Lately, I have been feeling a bit of a moral dilemma. I am young, and newly married. Obviously, talk about kids comes up. People want to know what my plans are regarding children. I know I have a long time to decide... which is something my husband is constantly reminding me of. But, I still feel this internal struggle going on. I don't want kids. I just don't. I don't hate kids... I think they are great... but just not for me. I have so many dreams, so many places I want to see, and so many people I want to help through charity work, that I couldn't ever imagine children fitting in there. In my mind, if I have children, I give up those dreams. The Catholic church would consider me to be a selfish person, because according to them, you MUST have children- it is your duty. My parents, when I told them I didn't ever want kids... sounded shocked and disappointed, and my dad even sounded angry. My in-laws don't even know... they just assume we will have them. My friends tell me- "you say you don't want kids... but you're having kids. Either you'll change your mind, or you'll just wind up pregnant." IS there really something wrong with just not wanting kids? Am I a bad person? Am I really selfish? I feel like I am, but my heart tells me that kids just really aren't for me. Any insight from either moms, or women who maybe chose not to have kids? Any thoughts, advice, regrets? I know many of you will say give it a few years... and I will. But I am afraid a few years will pass, and my thoughts on kids won't change, and I'll be attacked by everyone I know.
11-30-2007, 12:40 PM
I have so many dreams, so many places I want to see, and so many people I want to help through charity work, that I couldn't ever imagine children fitting in there. In my mind, if I have children, I give up those dreams. The Catholic church would consider me to be a selfish person, because according to them, you MUST have children- it is your duty.
It's a very personal and individual choice, but to me, your dreams sound anything BUT selfish. I think it's selfish to have children for the wrong reasons (too many people do this). I think Jesus would love a person wanting to help others through charity as you do.
Also, what about priests and nuns? Are they "sinners" who are eschewing their duties simply because they aren't procreating? They are doing God's work, just as YOU are and will continue to do, right? NOT having children will enable you to do MORE in God's name, right?
11-30-2007, 12:41 PM
No, there isn't a thing wrong with you. I struggled with the same thing when I got married. I have a wonderful stepson but DH didn't want anymore children. Although I was undecided when we got married, (due to my assupmtions that everyone had to have kids in my family, what choice was there to make?), we discussed it and decided against having any additional children. I still haven't told my mom that DH has been "neutered". I don't think it's anyone's business but you and DH. If accidental pregnancy is a concern, I recommend DH go get snipped.
It's difficult for some people to except that as much as I love my DSS and children in general, I don't feel the need to produce any of my own. I will admit that when I held my new niece this week that I was tempted, but I know I've made the right choice for me. Only you know what's in your heart.
11-30-2007, 12:42 PM
We had a "childless by choice" thread going - it might have some insight for you.
"But I am afraid a few years will pass, and my thoughts on kids won't change, and I'll be attacked by everyone I know."
Yes, people often seem to have an (outspoken) opinion on whether or not you have children. This is not the most diplomatic approach, but I tell them to go to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks. When people have the nerve to ask me now why I have no children (or, my personal 'favourite': "How come you guys have that big house and no kids?!") I tell them: "We tried for more than seven years. Thanks so much for bringing that up. My dog died in February, too - want to talk about that?" It's rude of me, but frankly, seven years of playing the two-week-wait game nearly killed me.
I tell you this because we DIDN'T want children. And then we thought we might as well, before I 'ran out of time'. Whether or not you change your mind - it is your body, and your (and your husband's) decision. Everyone else really can just butt out.
It's a bit like people who TOUCH pregnant women - what gives them the RIGHT? People are bizarre. Good luck to you.
11-30-2007, 12:56 PM
Who cares what others think?! All that matters is what you think and want. Myself, I couldn't imagine my life without kids but everyone is different.
I don't think you are being selfish for not wanting any. It's your choice, you and your DH and no one elses. Who knows,maybe somewhere down the line you might change your mind, but if you don't again, that is your choice.
