What made you decide to have children?

I’m 24. After the initial run of people I knew in school getting married at 19 and popping out a few kids, I didn’t know anyone who had kids. Now it seems like a lot of my friends, or people I’m becoming friends with, are having children. Most of my friends are a bit older than I am, about 27-35.

I like kids, but I’ve never pictured myself as a mother. It seems like so much pressure (there are so many ways to screw up!) and hassle. Is there a pull people feel that makes them want to have kids, that I’m not getting yet? I’m curious about what makes people decide that they would like to have children (I’m including adoption in this). Most of the new parents I know are a lot like me –we enjoy the same activities, parties, books, wines, etc. – and I just don’t Get It yet.

An older friend theorized that it’s because I’m single at the moment, but even so, while I can envision “marriage” as something I might like to do at some point, “+ kids” isn’t anywhere in my mental picture. Is that true for most people, and does that change later? Or has everyone with kids been excited about and planning for them their whole lives?

Enough women and couples in the UK are choosing not to have children that I’m not feeling pressured, just confused and curious.

Well, my first kid was unplanned. The hubby and I weren’t married yet. I was using birth control.

Still, as soon as I realized I was pregnant, my first thought is “I want to be a good mother”. My mother was one of those people who should never have had children (and she had five of us!) and I didn’t want to be “that” mother.

I was 25, old enough to realize that I would make mistakes, I would screw up some stuff, but that I could be a good mother if I chose to be.

Even though I was afraid the pregnancy would stress our relationship to the breaking point, abortion/adoption was never on the table for me. Obviously, our relationship survived; this month we’re married 21 years. Oldest daughter is 22.

Second pregnancy: sometime around the time oldest daughter was three, I started thinking I wanted a baby. My first one wasn’t a baby anymore, see, she was a “little girl”, and when my mind fixated on wanting a new baby, right now didn’t seem soon enough! I was approaching 30, and truly, my biological clock was ticking! So I approached my hubby, told him I’d been thinking about having another baby, and he said “OK”. Just like that. “Honey, I’ve been thinking maybe we should have another baby” “OK”. :wink: He’s succinct like that. I had Middle daughter (now 18) two months before Oldest daughter turned four.

Youngest daughter was different. She was his idea. I was 34. We had both agreed that two kids was plenty, thankyouverymuch. So I said to him “Hey, if we’re serious about no more kids, one of us should get fixed, so I can stop this “birth control” foolishness” and he said “Well. . .yeah, but that would be like admitting I’ll never have a son” and I said “What are you trying to say?” and he said “Well, we could try one more time for a boy, couldn’t we?” and I said “Are you nuts?!?!? Do you know how old I am? Here, let me show you my driver’s license!” To which he replied “My Mom had her last kid at 42!”

I relented.

It took longer to “catch” with the third one. I was 38 when I had her. Yep, he’ll never have a son. (However, the third one is so much like him that I’ve told him “she’s the son you’ve always wanted”).

I didn’t always know I wanted kids. I went through a spell when I was young when I wanted a housefull of 'em. Then another spell where I was pretty sure I didn’t want any at all. The one thing I was sure about, from my first one: I did not want to have babies close in age. People do this, deliberately, all the time, and I understand why. It’s just not the way I ever wanted to do it.

My first child was also unplanned (I was also 25). We got married before the baby was born, and went on to have another, planned child when my daughter was 2 1/2, for many of the same reasons you gave for having your second.

I hadn’t wanted children before the unplanned pregnancy came along; afterwards, it changed my entire outlook on kids.

I’m glad that I went ahead with a family when I was relatively young. My siblings have had kids late - just now dealing with grade school & diapers while my kids are college age - I couldn’t imagine dealing with that at age 40+.

I know people who have always wanted kids (one of my sons is like that) and people like me who kind of stumbled upon parenthood accidentally. For each person it’s different.

I’m male but basically I went along with my wife’s wishes. Not unthinkingly but, if it had been up to me, I don’t think I would have instigated starting a family; my best friends never did.

At the time all our other friends were having kids and telling us, “it’s the most wonderful experience of your life” or " I didn’t feel like a real man/woman until I was a father/mother" or “when you have kids life is more meaningful.”

Once we had a child they started telling us, “Christ you can’t even get 5 minutes to have a shower,” and then “You just end up feeling like a slave to your kid,” or “I’m just so tired…all the time.”

Had they reversed the supply of information…

My mom and dad wanted to wait until they were “financially ready” to have kids. Seven years into their marriage, they realized: You’re never “financially ready” to have kids. My sister and I then came and mom got fixed.

