I’m Proud of My Vasectomy

Ted Cox’s mom cried when she found out that he had a vasectomy at 28, but he has no regrets. His new column looks at the reasons more men are opting out of fatherhood.

A few weeks ago as I was browsing GMPM, an idea popped into my head: We have plenty of articles and columns and posts covering being a good dad, but what about us dudes who don’t want to have kids? We’re good men, right?

Some people might disagree. I had a vasectomy at 28, and since then I’ve been called selfish and immature for permanently saving myself from midnight bottle feedings. (OK, maybe I am a little selfish and immature.) Mom cried when she found out. Some women refused to go on dates.

A lot of negative vibes pop up for those of us who want to remain child-free. But there are plenty of positive vibes, too. This column will examine the issues—good, bad, fugly—surrounding the decision to permanently avoid reproduction.

And I’ll be looking for reader stories, too. Did you get snipped without your significant other knowing? Do your parents nag you to become a dad? Do you belong to a church that tells you God has a little bundle of drool waiting for you? Did you remain child-free for decades, only to change you mind later? Let me know.

♦◊♦

I thought I’d start out this column with a bit of science.

The desire to remain child-free hit me suddenly sometime in college. Sort of like my addiction to Mountain Dew and Japanese game shows. The reasons are many:

First, as the oldest of my family’s seven kids, I’ve already changed way more than my fair share of diapers.

Second, instead of spending Saturday mornings watching Ted Jr. strike out at Little League games, I’d much rather watch those Japanese contestants humiliate themselves on TV.

I’m not alone. Surveys show that the number of so-called “childless-by-choice” Americans is on the rise.

And even those crazy people who do want kids are making fewer of them. Earlier this year, the National Center for Health Statistics revealed that the U.S. birth rate is the lowest it’s been in a century: a mere 13.5 bloody, oozing births for every 1,000 people. The tanking economy is one of the biggest reasons—baby food is freaking expensive.

But last week, as I watched yet another poor sap on television slam chin-first into a padded wall, I wondered: why don’t other dudes want kids? Was it for financial reasons? A hatred of children? An aversion to touching poop?

♦◊♦

To get some answers, I contacted Laura S. Scott, a writer and producer who focuses on the child-free movement in North America. (Yes, there’s a whole movement.) Scott is the author of Two is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice. (Yes, there’s a guide.)

From 2004 to 2006, she surveyed 171 single, partnered, and married adults, asking them to rank 18 “frequently cited motivations for remaining childless.” The motivations were statements like, “I don’t think I would make a good parent” or “I don’t enjoy being around children.”

Scott says her survey group is one way her research differs from many earlier looks at the childless-by-choice crowd: the earlier studies usually ignored men.

“I did a bunch of research and realized there hadn’t been a lot of books written on this topic for a while,” Scott said in a phone interview. “And most that had been written were for and about women, I guess under the assumption that, you know, motherhood is instinctual and fatherhood is learned.”

So when Scott looked for respondents, she made sure she found some guys. Fifty men volunteered their answers; 121 women responded.

And as the survey progressed, she found that “Men really had a lot to say in the decision-making regarding remaining child-free.”

♦◊♦

Scott says men and women feel the stigma against childlessness differently.

“Women tend to face more stigma for their choice to remain childless,” said Scott. “And they tend to be more acutely identified with their childless status than do men.”

“Young men particularly don’t really face a lot of stigma for not having children yet. Perhaps as they grow older they may get questioned by their peers,” she said.

But, she said, the pressure for men to have children can be greater in conservative religious communities or particularly pro-natal cultures—like Chinese or Indian cultures, for example—where producing an heir carries a lot of weight.

But back to the survey. Respondents ranked how they they identified with each reason on a scale from 0 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest). Scott then ran the results through some fancy statistical analysis to identify what mattered most in a person’s decision to remain child-free.

So, were there many differences between men and women in the reasons they cited?

“Really not much at all,” said Scott. “The top three motives were pretty much the same.”

For both men and women, the top-rated reason wasn’t so much about children as it was about marital satisfaction: “I love our life, our relationship, as it is, and having a child won’t enhance it.”

That makes sense; relationships suddenly change when you have to wake up for 3 a.m. feedings or hire a sitter to get in some alone time.

The second-highest reason for men: “I do not want to take on the responsibility of raising a child.” Eighty-two percent of men rated this a 4 or 5, compared to 70 percent of women.

For the third-highest motive, men and women again picked the same response: “I have no desire to have a child, no maternal or paternal instinct.” Fifty-four percent of men rated it a 4 or 5.

Fourth on the list: “I want to accomplish things in life that would be difficult if I were a parent.”

