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'The desire to have a child never goes away': The Involuntarily Childless (theguardian.com)
106 points by simonsarris 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 119 comments



Wasn't especting to see this kind of article referenced on HN, and it hit me hard. I'm 41, partner is too, and would give absolutely anything to have a child of my own. She was never ready until just recently.

I can't even go an hour without thinking about it...


I hope it works out for you :).

OTH I'm 37, at 15 I said I didn't want kids and everyone said "you'll change your mind", 22 years later I still haven't changed my mind in the slightest.

My partner has a little boy though and he's great, it's just I personally don't want kids (parents had mental health issues, I had a rough upbringing and I wouldn't want that for someone I was responsible for creating).


I had a rough upbringing too, and my parents (who would never admit to that) were a lot mellower with my sister, a decade younger than my brother and I am and born when my parents were almost 40, so when I was in my 20s I feared being like my own parents and wanted to have kids in my 30s. I didn't worry too much about it and had no idea that the panic and depression would sneak up on me like this.

In your case I certainly hope you don't suddenly change your mind!


I don't know your physiology, but 41 is entirely doable for most folks. I did have a friend that went through menopause at 37, they needed to go for a donor egg.

That said, evolution has a power greater than the tallest dam. That desire you are feeling is how we all got here. Be ok with the desire or the choice not being rational. And it very well may change _after_ you have a child. Also be ok with that, just give a respectful nod to evolution.


I agree that it's possible but at a price. I could be wrong but I think it costs about 50k USD for 3 IVF attempts (marketed at buy 2 get 1 FREE) in the SF Bay Area. Monetary cost isnt the biggest issue either; it's not entirely safe. Anecdotal - I know someone who developed major thyroid issues after 3 IVF attempts.


$50k is real money -- it's more than I earn in a year -- but I'd pay it (or double, or triple) without question if it meant having our own child.

The problem with IVF is that it's not guaranteed. Would I part with a year's salary for a 10% chance of having a child? How about 90%? These are scary calculations to make in your mind... and those percentages go down with each passing month.


42, I don't want kids. People keep telling me that: I'd be happier if I had one, that they thought like me until they had one, that they wished they had them sooner, or more of them and so on...

I like my life as it is now and don't feel the appeal for kids. Should I take the risk because everybody says so?


Two words: Hell No.

I'm saying that despite having kids and being glad that I made that decision. I've seen way too many relationships destroyed because one or both of the couple were pressured into having kids that they didn't want. It's not pretty.


Agreed. Do not put a human life through the hell of not being wanted.


Millions of years of evolution have led to you. Now you have the fascinating choice of whether or not to end this branch.


The counter to this is, we're a uniquely complex species where culture is vastly more important than genetics. (If you doubt it, consider what in our genetics makes us different than cave painters 30,000 years ago).

I see humans who don't reproduce as analogous to cells in the human body that don't contribute to the germ line. Is the reproductive system the most important part of the body? Of course not. The brain is important too, even though none of those cells will have direct descendants that outlive you.

You might think evolution would weed out people with this attitude over time. But not necessarily so! It's quite possible to do things that help a population or a lineage, and the multiplier effect can have more impact on the frequency of your genes than directly reproducing would. (Because your culture impact can affect many people instead of just your offspring.)


>consider what in our genetics makes us different than cave painters 30,000 years ago

A tremendous amount has changed in that time. Height, immune system changes, lactose tolerance, blue eyes, different hair colors, digestive system changes. There's strong evidence for significant changes in IQ, time preference, and other psychological traits. A cave painter from 30,000 years ago would probably act like an undisciplined, impulsive child because of genetic predisposition to high time preference and low intelligence.

It's a myth that evolution takes millions of years. With sufficient and realistic selection pressures, something like IQ or height can shift several percent every generation. This is how there's only a few thousand years between even the most different dog breeds. 30,000 years is more than enough time for massive shifts in a gene pool.

And this is even assuming your cave painter is human. If it's 30,000 years ago, he may not be!

[1] News article on genetic changes post agricultural revolution.

>I see humans who don't reproduce as analogous to cells in the human body that don't contribute to the germ line

One basic insight of the selfish gene is that a gene can be regarded as being in several places at once if it has copies in those places. It acts as the same gene, not separate copies.

