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?

257 comments

  1. It’s not selfish. If you don’t want kids that’s completely your choice. If you change your mind one day then by all means procreate, but don’t have kids you don’t want because you feel pressure from society. The selfish thing would be bringing babies you don’t want into the world and you’re not prepared to do that.

    Also it’s been said before but the world is overpopulated. Having kids (and let me be really clear here, this isn’t an insult, I plan to have kids) is an inherently selfish thing. We’re not doing it for the good of humanity or to bring life into the world, we’re doing it because we want families. There’s nothing wrong with this AT ALL but it’s not altruistic, it’s born (excuse the pun) from human desire etc.

    If you and Gareth are happy with your life together, if you’re confident you won’t regret your decision and if you’re comfortable just not being a kids person, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    And if one day you change your mind there’s nothing wrong with that either. xxx

  2. Teacup

    I’m not married (don’t want to) and don’t have kids (don’t want them!) and yes I still read your blog! This post has struck a considerable chord with me.

    When my other half and I started going out we had the kids and marriage conversation pretty quickly. I was getting older and looking to settle down – having kids (or not) is something that is very difficult to compromise on so it made sense to be perfectly honest where we stood on those issues from the start. Thankfully we both shared the same views.

    9 years on people have just about stopped asking us about when we’re getting married and having kids. The message seems to have eventually sunk in and that they are beating a dead horse. They know we’re never at home – the 6 music festivals and several holidays a year along with a massively hectic social life demonstrates that we are happy with our life the way it is and we don’t feel we’re missing out on anything.

    I know several childfree married couples (6 at least) who are also similarly happy with their lot and have no intention of changing it. One friend commented that the most radical thing you could be nowadays was a married couple who were confirmed child free and I think she had a point! Some people really seem to have a hard time understanding why you would bother to get married if you’re not going to have children. It doesn’t help that (religious) marriage ceremonies can be ever so slightly biased towards procreation in the language that’s used.

    And don’t even get me started on the debate surrounding gay marriage – if I hear one more religious representative saying that marriage is for the procreation of children I seriously will lose my temper! That’s not a valid point and belittles the marriage status of thousands of child free married couples! Marriage is an option for couples who love each other regardless of sex, race, religion or presence of children!

  3. JoJo

    After us having lunch the other day… I’ve been thinking about this a lot…

    I know women from both sides. My aunt is 40, has a long-term boyfriend and has no interest in having children. She loves her life, has an amazing group of friends and gets to treat herself with two holidays a year and nice handbags (which makes me a little jealous!).

    One of my closest friends (who is 27) has just had a little girl. She came round the other day and was lovely to spend time with her. The best thing is that even though she’s had a baby… she hasn’t changed a bit! She doesn’t constantly talk about Bella, we have a good old goss!

    I really don’t think it makes you selfish, you just know what you want. It’d be worse if you had kids because you felt the pressure to and regretted it… unfortunately you can’t return them once you’ve got them! xxx

  4. Kiki

    Sorry. I didn’t realise that ‘discussion’ meant ‘only comment if you agree with the post’.

    Noted!

  5. Lady Simmons

    Dear Kat, your’ not selfish at all.
    Some years ago, our parents before us, and all the people decided to have children just because they “had to”.
    Today it’s a precise choice. To me you should have children only if you (and your soulmate) wish to. No other reason needed.
    I’m 41 and never needed so much to have children, even if I’ve a stable and very happy relationship. Never sw it as a goal, while parents and friend do a lot of pressure about that.
    But, you know, I live in Italy and people are totally children oriented because of the Vatican… I don’t discuss the thig, I discuss my freedon to have a choice.
    Only that.
    Be happy with your Gareth and stop feeling guilty or selfish.
    Thank you for this post.

  6. Lucy

    Love this post … My name is Lucy AND I DON’T WANT TO BE A MOTHER .. EVER. Similarly to you we are really happy with our 2 plus 2 kittens set up. Both of us don’t want children. They don’t fit into our life and they don’t fit into our personalities. The part of your blog post that really rung true to me is the “ex-friend” syndrome – several very good friends have literally disolved into a world of baby sensory, baby speech baby blah blah blah .. and don’t even get me to the C-Beebies related Facebook status .. they have gone into some weird club where frankly I don’t feel welcome .. and probably I’m not! It DOES worry me about being old and lonely .. but that is NOT a reason to procreate. I would be selfish TO have children I would resent when I can’t have my travels and my new shoes. Sorry to all those who think I am going to be the selfish one for saying that but the nicest thing about being a woman in 2012 is that you DO have a choice and we have made ours …

  7. KD

    We are selfish creatures by nature, it doesn’t mean we’re bad people! Anybody who would judge you over your decision to have or not have kids is not worth having in your life.

    You should do what is right for you and your partner, every couple is different. I firmly believe that if you are honest with yourselves you will make the right decision. You know what, if you ever did regret the decision later on when you ‘can’t’ have children any more, there is a solution:

    Adopt or foster a baby or child! Or even several! I know many mothers will say that its not the same… but can you imagine the feeling of giving a disadvantaged child a safe and healthy start to life? In an orphanage they might never have had the love and care that you can give them.

