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About kids

I looked into the baby boy’s bright blue eyes and thought, I knew your parents before they started merging their DNA. I knew Courtney and Adam when we took 6th period AP English together. Courtney sat to my left and Adam sat behind her, the position to best tease her from. And even though Courtney went to the prom with another boy, here they were now, married and laughing and making goober faces at their little boy. It was sweet and adorable and the sweet potato fries dipped in honey made it even sweeter. They were a perfect little family, or if not they were very good at faking it.

And still, I have no desire to have children.

I’m 28 now, so babies are popping out of the vaginas of half my friends (POP!), or being cut out of their bellies, or being picked up at adoption agencies. It’s baby-making time! Time to make the babies. I am happy for my friends, and gladly buy them fuzzy blankets and cute lil’ onesies. They’ve got buns in the oven, but I do not feel an urge to make any babies in my personal easy bake oven. I don’t know if I ever will.

I am sure if I had babies I would love them like nothing else in this world and exclaim about how beautiful they were not matter how ugly their faces appeared. I would cuddle them and adore them and wonder how I had ever lived without them. I would overlook the poop and the pee and the vomit and the crying and focus on the smiles and the giggles and the hugs. It would all be very rewarding, assuming they turned out ok and did not stick pins in candy for trick-or-treaters. Even then, I’m sure I would love them and try to explain to the world that my kids wouldn’t do that. Oh, no, they were not capable of that at all!

But right now, I feel like I’ve only just learned how to take care of myself. I don’t know what I’d do with a baby. I don’t know who would pay for childcare or diapers. I can’t imagine all the times I’d have to tell my little baby, “Mommy has a headache,” and go lie down. I don’t feel ready to take care of somebody else. It is scary enough when my cats get sick. Caring for a little human who could get the flu or the measles could destroy me.

Maybe someday. But maybe not. I don’t feel a nagging maternal urge. If I could freeze my eggs at affordable prices, I would probably do so in case I hit 50 and regret never making a Pasta Prince or Princess. My mother is an awesome mother, and I’d like for her to have grandbabies to hold, but I’m going to shove the responsibility onto my brothers for now. I’m not sure who will take care of me when I get old, but hopefully the Japanese will invent personal helper robots to tend to me by then.

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82 Comments

Nina • February 6, 2009 at 9:40 am

Oh man. I’m 25 and I want kids NOW. Life would be so much easier if I didn’t.

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Shannon • February 6, 2009 at 9:44 am

I’m like you. I’m 25 and it seems that ALL of my friends are getting married and having kids. I’m happy for them but with at least 4 more years of school left, I have no desire for children and it will be many, many years until I see myself as being ready for a family.

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Lisa • February 6, 2009 at 9:53 am

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting a baby. Not everyone has that maternal instinct. I can tell you this though – your kids would have the best damn humor ever!

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Jen Hughes • February 6, 2009 at 10:00 am

There is not a thing wrong with that. My hubby and I (37 & 34 respectively) are gladly childfree and will remain so. We get shit for it all time time (mostly from friends). His family seems pretty understanding, thankfully.

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David Crowell • February 6, 2009 at 10:05 am

I fathered my daughters when I was young enough to not understand the ramifications of it all. So, I’m not yet 38, and my daughters are 17 and 19.

If it hadn’t worked out that way, I probably would have never had children, you know, once I had actually thought about it.

Being a parent has taught me some valuable things about life, and I wouldn’t want to go back and change it now.

Kids are great once they are out of diapers… until they become teenagers. :)

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Amy • February 6, 2009 at 10:09 am

I understand. I’m 43 and childless by choice…I never EVER felt the maternal urge and never liked to babysit, either.

My husband has 3 daughters and told me right off the bat that he had had a vasectomy. He was a perfect match for me!

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H • February 6, 2009 at 10:09 am

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting kids. I’m 37 and am tired of the open-mouthed look when people ask if we’re going to have kids and we say “no”.

My adopted brother is a sociopath, and I don’t want the hell my parents have gone through trying to get him counseling and all the help in the world only to have him do something horrific. My husband’s sister died at age 7 of a rare liver disease. He was 10 when she died and can’t imagine if he had a child who died. Plus, the world is kind of a shitty place and not seeming to get any better, so we, personally, don’t feel the need to bring our offspring into this mess. We don’t fault people who do, but we wish people wouldn’t consider us freaks for not wanting kids.

So, do what’s best for you. If you change your mind, you’ll have kids. Good for you. If not, don’t have them.

If you don’t, I would definitely suggest spoiling any nieces and nephews from a young age because they will be picking your nursing home. Our nephew promised, starting at age 6, to take care of us when we’re old. We reinforce this promise by continuing to let him get away with far too much when he’s at our house now at age 15. We’re thinking of giving him our old car now that he’ll be driving soon. That should generate a LOT of fond memories to subliminally influence him when he’s touring nursing homes and deciding where to put our drooling, blank-staring faces…

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barbara • February 6, 2009 at 10:10 am

PQ,

I am very much at “middle age,” have no kids, never wanted them, and feel perfectly fine about my choices. I spend time with my nieces and nephews, and that’s good, but even then, I have my limits. I think there’s a huge cultural imperative for women to have kids, and to WANT kids, and I see it all the time, and I resent it. My only advice is: figure out what you do or do not want, and don’t let the culture make you doubt yourself. Not everybody wants kids and that is fine. And if your feelings change, fine too; it’s all fine.

