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Can you have it all without having kids?

Living a childfree life.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Aug 2, 2013 7:08PM

The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded history.

One in five American women end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with one in 10 in the 1970s, shows a 2010 Pew Research report.

Time / Having it all without childrenAs a 40-year old woman who is childfree by choice, I’ve heard unsolicited opinions on the topic of baby making for more than a decade.

I’m perfectly happy with my decision not to procreate and I’m not alone. From 2007 to 2011, the fertility rate declined nine percent, reports TIME in its August 12 cover story, “The Childfree Life: When Having It All Means Not Having Children.”

Still many people take issue with women who opt out of motherhood.

Choosing not to have a child makes one a selfish, misguided person, doomed to a life of loneliness and regret.  Or so I’ve been told. Repeatedly.

More on Miss Manners: Reproductive plan is none of her business

No, I won’t “change my mind.” And when people insist on an answer, I tell them the truth: I love my life exactly the way it is. I’m happily partnered to a man that loves me and supports my choice. I have a dog that fulfills my maternal needs. I volunteer and give back to my community. My friends are amazing. I travel every chance I get. I love what I do for a living. As far as I’m concerned, I have it all.

Bing: Things to consider before having a baby

Before people jump to the next judgment – how my life will be lacking without kids – I disclose this personal detail: I accidentally got pregnant a little over 10 years ago and planned on keeping the kid – only because the father said “no.”

I did not want a baby, but I didn’t like someone telling what I could and couldn’t do with my body.  A miscarriage made me realize that I dodged a bullet and reflect upon what my life may have been like if I’d sealed the reproduction deal. This close call only reinforced my decision not to travel down the mommy path.

More on MSN Living: New mom secrets and lies

Don’t get me wrong, I like kids – I adore my niece and nephew and many of my friends’ kids in low-commitment, when-I-please doses. But I don’t feel the need to have my own. So, why do people insist on second-guessing how I could possibly be happy?

The TIME article poses a great point: “We rarely ask, ‘Why do you have kids?’” Having a child or not having a child should be a private decision.

So consider this: The next time you question a woman’s choice to be childfree, entertain the idea that she may actually like her life the way it is.

Tell us: Do you think you can have it all without kids in the equation?

Read the complete TIME story here.

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Photo: Time

180Comments
Sep 20, 2013 8:29PM
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I second that motion.  I turned 36 yesterday, September 19th and just married my husband last year on October 7, 2012.  After we had been dating a few months and knew we wanted to continue to see where it would lead, I made it clear with him that I did not want to have children (he is also 6 years younger than I am).  Over our 1yr and 11 month courtship, I continued to let him know that I would not change my mind later because with him being younger, I didn't want him to think that I may later on change my mind if he changed his.  However, he made and still makes it clear to others who always ask us, that he is very happy with our life together and he and I will be the ones to take care of each other well into our elder years.  I never thought I would marry, but welcomed it, if I fell in love and truly trusted the man.  Yet, I always knew and still know that I didn't and don't want kids.  My husband is my blessing that the Lord held just or me, but we both truly know and are at peace with the fact that children are not for us. I actually feel sad for so many who have children that they obviously cannot take care of and many of the young ones who pawn their kids off on their moms (most of the time but sometimes it's both parents).  There are those who have a child because they think the child will fill a void but most of the time that is not the case. There are those who don't realize they need to have a plan, because raising a child successfully in this world today, is something that you need to prepare for, because giving your child the best opportunity takes (1) Money (2) Time (3) Lots of help from loved ones or being able to monetarily provide. Sure, there are many who have raised successful children and it was a struggle but of course I would hope no one intends for that to be the case. The fact that my husband and I are honest and willing to stick by our decision I think is one of the bravest things we could do, because that is what makes our relationship happy and our lives together is what keeps it fulfilled.  So many kids in this world are living in such bad situations because there are people procreating children left and right, but not giving any thought to how these children will change their lives and if they truly can provide them with what they need and that mindset is what is needed today and for many years in our future. That is how we improve to quality of life for the children being born into our society today.
Sep 13, 2013 3:36AM
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the objective of life are varied from one to another. One happy with kid, the other not. Whatever the choice, it does not mean one is less or more worthy.
Sep 3, 2013 2:15PM
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You HOPE you'll be spending time with your grandkids!
Aug 30, 2013 4:05AM
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Sure, don't have kids. Just don't expect me to take care of you when you get old, because I will be too busy spending time with my grandkids.
Aug 29, 2013 9:03PM
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The ultimate in proving that you are NOT a selfish person is to make the decision to NOT have kids.  Making a decision to become a parent is based totally on selfish reasons. 
Aug 29, 2013 6:48PM
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I have been married for 20 years to the same person, and we never wanted to have kids.  We love our 14 nieces and nephews, and we take them on vacation, they stay with us, etc.  We also enjoy our careers, and our quiet life.  All is good.
Aug 29, 2013 6:36PM
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This article is a breath of fresh air. I live in the Midwest and if you don’t want to get married and have kids you are basically an outcast. Even my parents told me what’s what supposed to do…..my response was NO that’s what you did. I got married and when my husband realized I was serious about not wanting children we divorced. Fast forward to the present…. I am in a great relationship with a man who has children but they are college age which is perfect. He doesn’t want anymore and respects my decision to stay child-free. Life is awesome and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Aug 28, 2013 8:11AM
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We did not want kids for the first 10 years of our married life.  Changed our minds and had 2.  Lovely people they turned out to be but, we would have been OK without the worry and expense.

 

We had in our family a successful couple with no kids.  Lovely life with trips etc.  Very lonely old age life..... no one visits specially when they stated that all their moneys one day will go to charity.

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