People Over 40 Who Decided Not To Have Kids Share How It's Going

Silhouette of a couple on a beach
Unsplash | Caleb Ekeroth

To have kids or not to have kids: that is the question. While many of us see kids as just another logical step of adulthood, there are others who just don't feel the drive to become parents.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each side — the grass is always greener and all that. But it's still fascinating to hear the rationale of people who decided to choose one option over another. A thread on r/AskReddit asked people over the age of 40 who decided not to have kids how they're feeling about their choices.

Keep it simple.

A smiling woman
Unsplash | Vicky Hladynets

"I’m 41F and have zero regrets over having no children. My free time is mine to do with as I wish and I’m able to save aggressively towards retirement. I’m even more thankful that I never had children after going through a divorce, as there is nothing tying me to my ex-husband. It is much easier to heal and move forward with life when you can go no contact."


It's tiring just thinking about it.

Person writing in a daytimer
Unsplash | Marissa Grootes

"Turned 40 this year, been snipped for almost 2 years now. A million times over absolutely zero regrets among me and the wife. (Been together for over 8 years, married a few months ago.)

The weeknight and weekend schedules of my friends with kids sound absolutely awful to me. Running from one practice to another, this rehearsal to that birthday party to this kindergarten graduation. Having to get a babysitter for things that in my world are the most trivial get-togethers... It all seems so exhausting and a complete drain on their own existence."


There's more to life than just kids.

Flowers in a garden
Unsplash | Annie Spratt

"50 something guy here, no rugrats er, regrets. Sure, its fun to smile when you see a kid and imagine what it would be like if you had one of your own. (I would have had some awesome kids :)) But you know what, being an uncle is just fine with me too. I have dogs who are my constant companions and a garden that I have grown into a wonderful piece of mind for me."

-u/cyrixlord there actually a good reason?

Confused looking man covering his forehead
Unsplash | Sander Sammy

"A young couple that were friends of mine once asked, 'Why do people have children?' They were asking everyone they knew. I saw them ask a different guy friend who had a kid, and they got the stereotypical, 'It's the most rewarding thing....' response. The guy later told me there weren't any compelling reasons, as far as he could tell."


Having kids entails putting your dreams on hold.

'Dream' graphic
Unsplash | Alexander Grey

"I chose to not have kids because I didn't want to give up being an artist to be a mom. I don't regret it. Still an artist. Also a teacher. I love kids but being a mother seems like an impossible job."


A cat will do.

A black and white cat
Unsplash | Manja Vitolic

"None. I'd be doing a kid a disservice. I'm selfish and lazy.

I like sleeping in on the days I'm not working and being able to get up and go as I please. My work hours are weird and I'd never be able to do that with a kid. I don't want to be responsible for anything more than the one cat I have."


It's really the only way to give yourself a family.

Older woman embracing younger woman
Unsplash | 𝔥𝔦𝔩𝔩𝔞𝔯𝔶 𝔭𝔢𝔯𝔞𝔩𝔱𝔞

"Mid 50s here. No regrets about not having kids. I don't even have pets, though that is one thing I do regret at the moment.

Still, ask me this again in 20 years when I'm in an old age home because I have no family left."


18 years of care.

A nursery for a baby
Unsplash | Sidekix Media

"My wife and I had no desire to have kids when we got together, later decided to give it a try but it didn't work out. Fast forward and her dad needs care. Dementia / physical stuff. Zero regrets now. Neither of us enjoyed taking care of him. Not the same thing but we both enjoy our independence."


The future isn't friendly.

B&W photo of thinking woman
Unsplash | Jonathan Cosens Photography

"I’m ambivalent.

On the one hand, I feel like I’ve missed out on an experience that is central to being human. I will never know the joy and heartache and deep love of parenthood.

On the other hand, I’m deeply pessimistic about the future of global governance and the environment. I would worry for my child in this world. Also, I have a lot more free time and disposable income without human parasites in my home."


