Women's Health: Postpartum Community
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Avatar universal

Why have children? Help me understand.

I am hoping you ladies can help me understand the desire to have a child.  I have never felt that yearning for a child.  Never wanted the responsibility.  I also want to say that I have never been pregnant and avoided it like the plague.  I have had men break up with me when they realized that I didn't want children and I didn't blame them for doing that.  I understood that I was different and would never want to keep someone from procreating if that's what they really wanted.

I have watched 50 yr old women get IVF to become first time moms.  I've seen women go through several miscarriages in the hopes that one will last and result in a baby.  To me, this seems like a lot of work and stress on a woman's body.  You have to really want this so badly to go through these things.

You all talk about your pregnancies and children with such enthusiasm.  Is it something that you one day just "had to have" or at a certain age suddenly felt this urge?  I know this post will sound strange to some of you, and I am not trying to be disrespectful, but I have always wondered about this side of myself and why I am so different from most people in this respect.  I honestly have no maternal instincts whatsoever.

Thanks in advance to those who answer.  

46 Responses
165078 tn?1255606407
some women just are not maternal - do you love having your neices and nephews around?  or friends babies?  My sister is not maternal at all - in fact she will say "I am way to selfish to have children".  She loves my dd to death and spoils her rotton but happily hands her right back to me when she is done playing with her.

Not all women want children.  In fact many women who have children don't want them which makes a lot of sheltered kids.  It is great that you know and avoid having them.

No there is nothing wrong with you.  Enjoy your time - Travel :)
172023 tn?1334672284
At least you're honest about your feelings!

Sometimes its something that just hits you.  My kids just seemed to happen to me, I never had to consciously try.  I love them, don't get me wrong...but I never had a burning, overwhelming desire for children.

Some people don't want children until they are approaching the end of their childbearing years, and then get panicky that they may never be able to have them.  Others seem to know they want children from a young age.

Many times, I wonder if its a yearning for a baby, or for a child.  Baby yearning is very common, but people seem to be lost after babyhood is over and the yearning for another "baby" starts again.

167 tn?1374173817
I knew by the time I was 4 or 5 that I wanted to be a Mommy (: When I played house, I was always pregnant and had a baby! I could not wait to feel that love...the love a parent feels for a child, to raise good children and experience my family, around the table, family activities, fun, etc...there is nothing more important to me than family.

Some people don't want that, and it's okay! I admire you for being able to express that and be okay with it. I just read an article the other day, that couples who don't have children are on average happier than couples who do. I was really surprised by that article. The article stated that people have children nowadays for emotional reasons. It makes sense...but in the defense of individuals (such as myself) that chose to have children, there is nothing like the love you feel for a child. I cannot even describe it! To me, that is priceless and something I cannot ever imagine not feeling. But if you feel like you can happily live your life without that and without the experience of being a mother, then there is nothing wrong with that. I would travel too! Oh, and have a clean house and actually be able to shop for MYSELF (:
Avatar universal
thanks for writing.  Cantwaitforbaby, I'm like your sister.  I do love my neices/nephews and friends children but I happily give them back after a few hours.  One of my friends had a little daughter, and as a baby, she was so good.  We could make her laugh by doing stupid faces and I thought that was cool. Plus, she hugged me and that was cute. She's still a unique child and I like talking to her.  

Peek, I know what you're saying.  I've heard women say they didn't mean to get pregnant, it just happened and there were the kids.   I've never even had that baby yearning, the feeling of something growing inside me is scary.  

I just wonder if for some women it's a strong desire or urge and I never got that gene.
145992 tn?1341345074
It's hard to say what that feeling is.  I waited until 30 to have my first child.  I knew I wanted children but I didn't want them when I was young because I was having way too much fun on my own.  I wanted to go out and hang out with friends and go on vacation.  A lot of it had to do with not meeting a man that I could even remotely think of having children with, as well.  I wasn't the type of woman who yearned for a baby so much that I would just have a child with anyone.  When I found someone who I fell deep in love with and I knew that I could be with him for how ever long we lasted on this earth...lol....then I said ok, I'm ready for that next step.  I was with him for 4 years before our son was born so we had that alone time as well.  I loved children, I've always loved them.  I would see my friends having them and I loved being around them and watching them grow.  It's just a feeling.  Some women don't have that feeling and that's ok.  At least you know that and didn't procreate just because it felt like it was the "normal" thing to do.  Then you would have children and not really appreciate what it is to be a mother.  It's hard, don't get me wrong, it's stressful, it's tiring, it's constantly going with no time to sit and relax.  It's the hardest thing you will ever have to do but when you look into your child's eyes and you see yourself and you see the unconditional love that they have for you and you for them...it's all worth it.
171768 tn?1324230099
the Today Show is showing a segment on this as i type...
Avatar universal
Thanks for the insight.  That's what I mean by people knowing at a young age that children and family were a necessity.  I think I played with dolls b/c that's the type of presents I got.  I remember getting an ironing board and easy bake oven for Christmas.  I also liked bugs and would put dead ones in my stoller.  I was kind of weird :o(
Avatar universal
I, like cantwait4baby, have 2 sisters who feel exactly like you. Neither one had "maternal instincts" and NEVER wanted or had any kids. One of my sisters loved being around the nieces and nephews, the other, did not have any patience whatsoever.

