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. Oh, societal pressures. Aren’t they lovely? :) I’m like you, Kat and have always been on the fence leaning way over to the side of not having them. I’m OK with other people’s kids to a certain point and there are some who are just awesome, but I’m happy with our lives and our two pups. Luckily, my husband feels the same way and we were completely open about it with our parents… (his mom was really hoping for grandbabies!)

    If I ever get the urge (cute asian babies totally get to me), I usually redirect that feeling to looking for a puppy to adopt which I never do and the feeling subsides. LOL. I’ve always believed if you’re not 100% sure you want children, then you shouldn’t have them. Caring for the life of another human being for a couple decades is not something you should mess around with. Biological clock ticking or not, children are a HUGE responsibility that I believe people take on because that’s just “what you do”. And I hate the argument people give you about how you shouldn’t wait too long before you decide. Yes, I realize it’s harder and more risks are involved (I’m almost 37 so I know my time is on its way out!), but I’m also of the opinion that I’d be OK with adopting if it came down to it…so many children out there who need homes.

    GREAT subject! Not wanting kids shouldn’t be so taboo, and that’s my 2 cents. :)

  2. Since turning 30 this question / subject seems to be on everyone’s lips. All of my close friends are popping them out like there is no tomorrow! We do want a child but I am not the maternal type either. It feels like I could put it off for ever and I don’t want to leave it too late. It has to be one of the biggest life changing decisions ever!

  3. Kat, you and I are in the EXACT same place. I just worry that if we don’t end up having any while we still can, that I’ll regret it later when it’s too late.

  4. Jenn

    I find that as time goes on, I dig my heels in more and more about the whole kid thing. I always said I didn’t want to get married, but I am glad that I did that, as it felt right for me and my husband (though I totally get that it’s not important to a lot of people—it ended up being important for us). When we were going through getting married Catholic, one of the questions the priest asked us was about having kids, and he insisted that to be a Catholic wedding you HAD to say you wanted children. He basically gave us the “wink wink, nudge nudge” and said “I can’t marry you if you don’t SAY you want to have kids.” We grudgingly said yes, but honestly, it’s bothered me ever since. Marriage was important to me as a Catholic, and lying about wanting children made it seem like everything didn’t count—and I did try telling myself that it wasn’t a lie, and that later in life we would want them. But, truthfully? I’m 27, my husband is 28, and we just don’t want them. We’re the only kids in our immediate families that are married, and we’re regularly badgered about bringing grandchildren into the fold. I can’t imagine wanting them in five years because of all the things we’ve yet to do, and I can’t imagine wanting them in ten when I’m pushing 40 and know that a kid won’t be grown til we’re older (and that there are more problems with conceiving over 35).
    When you ask if it’s selfish, I’d say, “who the hell cares?!?” If someone wants to call you selfish for not having a child, I’d say “well, that’s precisely then why I’d be bad at parenting, don’t you think?” I’ve gotten kind of ballsy about it, and perhaps a bit defensive (as a previous commenter mentioned), but it’s because day in and day out there’s some sort of indication that, if you’re married, and at the age we’re at, and NOT popping things out of your hoo-ha every other year, then you’re doing it wrong. Honestly, when people my age get pregnant, I get this strange pit in my stomach, and think, “oh, no, what is she going to DO!?!?” as if she’s thirteen or something, or her life is ruined. Well, of course, she’s going to love it and raise it and get on with her life, because she’s an adult and of “momming” age and that’s what you do—but to me, it’s still like, a catastrophic life-changer. And I am NOT a social butterfly—I spend far more time at night on a computer or in front of the tv than i do out at bars or concerts or whatever—but you know what? I’m happy playing Diablo on the computer with my husband or playing drinking games with my husband while watching Star Trek. I would definitely NOT be happy trying to figure out the correct way to hold a baby or (God forbid) breast feeding or changing a diaper or keeping the f-bombs to a minimum and doing the appropriate things to encourage proper development. And I am beyond okay with that.

  5. Post author

    Jenn – I’m shocked about the priest basically telling you you had to have kids!! And god I feel the same about feeling too young. Seriously I still feel about 18…defo not grown up enough to look after a child…only now I have more money and I don’t get id’ed going into clubs…and its bloody great! I love life right now!

  6. Great topic Kat! I decided at a very young age (approx 15) that I didn’t want children (I even asked my doctor what was the youngest age I could be sterilised!), I used to think this was a selfish decision but as I’ve got older I’ve realised this is not the case. I like my life and like you enjoy the freedom that not having children means, most of my friends have children and although I know they love them dearly, I look at how much their lives have changed and I know this is not for me! I am very lucky that my partner feels the same as me, we love spending time with my little niece and friends children, but then we get to go home, drink wine and go to bed latenad get up late – he has assured me that it is not a selfish decision not to have children, it is our life choice just as having children is others. The only problem we have at the moment is that we don’t have many friends without children so at times our social activites can be limited but it does mean we get to hang out with each other more!!!!!

