50 People Reveal What Made Them Decide To Never Have Kids
If you have kids, you know the decision to embark on the parenting journey is like getting on one wild rollercoaster ride. But despite the sleep deprivation, financial burdens, and the search for that non-existent work-life balance you're so desperate to find, no one will ever question your choice. There are many reasons for people to want to bring little bundles of joy into this world, after all. But as shared by people in various 'Ask Reddit' threads, there are also plenty of valid reasons not to.
A Pew Research Center study found that more adults (around 44% of people ages 18 to 49) report they’re unlikely or "not too likely" to have children — ever. But even though they consciously choose to forego parenthood altogether, the pressure to have kids is still huge. Childfree people often face a fair share of stigma and hear the accusatory murmurs that they're missing out. But are they, really?
In a bid to find out why so many opt for a childfree life, several Redditors delved deeper into the subject. They sparked discussions online that quickly turned into very interesting reads. We’ve gone through their threads and gathered some of the most illuminating answers to share with you all, so check them out right below. Keep reading to also find our interview with Erin Spurling, founder of Curiously Childfree. Then, upvote the ones you agree with and be sure to share your own thoughts with us in the comments.
In order of justification;
1. I don’t want to.
2. I can’t afford to.
3. There’s already quite a lot of us already.
4. Global climate change, political instability, and a very uncertain future.
Because I genuinely would not be happy with kids. I strongly believe that all kids deserve to be wanted, but not all people deserve to be parents.
I'm selfish when it comes to my quiet time. I love being alone.
Even though increasingly more people pass on the whole kid thing, there’s still a fair share of stigma in society surrounding this decision. Especially from people who see little ones as a crucial part of having a fulfilled family. They often find it hard to accept that not everyone is meant to have children, often making insensitive comments and insisting that childfree people will certainly someday change their minds. But just as some people have zero doubts about becoming moms and dads one day, others know parenthood just isn’t for them.
To learn more about the pressures people without kids face, we reached out to Erin Spurling, a writer, editor, and founder of Curiously Childfree. She set up this safe space to build a supportive community where she can leave a mark, advocate for change, help people feel heard and connect with each other.
"Everybody has their own reasons for choosing to be childfree," she told Bored Panda. "But based on myself and other childfree people (men and women) I have met, the recurring reasons seem to be simply no desire or pull towards parenthood and enjoying their life as it is; environmental concerns, health issues, and having experienced an unpleasant upbringing themselves."
I think having children isn't something you do because you don't have a reason not to. I would have children if I had a really good reason to, and I don't. It's an important, life changing decision that involves an innocent person being brought into the world. I don't think I should do that just because might as well.
They’re expensive, loud, time consuming, and don’t smell good.
Plus I don’t feel like putting my body through a year of physical hell just to follow it up with 18 years of putting my goals and career to the side to make sure it doesn’t stick a fork in a socket or swallow a bee.
Firstly, the world's a s***show.
Second, there are enough kids in the world that need homes. If I wanted kids, I’d foster or adopt.
Third, I grew up being bullied a LOT. Oddly, I used to get along with the parents of my bullies. It made me realise that, while how someone’s brought up can affect who they are, yes, a lot of people are shitty despite their parents. Also it made me realise how often kids lie about who they are to their parents, taking on personas to appease them to their face while being horrible to others behind their backs. I don’t want to bring another horrible person into the world.
Not a universal experience, but it’s mine.
But also, again, the world’s a s***show.
Erin pointed out that many more elements go into making this choice, "and often it is a combination of multiple reasons." The above-mentioned survey by Pew Research Center confirms this. It found there is no sole driving force behind Americans giving up on childbearing in droves. Less than half (43%) of respondents alluded to medical and financial factors behind their decision, as well as having no partner, their or their partner’s age, and the general state of the world right now.
