Childfree by Choice

  • Photo by Anna Grace Photography

    I wrote this post in November 2017 and never posted it.

    On one hand, I felt like I didn’t have to write an entire post to justify our decisions and on the other hand, I felt I should write something because I want to advocate for those who don’t have a platform. I want advocate for those women in the same boat as me and to bring awareness of how words matter to someone who you may not know is struggling.

    It’s time to open up about our family.

    I turned 30 earlier this year (again, this was written November 2017, I’m 32 now). The big milestone age that really solidifies you’re an adult and you’re getting older. It’s also the age where you get pounded with questions about when you’re having kids and whether or not it’s in your near future. It’s the age that if you haven’t had kids by now then you gotta start popping them out otherwise “it’ll be too late.”

    I don’t understand why society pressures women to have children. Mainly, most women who have children tirelessly question women who are childfree. Is it a societal faux pas to not have children? Am I not contributing to society if I don’t have children? Why do women need to have children to be seen as human beings? Really, why is this such an issue in this day and age?

    We all have our own stories regarding children and our desires to have them or not – including those who have struggled to have them and those who may have lost them. Everyone has a story and behind every story there is bravery and courage to tell that story. Here is my story and maybe one that someone out there can relate to as well.

    From a very young age, I would always say to my mom, “I really don’t like kids, I don’t want them, ever.”

    At that time, of course she would say that I would change my mind and that I’m too young to fully understand what I want and don’t want. That’s valid but I also think that that was the beginning of my childfree journey whether I knew it then or not.

    Looking back at all the times I had interactions with babies as a kid, I don’t ever recall myself thinking they were cute or that I can’t wait to have one of my own to hold and nurture. I wasn’t ever really interested in babies. I let other people fawn over them and I just stood off to the side and glanced over their shoulder and pretended like I cared.

    All my friends in middle school and high school started babysitting. I felt as if I was missing out so I wanted to do the same. However, my reasons were far different than their reasons. I’m sure we all did it for money but that’s all I ever wanted to do it for. I wasn’t necessarily trying to learn how to be a caregiver. In fact, my first babysitting gig went so horribly wrong (I had to call the parents and they had to end their date early) that I never did it again.

    For years, even before I met my husband and even after we got married, I have always said to my parents that I don’t want children. They insisted I’d change my mind.

    Later on, we got a dog instead and you could tell they were disappointed. But they still hold on to that little glimmer of hope that one day we will change our minds and have children. They still think we will regret our decision of not having children and they still think I’ll be a great mom and how selfish I’d be if I didn’t have children.

    Most parents (mine included) have a very structured and societal standard of life: college, marriage, pop out babies before you’re 30. I think I threw a complete wrench into that last “to do” and they aren’t sure how to deal with it.

    Will I see grandkids before I die?

    You don’t know what you’re missing out on.

    You would be such a great mom; look at you with Winston!

    You’re selfish if you don’t want kids.

    You’ll regret it.

    Is Jason okay with this decision?

    Don’t worry, you’ll want them one day.

    You won’t have anyone to take care of you when you’re older.

    What are you going to do instead?

    You know, all these hypotheticals would make more sense if I actually did want to become a mother but alas, I have no desire to. It has not come with time and I don’t think it ever will.

    As “selfish” as one is going to label us – we love our life right now. We love having a furbaby and doting on him. We love being able to travel and do whatever we want at the drop of a hat. My priorities right now are not caregiving and raising children. My priorities right now are nurturing my business, husband, dog, and my life.

    Guilting me won’t work and quite frankly, it’s so wrong. On many levels. So wrong. I’d rather have a child and know that I truly wanted them than to have a child just to satisfy some societal standard or to satisfy someone else’s desires. You know what that leads to? Resentment.

    We don’t hate [your] kids.

    Just because we don’t have kids of our doesn’t mean we hate your kids.

    We have so many friends that have little ones and we embrace them and never mind if they’re tagging along for dinner or coming over to hang out. We love little people! We just don’t want our own.

    Many women can’t have kids.

    I know of far too many infertility stories of close friends.

    I want to create awareness when you ask another woman, “do you have kids?” or “do you want kids?” or “when are you having kids?”

    You have zero clue what their struggles may be.

    I recently got asked, “are you and Jason childless by choice?”

    What if we weren’t childless by choice? What if we had been trying and been unsuccessful?

    What kind of wound would you have reopened or poured salt into?

    Please be aware of what you ask other women.

    “Is _____ getting a little brother or sister?”

    This is another one I hear passively asked to a child or a mother.

    They already have one child; are you trying to say that one isn’t enough?

    What is it even implying?

