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Being Old Without Children

In February 2011, I posted a story about being old and childless titled, Having No Children – Regrets? It was popular. There were many more of comments than other days with a lot of thoughtful discussion.

But I had forgotten it until last week when a reader named Kelly left this comment on the post:

”I turn 50 in 45 days and find myself unmarried, no kids and my career in shambles. I needed this article today.

“Usually spend less than an 4 hours a year on facebook, but just spent two hours looking for pictures to put on a personal project. It was difficult to see all my family members with their kids and grandkids - milestones, trips, homes, my life became empty in a matter of minutes.

“Until I read this. I am forever grateful.”

(By the way, there are more comments – or, sometimes, private emails to me - than you would think from people, usually not regulars, who appreciate the insights in the conversations here. A large part of that is you, TGB readers, who contribute so much useful information so take a bow.)

Throughout my life I have often said that aside from putting a gun to one's head, there are hardly any decisions that are irrevocable. But not having children is one of them – for women, after a certain age, there is no going back.

Kelly's comment last week reminded me that childlessness, chosen or through circumstance, can be an issue in old age and that it's worth repeating this post. Time Goes By has gained many new readers since 2011, and I'm eager to hear from you. If you recall this post from 2011, maybe you have more to say.

Here is the original post with a few minor tweaks but no substantive changes.

Many elderbloggers post photos of their grandchildren, tell cute stories about them and about the the joys (or, sometimes, heartaches) of grandparenthood.

I can't do that. I didn't have children, a choice I renewed through the years.

When I graduated from high school in 1958, many of the women (girls, really) in my class married right away – some within a week or so in weddings they had planned throughout our senior year. Two or three were already pregnant and the rest couldn't wait to become mothers, as was generally expected of us in those days.

Although few women attended college in mid-20th century America and marrying at 17 or 18 was common, going from the confines of school and home to what I considered the equally confining boundaries of suburban domestication was not for me.

I wanted to live on my own, explore the world around me, meet new people, travel to faraway places, go dancing, drink wine and talk politics all night. I wanted to find out what kind of person I would become and I knew in my bones I would never get to do those things if I was keeping house and changing diapers. I'll do that later, I told myself, much later.

That is not to disparage those who chose the marriage path so young; it just didn't sing to me and I knew I was nowhere near grownup enough yet to raise babies.

Six or seven years later, I did marry – one of the larger mistakes of my life. It was apparent before a year had passed that we were not going to make it and although I hung on and hoped for six years, I made sure there were no children.

Bad marriage but good choice about kids because at age 31, I found myself with no husband, no home and no job.

That righted itself and for the next several years, I created a terrific career, dated some extraordinarily interesting and accomplished men and did not marry any of them.

The late 1970s arrived and many of my friends had married, moved off to married-people land, had babies and we had little in common anymore. I cannot express how deeply I did not (and still do not) care about the relative merits of Pampers and Huggies or of various brands of baby carriages - conversations I struggled to politely endure when visiting those friends. It's probably a genetic failing if not a moral one.

But I was fast approaching 40, a good cutoff date for pregnancy, and it seemed time to seriously consider motherhood before it was too late. So I spent the next year or so weighing the question.

It was clear, I reasoned, that I was not a woman who bubbled over with maternal longing. On the other hand, I am thoroughly responsible and if a baby or two were thrust my way, I'd throw myself into it – Pampers, soccer games (ugh) and all – because, well, how can you not. There is no other choice than to do the best you can to successfully guide a kid from the cradle to adulthood.

I had been on my own for more than 20 years by the time I was doing all this thinking and journaling and wondering about children. I was curious about that kind of life, about the feeling parents described of overwhelming love for their newborns that was different from other kinds of love.

And I had certainly been awed watching friends' children go from babbling to full sentences within a short space of time. The thrill, if the child is your own, must be amazing.

Another consideration was that there was no potential husband on the horizon. Would I be willing, was motherhood important enough to me, to bear a child and raise him/her on my own? And if so, should I? Was it a good or right thing to do, to choose half a home for a kid from the getgo and not from later circumstance, divorce or death?

That part was easy for me – no. I could not imagine holding down a full time job, the odd hours mine demanded, the travel, weekend work, deadlines, etc. while juggling the needs of a child without a father. And I did not want the disappointment of coming home to a caregiver who told me the kid took his/her first step that day or spoke a first word while I was gone. It would break my heart.

(Just so you know, I'm aware there is much more to motherhood than those two milestones, but it was on my mind then.)

Of course, I also could not avoid the question of whether I would be sorry, regretful when I was old, that I did not have children. There was no way to know.

So I decided that if, in the next couple of years, a man I wanted to marry appeared in my life and he wanted a child, I would do that. But not on my own.

Time passed, the man did not materialize and here I am more than 30 years later, never a mother and therefore not a grandmother.

Do I have regrets now? Only in the sense of missing an experience so common to most of humankind. I am equally curious about having married young and spent 50 or more years with the same person – how different from my life and what an astonishing connection that would be to have lived intimately with one person for so long.

But I also wish I knew what it is like to walk on the moon or be able to sing like Kathleen Battle or dance with Fred Astaire. I would like to have worked in the White House, to know it from the inside. Or Congress.

I wish I had asked my mother and father a whole lot more questions than I did. And I wish so much that I were smarter than I am and could understand many things about which I fall short of “getting.”

Some of these are impossible, others are choices and none are regrettable. Nor is not having children/grandchildren and I suspect that turned out just right for me. But then, how would I know?

I'm pretty sure grandparents could tell me how much I am missing but I don't feel a hole in my life. Overall, it's turned out pretty well. I'm comfortable with my life, and I wonder if other childless elders have regrets about that. Or not.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Comparisons: Yesterday and Today


Nope, no regrets.

We are roughly the same age and I never had children, not by choice but because I was fertility challenged. I was the kind of person who didn't spend a lot of time spilling tears over things I couldn't have, so it didn't bother me much to be childless when I was younger. I had a career and loved art and I had a good man in my life. BUT after my husband had his massive stroke in 2000 leaving him right side paralyzed and without a written or spoken language I found myself occasionally saying that it would have been nice to have a few kids and grand-kids who could pitch in to help. (Our lives were full of tough challenges for the next 12 years.) And that, of course, would be having kids and grand-kids for all the wrong reasons (selfish reasons) which leads me to think Mother Nature knew what she was doing way back when she didn't lead me to the maternity ward. That's not to say I wouldn't have been a great mother. I know I would have been. I guess what I'm saying is it's important to accept your past for what it was...childless or otherwise.

Wondering what life would have been like if different decisions had been made is a good thing, it seems to me. Regretting them, though, is probably not.

Ahhh, the choices we make. I, like you, am older and childless. Endometriosis took care of that in my 20's. Never had much of a maternal instinct anyway. No regrets.

I married young, had two children immediately, and that was fine. I was in love and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life anyway. I was also happy, at age 41, and with two new degrees under my belt, to be able to start a career with a daughter on her way to college. It worked out perfectly.
Being a stay-at-home mom was frustratingly boring for me. I was so grateful to later find a career I felt I was good at. Now my daughter has three children and is an excellent stay-at-home mom but I find that her conversation is completely limited to kids and house. Not sure I have a wrap-up observation to that.

I have 3 children and 8 grandchildren and I cannot imagine life without them - any of them. They have all been a huge blessing to me, and I'm sure they will continue to be.

When I was a small girl and finally got the truth about where babies come from I vowed that would never happen to me.

As the eldest of six (my mother had the 6th when I was 10!) growing up on a farm, I had more than enough to do with child care (it wasn't called that then) and housework. Why my mother actively wanted such a big brood I could never understand. (But we all pitched in to care for her last year when she was dying, so that part paid off for her.)

I've never regretted my choice, but in my 2nd marriage I found myself with a man who had four children, and now I'm lucky enough to have a bunch of sweet grandchildren. That part is fun and I'm learning to be a grandmother. A stroke of luck that I've always got along well with my husband's kids.

First generation born American and raised by a Grandmother from an Eastern block country, I was groomed for an early marriage and child rearing. At 24 I had 2 in diapers and no husband. After the fact, I spent time wondering what my life would have been like without children when I was young. My children ended up saving my life because I find it hard to believe I would be alive today if it hadn't been for my being forced into taking some responsibility for them. Those were my life issues to be resolved, as it turned out.

There are so many stories about the choices/no choices in child bearing in the American landscape. At this point, after all I put my children through, I'm surprised that they even acknowledge my existence! At 60 I'm amazed that it all turned out so well in that everyone enjoys so much love daily!

The fact that my sons found fabulous spouses and there are Grandchildren is a miracle in my scenario but there must be a million ways to allow miracles into one's elder life without children. This blog might be one of yours I'm thinking, Ronni. A tremendous legacy and no less valuable in how you help and connect people as you do.

I have 2 grown 'boys'; had them following a satisfying career, so later than others of my generation.
With love as the driving energy, they've been raised and supported, with few rules and many opportunities to make their own choices, good ones and bad. I think it was important for me to maintain and pursue a life separate from being a full-time, all-out parent. But to my regret, I didn't.

Since, experience with a dose of courage has shown me that major changes and choices are mostly still available, perhaps limited and surely not as easy. I love the roller-coaster. Maybe later will the merry-go-round be enough.

No children... no regrets.

Always thought I would like to have had a daughter if children had been in the cards but always figured letting her go when she reached adulthood would have probably killed me.

I have a dear friend who had two children. Her adult son committed suicide and her daughter got in with a bad crowd, drank too much, and was in a bad accident that left her brain challenged. Now the mother, in her 70's, is caring for the daughter. One time she wrote, "Remind me again why I wanted children." She was being facetious, but it was a comment with a serious reason. Motherhood is not all happy families and adorable grandchildren.

For you that are childless for one reason or another you might be happy that you are not saddled with a never-ending motherhood. Or as my friend also said, "Weren't they supposed to be taking care of us now?"