Interestingly, 56% of people said they do not want to have children because… they simply do not want to have children. The majority provided no particular reason behind their choice, something that would not have been socially acceptable a few decades ago. After all, in previous generations parenthood, especially for women, was a default path everyone had to take. But thankfully, more people now see it as an option that allows them to lead their lives the way they prefer.
I never understood why so many want children. Life is a huge adventure without children . With children it’s a job for twenty years .
I have zero desire or instinct to be a mom.
Life is enough work without kids. With kids looks straight up awful. I don't know any parents that make having kids look attractive.
This is just like asking why someone doesn't want a dog. They dont want to.
There’s still a lot of resistance, however. "I think the stigma stems from many people still being raised in cultures where life is expected to follow a particular pattern e.g. education > job > house purchase > marriage > children > retirement > grandchildren," Erin said.
"Likewise, there is still an attitude of a life, particularly a woman’s life, having little meaning or worth without children in it. Fulfillment can take on many forms though, and purpose can come from so many aspects of life, not just children," she added.
I refuse to f**k up a child as badly as my parents f****d me up, and I don't think I could cope with being responsible for an infant or a toddler. Also, my genes aren't worth passing on.
Having kids isn’t for everyone. We need to get rid of this idea that ‘having kids is the norm’ or ‘what adults do like get a job, buy a house and have a family.’
I don’t feel that we’re on earth to tick boxes. It’s about living what is true for our own evolution as a human being, a spirit in incarnation. So whatever that may look like, wether it’s having a family of 6 children (me being one of such off-spring) or if it’s buying a clapped out old farm and turning it into a dog rescue place then do that.
The good news is that a turn regarding these attitudes in society is becoming more evident, and Erin herself has noticed a slow but steady change during her lifetime. "When I first voiced that I didn’t want to have children, there was a lot of very harsh judgment, right up to five or six years ago. But in the last few years, that certainly hasn’t seemed quite so harsh. There is still a long way to go but hopefully, in time, it will become more accepted as more people start to view children as a choice rather than an obligation or expectancy."
I have no desire to raise a child, or care for one, or be responsible for one. I am lazy, I can take care of myself just fine, but the extra work to raise a child for something I don't want isn't worth it. I want financial freedom, freedom to make spontaneous decisions, children wouldn't allow for that
Pregnancy seems difficult, birth seems even harder and if that weren’t enough kids are expensive as s**t. Last reason is that I don’t want children to be in this f****d up world
I am physically disabled with a genetic circulation condition. I don't want to pass my condition onto others, and the physical aspects of raising children would be too much strain on me.
Foregoing parenthood is a measured and thought-out decision, regardless of what society tells you. "I always say that for me, the initial choice was more of a gut instinct, I’ve just never had any desire to be a parent," Erin revealed. "But as I’ve got older and experienced more of life, many other factors have come into play to solidify that decision. I’m more self-aware and know my personal limitations; I would want to be able to provide certain things without strain financially; the current environmental crisis; and not having a local support network — all our family and friends are quite spread out."
Too much responsibility.
I much rather be a fun uncle/older cousin than a parent
Have you seen the state of the world lately? Global warming, peak oil is happening, water shortage, micro plastics are in our food and body. In short have you seen Mad Max? I don’t want to subject a new person to any of those never mind all of them.
Edit: also a good amount of animals are going extinct, imagine having to explain what a rhinoceros or an elephant is when your kid sees one in a movie or something. Imagine having a child and by the time they’re 21 a lot of fish have been overfished to near extinction. The world sucks.
How much time ya got?
I've spent most of my life living for other people's dreams. I finally have some financial independence and the ability to pursue my own ideas. Why would I give that up to serve another person for two decades?
The world does not need more people. The carbon footprint of bringing a human into this world is enormous.
Kids are f*****g expensive. I can't afford to do it right.
I deal with depression and frankly don't know that I would be an excellent parent. I don't like to do things if I don't think I can excel at them, especially not something as serious as raising another human. My folks f****d me up because despite being amazing people they had no clue how to be parents. I don't want to do the same.
