Do You Have Children?

What do you say when someone asks you, “Do you have children?” Such a simple but loaded question can be complicated to answer at times. I tend to be a private person who says as little as possible when this question comes up. I have to say that I have started to have a change of heart regarding how I answer this question. I am not ashamed of my decision or of how my life has turned out by the choices I have made. This question on one level is intrusive however the mythology being disseminated about the childfree is perhaps more troubling. It is sad that in this day and age that so many people do not even realize that one can live a full and complete life without having children. Maybe it is time to start a dialog with the public one person at a time. “Do you have children?”

For the childfree this question can be a bit tricky. The reasons why we do not have children are personal and may range from infertility to just not having an interest in becoming a parent. What does this line of questioning say about the person asking it? Do they want a sincere answer or are they asking because it is a well practiced question that tends to elicit a usually predictable answer. In the case of a childfree individual the answer is not predictable and often leads to another round of questions or the dreaded silence or deer in the headlight stare. People will want to know out of curiosity. Sometimes they want to know the answer to validate their own decision to have children. I have been surprised that on several occasions the questioner has told me in confidence that if they had it to do all over again they would have chosen not to have children. They did not know it was an option. Sometimes the asker cannot handle that there are people who make different decisions and may react with hostility or avoidance. Sometimes it will lead to statements that the childfree term the “Bingo”.

On the site The Childfree Life there has been much written about the “Bingo” and how best to respond to them. In this case the asker of the question most likely is not asking for the purpose of making a judgment, although some could be. We as childfree perhaps are more sensitive about this because it happens frequently.

How best to prepare for the question? Would a well-rehearsed statement help?

This question will probably be asked in every new setting we encounter and with every new person we meet. The question of children may even be the second question after the introduction. It has really become part of a non-thinking dialog or a traditional conversation starter.

In my own life I have probably answered this question thousands of times and have probably given at least a half dozen unique answers to the question depending on my mood, the person asking, and the degree I wished to disclose. The full answer to this question on my part is actually quite complicated but the most simple answer is no.

This simple word usually works these days now that I am in my later 40s but would often require further explanation when I was in my late 20s until my late 30s. For those of you on the fence this can be a particularly difficult question to answer. For those who may have had children but have chosen to give them up for adoption or may have chosen to terminate a pregnancy this question might also sting.

The main reason I can come up with for elaborating about the childfree choice is to begin educating those around us that it is an option just like having children is an option or choice. If we do not speak up how will others know that for some not having children is normal and it is the right decision. So often you hear the myth that those that choose not to have children will regret their decision when they are older. So far the people I know who are older are actually quite happy with their decision.

So how will you answer this simple question? I look forward to your responses in the forum. If you have had an experience in answering this question recently I hope you will share how it turned out.

Do you have children?

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86 Responses to Do You Have Children?

  1. Debra Wooloncroft says:

    Due to the fact that many people including my manager at work say I’m self-centered and odd, I tell people I could never have children. Then people ask , then why don’t you adopt? I tell them I’m happy with my life and now that I’m 41 years old prefer no children. I still feel that many people judge me in a negitive way because I have no children. I feel as if people think something is wrong with me mentally.

    • Katherine says:

      Some wise advice I saw on the forums a while back centered on the acronym JADE. (justify, argue, defend, or explain) Try to avoid conversations where you find yourself engaged in justifying, arguing, defending or explaining your CF decision with someone who is just out to tear you down.

      Your manager and some of the others around you do not appear to respect you or your choices. I hope you have a supportive circle of friends and family that value who you are. There is certainly nothing wrong with you for not wanting children. This is another reason I am so glad that TCFL community exists.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I tend to simply answer no – if the asker persists I tell them the truth. I don’t particularly care for children and have no desire to have them. Perhaps I’m a bit to blunt and honest, but hey, you asked the personal question! Strangers will generally leave it alone, but it’s the well-meaning friends and co-workers who drive me batty! I’m not crazy, I won’t change my mind, my life is perfectly fulfilling, I have a family – it just doesn’t fit your version of reality, I’m sick of hearing about how wonderful your children are and I’m sick of you telling me how much you understand, because I don’t think you really do. I’m just discovering this network of CF people, and hopefully I’ll finally find people who understand my husband and I. :)

    • Rebekah says:

      I am so happy to see I’m not the only person in the world who chooses not to have children. I’m from a small town in the Bible Belt, so it’s “absolutely absurd” for people to not reproduce. My husband and I have been married for 4 years now, we’re in our late 20’s, and he’s already been vasectomized. I do not care for children, or anything that new moms have to say about them. I also don’t care to hang out with anybody that HAS kids, because that is all they have to talk about, because that is the ONLY thing in their life. No personality, no hobbies, nothing. Just “the kid”. I’m happy to find this website, and I love reading the stories that other Childfree women have! Stay strong brothers and sisters! The world could use a lot more people like us. If things don’t change, there’s not going to be a world for much longer.

      • Shay says:

        love, love, love this! Made me laugh too. I agree with ya!

      • Carol says:

        I agree. My husband and are I typically the only couple at a party without kids. I find that the only think the women can talk about is their kids. It is like they had a lobotomy when they had kids and all personality or thought was removed from them. It drives me crazy. I am always looking for new friends that don’t have or want kids, but it is terribly hard to find.

      • Christina says:

        Yes, Carol, I believe that you are referring to “mombies”. They are the gals who are brain dead from singing “Eensy Weensy Spider” 50 times/day, every day for YEARS!!!!!!

  3. Danielle says:

    I’m so happy a friend of mine found this website and recommended it to me. We are both on the fence about having children, and get asked frequently since we’re “of age”. I work as a nurse in labor and delivery, and have the honor of watching miracles happen every day. I acknowledge and appreciate the joy it brings to many, but also see the many other sides of the story. Thank you for being here to help educate those that are unaware having children is a choice!

  4. Sara says:

    I’m 27 and happily married…and I stumbled upon the perfect response, (though I’m somewhat ashamed to use this, it just really circumvents a difficult conversation, especially one that I don’t wish to have with near strangers. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t want kids). In a fun way, I roll my eyes and say, ‘No! But we’re working on a dog!” It’s a perfect transition into, “what kind of dog,” etc. Turns out, people like to talk about dogs just as much as they like to talk about your reproductive plans/babies…It’s the perfect distraction, and it’s perfectly socially acceptable. The implication, is, of course, that a dog is the first step towards a baby…but really, it’s none of their business, so I don’t care. And we really are thinking about getting a dog.

    • Angie says:

      That’s really smart, Sara. I usually point to the pictures of my cats and launch into stories about them and their lives pre-rescue. The perspective usually makes them think about the lives my husband and I have been responsible for, or just scares them away. Either way, I feel I did OK. :)

  5. Amber says:

    I always direct the conversation towards my pets as well. My b/f and I have two dogs and a cat, and that is perfectly fine for us! Seeing babies and children has never made me weak in the knees, or want to cuddle and fawn on them at all. Furry little animals on the other hand, turn me into a puddle of goo, and I must pet and love them if I see them. I love animals, not people. Everyone close to me knows this, including my parents and immediate family. Strangely enough, my family and co-workers are really pretty non-judgemental about my decision to not procreate. Anymore, it’s strangers and my friends who ask the weird questions and want to push me towards it. Every couple except one that I am close to has recently popped out offspring, and it makes me feel like a crazy person to be around almost any of them. Everything is about the baby or being pregnant, and how “wonderfull” the whole experience of raising kids is. I’m just so sick and tired of hearing about it, and having at least one of the couples look down on me like I am a leaper for not wanting a freakin’ baby!
    I have never wanted children. I am an only child, and I have just never seen the “fullfillment” in giving up my life, body, finances, and other personal freedoms for a miniature human that will be stuck to my hip for the rest of it’s and my life. It’s just not for me, and it never will be. Besides that, the whole aspect of pregnancy and birth disturbs me to no end and I just don’t think I could ever go through it. It makes me physically sick to my stomach when people talk about their “birth and pregnancy” stories. I just think there is so much more that I could do with my life than just simply have kids, I guess, and that is my bottom line. I’m glad I found this website because I really needed to rant a bit!

    • Angie says:

      Precious animals send me into way more baby-talk than actual babies.

    • Christina says:

      Amber- I wanted to jump up and down after reading your comments. It was like I wrote it myself! I am obsessed with animals and like you the thought of giving birth makes me want to gag. I had a dream the other night I was pregnant and I woke up in a sweat. It was a true nightmare! I’m glad I found this site. I’m 40 now and have never once second guessed my feelings about having kids. The only maternal instinct I have is towards animals. Sometimes it’s hard being child free in a child – obsessed world but having kids for the wrong reasons would be a lot harder.