Since all cells in the body have the same genes, if you have a biological child, they all contribute to the germ line since, in terms of outcomes, they are all the same unified entity. And if you don't, none of them do.

>It's quite possible to do things that help a population or a lineage, and the multiplier effect can have more impact on the frequency of your genes than directly reproducing would.

Definitely true! Hence the human predisposition towards ethnic nationalism and tribalism.

Here's a thought: Perhaps one reason for our rising identitarian tribalism isn't just increasing ethnic diversity, but is also the fact that increasing numbers of childless people are expressing their reproductive instincts through tribal aggression instead of direct childbearing.

[1] https://www.sciencealert.com/ancient-dna-suggests-agricultur...


Disclaimer: I have no particular expertise on this topic.

> A tremendous amount has changed in that time. Height, immune system changes, lactose tolerance, blue eyes, different hair colors, digestive system changes.

None of those are tremendous changes. We're talking about a single mutation that disables a certain gene in most cases above, right? Also they aren't universally spread among humans, and it seems like many people from divergent genetic lines can adapt to a modern culture just fine.

I know Jared Diamond makes a strong claim that the human brain really isn't that different across humans, citing, e.g. friends from New Guinea tribes who could happily and easily learn to use computers when they were exposed to them.

> There's strong evidence for significant changes in IQ, time preference, and other psychological traits.

Any citation for that first claim in particular?

I know that (though the strong social norm is to avoid these topics at all cost), e.g. the population of Ashkenazi Jews has a higher average IQ than the mean. But individual variation is still far more important. And it's not clear how "significant" the difference is, if we're talking about the magnitude of changes that make culture and language possible vs impossible. E.g. if maybe 1% of the population could be math PhDs vs 0.2%, is that so significant?

> One basic insight of the selfish gene is that a gene can be regarded as being in several places at once if it has copies in those places. It acts as the same gene, not separate copies.

But this is true across populations too. So, it may not have been in the best interest of your genes to directly reproduce, vs spending the effort to help your family or tribe.


It's not that fascinating. Dying without reproducing happens all the time to many creatures. Missing one's genetic legacy is something the world most likely won't notice.


How many creatures are able to reproduce but choose not to?


meh, all your genes are in loads of other people.


Way to pile on the guilt ;)


Would you say that to a lesbian?


Even lesbians choose whether or not to reproduce.


No! Why would you do something just because other people want you to do it, especially something that can't be undone like having a kid.

Misery loves company.

There's a discussion about the regret of having kids here:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16132955


>Should I take the risk because everybody says so?

Do you trust the opinions or a bunch of random people more than your own judgement? Do you think that these people have some insight into your psyche that you don't?


People telling you that you should have kids to validate their life choices are assholes. I also tend to suspect they aren't really that happy with their lives.

Don't listen to such people.

FWIW:

I very much wanted kids. I wanted 3. I stopped at 2 for health reasons. I adore my sons. They are both adults and we are still close.

But I cannot imagine trying to tell someone else they should have kids because I liked it.


No, if you don't want kids, you absolutely shouldn't have them because of some need to conform to others’ expectations.


I don't mean to offend but what is the difference to you that the child is genetically yours? why not adopt?


"I don't mean to offend but what is the difference to you that the child is genetically yours? why not adopt?"

This might be an unpopular answer, but it makes all the difference in the world. I want my family line to continue; I want my parents and grandparents to see physical features and behavior quirks in their (great-)grandchild that I haven't even noticed.

It's a primal urge and I can't explain it rationally except to say that I'm human and no exception to what we are hard-wired for.


Some try to take a fundamentally 'rational' approach to life, or view it through the lens of cost/benefit, especially fiscal cost benefit. In fact I have some friends who do not want children simply because they will cost too much money.

This brand of rationality is very alien to me. It makes all the difference in the world if the child is genetically one's own child. It is not a toy or a cat. It is an emotional extension of your own being that culminates in having its own identity. It is both you and not you. I fear that if you cannot intuitively grok the difference that it makes, there is no 'rational' way to convince you that it matters.


Very well articulated.


Adoption is expensive, difficult, and often heartbreaking. I hate it when people casually throw out adoption as a solution without understanding anything about the process.