My partner and I are perfectly happy with two dogs and a cat.
I don't like most people because they are generally selfish, shortsighted, and shitty. Kids are just this to the maximum. I fear I would dislike my kids on top of resenting them.
Having kids is extremely narcissistic. It's a desire to see yourself remade and perpetuate your impact on the world beyond your death. To do so despite what it costs the world is ultimately selfish.
The world doesn't need more humans.
Humans are a cancer on the natural world.
The World. Doesn't. Need. More. Humans.
I reiterate this last bit because the drive to reproduce manifests everywhere in human culture. Religion, mother-worship, &c. It's so deep in us that I feel like people need to hear it multiple times to actually understand: the world does not need more humans.
The creator of Curiously Childfree noted people’s reluctance or inability to wrap their heads around this decision partly stems from the culture that still places enormous emphasis on fixed life patterns, and children bringing meaning to life. "But on top of that, I think some people’s desire to become a parent is so strong, that they can’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t want to do it."
"It's often suggested that those who choose to not have children are selfish but I don’t think that’s true," Erin continued. "Most of us consider whether we would be good parents and/or could provide the life we believe the child deserves, and if we can’t, then we don’t become parents. We are considering the implications for that unborn child, who may not get everything they need from us, for whatever reason/s."
Expensive, plus being a teacher I have seen enough and don't want to come home to dealing with more kids.
The question is always "why don't people want to have children?" when it should be "why do they want it?"
Not wanting children doesn't change anyone's life, while having them is a huge responsibility and most people don't even think it through. Are you ready to put another human being first for at least 18 years? Are you ready to work HARD to make sure the child will grow up healthy, happy and adjusted? Because it's a lot of work, and every child has different needs. What if your child is different than you expected, are you ready to completely love them , to change your approach to parenthood to make sure it works with them?
It's like getting a dog: if you are getting one, you need to think about it first, do you have the space, the time, etc? Why is it different with kids? People who want children should ask themselves if they actually want to do the work or if they only want kids because society says they should.
- i like being alone
- i value more than anything my personal/lonely time
- i don't want or need to significantly change my life. It took me 35 years to feel confortable
- i'm not close to finish travelling the world whenever i want
- i'm not rich and don't want to spent my extra money on raising a child
- i find a dog more cute than a baby or a child
- i don't like noise and scream
- i don't think it's necessary to repopulate this world
- i don't feel the need to have someone with my blood
- i don't feel the need to pass on a legacy as i don't have anything particular
- i don't feel the urgency to have someone taking care of me when i'll be old and honestly i find it a little bit selfish
- i seriously lack of self confidence and i don't want to raise a slobby shy child
- i feel pretty childish in my head and need "to go back" to that spirit.
Apart from the social stigma that inevitably comes when one decides to opt out of parenthood, there’s also the pressure from friends and family members who consistently ask to reconsider. According to Erin, lots of parents have hopes of having grandchildren one day, so the pressure can often come from them. Moreover, having kids is emphasized within certain cultures and religions too, so that becomes an added strain. "Once siblings and friends start having them, then questions often begin," she said.
"I’m due to get married next month, and although my fiancé and I have always been very open with family and friends about not wanting to have children, I am still fully expecting questions to start after the wedding, on the assumption that being married might change our minds."
Because I love being alone, I love silence, I love being relaxed, I love having time for myself, I love spoiling myself, I love that nobody’s life depends on me. I’d rather have a dog than a child. Dogs are better than humans.
Dude, I can barely take care of *me*.