Not a big surprise. Most of the child-free people she’s spoken to are immersed in their work.

“They were engaged in careers that took them away from home,” said Scott. “For one reason or another raising children would be problematic, given what they were doing at the time.”

♦◊♦

One significant statistical difference showed up when survey-takers were grouped by age: 100 percent of 20- to 29-year-olds rated “I want to focus my time and energy on my own needs, interests, or goals” high on their list, compared to only 42 percent of those 50 years and older.

“That was not unexpected,” Scott said. “The youngest group, which is the college students and the people just going into the workplace and the young adults were really focused on their own interests, needs, or goals as a priority over raising a child.”

Scott had looked at similar studies conducted in the past. She found that motives cited in the ’70s and ’80s were fairly similar to the motives child-free adults cited in her own survey.

She believes that’s because the environmental and zero-population movements of the 1970s are fairly strong today, too.

Surprisingly, “I’m too addicted to Japanese game shows to chase toddlers” didn’t score high on the list. I guess I’m weird.

—Photo Kris Fulgham/Flickr

Check out Ted’s story, Undercover at a Christian Gay-to-Straight Conversion Camp,” one of the most popular GMPM articles of all time.

About Ted Cox

Ted Cox has never been to a Turkish prison. He hates bad beer and writing bios in the third-person. Follow his writing and speaking gigs on iheartcox.com.

Comments

  1. My husband and I are 30. We happily scheduled a vasectomy appointment. We do not want children. We both work in education – we get our fill of kids for 8 hours a day. And honestly? The concept of being pregnant terrifies and disgusts me. My husband completely understood. No kids. We’re happy!

  2. You are missing out.

  3. Got mine done 4 months ago…It was painless an worth it. I have a 5 year old son and love him to death but just didn’t want to set my life back another 5 years by having more kids.
    Counterfactually I can still look back and say I could have done this before I ever had a kid, as much as I love my son I also totally understand and respect those who choose to remain childless. You can work for 8 hours a day an not stress about overtime, or you can work your ass off and afford a nice vaction or some toys. I am still at the point where I can salvage my youth. I am going to universit and working the hours I am comfortable with.
    My wife works instead of changing diapers and in 10-15 years my son will be grown up and as immature and fun loving as me. In no way will I pressure him into making me into a grandparent. I’ll even pat him on the back if he chooses to get the big snip at a young age. Him and I can be buddies and carefree. Or I will be able to get him a good education so someday he can afford a big family if he feels he missed out.

    Good job Ted…My hat goes off to you.
    For those about to rock I salute you.
    Enjoy those saturday morning shows you like to watch.

  4. I became a dad almost exactly 1 year ago and I will have to say being a father is probably the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had. And not like I had been planning to be a dad for years or that I actually liked children before, my son came as a surprise and I wasn’t sure what to expect. But once he was born, my perspective changed completely and things that used to be important are not so much anymore. So I understand the view of men that choose not to be fathers but at the same time let me just say that some of you (the men that are good at connecting) are missing an extraordinary life experience..

  5. wellokaythen says:

    What should be scandalous is that there are still plenty of doctors who will refuse to do a vasectomy on a young man who wants one. They assume he will likely change his mind, don’t let him do anything drastic, etc. No matter what the reasons that the patient gives. Just as there are doctors who will not perform tubal ligation on women under 35, no matter what good reasons the patient gives. Sounds pretty paternalistic and condescending to suggest you know better than I do about my reproductive decisions. I think part of your basic reproductive human rights is the right to sterilization if you so desire. It would be a lot better for society if that were a more available option.

  6. This is a great article. I wish more men would have this done. It saves a woman a lot of trouble with birth control. Also it’s more practical and cheaper than getting a woman’s tubes tied. Also, hormonal based birth control is screwing with the ecosystems.

  7. So it’s selfish to refrain from creating something that doesn’t exist? Wow. I guess I’m selfish.

    Forgive me for not adding one more to our crowded planet; for not creating a life that drains resources; for not subjecting a human being to the inevitable sorrows and struggles of life, only to die at the end; for not getting a woman pregnant as some sort of contingency retirement and/or elderly care plan.

    Yeah, the non-breeders are the selfish one’s.

  8. great piece Ted, and a bold move by a single guy to get snipped. I hope the move protects you from years of questions about your certainty, sanity and sexuality. And I hope you share more of your story. I’ll post a link to this story and the amazing comments on whynokids.com and http://www.facebook.com/whynokids too.

    If/when you want to share follow-up stories about dating and the response you get from readers and strangers, please come guest blog or post a link.

