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Old 07-16-2011, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Texas
3 posts, read 7,450 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulysses61 View Post
I am not yet of retirement age, but am childless by choice. My husband and I never wanted children and we have never regretted it (both of us are in our late 40's). I didn't want the responsibility or expense of bringing kids into an already over-populated world. Besides, even when I was a child myself, I wasn't overly fond of kids.

Most of my friends who have children spend endless hours complaining about them, and many of their grown children still live at home with no jobs!

As for people having children because "I want someone to take care of me in my old age," they must be delusional. Visit a convalscent home (I go twice a month). It's tragic to see so many old people sitting alone. Most of them have children and the kids never bother to visit their mom or dad.
Chidren may not "care" for their parents on a daily basis, or even visit regularly, but a "next-of-kin" entry on the nursing home chart might help protect the oldster from being taken advantage of, abused, or even tortured!

(Torture - what a helluva way to go, eh? It happens all the time! Nursing homes, like nurseries, are target rich environments!)

When the biological imperative is suppressed or denied, isn't the proverbial meaning of life also altered? Isn't the meaning of life diminished somehow as well? Apart from altruism, what motivation does one have to leave this temporal world in a better condition than they found it? What vested interest is served in doing so?

It is undeniable that having a child, or trying to have a child, offers many insights into that eternal mystery! Those who had chidren, and regret it or complain about their children, are probably abject failures as parents and have no skills in that department. They may have stopped trying to be parents at all.

That said, I recently met a fifty-seven-year old mother of two adolescent kids who had had her eggs frozen while she pursued a career! What happens to those kids if she croaks at sixty-two?

I've been an orphan for twenty-two years. On the death of my last parent, the most memorable condolence read, "It's your turn now." So I became a (rather-old-by-most-standards) parent of two children.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Flippin AR
5,447 posts, read 4,672,667 times
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Being child-free was the best decision we made, and neither of us has ever regretted it. We don't enjoy the stresses of children, and we do need some sort of financial security--though the years we live though are certainly not good for any working class Americans.

While all our peers are hopelessly locked into endless payments associated with their children, in particular the cost of college that did NOT result in any job or career, we are paving the way for "Going Galt" in the next few years--despite the massive burden of extreme over-taxation by both local government (NH) and federal government. We know we can never "retire" like our parents generation, since our economy and the Middle Class was systematically destroyed, and all the stores of wealth available to us were decimated thanks to government gross fiscal mismanagement (housing, investments, savings, devaluation of the dollar), but we should be able to side-step the hellish fate of "salary slavery" that keeps our peers locked into 80 hour weeks until they die.

While every possible financial roadblock has been thrown in our way (and if we had been born at any time other than the Depression we'd be out of the salary-slave game already), at least we still have a plan to escape. If we were burdened with the costs of even one kid, we would have no hope.

In our parents generation, we put ourselves through college, and were totally self-sufficient the year we graduated. In our generation, just the opposite. Our peers paid for their kids college, and those kids are STILL looking for jobs years later. I doubt those kids will ever stop being a cost to our peers--who couldn't afford the cost like OUR parents could (they had increasing wages, great benefits, pensions, etc.)

And my spouse and I also noted, as we expected, that having children did NOT give happiness to the vast majority of our peers who did so. The exception were those few who truly are enraptured with children, and that is an obsession--like sports and religion--that I could never comprehend, let alone feel.

As a student of human psychology, I think we experience the same range of feelings whether we live lives full of children, or just have dogs and cats. I know we didn't "miss out" on any things that we would have experienced with children--other than the depths of human nightmare, when faced with the death or severe illness/injury of a child. And those lows, I can do without.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:25 PM
 
1,952 posts, read 2,250,323 times
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Don't despair Janeace...

As others have said family units can be made up at any time in your life using non-traditional outlets (close core group of friends, communal housing communities, etc.) If you and your husband are not already socially active, get yourselves out there by attending activities and joining clubs/organizations that revolve around your interests (sports, reading groups, singing/choral groups, dancing, art, music, travel, volunteering, etc.)

The more you get out there the less isolated you will feel.

