Addicted to novelty since 2001

More on Having Children (Or Not)

Back in June, I asked you, my dear readers, the following:

Do you want to have kids? If so, why? Or, if you already have kids, why did you have them?

I got a wide range of intelligent replies, which, if you’re new to the site and considering reproducing, might prove good reading. I was reminded of this conversation by Julie, who recently wrote an essay about why (I think) she doesn’t want to have children:

People lie and cheat and steal and hurt each other. They drink too much booze and shoot smack and smoke and they don’t exercise or eat well. They don’t read labels, they don’t ask questions, they don’t try anything new, they don’t ever CHANGE. They run over bunnies and dogs and cats with their stupid fcuking urban SUVs and just keep driving. They litter. They don’t apologize when they bump into you. They don’t say thank you when you hold the door open for them. They have no compassion or kindness or common sense or love or LIFE in their heart. Perhaps I am cynical, but I find a lot of people detrimental to the advancement of the human race, people who are harmful to the hope and belief that we could live in a better place, a more empathic, caring, kind and gentle world.

I can sympathize. I used to think that I didn’t want kids because of the world they’ll be borne into. The common (and pretty irrational) response to that is “but maybe your kids will be the ones to make the world a better place”. Yeah, that’s likely.

Parents talking about giving birth sound to me like the newly-converted talking about their faith. Both groups frequently remark that it’s “the best thing that ever happened to me” or “the most important event in my life”. Yet, I’m rarely able to distill why how that’s the case. I don’t mean to demean either experience. Rather, I’m just describing my vexation at being on the outside and not being able to see in.

29 Responses to “More on Having Children (Or Not)”

  1. Christine Rondeau

    I lost all faith in humanity when Dubya won four more years in office. I didn’t have any faith to begin with and didn’t want to have kid then. But seeing where the world is heading, I don’t think I’ll be changing my mind any time soon.

    C.

  2. Jen

    I’d have to suggest that it’s genetic conditioning. I know a couple who never wanted children, until *oops* they had one. Now they want more!

    There have been studies done (before ethics committees) that show if you take a baby away from all human contact – but give it all the mechanical means to stay alive, it will die anyway, from lack of love and bonding. I’m guessing parents are also genetically affected (be it through hormonal changes for women, or the effects of some strange “baby pheromones” for men) and compelled to bond with and take care of their children.

    It seems like nature’s way of ensuring that we continue to propagate the species – instead of abandoning babies by the side of the road or something.

    Again, I too am not saying it’s a good or bad thing – it’s just my own reasoning for it.

  3. Bronya

    I have a 7 month old daughter and prior to her birth I was fearful of developing that far away, slightly wistful and dreamy expression that mums tend to display. It really annoyed me. I had also never really held a baby so wasn’t sure if I would really take to all this “mother” stuff. I have since found that the dreamy look is tiredness mingled with shock and that motherhood just kinda takes hold with a tenacious grip. I think that having children can is almost a selfish thing in that since my daughter was about 3.5 months old (i.e. after she had figured out enough not to find everything freaky) we have been hanging out together and having a laugh. There is something about a baby’s belly-laugh and insatiable curiosity that is very refreshing.

    There is also something pretty nifty about looking at cute wee hands and wriggly feet and thinking “I made that.”

    I agree with Jen too – I think that we were at the mercy of genetic programming and raging hormones when we decided to breed, but I am happy to crumble before that type of power.

  4. donna

    Jen: I thought that was why they made babies cute? So that you’d think “Oh, how adorable!” rather than, “Look! An open hillside to expose my child upon!” :)

    I suppose some hormones/instinct/socializing is helpful as well. (I hesitate to say it’s all biological, as I’ve seen adoptive parents who are more gung-ho about their child than many parents. I’ve also seen parents who aren’t all that impressed with this small, squalling, redfaced thing that won’t stop extruding poo.)

    I think, like almost everything, that it’s a bit of nature and nurture. Some people want babies so bad they can taste it. Some people don’t want babies, but if they screwed up and had one, they’d do a pretty good job. And some people shouldn’t have kids because they’re bad, neglectful parents who missed the “baby bonding” part of parenthood.

    People keep telling me I’d make a good mother. They might be right, although there’s a niggling part of me that keeps saying “Uh, remember how selfish you are? That don’t jive.” Which is good, because it keeps me from ever wanting one. :)

    I’ve got a 3 year old sister. What do I need a kid for?