    Does everyone have to have a sibling? Is an only child such a terrible thing?

    I understand the curiosity and the seemingly innocent question but again, you don’t know what this family may or may not be going through.

    Stop the judgement

    Everyone has their own story, their own choices, and their own opinions.

    I respect that and I also ask for the same back.

    I feel that as women, we have to support one another rather than bring each other down.

    There is so much other shit going on in the world that my decision on not having children should really be the least of your worries.

    Can we change our mind? Sure, I’ve got time.

    For now? I’m happy with where we are in our life and I’m happy to be childfree.

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  • Shelby says:

    YES!!! 100%YES!!! I’m 34 years old, my husband is 41, and we’ve been married for just over 11 years. Luckily both of our parents are totally cool with us just being dog parents. They just want usto be happy and to live out lives however we want to. There are some people that are shocked that we don’t have kids by now though. Even people who I’ve flat out told we are not having kids are suprised we don’t have any yet. I don’t care what people think about our decision, but the comments they make and questions they ask just boggle my mind. Do they think they will change my mind for me? By them asking “who will take care of you when your old?” I’ll be like “holy crap, you’re right! I better have some kids quick, raise them for 18 years, spending millions for all of their needs, tuition, medical, sports, etc, so they can take care of me some day!! Great idea!” Like what in the heck? Is that an actual reason people have kids?! A few years back, a coworker (who has 2 kids and has questioned me on my childless by choice decision) asked me what I was making for our potluck the next day. I always bake and bring stuff in so I told her I didn’t think I would make anything this time. Her exact words were “it’s not like you have anything better to do”, referring to the fact I don’t have kids and I can spend my evenings how I want. She went on to list all of the activities her kids had going on that night and the places she had to chauffeur them around and stuff, saying that she was bringing food in for the potluck. Why are so many women like this? Why does it offend others that I don’t have kids? Would it be ok for me to tell someone they really ought to stop having kids? Yeah, didn’t think so. Oh and the “it’s selfish not to have kids” argument is insane to me. Selfish? Nah, I’m self aware. And as for regrets, I’d much rather regret some day that I didn’t have kids, rather that regretting I had them. That’s not fair to the kids at all. Ugh, I’ll stop, but thank you for this post!!! I hope it makes women think about the things they say to other women about having or not having children.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Omg, how rude of your coworker. I really feel sometimes that women don’t know what is coming out of their mouths when they say stuff like this. It’s kind of like they’re emitting some sort of jealousy (that they don’t have enough time or something) and they’re dolling it out on us who are childfree. In any case, thank you for writing! I hope women read it and take a step back and think before they speak next time.

  • Elliot says:

    Great article. I’ve always felt the same way. I think my parents have resigned to the fact that we don’t want kids. We are happy with our life and have a great family. Thanks for sharing.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I’m glad to hear this! Thanks for writing.

  • Andrea says:

    Thank you for posting this article. It popped up as a suggested read from Google chrome. Anyway, more women need to speak up about how they don’t need to pop out kids in order to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. People get so wrapped up in the notion that if they don’t breed they’ve failed at life. In reality there are so many other ways to contribute! You’re caring for your dog. I have 2 cats and work in the health care field. If that stuff isn’t meaningful then I’m not sure what is.
    May I offer a suggestion? Instead of calling yourself “childless” as less would sound as though you’re missing out on something, perhaps go with “Childfree”. Sure it’s just semantics but a suggestion nonetheless.
    Again thank you for the post. :)

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thanks, I wound up changing it to childfree instead of childless!

  • Courtney Fones says:

    Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I also do not want children. People have said that I’ll change my mind. I won’t. I am lucky that my parents fully accept this decision and don’t pester me about it. I am also lucky that my girlfriends accept it. I just wish society at large respected the choice.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I agree! I wish society just accepted that women are evolving and they can speak/think for themselves and don’t have to be mothers to be worth something.

  • CHERYL says:

    Your whole post pretty much echoed my exact sentiments. I’m 50, so no one is hinting or bugging me about children anymore, but what you said is exactly where I was (am) at. I like hanging out with my husband and pets. Maybe I’m selfish, but I just didn’t see any baby magic in me. Thanks for posting!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thanks! No, you aren’t selfish for wanting to live a happy life.

  • Teela says:

    I love everything about this article with the exception of one thing.. If we’re not having kids by choice we are childfree, not childless. Child LESS implies that we are lesser than, as if our lives are lesser for not having children, when in fact this couldn’t be further from the truth. We are free from children, because this is the life we chose for own reasons. Considering having a child in the U.S. is now upwards of $300,000 by the time they turn 18, we are free from that financial burden. We are also free emotionally, worrying about another being you are responsible for 24/7 is not something all of us want to take on. What if they’re born with a disability, what if they die young by accident or suicide, what if they grow up to hate you even though you sacrificed your entire life for them? These are emotional burdens we are also free from. Thank you for writing this article so people know that this is a choice many women are finally making!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Hi, sorry I chose the wrong word.

