Monday, March 19, 2012

True Story: I'm Childless By Choice


This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/amazing/challenging things.  This is the story of Audi and her choice not to have children. 
I know that family and child-rearing can be an emotionally charged topic; please keep all comments respectful.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Audi and I’m 42 years old. I live in San Francisco with my husband, 2 dogs, and a Chuckwalla lizard. I’m a scientist in the biotech industry, and among other things I make hats, brew beer, travel, and attend all sorts of interesting events in my beautiful city.

How old were you when you decided you didn't want children? 
I’ve pretty much always known. I remember at about 8 or 9 years of age thinking about what my life would be like as an adult. I always pictured myself as a professional career woman, but never as a mom. I never played with baby dolls or dreamed up names for my future kids. In fact, I didn’t even really enjoy the company of other kids all that much. When I was in my late teens or early twenties I started actively thinking about getting a tubal ligation because even then I was very sure I didn’t want children.

What lead to your decision to be child-free?
There were a few times when I thought my ex-husband was going to eventually win out and get me to agree to starting a family; primarily I thought this because I figured I wouldn’t be able to save our relationship if I didn’t. But ultimately I had to make the decision to let come what may with the relationship and stay true to my own needs and desires. Our relationship might have survived, but it was a huge learning process and ultimately led to me realizing that if we didn’t agree on something as fundamental as children, then it wasn’t the right match to begin with. He might have been the right person to have a relationship with, but not the right one for a lifetime commitment. Big difference.

How have the people in your life responded to your decision?
I remember my mom once telling me that she felt she’d failed as a parent because I didn’t want kids, and at the time that hurt a lot. But she’s since come to accept my decision and is incredibly supportive now, as are the rest of my family and friends. But it has obviously been an evolution; people are much less likely to take you seriously if you’re saying you don’t want kids at age 22, but now at 42 I think most people are as convinced as I am that my mind won’t ever change.

And that’s really what it comes down to; the people who care about you don’t want to see you make a decision you’ll later regret. Most people that I talk to about it now (parents especially) tell me how lucky I am to have such certainly about it. My good fortune is not lost on me either; I’m deeply grateful for the clarity with which I’ve known that children weren’t for me. It makes everything so much easier.


What steps have you taken to remain child-free?
At 35, after many years of dealing with various forms of hormonal birth control, I had a tubal ligation. I first asked my doctor for one at age 22, and was told he wouldn’t even consider it until I was at least 30. At 30 I discussed it with a few different doctors and was again denied; one even told me I would need my then-husband’s written permission to get one. And while I understand that women who proclaim not to want children often later change their minds, it was still infuriating that I had to wait so long and advocate so vehemently for a choice that was 100% my own. However, the past is the past; I got my tubal and I’ve never once felt the slightest pang of uncertainty or regret about it.  

How has your decision to be child-free affected your relationships - romantic and otherwise?
Romantically it was tough at times. When I was newly single at 36, I figured that men my age would feel the way I did, but I was shocked at how many still wanted and expected to have kids, even when dating women their own age. Eventually I met my husband online, which was a much easier way to screen out people who wanted or had kids.

Friendships have sometimes been tough; there have been several friends who I lost touch with when kids entered the picture. It would be one thing if I even remotely enjoyed being around children, but I just don’t. A couple times I came to the painful conclusion that the friendship wasn’t worth keeping if every time we got together I had to listen to hours of talk about preschool or daycare or soccer practice, and if I couldn’t talk about a trip abroad or a concert without getting a comment suggesting that my life was meaningless and selfish.

However, my friendships with other child-frees or people with older children have grown ever stronger, and I expect that some of the people my age who started families many years ago will eventually re-emerge and become interested in other things besides child-rearing. Relationships are always a process.

I'm sure there are some people who have told you won't feel fulfilled without children.  How do you respond to that?  And where do you find your feeling of family and community?
Yes, I’ve heard that a few times, primarily from people who don’t know me very well. It’s amazing the presumptions people make when it comes to the life choices of others. I’ve never taken that sort of comment seriously, and in fact I feel like it’s only someone whose life is incredibly unfulfilling who would say it in the first place.

