Baby piles, irrational fears, and responsibilities: why I don’t want to have a kid

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This is me, awkwardly holding a my cousin's baby. But, hey, check out the shoes that I bought for her!

Here’s the deal — I don’t want kids, I never have, and I don’t think I ever will. For years now I’ve had TONS of folks tell me “you’ll seeeee… that’ll change… wait until you hit 25… 27… 30…” I turned 30 last year, and it still hasn’t changed.

The only thing that has changed is that I’ve started to feel my biological clock ticking. And I’m wondering if maybe that’s what people mean by, “one day you’ll want kids.” Have all those people confused the feeling of their bodies becoming ready to get pregnant with the feeling of actually wanting a kid? Or am I so broken and scared shitless of children that it’s acting like a numbing agent to that “gimme a kid NAOW” feeling? I don’t know. But, I have a feeling that’s part of it.

Even with my body telling me that it’s baby-makin’ time, my logical mind is telling me NO FREAKING WAY! I’m not responsible enough, I’m not patient enough, I’m not tolerant enough, I’m not maternal enough, I’m not stable enough, and, until recently, that guy I married and I haven’t been employed enough to have a kid. Plus I have a whole host of irrational fears concerning the human body (belly buttons, blood, scar tissue, veins, I’ll stop now before I look even crazier), so all those weird pregnancy changes would just freak me out WAY too much.

But besides all the obvious reasons why we shouldn’t have kids — lack of responsibility, time, money, shits being given — there’s also another big reason why I never want to produce offspring. And though what I’m about to tell you may sound funny, I assure you, I am in no way kidding…

One time, I saw a pile of babies.

I was at a family event when it happened. Almost all of my female cousins had recently given birth within the year. (Sometimes I think my family members are trying to attempt world domination by sheer number.) My grandmother had the idea to take a group photo of all the newest additions. So all the gals placed their babies on a blanket one by one. And there it was — about five or six half-naked, sticky, drooling babies, squirming around and crawling over one another.

I was witness to a pile of small humans.

And that, my friends, is now one of the top reasons that I don’t want kids. I really don’t want to contribute to the growing pile of babies that my family is creating.

Like this, only creepier. (pile on © by bschmove, used under Creative Commons license.)

Baby piles, irrational fears, and responsibility issues aside… even though I’m pretty sure that I don’t ever want to be a parent, I know better than to speak in absolutes. Both Aaron and I are open to the fact that we may change our minds at some point, what with the whole biological clock thing, we’re just crossing our fingers that we don’t change.

But, I’ll tell you something that I’ve just recently admitted to myself — I sometimes wish that I wanted to have kids. Things would actually be easier on us, in some ways, to just know what we wanted. We could plan our future accordingly — make plans, save up money, get some of that ol’ health insurance stuff, etc.

It would also make our families super happy. They really haven’t been NOT pushy and open about how much they want us to have kids. And, to be honest, I’d love to see what a combination of both Aaron and me would look like. I’d also enjoy seeing my dad do fun grandpa stuff with the kid. And I bet being pregnant feels freaking amazing, you know, once you’re past all that barfing — I’m sure it’s all very romantic. Ooh, and think of all the sex you could be having without worrying about getting pregnant!

But as it stands Aaron and I are just not ready for that. Nor, if I’m being logical, do I think that we’ll ever be.

So that’s that. Babies are still a no-go even though I can definitely feel that pesky biological clock. I just keep hitting the snooze button in hopes that the damn clock will just run out of batteries and shut itself off soon.

Comments on Baby piles, irrational fears, and responsibilities: why I don’t want to have a kid

  1. I want to say, good on you. Having kids is really not for everyone. I come from a 4 sister household, one has chosen not to have children, is 36, and is still catching flack for it. As one of the two other sisters who IS pregnant right now, I can tell you I have never been more supportive of her decision to not have kids since my decision TO have kids. Let me explain- my older sister is having this wonderful, easy, glowy happy pregnancy. And since she is 4 months ahead of me, when I found out I was pregnant, I thought the same thing. NOPE. Being pregnant has sucked big big big time, and I am talking more than puking (which was so bad I almost had to quit my job). I am talking exhaustion like you have the flu – for 6+ weeks. I am talking nosebleeds. YUP. Serious lower back pain. Boob swellage and pain. Having your belly button turn from an innie to an outie. Having to buy almost an entirely new wardrobe ($$) because nothing fits you, and you are 3 months along….it goes on. Basically what I would like to get at here, is that if I REALLY didn’t want some kid’s, which I do, this would NOT be worth it. My husband has been really supportive of my shitty ass kicking pregnancy, but we both agree that this may be a one time only thing.

    Make sure you REALLY want it. Or do something even cooler 🙂 Pregnancy is not for everyone. KIDS are not for everyone. And people who see that deserve more respect for their choices.

      • As far as I can tell, there are about 100 different things that your body may or may not decide to do during pregnancy. Some of them are super common (nausea), others mean you’re just unlucky. No one else I know had nosebleeds, so I guess I’m just unlucky. Then again, everyone else is complaining about back pain and swelling, which so far I’ve managed to escape.

