Are Babies the Next Logical Step?

EAK Photography

I’ve never been particularly maternal. It’s not that I don’t like children, but in all honestly I wouldn’t ever choose to be in a room with a load of them. In fact at my parent’s Jubilee party which was frequented by rather a lot of screeching neighbourhood rugrats, I spent then entire time cowered in the corner staring at my lap/my glass of champagne/the dry sausage rolls and hoping none of them would try to talk to me. It’s ironic really, I’m pretty outgoing with adults, but anyone under 12 and I don’t know what to do. I guess I’m scared I’ll make them cry… or I’ll accidentally drop the f-bomb and scar them for life or something.

Sure, there are some kids I like, I have a few friends who are fantastic Mothers and have gorgeous children who are actually pretty fun to hang out with (they also find me fascinating which is quite hilarious. I’m pretty sure they think I’m actually a real life My Little Pony). But as nice as it is to be adored by these select few, it’s also really nice when they go to bed and we can have a drink and talk about things that don’t involve CBeebies’ characters. On the flipside I have had friends who have swiftly become ex-friends once they started popping out sprogs. I don’t know if that’s my fault…or theirs… or a combination of the two… but either way it’s happened.

Gareth and I were out to dinner the other night as we started chatting about children. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that he always said he wanted children, although recently he’s started to change his mind. As he’s got older and our life has got more comfortable, he’s ended up pretty happy with our little child-free set up. I wonder if he, like I, always assumed that we would have kids, because you know, that’s what married people do.

I’ve always been on the fence. I’m not saying no way not ever… but I’d be alright with it if we didn’t end up having them.

Lemons with a pea via Etsy

I love my life right now. I love this little family we’ve build for ourselves. I love our crazy kittens and our chaotic house (which, by the way, is just the right amount of chaos without little ones in it!) I love that we have money for date nights and holidays and the odd (OK in my case regular) shopping spree. I love that we can sleep late and stay out til all hours. I love that when we feel like it we can fob the whole day off and go for burgers.

I think one of the main worries I have (and this may make me sound selfish but I’m just being honest here!) is that I don’t want to become one of those Mothers. You know, the ones who are totally obsessed with their ‘little darlings’. The ones who change their facebook profile pictures to one of their kids and start their online bios with ‘Mother to two beautiful girls’. ARGH! I know what you’re thinking, “Oh I’m sure you won’t be like that, there are plenty of women out there who don’t do that.” And yes, yes there are, I’m friends with some of them… but jeez I know how obsessed I am with my cats!

So my big question to you is does all this make me a totally selfish person? Should we be worried if we don’t have a burning desire to procreate? Is someone who doesn’t have children somehow missing out? Will I regret our decision when we get older and the choice is out of our hands? What if Gareth dies before me and I’m left all alone?

So I ask you, dear reader, what are your thoughts on the whole shebang? Do you want kids? Have you felt pressure since getting engaged/married to start thinking about a family? Or did you have children before you were married? Do you feel pressure from friends or family to have children? If you don’t want children do you have any guilt about that fact?

224 comments

  1. Emma Medeiros

    Wow! I’m so incredibly glad that I stumbled onto this thread because I feel so connected to all of you.

    For the record, I love my niece, nephews, and cousins to pieces and I would gladly lay down my life for them.

    My husband and I have been married for over a year and constantly get “the question”. Oddly enough, it’s usually when we’re at a party for my massive family, surrounded by rug rats, and I think to myself, “I think we’re pretty well stocked!”

    Bottom line, unless you want to give birth to, pay for, and raise my child, stop lecturing me. If I called you selfish for HAVING children, you’d be horrified!