You need to know yourself.

Woman with a contemplative expression
Unsplash | kevin turcios

"I'm in my 50s, I've come to realise to that I'm probably somewhere on the spectrum, I have my life together now but it's taken me this long to be comfortable with myself and get to a good place. I feel honestly it wouldn't have been fair to have had a family. I wouldn't have been a good partner or mother. I do have a good rapport with kids now. I'm a good aunt and really enjoy helping with youth groups but I value my own time too much. So no regrets at all. Some people just aren't parent material."


It's tough to go it alone.

A smiling woman
Unsplash | Edward Cisneros

"I feel great! The maternal instinct is strong. It was tough going through my thirties, but I realized that unless I had a partner who was willing to split the work, it was not going to happen. And I didn't. So it didn't. I love kids, and luckily I have several kids in my life, but not for a second do I regret not having kids."


Some people don't want the hassle.

A smiling man wearing glasses
Unsplash | Samuel Raita

"The older I get, the more sure I am of my decision.

Someone else commented it on here so I second this line of reasoning: certain unhealthy/toxic behaviors are cyclical/generational, including hereditary on a biological level, and I’m more concerned with ending all this with me than I am with seeking validation via a child."


The shaming definitely isn't cool.

A couple on a beach
Unsplash | Muhammadh Saamy

"My wife and I are both good with it. We were able to go on a lot of cool vacations, save a lot of money, have a lot of time to ourselves, etc. I feel bad that for about 15 years of her life my wife as shamed because she didn't want a child."


Sobering, but reasonable.

A white mailbox
Unsplash | Mikaela Wiedenhoff

"Had a vasectomy at 29 (unmarried and no children at the time; it took a LOT of talking).

Just turned 60 and am well aware that if I die after I fully retire, it's entirely likely no one will notice until the mailbox starts to overflow. So yeah, I have moments of regret every so often.

I don't think that's enough reason to have brought additional humans into this world, though."


Can't beat that.

An older couple, smiling
Unsplash | Joe Hepburn

"Still feeling great about that decision with no regrets at all. It has allowed us to be present in the lives of our friend's kids in a wonderful way. We're like the weird aunt and uncle who have always been there to a pack of kids. It's good when kids have adults to talk to, bounce ideas and thoughts off of that aren't their parents. To be able to be there for them in this way has been really great!"


Those thoughts come and go.

A kid on a swing
Unsplash | Myles Tan

"It is not something you think about every day. Sometimes I feel missing out, sometimes I see friends playing with their grandkids and it makes me jealous :) but those kind of thoughts cross your mind once a month or even more rarely."


It makes breakups easier.

Paper heart with a tear down the middle
Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

"I just turned 60 and have zero regrets about not only not having children but also not getting married. I have loved and lived with women that feel the same as I do and it has always been for the better when a break-up happens. I have two nephews that I helped raise and they are my boys. My sister passed away, and I'm glad I was there for them when they needed me. But, I never ever regretted not having any of my own."


The uncle life isn't so bad.

Man helping toddler with a camera
Unsplash | Derek Owens

"As an uncle, it is great being able to be like 'that's it, I'm done' and give the kid back. I have trouble committing to plans 3 days in advance for myself. No way could I dedicate 18+ years of doing it."


Kids make things less lonely.

Man sitting on a hill
Unsplash | Anthony Tori

"No regrets on not having kids. I never could have given them the life they deserved.

As I age (I'm 57) I do wish I had a life partner, I'm a bit scared about being elderly and alone but I'm always glad I didn't have kids."


Goes with the territory if you don't have kids.

Silhouette of a couple on a beach
Unsplash | Caleb Ekeroth

"It’s a strange one, I know I made the right decision. I would have made a terrible parent so I’ve got no regrets about not having kids.

However I’m at the point in life where all my friends have settled down and are raising families … and I no longer have much in common with them. We still meet up and I understand their time constraints, but as the years go by there’s less to talk about."