11-30-2007, 01:10 PM
Slightly off topic, but why is it acceptable for someone voice their opinion on your choice not to have children when it would be completely unacceptable for me to ask my cousin when she plans to stop having children that my tax dollars are supporting, considering neither she or her husband work? (Rant over.)
11-30-2007, 01:19 PM
I'm almost 24 and have been married for 3 years now. I feel the same exact way that I have all these dreams and things I want to do and it would be selfish to have kids. I think kids are fun to play with but by the time 3 or 4 hours have passed I'm done and tired and it's time for them to go back home with their parents. :-) I get asked a lot when I'm going to have kids and I just say someday whenever I'm ready because it IS possible that I might change my mind and it's the polite response that I have come up with.
Dixiedieter-That's a really good point you make. And that type of thing bugs me too!!
11-30-2007, 01:29 PM
Everyone is right.
All of that is a very personal choice between you, your husband, and nobody else. I'm reminded of a very useful phrase "Why on earth would you want to know something as personal as that?" Usually it gives the "asker" pause... they may say "Oh, I was just curious." You may then easily change the topic.
Dealing with your parents and in-laws may be the most difficult. But, I mean come on... if you had kids would they be the ones raising them so that they could have their grandchildren? Didn't think so.
It's possible that years down the road your mind may change, but who cares? My mind changes every five minutes. And even if it changes it is again... Nobody's business!
Go. Enjoy your life. If it happens to involve your own children at some point down the road, so be it. If you decide not, then also, so be it. And if you are hounded by other's comments regardless of your choices just tell them with all sincerity that they should get their own life.
11-30-2007, 01:30 PM
I must have missed the part about being Catholic that involves having children. I was raised very strictly Catholic, and I always got the idea from my indoctrination with it that celibacy was the most holy thing to aspire to. Anyway, I have never had children and have no regrets. Of course, I am not married either, so that took away any pressure along those lines.
As others have said, I do not understand why anyone would care if someone decides not to have children. They have their own lives to decide about, they have no business to decide for you.
11-30-2007, 02:03 PM
I'm a mother, and couldn't picture it ANY other way for *MYSELF* (and husband), BUT there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you. IMO, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be childless. As someone else said, it's much much worse to have one when you don't want one, just because you feel you "should" .. you only have yourself to answer to, kwim? Don't worry if people think you're doing something "wrong" ... you know what you want in your heart, and that's truly all that matters.
My husband and I are BIG-time travelers. Not so much since our daughter came (she's almost 21 months old)... but we have certainly traveled with her! She's been to the Niagara Falls.. she's been to Rhode Island, to CT.. is it harder? Absolutely. Instead of "us".. it's ALL her. Planning things around HER nap, around HER mealtimes.. knowing something we plan just might not "work" because she's being whiny, or doesn't wanna do something. And traveling 5+ hours in the car with a toddler is tough stuff! It's no longer about me sleeping in the backseat when DH drives... it's about me trying to entertain a toddler and hope she naps in the car! haha ;)
But really, I wouldn't change it for the WORLDDDDDD.. because the love I have for her is worth anything we had to change with our lives.
That said- I DO look forward to the days where it's easier to travel and do things more "our" way... and we'll get there someday in the future. Until then, I treasure the days I have with a young child... because they go so fast.
But won't it be nice when she's a teenager and my husband and I can just GO out when we want and leave her home? hehehehe ;)
There's absolutely NOTHING at all wrong with your decision- I know plenty of people who don't have children and don't want them.. from the age of the early 20's, to the 40's.. it's what they want (or don't want) and I totally respect that.
11-30-2007, 02:26 PM
There are plenty of couples at my Church who have chosen to not have children and NO ONE views it as them not fulfilling their "duty". In fact, it is not an issue. Most of these couples have dedicated their lives to God's work and charity (as you said). Personally, more power to you. There are plenty of people who have children and shouldnt have - abuse and neglect. I'm not saying that would be your situatin BUT I wish more people would make a conscious decision to have or not have children and many children would be better off! I think it os great that you are giving such a serious issue some serious thought :)
11-30-2007, 02:33 PM
Whether or not to have kids is just as much as choice as how many to have -- it's a personal choice between you and your husband and ONLY you two. Amazing when you date people ask "when are you getting married" and when you do get married, it moves on to "when are you having kids" -- drives me crazy.
