Do you have kids? Do you have plans? Do you have regrets?
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These are responses sent in by readers of Everything Changes. You can subscribe here if you want: theawl.com/subscribe
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No kids. I want them, but have no plans. If it happens, it happens.
4
No. No. Yes.
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I plan not to have kids because I can't imagine not failing them.
6
No kids yet. Am 37. Am paralyzed by indecision in a way that makes me crazy. I feel like I may have regrets, whichever way I go.
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I think about this every day
8
Definitely! I've always felt that I would have a child at some point.

I think its an important decision; for some reason I can't see myself as not having children when I am older. Is that weird? I'm not sure...
9
I don't have kids because everyone tells me that once you have kids you can't be selfish anymore. Your life revolves around your kids. I have too many things left I want to do during my selfish period, and I find that once I complete that list, I can always find more things and ambitions to add to it.
10
I always wondered why I never wanted to have kids, and if that meant there was something wrong with me, and I was tempted to just have them anyway because I felt like I was supposed to have them, and this all bothered me more than a little but thank goodness I didn't do anything besides worry and use birth control, until one day I fell in love at first sight and realized that I had only met one person who I should have kids with—with whom I should have kids? whatever—and it only took two years for us to be together and now I know exactly what I want and how to get it.
11
I can't imagine myself ever being a good mom, or doing right by my kids. I can't help but feel depressed about the state of a world like this that I would just force some person to join against their will. I don't think the world can sustain people, frankly. My husband absolutely 100% never ever wants kid, and has never once wavered.

But I still regularly dream I have just had a beautiful baby and the baby is so warm and I have never felt more love than in those dreams. I guess that is my regret.
12
no; not really; not yet.
13
Plan to have them! Would love to adopt and have them of the loins, as well!
14
Intended to have none; surprised 3x; can't imagine life without them.
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I plan on not having kids. Realized at an early age that being a parent really isn't for me.
16
It was never a burning desire for me and I'm now too old to conceive without expensive medical interventions. I don't regret not having kids. I love my friends' kids and I also love coming home to my empty apartment at night to work on art projects by myself. I like living in NYC - out in the provinces most people seem incredulous that I made it to mid-40s without marriage or children. But I'm glad to have had the time and space to figure out who I am and what I want without being bossed around by my progeny.
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i thought i never wanted to have kids and then i got married to a man who desperately wanted a bunch of kids. working with him and talking about why he wanted to parent made me realize that it was something i wanted in my life. then, i discovered that, due to some chronic health conditions, getting pregnant would probably kill me. working with my partner to think about all the other ways of acquiring a kid - surrogacy, adoption - made me think more concretely about parenting than i ever had, and i was surprised to find myself looking longingly at families with young children. we're now trying to figure out the maze that is adoption and have spent a long time thinking about parenting without a genetic connection. i'm worried my health conditions may make us unattractive as adoptive parents and spend a lot of time thinking about the different perspective people with disabilities have on reproductive rights - i want the right to parent, even given my disabilities.
18
I got married at 19, which means everyone tells me I have plenty of time to change my mind and decide I actually *do* want to have children. But in reality I have more time in which to become more and more disillusioned with the idea, as I watch friend after friend become parents and slowly lose pieces of themselves until they are unrecognizable.
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I am 24, no kids. Very much ambivalent about the idea. Fortunately I still have a decent amount of time to decide, but it is weird to think that it might come down to things like what my partner wants or how my career is going, rather than just being about what I want. In some ways I would prefer if I had strong feelings in either direction.
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I don't have kids because I'm a bit young. I do babysit for two-year-old twins, however, and the difficult moments there make the idea of rearing my own, uh, less than tempting. Not to mention the act of birthing a child. Holy shit no. Totally adopting. I am afraid of being alone when I get older -- you have a kid forever, but it goes the other way, too. You can get divorced or outlive your siblings, but, if all goes the way it should, your kids will still be there.
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no kids. more wispy thoughts than plans. many regrets.
22
I'm 30. My girfriend is a few years older than me. I've always thought of myself as a prospective Dad and blushed when elders complimented me on these very prospects. Now, in a relationship both ecstatic and dramatic, I find myself more hesitant than ever at the prospect, turning sullen when my partner tells me her time is running out.
23
I don't have kids. I might be too selfish to do that to my body. There's the common feeling, when seeing people's terrible, impish spawn, "Thank God I don't have children," but someone recently pointed out to me that it is the responsibility of the wise to have more children to even out the number of stupid people in the world.
24
Nope.
Nope.
Nope.
25
I have one kid. I have no regrets. She is 21, and in the 21 years she has been here, some days have been hard, but every day that she has been in my life is better than any day she wasn't in my life. Since becoming a mother, I truly believe that no one who is not a parent can know the precise kind of love that a parent feels for her child.
26
My two best friends are desperately trying to get pregnant. I'm here desperately trying to prevent pregnancy, and I'm not sure whether I fear more the idea of becoming a mother or having the one thing they want, I don't, and they can't have.
27
I want kids, but when I have them, I'll be choosing motherhood over career acceleration. That's what I want to do, but everyone around me is questioning the choice. It's like it's not a high enough ambition, but it's the most exciting event on the horizon for me and my partner.
28
Yes. We have one child, a son. He came after we had to end a pregnancy of a girl who would have been born with a "not-compatible-with-life" defect. We tried after our son, and lost those as well. So we've stopped trying as the clock has gone past when it's safe, and it's clear that nature wasn't going to work in our favor.

