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I'm 27. I became a caregiver for my grandfather with alzheimer's right out of college, after he died last year my grandmother could no longer physically care for herself, so now I am taking care of her. I wasn't really excited about having kids before I became a caregiver, but I can't see myself wanting to have any now.
I was just wondering if anyone else felt the same way.

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My husband and I are childfree, and that makes the prospect of caring for my dad infinitely more bearable. We had a taste of caregiving recently, and if/when Dad does decline to a certain point, the absence of minor children in the house will afford me the mental and physical capacity to deal with those challenges.
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I am 44 and not a *real* caretaker yet; I live with my parents but I just help with maintaining the house: cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and everything that involves steps. I recently spent 2 hours on the phone on hold with Yahoo trying to resolve a computer issue for my dad. I was successful. :) I became a crime victim at age 32 and for that reason I decided I didn't want children. I moved in with my parents because I was scared to live by myself. I agree with Burt; it is a sick world we live in. I figured I would become a caregiver and I didn't mind then. the only thing I mind right now, is that my parents are losing the ability to give me advance notice when they need something. so very often I have to drop what I am doing to help them do something. It is quick (usually) and doesn't take up much time. I am getting better at saying "I'm in the middle of something, can you give me 5 minutes?" They are pretty good about listening. I am in grad school so right now I have a lot of flexibility and an outlet outside the house when I need it. However, you cannot discipline your parents. I don't pay rent but I feel I "pay" in other ways. I rarely get to watch what I want on TV. I have to listen to endless episodes of "Law and Order" and "In the Heat of the Night.' Dad doesn't like chicken so we don't have it too often, etc. etc. These are miniscule issues compared to what I have read on this webpage but it has the same underlying theme: the caregiver has very little control as to what's going on inside the home. There is an endless supply of food so I have put on some weight :( ( I of course had some part in this.) I am also trying to work on some personal issues so it's all a balancing act. So that is my long winded reply as to why I chose not to have children. thanks for listening :)
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Deciding to have children in order to ensure your own care and wellbeing in your old age is a very risky strategy! Families can become estranged, children with limitations/special needs may need care their entire lives, grown children may neede to move far away for job prospects, etc. Have kids because you know you have it in you to be a wonderful parent.
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Taking care of children is similar, but different in a very important way. Yes, the early years, (and the teen years!) are demanding, but you are dealing with a little person who is getting more able every day, and witnessing those miracles is wonderful compared to the stress of dealing with an older person who is getting less able every day and becoming more dependent. I had some stressful years with my two children, but in retrospect it was all worth it. It sounds like you have the qualities to make a wonderful parent, but you have to be willing to put up with the inconvenience to other areas of your life...and that's a very personal decision. And whatever you decide is perfectly acceptable. (In the meantime, don't let either the young or the old (and both are capable!) manipulate you...it seems to have a lot to do with how ornery they can become! :) Hugs.
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I'm 28 and taking care of my dad, who has severe heart disease and mobility issues. It's definitely made me not want to have kids any time soon...I'm already exhausted all the time! But several years down the road, who knows, I may change my mind.
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It's not that I recommend having children specifically for the reason to have someone to take care of you in your old age, but in reality, it is really hard when you don't have children, as well as sad. Read Peter's Story in "What to Do about Mama?" by Barbara G. Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank.
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Thanks for all of your responses. I realize I still have a good many years to change my mind, but I really don't see myself doing that.
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Caretaking never changed my mind about kids. Don't want them, never wanted them.
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I took care of my mother as a 5 year old when she returned to our home after 2 1/2 years with polio in the Hospital. She managed to refuse an iron lung because she had kids to raise. So when she finally made it home in a wheelchair and crutches I would naturally and lovingly do anything for her because I missed her so. My mother did not fully understand that because life was hard for her. It took her 12 years of P.T. and O.T to work her way out of a wheelchair and back to independence. She enjoyed a brief career in Nursing and then developed Cancer which took her life 8 years later. My mother was a brave & caring woman who never manipulated with her polio and later cancer. She encouraged me to be independent. I worked diligently in school & College to receive 3 degrees in Nursing, Special Education, and Administration as a result of her example. Then at age 33, I was in an accident requiring over 14 surgeries all of which failed. So I never made it back to my career. In the tasks that I needed help with I would not allow my daughter to physically help me. I hired it done. Today, I am broke due to 33 years of health care costs and help. My daughter is estranged from me and uses her son as an excuse to remain so. She will not even allow me to be in Assisted Living near her. I see my sensitive self in my little 5 year old grandson but extreme anger in my daughter. We are all missing out emotionally & spiritually by my daughter's choices. I cannot make any sense out of this important time unnecessarily lost!
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I am 62, and providing some care for Mom and MIL. I have 2 grown children, and many times have now thought I should have had more children so that when I need care, there are more people to love me and manage my care. What happens to those elderly who have no one to care for them or know when they need further care? It's a daunting journey at best.
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I spent my childhood taking care of my 5 siblings for my parents, who were both there, but too busy and caught up in their own stuff. My siblings were much younger than me. So while I didn't do caregiving for an elder person, I was a caregiver. And it did make me not want to have children of my own.

