Warning: This post contains mentions of violence, mental health, abuse, and other forms of trauma.
Whether or not you ever pursue having children is completely up to you, and it is always possible to achieve a happy, fulfilled life either with or without kids.
I recently asked those among the BuzzFeed Community who have chosen not to have kids the reasons why don't regret this decision. Here are some of the illuminating comments we received.
1. "I'm 42, didn't get married until I was 39. I always thought I would have kids, but my husband is now 51, and we both have health issues. A friend of mine is my age, and she and her husband are fostering two siblings. My friend told me the other day, 'I don't recommend doing this at our age.' Granted, the fosters have a lot of trauma and difficulty, but she is just plain exhausted from having young kids in the house. Sometimes I get really sad I'll never be a mom, but that was not my life path." —lightnlife
2. "I like my own space, I like to sleep undisturbed ... and I never want to be that person who makes others annoyed in shops or planes when my kid throws a tantrum. Also, my aunt wanted kids for YEARS, and her son never does as he’s told, and once he bit her in the middle of a family lunch at a restaurant. I don’t want to do anything I’ll regret and can’t undo." —birdieebee
3. "I can’t give up the whole leave whenever I want without planning a child around it. If I just want to run to a store, I can without a second thought." —hollybruneau
4. "For me, I cannot think of a point in my life when I wanted children. I have already had a tough time working on taking care of myself and accepting myself, and I don't think a child fits well with a person who is still very uncomfortable in their own skin."
5. "I've had a lot of medical trauma stemming from incidents throughout my childhood that makes me terrified of doctors, needles, and anything to do with being poked and prodded. I also don't want to be an incubator and then push something huge out of a hole in my body that's tiny. Additionally, I grew up in an incredibly toxic household with emotionally immature parents, and there are some cycles I don't want to continue. Plus, I enjoy my sleep and my alone time, and I don't want to sacrifice that for anyone or anything." —itskellyduh
6. "Why I don’t regret it? My bank account, the travel I have planned over the next 12 months, the uninterrupted sleep, sex, days, my two-door car, the spontaneous drives to my best friend two states away (also childless)." —debbuzlynn
7. "I've never been drawn to having a baby, and my partner has never been drawn to having kids. Combined with the fact that my partner and I have only a little financial wiggle room as it is. Combined that with the fact that we have a lot of hobbies that we wouldn't want to incorporate kids and their schedules into. Combined with existential dread about the future."
8. "The more I realized what bringing an entire child into the world entailed, the more I realized it was NOT for me. I would make a terrible mother, honestly. I have no patience, I am set in my routine and prefer my peace. I can have a bad temper as well. No kid deserves that."
"Also should mention that I have OCD. I'm not saying it's impossible to have children with a mental issue, but it would make it worse overall. Anxiety would shoot up a million times worse than I already have it. I would be two extremes: the overly loving, overprotective mother that never lets her kids do anything or the hateful, spiteful, resentful mother that would just want them GONE."
9. "I am 34 and never wanted kids. I have my looks and my teenage figure, my financial stability, my independence. Also, I am a very private person and just cannot imagine being around someone 24/7." —miab4e8eaccc7
10. "The COST — when I see just how much it costs to have one child, let alone multiple kids, I can't help but feel like I dodged a bullet by deciding not to have any. Child care alone can eat up one person's yearly pay. I don't know how anyone can afford kids and still have money left to do anything else." —rapunzel452
11. "I just truly never felt that 'pull,' and I will always stand firm that you should only have kids if it is something you are pulled towards. And now I look at people with kids and know I made the right choice. I have friends who had them but didn’t actually want them, and they are so unhappy because they have lost the ability to do anything that brings them joy."
12. "Have you looked around? The world is a dumpster fire. Especially the USA, where I live. I don't want to saddle anyone with having to try to live with the way things are (and likely will be in the future). Every generation says they'll make it better (and some do, to a point). But generally, I don't believe today's children will live a better life than my grandparents (especially the girls)."—winterwednesday9
13. "I was sure I was never going to have kids for the longest time, then I fell in love with a person who has a child. My stepson (12) has lived with me (and my partner) for five years, and I enjoy having him tremendously. After having him in my life, I seriously considered having a child for a while, but then I got accidentally pregnant (contraceptive failure), and I felt nothing but panic, fear, dread, depression, and complete and total confidence that this was the wrong decision for me."
