15 People Over 50 Who Chose Not to Have Children Reflect On Their Decision

@estherann via Unsplash

It’s said that women have a ticking clock. This refers to the fact there is an age where it is really hard and even impossible for women to have children. In their youth, many women don’t have any trouble getting pregnant, but closer to 40, it gets more difficult. We have friends who had children into their 40s, so it is possible, but by the time a woman reaches the age of 50, she most likely has decided not to have children.

Some couples decide at a young age that they don’t want children. Other people make the decision not to have children as they get older. While this decision might seem strange to those of us who can’t imagine our lives without children, it is the right decision for some people.

One Reddit user asked, “People over 50 that chose to be childfree, do you regret your decision? Why or why not?” Scroll down to see 15 of the best responses. 

  1. Early Retirement

    Reddit user ProfessorOzone wrote:

    I have mixed feelings. I don’t care much for children and I think it would have been disastrous for us to have them. I was also able to retire at 52. Pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened with kids. So yeah, absolutely the right decision.But I love my family and I do wonder what it would be like to have my own, to teach my child the things I know and not to be without someone who cares about me at the time of my death. But again, absolutely the right decision and at 55 I’m very happy NOT to have them. This is reinforced every time I’m exposed to other people’s kids.

  2. “No Regrets”

    lyingliar added:

    My wife and I chose long ago not to have children, but always left it open for renegotiation. We’re 40 now and feel absolutely no regrets about not having children. Still feels like the right choice for us. Hopefully, we’ll still feel that way long into the future.Lots of folks ask us questions like, “who will take care of you when you’re old?” or “what if something happens to your spouse?” No judgement, but to us, those have always felt like pretty selfish reasons to have children.

  3. Missing the Parental Instinct

    IBeTrippin shared:

    I explain it to people like this – you know that feeling you get where you just can’t wait to teach your kid how to play baseball? or whatever it is you want to share with them? I don’t have that. Its basically a lack of parental instinct. Having children was never something I aspired to. My SO is the same way.Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against children. And I get really angry at people who harm them or mistreat them. I just never wanted my own.

  4. Not Having Kids Doesn’t Mean Someone Hates Kids

    pmw1981 explained:

    I really dislike when people equate someone not having/wanting kids with hating them altogether. I love all my younger nieces/nephews/cousins, no issue with my friends’ kids, but I know I’d be a terrible parent with my own mental illness struggles & impatience.

  5. Regrets about Not Getting Out of Bad Relationships

    MerakiStudioMe answered:

    I don’t necessarily regret not having them, but I regret the fact that I wasn’t in a healthy enough relationship where I felt I COULD have children. I regret not being stronger to leave the abuse earlier, if I had been stronger, I think maybe I could have had the choice at least.So yeah… I have regrets.

  6. Not Enough Patience

    ScootertheDuck wrote:

    I never wanted children. I don’t have the patience. I’d be a worrywart about my kids, too, if I had any, keeping an eye on them all the time to make sure they don’t get hurt. There’s also the fear that I would be the same as my father, and I wouldn’t want to put any children through that.

  7. Kids Don’t Visit the Nursing Home Anyway

    joevilla1369 explained:

    My wife worked at a nursing home for years. Imagine seeing for years that over 95% of old people never have family visit. Till they die and people want a piece of the pie. This when I learnt that the whole “well who is gonna visit you or take care of you when you’re older” line is complete bullshit. We decided to not have kids ever after that. Made great friends and saw the world. No regrets.

  8. Still Gets to Be a Grandmother

    ZubLor shared:

    I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to marry my husband. He had two sons from his first marriage and a vasectomy. He was worried because I was so young (comparatively, he’s10 years older). I did think it over seriously and concluded that a life with him compared to a life without him but (perhaps!) with a baby I didn’t even have yet was what I wanted. It worked out for us, we’ve been together for 26 years. As a bonus I have 9 grandchildren. All the fun without the work of the raising!

  9. Too Many Responsibilities

    Its_a_Mara-thon added:

    No regrets at all. Just said this to my older childfree sister today and we agree on no kids. There are enough responsibilities in life and the costs.

  10. “The Cool Aunt and Uncle”

    laudinum shared:

    No and I found a partner who feels the same. We are the cool aunt and uncle.

  11. There Are Worries

    goaway432 answered:

    Wasn’t by choice, but yes. I’m happily married and I worry about what will happen to my wife when I die. She’ll be alone. Otherwise, it’s fantastic.

  12. Extreme Introvert

    booboocita explained:

    57 years old and childless. I don’t regret it at all. I sincerely believe that I would have been a piss-poor mother. I’m an extreme introvert, and seeing my sister with her sprogs clinging to her all the time, wanting something or other — food, attention, a toy, whatever — and calling to her, mommy mommy mommy, convinced me of the wisdom of my decision. If I had had children, I would have been driven to suicide or homicide in short order. My sister’s kids are grown into wonderful young adults, and I love them to death, but I need lots of alone time to remain sane, and you don’t get that with kids. If I’d had them, I might have become one of those horrid humans who feed their kids Benadryl to make them sleep, just for some peace and quiet. Childless is better for me.

  13. Childless and Wifeless

    Hermits_Truth wrote:

    54 yrs.old. I’ve lived the past 30 years alone. Presently my dog and I are chillin’ in a nice hotel on a spur of the moment vacation. I’d maybe be a grandfather by now?! I can’t imagine what it would be like to have family. I picture a life lived more “normally” sometimes. All sunshine and roses, white picket fence, etc. but I realize real life isn’t like that. No I don’t regret being childfree or wifefree for that matter. My life can be boring at times but then I look back at all the drama that comes with relationships and think I’ve dodged a bullet. I spent 20 years trying to find a wife to start a family. Then I realized the clock had run out, so fuck it, all the money I’d saved for my future family would be spent on myself. Hmmmmm…what do I want to buy myself for Christmas?

  14. Not Wanting to Parent Like Your Own Parents

    videoman7189 answered:

    Not one bit. I have never believed that I would be a good parent. I have a short temper, and while I don’t think I would have been physically abusive, my words and tone of voice would be harsh in a very similar way to my own father. I wasn’t happy growing up with that kind parent and I wouldn’t want to subject any child to that kind of parenting.

  15. No Urge to Have Kids

    fwubglubbel added:

    Nope. I never had the urge to change diapers or lose sleep, free time and most of my earnings. Other peoples’ kids are great. Mostly because they are other peoples’.When people ask “Who will take care of you when you’re old” I tell them that when I’m 75 I will adopt a 40 year old.