He's the best thing ever. No regrets about having him. He is joy incarnate.
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I'm 30. I don't have kids. My grandmother started asking me for children when I turned 25 despite the fact that I am not married, and she had not met my boyfriend at the time. I always thought I would have children just because I was not anti-establishment enough to NOT have them, but lately I feel like perhaps I won't have children after all, like I will be one of those women with a great career (wishful thinking?) whose friends and pets will become her kids. Recently my mom told me that she really did not see me ever having children, that I was not the "motherly type," which was super fucked up? Anyway, I'm very motherly, I just maybe have other priorities right now. But that's just right now.
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I dunno....I want to but I want to live for myself right now. I am single but I see everyone around me starting to settle down but I don't feel ready. I'm not ready to give up my own wants yet. I feel as a woman people immediately judge you if you're single - constantly I'm asked if I'm dating or seeing someone. I hate that. Why can't they ask about what I'm doing with work, what I'm achieving in my after hours, what I like to do for fun and entertainment. It's not fair.
31
My 16 year old daughter and I had our family therapy session this morning. I feel like I was a great mom until she was about 10 years old and then I started self medicating to cope with the pain of life. Now she resents me and our relationship is the hardest one in my life. No amount of apologizing helps her and it feels like the guilt will never ease up. Despite all of this tough stuff, I still love her more than I ever have and I am so glad I had her relatively early ( I was 26). I always wanted to be a mom but honestly I am really glad that I only had one kiddo.
32
No kids. No plans for kids. No regrets. I never questioned the kid issue, ever, even as a child. I always knew having kids was not something that interested me, like being an accountant or doctor never interested me. It was a little weird when I reached the age when having kids was definitely not an option, but the weirdness was about confronting the realities of aging and mortality, not about missing the kid boat. The older I get, the more grateful I am that this is who I am and that I didn't capitulate to societal norms.
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I don't have kids, not yet at least. Many of my friends that are about the same age as me (26) are starting to have them, and to be honest...it freaks the hell out of me. I took a very long time to decide if I wanted to get married, and I wanted to be as sure as possible that I was marrying for life. This was because I knew that I wanted to have kids, and I knew that all of these decisions would affect them more so than me. My parents divorced when I was pretty young, and even though my life wasn't particularly difficult, it really fucked me up in a lot of ways. I want to know that my kids will be in a strong, loving family with two parents that also love each other. No stress of having to go between parents, to relay messages and endure passive-aggressive comments, no guilt at seeing one more than the other as they get older, etc. My only regrets are probably career-wise, that I didn't leap into the things I wanted to do pre-marriage, as I was saddled with the need to do a ton of shitty work just to get by. I wish I had gone to New York right after college and hustled as much as possible, so that I could have a solid career going to start marriage with. I love my life, but there are aspects that I wish were different.
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I thought I wanted kids but wasn't sure. My husband was more sure. Then I read something that said that the decision whether to have kids was the only one you could never make logically because until you have kids, you have no idea what it's like to have them. Like, you can't guess what your life will feel like with a child the way you can guess what it'd feel like with that guy, or a new haircut, or that cute romper that might be too trendy but you want to try anyway.
We made the leap. She's almost 2 and awesome, and while sometimes I miss a good "ANTM" marathon on a Sunday afternoon, I wouldn't want anything different.
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I have always wanted kids and I'm sure I will have them. And for the first time, and unexpectedly so, I'm in the minority among my friends. Most don't want them and won't "change their mind" one day. Even the married ones. I'm 10 years behind my college friends in the kid-having, which I've already made peace with (and glad for the delay!). But it feels weird to apologize for wanting to have kids. Now I know how the never-want-thems feel. And I'm definitely worried how having kdis one day will affect my friendships with those who don't want them. #nojudgment #youdoyou
36
I don't have kids, I didn't think I ever wanted kids, and I somehow convinced my husband to not want them either. Now my "window" may (or may not?) be closing and I think I've changed my mind, but my husband isn't likely to change his. So I guess I have potential, not-yet-fully-realized regrets at the moment. It's all tied up with how I want my life to look, I guess.
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As a 22 year old male, I've given it hardly any thought. I think that would have to be the norm for most guys my age. However, I know that I've considered it more than I have when I was, say, 15, or even 21 for that matter. As a combination of having dated a girl in the past year who was very excited about the prospect of one day having kids, seeing friends start to get married and have kids, and possibly some inner instinct to reproduce, I've thought about it more and I may see some of the appeal. So certainly no plans for now, but I am starting to understand why people do.
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I've always thought it's immoral to create new life when there are so many already-living human out there that need help and support. I tell people I think that just for me so as not to be a jerk, but I think it for you and your spawn too.

