Full disclosure: my wife and I do not have children. We made the decision numerous years ago that we’d just do the cat and dog, not human type.
I’ve always said the reason we decided not to have children was because we were selfish. We wanted to do what we wanted, when we wanted, etc. I’m currently 51 years old and have not regretted the decision (nor has my wife). Not yet;)
NOTE: THIS IS NOT A POST FOR OR AGAINST HAVING CHILDREN
Interestingly, two individuals recently weighed in on this subject and I’d like to highlight them. The first was the Pope (see article) who claimed that couples who chose not to have children (but dogs and cats instead) “take some of our humanity away from us, and nations can suffer from this.” One of his points obviously refers to the problem that many nations are experiencing as birth rates are down, which COULD turn out to be a problem for nations.
The second is from Thelma Sutcliffe, the oldest person in the US who recently died at 115 years of age (see article). Thelma credited her long life to “the fact that she never had children, never smoked and believed strongly in never worrying about anything.” Now I think I would have liked Thelma, especially since the last thing she credited her long to was “never worrying about anything” which, in my opinion, is some GREAT advice. IF ONLY I COULD CONSISTENTLY DO IT.
Obviously having children is a person choice and one in which many undergraduate students won’t seriously consider for several more years. And look, children are great. I love spending time with my nephew and niece.
I think everyone is allowed to decide whether or not they would like children. I found it interesting that to Pope would claim that not having children is taking away from humanity when we are over populated. Yes, our child birth rates are down, but the population is not. In China, they have laws against having too many children. I thinking having a child or multiple is something to take serious because we are going to stay over-populated and keep using up or natural resources until there are none. Also, kids are expensive. Not everyone can financially afford to have a child. It would be selfish to bring a child into the world if you could not pay for their basic needs.
I do not know where I stand on the thought of having kid(s). I think if you want the go ahead but don’t criticize the people who have pets to “replace” children. There are a lot of different reasons why people would not want kids. I think skipping on motherhood or fatherhood for some people would be the best decision that they make in there whole life. I think people like the pope of all people shouldn’t be telling people to have or not have kids, as it depends on that specific individual.
The pope called the choice of not having children selfish. He said no one should have to go through life without paternal love. I do have empathy for those in the system for example, who weren’t born into loving, happy homes. They deserve unconditional affection, and a family who feels they can provide that for them should bring that upon them if they feel that they can. However, I don’t think choosing to have other pets and/or bringing up the opportunity to spend your life focusing solely on you and your s.o is a bad way to live either. Thelma spent her 115 years living without a care in the world, and I aspire to live up to that expectation as much as I can. So, having children or not, I do not judge the way people choose to live there one, precious life that isn’t guaranteed day by day. I am not sure if I will have children of my own one day, but I would never criticize or judge someone on whether or not they do.
I’ve always enjoyed being around babies and toddlers growing up, but I’ve never actually considered if I would want to have children of my own. Plus giving birth seems like a nightmare. However, I also believe that everyone is allowed to decide on their own whether or not they would want to have children and not do it upon society’s standards. After reading what the pope said about how it’s “selfish” for couples to not want children, it seemed a little ridiculous. Children are a big responsibility and it isn’t fair to force that lifestyle onto someone. Children would be better off with parents who can support them and not people who only had them because they felt obligated to. You can absolutely love kids and being around them.. but not the idea of having a full-time responsibility raising your own.
Having children should be a decision. This decision could be made by a romantic couple, or a personal choice. If society claims that everyone able to have a child, has to have a child to benefit a society/nation, then there would be a lack in love towards the child. These women or couples felt pressured to have a child to fulfil societal norms, feel that their choice was taken away, which could lead to regret and anger of having a child. This would lead to having a bad childhood for the child, as they may not feel wanted and they were born due to force, not because the couple wanted to have a child. As for living longer because you didn’t have a child. I can understand why someone could make this argument. Children are stressful and take a lot of your time. The stress, heartache, pressure, and struggle of having children could create a shorter life for parents/guardians.
It is very interesting to me that a man who has no children and cannot marry is telling people that not having children is a sin and those who opt to not have children are taking away humanity. Little hypocritical of the pope. Doesn’t that then make women/men who cannot have kids automatically bad? When the pope came out with his statements I was truly appalled. There are many reasons people do not have kids. In fact, many people shouldn’t. My husband and I both grew up with awful childhoods. I can assure you that my parents shouldn’t have had kids together, but their families pressured them. Some people are just not meant to be parents. My husband and I both agreed to not have any children. That just means we get to spoil our nieces and nephews whenever we see them. It is a personal choice, and people choosing to not have kids shouldn’t be looked down on for it.
