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