We all move through life in the ways that we feel work best for us. Whether you choose to get married, start a family, or simply spend time traveling the world on your own, those are your decisions to make and your alone within reason.
In the world, we live people are pushed day in and out to settle down, start a family, and well be ‘normal’ but that’s not what everyone wants. Some people choose to get married and not having kids and others choose to not even get married at all with or without children present in the situation. All of this having been said, have you ever wondered whether someone who chose not to have kids regretted it in old age as most told them they would?
Well, I recently came across a Reddit thread that broke things down and allowed those who made that decision to answer for themselves. This was posted in the AskReddit under “Older couples that decided to not have children… how do you feel about your decision now that years have passed?” by Throwawaygeneral8899. Below I am going to go over some of those answers/responses and some of them might actually shock most people.
1. Reddit user Metatron_Fallen said:
“I’m not a couple, just a person. I’ve been in lots of relationships and was married twice. I would not have made a good parent. Regret sometimes I wasn’t born into a different life, but given the cards I was dealt… I think I made the right choice in that department and have no regrets.”
2. Reddit User Piskie said:
“We’ve been married for twenty years. We are both 50. Neither of us wanted to bring children into our family.
I spent a WONDERFUL afternoon with my 16-year-old niece yesterday. We talked about her boyfriend, picked blackberries, and discovered a woodland clam living in a mud puddle in the woods, which we named Fred. It was magical, I just adore her.
Not having kids is just as normal as wanting kids, I’ve always felt.
3. Reddit User Shapeofthings said:
“I wanted them but never met the right person. I’m REALLY glad I didn’t have any of my previous partners- they would either have made terrible mothers or we just did not make for a healthy couple.
I have the perfect partner now, and she did fall pregnant, but we lost the baby to Dandy-Walker syndrome. Getting a bit too old to try again now. I am very upset that I will not have children, but I don’t regret not having children with anyone but my current partner.”
4. Reddit User Lyeta said:
I have a freaking adorable nephew. I have two crazy-haired, the entirely polar opposite from each other girls that are my friend’s kids and my goddaughters.
They’re awesome. They are fun to play with. They are great to crawl around with and play with stuffed animals with and draw with and give my nephew potatoes he thinks are his pets. When the girls are teenagers and one of them is doing things to make her parents want to murder her, I’ll be there to bail her out.
And it’ll be awesome. And I’ll go home to my dogs and be very happy.”
5. Reddit User DoctorJimmy said:
“I go back and forth. My SO has some significant mental health issues and I know that I would be alone doing much of the emotional labor of raising a child, and I know I’m not really capable of doing it alone. Sometimes I worry very much about what I will do when I am old. I’m an introvert and don’t have many friends and am not overly likable, so I assume I will be alone. I just hope that there are some kind robots to take care of me and that I’ll die before the robots turn on us.”
6. Reddit User Pterelas said:
“No regrets. Not everyone wants them, and if you’re not sure, it’s best to hold off. Having ambivalent (or worse) parents do a real number on a kids self-esteem.”
7. Reddit User Nottransferable said:
“I am the late 50s, married, no kids. It’s a great life. Our money and time are our own.
I do have a large number of nieces and nephews, as well as being “uncle” to many friend’s kids. And they are all nice as hell to a fun aunt an uncle with a lot of disposable income. In their late teen and college years, we become confidantes when parent relations are strained. We help them with the occasional vacation or help them get a good used car.
We may not have kids, but the kids in the family think we are awesome.”
8. Reddit User Moriacousland said:
“My husband and I are in our 50s and have been married 19 years. We both grew up with abusive dads, were the “smart kid” in the family, got the hell out ASAP, worked our way through college and made something of ourselves before meeting and getting married. A lot of common ground and we’ve built a strong, rock-solid marriage.
We considered having kids, but after working so hard on healing from the childhood abuse and escaping the cycle of poverty we grew up in, we decided long ago that just the two of us was enough. We still consider ourselves a family and we’ve been really happy with our life together. Our home is peaceful and that’s the thing we care about the most.
If I had to choose now, knowing what I do, between becoming a mother and having the marriage and home life I now enjoy, it’s absolutely no contest. Zero regrets.”
9. Reddit User Dwsinpdx said:
“Well… I’m a dude in a relationship with a dude. 26 years, we could have had children but didn’t. Have plenty of nieces and nephews to spoil.
Also… we’ve been able to save and we are retiring this week. I’m 54.”
10. Reddit User Flicticious said:
“I love my life. Kids never factored into it. I never wanted them, so simply didn’t have them.
Having never wanted them, I don’t think about having missed out on anything or that I’m lesser for it.
Children aren’t mandatory.”
11. Reddit User henrythethirteenth said:
“My husband and I are 48. Not having kids is a huge relief, still. We get to travel, have a nice house, walk around naked if we want, and I have the disposable income to support causes that are important. My life is fulfilling and happy.”