There are more parents willing to adopt than children available for adoption. While there are some children still awaiting immediate adoption right now, many of these children have very very specialized needs which (I'd guess) most people would not be able to handle because they do not have the right training.


There is a moral answer to that question and there is a primal answer to that question. Several, in fact.


I wanted my kids to be my own genetically so I can better relate to them (and their genetic quirkiness. Tourettes runs HARD throughout my family) and give them some good insight to family diseases to be aware of.


I agree and am surprised by the number of “I want the same genetics”. Its good to hear an alternative perspective.


You should consider adoption. You'll get to be a dad and you wont have to worry about the issues related to your wife having a child in her 40's.


I saw my cousin and my aunt both go through fertility problems. My aunt was about your age when they adopted a little girl, it was a very happy story and the daughter just left home for college this year. My cousin and her husband fought hard to conceive, spending anguish and money to make it happen. Even the suggestion that they should adopt was hurtful to them. They were completely closed to the idea. After years of pain they finally reversed their opinion on adoption and adopted a little boy 3 years ago and it has meant the world to them.

I haven't personally had to go through this luckily and I know adoption isn't the easiest either but if being a parent is something someone wants, it's worth fighting to make sure no child is left without a good home. I'm not to say you should do one thing or the other, just something to consider, much love.


For what it's worth, my boss just had 2 kids at age 49 and 50.


My wife and I struggled with fertility issues and ended up adopting embryos. We have twins now :-).

FYI, we have a couple of embryos left and are looking to donate them....


I am 26, in a very healthy relationship in which we both can't wait for children... It's just that we live in New York, and we can just barely afford rent on our apartment. By the time I'm financially stable enough to have children, I very well might be 40 and no longer able to conceive.


I've had a few discussions on this subject with my present girlfriend. (We're downtown Toronto)

I think one of the glimmers of hope is the lengthening of healthy child-bearing years as of late (in wealthy, first-world countries, anyway).

That said, the changes in your life between 26 and 30 can very well be monumental. They were for me. It's probably best not to stress yourself out about it. However if it's a real ambition, I'm sure you'll find yourself and your partner assessing different options as you go along.

Some options and paths that seem distant and unimaginable now can end up closer and more realistic. Just don't expect things to suddenly get easier. They might not (and probably won't). It's just that the possible solutions might become more apparent, and the results of your actions pursuing those goals be more fulfilling.


[flagged]


Part of the standards of civility for this site is the acknowledgement that life is complicated and undeserving of dismissal. Please approach such topics with thoughtful curiosity and not reductionist finger wagging.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


" Do you think it’s ethical to create a conscious entity that will have to suffer through 80+ years on this planet for the sole purpose of satisfying your primitive reproduction instincts ?"

In what way would my child be "suffering"? We plan to be the best parents we can possibly be. We will not be perfect, of course, but we certainly want the opportunity to try.


I'm not sure I'd apply the term 'involuntary childlessness' to people who chose to not have children and later regret that decision.

I married my wife at 22, and we started not preventing at 23. Two years, three early miscarriages, three later miscarriages, and one stillbirth (our most recent pregnancy) later, we don't have any living children. Doctors still can't explain why our unborn son died. In the last ultrasound before he died, he was kicking, swimming around, with a great heartbeat, normal morphology, and a healthy placenta. The next morning, my wife woke up with a bad feeling, and we learned his heart had just stopped. Nothing turned up on the autopsy -- everything normal. Just sudden cardiac arrest.

My uncle had a son die of leukemia at age 7 or 8 (before I was born). They were lucky to have another daughter, but we have a few older friends who had one or two children that ended up losing them to freak circumstances or disease, and were then unable to have another.

These are actual stories of involuntary childlessness, not people who made a choice to wait until it was too late.

And before people pipe up with adoption: (1) we had decided to adopt before we married, but were too young at the time; (2) we started the adoption process as soon as we reached the age threshold; (3) adoption takes a long time and is expensive (but we are more than willing to wait and pay the legal fees); (4) because of our age, we can only adopt younger children; (5) there are not many young children available for adoption because there are more parents willing to adopt than children needing homes, which is a good thing; (6) we would love to adopt an older child as soon as the state would let us. But none of this takes away from the fact that we would like the doctors to figure out the miscarriages and stillbirth -- we want all our children to have a good set siblings and the healthiest start possible.


