Why We’ve Decided Not to Have Children

Our Journey to Being Childfree By Choice
Jennifer Lake Childfree by Choice

DISCLOSURE: If you find the topics of pregnancy, infertility, or the parenting journey to be triggering in any way, please be aware this blog post delves into all of these topics. My sole intention with this childfree by choice post is to share my truth, our story, and our journey to the decision. It is not to judge those who are on a different path or meant to displace, persuade, encourage or discourage you to follow our path. To be clear, I will always support, encourage, love, and adore our friends, family, and strangers alike who have children. Parents are phenomenal. Children are a gift. Whatever stage you are in, I’m here for you. I respect your choice, your journey, your body, and your decision.

Grab your coffee and settle in for a very long (perhaps my longest ever) blog post, friends. Transparently, I’m feeling nervous and incredibly vulnerable, as I would never want to offend anyone or say the wrong thing.

My heart goes out to the couples and individuals who are struggling with infertility, still searching for a partner, struggling with the costs or barriers to adoption, and countless other complications and emotional journeys that relate to the parenting journey. At my very core, I realize the fact that Bob and I have the opportunity to choose this path forward is a privilege in and of itself.

It is for these reasons (and more) why this blog post has been collecting dust in my drafts folder for more than three years. What changed? Well, a few days ago, Kate Kennedy, host of the Be There in Five podcast, posted her Childless Millennial episode. Kate handles the conversation with care and candor. Plus, she expresses so many opinions with empathy while sharing tough truths that often feel too taboo to say out loud (e.g. mourning friendships, parents not selling the idea of kids that well on social media, etc.).

In part, her episode gave me the courage to post. Plus, after sharing some of these feelings on Instagram Stories, I received so many encouraging messages, and your notes gave me the strength to do so. I’m forever grateful for your kindness, compassion, and support.

Jennifer Lake Husband Children

Additionally, after sharing some of my childfree by choice thoughts, I received a DM from my good friend, Grace Atwood of The Stripe. She’s also had a post about the topic in her drafts folder, and we decided to post at the same time. Please go read her post too! Grace has her own unique perspective and experiences; it’s a phenomenal post.

Thanks for bearing with me with this long intro. Without further ado…

A Weekend Brunch DM

The Direct Message hit my inbox, crackling in potency like sparks in the air. Reading it during weekend brunch, I breathed in the words deeply, inhaling the full hit of its fury.

In an instant, a stranger threw a dagger aimed perfectly at its target (me).

The message?

“I heard from someone that you and Bob aren’t having kids. You’ll regret that decision as it’s the most fulfilling thing that will happen in your life. You will look back one day and regret it. I feel sorry for you.”

My heart stopped. I sat stunned, speechless even. Not exactly “normal” behavior for me. I’m in the field of communications. All I do in my life is communicate. In fact, I’m always the first (and the very last) to speak my mind. Trust. 🙂

Livid and flushed, I turned to Bob and snarled, “How dare this person. It’s my body, our choice, and our future.”

I sat back and ate my scrambled eggs in silence.

Constructive(?) Feedback

Good, bad, and ugly messages come with the blogging territory. Exposing my life online opens me up to criticism, and I accept that fact. Moreover, I’m a believer that feedback can be a gift, and I greatly value constructive criticism. In many ways, that’s why I spend time reading and responding to so many comments and messages on social media.

However, this particular note wasn’t constructive. And to be clear, I’ve received similar comments and messages before and since. It’s as if my body and future are up for a vote.

When you’re “childfree by choice” (more on this term later), comments and judgments about your decisions, lifestyle, and future come flinging at you everywhere you turn. Plus, they’re made without knowledge of my life plans or ability to have children. Often, people assume it’s a choice without knowing if it actually is or not. Comments like…

“You’ll regret the decision.” 

“You’re making a mistake.” 

“You still have time to change your mind.”

Then there are the general life-related comments…

“Must be nice to wake up on weekend by choice and not by an alarm clock in the form of children.” Fair. But does that mean I still don’t have responsibilities, duties, a mortgage to pay, or other life commitments?

“You wouldn’t understand, you don’t have kids.” Understandable, but are you open to allowing me to walk alongside you on this journey? I want to be here for you, even when it means not being able to share in the experience firsthand.

“Who will care for you in your old age?” I have no clue, but you better believe Bob and I are already saving up for retirement and additional care so as to not be a burden on our families. Plus, we’re 100% going to head up the social committee wherever we end up. Expect a full schedule of Netflix showings, beer and cheese pairings, vino and vinyasa, and music concerts by candlelight! Just sayin’. 🙂

“But you and Bob would make such wonderful parents.” Yes, I agree! In fact, my largest emotional rollercoaster is knowing what a phenomenal dad he would be – the best. Plus, in my heart of hearts, I’m confident I’d be a good mom. And in many ways, I have strong maternal instincts.

Having great maternal instincts and being childfree aren’t diametrically opposed.

“You must not like kids.” This couldn’t be further from the truth! One of my greatest joys is seeing our friends and family raising children, watching them grow, and getting to know their personalities.

“Parenting gives you a better, stronger, and different understanding of love.” I’m not a parent, so I can’t comment on this perspective. However, I will say this statement assumes I am not fulfilled by the love that already exists in my life, couldn’t understand unique aspects of love, or in some ways, that I’m missing out by not having it.

One thing is clear –

We have so much work to do in normalizing the idea of women, individuals, and couples who are childfree by choice. 

Early Years

Growing up, friends and I would sit in a circle saying, “Jenny and (insert my boy crush name), sitting in a tree – K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.”

Looking back, this is a simple example of how little girls’ perceptions (including mine) are shaped at an early age. It also goes to show how painful it can be, and how judgement quickly develops, when you choose a different path.

First Comes Love

During Bob’s and my first date (which you can read about in this post), we discussed children. No, not if we would have kids (that would be one wild first date, haha)! Instead, we just talked about what how we saw our futures. Both of said the same thing – “definitely open to children, but keeping all options on the table.”

Jennifer Lake Jason Wu Dress

Then Comes Marriage

After a few years of being married, Bob and I decided to have “baby talk.” No, not the lovey-dovey inflection of voice… I’m talking THAT talk. The, “when are we going to have a baby?” talk.

Jennifer Lake Style Charade Wedding

I remember this talk very clearly because my personal doctor was worried about my health. Without going into too many details, there was cause for concern.

Jenn: “Well, looks like we should talk about where we stand about kid(s).”

Bob: “Right.”

Jenn: “I’m so happy with our lives right now. I love our life, our relationship, our routine, everything. I can’t imagine changing it right now.”

Bob: “Ummmm, I feel the exact same way. I truly don’t see a baby right now.”

Jenn (almost cutting him off): “Right???? I don’t either.”