        So basically it’s a grab bag of symptoms. Some ladies get off easy while others are miserable, and there’s no way to know which you’ll be.

        • I had the nosebleeds too. Fun times on the train commuting to work in the morning. My body, in general, did not react well to the increase in blood volume. No barfing though so everyone acted like my pregnancy was super easy.

        • Yes! This scares me. I have finally learned to love my natural hair color (after being too afraid to dye it my whole life), but I know someone whose hair entirely changed color when she had kids. Body, what is WITH you?!

          • i never had nose bleeds in my life until i was pregnant. now i get them all the time. and my hair color changed so dramatically and i put on so much weight that when my daughter was about 6, i was looking through my moms photo album of when my daughter was a new born and asked her who that lady was holding my daughter because i didn’t recognize her. she looked at me like i had 3 heads & i realized that was ME. i honestly didn’t even recognize myself. i showed the picture to my husband (we got together when my daughter was a about 18months) and his response was ‘MYGOD!! that was YOU?? YUK!!’

    • I’m sort of glad I’m not the only one who has had nose bleeds, I thought it was just me! Nose bleeds while puking, not fun to experience or to clean up. 🙁

    • I totally agree. I had a relatively easy pregnancy–I only threw up like 3 times–and it was still miserable enough that the only thing that got me through was how very, very much that fetus was wanted and loved. I think some people are just pregnancy people, and I am not one of them. Your mileage may vary, but if I wasn’t totally sure I wanted children pregnancy would have sucked a million times worse.

      That said, Vivi, for me the first trimester was by far the worst, (okay, the first 16 weeks, so a little past the trimester mark) and the rest of it was at least manageable. I hope your pregnancy follows that pattern too and gets lots better!

  2. Megan, I think I love you. This is my and my husband’s (who’s also named Aaron!) position on babies and children. I’ve never seen a pile of babies, but I have been to children’s birthday parties, and they made me uncomfortable. The only thing I’m looking forward to about aging is people stopping with the, “When will you have kids?” racket. Of course, when I’m 45 will people ask me if I have kids and then assume it’s sad for me? Maybe I’m overreacting, but I feel like there’s this mentality that a woman should want kids and she should have kids and that’s the end of it. If you don’t fit that, then you’re weird and to be pitied. It’s especially hard in Texas where those little stickers on the back of the window for each family member are more plentiful than conservative campaign bumper stickers.

    • Just want to say, I’m a happy parent and children’s birthday parties are like a special level of hell for me. Even when you want kids, you don’t always want that many kids at one time. When I got pregnant I made my husband solemnly promise that I would never have to go into a Chuck E Cheese, because I would have a freaking panic attack.

      • Your Chuck E Cheese is my suburbs. I hate suburbs and developements. I try to make my husband promise we’ll never live in one everytime we are in one (his parents place) he gas other idea’s but my job is a distinctly urban one and I like living in the city. Oh and I hate Chuck E Cheese cntric convos too I usually steer conversations away from the baby in my belly to opera.

  3. The pile of babies thing literally made me laugh out loud in my office. May be the funniest thing I’ve read on the Offbeat sites. I don’t think having kids is for everyone. We know quite a few couples who are passed baby-having age who LOVE their baby-free lives and the freedoms it grants.

    Also, I thought pregnancy would be very romantic too and it turns out my expectations were way unrealistic. Pregnancy has, in fact, licked balls for me. So if you don’t want to have kids, don’t feel bad about missing out on pregnancy.

  4. I just snorted tea all over my keyboard. Every time I take my breedin’ self and baby to to a mom meet-up and we make a pile of babies I’m going to lose my shit and not be able to fully explain why.

    You, dear woman, are hilarious and I bet make a fabulous aunt.

  5. I hear ya, great post. I’ve always been the token no-kids person too. But when I came out of the infertility closet, all my feelings became muddled and confusing. So I’m not hitting the snooze button anymore, but my hand fumbles around for a phantom clock sometimes anyway. 😉

  6. “But, I’ll tell you something that I’ve just recently admitted to myself — I sometimes wish that I wanted to have kids. Things would actually be easier on us, in some ways, to just know what we wanted.”

    I HEAR YOU. Scott and I are pretty sure we don’t want kids — me even more so than him — but I sort of go through each birthday with a sense of dread. Will this be the year when I change my mind?I really think I don’t want kids, but…WHAT IF THAT CHANGES? We will have to change ALL our plans!

    I’d really like to know because I’d love to sign my husband up for a vasectomy — but we’re going to wait a few years for that.

    • SAME HERE! We thought, “Oh, we’ll definitely know a hard yes or no when Megan turns 30. And then vasectomy time or making plans time.” Oops, so wrong, our minds have not change ONE BIT in 5 years. Not knowing for 100% fer fucking shure is the WORST.