  7. My husband and I are in a very similar position. We’ve been married for 5 1/2 years and often get asked about when we are having kids. He is back in school which is sort of a built-in excuse to not talk about it, but mostly, we really like our life the way it is right now. Because it is iawesome. I always figured that I was one of those people whose clocks would have to tick and then I’d be into having a kid, but I am 32 and so far, I am not hearing said clock. So I keep taking the pill and will figure it out later.

  8. Yoanna Mincheva

    Judging people for not wanting to have children or pushing them into it is about the most stupid thing in the world. As if anyone has any right whatsoever to mess into anyone’s life, for whatever reason!! I am 26 and I do want children; not in 5 or 10 years, but when the time is right. I set no time limits. At the same time, I think children add an incredible spice to life, that you learn from them as much as they learn from you, if not more, and I would enjoy dragging them around the world (both me and my partner travel a lot, and never live in one place for too long). Be that as it may, I would never even consider judging anyone for their life choices. All you ladies out there, I think that whatever makes you happy and fulfilled is your cup of tea, and anyone who says otherwise might just shut up.

  9. Jenn

    Kat— After I thought about it, I wasn’t super shocked that the priest said it…I mean, I was annoyed that he basically thought there was no point in getting married if you weren’t going to have children, but I understood too that from the religious perspective, that’s the thing. I was more shocked that he was like, “Look, I don’t care what your real beliefs are, just say yes so that I can continue these preparations,” and it’s something I’ve strugged with morally since then, mostly because I liked to a priest (he was a deacon, but still), and because if it’s truly necessary for a Catholic marriage to be built around having children, then I am not truly in a Catholic marriage—and I have to decide if that matters to me. I also question it a bit, because he mentioned that he had to ask the same if an 80 year old couple intended to get married—and I personally think that’s ridiculous and that bearing children can’t possibly be the most important aspect of marriage in the eyes of the church, because surely an 80 year old couple is not TRYING to have babies.
    He also scoffed when I asked if he meant biologically, and smirked as he said, “well, isn’t that usually how it’s done?” and I immediately asked if adoption would “count”. Because if I ever did feel a maternal tug at the heartstrings, I’d certainly be more inclined to take care of something that someone couldn’t care for than make something new myself (and the whole notion of childbirth TOTALLY creeps me out beyond belief, from the minute those cells start dividing on). I can’t say that the notion of caring for someone else (Please, I barely take care of myself, and luckily my husband’s pretty self-sufficient and not one of those needy/incapable types, and in fact takes more care of me if anything) is something that I ever feel like I could do, but if it did, I would like to think that a little thing like genetically similar DNA wouldn’t be important to me—hell, I totally love my dog and kitties, and I didn’t birth them, so if I DO ultimately feel maternal, why does it have to be for something I shoved out myself?

  10. Kat

    My fiance and I have been together for nearly 5 years. He is turning 30 this year and I am turning 27. We live together, run a successful business together, and have 2 amazing dogs. Our friends are starting to pop out offspring like it’s going out of style. Our reasons for not wanting children are simple. #1 We don’t feel that bringing another human into the world right now is very responsible. #2 We are very happy with the way things are in our life. #3 we have employees… so who needs MORE kids? lol. #4 we can’t leave them home alone locked in a room like we do our dogs while at work (I think people would frown on that). #5 There are so many kids in the world that need loving families that if we do decide later in life that we MUST have children (not likely) we would adopt. Nearly everyday someone asks why we don’t want kids. I have started just saying “we can’t”. It shuts most of the people up, and those that ask why, I just tell them it’s personal and usually stops them in their tracks. I totally agree with everything you said, Kat. Don’t feel guilty about not wanting to have a kid. It’s your life. If you don’t want to become just someone’s mom, don’t have a child. It’s really your choice. I’m proud to be one of the women who wants to keep my life as my own.

  11. Jessica

    Kat:
    -No, this does not make you a totally selfish person.
    -No, you should not be worried if you don’t have a burning desire to procreate.
    -You are only missing out on having children if you feel like you’re missing out on having children.
    -Will you regret your decision? Only time will tell, but I suspect you won’t.
    -What if Gareth dies before you and you’re left all alone? Cats, duh.

    I didn’t want kids until I got with my current boyfriend and let thoughts about how great our kids would be creep into my head. On the other hand, I’m still not particularly good with non-hypothetical children!