To start with, they're super expensive, and my husband and I can barely pay our bills each month. Secondly, US maternity and paternity leave is a joke, not to mention our s**t medical/insurance situation and Republicans trying to make it illegal to terminate ectopic pregnancies (or any pregnancy). Thirdly, climate change and rejection of any effort to curb it doesn't exactly inspire me to produce a kid. Fourthly, the rise of Nazism, conspiracy theorists (Q and antivaxxers, for instance), white supremacy, and nationalists who seem to live for violence does not inspire confidence in a rosy future. Fifthly, I'm not eager to deal with another person's bodily fluids on the regular.
Needless to say, it can be very annoying when others continually ask personal questions instead of minding their own business and respecting our choices. Erin explained that these behaviors can create a sense that people (family or not) think we don’t know our own minds. "[This] is very frustrating, especially as nobody would question us if we did want to have them, despite the huge, life-altering implications of having a child. Very few people ask those who want to be parents, whether they are completely sure — it’s just accepted and celebrated."
I can't care for myself when i'm down, so how can i care for a child?
Many people would tell me that I'm still too young to know, but here are some reasons:
1. I am really afraid of vomit. Morning sickness and puking children sounds like something outta a horror movie to me.
2. The process of birth is super painful and absolutely terrifying.
3. I don't want to ruin my body after birth. I see how unhappy my mom is with her body (after three kids) and that makes me so sad and discourages me from wanting kids.
4. Sleepless nights
5. My dream career is super busy and highly demanding. If I ever suceed in that field, I don't know if I will have time for kids.
6. I've seen how bratty some kids are. No thanks.
7. Kids are very f*****g expensive to take care for. I've seen so many people who are financially not in the place to have more than one kids. Somehow they have multiple kids and are struggling so much.
8. Kids crying p**s me off beyond belief. Like, to the point, that I wanna smack them in the face and yell "SHUT UP!" That's not something a mom should think.
9. Seeing bratty kids get owned gives me seratonin.
I am well aware that this mindset could change, and I have absolutely nothing against people who decide to have kids, but so far I am worrying about school and my future and kids terrify me. I may consider adopting an older kid in the future when I'm the right age, graduated everything I need (if I do) and have some kind of stable career.
If you wanna have kids - have kids, but I'm not exited for upcomming questions from my relatives when I'm older: "When will you give us grandchildren? Are you still single? When will you have kids?" Ugh.
P. S. I'm also bisexual female, so, more life choices for my relatives to judge me on :)
If you feel like you have to defend your "selfish" childfree lifestyle and struggle with countless comments and questions from others, Erin had a few pieces of advice to share. "Be safe in the knowledge that nobody knows you like you do. Friends and family might want you to have children but only you know what is truly right for you. Acknowledge that you might regret it, because you might, in the same way you could regret literally any decision you make in life — none of us can predict the future."
"You have to make a decision based on what you know and feel right now, and fear of missing out or someone else’s opinion are never good enough reasons to have a child. Also, don’t feel that you always have to justify your choice (I used to feel like this) — 'I don’t want to have children' is a complete sentence. It doesn’t have to be, 'I don’t want children because of X, Y and Z,'" Erin concluded.
Known since middle school.
Didn't have a cheery upbringing. Lot of friends growing up didn't either. I spent a lot of my childhood being mad about my circumstances in life, and the circumstances of others and fighting (sometimes literally) for them. I got to see how others were raised. I got to see all the little broken ways they developed. I hated it. Life was too precious and too great to risk it crashing down due to someone "trying their best" when their best just flat out isn't enough for a kid. I feared I'd never be able to do that. For me or anyone. It made me very avoidant of relationships too. I was everybody's friend, nobody's best friend. Attachments made me anxious. They still do. Cause after all, I'm as broken as all the people I tried to protect and fix.
That's why I don't want kids. That's why I never want to raise kids. I know perfect shouldn't be the enemy of good, but I feel like even good isn't achievable in this world, by me. Not now, and likely never. My failings shouldn't be the failings of my offspring, much as my parents' failings shaped the failings I have today still.
