Parents: How long have you wanted kids?

I’m a 23-year-old male in a serious relationship with a 21-year-old female. We are both college students, and both have fairly busy lives. She wants to have kids some day (not any time soon) and says that she’s always wanted to have kids. I, on the other hand, cannot imagine a time in my life when I would voluntarily trade free time for offspring, though I acknowledge the possibility that my feelings will change in the next 10 years. This poll is intended to help me determine how realistic that possibility is.

So: how long have you wanted kids?

I’m a 34 year old woman with one child and while I can’t remember always ‘wanting’ kids per say, it was something I always assumed would happen. It was never something I looked forward to or dreamed about but I recall in my mid 20s thinking that, if I didn’t have a child by 30 it wasn’t going to ever happen. Funny enough, my daughter was born a month before I turned 30. Though she wasn’t exactly planned, I still sometimes wonder how much of it was an ‘accident’ and how much of it was my own unconscious self-fulfilling prophecy.

Male, 50.

It’s not like I always went around hoping for kids, but it just seemed like another obvious step in moving into adulthood. In other words, I pretty much always knew that eventually I’d want a family to settle down with, spend holidays with, etc. I couldn’t see it happening in my 20s, and it didn’t. But around the age of 30 I started thinking, well, within the next few years now, and at 35 and again at 36 I was a daddy.

If it helps you, I’d say that I don’t think anyone out there really LIKES the idea of giving up their free time to a kid even if they do really want the good parts of being a parent. When the time comes that you and your lady really do have kids (if it works out that way), don’t be surprised if it suddenly hits home for her what she’ll be giving up and she freaks out a bit.
That’s what I’m kind of going through right now. I’ve always wanted kids in theory, but I’m getting to the age where it’s “NOW OR NEVER” on kids and it’s not like I’ve suddenly stopped enjoying stuff like traveling or sleeping in just because I want to have a kid. Thinking of the lifestyle change of parenting does bring up anxiety even though I still think the good aspects outweigh the bad.
Kind of like being in a romantic relationship: It reduces your freedom and your time for yourself, which can be a bad thing at times, but it also enriches your life in ways that make it worth it (at least when things go well :slight_smile: )

On the flip side, I was much younger than you when I knew I didn’t want kids. I’m now 37 and that has never changed.

Pretty much the same for me, although it took me much longer than I expected. I didn’t become a dad until age 47.

I picked “Never” but that’s not really accurate. My first child was the result of an “Oops” (first time we slept together, too!) and while I have always loved him dearly he was not the product of wanting children and at that time in my life I wasn’t planning on kids. So I answered “never” because that would have been my answer at the time.

My second child was planned pretty much from the start; when the wife and I married she immediately went off the pill as planned.

I always assumed I would have kids. Around 20 years old I shifted into full-out anticipation of the day I’d be settled down with a nice husband and get to have kids.

My daughter wasn’t born until I was 30 (it took me a long time to find that nice husband), so I had a decade of living without kids, to do my sleeping in and traveling and concentrating on interesting projects. Toward the end of that decade I became pretty sure that all that was self-indulgence, and whatever profit I got out of it, was already gotten.

My life now is much busier but also much fuller and happier. I’m so glad we had our daughter; I’m looking forward to the challenge of adding another.

Like Sattua, I just always assumed I would have kids. But, I didn’t actively long for them, and it certainly wasn’t “I can’t wait to have kids.” It was just something I took for fact. After I got married at 24, we decided to wait about 5 yrs before having kids. My son was born when I as 29. I decided to wait until I felt that “longing” before having a second child. It never came. Maybe I never “wanted” kids in the first place. But I can say for certain that there is nothing in my life I love my than my son.

I don’t really even know what answer to choose on your poll.

I always wanted kids. Always.

I wouldn’t have married a man who didn’t want them as well. But when I was 28 I married a man who not just wanted kids, but wanted a large family. Now we have 4 kids, and he would be thrilled to have more, but I’m done.

After age 37 I decided my life was incomplete and by the time 40 rolled around I desperately wanted a child, but the man I loved was certain he never wanted one. So I ran off with an old friend who also wanted children and got the baby I wanted on the first try at age 41.

I throughly enjoyed my childfree 20s and 30s and my only regrets are for my daughter, who will have the oldest mom on the soccer field and may not have me around for her wedding and birth of her children. But I’m a great, attentive, and dedicated mom with tons of patience and love for the infant in my lap. I wouldn’t have been as good at this at age 20.

