In life, we are often taught that having kids is just a part of life. However, while having kids is a part of life for the vast majority, it’s not to some.
Over the years, more and more people have begun opting for a child-free life, citing their careers, independence, and simply not having the urge to as their reason. Of course, you don’t need to have a reason to not have children, but it is interesting to see what each share about their experience.
Before Generation X, the vast majority of people had kids, unless they couldn’t. However, Generation X has paved the way for many people to make the informed decision not to. I have chosen to not have kids myself, so I know how many people ask, “But won’t your life be unfulfilled?”
While I would be glad to expand on my answer to this, I believe you would be better informed by people who are over 50 that decided not to have kids, and what they have to say in reflection of that decision. Thankfully, Reddit came to the rescue with one user posing the question “People over 50 that chose to be childfree, do you regret your decision? Why or why not?”
Here are 10 of the responses I found the most intriguing.
1. I’m almost 50 so I’ll chime in. I never wanted kids, just never had the urge. But I wound up helping raise my niece and nephew after their mom, my sister, died in a car accident when they were 7 and 5 respectively. I didn’t have the full time, but split housing them on weekends while their father worked and his wife didn’t want them around. I had them every other weekend and about half of each summer for years. They’re now 21 and 19, so I wound up as more parent-ish than aunt. They were a handful, so I’m glad I didn’t have any of my own, it was exhausting enough being a part-time parent substitute and, of course, I wish their mom hadn’t passed away. Full time parents, you’re awesome, I couldn’t do it. At least their dad gave me money for all the time I took care of them, sharing my sister’s social security benefits, so I could feed and clothe the kids and give them some fun activities and camps.
I love the hell out of them, but still glad I didn’t have babies of my own. They’re good kids, I love them to death, but they’ve also broken my heart a fair few times acting up, making dumb decisions, but all kids do that. I’d beat the ass of anyone who messed with my niece and nephew.
2. My wife worked at a nursing home for years. Imagine seeing for years that over 95% of old people never have family visit. Till they die and people want a piece of the pie. This when I learnt that the whole “well, who is gonna visit you or take care of you when you’re older” line is complete bullshit. We decided to not have kids ever after that. Made great friends and saw the world. No regrets.
3. I have mixed feelings. I don’t care much for children, and I think it would have been disastrous for us to have them. I was also able to retire at 52. Pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened with kids. So yeah, absolutely the right decision.
But I love my family and I do wonder what it would be like to have my own, to teach my child the things I know and not to be without someone who cares about me at the time of my death.
But again, absolutely the right decision and at 55 I’m very happy NOT to have them. This is reinforced every time I’m exposed to other people’s kids.
4. 57 years old and childless. I don’t regret it at all. I sincerely believe that I would have been a piss-poor mother. I’m an extreme introvert, and seeing my sister with her sprogs clinging to her all the time, wanting something or other — food, attention, a toy, whatever — and calling to her, mommy mommy mommy, convinced me of the wisdom of my decision. If I had had children, I would have been driven to suicide or homicide in short order. My sister’s kids are grown into wonderful young adults, and I love them to death, but I need lots of alone time to remain sane, and you don’t get that with kids. If I’d had them, I might have become one of those horrid humans who feed their kids Benadryl to make them sleep, just for some peace and quiet. Childless is better for me.
5. Hispanic Guy here, close to sixty years old, no I don’t, the fact that I chose to stay child free is very unusual in my culture, and I originally did not intend to be child free I just avoided it having children because I knew I was not really ready, it just progress from there, still, now I know that most men are not entirely ready when it happens, I think I would have been a great dad, still I have absolutely no regret!
6. 54 yrs.old. I’ve lived the past 30 years alone. Presently, my dog and I are chillin’ in a nice hotel on a spur of the moment vacation. I’d maybe be a grandfather by now?! I can’t imagine what it would be like to have family. I picture a life lived more “normally” sometimes. All sunshine and roses, white picket fence, etc. but I realize real life isn’t like that. No, I don’t regret being childfree or wifefree for that matter. My life can be boring at times, but then I look back at all the drama that comes with relationships and think I’ve dodged a bullet. I spent 20 years trying to find a wife to start a family. Then I realized the clock had run out, so fuck it, all the money I’d saved for my future family would be spent on myself. Hmmmmm…what do I want to buy myself for Christmas?
7. I’m 55 (F) and never wanted children. I just don’t much like them, and 20+ years of motherhood sounded (and still sounds) like a prison sentence. Maternal af when it comes to cats and dogs, but small humans? No chance.
And I’m very happy to be childless. Cannot imagine my life any other way.
8. Wife and I are in are 40s and very glad we’re childfree i.e. by our choice. We have time (and money) to do whatever we please, have been able to focus on our careers and self development. We had a few candid conversations over the past years objectively questioning whether we wanted them and the answer was always a definitive no. I’m in the gym for an hour this morning, then meditating, then play with my dog, then a class on NLP, then visiting a friend, then date-night with the wife (which may, if I’m lucky, lead to sexy time)… no way my day would look like that with children.
I do subscribe to the common reasons around not bringing more humans into a stressed-past-the-point world. But for me, the main reason is I could never achieve as much as I have e.g. education, career, personal relationship etc. had I had kids. Not having them allows me to live my “best life”.
I’m happy being an uncle.
9. 52 and I don’t regret it in the least. I had stepkids for a while, and they were basically feral. That turned me off the idea of having any of my own.
Combined with my wife’s health problems, and the fact that neither of us has the energy to deal with all that, childfree is the right thing for us.
10. I’m 57 and do not regret it. My husband thought he wanted kids when we were in our early years together, but now he is very happy as well that we never had any. It’s allowed us a more free, peaceful, and debt-free life. The flexibility to make life choices we couldn’t otherwise make is so much better.
I also don’t think that people should have kids just so they have some sort of insurance policy in old age. It’s wrong to bring other people into the world with the expectation that they’ll serve you when you need them and, right now, I can’t imagine any child is grateful to be brought into this world with what is surely coming due to climate change.