    I think basically, I agree completely with Julie, except for the expensive shoes. My money is much better spent on yarn and books and sex toys and cute little tops and expensive meals and the occasional gift for my sister.

    YMMV. :)

  5. Rick

    Darren, I’ve thought a lot about the concept of having kids over the last year or so. I’m not married. I’m only 23. I don’t have my future planned out yet. I’m a tech writer with some social skill ackwardness (much like you, it seems). Even so, I really can’t wait to have kids. I know I’m not ready for a child now, and probably won’t be for at least a few years, but I am really looking forward to being with a woman that I love with all of my heart and raising a child with her, even if it is in a world that doesn’t seem to all that great of a place. I will try my hardest to raise a wonderful child and I pray that s/he will turn out ok. It’s something I know I want to do in my life. Children are precious and I want to experience raising one or two or maybe even three someday when the time is right.

  6. Sue

    I’m gonna have kids so I have someone to pay for my retirement home when I run out of money down the road.

    But seriously, I think when people say it’s the “most important thing that ever happened to them” it’s because it’s probably the most life-changing thing. That, and they’re now completely sleep-deprived so they can’t exercise rational judgement and remember the details of anything that happened to them pre-baby. I can’t think of any other life event which causes such a drastic and permanent change to your life, whether you enjoy that change or not. All of a sudden, you have someone completely dependent on you, who will continue to be dependent on you in some way for the next 16 to 25 years. Some people like that idea, other people hate it, but I don’t think there’s anything else that compares. Even marriage. *wink*

  7. Kyle

    I have to say I find it more than a little surprising that you can’t distill why having a child would be one of the more important events in a person’s life. Before I had my own (and when I thought I wanted none) it was quite clear to me that having children would be a life-changing event. It was one of the reasons not to have them. Sure, like any life experience, you’ll not understand exactly what it’s like to have children until you do. The only good reason to have children, for me, was that my wife wanted them. In the same way you can’t understand exactly what it’s like to have children, you can’t imagine how happy I am she did want kids :) The “selfish” reasons that Julie lists (which are mostly the reasons I had for not wanting them) become laughable in retrospect. The more substantial worries of the world you’re bringing them into are also (and again, perhaps in retrospect) pretty poor excuses. I don’t expect Naomi (or Baby v2.0) to save our world, and yes, they will most certainly grow up to know hate in the world, but right now I get to show them that there is also love in the world.

  8. Andrea

    I completely respect people who don’t want to have children and who are responsible about it. However, I’m not sure that talk of the world being a horrible place is reason alone for not having kids. I’d hate to think that they’d leave the world to liars, cheaters, thieves, Luddites, SUV drivers, and all the people who voted for Bush. There’s no guarantee that your kid will not embrace any of those roles, but at least you have a fighting chance if you even try to raise a person with values, critical thinking skills, and a sense of social responsibility. If all the non-evil people die out, then we might as well give up on the world. I don’t think we should talk in terms of kids growing up to change the world all on their own. But I’d like to think that small changes ripple and collect to become waves. There are so many people who don’t hold doors open (figurative or literal) for others that just one person making the effort does make a difference. Maybe not the difference that Suzuki, Banting, Douglas, Fox or, um, Lavigne make, but a meaningful difference never-the-less.

    Of course, let me get back to you in February. We’ll see how my theory on changing the world through cloth diapers works out.

  9. Darren

    Thanks everybody for your comments.

    Kyle: You make a good point. I’ve amended my posting very slightly to clarify my problem. You do highlight my point, though, when you say “the ‘selfish’ reasons that Julie lists…become laughable in retrospect.” Why do those reasons become laughable? I’m not disagreeing that they don’t (or wouldn’t), I’m just not following your logic.

  10. Martine

    You described my own feelings about parenthood very well, Darren. It’s a mix of “why bring a child into this crazy world” and “how could one change their lifestyle so drastically”.

    You said: “Both groups frequently remark that it’s “the best thing that ever happened to me” or “the most important event in my life”. Yet, I’m rarely able to distill why that’s the case.”

    Same with me. The only time parents ever say anything positive to me about parenthood is when I tell them that I don’t think I want children. Then they finally stop complaining about how tired they are, how they can’t undestand their youngest, how there are too many homeworks to do, how they don’t have any adult social life, how they haven’t travelled in 8 years, how they haven’t been able to write or read since the baby was born, to tell me that I’m wrong and that I shouldn’t pass on motherhood because “it’s the best thing that happened to them”. I know there’s more to parenthood than the daily complaining but sometimes it’s really, really hard to see it.

