Disclaimer: This is not to provoke the parents who are doing an excellent job at raising healthy children. Having children or going childfree is entirely a couple’s personal decision.
Different couples have different reasons to be childfree. Nowadays, the concept of Double Income No Kids (DINKS) is on the rise. Whatever the reason to not have kids, being childfree by choice is working well for many, including celebrity couples. There are many childless celebrities who have been very clear about why they opted out of parenthood. Oprah Winfrey and her long-standing partner never had plans to raise a child of their own. Likewise, Jennifer Aniston too clearly stated that she is not in pursuit of motherhood and that she doesn’t like the unwanted pressure put on women to procreate.
To get more clarity on the matter and understand the advantages of being childfree better, we spoke to psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle (PhD, PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. He spoke to us about the benefits of not having kids and the reasons that several couples choose to go childfree.
“Will I Regret Not Having Children” Vs “Having A Child Was A Mistake”
The torture of baby indecision often cripples couples. This indecision strikes not just with the first child but with the possibility of the birth of every subsequent child. It strikes the ones who want to be parents as well as the ones who don’t. A glance through a community blog posting at a pregnancy and parenthood website shows how common, varied, yet universal this indecisiveness is when it comes to having a baby. Following are a few such quotes from real but anonymous posters on the blog:
- “I always imagined I would have two and yet now that the time has come, I am overwhelmed with indecision. I worry about finances. I worry about the daily logistics. I worry that I will not be as good a mom of two as I am of my only child”
- “My daughter is so challenging that the thought of having another child like her scares me. I feel bad for feeling the way that I do but it’s just the hand I was dealt. I also feel like I’m just not built to handle a strong-willed child like her”
- “I feel stretched to capacity with one and that makes me feel guilty and like less of a mom than other moms who manage with more than one. I already struggle with finding me time as a mom“
Do you see how normal and common it is to be filled with dilemmas such as, “Having a child was a mistake,”, “I wish I could have another one but will I be able to cope with that stress?”, and “I love kids but they are so expensive”. It is equally normal to decide not to have a child and still often wonder, “Will I regret not having children?” The answer to which is, “Maybe you will. But is that reason enough to have a child? What if you regret having a child? Wouldn’t that be terrible?”
Parental Indecision Therapy is a real thing and if you too feel crippled by this indecision, you could consider consulting an experienced counselor. Should you need it, experienced and skilled counselors on Bonobology’s panel can help you deal with this indecisiveness by getting to its root. Meanwhile, read ahead to look at some awesome benefits of not having kids.
Related Reading: What Is It Like For A Married Couple Not To Have Kids?
15 Awesome Reasons To Be Childfree
Dr. Bhonsle says, “Having a child depends on the couple’s professional, personal, and social goals as individuals as well as a team. It depends on the kind of lifestyle you want to build for yourself and your partner. For the older generations, having a child was the ultimate shared project that would help them reconcile their personality differences and cultures. Times have changed now.”
Earlier, being childfree meant being ‘childless’, where a couple could not have children, though they wanted to. But conservative values often don’t let us recognize this shift and the idea stays controversial. From prioritizing your career to wanting to travel the world and having limited financial resources, there can be different reasons not to have kids. If a couple remains childfree by choice, it doesn’t mean that life is dull or directionless for them. Couples that opt out of parenthood value their partnership and other aspects of life more than raising kids. That’s all.
So, don’t let your snarky neighbor or nosy relatives make you feel guilty about a choice that makes you happy. There are several benefits of not having a kid and the “family life” is not for everyone. We list here the top 15 reasons or advantages of being childfree:
1. Think about how much money you would save!
Based on Consumer Expenditure Survey, the USDA issued a report in 2015, Cost of Raising A Child, according to which the cost of raising a child up to the age of 17 is $233,610 (this amount does not include tuition fees). Add to it college fund, future wedding expenses, other entertainment, and miscellaneous expenditure, you will always be worried about educational loans, lifestyle expenses, and securing your child’s future.
Dr. Bhonsle explains, “If a couple is not financially settled or is struggling professionally, then having a child might not be a good idea. Some couples prefer a free and easy life where they don’t have to deal with the hassles of school admissions, babysitters, extracurriculars, and more – all of which are additional expenses. Couples who do not want to complicate things further by spending that kind of money on a new member may choose to be childfree by choice.”