That said, I'm almost 30, and lately when I see a baby or have sex with my boyfriend, I'm like, put one of those in me.
39
I have 2 young kids and I'm 42, I can't imagine having made the decision to have children while I was in my 20's, I waited until my mid 30's.
40
No, despite being with my wife for 11 years now. Recently it's become a possibility though.
41
I don't have kids, and I feel like I've passed the point where that's something that's going to happen. I made choices about my career which seem to have shut down the ability to have a lot of these things: family, friends I see regularly, a dog. I'm at the age where I'm going to parties where it's not that I'm the only one not in a relationship, now I'm the only one without kids.

I had an ex tell me I was going to die alone, with no one, filled with regret because of what I do and the life I have. It was the cruelest thing someone has ever said to me.

I don't think they were wrong.
42
I want to have kids with my wife. There's a great irony of an entire life lived with trying to avoid accidental pregnancies, then you meet a partner and you watch the sand in the hourglass dwindle to a few grains while everything about life makes conceiving, affording childcare, supporting a family impossible. Have to laugh at how people in my neighborhood stress about which snotty expensive prep school their little giblet will attend, and THIS dinky couple can't even get it together enough to be mentally present, away from stressful jobs and bullshit finances, for weekly intercourse. Affording a 2BR apartment, figuring out childcare, being present for a child, saving any money at all for retirement or college... it seems like a fucking joke. Like the same kind of joke that pretends I should be able to use my better-education and better-career over my parents to be able to afford even half of the house that I grew up in. I can't think about it for one second without emotional paralysis. And I hate everything that carelessly caused things to be this way.
43
Nope, never felt the call and have no regrets. Other people's children are great to hang out with and are never in short supply if I need some kid energy.

Having kids is one of many decisions/paths to make in life, not at all "the greatest" or "Most Important." Though lots of folks seem to take a lot of pleasure in defining themselves as parents first, as if simply being a mother or father is a huge feat. I sound cranky about this, and maybe I am......
44
I don't know whether or not I want kids, and the decision doesn't really concern me. What concerns me is the fact that this decision doesn't concern me. Shouldn't I care about it more? Think about it more? Worry about it more?
45
no kids, currently engaged, age 34 (will be 35 once married in july). never planned to have kids one way or the other, but fiance wants them, so we're going to try. i'm nervous to have them - i know i'll be a good mom but i have so many friends with kids at this point i know how much it completely changes your life. am i too stuck in my ways? will it derail my awesome career? will i become one of those annoying women who only talk about their kids? no regrets either way though - life isn't long enough for any regrets.
46
I do not have kids, but I want kids. I am 34 and I am pretty sure I'm in a relationship with my eventual spouse (we're planning to be engaged by year's end!). I'd like to be married to him for about a year before even starting to try, and I'd like to have more than one kid. We've talked about it and he also wants two, so we're on the same page.

But even without considering career factors (which will be substantial) I'm already worried I am running out of time. My mom had me at age 38, which was practically unheard of in the 1980's. I always wanted to have my kids before that, but now I'm not so sure I will be able to.
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I'm a gay man. The idea of kids is just too complicated and expensive for me to even really contemplate. And, frankly, I've never had any desire to have kids. As bad as it might sound, one of the worries I've had is that a consequence of marriage equality is that the expectation – both from family and society – that one gets married and has kids might very quickly extend to gay couples. And that's just something I don't want. Nor do I want to end up in a situation where the guy I love really wants to go through the arduous and expensive process of adopting kids someday, but I worry it's a reality I might have to seriously face one day. I don't know what I'd do in that situation, honestly.
48
I am a writer in New York with two kids. This was always my plan. But I didn't realize when I came up with this plan how hard it would be in terms of time money and sleep. If I hadn't had two kids I would personally regret it, but when I talk to younger professional women in NYC (who want kids! I would never act like you have to have them!) I always tell them one is fine. One you can manage and still have time for your relationship and go to a Saturday conference or out multiple nights a week. With two and a spouse who also works, you have your school/childcare hours and everything else is a negotiation.
49
I have 2 kids, ages 13 and 12 months. The 13-year-old was unplanned and was born when we were young and dumb (mid-twenties, so not super young, but still). I do have some regrets, not about having him, just about our immaturity/selfishness when he was little. He's doing OK though.

Eventually we finally adjusted to being parents and along came the new guy. I thought that it would be hard to be a mom of a little one again but so far it's been just delightful.

