Author Topic: Childless couples  (Read 14541 times)

mgriffin

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Childless couples
« on: January 30, 2009, 03:24:14 PM »
I've noticed there are quite a few married/partnered adults on this Forum who have no children.  Considering that our society, at least American society but I'd say also to some degree Western culture in general, exerts a degree of pressure on all people to have kids, I thought it would be interesting to ask others what they think about this.

Lena and I have talked about whether or not to have children.  Neither of us had previously been in a good, stable, long-lasting and positive relationship of the sort into which one might introduce children, until now.  So for us, the discussion of whether or not that was something we wanted, happened at a later stage of life (really, about the latest stage you can realistically have the discussion, and still have a chance to do something about it), than most people.

It still feels like something likely to offend people, when we answer "No, we don't plan to" to the inevitable question.  Even people very close to us have been dismissive, critical, even pitying, in response to hearing of our plans.  Of course I've also talked to several friends who have told me some variation on "Good for you -- if I could rewind my life, I might do some things differently." 

We have nothing against kids, in fact Lena loves kids so much that she worked in a day care for the 8-9 years before she quit to take care of Hypnos.  Just not for us.

Curious what others may have experienced along these lines.
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2009, 03:27:04 PM »
I got married at 38.  My wife had a 13 year old son.  I adopted him.  We have way too many friends our age (late forties) with kids.  Dave will be married in May, and hopefully in a few years there will be grandchildren we can spoil.  But kids of our own... :D
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caul

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2009, 03:43:30 PM »
We got married late, I was 36, my wife was 39. After a couple years, we decided to try. We did try  ;) but to no avail. We thought about fertility treatments but insurance covers testing only, not the actual treatments. We could have spent a boatload of money for nothing. We thought about adopting but that's very expensive up front as well and it doesn't mean you'll wind up with a child, either. So we figured we'd try the old fashioned way and if it didn't happen, then we'd accept that.

Sometimes I still wish we could have had a child. Sometimes I feel better not having a child, seeing how the future looks right now but then I know I'm just being pessimistic, every generation has it's challenges and the future can look bleak or bright, depending on where you're at.

I do know some people who made a conscious choice for no children. I don't see anything wrong with that at all, but they've gotten treated a little odd now and again for it. Isn't everyone supposed to breed?  :)

mgriffin

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 03:47:20 PM »
That was one of the things that pushed both me and Lena in the direction of "maybe we should" -- I mean the idea that you're SUPPOSED to, right?

But on the other side was a pretty strong feeling that we didn't WANT to.  And there are lots of things in life you're SUPPOSED to do that neither of us has wanted to bother with (having a traditional, formal wedding for example), and I think a good argument could be made that if you don't WANT to have kids, if you don't feel pulled and drawn toward the idea of yourself with a child, then you shouldn't do it.  The notion that people are supposed to, that it's inevitable, to me that isn't enough reason.
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caul

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2009, 04:10:58 PM »
That was one of the things that pushed both me and Lena in the direction of "maybe we should" -- I mean the idea that you're SUPPOSED to, right?

But on the other side was a pretty strong feeling that we didn't WANT to.  And there are lots of things in life you're SUPPOSED to do that neither of us has wanted to bother with (having a traditional, formal wedding for example), and I think a good argument could be made that if you don't WANT to have kids, if you don't feel pulled and drawn toward the idea of yourself with a child, then you shouldn't do it.  The notion that people are supposed to, that it's inevitable, to me that isn't enough reason.


Exactly. Raising children is a huge responsibility. Don't take it on if you ain't feeling it. That's if it's planned though.

My nephew has a son who was not planned and he was 17 at the time. He's not with the mother, hasn't been for years but he did step up and worked hard to change, to become someone who could be a good father. I have a great deal of respect for him for that. I'm glad I never faced that kind of situation, I'm not sure if I would have had as much courage as he did.