My parents were also bad with money. They were very irresponsible. So I feel people need to really be aware before they have children. It is a huge commitment.

My husband also had a caregiving childhood. We've been married over 25 years and are very glad we've not had any children.
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I'm 52 caring for my 84 year old father. I always wanted kids when I was young and married at 27. My mate had a 3 year old when we married and she is like my daughter, but we never had any other kids. Now that I'm older and wiser with this experience under my belt. I'm kind of glad I never had them. This is hard and I don't wish it on anyone. On the other hand if I had had a big family things might have been different because I would have higher responsibility to my new family and dad or mom would have been taken care of in another way. I was fortunate to be single when my dad needed me.
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I think being a caretaker in your circumstances could have a big influence on whether or not you decide to add another 20 or more years devoted to the well being of others. You've been through so much, you're still young. You have time--so make time--for yourself now, and give yourself plenty of happy moments, and space. You'll do what's right for you! :)
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Mary 4th I read it the same way. I'm a 29 year old who is currently taking care of my mother who has dementia, and I have a 2 year old. I had my daughter just before things really went south with my mom. Yes it has been incredibly difficult sometimes and I feel like it's a balancing act taking care of both their needs but I am very grateful for my daughter. On the bad days with my mom, she keeps me going. It's a very personal decision. I understand the concerns about starting a family in general and to add to it the stress of being a caregiver can make it seem daunting.
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Interesting that everyone read this (and maybe as it was meant?) as a comparison between taking care of children and taking care of the elderly/infirmed. My first thought was not wanting children to avoid putting them through all of this when we reach this stage. But maybe that's just because my morning with mom is off to a very rough start. Hugs and prayers, Suzanne... and to ALL of you out there attempting to do this job with love. May God grant us all the patience and compassion we need to get through another day!
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Wow, BurtAB, my sentiments too. I'm disturbed at the way our country, economy, environment and world have deteriorated since my own youth, and do feel relieved that I will not be leaving children to this world.
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Great answer Burt. It is a sick world that we live in. That would be one of the cons for having children. And, children are not always a Blessing. Sometimes we have demanding and self-centered children in our lives. I suppose it is all in how we raise them. Luckily, I have never depended on my children for anything and don't anticipate that now, but I am grateful for my children to share my life with.
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I'm 52 and I cared for my Mom, Uncle and Dad until they passed.

I've had several relationships, but each one already had children and wa a single mom or wanted children.

I was always very shy and sensitive in a good way but waited until 39 yrs old to find my mate.

Connie has grown children and grandchildren so we were free to dedicate our lives to the service of the elders.

It caused great contention in the family because my eldest brother of three was greedy selfish and grabby from the get go.

He married a similar wife.

Middle brother was in the Navy and a druggie and drunkard.

However, God saw fit to provide for us in the midst of it all.

I'm kinda of a sad sack and have always been depressed since my teens.

Very creative and ended up in psych wards many times.

Kinda wished I married in my 20's with a gal who didn't want kids - but it didn't happen that way.

I love peace and quiet and a stress free life.

I'm able to get a few extra nods in the morning if I like.

It's a very sick world and getting worse.

Competition and violence seem to rule.

I'm grateful I didn't have any kids.

-- Burt B.
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I'm on board with Upstream (albeit this is a very individual personal decision -- we didn't tell my friends/family we didn't want kids, they would have thought something was wrong with us!) However, in our late 20's (like you, 2Suzanne) my husband and I became caretakers of his two aging aunts (congestive heart failure and debilitating arthritis w/glaucoma). Had we ever thought about starting a family, well, it would have been impossible. Fortunately I have no regrets. We spent so many years in and out of hospitals and ER's . . . . True, there is a difference in taking care of children who look up to you and take direction from you from day one (and of which I know nothing) vs caretaking an elderly person who acts like a 2 year old now but once changed your diapers. You are still a child in their eyes. The interactions are totally different.
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Wow! There aren't many young people like you anymore. I truly commend you for taking time out of your life to care for your grandparents! You didn't mention a husband yet, but I think that after your caregiving days are complete, then you and your now or future husband, may just want children. I didn't want children until I was about 30 YO. I had my daughter when I was 33 and my son when I was 38. I went to college, traveled, and did things that I wanted to do before I actually settled down to raise children. I am so happy that I have kids to share my life with.
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I'm 47 and my husband and I have been married for about 20 years. We made the decision not to have children, pretty much from the get-go. Everyone said we would regret that decision. To this date, we do not regret it. We feel relieved that we did not give in to anyone's pressure! But certainly raising a child would be much different than taking care of a person with declining health.
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I still want kids. Taking care of them is different than taking care of an older person..
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