The Path to Fulfillment: To Have or Not to Have Children

The Utter Lack of Desire to Have Children

In my life, I have wished for a million things, I have dreamt a thousand dreams; I have pursued hundreds of passions and goals and yet, never for a serious minute in all of my fantastic 30 plus years have I wished to have a child.

Children in Singapore

That’s me. I must be strange. I must be seriously out of the ordinary. I must be an aberration to the norm.

Yet, I am perfectly normal.

I am awfully feminine. I love all things girlish. I love traditions. I am crazy about my husband. I have a great relationship with my family. I had a happy childhood. I have cried at every single movie to ever involve a child and parent tragedy. I adore little baby animals. I like most children and I fall in love with a few. I have all the usual desires and needs of a woman — except the desire to mother a child.

This is a topic I have long wished to write or talk about and yet serious hesitation has held me back — and even now it is shaking me a tad bit. The decision not to have a child is not abnormal.

A topic so sensitive, so powerful, so intense, that it has a crippling effect on my speech when among others. I have longed to ask my friends, my own family or even strangers why they chose (if they indeed did choose) to have children. Yet I always find it to be such a personal invasion of privacy. Perhaps, I am afraid that they might think I am questioning their choice whereas I am simply questioning the choice: to have or not to have children.

Well, I have held my silence long enough, especially when asked about my own intent to procreate.

Why else run a blog with intelligent, wonderful, devoted readers such as you if I cannot ask for your thoughts, your feelings, and your opinions to help me understand some of the reasons behind life’s ultimate choice: To have or not to have children.

This is a post where I especially welcome it if you disagree with me on every point, if you give me new perspectives to consider and if you impart your thoughts openly to help me better understand the human behavior and reasoning on the topic.

Pregnancy, Birth, Babies: The Biology of It All

I find the biology — or division of labor if you will — to be ludicrously unfair when it comes to reproduction; this one is not an opinion, it is a fact and if there is a God, He has a wicked sense of humor.

The joke of course is on the woman.

Just when I feel I am beginning to awaken and to live, I am reaching the end of my healthy age to reproduce (but my husband is good to go for another two decades).

Just as I am dancing on the edges of my reason for existence and my purpose on this earth, my biological clock is ticking the worst sounding alarm on the planet in my ears and seriously disturbing my focus.

I feel younger than I ever did in my 20s and the irony of it all is that I am soon too old to mother a healthy child. This is all not to mention that physically, psychologically, and physiologically, a woman is affected in ways that are beyond comparison to a man when having a biological baby.

Seriously, is that the best deal Mother Nature could negotiate for us?

I love my body as it is and have huge hesitation to go for this thrill ride. I know we have advancements in medicine and technology but I am terrified of all the sacrifices and petrified of not making it through the labor alive. These are serious fears of an intelligent and educated woman.

How do you convince yourself not to fear something, which your whole being warns you against? How can you think of it as a natural phenomena when in all logic and rationale, it sounds abnormal and monumental? How do you embrace these challenges and calm your fears?

Fulfillment and Pursuit of Happiness outside Children

The funny thing about the pursuit of happiness is its absence in some cultures. In the Iranian culture especially, the pursuit of wealth, fame, social standing, education, and popularity are hugely prevalent but the pursuit of individual happiness has never been a subject of importance — or rather, relevance.

A question so fundamental to our fulfillment, finding that which makes us happy, is a missing element from my culture. It is simply awkward and irrelevant to ask whether children even compliment a person’s state of happiness and fulfillment in life and whether there are paths to true happiness without them.

Living consciously means making conscious choices in life. For me, fulfillment comes from within the depths of my heart, from the pursuits of my mind, from my sanctum of my soul. It comes from a natural desire to be in a state of happiness and peace. The only way to know your own happiness is to know your unhappiness; I have known some stages of unhappiness so the pursuit of happiness has been even more strongly at the core of my life.

We are experts at our own happiness. No one else can claim expertise at what makes us happy. I know mine, I believe it, and I live it daily. I feel completely fulfilled with my lifestyle and my existence. No part of my current happiness yet revolves remotely around the addition of a child into my life.

Is there a greater reason for living? Is having a child a fulfillment beyond the happiness I live daily? Is that sense of fulfillment guaranteed to fill the hearts of everyone, no matter what shape or form that heart may be? And what if that heart is already full and if the current state of happiness is the true fulfillment ever known to that heart?

Some of these are impossible questions to answer because how do you know what you cannot know. Just as you can never know a life with children unless you have them, you will never know what your life would have been without children if you had opted out. Which is why it’s impossible to measure regrets in either scenario.

The Things that Shall be No More When Children Come

Life as we know it will vanish into thin air and unknown and uncertainty will take its place, for better or for worse. If you are naive about this, just watch the evolution of change in lifestyle of new parents who bravely embrace this new life and gladly put aside the old one. I envy their bravery but cannot comprehend it.

There is my blog, my yoga, my photography and my pursuits in writing. There is my traveling the world, my passion for languages, my plans to read a thousand more books and travel to a hundred more cities, my fascination with Ashtanga yoga, pottery, the Renaissance, and writing.

There is my burning desire to create something of value for others and a mission to help others in ways I know I can. There are dreams, goals and aspirations tied to each of these pursuits – then there are the yet-to-be-explored projects and plans for many uncharted territories.

How would a child mold into this life? How did it mold into yours? Do all of your pursuits seem irrelevant or less important? Would mine feel that way too if I opted in?

Give up Happiness for Happiness?

There are some lives, which can integrate a child well into the lifestyle. There are others, which have to change drastically. Mine, I would have to re-create from scratch altogether. Yet I see people from all walks of life, all circumstances and cultures, all levels of standing in society, give up life as they know it to welcome children. In all practicality, I would be giving up a life of fulfillment as I know it for a life that is unknown and filled with promises of fulfillment.

What reason and rationale can compel you to give it up the current state of happiness for a future state, one being radically different from the other? What reasons are there for embracing the unknowns of having a child, which seem to outweigh these other sources of your adult-life happiness?

Leaving a Legacy Behind without Children

Perhaps the most common reason for having children is to leave behind a legacy, a part of you that continues into this world long after you are gone.

I think some of the greatest legacies in our world history have come to us from lonesome thinkers, artists, poets, playwrights, leaders, scientists, creators, actors, and writers.

People who have graced us with their timeless prose, with their leadership into battle to claim freedom of nations, with their incredible art, with their fantastic discoveries, with their gifts to this world which have yet to stop giving.

These are the legacies to celebrate every day. Many, many of these brilliant minds did not have children yet they left their indelible mark in this world. Would they have been able to achieve their greatest accomplishments had they had children especially in the hardships of the decades and centuries past?

We shall never know.

Would you be able to leave a different kind of legacy if you opt out of having children? Would I?

What if we decided to help improve the lives of a hundred children in this world instead of bringing one more to the world?

What if we created a haven of comfort and education for other lives rather than introducing new life?

Is that a legacy worth celebrating and remembering?

Perhaps yes, perhaps no. There is no easy answer but my point is this: there are sacrifices for every choice we make in life and my only aim is to make a conscious and honest choice when it comes to the ultimate decisions which forever change the course of my life.

What do you think? That wrapped in 17 other questions (in red) throughout the post. If there is one post in which you share your thoughts, let it be this one. If there is one time my silent lurkers come to life, let it be on this topic.

Want to read more on the choice to have or not to have a child? Here are 65 best quotes from the comments below on one of life’s biggest decisions.

Get Confident in 21 Easy Steps


  • http://uzma7.wordpress.com/ Uzma

    Dearest Farnoosh.
    I have to say am humbled and touched by the honesty, the emotion and your thoughts as they come alive. Am still a child, in many ways and also an adult, at the same time. What can I say, to such powerful writing and powerful, poignant questions.
    To me, children bring joy. The very thought of it, fills me with joy.
    I suppose when you feel this happiness, the fears get assuaged.
    Its just a fear of the unknown no?

    It’s really about Love. If one loves to have children now, they will love to make the changes,sacrifice won’t be sacrifice, it will be just part of the way. A new journey, a new road, with it own troubles and smiles, but a journey we choose.
    If you choose not to, it is also of Love. You love where you are, complete.
    Then why the dilemma.
    The dilemma is a difficult place to be in. Your questions are questions for the heart. Let love answer, not fear.

    These are also questions for the more experienced. These are my two cents worth :) I hope u always bask in peace, now and always.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Uzma, you were the first to comment on this and in such poetic beautiful prose, I have read it three times already so it’s much more than two cents worth to me :)! Yes, there is no doubt that children bring joy. The power of evolution is at work because we remember ourselves as children. But the unknown is very difficult to face in this particular situation, perhaps because there is just no turning back. “Let love answer, not fear.” – love these words. Thank you so much for writing me (and everyone) here, dear Uzma!

      • http://positiveprovocations.com Zeenat{Positive Provocations}

        Sweet Uzma, You spoke poetic truth! Big hug to you..I so completely agree with you.

        Darling Farnoosh,
        I agree with Uzma completely. Her words are poetic truth!
        I’m a mother and had wanted to be a mother since i was a child myself. Infact after my first divorce, when i was 22, I had completely given up on the idea of men and marriage. But I still wanted children. I gave myself time (everyone who knew me, knew this about me)- that I would wait till 30 for the right man, and if he didn’t come along then I would just adopt a beautiful child. If i was financially able, I would’ve adopted even earlier. But , I got lucky, my beautiful hubby came into my life and here I am happily married with my darling almost 4 yrs old daughter. I cant imagine life without her.
        To me becoming a mother was the most enlightening and joyful experience ever. It brought me closer to God. I felt like, God had chosen me to give birth to His creation. Its an amazing gift to feel that. To feel that beautiful little blessing nudge you in your belly and do those somersaults, to see her smile amid the tiredness of labor…made everything magical. Even today when she smiles and tells me”i love you” my heart melts. Its pure divine magic. I feel privileged compared to men ;)
        Yes, it plays havoc on the body, but its amazing for the soul. I used to say my husband completes me…But now I say this very happily that my baby completes me totally.
        And you know ironically I’m NOT the overtly girly type. I dont spend oodles of time or money shopping for pretty things and have never set foot in a Salon! No make up either.Simple and natural, thats me….with no girly frills. But I was brought up with all the girly frills possible….barbies, castles and if Muscat had pony’s I’m sure my dad would’ve got me that too.
        My only advice to you, when you want to be a mother, you will feel the yearning desire to be a mother. You will do whatever it takes, irrespective of your age to BE a mother. And you’ll know when youre ready. Just dont completely give up on this beautiful gift.
        Love you lots,
        Z~
        p.s. ever want to play with little girly girls..come over and play with my little one ;)

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Dear Zeenat, my sweet friend, I was so hoping you would chime in and how did I know that you would be saying these words and giving me this wisdom as advice. I guess friends just know each other….I love love love this story – and all the others – this is the most moving set of comments I have had to work through and I am so privileged so many blessed me with their words. Thank you Zeenat. It’s amazing that you knew this feeling from such an early age and I am thrilled that you have everything you need in your little girl. I have at times imagined what it would be like to have a little girl. Above all, I would not spoil her but love her to bits. I do love playing with them and if you lived closer…….Well, anyway I digress. The advice toward the end wraps it in a nutshell for me. And I am grateful for friends like you who help me make sense of these difficult decisions in life. Thank you and with lots of love back at you!

      • http://uzma7.wordpress.com/ Uzma

        Thank you for your very kind words Farnoosh. This is from my heart, for I learn from you. You’re quite the inspiration, teaching one to live with gusto and to follow one’s passions. Prolific Living, indeed :) What is motivating is that you completely walk the talk. Keep going, Farnoosh.Much love.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Dear Uzma, thank you my dear – walking the talk – yes indeed, I think we should be satisfied with nothing less. Thank you for being part of this amazing community and a dear friend, thank you!

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  • http://www.tonyteegarden.com Tony Teegarden

    Wow Farnoosh. Get OUT of my head! This is a burning question that has fired off in my mind more than once in the past few years.

    Quite frankly I’ve been honest enough with myself that I’m too selfish to bring children into my life right now. Possibly forever. (Read Ayn Rands Virtues of Selfishness and realize selfishness is not a dirty word)

    I know there is a gift of children and I also know that once you have them your life is not your own any longer. The responsibility is huge. I’m not a parent, (I am a god father though) so I can’t talk of the many gifts that come from having children.

    Having children is not high on my values list right now and hasn’t been for a long time. Like you, I have many passions and many things to create and I can’t picture how children would impact that in a positive way, at least not right now.

    It’s a two sided story of which neither is wrong, (Having children or not) however it’s not as important to me I can admit and so dedicating my life to something greater is what I value right now. Maybe that will change, but for now I opt into selfishness and am ok with that.

    In the meantime I plan on living with impact and bring value to the world. That feels right to me and that’s what matters.

    Thank you for the link to my post too and thank you for such an amazing and thought provoking and emotional post that calls for input.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Tony, I am a huge fan of Ayn Rand, I devoured her stuff when I was 16 (and worried my dad to some extent too!) – so yes, to me selfish is a virtue and it is through selfishness that we can provide and give to others. I am glad we resonate on this topic and that I read your mind and spoke your words. Frankly, I still can’t believe I wrote this post but I had to follow the urge and hear from my readers. Your choice is a very wise one; it means you would rather be a responsible individual than a potentially unprepared father. If only everyone made this choice and just thought through it consciously. I am so happy you enjoyed this, thank you for all your thoughts – and keep following that heart!

  • http://www.GreaterGoodLife.com Michelle Rogerson

    Farnoosh, your post is well-timed as a friend and I were just having a conversation about this (both of us at your age without any overwhelming desire to become mothers). I’m torn too. On one hand, I know I would make a great mother, but on the other hand my life has never led me in that direction as I have never truly wanted children. At the same time, I do wonder like you, is having children a part of the human experience that I would miss out on? I can certainly see that having children would be a wonderful experience.

    I think for so many women, these questions never come up. They KNOW they must become mothers from the time they start playing with doll babies. Women like us who don’t have that certainty are definitely a minority. We think differently and pursue happiness independent from that. It’s important to remember that just because society pressures us to have children, we should listen to our instincts.

    If and when we really want to have children, we too would KNOW. And if that time of certainty comes too late in life, there is always adoption, foster parenting or other ways to be a mother.

    Sometimes I feel like the only woman in the world who is not sure she will want or have children. I’m glad you posted this so I know I’m not the only one asking these same questions.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Michelle, you are definitely not alone in having these feelings and as you see from the comments, there are many others who have embraced a life without children. I am so happy you took the time to write here. You are right in that these questions never do come up for some and if we lived 50 or 100 years ago, we would be in an even bigger predicament because that was all – or most – of what was expected of women to give to society, which is very sad. You are right about the other options if we do decide later in life that this may be for us too. Either way, I plan to follow the heart and I hope you do too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • http://www.abubakarjamil.com Abubakar Jamil

    All questions aside, my question is that, why did I know that you’ll be writing this post sometime soon?

    It’s so strange to have an overwhelming feeling of something happening and then seeing it unfold in front of you. Let me first think about this and then I’ll comment again.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      I think I explained already, Abubakar, but here goes again: Synchronicity among friends exists, and I believe in it. Thank you for thinking of what I was going to write. Now if you could only tell me my subjects for the next 3 posts, that would help out tremendously ;)! You had better come back to comment because I can detect when someone changes a topic on me!!

      • http://www.abubakarjamil.com Abubakar Jamil

        Here is my comment Gift of a Lifetime
        :)

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          You wrote a blog post in response in just a few hours? I can hardly believe you, Abubakar. THANK YOU – I so enjoyed reading it…and I hope that others do too. For now, here is one of the best parts – (not the very best, that is for you to find out) – “And as for the answers—they are always there—right inside the questions that we ask ourselves. Just look into your questions, their nature, their timing, their content—patiently, thoughtfully and purposefully, and the answers will jump out at you.”.

  • http://www.thebridgemaker.com Alex Blackwell

    Farnoosh,

    As a father of four, I know having children has changed my life. My wife, Mary Beth, and I decided to have children not to extend our legacy, but to demonstrate our passion and love.

    A child is an expression of the love we share. There is something spiritual about raising a family and helping these young souls find their way in life. I know our life has been made richer by their presence.

    We encourage our children to have their own dreams; our reward is we get to watch them live those dreams.

    Alex

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Alex, I knew you had children but not that you had four of them!! “Demonstrate our passion and love” – a beautiful reason. It’s great to hear that you consciously decided to do this. Oh and I love how you put it….”helping these young souls find their way in life.” – ok, I have nothing more to say to that, it’s beautiful and I was hoping to find gripping reasons here. You have given me some as I make my own decision, thank you so much!

  • SmartAboutThings

    You know Farnoosh, there’s a saying that goes like this “When you don’t have kids, you can’t imagine how would life be with them but when you have them you realize that you can’t live without them”

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Good saying and very logical. In fact, I may have said it in other words in the posts ;)! Thanks for sharing that with us.

  • http://reallearningforachange.learningprofessionals.co.uk Michael Brown

    Dear Farnoosh
    This is such a brave post. Like others I want to digest the huge questions you ask. We have some homework to do here!

    I did want to respond to one question which stood out for me: The Things that shall be no more, and your question of whether current pursuits become irrelevant or less important. My answer is an unequivocal YES, they absolutely become less relevant and important, THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT, and the source of so much joy. In a single moment as you cradle your newly born child in your arms for the first time, you know without a shadow of doubt that EVERYTHING has changed. Your reset button has been hit, and you have to rethink everything. It all takes on a new perspective, and you know immediately that so much of what you held to be vital parts of your life are as nothing in comparison with this. It is WHY this leap into the unknown is so worth doing. There is nothing in my life that compares with that single moment, and never will be.

    I wish you well with this moment. It is so brave of you to share it.

    Warmest wishes

    Michael

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Michael, thank you for gifting me your thoughts and taking time to share them with me here, it’s very nice of you. Yes a very brave post, if only you had any idea. But it had to be done and I am overwhelmed with the responses, yours included. So then the whole point is to come to a new perspective – I was afraid there was a trick like that in the works ;0! – and you are right, that happens to everyone I know. Their entire outlook on life changes. The leap into the unknown is the very thing that terrifies me but not in a way that is exciting – in a way that is just that, terrifying. I am just not sure it is a very good sign. Well, we shall see. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts in your words, Michael.

  • Kristin

    Love this post! Too many people have hinted to me that a life without children is a life unfulfilled. I completely disagree. And I agree the costs of becoming a parent are much much greater for a mother.

    Also, I have heard a lot of people say things to the effect that a woman especially must have kids to be complete or fulfill her purpose. There’s an element of sexism sometimes to these comments.

    It’s refreshing to hear someone agree with me!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Kristin, thank you so much for stopping here to share your thoughts. I have a very close friend who once said that a woman is not complete until she mothers a child – and it is an opinion at best. Not a fact. We define our own path, our own fulfillment and if that includes 10 children or none, it is a path worth living because it was set by you. I have no idea which I will pursue but I shall not pursue any that is set before me by others and frankly, I don’t think you will either!

  • Jean

    I stopped breathing for a moment when faced with your enormous dilemma. The thing is that you now have a choice. I was at a friend’s house yesterday who just had twin baby girls. They had been trying for years. She is now 48. She lost many before they were born. But now she said to me that she regrets having the babies and knows her life will never be the same. Perhaps in time she will change her mind but she is right in that her life will never be the same.
    I had a son just a year after I was married. At that time in the 60’s it was just expected one would have a family. The baby was not planned. Birth control was very new then. But I accepted my lot in life and three years later had a daughter. I went into deep depression as I was very young and felt now my life was over. I never could pursue my love and interests. Now many years later both children are grown with children of their own. I love all of them dearly but even my daughter and I have talked and she recognizes what I gave up. Yes one could say I should not have given up but you don’t know my circumstances. I could have easily lived happily without children but now they are here I am glad I did. I do not think this may help you but it helps me to look at the big picture.
    I would say that when in doubt – DONT.
    There will be a resentment. You may change your mind later. You may want to adopt a child in need if you feel strongly later. This does not sound right for you at this time. If it is right – you will know.

    I hope the best for you in living your life with moments of joy.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Jean, how could you not think this amazing story does not help me? It helps me tremendously and you sharing it here with all of us makes it even more significant. Thank you so much for sharing not just your friend’s story but your own. I am so happy that you enjoy your children’s presence in your life and that things turned out well with them – and perhaps I can only say that it is never too late to pursue your love and interests, ever. I heard this from a 92-year old yoga teacher just today so if not my words, her words may persuade you to pursue the interests of your past. And I shall keep your advice close-by for when I need it, thank you!

  • http://imieicariamici.blogspot.com Garry Wilmore

    I’m nearing the end of my lunch hour as I write this, so I’ll come back and read your article when I have more time. But the subject matter is of interest to me, so here are my own thoughts on the matter.

    I had a discussion about this several weeks ago with my son, who got married just under a year ago and emphatically says he has no wish to become a father. I’m a Mormon, and my church puts a lot of emphasis on having and raising children. Couples who intentionally fail to do so at all, or who delay starting their families, are often denounced from the pulpit, although I think that is less true now than it was in the past. But in any event, I told Colin that I understood, and that I didn’t think he was being selfish at all. Granted, he is a man, and won’t deal with the same biological and psychological issues you raise; but as I grow older, I am more and more convinced that there are many roads to personal fulfillment — and that having children is not for everyone. My mother, as I mentioned in an earlier post here, was malicious and abusive, but she had four children. Frankly, I think she would have been better off not to have had any at all.

    I love my own kids (I have two), but if I had my life to live all over again, I’m not sure that I’d want to be a father again myself. I know from personal experience that children can either be a joy to their parents or break their hearts. I’ve seen it both ways, but I often wonder if the burdens of parenthood outweigh its benefits, such as they are.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Garry, it’s been a while since I have seen you and I am only happy to ever see you here, sharing your thoughts and your story today. Thank you so much. The post is here for you to read later anytime and your son’s choice is a brave one given the circumstances of his belief and surroundings but you supporting him is exceptional. It shows truly how much you love him. I remember the comments you made about your mother and it is so unfortunate to hear these stories. I have only been blessed with the best parents but I know others who are less fortunate. Perhaps now, there is time to pursue interests and pursuits that you did not have a chance to fully do during the early fatherhood stages. And it’s very brave of you to admit what you would have done if indeed the opportunity presented itself. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Garry!

      • Amy

        The honest responses to this post are so refreshing and overwhelming. I am always so appreciative when people are not afraid to express THEIR truth. Thanks, Farnoosh, for posting this. Thanks, Gary, for responding so honestly. You are not the only parent who has expressed similar sentiments to me.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Dear Amy, thank you for commenting below and here. You have no idea what this post and these comments have been doing to me, I am really the one that is beyond grateful to my amazing readers…you, my dear silent reader, you included!!

  • http://www.theklarichter.com Thekla Richter

    What a beautiful and moving post. I am the mom of a six-month old and I think that fulfillment and love can be found along many paths, whether with children or without. I also think, having walked through the door of giving birth and becoming a parent, that as a non-parent I had no understanding of what it’s like to be a parent. I think it’s quite likely also that as I age, I will have just as little understanding of what it’s like to get older and NOT be a parent. No matter how much empathy and curiosity about the lives of others we cultivate, in my opinion only by walking a path do we truly understand what it’s like. In many ways we can only guess about the trade-offs we’ve truly made and the what-if’s of what life might have been like had we chosen otherwise.

    I chose to have a child because I felt moved to nurture a soul with love through those early years, and to create this form of family. I have experienced things that have blown my mind and that I had no idea I would feel before my baby came into the world. While my other work is getting less attention right now, the mindset I bring to it and the insights I develop in it are unique to the choices I’m making and have made, including having children. A me without children would not be able to do the non-child-related work I’m doing and will do. She would different and valuable work instead though, as you point out, and possibly in greater quantity due to having more time to dedicate.

    For me this choice of having a child feels absolutely right. I honor all those who choose what feels right for them and bravely live that choice. I believe that diversity in choice is what makes the world amazing and rich. We need insights and progress to come from those who have children and those who don’t, and those who are diverse in countless other ways.

    A powerful and thought-provoking post!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Thekla, (what a pretty name, what is the origin?) – I am so touched by your insights as a new mother and by how logical and rational you see both sides of the scale. I am really happy to hear that you can see both sides, that you consciously chose yours and that you believe fulfillment can be found in other paths and through other pursuits. I really congratulate you on the obvious addition to your life and also on your beautiful and balanced perspective. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts with us and for helping us understand your personal choice so openly and kindly.

      • http://www.theklarichter.com Thekla Richter

        Farnoosh, my name is from the Norwegian part of my family. Glad I found your blog and looking forward to reading more!

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Well, I love it. Mine is Persian and in high school, I changed it for just a week to fit in – to Francis – it was a complete disaster. Now and forever, I am sticking to mine and hopefully you to yours. Beautiful and first I hear it.

  • http://zeroto60andbeyond.com Barbara Hammond

    Oh Farnoosh you do go deep.
    My experience was totally unplanned. I didn’t want children because I was thrust into motherhood at 10 years old to raise my brother. Then 4 years later another brother. My mother was around but not present. My grandparents were helpful but not always close by.

    I left home at 18 and the most difficult part was leaving my brothers behind. If they hadn’t had a great step-father I don’t know if I could have left them. I just knew I needed to move into my own life. I was engaged to be married and wanted to be on my own, at least for a little while.

    In my heart I never wanted children. My mother always pointed out my short comings as the caregiver for her children. Told me I would be a lousy parent. And she was such the great role model ;-)… seriously? I felt I had never been free and if I had children I never would be. My fiance definitely wanted children.

    I had been told, by a doctor, at 16 years old, that I would be unable to have children, and if I did get pregnant it would be difficult. I took that seriously and never thought about birth control. I figured that had already been decided.

    Well as fate would have it I immediately got pregnant with my son. The birth was not difficult at all. I never considered abortion. I think in my heart I felt it was just inevitable for me to be a mother my entire life. My husband and I decided we wanted 2 children so we had another son 20 months later.

    I’m fortunate in that my husband loves little kids. I prefer them when you can have an intelligent conversation with them. I didn’t enjoy much of the first few years, and always felt I came up short as a mother. It was years later that I connected the dots and realized I felt that way because I’d already been ‘graded’, so to speak, as a mother.

    Since I was barely 19 when I had my first son you might say we grew-up together. Today my kids are my best friends. I adore them, and I’m so proud of the people they’ve become. Now I watch them with their own children and know I must have done many things right because they are wonderful fathers.

    One of the differences in my case is that we were young and struggling to make a living, when I had my children. We wouldn’t have been able to party like 20 something’s do today because we had no money for it. The up side to that was by the time we were 40 they were on their own. At that point, aside from college tuition, we were in a much better place financially to enjoy life.

    I didn’t mean for this to turn into a post. I guess the moral of the story, in my mind, is that our lives are destined by a master plan. Even if you feel in your heart you don’t want children, it’s ultimately in the hands of a higher power.

    • http://www.kaizenvision.com Aileen

      Barbara, I loved reading your experience – glad you wrote it!!

      • http://zeroto60andbeyond.com Barbara Hammond

        Thanks Aileen.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Barbara, I loved this story, every bit of it, thank you for the “ramble” and please ramble anytime here because we love it. I feel like we know you so much better now and this helps me so much to understand your choices – and your destiny – and the happy present where you love your sons and are also able to enjoy the best years yet with them out on their own and yet in your life. I think the message you impart is an interesting one – that there is a higher power in the works, another master plan at play. I wonder if it knows better then what lays in my future so I can stop worrying and just living! I may have to do that nonetheless. This was such a calming and powerful story, Barbara, and I really thank you a hundred times for sharing it!!!

      • http://zeroto60andbeyond.com Barbara Hammond

        Farnoosh, I believe for sure there is a higher power at work here. You need to just believe that and live your best life. If you are meant to have a child, you will. But, somehow I think you are more inclined to have a positive impact on many children in your own special way. Don’t over think it, just live.
        b

        • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Thank you dear Barbara. I am going to believe it too then. Thank you for the beautiful closing thoughts. You are a gem of a reader and I am so happy you took the time to share so much of yourself here with us.

    • http://apollosdtr.livejournal.com/ Kim Curry

      Dear Barbara,

      Thank you for sharing, and bringing up the brothers. I am also the oldest child in my family. My sister and two brothers are relatively close in age. The third and fourth brothers were born while I was in high school.

      It was, on one hand, quite difficult to leave 18-mo and 30-mo brothers behind when I was an 18-year-old going to college.
      On the other hand, the freedom to finally live MY life, and make MY way in the world, was exhilarating.

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Kim, I have a brother who is 12 years younger and another who is 1 year younger. I am the eldest too. We had quite the dynamics growing up. I think you might have the largest age difference I have heard in siblings, that makes life so interesting….but good for you on gaining some freedom of first time going to college!

    • http://www.foursides.ca James M

      My girlfriend was told the same thing (could never get pregnant), so she took precautions with having safe sex, but never used anything to make sure she never got pregnant. Everything was going along fine until she met me – bam, she was pregnant.

      Initially, it was a huge shock for us, and took us down a path we weren’t entirely comfortable with, but at the same time, it brought us together more than we probably ever would have been without going through the pregnancy. Our daughter is nearly a year old now (Dec 31st, missed New Years by 3 hours), and it has definitely been trying at times, but never a burden.

      I took the pregnancy as a sign that one part of my life had been completed and I needed to move onto the next stage. I left my job, we moved to a new city, and am about to embark on a new profession. Watching her grow up so quickly has been absolutely amazing, and I can not possibly describe in words some of the experiences we have gone through (expressions on her face when trying new foods, watching her flip pages in a book on her own for an hour, clapping, etc).

      I didn’t mention before that my girlfriend did not want to have any kids when we first met. But after going through the labour and pregnancy, she wants more (which scares me!) What I have learned from all this is pregnancy is not entirely a choice, and the desire to have children is a gut feeling and not a decision to be made. If your gut is calling to you saying you should be having children, then start working at it. If you have to think about it, you probably aren’t ready for it.

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Dear James, I so enjoyed reading every bit of your story, unique yet again even after a hundred other stories here – I love it! The turning points, the highlights of your fatherhood and the change in perspective are an amazing evolution of you both as parents and individuals and of course, I can’t help but agree to your closing comments. Thank you so much for sharing your story and thoughts with us!!!

  • http://www.kaizenvision.com Aileen

    Farnoosh, all of us readers can (and will) offer our opinions and what’s right for us as individuals, but for each woman, individually, she must ask herself and search within to find her own truth. It is something that only the individual can know deep within herself.

    It can be harder for a woman to identify what is right for her when our society is entrenched with the notion that all woman want children and it’s part of the female experience to be a mother. When someone doesn’t feel this way, it can be much harder for them to realize their truth.

    For some woman, the idea of having children is fulfillment and for others the idea of having children is like ending one’s life as they know it.

    You ask, “How do you convince yourself not to fear something, which your whole being warns you against? ” – and I say, when your being warns you against something, listen. – no need to ignore your intuition and your spirit – they know you better than your mind.

    “Is there a greater reason for living? Is having a child a fulfillment beyond the happiness I live daily? ” – no

    “What reason and rationale can compel you to give it up the current state of happiness for a future state, one being radically different from the other? ” – no reason is strong enough to give up your happiness. For some women though, their hearts know that a child will bring them deeper joy and fulfillment. But not all woman feel this way.

    “Would you be able to leave a different kind of legacy if you opt out of having children? Would I? What if we decided to help improve the lives of a hundred children in this world instead of bringing one more to the world? What if we created a haven of comfort and education for other lives rather than introducing new life? Is that a legacy worth celebrating and remembering?”
    – Such as Oprah and Louise Hay :)

    Again, it’s a personal decision and one that others do judge. As individuals we owe it to ourselves to examine what is right for us – and honor that which is true for us.

    I too am at or nearing the end of the children option and I’m fine with whatever happens. G however, truly truly wants children (plural) – I have no idea what will happen, but I know I am and will always be happy and fulfilled either-way because that is my promise to myself.

    Great post!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My darling Aileen, I don’t even know how to thank you for really answering my questions one by one. Thank you! We have been fortunate to meet and talk in person about this very topic so I can hear your words in your own voice as I read them. I think that makes them more special, if that is even possible! Thank you for helping me yet laying the decision back on me which is exactly where it should rest, except I am closer to your state of “no idea” when I look deep down and if I am undecided, I know that eventually something will decide for me and I’m afraid it may be the wrong thing so I must decide. Oh I do feel for you! When our partners want something different, life is never easy but you – you of all people, Aileen – will know exactly what you need to do and then you will promptly tell me what to do as soon as you figure it out….;)! Ok just kidding. Thank you again darling!

  • http://www.timelessinformation.com Armen Shirvanian

    Hi Farnoosh.

    I have a few comments regarding this message. One is that, in the past at least, those who have not wanted to have children have left the gene pool, so it has always been a minority. Now, with extended living and health plans, new issues are arising because more flexibility is being added.

    Another thing I would say is that this pressure from others to fit in to have a child is the kind of thing that provides lots of energy to tackle various endeavors and projects. It is sort of like when someone has homework due the next day, but works on making a song instead, and does very well in making that song while putting off doing the homework, using the pressure from one as motivation for the other(this is not to say that having a child is a requirement like homework, but it relates).

    As a last part regarding your message about the balance of work for reproduction, on the flip side, since men are completely out of the reproductive process after initiating it, and don’t actually create the grown offspring, they are looked upon as somewhat of free replaceable entities during their whole reproductive existence, as compared with women who are seen as the important gender for continuing the human race. There is a balance in play between the genders.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Armen, thanks for taking time to respond. So having a child is like homework? :)! I know that you don’t have any children either – at least I don’t believe you do – so it’s really nice to hear your thoughts and ideas. As for “balance in play between the genders”, when it comes to reproduction, I shall have to seriously disagree with you, my dear Armen, and we can take it outside if you like ;)! Just kidding about the last part and thanks for stopping by!

      • http://www.timelessinformation.com Armen Shirvanian

        I am glad you put your important questions and thoughts out there. I may be wrong about various items I mention. You are right regarding the reproductive aspect being very one-sided as far as gender contributions. Relating it to homework wasn’t a good idea on my part. I don’t have any offspring thus far, nope. I shall not battle you outside, as I would be demolished~. Cool material in total.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Don’t worry Armen, you were just sharing your thoughts and being playful as usual. You are very funny as usual – you will probably be demolished, that’s what Andy says and he always stays out of fights. He is smart like you ;)! Thanks so much for coming back again and I really appreciate your thoughts!

  • http://www.everydaybright.com Jen Gresham

    Ah, Farnoosh. These are heady, yet essential, questions. I will offer you my experience in the hopes it helps you come to your own decisions.

    When my husband and I first started dating, I told him I wasn’t sure if I wanted children or not. It was quite possible I did not and felt he should know. He felt similarly ambivalent.

    The not knowing was hard for me, however. I didn’t care so much what the answer was, either way, I just wanted to feel at peace with my decision. I read a wonderful book, I’m sorry I don’t remember the title, that told the stories of women of all ages who had decided they didn’t want children. Many of them led adventurous lives while finding other outlets for their nurturing. It made sense to me. In fact, I even wrote a poem (eventually published in my book–so there’s no taking it back) called On The Decision Not To Have Children.

    And then? My nephew was born. My husband and I went to the hospital to see the new parents and I got to hold this newborn baby in my arms. As soon as we got in the car, I burst into tears and told my husband I wanted children…immediately. I was 29 and just about to head off for my PhD. Children would have to wait.

    I continued to search my soul for answers. Maybe I was just being emotional? As you say, I was not unhappy without them. My husband and I lived a wonderful and exicting life together. But when I finished my PhD, the desire still hadn’t quite gone away, and we decided to start trying. Now I was 32.

    You know some of this story. We didn’t get pregnant for 18 months. It was heart-breaking, month after month of failure. Through it all we reassured ourselves we did not need a child to be happy. But oh, once our daughter was born, there was no going back. From that moment on, I wasn’t sure if I could continue my passion in life should something happen to her.

    That’s not to say that parenting is easy. I noticed during those years when I was going back and forth how eager parents are to have others like grandparents take the children. It’s not that they don’t enjoy parenting, but simply it is hard work and draining and you don’t get to decide, by and large, when you work and when you get a break.

    Will you be missing something in life if you don’t have children? Well, yes. But you’ll be missing something if you don’t sail solo around the world too. You can’t do it all. For me, what I love about parenting is that it makes me a better person. I strive to be a role model for my daughter. She opens my eyes to the wonders of life we take for granted as adults. Every day has a surprise or two hidden in it. I grow and learn in ways I could not on my own. It is rewarding because it is so hard, and yet I have daily awards for my efforts.

    But she is not my legacy and certainly not my only passion. I continue to dream and strive just as I always have. What kind of role model would I be if I gave all that up?