It’s a narrow-minded person indeed who thinks the only way to fulfillment is reproduction. I’ve got a great husband and two beautiful dogs who fill my days with plenty of love and affection; I’ve got lots of amazing friends who I cherish and enjoy spending time with; I’ve got my parents and two sisters and extended family that I love deeply, and I’ve got a whole wonderful city full of interesting people that I can interact with every day. San Francisco is a great place to be child-free and I feel incredibly fortunate to be living here.


What advice would you give to others facing questions about their reproductive choices?
Probably the best advice I can give is to know yourself and stay true to your own wishes. Making the decision whether or not to have children is huge and life-changing; don’t do it lightly and don’t let anyone else do it for you. Once the decision is made then own it, don’t apologize for it, and don’t put up with people saying you should’ve done otherwise. Being happy with your choice is the surest way to convince others that you were right.

Are any of you childless by choice?  Or doubt that you'll have kids?

52 comments

  1. I have a medical condition that prevents me from having children. At the discovery of this the doctor said that if I ever wanted children we could skip whatever fertility tests/investigation that are called for and go straight for whatever artificial method was available. After being told I went through a period where I saw babies, children, pregnant women, strollers just about everywhere I looked. Plus I was at an age where all my friends (well, almost) were getting pregnant.

    Over time, however, the decision not to pursue any artificial means (or adoption) grew decisevely clearer. I was managing my health as a full-time job. Children would be too much. This decisioon has, too, caused some confusion aong friends and family. That there would be regret later, that I didn't know what I was missing out on. Inevtibly I came to view it as a choice. If I ever got healthier and the desire for a child grew, I'd know that I at one time made an, as informed decision as I could.

    I would hope that people would leave others and the life decisions they have made well-enough alone. Trying to talk anyone out of something rarely works.

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  2. Honestly, I just read the heading and had to comment. I saw the distinction drawn between childless and childfree not so long ago in a fairly mindless blog talking about celebs who they attempted to classify as one or the other, but besides that, the distinction got me thinking; childless may imply that one is still considering the possibility, or through no fault of their own can't have children, where as childfree is a conscious choice not to have them.
    I'm childfree. I have no qualms in saying that; I don't want children. And I'm lucky enough that I can make that choice.

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  3. Loved this post. I've also never wanted children (though some mistake not wanting them as disliking them, which isn't true). But still I get the line 'you'll change your mind'. I've been hearing this since I was 18, and now that I'm 30 I'm still hearing it. I'm not sure what age I need to be for people to just accept that not everyone's end goal is to have children.

    I commend you, and others like you, for making a choice.

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  4. When I was in high school, I'd tell my family and friends that I wasn't going to have children, and I'm really glad that I gave myself the space to imagine my life in that way. Now that I've hit 30, I feel an immense tug to have kids, even though I worry what life will look like on the other side.

    I really admire women like Audi and the commenters who know what they want and stick with it!

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  5. I feel really lucky to have a group of gal pals who are all older than me and childfree. While I keep myself open to the idea I may change my mind, at 28 having children has never been something I've really considered. In many ways, I think I'm too selfish, and there are too many things I want to do with my life. (Hell, it's hard enough leaving town for 10 days with 2 cats!) That being said, my partner and I have two wonderful fur-babies who we love immensely. One of our girlfriends had a baby a year ago, and we're quite fond of him, too. I'm lucky to know that if I changed my mind, my partner would be happy to have children, but he fully understands that it just isn't likely to happen.

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  6. Thank you for this article. I've recently had to have this conversation with my fiance, because I knew he had doubts about being childfree. We're getting married soon and I felt that we needed to have this discussion as I don't have maternal feelings, don't like children and don't want them. Never have and never will.

    There are so many people who expect you to start with kids after you've married (or even started living together), that society pushes you into motherhood.

    It's so normal to start with children, that I found it hard to state that I don't want children. Luckily I have a fiance who doesn't want children either, plus I've been saying this long enough that my family knows I'm serious about it.