  9. My wife and I have been happily married for over 14 years and are childless by choice. We considered having children about 8 years in, but then came to the conclusion that we enjoyed each others company too much, and we just didn’t have a burning desire for a drooling, pooping, screaming shrine to ourselves, and the last thing the earth needs is another carbon footprint. I had a vasectomy a little over a year ago and it is the *best* decision I’ve ever made.

  10. Stephanie Black says:

    I completely respect your choice and I would love to date a guy who’d had a vasectomy – it would make things much more relaxed. I don’t want children and it’s not easy to find others who feel the same way. I hope more people will speak out about this option.

  11. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    My first wife insisted on it post our daughter being born. She had to talk me into it.

  12. GypsyGirl says:

    Seriously, as a women, I’d be thrilled to date a guy who took his own liberty like that.

    For one, I’m not interested in having my own kids, nor dating men who have any. And as you get older, those become harder to find.

    Two, I have horses and much of my time goes to them. My niece is wonderful, but she’s my sisters kid. And I like that fact. I’ve been a teacher, now travel for a living and like the quiet.

    Three, for medical reasons I can’t go on any type of birth control medication. Which sucks (cause don’t get me wrong, I like sex) but I’ll often abstain because I just don’t want to have to deal with the possible aftermath.

    It is a much different view, having children, from a womens side; with the whole physical toll on your body. I respect guys who make the choice to have a vasectomy. Just wish I knew who more of them were, cause they might have a better chance of getting frisky (with me) because of it.

  13. Lots of good points in this article. I decided I did not want children in my early 20’s. I’m 38 now, and still completely satisfied with that choice.

    Like the author says – my two main reasons are that I don’t think I would be a good parent, and that I don’t enjoy being around children in general.

  14. You know that page refresh is the most annoying thing.

    I never understood the disagreement between those who want kids and those who don’t. I mean, to me if someone gives you flak for either choice means they must not be secure in their own. Therefore, their problem, not yours and worth ignoring.

    To me the whole problem is equivalent to someone giving you grief for being a doctor instead of a lawyer.

    Yes, some folks make that choice to be child-free out of pure selfishness. That’s a good thing. Selfish parents are bad ones. Just ask all the kids of parents who chose to have kids in selfishness (not for love but for “carrying on the family name” or some other such drivel. I have kids, but if you don’t want to, who cares? I don’t have time to live your life and mine too! LOL

  15. I really enjoyed reading this article, as it’s on a topic that doesn’t come up too often. My friend’s boyfriend recently got a vasectomy because neither of them want children, and I think it was a great decision.

  16. Raymond Paquette says:

    I’m struck by how universally this gets talked about in a way that I see as completely backward.

    The question that always needs a really solid answer is: Why do I want to have kids? Not, why don’t I?

    It’s is absurd to treat parenthood as the default, and not having children as a decision that requires explanation.

    There are plenty of good reasons that people choose to have kids. I have two kids, and I’m glad that I do.

    But HAVING kids should be a thoughtfully considered decision.

    • Wellokaythen says:

      I completely agree. It would be different if we were born pregnant like Tribbles, but we are all in fact born childfree. Sure most of us are born with reproductive organs, but most of us are also born with appendices. The default setting should be childfree, really.

  17. Thirty years ago, when I was 25, my wife and I decided that we did not want chldren. I thought that a vasectomy was the best option. It was difficult finding a doctor that would give a 25 year old man a vasectomy. The doctor that did mine tried to talk me out of it because he thought I was too young to make such a permanent decision. Thirty years later, I have no regrets with my decision.

    I never encountered any adverse reactions from my family. I have a brother and 3 sisters so my mother has lots of grandkids and great-grandkids.

  18. I’m a bisexual guy and spent most of my 20s spouting off about how I couldn’t wait to be a daddy. With some time and maturity, I realized I’d bought into the notion that being a dad somehow made me more acceptable to society (and certainly to my family). I was still dealing with my own internalized homophobia.

    With a little more time and thought, I realized I don’t feel a draw towards being a parent. I know so many gay guys who are adopting left and right and bully for them. I’m not especially interested, but you wouldn’t believe the peer pressure about this issue in the gay community.

    I don’t mind kids, I just have other goals and interests that don’t involve raising one of my own. And frankly, I hated being a kid, too. HATED IT. Couldn’t wait to grow up and get out on my own. Being a kid sucks, being a teenager sucks. It’s refreshing to hear other people say it. We romanticize the infant years and childhood and the teen years to a grotesque degree in this country.

