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  #11  
Old 10-09-2013, 03:40 PM
Nadya Nadya is offline
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Thank you for all the responses. Special thanks to YouAreHere for describing the way you think and feel about life and kids. If that is what you really think, then of course you should have children! Reading your response brought up a memory of a person who had similar view of life. These things are not something that will be talked about in an normal everyday chit-chat, so I actually do not know how most people feel about their lives and to which believes they build on.

But, I have had this one discussion in my life with a person who had very similar views than YouAreHere. They were overwhelmingly happy and thrilled about the opportunities of life, and it made me realize for the first time ever that not everybody thinks that life is crap. That maybe life for someone really is a gift. This was a concept I always struggled with - that life is a gift, because to me life always was a curse. This one discussion started a huge process within myself, resulting in better health and happiness. Let’s hope this online one will have similar effects

After reading all the other responses as well I have figured out the following:
1) I need a thorough re-assessment of my core values and beliefs. Is life really just crap? Do I still believe that not existing would have been better? Or has the recently experienced happiness changed my views and to what extent?
2) I have to give myself all the time needed for the re-assessment and put the thought of babies aside for that time.
3) I have to keep my partners informed about this process.

If anyone else wishes to share their thoughts and experiences about why they have chosen to have kids and why not, I would greatly appreciate that.
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  #12  
Old 10-09-2013, 03:59 PM
Nadya Nadya is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyGrlJenny View Post
I chose to remain childless by choice for a loooong time. I love kids, I'm the director of a child care center! But I valued my freedom more, and reasoned that there are already plenty of people in the world without my bringing more into it.

Then, I met my boyfriend, who already had a 1-year-old son when I met him. When Kiddo was 6, we took over primary custody, and suddenly I wanted more than anything to have a baby with Fly. I can't tell you what changed, but the need to have a child was so deep and visceral, it freaked me out. It was a complete 180 in my life philosophy! Long story short, we tried for 2 years before discovering that due to the effects of a chronic illness, my body is not suitable for carrying and bearing a healthy child. The realization was like experiencing a death, and I had a very hard time coming to terms with the situation.
Thank you, Jenny, this is a very touching story. I have never felt the need to have a baby with anyone, but I believe this is what is happening with CJ now. His wish for a child is so pure and so real that I was absolutely willing to do that for him. I saw how the thought made him happy, and I want to see him happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyGrlJenny View Post
This is so strange to me, because no one CAN make that choice for themselves. By not having a child, you are making a choice for them -for that potential person to not exist. That's fine, there's nothing wrong with not having children, but I find your reasoning concerning. Additionally, even if your mental health status is improved, if you're still feeling like you wish you had never lived, I have serious doubts as to whether you're in a place where you should be raising a child.
I was myself surprised by my emotional response. It started with a little nagging feeling that I tried to ignore since I thought that having a kid would make both my partners so happy and I just MUST go along with it. And, it ended in a full-blown panic attack, and that was when I posted this here. In a very emotional state. I, too, found my own words and my own reaction concerning, and that is why I wanted the outside perspective to this. And yes, I agree - if I wish I never lived, I definitely should not get pregnant!! Thus the re-assessment of my beliefs (see the post above).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyGrlJenny View Post
Stand your ground for what is right for you. I'm not familiar with your poly story, but do your guys have other relationships or the freedom to create them? Perhaps there are other avenues where they can experience being fathers without involving you in the procreation process.
Thanks for all this insight, Jenny! I realized that I cannot make someone happy by doing something that is against my own values. Either I change my values or stay childless - those are my choises.

My guys are free to create new relationships as they wish, but... Mark is mono and CJ's other interests have been either men on trans-women. So I am really the only person with a womb in this picture - thus the pressure on me. And, CJ is not willing to adopt - he wants a child that is biologically his.
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Last edited by Nadya; 10-09-2013 at 06:55 PM. Reason: typos
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  #13  
Old 10-09-2013, 06:42 PM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Originally Posted by Nadya View Post
If anyone else wishes to share their thoughts and experiences about why they have chosen to have kids and why not, I would greatly appreciate that.
I have no children by choice. I have no idea if I could get pregnant or not because I've always been ultra careful with contraception and have simply never been in the position where a pregnancy was likely.

I'm 40 now and there are lots of children in my family who I spend time with regularly. My desire to remain child free is a long term one and well thought out. I'm very determined about this. I know that sometimes as women approach the menopause they have overwhelming urges to have children - I have a couple of friends that this has happened to. So I have a coil fitted because it isn't contraception that can be "forgotten" about in the heat of the moment if I get those urges.