  12. Good article, awesome replies!

    I have 3 kids (9,7 and 5 years), love them, proud of them, sometimes wonder what life would be like without them, I enjoy being a mother, I get frustrated and sometimes think that in 13 years I will be done, free to be selfish again (once my youngest goes off to university).

    Everything is a stage, that’s how I see it. Pregnancy is a beautiful stage, then there is the baby stage (that is when you are obsessed with your kids and post pictures of them all over the show), then they get older and go to school and suddenly you are in a different stage – figuring out times tables, sporting events, extra murals and their social engagement (trust me you won’t have time to update your Facebook status). Needless to say, I am smack, bang in the middle of figuring out this stage. Then they will be teenagers, and then they will leave and my husband and I are planning to travel and live for ourselves (I will be 43, and he will be 45 – still young to do awesome things).

    I think people must do what’s right for them. Regret nothing, and don’t give into peer pressure, or society or whatever… If you have a child you are responsible for them forever, enjoy them and grow with them. If you choose not to have a child then that’s fine too. People on both sides of the fences must not judge each other, we all have a story and we all have our own challenges.

    BUT… I would like to ask those mothers who update their Facebook status exclusively about their babies bodily functions (vomits, runny tummies, coughs, aches, fevers and cramps) should stop, please!

  13. Saw this and had to comment. I haven’t even bothered with pets in recent years because, well, frankly I had an appointment with a rather fabulous handbag in Gucci and some seriously amazing hotel rooms in fantastic places around the world with my name on!

    Does that make me selfish? Don’t know, don’t care really. I made a choice, I look after my family, pay my bills, do my bit for charity, love being an aunt (cos I can hand them back!) and I worked hard for my lifestyle so is it really selfish to want to enjoy it? Personally, I don’t think so.

    At 32, should I have had kids earlier? If I listen to the majority of people that surround me everyday – Probably yes, but the constant judgement I get from other more maternal people is upsetting and makes me more against the idea. I love the children that are in my life but sometimes I feel it’s more selfish to bring kids into the world and judge others who choose not to.

    Personally I think we will have a family, but it’ll be if and when I’m ready and I pray I won’t impose my kids and views on parenting on others the way it’s been done to me.

  14. J

    I am 34 and my husband is 41. We have decided not to have children. I have never wanted children, although I like them. As long as they belong to someone else! I have a hard time with the thought of being responsible for a puppy, much less a child. Cats are about the most I can commit to. I have no ticking biological clock and never have.

    I totally agree with the idea that every child should be a wanted child. If you don’t want one 100%, I think it’s probably better if you don’t have one. They are a huge commitment! And I don’t think it’s selfish to not want kids. I think there are many instances where it is selfish to want and have them!

    I have two little sisters that were adopted and I love both as if they were my biological sister. If you change your mind, there are so many kids that never get adopted! Both of my sisters were around 5 when they were adopted, which is a win-win situation in my mind. No baby issues and older kids have a tough time getting adopted.

    Do what is best for you and Gareth. You have bucked social norms already by creating this wonderful website, so don’t be afraid to walk off the beaten path when it comes to kids.

  15. I do have considerable sympathy with the cat/baby element
    I used to – okay – STILL get annoyed when you look at someone’s ‘about’ on their site and they’re blithering on about their babies. I want to engage you for your unique talents not the fruitfulness of your womb.
    And, oh!, when I came to write mine what did I do? That’s write – blither on about my bloody babies *facepalm* (they DO rock, btw ;) )

  16. My aunt and uncle live in Manhattan in a fabulous apartment. They never bothered to marry and never had kids. My aunt is an artist and has plenty of time to make art and travel the world to teach art classes. I always wanted to be like her! Don’t have kids if you don’t really want them. There are so many things life has to offer.

  17. Cara

    Great thought provoking post. I always thought I’d like three kids, like my parents did, because if two of us fell out you had someone else to tell you to wise up and make up. But, I have my own choices to make and if I have kids because I want, I will try to and as many as feels right for me. Likewise if I decide it’s not for me, that too is ok. I am not particularly maternal however, especially from toddlers up to 10-11 years, besides I have 20 kids I look after and keep happy for 2 hours a week to keep me occupied – I’m a scout leader!
    Likewise with marraige, I always thought it was a given for me and actually a couple years ago got upset when upon a friends questioning my partner said he didn’t want to get married. Turned out he does but was determined that others wouldn’t dictate that’s what he sould do as she was really pressuring him. However more recently I’ve found that I’m wondering if I really want to and am quite happy with how we are, how things change.