StealthRabbit posted some great links to some housing options to consider, I would like to add the Cohousing site for the U.S. Cohousing is like a communal living environment where you own your own home, but grounds are owned jointly by all, there are common chores shared by the group like maitnaining a vegetable garden, volunteering one night a week with others to prepare a dinner for the community (usually eaten in the common house or community center). You can be as involved or uninvolved as you like. Just another option to consider. Link below..


The Cohousing Association of the United States
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:11 AM
 
341 posts, read 655,466 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
In my experience there is a special, closer relationship between mothers and daughters which does not always obtain between daughters and fathers or between sons and either parent. I am male, and I find that while I miss both my parents, I did not find myself "adrift" or "orphaned" after their deaths. I know that my sister remained quite close to my mother but not to my father, in conformance to the pattern I am describing.

Do you other posters think I am over-generalizing from my own observations, or do you think there is something to this?
Really interesting question. I think the closeness between a mother and daughter (and I know not everyone has this) is because they can talk about problems and emotions in a similar way that female friends do. For me, my mother became a friend once I was an adult. There was very little I couldn't talk to her about. I was close to my dad, but in a different way - we didn't spend hours and hours discussing personal things.

I have two sons and I think I have a very good relationship with them, but it is more like the relationship I had with my dad. They occasionally talk about personal problems, but not to the extent that I think a daughter would.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,923,450 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
I have five children, my wife has two and we are about to welcome grandchild #10 into the family. Neither of us has any regrets.

That being said, both of us grew up in a time when education followed by career start followed by marriage followed by children was the norm and the expectation. In retrospect we both agree that if someone, way back when, had ever told us we could have perfectly happy and productive lives without ever bringing a child into the world, neither of us likely would have.

It's a very personal decision and not one that should be regretted. We moved when I retired. We now live over 1,900 miles from five of the children and six of the grands, 850 miles from one of the grands and 700 miles from the other two children and the rest of the grands including the one expected. That's fine too!
A few off-topic questions--How often do you see them now? Do they come to you or do you go to them? Is it a big expense to do so?

Yes, as boomers following the model of their parents, many of us had children even during the era of "women's liberation." Some of us had the religious influence too, and others of us had the "back to the land let's have kids" influence from the 70s. Ours is a very complex generation in terms of identity.
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Old 07-17-2011, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 25,058,202 times
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I am childfree by choice and have never regretted it. All my friends are as well. I have always sought the company of like-minded people because when children come into the picture, friendships can change or be eliminated due to the fact that the nurturing of the child is all-consuming.

My friend Linda died about three years ago. She had no children or family to speak of. But her community of friends and co-workers rallied 'round and gave her the best memorial service I have ever attended. We also took care of other things that needed attending to like notifying her estranged relatives 3000 miles away and making sure her wishes for her worldly goods and her cat were carried out.

She also had a conservator to take care of legal matters such as her will.

You don't necessarily have to have family to help you out in your elder years. Linda had Cancer and at times could not do things for herself. Her friends were always there to help out.

So having said all that, I never thought of having kids in terms of being taken care of. I thought of it in terms of simply not being maternal or wanting to be around children. I don't dislike them, I just never had a fondness for them.

It was a choice back in the day where women were ostracized and often considered pharias for making the choice not to have kids. Nowadays young women and men are making that choice and finding more and more acceptance. There are many websites on the Internet where this is discussed.

The idea of "no regrets" comes in not so much as my decision not to have children, but because I made an honest choice and followed it through despite going against the times that were prevalent when I was of child bearing age.
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Old 07-17-2011, 04:41 PM
mlb
 
Location: North Monterey County
4,063 posts, read 3,342,747 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janeace View Post
With my parents out of the picture and my siblings living far away or estranged I feel like I have no more family, apart from DH. I've never regreted not having children but with my parents suddenly gone, I'm feeling like an orphan. Most of my siblings have children and so the beat goes on for them. But my very elderly parents were the heart of the family, the planet we all circled, and with them "gone" I'm wondering if I made wrong choices back then, not having produced my own family. Of course, having kids doesn't mean they will turn out well or be living near you when you are older. I'm not even talking about them taking care of you when you are feeble. Anyone ever be hit with this realization?
First, let me say, I am sorry for your loss. It is very difficult to lose a parent - even when you are expecting it. I lost my dad when he was 80 - 11 years ago. Even tho he was a life-long smoker (emphysema) and since he turned 60 we all realized he could go at anytime. Shook me to my core. My mom is 91 and still alive (yet in assisted living). It will be hard to lose her as well..... I don't live near her so my memory of her - even when I speak to her today - is of her at age 55. I am still my mom's kid.

