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To the happily childfree: What were your reasons?

To those who have chosen to be childfree for life, what was/were your reason(s)? I am curious to know why other agnostics/atheists may decide not to have children. Please note, while I have included health related issues as options, I am really referring to people who do not wish to adopt children either. Please feel free to elaborate on your answer(s) in the comments. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

Note: This poll allows for multiple selections.

  • 26 votes
  • 13 votes
  • 17 votes
  • 2 votes
  • 11 votes
  • 34 votes
DancesWithWorms 4 Feb 19
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55 comments

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0

I haven't been found yet.

Gohan Level 7 Feb 20, 2018
24

Mental illness and addiction run in my family, on both sides. I've never been financially stable, nor what you might call psychologically "well-adjusted".

The best thing I can do for the human race is neither pass on my genes, nor parent a child. You're welcome.

I know that the addiction and abuse issues can be over come. My grandfather on my Dad's side was an alcholic, wife-beating man who sexually abused at least one of his daughters. Grandmother was a devoted Catholic. Dad quit the church and vowed he would not be the man his father was. He succeedly wonderfully, a truly kind man with a lovely snarky sense of humor. My mom on the other hand . . . . . . is probably the reason I never wanted kids. lol

17

I'm an antinatalist, and for me it seems more ethical to not bring a life into the world. Some percentage of humans will live in misery, suffer terribly, have serious mental and emotional problems, etc., and there's no way of gaining the nonexistent person's consent prior to conception, so I don't feel I can make that decision for them myself. I also believe that we are in no danger of running out of people, so my progeny won't be missed — and they won't contribute to the consumption of natural resources, the pollution of the air, water, and land, and so forth. On top of all that, I just don't feel that biological desire that many people seem to have; very little about parenthood seems attractive to me.

I meant to add a "there are already too many damn people on this planet" option and forgot. I might have to edit the answers.

16

My immune system wouldn't allow me to stay pregnant.
Did you know that the human immune system considers the eyeballs, the male scrotum, and gestating female's placenta, as foreign objects? They all have a protective lining which stops most of the white cells from attacking and destroying them, but some folks' immune systems can breach those protections.
It's why I could ever have children and why I'm losing my vision.
The human body is an amazing thing.
At this point in my life, I'm glad I don't have kids. I can send the nieces and nephews home when I'm done with 'em. I don't have to put braces on them, or put them through school.

Would you ever consider adopting?

I'm really sorry that you could not have children you wanted and that you are losing your vision. One of my step-nieces has a rare eye condition and knows she will eventually be blind. And I can't imagine the struggle of that.

@RavenCT Thank you, but it's really all okay. I made my peace with all of it a long time ago. There are still so many people who have it WAY worse than I ever will. I've got a great life, fantastic friends and family, a good roof over my head, food in the fridge, and a pool. Her Royal Cuteness is still with me (she's snoring), and I can't really complain about much of anything. Some days suck, but that's life. Nobody's shooting at me, so that makes it a good day, too. Damned sorry about your niece though. These rare eye conditions are a pain in the ass, and it's never an easy diagnosis to get. I hope her progression goes as slowly as possible. She and I are in the same boat, but there ARE ways around it. It's a process, but it's not a death sentence, so it can be dealt with. I wish her all the strength she'll need to rise above it.

@ArashL The immune system sees them as objects to be attacked, like an infection.

@KKGator Thank you. She has a great attitude about it. But when she mentioned it the last time I saw her my mouth just fell open. Nothing smart came out either.

@RavenCT There's no shame in not knowing what to say. It sucks. Cussing about it is somewhat apropos. I've done well more than my share of that. It's good that her attitude is positive. That will help get her through. Regardless of what happens, as long as her attitude is good, she'll be okay.

@DancesWithWorms Not anymore. Raising children is a younger person's game. While I know lots of older people do it, I also know I'm not one of them.