    • http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com Whispering Gums

      Love your last para Jen … yes and yes.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Jen, what a touching beautiful story – and one that yes, fortunate that I am, I heard bits and pieces in our intimate conversations at blogworld! – thanks a million for sharing these words and this story with us here, every bit of it, especially the doubts, the moments of change, the questions, the ultimate decision and your outlook on life and yes, I second what Sue says below, your last words here. Jen, I really think this is the hardest decision I have ever had to make and I simply don’t want to have to make it. It’s easy to say yes and go with the flow and harder to say no and live with the inevitable guilt that is bound to come to me. I am so happy I don’t have to go through it alone, thanks to friends like you! Did I say thank you for sharing this beautiful story?

      • SJ

        To Jen Gresham (and to Farnoosh) for starting this post:

        Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have been SCOURING the internet for weeks, nay months trying to find a woman with a similar story to mine…possibly searching for validation for my thoughts. For most of my life, I have been ambivalent about having children. Like you, when I met my partner, I told him I most likely didn’t want children and he was happy to hear that as he felt the same. I want to have a successful career and also have many pursuits and interests outside of my work. I do not make a lot of money and want to be able to retire with money to travel. I look at kids throwing tantrums in restaurants and think “ugh, not for me.” But almost a year ago I turned 30 and suddenly (with my schooling behind me and plugging away at my career) I have been overwhelmed with a desire to nurture and raise a child. It has taken me months to admit to myself that this was what I wanted. I’m almost embarrassed by the fact that I suddenly want children! And since then, I have been trying to figure out a good reason to have children, besides the biological impulse.

        My mother was not the happiest of mothers and constantly gave me the impression that being a mother was an enormous burden, a soul-sucking endeavor. I always felt I robbed her of her identity. The truth is however, she did not plan to have kids, it just “happened” once she was married. I doubt the subject was ever discussed with my father. And to this day, she wouldn’t be able to give you a straight answer on what her dreams are and I am finally realizing that we didn’t rob her of anything – I think she used children as the excuse for her own indecision about what she really wanted out of life. I don’t think she knows how to consciously decide big things for herself. I have realized that much of my hang-ups about being a mother are associated with my fear of being like her. That I will resent my children like she did. For the first time though, I am able to envision a life with children that is filled with joy, happiness, and wonder rather then just pain, toil, and hardship (not that raising children won’t be extremely hard work, but maybe the joy could possibly outweigh the hardship, something I didn’t think was possible before).

        Anyways, I think what I am trying to say is that maybe having children doesn’t have to rob us of what we want from life? It may re-prioritize and put some things on the back-burner but maybe life could only get richer with the addition of more love in our lives.

        I am looking forward to one day being a parent and only hope that my partner will come around and join me as he is still on the fence, scared at the responsibility it will require but curious about the adventure of being a dad.

        As both your posts were written many years ago, I would be interested to hear what has changed or remained the same for you both.

        And finally, thank you!

        • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

          SJ, you looked that long before my article came up? :) This one is number one in certain keywords on this topic…. no matter. Delighted you are here and loved your story. I think our mothers are identical – no comment – I am sad to say that I have had a falling out with her this year and haven’t even spoken to her, but alas, she tried to use the excuse of having us children (as though we had a say in that) to sacrificing her “dreams” but she won’t be able to name a dream if her life depended on it. Sigh. And yes perhaps that has maybe influenced me in not wanting children. When I wrote this post, I was unsure and leaning towards not having any. Now I am 100% certain that children or babies are not for me, and I am at complete peace and I am living the dream life of running my business with my husband and traveling the world more often than I can keep up. I am glad you are separating your mother’s issues from your own and if you want the kiddos, go for it. If not, don’t. I think you have a very healthy perspective,…. the one thing I will add is that of course life gets richer with more love but love doesn’t only source from one’s own children. Decide with your heart and you can’t go wrong! Thanks for sharing your insights.

  • http://peacefulplanetcommunication.com Leah McClellan

    Hey Farnoosh,

    I never had any strong desire to have kids either, so I haven’t. For awhile I thought that if I had just the right, perfect sort of situation and husband and I don’t know what else, well maybe. I’ve never been against it 100%. But I kind of just shrug. It’s not for me, though I have more seriously considered adopting since I do love kids and care about them.

    It’s probably, at least in part, because of having grown up as second eldest of 8 kids, most much younger than me. Long story why, but I did my share of child-rearing. When the last one got out of high school and none of them were on drugs or anything awful like that, that was pretty much it. Job done. Time for me now.

    Plus there’s plenty of people around already; I don’t see any need to add to the population pool :)

    Never gave it a whole lot of thought, never a big deal for me. I have a few friends who don’t want or have kids, and their experience has been really negative with a lot of pressure from others. I haven’t had that, maybe because I just shrug, like whatever.

    Good topic, good post.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Leah, thank you so so much for sharing your candid thoughts and your true feelings here with us. I envy that it was such an easy decision for you, that you just *knew* what it was to be for you. I am sorry that you had to work so hard taking care of your siblings – now that is never too much fun, no matter how much we love them, because that is the job for our parents and other care takers and it seems you had more than the fair share and I bet that had something to do with your decision. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Leah, I really appreciate it and so happy to know more about you.

  • http://www.JeanBurman.com Jean Burman

    Hi Farnoosh :-)

    I have three beautiful children… all beautifully planned. But I remember the worried feeling each and every time. Can I even love this child I am bringing into the world… and then my son was born. He came with his own love.

    And then when I was having my second child I wondered how I could love this one as much as the last. She came with her own love too.

    Third time around I worried again… I have two beautiful children… how can I ever make room in my heart for more. Is it too much to expect? But of course… she came with her own love too.

    Children always come with enough love and life purpose to fulfill their intended destiny.

    As for pregnancy… I was blessed with good health… and in fact pregnancy to me was one of the most healthy fantastic times in my life. My hair was glossy… my body adapted beautifully [and everything went back into place just like before each and every time – something I did worry about when it was happening LOL]

    But honestly? Children give mothers [and no doubt fathers – but that’s not my experience to tell] a spiritual dimension that cannot be achieved in any other way. Although I made sacrifices… and am only just now kicking off in the main game of [my own] life… I wouldn’t change a thing! They made me who I am. I was always me… but they just made me better.

    I look at everything differently now… through the filter of the things they taught me. Love. Compassion. Self denial. Devotion. Challenge [incredibly challenge!] Drama. Hope. Courage. Pain. Suffering. Direction. Purpose. They made me who I am… helping to develop the skills and qualities I would need to fulfill my own life purpose. My destiny… independent from theirs. But influenced so deeply by the experience.

    Farnoosh. Believe me. You won’t look back. Well… you will look back… but it will be without regret. Motherhood is a great experience. Scary? Yes. Challenging? Yes. But worth it? Oh SO SO YES!

    I hope this helps

    Jean x

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Jean, what a beautiful story. I was not prepared to read this one, although I am convinced you were born to be a fantastic mother and the children were just lucky to have someone with your beautiful perspective on life. There is no way I can measure up. I found so much beauty and love in your words and prose, and yes it helps me of course. Every story helps me and I am profoundly grateful that everyone took the time to share them with me. Thank you so so much, dear Jean, for giving us your story and your thoughts on motherhood here.

      • http://www.JeanBurman.com Jean Burman

        Hi again Farnoosh :-) Sadly I wasn’t always such a fantastic mother. I certainly made mistakes. But my kids seemed to forgive me anyway and I think that’s what’s so beautiful about having a family. No-one’s perfect… and there is no handbook. So you learn along the way… and sometimes [most times] it’s our children who teach us the most! LOL

        I regret just a little bit “plonking” my enthusiasm on you. My comment wasn’t meant in any way to be instructional to you [or anyone else] and of course there are many many ways to live and experience life that are rewarding and deeply fulfilling. Please don’t get me wrong. It’s just my enthusiasm for motherhood that bubbles over in this post. Thanks for allowing me that Farnoosh! You will follow your very good heart on this… I just know it!

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Dear Jean, hi again back at you – you are so sweet to come back and add more here. I loved hearing your enthusiasm. You were sharing what came from your heart which is exactly what everyone here did and more than what I asked for and I was thrilled to read it. I love that I got all that excitement out and here on the screen for all of us, Jean – you are so good to indulge us, thank YOU!

  • Sandra Lee

    Hi Farnoosh,

    A very deep exploration, indeed! I have never had the desire to have children and have never had any regrets. We are all so different and need to follow our own hearts, but of course this is one of the most difficult of all life decisions.

    It’s funny that in some spiritual traditions, it’s believed that children come into our life as the result of karmic debts. The child you cherish in this life may have been your worst enemy in a past life. Now that might seem outrageous and hard to believe, but, if it were the case, it makes you see the fallacy of loving partially – just those to whom you feel closest.

    Wishing you the best with your exploration!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dearest Sandra, as if this is not hard enough, you add a whole new dimension for me to consider ;)!! Thank you so much for telling me your story – I wasn’t sure but I am so happy to know now. You are to me a deeply spiritual person yourself and perfect and complete as I know you! It’s wonderful to know you live now with your decision and without any regrets! I’ll have to think about the “karmic debt” concept though! Thanks so much for always being here – and for being a great resource, I love linking to your posts.

  • http://vandenboomen.wordpress.com Emiel

    Farnoosh,
    What a challenge, what a courage to ask this to your readers. Why? Because having a child or not is the one question you hardly talk about with others. It’s one of the most private things in life and I was therefore quite astonished to read your post. But on the other hand, this is exactly the way you are living your life: open and honest.

    I did not read the other comments, on purpose. Because everybody has its own, strong opinion on this subject. Farnoosh, you live your life in a such a way that raising a child would be difficult, you have so many things that you pursue. On the other hand, raising a child with the way you look at life could only be an added value to mankind, seriously.

    But what I can say, humble as I am. I am a father to a son and a daughter. We love them more than anything. When I left for Berlin my daughter secretly cried, told me a couple of times how much she loved me. These are experiences that change your life for sure.
    However, there are times we wished we could have continued with our lives without children, I’m honest about that. Traveling, enjoying food and entertainment. That all stops, although temporarily. We started traveling again as you know, taking our kids to encounter new cultures and new people.

    Yes or no? I would be president of the Universe if I could advise you on having kids or not. Having kids is not the ultimate goal in life. I don’t know what thè ultimate goal in life is, I guess it differs for every person. Kids will change your life, a lot. You have to be ready for stuff you actually don’t like. If you have any doubts, if you believe your life should be about pursuing other goals, think about it carefully.

    Did this help you? I don’t know, because it’s your personal consideration. If you want to further discuss about this, I’m here.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Emiel, my dear friend, who is now in Berlin but wasn’t there just two days ago (ANYWAY!!), thank you so much for writing and sharing your thoughts especially on a topic that is apparently nearly taboo. I know what you mean, hence my hesitation – but I wanted to know what everyone thought and if we take out the awkwardness of asking in person, perhaps I thought my readers will share a few thoughts. I am still reeling from all these amazing responses. Thank you for your candor and for sharing your story, your fatherhood experience, your wishes for things that you like to do and your smart way of including your children in your travels and perhaps even other activities. Thank you for telling me also that it is my own choice in the end, Emiel, and I do have doubts, big ones – so I really need to think about it very carefully, especially since I am no longer 22! Thanks my dear friend!

  • http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com Whispering Gums

    Lovely post – and I relate to pretty well every one of your questions Farnoosh. The hardest thing was making the decision. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to have children, and then the stars so aligned themselves that suddenly the time seemed right and it was pretty simple really. I had a lovely marriage, a great career, and was as busy as all crikey with reading, friends, travel etc AND THEN, just before I turned 31 my husband was posted to Northern Virginia (from Australia). No work visa for me so what was I to do. Well, lots really. I volunteered, read, planned our trips etc.

    Now, my husband was not desperate to have children but his mind had always been more open to it. And so, I started to think, and I remembered a close friend who had her first a little before she turned 29 saying that it was a life experience that she didn’t want to miss out on. Wow, I thought. Good point. Of course, it’s the sort of experience that has longlasting ramifications if you try it and don’t like it but I thought of all the reasons why I wasn’t, including:

    – fear – a biggie for me too, but logically I thought if other women can do it surely I can. How much of a wimp am I. (As for surviving, women in developed countries like ours are very rarely die. You fly don’t you? There’s a risk there too…)
    – career – well, I was having an enforced break so if I was going to do it, now was the time. I often wonder if I’d ever got around to it if we hadn’t had that posting.
    – happiness/time for friends/lifestyle etc – these were in some ways the biggest issues but a few of my friends in their late 20s and early 30s were making the decision too so I knew I wouldn’t be alone. Life does change – dramatically – there’s no getting away from it. And it can be awfully hard work – not the physical so much as the emotional. The emotional challenge is, I have to say, immense. The biggest highs and the biggest lows come with kids, really.

    But, here’s the thing. When our son was born, I fell in love (and fortunately, from the minute I knew I was pregnant, I was fine – it was such an exciting experience that my curiosity and fascination meant that I never questioned my/our decision) – and fell in love hard. The idea of losing him was horrendous so I had to tell myself, “well, I had a great life before he came along, and so if anything happened to him I can again” but in my hart I knew it would never be the same because once that person is in your life your whole perspective on your future changes. You expect they will be there – for you to love, care for/about, think about – for the rest of your life. I don’t expect my children to look after me when I get older though it would be nice if they cared about me, but just knowing this person you love is part of the present and future is a really powerful thing. I cannot imagine life without it. They don’t even have to be here next to me – I can let them go to have Christmas overseas etc – but they are there, part of my life. It seems now that life would be so much poorer without that.

    That said, I’m sure that if I didn’t have children I’d be happy and have a completely different perspective on my life so this is in no way saying what I think everyone should do. It’s just explaining how it went for me …

    Oh, and when we decided to have a child, I said to my husband, OK but let’s just have one! Pretty well the minute he was born, I suddenly realised how important my siblings were to me. We went on and had two. The best decision ever … they were and are great friends to each other (albeit a little over 3 years apart) and they both give us huge joy.

    Finally, with children come new interests and people – wonderful children’s books to share, other parents to meet, children’s concerts to go to that break your heart with their enthusiasm ….

    Sorry for the ramble …

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Oh my goodness, Sue, what are you doing to me? I am having serious trouble digesting all these fantastic stories, all these heart-felt recounts of everyone’s journey and yours is just as powerful. Thank you for sharing so much of your life and yourself, and thank you so much for rambling – I fully permit you to do that here as often as you like! So thank you so so much for sharing your fears, your joys, your love, your decision to have not one but two children, all of it. A lovely story, every bit of it. And most of all, I love the part about them having Xmas away from home and them not being in your house or next to you for you to feel their love. Sometimes I wonder how that feels after children just leave home and live their own lives. I think you have answered it. Thanks a million, dearest Sue, I’ll always remember your story – and those of everyone else here.

      • http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com Whispering Gums

        Thanks Farnoosh — all the stories here are wonderful, and you are reading and answering them all. What a wonder you are. I suspect we’ve all just make it harder but you’ll probably know if and when you want to … xxx

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Tell me about it. It is harder and harder now – these comments have moved me beyond any other post and I am still reeling from it. Thanks for contributing here, dearest Sue!

  • http://10stepstofindingyourhappyplace.blogspot.com/ Galen Pearl

    I was so moved by your post and by those who have responded.

    I don’t have any personal wisdom, but I will share the wisest advice I ever got about having kids. At a time when I thought I “should” be having kids (married and not getting any younger), a good friend, who had two kids herself said, “I’m going to tell you the best advice I ever got about having kids. Don’t have kids until you can’t stand not to.”

    At the time, I could stand not to, so I didn’t try. A few years later, the urge was so compelling that it was all I could think about and I was willing to give up anything in my lifestyle to become a mom, even though my circumstances had changed. I was no longer married, and living overseas.

    Fast forward. I ended up with five kids — three adopted kids and two permanent foster kids. I wrote about them in this post if you want to read more about them. My Plan B Family

    I had children because I couldn’t stand not to. In the final analysis, I believe that is the best reason. Thinking that your mothering experience will be a certain way, that your children will be a certain way, that you will leave a certain legacy, is not a good reason because anyone who has children will tell you that nothing about having children is certain.

    I don’t think my life is any better or more fulfilled than the lives of those who don’t have children. My own life is infinitely better and more fulfilled than if I didn’t have kids, because that was my path, a path that I couldn’t stand not to follow.

    Blessings to you on your own path, wherever that leads.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Galen, thank you for all your readership but especially for what you shared here. “I had children because I couldn’t stand not to.” = that is a line I can’t forget even if I tried, and a view I love to repeat until it syncs in and until I find out which side of the line I am standing on. Thanks so much for sharing your story, your amazing way to come to children in your life and I will read the rest of it in your link. Many thanks, it’s lovely to hear about your experience, so kind of you to take time to share it.

  • http://mommyhoodandmarketing.wordpress.com Katie Lance

    Such a heartfelt post! I actually was reading this the 1st time while feeding my son (multitasking yes!) and then came home to read it again. You bring up a lot of wonderful questions and points. You have obviously thought long and hard about this – and yes, it is intensely personal. It’s so wonderful so many people have commented.

    I can only comment from my own experience.

    You are right – there is a very short period of time between “too young to have a baby” and “too old”. I am 35 and have 2 kids – a 3 year old and almost 3 month old. I always figured at one point we would have kids. When I got pregnant with my oldest it was surprise – UTTER SHOCK was more like it. I was FREAKING out. Crying, didn’t know what to say, etc. It was not like the Hallmark commercials where everyone is happy. I kept thinking “oh my God, now what?” Then at 12 weeks I rushed to the ER in the middle of the night because I had bleeding -everything turned out to be fine but it was the 1st time I thought… “I really want this baby – I think I’m falling in love!” It was the strangest thing – I had never been a baby person – never too keen on holding babies. And actually even to this day – I’m not too keen on holding other people’s babies… just not the same as my own.

    I look back and think for me, it was the best thing to “not plan it” – because it may have never happened.

    I know everyone talks about the love you have for your children it is such a cliche… but it is so true. I love my husband, I love my best friends, I love my parents… but my kids. There is no feeling to describe. Is it hard, trying, stressful, maddening sometimes??? YES YES YES!!! It is SO hard sometimes! But then there are the little moments of utter JOY – it’s really indescribable.

    Does your life change? Absolutely – but to me, it enhanced my life. I still have all my hopes, dreams, hobbies, passions – they are just framed a little differently now that I have kids…. and that’s ok. I guess some of the things I loved so much… I still love…. they just aren’t as much of a priority because my kids are now my priority. Having a child is like having your heart outside your body.

    That being said – I don’t think I could ever be a 100% stay at home mom. I love my job and am very passionate about it. I’m on maternity leave and go back to work next week. On one hand I am so excited to get back to the job I love and my friends at work – and on the other hand it is going to be gut-wrenching that first day leaving my baby at daycare.

    No one can tell you what to do – and I think it’s so wonderful that you have put yourself out there with this post. I can only say that if you do have kids… you won’t regret it.

    Katie

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Katie, you said you would comment and you did – thanks for the earlier Retweet but also especially thanks for this generous reply even as you are taking care of your newborn (many congratulations)! Yes, believe me, I am moved beyond words – good thing I am typing because I can’t speak! – with all these unbelievable comments from my darling readers. It is wonderful to get to know them through this post and to learn about other perspectives on life. Thank you for sharing yours, all of it, your fears, your doubts, your love, your emotions for your child, and your healthy perspective on continuing a life in addition to motherhood. Thank you Katie for sharing this story with me and I wish you the best on your journey to motherhood – and hope to see you here again!!

  • http://evelynparham.com Evelyn

    Hi Farnoosh,

    I appreciate your honesty and openness in this post. It was very touching!

    I never wanted children…never gave it much thought. But when I got married we discussed having children and the rest is history.

    But it happened and now I have a wonderful little girl, who makes me laugh and teaches me lessons about myself everyday. Yes, my life has changed, but I can’t imagine my life without her. I still have not given up my dreams and desires. I just have someone else in my life that I can share my dreams with and help along the way.

    Whatever you decide, always be true to yourself. Don’t do anything because of others or you feel you need to because of your age or other reasons. Do it because “Farnoosh” wants to do it.

    Take care,

    Evelyn

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dearest Evelyn, thank you so so much for stopping by and giving us your story – how interesting, you went along with the change in your direction so easily it seems. I envy you. I love that you have not given up on those dreams and desires, and how you would share them with her along the way. Love the perspective – and rarely see it, to be honest. Most of the time, all of life becomes centered around the baby, and that is what terrifies me for I cannot do that and don’t even believe it to be healthy. Thank you for the last words of wisdom, so so much!!

  • Maggie

    I think this post is so interesting because it’s something I never had the chance to think about for myself. I got pregnant accidentally at 18, not even in serious relationship. I’ve raised my son alone ever since (he’s almost 6 now). I actually come at the question from a whole different perspective- what would my life have been like if I hadn’t had a child? I wonder about it all the time.

    If I had the chance do it over again, I definitely wouldn’t have a child at 18. I was so young I was barely even an adult myself. But I am glad now that I have him. I agree with the others who say don’t do it unless you can’t stand not to, or unless you’re completely sure. I love my son but I also want my own life, and I am excited for the day he will be an adult and I can finally live the life I had intended for myself. I definitely do not want any other kids, even if I were to get married.

    I don’t think everyone on this planet was intended to be a parent. For me, I don’t know whether I was intended to be a mother or not, but I feel very strongly that my son has a reason for being here. Maybe the accident of pregnancy was more for his benefit, to be here and touch our lives and those of people he doesn’t know yet, then it was about my life. I’ve been able to make the necessary adjustments, still went to college, and I’m still happy. But I see his life as taking a whole different trajectory from mine. God works in mysterious ways.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear sweet Maggie, I had some ideas about this from your blog but thank you so so much for piecing the rest of the story together. How brave and amazing of you to raise a child on your own. You are much much younger than me still and I am really amazed by your strength and your beautiful love for your son. Perhaps there was a higher reason for him to be here in your life and he will be a complete adult and you will still be super young to pursue a life of any dimension you desire. Thank you so much for sharing this, I really loved learning about you.

  • http://www.jungleoflife.com/ Lance

    Farnoosh,
    I’ll start off sharing one of my very favorite quotes:
    “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children … to leave the world a better place … to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
    This has so much meaning to me…these words from Emerson. Just think….if we, each of us, achieved this…came to a place of fully being these words.

    Farnoosh…you are. And the choices you make that lead your life, and where you are…they shine such amazing goodness into the world.

    And I speak as a father of three children. Have these three kids changed my life? Most definitely.

    Have you been changed by your life experiences? Most definitely.

    And so the journey continues….a journey that is deeply personal for each of us, in our very own unique ways. And I believe that to be the case, no matter how we’ve come to where we are today. And it’s all good….

    Another thing I believe very deeply is how truly connected we all are. While I don’t fully embrace this as I would like to (i.e. sometimes I let separation in too much), I still believe this to the depth of my being. And if we are all connected, if we are all one…then, while we may or may not be biological parents to another…we can still have the deep connection of love.

    And that’s what I believe it’s all about…it’s all about love.

    And I’ll say it again (because I really get this at such a deep level from you)…Farnoosh, you are love in action…and it is so, so good.

    Okay…I think I’ve rambled on here quite a while (and I’m not even sure if all of this makes sense!). Just know that I respect you very deeply, and it matters not this role of “mother” in your life…

    Peace,
    Lance

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My dear friend, Lance, you just know what to say – I think I am out of breath reading all these comments, all these profound thoughts, sweet stories, genuine comments, I really don’t know what I did to deserve all of this to my simple (well 17 simple) questions – and now yours which is fittingly (for now anyway) the last one but a great one to close on. You know, Lance, I do think that our friendships and our connections especially in the world today are amazing additions to our life and they fill gaps that maybe in another time might have had to be filled with other things. In other words, I think it’s easier to opt out of having children in a world that is so closely knit as the one today. Love that last last phrase, thanks for everything, my dear friend and especially your thoughts here tonight.

  • http://Theboldlife.com Tess The Bold Life

    Farnoosh,
    I love what you have to say and all the questions! I say keep following your heart and don’t doubt your decision. I wish society would leave women who don’t want children alone!

    This may sound simplistic but “different strokes for different folks!”

    I also don’t think you are missing out on anything. Do you think us mothers are missing out? It’s all a matter of personal choice and one’s perspective.

    I would say to anyone who even has the slightest doubt,”don’t do it until you’re sure.” It is a huge responsibility! I’m not one who believes it’s a sacrifice to be a parent. It’s a choice. Children don’t owe parents anything. Not even respect. Parents earn respect like anyone else.

    Just as you don’t know what being a parent is like,I don’t know what not being one is like.

    I was 17 when I became pregnant and was mom to four by age 22. My third pregnancy was twins. Now, I can say twins weren’t my choice. And I wouldn’t recommend multiple births to anyone. There is no way a mother can meet their needs. Each time you choose to pick up one before another you’re leaving one out. But that is just my personal experience and perception.

    I can honestly say I have no regrets. And the crazy thing is we can travel anywhere and we keep traveling to visit each of them.

    I do believe grandchildren are a parent’s reward. I’ve never experienced the uncondfitional love we have for each other.

    My love for my family is deep. I love them so much I would die for them.

    But to say you’re missing out is something I can’t do! I need you and your blog to inform me about the life you live.You open a new world to me. I believe that’s why I’m a fan.I love reading about your journey and your photos are exceptional.

    Thanks for sharing your life and experiences!Thanks for inviting our thoughts.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My dear dear Tess, you make me laugh and nearly bring me to tears at the same time….Society is what it is, but we have to make our own choices. Your story is amazing – gosh I had no idea – so so much responsibility at 22!! And I have twin cousins that I helped care for – there is no way to be there for both of them, I know what you mean and that’s why my aunt needed help oh so desperately. You know, I do think sometimes that my friends who are mothers are missing out on life the way I see it but they must be thinking the same thing – I do think that the sacrifice is too much and there is so much to give up but I am sure they think the same and so in the end, maybe no one is missing out and we are just living our own lives, if only we stay true to our own hearts. I am delighted to know someone as special as you, what a lucky family you have and what a big heart. Thanks for sharing this with me and everyone here!

  • http://www.poweredbyintuition.com Angela Artemis

    Farnoosh,
    I never had the desire to have children. My sister on the other hand, never thought of anything but having them. I told her from an early age I’d be a great aunt to her kids, and I am (I hope! lol), but I never felt the need. I love to be around children, but I also don’t feel I’ve missed out by not having them. Each of us is different and has a special role to play. Look at Oprah – she says she didn’t have children but feels she’s been able to give to so many more people by being fully available to them without the constraints of motherhood. I agree with her point of view.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi dear Angela, nice to see you here. I am sure you are a fabulous Auntie! How could you not be, knowing you and who you are! Lucky lucky niece and nephews. Thank you for sharing your perspective. Yes, there are many successful women who have just opted out. Thanks for chiming in dear Angela, it wouldn’t have been a complete “poll” of amazing stories without yours!

  • http://hanofharmony.com The Vizier

    Hi Farnoosh,

    Whether to have a child or not is a personal decision. Each of us have our own destinies in life. For many, it involves raising a family and devoting their lives to the next generation. But there are some of us whose unique destinies do not necessarily involve children. The point is to do what feels right for you and not to bother too greatly about what others are saying or doing. After all, you rightly point our that you are the expert of your own happiness. If you feel that a child has no part in that, it is your choice to make and you should stand by it as you would every other decision you make.

    You are perfectly right. It is hard to know what it is like to have a child until you have one. And although parent-child relationships share similarities across space, time and cultures, each relationship has its unique destinies and differences as well. Ultimately, what may be fulfilling for others, may not necessarily be fulfilling for you.

    Having a child is a choice and a commitment that you would have to make and stick to no matter what the outcome is. Change is the only constant in life and with children, your old life as you know it will change forever. You will have different priorities simply because you are responsible for bringing a living breathing human being into this world. And you have to take care of your child until he or she can fend for herself. Why else would you have a child otherwise? Of course taking care of a child has its own heart-warming moments and marvels. We get to behold the wonder and mysteries of the world in our children.

    I agree with you that many great people were able to leave great legacies because they did not have children. They had different priorities in life and could devote themselves to it 100%. That’s not to say that people with children could not leave behind rich legacies. They just have to do a juggling act and find a balance of sorts. I remember that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk never had any children of his own. But he made a difference by adopting many orphans to raise who became great people in their own right. I do not think he found his life any less fulfilling and in fact he had all that most people have and more.

    I am not interested in bringing a child into this world for the sake of leaving my legacy behind. When the day comes and I am gone, I am gone, that is all there is to it. I don’t think it is fair to burden our children, if we have them, with our legacies or what nots. If we do have them it is because it is an act of love and fulfillment. We bring them into this world and do our best to raise them. Where they go from there is up to them. They have their own destinies to fulfil. That is how I see it.

    Ultimately, to have a child or not is a choice and a life changing one at that. No one can help you to make that decision because your life is yours to live. We can offer our views and suggestions, but you will have to make that choice. Whatever that choice is, you have my support. :)

    Thank you for sharing this lovely post! :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My dear Irving, the Vizier, a most worthy title for the wise and sharp person that you are. I read every other comment as you know and yours made me feel different. It was sincere, it was genuine, it was logical, and while it shared the emotions around the topic, it was not an emotional response. I love your writing voice and your thought process so much and it resonates with me. Reading this makes it sound like a simpler choice and reading this, it’s easy to know what my choice is – and yet there are other things to consider. For me, to follow my heart, there is just no place for children right now and I cannot do anything anymore in life just in case I regret it later – I have had enough regrets to deal with and now it’s my time to live on my terms. Having a child, among all the joys, would also be on way to completely lose control of my life – and yes, I know I only have so much control. Well, as I swing like a cute pendulum, I am in so much gratitude to have friends like you to help me find my balance! A million thanks, Vizier!

  • Suzanne Mintz McConnell

    Farnoosh:

    Unfortunately, these are questions that only you can answer for yourself. I know for me, I longed to be a mother. When Jon and I finally decided to have children, it took a full year before I was able to get pregnant. (I know others struggle for much longer, but that was a year of agony for me). The moment the doctor informed me that I was pregnant the joy I felt was astronomical. I no longer cared about what I wanted in life, all I wanted was a happy, healthy child. I have never regretted the decision to become a mother. I honestly feel it was what I was meant to be. In fact for many months I cried, begged, and questioned God “Why make this desire so strong, only to be denied?” I will say pregnancy was not easy, but I knew the outcome was something so great that my throwing up numerous times a day for my entire pregnancy was worth it.

    That being said, how you feel is what is important here. No one should ever make a decision to have a child unless it is what they truly desire. No child asks to be born, and no child should be made to feel that they were the reason their parent(s) gave up on their dreams.

    There are all sorts of families, your child (if you decide to have one) will fit into your life. If you like to travel, take them with you. If you love to read, read to them and show them the joy that is found in a good book. Your child will reflect you and your husband (the good and the bad).

    I am not trying to convince you to have a child, that is a decision only you and Andy can make. All I can do is share why I chose the path I did. I wouldn’t trade Jack for the world. He is what keeps me going when all seems lost in this world (and here lately he is all I have). I get to marvel at this little person I helped create. I see him growing and learning daily. It is truly a wonder to behold.

    This may not help you at all, but I felt the need to write it. Just know that whatever you decide is right and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Love you old friend,
    Suzanne

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My dear sweet Suzanne, if only I knew in high school that you would turn out to be the best and kindest Mom, I would not have believed it. You were so different then and God knows, so was I! It was wonderful to find you when I did a year or so ago and to learn about Jack and following your life, everything you say is true because I know he is your entire world. Thank you for sharing such a great story – it warms my heart and helps me think about all the ways that my friend and readers have arrived at their decisions. I am sorry that you had a rough time during pregnancy but so glad that your little Jack is a healthy little guy and you have what you wanted and you are who you wanted to be. It helps tremendously to read the rest of your advice too, you know I love you back. Old friendships never go away…..thank you for writing this!!

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  • http://saturdaysinjune.blogspot.com Annie

    I read your post and felt I could have written it myself. I am 36 and I LOVE children and babies. I work with children (a behavior specialist) and at any gathering I’m the first to run off and play with the kids or the first one to have a baby thrust in my arms. I’m even somewhat of a kid-magnet. I absolutely love them. But I’m pretty sure I don’t want any of my own.

    I just don’t feel that emptiness when they aren’t around or even the desire to have one of my after playing with them. It just doesn’t seem like an empty spot in my life and as I get older it seems less and less like a part of a future I imagine.

    I worry a little that I’ll change my mind later and regret not having them now, and I worry that I won’t have enough family as I get older. However, I don’t think that’s a good enough reason for me to have them. If my brother would just have kids I’d be thrilled!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Annie, how funny – we are the same age and we have a brother who is thinking about having a family. Similarly, I could have written your comment word for word for word…..what a small world! Well, my feelings resonate exactly. I never ever feel empty and never for a second think that a child can fill any emptiness even if there were any – wrong as I may be, this is what my heart tells me. Like you say, it wouldn’t be so smart to do this just in case we regret it later. While we make up our minds, let’s just hope our wishful thinking around our brothers materializes!! How nice of you to comment, thank you a thousand times!

  • http://theboldlife.com Tess The Bold Life

    Farnoosh,
    I just wanted to stop by and say I think you have another book here! There’s a thing mothers have about sharing the story of their children and their births. I think because it’s such a poignant and vivid time. A mother never tires of hearing another mother’s story. I’m just wondering how many other non-parents there are that have your question “to parent or not?”

    This may sound silly but think of the difference between Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. The world marvels at both!
    Just a thought to ponder;)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Tess, stop putting these great ideas in my head – I will have to stop sleeping altogether. I LOVE IT! I think I may just go for it. I don’t think anyone addresses this issue anywhere on any reputable blog and believe me, I have searched….The stories are even inspiring to me and as you know, I am not a mom….The comments have been some of the most moving and touching ones and I love that they address a question everyone but everyone can relate to. I do prefer Jen to Angelina, I always have! I wonder if that means something!! Hmmm. Thanks again for the triple dose of inspiration!

      • http://positiveprovocations.com Zeenat{Positive Provocations}

        Hey Farnoosh, I prefer Jen to angelina too! Na it doesnt say too much… Timing my dear …its all in the timing :)
        Ok am off to bed….see you in the morning. I’m hoping this post touches a 100+ comments when I awake :)
        You are touching so many hearts with your words here…
        Love you lots and lots,
        Z~

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Zeenat, we will get to at least 100 comments from these fantastic readers. I am beyond overwhelmed and they are still coming in! Timing is everything, very true. Sweet dreams and thanks for keeping an eye in this space and on this topic. Lots of love to you too!

          • http://positiveprovocations.com Zeenat{Positive Provocations}

            psst…didn’t I tell you by morning its will be a 100 :) its a lot more now…super awesome girl! This is why i love love love blogging. Support can pour in from all corners of the world like a warm blanket.
            Lots of love~
            Z~

            • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

              You know, I was hoping it would be just so Zeenat would get her wish. It has yet to stop this outpouring of sweet emotions….! Thanks darling Z!!!

      • http://theboldlife.com Tess The Bold Life

        LOL! You go for it, girlfriend. I’m very creative and can get ideas for others easier than myself. Gee do you think it’s called “getting in my own way?” Want to hear something funny? I prefer Angelina…which just proves my theory that both moms and non-moms (is that a word) will relate to the book and stories. This could be an entire separate blog and very interactive. OMG, let me know if you need more ideas;)

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Tess, you make me laugh – I love it. I don’t need any more ideas, noooooo! I need to implement the hundred that are just burning in my brain…..but ok then, point taken, if I write this book, I am dedicating it to YOU, mark those words. Thank you so much!!

          • http://uzma7.wordpress.com/ Uzma

            Farnoosh,
            Have to say, love the idea of the book. Such powerful and deep words here, so much emotion, love, pain, longing and peace, this way or that.!! Its a whole new world, just reading all these comments. You’ve started something here, something raw and poignant and so deep. Do take it further. Waiting for the ebook, my friend.

            • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

              Dear Uzma, I am thinking about it too – let’s take it all in and enjoy the ride for now – it seems to still be going on! – and then we’ll find a way to preserve it for later too….thanks for the support, my dear!

              • Amy

                Agree with the book. I have never read every single response to a post and still wanted more… ever.

                • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

                  Noted, noted :)!!!

      • http://www.abubakarjamil.com Abubakar Jamil

        Tess is not so off the mark, by the way. I liked the idea. :)

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          I may just need to do something about that then ;)!

