Article by Fabafterfifty
I was sitting with a group of women recently and the inevitable
question came up- ‘How many children do you have?’ My response of ‘none’
seemed to not go down too well with one of the ladies present, who,
despite the fact that she knew nothing about me or my life, stated that
she thought my decision not to have children was a selfish one.
With an increasing number of women over the age of 50 apparently now having IVF and more than 100 new mothers over the age of 50 in the UK last year , comments on various forums have also suggested that these women are selfish for choosing to have children later in life.
Is there a right or wrong answer to this?
I have also been asked if, in my case, I feel as though I have missed out by not having children- and also will I feel I have missed out as friends around me start to have grandchildren.
I don’t know the answer yet to the subject of grandchildren, but I can honestly day that in regards to not having had children I do not feel as though I have been deprived. Nor was it a conscious decision to not have them- my life took me down a path where I did not meet the right person at the right time , and combined with a period of bad health the opportunity passed me by. Perhaps I was lucky that I didn’t have a strong maternal instinct, or perhaps it was a case of not missing what you’ve never had.
I have always led a very full life and have always felt happy around friends with children.
Many women choose to remain childless, for others (like myself) , it is just a result of circumstance, for others being childless can be heartbreaking and can follow miscarriages and many rounds of failed attempts of IVF. To be Child free is not always a conscious choice. Although I do think if women recognise that they don’t want children it is less selfish to remain child free than bring up a child who is not wanted.
There are occasions when watching programmes such as ‘Who do you think you are’ when it crosses my mind that no future generations will be seeking me out in their family tree, but in terms of my life and how I live it today, I have no regrets.
Would I take advantage of advances in fertility treatments and contemplate having children now? For me, the answer would have to be no. Although I could be considered by some to be selfish either way!