I certainly see a lot of people that, to me, seem like they should have never had kids. But then I think, I don't know who those kids will grow up to be. Maybe someone who helps a lot of other people. Unfortunately, it seems more common that they just turn out like their parents.
 

jim brenholts

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2009, 04:21:43 PM »
my first wife and i made a conscious decision to have no children. we were too busy partying and too selfish to share our stuff with anyone!
when linda and i got married she was 40 and her sons were 16 and 19. i was traveling 5 days a week at the time and it would not have been fair to her or to a child. again, we made a conscious decision to have no children.
now that we have 2 superb grandsons and 1 more on the way it looks like we made the right decision.
i never felt any pressure one way or the other. if someone suggested that we were supposed to procreate, i ignored them. it is nobody's business but ours!
all the best and God bless
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SunDummy

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2009, 04:41:28 PM »
I've been married 15 years - we made a conscious decision to not have kids.  I have simply never wanted them, I just don't feel any urges in that direction at all.  My wife was on the fence, but before our wedding, she admitted that she agreed with me.  Her family (4 brothers, all very Catholic) gave us a TON of pressure at first, but eventually they backed off.  When her aunts first broached the subject, I told them that "I want kids, but I had a farm accident as a child, and...  well...  I don't like to talk about it."  They never mentioned it again.   ;D

I've just always had a problem with the way our whole economy is based on growth - gotta beat last year's sales, gotta get more customers, gotta spend more, gotta use more, etc.  It's a finite system, it can't grow FOREVER.  It seemed to me that adding more humans to the equation was just perpetuating an unsustainable system. 

I've now got 14 neices and nephews on my wifes side, and none on my side - my brother and 2 sisters have all skipped kids too.  People often say, "Ah, you all must have had a crappy childhood, that's why you all don't want kids."  In fact, we had a GREAT childhood, truly wonderful, so that's not it.  We're just missing the "parent gene".
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Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2009, 07:07:07 PM »
Bianca and I aren't having kids either.  I knew from a young age that children just weren't for me, and I was lucky enough to meet a woman who felt the same way about it.  I enjoy kids and certainly love my nieces, nephew, and friends' children, but it was just never on the table for us.  It's a little hard to explain the feeling (I hesitate to call it a thought process): I suppose you can liken it to the feeling people have when they want to have babies very much.  In that place, or where I imagine that emotion to be, I just don't feel anything at all.

I've gotten some guilt from my parents (I'm an only child) and funny looks from people who find out, over the years.  But, in the end, it is my wife and I who would have to take care of the children, and it isn't how we envisioned spending our lives.

I think there's a lot of pressure in society to procreate, for obvious reasons.  But now that different kinds of living, and difference choices, are made possible (and don't carry as much social stigma), I think we're probably seeing more people making the choice to remain child-free than in the past.  The way I see it is that it hardly hurts anybody—I certainly am happy to see others fulfilled with their children, why shouldn't we be fulfilled without having our own?

ambient789

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2009, 07:35:41 PM »
Well, never say never, but I'm not inclined for kids right now. The rest of my family isn't pressuring me, and I'm glad for that.

I do have married friends that never had kids. I've never talked with them about being childless. I feel it's not my business. They have 4 cats though! Maybe that makes up for it a bit.  :)

deepspace

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2009, 09:57:13 PM »
My wife Kim and I do have kids.  A 6 year old boy called Luka and Astrid, a little 2 year old girl.  We both come from working class background, and both of us had experienced family seperations and divorces as children. 

When we met back in 1989, we were both in bands, and both had quite dark feelings towards the idea of marriage, let alone kids.   We began to realise after a few years that our shared experience would create a very different world, in comparison to our childhood days.  And not only did we have two kids, but we even got married.

Now, I personally feel very different to the way I felt before I had kids.  It's pretty full-on having kids, but I can't imagine not having them now.  I can't even recall what I did with all of that spare time....But I know that I didn't feel like I had a lot of spare time pre-kids.  So, time becomes relative.  You just soak it in and adjust. 