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martha • February 6, 2009 at 10:12 am

I’m 50 and never had a desire for children, hell, I never even played with dolls when I was young.

Well, I did have a Pebbles doll for a short time, but Bam Bam took off her head and they both ended up in the trash.

In case your wondering, I’m straight and happily married, probably because we DON”T have kids.

Yeah, you will catch shit for awhile, but as you get older, you will get the “poor you, can’t have kids” look which you will then have to explain that you never wanted the little buggers, and that there are enough people in the world with you adding it the population. You can also go with the story that the world is so screwed up, you wouldn’t want to bring a child into it. That one works pretty well.

Unless things change, you’ll have to get used to it.

I applaud you knowing who you are, what you want in life and not submitting to others ideas of what is best for you.

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Kate • February 6, 2009 at 10:14 am

It is really reassuring to know thre’s another 28 year old out there who doesn’t want kids. Whenever I tell people that, they look at me as if I’ve said the most horrible, offensive thing in the world.

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jules4422 • February 6, 2009 at 10:24 am

I’m 35 – and enjoy my 4 year old nephew so very much… I love spending time with him, taking care of him, and learning more about him as he grows. But I do not, nor have I ever, seen myself having children. My sister and her husband have provided the grandchildren, and I’m thankful for it! You are definitely not alone – we’re out here!!

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debby • February 6, 2009 at 10:25 am

This was really interesting, seeing most of the comments from childless people of various ages. I’m 54, never married, never had kids. Very happy. There were times when I wanted to be married, and other times when I wanted kids. For me, those two things go together, but the feelings did not come at the same time.

Mostly I wanted to comment that you have given me great relief on the one thing I do worry about my future: I never thought about the ‘personal helper robots’ that the Japanese would create. Thanks, PQ!

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nolafwug • February 6, 2009 at 10:37 am

I’ve already got 2 wee ones and the urge for more is strong. My boyfriend/life partner keeps joking he’s going to do an at-home vasectomy right-quick. My friend and I call our affliction “baby-itis.” Another friend brought his 5-week-old over last weekend. I can’t believe how incredible she smelled! I heard babies give off phermones that can effect women? Because intellectually, financially and practically perhaps I shouldn’t have more kids. But part of me just wants them beyond all reason.

But it’s totally OK not to want kids – we’re all different. I think a lot of the reasons for my wanting kids were selfish reasons anyway. It’s a messed up world to bring little lives into. And it’s a huge responsibility. Knowing yourself and where you stand on the issue is far better than doing what everyone else is doing and then living in regret.

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Lynn C • February 6, 2009 at 10:41 am

Pfffft. I was 27 before I got into the right relationship and 32 before I decided that, no, really, we were stable and steady enough to add a geeklette to our lives. You’ve got plenty of time if you decide you want to later, and god knows, much as I love my daughter, kids are a CRAPTON of work and worry.

Honestly, I wouldn’t give her back for all the tea in china (what would I do with that much tea anyway?) but there really are days when I find myself looking around for a convenient snow bank…

I used to hate all those people who told me “You’ll feel differently when it’s your own kid,” and honestly, if we hadn’t MOVED away from that town to a larger city where people minded their OWN BUSINESS, I never would have had children, because backing down from a decision around the nosy-faced neighbors would have been more than I could have endured… their smug looks and their I-told-you-so’s? Forgetaboutit!!

And really, when it comes down to it, my mom had me when she didn’t really want kids, she never wanted kids, but “that’s what you did in my day.” And I would NEVER do that to another human being. If you’re ready, you’re ready, and if you’re not, think of all the money you’ll save on Psychiatrists!!

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betty • February 6, 2009 at 10:43 am

I sometimes check in to make certain, but I do not want kids of my own, it’s usually a passing fancy that occurs after having a great time with someone elses kids and here I am at home reflecting..I quickly realize and remind myself that I probably too selfish to have kids. although, like you said, if I did have them, sure I would love them and wonder how I ever lived without. then again, I think of my mother who once told me that “oh she gave up so much” to have kids – and she wasn’t just talking about no potato chips for 9 months. pishaw – you have kids for yourself.

anyway, I love kids and can care for others and be on hand for them if they need help.

I get scared of being a lonely old lady one day and hope that I have good neighbors because most importantly – forget entertaining ideas that kids will take care of you in your old age. that’s not what kids are created for ofcourse, but also, you can’t count on that.

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ladyloo • February 6, 2009 at 10:44 am

My husband and I joke that we never got past the “Do not bring a baby home!” speeches we got from our folks when we were in high school.

“OK, so I have to work really, really hard not to make anyone pregnant for most of my adult life. But now that I’m older and married it’s all I’m supposed to be doing?!”