  19. I dont even know where to begin. But I got married at age 20 (wife 19), and we decided to not have children until we were more financially stable. In year 6 my wife became pregnant in a lapse of birth control and tragically miscarried. It was a very painful time, and after we began to heal we became dead set on NOT having children. I decided to have a vasectomy because I didn’t want her to endure the physical risks of birth control anymore and it was a mutual decision. From that point it has been all about work for us, ironically opening 3 daycare centers since then. Being around children like that everyday took away some of the sting while we matured in our decision. We always said we loved the freedom to jump on a plane and go anywhere in the world without worries at anytime. Some of our very closest friends are childless as well and we have never thought twice about making the decision since. HOWEVER, our relationship began to erode within the last few years and unfortunately have filed for a divorce. We just simply grew apart, and I fully believe that our decision not to have children did not play a part. I began dating again and have been completely straight forward with women I meet concerning my vasectomy and lack of desire to have children. THEN I met my potential soul mate 6 months ago, and we have really enjoyed each other. BUT, she really wants a child and very recently asked if I would ever have the vasectomy reversed and I honestly said NO. Sadly the issue has been a deal breaker for us, but I fully understand. I just really hope to find someone on the same page as me to start a new life with. Thanks for letting me rant.

    • I logged on to read the story and was eager to comment and your comment caught my attention. Your story is really interesting and I think the readers and contributors at whynokids.com would like to hear it. I for one would like to see updates and comments from you about your decision and dating and how things are going. And I think you might enjoy reading a story we linked to by Vicki Larson. Check it out and let us know what you think. We’re also at http://www.facebook.com/whynokids.

    • Antonio Alves says:

      Im with you my friend!! Since age of 23 , I decided not to have Children!! Does it mean that we are evil? NO, heavens sakes!! Remember Not everyone has to be a father, I did Vasectomy 3 years ago, and I love it every day to wake up not to be responsible !! That doesnt mean I dont like Children !! I love Children ( we are a child of God)!! I have friends who make fun of me,They call me Vasectomy How are? I tell them much better than you< beacuse you have to pay Child Support!! And now who is laughing? Why bring a child to this Planet to suffer?? especially When the parents get divorced!!
      Matter fact I made my own T-Shirt. It says on the Front I'm proud of Vasectomy, and on the back it says, I dont have to pay no Child Support. Remembeer Life is Happines ,you are Happines you are a Child of God!! And i'm with you 100 percent!! and live life the fullest every day !! And Smile !!

    • I understand how you feel. I’m a woman who does not want kids. I made that decision at age 14, after a decade of my mother running an at-home daycare and taking in foster kids. I was surrounded by kids all the time and decided it was not for me. I am now 45 and have endured years of nagging from friends, family and coworkers who think I should have had kids at some point in my life. But I just ignore them. My boyfriend and I both strongly agree on this subject. We would rather travel the world together than go to soccer games and PTA meetings. So hang in there; not every woman has the desire to have children and give up all their free time to raise them. I hope you find someone who shares your beliefs.

  20. “I wondered: why don’t other dudes want kids?”

    Many men who have chosen Not to have children who would actually like to have children. So why don’t they? Maybe the horror stories of how other men have been used and discarded by their (ex) wives and the kids that are now hers not his too any longer. How about the huge cost of alimony and child support? Ever consider that men talk with each other about the biased Family Courts that are anti-male?

  21. I do believe that everyone has the right to choose a childfree life, and it’s silly when people call it “selfish.”

    That said, thinking that you “KNOW” what you will want forever when you’re 20 or 28 or 32 is naive and sophomoric. My goodness, why would anyone who was 28 give a moment’s thought to children? Your twenties are for partying, focusing on your career, and generally enjoying yourself. Your mid-thirties are for settling down and making more permanent life choices.

    You have the right to choose a childfree life. But to those of you who think you might want one—leave yourself some options. The distance from 28 to 38 is every bit as far as that from 18 to 28…and I’m sure you’ve changed since 18.

    (Ladies: the Mirena IUD is more effective than tubal ligation, and is reversible.)

  22. Stop Spamming Reddit.

  23. Jason Maier says:

    I like this article, about time we hear a GUY’S point of view about being child free.

    As for me . . . I’m mixed. On one hand I feel that I’d be a good father and be able to provide for children; yet on the other hand I have NEVER had paternal instincts. I’ll be 30 in a few months and have done a lot of reflecting on my life recently.

    Also, I am an only child (so is my father, and his father was an only son) so I feel personal pressure to have children for the sake of carrying on my family name; which would be the wrong reason. And I’d tend to agree with the perspective of the world being over populated and resources being strained.

    And also I’ve never really had much of a sex drive; so I just don’t feel the urge to have sex and procreate. That and I don’t know if I’d ever get married either.

  24. Even when I was a kid, I didn’t want to have kids of my own when I grew up.

    I didn’t have a rotten family life – but even back then, I had no interest in ultimately becoming a parent.