So we agreed to revisit the conversation about a year after the date. So we did…

Then Comes (No) Baby in a Baby Carriage

Well, friends… years came and went. Every year, we’d have the same conversation. The answer was always the same:

“We’re happy. We love our lives. We’re good as is.”

At one point, as a couple, we wanted to come to a final decision, and as you now know – we have made the conscious choice not to have children.

Complications

Sounds like our decision was simple, right? Well, let me tell you, coming to the conclusion wasn’t easy.

Some friends and family pester you, the questions and side eyes come flying, and “pregnancy watch” is a very REAL thing.

If I happen to post and/or be photographed at an unflattering angle, I’ll still receive messages, “Big news coming soon?!” “I have a feeling you have something exciting to announce!”

Awful. Gross. No, it’s just the extra slices of pizza I ate last night. But thanks for noticing. I digress…

On the flip side, there has been so much support. One of the biggest blessings during our decision process was how Bob’s parents and my dad never ever ever ever pressured us into have kids. Not even once. I will be forever grateful for that fact.

Jennifer Lake Husband Nantucket

However, telling family that we made the conscious choice not to have kids tops the list of the toughest things we’ve ever had to share. My heart shatters even writing these words now. I know having children would make so many of them happy. But our decision isn’t for them – it’s for us.

Why We Aren’t Having Children

Below, I wanted to share a few of the reasons for our decision. There are many reasons why people choose to not have children, and they vary by individual/couple.

Simply put, the number one reason why we aren’t having children is because we love our lives. We love (and really like) each other. We love the freedoms that come with the lifestyle. We have a blast together, and we can’t wait to grow old with one another.

We rarely get sick of each other. In fact, the pandemic has brought us closer and made our love even stronger. I find joy with him each day, and I go to bed thinking how thankful I am to have him in my life.

Our love fulfills me. God has truly blessed us with a faith-centered love that overwhelms me. That’s not hyperbole – it’s the truth.

Other contributing factors to the decision? Health and finances. As I mentioned above, health was something we needed to take seriously. Plus, one of the cruel aspects of being a woman is our fertility as we age.

In terms of finances, we’ve always been strong at budgeting and planning. At the same time, we aren’t rolling in dough.

Bob put himself through college and has been financially independent ever since. Moreover, while I was fortunate to have monetary support from my family as a young adult, that was many many moons ago.

When I graduated college, my family made it clear – you’re on your own. Bob was given the same message after high school. It’s not that our families don’t love us. Their viewpoint was/is just simple – you’re an adult; it’s on you.

As such, my first apartment after college was a three-bedroom walk-up with four total girls and one bathroom. We even turned our dining room into a bedroom to save on rent. Thankfully, our landlord lived in San Francisco and didn’t check in on us. Lol. We were such rebels.

Since getting married, we’ve built, saved, and paid for everything we’ve done. I’m proud of that fact. We’re proud of that fact.

As financial planners, we’re also very clear on some of the financial commitments of having children. Those reasons have slightly (key word – slightly) contributed to our decision.

Sperry Gray Malin Costa Rica

Lastly – and it’s taken many years of deep internal reflection to come to this “aha moment” – after losing my mom from a stroke in my 20’s, and Bob losing his mom just over a year ago, we both understand and have experienced the full scope of the grief related to losing parents.

Grief that is so immense, so vast, you can’t help but wonder how to go on. It feels insurmountable.

Those feelings, the grief of losing a parent, are something that we would never ever wish upon anyone. Again, let me reiterate – this is just my story and our viewpoint. However, I would be lying to you if I didn’t admit it’s a contributing factor as to why we don’t want to have children.

Watching a parent die – in my case, my mom was lost in a minute. Bob’s mom passed from a cruel cancer journey. We cannot imagine putting our child/children through that.

Plus, there’s sadness associated with not being be able to share the parenting experience with either of them. Simple things like asking for advice, getting a second opinion, and other layers like holidays, birthdays, graduations.

Death is a part of life. Birth is a part of life. It’s the circle of life. Pain, grief, anger, resolution all come along with the journey.

However, based on what we know and our lived experiences, we have chosen a different path.

Words Matter

Instead of feeling like we’re “childless by choice,” we’ve decided to embrace a child-filled life and a childfree by choice existence. I heard these words from friend, Sarah Lagen (who sent it to me), and a few others on social media.

We’re excited to attend concerts, recitals, baseball games, school functions, theatre shows, and anything else to support our friends’ and family’s kids! Just because we’ve chosen to be childfree doesn’t mean we can’t support others. Plus, I follow a significant amount of parenting blogs and social media accounts. It’s a joy to witness and support their journeys!

Also, I want to be clear that Bob and I are “childfree” NOT “childless by choice.” The choice of words MATTERS. In helping to remove stereotypes and stigmas, in further normalizing, I’d like to encourage everyone to use embrace the childfree by choice verbiage. In many ways, childless automatically carries the weight of being “less-than.” And we’re not here for that. 🙂

Childfree by Choice, Different Problems

Before diving into this next section, I need to acknowledge the outright privilege I have of being a white-presenting, cis-gender, heterosexual woman from an upper middle class background. Bob has a similar set of social privileges. As such, we have an unfair leg-up in pretty much all aspects of life. Please take these next thoughts with the full knowledge of our ongoing work in the journey to better understand (and fight against) white privilege.

At times, the world can have different expectations women who are childfree by choice. Beyond the outright judgement, there is an entirely separate set of rules and expectations.

In any other country in the world, parents are given phenomenal benefits, medical coverage, and childcare support. I am disgusted by the lack of rights, benefits, and parental leave we have in this country; we have a lot of work to do in these regards. I want to acknowledge there’s a whole other side of the coin of being a parent that isn’t being addressed here.

As such, I encourage you to look for resource that talk through these topics to have a more well-rounded view of the struggles of parents too. There are SO many!

My Lived Experience

Childfree by choice isn’t all sleeping in and traveling on a dime. We also have commitments along with immediate and extended family responsibilities.

Meetings and events on nights and weekends? Well you don’t have kids, so you should be able to make it.

Tired or stressed? Well, you weren’t caring for kids all night.

Need to leave slightly early one afternoon? Well… wait – why? Where do you have to go?

I’m only scratching the surface, but I encourage all workplaces, colleagues, friends, and family to be empathetic about the unique set of judgements and separate expectations of women, individuals, and couples without kids.

As a takeaway, it’s imperative to create an environment where everyone can set appropriate boundaries without felling like they need to explain why. Additionally, as it relates to the workplace, it’s important to fairly evaluate workload and contributions, especially when it comes to weekend work, events, and travel.

What’s the auditing process to ensure everyone is thriving? Childfree and single people shouldn’t have to carry the load just as people with family deserve flexibility and judgment-free zones to do their very best work.