I truly believe my sisters made very wise choices not to have kids, because if they had, they probably would have been the type to either neglect or abuse them. I know that sounds harsh, but lets face it, we're not all meant to be mothers and they both realized it very early on and prevented it.

I, on the other hand, always wanted kids.
Avatar universal
Mami & Wannabenana, thanks for your thoughts.  I think I would have resented a child and somehow I knew this about myself.  

It's interesting to me that many women seem to understand that some  women are not "mother material" but I've known men who just think there is something terribly wrong with me.  I've heard men say "All women want children, that's how they are built" and I would roll my eyes and put those men in the cavemen category of my brain.  My ex thought I was a freak b/c I didn't want kids.  My current guy accepts it about me but I think he would like a child to carry on his name but it will never happen with me.
167 tn?1374173817
Too funny...not weird! That is who you were/are! I actually enjoyed playing with all of those things, too (: Bugs, frogs, turtles, you name it! But that maternal instinct was very, very strong. I do envy you a bit though, for being able to do/see/experience everything that I have had to put aside to raise my children. I envy anyone who doesn't have the constant worry a parent has that their child is okay. I wouldn't give up that love for anything, but it does add worry and changes you in so many ways, both good and bad. So, get out there and experience everything!! (:
165078 tn?1255606407
PS.  I was like the other always pregnant as a child playing house.  My barbies were always pregnant and I always had 10 babies in bed with me.  I also would love to visit all my mom's friends who had babies.  Meanwhile my sister who was 3 years older then me wanted to watch TV or ride her bike or just play in the park.  

My dd plays with dollbabies now and she is only 1.  It is cute until she gets mad at them and slams them to the ground. haha

Still not sure what direction she is going in.  haha

Good LUck - like one of the other posters said - Enjoy your clean house that is what I miss about being childless - CONTROL.  I no longer have it but I do love my life now.  
145992 tn?1341345074
cantwait - I was the same.  I even would make a fake pregnancy pillow out of a baby doll sleeping bag and blankies.  I would put it under my shirt and play like I was pregnant.  My barbies were always pregnant also.  I remember when they came out with the heart family doll where the mommy had a pregnancy shirt and she had a baby.  It sounds weird and it probably scared the heck out of my mom who thought for sure I would be a knocked up teenager.  But I was smarter than that but I was obsessed with pregnancy.  I guess I always thought it was beautiful.

mayflowers - my cousin is 16 and just recently said she never wants to have kids.  She loves children and loves my son but she said she can't see herself ever wanting children.  Some women want them and some don't.  Not everyone has the patience to deal with them.  Like jenshim said, the worry is mind numbing.  I worry about every and anything.  It's so scary being a parent and constantly being controlled by the very thought of something happening to them.  Some people are not built for it.
165078 tn?1255606407
That is my life now WORRY - I have tons of pictures of my life from the age of 25 - 30 when I traveled, bought a house, had lots of fun with friends.  I have them in a collage on my wall and I was in such good shape and so happy but all along all I ever wanted was a family.

Now that i have my little girl all the pictures of me I hate because I still have weight on and all I do is worry worry worry.  I make up things in my head it is crazy.  Yesterday she was playing out front with me and I had this thought that a car would come down my street jump the curb and hit her so I took her around back.  I am NUTS!  (mind you that really did happen in my neighborhood about 3 years ago but killed the mom baby was fine) so I guess that is where that came from.  

I am happier then I have ever been but worry more then I could have ever imagined.  

The Heart Family - I remember them - they had the twin boy girl babies - I had their little car with the two car seats in the back.  I still know exactly what they looked like.  Lets not forget skipper who never got to have a boyfriend because they did not make young boy barbies back then just Ken.  Now there are TONS I cant wait to play again with dd.  haha
145992 tn?1341345074
Haha, I also think about cars jumping curbs.  Here in New York like 3 cars did that in one day in 3 different areas.  I'm also afraid of a freakin crain falling onto my head with all the dang construction and faulty equipment.  I guess I'm a psycho nut case as well.  Guess it comes with the territory.  You should see me when we get into the car, my nails get stuck in the arm rests because I'm on pins and needles watching cars coming in and out of lanes.  UGH!!!