  6. Tak says:

    When I want to be vague my favorite reply is: “I’ve been lucky so far” Anyone who isn’t an idiot will usually catch the drift that I don’t want to talk about it. It’s all in the inflection.

    I actually like talking to people about the decision of whether or not to have a baby. I take my birth control religiously, and use back-up BC most of the time too. I just don’t think reproducing is a good idea for me because I live with chronic depression and doubt an emotional wreck would make a good parent. However, if by some fluke I were to fall pregnant, I would probably keep the baby and trust in my mammalian instincts.

    That said, I find the baby brainwashing kind of creepy. It’s like watching a person become enslaved to a self-centered jerk, all the while telling you about the greatness of their new owner. Sort of a Stepford Wives kind of vibe. Either that or they’re crappy parents who neglect and/or abuse their kids. No, no thanks. I don’t want to become either one of those things.

  7. Hannah says:

    I very much like Sara’s comment: “No! But we’re working on a dog!” – I honestly don’t think that it is anybody’s business if or why someone does not have kids. I actually think that it’s a bad habit of many people to use the “Do you have kids?” as a conversation starter as it is a personal question and it may sting or feel very hurtful for different reasons. People generally would not be happy if you asked them how much money they earn or have in the bank or how much they owe. Then why does so many people think it is normal to ask the other question? Just because something is done by a majority of people it does not mean it is right. As it is mentioned here it may be due to many different reasons – adoption of a kid/kids, being gay, death of a kid, infertility, kidnapping, not wishing to have kids, a physical or mental handicap, a stillborn kid/kids or other reasons. I think it would be good with more public debate about what it is socially acceptable to ask people and to debate if it should still be socially acceptable to ask someone if they have kids? It is unlawful if a future employer asks if you have kids. Where is the consideration when asking questions in the social sphere? There is so much you can talk about in this world without getting too personal.

  8. My friends kids seem like hard work, my parents found little joy in parenting and everyone I know with children always seems to miss out on doing things because of their kids.
    If I was still with the girl I fell in love with at 21 I probably would have had them but I’m 35 now and don’t fancy going to parents evening at 50. I have a really easy job that doesn’t pay well but it doesn’t need to because I earn enough to sort me out. Slogging my guts out like I did when I was younger just to be a couple of hundred pounds a week better off to buy the baby a bonnet doesn’t sound at all clever to me. When I do pick up some easy cash on the side it’s all mine. Time to go out and ride that new motorbike I bought last week with that college fund I don’t have to save.

  9. Tanz says:

    So pleased I found this place!
    I don’t think the question is meant to offend & just like pets it’s a way of starting a conversation. For many people having children is something they will have in common & an opportunity to connect with another person on a topic they love to talk about…incessantly it seems.
    I have never wanted children. It’s a simple fact. When I met my beloved of 16 years in our mid twenties it was something I brought up at an appropriate time as for some it’s a deal breaker. He’d never considered it – just thought he’d grow up, get married & breed coz that’s what you do. It was a new idea for him to consider & consider it he did. He loves being child-free as much as I & has had a vasectomy.
    Back to “the question”; my answer is fairly simple now as I’m in my early forties so the fact I haven’t bred is moot – it’s “no”. If asked why, I will joke that my beloved (who btw is loving & kind) is such a handful that he requires all my attention.
    We don’t have pets & I admit I find people with pets almost as tedious as those with children but we all have our obsessions – mine being cooking.
    In my 20’s & 30’s I got entirely sick of older women informing me that I would change my mind when my supposed biological clock kicked in – I’m still waiting & think I might have been born without one . Yay! Suits me just fine.
    I could go on but I don’t want to bore you on my first outing but I’ll be back!

  10. Krystin says:

    Thank you for creating this site,I can finally connect with people who are not mindless baby freaks.Today I skipping yet another baby shower, which are just scams just so parents can get people their unborn carbon foot print a gift they themselves can’t afford. Every where I turn someone is sporting a baby bump.Does any under stand what birth control means.

  11. says:

    When people ask me if I have any children I tell them I never was intersted in having children. It’s the truth, it never was an option for me. I’m 48, did not get married until I was 40 and told my future wife on our first date that if she wanted kids this would be our first and last date. It is so nice not to be tied down with kids and all the things that go along with them. We are free to leave the house (vacations, dinner, movies, concerts, etc.) anytime we want without having to worry about what to do with the kids. The Childfree Life is perfect for us.

    • Georgia Lee says:

      I am now in my 60’s; I made the decision not to have children in my early 20’s, and have NEVER regretted it. When I am asked, I simply say, “I am child-free by choice, and I am having a wonderful life.” This will usually shut them up. I have always had the free time and extra funds to do as I choose. I have traveled world-wide extensively, have had a rewarding career, and am in excellent health. Our home and everything we own are clear of debt – no kids or grandkids to send to college or bail out of jail>

      • Dr. Albert Pauls says:

        Enjoyed your thoughts and personal comments on being CF and “older.” At 73 now and free of all encumbrances, i.e., no debts, I’ve never looked back on the decision I made while serving in the US military. I was 18 then and knew I had all kinds of options just waiting for me. Now retired and enjoying the peace that comes from a long time looking inward, making mistakes of my own doing, and growing from them. My life has been devoted to nature. Wildlife and my pets (cats), photography. Recently enjoyed a visit from a young black bear—OH, but that’s where the highs are. In the Spring of the year ravens ask for food for their nestlings, so I feed them. This is the first year I’ve been shown their nest site. Wounded animals of every kind seem to find their way to yard and home. Some how I’ve earned this trust. So Cf works for me. Just hope other people soon realize that this planet will only support so many, and no more. Looking back, the worldwide changes have been many. Production and consumption are diseases in our world society. Thanks for this great site…

  12. Bexii says:

    Still being in my teens I don’t get asked “do you /have/ kids?” but “do you /want/ kids?” and that’s always worse to answer, in my opinion, because I’m still young (19) and child’d parents always say “Oh you’ll want kids eventually, once you get pregnant/married you’ll want them.” While I am on the fence (whether I want to stay childfree or adopt an older kid) I hate having to explain my reasons as to why I don’t want kids or be pregnant or have a baby in the first place. I’m patronized all of the time because of my unwillingness to be a mother, I asked my doctor how old you have to be in order to have your tubes tied and she looked at me like was absolutely insane. She basically told me I will (not /might/, /will/.) change my mind and get married and then pregnant then have a baby and faun over it and give up my life to it, have no hobby or free time because all if my energy should be put into my child. It’s an absolutely ludicrous idea, but in our society so is a teen with no plans for marriage or childrearing.

    • Victoria says:

      Exactly, I’m rather young (under 20) and while most of my friends want children, that’s not something that really interests me. I don’t want to end up like those “soccer moms” or whatever you call them. Parents, all they ever talk about is how great/cute/smart/difficult there child. It just makes me not want to grow up; are grown ups really that boring? It’s seems like a big belly or a stroller are all the rage now. When celebrities get pregnant the world goes nuts. Will it be a girl or a boy? Who will it look like? Natural birth or not? It’s getting old.

    • Emmy says:

      I was the same way when I was younger. My mom wasn’t around when I was growing up, and because I was the oldest I got stuck raising my younger sister while my dad worked. It was horrible, and I never want to do that again. I’ve know since age 14yrs that I never wanted kids, and I’ve been trying to get my tubes tied since I was 18yrs. Now I’m almost 28yrs and I’m finally considered “old enough” to make that decision and will be getting the procedure near the end of Nov.

      Don’t listen to what some doctor tells you about changing your mind. If it feels right at a young age to never be a parent, odds are you won’t ever change your mind.

  13. Cindy says:

    Great site. I stumbled upon it quite by accident and I’m so happy I did. I’m in my late 20’s and still don’t want kids. AT ALL. I’ve been watching friends get married and start families and become consumed with these lives around these little people. I’ve just never seen the big whoop about kids, I value my quiet time and need my solitude. Besides that, I keep a odd scheduled life. I don’t want to adjust my life around children. I can’t. People have argued with me, called me names and I’ve even lost friends because I choose not to procreate…its like they think there’s something wrong with me or-when they become parents, I’m suddenly some kind of threat and someone who shouldn’t be associated with. I’m left out of children stories with the girls at work, but I have one amazing friend who is a mother and supports my decisions and she tells everyone that she does not allow me to have kids because she has to live vicariously through me…Keep it up here! I’m so pleased to find out I’m not alone!