We have no plans to have more. I wish we'd had the 2nd baby earlier so we could maybe have another if we wanted but I am Old. So that's a regret I guess.
50
I don't have kids. I'm 27 and I want to - I've always wanted to in that way where you just expect that it's something that will happen in your life. Now my best friend is planning on starting a family in the very near future so it's starting to become more real for me - and I'm starting to feel the clock ticking. Everyone says babies are the most work, you never get any sleep, etc. etc. But I work with teenagers and they're the worst! Every day I wonder how my parents did it, and how some people wind up traumatized or screwed up regardless of how "good" their parents were. So, I want to have children, but I'm ambivalent about that decision, if that makes any sense.
51
No kids, no plans, no regrets. I did once think that marriage and kids was inevitable, before I knew neither of those things was in any way something I wanted to participate in. I'm glad for other people who do make the choice or who didn't have a choice but are happy to have them. I hope we can make it so everyone actually does have the choice and the freedom to make it. I'm sorry my parents don't get to be grandparents.
52
I don't have kids. I also don't plan to have them. I'm 26 years old.

Everyone I attended high school with is already married. (Everyone.) Many of them are now having children. I am charmed by these little humans, but each and every time I come into contact with their personal decisions, it reiterates my certainty about my own.

That said, if I became pregnant by accident, I would likely raise the child. I know I would be a great mother and would love the child very much. But I don't plan to purposefully bring a baby into the world.

Most people I discuss this with believe it's a phase I'll grow out of. I hear "there's plenty of time for you to change your mind" a lot. My partner's mother told us that the first couple in the family to have a child would get a monetary prize. I asked, "Enough money to raise the child into adulthood?"
53
I don't have kids, I had cervical cancer and had a hysterectomy when I was 27. Everyone then (and even now!) said, "Aren't you upset that you didn't have kids?"

I did other things. Other things I couldn't have done with kids. You play the hand you are dealt. And it has been an incredible ride, you can't do everything. It's just life.
54
nope nope and nope! The world needs more devoted aunts and uncles.
55
Yes, we have kids. Two.

My wife and I (I'm male) discussed The Kid Question for a couple of years. She generally wanted them, I generally didn't, and with the help of some couple's therapy and other resources, I decided kids could be good.

We have two now, and I love them dearly, but even early on, when people would ask "Can you even imagine life without your kid?" I thought that was a strange question. Because yes. I have a good imagination, and it was really, really easy to imagine being able to go to a movie when I felt like it again, or go out to dinner, or whatever else. To have options, and more resources.

We're almost 10 years in, and I have to say that yes, I do regret it. Don't get me wrong; I love both kids immensely. They bring great joy. I want them to be part of my life forever.

But if I were able to travel back in time and make the decision all over again (and not remember the kids that I have), I wouldn't have kids. I love my kids but I don't really like being a parent, and more and more often I feel like the immense sacrifices of parenthood are almost worth it — but only almost. On balance, I wish I'd decided differently, even if it cost me the marriage.

I suspect my wife feels the opposite.
56
I have one kid. I plan to have more. Or I plan to have my wife have more. I don't have them. But I care for the one I have, and love him immensely.

I love him the more he grows. I love him the more my friends have kids. I love him the more I see my friends kids grow.

Mostly, I love him the more I see my wife become the wonderful mother I knew she would be. The size and completeness of that feeling makes regrets impossible. There's no space.
57
I don't have kids. I have always planned to but I've never been that rushed especially. My dad just died and now he'll never see my versions of his grandchild, never see how I'm doing as a dad, and never be on the other end of the phone to tell me how to do it. It's absolutely indescribable how much that fucking sucks.
58
I'm 8.5 weeks pregnant after two miscarriages. The miscarriages have raised the possibility of a child-free life, which terrifies me. I wouldn't know who to be or what to do as that person. My job would take on a larger significance, as would volunteer work and hobbies. That shift in perspective makes those parts of my life, as they exist now, seem insignificant and unsatisfying. I would have so much to figure out about myself. If this pregnancy doesn't work, my partner and I will try to adopt.
59
I'm a 36 year old woman who has never once wanted kids. I do not regret it for a second. I am, however, continually annoyed with the way people treat me when they learn this information, like just because I've got the right bits means I'm obligated or some nonsense.
60
I don't have kids. I'm 36 and I've never wanted them. I had a vasectomy a while ago, thinking I'd never want them (so far, best $20 I ever spent). My wife also doesn't want kids, but I think my firm "I don't want kids" is what made up her mind.

There are lots of reasons for I-don't-want-kids, and I'm sure a lot of the ones I have are not uncommon – i.e. I like my life as-is, I'm not sure I'd be a good parent, my parents were not great – but I think I have one unique reason: I don't understand kids. They have an emotional life that is foreign to me as an adult, and was foreign to me as a child. I just don't think I'd be able to relate to my own children, which seems to me like the one thing you ought to unavoidably do: you're related, you relate.