  • Maïté says:

    Thank you for writing this! You’re right about everything. People can be insensitive when talking about this. I just turned 29 years old and people are already making stupid remarks about my childlessness. Also, the men I’ve recently dated over the past two years casually bring up wanting to have children and ask me if I want to reproduce very early on in dating. It’s creepy! I’m not sure why it’s happened so many times. Maybe because of my age? Having friends bringing it up is annoying, but it’s even worse when coming from dates; unremarkable dates I dump just a few weeks after. Just because I’m 29 does NOT mean I want to procreate NOW. I personally find this very inappropriate to bring up, especially in the early phases of dating. When brought up so early I feel like I am seen as a potential function, not a human being. It isn’t attractive at all. I’m only willing to have children with a great guy. A guy who’ll be interested in getting to know ME, not a desperate guy with an agenda to make his parents happy.
    I’m not desperate to settle down with just anyone!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Ew, that’s totally creepy! YES, to exactly what you said — you’re a human being and not just a reproductive machine to satisfy someone else’s agenda.

  • Julia says:

    Recommend reading “Why have kids?” By Jessica Valenti written by a new mother. Also the anthology “Selfish, shallow and self absorbed” by Megan Daum; I didn’t like it but a worthwhile read for obtaining a different perspective.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thanks!

  • Pooja Ajay Kumar says:

    Hi Julie I am Pooja from India, I really appreciate your decision for not having babies. I am also one among like you I am 33 got married 2010,me and my husband decided that not to have kid. And that time I know I made a right choice, I am not feeling bad or having any regrets on this things. Our society, people who never understand some things. They just think to live a good life. We need to have babies, but that is not exactly what I think. For me to live healthy good life we can focus on our work, health and taking care of our parents. To live happy life first we should happy our self and focus on our work. In my Appartment I am seeing few retire uncle aunty, they have there own children but no one is living with them because each child is different among other and all of them are settled in abroad. In India people think once they become old there children will take care but right now bitter truth is no child is taking care at all. When parents need help from there children they are helpless sometimes. This generation children they are just making use of there parents for baby sitting, doing some house work, and just look after there things. I don’t appreciate this kind of attitude Julie. So i don’t believe that I should have child to live happily. I also help my relatives when they need my care I also like other kids that doesn’t mean I don’t like kids at all. And last thing people think who will take care of our property, our money etc…. My friend she ask me I said I can happily give to charity. It will go some who needs very badly. I am happy to choose child free and I really appreciate ur decision Julie. I am with you and sharing few things with you. I am happy helping people who need my help, I donate money for orphanage and spend some good time with those kids who don’t have there parents. Julie we don’t have to prove anything to society or people it is all created. We are the creator of our destiny. With lots of love Pooja. Thank you for giving this opportunity to share things with u Julie 💐🌹😘

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thanks so much for sharing, Pooja. It was really nice to read and I agree, we are definitely the creator of our destiny and we should always choose happiness.

  • Paige says:

    I am a mother and would never encourage someone to have children 😂🤣. I definitely still ask woman who I have just met while chatting “do you have kids”, mainly just out of curiosity. I really think a lot of people just don’t know what to say. Even when you are pregnant. When I am pregnant I don’t typically don’t look super pregnant. I can not even tell you how many times woman would say “wow, you don’t look pregnant”. I would say “well I am”😂🤣 I think people want to connect and don’t know how to a lot of times. Thank you for sharing such a personal side of your life. It is wonderful a and appreciated.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Haha, that’s funny; thanks for the honesty! Yeah, I do think deep down people want to connect but society is struggling a bit in that department!

  • Prajakta says:

    Hi Julie, a big thank you for this post! I read it as soon as you posted it yesterday, since I saw you wrote about it on Instagram, but glad I did not comment immediately since I got to read some other perspectives too. I am 37 and have been struggling with infertility for past 4-5 years. I got married when I was 31 (my husband is of the same age, in fact 15 days younger to me). As soon as we were married, many people including my husband were asking about the ‘good news’. I have suffered an early miscarriage exactly at the same time last year and then multiple failed attempts at various treatments including IVF.
    I never really liked children and always thought them to be nuisance (I used to ask my mother why she brought me to life – I used to hate being a kid although I was always a well behaved one if I can say so myself!!), and have had zero maternal instinct – and I know it is not abnormal. However, my husband thinks otherwise and says I will be a great mother. Even after going through all the possible treatments, I still doubt if I should procreate.. I used to be a rebel and still am in many aspects of life, but I can’t say no to my husband for many things- I do whatever I do for his happiness.