    What I’m surprised to see though is that people who claim that they want children because they like to be around them do not generally consider alternative parenting. You don’t have to reproduce to have a relationship with a child: you can be a very present aunt/uncle, a godparent, a mentor or a big sister/brother. There are so many kids in the world (or even next door) who don’t get the attention and the love they need and crave, so many parents who are overworked and tired!

    I know that the desire to have kids is not such a rational thing, but still, I wish we would consider alternative way of parenting more than we actually do. A lot of people would be a much better big sister/brother than a parent and would probably be happier with this “solution” than with full parenting.

  11. fawn

    I agree with Julie. I’ve always wondered how one explains to a child why people do such horrible things to each other.
    And how to keep the child from learning that it’s okay to do horrible things to others?! We live in a society where children shoot other children!
    My niece is 17 and a nightmare – I fear for the health and safey of her mother and grandmother.

  12. Julie McClung

    One thing people don’t perhaps think about at the time the issue of kids starts to come up (too much keeping up with the Jones, enjoying dual incomes and having fun, you know) but realize later in life is that a child is the most tangible evidence that something of you – hopefully good – lives on after you die.
    In my family, sure my dad’s work and his art and his travels and his experiences made him what he was, but it was his love for his children that mattered when illness made him reassess what his life had really meant. Kind of a shocking thing to absorb when you are younger, but there it is – an emotional truth. I’m glad I know it now.
    Plus, there is that whole “a baby is the expression of your love made corporeal” thing. Sure works for me.

  13. Rog

    I’m going to say very little here, in fact almost nothing at all other than I’ve made my decision and I’m happy with it, so the reasons why are not so much of an issue for me anymore:

    I got myself snipped this year. No children for me.

  14. donna

    Julie: One thing you have to keep in mind is that not everybody gives a rats ass if they leave something behind.

    It’s like when you go camping in the back woods. The responsible camper follows the code of “leave nothing behind.” Now, I fully acknowledge that I’m producing a heck of a lot of garbage, being a typical western creature. However, that doesn’t mean I need to leave behind another creature to leave behind MORE garbage.

    I don’t agree with everything this site says, since I’m not quite a tree-hugging hippy (hah), but a lot of it speaks to me:

    http://www.vhemt.org/

    I occasionally worry about what I’ll do when I’m old and can no longer work (or don’t want to.) So, I’m hoping that I sock away enough savings in my youth to survive when I’m old and decrepit. I’m also hoping that my baby sister is filthy stinking rich so that both my mom & I can leech off of her. I have no doubt that CPP will be non-existent by the time I’m old enough to take advantage of it. And, it’s a darn good reason to spoil her now: She’ll be choosing my nursing home. ;)

    Gotta find me a job with a pension plan… :)

    I have no problem with people who want kids. That’s fine, fill your boots. I do have a problem with people who think that EVERYONE should have kids. It’s called “choice”, make it for yourself, not for other people. Any time I get on the topic of birth control, and I mention that I’d like to get sterlized, I almost *always* get at least one person saying something like “Oh, you don’t really want to do that, do you?” No, I just picked it up out of thin air. I thought it’d be the cool thing to do today. Mmm, surgery! Fun!

    Then there’s the old “Nobody ever wishes they’d spent less time with their family and more time at work.” Uh, bull. Lots of people do. However, it’s not the most politically correct thing to say, so nobody talks about it. But when you look at how many children are abused, neglected, given up, murdered… obviously some people don’t fit the model of the typical parent after all. Hell, even if you don’t go that far, how many parents are dying to go back to work at the end of their parental leave? Tons.

    Do I want to risk having a kid, only to neglect it because I didn’t want to stop playing the Sims or reading my book? Not particularly. :)

  15. Kyle

    Hmm, I guess I should have said “became laughable to me”, because there’s no reason why someone else might not feel entirely different about it. For me the why they became laughable is because the sheer volume of love Naomi has brought into my life vastly outweighs the financial and “Kyle Time” hits I’ve taken. By far.

    As an aside I also believe that if Leanne had not wanted to have kids we would have been happy without kids, too. Ignorance is bliss, wouldn’t know what we were missing etc. etc. There’s no way I’d go back now though ;)

  16. Anonymous

    It’s like asking why you fall in love. That’s what happens when you have children.

  17. Nancy

    I never got around to having children: Rather than regret it, I simply accepted the fact that the opportunities (and the solid relationships) never happened, and that was that.