    It’s not selfish; it is arguably rather unwise to do what you think is expected when it’s not what you want deep down. I’m a true believer that if you’re meant to do something it will in some senses come to you. As long as you’re happy

  18. kay

    Dear Kat

    i also never really wanted to have kids but always thought in the back of my mind that i would eventually have children. Now at 39 (40 in two months) I’m feeling the now or never pressure. My husband and I have been trying hard but no results yet!

    I want to say to you in a completely unselfish way, if somewhere in the back of your mind you are even slightly considering having a child, try now while your still young, im sure there will be far less complications in conceiving and I’ve yet to meet someone that said they regretted having kids (if there is anyone out there please respond!!)

    If you are 100% that you never want em, brilliant. It means you can move on from this subject with confidence, but if you are considering it even a tiny bit, as you get older, you kind of wish its something you had already done.

  19. Thank you, really great post which hit home and put out there all the things I have been thinking for a long time and I love all the comments. It’s great to hear from all the happy childless people living the dream, makes it all seem possible.

    I have so many friend who are having babies or are crazy broody for them I’v always been told that I would change my mind and I’d want Kids but at 29 I’m still not feeling it. I often felt bad that I didn’t want kid but in the end I decided if I got broody cool bring it on and if not life seems much less complicated without kids and there is way too much to do.

    Plus i can’t even decided If I’m responsible enough to own a house plan never mind care for a tiny person.

  20. Post author

    I am head over heels in every single one of you for your amazing comments…and encouragement… on this post.THANK YOU.

  21. allie

    If you don’t want kids, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s also nothing wrong with not wanting them for “selfish” reasons – because your life works the way it is right now, you want to keep time/money for yourself etc.

    But I think it’s a little strange if the main reason you don’t want kids is because you don’t want to be one of “those women.” And I understand how frightening it seems to see women who look as though they have nothing in their lives except their kids, and to not want that for yourself. But there is nothing wrong with being “that woman.”

    You are already the kind of woman who is proudly a wife and will talk about how much she loves her husband, so if you ever popped out a little one (or more) and you loved your kids wholly and you were proud of them, what’s wrong with starting an online profile with “mother of two?” Kids don’t have to be the only thing in your life but they may become – and do become for a lot of parents – the thing they are most proud of, the thing they love the most, and the best thing in their lives.

    I get that right now, your lifestyle might mean you have nothing in common with that woman whose whole life is her kids, but it seems silly to not want kids for fear of becoming that.

  22. Andrea

    I particularly agree with Eve’s comment, and am totally proud of my mom ‘accomplishments’. However, I had my first at 21 (an unplanned little girl who became my sidekick for the next decade), and MANY times envied my single twenty-something friends their freedom- financially the most, but also their free time, spontaneity, the ability to make the choice to be irresponsible and go out and get blitzed on a Tuesday and sleep in and miss work if they wanted to! Or take a trip somewhere exciting and exotic without having to bribe a parent, aunt or sibling to PLEASE take the kids for JUST A WEEK! I am now about to be 32 and very soon after, married for the first time, and we had a little boy last summer. And I am already planning the exotic and exciting vacations we will take in 17 more years when he can manage on his own. No regrets, but it sure is something to look forward to! Enjoy your life, whatever you decide it should be!

  23. Andrea

    Oh, yes, and I only said ‘single twenty-something friends’ because none of my friends wanted to be married yet at that age. I’m sure married twenty-somethings are just as spontaneous and free!

  24. I don’t want children either. I’ve told myself I will not regret it when I am older. In actual fact the thought scares me to have children in the world we live in now. If I have a child I will love them to death.

    I enjoy my independence, sleeping in, travelling etc. It does sound selfish I know. It is my body after all.

    The more I think about it, the more I don’t want children. It’s very scary to me.

  25. What a fantastic post and also the replies- I had to read this in two sittings to pay attention to them all! It is true that being intentionally childless does seem like the last great taboo- I have had a quite a few people saying I’m cold, selfish, etc for not wanting children. I thought I would have children when I was younger, and when I met my other half Tom (not married, but 8 years in!) he didn’t want children and it made me really consider the issue, rather than assuming that’s what you did- find nice chap, get married, pop out kids. after considering alot, and also reading the fabulous book by Nicky Defago “child free and lovin it” ( and bought copies for friends who were undecided and now they are doing the rounds of all of our thirty something friends!), we decided our life was just perfect the way it was, and that our dreams for our lives involved lots of exciting things, but that kids wasn’t one of those things. We are busy people, and we both have our own business, I am a theatre designer too, I teach, and we are renovating a derelict church hall into our future house. Phew! Where do kids fit into that?! If I had the baby hormone pangs maybe it would be different, but I have my two kitties and get all my mothering out on them! Three years ago, Tom had a sterilisation and it was liberating and totally allowed us to feel like we were making a new start on the rest of our lives, rather than forever umming and ahhing about a decision we had already made.
    Whilst super thrilled for friends being so happy when they start a family, I do feel sad too that our relationship won’t be as it was, and like you I don’t know if it’s me or them, but so often (not always) it does change. Luckily, we have a few friends who also don’t want kids, so we won’t be on our own!