Where I Am Right Now

I can confidently say that we have never regretted our decision about kids. Granted, I know this is not true for everyone, but we feel comforted in knowing the plan for the future.

Sure, I feel slight twinges of sadness when I see birth announcements, family holiday photos, Instagram Stories with babies cooing, kids playing or making funny faces. Most importantly, I just feel pure joy for my friends, family, and strangers in these moments!

My biggest struggle is when I see our niece. My heart shatters into a million little pieces as I know she will never have immediate cousins on our side of the family. This void for her, based our decision, gets to me. But again – we didn’t make the decision for her, we did it for us. Plus, she gets even more time with us!

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received in life is to never make a decision solely for another person. That way, you can’t blame, regret, or hold grudges against anyone. Yes, I realize pregnancy isn’t always a decision. It’s complicated, complex, and can be incredibly challenging. When possible, the freedom of that choice, in and of itself, is freeing.

I hope one day our niece will understand. Above all – I hope she’ll make up her own mind when it comes to decide what she wants with regards to children. I implore her to never conform to societal expectations or familial pressures/concerns.

The funny thing about listening to your heart and discernment is that it’ll never let you down. If you follow the compass, you can never be led astray. As a woman of faith, I know God had a plan, and His plan is for us to not have kids in this chapter of our lives. I’m thankful for listening and trusting His guidance.

You’re Not Alone

While the childfree decision can feel isolated and lonely at times, there are plenty of public figures who are living child-full and childfree existences by choice too. For example – Oprah, Jennifer Aniston, Betty White, Sarah Paulson, Ellen DeGeneres and countless others have made indelible impacts on our society.

While, at times, it feels like a selfish choice to not have kids, I believe it’s a much more selfish choice to do so for the wrong reasons.

I’m going to list some helpful resource below if you’re looking for additional childfree by choice resources, or if you’re struggling and want more information.

Great Auntie

In closing, maybe that woman who sent the DM is right. Perhaps I’ll regret the decision in the years ahead. At the same time, we have other options we can explore like adoption and fostering.

At the end of the day, it’s not up to her, or you, to decide what’s best for me and Bob. In the same way it’s not up to me to decide for you. Our decisions, our journey, our path.

All in all, I want to use my platform to do good, spark positivity, shine light, to give back, and to find ways to support others who have children in any way that I can.

Jennifer Lake Ten Year Anniversary

In part, I hope by blog post helps reduce the stereotype and normalize the idea of childfree by choice or just childfree without needing to explain why or get questioned about it. Furthermore, I hope it gives a more well-rounded view of the judgements, complexities, and roller-coaster ride of a childfree by choice existence.

Lastly, as someone without a child, I hope you’ll consider me a Great Aunt. Being an Aunt to my niece is the greatest joy of my life. Moreover, I am here for you, where you are, to be an Auntie that does life with you. No matter where you’re at.

When my friend Kit refers to me as “Aunt Jenn” to her daughter, Gwen, or Megan and John calls us “Auntie Jenn and Uncle Bob,” my heart explodes. It’s the best feeling, and I hope you will think of me in the same vein when you need an extra dose of support.

Let’s all strive to be more compassionate to one another no matter what.

Childfree by Choice Resources

Why So Many Are Satisfied Being Childless by Choice via Psychology Today

Choosing to Be Childfree Doesn’t Mean You Dislike Kids via Time

What We Get Wrong About Women Who Don’t Have Kids via Refinery29

Childfree by choice book options on Amazon

Leave a comment

View All 154 Comments

  1. S
    Stephanie wrote:

    Thank you, Jenn. You have articulated so perfectly something I’ve struggled to communicate with my loved ones, and it just gets harder with each passing (childless) year. I am so grateful you decided to share this old blog post draft now. You and Bob are such an inspiration. Proud to know you.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for joining us on life’s journey, Stephanie. Appreciate you taking the time to read it!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
      • P
        Paula wrote:

        I really like your take on this! Here we also have decided together not to have kids, but for different reasons. We live in a developing country and the economy and society are not going very well, so we fear for all the children’s future. Also, our planet as whole is not well. What gets me is that every month my hormones can almost make me change my mind, I think that is awful and unfair, not being able to simply live in peace with the decision. But again, as you brilliantly said, being able to make a decision is already privilege,
        and I am thankful for it.

        Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  2. A
    Annaliese wrote:

    Jenn- what an absolutely beautiful and heartfelt post! I admire you so much for your thoughtfulness in sharing this. I know these words will encourage so many! Your niece is so lucky to have you and Bob as her aunt and uncle!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      You have been so supportive and encouraging on the blog and in our life’s journey. Please know I’m supporting you all the way too.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  3. @
    @TheJacksonsNook wrote:

    THANK YOU for such an excellent post! We are also childfree by choice, and although I have no regrets, the decision was not easy!! I could have been reading my own story. Xoxoxo

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      I’m glad to know we’re not alone and share similar reasons. Sending you love!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  4. J

    Jenn, thank you for this post. I will read it over and over. I am on my 40’s with no kids, and I still struggle. I am so happy that you and Bob are happy with your life together.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Aw, thanks Jen! I am thrilled that the post resonated with you. Sending you lots of love!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  5. S
    Sara wrote:

    This this this this – all of this!!!! You & Bob obviously make a great team! All of our decisions and considerations were very similar. I have an added wrinkle of losing a parent when I was 10, and I think that also heavily influenced my decision.

    I do appreciate your comments about workplace behavior, too. I don’t like playing the suffer Olympics with people who did make a choice to have children. This has been particularly true in the current situation. Just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean that I’m not feeling the effects or stress.

    All in all, great post with a lot to think about how anyone considering whether to have children. It is definitely one of many pathways to a fulfilling life… and I support you 100%!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • L
      Leeza wrote:

      Your phrase “the suffer Olympics” really resonated with me. It would be unfair (and inappropriate) for me to ever tell people what I often think- “You chose to have kids. It’s not my problem that they often make it difficult for you to do the things that are easy for me because I don’t have any!” Despite the freedom my decision affords me, I’m still allowed to have a headache, or be grumpy, or decline an invitation despite being childfree.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
      • J

        Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings, Leeza. Have a nice rest of your day!

        Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
        • L
          Leeza wrote:

          Thank you Jenn for being so open about this decision. You surely don’t owe anyone any explanations for your choices, so your candor is an act of service to your (online) community. I clicked over here for the first time from Grace’s post and as a fellow Chicagoan, I look forward to following along!

          Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you Sara! You’re words of support mean the world!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  6. C
    C wrote:

    What a wonderful post!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  7. C
    Caroline wrote:

    As always you’ve tackled a complicated topic so eloquently.. Thank you ❤️ One of my aunts decided not to have children after a complicated journey and she instead put all her love into my cousins and I as we grew up, which I’ll never forget! I hope people can remember that just because you don’t have your own children doesn’t mean you can still make a huge impact on a child’s life.

    xx Caroline

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks Caroline! Same here – I also have a few Aunties who never had children yet have always been absolutely interwoven into the fabric of my, my brother’s, and my cousins’ lives!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  8. J
    Janice Hall wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your journey to be childfree. You did a beautiful job articulating why and how you reached this decision. As a childless couple for 38 years we have never regretted our choice. Childfree has given us the opportunity to pursue incredible global careers, a long-distance move, wonderful trips etc. Most of we are able to give all our “children love” to our wonderful nieces, nephew and godchildren. I wouldn’t change a thing!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks Janice! Your amazing example is one of so many incredible testaments to how fulfilling life can be no matter what!!!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  9. S
    Sam wrote:

    Jenn: Thank you so much for having the courage to publish this post! As I told you via DM, I think there’s not enough conversation about this in the public sphere. I wrote a post recently about how I’m not sure if I want kids, and I got so much feedback from people who could relate. But, when you’re sifting through your own thoughts, it’s easy to feel alone. I give both you and Bob so much credit for knowing yourselves and for being willing to share your perspective.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks Sam! Your support means the world, and I’m sending so much love your way!!!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  10. C
    Chelsea wrote:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever commented, but thanks SO much to you (and Grace and Kate!) for these posts. I too am childfree by choice (and like you, married and in a cisgendered heterosexual relationship) and struggle sometimes with the perceptions that go along with it. You’ve articulated so much of what I feel here, and it is so refreshing. THANK YOU!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks YOU Chelsea! I appreciate you taking the time to comment, and I’m sending you all my love!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  11. G

    Saw you tease to this post on IG and immediately had to come over and read your thoughts. I am a first time expecting mama, so in a different stage of life, but truly intrigued to hear your thoughts as I have always wanted kids so it’s a very different viewpoint than mine own. As always, you handled this post and topic beautifully and are so good at explaining your POV with no judgement for any other. I fully support the idea that it is your relationship, your choice, and your journey and hope that every woman feels that her choices are valid, supported and loved. We all need to continue to support each other’s life decisions- because they are personal choices and not for us to judge. Bravo on a beautiful post (and you can be my internet Auntie Jen anytime!! :))

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks Gentry! I am SO SO happy for you! Congratulations from the bottom of my heart! I’ll absolutely be your internet Auntie and do so with pride!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  12. A
    Angela wrote:

    Hi Jenn! I’m brand new here, by way of Grace’s blog and oh my gosh I just love this post! So well written and articulates so many feeling!

    This is maybe the first time I’ve read someone that shares my workplace feelings! I fully agree that parents need lots of flexibility, but childfree employees deserve the same flexibilty for their personal lives too!

    And same on being a great auntie! Recently one of my oldest childhood friends referred to me as an aunt to her daughter and I nearly melted right there <3

    thank you thank you thank you for sharing!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • K
      Kristen wrote:

      I am so grateful you shared your story! My husband and I came to the same decision not to have kids. While I know this is the right choice for us, I still beat myself up over it. Because of societal norms and pressures, I shame myself into thinking maybe we are being selfish or that we will regret it. It’s so helpful to hear others point of view and decisions. It definitely helps not feeling so lonely in this. Thank you for being open and vulnerable!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  13. E

    Thank you for posting this. My husband and I also made the conscious decision to be child-free. There are many reasons for making that decision, and some of them you enumerated here. We all make decisions based on our circumstances and lives, and we’re OK with that. We’re all following our own journey, and it’s solely up to us in how we do that.
    xo,
    Em @ https://www.bloomingmagnoliasblog.com

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  14. E
    Emily wrote:

    Thank you for posting this.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  15. A
    A wrote:

    Gosh thank you so much for this post. It’s exactly how I feel. Also, your thoughts on your respective parents dying was so impactful- my dad also died of cancer and I’ve never thought that perhaps my decision to be child free is linked to that. Thanks for being so open about this.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! I am so sorry for your loss – sending you lots and lots of love!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  16. J
    Jen wrote:

    Thank you for such a thoughtful post! My husband and I are also child free by choice and I so appreciate any time someone tries to normalize that option! I live in the South and I would need several more appendages to count all the times I’ve been told how selfish I am to choose not to have kids (and often by friends and family). It’s interesting that my husband has never been called selfish for this decision.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  17. T
    Tomi Obebe wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Jenn! Culturally, I know the stigma can make it so difficult to share this decision. As a newlywed, I have similar conversations with my husband. Yes, childfree people *might regret their decision later on in life, but how much worse would it be to regret the decision of having your kid and growing to resent them? No child deserves that! I appreciate your openness and the conversations this will start for so many women to find the path that’s the best fit for them.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  18. K
    Kate wrote:

    Great posts by both you and Grace. I’m 34 and my husband and I are still figuring it out. We have talked about having one child, something a few of my friends absolutely BALK over. There are so so many pressures and I find it mind-boggling that I face so much scrutiny from my own friends and family (like, they know me, having one or zero kids is SO me but they still do this because of our societal norms!). I also have health issues to take into account that will make a pregnancy more difficult and set me back at work since I would have to significantly reduce my workload to get through a pregnancy.

    I would also say that some folks these days may also factor in our current global issues. I know it’s even MORE hot-button of an issue, but I have real fears about the direction of climate change, wealth disparities, and issues such as the handling of this pandemic. I am a reasonable person, and I do not think these kinds of fears are crazy at all. I hear so many parents fearing for their kids futures and it gives me pause. I also hear so many parents say “well the next generation is so much smarter and going to fix it” etc. but these are a lot of parents with privilege. I worry about how divided our particular country is and whatnot.

    Anyway, that is all to say thank you for your post. These are really tough decisions. I hope that people give everyone the room to make these tough decisions and the respect and support no matter which decision is made.

    Lastly-I have had MULTIPLE people at work, etc. ask me if I am pregnant or insinuate I will be announcing. It can RUIN a day and make me donate away an entire outfit. Can we stop commenting on women’s bodies for crying out loud???