  2. I feel you! This is exactly how I feel:) My husband and I got married almost 8 years ago and we originally said we would have children, but the older we get the more we have ABSOLUTELY NO desire. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, but I do not want to be stuck with them 24 hours a day. I do not want to be needed by someone 24 hours a day…no one other than my husband. I love sleeping in until noon on weekends and going out as late as I want a travelling several times a year. if I had children that whole life would end…so believe me I feel you! Great article! i am sharing:)

  3. Nikki Ward

    Wow Kat this is such a spot on post. I have never wanted kids, I’m incredibly un-maternal and like you don’t really like spending much time with children … although I love my niece and nephew to bits. I’ve spent the last 5 years, as me and my partner have been together for 8, being pressurised from all sides as people feel its their right or duty to remind me that I’m fast running out of time to have children! I find other peoples attitude to those that don’t want or don’t have kids completely outdated and to be honest slightly offensive. What right do they have to comment on what I do with my body and life.
    However saying all that a small part of me, like you, does worry about the future and how my decision will affect me in my old age if either of us are left on our own with no family as company.

  4. Love this article Kat! I’ve been married for 5 years and was 36 when we got married. Before we were married we talked about maybe having children, but with my husband’s long term illness it made it a bit difficult. I have had so many friends (with kids) over the years tell me to have kids because “I don’t have much time left and I’m getting older”. I basically told them that we didn’t want kids, to which of course they looked at me in horror. I work full time, study part time and run a part time business, so where in that picture do kids fit??? Plus I would rather have a husband that is well, so kids are not an option. Plus over the years I really have decided that I don’t want kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love my nieces and nephews to the end of the earth, but I love that I can hand them back. I’m also into my 40′s now and the older I get, the less I want them. I’m really comfortable with the fact that I won’t have kids and don’t feel and ounce of regret or feel like I’m missing out. I get all the kiddie love I need from my nieces & nephews. And honestly… I just wish people would mind their own business – why is it so important to society that we all procreate? And why are those that choose not to branded as selfish and mean??? This is a great article and thanks for posting it. Love your work Kat xxxx

  5. Stu base

    God no!!! Having kids is so tough. I’m a stay at home dad. I love it but it’s what I always wanted. When they are good it is the best thing ever to be a parent but when one hasn’t slept all night, one is playing up on purpose, both are crying, the house is trashed, you’re broke……etc. that’s when even the most loving dedicated parent hides under the stairs for a bit. If you aren’t interested in enjoying the good times (playing and interacting with your child) the bad times will kick your ass.

  6. Gen

    I want kids, I know that. but right now at this present time I am very happy with my life, just me and hubby and just one black fur baby called baggy.
    So I’ll keep the question open in my mind, to be answered one day when I am ready and I know that I’m ready to share my life, husband and home with more little humans. and push it out my vjay-jay (geeez that’s the scariest part for me)

    So don’t have kids, that’s not selfish, but maybe don’t cut yourself off from EVER having babies. besides if you hit 40 and think hell I should have had a kid, then you can still have one, adoption, surrogate ect.

    Let your mind always be open to what may be, but always let your life be what you want and have chosen for it. because the world needs more people living the life they want and choose instead of what the world tells them they should.

    xoxo

  7. I feel endlessly sorry for newlyweds who barely just walked down the aisle and immediately get bombarded with (often well-meaning, but interfering) aunties and other miscellaneous family members about when they’re having children. I feel sorry for that couple because they do not even get a chance to enjoy their married life together because they are pressured from all angles to have a baby, whether they want it or not. It’s such a personal decision and I feel like people invade my privacy when they pester me about it… :/

    Of course, my boyfriend and I always get asked when we are getting married which is equally invasive to me, but I just brush it off these days depending on who asks haha! I know that if it’s one of our cousins or siblings who ask it’s just because they want a party, which is something I can agree on! (As a wedding photographer, my best part of weddings are the celebration!)

    And no, The Boyfriend and I do not want babies unless they have four feet and fur – we have too much work to do! :)

    Lovely article Kat, you are obviously my spirit animal! xxx

  8. Florrie Lambert

    It is lovely (and affirming) to see all the responses you have had to this piece. I have been married for 5 years, am 40 this year and in truth have only really thought about the way I am perceived recently, since I moved to Spain. In the UK my friends and family never questioned that we don’t have or want children, to my face anyway, and if it was discussed I mostly felt support in our decision, but here in Spain we are often pitied and further questioned about it! When we say we don’t want them, people just can’t understand, I’ve found this really tough as they do not give up! I assume it is because Spain is a deeply religious country, and our blatant refusal to conform is shocking, I don’t want to be pitied but am starting to think it would be easier to say we can’t have them, rather than we won’t have them. On the upside there are plenty of street cats need lovin’!

