Happy woman in 40s

not to be
a parent

Deciding whether or not to be a parent is a personal choice only you can make. We asked real women to share their stories on why they chose to be child-free.

Let's face it — being a parent is hard. While it's true that in return you get a lot of love and a lot of laughs, you also give up your freedom for quite some time and have to sacrifice your own personal goals (be it career or relationship) for the sake of your child. Most parents would argue that this is totally and completely worth it, but not everyone feels that same way. According to “The X Factor” study — a study of people ages 33 to 46 — 24 percent of college-educated women did not have a child by age 40. We asked women who chose to be child-free to share their stories.

Rachel, a 43-year-old writer, shares…

“For me I don't think it was ever a case of a choice. I just didn't want to have kids in my life. I have often been questioned about that, like it was a conscious decision, and in some cases a lot of moms have said it's part of what a woman should do — procreate. I don't agree with that. After working in the childcare industry for so long, I can tell you that there are a lot of women who should never have had children, and there are a lot of broken families out there because of unwanted children. I met the perfect man who didn't want children, and we are kept busy with two dogs, have great careers and enjoy life to the fullest. I don't feel like I am lacking or missing out because I don't have children. I just wish there were more people out there who respected my life the way it is. There is such a huge focus on moms both in lifestyle and business that it can make people like me feel a little ostracized. Fortunately there are great groups out there like Babes without Babes that can make a person feel great about living a child-free life and that is always a huge plus in my books!”

Jay, a woman approaching 40, shares…

“My partner of 22 years and I both have demanding science jobs, and have often had to live apart, so we decided that we were going to follow our careers and not have children. As I approached 40, I didn't regret not having children, but did regret not spending more time with my partner, parents, pets and siblings (I have a 6-year-old niece and am happy to be an auntie). So now we're both contemplating major career changes and are happy that we have the geographic and financial flexibility to be able to do this. So no regrets about being child-free, but definitely regrets on not making my loved ones a bigger part of my life. But it's not too late to change that!”

"I am ecstatic that I never had children.
Don't miss them at all. It's a complication
that I never needed or wanted."

Linda, a 74-year-old woman, shares…

“I am an only child, and never thought I was temperamentally suited to be a mother. Kids drive me crazy after about a half hour. My first husband did not want children either. He was 36 and I was 31 when we married in 1970. He was also an only child. We discussed the topic briefly, since if we had no children, none of our parents would ever be grandparents. Was it a selfish decision on our part? No... we were being honest. Neither of us saw ourselves in the parental role. I am ecstatic that I never had children. Don't miss them at all. It's a complication that I never needed or wanted. I never once regretted my decision. The advantages to being child-free: too many to list. I can 'indulge' my own tastes, my own desires, my own choices without having to explain them to a child. Traveling? It's ever so much more pleasant without having to deal with kids. Privacy? I need to be by myself, a lot (probably that only child thing).”

Donna, a 51-year-old, shares…

“I'm 51, single and have no children. I have no regrets. My time is my own. I have a very nice relationship with the man in my life. Maybe one day I will regret it, but for now, I enjoy not being encumbered by children. I think I knew early on that motherhood was not for me. I see single moms struggling to make ends meet. I know it is hard for them, trying to provide for a family on their own. I am thankful I never had to go through the tough times they go through.”

Tell us

What do you think? Are you child-free by choice or do you have children? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Comments on "Child-free by choice: Real women who say no to kids"

Steph June 25, 2013 | 1:38 AM

Personally I believe most that say they do not want children have never experienced the love of a child or multiple children. The brightness, sadness and happiness a child brings with them. Some simply were unable to have kids, others "waited", career, the right person, money, (what have you)... Then as the years went by and they were unable to have kids anymore, now you need a support group to tell you "ohh, it's OK, I never wanted kids anyway"... Keep telling yourselves that lie, keep coming home to an empty house. But as for me, I will definitely enjoy spending time with my 7 kids. All the adventures we have been on and will still experience with grand kids and so forth... You, still alone, forever alone... Younger people, please realize families and children is what makes the world go around, not grumpy old people with no one to help take care of them during their "golden years"... Have a family, have kids, raise your kids right and you will enjoy your retirement years. No one says you can't go on a vacation, but when you come back and grand kids surround you and have so much to share, WOW, would not trade that for anything...

Deb Miller May 28, 2013 | 4:31 PM

When I was 16 years old, I KNEW that children were not for me. And I have held to that. I am now 58. The idea of being pregnant is horrifying to me; I am not cut out to be a mother- I just don't have it in my make-up. And for years, I have thought myself to be abnormal. I don't even have the "goggly" reaction that other women have to babies.

Mimi May 27, 2013 | 4:51 PM

I'm CF, and not only by choice, but like an orientation for me. Since when I was a kid myself, I knew that I didn't want kids. I couldn't wait to hurry up and be an adult, that way, I could be independent and do my own thing. Kids never factored into my life in any way. Even childhood fantasies about exciting careers that I'd have, and things that I'd do once I grew up, settling down and having kids was never in the list. I don't hate on responsible people who have kids, and who want them, but I'd like to not be judged for my lifestyle by parents (in the workplace, etc). My life is none of their business.

Susan May 24, 2013 | 4:06 AM

While I am not CF, I do have a number of terrific CF folks in my own family, including -- most recently -- my son. Not all women are suited to be mothers, and those who know they don't like or want kids are making the wise and responsible choice not to have them.

Mary May 20, 2013 | 4:24 PM

I just had a baby myself and while I love being a mom, I can totally understand why some people wouldn't want kids. They'll forever have the freedom - and extra spending money - to do as they please! It might sound selfish, but I think it's a selfless thing to do.

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