  14. Colleen says:

    One of my favorite responses that I’ve received was “You’re going to regret it when you’re old and no one is there to take care of you”. First of all, having children does not guarantee you will have a caregiver when the time comes. Look at how many of the elderly in our society sit in nursing homes and wait for death without so much as a regular visit from their children. Just because you decide to become a parent does not mean you will be appreciated for that later in life. Not to mention, having a child just to secure a caregiver for the future is perhaps the most selfish act there can be. That is a human life who deserves more respect and purpose than that. Second, (and this is usually my response to that statement) with all the money we’re going to save not buying diapers and formula, and not sending our child to college, and not bailing them out of jail, and not splurging on extra therapy because our child is making us nuts, and paying for their wedding, and eventually buying gifts for the children they decide to have (it’s a vicious cycle) we are going to buy some first class elder care for ourselves and live out our days in peace and comfort. Then I watch the smile slip off their faces and worry and uneasiness take its place.
    I don’t enjoy seeing people in this state, but had the person phrased it as a question (“Don’t you think you’ll regret your decision when you’re old?”) then they would have received the same explanation with a much gentler delivery and wouldn’t now be worrying about rotting in a nursing home.

    • Bitzy says:

      Amen. I am watching my poor Mom, who is almost 60, caring for her mother (who is in her 80s.) My grandmother is THE most selfish woman on earth. She had two sons whom she adored, but when it came time to have a daughter (my Mom), she decided to become jealous of her, paranoid and bitter. She expected my mother to take care of her, during her old age as well as middle age (the woman has always been ill, as well as ill in the head.) Now my Mom would probably love a break, so she can get on with her OWN life, but the woman refuses to even downsize into a home that is smaller than the 6 bedroom house she is living in. My Mom is basically a live-in nurse maid. It is revolting that some people have this sense of entitlement that says “in my old age, my kids will look after me.”

  15. Claire says:

    Hi there,
    After telling people I’m CF, I love their rebuttal of, “Well who is going to take care of you when you get old?”

    Answer: YOUR kids.
    Spending it all on ourselves!

  16. Leslie says:

    I usually say “I only have 4 legged kids” Some people look a little blank at first, then realize I am talking about my 2 dogs and cat. It keeps it light.
    This is a fantastic website, I’m so happy a friend showed it to me.

  17. Jadeblossom says:

    I love that this website exsists. Everyone around me is ethier pregnant, has a child or has a few kids. I have distance myself away from everyone who has kids because YES most of the parents I meet are so interested in talking about their babies. I’m kind of tired of it. I had to baby sit so much, I had no time for being a kid. I had to grow up fast. All I did was go to school and come home to baby sit. My brother and sister were too busy working to be home to watch their kids. My sister was going through divorse and my brother’s girlfriend left him. I was the only person who was there to watch the babies. It was and is even very hard for them now. They deal with even more then when I was 10 yrs old baby sitting their kids.

    I usually respond to people that I’m thinking about getting a puppy, ( I have a fluffly husky in mind).

    Also I’m so happy and relieved to know that there are others who don’t go to baby showers. I don’t go to them, I feel uncomfortable going. I don’t know what I would be doing at a baby shower. I would feel like a jerk being there because I don’t have kids.

    I’m a model and artist. I have so much free time. Plus finance is abudant for me. I can invest in what ever I want. I can study and do research. I can practice all the fun activities I like to practice. I love being child free. All the mommies around me get so jealous some times, I have had people take it out on me as though life is unfair for them because they have kids and I don’t. I am glad to find a place where people won’t be so jealous. :)

  18. Barbra says:

    I always just say, “No.” If it’s someone who persists, I say, “I like kids, but I never wanted any of my own.”

    To people who expect me to justify my choices to them, and for some reason there are always those people, I say, “There are 5,852 reasons I chose not to have kids. I don’t think you want to hear the whole list.”

  19. Julie says:

    Thank you for this site. I have worked as an obstetrical nurse for 20 years and I get asked if I have kids multiple times a week. I tell them that my husband and I decided not to have kids, and that I am honored to be a part of their birthing experience. I also tell them that I have a lot of respect for the amount of work that it takes to be a parent. I don’t mention that the first time I saw a uterus out on the sterile field, I had an epiphany that I NEVER wanted that to be done to me. :) My sister has a child and my husband’s sister has kids, so the grandparents do not give us grief, which I am grateful for. I know that I would be a shell of a person if I had kids. There would be nothing left over for me and I don’t want to live like that. Without kids, I get to choose where I spend my energy. I give time and money to causes which are important to me, and I can pull back when I have the need for me time. I still support schools and libraries even though I don’t have kids. Be strong in your decision either way. If you choose to be a parent, please be a great one and raise healthy confident, smart, caring children. If you choose not to have kids, please nurture your community.

  20. DamienFox says:

    I’ve had to deal with all sorts on that line… the ones who think they’re looking out for my well-being, the “you’ll change your mind” bunch, the “it’s really very rewarding” coming from someone who not a week before was complaining to me about how terrible their kids were and they’d wishe they hadn’t had children [wow, very rewarding i guess]

    And one that started with the “you need to have kids” spiel, and ended with the weirdest line I’ve heard out of anyone after asking me if I was married to my boyfriend [I’ve been with him nine years] and I said no, and they said “Well you need to try marriage, see if you like it!”


  21. Naomi says:

    This site is amazing. I’ve been doing my head in with anxiety over not wanting kids.

    A male colleague asked me how old I was earlier this week. “25?? And you’ve no children? If you were my daughter I’d be having words…” unfortunately I’m not one for witty responses and wasn’t able to give him an answer without “ummm…”. Later I thought why should I? this is none of your business!!

    Society really doesn’t do anything to make you feel like less of a freak!

  22. Jamie says:

    Even though I chose to have & raise children, I occasionally wonder about “the road not taken”–how my life might be more (or less) fulfilling, successful, prosperous, etc. as a childfree woman. What I really appreciate in this website is the honest discussion about the day-to-day details of living childfree; I hope I’ve become more sensitive to what I say to others regarding this topic. For example, I don’t ask anyone anymore whether or not they have children because I don’t want them to feel awkward, defensive, or uncomfortable. And I would never ask a woman why she didn’t have kids! That seems like the height of rudeness to me!

  23. SilverFox says:

    Love, love, love this website. Although I am now 66 years old, I knew as early as 8 that I never wanted children. I was a tomboy, and I liked muscle cars, rollerskating and books. As a child I read books way beyond my age and dreamed about having a career. To me, that was the most exciting thing in the world.

    I did have a wonderful career, and am still workin’ it, as they say, and I have absolutely no regrets. Over the years women have said some pretty rude things to me. Case in point, my secretary once told me that I wasn’t a woman because I didn’t have kids. It was hurtful, but I sucked it up and kept my mouth shut. Now that I’m way past the age to conceive I don’t get as many rude remarks, but it still irks me when I get invited to all of the baby shower invitations at work. The expectation is that you must attend – it’s a baby shower! My answer is always the same: “Let me know when they are expecting a litter of puppies and I will be there”.

    Here’s my advice to all the young women out there: Live your life the way you want to. Don’t ever let your parents, your church, your friends or the rest of the world dictate to you the role you should play in life. It’s not their choice, it is yours and yours alone.

  24. Tiffany says:

    No, I don’t have children. But why does it seem like so many childfree people wrinkle their noses at those who do? I am 37 years old and am childfree. I decided several years ago that being a mother was not the right choice for me. But unlike so many, I do not dislike children. While it’s true that I don’t melt over every baby that passes me on the sidewalk and I can barely tolerate little ones at a restaurant, I do turn into a puddle with my friends’ children. I am a teacher and greatly enjoy being a positive influence in a young person’s life. And with every baby shower invitation I receive I gleefully run to the store to buy something tiny and cute, or bright and noisy, and I go to share in an important event in someone else’s life. We should celebrate all of life’s milestones, even if it’s a marker we ourselves have chosen to bypass.

    • Lenore says:


      You’ve expressed my sentiments exactly! I am also a teacher, and quite enjoy the company of children. I do not melt at the sight of babies, I am quite uninterested in being around toddlers, but I love my friend’s kids, and happily do fun activities with them. This does not mean that I want them myself! I spent a year living with other friends who have three kids, and it was the best experience: a parenting internship, if you will. I realised who I would become if I had to take care of them full time, and I appreciate that it is a full time job! But I didn’t like the compromises, I didn’t like the endless cycle of chores, I didn’t like the continuous training.
      I do however, much like yourself, enjoy celebrating my friend’s lives and their milestones. I happily join baby showers, spending time chatting while others breastfeed, and work around their families’ schedules. Because I hope that they will return my friendship, whatever my life brings.
      It is really nice to see people who are comfortable with children and genuinely engage with them, without the need to have them.