    But still, at times it feels like a taboo.

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  7. When I was younger, I thought I would have kids. I dated a guy who was incredibly family-oriented and we did the whole pick out names game. Then I broke up with said guy for a number of reasons, but one (in hindsight) being that I felt smothered by the idea of "family family family" being the center of my world.

    I've since married a different man, someone with whom I discussed the question of having kids at an early point in the relationship. It's been a bit of a "waffle back and forth" with me at times, mainly as the whole "fulfillment" questions was floating around my brain. However, when being honest with myself, my vision of an ideal life for myself doesn't include having kids.

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  8. High five, Audi! I just had my tubal ligation last week, actually, after YEARS of asking if I could. I have known my whole life that parenting is not for me (though, obviously, hooray for everyone else who has babies!) and also was told by many doctors that there was no chance in hell I could be sterilized while in my childbearing years. I finally started going to a women's clinic that worked with me. I cried with relief when they told me I could simply make an appointment after talking it over with my partner. (I think it became more simple because I am older and in a stable, long-term relationship/marriage.)

    He and I are so pleased. A partner who genuinely didn't want children also was hard to find, I should mention, and I am so grateful that we both are on the same page.

    I see this as a fulfillment of one of my life choices and of my values. Some friends have reacted as though birth control is a better option because "why not keep my options open?" but keeping one's foot in the door when one knows what one wants is inactive life-living in my opinion. I wanted to *choose* and move along and not have phantom maybe-babies hovering. ;)

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  9. Oh wow, I needed this. I am childfree and 99% of the time very happy about it. I have a full life, a husband, pets etc. I do have friends and family with kids that I enjoy being around but there is a point when it is just too much for me. I don't have the patience and I don't want the responsibility. I want to travel, enjoy my relationship and have time to pursue things I enjoy.
    I have known since I was probably 11 or 12 that kids are NOT for me. The only thing that makes me sad about this situation is the way other women treat me. I work in a business that is mainly women and the majority of women are older than me, in their 40-50s. Some of the comments I have recieved-you'll regret it, you must be too immature to handle the responsibility, you better do something before you're too old etc and just the general questioning has been really hurtful. Because of that, I tend to avoid any conversations about children and that seems to leave me out of nearly everything.
    Overall, I'm ok but I just wish people would understand you don't have to have children because you're a woman-it's not your duty and it does not have to be your whole life. It's a choice and a very personal one. I wish others could respect it!

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  10. This is a great interview and having children is something I go back and forth about. At the moment I'm okay with not having any children and don't see any in my near future. I still feel like there are so many things I need to do before I even consider kids and the fact that I'm not in a relationship or met a man I want to procreate with yet is a big contributing factor.

    If I were to have a kid it would have to be on my own terms and would be something I would do for me, not for a relationship.

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  11. Thank you thank you thank you! It's so refreshing and reassuring to see my own thoughts and feelings echoed by someone else! I don't want children - I never have. I know with certainty that it's just not the path for me. I respect others that can be mothers, and I don't try to talk them out of it, but I feel, more often than not, that they try and talk me out of my decision. I want to travel, go to concerts, plan adventures - that is the way I see my life going, but I find that this doesn't resonate with others around me. Again, thank you for this - it emboldens me that I am making the right decision.

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  12. Heck yes! I am childfree too, and can't even begin to imagine my life any other way. I just don't have that "mom instinct".

    I'd definitely get a tubal ligation, but I've heard the same thing, you have to be over thirty or they won't even talk to you about it. It seems like a strange thing for doctors to be deciding on behalf of fully grown adults.

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  13. Thank you for this.

    It shocks me that there is so much debate around this topic. Women who don't want children are so often seen as either hateful monsters or mothers "in the closet".

    It's such a complicated decision that I often just say "I hate kids" because it's much easier. I mean, I don't like being around children... that is true. But also, I wouldn't be able to handle that kind of stress and responsibility. I am sure to be the verbally abusive type. I would be like my own mother who just happens upon kids by accident and throws them in a corner until I'm not legally responsible for them anymore. I never learned how to really connect with people on a personal level, and I cant imagine denying a child something like that.