The article leads with two stories of people who just waited too long, but about 2/3 down there are a couple stories (and blog links!) of people who actually were involuntarily childless - Lizze Lowrie, who had 6 miscarriages by age 33, and Rev Sonya Dorah, who was raped as a teenager, contracted chlamydia, and ended up infertile as a result.


That's good to hear... in full disclosure, after reading the first 2/3, I got tired of reading it and decided to rant :)


Jesus.

That's rough as hell man.

Any strategies for coping with the losses? How do you both do it?


Sex, crying, and ice cream... I don't really have anything better to offer. We tried seeing a therapist but they (basically) said 'that really sucks', and the ice cream and sex were working better anyway.


Wow, really? I had no idea that there are more parents willing to adopt young orphans than there are young orphans.


Yes... it's a bit more complicated than that as well. Often times, if a baby is abandoned (on the street or in a hospital), the foster care system will not 'free' that child for adoption until the child is two years old. Not every person is able to foster (that's a very involved process), even if they would be able to adopt. These children basically languish in the system in the hopes that their current set of parents (the ones who abandoned them) will come back, and the law does not move fast. I do not know whether it's a good or bad thing in general, but for the children it fails it's pretty awful.


Did you & your wife get carrier screening?


Yes, we do not carry much (the only flag is alpha thalassemia on my side), and nothing in common, which makes sense, since we are completely different backgrounds. We've had genetic testing on the babies too... all normal.


We are 7 billions people, it's actually a good thing that people have less children. 7 billions people who want a house, a car, a job, that eat meat, that travel and so: it's not sustainable.


Why do you say it's not sustainable? It's been sustainable to this point, and technological innovation has always trumped the negative outlooks on population growth in the past (fertilizer for example). Genetic engineering of food, mass produced lab-meat, the innovations will keep coming and the population will keep growing.


Logistic collapse is a real thing. It doesn't go away just because you hope it doesn't apply any more.

There are numerous indicators, from antibiotic resistance, to increasingly obvious climate change effects, to dead zones in the oceans, that suggest life will become harder in the future, not easier.

I see no rational reason to be confident about humanity's future until the challenges have either been dealt with, or they haven't.

That's unlikely to be clear before the middle of the century, at the absolute earliest.


Humans flourished and grew in population during a freakin' ice age, I don't think the Earth warming by 1 degree is going to drastically alter the steady increase in population growth.

Likewise, the population grew tremendously before antibiotics were even invented.

There's a level of hubris in every generation, I imagine going back forever, that think "we have it harder than X", when in fact humanity is always progressing and each problem we face is relatively easier to solve than the previous one.


you might want to check your facts.

Humanity didn't flourish during the ice ages. They almost went extinct.

I'll admit that antibiotics impact is hard to really isolate from all the other discoveries we've had since ~1920, but their combined effect is pretty obvious to see no matter which data source you choose to use.

finally, nobody says that our lives are worse than that of people from pre/early industrial times. It's probably not even us who are currently writing here that will need to live with the consequences. Its still at least 30-50 years off before anything really bad happens. At least that's what most of the scientists write. I'm not one myself.


> It's been sustainable to this point

You aren't serious, right? We are literally in the midst of the 6th great mass extinction in the history of the planet due directly to human population.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/10/earths-s...

The ecosystem is literally being crushed under the masses of humanity. 75% of flying insects are gone.

http://www.businessinsider.com/germany-insect-population-fly...

Bird populations are massively down.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/report-fi...

Human beings are being literally infused with hundred of industrial chemicals that we saturate the environment with - and have no idea how they are effecting us.

https://www.forbes.com/2010/01/21/toxic-chemicals-bpa-lifest...

Runoff from the massive farming operations required to keep so many billions alive is causing hypoxia in our waterways, further destroying our planet.

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/deadzone.html

This doesn't even touch on the other ways human overpopulation is destroying the habitability of our planet (global warming, deforestation, massive islands of plastic and garbage growing in our seas). You have to be incredibly uniformed or truly delusional if you don't understand that we are massively overpopulated.


It's especially good for the people who do have children to convince others not to.


Maybe good for the genes, but for the sentient individual, it really depends.


