It feels like once you reach a certain age, a lot of people almost expect you to have kids.
Well, Reddit user u/lunalacrimaasked recently, "People of Reddit who are 40+ years old and decided to not have children, how are you feeling about your decision now?" Here are some responses from the BuzzFeed Community, plus a few more from Reddit.
1."When I see all those parents around me, I am blessed that I decided not to have children ever when I was 20. Now at 50+ years old, it is still the best decision I made. Choosing to live for myself and not follow the 'crazy' peer pressure of others has given me the freedom to develop my life the way I wanted."
2."I would rather have some personal weird and/or negative feelings about not having kids when I’m older than the possibility that having a child was the wrong choice, seeing them suffer in any way or be unhappy with how their life is. If I chose their life to be a life and they don’t like it, who am I to choose that for them to endure?"
3."Simply put, I would not make a good mother. It has nothing to do with being selfish or liking things 'my way,' but the fact that a child is dependent on you 24/7 for at least 18 years would cause me to resent them. I know it in my heart of hearts. I am impatient. Also, I have a pretty good suspicion that my husband and I would be separated/divorced if we had children somewhere down the line. Kids can 100% change the relationship on a dime and we would lose ourselves easily in kid life."
4."I’ve just never wanted children. There is no hidden dark reason for it. It’s something I’ve always known about myself and I wish that was enough for my family and friends who constantly question the choice."
5."When I turned 40, I felt some regrets; but each year that passes (I’m now 48), I see so many school shootings, the obvious effects of the planet dying from climate change, and the overflowing of hatred in this country, I have zero regrets. I couldn’t imagine bringing anyone into a world like this."
6."I’m 40 and I’ve known since I was a kid that I never wanted to be a mother. I’ve never regretted that decision. My suggestion is if you aren’t planning on having kids, don’t live in a small town if you can avoid it. Move somewhere that has better opportunities to meet people and more things to do. I grew up surrounded by nothing but families and people who wanted kids eventually because that’s usually the demographic in small towns, and I’m unfortunately still stuck in that environment because it’s where I can afford it. I have found it hard to make friends locally because I can’t identify with the 'problems of parenthood' and am sometimes looked down on or treated differently by those people."
7."I’m nearing 62 and thought I might want children for a very brief moment in my 20s. I never had any and don’t regret it. I’m not mothering material and didn’t want to pass on some negative things in the family. I just decided some things would end with me. On the other hand, I do feel if something happened to my husband, it could be a long time before I was found if I died at home, so that’s weird."
8."I went from having names picked out for my four imaginary daughters (back in my 20s) to deciding within five minutes of a medical diagnosis that, clearly, having kids was not meant to be. I always loved children but always on the condition that they're not entirely my responsibility. As luck would have it, I had three uterine fibroids positioned in such a unique way that it was literally impossible for me to have children. At that point, I was also in constant pain from the fibroids and the way they affected my body, so the doctor said, 'Well, a hysterectomy would be the most complete solution: No fibroids, no menstrual pain, but no children.'"
9."After FINALLY finding someone to sterilize me after 12 years, not only do I have zero regrets for so many reasons but I also actually enjoy being around my friends' kids now, which I honestly never thought would happen. I realized how much of my dislike of spending time with children was tied to the reproductive anxiety I had about being forced at some point to become pregnant and have a child. (I've never been pregnant thankfully but have been sexually assaulted, so there are always cases where it's out of our hands.) Now that that anxiety is gone, I can appreciate kiddos for the silly, smart, growing tiny humans they are, which has made spending time with my friends' families so much more enjoyable and meaningful for me."
10."I’m more than grateful that young me made the decision not to have children; I am proud that I didn’t bring another human into this hellhole of a world we have. I had a few wishes from time to time, when I was young and in love — little fantasies about making a family — but logic always won out. I always knew it was irresponsible and selfish, that I didn’t like being here and it wasn’t fair to make anyone else be here also. Basically, I am not meant for motherhood and I’m grateful my brain acknowledged that."
11."I told myself that if I didn't have kids before 28, I was not going to have kids after that. I didn't want to be older and have babies to grow up with, just because I know the physical and mental demands required of children would be too much. After the trials and tribulations my sister has gone through with her three girls, I've found that decision to be reaffirmed again and again."
