We were ready to have kids (psychologically and emotionally) when I was 50 and Mr. Japanfan was 45, but by then it was too late. Our reasons were first financial - just couldn't seeing bearing the economic cost of having a child, which included renting a bigger space. But we couldn't even afford an extra bedroom, not to mention all the other costs that go with having a child, which ends up in the thousands over a lifetime. Add to that me being self-employed and earning a really low income, and there being no family support available (my mom was dead and MIL completely unavailable). There was no mat leave coming for me and not working wasn't an option, so we'd have needed to pay for daycare as well. Second, in addition to the cost there was the work and responsibility of it, which I wasn't sure I was up to.
Third, we married when I was 33 and he 27, and his primary commitment was to his education for about 10 years.
Fourth, I did fear pregnancy and giving birth. Fifth, as a youngest child who had never been around babies - I babysat one time only as a teenager and remember being really uncomfortable as I was a stranger to that baby - I didn't trust myself to be able to raise a child well, especially given the daily stressor or having to earn a living.
This led to my fifth reason, my fear that Mr. Japanfan and I would not co-parent well and he would always be the one 'in charge', as he had experience with his sister's son already. I could see our fights about parenting driving us apart.
I do admit that now I have some regrets. Some people just go ahead and become parents anyway, regardless of how ready they are, and sometimes it works out. Mr. Japanfan never achieved what he wanted with his education and in retrospect, a child might have set him on a new life direction as a parent that was more rewarding than he current child-free life.
It's looking at others with grown kids and grand-kids now that leads me to have some regrets. Part of it is having good relationship with adult children and grandchild - no, not everyone has them, but it is wonderful for those who do, the reward of having parented.
Then, there's knowing that some part of you lives on after you die, there must be a certain comfort in that.
And, sometimes children can be of a great help when one is old and unwell. A child can be your primary advocate at a time in life when you are unable to advocate for yourself. Those of us who are child-less will not have that option, and at time I find it scary.
Have you considered adoption? There are lots of children, especially those past the baby stage, who need good parents.
I guess I feel like I have a personal legacy. It's not like I lived my life as a hermit and never impacted anyone in any way.
"Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker
When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.
This is because being grateful requires perspective, it requires not taking other people for granted. Children don't have the life experience or empathy to have the necessary perspective and they always take their parents for granted. They feel entitled to everything their parents do for them and indeed usually they are. Hopefully they love you, but that seems independent of how much work you do for them or how many sacrifices you make. JMHO.
As for 'something of me will live on' - I think there are 2 things at play here for most people. One - you can have children without having money for a library or whatever, they are cheaper. Two - I think that in general, as a species, we have some sort of biological imperative to pass on our genes, that is how the race survives. That tells nothing abut how an individual might feel, of course.
You think having a child is cheaper than building a library? I don't! Especially those parents who pay for their child's private education and/or college.
I think when parents say something like "you're lucky that you don't have kids," they are often just trying to be affirming of that choice. That's what I would mean if I said that, though that's probably not how I would phrase it. But let me say, I understand why some people take a pass on parenting.
Not that I don't love my little treasure. But I no longer wonder why parents would choose to have one child. Still making up my mind on that issue.
I guess it also depends on what type of child your kid is. My sister's daughter is the same age as my son and she talks like a 5 year old and is very independent, potty trained, etc... My son is on the autism spectrum so obviously...I guess it wold be easier for her than me to have more than one.
-They're different when they're you're own!
-You'll change your mind later, you'll see!
-You just haven't met the right guy yet!
So, yeah. Some people really don't give a crap about what you do (I love you people), but some get rather offended when they hear "No thank you, I'll take a pass on all that!" to the kiddie question and take it as a personal affront. The polite answer to the initial "Why don't you have kids?" question doesn't always politely shut down the dialogue. In other words people don't always STFU when you give them the polite chance to STFU and move on in the interest of social harmony. Then when they don't STFU and you start taking a more clear and concise and assertive approach with the questioner (and maybe even come right out and say STFU because they're being particularly annoying) you get accused of being angry and bitter and of COURSE you're angry and bitter, if only you had kids then you wouldn't be so angry and bitter. Tsk tsk tsk, your life is so empty and sad, I really pity you. Kids would fix all that. It's not too late, you know.
Or the other approach is to lie and say that maybe one day you'll have kids just to shut them up quickly, but I don't use that tactic. I'm not going to lie about liking sushi and I'm not going to lie about wanting kids. I am who I am. If someone asks me if I like sushi and I politely say naw, not a fan of the seaweed and they start saying "Well, why NOT? You don't HAVE to get seaweed you know, there are all different kinds! You just haven't had GOOD sushi yet! You should try sashimi! You really need to try the tuna!" they're going to get the same sort of conversation out of me.
For the record I had sushi once and it made me vomit. So there. Good sushi, bad sushi, sashimi, I don't care. I puked. I'm not eating it. End of story.
The fastest thing out of New Jersey since Tricky Nicky in a Muscovian handbasket
"Erm, I volunteer coach learn to skate classes at least twice a month."
"And aren't the kids just ?"
"Some are great, some aren't. I don't leave the rink pining to have some of my own."
"Hrumph, hrumph, cold-hearted and un-motherly creature."
"eff you too"
This could have ended very peacefully if they'd just left well enough alone. But nooooo, I must be enlightened an converted into a baby-loving woman.
I tell my coworker this, she's sometimes upset that her kids take her for granted, but they're still so young. I assure her that they will be incredibly thankful for what she's done for them when they're older, although it's hard not to get acknowledgement now.
I honestly also think I would spoil my son a little to much if I only had one...
I can't imagine the extra work you have to put in with a kid on the autism spectrum!
I admit I have personally experienced the first one, but I usually only talk about it to people who (like me) are unsure and wants to talk about motherhood.
the second one I hate, that is the stupidest shit - the whole biological clock thing is so not true for everyone. Besides, I think it is annoying when people come off as better knowing about your personal life choices at random - like if you said you wanted to study classical roman literature and someone thinks that you should study archeology instead - do they really say ' You will change your mind later, just wait'? Well, that is just silly.
In addition, I feel that in general it is rude to ask why someone don't have children. I might ask close friends or ask if they feel ready yet if they have previously said they wanted kids 'later', but in general I would worry about touching a sore issue if people can't have kids - I don't ask other people details about other medical issues unless they volunteer.
I think a lot of people ask because they might not always feel happy being parents and they try affirm themselves of their choices, but it is much better to do this with other parents, and talk about how wonderful your kids are, much better not to bother your childless friends with that .
oh, and the more I think about all this, I think it ties into MacMadame's statement a few pages back (think it was her) - the taboo of enjoying sex. If you are having sex, and in a relationship, you should be having kids. Otherwise are you just doing it for fun ??
Kidding aside, spending time with your own child is 100% different than spending time with someone else's kid. So when a parent says "it is different when it is your own" that is a 100% true statement.
I have nephews and nieces and before I had my son, I enjoyed spending time with them but only for like an hour LOL. My son I just cannot get enough of and sometimes I am even sad when he goes to bed and I miss him at night.
So anyway I guess my point is that I don't see how spending time with other people's children would make someone want a child because it is just not the same thing at all. Other people's children are annoying!