    Earlier this year, I fell in love, and it hit me: I wished I’d met him 15 years ago, because I would have loved to have had kids with him. Children are the greatest, most precious gift you can give each other. Although I have seven fabulous nephews and three nephews and he has an eight-year-old that we can both cherish, I’m kind of sorry that I missed out.

  18. Nancy

    Nieces. Three nieces. I knew I should have hit “preview”. Damn.

  19. Mimi

    This sounds like a similiar debate to why get married (when “living together” provides similar results).

  20. Nancy

    Like someone stated above, it’s all about choice. If you do, you do, if you don’t, you don’t. Over-thinking it won’t help.

  21. Derek

    I don’t think you can logic out whether to have children. It’s not that kind of decision. Certainly it is one of the most (for most people, probably _the_ most) permanent and significant changes you can make in your life—I mean, you can sell a house, get a divorce, move back to Canada, quit your job, etc., but you can’t give your kids back (not legally, anyway)—so a small part of it is simply being willing to make such a major decision.

    Aside from all the genetic programming and cultural pressure and actual, intangible love, there’s an analogy I can use to describe parenthood for those who don’t understand why parents like it so much, despite the difficulties. You know the sense of accomplishment you get when you do something really big and really difficult? Completing a huge and complex project, climbing a mountain, running a marathon, writing a computer program, shipping a piece of software?

    Imagine having at least some of that feeling every day. And imagine your “project” being a whole separate person, who is learning to do his or her own thing. At the geekiest level, it’s like the ultimate artificial-intelligence robotics research project, except the intelligence isn’t artificial.

  22. Maggie

    I haven’t read the other responses, but as a mother of 3 I can say that the only way you should have kids is to one day wake up and say OK, I can do this…and just do it!
    There is no magic, you aren’t doing anyone in particular a big favor if you do have kids (especially the kids themselves)..But if you can make up your mind that you’d like to give parenting a try and do some simple things..love them and enjoy them and do your best..then you should relax and do that. Otherwise I wouldn’t stress about it, them more people who actually think this step through the better. Unfortunately, I think it can be one of those things that people tend to overthink….
    Good luck with your musings

  23. Arwen

    I wanted (one) kid because I genuinely like children, and had done A LOT of childcare in various capacities over the years. Also because I have hope for the world: I see Julie’s point, but I also see the civil rights movement, the general consensus being established that murder and slavery is a bad thing, the women’s rights movement, all the people who *didn’t* vote for Bush, the Underground Railway and… And I’m a PollyAnna.

    HOWEVER: Having a child was completely different than looking after other people’s children. Not at all what I had expected. As I said, I’d done tons of childcare, even over extended periods of time, and I was shocked at the differences. So, you may say that my Planned Parenthood shocked and thrilled me by being Not At All What I Had Planned.

    So, why are we (Parents) largely on the same “best thing that ever happened to me?” page? Well, because it is the best thing that ever happened.

    But here:

    1st) There’s biology at play, for sure. I’ve never met a drug or activity that has reproduced the rapture? of love for my little guy.
    It would be like explaining falling in love to someone who hasn’t, or explaining lust to someone who hasn’t gone there – just plain hard to describe without waxing poetic.

    2nd) I have also used the “programming an artificial intelligence” metaphor in my son’s earlier years. There’s something creative in parenting that is unmatched – and I have been a creative person in other venues. It’s also WAY more challenging than a knotty sentence or a note hit off-key.

    3rd) Common Culture. The construction of family is a powerful cultural activity: I think it’s why the Christian Right gets all uppity on the family values plank. If you can remember being a child of a young enough age, you might identify feeling surprised that the rest of the world wasn’t identical to your family… (Which may have been good or bad.) I’m creating the WHOLE WORLD to my son: the map upon which he’ll evaluate all other ideas. One of my goals is that he’ll be able to challenge the “hegemony” I’ve constructed – I’m trying to build questioning into the fabric.

    4th) Surprise and Mystery. Unlike with an adult, a kid isn’t fully ‘completed’. So, I know what my friends and my husband will most likely say. Not so with my son, who thrills me continually with uninhibited, questioning views of things we assume. A kid has no prejudice about anything except his/her need for his/her parent: the sun may not come up tomorrow, gravity may not be a constant, it’s all magic. A parent is continually surprised that this person that they love so much is largely unknown. It’s a lifetime journey of finding on both sides.

