When it comes to having children, society almost always likes to pressure people into having children. But what is it like to be childless? Is it always as miserable as society says it is, or is it freeing?
Well, we happened to have found this Quora thread where people have shared how they felt (or continue to feel) about being childless. Take a look.
1. I was married to someone for 12 years, together for 14, and we intentionally never had children. Now, I’m about to get married again, to someone else who doesn’t want children. I don’t want children. I would not get into a serious relationship with someone who does. That wouldn’t be fair to her at all. We love our life without children. Some of her coworkers call us DINKs (double income, no kids), which is a term of both envy and light hearted ribbing. It’s fine by us. We embrace it. We get to travel to Europe. We just bought a second house (we are planning to sell this one, but we don’t have to hurry, because we can afford to keep both). We can do things spontaneously. It’s pretty great.
– Robert Sharp
2. I’m 29, married since 5 years and childless. Every aunty, uncle, the neighbors, relatives, neighbors’ relatives, acquaintances, my colleagues, my music teacher, milkman, postman, delivery boy, everyone is worried because I don’t have kids yet. Procreation is the ultimate goal of marriage. Every Tom dick and Harry suggests the best doctors they know, infertility specialists, temples, different poojas and havan. Shlokas to chant, herbal decoctions and worst of all, the best time to have sex. Thankfully my parents and in-laws are very supportive. They don’t pressure me in to having a kid. They say ‘When it is the time, things will automatically happen.’
– Poornima N
3. My husband and I do not have children. We’re 60, so for people our age who did have kids, the kids are grown. Nobody has asked us why. Perhaps it’s obvious. We are happy together, we are free, we have no regrets, and most of our friends are childless too. It really never comes up. It was a little difficult 20-ish years ago when we had some friends who were giving birth to and raising children. Friends with kids either stayed with us or they drifted away completely. The ones who stuck with us have adult children who are also our friends, like having bonus nieces and nephews. We also have 8 nieces and nephews between us, all adults, and a couple who are having their own children, and so there’s plenty of family.
– Lori Jones
4. We were born in India. We are highly educated and for various reasons, we decided not to have children. Now, in India, that is considered to be one of the worst things possible, childless people are called as “Vaanj” which is like a cuss word, and they’re usually not invited to auspicious events, even if they are there as friends. As a result there is tremendous social pressure on everyone to have 2 or more children, not withstanding the massive massive population explosion in India. The old way of thinking may have been okay in the old days when there was a sparse population, but now, that is clearly not the situation, the land is bursting with the increasing population.
5. My wife and I are child-free by choice. We’ve never had much of a social problem with it; with our friends, it hasn’t been an issue. My wife’s family gave up making a point about it pretty quickly. I suppose the arrival of our nieces and nephews diverted attention. The only people who’ve made any particular fuss about it have either been strangers or the odd coworker.
– Tim Cole
6. I never thought I wanted to be childless, it just turned out that way. I love my spouse and didn’t want to change him, and it was mostly his decision to remain childless. At first, I mourned the biological urge to become pregnant, and while I also had fears about pregnancy and childbirth, the thought of the closeness of breast-feeding a child was something I longed for. But now, I mostly feel relieved. I think the world has become a far harder place to live in than it was when I was a child, and looks to continue getting much harder at an astonishing rate of decline. So, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about the fate of children of my own. We plan to share our home with a younger family. We have no pre-conceptions about what this family would look like, and if we found someone among a different culture that doesn’t have their first language as English, that would be okay, too.
– Chris Snyder
7. I love being a childfree couple. Everyone I know is having kids right now and I am the super cool aunt, so everyone loves my husband and I. People sometimes just don’t get the lifestyle of it all. For instance, I had a moment where I was talking to someone and they were angry because someone I knew spent 2000 dollars on a dog and treated it like a ‘fur baby’ rather than the traditional outdoor dog type. I didn’t say much because my Cairn Terrier was 3700 so I get it. At first it sort of was because medical issues but then it really was my choice. I am by no means a spinster. I am really loving my puppy brunches and social hours with fellow dog moms. The best part is if our ‘babies’ get annoying, we can just lock them up for a few hours and grab a glass of bubbly. That is the freedom that I enjoy and am blessed to have.
– Kacie Bender
8. In my experience, there’s very little downside to it. I have time, space, money and the ability to travel, develop myself through education and training, write, create and socialize. We share our home with a few wonderful animals who were in need of a good home, as well as an occasional human or two. I sleep deep and well throughout the night. I prepare and eat healthy foods on my own schedule. I meditate. I read great books. I attend cultural events. And, I find the question “Does living get harder as you get older?” quite strange. Yes, life gets a bit harder as we age, but isn’t that true for everyone, regardless of whether they’ve chosen to have children or not? Children are independent, individual human beings who may or may not want to care for you when you get older. I think a good parent would never allow themselves to be a burden on their children in any way in the future.
– Karen Lier
9. My husband and I are childless by choice. We have never had trouble socially and no one has ever been rude enough to ask why we did not have kids. Perhaps they assumed we could not due to a medical condition. We are in our 60s now and look and act 15 years younger than our friends with kids. Some of that is due to the fact that we only had ourselves to look after, so we had gym time, and beauty time, and sleep. Some of it is because we retained a youthful outlook because we did not have children in the house to remind us we were ageing.
– Katrina Rachel
10. For me and my wife, it’s a mixed bag. We mostly like being childless; otherwise we’d have had children long ago, but now and then we, or at least I, feel a twinge of sadness. Probably because I live in NYC, a city with many childless couples, no one ever gives me (or my wife) a hard time about it. But I do love kids. I have many kids in our lives: nieces, nephews, godchildren, children of friends, etc. In general, I like being able to be with them intensely for a while and then to go home without them. I don’t connect children with being cared for in old age. That’s not a norm in my culture.
– Marcus Geduld
11. We are childfree and couldn’t be happier about it! We are hardly alone in enjoying the freedom of living our lives without the demands of children on our time, finances, etc. We are proud “DINKS” double income, no kids. If you feel the need to contribute your genetics to an already overpopulated, dying planet, that’s your business. But some of us have evolved beyond the biological imperative to replicate our genes and we’re having a damn fine time of it.
– Heather Kantor
12. My husband and I have enjoyed being childfree. We have a healthy and loving relationship. Our level of intimacy has been maintained over the last 9 years. We are happy because we are able to be people first, instead of being parents first. The sacrifices we make are by choice and not out of obligation. We are able to focus on ourselves as a couple and individually. We haven’t had to sacrifice our identities or our interests. We don’t have to choose one or the other. We are able to unwind, and not constantly be “on” like we would have to be if we were parents. Since I have a mental illness, I appreciate the fact that I can come home and turn off. I don’t have to be responsible for the well being of myself and a small child. I am able to take care of my mental health. We can be selfish with our free time. Being childfree has allowed us to take care of us.
– Britany Hartin
Wow, so many different perspectives.
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