September 19, 2007

Wouldn't Change a Thing…

Ask any new parent how their life has changed now that they have a child and you will get an earful. Some changes are perceived as positive, some are perceived as negative, but all parents will admit that life with kids is, at the least, different.

A woman named Vicki emailed me through the Childless by Choice Project website to share her story and pose a question. Like many Purple Women ™, Vicki never felt a longing to have children but assumed that, by her mid-thirties, she would "have a sudden desire to have children."

It didn't happen. Now thirty-five and happily married, Vicki and her husband have decided to remain childfree.

So she wrote: "Here's a question that I want to pose... The statement "having a baby changes EVERYTHING" couldn't be more true... So what if you're completely happy and content with your life and don't want to change a thing?...

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Feh23 said...

I guess the answer to that question would be...not have children.

Seriously, if you don't want to change your life, then having children is the most selfish thing you can do in regards to those children, and the rest of society.

Example: I like my life. I like doing adult things. I like drinking. I like going to loud rock shows. I like that the only living things I am responsible for, beyond myself, are animals who will not have to be productive members of society. I would never expect to be able to continue to do these things with a child, so I don't have one. Crazy!

M said...

I think one factor is one may be happy and content with their life as it is, but what if their needs change over time, and they find 1 or 2 decades later that what met their needs 20 years ago no longer does, that though kids weren't a desire then they might be now?

I've changed so much over the years and I wonder if it's possible that this is something that might change too. I am thinking of writing a post to explore this, but I have thought a little lately about the what ifs. What if later I regret not having a child in my life.

I just can't assume the responsibility for someone else's entire welfare, I don't have the resources. But that doesn't mean I may not miss having children, especially as I age.

Has anyone else had feelings or thoughts like that? Or are all childfree very certain of how they feel and not really ambivalent at times?

I mean just because one's life is good as is doesn't mean there isn't room for more or for a change. My life changes all the time, and there's always room for more or other forms of happiness. So I can't buy the "things are great as they are so why change" theory. To me, there is always room for more love or more good things in life.

Yes I am content with my life, always have been pretty much, but that doesn't mean certain changes over the years haven't been good ones too and haven't added to my life in new ways.

RMS said...

For me, definitely the answer is no children, however, I can understand someone like M having doubts. But I think that assuming you should have children as the only way to have children in your life is narrow minded. I don't mean to say M is narrow minded, just that society has conditioned us to think of only the one way when there are so many other possibilities. You can become involved with your nieces and nephews or the children of friends. You can volunteer your time with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The list goes on.

The great thing about these ideas is you don't have to assume the full responsibility for someone's welfare which M is rightly concerned about. Instead you get to enjoy the benefits such as closeness and friendships and sharing. To me, volunteering or finding other avenues to have children as a part of your life brings you all the rewards without the work and endless responsibility! That sounds like a win/win to me!

So I suggest that thinking creatively could bring different ideas that allow you to enjoy the company of kids and stay childfree if you so desire.

Anita D said...

My husband and I are so happy and content with our life right now. We have no want. But, I can see that later down the road when we are older we might wish had had some offspring to keep us company. I've decided that if that's the case I'm going to open up my home to others who have no families. Not necessarily adopting but there are people with no families that need a place to come to for Thanksgiving, Christmas...etc and my door will be open to them.

LauraS said...

Personally, I love change, but I would not change my childfree status.

I may regret not having kids when I'm older but I doubt that. I have kids in my life now through mentoring (I've been a Big Sister for 8 years).

Having a biological child is not important to me--expanding my universe to include other people's kids is.

britgirl said...

If you don't want to change a thing, don't change a thing. I am hearing people viewing having children to meet a need in themselves... as insurance for the future,to keep them company now or later, to prevent regrets, to fulfill a longing etc, etc. To me, though children may well bring these things (and equally they may very well not)these are the wrong reasons to have children.

Children aren't supposed to be had to meet our selfish needs, they don't owe us a single thing. There is only one reason to have them and it's totally about the child. Feh stated it very well (elsewhere). I rarely hear people express it when they are talking about having kids.

Shannon said...

I am glad to have found this site. We are proud to be child free. I think one of the most selfish things a person can do is have a child. If you want to be a parent, adopt one of the tens of thousands of orphans out there. If you are lonely join a group, go to a bar, take a class. Me? I enjoy my family and friends, my business, my free time, the ability to travel and volunteer, and I am glad not to be adding to the burden of our overpopulated planet.

Feh23 said...

Many people live with regret every day of their lives. I personally regret not pursuing science, though when I was in school I had no interest in it. If, in the future, I regret not having children, I will live with that regret. It won't kill me, and I'll probably still be able to look at my life and say "well there are lots of things I DON'T regret as well" and focus on those. It's not like it's impossible for a childfree person to expand their lives in such a way to include and influence the lives of others.

Angry Grrl said...

m asks:
Has anyone else had feelings or thoughts like that? Or are all childfree very certain of how they feel and not really ambivalent at times?

I can't speak for anyone else, but I've always known that I didn't want children, ever.

I have no maternal instinct, or if I do, it's only toward animals. The sound of babies crying grates on my nerves, I don't think the little things look cute at all, and I positively loathed the few babysitting gigs I had while growing up.

At 39, I'm still feeling no regret. I have a wonderful niece and nephew to dote on.

I don't worry about things like "who will take care of me when I'm old," because having kids is no guarantee that they'll be able to do that anyway, or that they'll want to, or be financially able to, or even that they'll still be alive to do so.

As for being lonely, I cultivate friendships in a wide range of ages; some of my youngest friends are 15 years younger than me, so I'm not afraid of being alone when I'm 90. ;)