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Should we or shouldn't we have children

Updated on September 15, 2008

Do you really need to have children to complete your life?


I was at my cousins wedding listening to my parents talk to one of their cousins. She was telling my parents how one of her children had decided to not have children of her own.

The part I really found interesting was when she said "Back when we got married did you even think that not having children was even an option? I thought you got married and you had kids -- that's just what you did."

This comment really made me think. I think that a lot of people believe that having children is part of the package. I believe that this thought is starting to change. People are focusing more on themselves. They see themselves as being able to be fulfilled with a full life and this life not having to include children.

My husband and I have been married for 10 years now. We don't have children. And to be honest, the thought of if we should or shouldn't have children is something we have struggled with. I love the life we have together. I love being able to pick-up and go where ever we want whenever we want. I have dreams that I want to come true. I want to travel. I want to see and experience everything that I can.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think children destroy your dreams. I have nieces and nephews and I love spending time with all of them. But, that is exactly the point. I love spending time with them. I also love the time I have with my husband by myself. He is my best friend and we love doing everything together.

So, the question remains. Should we or shouldn't we?

Does one really need to have children to fulfill themselves? Isn't this the wrong reason to have a child? I believe that if you are a parent that your life should be about your child. Now, I am not saying you cease to exist and your life is now about only your child. But, every thought and action should take them into account. You decided to have a child. This isn't a short term commitment. This is for the rest of your life. You will always be that child's parent. Even when they leave the nest, you will still be tied to them.

I look at the ages of my husband and of myself. If we were to have children tomorrow, he would 50 and I would be 47 before they left the house. This doesn't even take into account if we have more than one and if the child stays home for longer than 18 years. I see this as a period of time that we can't do all the things we want to. I feel that for those 18 years I would have to put my life and my dreams on hold.

Do I really want to do that? And if I was really meant to be a parent -- would I even think this way?

And that is where the question comes in of should we or shouldn't we?

To me the pros and cons of each side are obvious. If you don't have children you are able to fulfill your own dreams and wishes. You are able to have a deeper more emotional relationship with your spouse because you only have each other to cling to when the world gets crazy. You have extra disposable income to do whatever your heart desires. You can do what you want when you want to and only have to think of yourself and your spouse.

Of course, there are cons too. You miss out on experiencing the miracle of birth. You miss seeing your child smile and laugh for the first time. You miss hearing a little one say: "Mommy I love you". You miss the unconditional love that every child has for its parents. And you run the risk of being alone in the end. If your spouse was to die before you there would be no one else to keep your company and take care of you.

I think that having a child just for the sake of not being alone when you are old is a terrible reason. Children shouldn't have commitments already attached to them before they are even born. If the only reason you want a child, is so that you don't have to be alone later in life, I would really rethink your decision.

I am still undecided on this topic. It hasn't really been an issue for us. We don't have any children and we are not trying to have any. We are enjoying our life for what it is at this moment. But, I look around and I see others faced with the same choice we are faced with. Truthfully there really is no right or wrong decision. What is right for one person isn't always right for another. The decision to have children I believe is a very personal one. I think the old school of thought was that your got married, you had children. With the world changing as it is, with people becoming more and more about themselves, this thought is starting to change. Why does having children make you a family? I believe me and my husband are a family even if there are only two of us.

I wanted to write this to let others know that they are not alone. Lots of people think about if they should or if they shouldn't. In the end, I believe this is a very big decision that you are your spouse need to make together. I believe that it isn't an easy decision to reach. Look at me, after 10 years of marriage I still ponder if we should or shouldn't.


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    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 8 years ago from America

      I just came from visiting my sister-in-law in the hospital. They do not have children. They are now trying to figure out if they should put her in the nursing home because he can't take care of her. ( she burned herself ) No children to come and help her. I live 50 miles away. This old age is going to be such a problem for them. I agree you shouldn't have children for that reason but it sure is nice to have someone in your old age that you know loves you and will be there for you.

