Judged for being childless

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  • Hi there.

    Just wondering if any other women have experienced annoying reactions from other women (or men) when you tell them that you don't want children.

    I knew from when I was quite young that I didn't want kids. I have nieces and nephews whom I adore and many of my friends now have children. I love children but have no desire to have any of my own.

    On several occasions now when I have met new people and the topic of kids has come up I have encountered some quite judgemental reactions. Especially from people (women in particular) who do have children. People seem to think they have a god given right to question my decision, or even more annoyingly, patronise me or judge my relationships with comments like 'you'll change your mind when you meet the right man'.

    I no longer try to explain myself as I shouldn't have to. My response to anyone now who asks me why I don't want children is 'why did you want them?'. Their reply is usually that it was their natural instinct to which I can then say that's my reason too.

    I had a conversation with a colleague about this recently and she asked if I was worried that I'd have no one to take care of me when I'm old. I can't think of a more selfish reason to have a child.

    Sorry about the rant but it really really gets to me. Not a child-hating witch, I just don't want children!!! Aaaaaaargh!

    Thanks for listening chaps. Hope you are all well and happy xxx

  • Hi Babs 80 - I'm similar to you in that I knew I didn't want kids from a young age. I'm a couple of years away from 40 now and my feelings never wavered. I don't dislike children but I've just never felt compelled to reproduce.


    There have been numerous times when friends/work colleagues have asked when my partner and I will have kids or they've said things like "don't worry, it'll be your turn next....". When I say I don't want kids some people have acted like I've mortally wounded them, one close friend with kids didn't speak to me for nearly 3 years and I've ended up in numerous situations where I've been pressured to argue my point as to why I don't want children. One 'friend' told me it was really selfish not to have children which is an utterly bizarre comment. Luckily my partner doesn't want kids either so it's never been an issue for us, it just seems to be a problem for other people. Sometimes if my partner can't be arsed to argue he'll shut down the discussion straight away by saying that we can't have kids but this annoys me a little bit as I don't see why we should lie about it.

  • To be honest , in this day and age , its a responsible thing to do,not to have children , and adopt if you would like children . Why should you have to justify your actions over such a thing anyway ! Having children is an off the scale commitment in time , money and nerve endings , how ever big the rewards . We no longer live in an age where we reley on our off spring to look after us in our old age . If friends are judging you on this , they are not really friends .

  • It works both ways.When after years of gadding about spliff in one hand beer in the other:D i developed a bump,several "friends" quietly sidled off.I had become a" no fun,no weed, no party person" without being told. very That hurt me deeply.Even now ,many years later those persons never returned.I then wondered about whether they were even real friendships at all or I was simply the fool who taxied the drunks and turned up with wine at 3am when a "friend "was bereft for some reason.Before the bump hatched I became terrified and sad ,not about birth ,but about bringing a soul into the world that was changing before my eyes,for the worst.I was also giving that soul a moral obligation/burden ,intended or not,to be there and care about me.I love my hatchling totally and would do anything to aid comfort and happieness on this planet.Sometimes I see lone older females and think how comfy they must feel not having that feeling of ,how i can see a child is cared for and happy in their future when i am gone.However,heres a truthful "get lost".. line for you if you get aggro,.....Reproduction is simply an egocentric procreation species drive."or "im doing my bit for the planets future"..both very true.:D

  • I never wanted kids, then found out I couldn’t have any in my mid 30s, which made me start to want them. I went through a couple of years when a young child with its mother in tow would make me cry. I felt like I was being forced by biology to miss out on a vital part of womanhood, whatever that means.


    Now I am back to being cool with having no children, I am way past it anyway.

  • We've never ever wanted kids, and nearly 40 years together. We've had the same remarks made too, from time to time. Some relatives seem to think you have to reproduce to give them something to coo over, and some folks are just plain darned envious that you seem to have more freedom if you have no kids.


    So far as looking after you in old age is concerned, mostly I hear complaints from friends with kids that they are getting asked for money every time things get a little tough for the now-grown-up kids, or the 'kids' some of whom are in their late twenties and thirties, keep coming back to the family household to live on their parents every now and then. One couple I know down-sized their house to a one-bedroom bungalow to prevent this happening.


    Friends also complain when they get several grandkids dumped on them, sometimes for days or a week at a time, with no money provided for keeping them, either. I don't like to say you shouldn't have had so many kids in the first place.

    Some kids are nice, of course, and visit mom and pop regular, and never even ask about the state of their bank account, and never leave the grandkids for more than a day at a time. Know just one or two like that.



    Philosophically, I wouldn't want to bring kids into this world, and think I was personally responsible for what they might have to endure. We've had the remarks about selfishness, too, occasionally. Pure envy, I think. I have pointed out that it is they, with several kids, that are selfish, because they are taking a lot more of the planet's resources than we are, and their progeny will continue to do so well into the future.

  • I'd forgotten about the envious angle until I read your post. Recently I had a friend who has two young children asking me if we were busy. It took me a moment to realise he was referring to our child free life.


    I live in a terrace house and on one side there is a couple with a young baby that cries alot (as they tend to do) and on the other side is a house with 3 youngish children who we can hear shouting and slamming doors. My partner and I just quietly chuckle to ourselves as we go to open a bottle of wine.