  • http://www.positivelybeauty.com cristina

    Hi Farnoosh,
    I read your blog but this is the first time I leave a comment. I understand how you feel because I asked myself those very same questions many times, and especially while I was approaching my 40th birthday (I’m 41 now).
    As you, I love children…I just don’t really want one of my own. Never have. When I was in my 20s I was actually terrified of the idea of having children; I felt, like you, that the price to pay would be too high for me, and I didn’t want to give up my life for a son or a daughter.
    When I was about 33 my husband and I shortly contemplated the idea of children, but more in the line of “if it happens, we’ll deal with it” (not such a great motivation…). Then our circumstances, and desires, changed again, and we made sure it didn’t happen.
    When my nephew was born (my brother’s son) I was 35; as much as I love him, his birth didn’t make me change my mind. The first time I held him, I didn’t think “Oh I want this, too!”…
    Then when I approached 38 I started thinking “hey, this is it. If I want to have a child, I’d better hurry or I might never have one of my own”. But you see, I realised that I didn’t really want to have a baby, I wanted “to want to have a baby”.
    I was brought up in a very traditional family, where the expected thing is to grow up, get a job, get married and have kids. No questions. But I believe that each one of us is different, and not every one of us has to live the same kind of life. I know that I’m missing out on something, but that happens every time we make a choice…
    Too many people have children just because everybody else does, or because they’re the right age… you can make a difference in other people’s lives in so many ways! Every time you touch someone with your kindness, with your love, with your example, you make a difference, and you leave a legacy. We’re all connected anyway.
    Maybe at some stage I’ll change my mind…but I don’t think so.
    My advice is to only listen deeply to yourself, and choose accordingly.
    Love & light.
    Cristina

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Cristina, welcome to prolific living and thank you, thank you for gracing us with your story. I am not ashamed to say that I had to read this entire comment on my phone while dripping wet all over the place just out of the shower because it would just have been too much to wait to get to my computer!!! Thank you for sharing your journey and your feelings along the way – I’m afraid I resonate with you very strongly too. “Not every one of us has to live the same kind of life.” That is my guiding light every day to myself and it is not just for the sake of being different, but for the sake of being able to be me!! I can’t thank you enough for your story and for taking time to share it – and also for reading the blog. Hope to see you again!

  • NABILA

    Hi, Farnoosh, this is my first post .
    I had my son ( now 4) by ” accident” , first, i really panicked, no more outings, no more travelling, no more LIFE .
    I cried a lot , now that he is in my life, i am thinking , how could i live without him, he teaches me a lot, and i learned to love life in a new ways . Outings ? yes i go out sometimes, travel ? We had our first trip, him and me last summer to Africa let me tell you that it was a wonderful experience.

    I hope i expressed my thoughts well with my broken english

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Nabila, welcome to the blog and thank you thank you so much for taking time to share your story. You expressed it marvelously. I understood all of it. I am so moved by each unique story – yours included – and by your desperation and your raw emotions and the transformation to something else. And a trip to Africa, what a way to celebrate life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so so much!

  • http://www.miamilf.blogspot.com The Exception

    What a thoughtful post. I am not one that believes that happiness lies within one state over another – for some there is happiness in marriage while it is not for everyone just as some believe that parenting is the key to joy… for some, maybe and yet for others… not so much.
    I am a single mother of a fabulous daughter but I tend to parent in a different way in that I believe I am more her care giver and a person who is blessed to share her pat, to be her teacher and her student. It is not the traditional way of seeing parenting nor is it how I was raised or is it reflected in my neighborhood where having kids is “part of life” or “status” or the “norm.” I see parents who strive to have kids and plan for them only to parent them from a distance. Love them, yes… but is as if “now we have the kids… what’s next?”
    I didn’t plan my daughter – she arrived… dreams changed as did my life because I chose and continue to choose to parent mindfully with the realization that she is it… this time, with her… I want to enjoy to the extent possible. Her path is different than mine and wow… she delights and amazes.
    Children don’t bring happiness (Studies actually show that parents are less happy in the US than non-parents)… Happiness is something that each person finds within.
    And yes, people do “give up” things to be parents… and yet I don’t look at it that way… I choose to make this choice or that choice based on the life that I want for myself at this moment. And I include my daughter in the things I love just as I support her in the things she loves.
    At the end though – having children is an individual choice. People have them who may not want them or they have them for reasons that aren’t about the child or the life or the love. And then there are those who want them and want to love them and just can’t have them… and there are people who are not here to be parents just as there are people who are here to parent without having kids of their own.
    Thankfully there isn’t a rule that says we have to do this or that or live this or that way… or have kids or not have kids. We have the freedom to choose and to be nurturing and loving people with or without kids; to be happy with or without kids; to have a passion filled and wonderful life… with or without kids.
    Some of the best parents I know don’t have kids – they nurture themselves, their friends, and their families… the world.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Ok well you are hiding your name so what shall I call you besides my friend, you are indeed The Exception here with your views and your beautiful words and your amazing insight into this topic, thank you a thousand times for sharing your story so dispassionately ….your thoughts on happiness. I have never heard it said from a mother that children don’t bring happiness and I am so so glad you did – happiness comes from deep within and children are a joy, I imagine, but not a source of happiness. I think you may find a lot of disagreement on that front but it’s so philosophical too – if they bring happiness, that means people were unhappy before them or maybe they just intensify the happiness (as well as the hardships , no doubt) – and how beautiful you ran through all the scenarios of those who can’t have them, those who have them but may not want them…..I loved it, every word. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this!!

  • Casey Hills

    I’m impressed that you decided to write about this subject. It’s something that needs to be discussed, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes people. Like marriage, this is something that more and more young people are doing for the wrong reasons; for selfish, trivial and material reasons. It’s not taken seriously. I doubt most people these days contemplate the long term implications of having children. It has become something you just do after you get married. Have you ever asked a friend why she decided to have a child? The most common answer I get is, “Because I wanted to.” Is that a good reason? Doesn’t sound well thought out to me.

    Let me keep this short. These are my current observations on what motivates many people to have children. Let me remind you these observations are in no way scientific. There is no empirical evidence, or pier reviewed studies to support my position. It is strictly opinion based on anecdotal evidence.

    They want to. That’s what they’re supposed to do after they get married. Their parents want grandchildren. It will fix their marriage. It will make them happy. A child is now a status symbol. A child is now a fashion accessory. Attention. Money. “He won’t leave me.” “He’ll marry me.” They’ll get on MTV’s 16 And Pregnant.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Casey, you said controversial and you gave me controversial. Thank you for speaking your mind and doing so without censorship. I have seen the circumstances about which you speak, all of them, but … but but I don’t think that it’s everyone. Just read some of these amazing comments here. Not everyone does it for those reasons although trends don’t help us see the true picture, do they? To be honest, I haven’t asked my friends for reasons I said in the post – to not offend them. There are countless sad situations and hence all the childhood troubles we see and witness…..but there are also magical ones. I am so glad you weighed in here. Thank you and I know now how to get you to talk next time too ;)!

  • http://www.straightupliving.com Keith

    Farnoosh,

    I have read nearly every beautiful comment on this post. I am amazed, but not surprised, at the deep love, compassion, and genuine desire to help from the community of people that frequent your blog. How truly blessed you are!

    After reading so many beautiful stories, advice, experiences and compassionate responses here, I don’t know that I can add anything other than my thoughts and feelings.

    I am a father of three beautiful daughters, who have filled my life with more love and joy than I could possibly describe in words. Being a father has been the absoulte greatest achievement of my life, but it has also been the most difficult, though I would not go back in time and change it if I could.

    I feel the decision to be a parent is an individual one. I know there are those who would say “Yes, Farnoosh, you are a woman and should have children. That’s part of your purpose” but what I believe is the truth is that you should listen only to your own heart. I write that, and it seems so cliche’ and crappy. but I think that is answer!
    We all have a purpose, this I believe, but only Farnoosh will know with 100% certainty what her purpose in this life is. To live a life that impacts this world in a deep and loving way is to really LIVE! Being a parent is simply just ONE way in which this can be accomplished. Obviously, you are making a huge “splash” in the world Farnoosh. That is so obvious to me, and I don’t even talk to you often. I “see” your influence in many places and judging how others respond to you, it is clear your loving touch has made a difference in their lives. I may be on the fringes of your sphere of influence, yet I still feel you. I see you my friend, and my spirit resonates with the message your putting out to the world through the life you have chosen to live.

    You’re living love Farnoosh. Keep doing that and how can you go wrong?
    =)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Keith, thank you for this – you have brought me to tears, I hope you are happy ;)!! – Oh I don’t know what to say, I am overwhelmed with your incredible words, and we are so blessed to have such a loving generous community to support and love us in times of personal struggle. I love my readers, every single one, so lucky and this post is a serious proof.
      I can’t thank you enough for putting your thoughts, for painting the picture, for helping me see your view of a loving father both in parenthood and outside of it…..there is such a big world out there and I want so much to do so many things for it. I just don’t know if my own children, if I were to have them, can fill that urge and that desire – but I will surely not scale to give more if I should opt for that path in life. I really do not know what to say to your moving words, except thank you a thousand times, dear Keith.

  • http://www.myintents.com Dominic

    As you know, we all have an inner voice that ALWAYS points us in the right direction. Sometimes to avoid pain and protect us or to create happiness in our lives. You Farnoosh, are one of those very lucky people that are truly in touch with that inner voice/energy/consciousness/god or whatever word one want to use. So I commend you for putting the work in. That voice is clearly communicating an internal desire to not have kids, and you are listening. It’s great that you are so connected. Most people do things they don’t really want to due to social pressures. Keep listening to that inner voice, as it will bring you more happiness than anything else possible can…

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Dominic, it’s been so nice getting to know you and thank you so much for gracing us with your thoughts here – and what wonderful thoughts you have to share. I love all but all of those names, and how observant of you to notice. Yes, many people go with the flow of society and peer pressure. I have watched them all my life and wonder how easily they make such hard decisions. I wasn’t always this connected, I assure you, but not being so has made me more so in the recent years. Many, many thanks for your comment here, Dominic!

  • http://blog.self-improvement-saga.com/ Nea | Self Improvement Saga

    Hi Farnoosh. Personally, I don’t think a person should bring a child into the world if they don’t have a burning desire to do so. Raising children is an adventure, but no adventure is for everyone. It takes a lot of sacrifice, change, hard work and completely rearranging your life- giving up what makes you happy in order to do what is best for the child. Sacrifices aren’t so painful when the end result is something you’ve always wanted. If you aren’t overcome with the desire to be a mother, that is okay.

    I think that we all have different callings in life, and not every woman feels called to become a mother. Trust yourself and go with that. If you are happy and fulfilled, enjoy your life. There are plenty of women out here ready to populate the world. We don’t exactly have a shortage of human beings running around. Follow your heart and your gut. Trust your intuition. Instead of worrying about what everyone believes is normal, go with what feels right to you.

    Love and hugs to you.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My dear Nea, how is it that I am reading the umpteenth beautiful comment here and every single is gorgeous in a unique way, not a repeat of the previous one. “No adventure is for everyone.” – thank you for putting it in the light that helps me see it better. I am honestly still *looking* for the desire to become a mother so by no stretch overcome, sadly or gladly. It’s so nice to hear you believe in different callings; I’ve never felt mine was to parent a child. Thank you and I send you double the hugs and love back!

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  • Arianne

    Thank you for this post. I’ve always thought something was wrong with me because I have never desired children. I remember being a young girl in school, and wondering why most of the girls wanted to be mothers when they grew up. I would ask my mother about it, and she would tell me that when I grew up my feelings would change. Well I’m a grown up now and my feelings remain the same. I’m okay with that:)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Arianne, so nice to see a new face on my blog, welcome!! Nothing is wrong with you or me or anyone else and you never know, we may change later. I am thrilled to hear that you are ok with how you are and stay that way and never change. I’ll try to find out exactly how I feel on this situation and then be ok with that too….!!! Thank you for your lovely comment!

  • http://raamdev.com/ Raam Dev

    Hi Farnoosh,

    Like yourself, I’ve never felt the desire to have children. I’ve always felt that if the desire isn’t there and we don’t feel like we’re missing anything, then there’s no need to force it.

    Perhaps some of us were born to give back to the world in a way that doesn’t involve having children. While reproduction plays a vital role in the continuation of the human race, I feel that we each have differing parts to play in that continuation.

    I feel extremely fortunate to be born into a life where my opportunities are practically endless. I have the potential to give back to the world in a way that many people cannot. The ability to have children is something most people already have — the ability to reproduce is a privilege almost everyone is born with, regardless of their intelligence, social status, or wealth.

    For a poor, newlywed husband and wife in some remote village in Africa where the only opportunity they have is to cultivate the land their parents passed on to them, having children may very well be the only real opportunity they have… to give new life a chance to grow up with more opportunities than them.

    We, on the other hand, have been given an incredible array of opportunity. So much opportunity in fact that we should be responsible for giving back some of that to those who have less.

    Does that mean we shouldn’t have children? No, but I think it also means that we most certainly don’t need to have children either.

    Thank you for speaking your mind. This is a topic I’ve put lots of thought into but never felt comfortable enough with my own thoughts to share them publicly.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My dear friend, Raam, and now you have shared them publicly and they are brilliant just as you are. Thank you so much for trusting me and this space and community with your beliefs. And I resonate so strongly with you. I often wonder how men and women look at this differently and with all these responses, now I know there are the same feelings, same fears, doubts and desires in both sexes. It’s comforting. I really believe that some of us were meant to give in other ways, to pursue other passions, to do other things in life. I wonder if I am one of them. You, for sure, my dear Raam. Is there a doubt after your recent travels? Much love and hugs for giving what you did here!

      • http://raamdev.com/ Raam Dev

        I wouldn’t say my recent travels caused me to doubt what I previously thought, but it definitely made me revisit those thoughts and feelings. I think it might have been a result of feeling a bit lost and wondering where my place in life really was. I looked at families (and even my own sister who just had her first child) and felt a bit of sadness inside when I realized that there is a very good chance I will never experience any of what they have (at least not at those levels).

        But I don’t feel like I’m missing something… I think it’s more a sense of curiosity and feeling of shared joy for what they have. I’ve come to accept that I will need to live vicariously through others while I focus on doing all the things they aren’t able to do (like traveling the world as a nomad with few responsibilities).

        I think it’s only human to want that which we don’t have. Maturity teaches us to accept that which we don’t have as not something that’s missing, but simply as a different path. We can’t walk two paths at once, so we should simply be grateful for the path we’re on and feel joy and happiness for the paths of others.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          And they most likely – along with hundreds of others if not more – live vicariously through you as you go down your path. Do you know how many times in my life I have heard that people wish to live my kind of life? I am embarrassed to hear it sometimes – I don’t know why – A bit of guilt but not much – because I really live up my freedom and it’s the one thing I really don’t want to give up (especially since with Iran and all, we didn’t exactly have much in my early years of life) – anyway, the clarification is right on the spot, Raam…. “simply a different path” – not something that is missing. Thank you for having this conversation with me (and everyone else).

  • http://www.naijapreneur.com/ Tito Philips, Jnr.

    Before I finished reading this post, I knew it was going to be a long one and also attract a long comment and so far, I haven’t been disappointed, :)

    Farnoosh, I commend your courage for coming out straight like this to discuss such matters as this. Children are blessings to the world, no doubt. Now if you have personal reservations about having one biologically, then who are we to question your choice?

    However, I want to be straight with you on this, imagine your parents didn’t make up their mind to have you? Would there be any such thing as prolific living blog today? I leave you to answer that question.

    Just because so much might be wrong biologically with women after childbirth, doesn’t mean one should not have one. It’s the SACRIFICE that you have to pay to ensure the world’s continuous supply of gifted people such as yourself. I certainly want to grow old and handover my blog to my son, and I want him to come to your blog to leave comments as I once did, I hope he doesn’t meet you, but rather a greater version of YOU -your daughter!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Tito, you are very very clever – and sweet and imaginative and you tease me with your lovely scenarios….I love that you want your son to continue your blog for you – I certainly won’t leave it to my husband or any of my friends, that’s for sure! Maybe your son can run my blog too? ;)! Oh I do hear you, my dear friend, which is exactly what makes this decision so difficult. I am so happy my parents decided to have me, naturally and obviously. Thank you for posing even harder questions back at me, and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, so so much!

      • http://www.JeanBurman.com Jean Burman

        Farnoosh… I am sorry to interrupt here but I really must challenge Tito here about his statement “just because so much might be wrong biologically with women after childbirth, doesn’t mean one should not have one” I was wondering if he could please clarify his meaning here.

        What on earth is biologically WRONG with women after childbirth? Childbirth is entirely natural to women… and rarely is there something biologically WRONG afterwards. I’d be ever so grateful if he would explain [and rectify this misnomer] Thanks so much. And again I apologise for the interjection. Jean.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Hi dear Jean, I hope he does come back and explain what he meant – which is at best what he thinks because it can’t be from his direct experience ;)! – You can and should interject, this is a conversation among all of us and I opened it up to everyone for thoughts. Thank you for coming back and for holding us accountable for how we say what we say.

          • http://www.naijapreneur.com/ Tito Philips, Jnr.

            “The joke of course is on the female. Just when I feel I am beginning to awaken and to live, I am reaching the end of my healthy age to reproduce (but my husband is good to go for another two decades). Just as I am dancing on the edges of my reason for existence and my purpose on this earth, my biological clock is ticking the worst sounding alarm on the planet in my ears and seriously disturbing my focus. I feel younger than I ever did in my 20s and the irony of it all is that I am soon too old to mother a healthy child. This is all not to mention that physically, psychologically, and physiologically, a woman is affected in ways that are beyond comparison to a man when having a biological baby.

            Seriously, is that the best deal Mother Nature could negotiate for us? I love my body as it is and have huge hesitation to go for this thrill ride. I know we have advancements in medicine and technology but I am terrified of all the sacrifices and petrified of not making it through the labor alive. These are serious fears of an intelligent and educated woman.”

            The excerpt above was from the post and I am sorry if the way I made it sound was any different from what Farnoosh meant above. So Farnoosh and Jean, that where I got the idea from, not that I have any other proof or something, except what I have quoted above. The way I perceived her words was like something was wrong with women after childbirth biologically …

            • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

              Tito, no need to copy and paste what I already put on the post and I never said something would be biologically “wrong” with the body. So you did misunderstand. My point was that it is a huge sacrifice and there are fears and there are doubts and there will be changes that I may not be willing to make. I never used the word “wrong” so we can all agree to call it a misnomer. Thanks.

              • http://www.naijapreneur.com/ Tito Philips, Jnr.

                I Stand Corrected. I apologize for the misnomer.

                • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

                  No worries….thanks for saying that.

  • Rebekah

    My two cents: 1) I’ve always known I did not want children — first thing in early girlhood with my baby doll was to get her up, talking, and into some decent clothes. 2) During the 4 short months of my life when I wanted children with 15% of my being (that took a lot of calculation)(my closest friend at the time was pregnant), the desire was a *feeling.* I felt the lack of a child in my arms, I wanted my body to be heavy, I envisioned a child. Friends of mine who have wanted children either said they felt this, or they say they’ve “always known” they would want them. 3) While my stepchildren have brought me a joy and purpose I didn’t even know to dream of, living with them was a very difficult period I remember with much joy and gratitude but would never go back to, 4) World population is nearing 7 billion.

    There is no way someone like you will fail to give back to this world, and you’ll give in the way you desire most. Good luck with your decision; the way you are giving it time and thought is admirable, and rest assured there is no way you will go wrong.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My dear Rebekah, thank you for chiming in – I am so happy we have had these conversations in person too…..but you share so much more here. Yes, I’d like to know more about the 15% part! :) And we have had even more in-depth discussions around this, which makes your answer all the more special. I am sorry for the difficulties you had during the period where you were stepmother to the children but how lucky for them to have you in their life. How very lucky, knowing you and who you are. I will not rush in, you know I won’t. Thanks for taking time to respond here, Rebekah….!

  • Sahar

    Dear Farnoosh,

    First, I completely agree with Uzma’s point of view on this. This is one of those choices that should come from the heart, and not from the brain!

    I used to feel exactly like you. I was so fulfilled with my life and had no time, room, or desire to add such a huge responsibility into it. I can admit that I wasn’t “maternal” at all. The instinctive part of the dilemma was changed for me in a trip to Gibraltar and watching the apes on the giant rock (long story), but the logical part of the dilemma (“I am already super happy where I am! What’s the point of changing this?”) was still there…

    Then, like what Uzma said, I felt I should follow my heart and not make this a logical matter. In my heart, I was sure I want to experience this unconditional love and passion through raising another human being.

    I personally felt in my heart that I want to experience the joy of giving unconditional love. I myself was brought up in a dis-functional family. So I had no tangible example of a successful family life. I now have a 20 months old and expecting my 2nd one in a month! I won’t change my family with the world.

    There has been compromises in becoming parents and for a few years, we may not have as much flexibility to do adventurous things and take exotic voyages (I am obsessed about traveling!), but for me personally, the gain has been a lot more. Maybe because I never had that sort of emotional fulfillment growing up in my family. But to my own surprise, I *love* being a mom. I cherish every moment I get to spend with my son before and after work and on weekends and holidays. He makes us laugh like no other stand-up comedian can. When he’s singing and giggling so joyfully, our hearts melt.

    I still believe having children is blessing, and at the same time not having children is also a blessing. The key is to follow your heart…

    Cheers,
    –Sahar

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My dear friend, Sahar, gosh thank you for sharing this – I keep thinking I just can’t take another amazing comment and I am devouring all of them without any problems. I really find it interesting how your desires changed, and how you adapted and how you love being a Mom, even when you didn’t feel maternal. How lucky your family to have you, how amazing that it all comes together beautifully. I do hope that you seriously get to travel when the kids are older and don’t put that dream on hold because it can be so fulfilling. Thank you my dear Sahar for sharing your gorgeous story, thank you so much!

  • http://www.momentumgathering.com Katie

    Dear Farnoosh and Andy, you would make wonderful parents — and you can define that however you choose: parenting a child, adopting, loving any children you encounter, being God parents or even parenting your blog. Ultimately, your lives are yours to live as you choose. I’m sure it will be a shared life full of love, adventure, health and constant lively and engaging debates over issues like this one. Remember, I had dinner with you two so I know you of what I speak.

    There are no guarantees with any risk, chance or change in life. Only you can know what’s best for you two. All I know is that I had never, and likely will never, love anyone as deeply as I love my child.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Katie, my darling friend, I was wondering when I would hear from you and surprisingly, you focus more on me than sharing the deep love that I know you feel for your daughter. How kind you are to focus it on both me and Andy no less. Yes we had a lovely dinner at the Four Seasons in Vegas, a very memorable night for us. And I love how you think we can become parents in so many different capacities. I think if you had gone on, I would be in tears once again. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous momentum with me, my dear Katie!

  • http://www.ArvindDevalia.com/blog Arvind Devalia

    Farnoosh, it is 1.30 am here in London and I have spent the last hour reading through your article as well as each and every comment through teary eyes and a gushing heart.

    What I have read here from you and everyone else is just incredibly moving, warm, loving .. and I have already run out of words to describe how I feel.

    Folks, this is what makes us all human and connected, when we can come together like this and express ourselves openly and from the heart.

    Wonderful to be amongst such inspiring and courageous friends who are willing to be vulnerable and share from their deepest being.

    Farnoosh, it’s wonderful and so endearing for you to put this out there and invite others to share their own poignant stories.

    So this is my story – I have never had children but have been blessed with many nephews, nieces and friends with children. A close friend and a cousin are about to become fathers shortly, so I will get to experience holding babies all over again.

    I always notice and spot babies – and friends always joke about how I was getting broody:-)

    All my life, I have been drawn to kids and babies and am probably the biggest kid around. And yet, and to the surprise of all the people who know me, parenthood hasn’t happened to me.

    When I was married, we used to love playing with friend’s babies, but also looked forward to handing them back to their parents by the end of the day:-)

    A turning point was when in the first year of our marriage, some neighbours who were also family friends tragically lost their 4 year old daughter after a minor illness. She went to see her doctor in the afternoon and a few hours later she had gone.

    I saw the grief stricken parents only a few hours after their loss – and those moments are still my saddest memories.

    I suspect that this experience of seeing the pain of losing a child left a deep mark on me which has maybe subconsciously stopped me from wanting to have children.

    A few years ago, I reconciled to not having children and I am now focussed on making a difference to many children and people, rather than dwelling on the question of having children or not.

    Also, in a way the biological clock ticks for men too – there is only so much energy you have to spend on babies and kids as you grow older.

    I have often wondered what it would have been like to be a father and to bring a child into the world – but I also know how different my life would have been.

    My life is what it is now, with or without children – and I am ambivalent about where I am now. Maybe in years to come, I may look back and wish I had had children – but then again my life would have been so different.

    Now my focus is to devote all my energy to my work and my life purpose.

    All the above just gushed out – I wrote much more than I had intended:)

    So Farnoosh – it really is down to what your heart tells you ultimately. You are impacting the world in a big way. And will that really change if you were a mother?!

    I read somewhere recently how the greatest love a woman can feel is for her child. But you can also bring that love to other children in the world.

    (Thanks again to all the parents and especially the mothers who shared above about their love for their children – you are all very special people)

    Conversely if you believe in love and wanting to make a difference to other children, you can do that big time with your boundless energy and enthusiasm for life.

    Like many of your other friends here, I will be following your journey with great love and warmth.

    Farnoosh, may you and your heart do what’s really right for you. I know that no matter what you choose, the world will always be a brighter and sparklier place because you are in it:-)

    Goodnight from London
    xoxo

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Arvind, I read your reply three times, once in tears when it came in late last night – when I had to take an emotional break from my blog! – and twice this morning. Thank you for writing and for writing such a heart-felt and amazing message to everyone. I loved hearing your personal story and no matter how many I hear, every single one of us has a unique story to tell. I think it’s nearly impossible to see what our future holds, too, Arvind – some of the readers here have said that it’s up to faith and destiny and whatever is meant to happen will happen, and in a way, it would relieve me from the decision if I could really believe it but it’s not how I live my life, whether the belief is true or applies to me or not….I need to make a conscious decision because indecision is also a decision – and the worst kind. Thank you a million times for your perspective, for your love and friendship and being a core part of this community and all your sweet wishes sent my way – wrapped beautifully from one of my favorite cities, London! I follow you too and we will continue together to bask in each other’s journeys, whatever it may bring!

  • http://apollosdtr.livejournal.com/ Kim Curry

    It is a very personal decision. No one can make it for you, only you can decide for yourself.

    I haven’t read all of the comments. Just sharing my experience.

    When I was very little, I wanted lots of children. Super-multiples. Then I read more, about all the things that involves, and decided it wasn’t for me.

    I had just about convinced myself that I would create other things, organizations that would leave a legacy, teach children that weren’t my own, do good work, etc., when I got pregnant the first time.

    Unfortunately, that pregnancy was not to be. But it made me realize that I truly did want to have one or two children of my own. So we went on to have my son.

    It has changed my world. Most of the changes have been good ones. Now that he’s in preschool, I’m finding that I have more confidence, more calmness.

    Some of the changes have been difficult. Our parents health took a turn for the worse about the same time that our son was born.

    Even though I didn’t want a significant relationship with my mother, my son her grandbaby gave her great joy in her final years. Had he been older, I might have worried about her influence on him. But in his first years, I don’t think any child can ever have too much love in their life.

    Some of the changes, the impact to my career, I’m still sorting out. The world, at this time, is not particularly supportive of a mother’s career, even when the father stays home.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi dear Kim, welcome to prolific living and thank you so much for leaving your thoughts and your comments. I like that you approach it from a very practical and logical standpoint – the good and the not-so-good and the real impact on your life. Yes, it’s hard enough to hold on to a career but to do it with a baby, I just have no idea how my friends do it – especially those with many children. I am really happy to read such a new and logical look at the picture and very happy to meet a new reader. Thank you so much and hope to hear more of you in the future.

      • http://apollosdtr.livejournal.com Kim Curry

        Dear Farnoosh,

        Thank you for the warm welcome, and for writing such a moving post. I am learning so much from the discussion and the comments.

        I am a woman engineer, and engineers are trained to approach things from a logical perspective. Yet even at that, there is something about having a child that defies logic.

        The job I held when Dear Son (DS) was born, had for a time been my dream job, the only thing I had ever wanted to do in the whole world. And yet, between our parent’s health issues and DS’ birth, I found that I was no longer happy where I was. I felt stranded, far from home. While family had always been important to me, suddenly I needed to go home more often. I realized, when we visited for Thanksgiving, that before DS’ birth, I hadn’t seen my in-laws in 5 years… and that had been entirely too long.

        I found a different job, closer to home. The need to move and change was so urgent, I found one that was good, met my needs for the time, and has helped me to grow, but I’ve never been confident that this was the dream job for me.

        It was, in many ways, an “off-ramp” holding pattern to get us through the first 3 years of DS’ life.

        The beautiful thing about today’s world is that many, many more companies are supporting career paths that can include children. The support structure to “off-ramp” while the children are young, and “on-ramp” back into the career as they get older, is better today than it used to be. Some places are OUTSTANDING about providing this support, others less so.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Dear Kim, the dialogue here has been a real delight and thanks so much for sharing more. Two degrees in electrical engineering here and even if I no longer think of me as an engineer, I must say I relate and always like meeting other women engineers – I was in such abysmal minority in school ;)! The changes in your desire toward your career are a proof to me about your strong bond with your child and family and that is a great discovery, no? Have you read the book Onramps and Offramps? I even reviewed it here in the archives. I wondered since you mentioned the terms. I think many companies are very supportive of parenthood and I am so glad yours is one of them! Thanks again for your comment!

  • http://www.happyheartandmind.com Zengirl @ heart and mind

    Farnoosh,

    Wow, I can see the response to this post, as it is from your heart!

    Having children or not, it is a personal choice. I can only speak for myself that even though I am busy with kids, I choose them over peace and quiet, knowing both sides of coin. Whatever will happen to you, you will remain the good human that you are!

    Preeti

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Preeti, thank you for showing up for this. I was really hoping to see you – and guess what, your comment appeared here fine so I think the Akismet issue is now resolved, yay!! I know you spend enormous amount of time with your kids and that they are a lot of hard work, and I still love to hear how you choose them over quiet. You know, I really love my quiet, my hours, my routines, and I just don’t know if I can replace it with the very opposite. I am really amazed by people like you all the time and so happy to know you. Thank you for your comment.

  • John Sherry

    Much to ponder Farnoosh and many clearly have been drawn to your musings. I must declare straight away that I have no children as I was busy for years in professional sport and focused on career and success and getting somewhere. Now I confess that getting somewhere didn’t bring me the fullness I expected. I thought children would get in my way but it was that success that got in my way. Success can’t love you when you’ve had a bad day or give you a kiss that melts you after a trudge home in the snow. Success certainly can’t be part of your whole life wanting to be with you and adoring you whether you win, lose or draw. Succees takes effort and commitment but so too does love and having children and these last two change your life for ever…for the better. I want children now, I want that unconditional love that only they can bring that lights up my world inside and out every single day. In a world of to-do lists and big go getting pleasures they are the simplest, most loving pleasure for us all. I hope you find the answers you seek in your quest. I wish you love and Godspeed in whatever you choose Farnoosh.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi John, what a brave, honest and heart-felt response from your years of experience in life. You know, I think there is only good news here. You know exactly what you want and you have the answer to your question. I do not know your life’s circumstances but I am certain you can bring children into your life if that is your desire and there is no doubt it is from your thoughts. I have definitely thought that children would get in the way of my life. I am not ashamed to admit it but it’s not the pursuit success (at least not in the recent years) that has been in my way; it is just the way I like to live and experience life. All of the unconditional love you say can be given to you by children but I also see how many struggle deeply with a relationship with their children and to me, the love can be unconditional but is not always that way. That has given me great hesitation. How much control do I have over raising them? Will they still become indifferent and nonchalant teenagers who think me a nuisance in their life as most teenagers do their parents today? I refuse to live with that. For love, we can have many sources and maybe the one from children is unique but the love of a soul-mate, the love of animals, the love of our readers, the love of our family and friends, the love of the world at large, I find great fulfillment in all of that….Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and indulging me in mine…..And especially for your closing wishes!

      • http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com Whispering Gums

        LOL Farnoosh, there’s a pretty good chance they will go through some sort of teenage stage but it rarely lasts. Mine were not difficult or rebellious teenagers but they went through a level of withdrawal and embarrassment at being with their parents. It’s part of the cycle of life (in our western cultures anyhow). They come through that and suddenly you have wonderful young adults whom you love and who love you. Who else but a 20-something son would call you from a department story and say “Mum, I need to buy a pillow and I’m standing in the pillow section. What can you tell me about pillows?”. You know then that not only are you loved but you are needed!!

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          First of all, really off-topic but my CommentLuv plugin is working again – it decided to not work for this entire commenting; I find it a bit ironic. Largest # of comments and the Comment plugin doesn’t’ work – and dear Sue, how endearing your son to need help. I will always need my mom’s advice and my brother who is 30-something needs it even a lot more than me. Touching, thanks for sharing!

  • http://experienceandgrow.com Tom Sorhannus

    A wonderful and personal post Farnoosh and this is a subject I guess we all at some point have to face. Let me just first of all say that I don´t think your happiness depends on if you have children or not. That would mean you put the conditions for your happiness on someone else. It´s great if you live in a state of happiness but no state lasts forever. They all change and we have to change with them. I think you have to base the decision of having children on how YOU feel about it. There is no right or wrong here. I have one child, a daughter that turned teenager last summer and although me and her mother separated when she was only a year old I have never regretted that we got her. Of course it changes ones reality when a child enter it but for me it has meant I have learned a lot through her. Maybe you should just ask yourself the question that you should always ask. WHY? Why do I want a child or why don´t I and see what answers comes up. Then decide. And the idea of helping children who are already born to this world is wonderful. There are really a lot of children in need of help. That is something we all could do. Thank you!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Tom, my loyal reader as of late, I love seeing you here – as I do on every post – and thank you for bravely putting your story out there for us too…..It’s so sweet, so loving to hear of a daughter’s place in your heart and your life – even if your marriage/relationship did not work out. So endearing. Yes, no right or wrong but I wonder about regrets a little. Love your words on change. “They all change and we have to change with them.” Hard to bear but so true. Thank you dear Tom for the story and for your honesty. I am so grateful to have readers and listeners who care so much.

  • Debbie

    Dear Farnoosh,
    This is a brave post and something that needs to be asked..there is so much pressure to have kids but you need to be true to yourself and follow your heart. I never wanted kids, I got married at 25 and was happy to be with my husband. However, this all changed one day when I was 28 and held a baby girl at work, she was so beautiful and I was smitten for the first time in my life. It seemed like there were babies everywhere calling out to us. It hit me from nowhere that I wanted a child. I have always thought I wasn’t maternal (I still don’t get very excited about babies). The first time we tried for a baby later that year, I got pregnant, I was sick and nauseous all through the 9 months, I had a slow labour and it hurt so much towards the end due to her position. BUT….our daughter came into the world and I couldn’t believe we had made a little person. Having her has made me a much better person, taught me so much and I wouldn’t be without her for the world. It is the best thing I have ever done. I found the baby years hard work but from 3 yrs onwards it has just got better and better (she is 15 now). I am an only child and have always been happy with that. I have not had any other children as I couldn’t face another pregnancy, also I have never had the urge to again. I regret that she hasn’t got a brother or sister but I have heard that you should have a child for yourself and not for your child to have siblings. There is also pressure to have more than one child but I know lots of people who are happy only children. I would say to listen to your inner most feelings and be true to them, if it’s meant to be it will be and you will know. I believe I was meant to have her. I have told my daughter that she must never be under any pressure to have children, it must be her decision. I hope this helps even just a little bit. Thanks for a great post and discussion x x

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Debbie, how kind and sweet and nice of you to take the time to write this story for me. You would think I have heard it all by now but I am delighted for each comment and each story….I am so sorry you had such a rough patch during the pregnancy and labor – you echo my fears word for word – but the result has been so beautiful, so worth it, and your urge to have just one child. I think it really means you are connected to your own desires and your heart and have done it for all the right reasons, which is really my only hope, whatever I end up choosing. Thank you so much for your story and what a lucky daughter to have such a great Mom!

      • Debbie

        Thanks Farnoosh, you are very kind :-)
        I read a book about the mask of motherhood many years ago, about Mums only sharing the positive side of having children and their experiences. We need to be honest and talk from the heart to each other, which is why this post and comments are so amazing, everyone is helping each other by their contributions. You mentioned about teenagers in your reply to John – I wrote a few lines about giving your teenager a hug , Give Your Teenager a Hug and Tell them You Love Them
        I think it works wonders x x

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Hi Debbie, a hug sounds like a good start. It sounds simple but I bet money that most parents may miss out on it, thinking distance and silence is better to coax their teenager into the right way of living…. thank you for sharing your post – and yes, this has been quite my revolutionary post and I have been so blessed and enjoying it so much.

    • http://apollosdtr.livejournal.com Kim Curry

      Dear Debbie,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, it has meaning for my life too. DS is 3 now. I had always assumed that, if I had children, I would bear two, and if I still wanted children then we would foster or adopt to fill out the family.