      Your hub was very interesting.

    • ADB profile image

      ADB 8 years ago from Canada

      Thank-you for your comments i appreaciate them.

    • budwood profile image

      budwood 8 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Gosh; I wonder how those couples who opt for no children would feel it that was the attitude of their parents!?

    • ADB profile image

      ADB 8 years ago from Canada

      In the end I believe that this is a couple's personal choice. If my parents had decided not to have me -- I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't have known the difference. I think people should be allowed to choose either way without being pressured or criticized.

    • RavynSteel profile image

      RavynSteel 8 years ago from North Wales

      It's sad that there is still a stigma attached to childless couples, and that a woman who chooses not to have kids is 'wrong' or 'less than a woman' somehow. Don't get me wrong, I'd love kids myself, but I can totally understand those people who choose not to.

      Those who have kids without really wanting them (sounds callous but it does happen) are the ones who are wrong. It's also a kick in the teeth for those people who really want kids but can't.

    • ADB profile image

      ADB 8 years ago from Canada

      RavynSteel thank-you. This is exactly how I feel.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I so identify with this hub, and plead that you read my hub, " ", which deals with how I never wanted, or thought it possible for me to get pregnant, yet when I did I had a termination ,and immediately knew I had done the wrong thing. It surely changed me, and my opinions, but only because I now knew how it felt to actually BE pregnant.

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Very good hub...and I can see both views. I never wanted children of my own...but I'm a great aunt to my many nieces and nephews. In my thirties, I became pregnant and the experience was simply amazing. I didn't realize I was capable of loving somebody so much without ever having met them face to face. Unfortunately, I was only given the gift for 38 weeks as my son died en utero shortly before birth. People tried to tell me that there would be others...but these well-intentioned idiots were merely adding salt to the wound since this was our only chance. Besides, I didn't want another child..I had wanted THIS child. He was already a unique individual in my heart...and not replaceable.

      Time has gone's been nearly 6 years now and I still ache for what was lost. I have my furry children and my life is full. I can't complain. But there is a part of me that is sad thinking that when I am gone, there will be nothing left of me in this world. There will be nobody that might have my nose, or my eyes...

      As for who will care for me should I become incapable? Even if I had children, I wouldn't want to be their burden. I'll probably move in with my younger sibling and we can go halves on the Depends. :)

    • ADB profile image

      ADB 8 years ago from Canada

      Thank-you all for your comments.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      A thought-provoking hub, and some moving comments. I had my children in my late thirties, and wouldn't wish to be without them. I'm not altogether sorry that I left it so late, as I had good jobs, travelled, and had many great experiences whilst I was still footloose. Since I've had the children I've either worked part-time in jobs which have not reflected my abilities or experience, or not at all. Money has frequently been tight, but for all that I wouldn't change a thing. As the children have grown they've developed such individual personalities and they both have a great sense of humour, which means that we have a lot of fun as a family.

      Having kids is not the easy option. There will be tough times when tempers fray and difficult situations have to be dealt with. There are other lifestyle options. Some people have children and don't want them. Some people have them as accessories and don't understand that they're little human beings until they start answering back! Think long and hard before you choose not to have children. It's not right for everyone, but it's a tough call if you decide too late.

    • profile image

      Ananta65 8 years ago

      A very personal question indeed, to which there is no right or wrong answer. And I think that if you feel you NEED children to complete your life, then you should definitely rethink. You shouldn’t project things you lack on your children and you shouldn’t put the weight on them of having to complete your life. They’ll be busy enough living completing their own lives.

      One thing I feel is neglected though. A decision like this is not just a rational process of pros and cons. For those who do decide they want to have children, quite often it is an emotional or intuitive decision even if the rational odds are against it. Which is logical. Nature is about reproduction and we are part of nature. So the instinct to reproduce is present in all of us. This does not mean that we always have to follow this instinct, mind you. As said, that’s a personal decision to which there is no wrong or right answer.