@Bloodswolf Sorry for your loss. Trust me, I am hardly an inspiration, but thank you for your kind words.

9

I've always had high expectations for myself, and I would have felt like in order to be (my idea of) a good parent, I would have had to give up my academic and career aspirations. Luckily, I never had a strong desire to have any kids.

I know some seem to be able to do both, but for me it really was a zero-sum game.

I know what you mean. I have hobbies that I want to get more involved in. One of those hobbies might actually become a side gig that I could make a little money off of. While having kids doesn't mean that you have to give up your hobbies or career, it does mean that you won't have the time to pour your heart and soul into those things. Some really motivated people can do it all, but I'm not one of those people. And like you, fortunately I've never had strong maternal urges.

Self-awareness is key.

@KKGator Indeed. I have seen so many women (and men, for that matter) who have kids, because "that is what they're supposed to do. While they love their children, I wonder if they wonder what their lives would have been like had they not had them.

7

I basically agree with @resserts.

I've never wanted them. My parents were abusive and I recognized that I had some characteristics of each of them. I wasn't willing to take the risk of treating any child even close to how I was treated. I was so sure that I had a vasectomy at 30 and have never regretted it.

I think too many people have kids without thinking about it. I think you should have training, a license, and have to post a bond to cover the kids education before you can have any. I know that will never happen, but it should.

7

About 90% of the people I know have kids or want them.

I have no maternal instinct and people get really mad when I discipline their kids that are terrorizing my house. I don't think it's cute when they dive-bomb off my railings onto me and/or my dog.

I see how badly some people want kids. We are talking 6 figures on IVF and surrogate mothers, adoption, fertility clinics. If I were meant to have kids, shouldn't I want to feel this way? I'm talking "Hand that Rocks the Cradle" moments or tears b/c I don't have them. You probably shouldn't have a kid if your first thought would be "where is the nearest fire department for me to drop them off?"

I like kids and wanted them - but I will not let a child terrorize my pet or myself. At home or not.

7

I tried to like kids, for the sake of my then gf, who wanted them badly and whom I planned to spend the rest of my life with.

One of us had a young nephew and the other a young niece. The nephew was easygoing, self-motivated, and friendly with all children and adults. The niece was an emotionally neglected, materially spoiled brat. Late in my and my gf's two years together, after a day with the nephew, I realized that I wasn't enjoying the well-behaved kid much more than the damaged kid. The relationship crumbled quickly after that.

Lovely spouse also has an inheritable disability, not that she wanted kids either.

I seem to repeatedly end up with dudes who want kids and convince myself that "oh, maybe I WOULD like to have kids". Then when the relationship ends, I come to my senses and remember that imagining a life with children fills me with dread. It's tough to meet other people who never want to have kids since the majority do plan on having them.

6

I don't want children becuase I like to travel. I’m in the military and I can't bear the thought of not only leaving a child behind for 6 months or forever if I died. But, I have conidered running a orphanage or adopting a bunch of childern when I’m older.

6

Three reasons:

  1. There is no action a human can take on behalf of the Earth's biosphere that has more positive impact than choosing not to have children.

  2. The next century or so is going to be really hard. Desperately hard for many people.

  3. I'm the oldest of 7, and come out of a highly abusive household. One result of that dysfunction is that I already had plenty of "parenting" experience by the time I was 13. I have had enough of it.

6

I am selfish and I want to spend my money on me.

6

I've just never wanted children. I love my freedom too much. I don't even buy pets for this reason. I have three parakeets now but I have three so they'll take care of each other.

6

Never married, and so haven’t had the opportunity. I’ve never said I didn’t want kids. At this point in my life I think I am too old.

5

I come from abuse, and don't want to risk messing up a kid. I'm already 37, and I'm just starting to feel solid in my life. If I were going to give birth I would want to have done it by now. Also, not a fan of babies, bit toddlers and I are cool.