    • You know… Sean had his vasectomy three months before Jasper’s second birthday, even though “we” weren’t 100% sure we didn’t want a second child. I say “we” because Sean was totally sure he only wanted one child, and I was going back and forth. Ultimately, it came down to a big key point: Sean’s body is his body, and just as I’d never expect him or anyone else to tell me I should or shouldn’t end my reproductive capabilities, he ultimately was the one to make that choice. I totally respect it, and at this point in my life am 100% thankful for his foresight: we’re incredibly happy with our family of three.

      Anyway… I think what I’m saying is.. vasectomy! Two thumbs up! If it’s right.

      • Dude, I out and out can not WAIT until we’re totally ready for that. Sex is gonna get so much more funzies when we don’t have ANY worries about the repercussions. Two thumbs up, indeed. 🙂

        • I didn’t crack up *out loud* at the post, but had to, at the funzies. I love the humor with which you write about the frustrations of uncertainty! I’m deliriously happy to be 39 weeks pregnant (holy sh…), but wouldn’t wish it — or what comes after — on anyone who doesn’t for-sure want it. Good on you for sticking to your actual feelings AND reserving the right to change your mind.

      • YAHHH! When we decide for sure, we’re doing it. Scott’s dad had it done after he was born, and I think Scott first told me he’s up for it, like, five years ago.

          • Snarky voice: If I knew what I wanted to know about vasectomies, I wouldn’t have to ask! Just kidding. I guess everything is interesting to me: how the decision was reached, how it was physically, how they feeeeeel about the somewhat permanent nature of it, if it changed anything, etc.

          • It’s always good to hear a man’s opinion on Offbeat Mama. I’d like to know if the vasectomy was an emotionally difficult decision to make, a little about the procedure (was it quick? painful? just weird?), what the recovery was like both physically and mentally, how he feels about it in hindsight. I fear I just repeated everything rodrigues said. Sorry!

          • What about birth control? If I can’t write it I can find things online or ask for submissions.. but birth control in general is a little vague. Resources? Alternatives? Something else entirely?

          • I know Ariel wrote a post about Natural Family Planning and the book that goes along with teaching it…maybe ways to make birth control more manageable? Any experiences from women who chose to go off birth control and their struggles with hormones/how to cope….especially for people who are into more natural remedies (I know y’all aren’t Dr’s, but we have a pretty great forum for suggesting things that may work). Just my thoughts!!

  7. I agree, good for you! I may be a little bit of a baby junkie, but every woman has the right to her own reproductive choices, even if that means having no babies at all. 🙂

  8. You know, that makes perfect sense. I think there aren’t enough people in the world who think everything through when they decide to have kids. They just dive in and start procreating. In fact, I think a lot of the problems we have in society would be solved if it took more to have children. Unfortunately, it’s just so easy. So good for you. And don’t let anyone convince you otherwise unless you change your mind. It’s your body and your life.

    • Thanks! You know, I’ve had a more than few super moms and dads tell me the same thing. And it makes me want to cry when I hear that instead of “you’ll seeeee.” I just feel so much more respected and less belittled.

      • I respect you more for being a thinker! But everyone loves to question other people’s life choices. Tell people you’re a vegetarian and they start getting on you about missing meat and why they would never give it up. Um, I was just explaining why I don’t want pepperoni on my pizza, not criticizing your pepperoni.

      • I turned 40 this year and I have never wanted to have kids. I thought I might change my mind when I was younger and it never happened. I didn’t even hear a clock ticking, no alarm, no need to snooze it.
        I can’t tell you how many times over the years people said” one day you will want kids.” or the classic “it is different when it is yours.” Blah, blah, blah.
        My friends with kids have never had to justify to a stranger why they had kids. Yet, so often I have had to answer people about why I don’t.
        Kids are major, it is a life long commitment.
        I feel like no matter how involved my husband would be with a kid, I would still end up being the MAIN caregiver simply because he brings in way more money than I do.
        I do suffer from some guilt because my husband has said he would like to have a kid. We talked about how we felt when we started seeing each other almost 7 years ago now. So he knew even then that I am not a kid person. I do feel a little sad for him that I have no maternal drive. It just isn’t there. So many things come to mind when I have ever thought about kids and none of them are warm fuzzy feelings for me, the feelings I have about kids are a bit like being trapped in a small space or drowning.
        We have friends and family with kids and I am happy for them that they are happy being parents. I love my husband, my cats and my quiet life.

  9. Thank you for that! Ever since I got married, I get attacked all the time by random friends and near strangers about procreating, and most of them are so stubborn and will not take “We don’t think we want kids” for an answer. It’s terribly uncomfortable, but luckily I finally figured out almost always it’s a projection thing and totally about them and their own insecurities about finding a mate and their bio clocks, so I have just learned to turn it back around. And then run.

  10. OMG you guys! You’re comments are all so awesome that I feel warm and fuzzies. AND, talk about making someone laugh — I actually laughed out loud so many times reading your comments that my dogs started to get concerned. I love all of you guys!