I don't want to destroy my body and be treated as an incubator and lose my identity as a person. Pregnancy seems to give all of society the right to judge and demand behaviour of women with no inclination to actually help them. I have a friend whose organs fall out if her bowel movement is too hard and the surgery to fix it is "elective".
The horror birthing stories I've had to listen to has been enough to validate my decision.
Self-awareness. I am the one to end the family curse of anger, violence, betrayal and gaslighting. I am not going to put my future children in that situation. Also, cancer, diabetes and bad cholesterol run in the family.
I am good with my pets. Cats and dogs. I love them and they give me the love I need in my life to function in this world and actually live a peaceful and purposeful life. I have friends who can't and do not want children as well so I am in the right crowd and dont feel like I am missing out on something.
We're overpopulated and destroying this world. There are plenty of children who already exist and who are suffering. Things like jobs are limited, if I bring a child into the world as I'm in a fairly good economic position, I'd like to give that child everything I can, that child would have an almost guaranteed place in a good university and would only make things harder for the ones who already have it worse. That child would become part of the problem (and you could say "ok, but you can teach that child about inequality, etc." but that child has no reason to be interested on the topic or to listen to me).
Children don't need to be born. As they don't exist, they need nothing. Bringing them into the world would make them have needs. Needs bring suffering, suffering is part of existing, as dying or seeing the ones you love die also is.
I can't guarantee that my children would be born healthy, or would remain healthy during their lives. Many things can happen over which you've got no control, and you won't always be able to solve their problems. Your child can be raped, your child can rape someone else, etc.
I understand that my children could be people with very different interests from mine or have a totally different personality. We could not get along, I could cause trauma to them, etc. I've got no reason to think I'd be a particularly good parent, and I think most people suck at parenting.
I also think that we humans have a tendency to be unhappy, to focus on what's missing. I don't think I know many happy people, so it seems unlikely to me that they would be happy as adults anyway.
Then comes money, giving birth, sleepless nights, etc, etc.
I want to spend my *entire* life doing things for myself and focusing on my own happiness. I have career goals that would be hindered by childcare. The expenses of children are not worth it. I also have a genetic movement disorder that I wouldn't wish on anyone.
Most importantly, I would resent motherhood. It wouldn't be fair on the child. Kids deserve to feel wanted, and I wouldn't be able to provide that.
Have you looked out the window lately? Why would I actively help someone's life be miserable?
I just don’t want f*****g kids man.. nothing about them seems pleasant. Loud, ignorant, “my mommy says I can eat chips like that”, beating up my stuff, “watch me” and then do some dumb a*s s**t. Nah man, kids aren’t for me.
Runs into a wall and screams uncontrollably, they’re f*****g expensive, have to share every f*****g thing because they don’t understand boundaries, having to teach them what a boundary is, being seen as a bad parent because my kid is crying, being seen as a bad parent because my kid gets what he wants, can’t have quiet time, parental problems, child support, disappointing them in the future, having to think not only for yourself but for them too, running around doing things because you have too, not being able to just walk away, no spontaneous plans allowed, can’t sleep, s**t diapers and s**t toys that cost 100+ and either breaks or they don’t care enough to play with them, school funding, can’t invest, can’t have your favourite food because they’ll beg and cry if you don’t give ‘em any, formula is expensive asf. Please do I need to go on?
I don't wanna bring kids into this f****d up a*s world
Well for starters I don’t like kids. I don’t like sticky hands. I don’t like messes. I don’t like having to assure there’s no monsters under the bed or explain why it’s important to wash your hands. I don’t want to have to do any of that.
Second, it’s just a financial nightmare, especially currently. I can’t even afford to buy a house, I sure as f**k can’t afford to provide for a tiny human! Hell, I can barely afford to provide for myself.
Third, my mom has rheumatoid arthritis. I have been her caregiver since I was a teenager. My dad worked late hours to provide for us. He died of cancer when I was 21. Since then it’s been me looking after her, while getting through school and pursuing my own life goals. I gave up my adolescence being someone’s caretaker. I don’t want to give up my middle age to the same thing.