Like Ronni, I wanted to engage with the world, have a career and not stay at home as a wife and mother, back in 1966 when I graduated from college. I did get married but felt sure I was not suited for motherhood. Funny that I didn't want children of my own because I spent much time working with children and loved every minute. Again, like Ronni, my marriage fell apart quite soon. I then developed my second wonderful career for another 10 years. I loved my single life. Then I met The One. We married at age 37 and suddenly I wanted a child. (Surprise!) Fortunately, by this late date, I did not have to sacrifice my career.

I delivered our first and only child in the nick of time the year I turned 40. My only regret is that I didn't have a second child, because I now believe children need at least one sibling to feel right in the world.

When people write about the advantages of having children to help take care of them or their spouse, I don't think they understand that it's not always done out of duty. I spent five years taking care of my Mother, and I cherish every minute of that time, giving back to her the unconditional love she gave to me. I didn't have a sibling to "help with the tasks" but I didn't care.

Today my daughter lives far away and probably always will. I love her deeply, but I regret that our relationship has not turned out to be as rich and intimate as I had hoped. So perhaps I was right after all that my personality was not suited for motherhood. I'll never know for sure.

My first grandchild will arrive in November. I am hoping I learned some things with my daughter which will enable me to be a better grandmother, if I am given the chance. I have been thinking a lot about exactly what kind of grandmother I want to be. Did any of you think about that ahead of time? I don't think I want to leave it up to my instincts!

No children -- no regrets. Life is challenging enough without that responsibility for me. I have two younger brothers with children -- they can have all the fun, I'll just watch.

In my 20s I was conflicted about marriage and children. I was a feminist before I ever heard that word, even though I was a child in the 50s when girls were supposed to grow up to be wives and mothers.

But everything changed in the late 60s, when I went to college, so when my friends were all getting married, I didn't. I wanted a partner, but definitely did NOT want my mother's marriage.

Long story short, in my quest for a nontraditional relationship, I kept picking the wrong men--men who were commitment phobes--and in my 30s I got pregnant by a man who walked away from the situation. I thought long and hard about what to do, and ended up having the baby. When my son was 4 I met and married a wonderful man who has given me the kind of relationship I wanted.

My son is now 32, and I am very happy to have him in my life. I was not the best mother, but he seems to have turned out just fine anyway. Though I never had the overwhelming maternal instinct that some women have, I did want the opportunity to see a child grow and develop. I think if I had not had my son I would have regretted it.

Admirable post about a subject which has no right or wrong answer--only the answer each of us chose, which may (or may not) have worked out for us. The one thing I AM pretty clear about is that, even if you have them, making your children your retirement plan is probably not a good idea. Hence, my passion for the Villages.

Fifty-plus years ago, with little or no forethought, we started our family (huge by today's standards). Birth control was not a topic for discussion.

As our family grew, I believe that Ann Landers once polled her readers about parenting ~~ given the chance, if "starting over" were possible, would they do it all again ? My recollection is that the majority responding would choose to remain childless.

Too many times, in my experience and that of others I know, the pain of being a parent has overwhelmed the "joy" that's so often referred to re: having children.

Yes, the babies were adorable, there was joy, but babies can grow into adults with many a serious illness. They can suffer the loss of a job. They can do drugs. That's the short list.

Some mothers (admittedly not all) can suffer unbelievable, mentally exhausting pain alongside their children.

If the clock could be turned back, and given a choice, I hope I'd have the good sense to do things differently....engage the term "family planning".....join the convent (well, maybe not).

I never wanted children, and do not regret that decision. My relationship with my husband is very close, and I think would have interfered with my relationship with a child. My mother said that that had been true of her parents.

What is eery to me now, after my aunt's death earlier this year, is that I am the last member of my family. But it is not a younger generation I long for, but wishing I had asked more questions, listened more closely to the stories. There is no one to ask.

It seems a different kind of aloneness than simply the death of a loved one. Still, I do not wish I had done anything differently.

I really never planned to get married, but had a list of the perfect man. Just as I graduated from college I began dating a man who actually met the criteria on that list. We got married the next year, and 40 years later are still having fun, most of the time. Being retired has added some new wrinkles to the relationship, but all those years of building a life together has done us well for this time in our life.

Only one daughter because I realized shortly after she was born that I was a terrible mother. I would still say that of myself. In my 30s I wanted everything to be perfect and I was very busy making everything that way. It was not good for any of us. I can only see that now in hindsight.

Our daughter grew up, went to college, became a minister, got married and now has 2 adorable children on whom I dote. Although a lousy mother, I am the world's best grandma! I had no grandparents so I realize the importance of such a relationship. When my grandkids are old, I want them to be able to say, 'I had the best grandparents.'

Passed over for a promotion, no longer enjoying the job at hand, a husband earning 10x my salary, turning 30.... should we have a baby?!?! Our lives were pretty perfect; why take a chance on change? Should the family line end with us? Round and round we went until a wise friend said "Be comfortable with the ambivalence. It never goes away."

I think that would be true had I not gotten pregnant the first month we tried, just as it has been true over the three decades I've been a parent. I love them and I wish they would go away.... and life goes on, with me swinging in the ambivalence hammock, a smile on my face.

On the other hand, if it were possible for grandparenthood to come first, EVERYONE would jump on that train :)

proud new grandma

I am eternally grateful that birth control pills were easily accessible when I married (and I had a wonderful, happy marriage even though now I'm a widow). I knew from a young age that I never wanted kids. I helped raise 3 younger sisters, and that sometimes included a passive, incapable mother.

I've been involved off and on in the "childfree" community; there are many women and men who don't want children, but the pressure of social expectation/family presents problems. Being "childFREE" as opposed to "childLESS" is a great difference; it's an attitude and feeling of freedom. Personally, I never wanted that kind of responsibility, even though I'm a very responsible person.

I admire parents who really know how to parent, but there are many who do not. And probably if being childFREE were more acceptable, we'd have fewer abusive, neglectful parents. An acceptable choice without pitying glances, advice we'll "change our mind" and "who will take care of you in old age."

At any rate, I'm 62 and have NO regrets. I do have several grand-nieces, even a couple living nearby, but since I didn't have children, I planned for my elderly years whereas that "fall back" plan to have kids take care of you wasn't an option. And not always a plan at all.

I have two regrets about not having kids. (1), I will never know what kind of father I would have made and (2), Having no heirs, I am the last person alive in my family. When I go, my family line goes with me.

Karen, I also am becoming a gram for first time in November. Perhaps Dkzody has a few tips.

For some time, I've lived without grandchildren and plan on winging it as it happens. I don't embrace having or forming expectations; rather prefer the surprise and spontaneous ways.

I married and had one child pre-birth control pills. After a very bad reaction to those first strong pills, I got pregnant again. I never wanted children, and I was a poor mother as was my mother. Now I have 14 genetic and adopted grandchildren, two of which talk to us. I plan on winging old age dependencies myself. Great topic.

No children and no regrets.

Life is about choices.

I am second oldest in a big family. I dreamed about being a teacher, but it took so darn long to get there because I was repeating grades, told I would never graduate, blah blah.

My grade two teacher smelled of elderberries.

Never mind that.

I achieved my goal with honours and oh did I love working with all the different characters that walked into my classroom.

Ten years into retirement, I often bump into my ex students on sardine numb bumbling bus 211 from downtown, or at the local mall.

When that happens, the student runs up and hugs me. Some of them are big hulking dudes!

Then that ex student proceeds to tell me every single achievement since they last saw me.

This is music to my ears. I get all emotional, realizing how much trust we earn when we give our true selves, whatever the job.

A kind of quiet pride comes over me for having turned some lives around.

There are many creative, simple or original ways of contributing to society.

These comments are such interesting reading! We came from an extended family, five generations in the same small farming community - yet I have only one child and my sisters have none, by choice and circumstance. My son and his wife have moved back in with me (into my tiny house) and at age 27 are expecting their first child in January. The abject panic I felt at first has worn off into a more calm resignation. When asked why this threw me into an anxiety attack, it was easy to categorize: financial, political and environmental concerns, all of which are inter-related, of course. I'm sure that I will be madly in love with the child, and my capacity for worry will simply continue to increase!

Ronni...Are your "grandchildren" possibly your blog and storytelling sites? Just look at how many varied stories and feelings were generated by your story today. I cannot imagine how much time and energy it takes for you to keep these going and I know you enjoy this part of your life. I only hope you can feel how much each of us who participates in your site appreciates what you do!

No children, no regrets. I still cannot stand talking about pregnancies, babies, and everything that goes with it. Eyes glaze over.

Seems to me, Ronni, you are a parent. Helping, advising and always there for us.

There are many ways to parent.

Childlessness or not - should be a choice. In my day, too often it was not. Most of the money that I donate to "good causes" goes to organizations that promote and facilitate family planning.

I wish that, like many other commenters, I could have had more success in making the choice about whether to have children or not to have children. It seems to me that my childbearing years were one big mess of failed birth control, unavailable abortion, and a "pill" so fraught with side effects that it had to be discontinued. I made not a single procreative choice, yet I ended up with four children from two unhappy marriages.

Although motherhood was never my choice, I stepped up to it and always provided a clean and pleasant home, good nutrition, and support for learning and whatever talents individual children had. I was never a bad mother but not being cut out for motherhood, I was probably less maternal than I should have been. Oddly---or not--- I did much better as a single mother and when I became a student and later a career woman.

My maternal instincts didn't kick in when I became a grandmother and the expected cooing and cuddling did not come as naturally to me as it did to the "other" grandmother. I hate changing diapers and feeding babies---always have, always will. I laughed at Ronni's aversion to discussing the merits of various diaper brands because I felt the same way and I was supposed to be a mother among mothers. But child care and other domestic issues have never been my favorite topics of conversation.

If I could go back and have a do-over I would, like the mothers in the study cited by Pat, choose not to have children. But having had them and my oldest son having turned out to be my best friend and soulmate, I am also, like Ashleigh, "swinging in the ambivalency hammock." We are who we are, we do what we do, and we live the lives that happen to us.