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metro15 • February 6, 2009 at 10:51 am

I’m like you in a lot of ways. Most days I don’t see myself ever having kids. But then sometimes I see an especially cute one, or read someone’s blog where their kid is doing something adorable, and I’ll admit some part of me does… twinge?

As I’m not currently in a relationship, I have decided that I will leave it up to fate. If I meet the right guy and we feel that having kids together is something we want to do then that’s great. And if not, that’s great too. I will have to put up with my mom being sad though (I’m an only child and thus her only chance at grandbabies.)

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Jennifer • February 6, 2009 at 10:51 am

I honestly never wanted kids until I married my husband. I never even wanted to play Mommy when I was a kid! It was nothing that ever appealed to me. My husband and I ate out a lot and traveled, and a chlid didn’t fit into our lifestyle. I dont’ think there’s anything wrong with admitting that. It’s better than wanting something cute to dress and carry around like a purse when you really don’t want to give someone else the time and love they deserve!

So then my niece was born and I had this man who took care of me, and I wanted kids. (and honestly, that scared some people in my family!) So now we have two girls, but let me tell you, those first few years were so much harder than I ever dreamed!

You’ll know when and if you are ready, and if you don’t ever, that’s okay too. Somehow our society equates no children with the ultimate in selfishness….but I think those that have kids and really don’t want to devote the time and energy to raising them correctly are the selfish ones.

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Lyn • February 6, 2009 at 10:51 am

I am so glad for all the differences in this world. Think of the mother who wanted children so badly that she had the octuplets and now is a single mom of 14. I won’t judge her, but I am very glad everyone in the world is not like her. There needs to be a balance! It’s better to know your wants, needs and limitations.

I have five kids, and I love it. And I have friends with no kids, who love it. Very personal choice.

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cc • February 6, 2009 at 10:52 am

well i’m 27 and all my friends are the same give or take two or three years and not one of us has children or desperately wants them. some think its not a bad idea in general, but there are no concrete plans between us all. none of my college friends have kids. none are planning it. and only a small minority of the people i went to high school with have kids (i think about 5 out of 48) and of those, only one was a planned adult decision :-D

so you seem totally totally normal to me.

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Quix • February 6, 2009 at 11:13 am

I’m 30 next month and feel sorta the same way – I do think it’s in the cards for me but not for 5 years at least. I’m just not ready to give up being selfish yet! I don’t want to share my toys!

My mom was 33 when she had me so mebbe it runs in the family…

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K • February 6, 2009 at 11:19 am

I’ve been with my husband for ten years, since I was 19*, and there has not been a single year yet when one of us hasn’t been a student, or shortly planning to be. We aren’t eternal students, either; we’ve had to study for our jobs. And my husband has been fairly constantly ill. So babies have not been on the cards.

I don’t know if I’ll ever feel totally ready for babies, but I do want to have them at some point. Like you, I’d probably freeze my eggs if I could (in fact, if I could grow the baby in a jar, I would) but I also want to have children when we’re reasonably young and energetic – and fertile.

There’s going to come a time soon when I have to make the decision to go for it, or not. I’ll be sad if the decision is no, but if my husband isn’t well enough, then… we’ll deal with it.

* I didn’t marry him when I was 19, but it became clear pretty early on that this was it.

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Tanya • February 6, 2009 at 11:35 am

I’m 30, and I’m like you. Every now and again I get a passing fancy that I might want kids, but a trip to the mall where screaming kids abound fixes that right up.

My husband has one kid (okay, he’s 20 now), and doesn’t want any more.

I want to smack those people who act like I’ve just said I want to kick puppies if I say I don’t want kids because I don’t really like them that much.

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PastaQueen • February 6, 2009 at 11:51 am

@K – I now have a mental image of you working at your desk with a baby fetus in a jar next to your computer :)

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Lori • February 6, 2009 at 11:52 am

I’m 40, and my husband and I (married 13 years) don’t want children.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Some people have the instinct, some don’t.

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? • February 6, 2009 at 11:58 am

Wow, what insight. I have 12 friends pregnant friends right now, and while I do want kids, I don’t know what I’d do with one right now… I’m 28 too!

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Meg • February 6, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I know the feeling. I just hit 30 and I’ve gotten it from all sides. A lot of my friends have kids (some even have TWO now!) and I love being around them, being Auntie Meg. And although I do plan on having kids *eventually*, now is NOT the time.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong for feeling the way you do. Genetic imperative be damned, our reproductive life is our own ^_~

-Meg

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psychsarah • February 6, 2009 at 12:43 pm

What a timely post…everyone I know is having babies or wanting to have babies, and I’m feeling much like you described.

I put the decision on hold until I finished my PhD and became licensed in my career, because I couldn’t fathom doing grad school or licensure exams “with child”, but now I’ve had 30 years (almost 31 now that I think of it) of thinking-no kids no kids no kids-and now everyone wants to know when my kids are coming, because I’m out of my old excuses…

I tell everyone (except my mother who will be very disappointed if I fail to procreate) that if the overwhelming urge hits me one day, and lasts more than a month, I’ll reconsider, but for now, life is good. I’m finally working in my field, I have some fun instead of school school school, my husband and I can travel, since it is easier to arrange a kennel for a dog than a caregiver for a kid, and I cannot fathom when I would have time or energy to devote to a kid. If that makes me selfish-so be it!