      • Alexa says:

        Thanks for your posts Tiffany and Lenore. Your posts were more my speed too! I can appreciate that everyone has their path and preferences, but I too enjoy being a part of the lives of my friends who do have kids, just as much as those who do not. I even attended one of my close friend’s birth, which was an truly incredible experience, and am the godparent to her boy. I like dogs but I can still be friends with cat-people. I like meat, and am totally cool eating a vegetarian meal with friends that are repulsed by meat. No Biggie. LOL.

        When people ask me the question, do you have kids, I usually just say with a smile:
        -“No we didn’t go that route. Do you have kids or pets?”
        To me, it feels unapologetic, while also reminding the person that having a kid is a choice just as much as not having one. And usually it goes over smoothly without making the person feeling judged that they did take that route, or that they asked.

        I tend not to assume people are being mean spirited or rude to me simply by asking. It’s just a way to get to know someone. I’d hate to live in a world where everyone is afraid to ask anyone anything. Not everyone feels this way, but I am quite comfortable sharing my thoughts and ideas in a kind way with folks that are curious, I think it helps people learn other perspectives and empathy. Usually a Win Win.
        Naturally if someone is being offensive and pushy, like someone said to me once,
        -“well why don’t you adopt, you know there are so many kids out there that need people like you” and I think I replied along the lines of:
        -“Its true there are kids in need out there, maybe you should think about adopting some of them.”
        (We actually did look into adopting at one point but I didn’t bother even sharing our experience b/c people like that aren’t worth the effort.)

        There was a baller line in the TV show “House of Cards” where someone asked Claire: “Do you ever regret not having kids?” and she replied ” No, do you ever regret having them?” LOL so good!
        But honestly, as satisfying a come-back as that was, I do think it’s better to assume that people are asking because they are curious and want to learn your perspective. If you just slam them, then how can they learn other perspectives? Could be that they really just want to know how you think and why because it is interesting to meet people doing things differently than the status quo.

        Admittedly though, I live in a big city where it is not that uncommon to know many women who are CF so perhaps that is why I have been spared the intense rudeness & alienation others on this forum have endured in their communities. My motto is still that you catch more flies with honey, rather than adding to a stereotype that we are all baby haters.

        My journey is as a long time fence sitter. I knew since I was 8 that my priorities were more driven by pursuing my curiosities, creativity, and by finding a deeply loving and fun relationship to share in life’s adventures. I have always been a tomboy of sorts, and fiercely independent. I did not dream of a wedding, picket fences or kids. I traveled and lived in many countries and cities, I’ve had a very diverse and creative career, a number of romantic affairs … and eventually, found my true love in my mid-30’s. I only started feeling like maybe I wanted kids for the 1st time when I was about 37. We tried for a bit, without success. But we always had a half in – half out feeling about it. We were drawn to the adventure & rewarding challenges of parenthood. I do love the idea of being pregnant, and of teaching my kids all the wild and wise things I’ve learned in life… I think had things gone that way, we would have been cool parents, and that parenthood does not have to be a sterile boring life. BUT we also knew that parenthood would be at the cost of missing out on a lot of amazing other adventures better suited for my beloved and me alone. ALso, the world is so crazy, that the future for today’s kids is super scary.

        I’m 40 now and we’ve accepted that we will be CF for life and are happy with it. I am comfortable admitting that certain moments can make me sad at times. It is an adventure I will never embark on, but that overall our CF path was the best thing for us. We joined a Scuba diving club and travel and we don’t have to work as hard since our money goes a lot farther with just us. And whenever I need it, I get my kid fix with my friend’s & family’s children :)

  25. Rachie says:

    What a great forum! I´ve never wanted kids, but it´s only in the last few years (I´m 36) that I´ve realised that it´s 100% certain, I just can´t imagine doing it or wanting to do it. I´ve had a few comments recently from people (always parents themselves)about my not wanting children, the two worst were “so you don´t like kids?”, which may not sound so bad but with a look of horror on her face at the same time (and in front of quite a few people) it felt pretty humiliating. Another comment about how I was making a mistake and I´d miss out on something actually made me angry, as it came from a colleague who I barely know. I´m glad I can read about other people´s experiences as I´ve really been wondering if it´s normal to have this complete lack of desire to procreate, and it´s a great relief to see that it is!

  26. Soni says:

    This site is why I DO like the internet. Connecting to others honest thoughts… inspiring. I have really felt trapped inside my own head about this child thing. I get asked this question on a regular basis and find my self “explaining”… blabbering… not really able to say why I dont want to have children. I am 33, finishing my training as a physician. I dont have any friends (right now) that are choosing child-freedom. One after another they tell me about their pregnancies. I too have strong “maternal” instincts, and want to care for every little life, person or not. I often work on the L and D floor, helping women with their birthing and generally think the whole process is quite incredible. My fiance and I love family, and there is a signficant part of us that would love to share this world with a little human. But I also just know that this is not going to be the world I would want to leave to them. This is no longer the place where I had my own special childhood that gave me the foundations to grow in a fulfilling, conscious, (almost) free being. I dont want to have children because this world has enough. If more people had put more thought into it, and cared a little more about that choice (regardless if it led to a child or not), then we would be in a better place and perhaps I would have a different answer. My fiance, on the other hand, tells people who ask that he just wants to enjoy this one life, and doesnt care if people think he is selfish. Ha!

  27. Amanda says:

    If it someone I want to keep the conversation going with, since I’m a teacher in one of the encore classes (ie art, music, pe, etc) I say “Oh, yes. 828 of them.” While I enjoy going to work in a school each day and the students are great, I never wanted children of my own. Having 3 sisters and 1 brother was enough, even though my mom never had us babysit for each other and my dad was very involved in our lives. Extended time off has meant a week and a half in Germany two years ago, Easter break in Key West three years ago, a two week study in Costa Rica four years ago, last summer I hiked to an alpine tundra and paddled to a glacier in Alaska!

  28. anonynmous says:

    Thank you for this wonderful site to connect with other and hear others stories. I feel less alone hearing all of the posts here. I am a male therapist in the female-dominated field of health care so I frequently come across this discussion of my and my wife’s choice to not have children from co-workers and clients alike. Without providing the formative details that contribute to arriving at our decision I agree on many points for and against children, my wife and I are in our early thirties together 6 years, married 1.5 We value life, family, friendship, community and personal choice. We discussed this topic while we dated, lived together and prior to and after our wedding. I like the acronym “JADE” referred by a Katherine’s great post and link. Nice also to read Julie’s post – she said it better than I ever could. Thank you all very much for sharing.

  29. Lulu says:

    I usually just respond “no” and if the grilling continues, I add that I live a life of leisure that includes coming home to a quiet house that I share with my boyfriend (also CF – yay!), cussing like a trucker, drinking like a sailor (although as I near 40, that’s slowing a bit!), and have plenty of money to indulge in various things like traveling, favorite hobbies (sewing art quilts, belly dancing, etc.), and Fluevogs (cool shoes!)! AND, have enough money to retire comfortably/purchase elder care insurance. My mom and aunt totally support my choice, and even cheer me on – its my narcisisstic brother who chastizes me about not having children…if I was lucky enough to find a sucker…I mean wife…who takes care of the kiddos whenever I needed “time to myself” – as he had, it would be a possibility…eh, still likely not!! lol. I do enjoy being the “fun” auntie to both my niece and nephew (when I’m allowed to see them – did I mention my brother was a narcissist?!?) as well as close friends’ kids.

  30. Allison Gibson says:

    I say no, we have a fur baby.. ie our dog. But if people push I tell them, that my husband and I dont want them because he is active duty military and I refuse to be a single mother, and I wouldn’t want to knowingly subject a child to a fatherless life, and if I dont even get time with my husband, im sure as heck not going to split what little time I do have with him with a kid.

  31. Heather says:

    I am having a hard time with this decision myself. I was the oldest child growing up with a mentally sick mother and a father in the military who was never home. I inherited my mothers mental illness and struggle everyday to be normal. I am very good with children and connect with them on a parallel level. I never think about being a parent. I never have. Mabe because I already WAS a parent at a young age. My husband recently admitted he thought I was going to change my mind eventually and is now sad that he realizes I am not. Sadly it has made our relationship very empty because he is upset with my decision. Is anyone or has anyone been in this situation. I feel so guilty, but I know I cannot be a mother.