  11. I, as a mother of two, have this theory that having children is a purely hormonal response. Because, honesty, if any of us thought about it LOGICALLY, or had any true idea what we were getting into the human race would cease to be. Which is also why your memory is crap while you’re pregnant, it’s so you don’t REMEMBER how crappy it was being pregnant. If anyone ever REALLY remembered we certainly wouldn’t do it TWICE.

    Ok, I’m kidding…. sort of. I love my children, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. (or a world class vacation…well….maybe, if I got them back afterwards) I think though, that it’s a personal choice. (or personal hormonal shift) I think anyone who doesn’t want to have kids shouldn’t feel any pressure about having them.

    (I’m also going to tell you that I’ve seen babies rolling and crawling around together, all drooly and covered in food, or whatever, it’s way grosser then the baby dolls)

    P.S. After the 2nd kid my husband had a vasectomy. In fact, he scheduled it while I was pregnant, so we both still had a clear idea of what we weren’t doing again.

    • FASCINATING response, Kate. Thank you for that. I remember growing up and asking my mother about giving birth. I could NOT understand (nor did I appreciate) that she would do that more than once. My brain couldn’t grasp actually volunteering for something as painful as that. She gave me an answer that I didn’t believe: “You forget about the pain the second it’s over.”

      That seemed like such bullshit, Mom.

      But I’ve ALWAYS been accused of being too logical for my own good. So I love that you brought up the whole influence of hormones over logic. Wow. Blew my mind there. Thanks for that.

      • I just want to say FOR THE RECORD: I very clearly, nearly three years later, remember some of the pain. Happy to have Jasper, wouldn’t un-do the labor/delivery/ultimate result that is my son, but.. dude. The memories live on.

        • Yeah. I think I have a little bit of post traumatic stress from giving birth! I still have flashes of my own screams and what not. O_O But on the other hand, I deal with pain a lot better now. Would I do it again? Fuck that!

      • My mom had 4 kids and she said the same thing! I haven’t forgotten the pain of labor or the awful discomfort of pregnancy, but I definitely think our minds are wired to make us forget how bad it was… when I was pregnant I was like “this is it, one child only, never doing this shit again” and now that my daughter is a year, my hormones are all “MUST REPRODUCE AGAIN NOW NOW NOW.”

        • Yes! I’m actually considering a more permanent form of birth control. Not because I don’t think I’ll change my mind about having another biological child, but because I’m afraid I will. The vivid memories of how miserable U was have mostly faded, but I still remember that it almost destroyed my relationship and it was enough that I decided to never do it again. And I want to make sure I stick to that.

      • Maybe you forget how much it hurts (I’ll let you know) but I know I will not forget how I prefer not to be pregnant. Now I want more than one kid for sure, if I could pass that on to my husband I would. I’ve had an easy pregnancy for sure haven’t gained much weight, not swollen feel pretty good BUT I want my body back NOWWWW!!! The little guy is a monster in the belly.

        • I hated being pregnant. Really, it just sucked for me. At the time of my kid’s birth, I thought FUCK THAT NOISE, I am never having another baby! Buuuuuutttttttt…… nearly 3 years later, I am about do it all over again! You really do have magic hormones that make you forget!!!!

      • Gave birth three weeks ago and I don’t know that I’d say I’ve forgotten the pain, exactly, but it’s kind of lost in a haze of sleep deprivation? For me, at least, the kind of pain that makes you yell is easier to deal with than the kind of pain that makes you cry, and labor was definitely the yelling kind of pain. I had never heard myself make that kind of noise before, it was kinda cool.

    • I contest not only does your memory go to shit but people lie to you so pregnancy doesn’t seem so bad! Hahaha they wait till your pregnant to tell you all the horrible things that happened to them….. Meg I totaly respect you for you thoughtful possition and article, it’s not for everyone. I’m 33 weeks pregnant and while I’m beyond excited and in love with this little babe already I don’t think you should just gave a baby to have a baby. I have a few friends that are either delaying procreation or skipping it altogether (they are fabulous Aunties) and they regularly tell me how uncomfortable their decision makes other people. And that sucks. When my husband and I got back together (long story but we’ve been dating for 15 years geez) my mind went flip, right person, right time alot of hormones but also my main reason for fearing parenthood was I thought I would kill a kid, and that had Bern nullified by the birth of my other great love my nephew, I didn’t kill him yay! I actually seemed pretty decent at taking care of him. 3 years later I am intentionaly pregnant and really happy, even though my back hurts, the punches to the bladder are uncomfortable and he seems to really enjoy shoving his feet into my lungs. But those are my reasons my life, expecting anyone else, with totaly diffferent life experiences and brain, to thoughtfuly come to the same conclusion is very much in line with sheep mentality. Who needs it!
      Ps baby piles= hysterical I’m going to have to do this at our next family and friends party. It will be ironically awesome!