12."I basically helped raise my youngest brother and sister because my mother didn’t deal very well with her divorce and parentified me. I really didn’t have any desire to do so again."
13."I didn't like kids when I was a kid so I sure as hell didn't want to be around them as an adult...only to end up teaching high schoolers. But it really just reinforced my decision to live kid free. The ones I see three times a week are more than enough."
14."I'm 41 and I have no regrets, not a single one. It took FOREVER for people to realize I was serious and I wasn't going to change my mind. I don't think it was until my husband and I had been married for 10 years without so much as a peep about considering a baby that they really started to believe me. I like kids fine. I love my nieces and nephews. But being a parent isn't the default state of adulthood — it's an option, just like everything else. I didn't want kids the same way I didn't want to, I don't know, major in math or get a pilot's license or become an artist. It's just not where my talents and interests lie. It doesn't mean I'm selfish, no matter how much people liked to tell me that. I don't think you're selfish for not getting a pet, even though I can't imagine not having one. It just means you're not a pet person. I'm not a kid person. There's nothing wrong with that."
15."I was 25 when I first decided I wouldn't have kids. It was 2008, the recession. I had lost my job and struggled financially for years. There was no way I could afford children and once I was in a better financial position, I realized that I simply didn't want them and would probably not be a good mother. That's my biggest reason for not having children. Every once in a while, I wonder if that was the right choice. Mostly because I fear getting old and needing someone to take care of me. But in my opinion, that's an awful reason to have kids. I guess all of my disposable income from being child free will pay for a great nursing home."
16."I’m about to be 32 and I always knew that I would never want kids. I admire people who have the energy/time to devote to being parents but it’s definitely not for me. People have always told me it’s selfish not to want kids or that I will change my mind, but it’s just never been something of interest. I’ve never had the desire to be pregnant or to look after another human all day. I have spent most of my young years in school / grad school trying to build my career so as I’m getting older and wrapping up my last degree, I want to travel and be able to experience life in ways that I still haven’t been able to."
17."My body made the decision to not have kids for me but I honestly think it worked out for the best. I don't know that I would have made a good parent, and my husband and I would not be doing the awesome things we are now if we'd had kids. There are times that it makes me a little sad but getting to do what I want when I want (outside of work, of course) is pretty damn great."
18."I really wanted to be a mom. That’s what I would say when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Fast-forward to my late 20s and early 30s when I decided I wanted to start trying to get pregnant. My spouse was hesitant but on board. My body, however, had other plans. I went through a deep depression about it but was still hopeful about adopting, fostering, or even finding a surrogate. As time went by, I kept seeing more and more reasons why I didn’t want children. Why did I want kids in the first place? Because I thought that’s what you HAD to do. But mainly, I really wanted to be a better mother than my own. It turns out, for me, those were SHIT reasons. As I watched my friends and family struggle to raise their kids, many different endless struggles, I decided I did not want to go through any of that. I never did. I just wanted to be a better human than my mother."
19."I always planned to have kids but I didn’t find a partner until 28. And life was a constant shitshow for a few years (money, jobs, family, health problems). I’m finally at a point where my life has stabilized enough to have kids and now I’m too old. I hate that circumstances out of my control decided for me."
20."My wife and I decided a long time ago having kids wasn’t for us personally, professionally, financially, etc. We’ve had many couple friends over the years and every time they have their first kid, we drift apart. Their kid becomes their whole life (which is totally understandable) but they cease to have time for their adult friends without kids from then on. That was the sad part for us. It wasn’t for lack of trying on either party. They just physically didn’t have the time to hang out anymore and, emotionally, they also didn’t have the extra space for us. After our fourth friendship waned away after their having kids, it really started to wear on us. We started wondering if it was worth striking up friendships with other couples but we shoved that aside because it’s always worth it to make and have friends. We’re also getting to the age (40+) where couples our age who don’t have kids probably have decided not to have them, as well."
21."I helped raise my niece when I was 16–18. I love her but it taught me that waking up three times a night for feeding and diaper changes isn't fun. This was while going to school and working part-time."