    But that's a super long answer so I say "I just hate children". Some may call me selfish, but who isn't? Isn't having a child incredibly selfish in its own rite? What's the difference? I want a less complicated life, and you want something cute to dress up and love you. Neither one is more selfish than the other.

    We've been pressing for a vasectomy (tubal sounds kind of invasive to me) but my SO is still too young at thirty. I seriously can't wait to get off of birth control. I feel like its ruined me. Destroyed my drive, changed my body, altered my state of mind. And after several years I learn that the effects can be permanent.

    From what I hear, the age demands of permanent sterilization go beyond just "changing your mind". I'm sure it effects us in a way, and probably comes with risks for people who are still technically growing.

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  14. I want to add that I'm actually not that free spirited! Reading comments on this subject on a lot of websites, it kind of creates an image of a childfree woman who is a strong career gal who goes on vacation and travels the world.

    I have to wonder if that particular image works against us as a whole, the way that the image of mothers is often the image of a frazzled woman barefoot in the kitchen covered in food might be considered a harmful stereotype? Perhaps this is the base of the debate all along?

    Surely there are other women like me who are actually homebodies who don't aspire to travel nor persue high class careers in lieu of being a "breeder"?

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    Replies
    1. That's me! not a career woman...just love having time to myself and time with my husband. being able to wake up on a Sunday and do nothing. or saying "lets go hiking!" and just doing it. i just don't have the drive or energy to devote every waking moment to another human being :/

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  15. "and if I couldn’t talk about a trip abroad or a concert without getting a comment suggesting that my life was meaningless and selfish. "
    Oh man, rough. I guess they've never thought of it from the other angle...the world is overpopulated, full of starving, mistreated, and unwanted children. Maybe it's selfish to bring another mouth into the world?

    People can be so rude sometimes.

    there's a good post on this (with several related posts) on APW: http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/08/reclaiming-wife-why-wife-mother-do-not-have-to-go-together-part-i/

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  16. Could the world be slowly changing though? I'm 36 and child-free, and have indeed but rarely faced the "you're not in the club" attitude from the moms. Life meant that I didn't have the opportunity (read: relationship) to pro-actively start a family, that I didn't take the chance/risk of a pregnancy from a one nighter for the sake of growing a human being of mine, and that so far I've been very fine with it. Does that make me a second class female? seriously? i believe it makes me a fully fledged, responsible adult. Who by the way pays with her taxes school for other people's kids.

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  17. My boyfriend and I have both never wanted children either. Many of our friends have been having kids for years and I consider myself the "cool aunt" to them. Two months ago boyfriend got a vasectomy, which was awesome for both of us. We're both 29. I'm thankful his brother and his wife both want kids, because they'll take over the role of producing grandchildren for the family now. ;o)

    I have only recently told friends that he had a vasectomy, wondering what they would think, and many of them without kids have been really curious and supportive of it because they were wanting the same thing but since it's not really a topic us girls always talk about they felt kind of alone. The friends of mine that do have kids have been really supportive, as well.

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  18. This is a rare blog post - Audi is speaking about a powerful choice. I can hear how clear and grateful she is for her life and how she can bravely ask the question that many would be scared to ask: "Can your life be fulfilled without children?". It seems for myself, I have been scared to take a long look at this questions and answer it truthfully. I think the answer is a resounding 'yes'.

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  19. Such a good topic!
    I made up my mind as a preteen and have never looked back. I know that if I ever get the urge and ability to care for a dependent human, there are plenty of kids who don't get adequate care and would love the stability of a parent who chose consciously to care for them (as opposed to dealing - or not dealing - with consequences the birth parents weren't prepared for).
    I've been shot down regarding sterilization many times due to my age (I am approaching 30) but my husband had little opposition from the medical field and was "fixed" a couple of years ago. It really drove home the double standard that exists regarding the our health care and culture.
    We have had pressure in the past from our parents to have kids, but we've never wavered and the comments stopped once we told them about the vasectomy. I've been told by strangers that childless women aren't trustworthy, etc. and it's infuriating. We all have our individual reasons for our choices, and if it's a decision we make instead of a concession, fewer people are hurt in the process.
    You have your 6 kids, and I'll have my 0. But damn it, you'd better be more committed than I am, and I'm certain.