I really appreciate the other comments from the child-free and those with children who are understanding and accepting of the child-free. Here’s to women (and men for that matter) having choices!!

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Kyle • February 6, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Amen sister!

If I ever get divorced it will be for that reason. I don’t have any urge to have kids, and I’ve promised S. that if I DO get the urge, I will happily bear his spawn, but that if I never get the urge, I’m not going to just up and do it anyways. He says that’s ok and he’ll still be happy with me even if we don’t ever end up having babies, but I know he really wants them.

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Jamie • February 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm

That’s pretty much how I felt until my birth control failed me. Yeah, now I have two little beasties. I’ll admit that I’m not a kid person at all, but my kids amuse me to no end.

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Deirdre • February 6, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I personally am 35 and itching to have kids, despite the fact I have no boyfriend. It gets more and more difficult every year to pass without meeting anyone knowing that I’m getting that much older. But a friend of mine didn’t want children at all and had her tubes tied…she had a hard time finding a doctor who would do it (she was 28 at the time) because they kept telling her she would change her mind, she was like seriously I WON’T. I thought it was incredibly arrogant for anyone to tell you that you will change your mind.

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Carol • February 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm

I never had the really overwhelming urge to have babies, but around age 30, my dh and I decided it was the right time to try for kids. It took me awhile to get pregnant and then I lost the baby at 12 weeks. I don’t know if if was hormones or grief, but as soon as miscarried, I knew without a doubt that I wanted children badly. It took another 18 months for me to get pregnant and then surprise, it was twins. I was so overwhelmed the whole pregnancy just thinking about the realities of taking care of two infants when I had no experience with taking care of anything other than my cat! I was sure I had made a huge mistake and one that I couldn’t get out of.

Now 8 years later, I can honestly say that I adore my kids more than anything or anyone in the world, but if I had never gotten pregnant that first time, I think I would have still led a very happy, content life.

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Suzanne L. • February 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm

I think it’s great when people don’t want to have kids. We need you to balance out the ones who think they need several!

That said…you could still change your mind. At 28, I was married to my now-ex and still didn’t want kids. I left him, met someone else, and after a few years, I suddenly wanted a kid. I was 33 when I had him. Things change. ;)

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Merry • February 6, 2009 at 2:21 pm

If you are a)female, b)childless and c)a pet owner, people draw very irritating inferences.

I always want to smack people who refer to me as “my dog’s mommy.” (Biologically impossible, trust me on this. Besides, are you implying my dog is a son of a bitch? And why is a man never called some puppy’s “daddy”?)

Would that constitute Justifiable Slapitude? I think I need a ruling here.

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Sofee • February 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Reading all the replies to this post has just made my day. I’m 44 and my husband and I decided before we were married to be childless by choice. I have never, ever, ever regretted it and we are happy DINKs (double income, no kids). My little sister and her husband are DINKs too. I also agree with someone who said it is arrogant for a person to say “oh, you’ll change your mind”. I’m happy to see such kindred spirits responding here.

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tina • February 6, 2009 at 2:58 pm

This post just made my day too. I’m 39 and still have no desire to have kids. I don’t even really like them that much! Maybe it’s because I met my husband late in life and he feels too old for it too. Luckily my mom respects the decision and supports it completely. Even when I see the cutest kids in the world and my uterus should be screaming for a baby, I feel nothing except anticipation of no longer being around said kid.

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Curly • February 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm

I’m 33, and I used to be you. Five years ago. I was single, content, and living a great single life, and never EVER thought I wanted kids. I was happy being “auntie” to all of my friends kids, but I just didn’t see it happening for me. Nor, did I ever yearn to have a baby, like so many of my friends did at 28.

Then one day two years ago, it changed. My sister (and only sibling) was diagnosed with uterine cancer 5 months before her planned wedding. She and her fiance very much wanted children, but that was taken away from them. She is healthy now, and happily married, but I think the day I realized a decision like that could be taken away from me, I was positive I wanted to be a mother.

About three months after she was told she was cancer free, I started dating a long time friend, and I knew that I wanted to have babies with him. I sometimes laugh, and tell him how I never thought I wanted to be a mother, and he shakes his head in disbelief.

I know the circumstances to turning my “clock” on are extreme, but don’t completely shut that door. Life could take you down some amazing roads, and in one quick instance you could have a change of heart like I did.

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Katharine • February 6, 2009 at 4:47 pm

@Jen Hughes – My husband and I have 3 children, but it would never, ever occur to me to berate any of our friends who didn’t want to be parents. Friends like those, you don’t need!

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clickmom • February 6, 2009 at 5:04 pm

I wish more people would not have babies when they aren’t really into it. Too may people are just going through the motions. It sounds like you have made a very well thought out decision.