      • Oh my God, I totally fear I’m accidentally going to kill a baby, specifically that I will be holding him or her and not supporting the head enough and it will just go rolling off. This is, of course, a physical impossibility, but that doesn’t stop the paralyzing fear that I will accidentally decapitate a baby.

        • YES. I have that exact fear, which is why I avoid holding other people’s babies. It’s because their head is so heavy, and their neck is like a cooked noodle, IT FEELS LIKE THEIR HEAD WILL JUST FLOP RIGHT OFF!

          My sister-in-law has helped be quell my fears a bit by helping me learn how to hold a baby, and not freaking out. But on of my friends recently had a baby, and when the husband offered me the baby to hold, I held it, but she was freaking out at everything I did (is super possessive right now), so I was freaking out, and just gave the baby back.

          Now my fears about killing babies is back in full force.

        • Oh my god, I thought I was the only one that was afraid to have kids because they are afraid of killing it. like actually and accidentally!
          I have rather large boobs and I’m really afraid I’d be breastfeeding and accidentally smother the kid. :-/
          My husband and I are currently undecided-leaning-probably on having kids. I’m really afraid we’ll decide to have kids and then when it’s too late, we’ll realize that we really didn’t want them/weren’t ready/it’s horrible and there won’t be anything we can do about it except be miserable parents forever.

        • wow, it’s pretty funny how many people are terified of holding babies for fear theyll hurt them… especially on Offbeat Mama, of all places. (notice the number of agreements/THISes). I happen to be one of them, I will be honest.
          Everyone keeps telling me that it will be fine, just hold the head, and then they leave me with this floppy-headed thing and my arms are so uncomfortable but i can’t move an inch for fear I will injure! So tense!

  12. Thank you for writing about this Megan! I have never been interested in having kids. (In kindergarden, upon asking Mom what her birth-control pills were, I declared that “I better get some of those!”)

    The chorus of “You’ll see! and “Oh, maybe you don’t want them NOW, but…” makes me crazy. And when, at 28, I met my now-husband who was 40 with 2 grade-schoolers and no interest in having more, I had to do some serious Jedi mind trick action to get him to hear that I meant it when I said I didn’t want to have babies.

    Now I get to be both childfree and a parent and it’s great… step-parenting has really been the right answer for me. The thing that I get a little sad about is that I won’t get to have the experience of having a baby WITH HIM… but it’s about wanting the emotional experience and connection and not an actual child.

    • “The thing that I get a little sad about is that I won’t get to have the experience of having a baby WITH HIM… but it’s about wanting the emotional experience and connection and not an actual child.”

      BOOM! This! I feel that too. And then I go… does that mean then that I actually DO want one thought? I iz confused and scared. But then i always come back to no no, it’s okay to just be bummed that I’ll miss that opportunity.

      • It’s a tough one. I’ve never felt competitve with his ex… she’s a great mom and is totally open to me having a great relationship with the kids… but MAN! Knowing we will never have the “OMG PREGNANT!” moment, or the weepy-intense-in-love ultrasound moment, or the kissing-my-forehead-as-I-cradle-our-newborn moment is tough sometimes. But it’s the moment I want, not the kid. Which sounds rather heartless, I guess, but is true.

        But we all have those tiny regrets that are a product of coming together when we come together. I’m bummed that we didn’t meet sooner sometimes. I’m bummed that he didn’t know my grandparents when they were younger and more active. I wish we’d experienced our young adulthood together (which is mathematically impossible, but you get it).

        Because it’s around the issue of children, it feels way more loaded and like you have to DO SOMETHING! But you don’t. 🙂

        • Thanks for this response @Amy! You articulated what is in my mind sometimes. “Do I actually want to raise a person, or do I just want to ‘have those moments?'” That is a Great question and thing to consider.

          Also, LMAO at “once I saw a pile of babies.” That is one of the funniest things I have read on the internet, ever. 😀

        • I hear you on that – I wanted those moments too. But what pregnancy and raising a baby have taught me is that those moments are usually nothing like you think they will be. I imagined telling my husband that I was pregnant in some romantic way and then we would cry and hug or I don’t know, something. But really I ended up peeing on a stick while he was out cleaning up dog poop in our backyard and I had to yell at him to come in. And I was so flustered that I was just like “uhhh, pregnant?” and he just thought I needed him inside to kill a bug.

      • megan, amy — not to scare you, but that’s how i ended up doing a 180 from totally happily and insistently childfree to horrifically bioclocked and eventually a mama-of-baby. yep, the slippery slope was stepparenting.

        that and the feeling of wanting to have a baby WITH HIM that amy describes — i guess for me it wasn’t so much imagining having (or not-having) particular “moments” of babyness and kidness, just plain wanting to have his baby (!!! what century am i in here???) and experience raising a tiny little one with him.

        for a while, when i was still in denial about the whole biological clock intensity, so when i was maybe 34-36 years old, i found myself feeling sad that i’d missed my stepdaughter’s babyhood and toddler years. not that i’d ever particularly liked babies and toddlers. when my stepdaughter’s real mom, who we’re friends with, got pregnant again, it all intensified. very confusing stuff.

        it’s nice to read that you guys are being open minded and cautious. i felt like such an idiot for making these sweeping assumptions about my life! like, how the hell could a person know what she’s going to want in 15 years?? yet i thought i knew myself so well that i’d never change on something as huge as childfree living. oops.