    My child-free attitude intensified during my teens. When I was 17, I even wanted to get a vasectomy (although my parents pointed out that it would be impossible for me to do so at the time) – and even back then, some of my peers said I was very selfish.

    Once during my mid-twenties, a female workmate half-jokingly slapped me when I said that I didn’t want children.

    In less than six months, I’ll be hitting the big 40, and although I have several regrets in life, one thing I still don’t regret is not having children. I don’t hate kids, but I don’t find them very interesting either.

    Despite my teenage enthusiasm, I never got snipped – but recently, I’ve been thinking about it again because the last thing I want to become over 40 is a father. I’m very content and happy being child-free.

  25. Peppercorn87 says:

    I’m surprised—in my experience, I’ve known an equal number of men and women who are pretty set against having children. Then again, most of the people I’ve talked about this with are in their twenties, like me. From reading these comments, though, it seems like there are plenty of guys in their thirties who feel the same way.

  26. ralgal0707 says:

    Thanks Ted for telling your story….all I want to know now is, where are all the men who agree with you?

    I am 34, don’t want kids, and find it hard to meet men who are childfree and are willing to remain so.

    I hope there are some Good Men out there who don’t……Good Man doesn’t necessarily have to equal Good Dad

  27. E. Webster says:

    It’s nobody’s business but your own, no matter what you decide. For myself, I simply looked at what my parents were able to provide for my sister and I with two union jobs and without a degree between them and then looked at what I would likely to be able to provide (and that’s with a degree and no debts) for any offspring of my own and the decision was easy. No kids.

    You shouldn’t have to be Gordon Gecko to afford to live like Archie Bunker but that’s the result of the painful decline and fall of the American Middle Class has been reduced to since the early 1970s. No thanks. Let somebody else provide the system with the next generation of soldiers and Wal Mart employees.That will teach the corporate bastards to ship our jobs overseas and gut our social safety net! With things the way they are and likely only to be getting worse, you are not having children, you’re just breeding roommates.

    Hey, don’t blame me. Blame the supply side bastards who have been deliberately running our country into the ground for the past 30 years. They turned everything we valued into a dollar sign and each of us into temporary employees. Then their bible-thumping, flag-waving, moron followers are surprised when the rest of just act like the little entrepreneurs we’ve been encouraged to be since 1982 and decide that kids aren’t miracles anymore. They’re just overhead.

    New Bumper sticker: “Children are NOT a choice. I can’t afford them.”

    • So much better than the “if I waited until I could afford them then I’d never have them so I had them anyways” mentality. Makes me inwardly groan and wonder how many more children will have to be supported by the taxpayers due to this faulty line of thinking.

  28. I have always known since the age of 12 that I didn’t want kids. I don’t mind being a mentor to a high school student, or teaching students. I just didn’t want the pregnancy experience. Why would anyone “desire” to be fat and blimpy for nine months? I’m also “single by choice.” (and it was truly a “choice,” not “circumstances) And I take a lot of flak for that, too!

  29. Hi, author of Families of Two: Interviews with Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice here. Great idea for a column. Will pass the word! Families of Two was really the first book to get real talk from real guys on being childfree. I interviewed over 100 couples nationally for my book, and have talked with hundreds since, and I would agree that despite popular thought that it is mostly the womans’ decision in a relatinoship re kids, very often the men wiegh in equally that they do not want kids, or they lead the charge, and if she wants them it’s a deal breaker. A trend in men’s background is also the fact that they often observed their fathers struggle to provide for their families when they were growing up and the guys decided they did not want this as part of their adult life. Men have lots to say in the book and weigh in at Families of Two blog..http://lauracarroll.com. Check it out! Laura

  30. Matthew Graybosch says:

    I’m 32, and I’ve never wanted children. I never liked children, and I never liked being a child, either. To me, being a child means being ignorant, powerless, and dependent upon others for all of one’s needs. To inflict such a state on another person, even if only temporarily, strikes me as immoral.

    • wow, matthew. i’m glad you don’t want to have children. sounds like we’re all coming out ahead in that deal, including you!

      i really enjoyed this piece.

    • Im glad you dont want to have children either. Damn, that is some negative thinking

    • I understand that point of view Matthew, but being an adult that didn’t ask to be born can be just as bad. However, I think it’s brave of you to come here and say that, and a shame that it’s being labelled negative. It’s not a sin not to be happy and optimistic all the time! the human condition can be pretty rotten so a great choice not to pass it on. Ted will be very happy with his choice I’m sure – and how nice to be happy! 🙂

    • I agree with you, Matthew — though for “child” I’d substitute “human.” There’s a reason why all the major religions focus on the questions of why life is bad and what can be done to ameliorate its fundamental awfulness. I’d never force anyone else into this — but I do think that anyone who has been brought into the world deserves love and respect. Life may be a piece of sh*t, when you look at it, but for those of us who are here, solidarity is all we’ve got. For that reason, my wife and I plan to adopt.