What marvellous stories and comments - I particularly liked Ashleigh's "ambivalence hammock" and Chana's comment " making your children your retirement plan - NOT a good idea" -like you Ronnie I've often wondered what my 'other ' life would have been like. Denied the opportunity to go to university (my dream) I threw myself into what I saw as the only alternative - marriage and motherhood - having had a lonely childhood I decided that a large family would be ideal - six children later I realised that being the mother of a large family is very different from being a member of a large family! However I have a wonderful family and gorgeous grandchildren - but I could not be described as a 'doting' grandmother - perhaps I used all of that up first time around! I eventually got to University and had a terrific career in the second half of my life which fulfilled that dream also - so extremely fortunate - but able to realise now that every decision has two sets of consequences - the 'two' lives I have lived have both been circumscribed by the other - living without regrets is the only way to deal with that.

I'm glad that I've fathered 3 children and raised 2. My wife dearly wanted children so it's a joy to see her happy. Besides the lives brought into the world, it also has been and continues to be a joint project we share. I can understand, however, those that are childless and how that is just fine (if that is their choice), and how they can be very happy, with no or few regrets. This is probably (but not always) a bigger deal for women and therefore my reference to my wife. (one note: in today's world, boomerang children can be costly in retirement!)

Thanks largely to The Pill, I'm child-free by choice and have no regrets! I was among the first "guinea pigs" and I shudder to think how high-dose those early birth control pills were. Still, it was the right choice for me. I never was good with young kids--not then, not now. I don't babysit! I worked full-time most of my life and probably would have given kids short shrift if I'd had any.

Yeah, it may be a problem 15 years from now when I'm in my 90s, if I'm still around, but having kids is NOT a retirement plan, as others have noted. There's no guarantee that the kids will be able (or willing) when their parents get old and need help. They may live on the other side of the country or have jobs that consume 60 hours/week. I realize that I'll be pretty much on my own, especially if my husband predeceases me (he's 84 and I'm 77).

The no marriage part was best for me. I think of all I would have missed. I didn't believe I would have made a very good parent. My 'kids' say meow plus other 'kids' have feathers. I would have missed this wonderful experance. I've made the right choices for me.

Since our generation is the first generation to actually have choice about whether to propagate or not, our comments are sterling research into the effects of remaining childless when propagating is how our species continues. It used to be that if a woman didn't have children it was because she was a spinster or barren! Now we have choice. It also means that if we do have children, that is a choice, not a burden thrust upon us. I love being a mom. No regrets. But I know many women who do NOT love motherhood. One of my old friends said before she died, "If I had to do it all over again I would never have had children. I have six children and none of them came with a blueprint and what I learned on one didn't even apply to the next one!" (Her kids weren't very honoring nor loving to her, but I perssonally blame her husband for that.)
Anne Lamott speaks well to the issue of deciding to have a child in the midst of a "different" lifestyle in her book "Travelling Mercies".
I think it is important for the childless person, male or female, to feel the connection we all have to each other. The rising generation is a product of us all however we contributed.

When I first married in 1972, my older sister noticed that friends were making comments like "So, are you going to have kids?" Finally she sighed and said that when she had married in the early 1950s the question that she heard was "So, how many kids are you going to have?" She did not regret her two boys, but did think that it would have been nice to be have been given the choice.

BTW, I was never child-oriented and at 17 began to say that I didn't want to have children. I put up with the usual laugh followed by "You'll change your mind when you fall in love/ get married/get older/etc." I never did change my regrets...I am the Aunt.

Like Kelly, I made the decision to not have children for some of the same reasons. I graduated high school in 1966, when so many of my classmates were getting married immediately and having children. My older sister had two children by the time she was 19! I was determined to be different, go to college, move to a big city and have a career. My first job reinforced my decision (long story). Then I came to the career part of my life which required extensive travel. There is no way I could have accomplished what I did with children.
Now I'm at a point where I long for grandchildren. I've even thought about starting a Facebook group for women of a certain age without grandchildren.
And the other big question in my life now is, "who do I leave all my "stuff" to?"
Regrets, yes!! I look at my sister who has nothing but her sons and grandchildren. She is happy!

It took me until I was 40 to realize why my mother had problems being a mother. Her mother died in the flu epidemic when Mom was only 7 years old, and she and her sister and brother were raised by hired housekeepers. Frankly, she had no idea how to be a mother! I think realizing that helped me to understand my own parenting problems.

I'm so glad that other parents have mixed feelings about having children, especially now that they are grown up.

Cara, you are SO right that there's a world of difference between "child free" and "childless". Terminology does matter! We were both out of step with our generations (altho' I was probably more so since I'm 15 years older than you are). I, too, was semi-active in spreading the message that not ALL women had to bear children. I hope there are younger women taking our place because family planning (including planning NOT to have kids) is still very much an issue.

Three girls and a boy in a bunch, like bananas. Since I mother boys only, just Barbie and pink elbowing into my life is an unexpected dimension of joy. As for the boy, at most family doings he has uncles to toss him balls of all sizes. I watch and remember.

Through the years, growing old while these four grow up has changed me: not just the pattern of my life, but me…Instead of stockings I say socks, instead of bisecting a sandwich, I know how to cut sail boats, and when bending for a hug, a stretch might be just a couple of years away.

To ask my grandchildren for help and information has been an unexpected pleasure. One translated a Spanish phrase for me when she was a second-grader. (Her teacher gave lessons after school.) In recent years, however, computers have been our greatest bond.

My sons use PCs. Their children have Macs … and so do I. We're in the same world, after all.They hold my hand as I lurch into Facebook and whenever we meet I have my iPad in my purse with sticky note pleas for help.

Well the way i look at it God punished many of us with singleness when so many other very lucky people were very Blessed by God to be married with the gift of life which many of us men would've wanted that as well.

No kids, no regrets. We have LTC insurance, a pension and SS. We will buy into a CCRC when we are older.

Having helped my elderly parents, I cringe every time I see someone write about having kids so they can look after them when they are older. Children should never be raised with the expectation that they will be care givers. My parents did not have to deal with care giving since their parents died overseas or young from heart attacks. But they expected it from us and it was stress every day and ruined relationships.

Most of us baby boomers are sandwiched and have learned a good lesson experiencing the hell one can go through. My brother and I both have determined that we and our spouses will take care of ourselves. He is doing it because he feels his children are entitled to a life where they can visit their parents/grandparents with no expectations except a fun time together.

My best advice for anyone with kids is that they should never ever be expected to care for you when you get older. Not even by kidding on the side about it because that is planting a subconscious seed you hope will germinate.

If they decide to do so, that is good, otherwise you set them up for a long trip of guilt and stress.

Children are a gift to to raise. I helped raise my nephews. Then they are to be let go to live and enjoy their lifes and their families. Not to becomes care givers.

I looked this "old" post up because I noticed Nate's comment. I had almost forgotten it. At that time, I was commenting as "Meg," my previous user name, but reading Ronni's really brilliant post and the wonderful comments of the TGB community, I felt compelled to write again. This post is, to me, one of the best ever on TGB because of its wisdom and also because it gave all of us the sense of being okay wth our choices or the lives we lived because of them.

I am 46 and instead of talking to my partner about having kids I talked to an old classmate who had become my "Guru". I wish I hadn't! (talked to the wrong person) who was kind of dismissive and said I could have them at 45. Then I thought I had first to be debt free which I was at 46 and now I will be 47 in January and I am full of regrets. Especially as I love my partner and he would have been a great father (actually is, he had children before we met). Right now I am at the point where I think I CANNOT IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT CHILDREN. How will I be able to tolerate the years to come? Be aware: not really taking a decision in this matter will be a decision after all. Good luck to those of you ladies who still can make a proper choice (sometimes we are so busy that we do not stand still and listen to what we really want / need) and can have children.
I wish I had read this post / blog earlier, I really connect to the joy people express about their children and grandchildren. And yes, I did love baby-sitting my little cousins.
Reading again what I wrote I sense the dry and self centered tone of a dried and cut off branch. To me personally the mothers who wrote here sounded connected to life. Beautiful!!

Growing old and having no wife and family is one of the worse thing that can ever happen to a person that really would've wanted that for many of us Good single men still looking these days since many of us are certainly NOT single by choice.

I am truly surprised that so few people regret and mourn not having children. I just turned 50 and was never able to have children. I married young but was traveling a lot and working while attending college. I always knew I wanted kids but my first husband was so immature and I was still in school. I knew he wasn't ready and neither was I. I always thought I had plenty of time. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family and was determined not to relive it in my life. But I married someone like my parents and when we divorced at age 27, I found another dysfunctional man who was a commitmentphobe and strung me along for 7 years. I was ok with waiting because as much as I knew I wanted to have children, I was terrified of pregnancy and motherhood. I had health issues that I knew would be exacerbated by pregnancy as well as unresolved issues from my own dysfunctional childhood. I wanted to keep working on myself so that I could feel confident I wouldn't screw my kids up the way I was. When my 7 yr man cheated on me, I broke the engagement and found myself alone, single and childless at 34. I decided to go to grad school while I dated, convinced this was my chance of finding my true soul mate. Since I was more mature and thought I really knew what I wanted, I fantasized about the great life I would have with my perfect partner, have babies while developing a fulfilling career after grad school, and living happily ever after. Well, that never happened and I found myself turning 40 and still single, still no children, a budding new private practice and living under the poverty line. I became suicidal for the first time in my life. I knew that my career would never be my life. Even though I wanted a fulfilling career, I always knew being a mother and wife would be the most important things to me in the world. I continued to choose partners poorly, married 2 more times and have now 4 failed partnerships behind me and no kids or money to show for it. I lost everything in the last marriage, including my business, home and dignity. I lost trust in myself and others, I lost my confidence and lost hope. It has taken me a year of doing nothing but heal and work on myself to find the will to live again. And even though I am choosing to live and make the best of what I have now, I am fully aware that I don't believe I have a fulfilling purpose to live for. And not so sure I ever will, facing the second half of my life alone and very likely to never have my own offspring. Regrets? I have many. But I try to focus on the present and forward. And despite the depression that hovers and can easily be activated, I try to remind myself of one of my few beliefs, that everything is happening exactly as it is supposed to and it's my job to figure out how to make the best of it. I succeed most days but it doesn't take much for me to go to that deep dark place that says "what's the point?" Why am I even here if I can't be a mom and have a family to go through life with? I don't even have a significant other to share my life with. I truly don't want to stick around if what I'm living now is it. Because this isn't the life I wanted to live. I keep going out every day take make my effort to live authentically and joyfully and tine will tell. We'll see, I guess. We shall see.

