Why would people want to have children?

Childless happiness: is it selfish not to have children?

If you are a woman, childless and between 30 and 35, the whole thing begins: You are constantly being asked that "it is now about time". As a non-mother, one is viewed quite confused, sometimes pitying ("It probably didn't work out."), Sometimes slightly contemptuous ("She's probably afraid of missing something."). When you play with your friends' children, you quickly say: "Look, the biological clock is already ticking!" or "A child would look very good on you too!"

Even the gynecologist urges you to take folic acid and stop the pill. "Not that you will be sitting here at 37 and it won't work." He wasn't even asked for advice. Just like the friends, relatives and acquaintances. After all, whether you want to have a child or not is ultimately nobody's business - apart from yourself and your partner. Why do you suddenly find yourself in a situation where you have to justify yourself to this very personal question to others?

If you as a woman then openly admit that you have no desire to have children, the other person often gets this uncomprehending, irritated facial expression. "Why? You have been together with your partner for a long time. Are you afraid of giving up your old life with more money, parties and lots of free time?"

Or well-intentioned advice: "You don't even know what you're missing out on if you don't have a child. You will regret that later and be lonely in old age." Or even reproaches: "Where would society go if everyone thought like that? Who would then pay the pensions if no one had children? That is also kind of selfish."

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Egoism? Nothing!

The question of why has also occupied the author and filmmaker Sarah Diehl, 43 and childless herself. She has written a book in which she lets childless women have their say, why they have no children and how those around them reacted.

The women with whom the author spoke gave many reasons for not wanting to have a child - they weren't for selfish reasons. Sometimes it was just the circumstances rather than a conscious decision for or against a child. You haven't found the right partner with whom you wanted to venture into the child project.

Sometimes the decision against having a child was made consciously. And, Eureka, it wasn't about money, freedom and independence. Many women expressed the fear of being forced into old role models like their own mother: the man works, the woman stays at home and gives up her professional goals (for the time being).

Many women also expressed the fear that the double burden as mother and worker could overwhelm them. Or were worried that the stress that a child brings with it would destroy the relationship, so that you end up alone with your child. Some women, on the other hand, do not want a career instead of a child, they simply want to evade all social expectations.

Book tip:
Sarah Diehl: The clock that doesn't tick. Childless happy. A polemic, Arche Literatur Verlag
Available here on Amazon *.

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It is not infrequently the phenomenon of Hellicopter parents or the exemplified motherhood among friends that make women shy away. Those parents who strive to make their child happy around the clock, and for whom everything revolves around the child and who have left themselves and their wishes at the cloakroom at some point.

I also know many parents who completely abandoned their "old" life when the children came. And not only that: Those who suddenly consider their previous life and thus the life of childless women to be superficial and meaningless.

Ultimately, we should all be a little more tolerant towards people who have a different life plan for themselves. Because all the reasons, fears and considerations expressed by the childless women should be allowed, right? And one thing above all: you shouldn't have to justify yourself for it.

The question is quite justified: Is there not another life plan than that of the small family who withdraws to their home in order to devote themselves entirely to the well-being of their children?

Also read: 10 reasons i'd rather stay single than date the wrong guy

The childless man remains unmolested

But unfortunately something completely different applies to women than to men. Women must have reasons if they do not want to have a child. They have to justify themselves for something they are NOT doing. And this despite the fact that every fourth man at 49 has no children, but only 16 percent of women at this age are childless.

It's different with men. You are not in a burden of proof. A childless man is seldom bothered with questions about his reasons. In the case of a man, you wouldn't necessarily conclude that "it just didn't work out." A childless man may just be untamed, the eternal bachelor who has not yet found the right woman.

And of course, a man simply has much longer time to father a child than a woman. Quite a few who, at an advanced age, still feel compelled to have a child whose graduation they may no longer see at all.

The fact is: No matter what reasons a woman has, she should have the right to freely decide about her life. Those who do not have children of their own can very well make a valuable contribution to society. For example, as an enthusiastic godmother, as a babysitter of your best friend or by getting involved in social projects - simply because you have more time capacities than parents.

What is often forgotten: not having a child of your own does not mean that you don't like children. There are many ways to live a full life. With or without a child. Everyone should be able to make the decision for themselves.

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