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Candice • February 6, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I didn’t have any biological urge to have children until I was 30… and even then, I found no child charming enough to actually want one (much less 1+) around me 24/7. When my sister got pregnant, I was nervous about how this would change our family dynamic. Throughout her pregnancy, I was grossed out by the whole thing (pregnancy really grosses me out) and I never touched her belly. When my nephew was born, I was excited to meet this new person genetically related to me… and over the next few months I totally fell in love. There’s something about this baby that is closely related to me genetically that has changed nearly everything I think about babies.

I do believe, though, I will be like Miranda on Sex and the City who said the only kid she likes is her own. Even post-nephew, I don’t like most kids or babies.

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Jen Boda • February 6, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Thanks for such an honest post. I am thirty and just now beginning to ponder whether or not having kids is for me. I am still sort of take it or leave it or if it happens great but I am not focusing on it. It is hard though since so many people I know are having children. Love the blog. I also have one–about nutrition and health with tons of recipes-if you have time check it out and let me know what you think–you can find it at boda blog

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April • February 6, 2009 at 5:48 pm

I actually envy those of you that know being a mom isn’t for you and had the maturity to keep from diving into it before you figured that out.

I am 30 with 2 girls, the oldest will be turning 11 next month. Yes, I was 19 when I became a mom. And the second came just 3 short years later. At the time I thought I understood what that meant and thought it was what I wanted. Not so much anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love those girls with such intensity that it blows my mind to think I’m capable of a love this deep but I’ve only realized after many years into it that this mom cloth does not fit me. I try to make the best of it but I’m often wrecked with guilt because I’m not the kind of mother that these girls deserve. If I had only waited, maybe the mom thing would have suited me better but as it is I wasn’t allowed to be a child when I was one and then I sacrificed my young adulthood to parenthood and in the last few years have started to resent that. Those were my choices and they’ll never pay for that but when it’s time for them to have their own babies, I hope they heed my warning that they should wait a few more years.

Live life, love it, enjoy the freedom from the responsibilities and the capacity that you have now to indulge in selfish behavior without hurting little people in the process. If you want to have children later, it will be great and if you don’t, well that will be great too. It’s really no one’s concern if you have children or not. That choice is 100% yours.

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Marie • February 6, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Get married first. A child needs a mom and a dad.

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Camevil • February 6, 2009 at 7:47 pm

I’m 37, married 15 years this year and don’t regret the decision to NOT have kids. I just don’t have the urge to breed.

Children are fine so long as they’re not mine. And quite frankly, I’m not a big fan of babies or toddlers.

Anyway, there are enough of our other smart and beautiful friends contributing to the gene pool that I don’t feel guilty. Indeed, I’m well-rested, happy and focused. Not saying you can’t be that AND have kids, but I’m just saying….

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Kim • February 6, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Wow, I really didn’t know there were so many others who feel this way! I’m 38 and have been waiting to see if “the urge” ever hit, like all my friends said it would. I’ll tell ya, every time I’m in Target at 6:00pm or in any airport anywhere, I end up double-checking to make sure my birth control prescription hasn’t run out, because OH LORD those poor parents look exhausted.

To complicate matters, I’m in the early childhood field, and have worked with babies and young children for 20 years now, babysat all the time, and really do like children…I just don’t want one of my own.

I look at it like people who study cancer or diabetes or mental illness…they find it very interesting, but don’t want to personally live with it all the time. Not saying that children are like cancer, but something interesting to spend 8-10 hours a day with, then be able to go home to a different, quieter world.

I think the key is to find out what is meaningful to you and follow that path. If you (or you and a partner/spouse) choose that your family of 2 is the right size family, then don’t try to make happiness out of something else. But I do encourage pets!!

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Carolyn • February 6, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Since you have spent the past couple of years totally reinventing yourself it’s understandable that, at this time, you are ambivalent about having kids. I think a strong desire for kids doesn’t emerge until you are ready to take the next big step of your life. I know mine didn’t really get urgent until I hit 30.

For me, 30 was a major milestone where I took a real good look at what I had done with my life wrt job, current boyfriend, and weighed that against where I wanted to be. That year, I quit the job I hated, dumped the non-comittal boyfriend of 8 years and moved across the country. Turning 30 can be a BIG motivator for change.

I urge you to talk to your mom about her perspective of having kids. 99.999999% of people who have children will tell you it is the most fulfilling, wonderful, life changing thing they could have done and they don’t regret any of it. You don’t have to like other people’s kids – I’ve always found other people’s children tedious. That being said, it’s best to have children when you have already lined up a committed spouse, are financially stable, and are feeling an urge to take that next step in your development as an adult.

I know you have your headache pain and I wish you find a cure soon, but don’t let it hold you back from living the fullest life you can. From reading your blog, you are an obviously intelligent person – the world can use more of your genes in it. As that Harvey Danger song Flagpole Sitter said, only the stupid are breeding. ;-)

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Deb • February 6, 2009 at 10:02 pm

@Lyn – You are a better person than I am because I DO judge her. I think she’s completely selfish, irresponsible, and probably crazy too. I feel sorry for each one of those 14.