With us, we got married both of us knowing we’d like kids someday, but took the view of “whatever happens, happens”. Never used birth control and (despite frequent trying) took 2 years before our first one was born, and same interval for second one (although less frequent trying for that one, what with a little one around - we like to say that we are positive of the date #2 was concieved (despite her ob-gyn saying it was a date 4 days previous) because it was the date #1 was at the sitter’s … ). This may be becuse mrs. dhkendall was “older” when we got married (38, but she’s sensitive about her age, if she finds out I typed this, I’ll claim I meant to type 21 :wink: ), don’t know, we were a bit concerned that it took so long for #1, we did book an appointment at a fertility clinic to see if there was anything wrong, but she got pregnant before any testing could be done (thank goodness!)

Regardless of what would have happened, though, we were content with whatever child options God had in store for us, whether we had kids or not.

Chances are it just hasn’t hit you yet. When I was your age, I still felt quite young, and having kids was the last thing on my mind. I was nowhere near settling down and had a lot of exploring to do.

I’m 28 and it’s just starting to hit me. For me, part of it was spending time in Africa where childbearing seems a lot simpler- everyone had kids and it was just a part of life. Another is just getting older, and being able to envision being financially secure and willing to live a stable life. Finally, it became real to me that I actually don’t have all of the time in the world.

I think it’s pretty normal to feel as you do. A generation ago, people could expect to buy a house soon after finishing high school. Now, it takes more time to get settled. Women expect to start their own careers and have their own adventures before having kids. And, I think we are all a little gun shy after seeing all the divorce and custody weirdness in our parent’s generations. Finally, since people are having less and less kids, many of us haven’t really grown up around kids and so having them doesn’t seem so natural.

Then again, maybe you just don’t want kids. That could happen, too.

I’d always assumed there is a pull that most women eventually get, because a lot of my friends & relatives have told me there is. So I went happily through life, always figuring at one point or another I would feel The Pull and decide to have a kid.

I’ll be 40 in a month, and it hasn’t happened yet, so apparently it doesn’t happen to everyone. I’ve pretty much decided I’m too old to start now, so kids aren’t in my future, and I’m OK with that, except for the occasional fear about who is going to take care of me when I’m old & gray. I quell that fear with the very real realization that it’s a shitty reason to bring someone into the world, especially since at this point, they’d be about 30 when I’m 70, and that’s a really bad time to have to give up your life to take care of your aging mother.

I always knew in a vague sort of way that I would want kids, but it wasn’t terribly immediate for a long time. I was in school, etc. My husband and I got married when we were 22 and we didn’t plan to have children for a few years, since he was still in college and I wanted to get a master’s degree.

As soon as I got married though–I mean within a week of the wedding–I wanted a baby. I think my lizard brain kicked in. OK, got the man, now time to get the baby! I had to beat it down with a stick, practically. This would be that pull you’re talking about, and it can be strong, but not everyone seems to get it.

So after a few years, when I was almost done with grad school, we decided it was time to have a baby. By this time I really, really wanted to. Anyway I will spare you the story, but we were 26 when we had our first. When she was about a year old, the pull hit again, and I had to beat it down, again, for a year because I needed to wait two years to get pregnant (c-section, etc.).

I had it again by the time kid #2 was about a year old, but we had to stop because of my health. I had planned on at least 3 (why not 6?), so I wasn’t too thrilled, but it has turned out for the best for us, though I still think it would have been nice to have 4 or so.

So there you go: yes, there is a pull. But it might not happen to you. Or it might hit sometime in the future. We had a similar thread on this a while ago.

I was happy to have just 2, but as life will do ya sometimes, I ended up with 5. I added two stepkids and a niece. :slight_smile:

I’m 33 and that switch hasn’t flipped on for me, either. I honestly don’t understand why people want children. I see all of the responsibility and none of the reward. It doesn’t bother me that I don’t seem to “get it.” Once upon a time I never wanted to be married. Then, around age 23, that switch flipped. I always figured my “kid switch” would flip sometime or another in the same fashion - or perhaps not at all. The idea of never having children doesn’t make me sad.

This thread smells familiar…

Yup. That’s me, except I’m 32.

I think it is not true for most people, but it certainly was for me – I did not want kids until I was married to my husband. I was not opposed to them that I can recall, I simply found an absence of desire to have them. Never planned to have any, never thought about having any. Apparently I only wanted our kids, or something.

This was not true for any of my three sisters and my mother thinks it is just extremely weird and that I must be making it up. Like I secretly wanted kids but did not let on or something. I don’t think it is that weird but I do think it is not usual. Most of the people I knew either wanted kids or did not want them. I was the only neutral I ever knew. I was certain that in the fullness of time it would become clear whether I would have any and there seemed no sense in worrying about it.

I’m 30 and I feel the same way. I never pictured a husband but now I’ve got the itch for that. But still no kids.

