While having children and growing a family is a goal for many people, there are plenty of people who choose to live child-free.
Whether other people agree with their decision to have children or not, they should be supportive, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Anonymous_634876 repeatedly had to have a conversation with her mother about not wanting to have children.
But eventually, when her mother wouldn’t back down, the Original Poster (OP) felt the need to tell her mother the harsh truth.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my mom it will be the biggest regret of my life if I have children?”
The OP repeatedly had to talk to her mother about her dating life.
“I (31 Female) have had this ongoing conversation with my mom for years. She kept insisting that I have a child with or without a husband.”
“A little back story, I’ve dated men in the past but nothing worked out. I told her if I will ever have a life partner or a husband, we should have a friendship as a foundation of our relationship.”
“She said that was a high expectation and that I should just settle. If the marriage becomes too unbearable, I can always file for a divorce.”
“I know she’s internally freaking out that I’m single in my 30s and don’t have plans of starting a family. But I’m not.”
The OP’s mother was incredibly insistent about having grandchildren.
“Since I don’t have a boyfriend, she even said I could get a sperm donor to get pregnant.”
“I was appalled at the suggestion. Even if I do have a boyfriend, I told her I don’t want children. I’ve said this to her since I was around my mid-to-late twenties.”
“She kept bringing it up, hoping that I change my mind. At some point, she was so frustrated that she even asked where did she go wrong in raising me.”
“It was always a long conversation and we always end up fighting over this. It’s emotionally exhausting.”
“She told me if I don’t get a child, I will grow old alone, and lonely.”
“See, that’s my great fear. An even greater fear is I give in to the pressure and have a child I don’t want, neglected. I live a normal life with a normal salary like a normal person.”
The OP finally told her the truth.
“Finally, I told her that as an introvert, I need lots of time alone.”
“She asked why. It was infuriating and she could tell because I was raising my voice.”
“My alone time is sacred. I either travel or even stay at home for a week or have minimal human interaction for however long I want to recharge my energy.”
“If I have a full-time responsibility to another human being, I can’t do that.”
“I told her I do not have the emotional, physical, and financial capacity for the responsibility of providing for a child to live a full life.”
“I also told her I do not plan to work on it because I know it would be the biggest regret of my life to have children.”
The OP could see how disappointed her mother was.
“She immediately stopped talking and looked disappointed.”
“I love my mom, but she makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me for not wanting my own family.”
“If other people want to be parents, good for them. I just want my family to accept it when I say I don’t.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some addressed the OP’s fears and urged her to enjoy her life.
“‘She told me if I don’t get a child, I will grow old alone and lonely.'”
“Nursing homes are stuffed full of older people whose children don’t visit them. I know because when I would go visit my Nana, all of the old people would gather around me like I was a visiting celebrity. Having a child is no guarantee of anything.”
“And NTA. I’m single, have no children, and I love my life.” – SimplySam4210
“You just said the magic words. You love your life. You love YOUR life. It is not anyone else’s life to live. As long as you’re happy, then you do you.” – LazySushi
“You’re doing nothing wrong. In fact, you’re doing everything right.”
“Should someone who thinks that having a child would be a mistake have a child? What kind of life would that child have?”
“Is your mother capable of thinking of ANYONE but herself?”
“I’m biased though because I am also child-free but seriously, NTA.”
“You’re being a more mature, reasonable, and objectively successful adult by setting these expectations for yourself and fulfilling them than you ever would be by compromising your entire life for a third party with baby fever.” – OkNefariousness8413
“I had a friend that did the ‘get married despite not really wanting to because you can just get divorced, right?’ thing. Guess how it ended!”
“Pressuring yourself into a life-changing decision because it’s what you’re ‘supposed to do’ is just marking it for failure, just as setting the bar low and not setting up expectations is a self-fulfilling prophecy for failure.”
