Note: This story discusses suicidal thoughts.
While some people have a strong feeling about wanting kids or not, others may be on the fence until a specific moment in their life that makes it very clear they don't want to have them.
So we asked the BuzzFeed Community: "Tell us the exact moment when you and your partner realized that you no longer wanted to have kids." Here are their answers below:
1. "Although we got married wanting children, we realized we didn’t want to have kids after both hitting high salaries and barely being able to pay our necessary bills. We also realized that our jobs were exhausting enough. We couldn’t imagine not resting in the evenings or on the weekends, and frankly, we naturally don’t have the energy needed to be good parents. By not having kids, we can focus on our needs, goals, and finances, and we can comfortably live in a small condo. I feel lucky we had this realization at the same time; I’ve seen couples divorce over the having-kids debate."
2. "I realized my motivations to have a child were only to give them a better life than I had because I felt like we could financially. But we both have mental disabilities, and after truly thinking about the mental workload that would literally never stop, we were both on the same page. We selected a donor and bought the vials, but once we realized we would be losing DINK (dual income, no kids) status and taking on way more mental and physical workload (you never stop being a parent, right?), and after thinking of how our families would involve themselves, we knew that ultimately it wasn't for us."
"A lot of people didn't understand how we could select a donor and start the process and spend the money and then just change our minds. But my partner understood and so did I.
"We had been thinking about kids for eight years, but after we bought the vials, I knew for sure that I didn't want to go through with it. We definitely had to go through the process to know for sure, so I don't think we wasted money. To learn that I don't really want what I thought I wanted is priceless because there is no turning back. I know we would be good parents, but we're great at loving each other, ourselves, and being DINKS, and we have so much fun this way."
—Cass, 28, Nevada
3. "We met when I was 22 and he was 25. I kind of just assumed we would have kids way in the future. Eventually, as time went on, we realized how much we enjoyed staying in bed all day and eating/drinking as much as we want, whenever we want. No part of raising a family appealed to us. He got a vasectomy last December. What a relief! It feels like a weight off my shoulders. There's nothing I've been more sure about."
4. "I’m a teacher, and my husband is a cop. We joke that I work with kids all day, and he deals with adults who act like kids, so it’s nice to just have the dogs at home. We knew kids were not in our future when I was diagnosed with PCOS and barely functioning ovaries, and we were told that it was unlikely I would conceive without a lot of medical intervention. Neither of us was sad about the diagnosis or felt any desire to try to change anything about the apparent direction of our future, so that was it for us."
5. "I was with my husband for seven years total. He wanted biological kids and I didn’t. We compromised that we would adopt and then have a biological kid or two if we didn’t feel complete. But we fostered teenagers for a year and I realized that we had totally valid but totally opposite parenting styles, and I didn’t see that getting better when we had our own kids. We ended up divorcing a year or two after that."
6. "We both have a lot of trauma in our pasts. We realized that we have the opportunity to enjoy the time we have left on Earth and build the happy, stable lives we’ve always wanted. Bringing a child into that would only bring chaos and obligations we spent decades getting away and healing from."
—Anonymous, 40, US
7. "We both suffered from depression, but usually one of us was up when the other was down. There were a few weeks when we were both so low and could barely function. I knew then that we weren’t suited to parenthood. Any child would be neglected, or worse, a biological child might inherit our depression. We aren’t together anymore, but I would never want to pass my struggles on to a child. I already didn’t want to be a parent before, so kids are an absolute no for me now."
8. "We had half-heartedly tried to have kids, but when we moved into an actual house, we were totally over wanting to have children at all. We had always said a home, more room, and a yard for kids. Well, once we were in the house and had to do the repairs and work on things, with weekends spent eating leisurely breakfasts and then doing whatever we wanted to do, it convinced us that kids were no longer part of the equation. I can't really have kids to begin with, and I was so worried about him still wanting them, but he agreed and said that kids would just muck up our lives. So 15 years together in a house, still child-free, and still happy about it."
9. "We'd been talking about getting a dog and decided against it because it was 'too much work.' That's when we knew children weren't for us."
