Childless and old? Are you satisified, or regretful?

We’ve had a few threads recently in which parents were asked about why they chose to have kids.

Let’s hear from the other side. Are you 50/60/70+ years old, and childless by choice? How do you feel about it? Are you happy with your decision, or do you regret it and wish you had chosen, a few decades ago, to have kids?

At 48, I’m not quite in the age range you specified. And while it’s not too late for me to father some kids, I really don’t want to be 70 and sending kids off to college.

But no regrets at all. A little over a decade ago, there was a woman who was pretty much begging for me to impregnate her. It was the single most important thing to her. A few years later, she died. If I had given her my sperm, I’d be a single father right now. I can’t imagine how different my life would be.

61, no children by blood, but two stepkids.

During my “prime” time, I did not think I would be a good parent. By the time I thought so, I was too old to start from scratch. I inherited my stepkids at 6 and 8, so I have had most of the joys and sorrows of parenthood without having to change diapers. :smiley:

Got to my 55th birthday before adopting the Firebug.

So my childlessness up to that point wasn’t by choice, I regretted it, and my wife and I did something about it. :slight_smile:

I’ll be 71 when the Firebug turns 18. So while I would have preferred to arrange my life in a way where I didn’t send a kid off to college at 70+, it looks like that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

But since the available choices had reduced to having a kid who turns college age after I turn 70, or not having kids at all, I chose the one that I was most willing to live with.

I’m 55, never wanted kids, never had kids, never regretted not having kids.

43, never had them, never wanted them and never regretted my choice. I recently got married and my wife has 2 grown kids, in their 20’s. If they were younger from babies up to high school or if they were living with her, we would not be married.

One of her kids has a 3 year old and another on the way. While I am somewhat used to having babies around occasionally, I am still glad I never had any of my own.

Too young for your poll (almost 42), but I was childless by choice most of my life. Then I had to have a required hysterectomy and then I became childless by necessity. Now that I can no longer make the decision for myself, I regret it deeply. But I don’t think I’d’ve been ready for a child any sooner than the past year anyway, so it was probably moot regardless due to my age.

My wife and I are 60. We will have been married 40 years in June.

No kids. We just never felt like becoming parents, and neither one of us has ever had a moment of regret.

We don’t dislike children, and have enjoyed our nieces, nephews, and friends’ kids.

I’m too young to qualify for your survey. But Quentin Tarantino had an interesting commentary on Conan last night. Basically he was like “everyone says having kids is so great because it changes your life. I LIKE my life!”

My boss (during a drunken pontification) was saying how great kids are because it gives him something to work extra hard for. Dude…you aren’t sweatening the deal for me regarding kids…or this job.

My neighbor is about 60 and never had kids. (It’s just as well because her whole life is devoted to cleaning and decorating her perfect house.) But she’s always whining about not having any kids to look after her in her old age! I snapped one day and told her to STFU, you don’t have kids so they’ll stick around to change your adult diapers! No guarantees in life, neighbor - you have insurance, you have money, you provide for yourself.

43 here, not planning for kids. Never NOT planned for kids, but I never wanted to do that alone, and I never married, so…no kids. That, and I got ‘lucky’, if you want to call it that, during the times I would have been happy about any ‘accidents’. No regrets. And I love babies, find pregnancy, childbirth and anything up to about 3 years absolutely fascinating. (Once they start talking, my work is done! I should be a doula)

And I still don’t want ‘one of my own’ enough to do that, not just to do it. The whole “Omg I want to mix my seed with this gorgeous love of my life!!” stage is awesome, but has yet to outlast the practicalities of reality. Really, no regrets, because I’ve never planned for a child, ever. And I can’t imagine it just happening on accident at this point, but my only ‘o shit’ about it would be “Crap, I hate water!”. 'cause I really hate drinking water, but I would hesitate to subject the poor kid to a pure Diet Pepsi diet. I’m not that mean!

I’m too young for your poll but I’d like to point out that I’m child-free, not childless.

Yeah - too young to qualify for the poll, but we have no children (by choice), and a coworker of my husband told him that he’d have no one to care for him in old age. My husband retorted back that this was a poor reason to have kids. His friend reconsidered and agreed. I added when he told me that if you and/or your kids alienate the other, you might not have that anyway.

Can you clarify the difference for me?

Pretty obvious isn’t it? Childfree is a positive choice, childless suggests something you need/want is missing from your life.

See ‘drug-free’ and ‘jobless’.

Much as SanVito has said. For me, child-free means it’s my choice not to have any kids, whereas “childless” implies that something is somehow missing from my life or that I am in some way incomplete because I haven’t reproduced. Not only that, it also implies that I ‘want’ children but can’t have them, which is completely not the case.

I suppose it is in some way a reaction to the accusation (made on another board) that I am not a “real” woman because I choose not to have a baby.

Or carefree vs. careless. One is glorious freedom from the irksome obligations that constrain us, the other is a lack of the requisite commonsense needed to get through the day without doing serious bodily harm to yourself or others.

I’m a little young for the poll, too, but another data point won’t hurt, eh? At 43, I am also childfree, and I have no regrets. With regard to being taken care of in our old age, my husband and I are aware that we won’t have any adult children to depend on (which is not a great old age plan to start with), so we intend to be in a financial position to hire people to look after us, or get into a good old folk’s home.

My home is quiet, clean, and comfortable. My life is quiet and not chaotic. I like things this way. My husband and I have tons of freedom to do what we want, when we want to. We’re good citizens, good friends, and good neighbours. I have enough desire to nurture something to have pets and a garden that I baby; I don’t have enough maternal instinct for a child.

What parents and people who like children see as cute and adorable behaviour I find irritating, so I don’t feel like I’m missing much. I can’t think of a single thing I’m missing that having a child would provide.

I’m not in your age group, but I’m 44 and childless by choice. Luckily, I met and married someone who felt the same way. We’re both just not cut out to be parents, for various reasons. However, the fact of growing old and perhaps growing old and older alone, without children, has its dark side. No one will come and visit me when I am 78, should I be 78 and alone, unless–

I or we, cultivate and create lasting relationships with people both our age and younger than ourselves.

My husband reminds me that even if we had children, there is no guarantee that they will give a damn about us in our dottage. Having children that we love is no guarantee that they will love and care for us in return.

On the whole, I am glad I am childless. I am too damned selfish, and even at my age, immature, to be a parent. But every door that you close leaves lingering questions about “what if…?”

However, there are plenty of homo sapiens on this planet, and there is absolutely no need for me to reproduce. Every child a wanted child, I firmly believe. And my doubts about having a child far overwhelmed the occasional “baby cravings” I’ve felt over my lifetime.

So my particular set of genes won’t be passed on. So, what? Our relatives’ genes will.

My husband and I are lucky enough to live in a time and society where being childless does not invite any condemnation. I suspect strongly that had my own mother been born ten years later than she was, I would never have come along. She didn’t have much of a choice, child of the 50s, whereas I, child of the 70s, seemed to.

I really like that whole schmear!