    So I would urge any couples who are tempted to have kids before its ‘too late’, without being 100% sure that its what they want/is best for them, WAIT! You can decide later and still get to play happy families! x

  8. steffi

    Hmm kiki I think there is a difference between disagreeing with the opinion expressed in a post and disagreeing with the point of the post as a whole. your comment implied the latter (in which case why read this post) but perhaps you meant the former? x

  9. anon

    I’m probably going to throw a bit of a spanner in the works now. I fell pregnant (by accident) 5 years ago – at the time I was dating a guy basically for a bit of fun, I knew we would not stay together forever or ever get married/live together etc.

    At the time I felt torn because I felt like it really wasn’t time for children, and obviously I felt like I didn’t have a partner to raise this child, but I’d always had hormonal issues that meant I was technically infertile: my doctor was as surprised as I was when it turned out I was pregnant! So I felt like if I didn’t take the chance to have a baby then, I may never have chance for another and was scared I would regret it.

    I felt a lot of peer pressure to have the baby (all my friends had their own children) and although I was the same as Kat, always nervous around kids, I decided I couldn’t pass up the chance. Even though I was going to be a single mother, my friends encouraged me by saying it really wasn’t that difficult, the first couple of years would be the worst for sleepless nights etc, but once that was done with you’d have a little friend for life, and once they were at school you could get your social life and career back on track.

    I had a little girl in May 2007 and I fell head over heels for her! She was a gorgeous baby, really well behaved and I though how awful I had been not to want her in the first place. But as time went on, it became apparent that something was not quite right. She did not develop the way my friend’s children had done, she crawled and walked very late and as she got older the differences became more pronounced. At 3 years old she was diagnosed with severe autism.

    My little girl is now 5 years old, and she cannot speak or communicate. She cannot understand what other people say at all, she is still in nappies and teaching her anything is near impossible. She is very much locked in her own little world – she has no imaginative play, so cannot be entertained by any toys, puzzles, TV, crayons etc. There is no cure for autism, her problems will remain life long.

    I’m not going to lie: life is very, very hard. I still have the same sleepless nights and complete lack of social life and career that I had when she was a tiny baby. I love her incredibly, I’d never be without her and if I could turn back time I’d have her all over again – what I wanted to show with this comment is that people always question if they should or shouldn’t have children, without thinking what would happen if the child was disabled in some way. It seems to always be taken for granted that said children will be perfectly healthy.

    When other younger friends of mine talk about how they would love a baby, I tell them to consider the matter very carefully. Like VERY carefully. I don’t think there is any shame in deciding parenting is not for you, I do not think it is selfish at all. It is a tough job, made even tougher when your child isn’t 100% healthy. Not everyone could do a high pressure demanding job: why do people think that every married couple should be parents? If you think a child free life is best for you both, then go for it! x

  10. Post author

    not at all Kiki. there are comments from both sides, both agreeing and disagreeing with my opinion and of course thats fine. your comment was mearly saying that you dont want to join in with the discussion…which is fine..so erm… dont.

  11. Kiki

    It wasn’t saying that at all.

    I said that I don’t care whether or not people want to have children, but that it seems that a lot of people who choose not to get very defensive about their choice. And it seems I was right.

    But ok. It’s your blog. Good luck with it.

  12. Being pregnant and having a 14 month old I am exhausted and feel nothing but envy reading about your lay ins and trips to Nando’s!

    I am self confessed crazy cat lady turned obsessed with my child, like you mention above, I didn’t mean it to happen but my baby makes my heart sing louder than it ever has before (come on, have you seen him? Gush!) and although I don’t allow my motherhood to define me as a woman I do absolutely cherish the fact I have been lucky enough to be this boys mummy. It’s all about balance. There’s more to me than baby groups and talking about poo! Great post Kat x

  13. Ashley

    It’s not selfish at all, you are very sensible to put so much thought into how you would feel to be a parent. It is not easy and whilst yes it can be rewarding it can also be extremely stressful, particularly if you enjoy you’re freedom.

    In my case I became a full time “parent” when my partners little boy was placed in our care unexpectedly. As I was still in two minds about parenthood myself and whether I was willing to give up my life for a child this was a very nasty shock and the road ahead was very long. I only wish I had had time to consider how I felt about the situation before diving straight into what I considered a nightmare.

    Of course your situation would not be like mine and therefore my opinion may be slightly biased so please dont let me put you off parenthood because it really can be wonderful. I just wanted to let you know that I felt the same way once and by becoming a full time parent before i’d dealt with those feelings I found it very difficult to come to terms with losing my freedom and money!

  14. What a great article. I come from a big family & absolutely love kids. I have always known that I wanted to be a mum. Well until 2 years ago.

    I got married to my amazing husband 4 years ago. That same year all our friends started having kids, so of course I was jealous & thinking that was the next step in our lives. I was in a pretty crappy job at the time & saw pregnancy & motherhood as my way out. Well we fell pregnant 2 years ago twice actually! but unfortunately lost both at around 6 weeks. Needless to say it turned everything on it’s head. We couldn’t understand why we were that couple. The constant questions from everyone all the time of why we weren’t pregnant yet & when were we going to have kids. It was tough seeing everyone with theirs & the bond they had etc, for a while I hated seeing anyone with kids & lost all maternal instinct. No one ever really tells you the bad stuff with pregnancy & parenthood

    I have since started my business & realised that being a Mother is not all I am meant to be in life. Life is what you chose to make of it, it’s not from a template. I think the world & society to a point is moving on so much more now. I know so many couples who both have to work full time to be able to afford kids, I don’t get it! Please don’t get me wrong I still love kids & have a few amazing ones in my life, but I see how people have to divide up their time so much & the restrictions (maybe not the right word) people have. Personally I can think of nothing worse then having to go on Holidays in the school term :) not to mention the school run!