  13. So glad to read this. I do want kids and always have, but I SO get and understand why people would jot ans within my group of friends I am the only one who does. But after trying for 6 months with only a miscarriage to show for it I am trying to focus on all the good things about not having children until my body sorts its self out! My husbands family are all procreating at an alarming level so I totally get what u mean by the pile of babies!

  14. YES! I am incidentally a mother of a 13 year old boy and I still get that. “Oh, you’ll change your mind etc.” like I don’t already know what I’d be getting into having already been through it all. The best one is the age thing, like somehow you’ll hit 30 and suddenly become a completely different and extremely maternal person. As females we’re expected to not only want to breed (here’s a dolly for you sweetie at age two, practice makes perfect!) but are actually looked upon with suspicion or derision when we insist that no, really it’s not for everyone.

    • my daughter is 13 and that “oh you’ll have another one” has *just* stopped. and thank god, because i wasn’t being nice about it anymore!

      after one, i was DONE. D O N E. and i’m very glad for my choice. the expectations you spoke of are very true. the other expectation that still annoys the crap out of me is that people think since i’m a mom, i’m ok with ALL kids ALL THE TIME. and that i’d just LOVE to babysit other peoples little kids, and that since i’m a mom i have no problem changing diapers & getting barfed on. i’m not ok with any of these things.

      my daughter at the age she is right now, is the best & i wish i could keep her just like this forever.

      • Ahhh, yes! Thank you! My daughter is seven months and I just feel like that’s it, the kid thing is figured out, we’re done here. My husband and I aren’t yet at the point of officially declaring ourselves finished with having kids, but I have declared myself finished with pregnancies. But yeah, I feel like my family is complete. It’s nice to read that you feel that way too.

        Also – I secretly can’t stand other people’s kids. Maybe this is more common than we think it is?

        • I ABSOLUTELY think this is a common thing – I know so many people who can’t stand kids in general, but love their own. I think there was even a Scrubs episode about it when whats-her-name was trying to decide if she wanted kids.

          Besides, kids are noisy and smelly and dirty and did I say loud already? and have so much energy and you don’t have anything in common with them and can’t understand them and gahhh why would anyone want to hang out with kids that aren’t theirs? (my perspective is obviously not everyone’s, but still I think it’s pretty common.)

          • Oh my God, this is amazing. I always think, “am I alone in not loving everyone else’s kid?!” I LOVE babies. I love holding them, smelling them, pinching their little cheeks, watching them coo… you name it! But after the age 7 mark, I’m like…”eh… leave me alone…” ha! And I am currently pregnant, so I’m SURE it’ll be different with my own child, but man. You perfectly summed up what I think!

  15. So the piles of baby made me snort, but when i clicked on this link I was thinking, “God pregnancy induced hemorrhoids suck sooo bad. That in and of it self is reason enough to not want kids.”
    And then I read and giggled. I’m pregnant right now, but the thought of a pile of snotty, food-covered drooling babies is making me sick to my stomach.
    Good for you for your choice. People get so up in arms about “oh you’ll seeee” and “one day you’ll want…” but honestly, if that day comes that you do want children and you’ve past the age you can biologically have them, there’s a whole foster care system out there where they’re practically handing out kids that would love to have someone to call “Mom” or “Dad”. And I hear they pay you to take them too.

  16. I never wanted kids. Ever. In fact, I have VIEWS on the over-population of the world, draining resources, etc, and I’d spout that opinionated bullshit to anyone who gave me the “you’ll see!” speech. Then I got pregnant (whilst using two different forms of contraception – Yeah, my mister’s sperm must be some kind of super hero… or villian, depending on how you look at it), and my outlook shifted a little.

    The thing is, I think being maternal, being okay with bodily fluids and grossness (both of which I’m definitely not), having some kind of ever-growing urge for kids… It all doesn’t matter. People find themselves in situations all the time that works for them, in that moment, because it just does. So you don’t outwardly want kids. That’s cool. Maybe one day, out of the blue, you will. Or you won’t. Or you’ll get unexpectedly pregnant, and choose to have an abortion. Or you’ll choose to keep it. I think life’s situations and paths drive what’s right for us, especially in relation to having kids, and ESPECIALLY if you’re the kind of person who hasn’t wanted children before.

    I’m 39 weeks pregnant (and I’m having super owwies Braxton Hicks right now, bleh), and as much as pregnancy has mostly been sickness and retail therapy for me, it’s also done things I never would have expected, like give me goals and a specific career focus, and bring my partner and I closer than ever before. It’s also making for a brilliant book of horrible things I never wanted to know about, like sticking a swab up your asshole in front of a midwife, or what specific kinds of barf look like. Yeah.