  26. Post author

    Hey Allie – the main reason certainly isnt that i dont want to become one of ‘those’ mothers… but it is a factor im not going to lie! they are rather scary and im certainly not ready to be in their gang yet.

  27. Well, I’m not even married, but I always had an ideia in my mind about this… I don’t like children, and I don’t feel confortable with them at all… I’m not like people that get all happy around kids and start all that baby talk. My mother always says “how can someone not like children?”, but I think it’s pretty normal :P
    I’ll probably never want kids, but if someday I start to want having them, I’ll make sure that first I lived a good “free” life and achieved my goals, without all the pressure of having someone that depends on me, and the limited time and money that’s left in the process of raising a child.
    Yeah, some people may think it’s a selfish line of thought, but I agree with you in every way and I want to be able to do the things I want, to buy the things I want, to stay up late, to travel and to go out whenever I want without having time to come back home.
    Also, I love your blog! I can literally spend hours of my day here (including work time…) and you gathers everything that I love about weddings and it makes me really happy!
    Congrats on your success and keep up the awesome work :D

  28. iz

    I don’t think it’s selfish to not have children, I’m with my (now) husband for 6 years, we are married for a one year, and it is good as it is now :) we don’t want to have children now, and I don’t think we would have kids at all. We love our little flat, our late night picnics :) going out whenever we want. I think we’re not ready to have them, and I don’t think that it is something we should be ashamed of.

    My english probably sucks – sorry for that :) but I hope you’ll understand what I ment ;)

  29. Jill

    It’s a very personal decision, so no one can judge you.

    Personally, I want children, without a doubt. One of the biggest reasons is that I can’t wait to have children with my partner, I can imagine their little faces when I see pictures of him as a baby, and I look forward to family holidays and the immense love that our household will have. But that is what we want. I love the idea of little snot-monsters running around, and teaching them things, and seeing them grow up.

    This may be me being selfish (!) – but I want to have a family, to take care of, then to take care of us. It is an incredibly sad thought to me to be in your 60s and celebrating Christmas on your own. Family has always been important to us growing up, and I can’t imagine now building our own.

  30. i wish more people would ponder having children as much as you have – we don’t all have to have kids – plenty of us shouldn’t. it’s not a right, it’s a choice and really wonderful if one is prepared to give up a lot of their self-ish ways. it’s exhausting. rewarding and definitely not for everyone. p.s. i have 2 kids – 9 and almost 5.

  31. Hi–I just have to post a few words…author of Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice and just released, The Baby Matrix, here….I have talked to thousands of people who have no kids by choice over the last 10 years + and can say that:

    –“does all this make me a totally selfish person?” Absolutely not.

    –Should we be worried if we don’t have a burning desire to procreate? No–there is no evidence that that “desire” stems from anything other than social and cultural influence. Be worried when you allow outside influences and pressures dictate what feels right to you in terms of ow you want to live your life!

    –Is someone who doesn’t have children somehow missing out? The childfree don’t think so. They feel they would be missing out If they had kids…

    –Will I regret our decision when we get older and the choice is out of our hands? Only you will know the answer to that. But the childfree hands down do not look back and regret their decision. The child “less” might – those who wanted kids but could not and chose not to adopt. But then again, you can adopt at any point.

    What if Gareth dies before me and I’m left all alone? Man, this one is a myth. There is no guarantee that If you had kids you would not be alone when you are old either. The key is to develop your social and support structure as you go along in life so it is strong when you are older.

    If you don’t want children do you have any guilt about that fact? No need to feel guilty at all. Guilt comes when we think we are supposed to do something or be a certain way and we are not. Even more so, guilt comes as a result of a powerful set of beliefs that has influenced how we have thought about parenthood for generations – pronatalism.

    To really understand the answers to your questions (and why people think they have to even ask them in the first place!) check out The Baby Matrix – it truly is a must read for you and your current questions! ~Laura

  32. Oh and PS: Are babies the next logical step? Answer–resounding No! There are so many happily married couples who don’t include parenthood in the mix of what constitutes a happy marriage. Thinking that it is stems back to pronatalist beliefs..and I emphasize “beliefs” — not reality!