5

I am in an odd situation. I have a daughter with my first wife. I was the primary parent for 7+ years. My ex ran away with another man and took our daughter and moved to the other side of the world. I then had a relationship with another woman who didn't want to have kids (neither did I). We joined a local group called Childfree By Choice which turned national. I heard lots of stories and we interacted a lot with the group. After a number of years my daughter started visiting but only on a short term basis. My partner and I stayed childfree and lived the chilldfree lifestyle. Even though my daughter was an oops baby I really cared for her. We are close now but she lives elsewhere and has her own life. I realized, with my late partner I just did not have the instincts to be a really good parent certainly if I had to do it alone.

5

Well the one pregnancy I had ended in a still birth at 5 months in.

After that there was just never an opportunity again. I took care of my parents as they aged.

Sub-total hysterectomy at the age of 36. (Endometriosis and Adenomyosis). So no kids. Really wanted them - but other things were more important to me.

Helped raise my sister's boys a bit after my BIL died. Hope I did some good there.

Helping care for other people's children is an important undertaking. I'm willing to bet you've been (are being) a wonderful Aunt, and have done more good than you know.

4

Just never wanted them. Plain and simple. I look forward to a world when a woman doesn't sound psycho for saying that.

Reasons, as I've gotten used to being required to explain: There are so many people already living who are worth my time, affection and love, the world is overpopulated already, chlidren are expensive, I had health issues for a while and couldn't imagine being able to handle all the noise.

4

Freedom is the biggest plus, and money.

CJR1 Level 2 Feb 20, 2018
4

With the way we currently use our technology and resources at this time. I believe it unwise to burden the planet with more humans at this time.

4

My longest relationships have been with women that could no longer have children. They had adult children and I was ok with that.

3

Children are freaking annoying!!’ I try to avoid them out of all means. My aunts three kids are annoying to be around and sometime I dread having to go get groceries when the women have their stupid, annoying kids screaming and they’re doing nothing to calm the child. I just look at newborns as needy, helpless people, who has to rely on you for every damn thing. They grow up to be annoying ass, disrespectful teenagers and I can’t stand most teenagers because I’d been then hurting them and ending up in prison. I won’t tolaerate disrespectful brats!

3

I have been told, and I agree, that I'd be an excellent parent ... but having kids has never been high on my priorities and I have usually been in relationships with very independent girls who don't want kids. Recently I've been with girls who have kids and it was brilliant so my preference would be to find a girl who has small kids that I could help raise.

3

I think I would be too selfish with my goals and time to raise a child. Plus I felt there were already plenty of people in the world and one of the biggest impacts I could have as an individual would be not to have another consumer from the US

2

From a young age, I wanted to rescue animals instead of have kids. 🙂 Here are a few reasons...

My mom had five kids and didn't seem to enjoy it much.

Overpopulation! I thought it was a major problem from the time I was a teenager.

My older sister is an idiot and a terrible mother. She had 4 kids by 3 different dads and screwed the poor kids up horribly. I'd rather be the cool aunt helping them out, than having my own. I also stay in contact with an ex boyfriend's daughter.

My "picker" was broken when I was younger, so I never found myself in a healthy relationship and didn't think it was right to bring kids up in an unstable environment or a broken home.

I have never regretted the decision.

2

I'm horrified by pregnancy and I like having money to travel and buy myself things. That being said I think I would be a very good mother ( I've taken care of my younger siblings and friend's children) and would have no problems being a mom to a partner's kids or adopting a child with a partner that wouldn't feel fulfilled unless they had one. That being said, I think I would be just as happy without having a child in my life as having one.

That first sentence, oh man I feel it.

2

I've never enjoyed being around children. I didn't like it whan I was a child. I was treated as small adult and that suited me very well. When I encountered children for the first time in elementary school, it was quite a shock and did not go well. Lol. I can interact passably with friends' children for very brief amounts of time. But I've let it be known that under no circumstances am I ever to be asked to keep any of them, i.e. "babysit" if they want them back intact. Lol.

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