2. Environmental benefits – Earth will thank you for it
Dr. Bhonsle says, “While there are countries that pay their citizens to have children, we cannot deny the fact that environmental concerns and climate change are valid reasons to not have kids. If a couple believes that one of the many causes of problems in the world is its population, then you may want to do your duty and not have a child.”
Climate change is not a hypothesis anymore. Glaciers are melting. Heatwaves and floods are an everyday occurrence. Not to forget, the recurring viral pandemics! There could be more on its way for the younger generations to suffer through. Aren’t these warnings enough? Aren’t these legitimate reasons not to have kids? Your desire to give the “family life” a chance, may make you more selfish than you think you are. Give the childfree family a chance instead. Do your bit for the planet, considering human kids leave a big carbon footprint.
3. You are not contributing to over-population
World hunger is at its peak. The population is on the rise. While population explosion is a real issue, a precipitating factor to most problems in our world, you, as a childfree person, can rest assured that you are not contributing to this chaos. A casual browse through Childfree Reddit subsidiary threads will reveal that this is one of the most common reasons to not have kids cited by people who are childfree by choice.
Adoption is one way to address the urge for parenthood without adding to the population problem. If you have been struggling with the “Will I regret not having children” dilemma, but suffer from incessant guilt, adoption could be your answer. The joys of parenthood shouldn’t diminish with the lack of biological children.
Related Reading: 7 Ways To Get The Romance Back After Having A Baby
4. Studies show you will be happier
Statistics on childfree couples by the Open University in England claimed that couples without children were happier in their relationships as compared to those with children. Another study claimed that the number of childbirths in the United States has been on the decline consistently over the past few decades.
Again a glance through the childfree subreddit, r/childfree, shows how people claim to be happier with more freedom of choice, disposable income, and fewer things to worry about that come with the choice of not having children. An anonymous Reddit user says, “The older (50+) childfree couples I know seem way happier compared to parents the same age. Pretty sure it has a lot to do with less stress in general and more disposable income.”
5. You can be more spontaneous!
Dr. Bhonsle says, “If a couple is required to travel due to the nature of their work or they are just passionate about trekking and backpacking, then having a child may not be the kind of anchoring they need. They probably just want to be footloose, free, and easy, and wander the world. ”
One of the benefits of not having kids is that you can always be on the go without having to worry about making arrangements for the little one. Travel for two only! If someone makes you feel otherwise, politely ask them to mind their own business. Moreover, without the added expense of raising a child, you have more resources to make impromptu plans. That’s amazing, isn’t it?
6. You can travel light
The packing list is endless when you’re traveling with a child. Even a simple visit to a friend’s place can be preceded by an hour of prep and packing. You have to make sure to not forget even the smallest of things or everything goes for a toss. But, without a child, you can just lock your home…and leave!
Dr. Bhonsle adds, “If a couple would much rather want to be around friends, go backpacking, attend music festivals, and just trance their way through their youth instead of changing diapers, worrying about school admissions, and attending parent-teacher meetings, then they might not want to bring a new life into this world. Later, if they feel like they’re ready, they might go for surrogacy or adoption instead of giving birth to a child.” The experience of parenthood is not limited to having biological children, after all.
7. You are healthier
Certain stats on childfree couples reveal that there are health benefits of not having kids. A study shows each pregnancy and childbirth accelerated cellular aging in women by two years. Another study, spanning 116 years, by the American Journal of Human Biology, found that those without a child lived longer than those who chose to have a child. The study also claimed that women who don’t have children do well in terms of education and income – factors linked to improved overall health and well-being.
8. Better sleep, better health
Child rearing is one of the most obvious causes of sleep deprivation in adults, with links to mental health issues and accelerated aging. But consider this: No diaper change at 2:30 every night for two years straight. No pushing your partner to clean up the bed sheet because little Ricky had an accident. No worrying about feeding the baby every couple of hours. You can even fall asleep on the couch while binge-watching your favorite series. The benefits of good sleep for long-term health are no secret.
Related Reading: Domestic Partnership vs Marriage: Difference & Benefits
9. You can have better things in the house
The sharp edges of the tables contrast the winding stairs in your house and you love it. It might not be safe for kids but you like the feel and the vibe of your house and don’t want to change anything about it. You don’t want to worry about your kid falling down. The Santangelo Altar bowl can be put at the dining table with no fear of a kid breaking it.
You can redecorate your home any way you please. Your curtains will be paint-free, your walls too. No spilled milk, no toys lying around. You can choose to have nice things in the house without thinking about having to baby-proof the place.