I've never had a partner who's become keen to have children and if it were to happen, it would mean shifting the relationship to one of friendship to allow them to pursue that need elsewhere. If I were to become pregnant, I would have an abortion - this is something I talk about very early on in new relationships because I wouldn't be in a sexual relationship with somebody who would have a problem with that.

I'm very happy with life and my place in the world. I feel similar wonder to You areHere about the world (it's bumble bees I rescue off the pavement). Sometimes when I'm out walking around, I feel such overwhelming joy that I have to stop and just stand still for a moment or two. Our world is amazing - it's a place of joy, wonder, laughter, tears, darkest horror, despair, loss, gain - an ongoing source of fascination.

I stay child free mostly because I do love my life so much. I don't live in a way that would be compatible with having a child. I have little in the way of routine (I work part time and have flexible hours), I love to study and learn new things - some of which can become time consuming, I love to have the time to focus on friendships, relationships with non-humans, my family and now my SO. I like to be able to sleep in and to have afternoon naps when I want. Or to take the evening out and spend it knitting or reading or lying in the bath. Or to travel to a conference, make new friends and visit old ones.

These things are not easy to fit in while also finding the time and energy to bring up little human beings.

I can't see any moral reason to have children. The human race will not die out if I don't reproduce. There are plenty of us around and so I feel perfectly at ease with my decision to leave the child rearing to those who want to do it.

IP
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  #14  
Old 10-10-2013, 02:49 AM
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I am what I call "blissfully child-free by choice," and have been ever since I first became sexually active almost 40 years ago. Now that I have entered menopause and am no longer fertile, there is no chance of bearing children - and I have never regretted my choice to be child-free. I am great with kids and have babysat many, for friends or for money. Kids love me, but I always knew that I could not handle the enormous responsibility of being in charge of another human being's emotional, physical, and psychological health and development full-time - I could barely manage my own!

One thing I know for sure, it is not a decision that anyone should make to please someone else. Sure, there was a period in my marriage where I thought about it wistfully, but that was a romantic notion. Thank goodness that wishful thinking didn't last more than a couple of months (I was heavily into my genealogical research and feeling like it would be nice to pass on my work to descendants - not a good reason to have children). Fortunately, my husband had had a vasectomy just before we got married and did not bend in his conviction to not father any more children. I would have hated putting him through some medical procedure to get me preggers only to eventually come back to my senses but now have a kid to raise.

If it feels right for you not to bring life into the world, don't. If it feels right for you not to be a parent, so be it. Maybe your husband needs t do some soul-searching, too, and ask himself why the sudden change of heart - why would he ask that of you, knowing how you feel about it? What's that about?
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-10-2013 at 09:22 AM.
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  #15  
Old 10-10-2013, 03:06 AM
london london is offline
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As patronizing as this sounds, I never take people's word as gospel when they say they don't want children until they have been in a stable long term relationship. Rightly or wrongly, some people don't have that urge to procreate until they have that sort of relationship with someone. I don't think it's at all unusual for someone to change their mind about having kids later on down the line and I just see it as one of many things that render people incompatible.
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  #16  
Old 10-10-2013, 09:27 AM
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Well, I think that kind of change of heart often comes from societal and familial pressure. Others see that someone has taken on the role of spouse, so it's the logical next step in their minds to start with the baby-making. The couple fields all these asinine questions and opinions being tossed at them from friends and relatives, and start doubting themselves. It's so easy in Western culture to get tricked into believing that now that there's a committed partnership, children must follow. But a period of questioning the decision doesn't mean that the underlying conviction that parenting is not for them still isn't there. Nor that such an important decision should be made while in a quandary. So, it is useful (and a way to know oneself better) to ask why and contemplate how such a radical shift in thought came about.
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Last edited by nycindie; 10-10-2013 at 09:40 AM.
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  #17  
Old 10-10-2013, 02:38 PM
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I've never had any desire to go forth and multiply. I'm much closer to YouAreHere's outlook on life in general than I am to Nadya's, but as I see it if I don't want to have kids it shouldn't matter what my reasons are. I agree with InfinitePossibility; if a partner of mine wants children he'll need to find someone else to do it with—a view I held even more strongly in my pre-poly days.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to convince a doctor to perform a tubal ligation on a woman with no children? I was over 30 with over a decades' worth of annually asking "Can I have it done yet?" on my medical file before they allowed it.
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  #18  
Old 10-10-2013, 03:19 PM
drinnt drinnt is offline
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Nadya I cannot speak to your "choice" to never have been born yet I can follow it through logically to your struggling over bringing another life into this world without its consent.