I would like to thank all of the commenters ahead of me and Ronnie for starting this conversation. I am in the middle of the " making the choice" phase of my life. And your comments are what I feel exactly what I needed to read this morning.

I have just turned 30, married to my husband for 10years, we both have good fulfilling careers (him: healthcare, me: artist), a home and some beautiful pets. We feel like we are responsible, organized, loving and happy people; and would certainly do all that we could to provide the best for a child, but the big questions are "do we want to?" just because we can. And " would we regret not parenting?" if we liked how our life is now and chose not to.

Many of my friends are now having their first and second children, and It makes me worry that I might get left behind, I love my friends and their families, and want to be around but I wonder if it will get harder to do so as their families grow if I don't have children of my own. When I day dream I can picture being the most loving aunt and being a part of their lives in a special and unique way. When I think about that senerio I have much joy.

And then, I am concerned about my own parents feelings. I am a loyal and considerate daughter. I have done many things in my life to honor my parents (I'm not perfect though, I've messed up too!) but I think that giving them grandchildren would be something so wonderful, they are good parents and would make amazing grandparents!

I can't decide if I'm being selfish by not having children or for wanting to have children.

I do worry about my own golden years and the whole reason I stumbled on this page because I don't want to find my self in retirement and have regrets about the choices I made now.

From my view , I can see the beauty in both sides. And I do struggle to decide one way or another. I just want to have happiness in however it manifests, and to not harm others.

Thank you all.

Dawn, I really just think that you will ultimately know in your heart which path to take.

Im 27 and Im still figuring it out if I wanted to have kids or not. My husband and me got separated. It was my dream to have a child I can feel the sense of my motherhood instinct but after my failed marriage and have been dating losers so to speak... after all those disappointments I've felt, all those efforts I made to atleast try and maybe I could meet someone right for me... still none

... so I just feel like I should just be enjoying my life being single... away from heart aches ... away from being pregnant and raising he child alone... I mean its a lot of responsibility to have kids... yes its like a dream come true but then I wouldnt be enjoying much of my life if I have kids... I feel like I was forced to changed and it made me think a lot about the best choice for me...

I'm probably the only person in my category writing here but I'm a 27 year old single male and really dislike kids. I wanna see the world and do so many things and I know for a fact if I have kids I will never have that chance. Society pressures you so much to be married and have kids! Everyone I meet expects me to be married already! I've been thinking hard wether I ever want to have kids and I don't think I ever want to. I never understood the fascination and love parents have for their kids and maybe never will. T top it all off I really dislike kids and cannot be around them at all. I've been alone so long I actually enjoy being single and doing the things I love not being tied down by kids!

It doesn't really matter if you choose to have children or not, especially in this day and age.

Both choices have their advantages and disadvantages. Neither choice will make you happy all the time -----people with children have times when they feel trapped and tied down, people without children feel lonely and left out.

The fact is ----whichever road you are on ---You will just lead a different life. But keep in mind that the grass always looks greener on the other side and remember that when things look bleak because, which ever road you choose, there are going to be some really bleak times.

I haven't mentioned the happy times but both choices give some pretty great adventures also-- just different. The grass looks greener on the other side in this case too!

Well. I'm 35. I have a lovely 10 year old stepdaughter, but no kids of my own. In my 20's, I had several relationships which didn't last long and endured the odd rejection. My love life back then has been a very bittersweet experience. I never quite met my match while life marched on.

Professional life in my 20's was filled with experience and accomplishment, though. It was a formative period and I'm extremely grateful for all the opportunities that I've gotten.

However, as I turned 30, I felt adrift. I got sick of moving around and I was done getting caught up in relationships that led to nowhere. I finally decided on living closer to my parents and friends back home.

That's when I met my significant other and her then 5 year old daughter. I can only say that it was a very confusing period, but I knew deep, deep down that sticking with her was the right move to make. And I'm glad I did. At 35 I have warm, loving family of my own.

Now, the catch is that my SO is a bit older then me. She already went through all the motions of marriage, childbirth, buying a house,... She isn't inclined to have children anymore.

Right now every day I'm left facing a choice: sticking with her and keep building on this life. Or leaving and starting all over once again, in hopes of fathering a child. It's a tough decision, it's a decision which becomes irrevocable in due time and it's a decision with no certain outcome either way.

Victoria is absolutely right in pointing out that the grass always looks greener on the other side. It's also my take on things, and it's what keeps me going on my current path. I just love spending time with my stepdaughter, having fun drawing, playing, doing groceries, cooking, watching cartoons, caring for her, etc. She's what I have right here, right now. And I cherish each and every moment.

Does that mean that I'm not sad? No. I do feel pain about not having children of my own. When I was younger, having children felt like this distant, unattainable dream while I pursued love. And as I progressed through life, I didn't seem to be able to turn it into reality. Children are the sum of circumstances and all the decisions one makes throughout life. I do regret a few decisions, but most I don't. I mostly feel sadness, though. And I've recently started to come to terms with that sadness: it's okay to grieve for what's not going to be. At the same time, I'm celebrating what I do have and I'm trying to make the most of my life for myself.

You wrote this on my birthday AND I too am single at 59 and caretaker to my 92 year old father who lives with me.

I was married once .... twice and the only biological clock that was ticking seemed to be the one that granted me a 4 year degree (Biology) which would set me soaring into my career, my ONLY wish at the time. It did!!

I spent the next 18 years traveling all over the world, teaching my clients how to better produce a product, designing products and watching the sales soar! I was successful at the ripe age of 27 (as my 1st marriage was ending). I never wanted children. I guess I thought I did at one time but it just was not as important and exciting to me as my career which also came to an abrupt end, along with my 2nd marriage.

I jumped into another industry and learned it well. Here I am at 59 and taking care of my father whom I adore but it is depressing at times. How can I find love when I am trying to figure out how to retire, how I am going to take care of myself while taking care of my father.

I guess I really didn't have time for children however not having them often adds to the depression. I don't visit facebook too often either but when I do I realize I still don't get the "awe" feelings when I see my friends kids and grandkids. I always say "I am not wired for babies, only animals".

Now, when it comes to animals I am extremely sensitive so I became a wildlife rescurer and oddly enough that satifies me much more than a child. And I tell myself that when I do meet a nice man, I am sure HE will have kids and hopefully "good" kids and I can kinda fill that "not so empty" feeling I have. I can get involved with kids in many ways if I 'feel' a need to 'fill' that so called gap.

But, I remind myself that I don't like kids. As a matter of fact I tell most people I am allergic to kids (a joke). They seem to like me though and when I am around them I get along with them very well and have lots of fun (for as long as I can tollerate which is not too long).

All in all, I am fine with how things worked out and have lots of hope in filling any emptiness I have with the love of a companion. If that is not to be then I will take up painting and finish my pottery I started long ago! I have a deck to restore this summer along with many other projects. Yes, projects keep me from thinking too much and the outcome is usually pretty nice too!

I really don't believe in regrets as much as I believe in making the best choices that feel right as we go along in life. Instead of thinking about regrets (things you can't change) I choose to think about all the blessings I have been afforded with my careers, travels, friends and family. I am 45 years old, no husband, no children with a disability. Hanging on to a job with a disability to keep insurance, benefits and pay my rent and pay my own bills. Work, sleep, work, sleep...that's it. No help, too young to "qualify" for ANY services and believe it or not...if I was a single mom WITH children I would actually qualify for financial and physical help services. If I was a senior citizen...I would also qualify for WAY more help. If I was MARRIED there is a law called “law of consortium” where a spouse can actually SUE a medical practice or doctor for adequate health care and claim.."lack of companionship!" A citizen in New York won over $ what about SINGLE PEOPLE??? What law protects US single people who also want companionship or get inadequate health care? This law that only protects "married people" this is ridiculous. The next time you fill out medical/doctor paperwork and it asks you if you’re “married” or “single”…think about this law of consortium. They just want to know WHO they can ignore and WHO can legally come after them for inadequate care. This is REAL LIFE…look into it. Not only do I have to FIGHT my own illness…I also have to FIGHT for myself in a doctor’s office. For those of us STUCK in middle age without parents to care for us or "parent's money" or parent's house....if people like me don't MARRY their support system or GIVE BIRTH to their support system...then you're pretty much screwed. So I'm learning the hard way that tax breaks, laws and services protect and are there for people that are married, with children, home owners and are senior citizens. There are ALOT of us out here....sometimes I feel like I'm being punished for not marrying or having children....for sure "financially" punished and or punished by not qualifying for physical help services. A lawyer once told me that my biggest obstacle for trying to get Social Security disability was not proving my disability BUT...MY AGE!!! and the fact that I'm single??? Can you believe this? So now I'm also being punished for not having children with an alcoholic man, not having children with a man who was a cheater....and not having children with a man that was just a verbally abusive really....MY GOOD CHOICES in NOT procreating with a loser is now making my life even harder to get physical help. The system is so backwards! Many women I meet that also have medical conditions STAY in an abusive marriage or loveless marriages because they KNOW that they couldn't do what I'm doing...that is work like a dog pushing through the pain and paying my own bills and trying to live in a safe neighborhood on ONE income. Yep....good times. A friend of mine who beat breast cancer because of her husband's support and income/insurance along with her 3 grown children's support...she even told me if she was in my situation (single and working) she wasn't sure if she would have actually lived or survived cancer. It’s a reality people so my advice….if you DON’T have an immediate family then you better create one with close friends or adopt earth elderly parents with money because if or should something happen with your health AND YOUR SINGLE….you may end up in the streets living under a highway. Plan and create relationships with people otherwise you’ll be stuck like me and let me tell you….men are NOT LINING up to care for a single woman who is disabled. Just being real people.