      DS is 3, and I am busy with professional organizations. Sometimes it feels as though I barely have time for him.

      I had hoped the two children would be about 3 years apart… but I, we, are not sure we want a second at this point in time.

      I’m so glad that you are happy with your only child. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Gosh I just love seeing and reading the interaction among all of you in these comments! I hope Debbie returns to give you her insights, but I will chime in if it’s ok. I really think siblings are a gift to each other and if you also desired more children, I think you would be doing the children a favor especially if you drill into them the amazing importance of loving and befriending their siblings…..

      • Debbie

        Thanks Kim, I thought I’d tell you a bit more…I have felt under pressure to have more children from others who have more themselves but one friend who had a 4 year age gap was really happy until the 2nd child came along and then it seemed that her life & marriage went downhill. I don’t know what happened to them in detail but she was the one who told me only to have another child if we really wanted one and not just to provide a sibling. I suppose you have to do what works for you. I also know people with 8 year age gaps and it works for them. I really believe you have to look deep inside and do what is right for you and your family. Best wishes and hope you find happiness in whatever decision you make x

  • Joshua Noerr

    Farnoosh,
    I never wanted kids. Like you, I had wide and varied pursuits and felt a child would just get in my way. I love my life and I don’t want some little rug rats messing things up!

    But then, something flipped. I don’t know what it is, a switch or something changed in my brain.

    Yesterday, I heard the heartbeat of my 8 week old “baby” on an ultra sound. There is not going back to the person I once was. I wrote about the whole experience in my latest post. Cheers!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Joshua, your post about knowing that your wife was pregnant and desiring a baby before you knew that is what faith was offering you was touching. I really enjoyed reading it…..thank you for sharing the “flip” moment; even though I am not there so I can’t relate, I like to hear the story. So nice of you to stop by here. Thank you!

  • Georges

    Having children is unconsciously selfish (sometimes consciously). Let me explain before you attack me! Evolution has taught us that our biological goal is to survive and ultimately reproduce. We have genes in us that are selfish in the sense that they want to replicate themselves to the next generation at the expense of anything else. When I use the word ‘selfish’, many people get me wrong. They are not consciously selfish or aware of themselves as being selfish. It is just that their behaviour appears to have egocentric motives. It is ‘selfish’ because they want to replicate at the expense of any other motive, such as altruism. %50 of your genes come from your mother, the other 50% from your father. Now if you are a woman, you will want to align yourself with the fittest male you can find and vice versa. When I say ‘fittest’, I don’t mean physically fit (although for men, it is much more physical). Fitness means the ability to gather resources that can be used to bring up the offspring, as well as long-term commitment. That is why women tend to be less attracted to tramps than celebrities who have more resources. The subject of attraction is more complicated than that (actually, women are attracted to behaviour that indicate high value, rather than high value itself, but that is another subject of which I am an expert ;-)

    So the urge to have children comes from a selfish motive. I am not saying this is bad! Everytime I use the word ‘selfish’, people take it personally which is why I don’t like the word as it has malicious connotations, which is not the case with my use of the word. But it seems the best word to describe the behaviour of the genes.

    A woman who does not want children has a weakened biological drive, but this is by no means abnormal or bad. In fact, I would argue that she has a stronger free will than women who want to have babies. Essentially, women who want to have babies are to some extent controlled by their ‘selfish’ genes and have a weak free will. As soon as you can differentiate the two elements, that is: the selfish genes and the free will, then it becomes much easier to understand life.

    • http://www.JeanBurman.com Jean Burman

      Georges… one question while I count to ten. Do you have children?

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Georges, thanks for sharing your philosophies and thoughts with us here. For the record, I find lots of virtue in selfishness. We should care first for ourselves so we are fit to care for others. It is not always practical but selfish does not give me a negative connotation. Very interesting take on many issues but I’ll just address the one at hand. I think the act of parenting can be both selfish and selfless – and the balance of the two makes it this amazing experience…if it were entirely one or the other, it would fail no doubt…..I have never been happiest when I have been ONLY selfish – it’s through being selfish that I find how much I want to give and there is the selfless part, although I really don’t like that word but you get the meaning. Thank you for sharing and I think you have a question to answer here from Jean so do return!

  • Amy

    So many people say that it is selfish to not want kids. I think making an educated decision on having a child is the least selfish thing in the world. So many people have kids for COMPLETELY selfish reasons. Or by accident…. Don’t get me started. On the other hand, many people choose not to have kids for totally unselfish and responsible reasons.

    To me what seems unselfish is not having a kid of your own but adopting one. Giving a kid a chance who never had one. On the other hand, I have had loved ones that I respect argue that having your own children and raising them to improve the world has just as much impact as an adoption. Perhaps.

    I, too, have never wanted kids. I am 30 years old and no strange urges have once possessed me. I recently got an IUD and am thrilled that I will not have to debate the question for another 10 years. The only reason I didn’t opt for the more permanent solution is that is a more serious surgery and a little more expensive. I wasn’t quite ready for that.

    Interestingly enough, I am currently engaged to a man who has a five year old. Sometimes I wonder how on earth this situation came to be, but I love my fiance and he makes my life better in every way. His son also enriches my life, and I can see the joy of which people speak, but I still have zero desire to have kids of my own after two years. Now that I have a stepson, I have been let into that sometimes foreign world of mothers that isn’t always open to women without children. It has been fascinating for me.

    For many women (whose kids are their own….. I don’t know any other stepmoms), I am firmly convinced that motherhood isn’t all they thought it was cracked up to be. They turn to religion, or future purpose, or their legacy, almost to try to justify their dissatisfaction. I do not say this judgementally, it is simply an observation. I also know at least two women who wanted to be moms since they can remember, and I believe that motherhood has been everything and more than they dreamed it could be.

    I think the bottom line is that everyone is different. And kids are not the end all beat all, just like nothing else is. I cannot imagine my life without my education and career. But I do not judge the women who never pursued that path. Why judge? There are my days when I hate my career and can see their point of view, just like I believe that most mothers could relate with my not wanting kids on their worst days.

    We have to be honest with ourselves. You have to identify what makes you happy. Interestingly enough, I had always thought that if anything, I would adopt. That appealed to me way more than having my own kid. But it was still way low on my priority list, and not by any means something that I felt I needed to do to have a fulfilled life. I just found adoption more attractive than having my own children. Knowing how much my current fiance adores children and how he insists they bring so much joy in life, I broached the topic of adoption. I was open to considering it if it was so important to him. I was shocked when he showed no interest in adoption.

    No judgement on my part. I couldn’t be more thrilled that we only have 1 kid every other week. Even with adoption, I would’ve insisted he take the primary role if he wanted another kid. But I share this to say that every person is different. For some people it is kids, for some people it must be THEIR kids, for some people is no kids. For some people it is no kids, but a secondary role with a stepkid every other week. From personal experience, your life will likely be fulfilled by whatever you fill it up with and pursue passionately.

    My fiance and I came from opposite perspectives and now I enjoy his son, and he loves our adult life away from his son. He would be disappointed if I wanted a kid at this point. He said I opened his eyes to the other things in life. He used to want 3 more kids. And I can’t lie. I love his son.

    Thanks for your awesome post. I read your blog and enjoy many of your topics, but this is my first comment

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Amy, I read this one a couple of times too – you write so well and have given this so much thought. You are much younger than me but when I was 30, I felt about as strongly doubtful as I am now but adoption appealed to me too, with the conditions that there is no way on the planet biological family could come after the child (I read a horror story where the court gave BACK the 5-year old Samantha to her biological Mom!!) So my rule for adoption is that all living relatives must be dead. So I’d love to adopt a complete orphan in other words….or 10. Those children would be so grateful to what I could give them as opposed to my own whom I suspect would be spoiled, if my husband has a say in things! Anyway I digress, your story is almost the story of opposites attracting _ I married my opposite and it’s been fantastic in shifting more to the center _ and you are both seeing the beauty in each other’s world. I really, really appreciate your utter honesty – I have never met a Mom who admitted to regretting a decision about children but I have met and known and befriended many UNHAPPY Moms who have a very hard time for a long time and I could simply not justify that lifestyle and that sacrifice. For every one of those, however, I like to think there are as many as my readers – almost all of whom are happy with their decisions. Thank you Amy and you got me talking too. Please do come back. I loved hearing your thoughts!

  • http://daringclarity.com Lana Kravtsova

    Farnoosh, having children is a life experience just like everything else – changing the world, traveling, pursuing your passions etc. Just an experience. Maybe looking at it this way will help you. Do you want to have this experience in your life when you look back 50 years from now? If yes, then go for it. Everything else is irrelevant. Will it interrupt some things? Yes. Will you have to give up some things? Yes. But it won’t matter.

    It is just an experience but usually it is one of the brightest and deepest ones for most of us. I chose to have it because I didn’t want to miss out on something like this. I have no regrets. I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am without my little boy.

    You can’t answer this question with logic. Answer it with your heart and soul without letting fear to interrupt. Does your soul want to have this experience?

    I think conscious living is about listening to your heart and then consciously choosing what feels right and not letting fears or anything else to stop you.

    Just like everyone else I applaud you for sharing your feelings so openly with the world.
    I know you know what’s right for you:)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Lana, how did I know that you may show up here to give me your beautiful words. It would not have been complete without you. I know and have seen photos of your darling son. You are a match made in heaven. I can imagine that you have had many ups and downs but in the end, he is your life..Love the way you put it and thank you for the questions, which now I have to answer on a long flight somewhere….Right now, my soul doesn’t want it more than it wants or wonders about it. Perhaps I need to make sure that is my position. Thank you so so much for stopping here!

  • http://evolvingbeings.com Evita

    Hi Farnoosh,

    WOW, I am a bit speechless – did I come here on the right day or what! LOL Well I actually I came thanks to Abubakar’s article.

    Anyway, when I read the first paragraph I could have been reading my own writing…. in fact most of it resonated with me perfectly. I know I would make a great mom, but I just don’t have the desire to have kids, nor do I feel I am missing out on anything. I still have time I guess, and I will just play it moment by moment, as I am open to the unfolding of what each moment brings.

    But what I do know for sure, is that I never had the urge or desire to have kids and I know that right now, I still do not feel this is part of my current path. It would feel too forced and I have come too far, to go backwards and do anything out of unconscious actions, obligation, expectation or fear. The good news is that both me and my husband feel exactly the same.

    I think about it, and there may come a time in the next couple of years…. but I am sure that time is not now. I know there is a bigger divine plan in place for everything that has transpired in my life thus far, and everything that will.

    I read through most of the comments, and loved how everyone handled this topic. And I will add one more thing to this too…. we are at a pivotal time in the Earth history today, and at a time where I think it is more critical than ever to consciously think about one’s decision to bring a child into this world or not. Too many of us are still doing it, as the “right” or “natural” thing to do, but we have so many kids in the world who could be helped and need good, warm hearted, conscious adults who can help them, guide them and nurture them.

    In fact, if we end up not having kids, one thing we do know is that we want to work at an orphanage or perhaps even adopt a few kids later on. To us, it is not about blood relations at all, as we truly believe we are all one. So any child out there is just as good as a child that comes through us (and like you I am not too crazy about the whole pregnancy/birth process ;)

    So yes, it is a personal choice, but a choice that I just invite people to make very, very consciously. Because I find that many people think they are doing it consciously, but it still stems from a deeper conditioned beliefs that are rooted in many of the things you and others bring up, like religion, legacy, life purpose, fulfillment, etc…

    Thank you for this – it was wonderfully written and very engaging!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Evita, thank you so much for stopping here, reading, writing, and indulging me in your world, your views, and your beautiful thoughts. It seems we have more than one thing or two in common here….feelings toward birth/pregnancy, adoption, and lack of the urge…It is comforting for me to hear of other intelligent, smart people who feel this way and are at peace with how they feel – and yet you haven’t shut the door completely and who knows maybe neither have I. Your vision of adoption is so acutely close to mine, just read my response to the previous comment which is seconds before I finished reading your comment…and the synchronicity is amazing. Personal choice indeed. I admire your brave approach and I am so happy you stopped here tonight. Thank you!

  • http://whynotstartnow.wordpress.com/ Patty – Why Not Start Now?

    Hi Farnoosh,

    I have the greatest respect for parents, and yet, from an early age, I knew that wasn’t my path. And I’ve never regretted my choice. But as a woman who is now well into the second half of life, I can tell you there are consequences to opting out of parenthood. For the most part, the collective chooses to have children. That’s always been true and will probably always be true. So not having children sets you apart from the collective in mysterious and sometimes difficult to articulate ways. That’s not a bad thing; it just is. And it’s not about how the collective views you as a childless woman, but rather how you experience the collective from your unique perspective. It’s complicated, that’s for sure, and hard to explain.

    I’ve always thought that the only reason to have a child was because you want to love a child more than anything else. It really is all about love, as your first commenter said so well.

    Thanks for the thoughtful, heartfelt post.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi dear sweet Patty, how kind of you to stop here and share your thoughts. I am so happy you did. Every single response has been adding unique insight. Yours is well among them. Luckily, I have no issues being in the minority in this life, not anymore anyway! It used to be a serious problem when we had first immigrated here after living in another country first so culture shocks and being in isolation from others was awful but then I exploited its advantages and now love that I will never meet another who lives the lifestyle that I do. In fact, it is the norm that scares me and drives me away and I think it’s only psychological but for me, having a baby is joining the norm in some way – in practical and statistical sense anyway but then there are women who amaze me with their approach to parenting and still remain resounding personalities and people themselves….most of my readers here are in that category. If I decide not to have them, and I think that is where everyone around me – who thinks it their business ;0 – has placed their bets, I will have a way to articulate it if only to follow your great advice. But I have yet to decide… Well, and if it’s about love, I have an enormous amount to give, I just have to find that which will receive it in kind….thank you for sharing these words with us, Patty!

  • Kate Watson

    Hi Farnoosh,

    This is a timely post. My husband and I talk about this often, and were 99% decided against having children until I started to feel inklings of a biological clock. We’re still uncertain about embarking on the childrearing path, and will be remaining child free for the near term. Like you, I have been wondering about women’s decisions to have children and, nosy pants that I am, I’ve been asking. As you’d expect, many women tell me they’ve always known they would have children. Of those who didn’t always know and later decided to do so, I haven’t yet heard reasons that resonate with me. One told me she’d been married a while and it seemed like a change was needed. Another told me that despite her very introverted nature, much like my husband and me, she decided to have them because her husband wanted them and he would be a great dad. While she loves them dearly, she struggles with having them around all the time, interfering with her quietude.

    I believe it’s never too late to become a mother or to make a positive difference in the lives of children. Parenting isn’t about biology; I think you can experience most, if not all, of the benefits of having children in other ways, including adoption and surrogacy. Your thinking about leaving a legacy is similar to my husband’s. He would rather benefit mankind at large than bring one new life into being.

    A smart woman once told me that, if you ultimately decide not to have children, you should prepare yourself for other’s misperceptions, however. Many will believe you either are unable to have children, dislike children or are selfish (in a bad way). While I disagree with all three, she was speaking from personal experience. Really, though, it doesn’t matter what others think. We all have to make the best decisions we can with the information we have. As having children is an irreversible decision, I think it makes sense to wait until you’re certain you want to proceed, whenever that is biologically-speaking.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi dear Kate, so so nice to hear your thoughts especially because I so love following your adventures. I love your perspective and take on this, especially about it not being too late to make a positive difference…..Oh yes, I can imagine the hordes of disappointment from our families – that is the heaviest weight and burden to carry – the silent expectations torn into shreds. The reasons you give – at least you asked people ;) – lack so much. Like you say, it’s irreversible! As for misconceptions, my husband has opted to be called a proud impotent so we are good there so I continue to look perfect ;)! Thanks so much for dropping by!

  • Georges

    Jean, to answer your question, no I don’t have children, and never will (because I don’t want to be genetically selfish).

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Thanks Georges, that oughta open up a discussion or two….!

      • http://www.JeanBurman.com Jean Burman

        Gosh… I’m sorry to hear that Georges. No seriously. Because there is no greater avenue for healthy self denial than to parent a child who will ultimately take their place in the world and contribute whatever might be their greatest gift for the betterment of humankind. But that’s just what I think… and I am only one! :-)

        • Georges

          No need to feel sorry for me since I’m happy with my way of being. By feeling sorry for me, you’re actually judging me (albeit unintionally perhaps).

          I agree with you that mothering one’s own child might feel different to mothering an adopted one and I am glad that you are not claiming that one is better than the other :-) By saying that mothering one’s child is unique, one can equally say that mothering an adopted child is unique.

          In response to your last sentence on your post, I believe that it IS possible to explain, using evolutionary biology (the selfish gene).

          • http://www.JeanBurman.com Jean Burman

            You misread Georges! I said I was sorry to hear that… not that I am sorry for you :-)

            I have no argument with the fact that both experiences are unique. I didn’t say they weren’t. I just said that mothering a natural child is “different”

            I stand firm in my belief that the miracle of childbirth [and the giving and receiving of life] is impossible to explain [in the emotional sense] to those who have no comparative experience of it. And here is a case in point.

            Georges I thank you for your viewpoint… which I find interesting and enlightening. And I am glad we can agree to disagree here… with no hard feelings :-)

            • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

              Georges and Jean, I can’t say I am surprised but just happily so that we can agree to disagree so agreeably on a subject that is beyond sensitive and on viewpoints that drive home valid points. Thank you both for the discussion and I have nothing to add except that I enjoyed the exchange…..

  • http://www.JeanBurman.com Jean Burman

    I just wanted to clear up a meandering misconception weaving its way in here… that the differing experiences are interchangeable. They are not.

    Any mother will tell you… there is no greater love… than that of a mother for her own biological child. Even mothers who complain about… neglect or otherwise mother poorly… will still instinctively lay down their life for the life of their own child. There is no other love like it. It’s nature… and an incontrovertible fact.

    This is why surrogacy or adoption [whilst entirely valid and worthy]… or the legacy of some other great personal achievement… cannot possibly be compared to the mothering of a natural child. I am not suggesting for one moment that natural mothering is more… and the former is anything less… [by no means]… it’s just different… that’s all.

    And it’s not to say that one choice is right and the other is wrong… or that adoption and surrogacy is any lesser life experience… it’s definitely not. But it IS very different. You can’t compare mothering a natural child with any other experience on earth. It’s unique. And impossible to explain when there is no comparative experience of it.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Jean, thank you for sharing your thoughts in depth here and for following the conversations. I know I mentioned in the post – even in my limited view – that it’s impossible to measure regrets – if any should happen – and by the same token, impossible to measure the experience of another with motherhood when we opt out ….So many choices, and so many ways to look at this decision that spans human history and will forever. I think we can only articulate how we feel and venture to guess at best how others who made a different choice feel……Oh so much to think about. Good thing I have a long flight coming up! Thank you for this!

  • http://www.sitesketch101.com Nicholas Cardot

    I’ve upset my wife on more than one occasion with my disdain for children. I think that newborn babies are ugly. In fact, my sister-in-law (my brother’s wife) has been upset at me on more than one occasion for expressing how I felt about her ugly newborns.

    Children are bratty, snot-nosed inconveniences. The way they want to play and get into things doesn’t jive with my lifestyle of reading, studying, working and growing. Their loud, obnoxious presence is like nails on a chalk board.

    My friends show me pictures of their children and only out of dutiful, society-dictated courtesy, I smile and respond positively toward them. Yet inside, I can’t help but think that their kids are nothing more than undisciplined hooligans.

    And then Emma came along.

    I was hesitant about having children. I’m sure that after reading the first few paragraphs you can understand my feelings on this. But Diane, my wife, wanted children and since I love her more than anything, it was no sacrifice at all to oblige her.

    When she was born something strange happened. I still felt the same way I always felt about children, yet somehow Emma became an unwritten exception to my disdain.

    Now I’m the one boring others with pictures of my little angel. I’m the one bragging about how smart my girl is. I enjoy picking her up, spinning her around in circles or tickling her and listening to her squeal. We wrestle around on the floor and we smile and we laugh together.

    I don’t have a logical answer for you. I don’t have some sage advice. I can’t compete with the rhetoric in your post. I simply can’t. I don’t know how.

    All I can do is attempt to express how I feel.

    Nicholas Z. Cardot

    P.S. Want to see a picture of my daughter? Isn’t she gorgeous?
    Picture #1: http://yfrog.com/12x3umj
    Picture #2 http://yfrog.com/jus0hpj

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Oh Nicholas, I can’t believe you brought up the “ugly” (vs. cute and beautiful) discussion….I think it’s funny so I have to share – My biggest fear has been that I will have ugly children, because look around, not so attractive people produce beautiful offspring, would the reverse not be true? :)! Oh little babies are fine, they are just confused and all wrinkly and just getting used to the world. If you really want a challenge, look at first born pups. To me, they are ugly little rats with their eyes and ears shut to the world and wailing away, but I remember my mom yelling at me for using that word “around them”!! And then they turned beautiful.
      Question for you is this: Do you think you were cute when you were born? And did you find Emma beautiful the second she was born? Probably no to the former and yes to the latter…..
      Love the way you close, the way you just can’t answer my burning questions and yet in a way, you have given us so much with your story. Thank you so much, Nicholas, of course she is gorgeous – I have even told you so as much before – stop showing her off :)!

    • http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com Whispering Gums

      Oh that’s too funny Nicholas. Love your final words and then the photos! Perfetto! (And isn’t it lucky for you that you decided you loved your wife so much you’d make this sacrifice? It’s funny the way things often – not always, I know – work out right despite ourselves!)

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Sue, you should check out his latest post. He ended up writing about his little angel, Emma!!!

  • http://blog.tpronline.org/?cat=37 Jasmine Rose Penter

    Farnoosh~This is the first blog of yours that I have read, not only is your content intriguing, but the discussion following passionate and humbling. As a 32yr old full time employee, part time Masters of Social Work student, newly married, multiethnic woman I too struggle with many of the questions you put out there. This week in class we were asked to watch “The Orphan Trains”- the starting of USA’s foster care system- oh my goodness my heart broke over and over seeing these unwanted children shipped off from NYC to rural towns in the west- only to be put on the block, checked over, and deemed good enough/not good enough to foster. This is what I posted to my class “it just makes me heavy hearted to think about all the kids in the world, who feel unwanted, unloved and don’t have a place they consider a safe home. I really wish we as a society understood, the huge and important role of parenthood- and that we would own those roles and hold one another accountable to fulfill the responsibilities that come with those. I’m not exactly sure how we would do that…but it’s definitely something I long for….and something I myself struggle with (not being a parent but a mentor to children, this large and daunting task of parenthood has me asking myself frequently- at what point will I or do I jump into this role?). ”

    May we all consider the choice of children with such thoughtfulness,
    Jasmine

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Jasmine, welcome welcome to prolific living and how timely because I have been dying to know what people think on this topic and every single response is rich and unique. Thank you for sharing the -albeit heartbreaking – story of the children. I don’t think I have the heart to watch what you did. Unwanted pregnancies are so sad, and teenagers or people who don’t take responsibility should be faced with the weight of all the responsibility in the world….It is very very sad. But it’s a society, so some people screw up and then the good people have to clean it up. It’s just a fact and a daunting one. The good people however overcome the former with their compassion and so I continue to believe in the goodness of humanity. As for the parenthood decision, you are younger than me but funny enough, I had a slightly stronger urge at 32 than I do now. Who knows what’s in store for us? I can only thank you profusely for sharing this and hope to see you again here.

  • Chase Night

    Reasons I Don’t Want Children:

    1. I, too, am terrified they would be ugly because …
    2. I think most babies are ugly. I bought my niece a stuffed pink bulldog because I thought it looked like her.
    3. I love animals to the point that I might not love my child as much as my pets, thereby screwing poor unsuspecting child up and causing me to pay for much therapy in high school.
    4. Children make me want to vomit. Like I literally can’t be around them sometimes because they do such sick things.
    5. Disney started making those terrible sequels to classic animated films in which previously bad ass male characters become boring, uptight fathers. I’m afraid this happens whether you want it to or not. I don’t want it to happen.

    Reasons I Want Children

    1. There are a lot of scary people with dumb worldviews who are having as many babies as possible. I feel like we smart people must counteract this movement by producing smart babies to keep the dumb people’s babies from ruling the world by sheer force of numbers.
    2. Two people I know had legitimately beautiful babies. Like almost as adorable as husky puppies. I found hope I could have a child and not be revolted by its red, sticky face.
    3. I think pregnant women are hot if they were in shape to start with.

    So as you can see, no children is in the quantitative lead. The hotness of pregnant women isn’t a very good reason I feel because it only last for nine months and then everything could go terribly wrong forever.

    But if my girlfriend wants to take that risk, then we will. Because as you said, i don’t have to do any real work so who am I to say no if she wants to expel the effort and a living creature from her body.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Chase, I am now finished laughing and can compose a response. Some of this may have gone even too far but I chose to laugh at it all. You are an animal lover, no doubt and that is much easier for me to relate to, even on insane, borderline, obsessive levels. I had all kinds of animals growing up but not recently. You see just how much I love my independence? We are not even willing to adopt a little puppy, and we are serious dog lovers. Anyway, I do see your struggle and I can sympathize. Children around the age of 8 or 10 up to about late teens are very hard for me to connect with on any level – and then there is the cultural shifts where we just can’t close the generation gap. Too much has happened in technology to ever help us relate to our children….much more so than happened between when our parents were children and our own childhood, I think. Anyway, let me add one more thing which is my pet peeve: When one person in the couple “convinces” the other to have a child; so I do warn you against it seriously, if I may. I just don’t think it’s healthy and I see it all the time. And to be honest, it takes more than unconditional love to keep relationships and marriages going. So be true to what you want and I’ll try to do the same. Thanks for chiming in!!

  • http://www.newbizblogger.com Michele Welch

    Hi Farnoosh,

    This is actually the first time on your site. :-) What a beautiful and well thought-out post!

    What you are going through is perfectly normal. I was exactly in your shoes once. Had a life I loved and not interested in sharing my energy (I know, sounds so selfish when you say it out loud).

    I was committed NOT to have children and not to get married for that matter. But something switched for me when I hit age 35… can’t explain it. But my years of protests of not living the “traditional” life all of sudden stopped. I wanted a child.

    Withing 3 years I got married and had 2 children, Ethan and Samantha. Seeing my babies for the first time was indescribable. Don’t get me wrong I did NOT like the process, the growing belly, the weird emotions, etc.

    But I finally truly got what it meant to love something unconditionally.

    I sometimes miss my “old” life … I wouldn’t be truthful if I said otherwise. And I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices to now share my space with these 2 little human beings.

    But it’s been quite a ride and I live a richer and more fulfilling life today for it. But we each have our own path… choose yours and choose powerfully; no regrets.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi Michele, welcome to the site and thank you so so much for sharing your story, candidly and openly. Selfish is not a bad thing. I think I have said that a dozen times in this post alone….but then a few argued that having children is selfish, which was an interesting debate. I swear, the comments make this post, not me. So glad you shared your story. And it’s really nice and comforting to hear that you ended up WANTING this experience and went for it and are now embracing it but still realize what you set aside and what you gained! Thank you again. Here’s wishing you and your little two human beings all the happiness you can have. And your closing words are my favorites: “choose yours and choose powerfully; no regrets.”

  • Pingback: And Then Came Emma | Nicholas Cardot()

  • Sheila

    I have never desired to have children, even though I am in awe of the way a child approaches life, with all of themselves. I have felt the joy and light they can bring to someone’s day. And I, too, have fallen in love with children – my nieces and nephews and my friends’ children, and have seen people in my life be wonderful and awesome parents.
    But the greatest and most heartbreaking love and angst I feel is for all the children in the world that have no safe place to call home, no family and no stability in their lives– the children that are left by the wayside (by all of us). There are many reasons why they have become orphans – not just because someone doesn’t want to “take responsibility”. Wars, illness and poverty cause deaths of parents, we force cultural expectations upon pregnant women which cause them to birth and/or reject children, and there are hundreds of heartbreaking reasons I can think of that a mother/father might give up a child (addictions, unsafe environments, desire to give a child a better life/chance, victim of rape unable to cope, no economic means to raise a child…to name a few), not to mention the fact that some children are taken from their parents without their consent. For all of these reasons, I cannot judge the parents of our unclaimed children. You can never know what their circumstances were, or experience what they felt in their hearts.

    I find myself in disbelief, however, that our culture continues to prompt and reward and celebrate people for choosing biological children over adopted children. It seems illogical and cruel to me to choose to procreate when so many children are already in need of parents and their love. Beyond that, it seems to me that if people want to leave behind a worthy legacy and they want children, they might consider taking care of our existing human family – we have children who are already here, living and breathing and in need. And what about how over-populated our world is and how we are procreating at a rate that is unsustainable and detrimental to the survival of our species?

    With all that being said, I understand your struggle over this decision. I have my own intense struggle with guilt over not adopting children myself, but it has never felt like the right path for me, no matter how much I would like it to be. And I feel compassion for all people who have desired to have their own children. I have friends who are single mothers raising their children with integrity and perseverance and patience, and family members who have always known they were going to have kids (and did), and people I love dearly who have spent thousands of dollars on surgeries, medications and procedures to be able to have a biological baby they could call their own. I have cried with them, felt their pain and struggle, loved them with all of my heart, and wished for them only what would make them happy and fulfilled. I have seen their love for their children, which is great and beautiful. But I also do not understand the decision they made in the context of the world in which we live today.

    I am still trying to find my own peace over this issue myself. I hope that you find peace in your heart over whatever decision you make.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Sheila, I find myself a little speechless in responding to each comment here and yours is no exception. There is no way I or I think anyone can argue logically with your points – so many existing children in need already so why continue to procreate. I think from the answers, we can see that no one can really explain this biological drive when it is driven by nature, then there are accidents and well, pressures of the “perfect family” from society. Everyone has their own reasons and after reading and digesting all these comments including yours, my only hope is that people make a deliberate and conscious choice, ignoring all pressures from others and following their heart where logic fails but being very cautious because it is not as natural a desire, in my opinion, as some may make it out to be. Thanks so so much for sharing your thoughts and giving me food for thought. I wish you the same in finding peace with whatever decision you make!

  • http://www.thewritersclinic.com Jean Gogolin

    Hello Farnoush,

    It strikes me that this “should I or should I not have children” question is one asked only by the young not only because youth is the only time one CAN give birth but because we lack the experience then to know what having children will mean over a lifetime.

    I had children in my early 20’s, and frankly didn’t give it a lot of thought: that was simply what one did then. I was newly out of college and had not had a chance to do so many of the things I wanted to do. So for several years I resented the fact that having young children prevented me from doing those things. But when the kids were past infancy, I went to work.

    I am now 70 — a young 70, people tell me — and those children and are in their mid and late 40s. They and their families are the major joy of my life, but not the only one. Their father and I are long divorced, though still friends, and my second husband is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s Disease. I’ve had a successful corporate career as a writer, traveled all over the world, and now have my own web-based business writing and coaching other writers. I am full of enthusiasm for doing new things — and the love and support of my children, now truly my best friends, are the major reasons I feel that enthusiasm.

    So that is a view from another stage of life.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Jean, how kind of you to honor us with your story and what a great story. I think questioning the fact may indeed be something few people do but I really believe questioning our choices is really important. I only wish I felt this way when I was in my 20s instead of just following advice and the norm. I am long since done with that attitude toward my life.
      I loved reading that you have pursued your dreams, traveled much and built your own business later on and no doubt, sharing that joy with your family is central to your life. Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into the effect of having children over the span of a life and not just the immediate impact. Thanks for stopping here and hope to see you soon again!

  • Leila Ahmadi

    Dear Farnoosh,
    Hope you are fine. Sorry for my late comment… I really enjoyed this post but unfortunately I may not be the right person to give any comment on the subject since I don’t want to have children if I ever get married… Like yourself, I fall in love with children easily and can make good connections with them but can never imagine myself to one of my own…

    Keep on writing excellent posts… I love reading every single one of them. Take care, :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Leila, I have missed seeing you so much but thrilled that you are still reading the posts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so candidly and I love that you just know that about yourself. I hope you don’t let the husband change your mind. ;) I shall keep writing if only for you….hope to see you back soon and thanks again!

  • Alicia

    I just subscribed to your blog although I cannot remember how I even stumbled upon it. I absolutely love this post. I could not agree more. I am constantly having this debate with my girlfriends (many of us who recently married and deal with the immediate bombardment of procreation questions). One of them said “If you don’t have kids who will take care of you when you are old?” I thought to myself – there have to be greater reasons than this and I still can’t quite tap into them.

    • http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com Whispering Gums

      Oh dear I agree. I’m going to be opinionated here and say that this is about the worst reason there is for having children. I truly don’t believe it’s a fair burden to lay on them. You hope that they will care for – not in the sense of “take care of” but in the sense of “love” – you when you get old, of course, but that’s all you should expect I think. If looking after you in your old age is your prime reason for having children, you are in for a shock – there is a LOT of hard work to do before you get anywhere near achieving your goal and what if, after all that, they don’t (or can’t) take care of you? Really, the only reason for having children is because you want children IN your life not for some possible benefit you might get from them 40+ years down the track.

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Alicia, I am so happy to have you as a new reader. Thanks so much for writing your thoughts here for us and I am so glad Sue was here to give her thoughts before me, all of which resonate exactly with mine. You know, funny enough, my mother-in-law asked my husband the same question!!! My answer is the best nurse, butler, chauffeur, chef and cleaning lady my money shall buy! Oh dear, what a – forgive me but – lousy reason to have kids and as Sue says, I am sure you would be in for disappointment if that is the plan! So please share this with your friends and good luck with the decision.

  • http://www.abundancetapestry.com Evelyn Lim

    Hello Farnoosh,

    After more than 100 comments, I think you’ve already read almost every angle there can be on this topic….LOL! I don’t know what else I can add other than share my own story.

    I have always wanted to have children. I could not explain the desire. And even when I was in my 20s, I had no idea what raising children meant. I was not aware of what I had to “give up”. I made the decision to leave my well paying banking job and all the nice benefits I was getting when I became pregnant with my first child.

    However, in recent years, I got a glimpse of knowing why my two children came into the world. The understanding came at a time when I was deciding whether or not to go back to full time work. If I had gone back to full time work, it would mean less time on the personal development route.

    So here was what happened. I found myself tuning into visions of past lives, or more specifically, the “deathbed” scenes. In these visions, at the point of my soul’s “passing away” in that lifetime, I intended to incarnate again with them for unresolved businesses. So I came to the realization that the wish to have kids is a soulful one that I had already intended beyond time and space.

    My subsequent findings or memories also allowed me to know that I have been with the souls of my children a number of times. In fact, I shared some of these experiences in one or two posts on my site sometime ago.

    Obviously, I do ask myself if life would have turned out differently if I have known what is involved with having children. In many ways, they take priority over a lot of the things I do in a day. I cannot be as carefree as before. Yet, motherhood has allowed me to experience this: that love has no boundaries. And precisely this is what my soul has intended to know experientially before incarnating.

    It’s funny that I am sharing all the above here. I wrote some parts of the above in the book that I am currently writing. And just yesterday, I was wondering if I should delete these parts. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested to read about my past life experiences.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dearest Evelyn, thank you so so much for sharing your story which is like no other! I can’t say that I can relate but I love that you had your reasons, you listened to your heart and soul and have obviously chosen the right path r even calling for your journey.
      I don’t know though if motherhood is the only way to learn that love has no boundaries. That thought scares me since first, I see mothers who hardly shw love or affection to their children – they do exist in society and therefore, this boundless love cannot be for all mothers and I believe it is not limited to the experience of motherhood. Perhaps, I am being naive, but I really feel compelled to find out other ways to touch on boundless love in this life, if I choose to opt out.
      Thanks again Evelyn for sharing such a personal account of your experience and indulging me in my response.

      • http://www.abundancetapestry.com Evelyn Lim

        Yes, your path is going to be like no other! May your path unfold untold treasures!

  • http://www.alternaview.com Sibyl-alternaview

    Farnoosh: You are such an amazing thoughtful, sincere and honest voice in the blogosphere. I know that there are so many people who are thinking through this same topic and it is always so helpful to know that there are other people out there just like you. I have a daughter, but I definitely waited a while to make this commitment and was in my 30(s). As I am sure you have experienced, I had people from every direction I turned asking “when are you going to have a baby?”. However, I just sat still and allowed things to unfold as they should and I didn’t make a decision until I was ready. I think the best advice to share is the advice that has already been given by Abubakar … you have the answer. I think one of my greatest lessons in life has been just that … the answers we need are always within and the best thing you can do is to find your way to your own truth and then follow it. I can tell from this post that you are already on that path. Absolutely Amazing Post.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hello dear Sibyl, you are so sweet – thank you for all the kind words but seriously, look at these responses, how can I take credit for this? It has been an amazing roller coaster reading and responding and digesting all of these stories. I am so proud of your approach, so proud of your patience in the process and your ways of going about having your daughter…..! Sibyl, you are indeed what you preach on Alternaview….you followed your own and I find it remarkable. Thank you my dear Sibyl for taking the time to share your beautiful story – I feel closer to you, knowing it.