“It’s not unrealistic to want to be friends with your partner? You should be friends with your partner. You should enjoy them and spend time with them, both as a romantic partner and as a person.”
“Try to set a boundary about this. Tell her directly you no longer want to talk about this, and she needs to respect that or you’ll end the conversation or leave.”
“If she brings it up again, remind her that you told her you were no longer discussing these things with her, and leave.”
“If that’s too intimidating, try redirecting the conversation while refusing to engage in the discussion of children and marriage, or just give neutral one-word statements that show she won’t get anywhere.”
“It’s like when a puppy jumps up on you. Ignore it, leave, or redirect depending on what the puppy best responds to, and stand your ground.”
“Going back on it or engaging with the behavior, even negatively, just encourages it.” – Proper_Garlic3171
Others agreed and said there was nothing wrong with the OP for not wanting kids.
“Not wanting children is no crime. OP is not in the wrong.”
“I have 3 kids, and I can’t stand those Instagram mothers that put down people who don’t have kids with their ‘but as a woman….’ sentiments and ‘You will feel so fulfilled when you have a house of tiny feet running around. Your whole life leads to this’ and then post picture-perfect pictures of their kid in the kitchen with flour on the hand #baking #perfect mommy life.”
“They just forget to show the two bags of flour on the floor, the kid screaming because they couldn’t lick the dough spoon… They forget to show their dark circles because of lack of sleep.”
“The mess kids can make. The frustration of washing crayons off your wall. The worry when they are sick and throw up. Or how you go to the bathroom to count to ten and cool down when they do something wild and test your god-given patience.”
“Having kids is just not for everyone.”
“And honestly, I have so much respect for both men and women saying, ‘I don’t want kids,’ they don’t even need to explain why. If they don’t feel like it. Then don’t.”
“Go enjoy your life. It’s one less kid born into being screwed up because someone was pressured into having a kid they can’t raise and something goes wrong.” – Dangerous-WinterElf
“I have two children (19 and 21) whom I adore, but raising them was hard. H**l, they’re basically adults now, and it’s still hard, because I worry about them, their health, their safety, and just their happiness.”
“It’s been 100% worth it for me because I really wanted kids, but I can’t imagine going through the stress, the sleepless nights, and the hard work if I hadn’t very much wanted kids in my life.”
“Not wanting kids is perfectly valid, and no one should feel obligated to have them if they don’t want to.”
“Hold your ground! Do NOT let anyone pressure you into parenthood!” – The-Aforementioned-W
“You are doing nothing wrong. I’m lucky that my mother mentioned me having children just once, I told her to stop talking nonsense, and that was it. Made me glad my family sucks at communicating.”
“But I was dating a guy who thought we were going to have kids despite me saying out loud I don’t want them for all of five years we knew each other. His mother would also constantly be asking when we’re gonna have kids despite me telling her we won’t every darn time.”
“So I broke up with him, and moved to my own apartment. I’m now single, and I have a dog, a cat, and two f**k buddies (who also don’t want kids, or a relationship, which is absolutely amazing).”
“So yeah, having kids is for each person to decide for themselves. You are definitely NTA.”
“Maybe start training your mother. Every time she starts with this topic, you stop talking to her. Just stop. Hang up, or walk away, or grab a book and pretend she’s not there.”
“If she doesn’t respect your decision, then you don’t need to respect her. A bit harsh, but that’s what I’d do.”
“Enjoy your single, quiet, peaceful life.” – Flon_with-a-boxer
“NTA, but please stop being an AH to yourself and even engaging in this argument.”
“If she brings it up, say something like, ‘You know my feelings, they haven’t changed, I’m not saying anything else,’ and stick to it.”
“Your choice is valid and does not need explanation.” – Screamscaper
Though the OP felt conflicted about herself because of her mother’s insistence, the subReddit urged her to do what was best for herself and make the decisions that would make her happy.
Even if her mother wanted grandchildren, that didn’t mean the OP had to irreversibly change her life.