    I have two frozen embryos from my last IVF stint and we may transfer them in June/July. And I don’t know if that will be successful either. It is so stress-inducing to always stay in the uncertainty and that too against your own will. I am sincerely doing all this only for my husband – I feel scared if I will love my child if at all I make one through all what I have gone through.
    I just want to say so many things – but there are so many other things mixed up in my case..in laws, relatives, society, finances.. I am just hoping to get out of all this – whether its a kid or no kid for me. I just wish my doctor announces that we are done…and then I am ready to take on life as it comes!
    I so wish more people become aware of these issues and the couples/females are not judged based on whether they had kids or not… whether its India or America, our society needs to be inclusive of all types of people.
    Enjoy your best life!! <3

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. Your story of doing whatever you do for HIS (your husband’s) happiness makes me sad. I think you should consider your happiness too because otherwise you’re going to be resentful in life. You’ll resent your husband for wanting kids and you’ll resent your potential child. I think you should talk to him about this; although, I am no professional..I just think that open lines of communication is always a good thing. The fact that you hope your doctor says you are done is really telling…I think there is something underlying that you need to share with your husband. Not to sound crass or rude but he’s not the one enduring all these painful treatments and being poked and prodded. You don’t sound very happy “i am sincerely doing all this only for my husband” – while you should want to make your spouse happy; it should be returned as well. He should know these feelings you’re feeling and your happiness shouldn’t suffer just because you want to make him happy. There will always be one suffering in the relationship if it’s imbalanced like that.

      Anyway, thank you for opening up. I wish you the best of luck. <3

  • Ines says:

    Wow! I have been reading through some of these comments and it really is amazing that you shared something so personal which makes other people share their stories and some are so like my own! Initially I was not childless by choice but because I had to have a hysterectomy. I won’t say it wasn’t hard at the beginning for me because it was although I was not that type of person who dreamed of being a mother all her life. I only really started planning on having a family at the age of 33. After my medical issues people started saying we could adopt or use a surrogate but we came to terms with the fact that if it wasn’t meant to be naturally then we would accept it and move on and live our life as a couple (and as an aunt and uncle and godmother and godfather). I soon came to realize that I really was ok with it and in fact have at many stages thought that I am glad we don’t have children in this day and age with so much going on in the world. I am positive that people can have a wonderful life without kids!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thanks Ines and thank you for sharing your story!

  • Prajakta says:

    Thank you for responding, Julie! I do fear about the potential resentment… at the same time I am in such a complex situation right now, that only the nature can take its call and convey to him that we will not have kids. You will think, I am contradicting myself, but sometimes I start believing that all will be good once I give birth. As many pointed out, there is just so much burden having kids and my husband himself realizes that, he also almost declares ‘let us stop treatment’ when he sees me in pain.. but then the next time we are my doctor’s office; there is always new hope!
    Honestly, sometimes I myself do not know what is my true wish.
    Thanks for letting me pour my heart our. Love, Prajakta

  • Lindsey says:

    I want to say thank you for writing this! I’ve felt so alone and its nice to know I’m not. I know my husband feels the time pressure but the outside pressure and questions are literally only asked to me! Thank you for this.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thank you and you definitely are NOT alone!

  • Jessica J. says:

    I’ve known since I was 7 that I don’t want kids. Contrary to what people still tell me at 34, I’m not changing my mind. I have many reasons, not that I need them. I’m anxious and I don’t want to pass that on to my children. I like the financial stability and freedom that my childless life affords me. I lost my own mother when I was a child and couldn’t imagine doing something like that without her. Whenever I spend time with my nephew, who’s four, I have a good time but find myself mentally exhausted by the need to be in kid mode for too long, to speak at his level and prioritize my attention on him. I don’t want my life to like that all the time. How is that selfish? Wouldn’t it be more selfish if I brought a child into the world if I believed I wasn’t capable of giving it a thousand percent?

    I highly, highly recommend the book Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids edited by Meghan Daum.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thank you! I ordered the book!

  • Kristin Bitler says:

    Hear, hear sister!

    I had a brief moment in life when I tried to have a child but it didn’t happen. I was 38 and heard all of the same things that you heard, including from my OB GYN (I moved onto another after the harping became too much) both before and after trying. I love children but was not driven to have them. There was still a pang, though, to have folks continue to ask.