On the other hand, many friends have said "I didn't think I'd get it until I had a kid, and now look at her/him, wow, this is great..." Nah, don't think about that. I'm good as is.
61
I have one and hope to have at least another. My only regret is waiting as long as I did to have my first. Your situation will never be perfect, and no matter how carefully you think you've planned for it, there is no way to tell how/when/why it happens the way it does. The rewards are SO worth the effort!!!
62
i'm a guy, dating a guy. but interested in women as well, and interested in having a child with a woman, someday, maybe. i just turned 30, just got my first job out of grad school. everything seems impossibly complicated.
63
I'm 32. My husband and I have been married for 5 years, and until about a year ago said we (probably) didn't want kids. The whole ordeal - diapers, minivans, chewed grapes, strollers, OTHER PARENTS - looked so unappealing, and I always felt self-righteous when other people behaved in a way that assumed everyone would have children, that every woman would be a mom someday.

But I always left the door open - "probably not" instead of "never" - because I thought one day my body would turn on me. And last year, it did. Not that all that disgusting stuff that happens in the backseat of minivans is suddenly exciting - that's still gross, but all of a sudden I'm excited about holding little hands, teaching words and sharing things that are new all over. It didn't feel like I thought it would, like a betrayal - it felt like I just grew into the idea that I wanted to be a parent, that my husband would be a good dad, that we could do it in a way that didn't seem so terrible. I know that's naive - that we'll get to skip all the hard, gross stuff - but I think there's a lot they don't tell you about pregnancy and parenthood because if they did tell you no one would ever do it.

My husband was pretty resistant at first. I would bet that you'll hear from him too - he's the one who introduced me to Everything Changes - so I won't tell his story here. But in short, we pulled the goalie, we're collecting childrens' books we loved when we were little and what was once a home office is now bare & ready for a new start. It is still offensive when people act like everyone in the world is either a parent or just hasn't come to yet, though. Not every woman wants to be a mom!
64
No kids. No regrets.
It's two simple questions:

If given a choice, would you rather not have ever been born?
You betcha.

Could you provide a responsible (stable, loving, supportive) environment in which to rear any kids?
No, not good enough.

Human life -- even the most pure, innocent, & ethically-lived -- is a destructive force causing incalculable amounts of suffering and death. Its creation should be taken very seriously by people able to recognize this.
65
It's difficult to put a finite stamp on my future plans. "You have such a way with children," I've always been told. But when it comes down to assessing what I worked so hard to achieve in my mid-to-late twenties — an exciting career, finding fulfilling ways to maintain a rocky relationship with mental health, a partner and best friend who's always ready to go somewhere new — I've entered my thirties knowing that I'm not ready to have a child and with the confidence that my identity will not be defined by the "defining life experience" so many others choose to make. And if in five years, I change my mind — that's OK, too.
66
I am less and less sure that I want children anymore, but I know a part of it is that I don't want to have children with my husband because the way he has treated conversations about kids has wounded me so much. I am ten years younger than my husband, who has one child, and told him before we got married that I wanted to have more children eventually. After we'd been married a few years, I worked up the courage to tell him I felt like it was a good time for us to start trying. He told me then that he didn't want to have any more kids. I went to therapy for weeks, pleaded and raged and cried and tried to help him understand how important it was to me, to no effect. We don't talk about it anymore. I don't want to bring children into the world if he doesn't want them, but I am also carrying so much anger. I blame myself and I blame him but don't know how to move through that hurt.
67
Three children, now 22, 22 and 19. Boy/girl twins by IVF and a surprise bonus baby girl. Absolutely no regrets ever, not for one moment. Children are what it's all about. They connect you to the world, they challenge you from the moment they are born, they keep life real, and they are just the best thing ever. (Even though they are messy, noisy, physically and emotionally demanding, and expensive.) I honestly think more people regret not having children than having them. There's never a good or perfect time to have them - you just have to do it.
68
I don't have kids. And the plan for right now is to not have kids. I'm 33. I've always been a late bloomer to things like this and I worry that I'll wake up when my window has passed and suddenly want them. I'll be some horrible 42 year old IVF cliche. The decision seems so fraught that my feelings are all mixed up and confused on any given day. Do I like children? Do I just want to fit in? What's the point of my life if not to have a loving family? On the other hand, I'm not envious of the day-to-day life of any mother I know.

My partner doesn't want children. I think he loves me enough he would have them with me if I wanted them, but that's no way to go about bringing kids into the world.

Sometimes life seems kinda empty and meaningless,* and that's when I think most seriously about having them, but then I think that nagging sense that life may be empty and meaningless would still be there, but I'd just be too busy and tired to care about it.

