Childfree adults are on the rise. More and more young people are looking at the struggles of parenthood and deciding it’s not for them.
While some see population declines as a massive problem, there are many reasons why someone would choose not to procreate. While scrolling through my favorite sub on Reddit, R/AskReddit, I found a question asking childfree people to share their reasons for opting out of parenthood.
The responses are enlightening. Here are some of the top reasons more and more people are choosing not to have children of their own.
They Raised Their Siblings
“I already had my kid. Hes called my little brother.” said one Redditor, explaining why they don’t want children. The user was ten years old when their sibling came along, and was responsible for babysitting, changing diapers, and generally taking care of his little brother.
Others could relate. Parentification is often discussed on Reddit as a disservice to children.
Fear of Special Needs
“One fear I’ve had is a special needs kid that would require constant care for the rest of my life.” said one Redditor. Others agreed, wondering who would look after their child once they were gone if they needed life-long care.
Many commenters validated the initial posters, saying many people don’t consider the long-term effects of caring for a severely disabled child.
“People don’t talk about this enough.” claimed one. I’m already on the fence about having a “ healthy” kid. If you aren’t prepared to take care of a special needs child, then you shouldn’t be having a child at all.” they added.
Life Long Commitment
Even healthy children are a lifelong commitment. Some users admitted that wasn’t something they could handle.
“I don’t think I’m capable of handling that. I like kids, but I don’t think I could raise one well, so I’m not going to try,” said one user, giving an honest assessment of their abilities.
Mental Health Issues
“I struggle with anxiety and anger issues and I wouldn’t want to pass that on to my child or have them have to grow up dealing with my anxieties and anger episodes,” said one user.
“I have an explosive temper that is scary, and though therapy has helped, I never want to be in a place where it surfaces because of frustration and completely mess that kid up for life,” added another.
When you have kids, your life is no longer about you. You can’t pick up and travel whenever you want or quit the job you hate without a backup plan. You must consider how your actions affect your children and your ability to care for them.
“I enjoy freedom, I enjoy my relationship exactly as it is,” said one user.
Kids are expensive. You have to feed them, clothe them, house them, and on top of that, find a way to pay for their care while you work to provide for them.
“Having a kid will delay retirement by 5 years, so as someone who hates working…” said one user, implying that kids would put a huge damper on their retirement plans.
“Want to sleep? Too bad ur kid just threw up, and u need to take care of them in the middle of the night,” commented one user while discussing the lack of sleep parents face.
Babies need feedings throughout the night, preventing parents from getting a good night’s sleep for at least the first year of life, if not longer.
Fear of Pregnancy
Pregnancy is often paraded as magical, but many women aren’t here for it. Pregnancy is a serious medical condition rife with complications that can lead to permanent disability and even death.
“The actual horrors a woman can and very likely will go through is nightmare fuel. I wanted kids until I did a deep dive into pregnancy and labor. Unlocked a new phobia and went childfree. No thank you.” commented one user.
No Reason TO Have Them
All kids should be wanted. People shouldn’t have kids just to do it; they should have kids because they genuinely want to help raise the next generation of humans.
“Personally, I can’t think of a single compelling reason to have them. Kids deserve a parent who wants them, not someone who just tolerates them.” offered one user.
It Sounds Terrible
“I get that it is the social default, but in a vacuum it sounds terrible,” said one user. “I never feel like I have enough time to do the things I want to do. Why would I want to give up on my free time entirely to raise a kid? Children are fine in small doses, but they are exhausting, stressful and the benefits seem minimal. I guess the biological drive skipped me,” they added.
Others agreed, saying there’s no real reason to have children that isn’t selfish.
Can’t Support Them
Many people choose to remain child-free because the current economic environment makes raising children nearly impossible. It’s not that they wouldn’t want to spend the money, it’s that they don’t have the money to spend.
“I don’t make enough to support myself, let alone another dependent human,” complained one user. “My wife and I work 40hrs+ / wk and we an barely afford our 3 bedroom house with 1 dog and feeding ourselves,” added another.
More People are Opting Out of Parenthood
Although doom and gloom news channels decry declining population rates as a negative, having the freedom to choose when and if to become a parent is a good thing. Not everyone would make a good parent, and not everyone wants that life. We don’t have to follow the same script to live a happy, successful life.
However, it’s sad that some folks who want to commit and would be wonderful parents literally can’t because our society lacks safety nets to help parents. We have no mandatory parental leave, no mandatory sick time, a cost of living crisis, and horrendous medical care for women. It’s no surprise that people would opt out, given a choice.
What do you think? Did Redditors give valid reasons for choosing not to have children?
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.