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anji • February 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Your last line reminded me of this Canadian dude who invented Aiko, a robotic woman who is trained to do things for him.

http://www.projectaiko.com/

And, the inventor is of Japanese descent, no word of a lie. Truly freaky. And he built it in his basement… and people want to buy this off of him because, she cooks toast, serves tea, reads faces, reads outloud the newspaper…. no word of a lie!

Maybe you need an Aiko. But, a male version. and maybe a bit more sexy italian looking :)

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Tammy Su • February 6, 2009 at 10:52 pm

@Merry – Actually I see no offense in calling a woman who has a dog their “mommy”… please remember that a mommy is not always biological, a mommy is who gives you loves, teaches you right from wrong, wipes up after your poops, and feeds you. :)

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alli • February 7, 2009 at 12:10 am

I am 38 years old with no children. My 12 lb shih-tzu is my kid and I am okay with people who think that is wrong or odd that I consider her my kid.

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Kalyn • February 7, 2009 at 12:17 am

Kids are cute enough but I’m kind of counting on one of those personal helper robots myself!

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Kristen • February 7, 2009 at 12:21 am

I have always thought I would adopt later in life but also thought I would have biological children when I was younger.

Well, it ain’t happening. The moment my (2nd) gorgeous niece popped into the world, I literally had a FLASH and thought, “Yeah…not gonna do that.” The end. Seriously!

Isn’t that a little weird? Whatever. I still may adopt someday but I really don’t feel like I’m missing out. Perhaps it’s because I am a teacher and work with 600 kids each week. Who knows…

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Julie • February 7, 2009 at 1:12 am

46 years old here and have never had a maternal urge whatsoever. decided from age 25 that i didn’t want children. i don’t like them – seriously! have had a wonderful relationship with LOML for 27 years and friends of both of us say how envious they are of our lifestyle. friends with new borns know not to hand them over for a cuddle as the child immediately understands my aversion to them and screams!

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kathy • February 7, 2009 at 2:00 am

@Marie – I don’t think it is necessary to have that piece of paper. A committed relationship is enough. I started having kids at 34 (all but #3 were “accidents”) and we’re not the least bit interested in a legal piece of paper.

To PQ – you are SO YOUNG!!! :) And other people’s babies are so satisfying. :0

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PurpleGirl • February 7, 2009 at 4:38 am

When I was younger, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted: to marry my then-boyfriend, move to Australia to be with him, and pop out three children. Eventually, I realized those were the things I was supposed to want, according to society, and not what I actually wanted. I realized a couple of years ago that having children holds zero appeal for me.

To be perfectly honest, I’m too selfish for to dedicate my life to taking care of a little person. I like sleeping late, and living on my own schedule, and spending my money on myself. I’m sure that makes me a horrible person in some peoples’ eyes! I also don’t think I’m up for the responsibility of molding an entire individuals perceptions on life–I stress out enough about trying to be good role model for my cousins. But people are usually just stunned when I tell them I never want kids–a friend’s mom once reached over to pat me and said “I’m sorry!” when I told her.

Bottom line, babies are cute enough, I guess, and give me warm fuzzies–but so do cats, and they’re much lower maintenance. :)

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Tani • February 7, 2009 at 8:54 am

I didn’t want kids when I was 28 either. I had just gotten married and my in-laws were gobsmacked that we weren’t immediately trying for kids. That was intensely annoying and to this day (I’m 43) there’s a bit of a rift between me and FIL because back then he would.not.shut.up. about it and I eventually snapped and ripped him a new one.

At any rate, I don’t look down on people who choose not to have kids. Especially not last night, when trying to get my 2yo son back to sleep at 3 a.m.

I will say that you *may* find that your feelings about having kids change over the years. At 28 I was certain that I never wanted kids. As I crept into my early 30’s, I started to change my mind about it. I don’t know why or how.

YMMV, but I think in the end, whichever path you choose, you’ll do it well. ;)

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still reading • February 7, 2009 at 11:02 am

50 years old here…when I was in my 20s, my sister started having kids, and I was so in love with them I thought I would have them too. I did not find a partner until my early 30’s, and everyone assumed we would have kids. When, after 5 years of marriage, we had a talk about having kids, my husband said “lets wait and see if we are happy” I realized that we were not, in fact, happy, and a few years later we went our separate ways. I never did have kids, and lots of women your age have asked me if I ever regretted it. My answer? Not once, not ever.

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Merry • February 7, 2009 at 11:14 am

@Tammy Su – Good point. I think when you adopt a human child, people assume it’s because you want to raise a child. Which I don’t have a problem with. I get annoyed when people assume I got a dog as a surrogate child. Different species entirely.

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Jen • February 7, 2009 at 11:40 am

I’m 38, and I figure that if it was going to happen, it would have happened. I like other people’s kids (and also enjoy buying cute baby presents), and probably would enjoy my own, but I haven’t felt the same “need” to have one. Even when I was married and finally out of school, it never seemed like a good time. From what I can tell, kids need a huge amount of work, time, and money, and I just have never felt up to it…..

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Rory • February 7, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I think your attitude is very mature. Plenty of women don’t really want kids, but have them anyway because they think they’re “supposed” to. Good for you for being honest about how you feel, and basing your actions on that, rather on what society thinks you should do.