12. Reddit User Iheartgeorgeconway said:
“I’m not that old (37) and I’m not a couple, but I didn’t have kids and I can say undoubtedly, I wouldn’t have accomplished the things I am very proud of in my life if I’d gone down the family route.
My nieces and nephews are enough for me, and I can give them back and won’t be held responsible for how they turn out. It’s honestly not a bad deal at all.”
13. Reddit User ThrowawayTink2 said:
“I’m going to give you a different answer. I met my guy at 26. I was ready for kids at 32. He started stalling, hoping to run my clock out. I thought I was ‘too old’ to find someone new in time to have kids.
I tried to accept it. To find something else to give my life purpose. I have a fulfilling professional career. I donate, I volunteer, I care for my older family members, I have friends.
But, you know what? I never got over my anger and resentment of being denied, children. Last year, after 20 years together, I ended things.
Now I’m back to looking at ways to become a Mom, however, that happens. I have my own frozen eggs. I’m open to fostering or adopting.
And I don’t regret leaving my ex, not even a little. I feel resentment and cheated.
For what it’s worth, embryo adoption is also a thing. It’s far more cost-effective than domestic infant adoption, and you can generally do it until age 55. After that, it’s on a case by case basis.
Some people can move past it, others can’t until they’ve exhausted every possible outlet. I’m in the latter category. I wish you peace, with whatever you decide.”
14. Reddit User Intersectaquirer said:
“My wife and I have been married for 12 years – I am 36 and she is 40, so, yeah, likely not in the cards. It is a reality that, while tough, I am slowly learning to accept.
I realized that as a guy, I always look at having kids with rose-colored glasses – ball games, working on my classic car with them, dad jokes, the fun stuff. That’s easy for me as it’s not my body and sacrifice. My wife is not on board and it’s her body and I love and respect her too much to force her hand. If either one of us is not 100% ok with a major decision, we don’t do it, end of discussion.
I look forward to spoiling my nieces and nephews and spending more time with my wife and continuing to make our world about us, forever.”
15. Reddit User JJZ said:
“I always thought I’d wake up one day and be clucky and ready to start a family. That day never came and I’m pushing 50 now so I’ve missed my chance.
I sometimes wonder if I made a mistake not having kids but it’s not something I really regret.
On the plus side, I am looking at retiring with a 6 figure income at 52, regularly donate and do charity work. In-fact I am looking at starting my own charity at the end of the year to dedicate more time to when I retire.
In some ways not having children has/will allow me to help more people than just my immediate family.
My suggestion is to do what feels right, either way, it’s a big decision that only you and your partner should make.”
16. Reddit User Academiclady said:
“Mid-40s couple. We feel regrets, lots of regrets.
However, we are a somewhat special case, and might still have a shot. We are past the normal age of having a child, but we froze our gametes ages ago, just in case we changed our mind about not having children.
For us, the decision not to have kids was more practical than ideological. At the time, we both had chronically ill family members that required a lot our time and, more importantly, mental energy. The idea of throwing a kid in the mix seemed unpleasant and unfair all around. Also, neither of us had much desire to have kids, we just enjoyed each others company and that was more than enough back then. Having kids seemed like a hugely stressful experience even in the best of circumstances and we could easily side-step it, so why not? I was the type of person who loved kids (I adore all my nephews), as long as I could give them back to their parents after some time.
I am a geneticist, and the full reason I thought we should freeze our gametes was that I thought, if we did ever decide to have kids – even while we can still do it “naturally” but we are older – I wanted us to have young gametes and to have the embryos screened. I know this seems unromantic, but see our practical attitudes towards life, above.
Things are really different now since we made that decision not to have kids all those years ago. We have fewer responsibilities and our financial situation is great. We’ve had the chance to live and travel all over the world, live for our careers, and spend years and years in just the company of each other. I feel like we got all we can out of being childfree, and we feel a longing to have a family of our own, meaning a family of more than just us two. So, now we feel a lot of regrets. Regrets about not having a kid at all and not doing it when we were younger. Old as we are, we will likely now go back to our egg- and spermcicles and give it a go if our doctor says it’s OK.
The funny thing is, I think my answer might be completely different if we were in the same situation now but didn’t have the gametes available. I think we might not allow ourselves the luxury of regrets. When what’s done is done and can’t be reversed, I think it’s natural to just want to look at the brighter side of things, particularly when it’s a mistake you can’t learn much from.”
17. Reddit User Toppup said:
“Every kid I don’t have is like $186,000 I don’t need to make.”
How did these answers make you feel? Would you regret not having kids if you moved forward without them or do you think that children just aren’t for you? I guess the best thing we can take away from this is to think things through and don’t have kids for the sake of having them. If you want them, don’t let someone hold you back if they don’t want them and if you’re not on the same page as the person you’re with then you shouldn’t be together.