Also I have a career. Among the dozens of friends who have had children, only one has been promoted since. All the rest have been demoted or gone part-time. That part makes me want to light all kinds of things on fire. It makes no impact on the men's careers. Perhaps they get a little more flex time.

*Usually in the middle of the night is when this hits. Especially after someone you love has died and all that's left is memories, photos and a house to clean out.
69
Three children, now 22, 22 and 19. Boy/girl twins by IVF and a surprise bonus baby girl. Absolutely no regrets ever, not for one moment. Children are what it's all about. They connect you to the world, they challenge you from the moment they are born, they keep life real, and they are just the best thing ever. (Even though they are messy, noisy, physically and emotionally demanding, and expensive.) I honestly think more people regret not having children than having them. There's never a good or perfect time to have them - you just have to do it.
70
I don't. I don't even really think about it, to be honest, even though I'm 27 and in a serious relationship (which was basically my parents' situation when they decided to have kids.) My partner works with kids, and she's said she wouldn't want to still be in that career and have kids of her own. Ultimately, it's her choice and if she changes her mind we'll deal with it then.
71
I don't have kids, but whether or not I will is something I think about quite a lot. I'll be 39 next week and am getting ever closer (maybe I'm already there?) to the point where I'll have no choice and time will decide for me. At the same time, having kids right now seems outside the realm of possibility: I'm single and find it very hard to imagine financially and logistically supporting a kid on my own (even though I know many women do it with much less than I have). Plus, I really like my life the way it is. It's easy and I have a lot of freedom. When I think about having kids it's hard not to think about all the things I'd have to give up. I always thought I would have kids, but I've had to come to terms with the fact that it's very likely I won't.
72
Nope.

Not really. I'm open to it

I'm not a regretful person -- I'm not sure I can name any regrets at all.
73
Ugh, this has been such an agonizing decision between my fiance and I. I do not have kids. I grew up thinking that of course I wanted children; I want to show someone all the amazing stuff in the world! But I'm now in my late 20s with a huge amount of debt from graduate school, but with the job that I always wanted. And I find myself thinking, I pretty much like my life right now and I know that I'd love my children if I had them, but would I like my life as much with children? That's the big question for me.
74
My friends entered into "baby-making mode" over the past 5 years. For some, the road's been easy. For others it's been years of trying, failing, faulting bodies, worrying, tests, etc.

For me, I was perpetually single and never heard any biological clock ticking. I didn't really think about it. Being "Auntie" meant I got to have all the fun and I got to sleep through the night.

Then I met my Love. Having children, learning to be parents together, crafting a family that is our own - these are my daydreams.

I worry that we're not starting fast enough, that we won't be among those for whom the process is "easy," and we'll be running behind a runaway timetable.

But, mostly, I know that my Love arrived when it was exactly the right time and I trust our future family will do the same. Whether biologically, adoptive or fostered, our little Loves will find us at exactly the right time.

And, in the meantime, I get to be Auntie to an ever-growing brood.
75
I never thought I'd have kids but when I was 27, I started to dream about them. Having a baby became not an option but a necessity. I ended up having three including twins, and am forever grateful for them. They have given me joy and grief, intense times and most boring days imaginable (waiting for another piano lesson to be over), and I have never regretted my choice of having them. Sure hope they feel the same way.
76
No kids, no plans. Always thought I would but at 45, out of time now. Sometimes I'm sad but for the most part, I'm glad
77
I have always known I want kids. Always. My mom was half worried I was going to be a teen mom because I love them so much. A lot of my future plans, life plans center around it. When will I be done with law school, when will my eggs be compromised, etc. About a year ago my sister referred to me offhandedly as "not maternal". I almost cried. I never cry.
78
I've always loved kids, but waited until my late '30s to have one of my own. I was always torn for a variety of selfish and personal reasons. I can't say I've had a bad life, but I've dealt with some level of depression for decades and the thought of passing along my defective genes to another person really was always a difficult hurdle. Also, being responsible for another life is kind of intimidating for myriad/obvious reasons. I also foolishly thought having a child would help my marriage. Instead it magnified everything that was wrong. Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise as that relationship has since ended. That said, I don't regret having a child. I love my child more than anything else in the world. Hell, he may be the only reason I'm still alive.
79
This is one of the issues that makes me jealous of straight people. If you want, you can get lazy with the birth control and let fate sort it out. Kids, no kids, either way I'd find something to be happy about and something to regret. But asking me to spend a year filling out paperwork and writing checks to adoption agencies? It's so intentional. There are so many opportunities to bail out. Ambivalence rounds down to no. I'm not unhappy with the answer, but I don't like how I got there.
80
I have no kids but I'm thinking about them a lot. Last year half my social circle suddenly had babies, which took me totally by surprise - I'm 31, and the people I know from work who have had children have done it much much later, more like 37-38 (I work in international news which is a super un-family-friendly profession). So I was caught off guard by the idea of my smart, ambitious female friends in other fields feeling like now was a good time for them! I was slightly annoyed with them, to be honest - like while I thought we'd all been hanging out having fun, and they'd been secretly getting all their ducks in a row to give it all up and have babies. A bit like when you think you're having a good time at a party and your friend comes up to be like "ok my taxi's here" and you're like oh, you think this party's finished?

