Childless By Choice 

Not so long ago, getting married and choosing not to have children seemed unthinkable. The thought process in the past was that people got married so they could raise children together. And the purpose of raising children was to carry on your legacy (not to mention, they could help out around the farm).

Today, many couples realize they can live a happy, healthy life without children. Some people do not need children in order to feel fulfilled. However, many of these couples still receive a raised eyebrow from others when they learn they are childless by choice.

Often, people without children are just assumed to be infertile. Other times people without children are thought to not like kids. Sometimes people without children feel the need to have to justify or explain their choices to others.

Make sure you and your partner have discussed your thoughts and values when it comes to raising children. If you decide not to have children, that’s completely okay. No need to feel guilty. No more need to justify your reasoning to others any more than a couple who has children needs to justify their reasoning. Some couples just don’t want biological children. And maybe they aren’t interesting in fostering or adopting children. There’s no shame in that.

Don’t ever have children because you feel pressured. Sometimes couples feel pressured by their parents who are excited about being grandparents. Other times, couples decide to have children because all of their friends have kids so it feels like it must be “time.” Or perhaps age makes people think “it’s now or never” if we want to have a child. Bringing a child into the world because you feel pressured doesn’t seem like a warm welcome for the child.

If you feel pressure from close friends and family, a gentle explanation to them may help. If you get sick of hearing people ask when you are going to have your own, or hear snickers about “you’ll change your mind,” be clear and firm that you aren’t having children. If you have parents who are hopeful to become grandparents, acknowledge that they would be great grandparents but that you won’t be giving them any grandchildren. This of course is easier if you have siblings who plan to have children. If they learn they will not be grandparents at all, they may need to do some grieving to accept that this is the case.

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