    I believe that, while it’s perfectly natural to want to have children, we have to acknowledge that we have a population problem on this planet. Not that you should have to argue it but I find it selfish that we as a species should continue to have children without consideration of this on the whole. Those of us not having children should be acknowledged for our contribution. With that said, I love all of my wonderful little cousins, nieces, and nephews and they bring me great joy.

    Good on ya!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thanks for the support, Kristin! Thanks for sharing your story, too!

  • Amanda says:

    This drives me crazy. I recently turned 38 and any time we have a family event or if I happen to run into people my parents know I get asked: “when are you getting married so you can give your mom grandkids?” I’ve always openly commented “I don’t want kids” as politely as possible but I always get the “you’ll change your mind” response. I do not understand why people feel like they are allowed to ask this question or deserve a response. I love other peoples kids but I have no interest in having my own. I’ve even started telling people “I’m selfish with my time and money” because at this point I really don’t care what they think of me and I’m tired of being asked. I always thought it was a southern thing, to be asked about babies, but I’ve come to realize it’s really not. People are just nosey and they feel as if they have a right to ask such personal questions. It’s ridiculous.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yep, it’s definitely an ‘everyone’ thing where you constantly get asked. I truthfully don’t understand why. Do we ask mothers with children, “why did you have kids?” – that’s essentially the equivalent of what they are asking us. And if we ever did, they would give us a disgusted look like, “how dare you even question such thing.” Double standard, really.

  • Chelsea says:

    Thanks for writing this. :) I’m 31, and I’ve known for about 15 years that I don’t want to have kids. My boyfriend (aged 41) had children very young, and he lost custody of them both. That ship sailed a long time ago for him, and he does not want any more. It works out very well– we are supportive of each other’s wishes, and our relationship is better because of it. We’ve been together for 9 years.

    I was an only child, and there were rarely babies around for me to babysit or spend any time with. I always found them a bit scary and annoying, (still do, as a matter of fact). I also did not get along with most children, even when I WAS a child. I had a wonderful childhood, but like many onlies…I fit in better with my elders.

    In my teens, I grew to hate babies and small children. To me, they represented shackles, a removal of choices, and the loss of self.

    I’m a librarian now. It was a struggle for many years to do story-time for little kids, and to enjoy it whatsoever. Over the course of 5 years, I have learned to put on a convincing performance for them, at least for a couple of hours. I can even enjoy it, when everything goes well. Spending time with them has both softened my outlook, and solidified my resolve. I no longer hate them, but I do not want them. At all.

    I am grateful that I do not have to wear that mask 24-7, and that we live in a society that allows me the privilege of choosing my own destiny. There’s nothing more satisfying than the look on women’s faces when I tell them “NO. Not interested.”

    • Julie Wampler says:

      But that’s exactly what it is, right? They give us a look of shock when we say we aren’t interested in having kids and they keep pressing us about it. Like they want us to join them in misery. But then if we were to ever question other mothers on why they decided to have kids…then we would be met with a face of disgust…like how dare we ever ask such question! It’s such a double-standard.

  • Colleen S. says:

    I’m glad you are standing behind your decision to be Childfree. My husband and I have been married for 30 years and never had any children. We didn’t start our marriage with the intent of not having any, it just never seemed like it was “the right time”. when I turned 40 we had the “talk” about kids and he said if I was o.k. with not having any, so was he. We have never looked back. When I was younger and people would question me, I would always say I was ChildFree by choice. I didn’t like the term Childless because that implied that I was missing out on something. I have never felt deprived due to our decision. I have several nieces and nephews and already have one of them lined up to “take care of me” when I get old! Enjoy your life and NEVER let anyone make you feel guilty or tell you that you’re being selfish. People make their choices in life and live with them accordingly.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thank you so much! I am definitely learning slowly to live with my choices and happy with them!

  • Nat says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’m in the same boat. I’ll be 32 this year and have never felt a desire to be a mother. Even as a young kid, when playing “house,” I wanted to be a sister, never the mom. Sometime during my high school years, I realized with striking clarity that I did not want to have kids, and that has not changed since. People ask me why, and I can’t really explain it, which they find dissatisfying. But when people say “I really want kids,” nobody asks those people why — it’s just a fact you know about yourself that’s taken at face value. So shouldn’t my truth, my self-understanding, be accepted as well? It’s the same issue, just a different outcome. But that result makes people uncomfortable because it dares to be different.

    People keep telling me that I’ll change my mind because I’m too young to know what I really want… But the funny thing is, nobody told me I was too young to know what I really wanted when I picked my college major (15 years ago), went to graduate school (12 years ago), or got married (6 years ago). So either I’m somehow getting dumber and less in touch with myself as time goes on, or that argument is B.S.