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve shared, Kate! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and create such a thoughtful comment. Sending you love!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  19. C
    Caroline @ Petite Fashionista wrote:

    BRAVO to you!!! I know that I don’t know you personally, but you are a lovely person and I wish that I could give you a hug. I have been married for ten years and I just turned 40 yesterday. People used to make those same exact comments to me and it would really hurt my feelings. I also remember when my husband and I had that discussion and I was terrified. Thankfully we were on the same page. We love our life together and we also have four beautiful nieces who we adore and spoil. Thank you so much for sharing your story and have a great day! xo

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a sweet comment, Caroline! We are definitely on parallel paths!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  20. D
    Danielle wrote:

    Thank you so much for this post! YES normalize childfree by choice. This post summed up many of my feelings perfectly.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  21. p
    preeti wrote:

    great post! but i feel compelled to comment on this piece in particular “As a takeaway, it’s imperative to create an environment where everyone can set appropriate boundaries without felling like they need to explain why. Additionally, as it relates to the workplace, it’s important to fairly evaluate workload and contributions, especially when it comes to weekend work, events, and travel.”. YES! I started my career at the ripe age of 21 and didn’t have my own child until I was 29. In those 8 years, I had COUNTLESS occurances of having to carry an extra load on my team at work due to me being the only childless person. In addition, that became even more annoying/painful while my husband and I endured an infertility journey. Every “well I have to do xyz with my kids so can you do xyz task” was a knife to the heart. I have always said I actually believe childless people should get EXTRA time off to make up for all the times we folks with kids scoot for appointments, sick days, etc. I have 1 son now and he will be our only and is a true miracle and the light of our lives, but it’s definitely not for everyone and i APPLAUD you for standing your ground and knowing what you want and that you can and will still be a fulfilled person without a child of your own.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you so so much, Preeti! It’s so important for there to be equitable practices and flexibility for everyone and in all ways in the workplace. I truly appreciate you sharing your experiences. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  22. K
    Katie wrote:

    I am a new reader (I found a link to this post through Grace Atwood) and I just wanted to say bravo. It’s brave and important to put this out there. I hesitate to even write the word brave because you should be able to share your choices without bracing for unwanted comments.

    I’m a mom of 2 so while I chose a different path, I so respect yours. Your point about losing parents young really resonated with me. My husband lost his mother to a long and painful struggle with cancer when he was in his late 20s and it was tough for him to think about becoming a parent and having to explain and introduce his mom to our kids in her absence. I have to imagine I would feel very similarly if I were in his shoes.

    Your body, your choice. Cheers to being able to choose the right path for you and I hope that putting this out in the world brings you praise and peace, haters be damned.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you so much for stopping over to the blog, and thank you for your feedback and support. I also love hearing about your journey, and respect your decision. I’m also sorry about the loss of your husband’s mom, and send you all support in your journey.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  23. E
    Ellen wrote:

    Found you through Grace’s post and now going to be a full time follower. As someone who also lost her mom very suddenly when I was 14 I really relate to the section of this post that speaks about that loss and how it ties into the decision to not have children.

    I truly cannot fathom putting a child (or anyone) through the pain I felt when I lost my mom. That strong feeling has made me 98% I will never have children. Thank you for making me (and I’m sure others) feel less alone by talking about this aspect of grief.

    Here’s to being the cool aunt.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Cool aunts for life!

      Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss, especially at such a young age. I was 21 when my mom passed, and I cannot imagine having lost her seven years prior, as you did yours. Sending you endless amounts of love, Ellen!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  24. E
    Eileen wrote:

    Such a wonderful post! I have also chosen the child-free life for the EXACT reasons as you. Kudos for being so brave and discussing so publicly! Xo

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to comment. It means so much, and I’m glad to know we’re not alone in our decision. Sending you love!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  25. K
    Kristin wrote:

    I made this choice about 13 years ago (after my husband and I had been dating 2.5 years and he more or less gave me an ultimatum; like you, I was “meh” about it either way), and I have not regretted the decision for a day. And at 37, I’ve FINALLY stopped getting asked by everyone in the South when I’m going to have kids; I think they realize that I’m serious now.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for sharing your journey and commenting. Here to support you always!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  26. K
    Kim wrote:

    This is so powerful, and I truly appreciate you being vulnerable and sharing your journey with us. I have never seen anyone else put into words the impact the loss of a parent can have on your own parenting journey, and it’s one I relate to. I lost my father at 19 and it’s very emotional for me to think about having a child without him in our lives. I personally do still want to have children someday, but I know my heart will ache seeing that child with his/her other grandparents and how that might continue to amplify his void. Basically, I appreciate you voicing all the ways grief complicates your life in ways others might not expect or understand. It’s not easy to admit and I really, really appreciate you doing so.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      My sincere condolences for the loss your father. 19 is such a pivotal age with so many life transitions and changes. My heart aches with and for you as grief is so tough. I’m sending you so much love and light as you progress forward in life.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  27. C
    CS wrote:

    Excellent post Jen. Thank you for sharing! For those of us without kids who are made to feel like something is wrong by our friends with kids, your story is on point and helpful! I love the use of the term childfree by choice. I am going to use that. Thank you for sharing.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for taking the time to read it! Your feedback means the world!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  28. A
    Ashley wrote:

    New follower here – found you through Grace Atwood (or maybe someone else) who recently did a round up of childless bloggers. 1 – thank you for sharing this, it was a very thoughtful read and I agree with so many of your points (including about losing a parent, I lost my dad in April and it has solidified my already strong position to not have kids 2. I’m really looking forward to following you and your life with your husband! I was getting burnt out from seeing so many of my fave bloggers become moms and I’m looking forward to seeing more people like me in my feed! -Ashley

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Ashley, thank you for taking the time to read the post and comment. I’m so sorry about the loss of your father. Sending you healing vibes in your journey, and thank you for sharing what you’re going through. I’m cheering you on always!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  29. S
    Shana wrote:

    Loved both of your posts (you and Grace) 🙂 as a mom of 1 the questions never stop they evolve. “When are you having a second”, we aren’t, 1 is our number. “We were counting on you to have 2” really you were? well then you will be disappointed hahaha As long as you and Bob are aligned which it sounds like you are, then that is all that matters!! Being a woman is a tough road and we need to support each other and not tear down!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for taking the time to read the post. I’m cheering you on in life’s journey, and I’m sorry you stumbled across comments during your path. We definitely all need to support one another.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for taking the time to read it, and I couldn’t agree more that we need to support one another and stop judging one another. Thankful for women like you who champion other women and encourage with kindness, empathy, and compassion!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  30. M
    Marianna wrote:

    Well written and from the heart. We all have to choose a path on this life journey and yours is no less valid than anyone elses. Maybe even more so because you chose it with much thought and consideration. Ultimately the goal is to choose the most authentic life for Jenn and Bob and you have done that. My good thoughts to you and yours. Be well.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for taking the time to read the post and being so supportive!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  31. G
    Gina wrote:

    This is so sad to me. You cannot even begin to fathom the love and joy having your own baby brings. Your choosing comfort and money over this

