The choice to not have children

I have been saying this in small groups of trusted friends for a while and finally came out to my family. Yes, my husband and I both decided that we are happily married and happily chose not to have children of our own. We, however, desire to adopt one day because I was adopted, I also have adopted family members, and I love how strangers become family.

That being said, I never thought the hardest thing about choosing my own decision on such a topic could be such a ground for shame. I have heard statemrnts thrown at me, not at my husband, from "selfish" to "fearful" to "shallow." Why? Honestly, it was very painful to hear such words or see such attitude hidden underneath passive aggressive looks/comments from people I love and trusted. However, I have done much work to affirm myself of my own rights as well as my own values and belief as a Christian, nothing about this choice could pose as an internal conflict nor is it hurtful for society. If you are in the same boat, hearing the same comments, you are NOT alone. You are beautiful. You are brave. You are precious. You are valuable. I hear you, I see you.

teresaman's profile thumbnail
I'm reading this with tears in my eyes. I can't personally relate to your story as I haven't yet gone down the path of family planning, however I too feel entirely open to the idea of adoption and it's inspiring to read your affirmation and also to see you stand your ground in believing in adoption. Thank you for sharing.
MurderSheWrote's profile thumbnail
I relate fully. I have no drive whatsoever to make a baby and this scares some people because it threatens their source of identity, especially those that believe children (especially your own, birthed by you) give the meaning to life. I cannot agree less. I am actually not completely opposed to parent, and, over the years, considered adopting, as an ecological thought, because I am so so so priviledged and bless and kids in this world arent, that I would love to share all this with them and give them a home and endless love. I am just not interested to procreate my own kids. This way of thinking, even more than not having kids at all, freaks people out. It is too out of the norm. And our primitive brains respond emotionally every time there is the threat to unknown.I share your vibes and support every woman to do whatever she wishes and feels right for her. And I also recommend the book "The Goddesses behind Everywoman", written by a jungian psychoanalyst, about the archetypes behind all women. It is very validating, as none are judged, just presented, and not all archetypal feminine models behind all of us (archetypes = unconscious collective models) are fulfilled through kids.
amandaroeder's profile thumbnail
Totally relate, Tina! Thank you for sharing. I’m still on the fence about having kids, and feel so much pressure from family members who had their children young. Trying to break free of the judgement, and make the decision for me (&my husband) has been a challenge.
Fanett's profile thumbnail
I am reading this amazing book by Mona Chollet : https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250272225 and there is a whole chapter on this question. It made me realize how strong social pressure can be when it comes to "having/not having a child", a whole study in Israel showed that a good percentage of women even regretted having kids (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273291332_Regretting_Motherhood_A_Sociopolitical_Analysis). As women, we have to create the safe space for ourselves, friends, sisters, family and respect the choice of not having a kid, defend a person choice when we see it being challenged by someone. Supporting people in their choices is the best way to avoid any future regrets, regrets that might impact people over generations.
Mirna's profile thumbnail
I am totally with you too - have no desire to have children of my own, am in a happy relationship and living meaningful, fulfilled life, looking to contribute to the world and others in many ways, but simply not having any desire nor need to have kids. Kudos to those women who decide to raise some, I can imagine it is a magical experience, but am also seeing many examples around me who make a choice to have family as a "default choice" cause "its normal thing to do at certain age". I think such choice is hurtful both for them and the children they are raising. I believe the important bit here is making a conscious, intentional, authentic choice that feels right for you. Well done with doing that - regardless of the environment that seems to be poking their noise into something that is definitely none of their business ;)
CeliaSKim's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing, and I so appreciate this thread. My choice to not have kids, biologically or otherwise, has definitely attracted passive aggression, condescension, and infantilizing from others. Only we know what’s right for us! Let’s be proud of knowing what we want and don’t want, and having to guts to live by our own values and rules 💛
NicoleGreen's profile thumbnail
I’m sorry you’ve experienced this. I always wanted children but am not married and have encountered odd social attacks where people I don’t even know will come up to me at events like weddings and ask what’s wrong with me or why I don’t have a family. I was talking to a friend with two daughters and she shared the experience of people she doesn’t know coming up and telling her she was parenting wrong. I also think of friends who’ve experienced miscarriages- what if someone made one of these types of comments to them? Not to mention friends in partnerships where there is not an agreement about what they each want. I am happy for you and your husband and wish you the best ❤️☦️
HelloTaraWilson's profile thumbnail
The best advice I can give is to just simply own your decisions without fear, even if it seems daunting. No matter what "path" you go down there will be adversity and blessings in varying amounts. Learn to master and own your domain. Be you.This makes me think of when I was a child in a grocery store with my mother who had just given birth to a bi-racial child. Some man for whatever reason randomly said, "How brave of you to adopt". My mother lost her sh*t. She didn't adopt. It was her child. So whether you choose to adopt or not, you will still always face inevitable hardships. Learn to be a master of the moment. Moments make or break us.
sallyd's profile thumbnail
Love this, and can't see how this could possibly be selfish, it's the actual opposite of selfish. People
Aathira's profile thumbnail