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      lbjnelson 8 years ago

      Let me jsut give you a brief synopsis of my story. My husband and I got married very young, we just celebrated our 15 anniversary. We've always had a pretty solid marriage, a few upsand downs but who dosen't. We (when I say we, I mean I) struggled with the "should we have a baby?" question for about the first 10 years or so of our marriage. Well to make a long story short we have a beautiful 16 month old son, Brody. He has brought more joy to our lives than we aever expected. If you are even just entertaining the thought of having a baby, you probably deep down want one. I always knew deep down that I 'd be a mommy when I was ready, some people know, deep down, that they won't be.

      Your story sounded a lot like mine, just wanted to let you know that I am now a 36 year old, proud, beaming, mother of a 16 month old boy. Oh and by the way, I fell in love with my husband all over again. There is just something about a grown man holding, playing with, and baby talking to their child.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Spryte, I am so sorry to hear of what you went through.

    • chantelg4 profile image

      chantelg4 8 years ago from Northern Ontario

      Very interesting hub, I have 4 kids. When I chose to have my first 3 children, it's because my biological clock was telling me I was ready and I wanted to have them. I was 20 at the time, the last one I gave birth to at the age of 32 and for very different reasons. I think if your reasons don't involve the need and want to be a mother, than you should carefully consider your choice. The last thing you want is resentment to settle in, but, in your case, sounds like you have a very loving husband and good relationship, so that's a bonus for you if you choose to have a child. I'll tell you one thing, the love your child feels for you is amazing, but the love you have for your child is out of this world and never dwindles. It's scary and great at the same time. There was a show on Oprah quite a few years ago that asked husbands and wives one question - "if you had to choose between saving your drowing wife/husband or child, who would you choose to save" Ironically, most men said they would choose to save their wives, while most women said they would choose to save their child. This may very well be different today as this show was done at least 8 years ago, but interesting the same.

    • RyanRE profile image

      RyanRE 8 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Great hub, your honesty is very transparent. My girlfriend pressures me nearly every night into getting married and having kids. I would like to have kids, but I am not sure that I am ready. I am 30 and she is 31. Her age is telling her that NOW is the time. It is a tough decision. I appreciate your viewpoint.

    • spryte profile image

      spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Misty - Thanks...It was a very hard experience, but I wouldn't have wanted to miss those 38 weeks even if somebody had told me ahead of time it would happen.

      Chantel - I think the Oprah answer would be the same. Not because a woman loves her husband less...but the instinct to protect her child is greater.

    • ADB profile image

      ADB 8 years ago from Canada

      I appreciate all the thoughts and comments made on my hub. It's nice to know people are reading and that i am making them think. Thank-you again.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      I also appreciate your openness and honesty. In earlier days it wasn't that much of a choice. The options we have now, mke it more of a dilemma, reqireing deeper soul-searching. I am very proud of both of my sons, and the grandchildren are the light of our lives.

    • shelia258 profile image

      shelia258 8 years ago

      yes ,i think our life is regret if no children

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    • hardwaremarket profile image

      hardwaremarket 8 years ago from India

      well thats F9 but you must know and understand that children make a family , and i understand u wana live your life fullest but dear, children make a family and its really a nice feeling when u actually concieve baby and its a best gift of life that a female can give to her husband

    • kerryg profile image

      kerryg 8 years ago from USA

      I think a lot of people have children for the wrong reasons - because that's what you do when you're married, because it will somehow "complete" them, in order to"save" a failing marriage, etc. We're lucky to live in a time where it is possible to choose not to have children, however, and hopefully the longer it lasts, the more people will really think seriously about it.

      It is a lot of fun, but it's also a lot of work, and can be VERY hard on marriages. Something like 80% of couples report decreased marital satisfaction in the year after birth. Most recover, but a significant minority don't, and then you're stuck in a ruined marriage or divorced, neither of which is great for the kid. If more people really sat down and thought about the decision to have a child, I think that 80% rate would drop substantially, and a lot of people would be happier for it.