    • I’m with you, Matthew. I hated being a kid. Once when someone was trying to talk me into having kids, they said, “You’ll get to relive your childhood all over again!” The very idea horrified me!

      • Wow, I didn’t think other people felt that way too. I don’t begrudge anyone having kids, but no one should hold it against those of us who don’t. There are enough people having kids, what’s the big deal if I opt out? The species will survive. And I didn’t like being a kid either. I had a perfectly happy childhood, but I wanted to grow up because being a kid means having zero control over your life, being ignorant of so much, being scared of silly things because you don’t have the capacity to reason or understand why, for example, you shouldn’t be afraid of monsters under your bed.

  31. Thank you for all the feedback – you’ve given me some very good avenues to explore, and I appreciate it very much. Quite the incendiary topic, isn’t it?

  32. I am a 26 year old male who is in a loving relationship with a wonderful woman several years my senior. Neither of us want kids. I believe it would have been a deal breaker for either one of us when we began dating. I love kids, my brother just had his first with his wife and every moment I get to spend with him is fantastic. The reason behind my decision hasn’t been mentioned yet on this site, and I believe it is a valid one that can’t be called either selfish or immature.

    The facts are that during the course of the next year the global population is expected to breach 7,000,000,000 people. at the beginning of the 19th century that figure was somewhere around 1,000,000,000. That’s 6 billion people in 200 years! And that rise shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. All of the problems that face the human race on a global scale today could be considerably eased if more people committed to having less children or no children at all. The Earth was never meant to support a population of humans, or any other creature, the size of which we sport today. We are running out of space, food, water, and unpolluted homes.

    This is a discussion that needs to start occurring more often. I believe I would be a good, honest, caring father and my partner would make a great mother, but for different reasons we have mutually decided that this would be the best choice. I care more for the health and welfare of our species as a whole, and for the continuation of the planet itself, then I do about a selfish drive to see my own offspring mature into another mouth to feed.

    • Christine says:

      Fantastic response!

      Besides not having a burning desire to raise a child nor go through with pregnancy, labor and delivery, I also think that the Earth’s welfare is more important than a drive to reproduce. Also, if I really truly want a child, I should adopt. Why not take in a kid who is already here instead of reproducing my genes? My genes or family line aren’t more superior than anyone else’s. And if I don’t want to adopt (which I don’t), then I don’t really want to raise a human being.

  33. I can see where parents, relatives and friends might get on your case with the “Sooooo…when are you gonna settle down and have kids?” question. And maybe I’m naive, but I just can’t believe other people would give you shit about not wanting kids. As if it’s any of their business.

    I have a 2.5-year-old and my wife is due with our second later this year. I have to disagree with the commenter who said kids “ruin” lives, but they definitely change them. For the better and the worse, but mostly the better in my own personal experience. And I was a skeptic.

    But I see nothing wrong with couples who don’t want kids. Parenting isn’t for everyone.

    • Kids can ruin lives but so can parents. Since the kid didn’t ask to be born I have to blame the parents. Equal opportunity exploiters. Parenting definitely isn’t for everyone.

  34. @ Robyn

    For years I felt your pain. I had two children very young and knew that I didn’t want to have any more. Because I was divorced and young, my doc refused a tubal ligation. I begged for no less than 12 years and always received the same answer: You may remarry and change your mind. I did remarry and my husband never wanted to have children of his own. (It would have been a deal breaker for me if he had wanted babies.) Finally I was able to have my tubes tied but get this: I had to get PERMISSION from my husband. Argghhh…

    Good luck with getting what you know you want. My daughters are 22 & 19 and hubby and I couldn’t be happier without little rugrats running around.

    • Frank Mundo says:

      I’m extremely septical about this… and if its true… quite sensitive about your your situation. Why don’t you change doctors and stop dealing with Neanderthals? I mean, come on woman.. stop being such a WUS… unless you really were ambivalent…. and the doctor picked up on it.

      • @ Frank

        I wasn’t ambivalent at all but that’s just how it goes when you’re a young woman. The consent form that needed to be signed may be unique to Texas but I did need hubby’s consent for sterilization. I think that may go both ways here.

        And it’s not being a wus- if you cannot find a provider to perform the surgery you are shit outta luck. That’s true across the board for med procedures. (Hubby’s a doc and I was in the medical field so I’m not clueless about these things.)