Yes, poor underdeveloped skipper.  She did have a tough time....lol.
127124 tn?1326735435
My sister has no maternal instincts.    She has one child but it happened because of failed bc.    I know another person that has no desire for children.    I've always known I wanted children.    I still have the baby yearning but don't want another child.    I don't think there is
anything wierd about you not wanting kids.
151668 tn?1239921105
I know a LOT of people who don't want kids...whether it's because they're more focused on their career, traveling the world, or just plain hate the idea of taking care of another human being for 18 years! LOL

Then again, I know people who were exactly like you, who SWORE they'd never have kids, who ended up having at least one. They were a bit older, and I believe it's like someone else said, they realized their biological clock was ticking and figured they didn't want to miss the chance while they had it.
Turns out, they didn't resent the kids at all!

I say to each his own. If you don't want kids, don't have them. They'll only make you miserable and resentful, and they ARE a lot of hard work and responsibility! There are days when I miss my "single" life when I could just run to the store without having to strap in a one year old and drag him with me. But I wouldn't trade him for the world. The good definitely outweighs the bad when raising children.
165078 tn?1255606407
See - not having materal instincs is perfectly normal just as being a super nut crazy psyco mom that thinks the whole world is out to hurt her babies is. haha

One or the other I guess.  My sister told me she is so glad I am having babies because now my parents get to be grandparents.  haha She is a nut.
159354 tn?1286367688
I always knew I wanted children.  Always had that deep desire.

Then one day it changed and for years I swore I'd never have children.  I helped my single father brother raise his son and it left such a bitter taste in my mouth.  

Of course that situation was all wrong.  A brother and sister can't raise a child together.  It was horrible and almost put a permanent rift between my brother and I.

Well, I moved away (across country) to find myself again.  And with 2 years, after being Deanne....it all came flooding back.

I think it's fabulous for you to stand up and say....I don't want children, don't have that deep desire.  Don't have any desire really.  Not many people can say that and find themselves in situations that are not good for them or the children.

I bet, however that if mommyhood would present itself to you....You'd do wonderful!

Mommyhood is so exhausting but so so rewarding....I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  My children bring me the most joy (except last night between 12midnight and 3am - teething) I could ever imagine.
145992 tn?1341345074
Dealing with the teething also, 11 pm, next waking 1 am - daddy had to take the baby out of the room so mommy could get some sleep.  It's the worst.
167 tn?1374173817
LOL...Deanne, I was up with you! Brody is working on his top teeth also, and had us up from about 3 am on...I had to get up at 6 am for work. Great fun! What was rewarding about our middle of the night fuss session was that once he finally settled in, it was for a book that I was reading him and then we cuddled and had some special mommy son time just the two of us...in our quiet house. (:

I also have to giggle about Skipper. I had forgotten about her! :D Oh, and my Barbies were always pregnant too, but not before they did it with Ken! LOL...
159354 tn?1286367688
I left the house because I was afraid he'd wake Abby.  I took Jake and went to a 24hr McDonalds for coffee....

Never go to McDonalds at 2am.  It was me with a baby, and a car full of thugs....LOL

Wouldn't you know...the minute I get him home....the other one wakes up from hearing the garage door....I can't win.
159354 tn?1286367688
LOL - I don't know about you but these boys act like such babies (LOL) about getting teeth.  Jake was just freaking out.

His face was soaking wet for tears and snot....Throwing his head back....Yelling.

My DD never made a peep....We are so tough...us chicks!
218870 tn?1240255655
I dont think that you are so "different" from other women in your desire to not have children.  I think a lot of people have the same desires but get talked into it by partners, parents...or have failed birth control.  I think that you are a very strong person to stand by your decisions and, knowing your feelings, you took the appropriate measures to make sure you got what you want.  That is a very strong quality of a role model (whether it be about having babies or anything else in your life).  Like it or not, we are all role models to someone so make sure that strong quality gets passed along.
Avatar universal
I feel better now ;o)  I just wanted to understand what was missing in me.  My siblings all have kids and they  think I'm selfish.  I just couldn't jump on the baby bandwagon to make them happy.  For me, it's not my career, I actually hate having to work, it's just the responsibility and committment that scares me.  But I always wondered if I had an instinct or desire,  I would have pushed through my fears, the way that people do when they go sky-diving, to get a baby.

The one benefit I see to having a child is that you learn a lot b/c you have to help with homework and keep up with technology.  And, you get an insiders view of human nature that childless people will never get.  My mom can still get me to do stuff for her and I have no idea how she does it.  She does this with sales people too.  

Right before I had my hysterectomy at 44, I thought well, now I will certainly never have children.  It bothered me for about a week but then, I was ok with it.  Maybe it's meant to be that I never had a child?  

I'm glad to know that feeling this way can be normal too.  Thanks to all who responded to my post.  I really appreciate you taking the time and sharing your views ;o)
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