Philosophically I think it makes a great argument to debate. Lots of wonderful theoretical and transcendental material there...but really it's simpler than that. We're biological beings and the very definition of life is the ability to procreate. End game.

Really the choice to have a child is (as you know) all about YOU. As it should be. I have 40 year long road that led my wife and I to choose a child free life. Partly because we tried and failed but mostly because we never really wanted to have kids...SO THANK GOD WE FAILED! As hard as that was to go through 4 times, it was 4 times a blessing.

We love our lives child free. At some point choosing to be child free is much like choosing poly.

Check out this resource...you likely see some like minds and very similar trains of thoughts as in the poly community...

http://thechildfreelife.com/forum/
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  #19  
Old 10-12-2013, 06:10 AM
Nadya Nadya is offline
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Originally Posted by drinnt View Post
Philosophically I think it makes a great argument to debate. Lots of wonderful theoretical and transcendental material there...but really it's simpler than that. We're biological beings and the very definition of life is the ability to procreate. End game.
This. Yes, I have been wondering for a looong time, why is it that people choose to have kids. Maybe a lot of them do not make a conscious choice or ever think about it. Life just happens. Biology.

A short update: both my partners have been very supportive through my struggling with this. They have stressed that in the end it is MY decision and all they can do is to express what they wish. My husband was quite taken aback by my strong emotional reaction with this; he thought I was OK with the idea - and so did I. He has been sorry to have caused such pain to me... well, he did not cause the pain, it was inside of me and his suggestion just brought it up to the surface.

Anyway, my relationships seem to survive this, and we will consentrate on other things for a while. I will keep processing this question in my mind.

And, drinnt, thank you for the link! "On The Fence" -section of that forum seems to be helpful for me. Plus, it has been nice to read all the comments and personal stories posted on this thread, thank you all!
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  #20  
Old 01-24-2014, 10:40 PM
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If I may necropost ...

---

Re (from Nadya, OP):
Quote:
"Why do people have children?"
Whoah hold the train right there, that's one loaded question.

For me I think the idea was ultimately social conditioning. I mean, first of all, I saw that my parents had had kids (seven all told), and I was always taught that having kids is simply "what people do." That plus the church teaching the immense importance of having children and being a parent.

Somewhat beside the point is that it turned out my wife wasn't physically able to conceive after she and I had gotten married. But that stroke of serendipity alone "saved" me from something to which today I'd say: "No way in hell!"

I don't despise kids. After all, I was a kid at one point. And I was piano teacher to numerous kids for many years, and greatly enjoyed the profession. Overall. But a parent? I would have sucked. My kids would have suffered because of it. And I would have been miserable. Everybody loses. Which is why, before venturing into my poly years, I went and got a vasectomy.

So why do people have children? on an even more fundamental level?

I know that some/many women have a hormonal urge/desire to bear children. And maybe some/many men have an instinctive desire to be fathers.

It seems reasonable to suppose that Homo sapiens probably evolved with the innate desire to procreate -- not just have sex, but actually perpetuate the species. Is evolution talking to us, and that's the real reason we want to have kids?

Perhaps the desire to have sex is all that Nature/evolution needed to instill in us? After all, birth control is a very recent phenomenon in the history of Homo sapiens.

But Nature/evolution would have also needed to instill in us a strong nuturing instinct! to go along with the sex. This then, is ... "a" ... answer to the original question.

Ah but you see, I have no ultimate answers to offer. On this subject at least. Only questions.

---

Re:
Quote:
"My opinion has been since quite young that had I had a choice, I would choose not existing. Life is just too painful."
Ahh. Now we come to the question of whether one's (at first hypothetical) child would wish to be born. My parents often boasted about the debt I owed them for birthing me into this world. And the older I got, the more I begged to differ with them ...

But that's only my own experience. Was I too spoiled to be grateful? How does one calculate whether one's unborn child wishes to be born? Case in point: Stephen Hawking. Who wishes that he hadn't been born? Does Hawking himself wish that?

Re:
Quote:
"Nowadays I quite enjoy my life and do not actively want to die anymore. Still, given the choice, I would choose to not have lived at all."
Hummm. I am okay with living and quite dread (I am an atheist) the prospect of death (even though my belief is that I'll feel nothing, good or bad). Had I not been born, I wouldn't have had a death to fear. Does this constitute a wish that I'd never been born?