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Sending you love and wishing you a wonderful rest of your week.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • C
      Chelsee wrote:

      this is simply your own opinion, gina. what brings one joy may not bring joy to someone else. what a beautiful and freeing feeling to be able to know ourselves well enough to determine what we say yes or no to especially when it comes to our own body. we are all unique in our own right and need to normalize doing what is best for our *own* lives, bodies, and families, free from cruel + harsh judgement, “opinions” and criticism, especially from strangers—which, if I’m not mistaken, is one of the many great reasons for Jenn deciding to publish this post.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • K
      Katie wrote:

      & you don’t know what you’re missing out on by *not* having children. It goes both ways. Also, you completely missed the whole point of her post. I hope you are teaching your children kindness and tolerance, but something tells me you’re not. I’m so sad for you that you such a miserable person. Sending lots of love and peace.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • A
      Also named Gina wrote:

      What a disgusting comment. And just you wait, Gina. Wait until your sweet baby turns into a tyrant toddler (I would know, I have 2 of them). This comment makes me SO mad. Jenn, I loved your post. I listened to Kate’s podcast right when it came out and read Grace’s post. And yes I have kids and wanted them but my husband and I completely mourn our child free life all the time and maybe we should have took into consideration all the things you did before we had kids. As much as we are in love with our kids, it has put a strain on our marriage that I’m not sure we will recover from and we miss being DINKs so so much. I hate that you deal with comments like this. We deal with “when are you having another baby” comments all the time. I can’t be nice to these people anymore. It’s too annoying and maddening!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • D
      Donna wrote:

      should she have chosen stress and financial strain and complete loss of freedom to make you and the rest of society happy, despite knowing what’s best for her life? how dumb is that? you’ll get over your ‘sadness’, if that’s what you want to call it.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J
      John wrote:

      I think you missed it, Gina. Try re-reading this post when you’re in a better mood👌🏼

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  32. P

    I love this post. I feel so seen! We are also childfree by choice, and so much of this resonated with me. It is a personal, emotional journey and there is so much outside projection that we deal with. We’ve been married for 18 years this year. Still happy and still sure we made the right decision for us. Thank you for sharing your story!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Patrice, thank you for sharing your decision and journey. Cheering you on always!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  33. J
    Jess wrote:

    I’m in tears Jenn. This was so beautifully written. So much of what you shared resonates with me and even though I ended up on a different path, I fully appreciate, support and understand yours. This is so important for other women to read, and to know that there is no one right way to do life. Sending love you to Jenn.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for making the time to read the post, Jess. Your feedback is greatly valued, and I’m cheering you on in life’s journey. Sending love to you always!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  34. M
    Myrian wrote:

    Having or not having a child is a very personal choice between two people. My husband and I were in a relationship for 10 years before deciding to try to have a child. It took 2 years for it to happen for us, we had reached the point where we thought if it happens great but if not we will adopt a 3rd dog. At 40 I gave birth to our son. All this to say it was a hard transition from being the two of us to now three. A child is great if they have a nice chill temperament, but if they’re colicky whiny etc I imagine it is much harder.
    Huge changes in our lives and honestly if you do not want to have a child or change your lifestyle it is a very personal choice. I love our 10 month old son, but goodness has my life changed. I can no longer think of myself first and that has been a very hard transition. Due to potential fibroids this might be our one and only child and I am fine with that.
    If you and your partner agree on not having children that is perfectly fine. We always had nieces and nephews around. We even took them to Disneyland and other amusement parks. We were fine without children and wanted to enjoy being an aunt and uncle as well.
    I appreciate you opening up about this very personal decision and fully support your choice! Thank you for being so real!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for opening up to share about your path and journey. I’m sending you all good vibes and hope you and your family are doing okay. Appreciate your support and kindness!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  35. D
    Donna wrote:

    My husband and I are in our mid- 30s and have also made the decision to stay childfree. Many of the reasons behind your choice resonated with me. My husband and I also both lost our mothers as young adults and I totally feel as though losing them had an impact on our decision as well. Thank you for sharing such a personal post!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      I’m so sorry about your loss. My heart breaks for you as it’s such a tough experience and stays with you forever. Sending you light and love!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  36. C
    Cara S. wrote:

    I’m so grateful you made this post! Thank you for being so open and vulnerable about such a sensitive topic that’s far too often pushed behind the curtain for fear of seeming socially unacceptable.
    I am 30, single, recently laid off, and am still figuring out what I want my life to be. There’s an immense pressure to for me to figure those things out just so I can “settle down and have kids,” but why rush some of the greatest joys in life just to do what society tells us we should? I’m so glad I’m not alone in this mindset. Again, and most sincerely: thank you.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Definitely, you are not alone, Cara. Thinking of you during this next chapter of your journey and the discovery of what’s next and what’s to come. I am cheering you on all the way.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  37. M
    Madiha wrote:

    Hello Jenn,

    Such an eloquently written piece! I DMed you a few days ago when you had an excerpt posted to your stories. I was the one who was surprised at her own gut reaction because the excerpt made her feel somewhat alienated and starting a comparison factor due to the age reference. (Knowing that wasn’t the intention, you were just stating facts). Your response to my DM was also just as endearing.

    In case you remembered, wanted to let you know this post did NONE of that. Instead I was focused on learning a little bit more about you and your choices. Yours and Grace’s post offered such unique perspectives and made me love you both even more.

    I didn’t even feel like an explanation of your choice was ever needed and I hate the societal pressures and “norms” make someone feel the need to have to explain (or in some cases justify) their decisions. (I try very hard to never judge anyone because well I don’t know everything about them. Boggles my mind more people aren’t like that). Thank you for your vulnerability and expressing it so beautifully. Even though never needed, this piece is a beautiful gateway to a bigger discussion for many people. Something that resonates astoundly from this piece is the strength in your relationships (ALL of them).

    Though I have a different choice for my mind; I do relate to the workplace behavior. Me as a single women, 38 years old and no kids, was apparently a reason why I shouldn’t never had trouble accomplishing things or had all the time in the world. It was also the reason why I was never good at multi tasking. It never occurred to the person that well I have things going on and I’m not good at multi tasking! Its just not in my nature.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      YES! I definitely remember our conversation, and I greatly valued and value your feedback. You made a very important point, and it gave me a lot to think about when reading through the post (and before posting it). I will forever be thankful that you wrote me and flagged it to me. Please do stay in touch, and thank you for sharing your insights.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
      • S
        SC wrote:

        I love absolutely everything abt this post – and feel like I could have written it myself (even the part abt the niece). My husband and I have been married for 15 years (40/39 yrs respectively), also Chicagoans and this so spoke to me! I NEVER comment but since who knows what snarky comments you might get, I wanted to send a thank you for this!

        Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  38. C
    Cathy wrote:

    Kudos to you, I really enjoyed reading your experiences and thoughts on how you’ve come to this decision as a couple. I think honestly you don’t actually owe anyone anything further than a ‘it’s not for us’. I think back to when I was dating and no way having a child was something I remotely entertained. Then fast forward, after being married a few years, something changed. I can’t explain what that was other than a very strong desire to become a mother- like an urge or need I couldn’t ignore. It was all encompassing. I can only imagine had that change not occurred that every conversation with my husband about children would end just as you describe – with an acknowledgment & agreement that everything was just right as it was- why change that? I think this is an important conversation to have because not everybody is going to feel the same way about wanting to become parents- and why should they? My sister is child free and loving all of the opportunities open to her in life while being the beloved Aunt of my kids- they absolutely adore her and she loves all the attention she gets from them. All of it is love, and all of it is family, at the end of the day. Although I can’t walk in your shoes, I understand!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for understanding, Cathy! And I love how you speak about your sister, too. She sounds wonderful like you! Also, I’m so happy that you followed your desires to become a parent. Sending you love!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
      • C
        Cathy wrote:

        Thank you! I just wanted to add that I think the child-free movement if we could call it that, has to be a good thing. It means that women and their partners are really thinking about the sort of lives they want to create and not just falling into some preconceived notions of what that should look like. When I look at my own mother who married and was pregnant at 21, never living out any of her own dreams, she eventually caused us all heart break when she had an affair and left her family to pursue romance & independence. Knowing what you want in life is a blessing!

        Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  39. M
    Martha wrote:

    Thank you so much for this article. It put into words many of the thoughts that swirl in my head all of the time.

    I especially resonated with ” Having great maternal instincts and being childfree aren’t diametrically opposed”

    Louder, for the people in the back 🙂

    Some thoughts your post generated for me:

    1. So much more needs to be written and said about the choice (and the fact that it is a valid choice) to not have children. I think currently that decision is viewed as way too singular on the woman, when in actuality, you made this choice together as a couple.

    2. I could go on all day about how contradictory it is that our society expects women to have children and judges them when they don’t, but doesn’t provide any support of benefits to make having a child feasible- limited to no maternity leave, limited to no access to healthcare, etc.

    3. This may seem like a stretch, but I’m a long term planner and big picture thinker, and while I know I would love parts of having children, I also think about my responsibility to think about the world I’d be bringing them into. I don’t mean to be overly negative, but when you consider existential threats like climate change, it’s something I think about when weighing if having children is best for me.

    Thank you again for your post!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Oh wow, your feedback is just BEYOND thoughtful and wonderful. I appreciate you taking the time to read the post and comment with your thoughts and takeaways. Also, I really enjoyed reading your insights, and I couldn’t agree more the decision is viewed too singular on the woman! Furthermore, while my post didn’t delve into the topic, the state of our world is cause for concern (or at least a pause). VERY important and valid points all around!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  40. K
    Kit wrote:

    I loved Grace’s term: PANK (professional Auntie, no kids). You are the best Auntie and seeing how much you and Bob love Gwen makes my heart nearly explode!

    This post is so well written and thoughtful. I think a lot of people feel less alone in their decision to be childfree by choice.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you sweet friend! It was so wonderful to see you and Charles and spend time with baby Gwen last weekend. So proud to be one of her Aunties!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  41. E
    Ellie wrote:

    Came here from Grace’s blog and while I’m still digesting what both of you (so wonderfully) wrote, I wanted to commend you for this sensitive, thoughtful, kind (dare I say “woke”?) post. You clearly took EXCEPTIONAL care in how you framed, worded, and disclaimed this post and made every effort to ensure no one was hurt or ignored, regardless of their journey or beliefs. Kudos to you <3

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks for stopping on the blog and taking time out of your day to read the post. The parenting topic is so complex, layered, and I realize how much of a privilege it is to be able to make the decision. I wanted the post to be as inclusive as possible, and it means the world to hear that it came across as such.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  42. L
    Liz Adams wrote:

    Such a beautifully written post, Jenn! So truthful and sincere and meaningful. So proud of you and the abundant relationship you and Bob have created! And proud to be your friend.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for reading it, Liz. Thankful to have you as a friend and in our lives. We are cheering you on in your journey always!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  43. L
    Lindsay wrote:

    I was directed to your post by Grace at The Stripe and just wanted to say thank you for writing this and putting it out there. I am finding myself to be in a similar situation. Luckily, the people in my life are respectful of my decision for the most part, and quite a few of my friends have also made the decision to remain child-free, so that helps. Thank you for normalizing this choice!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks for taking the time to read the post and comment, Lindsay! I’m so glad you found it helpful and that you’ve experienced support among your loved ones, too. Hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  44. J
    Jenny wrote:

    Great post, well written, and covers all aspects. You are allowed to make your own choice and no one should judge you for it. I had an “aunt” growing up who never had her own children and she is my “aunt” to this day, she was there when I was born, she married me and she came and was there when my first daughter was born, she has been involved in all aspects of my life and I will take care of her in her old age if needed : ) she did not have to have kids to have a strong relationship with young ones.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks Jenny! I love hearing about your life experiences with your aunt. She sounds amazing, and I can tell how much you love her!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  45. A
    Amanda Svenson wrote:

    This was a beautiful read. Although I am a mother of 1( which also never seems to be enough), I love how honest you both were with your wants and needs. Having children is NOT for everyone, and the norm of you grow up get married and have children has got to go! The only thing I feel sorry for is that you ever got a feeling that you needed to justify yourselves. A feeling that you were making a bad or wrong decision. You have no idea how many couples will connect to this. Y’all are wonderful!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Oh my gosh – your kind words truly mean the world. Thank you so much!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  46. L
    Larissa wrote:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have followed Grace for years and truthfully this is the first time I’ve read your blog, but you have just added an additional dedicated follower! I felt every sentence you wrote so close to home. The struggle of everyone around you having kids and wanting to know when you’ll join them is hard. The struggle of not being invited to children’s parties because they don’t think you’ll enjoy them. Or the struggle to explain that you aren’t just a selfish person is so damn hard! I really worry about losing friendships and being ‘left behind’ in this next part of life, but I love your reminder that this is an individual decision. Thank you so much for posting!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Hi Larissa! Thank you for taking the time to share (and to visit my little corner of the internet). I absolutely hear you on all of those same concerns and stress points. Know that you’ve got a friend and ally in me! Have a wonderful rest of your week!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  47. C
    Cailyn wrote:

    Oh my I love this post. I’m guilty of assuming all my friends want children and I know I need to stop.

    I also love the point you mentioned about people saying “Parenting gives you a better, stronger, and different understanding of love.” I agree with this to an extent – It definitely gives you a different understanding of love, because loving a child and loving a partner ARE different. But it doesn’t make one more important than the other.