Fourth, look at the planet. Not the people, not the governments, not the war, not any of that mess. Look. At. The Planet. Rising temperatures, dwindling resources, increasingly volatile weather patterns. This generation is the last one to enjoy a world that is anything like the one of our past. Future generations have a mess of environmental issues to contend with, and I don’t wish it on anyone.
I would feel horribly guilty bringing a child into this world knowing the nightmare of environmental fuckery that’s going to be just reaching its stride when I check out.
Finally, and most importantly, I don’t want to dedicate my life to raising someone else! I want financial and physical freedom. I don’t want to have to find a babysitter, or hire a nanny, or pay for school! I want to be able to go on a weekend getaway on a whim. I like being able to buy myself a goodie or treat here and there without worrying about paying for junior’s daycare. Most important of all, I want to be able to come home and do whatever the hell I want to do, not help a kid with homework, and bedtime, and all that stuff.
I can tell my partner I love her more than anyone else in the world and actually mean it.
People say it changes your life. My life is awesome and I don't want it changing. I'm 40, never married and me and my girlfriend do what we want, when we want.
Why would we give this up to change shitty nappies, halve the amount of hours we sleep, lose our social life and spend all our money on kids? Mental.
I don't want them to suffer
They s**t themselves. They drink too much milk and puke cottage cheese. Annoying most of the time. Can't talk right for like 2-3 years, then they don't make sense for the next 15-20. Expensive as f**k. There is a chance they hate you and kill you in your sleep.
I'd rather be an uncle and call it a day.
Im an older sister to many, I feel like ive already been a mother, i want to enjoy life, not cater to someone else’s needs. Im sure it will change but right now I’m very uninterested in birthing a tiny human and having to raise it
My sister had a baby with her boyfriend while she was still living at home and I wanted to kill myself from the baby’s constant crying at every hour of the day. No way in hell I would purposely put myself through that again. People with more than one kid are psychos.
People who do want children, have you ever had to be near a child for more than an hour.
I like my own personal space.
They're expensive and I want to live my life without having to worry about them constantly.
haven't conquered my inner demons yet...
I don't want them to inherit my inner demons
In this economy?
I can't imagine how gross it must be to be pregnant and to plop a child out..
I hate my body the way it is - why should I make it worse?
The responsibility for myself is way too much.
And I really love alone time.
I am happy about all the time I get when my bf is not at home.
I like to be free and spontaneous. Go to festivals and stuff like that.
With a child I would have 10-20 years no privacy and all my schedules have to be around the child...
I hate children. I don't like when they look at me and especially when they wanna talk to me. I always try to ignore them and hope their parent gets them soon.
I love my grandma but when her neighbor hat a baby and was often at my grandma I stopped visiting her because I would not want to see a child...
How could one financiate that? One has to slow down work, the career takes a massive step back and you need to buy so much stuff for it. Let alone a bigger flat and vacations are only possible in holidays and no one can pay for that.
And it is bad for the environment and the world.
-see how your partner and you mix
-dressing it up
-pressure to not f***k over the kid
-giving birth (i could go on a whole rant about that but let’s not)
-potential strain on relationship with s/o
-some people shouldn’t be allowed to be parents, i am one of those people
-special expenses (christmas, birthday, etc)
-too much responsibility
-forced to grow up/be mature/a role model
-fluids from child (spit up, vomit, feces, urine, blood, etc)
-potential problems with health and to be responsible/parent them
-children being brats
-birds and bees talk
-stubborn, horrible, insufferable children defying you
-being cucked by your own horrid creation (possibility your son becomes a misogynistic, racist incel or frat bro, possibility your daughter is too naïve and stupidly thinks it’s a good idea to get groomed)
-maid them/clean after them
-listen to things you don’t want to listen to
basically if i had to raise myself, i wouldn’t.
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