    We got a puppy & I love her to pieces, would fill the house with them if I could but even dogs have their restrictions to what you can & can’t do. I am slowly starting to feel maybe it’s time, but then I am so busy with work & so proud of what I have built, that I don’t know if I could split my time. I know that may make me selfish but hey, my body my feelings.

    Sorry I seem to have gone off on a tangent, basically great post & don’t let society bully you into what you may not be ready for.

    Ruth

  15. Elra Desmond

    The day I decided not to have kids completely changed my life. All of a sudden, I felt relaxed about everything else. I don’t need to get married within the next ten years because I’m under no pressure from my biological clock. If marriage doesn’t happen until my 40s or 50s, that’s fine. Like you Kat, I’m not saying never, because I know how fickle I am and how much I change my mind. If I meet the right person, I may want kids with him. But I am quite alright with the idea of having none as well. There’s a book called ‘Childfree and Loving It’ by Nicki Defago – I highly recommend it.

  16. Cherry Blossom

    I think it is more selfish to have children for the wrong reasons. I am nearly 28, and surrounded by friends and family who are having babies. I love babies, and one day think I will have them- but not yet. Even though I constantly get asked “when are YOU going to have a baby?” I still feel too young! It has changed the relationships between me and some close friends who have had children- but I don’t resent them for putting up constant photographs of their lovely little ones. What I don’t like though is when people have children to feel a ‘gap’ in their lives. This is not what I want to do & want to live my life and especially my 20’s for me at the moment! P.s When asked if I have children I reply “Two-Dusty & Dolly………my dogs” x

  17. Had my first child at 35, and even then I wasn’t ‘ready’ – never wanted them and still don’t like other people’s kids much. I asked my mum years ago if having kids was as good as having cats.
    But its a clever trick of evolution that when you produce a human being from your joint gene pool, it will be loved and nurtured. And to see them inherit your ways and mannerisms is fantastic.

    Also – Christmas and more importantly Halloween are MUCH more fun when you have a child :)

    And of course it would be rude not to take him to Disneyworld when he’s older :)

  18. RachyLou

    The bottom line is: It is ok to not want children! It’s another example of how evolutionary ‘norms’ need not always apply in this day and age.

    I got married last month, having always known that I want children (as does my partner; he’s probably the broodiest man I have ever known!) and now it’s a question of when, not if. I have grown up always knowing the thing I would be best at is being a mum. Careers have never interested me (despite trying really hard to WANT it) and I know that nothing will fulfill that need that I have apart from becoming a mum. I have actually always found pressure from people trying to persuade me to get a decent career and consequently belittling me for not being ‘ambitious enough’ when it comes to careers, and being ‘only’ a mum isn’t enough. Well, it’s enough for me!
    However, just as much as I know I DO want children, there is someone out there who will know equally as strongly that they DON’T. Everything has it’s opposite.

    Like most things in life, it’s society that makes this issue so difficult and going against the grain is always going to be hard. As Rock n Roll Bride stands for being true to yourself when it comes to weddings, the same logic can be applied to life decisions!

    I want to agree with someone that said above about finding it strange that people have a problem with women ‘changing’ once they become mums. How can you not change?! Aside from the changes within your lifestyle, YOUR BRAIN CHEMISTRY PHYSICALLY CHANGES once you become a mother. Its a biological fact, enabling us to become so wrapped up in our offspring that we protect them, therefore continuing the species. Having said that, I do find the ‘my little angel’ Facebook statuses etc nauseating and unnecessary! xo

  19. Alice- Rose

    Peoples views are valid either way, I desperatley want kids- thats my choice. I have several friends who I love just as much and always will love, who have decieded under no circumstances do they want the small squeaky variety of humans. Its personal choice.
    My friends still mix ( the sprogged & unsprogged) and we still have a bloody good time. I love my other husband ( sorry was about to say boyf) too bits but I would have put kids over marraige ( again my choice) one reason we got married was so we could all have the same surname. If I was good enough to carry the babies they were having my name!!!
    We are so modern in so mnay ways that people still looking down on people who dont want that type of family is outdated and a bit sad. Family should mean a caring place with love for everyone no matterwho or what it is. My family consists of horses, chooks, cats, rabbits, Husband etc etc….
    We are also contemplating the adoption route if we cant have a baby naturally, as cliched and cheesy as it sounds Love is the answer xxx

  20. this made me grin hahah …i have yet to discover motherhood yet..very soon…being 29wks preggo now…and incredibly excited…and i maybe one of those mothers who change their facebook profile pictures to one of their kids hahah

    and hey, i agree to most of what the others are saying here…there’s nothing wrong with ur decision at all…as long as you’re happy and content now…and if u ever change ur minds in the future…il be one of those who’ll cheer up d same way for yah! :) xxx

  21. I’m in a weird place with this one.
    I’m happy as we are (and we just got a cat!) but I know one day i’d like kids. They scare me, but they seem to like me.
    I just turned 33, so the ‘tick-tock’ commments are coming from all angles. Massive grrrr.
    But, I do want them one day. Will I leave it too late?
    Basically, I don’t feel old enough to have them yet. My only reason at the moment would be to get access to death slides, playgrounds and other places where you have to be under 12, or the accompanying adult.

    What to do, what to do….