I was happy to come across this blog. A lot of the comments that have been expressed I can relate to. I am in my early fifties and this holiday season I catch myself going between feelings of regret and acceptance for where I'm at in my life. I have no husband and no children. My twin sister and I were born to a seventeen-year-old. Our father was absent our whole life. And our childhood was very challenging. I'm sure this has contributed to my ambivalence and indecisiveness about having children. I never spent a lot of time thinking about it in my young adult life having children was just never a definitive for me. Making poor choices in men didn't help the matter. I definitely knew I did not want to be a single parent. And then just a couple years ago I went through menopause and was very surprised and shocked that the feelings had come over me that there's no going back there's no chance of having children even if I wanted to. I always enjoyed being able to experience all the Milestones with children I was there for the birth of my nephew I have friends who have children so being able to at least experience children in my life pretty much fulfilled any needs that I may have had. Unfortunately being in the medical field as I age I am acutely aware of growing old alone. I see people who are ill and have nobody by their bedside, and I see people who have their whole family by their bedside. I know that having children is never a guarantee that you will be taken care of by them when you get old but that's just one aspect of it. I'm just struggling with the regret aspect of my emotions right now. I don't want to regret and I feel as if that is grabbing a hold of me and pulling me more towards regret then acceptance. I think what adds to these emotions is the fact that I do have some friends whose children are having children and going to be having children and then my friends will be spending time with their grandchildren. I am very happy for them but I see the distance growing and maybe not having those friends in my life as much anymore. I just hope to work through this struggle

Hi I'm Will, I have 2 male cousins that are 49 and 53 yrs old. The oldest got married in the mid 90's and got a divorce after a few years because his wife was cheating on him. The other one has never been married. The two brothers my cousins live together never interact with women. For years I find them both odd, my brother thinks their closet, but I don't even see them around men. Their lives are like the movie ground hog day. Everyday the same. They wake up go to work. Watch sports drink beer and repeat. There lives seem boring,lonely and repititious. Can anyone help me figure out why they are the way they are.

I am alone and regret it. My older sibling has a contented life with children and grandchildren. It is not easy to watch.

I just turned 56, live alone, been divorced since I was 29 and never had children. Actually, when asked about children, I tell people that I did have a child but I divorced him. We were married at 19 and, since he cheated on me most of the marriage, I knew I did not want children with him. In addition, there were never any relationships afterwards which I felt would last forever. I never wanted to be a single mother so I took my "pill" religiously.

There was one time where I had actually thought I might be pregnant. I had just started a relationship with a man who I knew would stand by me. I remember having mixed emotions; initially tickled about the thought and then dreading the fact that I might be. Turns out I wasn't. However, I do remember the feeling of enormous relief that rushed over me. I think that was my "light bulb" moment that I did not want children. If it had happened, I would accept that it was written in the cards and have the baby but I didn't consciously try to get pregnant. I felt the same way that if I had had a serious relationship with someone who had children, I would accept that and be the best mom I could but I didn't want any of my own.

I cancelled my Facebook account because I feel as if I have nothing in common with people I used to be friends with or went through school with. They have children and grandchildren and I do not.

Do I regret my decision? I wonder sometimes what my life would have been like if I had had children and grandchildren but no I don't regret my decision. I have my "furbabies" and when something happens to them, it about rips my heart out. I don't think I could have taken the heartache that comes with having children and grandchildren. I'm so overly protective that I probably would have never let the kid out of the house.

Things were so different when I was young. We didn't have to worry about half the things parents do now. The world became a darker, more wicked place to raise children as I got older so no I don't have any regrets. I will just stick to my four-legged babies. They don't talk back to you or ask for money or the car keys. Perfect.

I just turned 50 years old this past June and am going through an overwhelming sadness of being childless. As I look back on my life, I married my wonderful husband when I was 19, and we are still together after all these years. I have been teaching in public schools for 30 years, and this has been what I have dedicated my entire life to. I have battled several health issues throughout my life, including obesity, PCOS, Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, and depression. My father and mother raised my sister and me to be very independent, and neither of us had kids. To keep us pure and from having sex before marriage, we were told by our mother and grandmother that childbirth was a pain worse than death and that women could die from it. I was also told that, if my husband and I attempted to get pregnant with Clomid or IVF, the baby would possibly be deformed. In my young life, I believed everything I was told and became afraid and absolutely terrified of becoming pregnant, so we never tried anything the medial community offered. With my health conditions, I just didn't want to try because I was fearful of childbirth. When I was 48, a doctor, to help me feel better, changed my thyroid medication and put me on Synthroid and Armour Thyroid, and I became a new person. I began to lose weight, and I actually started to have energy and work out daily, and for once in my life, I started to have a sex drive. Many of my depression symptoms of melancholy disappeared. I have basically become a new and younger person both physically and mentally beginning at age 48. I feel like I am 25 years old again. Crazy, isn't it? It is bizarre! I look different, and feel great. I have more confidence in myself, and for the first time in my life, I feel as if I could carry a baby. My menstrual cycle is now normal. I know this is downright weird! But talk about strange??? It seems to me to be a trick of nature... I am struggling because the desire to have a baby has finally come to me at age 50, along with the terrible sadness that I just can't work through bout everything that we have missed out on, why am I different than all other women I know,why god didn't allow me to come out of the depression I was in and to enjoy my life and create a family??? My husband has been great throughout all of this, but he is puzzled at the new me and finds it hard to keep up. He is 55 years old. I just needed to tell this story to someone to see if there is anyone else out there who can relate at all to this. I know that part of this may be what is referred to as a midlife crisis. I just need a way to cope with the overwhelming sadness. I am inconsolable at times, and I have no one to talk to about these feelings. I don't have the desire to foster or adopt kids. I now feel like I have let my husband down by not giving him kids. Sex up to this point was something I did not really need and we never discussed. When I look at Facebook, I realize what we have missed out on.'s so sad because I feel as if I have not lived at all...only worked...only a very few vacations...not close to family at all...very few close friends because we have nothing in common with husband and I only have each other, and we did not go through the usual cycles of life that everyone else did...this is so sad, but it is now too late. My question is uanswerable: Why now? Why did my body decide to heal now and enable me to psychologically desire children when I am well beyond child-bearing age?

I was invited to my only sibling's home two years ago to meet his first grandchild. My brother and his extended family were so proud that day. But near the end of the evening, in front of a multitude of people, he told me with a sneer that I was unlikely to get married and have children. It was a powerful moment of exclusion that left me without words, all those eyes staring. I wandered his house alone for a few minutes and then quietly left without saying goodbye to anyone. That was two years ago and I haven't seen him or his family since. To know there are large family gatherings filled with joy and good times hurts. I consistently earn below the poverty line and my brother earns six figures a year. It's as if God decided that only one sibling would thrive. I'm not looking forward to the end of my life.

What beautiful insightful comments! I am 47 and childless but married. We were always too seriously broke to have kids and also we are self employed which is hard enough on it's own. My parents had 4 kids and were pretty broke all the way through. It's not their fault, they were good parents but we missed out on allot of things (all six of us) due to the cost of families and I have recently discovered that my sisters had some resentments over it. I decided that I could not do that to a child and face the backlash. We are starting gain on the financial side at last and planning our old age without children already. We are planning to see an Elder Law attorney to revamp the wills and just be prepared with plans. I would never want my sisters or their kids to look after us, they are the best people they can be but we don't get along very well and I would never expect that of them or any kids I could have had to look after me. I am so glad people are having this conversation! Independence doesn't have to be scary.

Great post Karla! I agree.

To Maggie: I relate to feelings of regret. When on the low side of a menopausal swing, those thoughts shout: "You have no purpose. You are wasting your life. You haven't done or built anything you can be proud of." It's torturous.

On a good day, I would say to both you and me—there is a lot of life left and certainly a way to fill it and be happy. I'm not sure how, but I'm working on it too.

I married late, at 39. I was never too flipped out about being a bride or mother, but always thought I'd have kids One Day. The strong urge hit at age 41. Two years of fertility trouble, I decided to try IVF just one time. The nurse at the clinic said, "Ok, you're all set! Just call me on the first day of your next period and we'll get started."

The first day of my next period literally never came. I went into menopause that very month. My ovaries heard the plan, slammed shut screaming Noooo Bayyybeeeees! This took years of grieving to come to terms with. The choice was made for me. No kids with my DNA.

I'm ten years into a marriage that is unfulfilling. Health and relationship issues have prevented adoption from seeming like a good idea. Countless friends and family members have kids and grown kids and married kids ... I feel myself sliding further and further into oblivion. I could stand it when all the kids were small, I was relieved then not to be a parent. But it's different now.

I'm almost 50. I recently quit my job to help my aging parents. I have no kids to bring over to gramma and grandpa's. No little ones to learn from their grandparents, and learn who I am in the context my parents' lives. It is lonely. And sad. It seems pointless that I struggled so hard learning how to be a good daughter, but will never have a child to guide through that same process.

I'd say to anyone on the fence—please consider kids. As we get older, the ideas and activities we give energy to in our 20s and 30s often fade, our momentum slows. Kids bring an undeniable life force. They bring a reason to work hard and build a life and give and grow. A house with no laughter or tears or youthful energy makes aging even harder. It's a sadness you don't want to know.

If you are *sure* you don't want kids, that is great. Certainty is a blessing. Enjoy life, fill it with wonderful experiences and invested relationships. Kids can be part of it in some way of your choosing. Or not!

If you are on the fence, it means that part of you is wondering what it would be like. And in my opinion, it means you will always wonder.

So, do it! Have kids. Do it while you are young, strong and healthy and have a willing partner. You may be challenged and busy and tired and stressed, but, in the end, you will have a family. I think a family is something you will not regret.

I wish I'd figured this out much sooner! But it's not too late for you. (And if you're not ready yet? Three words: Freeze Your Eggs!)

