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Why I Am Content to Remain Childless

glad-to-be-childless

I didn't make a conscious decision to be childless or to have children from Day 1. People expect university educated women to delay marriage and parenthood to a certain degree. So when I was still unmarried and childless in my thirties, family and friends would naturally question my unfortunate situation.

I suppose you could say I didn’t see myself in the role of a mother. When I was dating I stayed away from guys who I knew were eager to start a family — I didn’t have a strong maternal urge, and I was a little scared of the thought. When I fell in love with a guy who was open to having children and it was clear that I couldn't get pregnant, I broke off the relationship. Eventually I found a husband who didn't mind having or not having children — it seemed like the best fit for me.

However I am surrounded by friends who are parents so I have had my doubts over the years as to whether I made the right choice. I could have considered adoption if I was serious about raising a child. Now in my 50s I'm finally at peace with my child free way of life.

Support

The main reason why I'm thankful for not having children is I currently have no extended family. I was adopted and both my parents are deceased. I have step siblings but since we did not grow up together so we are not close. I therefore did not have the expectation or emotional support from family to have children.

My husband also has a complicated family. He was raised by his maternal grandparents who legally became his foster parents. Over the years he has distanced himself from his siblings. He is not very close to his cousins who he grew up with.

So our children would not be surrounded by family when growing up which could be tough for them.

Finance

Lack of finance is an obvious reason for not having children.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2015 through the age of 17, the cost of rearing a child has hit $233,610. The cost is probably similar in other developed countries.

Since we did not prepare ourselves financially to raise a child I am glad I have no dependents. Most likely it would've been a huge strain on us, and an unfair life for the child.

Health

We are not functionally stable and well enough to be the parents we would want to be. My husband has a gambling addiction. Almost everyone in his family seem to struggle with an addiction -- alcohol and/or gambling addiction. I am no stranger to these problems. My mother and her family had addiction issues too. So because we are both children of addicts, we are relieved that we could “break the cycle”.

Raising children can be stressful for some women. It is difficult to predict how much or how little stress a woman will experience during motherhood. Quite a few mothers who have the means and proper social support regret the role of motherhood much to their surprise. I am grateful I am not full of regret.

Environmental Issues

This is still a controversial topic but it is believed that human population growth is a contributing factor to a number of significant environmental problems such as ecological degradation and climate change.

« Thousands of scientists have repeated calls for urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, warning that several tipping points are now imminent.

The researchers, part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, said in an article published in the journal BioScience on July 28, 2021 that governments had consistently failed to address “the overexploitation of the Earth”, which they described as the root cause of the crisis.

“We need to stop treating the climate emergency as a stand-alone issue – global heating is not the sole symptom of our stressed Earth system,” said William Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry.

“Policies to combat the climate crisis or any other symptoms should address their root cause: human overexploitation of the planet,” Ripple said. »

Read more https://www.newsweek.com/thousands-scientists-around-world-united-declare-climate-emergency-1469822

Scientists determined that the world will not be livable for our children and future generations.

« A growing number of people are opting out of bringing humans into a so-called “doomed world” because of climate change, and it seems that some of their fears may be scientifically valid.

But what, exactly, do tomorrow’s children face? Over the last year, a group of over 100 engineers, doctors, climatologists, and energy experts from 35 global institutions worked to find out as part of the annual Climate Countdown report, published each year by the journal The Lancet.

Spoiler alert: the future is bleak.

Children born today will be sicker and die younger under the grip of climate change, according to the 2019 report.

Climate change shapes children’s health at every stage of development, from the womb to the grave. A baby born on this day, November 13, 2019, faces two futures, Watts says. If international powers meet the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, in the future, the air may be cleaner, cities healthier, and resiliency against natural disasters higher. But if not, that child’s future may be marked by food insecurity, increased exposure to infectious disease and air pollution, and greater vulnerability to natural disasters. »

Read more https://www.inverse.com/article/60926-what-is-the-future-of-children-s-health-with-climate-change

The argument for population decline is becoming stronger.

« Gently declining birth rates are nothing to worry about. Rich countries in Europe and Asia have faced these trends for decades without a drop in living standards. Immigration from poorer countries has, no doubt, helped but so has rising productivity, encouraging more women to work. Fewer children lowers dependency rates too, offsetting some of the increase in old-age spending; less needs to be spent on education even if more is spent on pensions and healthcare. »

Read more https://www.ft.com/content/a5b0a0d1-943a-44f8-be5d-b3d3fc458008

glad-to-be-childless

Summary

Most importantly I am blessed to be able to remain childless in a society in which I am free to make a choice.

I hope these sincere thoughts from a childless woman has been insightful to you. It may not be the typical point of view of a childless person but it is a valid one.

Perhaps when you meet someone who does not have children and wonder why, you can have a more thoughtful conversation with them.

If you are childless and feel conflicted, please remember someone out there understands.

Further Reading

Here's Why Couples Without Kids Are Stigmatized https://www.livescience.com/58094-child-free-parents-moral-outrage.html

Why childless people are persecuted https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/why-childless-people-are-persecuted/article12005541/

Childfree Is A Legitimate Choice https://medium.com/the-nib/childfree-is-a-legitimate-choice-15de9037b7dd

11 things I wish you knew about my child-free marriage https://www.today.com/series/things-i-wish-i-knew/child-free-marriage-11-things-i-want-you-know-t112788

Are there too many people? All bets are off https://classybuzz.com/are-there-too-many-people-all-bets-are-off-population/

Why birth rates are falling, and why it’s no big deal https://www.popsci.com/science/birth-rates-falling-worldwide/

Comments

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 05, 2018:

Thanks for sharing. So glad that you are at peace about your situation. Someone will be comforted by reading this.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on April 04, 2018:

"I didn't make a conscious decision to be childless." and "Eventually I found a husband who supported me in (my choice) to being child free." seem to be contradictory sentences.

Nevertheless I am in total agreement with choosing to be childless. One of the best investments I ever made was in getting a vasectomy. People who don't want children should not have them.

Not only does it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to properly raise a child there's also the possibility that your child could be born with "special needs", become a drug/alcohol addict, indulge in criminal behavior, or have children of their own while still being teenagers!

I don't think it's possible for two people making the same income where one has children and the other doesn't that the one with children wouldn't have more "stress" and "drama" in their life!

Some people claim those who don't have children are "selfish".

However if someone wants children and has them how can that be any less selfish than me living my life (the way I want)???

We both got what (we) wanted! Life is a (personal) journey!

Last but least not having children is the "ultimate (green) choice".

According to Ecoclean: "Each of us will send {64 tons} of waste to landfills over our lifetime." Childless people are great for the environment! It's one the most (selfless) choices one can make.

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on April 02, 2018:

This is an excellent synopsis. At least you have made a mature, thoughtful decision as the reason why you are childfree. There are so many people have thoughtless have children. Most people who have children do so because of familial, societal, & religious pressure. They subconsciously never wanted children. There are people who have children who mistreat & otherwise abuse them.

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