  22. Love this article.
    It’s very difficult to explain to someone that you’re not having children (I still haven’t plucked up the courage to tell my Mum and I’m 31!)
    I do worry that I’ll be old and alone, but then a lot of people I know see their parents infrequently because they live abroad, have a bad relationship, big careers etc etc. It’s up to me not to be lonely, not any children I choose to have.
    I choose not to have children because I don’t trust myself to do a good job as I don’t want it badly enough to put my all into it. I see that as being very UN-selfish.

  23. Bride123

    Great post! I love reading all the comments about women’s (and some men’s!) experiences and opinions about having children..or not.

    What bothers me, is the stimga attached to women who don’t want to have kids, that they are ‘selfish’ and for some reason are going to regret it later on in life. No this is not selfish at all. It’s about doing what’s right for you and as a couple. I always believe that it is far MORE selfish to have kids because you don’t want to be old and lonely or everyone of your friends is too. And the whole ‘regretting’ thing? Well, who goes through life with no regrets??

    By the way, I do want children lol I just re-read my post and realised I hadn’t actually made that bit clear. I plan to in a few years time, after I’ve done a bit more travelling, partying, shopping and unnecessary spending on myself! That’s not to say I won’t be doing this when I have kids, just a little bit less!;-)
    x

  24. As a women edging closer to 40 with no children and no plans to have children, I think that you can have an equally satisfying life with or without children, motherhood does not define women as women and just because you have ovaries does not mean you have to use them :-) Some of us choose not to have children, and we are ok with that. I took the batteries out of my biological clock sometime ago, for me its a choice but I do feel for those you want children but cannot by design or circumstance, well then that’s a choice-less choice.

    The hardest thing is not being at peace with your choice, its getting others to be at peace with it.

    Poeple tell me all the time I would be a great mum, but I happy being a great non mum.

  25. ZombieDoris

    Thank you for someone coming forward and having the balls to openly say “Just because I’m married/in a relationship and don’t have kids/want kids (but several cats) doesn’t make me a freak!”

    I’ve been with my BF for 11 years now and am constantly being asked by friends and family when will I be popping out small people. Don’t get me wrong I like kids, if I have one fine but am not yet at the stage where I weep at night over my declining egg count. I have two cats who bring me as much joy as my niece brings my sister. Yes, I may end up being a crazy cat woman but that will be my choice. The one saving grace I have had is an older sister who has had one (with one due soon) which has meant the Mothership can focus all her grandma attention on them (although my cats do get treated as her furry grandbabies).

    As someone else mentioned we already live in an overpopulated world with many children living in foster care etc. If I don’t have children then maybe I will consider giving a child in need a family life (obv filled with many many cats). But until that day I will continue to love my life filled with late Friday nights watching films, lazy saturday mornings, spending money on ridiculous shoes I will only wear once and visiting countries/places I want to see. If that make me selfish, then so what – MY UTERUS IS MINE GET OVER IT!

  26. About six years ago my (now) hubby and I got a little bit of a surprise. Went to the Dr for a routine examination and mentioned to the nurse that my period was late. Did a test which came back negative. 6 weeks later and still no period. Did a home test and guess what? Came back positive! It turns out that the tests they do at the doctors are less sensitive than those you can get from boots and because I was only a couple of weeks gone it didn’t pick it up.

    We’d both said that we wanted children, we just weren’t ready for them yet. We were living with his parents while we saved for a house and were happy having the spare money to be able to do whatever we wanted, to go away whenever we liked. We ummed and ahhed about it for a while but in the end decided that we’d keep the baby. If we waited for the ‘right’ time then that time might never come and that sometimes you just have to make the best of what life gives you.

    Do we regret the decision? No, we have a beautiful almost 5 year old who we both adore. Has it changed our lives? Yes, we can’t have the holidays we’d like, can’t buy the latest gadgets and part of me wishes that we could have lived together just the two of us for a while before having him. Would we have another one? Hell no! Our little house is just the right size for us, hubby’s parents are close enough that they can take care of him when we need them too, which I doubt they’d be able to if they were looking after a five year old and a baby. We like having a son but we also like our freedom – is that selfish? Yes, probably. Do we care? Not really. At the moment we can afford for me to be a stay at home mum, if we had another one then I’d have to go out to work. And given that I’d be in a fairly low paid job I’d basically be working to pay for childcare which just seems pointless to me. Added to that the fact that our son has just been diagnosed with high functioning autism which happens to be a genetic disorder and our ‘we probably won’t have another child’ goes to ‘we definately won’t.’

    For me there’s nothing more selfish than bringing a child into the world if you’re not sure you want one. To actually have the courage to say ‘no, we’re happy as we are’ is admirable. And if in a few years time you change your mind and have problems then there’s always the possibility of adoption or IVF.

  27. Mum of two beautiful girls writes ;)

    I’m completely indifferent to other people and their choices about having children. I don’t care if you want to have kids or if you don’t want to have kids. I find it more irritating reading constant updates about being out on the lash or constantly moaning about work.

    I think respect goes both ways, and while I completely get that other women don’t want to have kids, I think its only right to respect that other people want to be one of ‘those mothers’. Actually, what does it mean to be one of those mothers? I don’t go on and on about my children, sometimes it feels like mothers have to walk on eggshells, fearing that a person might be annoyed at the fact that I take care of other human beings that are a big part of my life and my heart? Whilst contantly uploading photos of yourself is just normal facebook activity.

