Parenthood is a life-changing decision. Once you decide to have a child, you’re responsible for them, not just for 18 years, but for the rest of their lives.
Some people desperately want children, while others have known that parenthood wasn’t for them since they were little. Both of these choices are valid.
Unfortunately, sometimes those who don’t want children find themselves in a relationship with someone who does. Someone who found themselves in this situation came to Reddit to ask the critical question: “Should I have kids out of love for my partner?”
Should I Have Kids Because My Partner Wants Them?
The Original Poster (OP) claimed that they didn’t want kids. “I don’t want kids for multiple reasons,” they began, adding that they struggle to say no in relationships and may find themselves sacrificing their own desires for love.
Their ultimate question was whether it was worth it or not. “What do you, as parents, think of this compromise? Is the love worth it?”
There is No Compromise When it Comes to Parenthood
Most users agree that parenthood should never be a compromise.
“There is no compromise when it comes to having kids. You either have kids or do not have kids,” said one user, adding, “You can’t have half a kid or be half a parent. Find a partner who also does not want kids if you do not want kids.”
Having children needs to be a two enthusiastic yes’s situation. Having them in a “one yes” situation is unfair to the child and the partner who didn’t want kids.
Even a retired child psychologist chimed in to offer advice. “Don’t do it,” they said. “It’s cruel to bring unwanted children into the world, even if one parent is loving.”
Read Next: Will You Change Your Mind About Having Kids?
Don’t Do It
Other users pleaded for the OP not to have children if she wasn’t 100% committed, often sharing their own stories of remorse.
“Don’t do it. I honestly wasn’t ready to be a mother to my children, and I feel like I was given an out multiple times and didn’t take it,” shared one user, cautioning others to take her struggles as a warning.
What Makes a Healthy Relationship
One user pointed out that “giving in” to what your partner wants despite your wishes doesn’t sound healthy.
“Healthy relationships are more than just a love feeling, they are a commitment to being in a healthy relationship which requires a commitment to understanding one another and being honest and communicative, especially during times of conflict, which are necessary,” they shared.
Another said the OP should learn to recognize healthy versus unhealthy relationships. “ I would highly recommend going to your library and checking out books written by licensed marriage and relationship therapists and psychologists on the topics of what healthy relationships actually are about,” they advised.
Raising Kids is Hard
Many responded that love is not worth it because raising children is far more demanding than the media makes it out to be.
“Raising children is really, really hard – even if they are wanted by both parents,” said one commenter. “If one or more of the parents don’t actually want the child, but have to give up your life to raise them, chances are…it will lead to resentment, issues in your relationship, and you will likely break up anyways.”
The user added that the OP should “save everyone the misery, know who you are and what you want ( and don’t want), be strong in the first place and don’t put yourself, your partner and that hypothetical child in that position.”
What’s a Better Regret?
Threads like this usually lead to an important question: is it better to regret having or not having kids?
“I personally think it’s better to regret not having a child than to regret having one,” shared one user.
If you regret not having kids, that only affects you. When you regret having kids, that affects you, your partner, and the child.
Stories from Those Who Lived It
Some users shared that they did precisely what OP described: they had kids they didn’t want because their partner wanted them.
“I did that, and I regret it everyday,” shared one user. “I never wanted children but believed that my husband would make a good father. He wanted kids, and I tried to change my feelings towards having kids because I loved him and wanted to give him the life he wanted.”
The user continued to say that the resentment and regret led to a divorce, and although they love their child, they now recognize they shouldn’t have given up their desires.
“I know three women who regret giving in to their partners want to have children,” offered another.
The Community Makes a Difference
It should be noted that the OP came to a community focused on parental regret to voice their question rather than a community promoting the joys of parenthood.
A motherhood community may have generated different responses, telling the user to just go for it and that they’d love the children once they arrived.
Perhaps the user already knew the answer and was looking for validation.
A Note on Parental Regret Communities
Please don’t brigade members of parental regret communities. They are safe spaces allowing users to openly and honestly discuss their feelings about parenthood. It’s a support group for struggling with raising children, allowing them to vent, voice their frustrations, and feel heard.
We need more communities allowing parents to voice their genuine opinions and seek help, not less.