    • Shawna R. Nixon says:

      I share an aspect of your situation. I have mental illness myself, and like you, struggle every day to ride out the storms. When I was a little under 3 years old, my little sister was born, and I realized how much work a child was. I was terrified of adulthood, parenthood, and babies after that. In general, I’m not terribly consistent. I have trouble keeping plants alive, and I do a lot better at taking care of my cat now that I live with my fiance. Now that I realize that I don’t HAVE to be a parent, I’m not afraid of adulthood anymore. I don’t have to fear being a miserable shell of myself. I’ve finally gotten consistent enough to take care of myself and have a good relationship with my fiance, but a child requires so much more. It’s a level of care that I’m not terribly capable of giving. Just the early sleep deprivation alone would risk sending me into a psychotic episode. Also, the medications I take mean that any biological child would probably have severe birth defects. I’m fortunate that my fiance supports me 100%. He tells me that his preferred number of kids is 0-2. We discussed kids fairly early in the relationship and we’ve been discussing it off and on ever since. While I’m still a little scared of babies, I like kids well enough. I don’t want to take care of kids full-time, but I’d like to have more opportunities to be a caregiver in my life. I’ve had a fairly busy year, but once things calm down a bit I’d like to look into such things as babysitting or even being a “Big Sister” in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. I know it’s harder for men to be accepted as caregivers, but maybe your husband can look into something like that. It may not be politic to mention it to him, but it is unwise to go into a relationship expecting or needing the other person to change. Just keep that in mind for yourself so YOU don’t feel guilty. Far from being something to be ashamed about, I believe it is something to be proud of to accept one’s limitations and plan accordingly. If you don’t want children and question your capacity to raise them, it’s the responsible thing to do to choose not to be a parent.

    • Stephany says:

      You shouldn’t feel guilty. I have trouble with depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, anger issues, and other mental health issues. I know that if I had a child, he/she would more than likely inherit these problems too and I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone. I’ve never had any maternal feelings anyway. I always got dolls as gifts but never really played with them. I never felt the house-wifey type either, so I’m not married. I just grew to realize I am who I am; and I like to do what I like to do. I’d recommend going out and doing fun stuff with your husband and show him how much fun life can be without kids. If he wont go, then go alone. You’re not doing anything wrong and you’re not being selfish. :)

  32. Alana says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS WEBSITE!! If it isnt my mother, my sister, my friends or even my doctor, I tell everyone the same answer when asked Do you have/want kids? No! I had the talk, the stares and the “you will change your mind as you get older!” but I havent changed my mind, I do not want kids! I watched my friends go have kids at a young age, and now that we are in our 30s, your chasing your kids around town because they are in that “I hate you mom” stage! And between ny 5 other brothers and sisters, my mom has 6, yes 6 grandchildren out of just 2 of your children…so I also tell her, you have 3 other children to get grandbabies out of, lol!! I am on the depo shit and have been for years, but I am looking for a sterile operation, but with sh*tty health insurance, it will not pay for the operation. Oh well, with two hobs and more money for myself, I have sone saving to do!! I love this support from other ladies, young and old, who chose the C.F life!!

  33. Amarella says:

    I’m 32 and all my life I excitedly anticipated being someone’s Mommy. A photograph proves I was THRILLED when I got a baby doll on my 1st birthday. I played House as a kid and loved my Cabbage Patch preemie. I remember naming my Future Babies when I was in 7th grade. I dreamt of twin girls. I worked in child care from age 18 to the present. Despite my background, over the past 2 years, I’ve become On The Fence about having kids. Its as if during my 20’s, I was blinded to how much SACRIFICE a kid is and now that my eyes are opening, I don’t like what I see. And the more I educate myself, the less I want the role of Mother. I actually mourned and grieved coming to this realization. I have a Hope Chest full of baby clothes I collected for years! Anyone else like me out there? Flat out CHANGED your MIND??

    • Shawna R. Nixon says:

      Yes and no. Frankly, I’ve been terrified of parenthood ever since my little sister was born when I was almost 3. I hated getting baby dolls and basically ignored them, because I knew babies took so much work and I was so involved with my fantasy life that I’d feel obliged to constantly care for them if I accepted them. I was even scared of babysitting and didn’t do it much.

      Still, it was something everyone did and there were aspects of it that I looked forward to. I was excited to get my period at 13 because that meant my body was capable of pregnancy. I thought about children’s names (usually girls) and about things I would teach them. I thought about how I would do things and how I would not do things. In high school I thought, “If I don’t find a suitable partner by age 30, I’ll adopt.” I always assumed that somehow when I was a magical grownup I’d have super powers and be able to handle the work and sacrifice.

      Well, now I’m 33 and while I feel like a grownup (finally), I still don’t feel I have the consistent ability to care for a child. I do struggle with mental illness, which contributes to this. There are days that I can’t go into work. I work half-time to keep stress at a minimum and give me time for self-care. It was being on psych meds that cause severe birth defects that made me realize I didn’t have to be a parent, and possibly couldn’t if I didn’t get off/switch the meds. Just in the last year, it dawned on me that if I didn’t have to be a parent, adulthood was a lot more attractive. Nonetheless, I can imagine there are many women without mental illness that can’t find it within themselves to make the sacrifices and give the consistent care that a child would need. Some may just feel that it is not worth it.

      Certainly there are enough children in the world, and (for the most part) enough people raising them. There are things that feel more worthwhile for me to be doing than raising a child, such as my artwork. I drove badly for eight years before giving it up and switching to public transit. My decision not to have a child feels right in the same way. Parents, all things being equal, are heroes, and parenthood is, in general, a worthwhile pursuit. Nonetheless, it is not a worthwhile pursuit for everyone. While my situation is not identical to yours, I have definitely done a lot of soul-searching and, yes, mourning over this issue. I have a lot of old toys in my mom’s attic. If you become certain you do not want to parent, I say give the baby clothes to the young, foolhardy heroes who do with your blessing. I’ll try to do the same with my toys.

    • Clementine Moss says:

      Yes! Just two days ago – I FLAT OUT CHANGED MY MIND. I’d let myself get on the older side of fertility and was scheduled to have ICSI and a donor egg, with my husband’s sperm. Out of nowhere I discovered myself crying constantly, mourning the loss attention I give and get from my friends, niece, nephews, pets and family and worrying like crazy the child would suffer from anorexia, heroin abuse and chronic depression like me (nevermind the fact that none of these things make me a great candidate for motherhood). I kept thinking “But you’re not a woman until you’ve had children” or “You’re wasting a perfectly good uterus” as though I were a dairy cow on the production line. I am right this moment in the process of excepting that I will not be having children but will be there for other’s children, and that I can do a lot to contribute to a better world without bringing a potentially drug-addled, weight-obsessed, depressed child into it. I could help other people, other children, animals, the planet, etc. A huge weight has been lifted off my little shoulders and I’m still torn, but I think I am doing the right thing. But for awhile it will be hard to see babies and pregnant women since I was so close to heading that direction. I do grieve the ‘loss’ of loving the child I might have had. But this feels like the right direction. Plus everyone of my cousins had oodles of children. None of them look happy. Now I’m going to drink a beer and walk my dog, thank you very much.

  34. Meagan Romanchuk says:

    I’m actually a licensed minister who has chosen to be childfree, so the reactions I get are usually negative. It can range from a condescending shake of the head to lectures about how I’m not fulfilling my God-given purpose as a woman. My most common and simple answer is “No.” If they persist, I will politely say, “This is a private matter between my husband and I.” If they continue to ask, that’s when I snap. This will elicit a response along the lines of, “What’s your favorite sexual position? Oh, you don’t want to talk about it because it’s private? Now we’re on the same page.”

    • Christina says:

      Good for you! Child worshippers can be so pushy. I think questions related to reproduction are so rude, unless the person whose uterus is in question brings it up!

  35. Dr. Emile Schoefhausen says:

    Here are a few answers I’ve given over the years (I’m 44 and have known since about age 8 that I never wanted to be a parent):

    1. No, I don’t.
    2. No, it’s such an important job, and there are so many different ways to screw it up, that I thought you should, at the very least, want the job in the first place.
    3. No, I didn’t like kids even when I was a kid.
    4. No, but I try to make one every chance I get.
    5. Why do you ask?

    I feel that this is a loaded, personal question. It’s akin to asking what your religious or political affiliation is. I realize that most people ask to find out if I’m a member of their tribe–the parent tribe. It’s usually innocuous enough, but sometimes the smart ass in me can’t help but shed a little light on what I believe is an inappropriately intimate question.

  36. KCM says:

    I’m so glad I came across this site. I see-saw back and forth about wanting kids. Hubs and I have been married for 4 years, together for 6, both in our early 30s. I became unexpectedly pregnant at 19 and after some soul-searching, placed my baby for adoption. When people ask me if I have kids, there is always this awkward moment where I really don’t know how to respond. On the one hand, I don’t want to deny my daughter, and on the other hand, I may not want to disclose the information to the person asking. Even when I feel safe disclosing the information, I don’t want to make others uncomfortable. I do love my friends’ kids to bits, love attending and hosting baby showers, and am agreeable even to babysitting, but in a way, I am content with the role I have played as a birth mother. I really appreciate all the viewpoints here and am glad I stumbled onto the site!