I am with you on this topic. Having a child is a personal choice. If you have the heart to love any child that comes to you, that's what matters. That being said, I am still confused whether I want a child or not. Physically I am not sure, I can give birth to a child and also I am scared when thinking about it! If I say this to my family members, they would point out my cousins who have given birth. The Indian society is hard to come to terms with it and this is an added pressure for me. I choose to stay abroad to have some control over my own life and my life with my wonderful husband. So I understand the judgement you are facing. But stand tall and show them how it is done.
christinetreacy's profile thumbnail
I'm so incredibly sorry to hear you experienced this kind of backlash after you got up the courage to share an important life choice with your family. I see you, I hear you and you are not alone! I will never understand why people think they deserve to have ANY kind of opinion about the choices someone else makes for THEIR life. I too have chosen not to have children, mainly because it just hasn't been in the cards for me. I always assumed I'd have kids but after I got divorced about 5 years ago my thought process started to change. I did receive some backlash from my mom when I talked to her about this over time because she was afraid I'd regret it in the future.
cassidoo's profile thumbnail
I'm going to reply to you specifically from a Christian perspective, because I understand how deeply this can hurt from that angle.As children of God, we are adopted into his family. This is the most loving thing he could do for us! He loves us deeply as his own, and we'll never lose that. The fact that we can do the same as humans, bring others into our own family, and love them deeply, is one of the greatest gifts. It is valid, it is wonderful, and it is powerful. It is the opposite of selfishness, fear, and shallowness. It is generous, brave, and deep. Huge, huge kudos to you for considering it, and I love that you stand by your choices!
JennyBounmivilay's profile thumbnail
I’m about to turn 29 and have no plans to have children. My partner and I share the same values and beliefs when it comes to children and are more than happy and content with the life we’ve created together. We’ve discussed the pros and cons to having children and revisit this conversation whenever it comes up. Breaking the norm will cause discomfort for others especially if it goes against what they deeply value. Sending a big virtual hug your way Jenny
jenjortnercassidy's profile thumbnail
I've been through this. The best approach that I ever had (which took a while), was to just own it. You don't owe anyone an explanation on your decision. It is yours to make. Eventually you get to an age where you stop being asked :-)
I am 35 and confident I don't want children by any means. I have never, even as a little girl, been even remotely interested in motherhood. The idea of being pregnant horrifies me on an existential level that makes my palm sweat when I think about it. And **even so** ⁠— society's normative force for childbearing is so ubiquitous, ingrained, and powerful that when other women tell me they don't want children, I catch myself *not believing them*. It's insane. Anyway ⁠— in this context, no woman avoids judgement for her choices around children, regardless of what those choices are. Whatever you decide, nolite te bastardes carborundorum. ✊
ProductEmma's profile thumbnail
Also child free. My parents were surprisingly supportive but strongly believe I’ll change my mind. That’s fine with me. Helps that my sister already had a kid so they have a grandchild. I find most younger parents are very supportive. The older generations are less supportive but I minimize the amount of time I spend around people who make me feel bad about myself.
marsie's profile thumbnail
I'm the mother of two children who are the deepest joy of my life. I also absolutely respect every woman's choice whether or not to have children and am saddened to read the negativity you and others have experienced for this personal decision. I agree with Mirna's comments that too many people default to having children and do not raise them mindfully. I think it's brave and admirable that you have consciously made your choice. There's unfortunately too much hate and judgment in this world. I wish you the very best on your path. <3
katerinabc's profile thumbnail
Hi Tina, while I can not relate to your decision (mum of 4 biological daughters), I respect your choice and applaud your courage to do what feels right for both of you, instead of doing whatever is expected of you. What is most important is that you and your partner agree, not what the rest of the world thinks about it. Thank you for sharing!
TinaNGUYEN's profile thumbnail
Thank you Katerina🙏🏼
emilymitchell's profile thumbnail
People are so ridiculous with their comments on people's personal choices, right? On the other end of the spectrum, we get comments for having a circus of kids orbiting around us in a perpetual spectacle everywhere we go, so we get comments, too -- and I got them at every number along the way. This I truly believe: there is NO right or wrong number of kids to have! And no matter what you choose, you know the drill - women get judged for any decision, no matter what it is. Just ignore them. Read this in Dr. Seuss the other week, actually -- he said, "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter."
TinaNGUYEN's profile thumbnail
Well said! And love how you call them your stars orbiting!!!!
Thank you for sharing your story. I'm 40 and only recently got married, so I have a bit of insecurity around marrying later in life compared to some of my peers. It wasn't by choice, and it was painful to watch other people couple up and move ahead while I had numerous rejections. But I ended up with someone I love, and who loves me. My husband has never wanted kids. He made it clear when I first met him. I've tended to be indifferent towards kids, and have had trouble interacting with very young children. When they're annoying and whiny, it grates on me and the thought of being nauseous and crabby all the time while pregnant was not appealing. I'm fine interacting with older kids, and fostering or adopting is something I would consider. My parents had hoped I would give them grandkids (they have 2 already from my sister), but they know it's not up to them. Additionally, the risks associated with having kids past a certain age is not something I want to experience. There will always be people who disagree with you or try to make you feel bad, but in the end it's your decision.
TinaNGUYEN's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing and congratulations on finding your LOVE❤️