    Really, if I’ve added you as a friend on facebook you KNOW how I look so what does it matter that my two year olds on it?

  28. Kat,
    I only got about half way down reading the replies (now I’ll give you this, that is a pitfall of having little ones, I find it very hard to read full blog posts or their replies, and don’t even get me started on my lack of ability to keep my train of thought going in one direction!) So I don’t know whether all this will make sense as more may of been said further on .. or the discussion may of changed slightly? But here is my take on it and my thoughts on the questions you asked in your original blog post …
    I will preface this by saying I am most definitely one of those facebook addicts constantly updating status’s of my children and what chaos they have created in my day, be it wonderful or the hair pulling kind. However, then again I get a fair old lot of ranting, work chat, and links to general randomness and loveliness in there as well so … it’s not all fairy cakes and poo talk ;) As a photographer (reason I am a follower of your blog) of all these little beauties I do get to see a lot of pregnant ladies, families, babies, and little kiddies in their masses and myself and my husband also have four children. Putting it bluntly, I love being pregnant, having kids, and am as obsessed with them as it seems you say you are with your cats ;) However I don’t bake (unless it is those pre-mixed cheat packs!), my kids are late to school on far too many occasions, and I still find the joy in going out for the evening, having holidays with my husband without the kids, and decorating the house in ways that are completely rediculous with young children in the house.

    But, I wanted to answer your questions (from what I read seems the opposite side to a lot of people here) …
    Quite simply, no, it is not a selfish thing to not feel the desire to bring a child into the world (whether that is yet, or ever).
    Do I think you are missing out. Hell yes ! But that’s not to say you are wrong not to have children, it is also not to say YOU are missing out on not having children, just that I feel you would/could be, which is a very different thing. How could one person say what is in anothers heart, or how something would effect them, we can’t we can only speculate. Do I think you are potentially missing out by not having a little person smothering you in cuddles and kisses and holding your hand and filling up your very soul with joy so it feels it could burst, well yeah ;) Then again who is to say, those hands may be sticky, you may be wearing one of those gorgeous dresses trying to rush out the door and then it may not be so great lol
    Then, on the other side of the coin, a lot would say I am missing out. I don’t get to go out anywhere near as much as my friends who only have one or two children, and as for my child free days of going off for a walk when I wanted or going for a meal and being able to hold a conversation without it being interrupted I scarcely remember it. But for me, it was a sacrifice I wanted to make. That I would never, and could never regret. I have gained what I lost times an infinite number.
    Posters above say having children is a selfish decision, and I do agree in a way as it was us who *wanted* these children, but the selfishness ends there. I do not make a single decision without thinking of them first, they *get* first (that’s not to say I don’t own my own fair share of luxuries though you can never give up a nice pair of shoes even after kids!), my everyday is ran by thoughts of would they like this, will this be good for them, should I do this for them etc etc. BUT it is if there is balance in there that it works, is not the key to everything? If you get this balance right surely we should be able to do all the things that make us happy, and them, and keep us all fulfilled? We take our children to do things that we enjoy, like galleries and museums and they now love them too, but we still take them to parks and swimming pools, and we love those too! We are going on holiday to Italy travelling for a few weeks in the summer, we are going in the camper so they get to camp, we get to show them wonderful places, see wonderful things, and they get to fill themselves with spagetti and ice cream … balance perfection :)
    As for your other questions … will you regret it? Do you think you possibly could? Maybe that is your answer, I don’t know? Of course you may. Then again you may look back on your wonderful, full up life, with laughter and fond memories and not wonder at all. What if Gareth dies before you …. I will promise you now even if you have children I don’t “think” even they are going comfort you when that happens !!!

    Am going to email you a couple of my blog posts on the subject … just didn’t want to do it here and be plugging ;)

    and that my lovely is my thoughts on the matter … fantabulous blog btw well done you ! lol :)
    Bekkie. xoxo

  29. Kelly

    What I love about this post and the inevitable discussions that come from it is that it brings about feelings and opinions you’ve never thought about and had the opportunity to consider.

    I got married a mere three weeks ago and both my new hubby and I are are super keen to start a family however we have been together 8 years and are in our thirties so we have discussed it a lot before now. We do however have a lot of friends who are not interested in babies and that’s absolutely fine, we do recognise that we’ll have to limit the discussions about baby stuff eg like your C-beebies example but to me thats no different than not geeking out about films or the choir that i’m in to people who are not into that either.

    I do want to stand up for the parents though (and my future self included) because I have the opposite problem from Lucy where I feel a bit like i’m excluded from the ‘cool’ club because i’m married (and even when I was engaged) I want to be a mum and therefore may not get invited out for cocktails etc.. granted i probably do go to more garden centres now than nightclubs but I still think i’m pretty cool and fun to be around.

    I come from a small town and a fairly traditional family and so not wanting kids was completely foreign to me once upon a time only because I had never experienced the opposite, obviously now I couldn’t be happier for friends who have made this descision for themselves as it is clear its the perfect one for them. I truly believe we are lucky to live in a time so open to change and where most people are open to be challenged and take on board new ideas and opinions. I think what i’m trying to say (and yes I will stop gabbling on!) which seems to be the general opinion that everyone is entitled to their own lives and shouldn’t feel bad about their decisions, I tell my friends all the time that I will support them in whatever they want to do and any decision they make for themselves even if it’s not a choice i would make for myself as long as its true to themselves.