  • http://www.PhotographyByPascal.com Pascal Monmoine

    Dear Farnoosh…

    Here is my modest take on your most wonderful introspective question and wondering…

    In the new and blissful place where I have been so lucky to evolve today, only two things ever matters to any and all of my decisions… whether small or… huge and drastically life changing… as your today’s question to yourself and to your readers.
    These two elements are simply put… my heart …and my mind.
    For any and all questions I ask myself… “How does it feel?…” and the answer to that is always instantaneous and is also always … of absolute truth. Where everything starts to become “messy”, if I might say, and opens up a huggggge door to doubt is from the first instant that … you let the mind be part of that answer. If you are disciplined and wise enough not to let that happen, then the answer of your heart is always of absolute clarity, simplicity and truthfulness. It does not mean of course that the implementation of such answer, in your mind and in your daily life, will be “easy” (which is why so many people do and repeat hurtful choices of doings, simply because it is often “easier” to do something that ends up being hurtful, to yourself or to others… usually to both… and doing the opposite (sticking to what is kind, loving, “right” and moral… is often much harder) but in terms of finding out your answer… the process is incredibly simple … just truly listen to your heart…
    So that’s your first step…

    The second step, as I modestly see it, is when you DO indeed decide to now start to involve and reason with your mind and look for the second intellectual part of your “answer”… and things can get really complicated here as we, unfortunately, start to scan an infinity of variables … we also start to include in our attempt to an answer, all the sorrows and tears from our past, from other people’s past… we start to include all the worries and fears about our future, about other people’s futures… we start to also include peer pressure, other people’s lives and doings (which, once you evolve to a really peaceful and “complete” place are truly and always totally irrelevant to your own life and choosings and doings)… we start to include society’s many pressures (most of which being also either toxic or truly irrelevant to your
    own life) … and so many other variables.
    By the time you are done scannning any and all options and informations relevant to such a huge decision as the one of your subject today … the child who you might have decided to give birth to and welcome in your days and heart, if you only had listened to your heart with the first part of your question … might as well be 2 years old by now … or 10?… ;-) What I mean of course is that applying infinite intellectual reasoning to what is truly in that case mostly a matter of the heart and of a matter of choices … might take days, months… years… and maybe might very well end up taking even more time than what it would take you to truly raise a child ;-) … This is of course an illustrative reasoning but the concept here is that in so many things, in carrying so many of our doubts and undecisions and always contemplating too many choices… it is so easy in our today’s society to simply miss … life… to simply miss … living, being, rejoycing in whatever already is… in focusing on our missings instead of cherishing our already present many blessings…

    When you look at two laptops and want to decide which one to buy, you have a limited number of variables to look at, and a price. That is an easy decision…
    When you look at bringing a child into the World… you could be pondering on a few thousands questions for the coming 10 years… and in the end, my modest suggestion would be to simply listen to your heart… he/she will know what you truly want and what is right to YOU … and no one else can ever answer that for you…

    As for my personal experience, I have today a 13 year old daughter and a 17 year old son and I would not miss for all the gold in the galaxy, any single one of the moments and infinite sunshine that they have brought to my days and to my hearts since I changed their very first diaper in the hospital (and despite the many tears also sometimes coming with the raising of a child)… but… that is only my heart and my life… and yours is yours, and no one else’s…

    I can only wish for you Farnoosh to find clarity in your heart… and everything and everyone else will be irrelevant once you find enough peace and clarity to hear its gentle answer…

    Amities,

    pascal

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Pascal, mon cher ami, thank you a million times for this unique, authentic, original and raw opinion. I am a bit sad after reading this – I know this post has turned into serious research and debate but it is possibly because so many people can also relate to it and everyone wants to share their thoughts. I know that in the end, the one thing that everyone has said is that the answer lies in my heart -and I can’t ask anyone to tell me what to do, which really wasn’t the question to begin with. You have answered my questions. But you know, I never really had the desire, 2 or 10 years ago (definitely not 10 years ago) to bring a child into this world so that assumption of some 10 year old running around in my life has never even materialized in my mind…. I think I just need to decide if I will keep the door open or shut it forever and I fear my time is just drawing near. Thank you my dear dear Pascal for sharing your heart-felt emotions as you always do. They mean the world to me. Thank you!!!

      • http://www.PhotographyByPascal.com Pascal Monmoine

        Your answer is right in your comment Farnoosh… and it is all peaceful and exactly as it should be … as this is all about your own life, your own choices and your own heart… and no one else’s. There is no less value to assign to the fact that your life and your heart are complete just as they are, with your wonderful husband, with your friends and with your family in it, without a child of your own… as there is no less value in the fact that John likes purple more than Julie and that Julie will never have anything purple in her home… or the fact that Saied would rather live in Iran for the rest of his life but would never ever consider living in the US… and John feels the exact opposite…
        Everyone’s lives are everyone’s choices and ownership and, short of doing something hurtful to others of criminal, our own choices make our lives absolutely complete and as peace, as long as the lives that we live are made of indeed, our own choosings.
        Even if you were the only woman on a planet of 2 billion women and they ALL had children, that should still have no bearing on your own choice not to have children on your own, as long as the choice being at the core of that decision is YOURS and YOURS ONLY.
        You don’t have to only live in a concept of “leaving a door open… or shutting it forever…”. What about living choosing to live in a world where there is … no door at all, nothing to open or to shut… a World of being in the moment, just as you are… and in this moment, in this day your heart does not tell you that you want to have children and… that’s all there is to it.
        Worry and questions require time to exist… they feed on the concept of time… that most beautiful, but also source of so much self produced suffering, invention of us humans.
        If you truly live in this moment and your heart has clearly talked to you… then you have your answer… and that is all there is to it. Enjoy your life, enjoy the love that you can offer to many… including many children around you… whether sharing a smile with a child at the grocery store… or enjoying your friend’s children or your family member’s children… or if you want even more involvement with it, taking some time to love and care for children in shelters or in underprivileged situations… offering love is … offering love… connecting to a child is … connecting to a child… no one should ever tell you and your heart in what “format” it should be done… a few smiles at a time?… a few hours at a time?… or 9 months of pregnancy and 20+ years at a time?… ;-)
        I am glad that you found your answer Farnoosh…
        Much Love,
        pascal

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Pascal, wow – you have such a way to draw me into your voice…..I love the visuals you paint here, the world you draw, and the freedom you afford everyone including me….your views are beautiful and I sincerely hope that book is on its way one of these days. You know you will find a reader in me and many others. Thank you for the new articulation here and for being a dear friend, one I respect, trust and truly love!!!

        • http://experiencelifefully.com Adrienne

          Dear Pascal & Farnoosh,

          I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here, but I spent the greater part of yesterday morning and this morning reading through all of these responses…letting a tear roll down my cheeks, laughing, and sharing stories with my own mom, who I’m visiting for the holidays. There have been so many great stories and bits of wisdom shared here, but to me, this was the most poignant, “You don’t have to only live in a concept of “leaving a door open… or shutting it forever…” What about living choosing to live in a world where there is … no door at all, nothing to open or to shut… a world of being in the moment, just as you are…”

          This kind of reminded me of the movie, The Matrix (“There is no spoon.”), but in all seriousness, this simple concept really struck me. I often tend to be very black and white with decisions to be made. I like absolution and I like having a plan, even if that plan changes down the road. But this is just such a beautiful concept…of not worrying or trying to decide everything in advance. Taking one day at a time, recognizing today is not the day, but tomorrow is a new day. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

          Thank you both so much for all of this! :)

          • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

            Adrienne, you are a sweet heart – thank you for taking time to read these stories, which have touched me the way they have touched you – and yes, my friend Pascal has a clever way of putting things – he is brilliant but I try not to tell him very often ;)! Seriously indeed, that very phrase struck with me too. How easy and how simple life seems when we just remove that pressure to make this absolute decision (I look at things the way you do by the way ;))! – so so happy you enjoyed this so much.

  • http://SourcesOfInsight.com J.D. Meier

    > the pursuit of individual happiness has never been a subject of importance – or rather, relevance
    That’s profoundly interesting on multiple levels. I still wonder whether it’s a different path to the same end, or a different end. Either way, I wonder how the journey changes when you change what’s important.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hello JD, I read this a few times and even ran it by my husband – you have to forgive me but I have no idea how to decipher this in simple words. Would you be so kind as to articulate your thoughts in another way? Or perhaps one of my readers is sharper and can read between the lines. In either case, thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Pingback: Top 65 Quotes on Choice of Children()

  • http://www.russiantranslator.com.au Daria

    Hi Farnoosh,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of weeks, and have been really enjoying. You write so well, and I find that your posts encourage me to think positively. Thank you for that! :)

    I feel very similar to you on the topic of kids. As I was reading your post and your Big Questions, I remembered very similar issues spinning around my head for months a while back. I think (I hope!) I’ve now come through the whole soul-searching thing and settled on this issue in my mind.

    I’ve never wanted kids. I like *some* children that I’ve met, just as I like *some* adults. But generally, I don’t enjoy spending time with the wee humans, not for any lengthy period of time, and I certainly don’t want them full-time. I find them very tiring as well and I know I wouldn’t fare well as a mother.

    I like my life as it is – I have a profession that I love and a husband who feels the same about the whole kids thing. We travel, read, spend time with friends, have time to pursue further studies, hobbies, etc – it’s a rich, full life (and we can listen to loud music at 1 am or sleep in till lunchtime). We are geographically mobile and can take risks or career opportunities that would be far too difficult if we were parents.

    I really can’t imagine how a child would improve my life. There is a saying that goes “enough is as good as a feast” and my life is more than enough for me. I don’t want to take the risk of ruining it all and chase the idyllic motherhood experience that I don’t actually need or want. Also, for every 2 ecstatic mother, there is always one who will say “if I could go back, I would never have kids – but of course, I love the ones I have”. That’s probably the biggest discouragement for me, as there are no guarantees that I will love my children and won’t resent them for changing my life.

    I guess my logic won’t make sense to any mothers, but this is my choice. Some of the happiest, interesting and most fulfilled people I know never had children and that’s an encouraging thought for me.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Daria, welcome to prolific living and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, for the kind words on the writing and for being oh so candid here. It doesn’t matter if your logic doesn’t make sense to anyone else – if you are at peace with it, then be it. How can we ever strive (and succeed) to please even just our own families, much less the world at large? It’s impossible. I think you are decided and have no change of heart and shall not have regrets. I do find your life rich because it’s very similar to mine. I tend to pile on a million different things too but in its essence, my life is about me and how I can build and create something that lasts for me and for others…..I wish I knew where and if children fit into it. Maybe the answer will come to me after all these stories and insights. Thanks again and see you soon here again?

      • Jesicka

        Daria, (And Farnoosh, of course!)

        This post is in response to Daria’s but also my first time posting on Farnoosh’s blog. (I’ve been a reader for years! but I didn’t have the personal motivation to post yet-and it’s not because I haven’t LOVED so many of your posts. Like your readers are saying- your blog is so honest and RAW and full of heart.)

        But back to Daria: THANK YOU. After I read the article, I scrolled down and read almost every post so far, and MOSTLY I saw people respectfully sharing experiences about why they had kids and how beautiful it was (really amazing comments). I did see a few from people who did not want kids…..but Daria, your post made me so happy because you put into words very clearly how I am feeling right now. I just turned 30, happily married, and am pursuing entrepreneurship and world travel. I loved how you said- “I can’t imagine how a child would improve my life.” And “there are no guarantees that I will love my children and won’t resent them for changing my life.” This resonates with me so much. I have some personal goals for (changing the world in my own way)! and pursuing philanthropy and LOTS of projects and I never saw how a child could fit into that equation. I work as an entrepreneur and an architect- and architects are notoriously busy and “obsessed with their art” (not all, but alot) – and some have children but cannot connect with them on some levels or spend so much time with them… (watch “MY ARCHITECT” – the son of a famous architect made a documentary about how his dad has multiple families who didn’t know about each other but still did not spend much time with any of them. Why? Louis Kahn is one of my favorite architects who created some of the most beautiful buildings in the world- he attempted to raise children at the same time but if you look at his life he ended up “choosing” architecture -even after having kids- and his kids (and the women) were definitely affected by that.) That all being said- glad you thought about this issue carefully, and decided on a choice that is difficult for many people to accept. I am glad to have read your comment.

        And Farnoosh, my dear beautiful Farnoosh, I am finally leaving you a comment… I’ve heard your podcasts and read alot of posts, and watched videos and it is here I am finally saying HELLO and I always have this deep urge to hug you. (I have already said hello on facebook though)
        I never had the chance to have a conversation with anyone other than my husband about the “reasons why I don’t want to have kids.” When I first read your post a few years back about your dilemma about having a baby, I thought it was very interesting, but not necessarily applying to me. But fast forward a few years , I stumbled upon your podcast today actually- How to Answer the Baby question- and listened to the whole thing- which brought me back here. I just turned 30 and am spending ALOT of time with my in-laws and my brother-in-law’s new baby and toddler- and I am suffering. It’s just too much baby pressure for me. Today specifically I was looking up this topic in the blogosphere to relieve the stress. After reading all the comments and your post I realize- this stress pretty much means I shouldn’t have kids- because I don’t personally feel any need to have kids- except the social pressure from outside. I JUST STARTED asking myself this question on a real level- meaning close to actually doing it. But the thought always crossed my mind of course. I always thought: “It would be OK with me if I didn’t have children.” I come from a Korean family, and my husband is also from a family oriented culture, so this will probably not be acceptable to them. I haven’t talked to family about this yet. On your podcast you mention one myth- “There is something wrong with people who don’t have kids”- as a common myth. OMG I completely know what you’re talking about! What a crazy MYTH.

        YES THIS IS HOW I GREW UP.

        My mom would always point out the couple in my church who never had kids- “God only gives the gift of children to certain couples… it’s so sad they didn’t get chosen- THEY must have done something wrong in the eyes of God”… or “It’s just sad to watch as they get older…” And they would do this all the time for any friends or relatives who didn’t have kids. I was confused, but young so I thought my mom had a point.

        Later, in college I spent alot of time with that same “couple from my church who were not chosen by God” and saw how beautiful their life was, full of art and travel and lots of teaching (both are university professors and care about their students alot)- and I thought- “my mom was wrong… how could she say such things”… she even implied there was something biologically wrong with them.

        Anyhow, now I do feel like I am ranting. The point is, the past few months I have seen probably in the range of 100+ newborn baby pictures on my facebook feed (my friends are at the age), and my in-laws are baby crazy, (I can see them going crazy with my brother-in-law’s kids) and I feel some weird emotions inside because I DO love hanging out with toddlers. (not newborns.)

        I am glad you posted this and made the podcast. This will be an ongoing question for me now with my husband- (not the choice itself because I don’t have a desire to have one now), but my husband does have some tiny inclinations about possibly having kids and I don’t know how to clearly break it to him.

        Love ya Farnoosh and thank you. namaste!
        -jesicka

        • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

          Dear Jesicka, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading your post. It’s great to hear that this post brought you out here to comment. A lot of my readers have said such things about this post. And with 300+ comments, it’s still going strong years later.
          Well, Jesicka, you are much younger than me but I can tell you that since I wrote this post 3 years ago, my resolve about NOT having children has only become stronger. I travel the world, I hired my husband to work on our business, I write books and just signed a second contract for a new book, I create programs and products that I love, I do yoga and read epic fiction books and I love love LOVE the freedom. It’s not over-rated and it doesn’t get old and if you have a purpose and a drive to live your life fully, you won’t feel a tinge of emptiness, At least, I haven’t. If I ever have the urge or the drive to become a mother, I’ll address it then but my biological clock which has long since started ticking is not the boss of me.
          I can’t stand the pressure. Tell them to back the hell off. It’s your life. Are you telling them how to live their life? Yes to your in-laws and parents. I love my family but I was so sick of feeling pressured that I just snapped and they don’t dare bring up this subject. I don’t live to please them (not anymore anyway). If you are feeling pressured, it means you are going to do it for them. Wait and make sure it’s for you. And if so, then fabulous but if not, you’re perfect. :)
          Stay in touch, and comment more often, Jesicka. I love your honesty.
          Farnoosh

        • Gary

          G’day Jessicka,

          This really struck me:

          “My mom would always point out the couple in my church who never had kids- “God only gives the gift of children to certain couples… it’s so sad they didn’t get chosen- THEY must have done something wrong in the eyes of God”

          Sorry to spoil the fun for anyone reading here but this really smashed one of my raw nerves with a hammer – some of my lingering conditioning from childhood I guess. What you described is abuse, pure and simple, and one of many reasons why I utterly reject any and all religions.

          This is a man’s way of looking at it but this is how I see it:

          If you want kids, have them.

          If you don’t want them then don’t.

          I honestly have no idea why it’s anybodys’s business but the couple’s concerned whether they have them or not. You and your fella are the ones who will have to raise the children if they come – no one else will do it for you. So if you have them then be sure you want them.

          Whatever you decide, I wish you and your fella all the happiness and magnificent adventures this life has to offer.

          Best,

          Gary
          (Happily married father of 2 ;-) )

          • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

            Gary, I can’t say I disagree with a word you said. Nobody’s business but our own what we do with our bodies and with our lives, but alas, it’s not just religion. It’s cultural breeding that gives parents and all relatives the “right” to meddle until you either have to throw them out of your life or else “disappoint” them. It’s easy to say none of their business but it does not come without consequence in reality. Nonetheless, I’ve taken that road and nobody can change my mind, even if it means breaking some very important relationships at least for now. Thank you for the honesty here, Gary.

            • Gary

              Hi Farnoosh,

              Let’s have a little fun with the words you’ve put in quotes here and “unpack” them ;).

              “Disappoint” – thats a special word that one. “I’m not angry with you, or mad at you, I’m just **disappointed**.” Even writing that made me cringe!! Nothing makes my colon clench like a guilt trip!

              “Right” – Honestly I’m lost for words here which is highly unusual! Who has the “right” :) to meddle in anyone’s life? Grrrr!!

              The way I look at is this… Your body, in its infinite wisdom and through million years of evolution, has developed a fabulous immune system and capacity to regenerate itself. It “knows” that there are parasites, bacteria and viruses out there that will seek to use us and destroy us if given half the chance.

              So it’s simply evolved an immune system to deal with threats and continues to make it better with each passing generation of humans.

              It doesn’t get mad when foreign bacteria, viruses or objects infilitrate your body. It doesn’t pout, huff, slam doors or outwardly say “yes” whilst it inwardly screams “NO!”. It very simply, routinely, matter-of-factly and unflappably deploys antibodies, T-cells and whatever else to deal with the threat.

              That’s how we have to deal with anyone, especially and including rogue family members, who think they have the “right” to meddle and interfere in our lives, or tell us how to live them.

              They get very angry initially. They’ll use guilt, anger, rejection and every technique known to man to try to manipulate you.

              But by about the 50th time they’ve tried it on and gotten nowhere they start to learn.

              best,
              Gary

              • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

                Oh Gary, you are very amusing and funny and totally right of course. Would you like to talk to my in-laws and my mother in your spare time? ;) And then also to Jesicka’s when you’re finished with me (LOL). We hear you, we do, and Jesicka is much younger than me. I’ve toughened over the years and probably become more insensitive to all this and my resolve has grown stronger … the thing is Gary that logic doesn’t work with unreasonable people. So we have to find the right balance in having inner peace with our decisions while perhaps maintaining a relationship with our family and speaking of that, mine with my mother is on no-speaking terms at this point, babies being the very last issue as to why but alas, such is life. Thanks for the good wishes, Gary, gonna need them.

                • Gary

                  If the person didn’t use Reason to get to the convictions they have then Reason will certainly be utterly lost on them.

                  “the thing is Gary that logic doesn’t work with unreasonable people.”

                  No, unfortunately logic does not work on unreasonable people.

                  Strategy does.

                  Chess is the best metaphor here. You make your moves in such a way that the opponent literally has no choice other than to respond in a certain way. For example when you deliver a Smothered Mate to your opponent (Wikipedia is your friend if you’re not sure what one of those is ;))

                  Didn’t say this is an easy choice but… other than being a slave to other people’s plans your entire life it IS the only choice.

                  I really do hope you and your Mum can begin again at some point and on better foundations.

                  Best,

                  Gary

          • Jesicka

            Hey Gary!
            Thanks for responding to my post! I totally agree, this type of thinking in relation to religion is abusive. I am not religious myself btw, so I agree with you there. But I do believe Farnoosh is also right here- it goes far beyond religion- for my parents and their group of friends it’s not as much their religion but their cultural beliefs which stem back from generations of Asians in my case- who believe it is their right to meddle in those matters. Yes, it seems to be a simple matter of yes I want them or not, but (if you knew my parents) you would know it’s not so simple, and these are the exact things that apparently ruin relationships in my culture, or even “tarnish” the family name… and the men also believe this (in some cases more strongly) than women in my culture. Yes, in Asia, many people still live this way believing these things. It’s not such a straightforward issue for me.

            But in the end, you’re right- it’s no one’s business but ours! And thank you for the warm wishes and support. :)
            -Jesicka

            • Gary

              Hey Jesicka you’re more than welcome.

              It is some tough things you’re faced with that’s for sure and it certainly sucks when the choices you make which you know are best for you break your parents’ hearts.

              For example I think I can understand how difficult it is for gay folks to “come out” to their parents. They literally elicit the classic grieving process amongst their parents – but that grieving process needs to run its course and preferably in as straight a line as possible. No point trying to prolong it or to pussyfoot around it. We didn’t have anything like that in my “Dysfunction Lite” family but I reckon they would have come to terms with it ultimately.

              Same if my sisters and I hadn’t wanted kids.

              I’d imagine that’s how it is for your folks – must hurt to “do it them” but you can’t change what *is*. Bit like arguing with a signpost ;).

              Take care and my sincerest best wishes to you and your fella as you machete your way through this jungle!

              Best,

              Gary

  • http://www.MoreInYou.com Laura Neff – Life Leadership Coach

    Wow, Farnoosh! I just stumbled upon this post, and as it’s late, I can’t take time now to read the many, many heartfelt comments you’ve received. But I did want to share with you that this is a topic that my husband and I have lived with for most of our almost-ten-year relationship.

    I’m the youngest of seven and have always said that I come from “a family of families.” My dad’s two sisters each had six kids, and most of my many cousins (and now their kids) have kids, too. I have always been surrounded by a large family with its “normal” share of dysfunction but lots of love, too. So, I always just assumed I’d be a mom. I looked forward to it, planned on it, waited for my soul’s love, and when he arrived, we started trying, and…nothing. Nothing, nothing, a miscarriage, and then for six more years and every infertility block we could think to go around…nothing except one more miscarriage.

    So, a year ago last month, we closed that chapter. We’d looked into adoption, but honestly, as we’ve healed emotionally from the trauma of not having a baby in seven year’s time, neither of us has any iota of energy going in the direction of adoption. Now I’m 40, curious and open to what life will be without kids. A part of me still grieves, but the fact that my energy is going in every direction BUT adoption (which would seem like the logical next step, right?) tells me that there is definitely fulfillment out there without kids.

    I don’t know that this adds anything to your inquiries, which are so honest and brilliant and deep and wonderful (as so many have said above). But there it is. I wrote a earlier this year, “outing” myself to my readers about this journey. If it would be of value, here ’tis: http://is.gd/ijSIb

    Much love to you as you take such care and intention with your path and this precious life. I’m happy to talk with you about this any time!

    Laura

    • http://www.deardotcom.com Jean Burman

      Bravo Laura and a great big hug! I went to your link and read your post and I’m so glad I did. So much of what you said I connected with… despite having been blessed with children. I have written why and will post directly to your blog if I may… but just wanted to say here how much I admire your courage and persistence in the face of your not insignificant challenges. Life wasn’t meant to be easy but surely it wasn’t meant to be so hard either? But it might help to know that grief comes in all shapes and sizes and you are definitely not alone. Best wishes. Jean.

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Dear Laura, you know our mutual friend Lance told me – right after I published this post – that I must go and read your story and talk to you and one other person – Christine Kane – whom I love already. I echo what our dear Jean above said and really thank you for sharing this story. I can’t say that I know how you felt but you have all of my compassion. One of the more sad situations is indeed when someone wants a child but life has other plans. I hope that you embark on your 40s with the same beautiful outlook that you shared here and I hope many, many surprises of delight await you along the way. I am pretty sure I am right on this one :)! Thanks so much for stopping here today.

        • http://www.MoreInYou.com Laura Neff – Life Leadership Coach

          Thank you, Jean and Farnoosh! Ever since writing that post, I’ve been met with such a huge amount of love and warmth.

          One of the most fascinating things about this has been the difficulty in finding other women who have gone through an experience of infertility and then chosen to NOT adopt. It’s not the path most traveled, but when I sit with the natural flow of energy in my life, I feel peaceful knowing that we did all that we felt was right for us to do in our quest for a child of our own, and now I feel peaceful in “dancing with the flow” of energy in my life, knowing it is a full-on co-creation between me and all that’s out there in this fabulous Universe. Including you two! :)

          Jean, I’ll check my blog. And Farnoosh, thank you for creating this forum! I love that Lance had already pointed you to my post. Such good company we’re in.

          xoxo,
          Laura

          • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

            Laura, that’s interesting. So most women who are not able to conceive end up adopting? I think it’s very brave that you chose your own path even though it may have been a less common road. Laura, I love – LOVE – the way you think about this. Do not change: “but when I sit with the natural flow of energy in my life, I feel peaceful knowing that we did all that we felt was right for us to do in our quest for a child of our own, and now I feel peaceful in “dancing with the flow” of energy in my life.” And we are always here if you should need a support system! Thank you for coming back here to share more!

  • Rashmie@GorgeousKarma

    Farnoosh, finally my two cents. I am so sorry I took this long.
    Ever since I’ve read this article of yours, I’ve thought about your thoughts
    and questions almost every single day. And that’s also because I am myself in
    a dillema of a similar nature if not exactly same. Yeah, I have a 5 year old daughter already, as you know. The dillemma is (or rather, ‘was’ – until couple of days back) whether to have a second one or not.

    This post could not have come to me at a more apt time in life – when I was
    seeking answer to my own question.

    So many sincere replies – so full of of honesty and emotions – along side your
    deeply penetrating and open questions makes this the most interesting read
    ever!

    Farnoosh, I never had this mental tussle about if it’s a right time and will there
    be a righ time because there came a time in my life after getting married,
    when, I was craving for a baby. Every grain of my being desired it. Infact, in
    my dreams (not ‘day dreams’!) I would see my baby’s face and hear her
    squeal and feel her touch. And those feelings were not without reason, for,
    my pregnancy was the most beautiful time of my life. The feeling of carrying
    your own inside you is just beyong words. It is divine. This, inspite of the fact
    that physically, I have seen the negative side of pregnancy as well. 4 months
    of terrible nausea that left me 5 kgs lighter; perpetual pain in my lower
    abdomen; cramps in my calf musles….

    So, yes, it’s not easy – the whole process. But, the emotions a mother experiences, only she can know. Once you hold that tiny being in your hands and hold her close to your bosom, everything else becomes less important, less meanigful. I had never fathomed in my wildest dreams that I would give up my job after baby. But, after having my daughter, there was no way I could have left her in some other hands and gone to job from 9-6. So, I made some changes. Changes that would let me be with my daughter full time and yet allow me to pursue a career and more important – provide creative satisfaction. With this objective, I started my own enterprise. Alright, this enterprise could have progressed at supersonic speed if I did not have the responsibility of bringing up a child. But then, the possiblity is – it would not have been there, had it not been for my urge to be a full-time mother.

    Not just this business, Farnoosh. There are at least a dozen different
    activities and passions I embraced after becoming a mother. Yes, I am not
    able to pursue any of these exclusively because of perpetual lack of time; due
    to which I often feel restless too. But, there is one passion that I have
    devoted my heart and soul to. And that is – bringing up my child in a creative
    and artful enviroment and actively contributing to her learning. We both do art and craft together, we learn classical music together and visit museums and
    art galleries – all of this provides unthinkable creative satisfaction and
    a satisfaction even bigger – of nurturing a child’s talent and seeing her blossom
    into a fine person.

    I tried answering indirectly to your question – “How would a child mold into this life? How did it mold into yours? Do all of your pursuits seem irrelevant or less important? Would mine feel that way too if I opted in?”

    Regarding your another question:

    “Would you be able to leave a different kind of legacy if you opt out of having children? Would I? What if we decided to help improve the lives of a hundred children in this world instead of bringing one more to the world? What if we created a haven of comfort and education for other lives rather than introducing new life? Is that a legacy worth celebrating and remembering?”

    Farnoosh, if I were to think of one single reason for having a child of my own, it is this and only this – that there is no other love, no other relationship that could have made me experience absolutely selfless love that I experience being a mother. It is not at all about leaving a legacy; it’s not at all about contributing to the world by procreating. In India, one child is born every 2 seconds. My country could have been better off having lesser kids, rather than more. :))

    Legacies, I do want to leave behind and that would be – as you feel – by doing my bit for the destitute, homeless children. And, I think I feel more for them after being a mother and after having a child of my own than I felt earlier. Because, now, I get a clear perspective. That I can’t see my own kid in slightest pain and discomfort, my heart goes out to those kids who are in perpetual state of despair.

    Dear friend, may be I have sounded opinionated, but, rather than say “to each his own”, for this post of yours specifically, I wanted to take a stand and say what I felt from my heart. And, my heart says – don’t give up on the idea of having your own child. The very fact that you have written this post and are going back and forth means a part of you is strongly pushing you in that direction. But, first address your fears, answer to them. That nature chose us – women – to take the universe ahead – is a huge compliment and not conspiracy. As they say – with great power comes great responsibility. We have been endowed with this power by the divine forces. So, the responsiblity lies with us – the spider women – who weave the web of this universe.

    My two cents turned out much more than I started off with! This topic was such that it was hard to sum up in lesser words..!
    May you decide what your heart says… :) Love…

    • http://www.deardotcom.com Jean Burman

      Beautifully expressed Rashmie… there is so much here that I relate to so thank you.

      Farnoosh… please forgive me for butting in here [oh dear yet again!]… but I just loved the last two posts and simply had to comment. I hope you’ll forgive the intrusion… but have so very much enjoyed this long and deeply engaging conversation. Thank you for asking the questions you asked and providing the forum here for this important discussion. Thanks again…. Jean

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Jean, stop apologizing for sharing all your love and compassion here on the posts. I can’t thank you enough especially since I am once again speechless after reading Rashmie’s thoughts. So beautiful, so tempting to delve into her world, and so amazing that you – Rashmie – write about the creative and artistic side of life that I starved for the first 20 odd years before I finally woke up and said enough, I am doing things my way. I still haven’t finished exploring. So there is this joy – this endless source of joy and content – but there is also this side of you that is always rushed, never enough time to pursue your dreams – I think I have heard women say that their dreams become to watch the dreams of their children come true. I am probably speaking from a “not a clue” perspective but I don’t want to do that. I spent a good bit of my life making sure that the dreams of my parents come true: To get the college degrees, to study engineering, to put crazy amazing stuff I want to do on hold – and now, it’s all about me until I have at least come close to quenching this thirst. I am not ready to share it. Yet you tempt me. It is your beautiful words, your poetic prose, your language and your many good thoughts. I can’t argue with them. I can’t. I just feel what I feel. I won’t close any doors yet, although Mother Nature has a brutal schedule in mind. Lots of love to you for making me feel so special all the way from India. Thank you a million times!

        • http://www.deardotcom.com Jean Burman

          [grin] Not so much an apology… as a courtesy Farnoosh. That’s all. I know what it’s like to have your blog comments usurped! Thanks so much for your generosity here :-)

  • http://whisperinggums.wordpress.com Whispering Gums

    Oh no, no, no … as you knew I’d say! Of course it’s wonderful watching your children grow, develop dreams of their own and go for it. Of course you dream that your children do find and reach their dreams – as you do for all whom you love – but have your own dreams. It is not healthy for children to be their parents dreams, as you clearly know Farnoosh. Even where parents don’t have particular expectations of what those dreams should be, just the fact that parents are living through their child is a terrible thing to do to him/her. Love to watch and nurture your children but don’t make them your dream. They will feel it and either rebel or feel stymied. Neither is the best way of finding your dream…

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      My dear Sue, you are back – this post has managed to bring so much of my blogging world together. For that alone, I am so thankful. You know, Sue, different cultures have different ways of approaching this. There are many who simply expect children to live for their parents, live WITH their parents, and follow a certain predefined path in life. It is horribly common and scary to see it. In fact for them, what you say here is shockingly uncommon. I can’t agree more with what you say and I think with this nurturing, the children become inspired to make their parents proud and happy too. Thank you so much for coming back!!

  • Felicia

    Hi Farnoosh,
    This is a really descriptive and informative post about the subject of children and having them. We tend to have children usually because we want to let them experience love and how great life is. Our children are very different from us in many ways, even if they carry our genes.

    On the other hand, I do not care if a woman decides not to have her own baby. It’s up to her to live her life how she desires it. Being alone doesn’t mean you are lonely, right?

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      How in the world did I skip you, dear Felicia? I am sorry – this post has been very hard yet very fulfilling to keep up with….yet again, another unique answer. Solitude and loneliness are indeed not the same, excellent point. And I simply love your reasons for having or not having children. Thank you so much for contributing here.

  • http://seanorichardson.com.au Sean

    Hi Farnoosh,
    Brilliant blog… and so many heartfelt and thoughtful responses!

    I am a new father at 38 – to a beautiful little girl – Charlotte Bella. First, I acknowledge that there is no comparison regarding the physiological investment for a father versus a mother, and second, having children or not is a choice, not to be judged by any.

    What I do know about the experience for me and for my wife (from what she tells me) is that this is about Love. The love we feel for our daughter is a love like no other. It is pure, it is automatic, it is unconditional… it is actually beyond description… like so many have expressed before me – it is something spiritual. I had no conception prior to Charlotte being born that something could feel so exquisite. We love in many ways… but the love a parent feels for a child is extraordinary.

    In response to your comments about “the things that shall be no more” – I agree that having children is life-altering, without a doubt, but I don’t believe that it means you have to give up your dreams. Yes.. the dreams might get delayed, and you might have to stretch out the time frame, but one of the best things about having children is sharing what you love to do with them, having them alongside you as your best friends. My wonderful father continued to do what he loved in life, but he invited me to be a part of those things. I hope to do the same for my children (if they want to). Life is yours to create whether you have children or not. Life will definitely be different if you do have children, and the pursuit of your own dreams will take a different course after having them, but I don’t believe personal dreams vs children is an “either/or”… it is a “yes.. and…” and it is up to you to find ways to keep doing the things you love.

    My two bits to add to the mix :o)

    All the best in searching for your answers.

    Sean R

    PS Somehow for me, it seems that part of you really wants children because if you didn’t, why spend so much time and emotional energy asking the questions? I like Uzma’s response – look for your answers in love, not fear…

    • Amy

      This is a wonderful response, like so many others. But I do not think that asking the question means that you want children by any means. I have debated this question much more than my friends who knew they wanted children. Unfortunately, I think our society puts more pressure on women who don’t want children to identify why they feel the way that they do. It would be nice if there was as much pressure for women to identify why they want a kid in the first place. Just my two cents.

      • http://www.seanorichardson.com.au Sean

        Yes. Amy you are right. My apologies if I came across as presumptuous. Asking the question does not mean someone wants children. I don’t mean to impose any bias here from someone who does have children. My emphasis was more on “part” of the person possibly being driven by desire – not necessarily the whole person. When someone goes to great lengths to contemplate something, it is revealing some sort of inner conflict. For any individual, I would not know if that inner conflict is driven more by the expectations of society and other outside pressures, or from inner desires – that would be up to the person themselves to examine. Human beings are inordinately complex – our drives and motivations are both conscious and unconscious. There is often not just a simple reason why someone asks a question, but it can be fruitful to look inside and ask Why am I asking that question? Yes, consider the outside influences, but also acknowledge both the inner desires and defenses.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Sean, very very good distinctions – and as I told Amy up above, I think – or like to think anyway – that my conflict comes from within but sigh, I am sure society or at least family and tradition and friends have persuaded me to wonder, if nothing else…. we are indeed complex and don’t arrive with a manual. Such is life! Thank you for clarifying your point and giving us more of your views!