  37. Dorothy says:

    Hello all. I am glad to have found this website. FINALLY, folks are talking openly about this difficult subject. I always felt like I was all alone ! I am now 62 years old and I have lived long enough to have soul-searched this subject to death. May I offer several points about my decision to not have children, that may help you ?

    1. My decision to not have children was NOT TOTALLY SELF-CENTERED. It seems like a lot of women who decide not to have children is because THEY do not want children. And of course, there is nothing wrong with that ! One of the main reasons I decided not to have children is because my HUSBAND simply did not want to become a parent, and he consistently never wanted children, and I did not feel that it was right to “force” parenthood on him. I know too many women, who out of pure selfishness, get pregnant without having their husband’s mutual consent, and of course, the marriage doesn’t survive her selfishness. In my case, I realized there are other people involved in my decision: my husband, and the child. I decided, What good would it be to force parenthood on my husband, and we bring a child into the world, and the child learns later that he/she was not wanted, by their father. My husband and I have now been married for more than 35 years, and I consider my relationship with him to be precious and I do not live my life totally unto myself and my own selfish desires. Have I hurt inside sometimes because of my decision ? Yes, of course, I am human. But I just cannot see making such a life-altering decision by being so selfish that I forge ahead to get whatever I might want, then I would still have the rest of my life full of heartaches ANYWAY. Either way you slice it, you are going to have heartaches. Therefore, I opted to remain childless, for my husband, as well as for myself.

    2. Growing up, my parents were completely emotionally unavailable and never showed me any real affection that connected with me. But my baby brother got it all from them. I was never shown the beauty or advantages of being a mother, and any time I was ever around babies, they either were screaming or stunk to high heaven and I was totally grossed out. My adult friends’ babies were brats and I just never saw any evidence whatsoever that would make me want to become a mother. Every experience I ever had with babies was a total and complete turn-off. My mother turned into a Feminist and decided that no daughter of hers was going to get pregnant and have to depend on a man for survival. Having children JUST WASN’T ACCEPTABLE in my life, and I learned to do everything I could to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. I learned THAT LESSON so well, that I was always horrified at the thought of getting pregnant.

    3. I am a Christian, which makes it even MORE DIFFICULT to live life being without children. Most churches are extremely “Family” oriented and you feel like a “Freak” if you attend churches where EVERY woman has children and like someone here posted, all they TALK ABOUT is their Children and/or their GRANDCHILDREN. Churches are supposed to be the ONE PLACE where you can go and be accepted and loved because you are a fellow believer, and you totally expect to be ACCEPTED and loved for just being there. It is unfortunate that there are so many CLIQUES whereby some of the women LOOK DOWN ON YOU for being childless. God has given me PEACE about my decision. It’s between Me and God, and I know that GOD LOVES ME — AND HE LOVES YOU TOO. WE WHO ARE CHILDLESS are just as valuable to God as anybody else. After all, he gave his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us because he loved us so much. Therefore, we can comfort ourselves knowing that WE ARE EXTREMELY VALUABLE AND ARE GREATLY LOVED BY GOD — and we don’t have to have children to “Qualify” for God’s love. All of you please remember this !! Here’s a Big Hug from Me to You !!

    • The Ogress of Utica says:

      The fundamentalists believe that it’s a woman’s place to have babies, and also submit sexually to her husband whenever he has urges. I enjoy being Catholic because in my church, there’s alot of room for variety. Especially since my parish is predominantly Italian-American, there has been many changes over the years! Modern Christian women know that they are equal to men, and many of them only select men who see women as equals.

    • Michelle says:

      You mentioned not having children because of your husband. My husband didn’t want to have any children either and that’s one of the main reasons why we didn’t have any. I knew if I had a child it would upset my husband and our marriage wouldn’t last.
      Growing up my parents were pretty much useless to me and my sisters. My dad would never visit us not even on holidays. He told me when I was a teenager to never have kids and he felt like he ruined his life by having us. I don’t want to children with a man who doesn’t want them and have them grow up knowing they were unwanted by their parents. Knowing your parents never wanted you is a very hard thing to deal with as a child and it doesn’t go away when you’re an adult.
      I agree with your reasons 100% on why not to have children. You shouldn’t have kids because society says you should. It’s not fair to you or the child.

  38. BB says:

    I usually am very honest when I am asked that question. I just say.” No I don’t have kids because I don’t really care for kids, never really have.” ….Most people just say well it a good thing you don’t have them then. The odd person doesn’t get it, but who cares. I am very happy love my life and the freedom I have.

  39. Jessica says:

    I have one son, and my husband and I plan to have at least two more. I have a friend, who when we met at age 13 knew she never wanted kids, we are polar opposites, I fawn and love being surrounded by babies and kids. She has a cat, who is her baby. She loves my son and her nephews but knows that having kids is just not for her. When asked by others why, she usually pulls says she can live vicariously through me, or her sisters. I fully support her choices in life, and while we don’t agree we get along just fine.
    She is one of those women who knows she does not want the challenges of being a mom, and likes to be able to go wherever at the drop of a hat. I knew from a young age that I wanted to devote my life to being a mom. She knew she wanted none of that. I have also found that while she does not mind being asked why, she can get snappy when people push her, and if I am with her, I will back her up, and ask why should she bother when she has had a hand in helping women who are mothers with their children. She even brings her nephew to my house so I can get a few minutes by myself while my little one is busy.
    Whatever you want to do in your life, stay strong. Not everyone is meant or wants to bear the responsibility of another life.

  40. The Ogress of Utica says:

    I just say “no” and smile.

  41. MleBee says:

    When people ask me I just say, “nope.” If they ask why I just tell them that’s just not the path my life has taken me.
    If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I wanted children I would have said yes. I’ve watched my girl friends and sister be utterly consumed by parenthood. How many times on talk shows are women in their 40’s having melt downs saying, “I don’t know who I am, After I had my kids I could no longer take care or time for myself.” That doesn’t sound wonderful to me.
    I personally just never found the right partner. I know myself well enough to know I would need someone who would be able to be there with me and share the load half and half. I’ve seen countless friends and co workers just plain miserable due to the lack of their husbands’ sharing the load of all that parenting entails. I am not saying men aren’t good parents!! It just seems most of the responsibility still tends to fall on the woman. It’s something I just couldn’t do with out full support of my partner.
    Now that I’m I n my late 30’s it doesn’t come up as often but I do still hear, “Oh, well it’s not too late! Women are having children well into their 40’s these days!”
    We’ll see. If my hubby starts cleaning up after himself more often…… lol……
    Plus, with all the over breeding going on I think we need some child free people. I can’t see the Earth sustaining the projected 8 billion people soon to inhabit the planet!

  42. Carol says:

    This is a great site. A lot of people are so right about it being no one’s business if you don’t have kids. You have to stand up for what is good for you. I never wanted kids, didn’t want to be tied down with them. Best decision I ever made!

  43. Englesby says:

    Hi everybody, I came to this site to help me figure out how I’m feeling and would welcome your comments.
    I’m 35. I did want children in my previous relationship and when that ended and I faced the choices in my future the urge for a baby for a baby’s sake did not appear. so I’ve been content with the view if it happens, with the right person, at the right time… but its not at the centre of my decisions/aims. So then I start seeing this great guy, its early days but we really click. He has told me he can’t have children and its precipitated a soul search for me. I like my life and think I like the idea of the experience of children more than the reality of its impact. I’m under no pressure but am preoccupied. I was content with trusting fate and being childfree but making the decision is harder, any questions to help me figure this out would be appreciated. thanks

    • Katherine says:


      I am glad you have found your way to TCFL. I suggest that you visit the On the Fence section in our forums along with other areas you might be interested in.


    • Jean Hanshu says:

      At 35 and single my then 75 year old mother told me “You don’t have to be married to have a baby.” In other words she wanted a grand baby. I started looking for older women who had not had children or a book or something that would tell me how I might feel if I chose to not have children. I never found an answer and I never had children. I, personally, do not regret it at all. I have a great life. Great friends – with and without children. Some of them envy me my freedom and others could not imagine their life without their children. It is so personal a decision but which ever decision you make, make sure it is your decision.
      I’m now 64. My mother is long gone. But another thing she told was: Everyone should plant a tree, write a book or have a child (a quote mostly attributed to Jose’ Marti’ – a Cuban Nationalist and author). I’ve planted numerous trees and I’m writing a book about not having children. The dedication will be to her – that the book is her grandchild. I hope it makes her proud.