All of my friends have kids. I dig their kids. I have not been around their kids and hated them but I have also never felt that twinge. Never feel anything other than “this kid is cool, I’m glad my friends are happy. I could never do this.”

However…while I have considered having my tubes tied or whatever, I still don’t. Why? Because I have come to the realization that I have never been in love. I cannot picture myself in a loving, equal partnership. Every time I think of having kids I can only picture myself as a single mom. So, it MIGHT be possible that I actually MIGHT want kids if I had that relationship. I’m not getting rid of all chances. I’m guessing I still probably won’t (Athena’s in a loving relationship and it didn’t change for her) but you never know…

SecondJudith you can go through your whole life not wanting kids of your own.

I was always close to my sister but after she had her first child I saw how much she totally changed ( not all voluntarily) and not all for the better, that I decided that I never wanted children of my own. Don’t get me wrong I love youngsters to a degree and sponsor and spend time with underprivileged kids in manila. I just never had the inclination to ever have any of my own…So much so that I persuaded an NHS doctor in the UK to give me, a single childless guy a vasectomy at the age of 22!

Non UK dopers maybe won’t realise how significant that is. I am nw 51 and have never regretted it.

But am digressing from the OP’s question. But IMHO and from talking to people close to me. lots have kids because the female wants them, they feel that after doing the dating thing, then marriage follows and kids follow marriage.

I have to say that lots of people slot into parenthood ( recently started a thread questioning how soon dads bond with offspring) But although I have read about it I have never met any male who originally wanted to start making babies.

Re read this and realise I meandered so far off the OP that its a Hijack. apologies 2ndJ

39, haven’t ever really had the urge to have kids. In fact, I told one of my good friends back in high school that I thought maybe I didn’t want to have kids, and she reminded me of that conversation a couple of years ago. I had forgotten completely; it was a given thing with me that I just didn’t have any maternal longings. (She has two kids.)

My husband thought that he wanted to have one, but he said it wasn’t a deal-breaker for him to marry me as long as I promised I would leave my mind open to the possibility. I agreed, and legitimately did so. Turns out it was his mind that changed.

We’ve been happily married for over a decade, so we’re pretty sure it’s not going to be that we got the marriage bit out of the way so now the “kids!” urge will switch on.

I can really understand the desire to have kids, and ideally, children should be wanted and longed-after. What kind of frightens me is when some women (I haven’t seen it in men, I suspect they’re out there somewhere) get nearly desperate about it. A coworker of my husband has one kid, and his wife is lobbying and nagging frequently for another, even though they can barely afford one on his working-overtime salary and her not-even-half-time salary. It’s to the point where the guy doesn’t want to have sex with her because he’s kind of worried she’ll sabotage the birth control, and she brings up at every single get-together to the women how it’s not right that their kid will grow up an only child. She also talks about how cute babies are as a semi-justification for wanting another; when he mentioned that hey, they do have a toddler son, remember him, then she turned it around and accused him of calling their son ugly. :eek: Whether it’s her personality or “crazy hormonal stuff” I don’t know, but it scares me!

From “All In The Family,”

Mike) C’mon Archie most kids are born today 'cause the parents are too lazy to make a trip to the drug store

[Edith looks all guilty at Archie]

Gloria) Oh Ma, you always called me your little bundle from heaven but I was your SURPRISE bundle from heaven.

From “Mama’s Family”

Naomi) But Vinton you said you didn’t want to start a family while we were living with your Mama.

Vinton) There’s a big difference between having a baby and starting a family

We both wanted a baby even before we married (I was 30; she was 28). After about a year of marriage, we decided it was time.

I think Markxxx’s quotes about cover it. About half of all pregnancies are unplanned, I believe. There’s a big difference between deciding to have kids and deciding not to get an abortion. I know quite a few new parents and, while I don’t know every intimate detail of their lives, I can’t think of a single set that was actively trying for a kid. They just weren’t not trying hard enough, and I guess they figured ‘Why not? One of has good insurance and we’re not getting younger.’

I always expected that I would have kids, but wasn’t really looking forward to it. As far as I was concerned babies were little bags of spit and poo.

Then I hit 30 and something happened to my brain, where I suddenly started thinking, “Awwww, how cute!” instead of “Eww, the spit!” Around this time I got married, and then I really wanted to have his kids, because I think he’s awesome and would like to propagate more of him :slight_smile:

Still, we were delaying, because childless life is just so peaceful. The thing that made us actually decide to have 'em was biology… we wanted to have at least two, and since I’m 32 now, we figured we’d better start soon, especially since we didn’t know how long it would take to conceive. (Turned out we didn’t need to worry about that, at least for #1, but we didn’t know that.)