Is anyone else not having kids (childfree/childless by choice)?

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I've don't remember ever wanting to be a mum. I'm turning 27, my husband is turning 30 this year and the pressure is on to pop one out. We just shrug these people off and say "We don't want kids. Didn't want them when we first met 8 years ago, still don't want them now" and try to change the topic, but people just don't understand that we mean it. H**l, we're saving up so he can a vasectomy for his 30th birthday. We're lucky that the family we're in contact with (our parents, my mum's sister and my husband's sister) don't give us pressure and totally support our decision, but his extended family is relentless.

The pressure seems to have gotten worse since caring for my grandmother. They don't realise that this is a full time job. She has dementia and she's violent. Even if we wanted kids, we wouldn't want to raise one around her because she's scary and abusive. Plus, the costs of caring for her mean we live on the poverty line. We live week to week and throwing a pregnancy then a kid into that mix would put us below the poverty line.

When I say I basically do everything a mum with a toddler does and I couldn't deal with a kid as well, I get told "It's not the same" because the generations are around the wrong way. I didn't realise that changing her diapers, feeding her, bathing her, clothing her, dealing with tantrums, stopping her from hurting the dogs and cats, having kids shows on TV all day cos they keep her happy/calm, being up 4-5 times a night because she's calling out, not allowing her off the toilet till she's done her business, cleaning up her mess, and having food thrown at me was totally different to being a parent because she's 85 instead of 3 and she didn't come from my body.

The only way I can see caring for my grandmother as different to being a parent is that I don't like my grandmother and generally, people actually like their kids. She was abusive to my mum and aunt till mum was 18, moved out of home and took her then 10 year old sister with her. My grandmother has always been a nasty piece of work and I'll never forgive her for what she put my mum and aunt through. I'm lucky that my mum broke that cycle of abuse and is still an amazing mum and woman, and I'll always be grateful for that. Mum was showing signs of depression and heading for a breakdown, so I took over as my grandmother's full time carer. I'm literally doing this for my mum, not my grandmother.

We always get comments like "Caring for her is practice for having kids" and "Don't you want her to have her great-grandchildren around her?" and the one I hate the most "Who will do what you do for her when you're her age?". I hate it so much because I can't help but think having a kid to look after you when you're old is a pretty crappy reason to have created a human being, plus I wouldn't want to force what I do on anyone.

I'm not looking for support or anything, I'm not wavering in the slightest about my decision to be childfree. I've been dealing with people telling me "You'll change your mind" or "Your body clock will kick in when you're near 30 and you'll want 10 of them" or "Every woman wants to be a mother, even if they say they don't, they secretly do" for over 2 decades and if anything I've become more childfree in that time. I was just curious if anyone else here got more pressure when they became a carer. It seems odd to me that people would see being a carer as "practice" or dismiss it because "it isn't the same" and wanted to know if it seems to be a common thought.

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I would be as annoyed as you. But people are well-intentioned. They don't understand that commenting and talking about how you don't want kids is extremely rude and intrusive. There is nothing wrong with not having kids. I got married, I had a baby. That's what I thought I was supposed to do. Lucky for me my daughter turned out great. She's 20 now so she's raised and I thank God I don't have another around to raise. I got lucky because she was so easy to raise. I don't even like kids but that's the type of thing you can't say out loud in mixed company because people will look at you like you're an axe murderer or something.

And because I've raised a child and been a caregiver I can tell you that they are so light years apart. The next time some old biddy tells you that caring for your grandmother is good "practice" for "later", tell her your hubby had a vasectomy and then offer to show her the before and after pictures.
I wish more parents were like you. You seem to understand that my choice isn't an attack on yours and that at the end of the day, my not wanting to be a mother has no impact on you at all. So many parents don't understand that. They seem to think that I'm saying my life is better than theirs and that they have to go on some crusade to change my mind. I honestly don't care if someone has 0 kids or 20 kids, that's their choice and has no impact on my life at the end of the day.

As for the well-intentioned old biddies, most of the people that put pressure on my husband and I are his cousins who are all in their 20s, very condescending and all have kids of their own. The youngest is the worst for it. She has 4 kids at 23 and says things like "I hope your birth control fails so you and (husband) are forced to finally grow up and be responsible". Every time I see her at a family thing, she tries to make me the babysitter for all the kids there (11 kids ranging from 2 months to 8 years) so I "get practice" or she tries to force me to hold one of her kids, which I'm terrified of since I've dropped a baby in the past (it spit up on me and it was a reflex). I'm just lucky that my husband, his parents and his sister back me up when I say no.

My mum made a similar joke about showing people my hubby's vasectomy photos and he said "Go one better, carry around a jar with water and 2 walnuts in it and offer to show them that!"
Aetain~Having children is a personal choice. I understand that people tend to think that we get married to have children...but really, is that why we get married? Woman are having children by artifical insemination as well as just not using birth control. Being 56 years old, to me getting married is starting a life with my life partner. If you 2 chose not to have children, family should respect that decision. I do have to add, that if my children decided not to have children, I would be disappointed because I want so much to be a grandmother, but I would respect their decision and not pressure them. Older people just assume that children will follow a marriage and for them to get their mind around you not wanting child ren will be very strange for them to accept. For the difficult members, you may have to set boundaries on the subject and just not discuss it with them.