  • I'm a Mum with grown up children.If I'm talking to someone and they tell me they don't have kids,I usually reply with "Wow lucky hey?You must have a very peaceful life"!;)

  • Well me and probably very many others happen to think you are an abnormally beautiful person Vanwoman.:D

    Why thank you!

    To be honest I didn't really care what the doctor thought. I wanted to be sterilised but he wouldn't allow it, saying I would change my mind and regret it.

    Not so far, that was decades ago!

  • There seems to be this social construct within society where you are just expected to have them, in order to meet another 'milestone' in life. I remember telling one person that I did not want any and they looked at me as if I had just farted in their ancestors hats or something. People should just respect other peoples choices. :wall:

  • I dont mind kids,though wouldnt eat a whole one !!!!!


    I love tranquility and fresh air and the idea of living in a small space with a screaming little shit machine has never appealed to me :vomit:


  • It might just be me but IMO a lot kids nowadays are obnoxious little shits and mummys little darling can really ruin the solace of supping a pint in a country pub. Jnr seems to scare them into keeping their distance or maybe it's my sunny disposition which causes parents to usher their rugrats away but whichever, I prefer dogs. Less bother.

  • It might just be me but IMO a lot kids nowadays are obnoxious little shits and mummys little darling can really ruin the solace of supping a pint in a country pub. Jnr seems to scare them into keeping their distance or maybe it's my sunny disposition which causes parents to usher their rugrats away but whichever, I prefer dogs. Less bother.

    I wonder what you were like as a kid?....an obnoxious little shit...or mummys little darling?^^

  • I wonder what you were like as a kid?....an obnoxious little shit...or mummys little darling?^^

    At home a slap up the ear or the back of the legs caused me to behave. I was taught respect for adults and having met loads of OAPs from WW1 and those from WW2, times were different. I've no memories of kids playing up in working mens clubs, you just didn't.

  • We all were one once.What would i do if given the choice ,,,before birth,...between arriving here as the result of procreation?I would have chosen not to arrive with the appalling people who had me for sure and I see around me every day people trailing jkds they do not seem to want nor care about.I also know women who had kids just to escape their family and get a flat.Maybe there should be a ruling that all persons with the will and ability to procreate should have a 6 month induction and self assessment of ability.That will reduce the population by 80%:DI see it as bizarre that people go through hell and mega bucks for IVF when so many little ones are wanting a home and parents so desperately.I did try to adopt many years ago but was told my nomadic lifestyle was "unsuitable",a bitter pill seeing how other children were raised and by whom.Children are born heroin addicts,pregnant women smoking and drinking.A good friend of my child is a lovely lad but he had foetal alcohol syndrome.As a consequence his life is now marred by his problems due directly to that.Parent selection via government though is very dubious ground.The persons who choose not to have kids should be given an incentive....all the money one child costs to raise up to independence,That would also see a population drop.:DThe planet is finite.

  • We all were one once.What would i do if given the choice ,,,before birth,...between arriving here as the result of procreation?I would have chosen not to arrive with the appalling people who had me for sure and I see around me every day people trailing jkds they do not seem to want nor care about.I also know women who had kids just to escape their family and get a flat.Maybe there should be a ruling that all persons with the will and ability to procreate should have a 6 month induction and self assessment of ability.That will reduce the population by 80%:DI see it as bizarre that people go through hell and mega bucks for IVF when so many little ones are wanting a home and parents so desperately.I did try to adopt many years ago but was told my nomadic lifestyle was "unsuitable",a bitter pill seeing how other children were raised and by whom.Children are born heroin addicts,pregnant women smoking and drinking.A good friend of my child is a lovely lad but he had foetal alcohol syndrome.As a consequence his life is now marred by his problems due directly to that.Parent selection via government though is very dubious ground.The persons who choose not to have kids should be given an incentive....all the money one child costs to raise up to independence,That would also see a population drop.:DThe planet is finite.

    Just another example of an unconnected govt seeking to tell us all how things should be. I know good people who were desperate to be parents, but were turned down for adoption for stupid (imho) reasons by authorities who would rather see these children in transit homes and hostels, than getting a chance of being accepted into a family. I know there are no guarantees of happiness, but that works for both parties, and can also be true in "real" families. Surely in this fucked up world these poor kids deserve a chance.

  • Thank you all for the replies. It's reassuring to hear that it's not just me who has encountered these sorts of judgmental comments.

    I'm one of five and I've watched my poor mother live in a constant state of worry as at least one of us always seems to be experiencing some sort of financial/romantic/health problems which seem to distress her much more than it does any of us. I also see my siblings in the same boat with their kids. I certainly wont be signing up for any of that worry even though I'm always being told by friends and colleagues that at the ripe old age of 38 I 'need to get cracking before it's too late' lol.

    Thanks again for your comments x

  • I love The Oatmeal. ?


    Try not to worry what people think or say, Babs, it isn't easy to do always, but they really don't stop to realise how terrible they are being.


    I lost a son when he was just ten years old. The amount of folk - including a doctor! - who thought they were being helpful/supportive by telling me that I was still young enough to have another child, really opened my eyes to the fact that peoples' mouths and brains don't connect as often as you may think.