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  20. Audi! Thank you for writing this.. I honestly might print it out and take it to my doctor.
    I have a genetic migraine condition/bleeding disorder, so any type of hormonal Birth Control makes my life even more of a living nightmare..plus the risks and side effects triple for me.
    I've been asking for a tubal for YEARS but I keep being vetoed with the 'you are not old enough'.
    It is infuriating to be denied something that should be my choice, especially because I want to make sure I don't pass on my condition to ANYONE.

    Thank you thank you thank you

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  21. Everyone's story is different, and I thank you for sharing yours. My entire life I have struggled with the issue of having kids, but fate had a way of making the decision for me. As far as I know, I am perfectly capable of bearing children, but just never got pregnant (thank God!). I look back and see that the relationships I have been in weren't right for having kids, and it's great that I never did have them so that those ties were broken completely for me to move on to a better relationship, which I have now. Fast forward to where I am today.. my husband had a vasectomy years before we met, so chances of a natural pregnancy for me are slim to none. As it so happened, a child that came into my brother's life became a foster child, so I took this as a sign to adopt. We just finalized the adoption and now I'm officially a "parent" although I have never had a biological child. How does this differ from being a "normal" parent or woman? Well, that's probably something I'll never really have the answer to, but I do know that it feels great to have saved a child from the system and created our version of a "family" in the process. :)

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  22. Great post! It is interesting to me that overpopulation and the environment weren't part of the decision.

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  23. Beautiful post. Props to you Audi! It infuriates me that women are refused a tubal litigation. My best friend from childhood never liked/wanted kids so even though I was that girl who grew up spending hours writing lists of names I wanted for my kids, I had her mature self-awareness to help me when it came time to be mature/realistic about my severe medical condition that would make having kids an irresponsible choice. So in November I had a partial hysterectomy and I don't regret it. I'll adopt or have a surrogate, fine by me!
    I applaud all childfree women who stick to their guns and stay true to their instincts - to not reproduce!

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  24. I think this was a great viewpoint - very open and honest which I appreciate. It seems to be a choice that more and more of us are making.
    That said, I am somewhat surprised at the tone of the answer about relationships and friendships - this really seemed to imply that her opinion is that people with kids cease to have gratifying careers, travel, love lives, etc. which has not been my experience at all, as friends have kids. I enjoy friendships with may women (and men) that have had kids and still seem to have a life and continue to be interesting, even post baby.

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  25. As a lesbian, I feel that I am not "expected" to procreate - but my partner and I do go back and forth about the idea of adoption. We have agreed to talk about it at 35 and see how we feel then.

    I applaud the choice to remain childless and do not feel at all like it means selfishness or a meaningless life.

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  26. Thank you so much for this article - at this point in my life I'm pretty sure I don't want to have children. I've still got plenty of time to change my mind (I'm 28) but at this point I really don't see myself having children in the future. It's so good to hear from someone else who's made that decision - some days it feels like I'm the only one around not making babies.

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  27. I'm childfree by choice. I love kids (I'm am the proudest aunty EVER!) but I just don't ever want any of my own. Never have. My refusal was the end of my marriage (boy, what a stuff up!) and was further illustrated that we weren't meant to be when my ex-husband's new girlfriend was pregnant 9 months after I left.

    Have bought up sterilisation with my GP....always with the "too young" (am 33). I'm going to keep pushing though.

    And to those who say to y'all that are childfree, that life isn't worth living/fulfilled/etc if you don't have kids of your own, ask them whether they thought Mother Theresa felt that way ;o)

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  28. I'd like to have children someday, but I have friends that are committed to being childfree and I get very annoyed when people consider them selfish. Anyway, I do worry about overpopulation sometimes and when a woman decides not to have kids, that helps balance out those that have more than 2, so those that want lots of kids should be thankful to them!