I'm 47 about to turn 48 next month no kids I tried to have kids with my first wife 18 years ago for a few months but it was only because I was unhappy in the marriage so we divorced. I had lot of self esteem issues when I was younger so I never made much effort to find a woman I ended up with the left over no one wanted. I met my current wife 15 years ago she never wanted kids. She always said the thought of pregnancy and birth disgusted her she once got pregnant quickly got an abortion and her tubes tied. She also has a drinking problem on and off over the years so probably good she never had any. I often wonder what life would have been like if I found someone else I sometimes think about divorcing her and finding someone younger who wants kids. I love my wife but I feel like I'm a caretaker for someone with a lot of problems her family really never speaks to her much. I told her brother once I was the stupid one for staying with her he thanked me for taking care of her. They enjoy their lives without her troubles. She tells me how if she wasn't an alcoholic she would never be with me she would be with a rich man wouldn't have to work. I find we are headed for a bleak future my hope is I won't live to old where I would spend years in a nursing home those places are so depressing.

I guess this applies to males also, but probably not as much. I'm 58 and had a hard time in my teenage years with depression and anxiety. So difficult, that I didn't want to subject one of my own kids to it. Overcame a lot of those difficulties and became fairly successful but never had kids. My brother is 9 years younger and had 2 very cute and smart girls. I see what joy they bring to him and I honestly wonder if I made the wrong decision by not having them. I know as a guy I can have them now but that is really a much bigger decision at this age. I am struggling with all of this now and just thought I'd like to share. Maybe it will bring some clarity to my situation.

I am 28 yr old female, married for 6 years to my soulmate. We never wanted kids up until about 4 years ago and it was more of a "if were gonna do this at all might as well do it now" stage (if that makes sense) and we began to try. after a year and a half of no luck I was diagnosed with stage 3 endometriosis. I had surgery to remove it only for it to return 3 months later. I then was sent to a fertility specialist where I tried Clomid and Femara, both which just added gasoline to my endometrial fire causing my cysts to double in size. On top of all that, I was in severe period pain which would leave me couch-ridden for 4-5 days of my cycle. My only option now is IVF, which as you all know is expensive. Not to mention my success rate is significantly lowered with the endometriosis. So here we are, faced with the question, is this really what we want to do? I am so worried if we dont atleast try, Ill regret it forever, but as an overthinker I worry about going through with it as well. Childbirth itself scares me to death, being a stay at home mom scares me (boredom, depression) Every person i know with kids complains nonstop about all the running they have to do for their children and how they have no life, and Im just wondering do we trust my bodys ability to not have kids and just live the life we are living and loving or do we plunge into the IVF option. Bringing a life into the world is such a huge deal and sometimes I wonder why it isnt a big deal to others around me and such a huge deal to me. I also sometimes wonder if I really want children, or is it the longing to do what is the customary next step? Do I just feel left out? Rambling I know, but it felt good lol. Thanks for starting the conversation, I enjoyed all the comments as well. Nice to hear people be honest on this topic.

It's not about having children to take care of you when you get old it's about having loved ones to support you as you get old. Although having children just to support you is get old not what I am saying either.I had my children later in life than my friends late 20s and I regret not having them sooner. I love am being a stay at home mom although I work 2 days a week as a nurse .I have accomplished so much in my young life but the thing that makes me happiest is my family. I have worked at a nursing home for over 10 years and the majority of the resident that have children or spouse are the happiest of them all. I am not saying people should regret not having children I'm sure people live good lives without children and there are people that have children and live miserable lives. Still children are the future whether you have them or not.

I appreciate this topic thank you Ronni. I am struggling with not having had kids and have been for years. For me it feels like a grief. A huge thing to miss out on in life. And a guilt, because I had a chance and at the time I did not take it. I had no single parent modelling in my life and the father didn't want to go ahead and I didn't want to trap him. Ever since I knew if I had a chance again, whatever the circumstances, I would. But that second chance never came. When I think of all my brother has experienced with his girls, I feel very sad, particularly as I have been out of the country for most of their lives - but I was never allowed to play the doting aunt so it's part of the reason I left. I really like the person who used the phrase ChildFree rather than ChildLess. I think, even trying to use that term may help me. It's the growth as a person and the contribution I think I am very sad about. And I find it is very hard to grow older without children, that society, still today, is very judgy and it feels like the whole world has children. In my childbearing years, I wanted to do it right or not at all, and later illness came too which wiped out that energy and yearning. But now... now I am so sad. And I must learn to reframe and be happy with what I have been able to do. People are always saying how lucky I am to be without children and they don't seem to realise that many of without kids would swap anything for a family of our own. To feel 'part' of something like that.

What a lovely place to be - reading all the comments from different people. I am 55, married and no children. And I regret it - I always tell myself, I must not go there - but I do wish I had decided to have children despite the stress and tiredness. No, my husband and I foster a 16 year old girl. She has developmental problem but functions ok. And the house is filled with laughter.

Well lets be very honest here which it really does take two to tango these days. Doesn't it? Well i would certainly say so. And what happens if you never were meant to meet the love of your life? Well it really does get much more difficult as we get older unfortunately when you find yourself all alone all the time by yourself which can get very depressing especially if you really have no friends or your friends just happened to be all settled down with their own family. Many of us were married at one time which i was and i was a very good husband to my ex wife before she cheated on me which ruined me altogether. Many women unfortunately have ruined very good marriages already which unfortunately they just like sleeping around with all different kinds of men all the time and just can't be faithful at all to just only one man since they really don't know the meaning of commitment to begin with. When i was married at the time which i was a very happy man thinking that i was going to have a family too but it obviously never happened for me. And not having children at all is worse since many of us really did want children too which for us we having nothing to fall back on. Most of us Aren't single by choice either which it just happened to be very unfortunate for many of us that we Never found the Right One which it would've made a very big difference if we had.

Thank you for all of your stories. I was grateful to hear so many people express their comfort with going into old age alone as I will be. It gives me a bit of courage. I want to also add that to the many who expressed sorrow at not having found a partner, in my experience, I am finding the old adage "marriage is not for the faint of heart" to be an understatement. I love my husband more than anything but the stress of negotiating a life with another human being has been the hardest thing I have ever done and this is with an incredibly decent good person. Nonetheless, it can be so painful and difficult that you don't really know that you would be happier coupled than single. Every choice is equally good or hard in some ways...

I regret not having children every day of my life. My heart is broken. I've been married twice. The 1st marriage was ok, we tried to have children but God intervened knowing we would not last. So I'm grateful for that. Then I wound up reconnecting with an old boyfriend and we got married 7 years ago. We are happy. We thought about having kids but we were older 40 and 41 and I thought if we're going to do it let's do it now, but he changed his mind. And it broke my heart. Now I'm close to 50 and can't help but wonder why it didn't happen for me. Am I not worthy? Did my husband not love me?

If only you know there is an afterlife that lasts all eternity, which means this life is but a drop in the ocean, you would not care to entertain any regret in this life.

God has a purpose for each and everyone of us just like our fingerprint, no 2 alike; so don't ever compare yourself with your neighbour and the worst of all is to think that he or she has it all together. Look is always deceiving, in this short and fast passing life, everyone has a share of trials and disappointments that may not be told to you. I witness closed ones who regularly post beautiful family photos (out of insecurity) and the next we hear of the divorce. They won't tell you of their struggles and pain in their marriage & child-raising which could be worst than your single-hood or anything that you might be mourning now...

What am I saying? Get to know God, He is the Creator, He knows best. God can restore your life - wasted years even if it's of your own making! Nothing is ever final or too late even if you are in your 70s or more!

Your best bet is Christ Jesus. Go for it!

This is such an interesting post. As an overthinker, I have been uncertain about the idea of kids for the past 5 years. I am in a very stable relationship & am approaching 35. My partner is supportive of whatever decision I make, and is happy to go either way. However he fears I will have great regret if I don't have at least 1 child, once the decision is taken out of my hands. I fear pregnancy (childbirth not so much, surprisingly), and looking after a baby or small child. Once the child is 4ish, I'd be fine. It's just getting through those first few years that I worry about. I do have a tendency to get very depressed in a situation that I'm not comfortable in, and this is what I fear with small children. However deep down I know I will regret not having a family of my own once I have gone through menopause, as I do think I would be a good Mum. Vent over, thank you. Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Thank you for such a great post and to everyone for sharing your experiences.

I'm turning 40 next year and am also struggling with this question. And the fact that my partner is 27 and does not want children does not make it any easier, since obviously deciding to try comes with no guarantee and would likely mean walking away from the very nice life we've made together. The irony is that our current situation seems to be well set-up to begin a family. We're financially secure and have a house in the countryside and in another very 'child-friendly' country with good maternity benefits, free child care, etc.

To complicate matters, I recently reconnected with an ex-boyfriend who is my age and apparently still in love with me and willing to have children. I honestly have to say, I still have some feelings for him and miss the lifestyle I had back home. But ironically, if I moved back, I might be less inclined to have children given the vary child "unfriendly" policies in the U.S. and the fact that I had a much more active, ie, very 'child-free,' lifestyle back home. And I still want to be abroad for at least another year-two years to finish graduate school and get permanent residency and/or dual citizenship.

Yikes, I didn't realize my life was this complicated, and I have no idea what to do (although I'm sure I want the security of dual citizenship right now)! Who knows, it might even be too late to have children and, if so, no regrets here. It's facing the reality that I might still have a choice and trying to decide what to do that's the most difficult.

I'm leaning toward wanting to at least try to get pregnant, as I no longer define myself by my career and, although I'm never bored, I sometimes feel a certain amount of ennui and loneliness creeping in, as if I'm tired of living life for myself, so to speak. Of course, I have my pet animals and my family who I love tremendously, but my parents won't be around forever, and my sisters live in other countries with families of their own. The possibility that I may regret not having a family of my own looms large.

Regardless of what happens, the point about accepting the unavoidable ambivalence really resonates, as well as accepting the fact that either choice/life journey will involve sacrifice and loss. I think I'm starting to realize that regardless of what happens, my ultimate happiness rests largely upon the extent to which I accept things as they are and make the best of my life, whatever direction it takes.

I want to share a slightly different point of view on this topic.

I had a really hard childhood- covert psychological and sometimes physical abuse. My home life was terrifying; I never knew what would set off Mom or Dad.

For me, as a kid, and even well into my twenties, I lived for the smallest encounters with kind people, even strangers. The idea that anyone would be kind to me for no reason, with nothing to gain from me, was my beacon of hope--maybe life didn't have to be so sad and scary.