    • profile image

      none 7 years ago

      I want children with all my heart, but I won't have any.


      Too many dumb parents around, and they seem to be getting dumber and having more kids, which turn into criminals.

      The world is a hellhole as it is anyways, even if you win at life, you still lose.

    • profile image

      CC 7 years ago


      It looks like it has been about 2 years since you wrote this. My wife and I are struggling with the same decision. We were informed yesterday that our best friends are pregnant. We do everything with this couple and love them dearly. However, everyone knows that couples with kids and couples without struggle to keep a fun relationship because the couple with the kids often talk non stop about their kids and the couple without...could care less (let's be honest). I am happy for them because they are so excited, but can't help but feel saddened because I know our relationship will change drastically. I also know that it is going to bring the issue up again between my wife and I. I am still on the fence, as is she. I like kids, but I also feel that I can live my life just as fully and happily without. This bias towards couples without children is crazy. People always ask us "when" are we going to have kids, and not "if" we are going to have kids. It's not a requirement. At this point, the thought of having to deal with kids, makes me want to vomit.

      I'm just curious if you are still struggling with this decision, or if your viewpoints have changed. It's so nice to know of others that are struggling with this.


    • ADB profile image

      ADB 7 years ago from Canada

      Still struggling every day with this decision CC. More and more of our friends keep getting pregnant. And yet there is still no draw for us to have one too. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      I loved your article. Many people do have children for the wrong reasons. For example, to care for them in their old age, to make them feel complete, and/or as a status symbol. I believe that people should have children because they want them and can provide for them economically, emotionally, and spiritually.

      Many elderly people in nursing homes have children(some have lots of children) but the children do not have time for them and they have their own lives. These elderly people seldom see their children. Many childless elderly people have nieces, nephews, cousins, and young friends to see and care for them daily. I know of one elderly woman who has a young friend to see her everyday. Children should be wanted and enjoyed. There was an article by Anne Landers years ago asking couples if they had to do it over, would they have children and 70% replied that they WOULD NOT.

    • profile image

      jeff 6 years ago

      i have a 17 year old girlfriend she turns 18 in nov we been together for 11 months we are ingaged no date i have never been with a younger girl till now im 23 they only other women i have dated where (27) (32) i am very much inlove with her ok here is where i need help my girlfriend has told me she is ready to have a baby witch i am ready i no but how can i tell if she rily is ready im scared cus she is so young dont no if she sure of what she wants yet should i or shouldnt

    • profile image

      Cheryl 6 years ago

      Dear ADB - Thanks so much for writing this. I agree with everything you said. The decision is not right or wrong, its personal and can only be made by you and your husband. My husband and I don't want to have kids. Maybe part of it is because we're around age 40. Maybe its because my husband already has kids and knows the commitment it would take to do it again. But mostly I think its because we are happy and don't have to have kids to make our lives complete. In making our decision, I found that the reasons for wanting them are foolishly idealistic. On the other hand, the reasons for not wanting them are sensible, and I don't feel that I will regret the decision in 20 years. Having a child just so you're not old and alone is foolish and selfish. Its certainly not a good reason to have a child. Plus nowadays I've seen many elderly who have friends taking care of each other too.

      Enjoy your friendship with your husband! It sounds like you have a very special relationship with him and you will both be happy, no matter what you decide.

    • profile image

      strivingtobe 6 years ago

      I feel very blessed that I was given the opportunity to become a mother. I realize there are many women out there that yearn to be mothers and haven't are in my thoughts and prayers. I realize that there are many women out there that are choosing not to become mothers. But if you are on the fence hear are some things to think about...

      Babies are not belongings. They are a gift. We get to be their ambassadors to help them learn the language and provide them with love. What a better gift to ourselves than to be able to share a love with our spouse so deep that we want to be blessed with creating a life out of that love. We all yearn to be loved but children are not a fulfillment of our need. We get to be their fulfillment. What a gift to give a child than unconditional love. It is no guarantee that we will receive the same from them...but when you hold that baby in your arms you know you will always love them no matter what.