10. "When my sister had kids. Her whole life revolves around those kids. Not saying it's a bad thing, but it's not for my wife and me. We like to go out and do things — but just seeing my sister not doing anything and living for her kids told us it just wasn't for us."
11. "It’s not always cut-and-dried, and that can be really difficult. There are people like me who could’ve seen it going either way: having kids or not. I feel that’s rarely talked about. My now-husband told me after several dates that he didn’t want children, and it shook me up. As a woman, you’re just simply expected to have children, so I never considered that maybe I wouldn’t. I contemplated both scenarios and ultimately knew I didn’t want to live life without him."
12. "My husband and I have been married for almost nine years now. And both being Filipinos, raised with strict family traditions, we were kind of expected to have a kid sometime in the course of our marriage. We tried when we were about two years into our marriage, but we realized that it was not really the life we wanted. We’re lucky that we were able to have a career out of our passions too. We both knew that we didn’t want to change a thing with how we work and live. And we know that having kids can change that. It sounds selfish, but we’re coming to terms with the fact that other people just wouldn’t understand the choice we made. It’s just that having a kid is not a 'hole we need to fill in our life.' We love kids, we love our nieces and nephews and goddaughters and godsons, but it’s just not for us."
—Anonymous, 35, Philippines
13. "I never wanted kids. When I met my husband, it was something we bonded on, as he didn’t want them either. However, falling in love with him made me finally understand the desire to create a family with another person. I changed my mind from 'absolutely not' to 'maybe.' On our honeymoon to Costa Rica, we had a huge discussion as we were road-tripping across the country about my desire to have kids and his desire not to. What it really boiled down to was that I wanted him to love me enough that he’d be willing to have children with me, because I loved him enough that I was okay not having them. It was a power struggle more than anything. We agreed that while I’d continue with my birth control, if I became pregnant, we’d have a child rather than abort it."
14. "Everyone started to have kids around us, and we were just planning our next trips, next vacation, which car we wanted to buy, etc. Now, wherever we are invited somewhere, we have to spend the evening with screaming and annoying children or, if we decide to host, we need to clean out the valuable stuff from our place so nothing gets broken. But the real, real talk we had was when everyone started pestering only me (a woman in her 30s) about having kids and not also my boyfriend. We just noticed we don't draw happiness from kids; we are the happiest when we are together and are able to enjoy our freedom. Thankfully, we noticed that pretty early, so we are on the same page."
—Anonymous, 32, Switzerland
15. "We got a dog together, and I had to do the majority of the work and take on most of the responsibility. I did all the feeding, walks, vet visits, bills, etc. I couldn’t even go out of town for a weekend without him saying it was too hard on him to take care of her by himself. I knew then that I couldn’t have kids with him because it wouldn’t have been a partnership."
16. "My husband and I wanted kids up until I was about 28 years old. We discussed having two kids before we got married (we started dating just as we turned 19, and got married three and a half years later). We wanted to start trying around 27 years old. At about 27, I stopped taking my birth control to let whatever happened happen. By then, we even had favorite names picked out. However, a bad depressive episode hit me just after I turned 28, and I started feeling on the fence, but I didn’t bring it up to my husband because I was trying to sort out what was just depression versus not. Then, a few months before I turned 29, it led me to being hospitalized over suicidal thoughts because I was on the wrong antidepressant. During that hospitalization, I realized that yes, I do love kids, but I was only allowing a possible kid to happen because that’s how society trained me, and not because I truly wanted my own. I definitely didn't want the lifelong responsibility."
"The realization that I didn’t want kids of my own was an interesting experience, and it took a few more months of battling with myself before I nervously brought it up to my husband.
"I had already started birth control again, but the reasoning I gave everyone was to let me make sure my depression was fully under control before possibly trying again. I also really didn’t want to lose him if he still wanted children, yet I also knew it wouldn’t be fair to either of us to continue our relationship if we wanted this vastly different choice.
"I lucked out because it turned out he had been thinking the same thing and feeling the same way. We have nieces, nephews, and friends with kids we love but could 'return,' and our values had grown and changed as we grew as individuals and as a couple.
"I had a tubal ligation at 32-ish, and we’re now both 39, turning 40 later this year."
—Melissa, 39, Oregon
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.