In time, I found my footing, got away from my toxic family, and built a wonderful life and family of my own. I will never be able to repay the people who showed me the meaning of kindness, so I try to pay it forward, by showing kindness to the people I meet.

I live in a huge city, where this is rarely reciprocated, but I

whoops! hit send a little too soon.

my point is just this: I think success in life comes from a place of sharing love and kindness with others, whether family or strangers; the impact we have isn't necessarily ours to understand. The legacy we do take away is the result of all those tiny decisions: did we listen to our hearts? have we grown kinder with time?

That inner goodness is a true legacy: it doesn't end, I think, with this life, it goes with us into whatever comes next.

Approaching any major decision from a selfish point of view is a recipe for unhappiness, on the other hand. It's true whether you are choosing a career or planning a family: if you don't trust your heart and come at it from a place of love, you will not feel good about the outcome.

Sometimes, following your heart means making choices other people will not approve of; you have to be ready to throw it all away to build whatever your heart needs.

And when you are totally lost, and love seems out of reach, try to pray in whatever way feels right to you. This has worked for me at times when nothing else helped.

Anyway, I hope these words bring a little brightness to those who feel regret over their decisions. Turning your life around can start with something so simple: a smile at yourself in the mirror. A compassionate look when you see someone struggling. And follow the thread from there.

I have learned so much from reading the article and the comments. It's amazing the different places life can take us. I hope everyone here finds what they need.

Well I'm here years later and read through all these comments. I am struggling with whether or not to try and have children. I'm a married, 35 year old women in the US. I have health issues, too. I recently found out I have a brca mutation, and during this last year I found out that the PCOS I have is really bad. The reproductive endocrinologist I saw said I was top five worst cases she's seen. I also have mental illness in my family and suffered mental, emotional, and physical abuse in childhood and especially adolescence. I was neglected and basically abandoned by my parents and left home. Didn't get to go to university after community college because my parents refused to co-sign my loans. My twenties was a series of moving, trying to pay bills, bad dysfunctional relationships. I did get myself through nursing school and have finally found a place of financial security in my life. However I fee like everything is catching up lately, and the pressure of having children before getting preventative surgeries because of my brca mutation is unbearable. My husband doesn't care either way, but I obsess about this. Right now I am happy with our family of just us and our cat, but would we regret it down the road? Can I even get pregnant? Can I handle motherhood? Can we afford it? We don't really have a good support system, so can we afford childcare or have someone stay home and work less or quit their job? In just sick of always having some kind of stressor in my life. I'm getting a prophlayctic mastectomy in January and I plan of having a diep flap but keep in thinking maybe I should just get the expanders to implants in case I do want children in a couple of years.

Anyway, thanks for this great post and for all of your thoughtful comments.

Ruby just do it xx

I will turn 61-Dec 23. I have been divorced twice and NEVER had kids did not want them. I loved having a career and was always in Sales. I found I don't like being married so I have been divorced over 25 years and remain single. I am attractive, fun, young at heart AND I get men all the time looking me up. ONCE they find out I don't have kids or grandkids or any baggage they love it ! I have some very handsome old boyfriends that have looked me up in their 60's and not from FaceBook from asking around about me. I don't do Facebook and I don't text. People have to call me on my home phone. Sitting and sitting all day with social media is a waste of time! Women ask "where are the men". THEY are around but if you want a good looking man you have to the same and Im just as lucky with men at 60 as i was at 40. SO NOT having kids or Grandkids for me is working !! Also I don't chase men or ask questions. If they want to see me or take me out they have to call me the old fashion way and plan something. If I like them then we hang out at my house with dinner and cocktails and see what happens after !!

Unfortunately the pregnancy triggered a genetic muscle disorder that I didn't know I had. During the pregnancy I was not able to walk, I had a miscarriage and I could recover a bit my health, but unfortunately I remained disabled. Now I feel very sad living a life like a 90 years old because I can't do so many things, I spend most of my time in bed or in the couch because I don't have the physical strength to do what a 45 years old is supped to do. Something I am wandering what might happen if I didn't miscarriage, with my condition I had 50% that the child could born disabled and I can't imagine being disabled and taking care of a disabled child. I never imagine that the second part of my life was going to be like that, I feel lucky that I could enjoy the first part. But for how long I am going to live?Life has not so much purpose now, I wish I could die soon. My boyfriend is taking care of me, but I feel so guilty and maybe I want to be left alone. I am not showing my sadness to anybody, but wish everyday that my life will be short.

No Regrets
Wife and I both mid sixties, traveled the world see places and still enjoy it. A lot of people who used to "tut tut" us, but we reckon they wanted us in the same boat as them. It must have been the green eyed monster.

I am currently 45 and do not have kids or I have never been married. I did not have kids because of my upbringing, it was rough and my only thought was how to survive not having a family and husband. I guess now I kinda regret not having kids being an only child and my parents are getting older. I sometimes wonder what my future is going to be like, I have had many failed relationships which is not good and have lived in multiple states. I do not want to slow down, but I also don't want to be alone forever (it's kinda scary). I feel like I am in idle mode with no direction. Oh well such as life, sorry if I shared to much.

I am 61 and was married 2 times and never had or wanted kids. My sisters and their screaming brat kids reminded me of that great decision. I liked money and careers better. Marriage for me when I was younger did not work. I did not make good choices with men and I was glad to put the keys on the counter and walk out after 3 years on each one. I have been single for over 25 years and LOVE it !!. I can do what I want. Im attractive and healthy. I don't have many friends because I don't want to hear about Grandkids and all that boring talk. My sibling family is very small with only adults and no one wants to get together, we are very estranged. "lucky me". For the past 10 years i get away from the Christmas drama it brings and leave on my Dec 23 birthday and I fly to downtown Las Vegas and have a blast for 4 days. I go alone. I stay at the Golden Nugget and get a nice room. I am NEVER lonely or alone. I love my own company and i am very friendly and funny i have been told. When i get to the room and put my things away i am so excited i cant wait to have a drink, nice meal and gamble. I don't want anyone bothering me or telling me where to go or when to eat. I leave the room always looking pretty with great perfume. I found that many other single people are doing the SAME as i am. I also have met some really nice men !! all in all i make the best of my life because i have a good attitude about being single. Id rather be a lone wolf. Im even thinking of being an Ex-Pat and live well in Mexico or Italy in my 70's and maybe someday walk hand in hand with another Wolf....

@Ana -

Ronni has set the standard here. It's a safe place, and we all like to share our thoughts, ideas, struggles and experiences openly, without reserve and with no rancor toward another.

The acknowledged overall feeling is that there's caring going on here, and when here for awhile, you know that in your bones, even when it's not spoken.

Beautifully said, Simone. Thank you.

Interesting thoughts. Probably the main reason I married in 1956 was because I wanted pledge to immortality. Had 3 in three years and loved it, though got bored when they went to school,so I went to work. Now I'm 85 and doing okay, but my husband is in very poor health and requires a lot more care taking then I enjoy. I have 2 boys and a girl. She lives farthest away with a female partner (always was with guys until she was in her thirties) She never wanted kids, but one day after she'd come home to bail me out and do her sweet thing, she said, "Well, Mary and I won't have anyone to do this for us when we're old." Which made me feel sad. But it was her choice and I never argued. Another son is also childless by choice. The son who has 4 grown kids lives next door helps, but not as much as the childless ones. Go figure. ps/ A year after our marriage we went hitchhiking in Europe for six months. Spent under two thousand dollars. Fabulous time! Didn't have the first kid till after we got home.

36 years old, only child, married 6 years, spent 5 trying (with & without medical assistance), finally got pregnant, miscarried, soul searched & decided we are done "trying" & plan to continue enjoying being childFREE. My retired parents are not taking it well, saying I will regret not having kids, I will be bored, asking who will take care of me when I'm old, aren't I lonely, etc. In-laws don't fuss bc we have 3 nieces on that side. I don't know if I will regret my decisions but I do know that I'm glad I stumbled upon this post, so many examples of loving people owning their truths, living their best life, with or without kids. I have a bad day here & there where I wonder if we made the right decision but the other 360+ days I really enjoy cuddling with my puppies on a quiet evening with a glass of wine planning our next adventure. Thank you for posting & sharing.

Regarding Kelly, the person whose comments prompted this article, since when does 50 equal "old age?" The fact that she is counting exactly how many days until that birthday indicates she may have psychological issues with it. Age doesn't have to mean anything. I'm a female Peter Pan, and it's never meant anything to me. I never wanted kids and have no regrets. Kelly may still be able to have children with medical assistance or through adoption. For those with no kids who are interested in the grandparent experience, there are foster grandparents programs that match up kids, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, with seniors.

Thank you for this. I'm 34 and have been married 11 years, but neither of us want children. At first, I was bombarded with people telling me I would "change my mind", but here I am, and I find myself in my mid-30's with still absolutely no desire to have kids. It's not that I don't like them, but nothing about having children seems appealing to me. I don't think it ever will.
The one thing that does weigh on my mind is what I'm going to do when I'm older. What happens when I'm elderly and in need of care? I know it's so many years away, but still it weighs on my mind. My husband and I are both only children so there aren't any nieces and nephews around. My biggest fear is that I will die first and leave my husband alone, a very good chance because of the incredible longevity in his family. What are others doing to plan for this scenario?

I really enjoyed reading all the comments! It took awhile, really was informative.

I'm 35, to be married to the father of my one year old toddler. I'm tired every day, sometimes depressed because I try to do both career and family... I have an ever-increasing list of books that I want to read, for example.

I had a nice father until he died when I was 19, I don't respect my mother - she was/is really self-centred, shallowly affectionate and deep down just dumbingly cold. I'm done being the mother to her, I'm keeping my distance and I feel better for it. I have a strong urge to be helpful to someone, not surprising, so having children was/is important for my sanity.