10. Your professional instincts are sharper
Your instincts are right, just not apt for handling a baby. Without any distractions, you will be able to focus on your work, especially if you are working from home. If, for you, a holistic work-life balance is more important, then taking care of a baby 24×7 may not fit in well into the kind of life you envisage for yourself. And that is a reason as legitimate as any to be childfree by choice. Your instincts shine through when totally channeled into handling a work crisis rather than keeping an eye on your child in the crib.
11. You and your partner have a stronger bond
Sometimes, couples have babies in order to fix a marriage. Couples who drive each other nuts, almost always feel the obligation to stay together for the sake of dependent children. But that is hardly ethical or effective. It’s a silly, unrealistic expectation that you set for yourself and your partner. Having a child to fix an unhappy marriage is not just wrong but also a risky solution.
You don’t need an innocent baby thrown in the mix, especially when you and your partner are not on the same page. It’s ideal to communicate and resolve conflict in a marriage rather than placing the burden of your marital issues on an innocent child who has neither the capacity nor the obligation to deal with them. Without a kid in the picture, you and your partner can rest assured you are together because you have truly developed a strong relationship.
12. You don’t need to rely on an unreliable old-age plan
A. Children are not a reliable old-age plan. B. Children should not be treated as an old age plan. If people tell you that you need children because they will take care of you when you’re old, ask them, do you really want your child to give up their life and career to take care of you? Is that why you gave birth to them? Wouldn’t you want your child to lead a happy life?
Besides, a lot of people with kids have faced the need to turn to assisted living facilities despite having children. Jenni, who doesn’t have any childfree regret, says, “I would have never wanted to impose myself on my children. I have my partner and my forever group of friends who will get old with me. They are my family, this is my family life. And I happily intend to be childfree by choice.”
Related Reading: 5 Ways Our Married Life Changed After A Baby
13. You don’t need to worry as much about the global rise in crime
There are plenty of reasons not to have kids and avoiding bringing a baby into this sad world is one of them. Look at the increase in crime, hatred, and polarization in today’s world. With children, you will spend half of your sleeping hours thinking if they have reached home safely or not. Being harassed online or cyber-bullying is another worry most parents have to deal with today. When you don’t have a child, you can eliminate this constant stress and anxiety about their well-being from your life .
14. You will have a lot more peace in your life
Anyone with children knows that they can suck the living lights out of you. They can drive you up the wall and make you want to tear your hair out. They yell, they cry, they demand constant attention. They need constant care and support, and need you to be ‘together’ and ‘sorted’ even if you’re bubbling with frustration. They are a LOT of work, and without them, it would be a lot easier for you to find peace and quiet.
15. Sex – Anywhere and anytime
This is definitely one of the best advantages of being childfree. No crying baby to ruin your orgasm. Parents, when was the last time you had a sexy time, uninterrupted? I mean, imagine you and your partner making love and your child walks in! Awkward, right? One of the reasons to not have kids is because they could potentially hinder your married life by not allowing you to enjoy intimacy.
- Earlier, not having a child meant being ‘childless’, where a couple could not have children though they wanted to. But today people prefer the term childfree to express a voluntary choice to be without a child
- Having a child depends on the couple’s professional, personal, and social goals as individuals as well as a team
- If a couple chooses to be childfree, it doesn’t mean that life is dull or directionless for them
- From prioritizing your career to wanting to travel the world to having limited financial resources there are many reasons why some people chose voluntary childlessness
- The choice is lighter on the pockets, leads to a stress free life and better sleep, has environmental benefits, allows for more independent travel and leisure among host of other benefits
Remember, with children comes big responsibility. If it’s not your cup of tea, accept it, and capitalize on the many benefits of not having kids and focus on finding your true calling in life. There are plenty of people in this world who think having a child was a mistake but would never admit it.
This is not to judge the choices of people who want children and are in love with the prospect of being parents. But that should be the sole reason to procreate – wanting to have kids knowing that you’re going to be amazing, non-judgmental parents who continue to unlearn their own biases. Any other reason – be it societal pressure, ticking biological clock, or your grandmother asking for a great-grandchild to spoil – is just not good enough and should not matter.
Several studies have claimed that childfree couples are happier in their relationships. They tend to have more fulfilling marriages and feel more valued by their partner. Having said that, there’s no rulebook for happiness. Having a child or not is a personal choice. If parenthood makes you happy and feel more satisfied, then go ahead.