    5th) I’m not from a Christian faith, but still. It’s a miracle. It’s a communion. Yes, it’s commonplace – any cat or cockroach can also have progeny. “Little angels” can grow up to be Stalin.
    However, whether you look at it as emergant evolutionary structures or something from a higher power, when you have a kid you’re physically confronted with the biggest mystery of all. Why are we here? Why, kid, are you here? And where the hell did you come from? My UTERUS? Shut up. Really? Even though I’m of the Science Tribe, I am AWED by the fact that it’s possible that some random molecules decided to start evolving to put us all here. My son really connected me to that awe.

    6th) Not being the center of your own universe. It’s amazing. I’ve had (as do a lot of new moms), to get more of myself back, but the fundamental definition of who I am underwent the biggest flux it’s ever sustained. And it was a good thing.

    Awe, wonder, mystery, surprise, love, challenge, culture, creativity, more love, frustration, excitement, satisfaction, and good old fun ( I haven’t been trick or treating in years ), and that’s why I’m a parent.

    Each parent experiences these things differently. Some people don’t really want to be parents: I’m not of the mind that people should have children if they don’t want to. It is the hardest job I’ve ever taken on, by a long shot; personally I’ve been *forced* to grow (no weekends off), and you’re constantly aware of being seen as the omnipotent, omniscient Parent and trying really really hard not to screw up.

    Still, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

    I *do* wish that more of the folks I respect (intelligent, loving, open-minded, world-thinking people) who are a little older would get into it, just so that I have interesting people to talk to at play group.

  24. Andy

    First off, I have 2 girls and I’d love to have as many as my wife is willing ;-)

    Reasons to have kids? Because you want to. ;) There are dozens of other reasons I can give, but they are personsal to me only and wouldn’t stand the test of the value system and beliefs of others on a larger scale.

    I can say, the first 6-9 months of life sucks because you basically have a thing that is interested in eating, pooping and crying only. Possibly due to the severe case of that, the next part, when your kid starts to acknowledge you with smiles and grins really becomes a very cool thing.

    I’ve had days where I’ll be totally stressed out at work and come home, walk in and one of my girls will just smirk at me and my stress washes away. There are days where my kids are fussy about something and I feel better in helping them work out how to deal with it. It’s a thrill to teach them something and see them use it. It’s a thrill to see them dynamically figure out something you never thought to show them. Human life is a wonder and having kids is your front seat to watch.

    Reasons not to have kids:
    – To carry on your “family name”
    – To populate the earth with your “super genes”
    – Tax deducations
    – If you are going to dedicate time to them
    – To make someone who is going to do all the things “you never got to do”.
    – Because you really want a boy (or girl) (it’s a 50/50 chance!)

    My own viewpoint is that kids are a delight to watch and it’s enriching to do so. The best thing you can do for kids is allow them to experience everything they can in life and provide them the best foundation you can for happiness. Those who dream of their kids being president or a doctor or whatever, are very misguided.

  25. Rants for the Invisible People

    On being a parent

    Darren Barefoot, purveyor of Flowers for Al and Don and other wonderfulishness, posted in his blog:

    Parents talking about giving birth sound to me like the newly-converted talking about their faith. Both groups frequently remark that it’s “the bes…

  26. Sonia Kumar

    I’m a 31 year old female and not planning to every have a kid or children ever. but that’s just my decision or personal choice. personally, i much rather get a pet or help poor and sick children worldwide. not everybody is cut out in this world to be a parent, i know i’m definately not!!