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Gillian • February 7, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Wow, so many of us! Like many people above, I’ve never wanted kids. At least now, at 40, people seem to have started believing me!

You might change your mind, lots of people do, but lots of us don’t. And someone upthread said that 99.999% of people say it’s the best thing they’ve ever done – but that’s not my experience, from talking to friends – and indeed my Mum, who says she wouldn’t have kids if there was a ‘next time round’, for all she loves us. She just did it because that’s what you did…

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Gillian • February 7, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Wow, so many of us! Like many people above, I’ve never wanted kids. At least now, at 40, people seem to have started believing me!

You might change your mind, lots of people do, but lots of us don’t. And someone upthread said that 99.999% of people say it’s the best thing they’ve ever done – but that’s not my experience, from talking to friends – and indeed my Mum, who says she wouldn’t have kids if there was a ‘next time round’, for all she loves us. She just did it because that’s what you did…

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luna • February 7, 2009 at 2:30 pm

i’m 34 (about to be 35) married, in a stable situation and my husband and I are trying to get pregnant. To be honest, I’m not sure that I want kids. I always saw myself with them, but now that it comes down to it, it frightens me to no end. I put off trying this month.

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Lynn • February 7, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Everyone who commented seems to have the life they want, and I am truly happy for all of you. I want a child very much; we’ve tried for six years, both with conventional IVF and alternative therapies. Hasn’t happened, and I’m not only getting older…but I am also quite fat. I try to eat well and live well, but it is hard to give up this dream. We don’t really want to adopt, because we both feel a need for a genetic connection, which is probably going to upset other readers. I think it has something to do with having a mixed-race (white and Asian) marriage. Anyway, I’m glad the rest of you have what you want. I fully support the right to live child-free without getting hassled. I just wish we could have a miracle.

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Cari • February 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm

I’m 27 and I’m not sure. Some days I REALLY want them (freaking biological clock) and some days I don’t even want to think about the possibility. So every day I ask myself the question, and the answer so far is no. If I get to 40something and it’s still no, I’ll know the answer, I think. (I suppose my husband also has a say in the matter.) :-)

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Jessica • February 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I *never* wanted children until I met my husband. Then, I wanted *his* children. Badly. More-than-anything badly.

But I agree with all of the above posters – a large percentage of parents I encounter didn’t truly want children. They simply had them, because they could or felt they should. And now they are miserable, feel guilty about their misery and overcompensate by spoiling their children. Then they wonder why I am not miserable…

So, make the decision that works for you, and you alone. Becoming a parent if you don’t feel a deep, deep desire is a terrible idea.

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Anna • February 7, 2009 at 8:08 pm

MUCH better to err on the side of not having kids. You can always adopt or foster later, and have kids in your life through other means. I have seen too many parents who, no, didn’t feel different when it was their own child. They were shitty selfish parents.

Also have friends who got “fixed” in their 20s–still are in their 20s and don’t regret it yet. They knew what they wanted.

I do love kids–and that’s why the decision should be made so carefully.

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Meg • February 8, 2009 at 9:23 am

check this out-I didn’t get the maternal urge until I met my husband at the age of 32. Yup. Now it is nearly 10 years later and we have 2 little kids. Crazy how things can work out. just sayin.

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earthmamma • February 8, 2009 at 9:24 am

@Lynn –

i really hope that your miracle baby comes along. its so hard to crave being a parent and not have a baby to hold. wishing you all the best!

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Shannon • February 8, 2009 at 10:18 am

@Merry – Sorry Merry I disagree. My cats (all three of them) are part of my family. In fact as a single woman, they are my closest family. I refer to them as their my furkids and my mom buys Christmas gifts for her ‘grandkids’. Are they are replacement for a flesh child. I don’t think so, as saying that they are would be saying that I want children and for whatever reason I can’t have them. Am I their owner? Absolutlery not, I own a house, a couple of tvs, my computer and a toaster oven but my cats are so much more important than all of those things.

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DonnaLynn in Hawaii • February 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Children are a choice. You have to make your own choice in that matter. Society puts a lot of pressure on people to do this or that, but you can’t let society, or any other pressure, make that choice for you. I have five kids. One passed away 7 minutes after birth, and the oldest just came out here on a one way ticket, and I sent her butt right back after a week. Next oldest is 17 and my very best friend in the world, and son who is 10 is a handful. You have to be sure you’re prepared for whatever comes along when you have kids. It’s not a choice to take lightly, and I greatly applaud you doing what is right for YOU in this matter. Few people give it enough thought.

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Lynn • February 8, 2009 at 3:49 pm

@earthmamma – Thank you for you kind thoughts! It has been hard.

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auntie • February 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

I’m 36 and I’m on the same page with you! Love my niece and nephews to pieces. Love holding my friends’ babies and buying gifts. But most days, it’s all I can do to keep track of myself, much less a little person that is going to rely on me for EVERYTHING. Yikes!