  9. I always have a gander at your blog posts each morning, a bit of a kick up the backside before I start some work here at home. This was great to read and I have friends in your position right now and I was in this position for a long time!!!
    Having a rare evening off for a sleep over at my friends she asked me “does having kids change your life”, I nearly fell off my chair (although I was pretty drunk). Yes! Of course it does.
    I’m glad now our ‘happy accident’ did happen as I actually enjoy being a mum despite feeling like you have no identity of your own sometimes. The problem is when you have one child the whole world begins to put pressure on you. They ask you constantly when are you going to have another and your then filled with a different kind of guilt.
    Its so frustrating that people have to comment on this, this day and age so many professional couples chose not to have kids. It certainly shouldn’t be frowned up on!

  10. Donna

    For gods sake if you don’t really,really want them, don’t have them, as soon as I was married that’s al I thought about, I had 4, probably overkill, but it’s done, it’s a lifebtime commitment, never think it’s not.
    Consider you might have a child that needs lifetime care,they are your responsibility FOREVER
    It is the scariest job you will ever do, so if you are not prepare for a lifetime commitment don’t do it !

  11. I have always been on the fence about whether or not to have children, and luckily my husband really doesn’t mind either way and is happy to take things as they come. I have never been particularly maternal, I feel at times rather awkward around other people’s children (even though they’re awesome kids) and don’t see having kids as the only important thing I could do while I live on this planet.

    I am now nearly thirty, been married 18 months and feel quite pressured to have kids or at least have a plan for them- it is very difficult to admit that really I don’t want any to friends who are new parents, as it feels like I am criticising their choice. I am not at all… the thing is, it’s exactly that, a choice.

    I do feel, sadly, that there are people who have children because in society that is what is expected, and we are made to feel we are missing out on some great rite of passage if we don’t take that choice. Occasionally I feel like I ought to just do it in case I regret not doing it when I’m no longer able- but actually that seems like the most selfish and ridiculous reason I ever heard for having kids!

    In any case, there is no guarantee that when you try to conceive it will be successful. Some people are just not destined to be parents, whether that is through biology or by choice. And painful though it can be (either to the couple themselves, or their relatives desperate for grandkids etc.), that is the way it is. And that’s ok.

  12. Laura

    You know what, I think it is selfish to have children. It could never be selfish to not have children, how could you be selfish when the child doesn’t exist? But the very choice to have children is a selfish one; because YOU want to. Because YOU want to see how cute they are, or you want them to look after you when your old. You certainly aren’t bringing them into this world because this is where they want to be/ what they want, as they don’t exist yet. This world is not easy for young people, it is already over populated, depression is common, kids are killing themselves because of bullying, jobs are few and low paid with the cost of living rising. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling to decide whether to have children or not, I’m hoping one day I’ll understand why ppl do have children … if someone could tell me an unselfish reason I’ll be happy to be proved wrong! For now I’ll stick to dogs.

  13. Rona

    Having a child changes your life completely, but for the better. Yes it is the hardest job in the world but also the most rewarding. I am the mother of a six month old. Watching him grow and learn each day is amazing. It is daunting to think that I am responsible for shaping the kind of person he will be. At the same token, I have faith in myself, my husband and in god that he will turn out to be a good and loving person. For those that do not want kids – it is totally a personal choice. But I do question those who say it is because they do not want to give up their lifestyle. Parenting is about self sacrifice, just as our own parents sacrificed for us. Having children does not always mean you lose your freedom or love of life. For me, it has given me the chance to become a kid again and live life through my little boy’s eyes. For me, having a child will give me a whole new set of experiences that I would. Not otherwise have had the opportunity to have. As for not being able to live the way you were before- isn’t that what grandparents and babysitters are for? Everybody needs a break and time for themselves. Only if you can take care of yourself will you be able to care for a child. I believe it is possible to have the best of two worlds.