I have a sister who is unable to have children -- after 10 years of trying -- I can't count the number of times she was asked "when are you having kids" -- it's just one of those rude, "stepping over the boundary" kind of questions that people ask. Come up with a few cute, "none of your business" answers to the question and move it along -- like "as soon as you offer to pay for them, they are on their way". I have two boys, which is exactly what I wanted and I still get asked -- don't you want another one so you can have a girl -- like my two handsome sons aren't good enough.
Get n healthy
11-30-2007, 02:49 PM
I dont think anyone should have kids that is not 110% sure they want kids deep down. Kids are a lot of work. It is a thankless, time consuming, nonstop, expensive, stressful, and at times frightening job to be a parent. I think if you had kids and YOU werent the one that truly wanted them, then you would become bitter and resentful. You may sit and fester about the fact that, you have an opportunity to...(fill in blank) but cant because you dont have a sitter, or cant afford it because the kids need new clothes, etc. I think it is rediculous for people to pressure you into having kids....doesnt sound like YOU are the selfish one.
Dont get me wrong, kids are great and i would lay my life down in a heartbeat for mine. BUT you should have them ONLY after you are sure YOU want them. It is no one elses job to raise them. Its yours. If they are so worried about kids, let them have their own.
11-30-2007, 02:55 PM
Considering that the world is overpopulated, I think that viewing having children as a "duty" is poor logic. Dh's family is Catholic and I have never heard that said, but I can see how some people might think that way.
I know plenty of people who are living productive, happy, childless lives. I wouldn't consider any of them selfish. In fact, many of them have jobs that really help out the community.
Myself, I didn't want kids when I was younger. This was good, because I was in no way ready to have them. I did change my mind in my mid-20's, but that doesn't mean that everyone does. Dh and I aren't planning on having kids until we've been to Europe once without children, although honestly this is a dream that although important, I would be okay if we had kids and then went to Europe with them. I just want to go is the main thing.
It's your Life! Do what is right for you. The only person whose opinion matters (besides your own) is your husbands (some people may disagree with me on this.) If he wants kids you may have some things to work out. If he doesn't then I don't think it matters at all. You need to make the choices that you can live with. Everyone else should just butt out!
11-30-2007, 03:14 PM
My boyfriend and I are both on the same page about not wanting kids. I am 28, he is 30. I have felt this way for a long time. I get the same words of advice from other people that I'll change my mind, but I really don't see it happening. And if I did happen to change my mind, I'd have to go find myself a new many anyway! I just don't feel that I want to sacrifice that much of my life for a child. I also want to travel and not be held down by certain restrictions that come with having children. I also think I really lack the patience to be a mother. I love animals and both of us plan to have a large animal family when we finally end up in our own house. Our friends are all getting married and having children and it is a little depressing because they can't go out and do the things we want to do anymore and we're finding ourselves in need of some new childless friends. But I don't feel the need to have kids because everyone else is doing it or because it's just "what people do" after marriage. I know some older childless couples who are very happy without them...and I also know some parents who are stressed beyond beleif with their children. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not having them
11-30-2007, 03:42 PM
Amazing when you date people ask "when are you getting married" and when you do get married, it moves on to "when are you having kids" -- drives me crazy.
Yeah, DH and I got this so much after we were first married. My response became a look of surprise followed by "you mean the two of us are NOT a family?"
It is a very personal decision and one that should be made out of the true desire to be parents, not what society expects of us. Take your time and talk about it with your husband. His is the only opinion that matters besides yours in this discussion.
I know we waited to tell my parents in a very public place so they wouldn't make a scene. It actually turned out very funny when they both looked at each other with an expression of relief. When we told them we had to talk about something serious they thought one of us was dying. As my mother said, she knew from the time I was a little girl I had no interest in being a mother as I always played "school" or "work", never "house". :rofl:
11-30-2007, 07:01 PM
Considering that the world is overpopulated, I think that viewing having children as a "duty" is poor logic.