  33. I, too, have always been on the fence. I had no interest in children but thought maybe once I’d finished dating the wrong men and having the wrong jobs and renting leaky flats and I was *settled* maybe I’d realise they were a good idea. I’ve got a fantastic man, a creative job and I now own a leaky flat and I’ve still not come to that realisation. Having to arrange somebody to feed the cats when we’re away seems like enough of a commitment; having to nip home and chuck dinner in their dishes if we’re going to the cinema in an evening is enough of a demand on my time – I’m not sure I want to make the sacrifice of making room in our lives for children. And I suspect that does make me selfish, but I would rather be selfish with my time than pop out a child I resented just because I thought it was the done thing. Too many of my friends are struggling to cope with children they genuinely love for me to think it magically turns into an easy, always fulfilling dream the moment a baby is born.

  34. I have never wanted children, I knew that from an early age. But it has been hard to convince people until recently that I know my own mind. I have been married 4 years now, and although I thought that my other half knew my feelings, we suddenly found ourselves in an awkward situation when I realised that we were having baby conversations! I told him a year and a half ago that I def dont want to have kids and waited for the fallout and the breakup of our marriage. He was amazing! He took a few days to go and think to make sure he was making the right decision and then told me he wanted me! It still gets awkward sometimes, but friends have now started to realise that we are not going to join their ‘gang’ and family have been supportive and understanding! If you are in doubt and want honest opinions from parents and non parents alike about what it is like to have or not have kids, check out this book. it has been great! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Childfree-Loving-It-Nicki-Defago/dp/1904132634

  35. PS I love the freedom of being childfree, to go out at the drop of a hat in the evening (we had an impromptu picnic in the woods last night & ate fish and chips by a lake), stay in bed if we want at weekends. go travelling and exploring, sit and read books, play loud rock music. Spend my time concentrating on my photography and getting my business going.
    It is only now that I am temporarily living at my dads (who has started another family) do I truly realise the commitment you have to give, and the time to yourself you sacrifice, with no time in the evenings between dropping them to various clubs or classes, with just enough time to shove some food down your throat before dashing out to pick up/drop off the next one!!

  36. Hey Kat, I never had a burning desire to have children at all ,I was indifferent, I left it as late as i possibly could and didn’t have my girl till i was 41 oooooooops! my life has changed to a degree, my daughter has changed our lives and is very entertaining, and I would not have it any different now.I am glad I partied hard when I was young, and I am glad i left it till I was 41. When I had her i refused to go to the cooing Mother and baby groups and get drawn into that stuff….it made me feel ill and uncomfortable…With anything in life you just find your own way through and make it good for you….lol and if my girl has done something that i think is funny and we have on camera I have been known to put it on facebook…i am not ashamed to love or be proud of my daughter , or find her funny…just as people who put pics of their pets up on facebook love them and think they are cute and funny, but it doesnt mean my life is ruled by her.

  37. Alex

    I sympathise totally, Kat.

    I don’t have a maternal bone in my body and, approaching 30 as I am, the pressure is on from family & friends to have kids. I have known for a long time that I don’t want kids and I’m sticking to it, regardless of my parents emotionally jabbing me to give them grandkids!

    My OH has 2 children from previous relationships and it’s hard enough to deal with them – I frequently feel terrified & overwhelmed by the fact that in 2 years I’ll be a step mother. Thankfully they’re both old almost enough to mostly look after themselves; We’ve both often said that if they were younger, it would put serious strain on our relationship.

    The important thing is to do what makes you happy and say bobbins to everyone else. I love my freedom & I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  38. deanne

    I just wanted to say I don’t think it’s selfish at all. Some of the most interesting women I know are women who never had children. It just leaves a whole lot of room in your life to do the things you really want to do and concentrate on what fulfills you.

    I think the reason that it’s so socially engrained in our culture harks back to the lack of birth control in previous generations. It was assumed that a married couple were having sex and that babies were simply unavoidable. (of course this being assumption-hour, they also assume heterosexuality) Now that babies don’t have to be an unavoidable consequence of sex, there is more room to decide what feels right to you.

  39. Oh, them societal pressures. :(
    I’m 24 and my boyfriend of the past five and a half years is 27 and thankfully we both agree on not wanting to have children. We find children to be disgusting, messy, noisy and badly mannered little beasts no matter how well they’re “trained” by their parents.

    At the moment, my cousin is pregnant (this has been a lifelong dream for her so I won’t deny being happy for her) and I have had friends and family asking “who’s next?” while nudging and winking at me, as I’m the second oldest of the cousins.

    When the subject of my chosen childnessless arises, I hear one of three responses- usually presented by the army of coochiecoo-ing mommies whose “babies are their everything!”

    1) “Oh don’t worry *giggles and coos at baby in lap* – you will change your mind in a few years!”
    2) “Oh please, I said that as well when I was your age- but just look at me now! I can’t imagine my life without little Aiden and Alexander!”
    3) “That is the most selfish, terrible thing I have ever heard! What kind of monster harpy-woman are you?!”