  44. Tommy Udo says:

    For the first ten or fifteen years of our marriage, my wife and I were frequently questioned about when we were going to start making babies. As her sisters started dropping spawn, we began hearing “now it’s your turn” all the time. We had no interest in having children, and they eventually gave up (disappointed, of course). When I was a kid, my parents didn’t like me much, and although they liked my brother a lot, he was a pain in the ass and gave them plenty of trouble. I’ve observed my sisters-in-law and their brats for nearly thirty years. Out of their five offspring, only one shows any promise of maturing into a tolerable human. All I’ve heard from these mothers for years and years are complaints about parenting, and they seem depressed most of the time. I’ve even sensed some resentment at times because my wife and I chose the child-free path. How dare we be free, when they’re burdened with child raising and child problems! For the most part, they seem to have grown up and had babies mindlessly, just because that’s what everybody does. I never saw them have any joy in it, and I would never want to have to deal with children like theirs. Forget about it–I’m happy and child free forever.

  45. Jean Hanshu says:

    I actually think the world is evolving if people are being asked “Do you have children?”. The question I got most often was “How many children do I have?” Growing up in the south, I was brought up that I’d go to college, get married and have babies. I got the first two parts accomplished but realized quickly that my husband was not good fatherly material and, that being the least of our problems, we divorced after 5 years. So from 27 to 42 I was single. Now at 64 and married, people of my generation still want to know “how many” and I tell them I working on a book about it – not have children.
    Daily I am thankful that I didn’t procreate. I have had a great life and rather than feeling selfish, as some people suggest CFs are, I believe I did the right thing for me and any child that I might have produced. I was not cut out to have children and have no regrets. Now that most of my friends and I are “retired” and “have a life”, I sometimes still get to listen to their woes about their children. And, yes, some have told me that, while they love them, if they had it to do over, they wish they had been brave enough to not have children.

    • Tiffany says:

      I like your comments. I really appreciate that I found this site. I thought I was going to have kids. I love kids. But then I realized having my own, wait……… I like that you mentioned people used to ask ‘how many’ and now it’s more common for people to ask ‘do you have’. What I found the most impactful: being seen as selfish because of not having kids. I actually just realized that most of us not having kids is the most unselfish thing we could possibly do! Again, I love children. I think they are amazing. But I also know I’m not patient enough to have them living with me full time. Ie: being a mom, a parent. I choose to not have kids because I know I don’t have the time in my self, I would never want a child if I think I’m not able to be the best parent. That’s the most unselfish thing I think anyone can do! It’s much harder to go against a huge flow of action, having kids, with so much pressure around you to conform, than to submit and hugely regret the decision later. Sadly, my decision was also made after so many, much older moms, of very adult children, said to me ‘I should never have been a parent’. They regretted it. Even after their kid was out of the house, they regretted it. It was a ‘thing to do’ during their younger years. There was ‘no choice’ then, (they’re words). That and my life experience has led me here, to a state of heightened observance and awareness of the world around me. We’re making the choices my hubby and I need. We’re instead, healing from life trauma and working on being the best people and humans we know how. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m 36 this year and I’m learning I can be comfortable with this choice, just had to find more people who support this. Thank you TCFL!

  46. Deane Gonzalez says:

    I’m 70 – married 45 years. When folks ask “do you have children” I say – NO, I can’t have children, I have a contract with the Government — ( You can see the look on their faces) — “I promised not to have children — and the government promised never to send them to Viet Nam” —

    If this “went over your head” — don’t worry, it does for most of you “under 50” folks — If your my generation — you “get it”….

    Deane Gonzalez

  47. Mary Rose says:

    So relieved to find like-minded people. Finally! I can admit that I never wanted children… EVER. And I don’t have to justify why. Whew, freedom beyond words… Honestly, it just never seemed attractive to me. If that sounds egotistic, so be it. It’s my opinion and it’s valid. I had terrible, apathetic, psychologically incapable, emotionally absent parents who were pushed into marriage. These two never should have married, let alone have children. Needless to say, they separated shortly into the marriage and my childhood was dominated by earfuls of one or the other bitching about what a terrible parent the other was. You can’t imagine the confusion and trauma this inflicts on a child that sees its infantile parents blaming each other for the problems of their own doing… and refusing to take responsibility for the choices they made. Add to that everyone I knew came from divorce, and those whose families were intact never seemed happy…. And it just informed my perspective about marriage and children. Why be stuck with that nonsense when there were so many better things to experience? Education, economic independence, freedom, travel, empowerment… these were the things that influenced me, and not social pressure or some Hollywood romance that told you what your life should be like or what you should aspire to. Thankfully, I didn’t have a “biological time clock” (more nonsense) that clouded my judgment between fantasy and reality. Parenting was hard work that required enormous personal sacrifice. There was no way I could do both. And quite frankly, didn’t want to. I’ve never regretted the decision, EVER. My life is full. I am an anthropologist, college professor. I work, travel, and spend time with students, colleagues, my baby Lizzie (Shepard-Husky mix), and a wonderful husband who loves me because I DON’T have children. (He has children from a first marriage that – surprise – didn’t go well for the aforementioned reasons…). While I like children, love my nieces and nephews, and spend my life educating yours… I just never desired any of my own. Do I think I would be a good parent? Probably (there’s that fantasy hogwash again…) but really, I don’t know, and it would be a hurtful, costly experiment to find out… All I know is that I like my life on my terms. But then you have to deal with the family, friends, and colleague parent’s who can’t understand why I would never submit to such a blessed experience. Why do I have to explain my choices? They made their decisions and it was none of my business. Why do they need to know my motivations, unless there is something unsettling about their choices? Either way, I’m over explaining my life. It is what it is. I am happy. My husband is happy. I am a good person, wife, and employee. Of course I have challenges and difficulties like everyone else; it’s just that they aren’t complicated with children. I have a very logical, rational way of going through life. Most people don’t like to admit that they made a mistake by buying into the whole “family is everything” bunkum, and now they’re stuck, which is why they’re so curious about your childfree life, even going so far as to suggest the child-free person is selfish because they didn’t manage to fall for the child-centered claptrap. Hey, a childless life works for me. It’s simple, streamlined, and drama free. That seems contrary to the wave of brain washing hooey that manipulates most child-inspired people. Except for those on this site! Hooray!! I’m not alone! My philosophy and views are not foreign. My People! My tribe! I am home!

  48. Michelle says:

    I get this question a lot from people. I’m 30 yrs old and have been married for 4 years. The question I really don’t like isn’t Do you have children? It’s the question that comes after that.. Are you going to have any? I used to have a hard time answering this question because I didn’t want to make somebody feel bad about having kids. And also women seem to get offended when I try to explain I don’t have any desire to be a mom. It used to be easier before I got married because that was my answer. Oh no I’m not married. Sounds funny but that’s what I really would tell people. Now I just say I’m not going to have kids because they’ll just be raised in daycare. I work 12-13 hr shifts because I’m nurse. I don’t have time for kids and I can’t afford daycare. And this answer actually works. People don’t act hurt or say you’ll change your mind. And they leave me alone after.

  49. Sarah McL says:

    I am 27, my husband is 30, we’re newlyweds but we know we don’t want kids. Every time someone asks if we’re going to have one and how old we’ll be, I just “add another year.” I doubt I’ll live to 435, so no kids for us! I have a niece and nephew and young cousins that I adore, but the time, expense, and responsibility of children just never seemed worth it to me (paired with the already-increasing population and number of people who already survive with a lack of resources).

  50. Christina says:

    Ugh, I hate this question. My husband and I only just got married within the last few months, so now everyone seems super concerned about what plans I have in store for my uterus over the next few years. “So, when are you guys having kids?” I think it is so rude and invasive! “We’re not.” – my usual response. Met with shock, always: “How come??”

    “Because I hate children.” That’s right! Go ahead and marinate in that, you nosy prick.

    Our society places far too much importance on children. Having them, caring for them, etc. It’s a disaster that’s led to a generation of rude, entitled brats.

    My husband has a child from a previous marriage. He’s 5, and is truly the most exemplary child I’ve ever met. He is absolutely cute, very polite and well-behaved… but when Sunday rolls around, I can’t wait for him to leave. He’s a great kid, but I absolutely can’t stand all the noise, incessant stupid questions (believe me, they really are stupid – he knows the answer, but asks anyway… very annoying), inane cartoons, and kid-friendly activities. I love our child-free lifestyle, and I have a great basis for comparison.