    You’re clearly an intelligent person. If a situation arises and you end up with a kid, you’ll do great at it, maternal or not. There aren’t enough smart, sassy mothers in the world, that’s for darn sure. The maternal stuff comes second to the smarts and common sense, if you ask me. And if you never have kids, that’s super awesome too.

    • Must admit I am kind of curious if you were actually in labor as you were typing this. Braxton-Hicks aren’t usually painful and at 39 weeks, it could have been/be the real thing. If so, congrats; if not, good luck and I agree with you about some of the disgusting stuff you go through while pregnant. It’s good practice for disgusting baby stuff, though. 😛

      • The only Braxton-Hicks I had was super painful. In fact, that’s why I didn’t realize I was in labor until hours onto it – because I expected the contractions to feel like that false one.

  17. I think it’s great when someone can be this honest with themselves. I believe people should plan the family that’s right for them as individuals, not the family anyone else tells them they should have.

  18. We’re still in the “Sure, we want kids. No, we don’t know when, other than not now.” phase. The thing that always gets me, knowing that we want kids eventually, is that there’s no reason for us NOT to have kids now, we just don’t want to. So maybe we don’t want kids at all? I don’t know. It’s really refreshing to hear that we aren’t the only ones who struggle with the indecision. We just figure sooner or later we’ll get pregnant on our own and be fine with it, or we won’t and that’ll be cool, too.

  19. you’re not alone and you shouldn’t feel obligated to change your mind. i have 2 close female friends who never want children & i’m incredibly supportive of their decisions. they’re reasonings are much the same as yours. over population. responsibilities. finances. but they’re awesome aunties to my daughter. and it’s true, kids aren’t for everyone. if you’re not comfy with the idea of children, then it’s perfectly ok to not have them. some people are opinionated and nosy and think they know everything. let it go in one ear and out the other & do what’s right for you & your partner.

  20. I have to admit, I’m really confused. I thought this site was “Offbeat MAMA” not “Offbeat Person Who May Or May Not Want/Have Kids”? Does anyone actually care if strangers do/don’t have kids & why? I’m honestly not trying to be snarky, I’m just genuinely confused about what a post by a non-parent about why they don’t want to be a parent has to do with… well, being a parent? Isn’t the topic of this post the exact opposite of the topic of the site? Isn’t it like going to a forum about how to keep your car running smoothly & posting about why you don’t have or want a car?

    I don’t mean to offend anyone, so I really hope this post doesn’t (it’s hard to convey tone through text!), I’m just really puzzled about why this post is here. We’ve had posts explaining that yes, childfree people exist & it’s rude to tell people that they’ll change their mind, even if you did (& I can see how posts like that could be relevant), but this is just “I don’t want kids & here’s why” & I don’t understand how that belongs here rather than on a childfree website?

    • This post is here because we like to address a range of family issues, including the decision to be a child-free offbeat auntie. This is just the most recent of many posts we’ve done about the decision to live child-free.

      As stated in the sidebar: Offbeat Mama supports and celebrates parents and caregivers who are moving beyond mainstream visions of parenting. We welcome anyone who’s interested in families, whether you’re pre-parental, in the process of becoming a parent, or choosing to live childfree. You don’t have to be a parent (or even WANT to be a parent) to still be interesting in discussing issues of family planning.

      Also, regarding this: “Does anyone actually care if strangers do/don’t have kids & why?” As referenced in her bio at the end of the post, Megan is the longtime Managing Editor of Offbeat Bride, and the Associate Publisher of the Offbeat Empire — she’s hardly a stranger.

      • Plus, I mean, where else is someone like her supposed to get all these wonderful responses and learn about whether her preconceptions about pregnancy and children are true or not? 🙂

      • I feel like the site is called OffbeatMama, but really it’s more about Offbeat Families, whatever the word family means to you. It’s about parents and non-parents of all different stripes and the families they’ve created. Personally I don’t have kids and I’m unsure if I ever will, for a variety of reasons (some personal, some medical), but I love Offbeat Mama because it gives me a variety of perspectives and information I wouldn’t otherwise have access to, and it’s really the first site to counterbalance the pressure I’m getting elsewhere that tells me I must have kids.

      • AND FOR US MOMS THAT AREN’T SURE IF THEY WANT ANYMORE! I have an absofreakinglutely awesome 10yr old! For years I wanted another. And now that I got re-married a few months ago I have been struggling with the requirement to get pregnant (my husband has now children of his own). This post is just what I needed! Logically, I love my lofe with my son the way it is. I am not sure I want to add a baby in the mix at this point. After reading this, I feel more at ease with being connent with that choice! Meagan good for you! Thanks for saying what I have been feeling!

        • You know, you’re actually not the first person to tell me that this post helped them feel better about their choice to have only one child. And I’m particularly proud of that as I am all about (and VERY jealous of) only children!