I’m with Thelma. She mothered her neices and nephews. What a world if we could mother and father each other. The current definitions are too limited, just like the pope’s comments.
How strange that the Pope, who obviously never had children, should comment on having children. Nothing like the leader of a church with millions of followers suggesting if you don’t have children, it some how makes you selfish, while in the same “sermon ” he points out all the fatherless children. We’re those fathers unselfish then?
I understand what the Pope is saying, especially since, like you mentioned Professor, how some countries are seeing a drop in the birth rates. However, having a child is a personal choice. Personally, I do not want to give birth to a child. First of all, I’m a lesbian. And I know there are ways in which a lesbian couple can give birth, however that is one of the things that scares me the most. I rather not have a crazed mini version of myself with mental illnesses running around, also not to mention the amount of debt that kids put you in.
So is my opinion of why I do not want to have children selfish? According to the Pope, yes, but according to me, no it is not. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and everyone is entitled to make decisions for themselves. That does not mean you are being selfish. So, I agree with what Professor Gregory says, I think my partner and I are going to stick to the whole cat and dog route rather than bringing more debt upon ourselves.
I think Thelma had some good advice for all of us to think about. I don’t think it is selfish to not have kids, as the Pope said it was. I believe if you don’t feel having children is the right path for your life and you have them anyway to fit with “societal norms” of how life should work, then ultimately you are being selfish to yourself. Why force something so big and permanent onto yourself if it is not what is right for you and would not bring you happiness.
I find it absolutely insane that someone can actually end up living until they are 115 years old! In my personal opinion, I have always been very persistent in my desires to have children when I grow up. I believe that the adventure of watching them grow and molding them into functional young adults would be an adventure of a lifetime. However, I do disagree with the pope that the choice to not have children is a selfish one. I believe that everyone has the right to their own opinion and everyone has their reasons for making the decisions they make. For example, someone could have had a very traumatizing experience with bullying when they were a kid. With this being said, they don’t want to have kids because they want to avoid the chance of that happening to someone they so deeply care about. I think it is definitely a big choice in life, but everyone should be able to live their life how they want to.
I think that this is an issue that many people are feeling today hence the falling birth rates. I think many people feel that they have to choose between their aspirations and career goals or having a family. Anybody I have ever talked has said that having children was one of the best decisions that they have ever made. With that being said it is a huge choice in life and one person’s path is not the best for the next person. I believe we are facing the consequences of family life being depicted as boring and the end of the road for your aspirations and that is why we are seeing the declining birth rates. As for the advice of never worrying about anything. I imagine that must be quite nice, however that is certainly not my personality so I do not think it is possible for me.
I find it kinda sad how some people look down on people who choose to not have kids. Especially someone who gets looked up to by hundreds of thousands of people, like the pope, expressing his feelings on this. Many factors need to be considered when speaking your thoughts on those who have kids. Some people simply just don’t want to and that needs to be more normalized. Now, unfortunately some people aren’t able to have kids, which is something people need to think about before asking someone why they don’t have children. It’s already hard on them and I don’t think they want to be constantly asked why they don’t have children. So I think it’s a bit touchy subject and people need to stop being so obsessed if people do or don’t have kids.
In my opinion, the decision to have children should be a choice that each individual can make. I understand the Pope’s point that some may be contributing to a problem, but selfishness can be seen in different ways. For example, if one knows that they will not be able to provide a good life for a child or that they have good parental abilities, then they may choose not to have children. This argument can be seen from two sides. To me, I think everyone should choose what is best for themselves and their own lives. I think this is why Thelma credited her long life to not having children, because she knew what was best for her. I think that each individual is entitled to their own happiness and being able to work towards a long and happy life.
In my opinion, I think that having children is a choice. I understand that our “human thing to do” is to have children but it’s a choice we have to make if we actually want them or not. We are all created different ways and some may want like 10 kids and some may not want any at all. But that’s our choice as humans.
This two views were very interesting and I understood were both were coming from. I do agree with others who commented that it is a personal choice whether or not to have children. I don’t think someone could convince me to have kids or not to have kids. I also don’t think that it should be considered selfish to not have kids, some people many not feel ready or every ready to have children and that it okay. I like how Thelma credited her long life part to no having children but I think it was more merely the fact that she choice what she thought would be best for her and her whole life.
In the article the pope calls the choice not to have children selfish, but I think it could also be argued that in some instances choosing to have a child that you will never prioritize is more selfish. Many people, for example, feel pressures to have kids and may want to please their families or make it an appearance thing. However if they choose to have a kid and continue to prioritize themselves that seems worse, in my opinion, than simply not having a kid. I just don’t think everyone is made to be a kids person and forcing it helps no one.