    • That is interesting. In the early 80’s, I asked about a tubal ligation, and was told no, because of my “unmarried” status. Later in the 80’s, my doctor indicated I could get one, no questions asked. But by then, AIDS had become such a big deal that one needed to use condoms anyway, so I didn’t see the point in having surgery.

      So, I’m surprised in this day and age that you had to jump through hoops.

      • I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m really not. I’ve heard too many stories along the same lines. There’s a widespread presumption in this culture (and many others) that women can’t be trusted to know their own minds.

  35. Robyn, I don’t know where you live, but if it’s a city of any size, I can’t imagine that what your doctor said is true! Go get another opinion. Or call Planned Parenthood; they might be able to refer you to a sterilization-friendly doctor in or near your area.

    I spent much of my twenties asking about sterilization at each annual exam. I knew I didn’t want kids, and didn’t care for the side effects that came with the pill. I had an IUD for many years, but what I really wanted was permanent sterilization.

    When I moved from Idaho to Portland, Oregon, I found that the doctors here were much more open-minded. At 36, I went through the Essure procedure (a procedure that inserts metal coils into your fallopian tubes, causing them to scar up and close; it’s less invasive than a tubal ligation, but accomplishes the same thing), and no one batted an eye. No one talked down to me about the likelihood of me changing my mind. It was a great experience. A year later, I’m very, very happy I had it done.

    As fate would have it, I’m now engaged to a man who has two daughters from a previous marriage. I’m grateful that I get to have kids in my life without, y’know, HAVING kids.

  36. We know two couples that are among our closest friends that don’t want kids. One couple is even our son’s godparents. With both of them, from the outside of course, it looks like they are just more into their goals and entertainment. That seems to be the reason. I would call it a me first type attitiude. And that is ok. It is great when people give these things thought and make good decisions without just doing whatever they think everyone else expects. The last thing the world needs is another kid to be born to parents that don’t really want them.

    • Do these “closest friends” of yours know what you really think of them? You’re barely bothering to hide your contempt for them for not having have kids.

    • I agree with squiddo.

    • Or they could be unable to conceive and unwilling to broadcast this on the news.
      Perhaps one of both have genetic issues they don’t wish to pass on to children.
      One or both could be facing health or financial issues.

      There are many reasons why couples don’t have children. Most importantly, it is their business.

  37. I think many men and women are choosing to remain childless for the same reasons they have increasingly chosen not to marry.

    It’s called divorce.

    And while it didn’t turn up on the surveys cited in this article, it is the experience that a large number of men and women carry with them from their families of origin. Men have learned that having children frequently has the net result of virtual childlessness, but with the financial obligation remaining- for a long, long time. And many women have discovered that post divorce life, with its almost assured reduction in standard of living, isn’t quite as green as it appeared on the other side of the fence.

    With a family law system that thrives off of the destruction on families and a culture that has added marriage to its growing list of disposable institutions, the resultant attitude to not marry or have children seems to be a given. For that reason I would not marry or have children either. For me, as a man, it is better that I go into a casino with my last paycheck.

    But of course, if everyone adopted that attitude we would be gone in what, a hundred years max? I suppose we will have to leave reproduction and survival of the species to the great unwashed.

    What a magnificent asylum of a world it has turned out to be.

    • Divorce is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved as soon as the first child enters the picture. Leap of faith away from sanity, indeed.

  38. I think that all children born should be born to parents who want them. If you are not 100% committed to the job, then don’t do it. There is no more serious undertaking for a human than to raise another human. It’s imperative to do that job as well as possible.

    • The lack of perspective in these responses is amazing … parenthood is a complete leap of faith. Your parents did it or you wouldn’t be here.

      Being self-centered at a young age is natural and o.k.. Being older and not having children is o.k. as well. Just try and be empathetic towards others; meaning, try to understand the reason behind a decision you don’t understand instead of voicing and opinion and passing judgment – you’ll be happier, you’ll live longer and you won’t suck.

      Good luck.

      • “The lack of perspective in these responses is amazing …”

        What lack of perspective? Elaborate, please.

        “Your parents did it or you wouldn’t be here.”

        Nor would I be here to care. What’s your point? Incidentally, if another sperm had made it to the egg first when I was conceived, purely by chance, I wouldn’t be here either. If my mother had conceived a month earlier or later, I wouldn’t be here… so what is this now? A Monty Python sing-a-long?

        • BRAVO Domino,

          Great comment and I love your rational yet witty response. I’m more than a little weary of having the “your parents did it or you wouldn’t be here” argument shoved in my face for the umpteenth time. Time for an relevant replacement which requires actual thought.