    I’m sure you’ve heard this one too: “It’s different with your own kids. You can’t understand it now. You’ll feel differently when you have them.” I always laugh at this line of argumentation. I don’t have to be a doctor to know that it’s not for me. Yet nobody is telling me to go to medical school because I’ll surely change my mind once I experience how wonderful being a physician is!

    And yes, the “You’re so selfish to feel that way” one is royally misguided. Parents and non-parents alike can be selfish or selfless. To categorically assume that all parents are selfless saints and non-parents are not is flat out wrong. Or did I miss something and Mother Teresa was a horrible, egocentric person? Hmm.

    Bottom line: You know yourself best. Those who criticize are likely projecting their own insecurities onto you. The worst thing you could possibly do is have a child because of social pressure, and then hate your life and resent the kid. Stay true to what you know about yourself. You’re not alone!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      It’s such a double-standard when it comes to those questions. We never are allowed to question mothers about why they had kids and yet they can keep pressing us childfree women about having kids and how we will change our minds. It’s like they want to drag us into misery with them or something. YES. I hear the argument ALL the time, “it’ll be different with your own.” I hear it from my mother too but honestly, if I don’t FEEL the pull or love for having a child..I think I’m just going to resent it and think how much of a pain the kid is. Thank you for sharing!

  • Debsy says:

    I do not understand why people make it their business as to why someone does not have kids. How do people not understand that not everyone feels the same way. Choosing to not have kids doesn’t make you selfish. People need to stop being so careless with their attempt at conversation. If it is family that says things about your decision, be honest and do not feel the need to defend your decision. You are making the adult decision to not have kids.I know there are plenty of kids who need ” adopted grandparents” I have two adult children 30 and 27. No grandkids. I do not tell them what to do. They are adults. It is their decision. My husband and I befriended a couple who moved somewhat far from home and have two littles. We help out like “grandparents” babysitting and enjoying time with them. It helps them and us! Maybe it is not the same as your own but that is OK. Not everything happens as you envisiond.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thank you!

  • Steph says:

    Thanks for your post. This is how I feel all the time. It was worse at my previous workplace where everyone had kids or either madly wanted them. I actually never told any of them that I didn’t want kids for fear of judgement and rude comments. Why is it viewed that women are not something ‘real’ unless they’ve had a kid?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yeah, I don’t understand that at all either. I wish other women would just support other women’s decisions.

  • Jorge says:

    Julie,
    Thank you for sharing your story. My wife and I have been married for over 25 years and are childless by choice. It may not be the right decision for everyone but it was the right one for us. We couldn’t be happier and are looking forward to the next 50 years together with exuberance.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      So glad to hear this. I’m glad you guys are happy and thriving with your decision! xx

  • LinAtkinson says:

    This is a very brave blog. I am impressed with your courage to address this is such a very public way. I agree, your choices should not be anyone’s business but your own.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thank you so much!

  • Léa says:

    Dear Julie,
    thank you so much for your post. I’m childless not by choice but I can relate to it perfectly. I agree with your sentence: “I feel that as women, we have to support one another rather than bring each other down.”
    Thank you :-)
    Léa

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thank you!!

  • Wendy says:

    Thanks so much for this article! I am 48 and am definitely childless by choice. I respect those that need/want a child, but it isn’t for me :)

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thank you!

  • SusieQ says:

    Thank you for this post! I needed it today after my godmother gave me the third degree about whether or not I was having kids. She’s terribly upset that I’m in a serious relationship with a man who has already done the kid thing and doesn’t want to have anymore. When I told her that I didn’t want or particularly like kids, and I was so glad my boyfriend didn’t want more kids, she told me I would definitely change my mind.

    Spoiler alert: I won’t. I’m almost 34, and I’ve never been a kid person. I didn’t even like baby dolls as a child. I lost my dad two years ago to genetic vascular dementia, and I don’t want to pass on that gene. I also have an autoimmune disease, and pregnancy would be too hard on my body.