15. "I have anxiety, and I worship sleep and silence. Also, they’re expensive, and I have my own personal goals that I want to attain like traveling and buying a house, and having nice things. Call me selfish, but I’m barely going to have enough for myself when I’m at the end of my rope without having tossed it at a child and their upbringing, tuition, etc. Plus, why have a baby when you can have rescue pets?" —zameralitessa
16. "My wife and I both grew up poor and in abusive households. We have a beautiful marriage, and we value our peaceful home and financial security. We were both in our late 30s when we met, so we opted to not have kids. Plus, we love doing what we want when we want to. We can take a trip on a whim. We can pick up and move to the beach if we want, which is what we are doing. The first part of our lives were hell, and now it’s all about selfishly and unapologetically creating joy together. Plus, we have two dogs, a cat, and a bearded dragon that are our babies, so we are good — so, so, good!"—lizt45b9f737c
17. "I'm a very happy 'childfree chick.' First of all, I have never been a maternal type of person, to begin with, and I don't want the responsibility of childrearing. I have things I want to do and places to visit, and to me, having a kid would tie me down from doing a lot of that stuff. Especially since sometimes I enjoy doing things on a whim, which you can't do when you have kids!"
18. "So many reasons: money, I have mental health illnesses, I like sleeping in, but a massive reason is that my older brother had a kid at 16 and got married at 19, and he had more kids. I helped look after them a lot when they visited. I feel like I kinda already had kids but with few of the good parts. I spent my teen years either in school or caring for a baby — either a relative or babysitting — and have no desire to do it again now that I have less energy."—hex87
19. "I never wanted kids. I don't have any regrets about it because I like the life I have. I don't even wonder, 'What if?' because it never really occurred to me to consider being a parent — I can't even imagine what it would be like, and I don't really want to. It's just a thing other people do, and I don't." —gemface
20. "Nothing about having children appeals to me: being pregnant and ruining my body, having to spend money on them, watching the same show over and over, losing sleep, not getting to travel, the screeching, having to clean up after them and take care of them. It all sounds awful. So unless some of that sounds bearable in the future, I probably shouldn't have them and resent them for ruining my life." —beneruler
21. "Between my two beautiful stepkids, my niece, and the kiddos I work with 40 hours a week, I think if I had a kid of my own I wouldn’t have the patience/time for all of the already existing kids in my life that I love!" —codinicoleb
23. "Two things — my mother was 18 when she had me, 16 when she had my older sister, and had two more after me. Her and my dad struggled so hard because, at the same time that they were raising a family, they were not even truly done growing up themselves. This caused a lot of trauma in my childhood that could’ve been avoided by more mature parents."
24. "Becoming pregnant for me means going off psychiatric medications that help prevent things like psychosis and severe depression. It would be dangerous for both me and the fetus, and to be honest, I never liked kids anyway." —justamonster
25. "Between the two sides of my family, there’s a history of four types of cancer, diabetes, MS, muscular dystrophy, and various mental health issues. I have several chronic illnesses, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and depression. I would never want any child to go through the hell I’ve gone through with my health. If I end up with a partner who desperately wants kids, we’ll adopt one of the thousands of kids currently up for adoption." —jenkatz
26. "I get to do what I want, when I want. Red bottom shoes? Bought them. Impromptu vacation? Booked. Silence. Money."
27. "I'm too selfish. There are so many things I want to do in my life, career, etc., that I know having kids would ruin that. Also, I don't want to take care of one; it's a lot of work and feels like you lose your autonomy."
"Also, this world is fucked up and has enough people. We don't need more, and it's cruel for me to bring a kid into the world in the state that it is." —olivias4647f362c
29. "I thought I wanted kids. We were foster parents for a bit, and it was overwhelmingly exhausting and monotonous. I remember asking my mom, 'Is this it? The next 18+ years are just being asked at breakfast (before coffee even) what was for dinner, and a couple hours of family time and school work before baths and bed, and you go to Costco on the weekends and just...that’s it?' She responded that of course there are amazing moments, but, basically, for the most part, yes."
30. "There won't be a future for many of us, much less any future generations. The climate is collapsing because of fossil fuels. And we are in massive resource overshoot of earth's boundaries. This is already leading to disasters on a massive scale, heat waves, flooding, famine, fires, drought, and this is only the beginning."
"We are not prepared for what we are already experiencing, much less how much worse it's going to get in just a few short years. Having children with this being their fate is selfish and irresponsible on both micro and macro scales."