      • I do not lack perspective. I have put plenty of thought into not having children and simply want others to respect that decision. Why should I give the child-rearing extra consideration if they cannot respect my choice? I didn’t make my decision to try to change the world or change anyone’s mind about having kids. I chose to be child-free because it was the right choice for me. Other people choose to have kids because it is the right choice for them. Still others have kids because it’s what everyone expects of them and they resent the children for the rest of their lives. I won’t be that person. I am tired of being told that “someday I’ll change my mind” or “if my parents thought that way, I wouldn’t be here.” It’s old and tired and quite frankly, it’s not a valid discussion. I am not my parents. They made the choice to have kids, I’ve made the choice not to.

  39. I’m a soon-to-be 35 year old woman, and ever since I was a child myself, I knew I didn’t want kids. I never even babysat as a teenager! I get a lot of flak for it, and I assume that will continue until the day I die. People cannot understand why I don’t want children, and some get vehemently angry with me as they try to change my mind. It’s beyond frustrating.

    The issue I have is this: I want a tubal ligation. I’ve been on ‘The Pill’ for almost 20 years, and am noticing some effects now. I have asked my doctor about having my ‘tubes tied’, and he responded that there is “no way any doctor in this city” would perform the procedure. Apparently, I might change my mind and want kids someday, and a tubal is difficult to reverse.

    I’ve known for over 20 years that I don’t want kids. My friends have kids, and I haven’t felt the ‘ol biological clock tick when holding those little bundles of goo. But apparently, as a woman, I don’t have the ability to make the choices I want regarding my reproduction. Funny thing, though… my doctor told me that my boyfriend should have a vasectomy instead. He’s 27 years old.

    Neither he nor I want kids, and he’s welcoming to the idea of a vasectomy, but we’re both angered at the fact that he can get a vasectomy, but I can’t get a tubal. The fact that the vasectomy is ‘more easily reversible’ is moot. I feel as though at 34 I’m not seen as capable enough to make a decision about my health, but at 27 my boyfriend is. It makes no sense to me.

    • I don’t know where you live, but it’s time to find a new doctor. I’ve worked in women’s healthcare for years and there’s no reason a 35 year old be denied a tubal without a medical reason. Call a few doctors in the area; if you don’t have any luck, see who some of the hospital clinics and Planned Parenthood refer to. Another option if you want to get off the hormones is the IUD Paragard. Both the tubal and IUD have some risks, but you should find yourself a doctor who doesn’t push their reproductive choices on you, and discuss it with them.

    • I just went through the Essure procedure in Sept. of ’10. If you are looking for a permanent fix, I would recommend that. There is no cutting and recovery time is very minimal. Here is the website… http://essure.com/ Also, you might find that, since this is a newer procedure, doctors who do it are a little more “progressive.” The doctor who did mine explained that this is not a reversible procedure, so she wanted me to make sure I had considered all other options, but said that I can do what I want with my body and if this was my choice, she supported it. I agree, too, with SC. There are lots of doctors out there who would be willing to do a sterilization procedure for you. Don’t give up!

  40. You’re not the only one who feels that way. I’m a woman, only 21, and I swear the older I get, the less I want kids. At 18 I didn’t want them just because I didn’t want to deal with pregnancy (I wanted to adopt). Now I just don’t want them period. My sister-in-law just had a baby, and being around him makes me detest the idea of kids even more. Not that I don’t love my nephew, but he’s a constant reminder for me to always use contraceptives.

    I don’t want kids because I don’t, and I can’t make this sound any nicer, want my life ruined. I watch shows like Teen Mom, and I know they may just be teens, but the process of raising a baby is still the same for them. Sorry, but I appreciate my sleep. And sorry, I want to fulfill my own dreams before giving up everything to fulfill someone else’s. I’m still in college, but I know exactly what I want to do and how I’m going to get it, and having a child would totally ruin those plans. Plus, I can just feel like I’d be one of those cases of postpartum (mortem???) depression if I had a child. Call me selfish, but I’m being a lot more selfless than you think. Being selfish would be having a kid knowing you couldn’t fully provide emotional needs for that kid because of your own life goals.

    I mean, I’m glad my parents didn’t feel that way about me, but I just don’t have that maternal instinct. I absolutely detest baby talk. My stomach curdles whenever my mom erupts in baby talk to my nephew. I’m also never that eager to hold him because he constantly wants to be held a certain way, but my mom, dad, and fiance can’t get enough of holding him. *sigh*

    • It’s refreshing to read a man’s perspective on the choice to be childfree. When seeking interviewees for my book, Complete Without Kids, women sought me out, very eager to share their stories, but most childfree men didn’t have much to say. So now we hear a man reveal that his parents grieved his decision to not become a parent (they’d not have the grandparenting experience with him) and that he’d had some people imply that he was somehow flawed because he was voluntarily childfree.
      Great article!

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