  27. Alex

    I am not having children for a number of reasons. Yes because I like time to myself, I like it just being me and my boyfriend, I like time to do my own personal hobbies and taking part in my passions. But also because, if I had children, I would be forgotten when their children had children. You become forgotten in a few generations time. Your kids will die and their kids will die. If the world ended tomorrow, we’d all die. The way I continue on in this world is by doing something great. I don’t have to have someone who looks like me or came from my body to care for them or nurture them. We have so many people in this world who are unloved, who are suffering…they need care and love. I have no business creating more people when there are millions of children who die before the age of 5 because of AIDS. I have no business bringing another mouth to feed into the world when there are so many who are starving…millions really.
    When we are doing things to this planet that are, without a doubt (The greatest scientists and professors of our time are saying) are going to kill off the human race…I have no business bringing children onto this planet.
    Lets admit it, being in this world is not a joy ride. We have wars, dirty politics, more illess and less healthcare, a terrible economy, violence like we’ve never seen before, suicide rates are on the rise…it’s no place to bring more kids into. For their sake, it is not a place for kids. I know if I had the choice to be born today I wouldn’t and everyone I have spoken to says the same thing. I can see it too. I had a sister who has two children who became suicidally depressed from financial trouble. I have two others who nearly lost her house, as have several of my friends and their friends too. Everyone I know is on incredible amounts of meds just to get by and can’t really afford it. Jobs are hard to come by. Schools are so messed up it is not even funny. My desires or need to be whole are not all that counts in this world. I’d sacrifice myself if it meant making this world a better place because that is just how serious the situation is. I know many people who have children who are miserable, their marriages are suffering and yet I look at people like Mother teresa, who never had children…she cared for everyone–the ill, the poor, the starving and the dying and she had such a glow about her. There are things in this world that are just as fulfilling as having children, even more so. Sadly, most people never experience those things. What must it be like to hold the hand of an elderly person in their final moments when they have never had anyone in their entire lives? Or to feed a child a decent meal when they have barely eaten in months? I saw a program with actress Lucy Lawless, she held a little boy whose hand was rotting off from sucking on it for so long as a substitute for food. The mother said she almost with he would die because he was so sick and literally rotting alive. In the Congo they make mothers eat their children in a stew as a method of warfare. We are so overpopulated and quickly reaching our planets living capacity–again not me saying this, but rather scientists. It’s no longer a matter of choice and what WE WANT, or even need. It is a matter of HAVING to take care of our issues and those that are already here and need us.

    I often hear that we as a species will die out if we quick reproducing. The fact is we as a species will die out if we continue to procreate at the rate we are.

    There is a world to see, incredible people from different cultures to meet, befriend and learn from, depths in our souls to be discovered if we dare to spend our lives with ourselves, secrets in the universe to be unlocked, an endless amount of mind blowing learning experiences to be had and many people that NEED help. Key word is NEED. Their lives and this world rests with us.
    Think outside the box.

  28. Brian

    It is true that there is no right or wrong decision in having children versus not having them. However, I wonder if those that elect not to have children have evaluated all the ramifications. I used to be in the same camp as many others and absolutely did not want to have children. I thought they were inconvenient, unruly, expensive, and in general, a big pain in the rear. If those are your reasons for not having children, all I have to say is this, If you focus in on the negative aspects of something (and that could be anything), then that is all you will see. After meeting my wife and discussing the situation more, I changed my mind and am glad I did. We now have an eight month old son. Yes, a lot of work, but what a joy! The positives definitely outweigh the negatives. It became important to me, as I got older, to be able to leave something (or rather someone) behind after I left this world. In other words, something of a legacy. To me, having children is the best opportunity that average people of average means have at leaving behind a legacy. A wealthy person could, for example, leave behind a million dollars to fund cancer research. That would be their legacy. Or a famous rock and roll singer or blues guitarist would have their music. The music would live on after they are gone and that would be their legacy. This legacy for me would be defined as bringing someone into the world that will be a good, kind, decent, hard-working person that contributes positively to society and may be a special part of someone else’s life some day. Sure, my wife and I could have decided not to have children and instead focus on our careers. However, even if we did that and accumulated fat bank accounts to only spend on ourselves, had the nicest house on the block, the nicest cars in the driveway, etc., what we would be leaving behind would not be a legacy without children. Under that scenario, that is not a legacy, but an estate and no one will bother to remember us for our estate. With most children living on after their parents have passed, it is a way for my wife and I to live on after we are gone.
    Also, from a more practical standpoint, it was important to us to have a son or daughter to inherit certain family heirlooms, mementos and keepsakes. Things like our wedding photos would probably be tossed in a trash can upon our demise if we decided not to have children because who would inherit them? Or if we had a piece of furniture that was in our family for many years, it would probably be auctioned off to someone we wouldn’t even know.
    Furthermore, what if you have a couple with no children that both retire between the ages of 60 and 65 and a spouse dies within two years and the surviving spouse lives another 20 plus years? If the surviving spouse does not get remarried, (and that might be kind of tough at that age) you will be all alone (from a family standpoint) for the remainder of your life. We all like to think of in the terms of the here and now, but by the time we reach old age, our parents, aunts, uncles and more will probably not be with us anymore.
    To sum up, yes there is no right or wrong decision to be made here, but after weighing all the ramifications both with and without children, I’m glad my wife and I decided to have our son. For us, we made the right decision.

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