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Amy, point well taken – and one I strongly argue whenever someone comes up with a clever remark such as “So when are you having kids?” – insinuating a million things and assuming already that there is no choice in the matter, there is just a question of time. Believe me, I am not afraid of what society thinks or pressures me to do or not to do. I live and breathe my own path. I am just battling a strong conflict inside and that is where this post came from….deep inside, not the pressures of outside world. I hope you too stop caring what society thinks and listen only to what you think and want. We can’t change deeply rooted feelings overnight anyway; all we can do is educate and set a good example – and best of luck on your path too, Amy!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Sean, thank you so much for stopping here, and as many others did, share your life’s story where children and dreams are concerned. I get goosebumps every time I read any of these comments and your perspective of a loving father is irresistibly touching. The irony of it all is that it’s impossible _ I think _ for parents to imagine life without their children and it’s just as impossible for us to imagine life with them if we don’t have them….and that is the tease of uncertainty – of not knowing what we are missing and of not possibly being able to imagine life after you know a certain human being has walked into it…..And that is what makes this topic fascinating and this choice so difficult. Thank you for sharing your words.

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Oh I did want to add how much I liked the perspective you added on dreams reshaping and evolving – I believe Rashmie also pointed to this with the birth of her daughter and it’s true that there may also be dreams that develop as a result of this new life … dreams I would otherwise never pursue.

  • http://drseanrichardson.wordpress.com/ Sean

    Dear Farnoosh,

    I would like to say that your care and attention in responding so thoughtfully to all of your readers is wonderful.

    I look forward to your future posts :o)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Sean, thank you for noticing and for saying this – it has been pure pleasure to go through this experience and process and I am so glad you are enjoying the posts!

      • http://drseanrichardson.wordpress.com/ Sean

        My pleasure Farnoosh :o)

        Some great points below from James! Having responded to this blog last week, I have since had more time for my thoughts to simmer on the topic. I agree with James that having children is certainly not necessary for everyone, and although I find it easy to gush about the extraordinary feelings of love that come with having a child, it is equally important to acknowledge the significant responsibility that it brings.

        As a psychologist, I have seen that many people’s difficulties and insecurities, which have an impact on everything we do in life, are in large part due to our experiences growing up – the experiences mostly guided by our parents. I believe almost all parents have the intention to bring up their children in the best way possible; nonetheless, parents are human as well, with their flaws and insecurities. Becoming a parent does not erase one’s own vulnerabilities and weaknesses, and it can be easy to pass these on, accidentally, to one’s children – for better or for worse.

        Having children is a beautiful experience, but not one to take lightly. It is a massive commitment of time and energy, and it is relentless in its demands on you.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Dear Sean, thank you so so much for coming back. I am so thrilled that the conversation on this post is still going so strong and continues to bring me wisdom, smiles, reflection and so much gratitude toward my readers. I am particularly happy to hear your thoughts as a psychologist. Thank you for acknowledging the mistakes parents make – I think we underestimate the effect our parents and families have on us about having families of our own. My husband always says our parents did the best they could with what they had at their disposal at the time and I really believe it. I just have never had the desire to have children – beyond the momentary lapse of reason and a wonder which has passed quickly – I can foresee a lot of complications in having a child in the 21st century in my life and the promises of the overwhelming joy have not pushed me past my fear and worry just yet. I hope no one takes having children lightly but I’m afraid we are not there yet. Thank you again Sean!

  • http://www.soul-clamor.com James

    Farnoosh – I should say first I have one child – my 12 year old son whom I love immensely, have a good relationship with, and that having him has greatly enlarged my capacity for open-heartedness and selfless giving. He is an integral part of my path.
    Now – I would like to say that I don’t think everyone needs to have children. Its a huge expectation that I think not everyone questions. But it is also choice that changes everything in one’s life.
    I have friends questioning the same thing – and I have a pet theory that if it is a question – perhaps its not necessary for us. For me I just knew I wanted a child. No question. If we already have a path to open-heartedness and fulfillment that works for our personal configuration of person in the world (having a child is one such path) – then perhaps something as huge as birthing and raising a child is not necessary. And – I always think that if a person develops a need to have children in their life sometime in the future – there are so many children out there that could benefit from healthy mentoring and support. It would not be difficult to find children to love at any time in one’s life beyond the tick tock of biology.

    • http://www.deardotcom.com Jean Burman

      Farnoosh I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here to say bravo to both James and Sean for being… not only the exceptional human beings they obviously are… but also for being such wonderful Dads. Your children are so very very blessed!

      I agree entirely with the comments both of you made. And I don’t think apologies need to be made for loving your children beyond words. As a mother I so get where you are coming from :-)

      I just wanted to add one more thing if I may… [this thinking about stuff is dangerous LOL]

      Babies are only babies for a very short time… what we have to consider when choosing parenthood is whether we want to have… another human being [and all the ramifications that come with that]

      If more people looked at it like this… perhaps there would be fewer babies. Because once a child is born they can never be put back… changed… replaced… or altered in any way. We have them for only such a short time… and can love nurture shape and encourage them on their way… but ultimately they are free and independent individuals who are here solely to fulfil their own life purpose… [not to prop up ours]

      There are no guarantees that will work out well in the end… and there is no going back once we are fully committed to the path. It’s a leap of faith like no other. And definitely not for the faint-hearted. But in hindsight… its the one leap I [personally] would not have missed taking for all the world.

      That’s just me though :-)

      • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

        Dear Jean, have I ever minded you adding so much to all these conversations? I don’t think so… :)! Thank you for doing the same with James and Sean here. It’s hard to imagine those tiny babies grow up and become adults. My twin cousins were here this weekend. I used to baby sit them in Iran when they were first born. They were 7 pounds and tiny. And now we are all adults. It really is mind-boggling.
        The one thing I would slightly word different is the “faint-hearted”. I think not taking the leap of faith, choosing the alternate path, going the less-traveled road, and making that conscious choice (not because of some physical or financial limitations to having children) that also is not for the faint-hearted. Both paths take courage and a lot of self-awareness when made consciously…..

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear James, how sweet to declare your fatherhood love before you give us the pros and cons. I just do not tire of hearing people declare this amazing love for their children. Lucky boy he is! And thank you so so much for taking time to leave us your thoughts.
      It’s a lovely way you have described the paths to fulfillment. I really like it. And I love the open door at the end with options to give love to needy children in the world if the time has passed for us to have children of our own. Your writing voice here is very compassionate. Thank you again for coming by!

  • http://www.soul-clamor.com james

    Dear Sean, Jean, and Farnoosh,

    Thanks very much for the clear and insightful comments on this topic – and your appreciative responses – it seems there are two wings to raising a child – one is guidance, and the other is letting go.
    I could go on and on about this topic but maybe I’ll move on, and explore some other posts.
    Looking forward to connecting with you guys again!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear James, all of the insights from all of you has helped me tremendously. I love the way you summarize. I think all of us could go on and on…Maybe I should seriously think about my ebook!!
      Thank you again and do come back anytime – even if we have a change of topic, we love the same minds and brilliant ideas, James!

  • aloke

    hi farnoosh-

    have children if you can. the level of fulfillment is beyond compare in my opinion. don’t rationalize yourself out of immense magic – though there are also huge tradeoffs when it comes to the worries related to raising kids.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Aloke, I read your comment aloud to my husband as he was driving us home today. And believe it or not, it impacted me even though we have never spoken before – speaking of which, welcome to prolific living and a million thanks for sharing your thoughts in your words exactly. I am so grateful! And please do come back anytime you like!

  • http://experiencelifefully.com Adrienne

    Dear Farnoosh,

    Wow, I’ve reached the end at last! ;) As I mentioned in a comment above, I’ve spent the greater part of yesterday morning and this morning reading and rereading your post and each and every one of these responses. It really was like reading a book…only so much better, because this isn’t some flat discourse…it’s a living, breathing discussion, an exchange of stories, feelings, thoughts, and ideas. I think this post and growing discussion are the epitome of why I started blogging in the first place – to join and build a community around openly sharing stories and ideas and to engage in thought-provoking conversations. What a beautiful community you’ve created here at Prolific Living! (Your care and attention to each of these responses definitely doesn’t go unnoticed!)

    I took my time in responding to this post because I was much more interested in seeing what others had to share. I’ve been tossing around many of the same questions, fears, and doubts in my own mind over the past couple years. As Evita said, I feel as though I could have written this post myself! However, at 27, I still have some time before really having to cross that bridge. Whenever anyone asks me about having kids (which they often do), I always say, “I assume I’ll want them eventually.” Like you, it’s so hard to imagine a place for kids in my already busy and fulfilling life.

    However, after reading all of these incredible stories, I can’t imagine missing out on the experience…what a grand experience unlike any other! The ups and downs, good and bad, and most of all, the incredible love that everyone speaks of. Perhaps deep down in my heart, I know I will have kids someday…I’m just not ready yet. I feel as though I want to enjoy my current lifestyle, passions, and pursuits as much as possible for now, until it all begins to pale in comparison with the idea of raising kids and all of the new adventures it will bring.

    Your thoughts and questions remind me of a discussion I’ve had with several of my friends about the fact that there are so many people out there having children who really have no business being parents. I know that’s a strong opinion, but that’s honestly how I feel. There is so much a parent can do to mess up a kid…and there are a lot of messed up people out there. Have you seen the movie, “Idiocracy?” It’s a terrible movie, but illustrates the point that more irresponsible and uneducated people are bringing children into the world than mature, responsible, and educated people. There’s no question in my mind that if you were to have a child, that you would be an incredible mom…nurturing creativity, openness, love, and so many good qualities. I feel like the world would be a better place if more people like you were raising the children of the next generation. Now is that a good enough reason to have a child? No, of course not…just another perspective to throw out there. :)

    So many wonderful thoughts have already been shared by others, and there is little more I could add, but I’ll leave you with quote by Peter G. James Sinclair “Learn from the past, concentrate on today and tomorrow will take care of itself.”

    ~Much love, Adrienne~

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Adrienne, my darling friend and patient persistent reader, I am so thrilled to hear everything you say here – how this post and all the stories affected you, how you soaked it all in and took the time to hear others’ stories – I had no earthly idea we would have so many fantastic responses – and how it has now given you reasons to pursue a path to want children….Oh and I have seen that scary, terrifying movie “Idiocracy”! And believe me, it is not far fetched if the trends continue. It is not harsh to say that clueless immature people are having children. After all, how hard is it really to procreate? It is our most basic instinct but to raise a good child into society, that takes a lot of work and education and understanding. Perhaps it is those very parents and children that I have come across who have maybe turned me off from the experience but then as you say, these stories have brought a lot of light and beautiful reasons to surface. Well, my dear, I am much much older than you and really not any closer to my decision. I may have to go with Pascal’s advice. Thank you for the Sinclair quote and most of all, your shining light of a presence here. Love back at you, Adrienne!

  • Christoph

    Hi Farnoosh,

    I think it’s helpful sometimes to gain a little broader perspective when considering these types of questions.

    The question of ‘to have children, or not to have children’ is really a very modern one. Based on what records we have, by conservative estimates, even semi-reliable birth control was not widely available or used until less than 120 years ago. That means that, for the rest of the history of Homo Sapiens (about 200,000 years, give or take), and for all of the history of our evolutionary ancestors, the question was not “do I want to have children?”, but rather “do I want to have sex?”, to which the answer was almost unequivocally yes. (If we consider the length of time we’ve been around to be analogous to the length of an American football field, the amount of time we’ve had access to contraception is the last 2.2 inches!) The desire for sex, common to all animals when in their fertile life periods, is absolutely necessary to pass along genetic material, ensuring the survival of the individual animal’s genetic line. In the current era, when we have learned to rationalize our primal feelings, this is directly manifested in our desire to “leave something behind”, referring to children. All of the above is to say, in a purely biological sense, if you say “I want to be sexually active”, you are saying “I want to have children”. Also, this genetic drive is the reason most women pass through ‘the time’ in their lives when they yearn to have children. The genetic drive has been somehow institutionalized into most religions and nations as well, providing the drive for procreation and large families (c.f. catholicism, mormonism, etc.)

    You are correct when you say that having a child changes a mother’s body, but this is also an effect of our evolutionary development. When a woman is pregnant with a child, her biochemistry changes, and unless there is something amiss, her brain releases hormones (including Oxytocin) which serve as a type of “emotional glue”, and heighten the attachment to her child. Different processes with similar effect occur in the infant when it is born, and serve to solidify the mother as the bulwark. Recent studies have also shown that men who play a large role in their infants’ early years also experience some degree of elevation of oxytocin. In any case, these hormonal changes, combined with the psychological tendencies of humans to adapt to and even accept large situational and life shifts, are the very reason why you hear mothers (and sometimes fathers) speaking of the act of having children as “the best experience ever” and “something they couldn’t live without”, and they are absolutely necessary from an evolutionary standpoint, since human children are unable to care for themselves for the first few years of their lives.

    With ALL of that being said, we now live in a world in which 1) we have a choice to exercise birth control, which very close to 100% effective, 2) we are able to pursue sex as a recreational rather than procreational activity, 3) we are able to pursue intellectual interests and define our own purpose in life, and 3) there are already far too many people on the planet. Because of those reasons, I personally am not keen on the idea of having children. However, for a large percentage of people, having a child is a way, be it voluntary or involuntary, to introduce ready-made purpose to their lives, as it provides a new persistent aspect of life (there is a little person there!) as well as interaction, acceptance, responsibility, goals and a personal investment in the state of the future. That, combined with the biological effects, is why I can reasonably say that if you (or I, or many other people) actually had a child, you would not regret it… but it’s just hard to think about it holistically beforehand with the intent of making a decision.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Christoph, I must say you have given us a most unique perspective. I have read this twice now and honestly I had no idea which way you were going to go. I think the intellectual discussion around the evolutionary process is very heavy conversation. The questions you pose around sex are very interesting. Sex is definitely not just for procreation and I think that we – animals that we may be in the biological sense – are also intellectual beings and that is what sets us apart from JUST animals. So to that effect, I see no reason for not making intellectual decisions around physical desires or tendencies. There may be a tendency to procreate or reproduce but there is no need for it in all women and not all women – healthy, fertile, able that they may be – have a purpose to raise children. I find it ironic that you say “I want to be sexually active” and “I want to have children” are interchangeable. Frankly, I can think of nothing more that can turn me off for the desire to have sex than to think of children or babies. I am sure a few others may agree but I digress slightly. I will conclude by saying that it is brilliant and without a single fault or guilt that men and women alike can and are able to choose sex as a pleasure and no more and just because we CAN do something does not necessarily mean that we SHOULD do something. Just because society recommends it and biology pressures us does not mean that it is the most intelligent decision and therefore not the only path to fulfillment. In the end, I think that we are saying the same thing and that it is pointless to ask anyone about regret over children because it is an impossible question to answer. That is why I phrased my question differently….Nonetheless, thank you for your wonderful thought-provoking response and thank you for indulging me in mine. And welcome to prolific living and hope to see you here again!

  • http://thistimethisspace.com timethief

    My husband and I were best friends for a very long time before we became physically intimate and when we did become intimate we chose to prevent pregnancy. During the 1970′s recognition of the fact that human population was exploding pervaded North American society. Somewhere along the way this recognition was buried and the subject became taboo. A decade later I had an opportunity to chat with four young couples in my family, who are making the the same child-free choice that my husband and I made. Two other young couples announced that they had decided that they would have no more than the one child they already had. Remarkably their parents and grandparents were not amused and some went so far as to label the young couples as being “selfish”. I burst into laughter when I heard this and then the debate began.

    My husband and I decided years ago that we would remain child-free and we have never regretted that choice. As two older children from large families we both had plenty of experience when it came to raising our younger siblings and our cousins. Both at work and in our personal lives we have been expected to contribute financially to children’s organizations and we have given freely of our funds and time. Indeed we have had lots of hands-on experience volunteering in children’s clubs and we are godparents many times over now. We have benefited from the good times we had with the kids. And those we came into such close contact with valued our relationship so highly that they still drop in to visit us now that they are headed off to highschool.

    However, there have been many who have not respected our choice. They were in a state of denial. They were just to closed minded to foresee how happy together and how devoted to one another child-free couples can be.

    A few (impaired by their religious brainwashing) told us our choice was “un-Godly”.
    Some told us we would be missing something “special” in our lives.
    Others told us not wanting children is “unnatural”.
    Still others told us not having children means we are “selfish”.

    It was and still is hard not to laugh out loud at these types because they all have the same thing in common — closed minds. They are deluded by their belief that producing little images of themselves is a selfless, natural act blessed by God — a service to humanity. Well, as the Dalai Lama said:

    The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is opened.

    We live in an overpopulated world. The children born today are among those who will devour 80% of the planet’s resources. Moreover, given the state of the environment, we ought to think it’s perverse that children today are being falsely taught that the hormonal drive to reproduce evident in all animal species is “special”; and that, those who do not choose to breed are “selfish”.

    Well, there are many reasons to choose not to have children and when couples make the child-free choice that choice should be respected. For interest sake I searched the web and came up with a survey that contains all the reasons we made the choice to remain child-free. And, I’m now going to share them with you. See Childless by Choice Project http://www.childlessbychoiceproject.com/Childless_by_Choice_Survey.html

    We are semi-retired now and have never regretted the choice we made.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear timethief, how nice, generous and kind of you to tell us your intimate story in such depth and detail. I read this one twice as well and in fact sent it over to my brother who said that everyone at his office who had opted out of having a family regretted it – and I had to say, “not everyone” when I sent this over! It is a sad state to run int people thinking themselves so qualified to judge your lifestyle or mine without having a clue as to what makes us happy and why we make our own choices – all this NOT being any of their business is altogether another issue. Religions and strong social movements will never ever embrace those who opt out of the norm and so there may be some isolation but in this day and age, you can find your own support groups. I can prove a case that it is extremely “selfish” to HAVE children and in fact, you can look up in the comments arguments made in that regard. And what if it IS selfish not to have them. So what? Selfish to me is actually a virtue; it means I put my own well-being above others so that I am qualified to give and provide best for others. And sacrifice is really the thing I always watch out for because it tends to cause more bitterness than fulfillment in instances where I have seen it….so being a selfish person first and then caring about others is a good thing. And even if others think so, it’s just hard to get them to admit it ;)! So in the end, I am very happy to hear your story and to truly believe that a path to fulfillment can indeed happen without procreation. Thank you!

  • Sahar

    Hi Farnoosh,
    You might find this video on parenthood (TED talks) interesting:
    Ted Talks
    Cheers,
    –Sahar

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Love Ted Talks, dear Sahar, I have sometime this weekend and will watch it and come back here to comment. Thank you for sharing and coming back here again. You are so kind!!

  • http://www.hotelatdelhi.com Sarah

    Farnoosh@

    Oh my God , after reading your 10 post i can’t stop my self to reading all your posts well for now i can’t coz have some work to finish but yes i just want say one thing that … ” it’s really difficult to answer this question for me. ” I’ll share my thought on that some day , I think you will help me out for the same .

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Sarah, welcome to prolific living and you are so kind _ I am so happy you enjoyed this post and from the overwhelming response, I think we can agree it’s a difficult question to answer :)! Come back anytime, and many thanks for your kind words!

  • Stephanie

    GREAT TOPIC!!

    Believe it or not, I read EVERY post! :-)

    I have a perspective that I’ve not seen expressed yet, so here goes…

    I am 44, single and childless.

    At 21, I became pregnant, but did not continue the pregnancy.

    At 30 I got married and became a stepmother to a child that I found difficult to bond with due to her earlier abandonment by her biological mother. The step-mothering experience was a drain on my life EVERYDAY, and I, having been a teacher for all my life, get along with and draw children to me like a magnet. To say that this experience was a letdown is putting it mildly.

    During the marriage, I had the opportunity to temporarily foster parent the children of a woman we knew of that was having addiction issues.

    Those children? I LOVED to pieces. Making big meals and coordinating bath times, making lunches and baking cookies….it was a dream come true, until the whiny, clingy stepchild manipulated her father(my then husband) by saying that I was favoring them over her, which I was VERY careful to NOT do.

    So that ended, as did the marriage shortly thereafter.

    Roll the tape forward, I’m 30, then 35, then 40 and now here, at 44.

    Technically, I can still have children, but at this point, if I conceived TODAY, by the time the child was 16, I’d be 60!!!!

    So, then I thought about adoption, because I couldn’t be the only one in the family without children. When all the cousins get together and I am THE ONLY ONE without kids, tsk, tsk, poor Stephanie.

    I felt bad about myself for a good while. That something must be wrong with me because, not only do I not want the longterm responsibility of having children, I DEFINITELY do not want to bear one.

    But, I’m supposed to want to, because if I don’t, when future Stroter’s research our family tree….there’ll be no branches extended from me. Mine will be a dead end.

    So, what to do? Adoption WILL NOT be well received in my family because, “you don’t know what you will get.”(their words).

    I thought about it long and hard, meditated, got mad, stopped thinking about it, thought about just doing it and winging it as I went along, and back again…

    In the final analysis, thought it goes against all familial expectations, my friends, society and blah blah, and although I enjoy children and wouldn’t mind short term caretaking of a child.

    I really, don’t want to have children of my own.

    I want to be free to pick up and go when and where I want. I want to vagabond around the US and beyond or not, or both. I want to be able to sleep according to my optimal sleeping times, exercise and explore all the ideas in my head I have yet to express.

    and mostly, I just want my time and energy to remain my own.

    I have love to give and I have already found avenues for the expression, and when I meet that special someone, because of all my introspective thinking, I know he and I will be on a “similar” wavelength regarding lifestyle desires, so there will be a harmonizing in that respect.

    and the best part is, it feels right.

    I don’t have any feelings of what I “might be missing out on”. I have a “full agenda”, if you will, of all the exciting things I want to do, see , be and accomplish before I transition to the next phase of existence.

    I’ve read your responses to other posts. If I may be so forward to posit a question…Is the ticking from the biological clock you are hearing because of the “artificial” construct of age? or because you look around at your peers and feel like you are “behind” in life’s progression or is this like a 24 hour sale that you don’t wanna miss(sort of tongue-in-cheek and yet still valid).

    I don’t know you, I can glean some of who you are from you blog…

    But it feels like it isn’t a question of whether or not you want children, but how far on your OWN path you are prepared to go….

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Stephanie, how can I thank you for taking the time not only to read every single of these 260 conversations here but also to take the time to respond so thoughtfully. I am very grateful to you. Thank you for sharing your story in such depth and such sincerity with us here. I cannot tell you how much I relate to some of it, while at the same time in all honesty not having a clue as to how other parts of it feel – specifically, being a step mother – I just know that giving with your heart to the right channel – in this case the children you were fostering – was the RIGHT thing to do but you already know that from being so perceptive.
      As to your observations of me, are you saying that I have already decided to *have* them and it’s just a matter of how far I can live out my own life before I eventually do so – or the opposite? I think I am leaning so much more towards not having any of my own even though my readers did a fantastic job in making this decision even more challenging – something I candidly asked for and more than got in return….I value the freedoms that you listed here – and those you left unsaid (so many more)- so much more than taking this huge risk with my life – at least right now. And to answer you honestly, the biological “clock” is only the sound of society that I hear, nothing internal, not yet anyway. Perhaps things will change, perhaps not. Either way, I am so so grateful to having you here to add to our conversation. A million thanks for being so gracious and sharing your brave story so openly, Stephanie!

      • Stephanie

        You are oh so welcome! Thank YOU for posting the question which clearly, people are very passionate about!

        Being on the outside looking in….and why I asked you about the source of the “ticking” is, from reading your responses and from reading other posts on your blog…I think that you have already made up your mind to not have children, at least for the near future.

        It is my firm opinion, that when we vacillate in decision making, it is usually because we are trying to gather the courage to do what we have already decided deep down.

        From what I’ve read, you have already “broken free”of living your life for your parents/family, forging your own path. The next step could very well be to go even further and “break with tradition” and not have children.

        Where does your husband stand on this? Does he want children, on the fence or leaning more towards being childless?

        Great discussion!! Thank you for providing a place in which to share.

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Stephanie, thank you for your follow-up! Your observations are way too astute. I wonder if indeed that is what I have decided deep down. I know that when I wrote the post, that was clearly my position but I wanted to have reasons from others who may obviously feel differently and this was a great medium because, well, how often do we go up to a pregnant friend and ask why she got pregnant ;)! My husband stands right next to me on this, leaning more towards living our lives and living out these dreams and maybe someday incorporating children if need be and not necessarily biological ones. I sometimes sway back and forth and I think I just don’t want to admit that I am indeed going against the tradition – it’s good to have a door “open” – although my friend Pascal had a whole other take on concept of doors….(up in the comments which I am sure you read) – I know I am not going to do something like this without really thinking it through and every time I think it through, I have doubts…Anyway thank you again and I do hope that you return as a regular reader as I’d love to continue hearing your thoughts, dear Stephanie!

          • Stephanie

            Astuteness comes with age…if you pay attention! LOL! and thank you.

            I am very glad to hear that you and your husband are on the same page. That makes it so much easier.

            It could be that your lifestyle will allow you to parent/foster/adopt children in some circumstance we haven’t thought of nor can yet imagine!

            I read that you and your husband are both dog people. I think it would be an interesting experience to see how you two would react to having your time and energies split between what you want to do and the demands of pet ownership. Walking, feeding, taking to the vet, grooming, etc. That would give you a more “concrete” sampling of just how willing or not you are able/want to be flexible with the changes in your current lifestyle.

            I will most definitely be returning to read and am going to bookmark you post haste! LOL!

            Good Night Farnoosh, may your sleep be peaceful and may you awaken with renewed vigor and energy.

            • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

              Stephanie, I have thoroughly enjoyed our exchange. Yes we love and adore dogs but can you believe that we are consciously not getting a puppy because we don’t’ want to leave him/her at the motel or with others because we travel so much. If we were selfish, we would get a dog and leave it anywhere anytime and have it just be there for us….I can’t believe people leave their dogs in a tiny apartment in big cities all day long only to spend an hour at home at night before they repeat the same. A lifestyle must allow for embracing a child or a pet otherwise it is not a good fit for me. I have been thinking about getting a dog but get discouraged when I think of how often we travel but definitely in the future. For now, I think we are going to stick to each other ;)! Bring back your wisdom please to other posts and I can’t wait to see you again. Many, many thanks dear Stephanie for your suggestions!

              • Stephanie

                The puppy idea kinda solidifies the whole thing doesn’t it? :-)

                Yes, this has indeed been a spirited and enjoyable exchange. You have a grand way of responding that is welcoming and warm, I can see why you have as strong a readership as you do!

                You are most welcome Farnoosh, I shall most definitely “see” you again on other posts.

                • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

                  Stephanie, you do make me laugh but the truth usually does that to us…! You are so so kind and generous with your kind words. I read them when I was up in Boston freezing in the bitter cold and they WARMED me up! Thank you and I can’t wait to see you and hear from you again, Stephanie!!

  • Christine

    I can only speak for myself, of course, but not having children was not an option. The urge to have a baby can be all-consuming! Yes, I made many sacrifices to stay home and raise them. Who knows what paths I didn’t walk down. I hate regrets, so I don’t have any. It has been a privilege to be mother to my son and daughter. Without question, parenting these two souls has been the most honorable thing I could do with my life. And, now that they are young adults themselves, I have decades left for new pursuits and passions.
    These are my thoughts only. I respect everyone for thoughtfully making their own choices. How wonderful a time we live in that we have these choices!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi dear Christine, thank you so much for taking time to comment here on this very sensitive and important topic and for sharing your thoughts, which of course is the only thing I wanted from my readers. I think that if you had that all consuming urge, then you responded to it appropriately and no matter what path we take, even if we know deep down which one is right for us, we have to make sacrifices. Not having children has as many sacrifices as having them; I truly believe that. I am so glad that you are taking the time to examine what you like to do with the rest of your life and pursuing passions now. Indeed the *most* wonderful time when a woman can decide whether to procreate or pursue other passions in life. Fulfillment lies at the end of both for us, if only we choose consciously!

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  • http://myfingersarentbroken.com/ GinaMaire

    I love your honesty and can say from the bottom of my heart that I understand where you are coming from 200%. At 24 I am already asked why I don’t have children. Truth is I guess I’m also one of those “uncommon” women that feel this way. From the time I was young I had no desire to have children. The thought going through labor (the pain and not to mention I like to keep my figure…yea I know vain :-)), the responsibility it takes to raise a child, the freedom I would have to give up…it just never appealed to me.

    The there is fear…what if I can’t raise my child right? What if I’m not there enough? What if I do something that messes them up?

    But I was always told that “you will grow out of it.” Well it hasn’t happen yet.

    If I do ever decide that I won’t kids more than likely I would adopt. With so many kids already on this Earth that need guidance, love and care to me it makes more sense.

    I’m so glad you wrote this post because it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out their that feels this way.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi again dear GinaMarie, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this very special post. You know, people can guess all day long how you will be at 27 or 30 or later and when you will “come around” to having children or having the desire, but in the end, it is no one’s business but yours and yours alone so stand up for what you want to do with your own life because no one else will be there to live it for you – even when you follow their greatest advice! Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts. It adds so much to this conversation!

  • http://pix2brix.com Alison Moore Smith

    When my husband and I were dating, I told him, “I’ll have two kids if I like the first one a lot.” That was my mantra and I was dead serious.

    We have now been married more than 25 years. I still adore him. And we have six children. Yes, six. You can guess that I liked the first one more than is imaginable.

    This is such a personal decision and I would never presume to tell that they should have a child, or that they are wrong not to. I can only tell you that, for me, having children changed my world, my mindset, my life, my priorities.

    I still have a life and interests and friends and activities and projects. But motherhood was something I could not fathom and didn’t understand until I did it. I still don’t adore OTHER babies or love working with OTHER children, but I have never experienced such powerful emotion, love, fear, happiness, sadness, etc. And I’m so, so glad that I didn’t miss it while assuming that what I felt about motherhood before I had children would be the same way I felt afterward.

    I absolutely adore my husband. He is still my dream man and my best friend and the sexiest thing to move on earth. But I would die or kill (or scratch or maim…) for my kids. They are now ages 7-23 and bless me (oh, and sometimes curse me! ;) ) beyond measure.

    Best to you all in making such important life decisions.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Alison, welcome to prolific living and thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts, your journey, your family, your story of having children and most of all, your love for your husband which I think is key to a beautiful family and marriage…! I love the ultimatum you gave your husband and while I cannot begin to imagine having 6 children, I think you have given me a lot of food for thought! I do applaud you for having your own life, circle of friends, hobbies and passions, even with motherhood to 6 children. That is amazing in itself but also probably very fundamental to your happiness and your overall balance between doing stuff for yourself and for your children….! Thank you thank you and I do hope to see you again here….!!

  • Negar

    WOW! Just WOW! Farnoosh, I LOVE the post – so honest, so heartfelt, so sweet, so you! I have been reading the comments since December and just now got through all of them. I am blown away by all the responses. Whatever you decide to do, I support you 100%! I know you and Andy will make the right decision for you both and your lifestyle. :) Here is a quote (by Rainer Maria Rilke) that rings so true with questions like this…. “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.” Love you guys dearly!

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      You know, I keep wondering if I am done getting comments on this one and I am constantly proven wrong, which in this case I kinda like! Oh Negar, what a tough topic, and I had the same sentiment as you reading all these incredible, amazing stories. Thank you so much for supporting me and Andy – we are going to need it one way or another! – And I *love* this quote. You share so many but this one is brilliant….and so good for me at this stage in life. A million thanks to my dear cousin! The love is mutual and you know it!

  • http://www.unlimitedchoice.org/blog Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice

    I haven’t read all the comments on this Farnoosh but I can relate to this inversely in a way that I don’t think anyone here could. I truly respect your honesty and I hope that one day, I can do the same and share my, inverse experience, so to speak.

    As for where you stand, I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the selfish ideals that you have, and when I say selfish I mean in a good way. I mean that you’ve decided to focus on doing the things you love and are not just going for the status quo. There are some really happy moms out there and equally there are unhappy ones who wished they’d fulfilled their dreams before having children. I look at my sister in law who’s in her late 40’s and her eldest is 18. I think of her as still very young and very capable of starting new adventures now.

    I think it all ultimately comes down to you. What do you really want…if kids are not on the menu, they’re no on the menu…and that’s absolutely fine.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Amit, I am trying to figure out what it means to have an “inverse” relating to this – do tell and stop keeping me in suspense….I sincerely hope you share it with us one day or better even, right here, right now as I have no patience ;)!
      Oh so many stories about unhappy – or rather, unfulfilled – Moms out there. I think selfishness is a virtue so you can call me selfish and make me smile. Selflessness brings many an unhappiness with it and there is no glory to a sacrifice that no one asks us to make. The comments here are extremely moving. I think I need to take my readers seriously and turn it into a handy free ebook at some point.
      Thank you so much for your support, my dear Amit!

  • Sophia

    Couples with children have a less healthy diet, on average, than those without.
    Not surprising at all, of course….
    At 25, I have no desire for kids at this point, and am curious to see how this unfolds. But I love reading the thoughts and opinions of others, especially when they echo my sentiments and don’t make me feel like a weirdo! :)

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Sophia I think that is a general statement and not necessarily true for everyone. I try hard not to ever generalize. I know extremely unhealthy women who have no children with awful diets and extremely healthy women with children and amazing bodies and great diet….
      Not having a desire to have children though, that’s real and while you are young, things may or may not change, you may meet someone who changes your mind or you may stay put this way. This has been a great post indeed and you are not a weirdo, at least not for not having children ;)!
      Thanks for your thoughts!

      • Sophia

        You’re right—that statement (adapted from something I read) is indeed a massive generalization, which I should have caught before sharing—I think I just got excited! It’s interesting to think how such statements (usually based on research studies/articles/other very broad forms of media) can stick with us, and we seize on them as soon as these often-sensitive subjects come up in conversation…. Thanks for the reply!!!

        • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

          Not to worry one bit, dear Sophia. My husband always catches me when I make these statements which I do from time to time and turns things around to me, knowing I am so atypical and how would I feel if someone made those generic statements about me. And I am so glad you took my reply so kindly, Sophia. Thanks for showing up on the blog and I love to see more of you around.

  • Scott Hedrick

    I’ve only just discovered your blog, but already I like you. You are the kind of person who ought to have children. All too often it’s the parasites that end up having children who then in turn also become parasites, living off the government dole for multiple generations and making no contribution to society except for another mouth to feed. It seems that the people who do the most to support society breed the least.

    If you want children but don’t want to do that to your body, adopt. I used to think it was my duty to pass on my parent’s genes, but then I dated a girl who had children. I have since married another gal who was herself adopted. While we have two biological children, I would have been satisfied with adoption.

    If you decide you don’t want children, that’s a shame (for society), but it’s your business. Children mean your life is not your own. I went back to college after 16 years and it has been exceptionally challenging to schedule classes because of the kids. It’s also nice to come home and they can’t wait to hug me (that will end as soon as they become teenagers, of course).

    It’s your life- nobody else gets a vote.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Scott, welcome to my blog. I know I should have them and I would make an amazing mother and yes to everything *EVERYTHING* you say about parasites in society living off the government but that’s a discussion for another day and perhaps another medium.
      The more I live, the less I want others to dictate my dreams and my time. There is no way I could have the patience for children in this stage, and ever since I wrote this post, I think I have moved further away than even the slight wish for having children. Perhaps one day I will adopt or perhaps I will just ride out the waves of my dreams. For now, my life is more fulfilling than anyone else I know and to me, that’s indication of good living. Thanks for sharing your story and your views here.

  • http://www.erosdiscordia.com Violetta

    I too have just discovered your blog, and I am so glad that I did! Living in certain places in the Southern United States, the pressure on women to have a husband and children is intense–to the point where, if you are over 30, unmarried, and childless, you are treated by people as though you were slightly less “there”. I’m not saying it’s true everywhere. But I’ve spent a lot of the time since I turned 22 or so battling the temptation to rush into something that’s not right for me, just to alleviate the pain of not being treated like an adult.

    It’s very brave of you to write this post. I agree with so many of your feelings, and also have some questions of my own that I’ve always been (probably rightly) afraid to ask. And part of what I hate about the notion of parenting is the groupthink, the multitudes of taboo subjects, the control parents exert over each other’s minds, the conformity. I would trust the concept of parenthood, and the advice of people who gush over it, much more if I felt like there was more transparency about the negative. At least, more acknowlegement of the downsides, without an immediate need to “mea culpa” by saying “but it’s SOOOO worth it”!

    I know a lot of people are genuinely happy about being parents. But frankly, I know just as many people who are lying to themselves. They go on and on about how glad they are to be a parent, because they’re trying to convince themselves that’s what they feel. They try to pressure others to have kids, so that they’re not alone in the minefield. Or they resort to passive-aggression and condescension against childless people and against their own children, because they’re miserable and regret breeding, but they can’t admit it to themselves. And really, there’s nothing they can do, is there?

    That’s the thing. It’s an absolutely irreversible crapshoot, and if it doesn’t work out for you, you’re screwed. Society won’t let you talk about it. But it also won’t lay off you til you try.

    What happens if you don’t like your child? What happens if you miss your old life, and the new rewards just don’t make up for what you sacrificed? Whats happens if your child has a challenge, and you begin to feel regret that your brought into the world someone who’s going to do a lot of suffering?