Amen . Sometimes I think people who have too many children forget that resource is not quite unlimited in this world. Whomever said "the more, the merrier" could've thought too much about themselves; To me, this whole "selfish" vs. "unselfish" concept is just pure ludicris. People who love children and care capable of taking care of them, regardless of the number of kids, should be allowed to have kids. People who don't feel like they need children should listen to their own decision as well. I think its best that everyone is happy with their OWN decision. Never let anyone influence yours.
I live in the city where many family households with more than 4 children are supported on tax dollars. It's great that the government can help those who are in need of charity, but doesn't it underestimate the possibility that it may be very well financially and socially unwise to do so? Not ony do some people expand their family only to get financial support, but some can't even handle their kids given so many. I've been robbed by young teenagers before, and I couldn't even begin to be shocked by the robbery because the only thing in my mind was "where are their parents??"
11-30-2007, 09:28 PM
Your thoughts later may or may not change. But that's not an answer to the problem you face now. Simply tell people that you may never want to have kids and that's ok, because having kids just because other people think you should isn't fair to the kids. Kids need a lot of love and you just don't want to step into that lightly with your busy schedule. Maybe one day you may. But at this point, you don't want to and would appreciate it if they'd stop asking as it's a highly personal decision.
11-30-2007, 09:31 PM
Hi, I just married a Peruvian. In Peru a childless couple is about as common as a couple with 14 children in the US. Yes, they are out there, but you never really meet one (I've met one mother of 17 out here, sheesh!). At least in the provinces.
His aunt finally went from pressuring us to have children right away to agreeing with us that we should wait until US immigration lets him in the country in the next 8 months. Somehow that we should wait until he has a good, steady job seems unreasonable to her and she is convinced that in my old age of 27 I have only a couple of years left to my fertility.
We want children. Just not now. Just not in the next 3-4 years.
Just the fact that I don't have children at 27 has people asking me if I have fertility problems. My response has always been absolutely rude, usually "No, I just know how to use condoms" or "No, I just know how to read the little lettering in the back of pill box", or "No, when I was in 8th grade they taught us that coitus unterruptus no workus".
I mean, really, is there nothing sacred out here?
11-30-2007, 10:07 PM
I feel like I have a lot to contribute to your post.
#1 - My dh and I have been married over 30 years. Before we were married, I was one of "THOSE" people who knew everything that people SHOULD do. If a married couple didn't have kids, well, they were selfish. How could they NOT want kids? We were raised Catholic and I guess the Catholic church's views are different throughout the country, but here in the St. Louis area (Little Rome) one had tons of kids. My grandfather was one of fifteen, my cousin was one of 10 and so on and so on.
#2 - DH and I got married in September of 1977. We tried for 9 years and couldn't HAVE kids. Well, I thought I could adopt a child as I was adopted and I think that adoption is very cool. Lo and behold the Lord blessed us with our Michael who was born in 1986. He was the most perfect little guy and young man (21 now) that God could have blessed us with.
#3 - We wanted MORE kids in the late 90's and I couldn't have anymore. We adopted twin girls from India in 1999 and two little boys from Calif. in 2000. I guess this is where I want you to pay attention.
This was EXTREMELY difficult! Maybe God figured we were cut out for one kid and not five. Don't get me wrong - we LOVE our 4 adopted kids and have provided a great home for them. But............kids are HARD WORK! They demand LOTS of attention. You GIVE UP tons of money and time and leisure for kids. Would we do it over again? Probably. But.......if you DON'T feel it, DON'T do it!!
It is nobody else's business - you are a couple FIRST. Protect yourselves and your hearts. YOU know what YOU both need - and I "KNEW" more before I experienced it, than I did AFTER I experienced it - WHO KNEW????? I was one of THOSE and I'm not proud of it. Ignore THOSE and live your life. Live it the best you know how and the best you can.
11-30-2007, 10:19 PM
Thank you so much for all your insight! I feel better knowing that there are people that understand... I felt like no one around me gets it... like they look at me like I'm slefish or there's something wrong with my head. Thanks for letting me know I'm normal.