10 People On Why They Opted Out Of Having Children, According To Reddit
When it comes to adulthood, we all know at least one question we'll hear in a lifetime (and let's be real, probably all the time if we're women): When do you want to have kids? Even if you want children, this question can feel invasive and personal, but for some people, but for people who know they don't want children, it can create a lot of pressure, anxiety, and isolation. In fact, in many cultures and societies, it's pretty much assumed that everyone will have kids, especially if you are partnered off in a marriage, long-term relationship, etc.
In my experience, women tend to get the brunt of this pressure, and in fact, often have to share their own personal rationales in order for people to believe they've thought out their decision or know themselves well enough to make that call. Just think about all the times you've heard someone say, "You'll change your mind when you're older!" or "But it's different when they're your own kids!" In fact, women are often accused of being "selfish" or too "career focused" if they express their desire to not have children.
As the people of AskReddit share in the hugely popular post, "People who have opted not to have children, why have you made this decision?" friends, family, and even strangers tend to weigh in on their personal decisions about children more often than their welcome, and that can lead to much resentment, pressure, and insecurity. For me personally, as someone who does not have any children myself, I tend to just listen in in when others talk about their choices to have children (or not), and I found this AskReddit thread to be similarly intriguing.
What actually surprised me, though, is the range of ages offered in the Redditor's comments: From people in my own age group (early twenties), to people in their sixties, readers get to see into the perspective of people who choose to be child-free over the span of a lifetime. Check out some of my personal favorite comments below, but also be sure to check out the entire thread (with over one thousand responses and counting!) at AskReddit:
1. Short And To The Point
In a world where most days I can barely remember to feed myself and my cats, I definitely can't blame anyone who admits that having kids might just be too much responsibility.
2. Raising Kids Isn't Cheap
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs a total of $245,340 to raise a child up until the age of 18 (so no, that, sadly ,doesn't include the cost of college). This, of course, also varies depending on your area's cost of living, if you want to put your child in private education, lessons, travel, and so forth. While money certainly doesn't buy happiness, it does buy diapers, am I right?
3. Medical Barriers Are No Small Obstacle
There are all sorts of medical issues that can cause difficulty in terms of becoming pregnant, carrying a healthy pregnancy, increased risk of complications for the baby, etc. People choosing to avoid that are perfectly valid in my book!
4. Sometimes Honesty Is Key
If you know what's in your heart, you know what's in your heart. Better to be honest with yourself now than later, right?
5. Some Things Didn't Change With Age
I appreciate this comment for the users honesty, and also for their age: Definitely challenges the notion that after a certain age, people will automatically change their minds and desire kids!
6. A Handy List To Email To Your Nosy Relative
Among all the other valid reasons listed in this comment, kids are, indeed, messy and unpredictable. If that's not a reason to avoid childrearing all together, then what is?
7. Nothing Wrong With Loving A Child That Isn't Yours
Whether you're an awesome aunt, uncle, family friend, older cousin, or what-have-you, you can have a really formative, positive impact on the kids in your life even if they aren't your own children. Nothing wrong with being the favorite Aunt!
8. Knowing You Aren't Mature Enough Is A Sign Of Maturity In Itself
Hey — parenthood is a huge, life-altering decision forever. Knowing you don't think you're mature enough to handle the responsibility is actually probably a sign that you're pretty self-aware and mature as it is, in which case, good on you!
9. Nothing Wrong With Knowing Your Values
Every single person has their own values and preferences, and provided your values don't involve hurting others, there's absolutely nothing wrong with going against the grain or forging your own path. Sometimes people know their personal happiness lies in more money and more time, and there's nothing wrong with that!
10. Nothing Wrong With Putting Your Career First
While some people are happy to balance work and childrearing, there's no need to put that pressure on yourself if you simply don't feel the desire to do so. If focusing on your career or academic goals is where your heart is, don't deny yourself that happiness just to fit into the societal mold of having kids! At the end of the day, you've gotta do what feels best to you.
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