(there's a lot more to say about how my family situation led me to think that having children means your life as an independent adult has to basically end....but this is a small box)
81
no kids yet - age 34, last one of my friends to not have kids (or a husband) and i'm cool with it right now. may feel differently if/when i have someone i want to procreate with but until then, am happy being the aunt spoiling the kiddies of my friends!
82
I've been seriously planning on getting a 'snip snip' lately because I have no interest in raising a kid. I want to focus on my career. I'm 25 and I'm working in kitchens, focusing on moving up in the culinary world. My hours are already long and my feet always hurt at the end of the day. I can't imagine adding a kid into that mix.
83
Yes only one.
I have plans to be a registered nurse one day with five more children.
I regret nothing in my life. I live and then I learn.
84
I have two kids. They have me. No regrets about being a parent, though I sometimes wish I'd had 3 or 4 kids. I am one of 4 siblings, and really love their company now. And we can share the responsibilities of caring for our Mom down the road.
85
I don't have kids. I'm single and in my mid-late 30s. I want kids, but the odds of finding a good life partner seem to be diminishing. I don't have any regrets though. I'm starting to consider the idea of adopting (as a single parent) but am not sure if that is right for me either. I feel like if I have the means, there's a lot of kids out there that could use a good home. I mean, giving a child a home and a life and a future seems like it would be one of the better things I could do with my life.
86
No kids. Yet. But we're having (unprotected) sex now, and every time I raise a glass of wine to my lips, I think, am I pregnant? Am I poisoning my baby? Do I even want a baby?
87
For a long time I did not want kids. I have been unhappy most of my life and I did not want to subject another person to life. Then, at 37, I had a son. I can honestly say the love I feel for him outweighs any negatives. I just hope he will be spared my sadness and that he will be more adjusted, normal and content. I can not have any more kids due to medical issues/age. I deeply regret not having kids sooner. The love, the joy, the meaning my son brings me is undescribable. I so wish I could give him a sibling and also that I could get to experience the smell of a newborn, and the immense pleasure of holding a (my) baby again. I still wonder why there were no parades, why traffic did not stop and people cheer the day i bprugh my son home. There they were, the people in the streets, going about their days as per usual. Did they not realize what had happened? My son was born. A fucking mirale. My life had finally become worthwhile.
88
Terrified. Procrastinating.
89
Yes I have two kids. When I was pregnant the first time (a non planned pregnancy) I used to say to my husband wailing "If I were going to give birth to a dog I would feel more comfortable!!!" I liked (still do) dogs and dogs usually like me. I had never been close to a child. Children were a completely alien and sometimes uncomfortable species.
Our eldest daughter is now twenty one years old, and a wonderful human being. I think I am a good enough mother*. My conclusion is: If I could anyone can. NOBODY has ever been less prepared than I was during that first pregnancy. And yet, here we are.

*I have also went through therapy in the years since her birth
90
I have two kids, and would have more if pregnancy wasn't so risky and difficult for me. Honestly, I never understood what life and love even really meant before these boys came into my life. Now that I have them, I can't imagine what worthwhile purpose my life could have without them.
91
I was getting married 2 years ago, and the plan was to make babies soon after. I could see them, in my head... my babies. My little girl, with her auburn curls and precocious face. I was 27. Then I didn’t get married, and now I feel like I'm stuck at 27? Babies were supposed to be like... level up. And only recently did it occur to me that my whole life has been a lie and this whole WASPy timeline is bullshit and I've wasted 30 years of my life conscientiously ignoring the vast alternatives. So fuck it, I'm living the dream. But still... I miss my imaginary babies. I'm sad they never got the chance to be.