    Hell, even doctors give me variations on the above! At the moment, it looks like I won’t be able to use any form of hormonal birth control ever due to medical reasons and getting these responses from medical professionals instead of assistance is very disheartening :-/

    But I digress, if you want children, then fine. Just respect the decision of those who choose NOT want to have them.
    More often than not, it’s NOT a decision made overnight and in the end, the decision lies with the couple.

  40. Dawn Mason

    Everyone is different, there is no right or wrong answer. All that matters is that you and your other half are happy xx

  41. Heatheness

    It’s amazing how the arrival of a baby changes everything, and I do mean
    e v e r y t h i n g!
    I was completely non-maternal although at 30 I was thinking that if I was going to do it, I had better start taking the idea seriously. And then it just happened. I was completely unprepared and it turns out that I am a completely besotted mother, although not the type to confuse my own identity for my kids and put up their photo as my profile pic.

    The thing is, no one is ever fully prepared for the first one but it is nice to be at least a bit prepared. I still rather loved partying and wasn’t ready to give it up quite yet, and because of it I lost all my partying friends within a year and I still do miss them 9 years later. I was the first to have a kid and they just didn’t get that I was broke and couldn’t walk 2km uphill to their party while heavily pregnant and stuff like that.

    I’ve seen a lot of comments in forums that include “I love my kids but I hate being a mum” and that’s the truth. What we feel is expected of us really rankles with a lot of modern women. Once you’re “in the club” you find out just how high your expectations of your self can be raised by societal pressure, especially if you are isolated and sitting around breastfeeding all day and surfing the net for parenting tips or watching bloody Supernanny type shows. Luckily though you won’t have that problem since you won’t be the first of your friends to do it.

  42. According to Mother Goth, when I was seven I declared to everyone at Christmas that I never wanted children. 18 years later not much has changed.

    I LOVE kids, I think they’re awesome and I am always the first person to offer to babysit friends minibeings, but I have absolutely no desire to have kids of my own.

    I know that FH (who is 29) would like them, but he is in no rush for kids either. and what started as a ‘maybe we’ll look at having kids when Aspen turns 27″ has now turned into a ‘maybe we will have kids in about 10 years or so”.

    I do get worried a bit at that thought. In 10 years I will be 35, and my family doesnt have the greatest track record with being able to have kids. But at the same time I am just not ready to dedicate the time and money to raising a new life on earth, and being responcible for it. FH and I are still studying so will be 27 and 31 respectively when studies have finished and we would love to have time to ourselves, and not having to worry about whether we can afford to do something. Just enjoy each other, our jobs and actually having money – as selfish as that sounds >.<

    Part of me wants to jump on the bandwagon as ALL of our married friends have decided to get pregnant at the same time next year lol But the "I want time and money" side still kicks in.

    Guess I will just be the really awesome aunty who spoils the kids rotten, and can hand them back at the end of the day when the sugar high has stopped :) hehe

  43. You most definitely are not selfish! It takes a braver person to say they don’t want children than one to say they do. My other half and I had the children talk very early on in our relationship. I don’t class myself as maternal in any way, shape or form, although I will happily coo over friends kids until they start screaming or pooing and then I’ll hand them back to their Mum. I have no desire to be a mother and even less desire to be pregnant, in fact that thought actually makes me feel a little bit queasy. This is all much to my Mother’s disgust and disappoint as she now wants to be a Nanny. But, like you, I love that our time is all our own. Our money is ours to do what we want with, our time is our own, we can go on holidays or trips away at the drop of a hat (well, once our little puss cat has been packed off on his hols!) and we don’t have to consider a little person in any of that. I always say to people “Call me selfish if you like,” but I’m selfish and proud! I also always joke that I am not responsible enough to look after a child. No doubt I would leave the house with my usual customary pat down ritual of “fone, fags, flus (maltese for money and keeps the f’s going!)” and completely forget about the child I should have with me. Or I would leave it outside a shop or something.

    Saying all that, if it did happen that I fell pregnant by accident, I would probably go through with the pregnancy. I can’t say why that is, probably down to my strict Catholic upbringing, but yeah… Fingers crossed I never have to cross that bridge though!

  44. Marie

    My better half and I are both in our mid-40s. Neither of us wanted children, although I always assumed that I’d have them at some point until I was in my late 30s. It wasn’t by lack of opportunity — I finally figured out at this advanced age that — guess what?! — I didn’t *have* to have kids! No one was holding a gun to my head and forcing me to become a mom when I didn’t want to be one. :)

    It turned out to be the best decision of my life. Motherhood has been a big let-down for a lot of my gal pals. I especially feel sorry for those who are supporting adult children who cannot find employment — as well as their spouses *and* their new babies! There seems to be a general trend that parents continue to provide for at least one of their children well into that child’s adulthood. I cannot fathom that, nor could we have ever have afforded it, either. The current rate of unemployment isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Depressing, but true.