    • You would be surprised how many people that I hardly know have pulled the “you’ll see…” on me. I have never wanted children, and it’s a position I’ve never wavered on. My decision gets taken more seriously the older I get, and a lot of people are cool with it, but it seems you would be surprised at how many people treat you like there’s something wrong with you for not wanting kids or instinctively cooing over babies. Somewhere in there I recall someone mentioning being treated with suspicion, and it totally happens, particularly with other women. Our culture still thinks people are weird for not wanting to make babies (mainly if you have lady parts), and that often spills over into interactions between individuals. I read this blog because I don’t have kids, but I have nieces and nephews, and feel like I should have some insight into what life is like for the other half; I feel like that interest and insight should go both ways.

  21. Elizabeth Gilbert (yes, the Eat Pray Love lady, but bear with me) has some great things to say in her more recent book Committed about living with her choice not to have children. She talks about the freedom she has in her life in terms of money, and the ways in which she provides support to the people in her community as a child-free woman who is not burdened by the task of caring for children. She calls it the “auntie brigade” and makes a point that childless women are important contributors to their communities and help to also raise children that are not their own because they have the freedoms that they do. Seriously, it’s so helpful. Take a look it you haven’t already. She puts it incredibly eloquently. And this is coming from someone who is currently 38 weeks pregnant.

    • I think a lot of people who criticize others for being child-free fail to realize how much these people end up helping the community. For example, my boyfriend and I help out a youth coordinator with a junior high/high school youth group couple nights a week since NO ONE ELSE in the community would do so. If we had our own kids we probably wouldn’t be able to commit to doing this since we’d be busy with them. Do any of the parents of the kids at this group ever help out – no. But they sure like being able to drop their kids off and have someone else watch them for the evening.

      • Agreed! Your lack of parental obligation enables you to assist other people in their parental obligation. Which is very nice of you, because obviously you don’t have to spend your time that way. And it helps to remind us that not everyone who chooses not to have children does so because they don’t like kids, or don’t have a vested interest in the outcome of their communities or future generations. There seems to be this lingering stereotype that single or child-free folks are selfish, using their money for frivolous things, etc. This is obviously ridiculous for a lot of reasons, as stereotypes tend to be, but in particular it’s very wrong and hurtful to assume that that particular child-free person is somehow deliberately working against the interests of parents and children. A community is a community, and people who are interested in bettering their own communities are going to be concerned for everyone, including children, regardless of whether they belong to them or not.

  22. My best friend and his wife have a 7 month old. I got to meet him at Christmas. Spent the entire day with. I loved holding him and seeing him smile. That started everyone talking about how when my husband and I have kids blah blah even though we have told them, we don’t want kids. Everyone we know is doing the “You’ll see….” thing too. Its driving me crazy. I always say to them we are 99% sure we don’t want kids, please respect that. Of course they don’t and keep talking about it. Its mostly our friends and husband’s side of the family.
    We are still in our mid 20s so we aren’t quite to the vasectomy stage just in case in that 1% we change our minds.
    My husband and I just know that if we have a kid it will ruin us. Our work involves travel/

  23. A college friend of mine just blogged about this recently as well. I never thought much about how much pressure our society gives to people to procreate. I’m one of those girls who’s known pretty much my whole life that I wanted to have kids & even though my pregnancy was no picnic, I am still willing to go through all that again… at least once. So, I just have to deal with telling people we can’t afford #2 yet, but we’ll get there.
    Ok, I didn’t get through all the comments, so I may have missed if someone else said this, but have you considered sperm/egg donation? I know that’s not for everyone either, but it can really help out some great people (like my neighbors) who really do want to have kids.
    On the whole, I think you are in the right & strong to stick with not wanting to have kids. We’re overpopulated, you’re family is obviously doing it’s part to maintain it (I say w/a wink), so sit back & enjoy the nieces/nephews, cousins’ kids, etc & then send them home!
    In other news: Nosebleeds while pregnant? I hadn’t heard that one before! But then, I’ve never had a nosebleed in my life! I mainly just had bad morning sickness (lost weight in the beginning instead of gaining!) and lucked out with no swelling & my belly-button just flattened out. Giving birth was a whole ‘nother story, but I think you have probably heard more than enough! 😉

  24. This is why i adore offbeatmama — it is one site that truly understands we all come to the children in our lives in different ways. And that for some of us NOT having childern of our own is the way we can be the best for the family that we do have. My son would be so different if it weren’t for the aunties and friends that are in our lives 🙂

  25. I am 100% sure I don’t want kids. Of course, this is me at the moment, I may change idea later (but I doubt). The only idea of having something growing inside me makes me sick, and I am sure I won’t be able to love a child of mine, and I will end up having a little Kevin (We need to talk about Kevin definitely hit a sore spot, for me. Giving birth to a sociopath is one of my biggest fears). I have several issues with physicality/sexualitt so that’s part of the problem, but I am happy to read this post. I totally support people who choose to have babies, but it’s nice to read something for childfree people on my favourite maternity blog 🙂 All the best to you, I support the right to express what you feel at the moment and being free to change your feelings at any moment, also.

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