    There’s practically a gag rule in society, that you’re not even supposed to wonder those types of things, let alone say them aloud. But there are also some amazing women out there who have come forth with their tales of ambivalence: those who suffer postpartum depression, those who have a hard time bonding, those who are transparent about the fact that the rewards of parenting don’t always grossly outnumber the drawbacks.

    I too fear what would happen to my (5’2″, 110-lb.) body. I too fear living in a sea of drool, snot, cheap plastic crap, brainsucking TV shows, and crowds of clucking hen mothers with nothing interesting to talk about. I too fear having my life’s dreams–so tenaciously fought for after an abusive upbringing–devoured by yet another Somebody-Else. I fear that I’d only be doing it to conform, and that my occasional twinges of curiosity or sentimentality towards the idea of having children are just further symptoms of giving in to societal pressure.

    What is this magical love people report children immediately inspiring? Why should you feel it when you hold a baby you produced? People talk as though some sort of madness overtakes them as soon as they look at their child. It actually doesn’t make the prospect more appealing to me. I want to be *me*, not some enthusiastic zombie intoxicated by a chemical cocktail in their brains. Not some slave to biology, programmed to respond to big eyes and cooing, so that I won’t leave the new DNA-carrier on a doorstep somewhere. All my life I’ve tried to learn who is and is not worthy of loving. I guess I don’t feel too thrilled at the idea of all that wisdom being overridden, being forced to love in spite of myself. It feels like a violation.

    I know I sound pretty twisted. I actually like children a lot–once they start talking. I’m afraid, too, that I’m some sort of dry old stick, that even though I have a boyfriend and may have kids someday, that I’ll be cold and logical as a mom and mess the kids up. But I’m also afraid of missing something, like this is the only way to get the full human experience, that there’s a door you go through when you acquire a child that leads to Real Life. There’s an ego thing, too: I want to find out if I’d be any good at this difficult game.

    I’m 32, and still undecided.

    • http://prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dear Violetta, who is younger but much wiser than me, thanks a million times for this response. I shared it with my husband because it was so apt, so precisely close to how we feel and it was expressed in such great use of the language that I was trying to find the right words to reply. Thank you for sharing your deep and intimate thoughts about your true feelings and the pressures of society and yet your own drive to experience life on a different level. Well, I think that you seem decided to me for the most part but I know what you mean about leaving the door open just in case….. Rest assured, that you can and will live a complete and fulfilled life without children. That is my firm opinion and I don’t think any power of the universe can convince me otherwise, even if I *choose* otherwise. You can be fulfilled with and without. So if you are going to entertain the thoughts, then remember your words here which are so true that they gave me a chill and a sigh and even more clarity into my own decision. I am so grateful you spent the time sending this to me. Thank you so much and I hope you return here again to share your brilliant thoughts in this space with us.

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  • http://www.collectiveself.com Lori

    Hi Farnoosh,
    Great subject to get to talk about. My decision not to have children was made easier by the example of my mother. My own mother was such an amazing, wonderful mom. With her whole being she wanted children. She poured that whole being into my sister and I–fascinated by who we were, what we were learning, and never tiring of figuring out new ways to support our journeys without stepping on them. And all without (at least from my perspective) one moment of regret about any of the down sides. I came away from my childhood believing that that’s the kind of childhood children deserve.

    For me, that same dedication and devotion came through in my work. Today, at 40, my devotion to what I’m learning (I’m a self-organizing groups researcher) and what I can share with the world of these amazing groups gets stronger by the day. In my own mind, what we’re doing is just expanding the definition of children. I will rattle on endlessly about the current groups I’m studying just like my mom could rattle on endlessly about what her little girls were doing that week–because I am as certain as my mom was that these children will transform the world, and me along with them.

    I could never imagine bringing a child into the world who had to peek in my office door and wonder why her mother devotes herself so completely to her work. In my life, I’ve found that if I can’t imagine it, I can’t do it. Looking back, for me it wasn’t so much a decision as simply the inevitable result of me being me (everything my mother really wanted for me). :-)

    So nice to meet you.
    Lori

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Lori, hi! Welcome to prolific living and thank you for sharing your thoughts on this post and all its amazing responses. How interesting that your exemplary Mom made the decision of not having children easy. I have a fantastic Mom who would love grandchildren from her only daughter, but I don’t think she is any reason that I am, right now, not having any. I think your devotion to your career is brilliant and you admit it, and you are comfortable with it and you are living it. I am very very happy for you and so glad to get to know you a little, Lori. Nice to meet you too! Come back anytime!

  • Dianne

    :D I too just found your blog.

    Farnoosh, doing something because society, or anyone else, expects it of you is the worst possible reason I can even imagine for doing something! And that is not just my opinion on having children, but on living life! If it feels like you have to make sacrifices to be/do/have it than you don’t really want it, or you haven’t gotten the composition of your life’s photo set up right.

    Personally I don’t believe in making sacrifices. Not smoking is a sacrifice for some, but for me it is not. It is irrelevant to me. When I feel like I’m making sacrifices in life I know I’m on the wrong track.

    Birthing and raising children is, or should be an act of love, but it is not the only love or even the ultimate love. Every love relationship is unique! They can not be compared. Is the love of your mother less than that of your love for your father? And yet I am sure they are different as is the love for your siblings, pets, extended family members, friends and lovers. Each love relationship is as different as the individuals involved (yes, dogs are individuals too). It is a waste of energy to compare love relationships. They just are! Honor them, revel in them, create more of them, but don’t judge or minimize any of them.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Dianne, welcome!
      Gosh, I can’t agree with you more – which is why I never follow that rule and which is also why I struggle so much with this decision that by nature is a big part of our society. And talk about seeing eye to eye on sacrifices! I don’t believe in making them either. Thank you for articulating your beautiful and strong thoughts so well. And thank you for saying it all with such a punch. Please come back and share more of those thoughts with us here, Dianne.

  • Emily

    Earlier this week I Googled “find your own path” and found your website. Your insights and honesty are very welcomed. It appears that this topic is a highly emotional charged subject that has generated the most discussion. I posted a link to your blog post on my FB page and it likewise generated many thoughtful comments from people. Thank you for having the courage to share your thoughts on this topic. Seeing this topic was timely for me as I have been thinking about this a lot lately and it is always good to gain fresh perspectives.

    From my own experience and perspective, many people go through life doing things that others or society expects of them versus taking the time to consider what it is they REALLY want and working to create this in their lives. Each of us is unique and we should be able to experience life in the way that is for our highest good versus conforming to expected norms or standards. If all of us were meant to live the same life, then we would all like the same foods, participate in the same hobbies, wear the same clothes, and be satisfied with the same life experiences. But we are not all the same and so we need to find the path or paths that work for us and walk confidently in the direction of our dreams.

    I believe that whatever gives you the most peace is the right answer. No matter how much you may examine both sides, shed light on your fears, and bounce back and forth between the options, once you feel that sense of peace
    then you know you have the right answer. Additional layers of fears or concerns may surface after you have made up your mind but this just gives you another chance to reaffirm that feeling of peace and inner knowing that you are on the right path.

    From reading your various blog posts, it is evident you have a deep level of self awareness and you are using this to create the life you desire. You are pursuing your passions and dreams and inspiring others to do the same. When we take the time to question and truly explore we find out more about ourselves and the motivation for our choices. If you were to choose to have a child, what would your true goal or motivation be?

    I ask this question as one does not have to give birth to an actual child in order to positively impact the lives of children. Through your blog, you are affecting the lives of parents and this in turn will positively impact the lives of their children. Someone that was instrumental in my life never had children herself but she was the right mix of mentor/counselor/coach/mother that I needed when I was a young adult. She is still a significant part of my life today and considers me one of her “children.” The relationship has not been one directional as she has told me that she has benefited just as much if not more from our relationship.

    The struggle I am dealing with right now is WHEN to have children as I would like to have children but I do not want it to interfere with my life purpose. This may sound harsh but it is only because I feel very strongly about what I am meant to do in this lifetime. When I choose to be a mother I want to put just as much energy and time and passion into this pursuit as well.

    I am 31 and in the process of transitioning from Corporate Finance for a Fortune 500 company to pursue my passion as a life coach to empower women to find their own path. Due to life circumstances that I have overcome, the inspiration for this idea has been with me for quite some time (over 10 years now) and it has weighed heavily on my soul that I have not been able to pursue it like I wanted to. Finally I made some choices to create the right environment so that I can give “birth” to the creative energy and ideas that have been in my head and I do not want this to conflict with the actual physical birth of a child. I can identify with you that as women the struggle is harder to choose between the two options (having children or not having children) or combining career and family in some fashion for by the time that some of us are “ready” our fertility is on the decline.

    Just like you, I am in the process of questioning and examining and shedding the light on my fears as I want to make my decision based on a place of love and not fear. When I look back over my life, I could not have planned exactly to be where I am today for my goals had to be flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected. However, I know that it is the “unexpected” life events that sometimes bring us the greatest opportunities for growth and joy so who knows where the next segment of life will take us. Best of luck to you!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Emily, I so so enjoy reading this extremely well-thought-out reply here. Yes, this post generated a lot of sensation because I challenged status quo. Since I wrote it, I have decided that for me and for my path to fulfillment, I am opting out of the procreation process for now. Maybe someday, I will feel differently about it but I can’t live my present life for a potential future longing that I may or may not have….
      31> So young. I am older than you and I am still feeling as strongly as I did at 31. Children WILL change your life and your priorities and whatever you do, please don’t get so frustrated and in the end that you just make a quick decision to go with the flow at the end. It’s very hard to go against the tide but sometimes, that is the right direction for some of us. At the very least, I am delighted – just delighted – that you are questioning status quo if that is how you feel and giving your heart a chance to express itself.
      I am so looking forward to talk to you more. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your very heart-felt comments here. Talk soon!!!

  • Becci

    Dear Farnoosh,
    Thank you so much for this beautiful article. I got married last year, and had a niggling mental itch I couldn’t scratch myself, so re-visited with my therapist. She suggested this itch may be about children, and we discussed this for a few weeks. In truth, I have never felt maternal and never seen children in my family – though I have 7 (soon to be 8) nephews and nieces who I adore and love being with (for a limited period of time!). I have noticed increasing peer pressure as I have got older and friends have started having children, but funnily enough I have never experienced this from my family. I love that you have made this a decision to be considered, whereas I see in my circle a lot of “This is what we do as a couple”. I find the (sometimes very open) judgement of women who make the choice not to have children quite interesting, as I don’t believe I have ever said to a woman holding her child, “so, you must have some regrets about this situation then?”, and of course I wouldn’t as they have made a choice and it’s my responsibility to be respectful of that. Your insights are very valuable, and I thank you deeply.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Oh wow, a therapist suggests that your “itch” is about children. The world is brilliant at telling us what is wrong with us. Good heavens.
      Hi dear Becci and thank you for your lovely comment. The peer pressure is insane and it is all on women. You are lucky – very lucky – to have a family that does not pressure you into it. I love your sense of humor and fun as you talk about this. If we are respectful of the decision of others, why can they not be respectful of ours?
      Since the writing of this post, Becci, I have finally made the decision to close that door and not entertain the thoughts even once again. I announced it to my family and thank heavens that my husband feels the same and now I am finally at complete peace. Complete utter peace. I hope you make the decision that brings you that peace and nothing less. Thank you so much for your comment.

      • Becci

        Dear Farnoosh,
        I am so happy that you have peace, which is a huge indication that this is right and true decision for you, and that your husband feels the same. The fact that you started this conversation and have always been very open to all views is a blessed thing to me and I have huge respect for you – thank you so much and I hope to be where you have got to soon!
        Blessed be, and I wish you every happiness,
        Becci

        • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

          Dear Becci, I don’t know what happened to me this past weekend – I went to the world domination summit where my lifestyle and dreams and thoughts were reaffirmed over and over and funny enough, the subject of children never came up. I have never felt so liberated. I think you will know when the time is right and I wish you all the peace and happiness as you make this most difficult yet rewarding life decision. Come back here, anytime! I hope to hear from you again.

  • Steve

    Hello Farnoosh, I found your blog today when I looked up to have or not have kids. I am in a personal battle with myself because I am 90% sure I don’t want another child. I am 29 and my son is 11,yes i know i started young, and he is great!Being a father has brought much joy. I have been dating a great girl now for two and a half years now and marriage has come up and I am reluctant to ask her to marry me because of the kid situation. She is 24 and no kids. her and my son get alog great, and if I was to have another child she is the one I would chose to have one with. She has told me that she may not want children but she is still young and I think part of that is telling me what I want to hear. I love her and she adores me, the stars align except for this one. What should I do?

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi dear Steve, welcome here. I wonder if I am now ranking high on Google for those words. Completely unintentional, I tell you! :) Oh you are such a young Daddy! So she has told you that she doesn’t want to have children (good for her!), you don’t seem to want another one either but can’t quite say it 100%, that’s ok, but there is no strong urge to have one, and you two already share in the joy of one child, which is fabulous, and you have already experienced parenthood and fatherhood and it seems to be rewarding, and you both love and adore each other …. You should STAY together and get married, that’s what you should do. It’s quite simple really! You have so many things aligned and what if you both change down the road together then it will be a beautiful miracle and what if you both stay the same, then you will enjoy your son as your only child ans well, what if you feel differently – one may want a child more than the other, you will figure it out! Really, you are very young and I think you seem like a good match. You asked, and that’s what I think :)! Best of luck!

  • http://www.defythebox.com Leah Shapiro

    Hi Farnoosh-
    It was awesome to meet you at WDS and I’m so happy to have stumbled into this conversation on your blog.
    I’m also a woman who has never had the desire to have children. The idea was never appealing to me.
    As I got older and moved into my mid 30’s I began to question my choice, and decided that perhaps I would be open to the possibility. For me having a child would be a manifestation of my relationship with my partner. When it came right down to it, I was never with someone who I thought would be in it with my 100% – splitting all the responsibility. When it came right down to it- I knew that the first few years would be mostly on me. Carrying a baby for 9 months and then nursing just seemed like too much and I had no desire to give up my freedom in that way.
    Right when I was in the middle of questioning my choice, my two brothers and their wives had babies with in 6 months of each other. I saw first hand how dramatically it changed their lives. I knew then it wasn’t for me.

    I think the key thing to pay attention to is that YOU never felt the calling to have kids. I have no doubt that you could create a convincing story in your mind to have them, but I say go with what resonates deep down inside for you.

    Now that I’m 45-I’m so glad that I honored my choice.

    An interesting side note on this. I recently had a discussion with my older brother about not having kids. He and his wife were struggling to have a second child with no success. The process was making them both miserable and ruining their marriage. I told him that I never wanted to have kids and really didn’t understand the desire to so frantically push to have more-especially at the cost of their relationship- he was so surprised that I never wanted kids. For all these years he was feeling sorry for me for not being married or having any children…both of these things are 100% my choice….He just assumed it was something that I wanted “just like everyone else.”

    Just goes to show he doesn’t really know how unlike everyone else I am!

    Rock on!
    Leah

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Leah, it was so nice to meet you and spend time with you in Pam’s session (If I remember right, you were sitting across from me). And THANK YOU for sharing your story. And telling me that you are happy as a clam in your fabulous 40s and not missing anything. I think the pressures from others is insane and I have *NEVER* ever felt a calling or even envious of the life of parents. I have a very hard time living selflessly and finding happiness in it but then again, even if I could have nurses and help, I don’t think I still want children. I think some of us are meant to go for a higher purpose in life. Its’ too bad your brother pitied you rather than feel great for you. I am afraid it’s too hard to change the views of the masses but I am going to advocate a fabulous intentionally child-free life to my last breath. Rock on yourself :)!

  • http://www.mariabrophy.com Maria Brophy

    I love your honesty in this post. I always felt the same way as you. I never wanted kids. That changed when I met my husband, because he wanted 5 (and I was so in love with him….)

    But, after having 1 and seeing how my freewheeling, traveling, surfing adventurous life came to a SCREECHING HALT for a couple years, I decided that my son would be an only child.

    Nature is cruel to women in that when you have a baby, your own personal needs are not important anymore. But they are. But there’s no time. I am a voracious reader, and I went 3 years without reading a book after Dylan was born! My husband and I would fight over who got to go surfing, because someone had to watch the baby. Sounds silly, but try meditating when you have a colicky baby in the house.

    There’s no time for you. And that can make a woman very cranky.

    You know those women that are bitchy and terrible, but they used to be cute and loving? They had kids.

    Extreme point of view, yes. But here’s what I think:

    Not everyone is cut out for motherhood. And those who try to please others by being a mother when they shouldn’t, well, they end up unhappy. (Sure, they love their children. But they are stressed.)

    Some people are cut out to have lots of kids. And they should do it, because they shine as mothers. (I envy those women.)

    Now that my son is 9 years old, he travels the world with us and all is back to normal. But it took a few years (he was a high-maintenance baby and was very difficult). And I will never tie myself down like that again.

    Having a child is an amazing adventure of it’s own, but it’s a lifetime commitment. There are so many adventures; you don’t have to do this one if you aren’t drawn to it.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Nature is so cruel that I think God was having a weird sense of humor when he made these things up. If there is a God ;)! Hey, maybe I should blog about that one as another viral post.
      Dear Maria, how *nice* of you to come by my blog and for your honest, candid comment that I read outloud to my husband in the car yesterday and have read several times. Your husband’s surfing talent is exquisite; I checked the site and your own bio is sweet and impressive, good for you!!
      Thank you for the humor, for the candor, and for helping me come to terms with my recent decision. Since the writing of this post, I am pretty certain that for the foreseeable future, I won’t be having any biological children and given that I am way into my 30s, that probably does not bode well with Mother Nature risk factors (part of the aforementioned joke!).
      I am delighted to meet a mother that is ever so honest about their feelings. It is refreshing and it restores my faith in a lot of things. Thank you so much for taking time to write this here and I hope we continue to keep in touch. All the best.

  • http://flauen.wordpress.com/ Julia Hristova

    I found your blog today and this is a great article! I am one of those women, too. I have NEVER even in my girlish childhood dreams wanted children, I hated to see or hear them cry, scream or bother me in any other way. Then my sister was born (I was 15 then) and even if we don’t live together my attitude to children changed. I started to tolerate them and there is a spark of “hope” for me to someday have kids. I agree with your idea about educating, helping and maybe adopting or caring for a child that is already born but as I do believe that in this world everyone has a mission, a place and there is enough for anybody I don’t see anything wrong with making a new one. So what changed my mind about having kids? I am a good person, I am ambitious, financially stable, understanding, caring, warmhearted so if I have a child it has a better chance in surviving and LIVING a life that is worth it. I will be better than moms who are poor, alcoholics, take drugs, beat their child and so on. So even if I don’t really WANT kids, if its soul is bound to be incarnated as a human being, why not give it the CHANCE to be my child and (probably) live a happy life? And what if I miss the golden opportunity to live something that is way beyond my imagination and miss it because of my own needs. And about making your and its needs met – I think it’s possible. My father is a very free-spirited soul – loves to travel, extreme sports and so on and still he’s a wonderful father, he taught me to do most of these thing with him when I was little so we went to family vacations and so on. It is possible to tweak your life to fit in a child but only if you are ready for the challenge and if it makes your heart beat faster (in the good way). Don’t pressure yourself if you choose not to have kids. And as Doreen Virtue (a psychic that I read) says that starseed people (those that are born on Earth from other planets) usually don’t have children because on their planet the system is different. Maybe you are a starseed :D Good luck on your journey!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Julia, welcome here and thanks so much for posting your thoughts – I found your viewpoint very interesting. Even though you don’t WANT kids, you may still have them. I think that everyone is entitled to that choice and it is what makes us free human beings (thank heavens!) but that’s not good enough for me. I have done things that I did not want to do and people may argue that is not like having kids but I know myself well enough to know that form this day forward (a few years ago, I said this so from THAT day forward) I am ONLY and ONLY doing what I whole-heartedly want or feel a calling toward. A lot of women in your position also decide to have them because of the overwhelming evidence on how it can be the best thing that happened to us and they make fabulous moms of lovely kids, of course. But the question here is why do what we don’t want to do? I am not convinced it’s a good enough reason that the world tells me to do it. I have to follow my heart. I have done enough things for those other reasons and they have never led to fulfillment for me. I guess I must be from that other planet :)! Thanks for this dialogue and I wish you the very best.

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  • Turtle

    I really enjoyed reading this blog and the honesty behind it. Perhaps there are many women who have these questions but push them aside and under due to cultural, religious, and biological programming and norms. I think I have been putting that fire out every time a tiny flame of doubt pops up in my mind. I quickly push it aside and tell myself I want children.
    And maybe I will. I am just getting started in my career, happy with myself and feeling like I am finally capable of finding a healthy, committed partner. A child fits nowhere into that picture. I also fear finding a partner I love but destroying that with differing views on how to raise children.
    This is very recent- this allowing myself to look at these questions in broad daylight. What would my life look like in 5 years with children? In 10? What about when I am elderly? Will I regret not having children then?
    I have never had such a hard time sifting through the facts and feelings on a decision as big as this one. My body, my family, my hobbies, my fear all give me different answers. I really enjoyed reading this and it’s nice to know I am not less of a woman for asking these questions myself.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Turtle, there is no doubt in my mind that there are many women who feel this way and I have even met them. It is very natural to go forth with just the pressures of family and society around us. Why do you push a thought so strong aside just by telling yourself something that may not be true? Why do we need children to complete us? Why force it? It makes no sense at all and it is not for everyone. And all of your worries are incredibly valid. And let me say something else, to have children so that we are not old and lonely is ludicrous. Children leave and sometimes, good friends are better than indifferent children who hardly check on their parents. Plus, why do something now for the possible future regret that may never come.
      Anyway, I am pretty strong on this topic as you can tell so I hope that you know my questions are coming from a good place because I am tired of people making decisions that are not theirs instead of living life on their own terms. So be brave and introspect a lot and do exactly want it is you want!
      PS: Less of a woman? I don’t think so. I think of myself as a super woman for asking and answering these questions. :)

  • http://thestonecottagediaries.blogspot.com/ Stone Cottage Mama

    First, I think people have children far too young. Both the hubby and I waited until we were in our 30’s to have children. Before that, we enjoyed traveling, being free, being selfish. We did it all. Parenting for us is just another adventure and another chapter in our life. Right now, we only have one. A beautiful sweet daughter.

    And yes, she consumes us because she is a toddler and toddlers are consuming. Young children can absorb your energy because they are learning. They cannot yet give it back. Someone told me this before she was born and it has helped me remember that she won’t always be consuming, taking and learning. And because of that knowledge, I can wholly enjoy being a mother and love and embrace each stage she goes through and be fine with her sucking and drawing energy from me and everything around her.

    Being a mother isn’t a lower purpose. It isn’t just reproduction. It’s very easy for people to say, “oh, I don’t have children because I have a higher purpose,” just like it’s easy for people who do have children to say, “I had children to be less selfish.” The reality is that we delude ourselves when we think we serve higher purposes. We are all just tiny little ants on this earth living our lives in our own square inch footprint. Even Oprah herself is just another ant in the million year lifespan of this earth. She won’t be remembered a million years from now. And we delude ourselves when we think we do things to be less selfish. The reality is, everything we do is selfish.

    I have no problem saying that I had a child because I wanted to. If I really wanted to be less selfish and serve a higher purpose – I would have adopted a child from Vietnam with no arms and legs or I’d be in Africa building homes for everyone. You can’t go more higher purpose and less selfish than that. But how many of us are actually doing that? No, I had a child because my husband and I wanted to experience the role of being parents. Period.

    Which brings me to my next point. Being a mother or a father is just another hat or role we all wear. Some of us are travelers, some of us are teachers, some are students, some are artists or writers, some are missionaries and so on. Being a parent is just one of many thousands of roles you can take on in your life. But the reason why it’s such a bigger deal is because it’s a lifetime role. It’s not like all the other roles you have where you can just stop being a traveler and instead become a hermit in the backwoods of Alaska off-grid. When you have kids, you become more anchored in the role and to the place where you are at. For a long time.

    Now, for some people that sounds like a bad thing. But both my husband and I knew all that before our daughter was born. We enjoyed pre-child life alone for almost a decade. We had lots of roles from traveler, to student and even teacher. We made a choice that we would be parents and did so knowing that we had to put a lot of other roles on the back-burner until she was older. I think it’s this shock of role-placement that throws people off. You think you will be able to do all the same things but you can’t. At least for a while.

    So then you have two choices. One, hate being a parent. And a lot of people go through this route. The shock wears off and then they resent it. And honestly, those people probably did not have a realistic view of what having children is about. Or you can do what we did, number two) experience a bit of the shock, but then remember that you wanted this. Dreamed of this. And then embrace it. You see, being a parent isn’t something you can change your mind and back out of like all those other roles. It’s not another hat you can take off and replace with another. Ever. But you STILL have a choice. And that choice is to either love your role as a mother or father. Or hate it.

    It’s not about loving your children. It’s about loving YOURSELF and your role as a mother or a father. And if you love being a mother or a father, than your children will be loved.

    And that is what it boils down to whether you have children or you don’t…. happiness is a choice. You CHOOSE to be unhappy or you CHOOSE to hate your life.

    And for me…. I love it. My husband loves it. It’s actually the best thing we ever did with our lives. Yes, it led us away from traveling and other things. But it led us to other stuff we would have never done. Like paying off our house so we could both be home full-time, buying a farm. Living debt-free. Raising our own animals. Living in the country so our daughter can breathe fresh air. I now know how to raise chickens, pigs, ducks, turkeys, goats and sheep. If you had told me five years ago, I would be wrestling with goats to trim their hooves, I would have laughed in your face. I never knew any of this stuff before. I am a better cook now too. My whole life and even who I am has completely changed.

    And my daugther… she is already the most amazing young woman I have ever known. Beautiful, strong, brave and just so adventuresome that I can’t wait for her to reach certain ages so we can take on the world together. She is already my pal, my love, my heart. And her father feels the same way. It’s us three against the world. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I feel so bad for familes where the parents don’t feel that way. They take on the attitude of ” me against the children.” And everything falls apart from there.

    I have friends that have decided to not have children and I think its great. I always tell them this and I am going to tell you… Having children will not make you happier. You are either a happy person or you are not. If you are disatisfied on any level before you have children, that’s still going to be there and actually…. it’s going to be worse because now you don’t have all the time and luxury to work on that anymore. But if you are happy, satisfied… well then bringing another person into the scene is just going to be… a breeze. I definitely would say that having a child exposes people for what they are. Children don’t really allow you to hide your true nature anymore once they are here.

    So, having children is not going to make you happier. Will it change your life? Yes. Will it make you grow in ways unimaginable? Yes. But so do lots of other kinds of adventures all over the world. Happiness is a choice. We can pursue it anyway we want. It doesn’t have to be by having children. If you are the kind of person that is happy with the life-long role of “wife” but want the freedom to be able to move in and out of other roles from here on forward. Then I think you have decided to do the right thing. And the choice to be happy with it. It’s all YOURS. It’s about loving YOURSELF and your roles you have chosen. And if you love those roles, than those that are around you will be loved and experience the happiness too.

    Good luck and enjoy your journey.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      One of – if not the – best comment I have read here Stone Cottage Momma. Any other time, I’d have asked the commenter to please limit their comment to a more reasonable size but I read yours and wanted to share it in its entirety. Thank you for saying that we have choices, and that having children doesn’t make us happier, and everything else in between. I agree with you on just about everything. I am glad you said that having children can make me grow in ways unimaginable BUT SO CAN a lot of other things! You have done it with the best attitude and that’s why you are very happy. Few have your openness and your real grasp of the situation. I must say that I really think you should pull this and post it as a blog post – it is perfect! It is a great viewpoint. And I have nothing eloquent to say in return except thank you and I am so happy you decided to share these words here with us today. A million thanks! And I wish you the same with your journey.

    • Rashmie | Mommy Labs

      I wholeheartedly agree with Farnoosh. This is the most thoughtful, sensible, sensitive and yet practical perspective on this topic.
      @stone Cottage Mama, I loved this part the most and really thought as if someone had put words to my innermost thought that I could not have worded myself:

      “Having children will not make you happier. You are either a happy person or you are not. If you are disatisfied on any level before you have children, that’s still going to be there and actually…. it’s going to be worse because now you don’t have all the time and luxury to work on that anymore. But if you are happy, satisfied… well then bringing another person into the scene is just going to be… a breeze. I definitely would say that having a child exposes people for what they are. Children don’t really allow you to hide your true nature anymore once they are here.”

      • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

        Dear Rashmie, I enjoyed her reply very much too. I read it several times and shared it with a few others, so I hope Stone Cottage Mama is reading this – actually she would be getting an email about it so I am sure she is, and knows that her insights have helped me greatly and glad that they also resonated with you, dear Rashmie. I am seriously thinking of talking about this on our Smart, Opinionated and Fabulous podcast with Aileen in the future. Thank you both very much for this conversation, today!

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  • http://thestonecottagediaries.blogspot.com/ Stone Cottage Mama

    Oh Farnoosh! So sorry for the super long response! I didn’t realize that until just now. Sometimes I type and get into quite the zone. I am so glad you and Rashmie related to the response. I know you and many others will live a wonderful and prosperous life no matter what you choose to do.

    I always tell people that as much as I love my daughter (and I am absolutely crazy in love with her), my husband and I would have also been just as happy without her. I know… GASP! Well, why wouldn’t we be just as happy? We’d have never met her and we would have never known any difference.

    Some might say, “oh, but once our kids came here everything just fell in place and we felt complete.” Well… I don’t think so. I think we always have a spot in our heart that is open and empty no matter how many kids we have or don’t have. I think people often misinterpret having children as a surefire guaranteed way to fill that void and surprise! It doesn’t. I’m sure we all know people that have children that are still… empty and its obvious children didn’t fill it. And they are unhappy. That empty spot is there for a reason and it never goes away. Expecting a baby to fill it is unfair burden on that human being. They are born to fulfill their own needs and live their own dreams. But we don’t have to see that empty space as a bad thing. It’s that spot that keeps us pursuing and reaching and growing forevermore. Even with my daughter here, I still have that emptiness. It’s not my daughter’s nor my husband’s job to fill it, it’s mine. I see it as space that is still waiting for the answer to the ultimate meaning of life. It’s the life traveler in me that still wants see the world.

    That never goes away for people like you and I.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Stone Cottage Mama, I swear your wisdom just blows me away. It really gives me SO much encouragement and understanding and all this coming from someone who is a Mom but can still truly speak about both sides of the issue so openly. I love how you said that it IS hard to imagine life without your children but hey, you had a life before them and thank you for not denying that. It’s impossible to get another parent to say that but they *can* imagine it of course – they just choose not to. We can imagine anything; that’s why it’s called imagination :)! Anyway my point is this: your honesty, and your accountability as a human being, and your clarity and ability in separating your own identity from your child, has more than blown me away. I will always remember this conversation. Thank you so much!!!

  • http://www.freelancewritingblog.com Ruth – The Freelance Writing Blog

    Wow – crazy raw, honest post. I can’t read through all 300+ comments so far, and I know that this is an old post, so forgive me if this ground has been covered. I’ll say just two things.

    One, I respect your perspective. Few women put so much thought and intention into the decision, and indeed, there is nothing more life-changing than motherhood (I’ll argue, even fatherhood).

    Two, I am mom to five. My middle daughter has Down syndrome. You NEVER know what you get. Even when they hand you a ‘healthy’ child….you never know what you get. I think my motivation to have children was ultimately selfish (that’s usually the case; even the idea of ‘spreading love’ is essentially selfish – why not spread the love to children that already exist?), but what I learned after having kids is that no experience (at least in my life) moves you to grow and learn more than parenthood. I am a much better person as a result of motherhood. Nothing could have possibly brought me to this place and this frame of mind. Nothing.

    It is life-changing and hard and challenging and painful and it makes you vulnerable and scared and angry…but I can’t imagine my life without it.

    Thank you for this post.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear wonderful Ruth, thank you a thousand times for sharing your thoughts on one of my most popular posts. I am so happy to continue getting fresh insights and no two comments are ever the same. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wow, a mom of 5 and you hardly look the age. I say motherhood becomes you insofar as looks go :)! And yes, we never ever know what we get, with children or with life in general. Thanks for YOUR raw honesty and I feel I know you better already!

  • http://lissowerbutts.com Lissie

    I decided at age 5.5 years to not have children – no prizes for guessing how much younger my brother is to me :-) I remember being infuriated in my early 20’s asking a doctor about my options for sterilisation were – he basically told me I just needed to meet the right man! (OK it was in the 1980’s in outback Australia – but really!)

    I noticed the attitude society changed over the decades – initially it was – you really must find a man – and then it was once I found a partner in mid 30s – you guys better hurry up and get married (and have kids).

    The deal with my partner was quite simple it was a big enough change to consider living with someone – I certainly wasn’t going to introduce children into the mix – which I’d never, ever wanted.

    It still amazes me that most women (men more often get it) – still think that I must really regret not having children (I’m 49 now – almost past the age hopefully)! I never wanted children in the same way I never wanted to be a fashionista or a wife – its part of me and my identity – odd that most find it so hard to understand!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Lissie, I have given up on trying to change mindsets. It is a lot of energy. All I have decided is that I am not letting anyone and any cause – not even a dying loved one – persuade me into this crazy idea that children bring happiness as a fast and standard rule because it is absolutely not true. We create our own happiness. Some of us are meant to leave a different legacy. I no longer care to please anyone with anything I do and ironically, when I follow my heart and do what I want to do is where I have the greatest impact. So I say, worry not about what society says. You are old enough now to know for a fact that YOU knew best and bravo for following your heart. Can’t wait to meet up in New Zealand soon!! :)
      Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Scott Hedrick

    “I remember being infuriated in my early 20′s asking a doctor about my options for sterilisation were – he basically told me I just needed to meet the right man!”

    The correct response to this would have been: “So you’re saying I need to find a better doctor, who is competent to answer the question I asked?”

    • http://lissowerbutts.com Lissie

      And THAT’S why I wish I could combine my nearly-50-year-old mind with my 20 year old body !

      • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

        Loved this, you too. Humor is the best part of these conversations, especially when we talk about heavy topics. Thanks for the laughs, Scott and Lissie!

  • Devan Yates

    The thing about parenthood, is that too often, it’s not planned. There are some who did plan to be parents and revolve their life beautifully around this decision. Many, became such for a lack of planning, and I am not saying these people aren’t wonderful parents, but have met a few who gave an aire of wishing they could re-write the script. Many people simply abdicate their power of choice to their ‘tribe,’ a checklist of expectations, so to speak. I am frankly relieved to discover others out there who consciously decide not to be parents! For me, my decision is based on having the minimum amount of responsibility in life, the ability to allow an open, co-creative process, to be as free as possible. Perhaps its selfish, but my life is not motivatied by monetary gain, or material acquisitions, its about as many types of experiences I can have during my time on the planet. It would be a huge compromise for my spirit to have to lock down for the sake of a child. One could say I am a bit of a vagabond. One has to also look at the state of the world and decide if its a fit environment to raise kids…….well? In simply this physical aspect alone, I would say no. If a child in need were to ever come my way, I of course would accept this role as a part of my fate, but will not be creating any. I think its vitally important to have children in our lives for their honest, reflective natures to grow, and relate to that essence within ourselves, to reawaken a part of us that goes dim from time to time…..be a part of the village every now and then, but not all of us need to be parents to have a complete experience. There are so many dimensions to us: we are mammals, and we are conscious beings. Both aspects have a voice and we have a choice as to which one we listen to. I think that is a huge part of the human experience. But ultimately, its choice and consequence.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Devan, hi! Thanks for sharing your thoughts in such depth. I love your perspective, and read it twice at least. I don’t think you are being selfish at all – if you read some of these threads, you will see that it’s very easy to see that having children is just as selfish, if we were to apply the term, and besides, I don’t think selfish is a bad thing at all. It is however self-nurturing, that’s my favorite word, when it comes to making choices that are right for us before anyone else. If you were to rationalize and reason the whole having children theory, you’d never win the arguing of having children – so much logic goes against it, I think people just make the decision with their hearts, and that’s beautiful. That’s how I’ve made mine :)! Thank you for sharing your insights and for being true to yourself as a person!

  • http://www.choiceslifecoaching.co.nz Rachael

    What a fantastic, honest post. The words you write could be those from my mind about 6 years ago. I never wanted children and all my reasons for that decision made sense to me. I was a career girl with far too much to do in life. And even though I had been married, I had never had true love. I had come from a family which also caused me to question whether I would be a terrible parent too, and I couldn’t imagine having someone who depended on me so fully when I was too busy worrying about how to get my own needs met.

    Step forward a number of years and things couldn’t be more different. I have the love of my life by my side, I have completely shifted careers, I know now that my parents decisions don’t define my experience, and I am happier than I ever thought possible. I am also at the point where bringing a child into the world to celebrate, represent, share and carry forward the love between my husband and I is one of the most compelling urges I have ever felt.