I seriously considered using donor sperm and becoming a single mom, but after an extensive research into it I realised that the shortcuts I take today will just shift the stress onto my child later on. Also feeling lonely in child's company is what my mother did to us and I didn't want to repeat her pattern. So I gave up on the idea of having children and just wanted to find someone I could enjoy and respect, someone who would think I'm amazeballs. It turned out to be someone I always admired and getting to know him more just made me like him more - not less (my previous relationships).

Childbirth is not scary, I don't know why people are so panicky about it - the worst that could happen is a cesarean and a lot of people choose to have it voluntarily. The hardest part is being happy whilst adjusting to being a mother, e.g. not staying up at night reading articles like there's no tomorrow!... "Waking up a mother, exhausting day with a baby, then staying up like a carefree student..." is a recipe for depression.

Anyway, long post short. I'm here because we've decided to have another child. Career is still feasible with one child, with two or more it's already an "aha, when pigs fly"... I know I'd regret it more if I didn't have another child than if my career ended up just average or nonexistent. Having said that, the "know" here is more like "want to believe".

What an amazing article and comments. It is a big decision with big consequences either way yet can be both full of joy or a big void for some I suppose. Consequences; the road less considered.

Long but deciding to reproduce and raise a life is never a frivilous subject.

Somber concerns as to why I chose to be childfree (age 48):

1) In my twenties, the thought of parenthood terrified me. I had a normal, mid-class, contented American upbringing. I feel the norms and hurdles within our society (all societies btw) are difficult and hair-pulling overall. Life as an absolutely normal adult with many laughs and toils, is complicated and nothing is ever easy. There is no way I was going to bring a life into this violent, corrupt, frustrating society; it felt selfish to inflict that upon a soul. Most of us begin happy and optimistic and see it wane as we age.

2) We can’t all reproduce. The greenest heroes in any society are the childfree people, there is no act that leaves a bigger footprint than bringing a child into existence. Nothing. The damage and generations spawned from one child is irrevocable. 15,000 new souls born every...minute or day? Whew either way. If each of us only replaced ourselves then maybe I would have had a child but everyother family has 3+ kids. We can’t all reproduce (someone’s got to be the adult ;) Its a complicated concept but that’s all I’ll say on that.

3) Children can have life-long issues, physical and mental challenges, be in constant pain, be violent, etc. Some friends have kids that never became self-sufficient adults, they are exhausted and don’t know who will continue to care for their child/ren after they pass. I’ve seen parents ruined because their kids are dead, deadbeats, suicidal, incarcerated, missing, unattentive, steal from them, etc. Many parents of adults have volunteered to me that they wished they’d never had kids - a shocking amount. And they’d have a LOT more money. Some grandparents admit their grandkids or spoiled, ungrateful and annoying. Childfree, ahhhhh.

In conclusion, there is zero guarantee that any investment will ever give any returns. I know plenty of LONELY PARENTS. And I feel FANTASTIC that I am not adding to an overpopulated world, wherein humanity seems to value life less every day.

Childfree people can sleep very well not worrying if our offspring will be murdered, molested - preyed upon, etc., or that our offspring will become a dreadful predator, etc. Surviving a child is one of the worst existences and thank God we will never know that level of dispair, I am deeply sad for parents that live in that reality. The ones I know say they are FOREVER shatterred, not one minute free of heart-wrenching agony.

Fulfillment: There is adoption, volunteering, fostering. I have worked with foster kids and parents for decades and feel appreciated, I do make a difference in their lives. I volunteered at nursing homes when young and was disheartened by how many lonely parents were there. Kids made obligatory calls and quick visits but no real connecting, very sad.

I am maternal but never had the drive for biological motherhood or to further burden our beautiful mother earth. Yes, having a family that my husband and I raised would be nice. We are nearing fifty and know that adoption, fostering and grandfostering are available. We will fill our time working, traveling and volunteering as long as possible. We have our legal and financial affairs in order.

Again, I have plenty of friends that are lonely WITH kids and have a lot less money.

Purpose: If we decide to be happy and have trustworthy, like-minded friends, we have a strong chance of being happy. There’s sooo many people and organizations to explore. Leave a legacy, blog, podcast, share your journey with others. And pray for good health.

I knew by age 10 I did not want to be a mother. I don’t know why. I was very girly, played with dolls, and had pre-teen crushes on neighborhood boys. As I was approaching adulthood, my mother was convinced that when I meet the love of my life, I will automatically want children. Nope. Married at age 28 and still no desire. Several years later my father chastised me for not having kids because it was my God-given duty to do so. What? Did you not see/hear about the women’s revolution in the 1970’s? Today, I will be 59 soon. I have two failed marriages and happily single. I am not close to my siblings/nieces/nephews because at age 18, I moved 3,000 miles away (call it an escape from a large dysfunctional family) and I never looked back. My one very close friend who has been more of a sister to me than my own, has terminal cancer and will most likely not see 2019. So, I am expecting to age solo, very quietly, which is my nature, and die one day hopefully happy and content. When people ask me if I regret not having kids, which happens quite often, I never have to think about my answer. I just smile and say, “ no, no regrets.” When I was in my 40’s, women used to ask me how many children I had. When I said none, the usual response was, “oh, I’m so sorry” as if there was something wrong with me. Don’t be sorry; I am childless by choice.

The real problem here is that many of us were just never meant to find love at all, no matter how hard we really try. And today the women have really changed from the past since finding love back then was much easier, and most of the women at that time were very old fashioned and real ladies compared to the women of today that aren't nothing like that at all. This is a very excellent reason why so many of us men nowadays are still single, even though it really wasn't our choice at all. Today most women want men with a full head of hair, be in very excellent shape, have to be very good looking, have a great career making a lot of money, own a home, and drive a very expensive car as well. With most women being very picky these days which makes it very obvious why many of us men can't find love at all, and there are many of us men that aren't like these women at all and would just be very happy to be in a relationship. Women with these list of demands are very outrageous to begin with, and it is these type of women that are just looking for a very rich man to begin with unfortunately since they will only want the very best of all and will never settle for less. So it is the women of today that are really to blame why so many of us men are still single since we really have no reason at all to blame ourselves to begin with. And the very sad thing is that many of these women today really think they're all that too which makes it even more funny. It is just too very bad for many of us good innocent men that we weren't born in the old days since we could've easily avoided this mess now and would've been all settled down ourselves as well.

These comments are all really great. I’m 46 and have been divorced since I was 32. I’m smart and attractive and most people think am in my early 30’s. I always wanted children but never met anyone that I wanted to settle down with. I never dound anyone that I had that special chemistry with. But now at 46 I don’t know where the time has gone. I still pray that I will meet someone and have kids. I mourn the loss of not having kids as that is the only thing I ever wanted. I know I can adopt but I really wanted my own biological children. All my siblings have children. I raised those children while my siblings and their spouses worked. I’m ten years younger than my brothers. But although I raised all 8 kids as my own not one of them can even buy me a birthday card. One set of nieces and nephews live across the street. If I’m luckyI get a text on my bday. I’ve met lots of guys but the ones I like are never wanting to settle down. I’m lonely and childless and hate that this is my life.

Sometimes your childhood can leave such a profound wound that finding the capable adult in you to parent never comes to fruition. I could say that I have it in me now, but not possible that I have now entered my elderly years. I have to find other ways to be 'maternal', have 'family'.

I find this article and the comments especially from women amusing. After 80 million abortions , 2 nd wave feminism , women still will not admit they are in total rebellion against a natural God given gift of marriage and children. Kudos to Paul and AS for calling them out. It is flat out evil.

Is is much worse for men to be single than it is for women since most of the time women have a lot more friends than many of us men do. As a single man myself which i will very much admit that i hate so much being single, especially with no children to fall back on which makes it much harder for me. Even though i was married at one time which she was the one that cheated on me which hurt me very much since i was the very caring husband that was very loving and very committed to her as well before this happened to me. And i really did want children at that time too which unfortunately that never happened. It is a shame that so many other men that i know also had this happened to them as well which made it very sad for us knowing that we really were the committed ones at that time. And being a single man today really does have so many disadvantages as well since wherever we decide to go which we will always be alone unfortunately no matter what we decide to do. Very hard to go on trips alone which is certainly no fun at all, hard to eat out in a restaurant by ourselves since so many other people will stare at us which makes us very uncomfortable as well. And there are certainly a lot more disadvantages too. When you are married which gives you all the advantages in the world since wherever you decide to go which you will never be alone at all, especially if you have children as well. The single life really sucks and always will, especially when you get older all alone by yourself.

It's been edifying reading all these stories and seeing the different ways people choose to view their lives. These are stories we choose to tell ourselves about who we are and what our life has been.

What I haven't seen in any of them is the choice to bond and join ranks with others in the same circumstances. I am childless, it was not by choice, but I have made my peace with it. As for how we will age and have fulfilling lives filled with love--my goodness even in my small town there are many, many single people without children, couples without children, all my age, and we have a community of friendship. And I have also many friends who have children and grandchildren, living parents and siblings, and the fact that they have family and I only have my significantly older husband does not keep us from being friends.

The most important thing you can do is love and be kind to yourself and to others. If you always wanted children, you can still have children in your life. I turned my love for children into volunteer work for youth at risk, into becoming a mentor, into helping to raise friends' children--I even get Mother's Day wishes from one of them every year. He is now 30 and it has been a joy to be a part of his growing up, ever since he was five. He is no blood relation to me at all. He was a child friend who is now a young adult friend. There are organizations like Foster Grandparents, Big Brothers and Sisters, CASA, and more where you can find fulfilling relationships with children and youth--and make a difference in their lives.

There are so many children in this world who need the love, care, and the guidance of an interested unrelated adult friend. Give of yourself to these children. I feel the world's children are also mine. They belong to all of us.

The practical realities of growing older without family is really a different issue, because having children doesn't guarantee you a safety net or companionship anyway, nor should it, in my view. If I did have children I wouldn't want to burden them with caring for me.

I am guessing my husband and I will go see an elder law attorney and follow their recommendations for how to best provide for ourselves when we are elderly. Many of my single women friends have banded together to provide for each other what a spouse or child might have provided in terms of health directives and being each other's trustees and executors.

Find other people your age who share your circumstances and band together with them to create the support you will need.

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