Good for you. Me, on the other hand, would like to see my genome multiply and spread on this planet.


Yeah, but you are so special, so unique: humanity desperately needs your genome. :P


Your sarcasm is noted, but YES, the world does need high-IQ, high-conscientiousness people breeding far more than it needs low-IQ, low-conscientiousness people breeding.

Both of those traits are highly heritable, and both of those traits are going to be necessary to get this species off this rock rather than degenerating into watching reruns of "Ow, My Balls!" while energy supplies dwindle and climate change finishes us off.


Apparently modesty isn't that heritable. If you think the world's problems are going to be solved by your one wunderkind, rather than investing time and money in the already considerable number of intelligent people on the planet who are lacking opportunity, then clearly your genes aren't all that valuable.

We have enough people and our gene pool isn't diverse enough to make any one person invaluable to the future of the planet.


Yeah, well, that’s like, your opinion man.

Good thing you don’t get to control who’s genes propagate and who’s don’t. All you can do is prevent your genes from being inherited. And, that is your sole prerogative. Just as spreading my genes, is mine.


There is this movie about that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygdTuFjZnDc


In my opinion, the only opinion that matters to my life, yes, I’m that unique and the world needs my genome. :P


So what is your goal? Your genes are in already loads of people. No matter how many kids you have your specific combination of them will be diluted out of existence in a few generations.

..

This is very hard to quantify and I certainly have no data to support this, but; I suppose, in this era of civilization, your actions in life, your influence on society and culture, and memes you propagate, rather than genes, will have a much greater influence.


"As for me, I'd rather spread memes than genes anyways"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tIwYNioDL8


How does this ideological drive improve your welfare or happiness?


Not an ideological drive, i.e. not driven primarily by ideology. Driven more by a primitive will for my physicality to survive beyond my physical lifetime.


So mostly an attempt to address the fear of death?


Not fear. Just the certainity of death.


How does persistence of DNA address death?


DNA = A blueprint for something that makes me unique, and the only known way to travel through time, into the future — in the most sentient form I know of — as a ”not me, but still me” human.


There is nothing sentient about DNA.


Is that ideological or biological?


Unless you think concepts like "genome" and "propagation" are somehow encoded in our DNA, it's ideological.

There are clear biological drives to sex and caring for young, but I don't see evidence for a direct biological drive for being fruitful and multiplying.


I suspect, like many human things, it's an underlying biological drive interpreted by our lawyer-as-narrator, the consciousness. I'm thinking of the "elephant and the rider" metaphor -- the elephant has drives for sex and care of young, the rider on the top rationalizes it.

The elephant turns left and goes into a river. After they're headed for the river, the rider thinks, "I'm hot, I should go to the river."


Sex and caring for young directly results in "being fruitful and multiplying".


But no inbuilt explicit desire for it.


Then we should come up with a system for allowing people to have children at sustainable rates, such as perhaps China's 1 child rule, rather than saying "It's good that those who can't have children can't have children. There are too many already."


And that's how we end up with 20 billion people who aren't intelligent and contentiousness enough to responsibly reproduce.



Odd that this post was directly beneath this one in my feed: "Mothers who regret having children are speaking out": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16132955


I submitted because of that story. I wanted commentary from the HN crowd on the flip side of the issue.


Smart idea and it's interesting to compare the 2


Something seems odd about the supposition and their opening data set with older, childless women - do women that are childless and infertile from an earlier age feel similarly? Why not flip this around to comparing how men with vasectomies at earlier ages feel decades later? Paternal instinct and maternal instinct overlap somewhat I presume but it’s not clear what the differences are I suspect.


I would be interested in reading about men's reactions later on after having had vasectomies. That's something I've never seen discussed.


Can someone explain the desire to have kids? I have never felt it. Also, I thought animals that reproduce sexually have a desire to have sex, and then kids end up happening as a result.


It's multi-faceted. Part of the desire to have kids is simply the desire to have children around. It's the idea that a community without children is incomplete. Children have many bad characteristics but they also have qualities that most adults have lost.

Children are enthusiastic, sincere, unjaded and open to new experiences. They find joy and fascination in the ordinary things which adults have long lost interest in. Where adults obsess over profit and loss, a child will play with a pile of dirt and a shovel all afternoon. The world needs profits but it also needs the continuous renewal and reminder of wonder that children provide.