It's a hard call, but ultimately I think I'd prefer to have lived. Even for just a blink of an eye, in the eyes of eternity. I've learned and experienced much that is good and wondrous in my lifetime. That seems worthwhile, even if it has to end.

One time as a teen, I tried some unprotected (and untrained) rock climbing and found myself in a predicament from which I couldn't climb down. Long story short, I fell, and bounced many times on a steep mountainside, missing one pine tree after another. And in those moments, I wondered, while thinking I was probably gonna die, if I actually wanted to die. I surprised myself by realizing that I wanted to live. Given the angst I suffered as a teen, this was quite a realization.

And even as an atheist, I still wonder if that desire to live is what allowed me to conclude that fall in a long slide down a bunch of scree, coming to a complete stop in a huge blinding cloud of dust, and surviving with naught but a few pulled tendons.

Oh sure, it was easy for me to think, when at home in the lonely comfort of my bedroom, under the pounding steps of my ever-enraged mother upstairs, in the discomfiture of the school in which I felt I was such an outcast, or even in the sweaty fields hauling hay or straw, that death sounded awesome. But in the moments when I was pounding my way down that mountainside, looking the Reaper square in the eye, I suddenly realized that the will to live was stronger than I'd ever imagined.

---

Nadya, I don't know how to help you to decide that you'd like to have any kids, or even how to help you decide which path (kids or no kids) is the best path for you. I know that many folks are not fit to be folks (using two different definitions for the same word), seemingly most often those who fancy themselves to be the most fit. It is those of us who see our prospective failings as parents, who, perhaps, would be the best-suited to deal with those failings and let our kids know that yes, we are willing to relate to them eye-to-eye.

I think the fact that going off birth control caused you to have panic attacks should tell you something. At the very least, you'd need "one more poly adult" (how about a lady -- for that additional maternal contribution) in the equation, to make childbearing (much less childrearing) become a prospect that wasn't so terrifying. Would you be glad to be a parent? Would your child be glad to be your child? These are questions you'd have to ask for all the rest of your life -- and will have to ask even if you choose not to have any kids. Either way, it's a choice.

What's CJ willing to do, to help you cope with the misgivings you have? What do you fear most about parenting? I'll be honest, the two things I'd fear most would be
  • getting no sleep,
  • chainging diapers.
And I'm sure that more than a few actual parents out there could knowingly smile, nod, and chuckle about that, assuring me that, "You have no idea." But those are only two out of many fears that I would have, if I were faced with the prospect of becoming a parent. Nadya, what scares you the most? Is it the mere prospect of introducing an innocent child into this highly imperfect world? If so, think of the great souls that have made a real difference throughout history, and then know that each of those spirits had a mother and a father. Is it worth the risk?

Re (same author):
Quote:
"But living with the thought that I am responsible for this new life -- I do not think I could handle that. How do other people do that? Why is it that this seems to be no problem to anyone else?"
Count me as one for whom that is a problem. I think it has something in common with the problem of keeping a housepet. How do we know that the pet in question wants to live in our house? We don't. We only guess at what they're thinking.

I guess I've come to worry less about that over the years because, in spite of my youthful desires to be erased from existence past and present, I've come to know quite a few people (including many kids) who seemed glad to be alive and not at all regretful or resentful about having been born. I think my biggest issue in that area has to do with the fact that I know I have some bad DNA in my blood. My psyche is kept in check only by a hard-won combination of prescription meds. I am worried that I'd be a bad parent. Almost as worried as I am about the two selfish bullet points listed above.

Re (from Maleficent):
Quote:
"Anyone who doesn't feel like they are failing on a regular basis isn't trying hard enough."
Well said, well said.

Re (from RainyGrlJenny):
Quote:
"By not having a child, you *are* making a choice for them -- for that potential person to not exist."
Aha ... well stated.

Re:
Quote:
"Perhaps there are other avenues where they can experience being fathers without involving you in the procreation process."
Kind of what I was thinking. Even if they aren't likely to pair up with women who can bear children for them, can they be sperm donors and have a lady volunteer to carry the child to term? Probably a complicated process but thought I'd still throw it out there.

---

Bottom line, Nadya, and like CJ (and Mark I reckon) recognize, it is totally your right to decide whether to enter a pregnancy and bear a child. If a voice inside arises to cry out, "Noooo! Do not discontinue the birth control!" then you have every right to heed that voice, and heeding it is I'm certain the route that makes the most sense.

You can change your mind, later, of course ... Just don't try to force that change upon yourself.

Regards,
Kevin T.
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