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  29. I am child-free, by choice. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad (& relieved) to hear that other people exist that have made a similar choice. Going forward, I think I will just bring up this blog on my phone & hand it over, whenever someone criticizes on my for choosing to live my life by my rules. Kudos to you! Kudos to me!

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  30. Nothing new, ex stated no kids and I was all for it!

    There is a certain amount of pressure to have kids, from the "older" generation. They were brought up often wondering...what's wrong with them, no kids or not married what's wrong with her (or him)?

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  31. I love this interview as I can relate to it so very well. It's enraging how you've got to justify yourself when you decide to be childfree. There're so many people who decide to have children even though they can't care for them properly and I feel they're never questioned as much as a childfree couple. I'm 30 now and I never wanted to have children in my life. As a child I even got pretty depressed because I felt I "had to" give birth because I'm female. What a relief when I finally understood it's completely up to me :)

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  32. I am 40 and child-free by choice. I have never wanted to have a baby. Even as a kid all my dolls were "adopted" or I played teacher to them instead of mother.

    I have found it hard when dating since so many men expect women to have children. Even now, they expect me to rush into motherhood and will disregard me if I state I do not want to have children. Or they will advise em to read Fundemntal Christian books about "accepting motherhood". I kid you not...those books have been suggested to me by men as if I was insane and broken in my choice. I know finding a guy who just doesn't care if I have kids or not will be hard but I am not one to change my mind at this point.

    Family members and complete strangers have been vicious about my choice claiming I am "selfish" and "not able to be trusted" to know what I want. The infatilization of a woman by others when she does not comply with the "norm" really is infuriating to me. As if I don't know my own mind and they know me better! It makes me want to scream at times in anger.

    I have always figured that I would just adopt a child beyond baby years since I am not really good with babies. That is, if I change my mind and want a child. But,there is still so much I want to do in life that does not include raising a child.

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  33. I found the comments just as interesting as the interview itself. Thanks for sharing your story Audi - gave me plenty to think about. I absolutely don't want children for a long time - but then I'm not even sure if I want children after that long time is up...

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  34. I like children; when I hang around with the children of my friends I have a ball. I also have a ball when I can come home to peace and quiet. It's just not for me to have children. Even if I could I imagine my decision, for various reasons, would be to remain childfree.

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  35. Wow, these are some great comments! Thanks for sharing your stories everyone.

    Anonymous, 3/19/12 6:28 AM: I also prefer the term child-free. For me it's also a matter of respecting the fact that many people who would call themselves childless are struggling with trying to conceive, and I know that can be a very difficult thing for people. I define child-free as a choice, and childless as a circumstance.

    Kate P: Congratulations! I also felt wonderful after I got my tubal (ok, maybe after I'd had a couple weeks to heal ;-)). I hated being on hormonal birth control and was so relieved to stop taking it; my mood improved, my skin looked healthier, and I just felt better overall. I feel very in control of my body again, and I love it.

    fourdognight: That's tough, and also incredibly inappropriate coming from coworkers! How rude to comment on your personal choices. With people like that I just love rubbing in their faces how much fun I'm having. :-p

    Melissa: I don't think child-free and free-spirited necessarily go hand in hand, nor do I think all parents are stuffy and boring. I know plenty of parents who I'd consider free spirits, who are raising their kids in a free spirited way. So just because you don't want kids doesn't mean you have to fill up your time getting arrested at political rallies or going spelunking in Peru. Stay home and soak in the bath and have a nice cup of tea -- and savor every serene, quiet minute of it. :-)

    Jenny: You're right, there is certainly a double standard. Part of it is that a vasectomy is a less risky procedure and is more easily reversed, but still the unfairness can't be denied. Congrats on having a partner who's willing to do it, though!

    S: Have you considered firing your doctor? Or writing a letter to the hospital board? If you're really serious about it, you CAN get it done.

    fawn: I do consider overpopulation (or rather, not contributing to it) as an extra benefit to not having kids, but honestly if I had really wanted them, could anyone have blamed me for not letting that consideration change my mind? It's a part of the equation, but for me it was nowhere near the most important part. You either have the urge or you don't, everything else is secondary.