      What is love. Yes we can indulge in our favorite lattes, spa treatments, PDAs and this and that. But the superficial worlds ideas for what fulfillment is so wrong. If all that were gone. If everything physical was gone what would be left? Love. Our families. Whether 2 or 12 love is all that matters.

      If your heart aches for love, happiness, and joy. God is the answer. And there is no better way to see how much he loves you than to see how he feels about you. Being a parent is the closest thing I know of to feel how God must feel about us. God is my father. And being a mother myself and seeing my child. I think it is amazing to me that I am blessed to take care of such a wonderful thing.

      It is the hardest, toughest, wonderful, challenging, life changing event that has happened in my entire life. But it is the best thing that has ever happened.

      Dreams. Having a baby was a dream come true. And all the dreams that I had before I had a baby...some are still there and some have gone. New dreams have come that are even better than the previous.

      Hard days sure but the days go slow and the years fast.

      Pray. Take time to talk with Jesus and ask for his help to discern whether having children is right for you and your husband. It is an amazing gift. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • profile image

      Karamjit Kaur 6 years ago

      I love children and i really believe that it is the blessing from God to have them. But i made my mind of not having children after seriously considering whether to have or not have the children. there are many reasons involved when one thinks about not having them and they could be the financial issues, and the kind of relationship you have with your husband. Well for me the most important is to give my children a safer place to live in the world. I strongly believe that no matter where you live in the world now a days we cant guarantee to have a safer place to live in. We witness shocking news everyday of being young and educated people get killed for a pocket change. For me, it is better to live without a child who I have never seen than having to live with only the memories and intense pain.

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      Kristin Tate 5 years ago

      I was told by two doctors that I am not able to have kids. I've always had limited periods. My boyfriend says that I will be able to and not to listen to doctors. My last period was over a year ago. I really don't think I am able to! But it doesn't bother me like it should for most women because I don't really want any kids...ever. My mom always says, "When you have your first child..."

      Yeah, right! Whatever! I'm WAY too selfish to have kids, let alone even one! I value my space very well. I mean, I hold it up on a pedestal is how much I value it, practically worship it. Besides, Chris and I want to travel and see what's out there first before we settle down and ruin our lives for good. We don't want to share each other just yet before we get married. We want to fool around and stay up late and I really don't feel like yelling at somebody evety night! I already yell at my brother enough! I practically have a child right now! I'm taking care of my brother, my elderly grandmother of 83, going on 84 years of age. Hell, I have two children right here in my household! Why do I need kids? I already deal with this during my teen years. I don't want to repeat what I'm already going through. Besides, I'm not very good with kids. I hold them, think they're cute, but I hand them back to their mother the second they start to cry! I wouldn't be a very good mother. I would be a HORRIBLE mother! Plus, I don't like the way I was raised. I don't want my kids anywhere near my grandfather! He was such a terrible person with taking us kids under his wing. I would rather have him die before I EVER have kids, if I even want kids, which I don't. Chris only wants at least one, but I really don’t think he even wants one.

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      Kaylie Anna 5 years ago

      My doctor said that I should have at least four periods a years, instead of two a year. Since I have only two per year, it's not cleaning the lining of my uterus and if I don't fix it soon, I could get cancer, so it's not good for long-term. I really don't know what to do about it. The doc gave me the option of birth control (which will give a period every month) or some other pill that I take every three months (that's four periods a year). Well, I looked up both options on my laptop here and didn't like either of the side effects that they offered, so I'm not sure what to do. Can anybody help me?

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      Nicole Pennington 5 years ago

      I just took a blood test and I'm scared of what they'll say. I took this test to see if I need birth control pills. Supposedly, if I do need these pills and I don't want to take them, then I'll get cancer, so the doctor says, which I don't believe her at all, but yet I don't want cancer. I have no idea what to do. If the test shows that I need these damn pills, do I take them or get another opinion? Help me, somebody!

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