That said, I am childfree. The choice was made for me. I went through years of infertility but because of endometriosis - we were unable to have our own. We begged off adoption when we were just starting out together. It just was more expensive - financially AND emotionally than we could handle.

We are now 13 years past our "stopping point" - and we have absolutely no regrets.

Family is what you make of it. I have 6 siblings - only 3 of the 6 have children. There are also grandchildren from these children. Yup - we're close - but not suffocatingly so. We do not live near any family - the closest is 700 miles away. We talk constantly, however, via email.

Yet I have friends in life who could be my siblings - I can call on to help me and be there for me. My husband has the same. I struck out on my own when I was 17....met my spouse when I was 32. I've always known I'd need to be responsible for myself. I supported myself without my parents help since I was 17. My hubbie had a similar growing up - never expecting anyone to take care of him but himself.

I think this approach has buffered our not having children.... we are family for each other - including our 8 year old golden retriever....and we feel "complete". Our financial affairs are in order - and when the time comes - we will be taken care of by those we choose.

Part of this is because we've never wanted to be a burden on someone else = and have felt that we need to be responsible for ourselves - and not rely on anyone else.

I hope this answers your question..... I think this will be much more common in the future. Many of the young women I work with - do not want children either - but they have very strong social ties and loving friends who would be there for them at the drop of a hat.
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:29 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,601 posts, read 33,067,280 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
A few off-topic questions--How often do you see them now? Do they come to you or do you go to them? Is it a big expense to do so?

Yes, as boomers following the model of their parents, many of us had children even during the era of "women's liberation." Some of us had the religious influence too, and others of us had the "back to the land let's have kids" influence from the 70s. Ours is a very complex generation in terms of identity.
Not all that often. I haven't seen five of them since we moved almost two years ago although I will be going back to the left coast in the spring for that purpose. However, I've flown my wife back several times for visits with her daughters and grandchildren. She raised them alone for 16 years so their dynamics are somewhat different than mine in which three of my children came from what was ultimately a broken home which resulted in them being alienated/estranged from me for several years. My other two we see at least once, yearly by making the 1,500 mile, round-trip drive.

It can be a bit costly between airfare or gas, hotels, meals, etc. I like my privacy so when we go together we don't stay in anyone's home while my wife will stay with one of her daughters or the other. They live close to one another.

This far, no one has come to our neck-o-the-woods but as young families with children to raise, the costs just aren't in their budgets but for my oldest son who is quite wealthy but also extremely busy staying that way.

We were both raised in the military and I spent many years in it myself, usually usually stationed thousands of miles from extended family whom we saw infrequently so we don't see the distance as a hardship. It's just the way our lives were and remain and we stay in touch in other ways. YMMV!

Moving to an area we both desired - and away from one we didn't - was a calculated risk to, among other things, maximize our retirement dollars and we are delighted and content with our current circumstances. For us, that's what counts and that's just how it is.
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Old 07-18-2011, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
35,799 posts, read 35,604,481 times
Reputation: 55005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janeace View Post
With my parents out of the picture and my siblings living far away or estranged I feel like I have no more family, apart from DH. I've never regreted not having children but with my parents suddenly gone, I'm feeling like an orphan. Most of my siblings have children and so the beat goes on for them. But my very elderly parents were the heart of the family, the planet we all circled, and with them "gone" I'm wondering if I made wrong choices back then, not having produced my own family. Of course, having kids doesn't mean they will turn out well or be living near you when you are older. I'm not even talking about them taking care of you when you are feeble. Anyone ever be hit with this realization?
The feeling goes away right after my friends and sister e-mail me or talk to me about the problems they are having with their mostly adult kids.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:37 PM
 
4,952 posts, read 5,278,362 times
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I don't have any children and I have no regrets about it.
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