    So Kat and anyone else whether you decide to be a parent or not, to have pink hair or stay natural, to go to festivals on the weekend or visit garden centres and watch reruns of ghost whisperer instead – do whatever makes you happy and really go for it!! xxx

  30. Jess

    I love this article so much!
    My husband and I got married last October and we have been asked this question countless times since then.
    He would love to have a family straight away but I am a little bit reluctant. I’m 24 and have just finished my second year of university and have one more to go, I have a job that I hate and I dont have a kitchen floor yet (we’ve been here 5 years) and I havent had a holiday since 2008.

    Theres still so much I want to do, and I dont understand why I am being pressured by extended family and friends to give up things that I enjoy and plan to do just to give life to another human being.
    Am I not a valid human being or a real woman just because I dont have a child?
    Am I not capable of filling my day just because I dont have nappies to change?

    Dont get me wrong, I would love to have a child with my husband but why do I have to do it right away? Are a couple who are unmarried make bad parents?
    Are we a bad couple for not being parents?!

    I say bugger off society and each to their own!

  31. Cheryl Yearwood

    Your choice is your choice.You and Gareth are in agreement,hurrah!I have a daughter,she turned 14 last week.Didn’t plan to have her,raised her on my own,love her to pieces.When she gets in from school I will let her read your blog.She needs to know that every aspect of her life is not to be governed by society etc,but By herself,using her wisdom,intuition and her feelings.The best thing about her is watching her grow and fly unfettered and free.As I always say to her your choice is your choice.

  32. We decided not to have children.
    We were living a great life in an amazing city (NYC) and chose that life over a life of sleepless nights and nappy changing.
    Then, overnight, I did a u-turn.
    I don’t know what changed my mind but it turned out, thankfully, my husband was happy about my new broodiness so we had a baby.
    Simple as that! (I know, I know, it’s not simple but I’m cutting a long story short!)
    We moved back to the UK (working for ourselves, having no citizenship or health insurance and extortionate rent etc meant that NYC wasn’t really a viable option anymore) and honestly, it was a great decision.
    I still miss my old life but I’m lucky enough to have my family around so I can enjoy my new one and get days and nights off occasionally.
    And I have a little girl to bore stupid with tales of my wild debauchery when she gets older.
    If we’d stayed in the Big Apple, we’d have been very happy with it being just the two of us.
    We’d have been on amazing holidays and stayed out til dawn in cool (and not so cool) clubs.
    We’d have been having lie-ins and spending our money un-wisely and loving every minute of it.
    Instead, I wake up too early, I go too bed too early, I spend money on her, not me and I eat at MacDonalds instead of Nobu! Again, I’m very happy with it.
    So, no, it’s not a selfish decision. It’s entirely YOUR decision and if you’re happy with what you decide, it’s obviously right.

  33. I am 100% going to be one of those Mum’s who instagrams the life out of said baby… and because of that I’m totally fighting it. Like a stubborn teenager my head says.. “Well what happens if I don’t want them.. huh?… HUH? Just because we’re married and I’m 31 and Pete’s 35.. can someone just slow this massive clock down a minute! We’ve only just got on our feet… we haven’t travelled.. there’s quite a few things on the list that we still want to do.. can’t I just be 5 years younger.. I need time!

    We’re great with kids… amazing in fact.. amazing at entertaining them at weddings, getting them hyper at BBQ’s.. Pete is particularly good at winding them up with energetic games such as throwing them and then we give them back all sweaty and panting ready for their parents to attempt getting them in to bed. We are kids. Big ones. We’re really untidy, rubbish at routine, unorganised, I never make it to the dentist.. you know all the normal responsible stuff.. but deep down I suppose we both know we’ll start trying in the next few years.. because we do want them.. with all the craziness that goes with it.. Because with that craziness is a crazy love too.. stronger than cat love (if that’s even possible.. sorry Max) and I know you talk about them a lot because you want to talk about them.. you made them and they’re cute and funny.

    Right I’m off to take a few instagrams of Maximo to restore the balance…

  34. It’s hard because society judges, nothign more. I can say wow that person hasn’t made the same choices as me how strange but I know that everyone is different and that’s a great thing. Also like everyone says the world is over populated and it’s actually getting to the point that it’s selfish to have children.

    My Husband and I have been married nearly a year and are both desperate to have children I just think I need to get a little older and be together married a little longer before we should… so we are actually trying hard to wait.

    Ulimately I am so happy I have a good mix of friends that are married with children, married, getting married, single, never getting married and so on. It’ll keep my social life varied.

    Fight your corner Kat, you’re not one to apologise for who you are so don’t start now!

    Big love x

  35. Post author

    haha Emma – smiled all the way through your comment! maybe we’ll wait and see how you guys get on. with you on the chaos thing and always missing the dentist/doctors/any appointment really

  36. Stephanie

    I never thought I would have a child, my hubby and I have been married for nine years now and we became parents last November. Our daughter is a gift, that’s all I can say.
    She IS hard work, and some days I could really need a break but the way I see it is like this: if you’re meant to have a child, you will have a child, whether it is planned or not.
    I was actually really unsure about becoming a parent, for various reasons, but you know what? You learn, you get better and with love and support from your hubby you can do it.
    You are not selfish for not wanting children, Kat. It is a great responsibility raising a child. They depend on you so much.
    If you do have a child though, there’s nothing stopping you from being a mom and a crazy cat lady with pink hair.
    Oh, and personally I hate talking about baby things when I’m with my friends, it’s what I have to deal with all day. Why would I want to tell you every detail of her routine when I can talk about other things ;)

