I was about five when I decided I'd rather raise kittens than children. Before that, I can't remember thinking anything concrete about bearing children. I know I was given dolls to play with, but there came a certain point when I was disappointed with dolls, and definitely wanted books instead.

At about nine, when a relative by marriage commented on how I'd make someone a good wife someday(because I'd baked gingerbread from a box mix), I retorted that I never wanted to get married. Their reaction was as if I'd suddenly sprouted horns, a forked tail, and my breath took on the distinct aroma of brimstone.

How about you?

Tags: childfree

Views: 409

Replies to This Discussion

It's not really my problem anymore per se; I'm trying to help my mother cope with it.

When I got married my mom bought my husband and I a winnie-the-pooh nightlight.

She told me once that she always wanted to be a grandmother.

I feel bad for her, because she was a great mom. Even though she seems to have come to terms with it, I feel that she feels sort of defeated about it. I tried to say that she had a lot of living left to do, and that my having children shouldn't define her life. I thought she could find all kinds of new adventures down the line.

But I sure know that mom's wanting grandchildren is definitely not a good reason to have kids!
Now she calls my kitty her "grandkitty."

I've been ambivalent about kids for many years. It's all been a matter of shaking off the role that I'm expected to play by my peers.
Good for you for trying to help your mother cope with it. Some parts of the country have organizations where people can volunteer to be grandparents. Even if there's no such program in her area, there are always kids who would benefit from mentoring. The only organization I can think of off-hand is Big Brother/Big Sister. I don't know too much about them

I was fairly young when my mother started in on me about wanting grandchildren. She would even say things like "I think people who don't have children are selfish." from time-to-time. I was so hurt that I never responded, but I don't think unplanned pregnancies necessarily make someone unselfish.

She was traumatized when I had an abortion. She'd have been even more traumatized if she'd known it was my second. She was probably right that I'd have made the best parent out of her four children, but the few times I thought maybe I'd want children, that thought would pass. I wouldn't mind being part of a group raising children, but I need my private and quiet time. We came to terms about all sorts of things when I came home to take care of her when she was dying. She did actually get a grandchild before she died, but that's a long story for another day.

My cohabi-tater is 14 years younger than me, so I think that might have some bearing on why his mother immediately started in on me with "When do I get grandchildren?" I was gobsmacked, as I barely knew her, let alone him. He knew from the beginning I didn't want children. I also let her know that she was free to adopt or mentor if her daughter doesn't come through for her.

I would love to know more people who don't have children. I do enjoy my friends with children, and even enjoy some of their kids, but people with offspring don't always have free time to socialize.
My mom also calls my cat her grandkitties!
Awww... smart mom!
I never thought about it for most of my life, I didn't get married until I was 40. My sister, who is 10 years younger) was married and had kids, so took any pressure off to provide my parents with grandkids. My wife and I both have health issues and don't think it would be wise to raise children. We also made the decision to be childfree due to ecological reasons. I find I can have a positive influence in children’s' lives by being a mentor and a good neighbor. As far as I can tell, our families, friends and associates all seem supportive of our decision. Most negative reaction seems to come from strangers.
Does being male play into not thinking about it most of your life? I can't imagine that men in general have as much pressure on them to have children as women do, although I have heard of men whose mothers incessantly ask them when they will provide grandchildren.

Good your sister took any possible pressure off of you. My youngest brother got his girlfriend pregnant when they were both underage, so mom did end up with one grandchild before she died. My eldest nephew and I found each other a few years ago, and have been getting reacquainted. He's a great kid. I try to fill in some of the gaps where his parents should be.

That's great that your families, friends and associates are supportive of your decision. I haven't had a negative reaction in a while other than from strangers, too. A few years ago, the woman who runs a volunteer organization I wanted to work with made comments about me not having children at my age, and not being married. I reckoned there were plenty other organizations to volunteer with, so walked away.
I'm sure gender plays into making my choice acceptable. Plus, my family always knew I marched to the beat of a different drummer. So being a bit eccentric works in my favor.

I do wish that the notion of being childfree as socially acceptable option was taught in school sex education classes. Forget the abstinence only; give them the facts for them to make informed and healthy decisions about their lives.

They need to know what a tangled web they weave, when they first set out to conceive.
I'm sure my family considered me eccentric too (more likely "weird", we never had enough money for me to be considered eccentric), but that didn't stop them from trying to turn me into a "nice lady".

I agree about childfree as being an option that should be taught in school sex education classes. Someone recently informed me that she "believes in" abstinence-only education. What's interesting to me is that she was not a virgin when she married, had been a serial monogamist before she met her husband-to-be, and had certainly used birth control other than "abstinence". I don't know how she stands the cognitive dissonance.

They need to know what a tangled web they weave, when they first set out to conceive.

Ha! That was funny.
Actually men do have a lot of pressure to have children. There seems to be a sentiment in society that if a guy doesn't have or want children that he isn't a REAL man. Every time the subject of children comes up and tell everybody that I don't want any I always get comments like, "But you'll make a great father," "don't you want to pass your name?" "don't you think you should at least pass on your mothers genes?" (this one is asked after I tell them I have half-brothers who have children). When I say all the that somebody always says that a girl will come along and I'll change my mind about it, which is doubtful since I'm 41 and nobody has come along and changed my mind. So you really can't say it's easier on men just because we don't carry the child for nine months.
Do men have as much pressure as women? Is the pressure possibly different? I'm glad you posted, as I haven't heard many men discuss this issue. People stopped harassing me about having children in my early-40s, but I suspect that's mostly due to the perception that women can't/shouldn't be having children any later than that. It never dawned on me that men (who are generally perceived to be able to father children into their 60s, I think) might get harassed for longer.

I do think pregnancy and childrearing is generally easier on men, which seems unrelated to being harassed to have children.
No offense, but obviously pregnancy is easier on men, but I'm sure you already knew that. Childrearing, I doubt it, the man is still the father and has to raise the children too. Regardless of society says the fact is that most men do participate in they're children's lives.

When it comes to pressure, my experience shows that women are treated better (at least by other women) because they would have to carry the child for nine months (at least that's what it sounds like in the conversations I've overheard). The men who say they don't won't children are generally talked down to and made to feel bad for not wanting them.

I don't know if men get harassed for longer since I'm in my early 40's so I'll have to let you know when I get older :)
Childrearing, I doubt it, the man is still the father and has to raise the children too.

But... men, in general, www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/equalsharing/Indira%2520Hirway.pdf+in..." target="_blank">don't share equally in childrearing responsibilities.

I'm not sure what you meant by "Regardless of society says". Would you please explain? Also, working women spend twice as much time with their children as working men.

I've also been talked down to and made to feel bad for not wanting children. I suspect the only way to settle this is to find some studies that show whether or not women and men who decide not to have children are treated the same.

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