    Kate: Actually what I meant was that those people who became really absorbed in their kids were the ones I lost touch with, not that all parents are that way.

    Anonymous 3/19/12 11:58 PM: I used to fret about "having" to have children when I was a kid too! I also find it infuriating that when people say they want kids no one would dare question their choice, but if it's the other way around everyone feels entitled to pass judgement on it.

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  36. Childless by choice. I also tried to get my tubes tied in my 20s and was denied. Now 49, I use depo provera to ensure I don't have kids. Should there ever be a screw up, I'd put it up for adoption.

    Kids are great, I've just never wanted to own one.

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  37. Excellent interview!!

    I am childless by choice, am turning 50 this year, and still don't regret it! That said, I married a man who has three children from a previous marriage (they are now 26, 29, and 32 and the 26-year-old and her husband have a baby, so I get to be a grandma :-).

    When I was a kid and through high school I assumed that someday I'd get married and have kids, but I never desired kids...never felt the biological clock ticking. I often wonder if I would have "given in" if I had met a different man. In my 20s and early 30s I was quite insecure and lacked confidence in myself. When I met my husband and learned that he'd had a vasectomy it came as a relief to me.

    For the most part, my decision hasn't upset anyone in my family although even now I sometimes get people who will say it's not too late (they obviously don't know how old I am!).

    I also want to note that I happened to get pregnant the first time I had sex (at age 20) and terminated the pregnancy with no second guesses or regrets. I know this was the right decision for me!

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  38. I love this post. I am too, childless by choice.. even though I'm still young at 24 and many people believe I will change my mind. This post was helpful and inspiring to me. Thank you for sharing your story. I loved it.

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  39. Thank you for sharing this story! It is really reassuring to read of other women who did not feel the urge to have children. I am almost 35 and do not feel like I want/need/could take proper care of children in my life, but I am really confused by feeling this way, as the common perception seems to be that my biological clock should be ticking and I should be getting broody. People often say "oh, you still have some time", when I tell them I cannot see kids in my future. I can't say that my view will not change, and I am a bit scared that I might regret my decision, but I just don't have those motherly yearnings in me. I love my friends' kids, but I do not want to change my life to start a family. Fortunately, my husband is okay with it just being him and me!

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  40. I 100% relate and agree with Audi. At nearly 33 years of age I am preparing to go to grad school in the fall, which will take 2 years to complete. I have no worries about this as I do not want nor plan to have children. I too knew at a very young age I didn't want them and as I've aged that feeling has only strengthened. I have a wonderful boyfriend of 11 years (no we haven't gotten married and we're happy with that too!) and a lovely 8 year old cat who is my "baby" and with great parents and friends I don't feel the slightest bit unfulfilled.

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  41. Honestly, the day has to come when everybody can just acknowledge that having kids is not for everyone. In the meantime, and in a similar vein of this post, here's my lighthearted take on the subject: http://www.thespinsterliciouslife.com/2012/03/why-oh-why-didnt-i-have-kids.html #Spinsterlicious

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  42. What a fantastic interview. I too am childless-by-choice, without regret and with lots of joy. I really enjoyed reading this.

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  43. Marce the CF3/27/12, 12:27 PM

    Audi's story is a lot like mine, where neither of us was sure whether we wanted children for a very long time. Luckily, by the time I was 20 or 21, I'd found childfree communities on the Internet and realized "I have a choice in this--and I don't want kids!" It was incredibly freeing. Now I'm nearing 30 and trying to find a job so I'll have health insurance to go back to my awesome gynecologist who agreed to give me a tubal ligation whenever (she's listed on some CF resources online as a local who doesn't "bingo" patients). Many of us really, really would not be good parents--again, like Audi, I hate being around children and loud people in general, so this is a much less stressful way for me to live.

    Anything else I would want to say would tie into inflammatory arguments about women's right to choose and the "war on women" as some have put it, so I'll leave off here.