31. "Kids make my anxiety shoot up to 1,000 every time I’m around them. There’s no way I could handle the constant random screaming every day. I wouldn’t be able to be fake nice all the time and do the whole, 'Oh wow!' thing while they tell some meandering story that goes nowhere. I would constantly be on edge all the time, and they would suffer for it even though they’re just being kids. Not worth risking putting me or them in that situation in the hopes I’ll feel differently because they’re my own." —karateinspace
32. "I'm 49 and don't regret it at all. It's a huge responsibility, and I've seen too many people have kids not thinking that through. Then they're miserable because parenting is really hard work, so they either do the hard work and become resentful or they don't do the hard work and their kids are monsters."
33. "I was raised to believe that you don't get to have a child just because you want one. You have to have the financial and lifestyle stability to ensure you can offer your child a great life. I don't have that. I've never made enough money to not be living paycheck to paycheck, so I don't get to subject a child to the instability that could potentially cause us."
"And given the current state of US politics and the environment, I'm nothing but delighted with my choice to not have children. I can't imagine wanting to force someone to live in this miserable world."
34. "I was always meant to be an auntie, and I love every second of it. And I love handing the kid back and going home to peace and quiet." —smoregon
35. "It started around the time I realized I was trans because I realized I never want to be pregnant. I know there are other options, but since my being pregnant to have kids was such an expectation — from society and myself — growing up, it really made me rethink having kids altogether. At this time (in my mid-20s), my young sister and I also still lived with my mother, and my sister had a daughter. Having lived there and helped raise her from birth, I knew I wasn't ready for that sort of responsibility. I'm now in my 30s and still do not want that responsibility. I do like kids — I'm a youth worker for teens, a Cub Scout leader, a former teacher, and I spend a lot of time with my niece — but I do not desire any of my own." —padawanryan
36. "I have very little tolerance for people or things constantly demanding my attention. I need a lot of silence and alone time to be comfortable. I know for sure that if I had kids, I would spend a huge portion of my time in an absolute rage, overstimulated. My husband once told me, 'You would make a great mom, but you'd make yourself a shell of yourself to do it.' It surprised me that it was so obvious to him, but he is absolutely right! I would hate it!" —lilatrainor101114
37. "For me personally, there’s just not a single aspect of raising children that I would enjoy. I know myself well enough at this point to know this. None of it appeals to me: not the early mornings, not the playing with them, not the school drop-offs and pick-ups, not the endless school activities or extracurriculars, and for sure not the diaper changing. I would enjoy none of it. And when you get to be an adult, you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do."
"I don’t want to have kids, and I don’t have to, so I don’t. And I have no regrets about that. My life is pretty full and enjoyable without kids. And so many of the things that bring me joy currently I wouldn’t even have if children were in the mix."
38. "Spending LOTS of time with other people's kids — including lots of overnight babysitting — gave me insight into how exhausting parenting is. Many kids are loud, make huge messes, and need constant attention. I don’t have the emotional energy for it. I’m glad I got to see what it was like before I had any myself and regretted it." —acceptablesquirrel
39. "Honestly, I just cringe and feel like my body is not my own even THINKING about being pregnant or the birth process. Never had a desire to go through that, and I already know how much it would mess up my mental health." —hannahhalloween
40. "I wanted to be a mom but chose not to for several reasons: I wasn’t going to be able to afford to raise them the way I’d like to, there’s lots of family history involving pregnancy complications and other reproductive health issues, I spent most of my childhood raising my younger brothers and sisters, and I wanted to have time for myself. I’m in my mid-40s now; my partner and I have not regretted our decision one bit."
41. "Kids deserve to be wanted. I have never had a moment where I genuinely longed for a baby, and that in itself is enough." —papaya2
42. "The world is in absolute shambles right now! The rise of fascism, climate change, a housing crisis, stagnating wages, lack of universal healthcare, and mass shootings are something no child should have to experience. I also have mental illness, and sometimes I barely feel like I can take care of myself, and now you want to care for a baby that might also get my lovely combination of mental illnesses? Hell no!"
"After Roe was overturned, I knew my access to a safe abortion was in danger, so I immediately booked an appointment to have a surgery consultation for permanent sterilization. On December 2 I will be having my fallopian tubes removed. It honestly feels like a sigh of relief knowing I'll never have to have kids." —monikap6
44. "There are many, but my biggest? I have never once WANTED to have kids, not even a little. I've been saying I won't have kids since I was about 12 years old or so. As I've gotten older, I've also recognized that I could NOT handle the constant mess, noise, and stress."
"I struggle with my own mental health. A child would make that nightmarish, and the child would suffer, and that's not OK either. I'm now over 40 and more secure in my choice every day."