I do hope that since you and your husband are still very young, that you get to have time alone enjoying activities together through some type of respite. I don't know how long you have been married before you took on the responsibility of caring for your grandmother, but please try to have time for yourselves. Blessings to you!!
My mum and dad are fine with not being grandparents (which is huge relief since I'm an only child) and my in-laws are fine with their son not having children because their daughter has already given them two grandsons, and we have a pretty common surname so it's not like there isn't gonna be anyone without our surname any time soon. Our parents are actually some of our biggest supporters in this choice. It's mostly my husband's cousins who give us a hard time. At least we only see them maybe twice a year (Christmas and random family BBQs in the park that my father in law likes to plan) so we don't deal with it often. I have those annoying cousins hidden on facebook so I can't see their posts, but every now and again I get messages with stuff like "Cousin #4 is pregnant again! You're falling behind!" which I just ignore.

As for my extended family, I don't allow them to weigh in on this since apart from mum's sister and her husband, and one cousin from my dad's side (all of whom are childfree as well), they're all petty crooks and con artists, so I don't have any contact with them. Half of them don't even know I'm married.

And my husband and I were married for 2.5 years before I became my grandma's carer. Just had our 4th anniversary last Wednesday and mum looked after my grandmother all day. She looks after my grandmother at least one night a week so my husband and I can have a date night. We're both big into computer games as well so usually once I've put grandma to bed, we'll sit on our computers and play games together, so we do spend time together doing things we both enjoy quite often.
everyone who has kids is not necessarily a parent. ive seen little kids all but lighting themselves on fire for attention while the adults sat around congratulating themselves on what great parents they were.
my youngest son told me as a young adult that i was never around. i told him BS, i was right out in the garage building things that you needed to learn. its you who wasnt around. he was just trying to trip me. our family was the closest in the world and lived on a 3 wheeled motorcycle for 9 months a year..
i jump around, its just a fact.
anyway as a father your sons will at a point push you away to live their own lives. ( wink ) go son, run like the wind. ( annoying ba**ard, go away, lol .. )
Wow! You have incredibly rude relatives! I'd avoid those people as much as feasible without starting a family war. You don't need anyone's approval of your life decisions. You seem to cope with this well.

And, having done both, I can tell you that raising children and caring for the elderly are NOT remotely the same. That is neither here not there regarding your right to make the choices you make, though.

What really puzzles me is what the heck you are doing caring for Grandma?
I've never been married or had kids. I wanted kids, but I couldn't have done it alone. The one thing I have noticed with friends is those who don't have children have better marriages. If you don't want them, don't let ANYONE push you. It's none of their business. It's rude to ask anyone about it at all anytime because I did that one time & my friend was infertile. Another friend went through in-Citroen & everything (she has money. It didn't work. They ended up adopting a few years later, and said becoming a parent was the biggest mistake she ever made. Though she is a very good one nonetheless.
BTW I REALLY wanted kids and I am so happy I didn't have any now. I think you may need to be REALLY rude to the family and say "WE ARE NOT HAVING CHILDREN & I WON'T BE AROUND YOU IF YOU MAKE INTRUSIVE COMMENTS AND REFUSE TO ACCEPT OUR CHOICE. IT MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE. (Caps were accidental), I think you and your hubby are so lucky to have found each other because so many people aren't on the same page re that decision. And I don't hold my tongue -- I would give it to them!
Aetain~Glad you and the hubs are getting a date night and enjoy some things together at home. My in-laws had to put their 2cents worth on everything my hubby and I did. I know this has nothing to do with having kids, but it does have to do with family does not respect your choices or boundaries. I did what Jeanne suggested, I did not let them know what we were doing and I limited my time around them because when I was around them, it was one remark after another about they did not approve of how I was raising my children. The KEY words here are "my children"...not their's. Alas, they thought they had ownership rights to my children because they carried the family name. I was just an incubator for them. Do what is best for you and hubs and what makes you happy. You have the support from your parents and in-laws...the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins...well they just don't know you but because your family they think everyone thinks the same.
Aetain, I am the 5th child of 8 kids. My parents almost practically had 1 child each year for the older kids. Then years went by when I was born, then my younger siblings were like one year after the other. So, as a middle school teenager, I was already babysitting my oldest sisters kids. When I was in high school and college, I was babysitting 2 of my older brothers kids (total of 6) and juggling homework. My older siblings got to go out at nights to the bar, pool, parties, etc.. while we were forced to babysit.

So when I reached age 19, I realized that I never wanted to have children. Even when my younger siblings were having children, I had no regrets. And it drives me crazy when family, relatives and even strangers(!!!) ask me why I don't have kids. Why???? I just tell them that I had decided at age 19 that I wanted to have no kids and I’ve never regretted it. And they just don't drop it. They keep asking more and more questions. I just keep repeating my answer.

It's a very very good thing that I never wanted kids. I had to have a medical hysterectomy due to severe stomach pains from a severe endometriosis. When they did the biopsy of my ovaries. It was covered outside with polyps, and plenty also inside. I don't know if I ever had a child if he/she would have been born handicapped. Before my hysterectomy, I spent hours of research online on the pros and cons. I even googled what women experienced after the hysterectomy. A lot of them did not want to have children. After the surgery, a lot of them regretted it. The hysterectomy was a FINALITY. No turning back. And it hit them that deep down inside, they did wanted children. When I read those stories, I looked within myself. No, I still didn’t want to have children. After the surgery, I was so scared that I was going to end up like those women. What if I was fooling myself? Nope! I was true to myself. It’s now 6 years since the hysterectomy, and I still have no regrets.

Maybe next time, when they mention that so-and-so had child number 4, you can respond, "Good for her! She must be happy to have another child." And if they ask what about you, just shrug and say over and over that you both don't want kids. And look them straight in the eyes. Sometimes, using "that tone of voice" that mothers use can convey that enough is enough. And for them to back off. It does work. =)

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