    And I also just find kids exhausting. I’m an introvert, and I love my quiet time with my cat, traveling, and having the freedom to set my own schedule.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I’m glad you know what you want and just keep standing that front! I truly don’t understand the pressure for women to have kids. People are just asking us to resent kids and hate our lives when we are forced into something we DO NOT WANT. Keep on going, friend! xx

  • Judy Ridgway says:

    It is so amazing to meet another woman who shares my same mind set! It seems women who are childless by choice are out numbered by women and men who have kids for the wrong reasons. I married a man who has multiple kids with multiple women for the wrong reasons and have suffered the burden of paying for his mistakes financially as well as emotionally. I will not go on about the “masses”. I appreciate so much that you are bold enough to stand up and live you by your values and what you want for yourself and your marriage. I am so happy I never had kids. I have hot rods, play a number of sports, competed in fitness, sustained a gigantic circle of close awesome friends, travel, have a career I love, made a difference to many dog owners when I was an advance obedience instructor for 9 years in Hawaii (that’s where I’m from Oahu) and I continue to learn and practice yoga and taking care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. My life is wonderful despite being surrounded by people who are negative and aren’t happy with their own lives. I would love to be friends with you. Most of my girlfriends have kids and do not share the same mind set as me. Feel free to email me if you want to have a new friend that will enrich your life with my friendship. Aloha!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I’ll keep you in mind! I’m planning a group travel trip next year so if you follow me on Instagram, I’ll announce it there and if it works out, would love for you to come! Great way to meet like-minded folks like me and just genuine friendships.

    • Nina says:

      Love the article. Same here. My boyfriend and I have been happy together for 15 years. We don`t want to get married and don`t want children. It is really hard for us because all our friends are having children and we kind of lost people to hang out and talk with. I would really like to talk with someone who has the same mind. I live in in small country in europe and I dont know many people withouth children. :-)

  • Michi says:

    This is an awesome article and thanksss so much for writing it and posting it online! I know how much courage it takes to stand up against the majority mindset of today’s society (being kids oriented) as my husband & i were also constantly being bombarded with similar questions…but to be honest, it’s much tougher on the ladies/ women’s side as the general public usually questioning us women as if it’s our fertility issue causing our decision.

    My husband and I had known each other since younger times…as we became a couple together throughout our university student years until now…17yrs and ongoing..soon to be two decades (wow it sounds so much longer in duration than it actually feels…feels just like yesterday!)

    So I’m 37yrs old this year, he’s going to be 40yrs old and we are childfree by choice eversince Day One we are together we’ve decided but people keep asking me every now & then why don’t we have kids.

    One funny incident whereby the cab/ taxi (depending which country u r from shall be addressing it accordingly) driver openly commented on me,’if only u have kids back then, they will probably be all grown up to a teenager by now…what were u thinking wasting all those years just being in a relationship without kids??’ I feel it’s funny bcos of his presumption to think this way.

    Then I’ve encountered some of them sharing their worries/ challenges facing with their kids and I’m patiently listening to them but the next unexpectedly thing is they quipped,’Why don’t u have kids yet?’ I mean they were all upset with their current life having kids issue but the next minute they are trying to convince me to have kids of my own…It feels like a trap to me and I’m of course not convince at all!

    There were also other instances whereby some unknown shop owner that I went for more than two visits actually told me,’your husband and u look great together…why don’t u have kids? I wonder how they would be…really look forward to it..’ so I became dumbfounded…should I take this as a compliment or what? Oh dear…

    And the list goes on…what I hope to share is…everyone around us will be doubtful on our childfree decision especially when this is a lifepath that many other people didn’t choose to do it (let go the conventional mindset to have kids as their life mission…no offence but this isn’t my life mission so they should respect it as much as I respect theirs,right?), or didn’t have the chance to choose on their own (probably they were forced to have kids??)..but we did it our way. So it’s really our lives with our lifetime partner that matters most and we should not second-guess our decision once we’ve decided.

    I’ve seen many people just have kids thinking to mend their broken marriage but ended up it’s still broken anyway, bcos that isn’t the root cause to their marriage tearing apart. I too seen many friends having divorced but the poor kids were now broken families and both parents pushing away responsibilities who to raise them or (equally unhealthy environment & emotional for the kids) some even fighting over who to raise them!

    There’s this genius way (at least I felt it was genius the first time I hear it being articulated this way!) of saying…kids/ children are actually the third party of a marriage, and it’s so true! The fact that the kiddo is the birth result of two persons doesn’t erase the fact that the child wasn’t part of the marriage. Two person if truly loved each other didn’t begin the marriage just to have kids! (of course some marriage may have other reasons to it…married for the sake of having kids to expand business relations, family tree whatsoever) but generally modern world people we don’t..we marry for love. So once pops out a baby, the life or entire lifestyle would be so different altogether and readjustment is needed. Any wrong move would put the marriage at stakes!

    Also, some having kids as their retirement plan…meaning they grow old and then wanting their kids to tend to the parents needs. How cruel is that?! I mean the minute the baby is born is to bear all the worldly responsibilities…how about the child’s real dream for his/ her life? That’s rather sad, don’t u think?

    One ex-colleague of mine was ever so determine to have kids, regardless of her problematic health condition actually told me,’Michi, I feel incomplete without kids…there’s just no family for me & my husband…’ and I was confused with,’ what do u mean? U and your husband, aren’t u guys a family the minute u were married together?’

