chosen the child-free route and that works for them too. Everyone is different. 4 agree Reply "will sit with me at the table when I am an old lady" Not to be rude, but this is a selfish reason to have children. Having kids so someone will wipe your butt when your 80 is the worst reason to have a child. Reply Here's how I read the comment you replied to. Relationships with other people are important to this person. They are willing to put in the immense amount of effort that it takes to nurture new people and cultivate community. Sitting at the table with == having conversation, or maybe sharing food, not necessarily someone wiping your butt. There are worse legacies to leave the world. 3 agree Reply I'll echo the irrational, but I also put a lot of rational thought into becoming a [single] mom [by choice]. The biggest reason was: I couldn't imagine a better way to explore what it means to be human. And it's been true so far. The depth of my understanding of humanity, of what might drive some of us, has increased manyfold since I had my now-toddler. I'm learning a ton about myself and other people through my life with him. This sounds esoteric, but has led to some practical social action on my part. I truly feel that I'm a better human for having a kid. Reply My little boy and I play da-dum. He gives me our shark hand puppet and I chase him around the flat singing the Jaws theme tune. (badly). My little girl grabs her dad's dirty socks and holds them over her head like she just won an Olympic medal. Okay I sometimes wonder if they charge you with manslaughter if your child dies of laughter, but I also wonder what they'll do tomorrow. 1 agrees Reply We're a couple years off from this but it comes up now and again. Mostly things we'll be okay with or not. We're looking at (so long as we're a little lucky) solid careers and okay income. Not millionaires, but okay. Just need to get there. My main fear (the husband is mainly concerned about funds) is more personal. My mother was birth raped twice, with psychological damage that has lasted decades. She still is dealing with after effects in some ways. It's not a super common, and I know that, but the whisper of watching her go through that is always there. Reply This may be saying what others have already said in yet another way, but I would say that logic in the end doesn't enter into it, there are logical reasons to have children and to not. I really can't get behind the "to help you when you're old reason", because, for so many reasons, there is no guarantee that that will happen, and really, if I was told by my parents that they had me for elder care, I woukd personally be furious, but I know that taking care of parents is still a cultural expectation for many. My hunch is to say that people who had good childhoods/good relationships with their families are more prone to want kids, and vice versa, but I can think of so many exceptions to that hunch. I've always loved kids and as a teenager, thought I would have them (and do a way better job than my parents). I even had a number and names. Now I have my hands full with my cats, have friends, and enjoy spending a lot of time with just my husband. I have plenty of people to share my love with, and can't think of something I want less than that much responsibility. My best friend used to actively avoid children, and now she's a mom! I have a friend who has two kids, loves being a mom, but respects the choice not to have kids and basically says " if you feel in your heart of hearts and soul of souls that you *must* have kids, have them! If not, don't!" I think she's onto something. Reply I don't have kids yet, and I'm no where near a point in my life where I'll be able to have them (student loans, job hunt, etc.). But for several years I've been mulling this question over. For me, all it comes down is: I just plain LIKE kids. I don't think they're perfect, sweet little angles, or any such nonesense. I had a rough time as a kid, as many of us have, and don't really have fond memories of that period of life. I'm also much older than my younger siblings and VIVIDLY remember how difficult they could be. And yet, despite all that, I love their quirky weirdness and their wonder and all the different messy stages of development. I even keep finding myself drawn jobs where I interact with them on a daily basis. I don't feel a great desire to have kids biologically, and have looked seriously into adopting. Someday, I'll be able to give my home and my love to a messy, complicated little human, and it's gonna be AWESOME. 1 agrees Reply I am not in the "have kids" camp, for one particular reason that I have seen happen to so many wonderful women. They lost themselves, something I won't budge on. Reply My hubby and I decided that we don't want children for a slew of reasons some great and some not so much but I can say working in the old folks home has given me 1 good reason to want to have them. Because its lonely when your old i know that sounds lame but when your 85 and you friends are all dead or suffering from conditions where they can't visit or remember you and your spouse is gone all you have left is your kids and grand kids. and the thought that care and might visit is a powerful force that keeps some of these people alive. We had a lady who tried to kill herself because her husband was gone, she was unable to have children, her only family left is a cousin who visits once a month so she feels she has no one and life is no longer worth it.Mothers day she locked herself in her room because she couldn't take the "celebration" Her story touched me because I never think that far ahead and how sad it must be to one of the few who doesn't have anyone to visit. Reply As someone happily Childfree as well as medically childless, the only reason I can think of *to* have children is to know that someone else in the world has the ethics and ideals you find most important and might pass them along to another generation after theirs. What I find as someone who has been a nanny (live in) who has no children and thus no nieces and nephews except by marriage, is that the people that piss me off are the parents who aren't teaching their children to have ethics or values or social skills. The people who make me comfortable doing our wildlife educational events and letting strangers kids sit in my lap for snake photos and feed baby alligators are the ones who teach their kids not to be selfish little ingrates glued to a device with a screen. If you're going to have kids, teach them to live and appreciate life in all its forms. Please? I'd like to have doctors that think my life is more important than my insurance copay if I get old. Reply I'm not having kids. I see the joy they bring, and I see there are plenty of people taking the plunge. So, I'm good with letting other people have the fun/personal growth/ etc. I'm not religious, so the whole selfish argument seems ridiculous to me. On a biological level, we are geared to want to reproduce for no other reason than it feels right. I just choose not to because I think we have enough people already. Reproduction is exponential, and we don't do the best job of conserving resources or respecting humanity as it is. Reply I have always wanted children but never really understood why until I babysat for and professor in college. I loved watching their daughter learn. I could see her experiencing something for the first time and it was amazing. It really made me rethink the simplest aspects of day to day life that I had taken for granted. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control I have to continue to wait for this to be a reality. This is both terrifying and heartbreaking as I worry about my ability to have children for much longer. I explained to my husband that the feeling of wanting children and not having them is like a loved one dying. You feel a sense of loss because there is someone you love who isn't there. In this case you have never known them and you don't have happy memories of them to comfort you. There's just an overwhelming feeling of incompleteness. It's irrational but realizing that doesn't make it go away. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.