  37. Lydia Stamps

    I find myself totally torn..I’m desperate to have children (our friends took a sweepstake at our wedding on how long it would take!) but have no idea how on earth I’ll manage juggling that alongside running my own business which I’m loving! I love the idea of that lifestyle you describe and find myself more ambitious and fulfilled than ever but something inside me yearns for an extension to our family. However I just don’t know how we’ll be able to manage it financially for a long time which makes me sad and frustrated! I’ve recently found myself jelous of friends accidentally falling pregnant or just going for it despite being poor as church mice. The responsibility of being in a good place before babies weighs heavy on me, and of course everyone says I still have time. If I knew I never wanted them I think I’d find it easier to relax and enjoy my life the way it is now…which as I see this written seems a bit sad. I’m sure I can’t be the only woman in this position?

  38. carol

    I might pass this post onto a few friends/family members so they can see im not the only one with the ‘im not bothered about having children’ attitude.

  39. Kim

    I think it’s important that people make whatever choice works for them. The hard part is if you are at all on the fence about it. There’s no way to determine ahead of the actual birth of your child what having one is going to be like, and even then you don’t really get a good picture for several more months. My daughter is now 8 months and her personality is really starting to come out and it’s fabulous. The first 3-4 months are a whirlwind of broken sleep, feedings, and changing diapers but after that it gets fun. Or maybe not. My mom didn’t really find us all that interesting until we were around 6 years old.

    But, if anyone is on the fence, I just want to caution you not to wait too long. All these celebrities having kids when they are older – well, it can happen, but it’s likely that a lot of them are getting help. And even then it’s a lot of luck.

    My fiance and I started trying when I was 38 and he was 40. We ended up having to do IVF. $14,000 for all the procedures, plus about $7000 for drugs, which included 1 injection/day for 10 days followed by 4 injections/day for 14 days followed by 6 injections the last day, plus outpatient surgery to retrieve the eggs, plus other pills and at times daily blood tests and ultrasounds. At the end of all that we went into our transfer with only one good fertilized egg. We were incredibly lucky and she implanted and then decided she would stick around, but it’s not always that easy (!). I know people who’ve gone through all that 5 times and still not gotten pregnant.

    Anyway, that’s my only caution – don’t think that you can wait and wait to make the decision. Yes, even younger people can have fertility issues, but it does get exponentially harder after 35.

  40. Sita

    It is so refreshing to see a popular blogger out there admitting that no, kids aren’t the be-all and end-all for women. We don’t all have a “clock ticking” and we don’t all want to go “awww” when someone shows us a picture of their newborn. In fact, some of us actually want to go “eww”, and that’s ok.

    Even in today’s “modern” society, it’s astonishing to see how many people – maybe with a couple glasses or six of wine down their gullets – *still* believe that ALL women want to have kids, and that it’s ALL they really want out of life.
    As such, it’s refreshing to read people like you, Gala Darling or Sarah Von talk about being a happy, well-adjusted, baby-free thirty-something (or nearing thirty) woman.

    Thank you!

  41. Emma S

    What a fascinating piece – it is SO nice to read comments that ring so true with myself! I think even in this day and age women are looked at slightly strangely when we say we don’t have any interest in becoming mothers. In fact even my own mother was never naturally maternal, and happily admits if she married someone else who didn’t want children, she would have happily not spawned the 2 she has today! That being said, she is a fantastic, selfless caring mother – so I also feel women should not feel pressured into guilt if there is no maternal instinct. I very much love my life – the freedom, disposable income, my career (and even my figure, forgive me for a shallow moment!) etc.. as it is, and personally feel no desire to ‘complete our family’. I believe I have always felt this way, and women over the years in particular have told me “you’ll get broody eventually”. Now approaching 29 this year, I don’t think this is the case. It’s no longer like I’m a teenager running around and enjoying partying every weekend – I’m settled, confident and happy and see no need to change that. With regards to being ‘selfish’ – I believe it is the opposite. I think it would be more selfish to have children and not be a devoted parent and/or live with regret, than to make the sensible decision to put yourself first, without jepordising the future of a little person. I think a lot of other women in particular view ‘non-maternals’ like myself as slightly cold and uncaring – very unfairly in my opinion. I have 2 beautiful nephews I dote over, I’ve always known being an aunt is the best job without the sacrifice (!) and I too have a cat and 2 bunnies I smother with love! Maybe my hesitance also comes from being brought up by a single mother. I have no illusion how hard and testing parenthood can be – it is the ultimate sacrifice (should you do it right). I guess in summary, I can’t wholeheartedly say should I have children, I wouldn’t regret the sacrifice that would follow.

  42. Mandy

    Rock on Kat! It is TOTALLY not selfish to be 100% satisfied with your life as it is. Some people are rude, and always will be, wether you decide to have kids or not.

    Personally, my wedding is coming up (in less than a month!!! squeeeeeee!!!!) and both me and my fiance want kids, probably as soon as possible. We’re nearing 30 and are feeling that ticking clock. We feel we’re ready because we’ve already lived our lives as a ‘couple.’ We took a year off work, went travelling through Australia and New Zealand, saw and did some amazing things… and then came home, bought a house, got two dogs… and now we want children. We’re only waiting because having kids after marriage works for us.