I do envy childless couples.  With kids, you lose a lot of control.  Messy living rooms, crap all over the place...unwanted chaos/fights/sibling rivalry.  You have to swallow your pride, and compromise big-time.  But for some reason I'd be afraid to go back to pre-kid days now.  Stuff bubbled up that needed to bubble up, that couldn't have been resolved had we not had kids.  I also value my time a lot more now.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 10:02:31 PM by deepspace »
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2009, 10:19:35 AM »
When I was married to Barbara (1976-1989) we were under a lot of pressure from her folks to have kids and we "felt" like we wanted them too...we tried for 5 years. No luck, which ended up being a good thing when we divorced. Especially because, and this is bound to rankle a few of you here, I flat out don't like kids. Hardly if not at all. I don't think babies are "cute" and I find most kids today to be nowhere near as polite and considerate as when I was a young 'un. So, thankfully, I never had any. When I tried to reconcile with my sister (the psycho-bitch from hell) after our folks died, I got to know her kids, who were around 10-12, I think. What a pair of self-absorbed brats. Ugh. I'm sure there are lots of great kids out there and I only wish I had known some of 'em.

I conceived with an ex-gf in 1991 but we agreed to terminate the pregnancy, which is also a good thing since she wound up breaking up with me two years later.

Kathryn has no kids from her marriage, either. We met very late in our lives (I was 42 and she was 48). However, still the first time we had unprotected sex, I was pretty anxious. She just laughed and said, "Don't worry, Bill, my eggs are way too old to fertilize now!" LOL

I know I sound callous...I don't mean to be. But I am being 100 percent honest. When a co-worker brings their new born infant or kids into work for a visit, I'm outta there. I've never tried to understand why I have this terrible averision and even revulsion towards kids. I don't want to harm and have never even yelled at a kid...they just aren't anything that resonates for me at all. Just way too much work, I suppose.

Well, now I have likely driven the last nail in the coffin that was my already flimsy reputation. As Billy Pilgrim would opine "So it goes."  :(

Seren

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2009, 11:44:15 AM »
Never wanted children so had a vasectomy at 23. At 47 I have no regrets.

have 4 children and grandchildren by 2 marriages. those from first marriage are now more distant in time and emotionally, but have been very much loved by both extended families.

95% of children I worked with in residential care projected their father onto me so I well worked that one through.... :o

Chad Hoefler

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2009, 05:19:15 PM »
My wife and I decided that because of our professional lives, it would be irresponsible of us to bring into existence our own children.  Instead, we have decided to be the best uncle and aunt that we can be.  I must confess that this has been easy.  We have three nephews and a niece (they are young:  5 years and younger), and I am absolutely charmed by their sense of wonder and curiosity, and I am also endlessly amused by how generally uninhibited they are.

Life is good!



dwight

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2009, 11:48:54 AM »
Interesting topic.
When I was 16 I became ill with the mumps...and being 16 I blew it off even thou I didn't feel well. In any case you can guess what happened next. In my first marriage I was such a AAA looser that I am glad there were no children, for their sakes. But as time passed and in my second marriage (to the same person as the first I might add). The idea of having children is just not compelling enough to fix the problem that developed at age 16.

jkn

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2009, 11:30:00 AM »
We've been married 16 years - and known each other a couple years longer.   We always felt that if we wanted to have children, we'd adopt.   We never did.   Sometimes, yeah, we regret it.   The majority of the time we're happy with our decision not to have children. 

Yes - early on there was a lot of pressure from friends and family to "have a family".   Our true friends got past it.