    OMG…It just makes me wonder what’s wrong with today’s world. They may think we, the childfree community, is totally weird but I personally felt some other them are even weirdest than we could ever imagine.

    My husband and I get to maximize our time as we are currently having and continuously expanding our business together, while we also get to travel as much as we want, and to be honest I can’t imagine myself being a mother and not having any inclination to be one. Now I’m just waiting for my age to past 40yrs whereby everyone would finally realized I really meant what Ive been saying all this while and pls won’t ever ask me again and again as it’s an irreversible choice of our own.

    We pick what we love and we love what we pick! : )

    P.S. Hope u didn’t mind i wrote a little longer than I thought I would…but I’m so excited to find this online article with many wonderful people sharing similar wavelengths together. Let’s encourage each other as we are still in minority but I believe the power lies in our beliefs & love for our other half.

    *Pls edit out whichever you may find it lengthy as this is your online space and I would definitely understand your decision if you have to.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I’m not going to edit out this comment because I love every single point you made. Thank you for writing and it was very enlightening to read and I agree with you on sooo many points! I say a lot of what you say all the time too. Glad we are like-minded!

  • Ageleke Zapis says:

    I loved this article. I don’t know why we, childless women, always feel we need to defend our choice. We don’t ask women who have many children to explain their reasoning behind it so why do people think it’s okay to question our decision.

    You really touched on all the experiences we deal with on a daily basis. Bottom line, we need to be more supportive of one another whether we have children or not. No one knows the story behind the decision and it doesn’t matter. Like you, I’m happy with where my life is today. Thanks for sharing.

  • Alisha says:

    I agree. I don’t think it is anybody’s right to ask childfree people all these questions. It’s really none of their business. What really upsets me is when they say “You won’t know what true love is until you have a child.” This is condescending especially for the women who wanted to have kids, but struggled with conceiving them and that is personal. They don’t have to share that. We don’t ask parents why they decided to have their children, they shouldn’t be asking those who are childfree why they didn’t.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Omg, I hate that the double standard that it is soooo offensive to ask parents why they had children and yet they feel they can always ask others why they don’t have children. I also really dislike the “you won’t know what true love is until you have had a child.” That’s total bullshit. True love means different things to different people. I’m glad parents think true love is children but true love for me is loving life and my dog.

  • Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this article! I couldn’t agree more!

  • Kat says:

    As a mother of three (ages 17, 14 and 10) and a person who dreamed of being a mother since I was a very young girl, I sooooo appreciate this post! Parenthood is one of the hardest jobs there is. I don’t understand why people push others on this topic? Parenthood is emotionally, financially and physically draining. My children are a blessing to me, but I decided to be a parent with my eyes wide open. The world is changing quickly, I don’t know that today I would choose to bring children in to the world for the fear of their future. I thank you for your honesty and candor. This is a question I avoid with friends and acquaintances because it’s none of my business and like several have stated the couple could be struggling with infertility or secondary infertility. Thank you again!

  • L says:

    I never wanted children. Never was particularly “domestically inclined.” I never played with baby dolls, never wanted an easy bake oven or one of those little mini kitchens that some of my friends had though I did enjoy it when those friends baked me little mini cakes…anyway – there are many reasons now that I am glad I don’t have kids but it all started when I was little, just never had that maternal thing. I have dogs, cats & horses and that’s all the “taking care of things” that I require. I have never regretted it. When I get old, I’ll deal with it, I don’t want anyone taking care of me anyway.

  • Laura says:

    Thank you for shedding light on how painful society’s questioning is to couples struggling with infertility. My partner and I choose not to have children, but I have many friends devastated by infertility. Yet they, just as myself, are asked daily when they’re having children. While I feel annoyed by the question, they feel, as you stated, salt in the wound.

  • Vanna says:

    Thank for writing this. I’ve been feeling so lost lately about my choice to be child free. All my friends and family are having children now and although I love them dearly I dont want one for myself and neither does my husband. We are feeling left out, like our lives/problems/worries are less important now and our friends are sticking with their other friends that have children and it is definitely a confusing time. I wonder if anyone else feels the same.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I hear you. I think the reason why friends stick with other friends that have children is simply for the fact that their kids can play together and also the fact that they probably think you and your husband don’t want to be around kids since you are child-free. My suggestion is to simply tell them that you don’t hate kids, and more specifically, you want to still hang out with them and definitely don’t mind kids being there. I think it’s just natural that parents with kids stick with other parents with kids b/c they assume it’s just b/c of the kid factor but if you let them know, they may understand.

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