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Anna • February 8, 2009 at 8:32 pm

@Carolyn – I disagree. I worked for the WIC program and talked to multiple parents every day. Some people can not step up the plate and do right by their children. They should not be parents and never appreciated their children. It’s not a class thing, I know upper-income children whose parents never showed indications of love and only disgust. Kids are great but not for everyone. People who really love kids should really consider fostering or adopting one of those poor kids whose parents are really obviously not committed to the task.

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alisha • February 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

I AM ALMOST 37 I GOT MARRIED WHEN I WAS 23 ALMOST 24 TO MY HIGHSCHOOL SWEETHEART. WE WERE MARRIED ALMOST 6 YEARS WHEN WE HAD OUR SON. I HAD FIBROIDS THAT WERE DISCOVERED DURING A ROUTINE EXAMINE. SO I HAD TO HAVE SURGERY, FERTILITY DRUGS AND KNEW THAT IF I COULD HAVE ONE CHILD HE WOULD BE ALL I COULD HAVE. UNTIL I GOT “SICK” I FIGURED I WOULD BE IN MY 30S WHEN I HAD A CHILD. I ENJOYED CHILDREN, BUT I WORKED, HAD A LIFE SO TO SPEAK. I WAS CONTENT. SO WAS MY HUSBAND. UNTIL I HAD TO HAVE A CHILD THEN – OR- NOT SITUATION I HADNT REALLY CONSIDERED IT. I LOVE MY SON WOULDNT CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE WORLD ABOUT HIM. BUT I WOULD LIKE TO ADOPT SOMEDAY. BUT THE CLOCK IS TICKING ON THAT AS WELL, SINCE I AM HEADING TOWARD 40 AND IT IS SO EXPENSIVE AND THE ECONOMY ETC. WHO KNOWS. BUT WITH ONE CHILD , IT IS NOT “AS BAD” AS HAVING NO CHILDREN AND THE STIGMA FROM THAT. BUT IT HAS ITS COMMENTS. OH, WHY NOT HAVE MORE. BLAH BLAH. I USED TO FEEL LESS COMPLETE AT TIMES BECAUSE OF ONLY HAVING ONE. NOW, I DONT CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK, SAY OR COMMENT. ITS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. IF YOU HAVE BABIES, WONDERFUL, IF YOU DONT HAVE BABIES , WONDERFUL, JUST BE YOU AND BE HAPPY. YOU SOUND HAPPY WITHOUT CHILDREN. AND BUSY, AND CONTENT. TIME WILL TELL IF YOU CHANGE.

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brass.lady • February 9, 2009 at 2:20 am

I never really wanted children until I met my hubby…and although I cannot have children right now–I am trying to finish my PhD–I will definitely want to have HIS children. You might change your mind when you meet THE one!

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Morgan • February 9, 2009 at 2:21 am

I understand completely. At 26, it seems that every uterus I know besides my own has been occupied by some little bundle of..something. Kids are cute, except when they aren’t. And I could understand the passing fancy of wanting to have one. I won’t write myself off from motherhood entirely just yet. But as it stands right now, I am a giant toddler with the attention span of a goldfish. That makes breeding seem like a bad plan for me. Also.. the entire notion of gestation is really really upsetting. Call it natural and beautiful all you want… but essentially pregnancy and childbirth are frightening.

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Merry • February 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

@Shannon – I think that’s great if you refer to your cats as your furkids. I don’t think people should /assume/ that’s why people have pets.

I care for my dog; I don’t think of her as my child. (And I don’t think of myself as my dog’s owner, it would be more accurate to say I’m her human.)

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Doji Bo • February 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I’m fifty and never had kids, and I got a lot of flack in my 30’s about “when are you going to get married and have a family?”, but I always knew I wasn’t the maternal type. Luckily my brother took the pressure off when he got married and they had 2 kids. And I think over time the relatives can see I made the best choice for me. So definitely don’t let others pressure you, and do what you think is best for you. Taking care of animals is certainly worthy as well. I have a rescued kitty and that is enough for me.

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cloudy • February 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm

I had no idea if I ever wanted kids, but then my Mom died suddenly when I was 32, which swayed me toward putting it on my 5 year plan. I now have the most perfect one year old little boy. I got lucky. Kids are not for everyone.

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caseykay68 • February 10, 2009 at 1:31 am

I have to say its good to see “my people” here. I too am 40 and childless by choice as they say. I’ve never been militant about it…it just wasn’t on my to do’s and I don’t feel that clock ticking. But most people have a hard time understanding that concept…theres always the “well you still can if you want” etc. And mostly I just smile and ignore those comments because its not worth getting into the discussion, its right up there with religion and politics discussions

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Jane • February 10, 2009 at 5:16 am

@caseykay68 – that is so right! i have children myself and am very happy with that choice. I really hate though the views you read on some bulletin boards by parents telling the childfree by choice “you WILL change your mind”- well no, why should they? and also those by the childfree who trash parents for daring to travel with kids, or take them to supermarkets or restaurants or indeed anywhere. And the prying questions “when are you having kids?” from family, friends or colleagues are so wrong: that is private business, and the questioning can cause real pain to women who desperately want kids and either cannot conceive or have serial miscarriages.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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