    Just something to contemplate, if you’re on the fence. Children can end up being the gift that you keep giving to … and giving to … and giving to …

  45. Clarice

    I don´t feel like having babies and I’m ok with it! It’s just a culture thing, it’s imposed and we feel guitlty if we don’t do the same way, I know couples that didn’t have (they’re almost 70) and they never regret it!
    I also think it’s selfish TO HAVE babies in these caothic times, think in the other way, people have them only for self-pleasure.

  46. E

    Hmmm, this is a really hard topic for me at the moment….thanks for raising it Kat. I thought I wanted them badly. Have worked with kids in Early Years for the past 12 years and loved it. Decided last year with my husband that we’d not use contraception and see if anything happend…BOOM first month and I was pregnant. Shocked was not the word (don’t know what I expected) I then spent two months getting my head round it, feeling happy but also so scared about what was happening to my body and also the future. Then at 12 week scan were told there was no heartbeat. SO then spent another lot of months getting over that heartbreak and also the guilt of not being so shocked about it initially. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year. I didn’t even meet my baby and wasn’t sure about being pregnant but that love I felt definitely changed me.

    But the pain in this has inspired me to set up my photography business which I’ve driven all my energy into, and now feel like I’m really finding out who I am through this. Husband wants to try again. I want to run in the other direction. I don’t know what to do, but I hope we’ll come to the decision thats right for us eventually. What gets me so angry are the questions from others who don’t know what we’ve been through – asking when we’re going to have one etc. I’m not sure I even want one now, the miscarriage was so hideous and they have no idea how much it sends me spinning! NONE of your BUSINESS I want to scream! But thanks for raising this Kat, it’s great to read other people’s responses and challenge society’s expectations.

  47. ljwalker

    It’s SO refreshing to hear that I’m not the only one who feels like this!!!! I love my sisters’ children to bits, and some of my friends’ children are ok, but I simply cannot imagine ever wanting a child myself. I realised in my teens that I felt this way, and I am fine with it, as are my parents but the reaction I get from some people is completely unbelievable. I’ve been told I’m selfish; that I’m defying God (on the basis that He only put us here to procreate; and that I’m ‘young enough to change my mind yet’ among other things. It’s that last one that gets me the most – like I don’t even know my own mind!! At 28, I think I’m old enough to know how I feel. Besides, if somebody my age was adamant that they DID want children, nobody would tell them that they’re young enough to change their mind yet!!
    I am very fortunate in that my fiance feels exactly the same (though even at 35 he too is regularly told that he is ‘young enough to change his mind’!!). It is important to me that we both feel the same, as I realise that it’s a huge issue and I would hate to deprive a partner of children if they wanted them. In fact, we established on our very first date that neither of us want children, so at least it got that issue out of the way early on!!!

  48. Hellooo Katt Williams! If you do decide to make some babies, the good thing about being a mom is that you can be the kind of mom that YOU want to be. You can attempt to raise the kind of kid that you think the world needs more of. That part is really encouraging. As far as freedom goes, I am intentional about making time for myself. I have to be. My world doesn’t revolve around my daughter but my heart certainly does.

    I found your blog by searching for google images of my genital card. I’m glad you like it! Thanks! It would be really great if you could credit it like the image you used above it. Here’s the link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/65809725/congratulations-on-making-a-human-with

  49. Amy

    Wow Kat you have read my mind! I signed up to your blogs because the prospect of soon being married and the desire to do it my own way, but you are right: getting married and having kids sort of, just go together in this day and age. I want to get married, make the commitment, have the party and all the friends and family around to share it with, but then do I have to become a baby-production machine? My fiancee has not put any pressure on me at all. I am crazy about life, travelling and my dogs. But babies? Then toddlers, then kids, then TEENAGERS (good grief!) then university then you’re a grandmother! It’s like defining your life chronologically by your kids. And yeah you’re right – I like my life too. I don’t want it to change but then there is this fear that we may end up alone – we all knew some old lady as we were growing up who never had kids and is all alone and just seems kind of sad. We are made to procreate, but maybe I don’t want to. My mother just tells me “one day Amy, you’ll see”, Mother don’t get your hopes up. My friends are all having babies now and having witnessed a live birth, I’m not in a hurry.

    Why don’t we all just make a pact and make sure we don’t end up old and alone (let’s face it: women do live longer than men) and start our own little children-free club?

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