  14. Laura Mitchell

    Ok, here’s what I think. You are always going to have doubts either way. So pick a team! There’s always going to be that part of you that will wonder “what if we choose the other option. That’s life, baby! Or maybe, no baby. But life’s full of choices.What you have to remember is to be true to yourself and don’t let anyone try to sway you.
    Me, I have three myself. And, yes, they are the loves of our lives, and, yes, we always wonder what life would be like without them.
    By the way, I really wrote this for my niece who seems to be on the fence.

  15. Frances

    Both me and my husband come from big families, as did our parents, and despite being surrounded by all the negatives that people associate with families (being poor, stressed, over tired, everything must be done as a family) I wouldn’t dream of a life without children. There are a few reasons for this. You can experience a lot of great things in life, but success in the work world does not make up for the rewards of having children. Even with ‘big” families, (four children on my husbands side, five on mine) our parents have still had rewarding lives outside of their kids, working, traveling, community involvement etc. Second I work in a profession that interacts a lot with those in their golden years (70+) and those who have lovingly raised children are significantly happier, live longer, and are better taken care of. As for personal experience, in raising our first child it is by far the most amazing thing me and my husband have ever done, wouldn’t trade it for any amount of money or prestige in the world.

  16. Amazing Article!! – Right on point! I’ve been married for 11 yrs (age 33) & there does seem to be this nagging from society that puts expectations on us to have children.

    Nice to hear some of the comments on the flip side of staying child free: the chill time, lie-ins, eating out when you want to, having money to do what you want, holidays, & general freedom. All of the things I love about being child free.

    Those with children would say these are un-fulfilling reasons. But how often do we hear the moans from those with children of “we have no money”, “we can’t get a sitter”, “we can’t afford this or that” along with other comments such as “you don’t have time for hair or make-up when you have kids, or nice clothes” Who says?? That is the choice they make when they choose to have children, the choice which i think often results in them losing themselves! I am making, the choice to not lose myself or the life i have made & love & i won’t feel bad for that decision xxxx

  17. Rebecca

    How can anyone seriously be offended by such a simple question? If your sick of people asking, give them a straight answer! It’s a natural thing to ask because it’s a natural thing to do, doesn’t mean you have to. I’m actually one of “those” mothers as you put it. Just because someone has pictures of their child on Facebook or adores their child (as 99% of mothers do) does not make them obsessive and it certainly shouldn’t be a factor in your decision to procreate! Being a mother is a lifestyle. (The best lifestyle I could choose for myself.) some people just aren’t meant to have kids, everyone knows this. so if someone asks just tell them instead of creating a rather pointless page like this!

  18. You have cats. That’s not selfish. There a living being too. Just as me and my fiancé have a dog and we spoil her rotten even though she may weigh as much as I do. I am on the fence about kiddies, but know that it most likely will happen sometime. I just hope I love them as much as the dog!

  19. This article could literally have been written by me.
    I have friends with children who I get on with but to the extent that I can handle them when their parents are in the room. I have no natural way with children and tbh it’s something that makes me feel like a freak sometimes when you see how easily other girls seem to take to handling other people’s kids.

    I think it is offensive to assume that as a couple we should want children. I love my life. I run a business, I play dangerous sports, I drive old cars, I go on holiday whenever I can afford it and I love late nights and long lies when I can get them. Hell, I even LOVE MY BODY.
    That doesn’t make me a selfish person. That makes me the least selfish person I know because instead of bringing a child into this world and resenting having to give up the things I once loved, I have made the decision to keep doing them and not make myself miserable. That makes me happy, my boyfriend is happy and my dog and horses are happy that they get my attention ^_^

  20. Maurizio Uberti

    …. è anche vero che poi i bambini diventano adulti, e se nessuno si prende il compito di allevare i figli il mondo finisce. E’ vero che sono impegnativi, petulanti e casinisti, ma a volte anche i figli sono una cosa piacevole, danno piccole soddisfazioni e contribuiscono a rendere piacevole la giornata. Io non direi mai, magari più tardi, ma un figlio o due è positivo averli.

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