Fucking hormones.
92
SWF, almost 29, no kids, no desire/plans for any, though I'm open to the fact that I may change my mind in the next 5-10 years. I've just never had any real desire to procreate, and everybody else's reasons for having children sound really stupid to me. I'd rather travel and develop a career. Actually, having children sounds like a much more selfish decision than not having them. You're all welcome.
93
I have no kids and I don't know if I'm going to ever have kids which makes me feel both relief and mild panic. I wish I was one of the women who adamantly know either way whether they want or do not want children. I'm so ambivalent (interspersed with a real longing for kids and also a real non-longing for them) all of the time that I almost feel that in and of itself is a sign that I shouldn't have them. Shouldn't I be super jazzed about the thought of a little critter? Honestly, I get more excited about the thought of having a dog than I do about having a baby. But then I think about having a toddler and having a teenager and I think I'd like that. That's when I think about adoption. But then I think, hey wouldn't it be magical to see glimmers of my parents (now deceased) and myself and my husband in a new person? But then I think that I haven't traveled enough and what about that dog and how will we afford it, etc. etc. ad infinitum. I can't decide and I need to sooner rather than later as everyone (but most annoyingly, my super-pro-kids gynecologist) tells me (I'm 34). I really worry that I won't do it and then one day deeply, deeply regret it. But I can't see it happening and if I can't envision it, is that also a sign that I shouldn't? I just wish someone else would answer this one for me.
94
My wife and I have one son, 2 years old. We've tried for the last 8 months to get pregnant again, but recently lost the last of our IVF embryos to an ectopic pregnancy, my 3rd. We are trying to decide what to do next: we always wanted at least one biological child, but now that we have one, he's amazing and I want a herd of them!! I want them around a huge table at Thanksgiving when we are 70. It's been very hard to say goodbye to the pre-children we've lost due to my clumsy uterus.

Having a child is impossibly hard, but as horribly cliche as it is, it's amazing and irreplaceable and terrifying all at the same time and it's so worth it.
95
I'm almost 47 and knew from childhood I didn't want them. I've never had a second -- not one second -- of regret about it. In fact, I feel like it was a bullet dodged. Had they been in the picture, I would have stayed in a marriage characterized by low-level misery. I've plenty of regrets, but that's not one of them.
96
I'm a 26 year old straight man and I would very much want to have kids. I have a masters degree and career is very important to me now, but my preference is to downshift to part-time or stay-at-home dad status when kids come.

However, I work in an expensive city and have 150k in student debt. My wife would have to make a lot of money and sacrifice her own time with our kids for our family to succeed financially. How could we ever afford to raise kids the way I want to when I can barely imagine being able to afford a house?

So, in practice, I don't want to have kids. Especially because I'm uncomfortable considering a girlfriend's income as relevant to whether or not I want to spend my life with her.

This is all abstract -- I've never had a girlfriend -- but I wonder if any Millennial men fell similarly.
97
I am an old woman now. And I know that having my 3 children is the best and most magical thing that has happened in my life.
If I had to think about it, I would not have had them...I was too scared (I was very young). I am very, very glad I did not think about it...
98
I have two children. Neither pregnancy was planned. In both cases we found out late enough in the process that an abortion was difficult, both legally and medically. I'm now divorced.

I don't really feel like we got to choose to become parents. I mean, there are always options. But in the mix of it, choice is actually something of a privilege. More so than I think some people realize.

I never wanted to be a parent. It's been better and harder than I thought it would be. I'll go further: each time, it's been the hardest thing that's ever happened in my life. Parenting derailed everything for us, including our marriage. Which maybe shouldn't have happened in the first place.

Most of us -- well, I know I at least -- are not the result of a choice, a conscious decision, a plan. Plans are phantoms. If anything, it's an affirmation, that someone assumes a mistake and sees it through to the end. This is another way to describe what love is.
99
The timing of this question for me...I've been asking myself this for the past year. I have an 11 year old daughter from my first marriage and now I'm very happily married. I always wanted to have more than one child but now, if I have another baby, the age difference...it will be big. I'm so torn because I'm 33 and in two years I'll be considered "high risk". Part of me is so selfish with my time with my husband and daughter. We can go on trips and she's independent and I only have one child to buy Christmas presents for. But then I think about how amazing it would be to have another baby and this time, have a baby with someone who I know will stay around to help. Another baby to watch grow up, to shape through elementary school, to say words incorrectly and knowing those incorrectly pronounced words are going to melt your heart and stay with you forever. I just don't know. So I hope you get better answers than the answer I'm giving you. Being a mom is absolutely the best thing I have ever done. Watching your heart walk around outside of your body...that's how being a mom feels to me. I hope I don't end up with regrets if I decide not to have another one.
100
I do not have kids, and have been firm for most of my adult life about my desire to NOT have them. Adamantly against, even.

Although, at 38 years old, I'm starting to feel that ping of "am I missing out on one of life's greatest things?" and seriously starting to consider talking to my doctor about my ability to still have a child. I am terrified to bring this/these fears up to my partner and how this might change our relationship.
101
I don't have kids. I am 30 years old, so I still have some time. My partner really, really wants them. We talk about how we are in a "discernment" process but really I think we will have them. I just think the cultural and familial pressure will ultimately overwhelm my feelings of trepidation and ambiguity. I guess it comes down to a feeling of having kids is just want people do.

I do not have a burning desire to have children. I do not hear my biological clock ticking. I think if I didn't have a partner who desperately wanted them, I would forget to have them. The only thing about remaining childless that gives me pause is not having a family growing behind you as you get older. It sounds really selfish, but I get sad thinking about only a few friends and neighbors who outlasted me attending my funeral.
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