    Yes, it will be more challenging to follow my passions, yes, there will be less time for me and us, and yes, it scares me to imagine how much our lives will change but it also excites me at the thought of raising this little person, to share the strength of love my husband and I have with them, to create a family, to love unconditionally and experience the renewal and expansion of life.

    Would I cope if this didn’t happen? (It hasn’t yet). Yes, I absolutely would. The happiness I have isn’t solely dependent on having children. I know that without that outcome, I will still have my passions, my happiness, my love and the true joy of life. It will simply be the absolute cherry on top of what is already a wonderful and fantastic life.

    Your decision is yours alone and if there is more doubt than desire, listen to your heart. The answers are always there. Your path is no less rich or fulfilling should you choose to not become a parent, it is simply YOUR path with it’s own unique destination.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Rachael, thank you so so so much for coming here and sharing your thoughts in such detail, in such poignancy and such honesty. I can’t be more grateful that I wrote this post, every day I still read more amazing replies than the last one and it has brought out so much emotion for me as I hear your stories. Thank you for sharing yours and yes, you do sound a lot like me – or rather, your older version does – maybe I will evolve and mature too, who knows ;)! I read your bio and I noticed you said that you are raising a 6-year old with your husband. So have you then had children already or do you have one now? I hope that it is everything you have hoped for here in this comment.
      I also noticed you are based in NZ? I am heading down there and setting up meet-ups with other blogger and writer and social media enthusiasts and you are most welcome to join us. We have one in Wellington and another small one in Christchurch/Queenstown areas.
      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts – I do believe that with your approach to happiness, you can only WIN! I am happy for you. And I think you will make a lovely parent.

      • http://www.choiceslifecoaching.co.nz Rachael

        Thank YOU Farnoosh, for responding. I am a long time lurker and now 1st time poster and it is so wonderful of you to reply.

        I don’t think deciding to be a parent is necessarily about maturity, in fact in too many cases it is obvious that maturity is clearly lacking. I believe our lifes paths each have their own design and purpose and if there comes a time for you to follow the path of parenthood, I trust fully that you will do so with the awareness, wisdom and grace I know you have from reading your words.

        Thank you for visitng my site! The wonderful 6 year old you read about in my bio is a big part of why my feelings changed on being a parent. My husband came beautifully packaged with a 1 year old when I met him and although it took me a while to adjust from being a single, corporate girl to being a part time step parent, I now couldn’t imagine loving that little boy any more if he was my own. He taught me that I could love and parent differently than my own parents had, he taught me that I could provide more and better than I had received, he taught me that unconditional love truly is possible and that my life was richer for it.

        He also changed my priorities and I was able to discover bit by bit that what I had placed so much importance on (materialism, status, recognition, money), paled in comparison to the riches I had at home.

        So I guess you could say a small boy shifted my world.

        It would be fantastic if you are to come to Christchurch to meet you and other bloggers/writers. You may be aware that Christchurch recently went through 3 large earthquakes and we have lost much of our city but we are beginning to restore and our visitors make it possible and imperative for us to keep on keeping on. I would love to know more when you have made your plans!!!

        • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

          Dearest Rachael, last thing first: I would love to meet you in Christchurch and so far, my meet-up in Christchurch includes just one radio person that interviewed me for my book on motivation. And I am SO sorry about the earthquakes. My other friend from NZ sent me some videos that brought me to tears – actually, I cried so much over the Japan tsunamis too – I hope that you know that we support and love NZ and we have ever since the moment we laid eyes on it in 2005. We are so fortunate to be able to travel there and we will do whatever we can to support Christchurch during our visit. I’ll make sure Andy drinks lots of Long Blacks and I’ll go shopping! :))
          As to the little boy changing your world, you got me weak in the knees. Oh I went through all of the emotions you did in understanding that the corporate world is an illusion but I didn’t have a child to replace or fulfill that gap so I turned to my life’s work here and in other areas of my life and for now, I am ever so fulfilled so I guess we both went through similar shifts…. for different reasons. Oh we shall have plenty to talk about. I will email you details about Christchurch meet-up in a few days. THANK YOU!

  • Jessica

    I really enjoyed this blog post and can whole-heartedly relate. I am an educated, dynamic, happy 32 year old woman who has never wanted to have children (except the four legged kind!). My career, goals, yoga, travel, pets, friendships, and family are all my main focus and I do not see how having a child would enhance my life in any way. In fact, I only see how parenthood would require me to sacrifice everything I currently have. While I totally respect and support others’ decision to have children, I know that choice is not for me. I only wish the rest of the world could be as understanding of those of us who choose to live child free! Thanks again, your voice is very refreshing.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Jessica, I am SO glad you enjoyed this post and let me tell you, as an older person – I am still in my 30s though but no longer 32! – that your feelings will only grow stronger! So all that talk about regret, I think that really doesn’t belong with people who know deep down that babies are not for them, so I can assure you that I have only felt stronger about my conviction which is leaning more and more away from children and towards my dreams and goals. It is important to know yourself, and that is the only way you can respect others’ choices and equally expect / heck, demand! / that they respect yours! That’s my plan, baby! Good luck and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • http://darapoznar.com/ dara

    Hi Farnoosh,

    Fantastic post! The most important thing that stands out to me about this post is that it actually presents the questions of parenthood. Too many people have kids without thinking it through. I think the decision that is made should never be judged, it is up to each of us to decide for ourselves. From what I gather, your main question was how do you go about making such a decision, really? What do you ask yourself to really know if parenthood is for you or not? Well, for most of my twenties I was sure I never wanted kids. I couldn’t imagine changing my life so drastically in order to become a parent. I also couldn’t imagine ever changing my mind. And then I did, at 33. My life had changed drastically without first becoming a parent! My lifestyle became more calm I guess. I now enjoy being home, reading, cooking, listening to music where before I wanted to be out all the time, and traveling. I have traveled enough for now. And I met a man that I can actually picture myself raising a healthy family with! That was always an issue for me. I never dated anyone I could actually see myself raising children with anyway. Now I am about to get married, and we want to start trying for a baby right away. I am extremely excited about it. My reason for wanting children? Suddenly I find myself being very committed to the idea of family… and in particular my own family. In recent years my picture of a beautiful life has come to include children of my own. I also have begun to honor the gift I naturally have as a woman to carry a child and to give life. I trust my body and what it is designed to do, and that trust melts away all of my fears about labor and delivery. And, something much harder to explain is that when I make love to my fiance, I feel a burning desire from deep within to create a child with him. That was actually the first thing to happen (much to my surprise) to make me rethink the whole parenting thing.
    Anyhow, that is my 2 cents. Thanks for this fantastic post! I appreciate you putting it out there.

    ps- you touch quite a bit on the subject of happiness and the causes of it. I recommend Happy- The Movie. It is a documentary that shares fantastic feedback from Happiness Research Experts and comparisons with happy regions around the world. I was surprised to some degree at what a large contribution children made to the happiest communities around the globe.

    Best,
    Dara

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dearest Dara, how kind of you to take your time to write such a well-thought-out, intelligent and heart-felt response here to this post. Every single response has affected me deeply, and I am so happy that you chose to share your thoughts on such an intimate topic. THANK YOU! I so enjoyed reading about your changes, and how you came to a decision to have a family whereas you were not feeling that way earlier. I sincerely hope that all your dreams around family and babies come true, I think your approach is smart, because you have actually thought about this and are making a conscious decision, and that alone was one of my main motives for writing this post. So so nice to have you here, thank you again and hope we talk again soon. All my best!

  • Veronica J.

    Dear Farnoosh,

    I can’t possibly contribute anything more to this discussion than has already been contributed by so many of the thoughtful and thought-provoking comments posted before me. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their opinions and experiences. As you can see, even more than a year after your initial post, your blog still resonates. I am in the thick of my own personal debate about whether or not to have my own child. But it is so incredibly helpful to know that I am not alone in this personal struggle. It has been the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make, but at the same time I realize what a blessing it is to be able to make a conscious choice. So many women before me and in other parts of the world are not so lucky. Thank you for building this supportive community. Their insights have been invaluable.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Veronica, what a thoughtful comment, thank you. Yes, this post continues to be popular not just with women. You can see many men’s comments here too. I think we have it covered from young moms to grandmothers and parent-wanna-be and people without children and it’s been the most emotional post I have ever written. I sincerely hope you listen to the rhythm of your own heart when you make this decision. I have nearly made mine and I am in complete peace with it. Thanks for your thoughts, so much!

  • Felise

    I really enjoy reading the comments posted Different insights and ideas are being discussed. It was really interesting because its a reality. I agree with all the comments. Being a parent is the greatest achievements of all. Super like :) I never doubted.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Felise, what a lovely response. Thank you so much!! This post has incredible responses, doesn’t it? I am delighted that you enjoyed it and thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts….

  • http://www.rosegoddessbliss.com Rose Goddess

    WOW!! Beautiful post and beautiful comments! What an incredible topic! There is nothing more that I can add which has not been covered by all your amazing readers, but since you have asked why we as parents have chosen to have children, I will tell you my reasons. First off, I must tell you I am a self-improvement junkie :) I love delving deep into my psyche and transforming myself into love and light. One day, after years of yoga, meditation, seminars, workshops, retreats, powerful insights, magical manifestations, and deep bliss, I was driving down the high way, listening to a song on my radio. All of a sudden a spirit came to me and enveloped me with love. In a flash of light I received a message. “I would not progress any further on my spiritual journey until I had children” This was something I had been avoiding for many of the same reasons you shared. The only difference between you and me is I knew someday I would have children. I had done enough healing with my fear of birth, my issues with gender differences, and so forth, that I knew I was ready, only I was holding back because I didn’t want to let go of my freedom. This tender pure spirit surrounded me with love and soothed my soul and made me cry deep tears of joy and release. It was one of my future children. I cried all the way home. When I walked in the door I told my husband it was time to have children. He knew it too. Turns out, when you have a child you are reborn. Then you grow with your child in each stage of development. Parenting is actually re-parenting yourself. A chance to do over and heal old wounds in a way that nothing else can, as long as you approach it consciously and with choice. So for me, motherhood is a spiritual path. A path of love. A chance to live again.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Rose Goddess, absolutely beautiful way of describing your experience and your path to motherhood. I believe that if everyone went through this intentional and conscious decision making process, there would be far less unhappiness and confusion around parenthood. Your story is beautiful and I am so happy that you were blessed with a beautiful and lovely child. Enjoy every minute and I am grateful to have had you here on this blog post.

  • http://www.goodten.org Natalie Alkari

    Hello, Farnoosh! I just came from Leslie Samuel’s blog (Learning With Leslie), and he spoke so highly of you, that I just had to find out more about you, and I’m glad I did!

    This is a WONDERFUL post!!! It’s so funny because I have oftentimes wondered the exact opposite: how could someone never want children? Your post has definitely helped me understand some of the common dilemmas that might be faced when making this important decision.

    I’m in my early 30’s. I have 3 children, 2 boys (8 and 10) and a 3 year old daughter. Yes, it can be hard at times, but I really couldn’t picture life without them.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this before, but mothers have said, once the labor is over, you almost immediately forget about all the pain that you were in once you see that curious little face staring up at you. It really is true. It’s a beautiful, life-changing event.

    For me, it is so fulfilling knowing that I’ve created LIFE. Yet, it’s a big responsibility knowing that YOU are responsible for that life! I know, duh, right? It’s funny how some people never think about how having a baby will change their life, they just think having a baby is “cute”. They never stop to weigh the pros and cons (like you have done).

    It was easy for me to make the decision to have kids because I have always had that maternal instinct. The first pregnancy was a little scary, only because I didn’t know what to expect. I also had thoughts of “what if I don’t make it through the birth”. But, I had to trust God. That’s the only way I’m able to pull off most of what I do, having faith in God.

    Children do just mold right into your life. I didn’t realize how much so until I had my daughter. I would just stop and think sometimes “huh, she hasn’t been here for very long…”. It seems so natural that you don’t see it until you take a step back.

    As far as legacy goes… Just remember that each one of those wonderful people that you listed, are (or have been) someone’s child. Without their parents making the decision to procreate, they would not have been able to make their contribution to our world. I think that our purpose in life is to learn and teach. So, whether that be passing on what we know to our children, or spreading your infinite wisdom to your blogging community, each one of us has been called to fulfill our unique purpose in life.

    I love the point you made about helping other children instead of bringing yet another one into this world. And that may be what some are called to do. It actually makes a lot of sense. I wish more people could think like that.

    Again, I love this post, and THANK YOU so much for sharing something so personal. Everything that I’ve said, I mean with the greatest respect for you. You have just made a new subscriber today :-)

    Natalie Alkari

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Natalie, welcome here and thank you thank you SO MUCH for adding to this amazing community of readers here, I am so blessed with everyone who takes the time to stop and share their intimate thoughts around such a sensitive and personal topic. I love your stories, and I love that you followed your feelings, your cues, your gut, your desires. Good for you. It seems that your decisions have worked out and that you are indeed very happy. And likewise, I am just so happy with my life as it is, and cannot imagine adding anything. Maybe that will change. And I am not longer in those early 30s (enjoy them ;))…. Either way, I am blessed to have a lovely reader such as yourself. THANKS for stopping by :)!

  • Cerulean Moon

    I can’t even begin to describe how much peace this blog and particular post has brought me.
    Ever since I was old enough to form a coherent opinion on the topic, I have never had any interest in having children. My best friend and I as little children ourselves would often draw pictures of what we imagined our future families would be like. Her pictures portrayed a handsome husband and an absolute gaggle of children. My pictures also had the handsome husband and… dogs.
    I’m fortunate to have a very supportive family and network of close friends who support me on my slightly unconventional life path. My mother recently mused if perhaps she did something wrong to have turned me off so completely to the idea of motherhood, but then decided she may have done something right to have raised such an independent and introspective daughter who knows, in this moment, what her soul’s choice is.
    Although I feel sure that right now (at 29) motherhood is not my choice, I am in a relationship with someone who does feel a calling to be a father. We have been together 4 years and in all other aspects of our lives we are perfect soul mates. I share some of his desires for why he may want children – namely leaving a legacy and wanting to nurture another being – but feel I could do such things on a much broader scale by pouring my love and energy into the existing souls of this world rather than adding a new one. And though I try my hardest not to judge him for his reasons – they are his and his alone – I deeply recoil from his notion that a life without children is a wasted life.
    It is my belief that we are to find our life’s happiness from within and not from external sources. Such things are transient at times and if we are always chasing someone or something to feel complete, not only will we never achieve a sense of fulfillment but we will miss out on this moment (life is truly but a series of moments!) and never enjoy our existence in the present. Children cannot possibly complete us and it is unfair to assign such a monumentous task to a little being. They have their own life paths and soul lessons to learn. They may enhance our lives, yes, but not complete them.
    Despite my deep-seated faith that I am my own source of life happiness, I cannot help but feel heartbroken that my love and I may not survive this conflict. We are going to try couples counseling to see if there is hope for a future that could make us both happy. I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that in several years time I may feel ready to welcome a child, natural or adopted, into my world, but I cannot commit to such a promise when it doesn’t feel right for me today. And I don’t know if he is willing to follow a life path with me that is so uncertain.
    What to do when my heart tells me he is the love of my life, but it also tells me I cannot fulfill the one wish he thinks he needs for future happiness?

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dearest Cerulean, thanks so SO much for your beautiful, honest, sincere and well-thought-out comment, sharing your story with us.
      I feel for you – I really do, and here’s my experience from seeing friends, family, relatives: In a couple situation – married or partnership, doesn’t matter, this even goes for a lesbian couple we knew – when one person wants babies, the other doesn’t, they ALWAYS end up having babies. I have never seen the other situation. This is not always the women wanting the baby; two of these were men. So somehow, that power that force that desire always wins. I have yet to see where the couple comes to a decision to STOP that desire in one person and continue on happily. I am not saying it’s not possible, I am just sharing it with you because frankly, I find it very unfair that the person who doesn’t want to have kids has to give up their freedom and their path in life – you asked what I think and I hope this was not a terribly harsh response. :)! You can always stand by your beliefs and I would absolutely vehemently advise everyone that is opposed to having children or has doubts against just giving in – because to me, giving in and having the babies is ironically the “easy” path. It’s harder to stand up and say, YES I am different but nothing is wrong with me and I will contribute to the world in massive ways. Just take a look at Oprah, Mother Teresa (yes I know she was a nun but she contributed to the world massively – that’s my point), or many other women that I look to as role models. They go on to change the lives of millions rather than bringing a new life to the world. You choose. You alone. Not the love of your life. Not your parents. Not your best friend. Not society. You choose – then you will be happy and AT PEACE. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  • Lisa

    Dear Farnoosh,

    Your “65 quotes on making the choice” really struck a chord with me. I’m 41, and intensely preoccupied with thoughts and the desire for motherhood. The trouble is that my partner is younger, and not quite ready yet. Not quite on board. The few discussions we’ve had about it, have caused problems (tension, stress) between us, rather than it being something we get great joy in discussing, thinking about and planning. If it were up to me alone, I would be ready. 100%. But I don’t want the question to be “do I do this on my own? Or do I wait for him, and risk not being able to do it at all”

    The quote that really stood out for me, was this one: ” “I’m going to tell you the best advice I ever got about having kids. Don’t have kids until you can’t stand not to.”

    I agree with that whole-heartedly. And when people ask if I’m completely sure that I want kids (versus being afraid that if I don’t very soon, I won’t be able to), my answer is a definite yes. It’s not that I know 100% that I want kids. It’s that I’m longing to mother a child. It’s this deep desire to love someone in a way that I don’t think can be fulfilled any other way (ie: partner, pet, plant…).

    This wasn’t the case 10 years ago. It wasn’t even the case 3 years ago. At 37, I remember wondering where that desire was (because it wasn’t. It just wasn’t there). I wondered if I’d ever feel it. I thought I wanted to have kids someday, but I didn’t long for it. Yet.

    Whereas now, there is no doubt that I absolutely do.

    Some days I try to convince myself that the desire might be more fear-based than reality-based (ie: that the reality is really about sleepless nights, selflessness, incessant crying, thousands of diaper changes, as well as all the good stuff). And I try to silence my thoughts and my mind, and tell myself that if it’s meant to be, it will be. But it doesn’t work. That inner longing is screaming so loudly that I can’t quite hear anything else.

    My advice to you would be this: that that feeling, that deep knowing feeling, it will come. Or it won’t come. If it does come, you’ll know without any doubt whatsoever that it’s what you want to do. And if it never comes, then maybe it’s not for you. Which is ok too.

    “I’m going to tell you the best advice I ever got about having kids. Don’t have kids until you can’t stand not to.” – brilliant comment!

    Lisa

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Dear Lisa, your words have really struck a chord with me. I am a few years younger than you and I have no idea how my 40s will be, except that I will be devoting my time to my company, Prolific Living, and my life ‘s work.
      There is something about the way you write about this topic, so honest, so raw, so pure, and so very openly, that it almost gave me a shiver… the “What if” shiver. Right now, I could not be further removed from the idea of having a baby, mothering a child, getting pregnant or ANYTHING remotely associated to any of that. My world and my life is somewhere else, in a different world, and I have never been so happy and so fulfilled. Maybe things will change. I know that I have changed a lot.
      As to your dilemma, first, I am so sorry you are going through this – it’s really a hard thing to come to agreement to…. and well, I have heard that no one is ever 100% ready and MOST of the time, women get ready before men… ;)! I say go with your gut, your intuition, the message from your soul. If it says “baby now” then you know what to do…. and your partner has a choice. I wish life were easier sometimes, but I think it’s better for us to have these challenges. We live wide awake, you know? All the best to you, dear Lisa and a big hug for caring enough to share your thoughts.

  • Gary

    Up until I was 31 I was completely indifferent to the idea of children. I got married at 28 and loved (and still love) my wife very much but children weren’t important to me.

    My view was that if you have kids you pay a price, and if you don’t have them you’ll pay a different price. But you’ll pay a price either way.

    My wife wanted them and I did nothing to prevent kids from being created ;), and we experienced several miscarriages. These were devastating for my wife and to tell you the truth, the older I got the more I wanted them.

    Long story short, my wife and I are now 36 and have a son (aged 3) and a daughter (aged 2). Life with them is wonderful – I love them completely and would never be without them. Had they never been born I would never have know what I was missing but now that I have them, everything is different, and better.

    I have no religious beliefs and for me the question of whether or not to have children is no one’s business but yours.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Thanks SO MUCH for sharing your story, Gary. You know, I’ve seen a lot of couples where the guy didn’t want kids but the woman did and they always end up having one. Also seen another couple where the woman didn’t want them but the guy did and now they are trying to have them …. it’s so hard when the relationship is not balanced in that sense.

      And it’s wonderful that you feel that way about your children but the hard part is being able to envision life without them if they had not come about? Was there anything that you were yearning to do that now you are not able to do? For me, that list is very very long, and for some, it is not. Children mold into some lives and not into others. So if you didn’t *give up* a lot of dreams and aspirations in order to have them, then it’s a net plus having them … but if you had to give up a lot, is it still a net plus? That’s what I was struggling with but I am finally at peace with my decision of opting out …. I don’t see how I pay a price for it though :) I am pretty happy with this choice….

      Well-said at the very end. It’s our own business and nobody else’s. Thanks so much for sharing and indulging me in my questions in return.

      • Gary

        Hi Farnoosh,

        Was there anything I was yearning to do which now I can’t? Well, not really… I did a LOT of travelling between leaving Uni at 22 and 34 when my little boy was born. Lots of travelling, parachute jumps, bungee jumps, a couple of other reckless things and, I regret to say, getting drunk too much and too often. But I started to undergo a real shift a couple of years before the little fella came. Started to get much less selfish, care about other people more, actually develop the trait of generosity, realised I had been carrying a tonne of baggage around for the best part of two decades – long story short, a whole lot of things changed internally.

        The only thing I yearn to do at the moment which is difficult is hiking. I live near the Alps and would love to go wandering in them more, or through the numerous beautiful forests in my area, but having a 3 and 2 year old limit your options somewhat. That said, this stage of their life will pass in the blinking of an eye and I’ll have more time to do it eventually. In fact, I’ll probably miss it once it passed ;).

        Flying anywhere with them is also difficult but again, that won’t last.

        I don’t think you really “give up” anything when they come, you simply weave them into the fabric of your life. You factor them into the decisions that you make and after a realitvely short period of time you do it entirely habitually and unconsciously. *Not* doing so now would seem weird. Remember, the brain is plastic :).

        Conclusion: For me it is a definite net plus despite what I have to *give up* for now. I want to be around for them as much as possible for them whilst they really need their Mum and Dad – and I cheerfully accept that “duty” even though it doesn’t feel like a “duty” – more a joy. I’ll be in my 50s when they leave home and will have all the time in the world to do the travelling I love to do, hopefully another 50 years to do all that. But I’ll probably miss them terribly.

        I really cannot imagine life without them and the thought frightens me to be honest. I was such an arrogant and nasty sack of something as a younger man and may have stayed that way had the kids not come along and sped me along down a better path.

        Hope this answers your questions ;)

        Best,

        Gary

  • Scott Hedrick

    My wife and I have an agreement (but I suspect she might balk if I kept up my end). I’d like to have more kids. She said to find a way to pay for them. While she didn’t say it, in my household that means without government help. So, I need to either find regular employment that pays a whole lot more than I make now AND looks to be permanent, or win a really big lottery, or write a bestseller (which is almost redundant with lottery). None of these seem likely. Of course, if I did win the lottery and reminded her of our deal, I will be grateful for our very comfortable couch.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Thanks for your comment Scott…. I hope you don’t expect the government to EVER take care of you or your children :)! Do it only if you can afford it. Otherwise, plenty of children in this world that could use a home…

  • Jes

    Why is it that you’re confronted with questions when you don’t have kids: “why not?” but when you DO choose to have kids, NO ONE questions it? I found a great article about this and thought you would like them, Farnoosh.

    It’s called “Think before you breed” by Christine Overall in the New York Times
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/think-before-you-breed/

    Here are some quotes from the article:

    “People are still expected to provide reasons not to have children, but no reasons are required to have them……it’s assumed that if individuals do not have children it is because they are infertile, too selfish or have just not yet gotten around to it. In any case, they owe their interlocutor an explanation. On the other hand, no one says to the proud parents of a newborn, Why did you choose to have that child? What are your reasons? The choice to procreate is not regarded as needing any thought or justification.”

    the above is so true.

    Cup of Jo also has a great post featuring 5 women who CHOSE not to have kids and why:
    http://joannagoddard.blogspot.de/2012/11/motherhood-mondays-would-you-ever.html

    I am just posting these here because they are very relevant to this discussion. I have no affiliations whatsoever with any of the links. Please enjoy.
    -self-proclaimed (anti-mom)

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Jes, thanks for your insights and the resources you shared…. we can’t change the world, we can only decide for ourselves but your questions are pretty freaking accurate. Thanks for raising them! :)

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  • Jenna

    Farnoosh (what a beautifully unique name)-

    Funny I should stubble upon this post. I was dating a man a couple of years younger than myself (I’m 31), and he recently decided to stop seeing me under the assumption that I must be at a stage in my life were I was desperate to have children and get married (and he wasn’t). I was a bit shocked since we never had this discussion, and I have never had a desire to have children, nor to be married just for the sake of being married… but that could be a whole other discussion in itself ;-)

    On not wanting children: I’ve been called selfish a couple of times; and told (among other things) that I will die alone with no one to care for or love me when I’m old. What about my friends, family and even myself? Will they not love me, or care for me in my times of need? Will I suddenly stop loving myself in old age? Perhaps it’s not their intent, but it feels like they’re saying there’s no other possibility for lasting love in my future except for that of my future child. What a huge role to fill for someone that would be placed on them the moment they come into this world!

    I have friends/family that admit to being stressed to the max, wore out, struggling with their finances and relationships, and desperately wanting just 20 minutes a week of alone time. I hear more complaints from them about motherhood than not (almost always followed by, ’but I do love my children”). I have no doubts that they love their children, but is it worth the stress? A friend once told me that all the struggle is worth it when your child looks at you and says, “I love you, mom”

    For me, I am happy with my life as is. For every struggle I have, I experience dozens of positive moments… Aside from my natural inclination to not have children, I feel like having children would reverse that. That I would have dozens of struggles just for that occasional positive affirmation. I know that might merely be my perception as an outsider looking in, but for me it’s a very strong perception.

    I have many more thoughts on the subject rolling around in my head, but those were the first few to come out.

    PS., You have a new subscriber :-)

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Jenna, lovely seeing you here and sorry about the idiot you were dating – glad he is out of your life.
      You know, you are still a baby :) but if ever you get the maternal thing, just come back and read your comment here to make sure you are ready for it. I can’t agree more with everything you said, and I can only add that it is futile to argue with those who believe children are the only way to happiness. And don’t get me started on how many parents with living children die alone in hospitals or nursing homes. Kids could turn out to be angels or monsters. At least, you can pick your friends ;)! Glad to have you here!

  • http://ImJulie.com Julie

    Farnoosh,
    I have thought about every single thing you wrote her for a thousand times – the biology, the heritage, the happiness-for-happiness, the giving up your lifestyle and yourself for someone you can’t choose and will probably screw up.
    I didn’t use to think like that – beyond the fact that I was raised to think that a child is a natural part of a healthy relationship, I just wanted to have a baby.
    I’ve dated a man for 4 years – and he did not want neither marriage nor kids. We argued and fought, until eventually I understood that I can’t change him, I can only change whom I date. Ever since I’m in a wonderful relationship, where we both plan to have children. But suddenly, after adopting a very sick puppy, I started thinking about how awful it would feel to give up my whole entire self for a screaming little pink thing that needs me to wipe it’s arse.
    So I put this thought on hold.
    Now that I’m living an unconventional life in a conventional world I often get asked why do I do this, and my first answer – always- without even thinking is “So when I have kids I can spend all my time with my husband and them”.
    Even though I have all those doubts and fears, when it comes to pure will – my heart wants this: a life full of husband and children.
    I don’t believe that there is a right or wrong here, and I hate the fact that indeed no one doubts the decision of someone to have kids or to get married or to get a pet; It’s cruel to be able to buy alcohol only after you’re 21, but being able to make a human being at the age of 12.
    I do believe that we should do what feels right, even if some times it’s a bit crazy – like traveling the world instead of having a cushy job or pushing a human being out of your body – we just need to follow what’s good for us.
    I hate the fact that this issue is so TABOO that it took you so long to write this (and me even longer to read it), but I think that what I’m trying to say is you and your choices are wonderful and you should never question them!
    XOXO

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Julie, you’re sweet to take the time comment here and to be so honest and transparent. Since the writing of this post, I am more certain than ever that I never ever want to have children, but I dare say it’s something I have studied thought about more than the average person does about HAVING them so I feel great about my decision. And I am so glad you are true to your own emotions and yearnings and desires. We don’t know what we don’t know so we can only stay true to our inner voice to best guide us. It won’t lead us astray, and I know you’ll make a great Mommy and Meron a wonderful Dad. :)

  • Lisa Burbank

    Dear Farnoosh,
    I am new to your website but I love it. =) I have been married and divorced twice. While I am a little gun-shy from the experience, I have also had 10 years since the 2nd divorce to do some serious soul-searching. I find that I am perfectly happy being a single person and, like the decision not to have children, having decided I do not care to even get into another relationship with anyone, I am met with all sorts of “why not’s?”, criticism and well-meaners telling me I just haven’t met the “right” guy. Maybe. Maybe not. But, like your decision not to procreate, I am happy in what I know here and now. I also wanted children…many children, or so I thought. Enough so that one of the reasons I ended my first marriage was because he had had a vasectomy shortly after our wedding. That was almost 20 years ago, I am now in my mid-40’s; though I love children, I am childless and, over the years, have discovered the joys of doing so many things that I know in my heart I would not be able to do as a mother; I simply would not have the time or the energy. One of my passions is animal rights’ activism. I am a pesco-vegetarian homesteading on a 1-acre farm in rural Connecticut. Many of the animals I raise–for eggs, for free fertilizer for the gardens, for fiber (for hand-spinning) and companionship–I know I would not have the time to care for with human children also in the picture (they also tend to be a deterrent w/ men even though they are well-cared for…LOL!). Like you, I enjoy yoga–in my case, hatha yoga. I write…and, as you know, that can consume many hours of your day. I play guitar, dulcimer and sing. I volunteer at museums. And, at 47, am just starting my “career” as a college student, answering the call to the ministry. A friend of mine described me as a free spirit (without the sometimes derogatory connotations that may conjure up) and it fits me. I like the freedom to live my life without having to adapt to anyone else’s time table. Am I selfish? Maybe. Society probably thinks I am. But, again, I am happy in my solitary experience. I am seldom lonely. I have good friends, family and I enjoy their company, in addition to my 4-legged menagerie, who keep me busy in a good and satisfying way. So I guess what I am trying to say is that I do not think you are odd at all not to want to have children. Hopefully, this is not something that is causing problems with your husband but, I say, go with your gut. If you are happy as is and feel you have other work to do in your life that a child would not fit into, then don’t worry about what others think. You mentioned a very real fear of dying; sometimes those fears are unfounded but sometimes it is the voice of God, a premonition. I have two other friends who opted not to have children. One said she made that choice because she didn’t have the patience with children, in general, and worried that her lack of patience would actually do emotional damage to any child she gave birth to. She knew herself well-enough and, despite other people’s urgings that this would change with one of her own, she followed her gut and has not had any regrets. The other simply had no interest in children and did not want to be “one of those women who lives vicariously through her children because she never had time to live for herself after tending to their needs”. Maybe this sounds selfish but its funny how the world never views men as selfish for not wanting to procreate, that only women are “wired” wrong if they don’t have that desire. Listen to your heart; the answer is always there. God bless you & keep you!

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Dearest @lisaburbank:disqus This was one of the most thoughtful and beautiful responses on this post and I’ve had several hundred replies over the years – thanks so much for sharing your beautiful life and your decision and also your conviction about how well that has worked out for you. Three+ years after writing this post, I feel stronger about my path as a perfectly happy woman without children of her own, I have far less desire – almost none- to have children, and my husband is on the same exact wavelength with me and to be honest, I think having children is one of the most selfish acts in the world, because it is purely for the pleasure and joy of the self- if we think of this logically, parents describe having children as the greatest joy on earth but isn’t that “selfish”? Would it not be less selfish to adopt or help others less fortunate? So whenever someone dares throw ‘selfish’ in my face, I help them see the irony of their statements but luckily, nobody has done that ;) I feel that everyone follows their own path and has to face their own consequences. I’m writing this from Hawaii today – I’d not be able to take the kind of trips I do if I had to accommodate little kids and their crazy schedules. Thanks for sharing this Lisa! Sending you a big hug.

  • miuette

    Hello Farnoosh,

    Your post is interesting enough – well reasoned and honest. My only reflective thought to add to your conversation is around the idea of you finding out ‘why’ it is that you are not having children this time round, and i say this respectfully. You are undoubtedly a curious woman who believes in the magic, as well as mystery of life/creation, and understands that the hidden energy within us all is part of a more powerful and heightened consciousness. So, why not find out what was your story that has lead it to this point now in the present. I understand that you enjoy and are fascinated with the Renaissance…perhaps, there is an unfinished lesson/story there that you have from a previous connection in that life. In many situations a strong pull towards wanting (or not wanting a certain life path), suggests that there is a lesson there to be understood, or to be released, for greater clarity in respect to your current life. It seems that in this post your rational mind has understood and satisfied its questions. However, the ‘spirit’ within you may not entirely be satisfied and is seeking feedback (hence the post being published). It would be interesting for you to find out the contracts you made prior to this life, glean answers from that and then see how that impacts the next stage of your life where chronologically children may not be an option. Enjoy the search and keep smiling! M.

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      Hi @miuette:disqus thanks so much for your questions. They have given me pause and a cause for more reflection. To be honest, the older I have gotten, the less and less I have had the desire (if I had any to begin with) to have any children. I mean, there has to be a desire, right? I have none. I am super healthy, super feminine and perfectly normal but this drive hasn’t overtaken me like it does women my age (or now, much younger). And I feel it is just not my path. It makes me wonder every time another friend gets pregnant if this person has even thought about what they are giving up AS WELL AS what they are gaining and if they ever once thought about contributing to the world on different levels and through a different kind of legacy. Plus I know that I am going to have to give up a lot of things such as my world travels, my writing, my daily yoga, my reading, because there is just no way to make time for it all. So nothing here is leaning me towards this path that millions seem to follow, most without a question. Plus I’ve never been happier and I have got no patience for taking care of a tiny human being. It just doesn’t add up to “yay let’s get pregnant!” kind of reaction. And I’m perfectly happy with my choice…..

      • miuette

        Oui, Farnoosh – there are many people that unfortunately, do not reflect on their life purpose and remain unconscious – which is what you are essentially articulating: are people having children consciously, or unconsciously? For if they are making a conscious decision, then they would come to understand their own personal journey on the grand scale, and how having children (or not having them), aligns with their life purpose. The only query i had for you in my original post was: have you looked at your past life/s (or done any regression work) to see what contract your spirit took to complete/learn in this life? There may be something from your past life which may provide a clue or an understanding as to why you don’t want to have children in this life. This would then give you grater clarity and help you to understand why you are not moving towards pro-creation/motherhood – not that not moving in this direction is either good or bad. It’s just that you still seem to be questioning – (as much as you have made your own honest assessment) indicating that your ‘spirit’ is not satisfied still. Perhaps probe deeper to understand the mystery! :)
        Best wishes, M.

  • Carissa Lada

    Farnoosh,
    THANK YOU so much for this post! You have beautifully articulated many of the thoughts I have had in the last few years. I am at an age now when most of my friends are recently married and planning or already on their way to having kids. When I tell people I have no desire to have children, most people immediately question my judgment and sanity. I feel I always have to justify this choice, and I find it hard to do so without coming across like I look down on people who choose to become parents. It is definitely a personal decision, and one that I grow more confident in each time I hear a screaming baby or spend more than 15 minutes around a child. I love that you made clear that you love children and babies (I love them too in small doses), but you don’t have the patience or desire to take on that endeavor for yourself. I have said to multiple people that I would rather touch the lives of 100 children rather than focus my attention on just one. I too want to make a difference in the world, and I think I am more suited to do that in ways outside of parenthood. Everything you said here resonates with me, and I greatly appreciate you opening up about this issue.

    Thank you!
    Carissa

    • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

      @carissalada:disqus, so happy to see you reading my blog, and sharing your thoughts on such a vulnerable topic. :) I think you will also see that you yourself may go through changes in life and desire, as I did, but the final decision is yours and yours alone and that’s what has helped me stay true. It’s not to meet the expectations of anyone. There is no right or wrong here, the only thing that matters is you stay true to your heart. And you’ll know the right choice. And your vision of helping lots of children is beautiful :)!