Another aspect is more abstract, maybe? When I was a child I was loved and I always had adults around who looked after me and caught me when I made mistakes and made everything right. My parents weren't perfect and made many mistakes themselves but as a child I really believed that the world was as it should be and if there was a problem someone would make it right. Of course as an adult I know that isn't the case but the consequence of that environment is a potency that has always been a part of me.

I think that relationship between child and parent is something that needs to exist in the world and the best way to ensure that is to take on the role of the parent.

Another way to see it is that I owe my parents a debt so great I cannot possible repay it, no matter what I do for them. My only chance of relief is to take that debt and "burden" another generation.


>> I owe my parents a debt so great I cannot possible repay it, no matter what I do for them. My only chance of relief is to take that debt and "burden" another generation.

That's well said.


> Also, I thought animals that reproduce sexually have a desire to have sex, and then kids end up happening as a result.

For animals where the young are independent from birth, a desire for sex is sufficient to have offspring that are not only born but survive to reproduce themselves.

Mammals are mostly much more high maintenance than that, and human young are unusually high maintenance even among mammals, because they are born relatively physically undeveloped, largely to accommodate giant brains. Humanity, therefore, would not have survived to be here today if humans weren't generally genetically programmed to seek not only to have sex but to want to engage in child rearing.


I most cases say, mammals have a desire for sex. Also instinctual love for their offspring and a motivation to feed, care for, and teach them. Humans certainly have all that..

But that does still not tally with a pre-meditated rational conscious desire to have children. We certainly wouldnt expect to see that in other mammals.

I think the type of conscious decision to have kids discussed in this article may be a socio-cultural phenomenon.

There are documented cases of stone-age level people who had not actually made the connection between sex and resultant children. We are not certainly imbued from birth with knowledge like that.


> I think the type of conscious decision to have kids discussed in this article may be a socio-cultural phenomenon.

Survival of memes and survival of genes are a little different, but not entirely independent; once you have a concept of the relation of sex to reproduction (which huma societies demonstrably have had for quite a long time, in general, even if there are some primitive exceptions), a community (and it's ideas) is much less likely to becomem influential, or even survivez , if it doesn't value reproduction unless it's somehow in a symbiotic relation with a community that does; this may be somewhat less true today (an interesting discussion), but in most of human history this would have been a big deal.

Also, that aside, it serves as a rationalozation of the lower level drives discussed earlier, and a social value framework that includes elemenrs that provide rationalizations that enable a feeling of understanding of lower-level drives provides a kind of (strictly speaking, fallacious, but that's not important to it's value in promoting acceptance) validation for the whole framework.


Unless the consciously stated desire is an ad-hoc rationalization of the underlying drives.

I agree with you there are also likely strong cultural influences which are unfolding mostly separately from any genetic dynamics.


You learn the value from your family.

Families which transmit this value have a powerful natural-selection advantage, so you're more likely to come from a family which does so.

There's also a powerful advantage to discouraging family members from examining the value too closely, so the value tends to be held in some kind of religious regard, and the idea of rejecting it tends to be seen as selfish, even though bringing a child into the world is the biggest claim on community resources most individuals can ever make.


That's a really hard feeling to explain. All I know is that I've always wanted kids and even ended a couple relationships shortly after they talked about never wanting kids.

After having four kids that desire is definitely sated, although I still do love holding and being around babies. The feeling was never as intense as the desire for sex, food or sleep, but definitely palpable. I suppose it's similar to the desire many have for a pet or companion.


I can only speak for myself, but I just like kids. I'm sure some of that'll change when I have some of my own and have to start changing diapers, etc, but I think I will always inherently enjoy interacting with children.


My father’s death definitely triggered it in me. I felt a shift up to the top of the tree and a desire to do for my own son what my father did for me. I also have a large, mostly rural family history and the process of pregnancy and parenting has always been around me. It’s all very normalized in my world.