    Hooray for getting the word out in a respectful manner.

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  44. The plans that my husband and I have made for our lives don't include children. We're 23 and got married not even a year ago and already are facing the proclamations about fulfillment. We also get told a lot, "you're young, you have plenty of time to change your mind."

    Much like Audi, I never imagined my future with children, only a career. Although we'd make fantastic parents, we both are career-oriented and feel that it would be unfair to try to juggle our dreams and a family.

    Which is why being an aunt is amazing. I do love children and enjoy being around them. So our nieces and nephew (on the way) have the cool aunt and uncle who can do give them experiences that their parents cannot.

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  45. I'm 36 years old and I do not desire to have children. I've known since I was very young (about 12) that I wouldn't want children. As a young person children were cruel to me, so no, they're not all little angels that should be brought into the world at every opportunity. My sister has two children, so my parents have been able to be grandparents through her. I had a conversation with my mother the other day where she said that my clock was ticking. I quickly corrected her that it is not and will not tick. I simply don't have the desire and looking at pictures of others' children doesn't make me want to create a mini-me. Hopefully people will realize it just ain't gonna happen. I also try to stay away from people with kids, not because I don't like them anymore, but I don't want to be around kids mostly. I just don't like them that much, except for my niece and nephew whom I have grown to care about over the years...some people just shouldn't have kids and I believe that I am one of those people. If anyone has problems with that, then they need to examine their own life and figure out why they want to have control over mine. Not my problem!

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  46. I chanced upon this just today while looking for a reassurance online after a prolonged 'unsought & unsolicited advice' session on undergoing fertility treatment from mother-in-law. We are a childfree couple by choice, never thought of finding out if we are fertile or not, because it doesn't matter. We are happy and have a fulfilling life at 35. I am happy to be childfree and this is what we want. However after every such 'advice' session I still feel the guilt of not procreating the way my in-laws/parents/friends/relatives want me to. I don't want to commit to rearing up a child, don't have any desire to hold/nurse/even play with a baby. Just can't explain it to people who don't want to listen.

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  47. I think thats great that you are childless. Not all women wanna have kids. I will admit I am selfish. I want the man but not the kids lol. I feel like babys sometimes runins a good thing. Sure their cute but I am the same way. kids bother me sometimes and they are in the way. Ive always told myslef maybe when Ive done what I wanted to do then I'll want a baby but who knows. I like knowing that there are other women out there who dont want kids either. I though it was just me and women look at me crazy.

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  48. I, like many of you, knew I didn't want kids from an early age. Was told by lots of folks that my feelings would change. Etc., etc. Unfortunately for me, the folks were right, and I began to reconsider my feelings shortly after I turned 30. It was like, all of a sudden, I just . . . NOTICED babies. I had never noticed them before. Now, at 32, I've finally decided I do want kids. My lovely partner, who I met when I was 25 and committed to staying childfree, remains steadfast in his desire not to procreate. We are in love, and therefore in a pickle.

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  49. I found this because I have been searching about tubal ligation. I'm in my 30s and child-free. I just wondered, has anyone had any problems after the surgery? My husband and I agreed not to have kids when we were married. I like to be in control of my body which is why I wanted the surgery.

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  50. Thumbs up to Audi and other women out there. I've been pestered for years by family friends and not so known people (!) on not having kids. I'm 33 and I'm not interested in pursuing motherhood at all. I'm no longer close to the friends who have kids and most of their conversation is around bringing kids.. I haven't seen anyone around me who doesn't want children. In India, it is almost a sin not to have kids. I want to enjoy my life and have no space for another person who is a life long responsibility. Thanks for this post!

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  51. Thumbs up to Audi and other women out there. I've been pestered for years by family friends and not so known people (!) on not having kids. I'm 33 and I'm not interested in pursuing motherhood at all. I'm no longer close to the friends who have kids and most of their conversation is around bringing kids.. I haven't seen anyone around me who doesn't want children. In India, it is almost a sin not to have kids. I want to enjoy my life and have no space for another person who is a life long responsibility. Thanks for this post!

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