  51. missbellelettres says:

    Q: “Do you have children?”
    A: “Nope. Didn’t want to go to jail.”

    Bingo: “You’ll change your mind.”
    A: “I hope I never get THAT drunk.”

    Bingo: “It’s different when it’s your own.”
    A: “Yup. It’s open season.”

    Bingo: “You were a child once.”
    A: “Don’t remind me.”

  52. Ginger says:

    I grew up in a family of 4 kids, I am the only daughter. My parents married young and I observed my mom carving out spaces for her to live out her dreams that did not involve having kids. She went away to backpack in Europe by herself for 3 month, she went away to University to live in residence. I could see there was so much more that she wanted to do and be. As her child I felt left, neglected and angry. I thought we should have been her first priority always. Now I understand, she is an adventurous, in dependant woman who is constantly evolving and exploring. I watched her and I learned and knew that having children doesn’t bring all the happiness in the world. I love my life now, I am 43, a teacher (I adore kids), an auntie x5. My brothers are not rich and my husband and I want to be a source of financial and other support to our nieces and nephews. And I LOVE my quiet time, our ability to travel, have savings, and enough sleep. My answer changes to the question ‘do you have kids?’. I could have gone either way… If I had a partner who made enough money that I didn’t have to work for a while… I vowed as a child that I would not raise my kids in financial stress. We have tried the answer “it wasn’t in the cards for us”, hoping people wouldn’t pry, but they do, or it creates an awkward silence. Now I usually say “no, we are not even ready for a cat!”. That usually gets a laugh. I searched out a forum today because I was out with a group of women last night who all have kids, and that was the entire conversation. I felt invisible and bored. Still very content with my choices though. Sorry for the disjointed ramble! Curious about this Bingo thing, I hadn’t heard of it before.

    • Katherine says:

      A “Bingo” is a cliche or common phrase heard over and over. If you GOOGLE Childfree Bingo Card you will get an image of several popular ones. If you have not visited the TCFL forum, I hope you will. So glad that you have come to understand your mother and have made peace with your childhood.

  53. Michelle says:

    I want to hug my computer after finding this website!! I’m 22 now and have known since I was the ripe young age of 5 that I don’t want kids. 5 years old and I didn’t like kids my age or younger, I always wanted to hang out with the older kids! I have always been different from other girls. I played with Transformers, trucks, cars, Legos, and when I played with Barbies, she was always a single woman with a career doing whatever she wanted. I dressed up as Godzilla, Scream, and other crazy things for halloween instead of a princess. I watched educational television and have always chased my career, since I was little. Pregnancy and childbirth absolutely disgust me. I don’t like kids, I never have. I stay as far away as possible. My only motherly instinct is with my little “baby” kitty, Bentley. He’s 5 and I coo over him daily and spoil the crap out of him.

    I chased my dream of being a film editor and after 4 years of college and a Filmmaking degree, I landed a visual effects job. Slightly different than creative editing, but I love where I’m at, I love what I’m doing, and being a woman in the film industry is so empowering and my entire life revolves around making my career the best it can possibly be.

    I finally came out to my decision, in full, to my mom and sister. Once they realized how serious I was, they totally accepted it an now my sister sends me articles on why it’s awesome to not have kids!

    The only person I’ve kind of clashed with is my boyfriend of 2.5 years. When we first started dating he 100% wanted kids. After some long discussions, he’s come to terms with that he loves me more than he loves his desire to be a father (yaay!) and that no matter what happens in the future we are going to have an awesome life. We are planning on getting married someday and I definitely feel he’s the one for me, despite that we’ve clashed over the issue in the past. It’s behind us, and we are moving forward with a new view on life.

    For the longest time I tried to cave to other people’s desires. When they told me I would change my mind I would just say “Ok…I guess I don’t know if I do or don’t want kids then”…But I never identified with that. Whenever I told people I didn’t know instead of just straight “No”, it just didn’t feel right.

    My revelation came when a friend shared an article by the Huffington Post that said “I Don’t Want Kids….Ever”. Here is the original article:

    After reading that, I had a complete revelation. A revelation that I don’t want kids…EVER. Not after I’m married and have a house, not after I’m done paying my student loans, I don’t want them ever. After I started telling myself that, I feel so much more fulfilled in life. I feel free. I feel empowered. And that’s a great feeling.

  54. SusanBassPlayer says:

    I’m childless in part because of infertility and in part by choice. My husband knew this about me when he married me and quite frankly, the DINK (Dual Income No Kids) lifestyle suits us well.

    That said I do love other peoples’ kids. My best friend since childhood has kids–we’ve remained best friends after 30 years and I’ve even babysat her kids when she and her husband have needed a night out.

  55. Sarah Fletcher says:

    Why I don’t want children…..
    I feel no maternal instinct, don’t get me wrong, I have 5 nephews and a niece from 3 sisters (I am older than all of them) but I do love them, it’s just I generally feel awkward around them, and mainly they start to do my head in after about 10 minutes…this is an awful thing to admit but I just like my like my life the way it is, I just can’t envisage a child fitting in to it.
    I have never wanted children, and when presented with this question from friends and family I have received the usual responses to this that I have read on the other experiences of like minded women on this site…”oh you’ll feel differently when you’re older/married etc”…well I’m 32 and married, my views on this has not changed. I have tried to get on board with the idea of having children for the sake of my husband. I have been honest with him about how I feel about this from the moment it came up and he has been very understanding, so I felt that for him I should try and have a bit more of an open mind to this as I love him and he’s amazing (plus he loves kids) but I just can’t. Also I wouldn’t want to give him any false hope, for good or for better he knows me for me. Ultimately of all the choices I’ve made in my life, and there has been plenty of difficult ones, one of the best was to get married to the love of my life, and how I have personally viewed through my many of my family and friends is that kids either take over your relationship together, so that your focus is only on them (which I guess it has to be, you’re responsible for a human being now!) and the pressure and strain of raising a child either destroys your relationship with your partner or you become strangers with each other. Another experience is to have one because you were young and or just because you thought you should and therefore resentment eventually kicks in all around, and I just don’t want that for our marriage.
    Not to divulge into anything too personal (and I want to point out that I still didn’t want kids before this happened) I haven’t spoken to my mom for over 5 years as she decided one day for no reason at all to try and mentally destroy my life. She was 17 when she fell pregnant for the first time and decided to keep the baby because “that’s just what you did then”….I can honestly say she is the prime example of someone that had children for that reason alone. She has no maternal instinct at all, so this just further reinforces my opinion that if you feel that you don’t want children (and you really know this through and through) then I believe you’re making the right decision not to do this.
    Finally I just want to add that I don’t have any judgement to women that do want children, it is (and should be) our right just to be given that choice without any stigma attached to it either way.

  56. Stephany says:

    When people ask if I have kids, I usually respond with: “No, I’m lucky.” People kind of look at me funny, but that’s pretty much it. Sometimes they’ll want to know why I don’t have kids and I’m completely honest about it. I simply tell them I don’t have kids because I don’t like kids. Then they’ll go on this thing about how cute babies are, blah, blah, blah…and I’ll respond with how babies are so gross and they look like little aliens and I finish with: “cats rule and babies drool,” which often gets a snicker.
    When I was younger, like in my 20’s, people would tell me that “I just haven’t found the right guy yet,” but I said my perfect guy is one who doesn’t want kids.
    Just because a person is an adult, especially a married adult, doesn’t mean you have to have kids and Im glad more and more people are becoming more aware of this.

  57. Lucy says:

    This is the best website ever!! Have loved reading all these real life comments.

    Ok so I’m a female & 36.
    Both my mum & dad have passed from cancer very young and I only have one younger sister who, after mum died, has blocked me from her life for reasons unknown.
    So it’s just me & my partner and we live a really stress free, happy, quiet & creative life in the country and we also travel alot and love our freedom to do whatever we want -whenever we want – which includes motorbike riding and sleeping in and building stuff and meeting new people.

    I’ve been deeply considering the reasons for/against me having kids – two main points for me:
    1. I refuse to make a decision based on the fear of any ‘future what ifs’ ie. Who will look after me. Will I be alone. Etc.

    The now, the present, is where I want to be in my mind. Always.

    This idea that we have ANY control over the course of our future is rediculous and creates anxiety/fear. I am NOT burdening a child with this ‘grand plan’ dreamt up in my head. How selfish.

    2. If I have a child – and I prematurely die and my partner does too – WHO will look after my child???
    No next of kin here. Don’t you think these things are worth serious consideration??? I certainly do!

    I like kids. Ones I can give back when I need an afternoon nap and then quiet time to do a painting until 1am uninterrupted.

    I love my simple life.

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