If that were true, male lions (and bears, and others) wouldn't kill off the offspring of their mate that aren't there own, instead, electing to simply mate and move on to the next one


I've had two thoughts on having kids. Full disclosure: I had a vasectomy, which is important because I've come to learn this is a deal breaker for many women. That said, here they are: 1) I would love to have kids so I have someone to pass on the lessons and knowledge I have learned in life, and to contribute to a better tomorrow for the world. Not to mention someone to talk to in old age. However, 2) I really don't want kids. They're expensive, fraught with liability, uncertainty, costs, and there's zero assurance things will turn out well. Having children seems to be a tremendous leap of faith in yourself, and the future, and I just don't have that much faith in either.


You can adopt or you can become an "uncle" of a less favored child. In my city there are "uncle" programs in orphan homes where you visit them, play with them, help them economically if you can, even take them out on weekends if you and they want.


I think you're overestimating the chances of something bad happening here, much like people fear crashing in a plane crash.


>and there's zero assurance things will turn out well.

c'est la vie ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


"Involuntarily Childless" is a term I'd apply to people who can't have children for medical reasons and not people who arranged their lives such that they were unlikely to have children.


I don't want kids, but I really want to find someone to not feel alone and depressed. Since I broke up with my gf after 10 years that we had been together I feel more depressed every freaking day.


I was in your shoes until a couple of years ago. About four years ago, I got out of an eight year relationship where I was promised a marriage and family that never materialized. Being middle-aged, it now seemed like a daunting task, and I quickly sunk into my first ever depression without even realizing it (in fact, I wasn't even a true believer until I was).

Once I did realize it, I took myself straight to a counselor for talk therapy. He diagnosed me with depression and depression related anxiety, and referred me to a psych for meds. I've been on wellbutrin for a couple of years now, and while I still struggle with depression every day, it's less and less, instead of the more and more you feel right now. I'm getting out of the house a bit more, and I'm just now starting to date again, but I don't believe I could have done any of that on my own.

Point is, start by talking to someone. That's all it took to set me on the right path, and hopefully you'll be so lucky. Just be patient, as it can be a long process (most of which is up to you). Sometimes it's a chemical imbalance that you just cannot overcome by yourself no matter how hard you try.

Best of luck!


Hey, thanks for your answer. The problem is I believe that I know in advance what any therapist would tell me. I believe I know how to fix myself and my situation. The problem is: it's hard to do it. Sounds stupid, but that's how it is. And no, I don't feel special, by any means. I hope you'll get your piece of happiness.


I knew in advance what I would be told, and I knew how to fix myself but found a hard time starting. It doesn't sound stupid, at all. When you talk to a therapist, they'll tell you what you already know, and maybe tell you some new things to try, and definitely tell you some things you don't want to hear.

The weird thing that I didn't expect was that it works for the one reason I didn't consider. I was fine with disappointing myself (even used to it), but I didn't want to disappoint someone else. I didn't want to go back and tell them that I didn't try, so I tried. I tried a little more each week, and eventually got to the point where there was nothing left to try, and nothing left to discuss. Now I just let the meds slowly rewire my chemical imbalances without the need for talk therapy.


Get a pet; dog, hamster... even bright aquarium is nice.


I agree. Although its hard to suggest it without knowing additional details of the GP. They may not be in a right spot to care for a pet, or even care to do so in the first place.

However, if they are, a pet can make a world of difference.


Very funny, bro. Especially fish are big fans of conversations.


Not a joke, you thing you are the only one in such situation?


Thanks for making me feel special! Now seriously: Did I say something like this? I just have another situation which is kind of close to the one in the post.


As a parent I can say, the desire to have a life never goes away, either.


Huh, interesting contrast to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16132955


It is an extreme option, but you can pay if you want to have a child, and I don't mean abortion. If you have the money and the time, and a supportive family, it is doable.


It seems to me that the involuntary aspect of this encompasses more that the physical presence of a tiny human but the ability to raise this tiny human in a responsible manner. Wage slavery, broken families or unsupportive spouses are just a few of many possible causes of this involuntary aspect.


Abortion or adoption?


[flagged]


“Known medical reasons” and “medical reasons” aren't the same thing. I've known quite a number of people who were late in their childbearing years when the latter became the former, and I suspect it's more common among the large portions of American society that don't have well-above-average access to healthcare because of jobs that provide the income to afford it out-of-pocket and/or top-flight insurance that makes it not out-of-pocket in the first place.


This number is from UK, with good public health insurance.




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