    Kids aren’t for everyone, and personally, I have more respect for people that know that they don’t want kids and DON’T have them, than people who know they don’t want kids and do it anyway because it’s “expected.”

    We all know those people… always run down and pissed off, no patience for their own kids and always feeling like their own children are more of a hindrance than anything. I would hate to grow up feeling like an imposition.

    People need to do whats right for THEM. If that vision includes kids, perfect! If not… whats to say that’s not just as perfect???

  43. Amanda

    I openly admit I’ve changed since having my daughter and no doubt will again when my next baby is born in 5 months time. But you know what I’m cool with that. I travelled the world, had an amazing job, partied my ass off and loved it. But when I had my daughter it felt right to give way to something new and different. I change my profile photo all the time to her cute face and have recently putting my scan photo up. Does it make me boring, no. It just means my life no longer revolves around what it did before.

    Come on Kate you’re always encouraging us to try new things…have you not changed since your blog became your baby? Your not selfish, no one knows if you’ll regret not having kids and only have them if it feels right for you. But don’t judge Mum’s modified behaviour until you’ve experienced it cos it is wonderful and you don’t know what it’s like until you’ve done it!

  44. Hi Kat- great post! I thought I would be happy to give me entire life/self etc over to being a mum when I got preggers and it turned out I wasn’t. I whole heartedly look forward to being able to sit down and work when my 2 year old naps and his childminder days! I used to feel guilty for feeling like this- now I realise that being “me” and if you like being selfish about “me” makes me a better mum. I do adore him and it is such fun- a rewarding experience that I can’t even put into words when they just give you an off the cuff cuddle or you see them dancing to themselves in the corner of the room. I wouldn’t change it for the world but it had no idea how hard it would be! I think it entirely reasonable to feel you don’t necessarily want to have them. I think a lot of what makes it so hard for mums nowadays is we have all had so much PRIOR to having kids in terms of money/careers/independance, perhaps in a way our parents didn’t.
    BTW Nandos is my completely fave restaurant, no shame at all……and very child friendly!

  45. laura

    i was told i could never have childeren due to a medical condition.im married to a wonderful guy and im step mum to his 5 kids from a previous marriage.i am maternal and always wanted kids and resigned myself to the fact that id never be a mother…but..8 years ago..out of the blue…came dylan….my son :D

    sometime u never know…it just happens x

  46. Anon

    How can it be selfish when both of you are happy with the way things are now?
    It’d be selfish if you had a child because you felt its what you should do, then tried to make it fit the minuscule gap you have for it in your life.
    The only people who deem you selfish are those who want to be an auntie/grandmother/godfather etc- who need to stop living vicariously though you.
    If your partner wanted them right now, and you didn’t- that may be selfish in someway.
    I always thought the moment I was married I would want to get pregnant, and it still shocks me, two years later, that I’m not quite there. Never quite as much as everyone else though?!
    X

  47. Shan

    Hi Kat,

    What a great topic with a ton of awesome responses.

    We always thought we’d have kids one day. We were married 6 years ago and thought it would just happen. We each had our own cat and eventually added a dog to the mix. We did a big trip every year, spent lavishly without guilt and made our friends with kids, entirely envious.

    6 years had passed and still no baby. We, like you, were torn. We decided that because we didn’t know, we should at least check out why we hadn’t even had a scare and sure enough, it turned out that should we want kids, we’d have to go the IVF route.
    We started the process, still unsure if we actually wanted kids. Maybe it was a sign we’re not meant for kids. In any case, it felt like we were taking the right next steps even though I was so conflicted. I remember being terrified that I was letting a lifestyle go that anyone would have loved to have.

    Ultimately, we ended up going through the process (after actually deciding that we’d feel like we were missing out) and ended up with a set of girl/boy twins!

    They demand so much of my time. My hair hasn’t been out of a ponytail since the day they were born (almost 4 months ago). Most of the time, I smell a little musty. Eau d’upchucked baby milk. I was up way too early this morning and multiple times throughout the night. I started typing this over a half an hour ago and at this point, I’m still not sure when I’ll actually be able to hit send. We likely won’t be going on a trip this year and if we did, there isn’t any chance of it being half as awesome as our trips sans kids were.

    With all of that said, there isn’t a thing that I would change about life after these babies. Not a thing. I didn’t want to be “one of those mom’s” either but the truth is, that after you have babies, it’s hard not to want to show them off and talk about them every waking moment. This post, is the exact excuse I needed to talk about them just a little. It’s pathetic and wonderful, all at the same time. {Must…resist…urge…to…add…a….photo…} Now that I have these babies, I KNOW that I would have missed out had we not gone through the process to have them.

    Kat, the truth is that if you don’t have kids, you really won’t know what you’re missing. Your life will be just as wonderful as it is now. If you choose not to procreate and you’re really okay with that, you win. If you have them because you want them, you win.
    Those odds don’t sound all that awful. :)

  48. It’s definitely not selfish to skip having kids. My husband and I had almost decided not to have kids either, but changed our minds and now we have a 7 week old (and I’ve become one of “those” moms with the Facebook pictures and status updates – I feel no shame in this). Sometimes I do wonder what our lives would have been like if we decided not to have kids… we would have been able to travel more and even though I’ve only been a mom for less than two months – I miss having time for myself and know that this is my new “norm.” However, I’m so happy with our decision to have kids… I’m looking forward to family trips and those little grins give me more happiness than I have ever known.

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