Don’t sweat this now. Have a long, honest conversation with her before you get married, then re-evaluate every five years or so. I can’t recommend waiting as long as I did because the health risks for babies and older moms were terrifying, but you have another ten years before risks outweigh the wait.

Male 61. I more or less always wanted kids, but not as a central point of my life. After we got married and I finished school, at almost 30, it was logical.
True, when kids are little you have less time. But when they get bigger they can take you places you’ve never been before, and give you a fresh perspective on life. Without kids I’d never have been on a set, met Adam West, learned more than I wanted to know about horses and horse shows, raised a guide dog puppy, or learned about behavioral economics. But you are young and there is no hurry.

Besides, as the old joke goes, without kids what would you do for aggravation?

Same here - 42 years old here and female, and I realized in my early teens that I had no desire to have children. I still think it was the absolute best decision for me. My husband thought maybe he wanted one in his late teens/early 20s, but decided not having one wasn’t a dealbreaker for our relationship, and he is also very satisfied with the decision.

I never wanted kids. Then I got to be about 26 or so and decided that I could totally be a mom but that I did NOT want that pregnancy crap that everyone deals with so I decided I wanted to adopt when the time came. I got married at 28 and we started talking about potential adoption and looking into adoption agencies for when we were in our mid-30s. Then at 29 I got pregnant and now I have a beautiful baby girl who turns one this Saturday.

On the one hand I was totally correct in my assessment that pregnancy would suck. It did. Oh god, how it sucked! But from this side of the situation I am truly glad we did everything the way we did it and ended up with our daughter. She is absolutely perfect and I can’t imagine having a different child now. I had them tie my tubes when I gave birth because I am never going to be pregnant again (did I mention how it sucked?) but I couldn’t be happier with the result so it was absolutely worth it.

I never really thought much about kids till I was about 25. Then I started to want them, so we had a couple. Not that I actively didnt want them before then, I just never thought about it.

Voted ‘never’ - I’m one of those people that really didn’t want them (without needing a support group or hating others’ kids) and then had one and can’t imagine life without her.

I like what **voyager **said

Yeah, absolutely.

Good question. I guess the best answer is when I got pregnant. Really. Before that, I kind of assumed I would some day, but I didn’t have any sort of “baby hunger” or think my life would be miserable if I didn’t have kids. But I also didn’t actively want to not have children, and probably would not have married someone who was adamant about not wanting kids.

My kids on the other hand- my 22 year old son wants kids someday but not anytime soon.Ever since he was young  he has talked about things like teaching his kids to play baseball. My 23 year old daughter spent her entire life up until about 20 hating kids- didn't want any, didn't think they were cute, thought they were messy pains in the ass. Suddenly, at around 20 I started hearing things like "Boyfriend is the only cousin with his last name, so we might have two if the first is a girl". Don't know what changed- boyfriend had already been around for three or four years at that point, so that's not it.

I don’t feel that the desire to have kids is, in itself, a good reason to get pregnant. You shouldn’t have kids if you can’t provide for them emotionally and financially (this means paying for every bit of college). If you can’t provide for them emotionally, and she isn’t ready to provide for them financially, then you need to be clear with her so she can choose to end the relationship if she wants to. Desire to have/not have kids is one of the major dealbreakers, even if you are compatible and happy in literally every other way. It’s just not enough if you aren’t both on the same page here.

34 year old male here. I never had a strong opinion one way or the other growing up/entering into adulthood; I’ve always been fiercely protective of my free time (that hasn’t changed even though I’m a dad now, but I’ve had to soften my stance) and was reluctant to enter into something that could compromise that. What led me to realize that I wanted kids were my own ruminations on mortality and the meaning of life. Eventually (around age 23 or so?) I came to the conclusion that, for me, the meaning of life was to have children and to make sure that part of me carried on after I’ve departed.

Besides, my genes are bad-ass, I would hate to deprive the future of them. :slight_smile:

I always thought I’d be married by 25, with kids coming soon after that. Two to four of them. Always figured that was what people did, and I was people. So I wanted it. Had it all planned out. Nothing works out as you plan it though.

Didn’t get married til I was 32, and had my first kid at 34 and second at 36. I’m 37 now.