We have six nieces and nephews and I love being Uncle John.
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bunkdata

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2009, 11:48:07 AM »
Interesting topic indeed!  My wife Heather and I have two kids.  Our son, Lennon (12) is from my wife's previous relationship (we met when he was 6).  We have a 2 1/2 year old girl together (Lena).  I was married previouslly for about 3 years and at that time we were just not ready to have kids.  After spending time with Lennon I was ready to have more children (paycheck permitting).  We would love to have another child but we are still unsure if we will.  The kids are growing up and it's a lot of work those first few years!  It's alwasys a matter of personal choice on having kids, but I say that the investment is well worth it.  It's amazing how fast they grow up and all the things you can learn just by hanging out with them everyday! 

With that said, I sure don't get the music done like I used to, but you find the time!

Gurdonark

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2009, 12:51:48 AM »
My wife and I don't have kids, though we've been married for 18 years. We chose not to have kids because at the time of our consideration of the issue, my work schedule was a big concern. We love kids, and love in particular our nieces and nephews. Sometimes we regret the deciison not to have children, but more often we think it was the right decision for us. Our parents, relatives and friends have all been very hands-off about the issue, so that we face no real issues on that score. Kids are great--we just did not have any.

lena

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2009, 03:08:03 PM »
I  We have a 2 1/2 year old girl together (Lena). 

Awww, great name!  ;)
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saulstokes

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2009, 11:21:55 PM »
Ha! I just put my kids to bed and red this post. Ya, the house is constantly messy. For some reason my kids love scotch tape. I find it everywhere. There's a chunk of it on my sock as I write this!

We were married 9 years before we had our first girl. We hadn't planned on having kids but it just kind of felt right at the time. My personal feeling is that your heart has an extra cavity of love that wakes up the day your first child arrives. You don't know you have it until that day and it never goes away. It's an awakening of sorts I guess and you would never miss it unless you had a child. The more children you have the more your heart awakes.

I do believe this is why those who are less fortunate tend to have lots of kids because it's a fascinating beautiful pleasure even if the world is sinking around you.

Saul

cromag

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Re: Childless couples
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2009, 01:41:24 AM »
I mostly "lurk" in the forum, and hardly ever venture out of the music areas ... and then I found this thread ... this morning.

When I got out of college (geology degree) I went out to work.  I worked oil wells in California, Alaska, Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, and the north Atlantic.  When I burned out on that lifestyle I took a "fun" job, picking up road-killed deer in NJ.  When that job petered out (the state decided it would be cheaper to leave the deer and let the towns pick them up) I landed a job in CT with the phone company.  I was an early enthusiast of home computers, so when the old "Bell System" broke up I had no trouble getting to AT&T, serving on regional and corporate technical staffs, and then landing a job as a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs (back when Bell Labs was still Bell Labs!).

I got into the "relationship" business late in the game.  I got married at age 38.  I'm the oldest of 6, and having a family with kids was a big factor in our decision to get married.  We even planned on me being a stay-at-home dad for a few years.


My son was born on February 13, 1992.  Nearly two years later my daughter was born.  And my son was diagnosed with autism.  At the time of his diagnosis autism wasn't the media darling that it is today -- the first talk of an autism epidemic didn't make it into the media until a year or two later.  When he was diagnosed there was no talk of "high functioning"  -- we were warned that he would never speak and would need to live in an institution for the rest of his life.

The good news is, I was a stay-at-home dad, and I had the time to work with him.  I learned fast, and we started making good progress.  I had him speaking by the time he was three and a half years old.  We were able to get him into a specialized school and he continued to make progress -- so much that he entered our school district's kindergarten when he was six.  He had a full time aide until he graduated from 8th grade.

Today is his 17th birthday.  He will never be "just another kid" but he is a sophomore in our local public high school, without an aide, and he's on track for college.  I'm still a stay-at-home dad, but I should get back to gainful employment in a couple years.



When my son was still a perfect baby boy I bought a tee shirt that said, "Fatherhood, -- it's not just a job, it's an adventure."  I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it's not the kind of decision that should be up to anyone else.  You guys make the decision that's right for you.
Science News, Vol. 175, No. 9, April 25, 2009, page 1 -- "New mapping of the human genome shows none of us are normal."