    Thanks for this post and sharing with us even though you didn’t have to. It definitely educated me on saying childfree rather than childless, and just me more aware of my choice of words and how I talk about children to couples/women specifically. Hugs!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Cailyn – thank you for messaging and being so candid. We have so much work to normalize childfree by choice, and I know we’re making progress, and that’s a VERY good thing. Appreciate you taking the time to write such a thoughtful message.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  48. L
    Leslie wrote:

    I absolutely love and appreciate your honesty and transparency especially since you do not need to share this. I am sure you are an amazing Auntie and I know you are a wonderful human being just by reading your blog and your posts. Thanks! Leslie

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you so much, Leslie! I really do hope it helps, in some small way, normalize this choice. Appreciate you taking the time to read it!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  49. S
    Sarah wrote:

    Thank you for writing this and sharing your story. My husband and I are child free by choice, late 30’s midwesterners, so I absolutely feel everything you wrote. People think there’s something wrong with us because we choose not to have children. Neighbors have shunned us, assuming something must be wrong with us. We miss out on many adult friendship opportunities because our life choice doesn’t feel “normal” to some of the people around us. But despite all of this, we’re so happy and comfortable with our lifestyle.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Oh my gosh, my heart breaks for the unnecessary social hoops you’ve had to jump through! You’ve got a friend and ally in me!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  50. M
    Marnell wrote:

    Congratulations on living your life your way. That’s the only thing appropriate to say. It’s no one’s business and the saddened, and worse, the hateful responses you are getting are unwarranted. Enjoy your life. ❣️❣️

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks for your support, Marnell! Sending you all the positive thoughts and encouraging you to live and thrive in ways that make you most fulfilled as well!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  51. A
    Aramide wrote:

    Jenn this was so bravely and eloquently written. I support you and Bob’s decision. I have gone back and forth on this myself as I still find myself single year after year, especially now that I’m in my mid-to-late 30s. Your post really helped put things into perspective for me so thank you for this! Wishing you all the best!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Aw, thanks friend! I hope your able to read Grace’s post and listen to Kate’s podcast as well. Sending you lots of love!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  52. A
    Annabel wrote:

    Thank you for posting this brave sentiment. My husband and I are also child free by choice and i echo your same sentiments & frustration. We also said the same thing every time we had the discussion- “we’re so happy currently & we love us. And I didnt want to have children for the wrong reasons such as a future caregiver to take care of us or because it seems “normal.” Thank you again & yes we need to normalize this conversation. I get far too many loud gasp of “WHY?”

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      I hear you on the shocked responses – they are difficult to endure. Regardless, I’m thrilled for you and the conscious choice you and your husband have made.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  53. A
    Anon wrote:

    You are strong and wise. I was very sure I didn’t want kids after a tough childhood. I married a man who agreed with me but after several years, changed his mind (as the time we could reasonable expect to have kids came to an end). I caved (no other word will do) and we have one child. I love my child and do my best but I do not love being a parent and I know in my heart I should not have had a child. Society gives no backing to women who don’t want to parent. Hopefully you and others like you will pave the way to a more accepting future.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      My heart aches for you, and I’m so honored you chose my post to share your lived experience and truth. Sending you all my love.

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  54. M
    Michelle Wong wrote:

    Thank you for this thoughtful post. We are childfree by choice and I’m happy to see that we are NOT alone!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  55. A
    Alejandra Campos wrote:

    This is an awesome perspective! First time ever hearing about you and you are so wise!
    Being childfree should be a positive thing because you are deciding the best for you!

    Blessings

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Aw, thank you so much for making such a kind comment! Thanks, Alejandra!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  56. K
    Katie Eilenfeld wrote:

    Well Sparkles, you nailed it!

    As a mom of 3, I think it’s incredibly awesome of you not to cave to social pressures when we’re talking about something so huge. This is not a light decision and I applaud you and Bob for being committed to revisiting the conversation frequently until you both had a collective decision you were comfortable with.

    I have zero doubt that you would be an incredible mommy if you ever opt in and if Bob is worthy of you then I guarantee the same of him.

    On a more serious note, prayers to you that whatever health components you mention are long gone and solved.

    It’s crazy to think that we can’t live vicariously through each other – your gorgeous and lighthearted photo journeys are always things I look forward to and I hope my munchkins give you smiles when they pop up on my feed! More than anything, I’m grateful for the Jenn flavored joy you put into the world ❤️

    Valpo love forever,
    Katie

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Oh my gosh, thank you SO much, Katie! Your comment absolutely made my week! So glad to hear all is well with you!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  57. T
    Tracy wrote:

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey.. we need to support one another and our choices not tear each other apart.. much love to you both

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  58. J
    Julie wrote:

    I’m so glad I clicked on this post! We need MORE literature about this topic – thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel. xoxo

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  59. L
    L wrote:

    You have put into words all my feelings and issues at being a married childfree woman. I lost my mother to cancer at 21 and I believe it is a big reason I don’t want children, and my two sisters are the same way. I take parenting so serious because of the ache in losing my mother and I don’t want to do it unless I really want it. It seems really hard when you want it, and I don’t think I do! I feel like I’m exhausted and used up a lot of what I needed in patience and caregiving on my mother’s cancer battle. I am 37 and people are finally starting to understand I’m not changing my mind.

    I quit my job in February because I was miserable and my husbands career affords us not needing my income. . I have worked for 20 years in soul crushing finance and I wanted to breathe. I was always working late because…you guessed it my bosses made it clear I didn’t have excuses to leave at 5 like the moms and I picked up their work too . Everyone has and continues to come at me-like what do you think you are doing-you can’t not work and not be a parent -what are you doing -aren’t you bored? The truth is no ,I am not bored and I have finally finished personal projects that I have never had the time to do and help take care of family.Also, not having kids allows us work and retirement flexibility. Why does society make women feel like they need to either be a mother or have a huge busy career?

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      I truly appreciate you sharing your perspective and frustrations. You’re definitely not alone in your feelings. Thank you for your vulnerability and for your strength. I’m sending you all the positive vibes, and I am so glad you took the time to craft such a personal and thoughtful comment. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

      Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
  60. K
    Karly wrote:

    Thank you for such a beautiful articulation of the choice to be child-free. I have had countless conversations about my decision and feel like I have constantly had to defend the decision.
    There is nothing that gives me greater joy than being Auntie Karly to my friends kids and soon to be born nephew and am the first to volunteer to make birthday cakes and attend baseball games.
    It’s comforting to hear I am not alone!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you for taking the time to write such a sweet comment. I really appreciate it! Cheers to the best Auntie life!

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  61. V
    Victoria wrote:

    Great article! We also chose not to have children and are happy with the decision! I’ll be 50 next year and I have no regrets! We have a very strong marriage and we love our life together.

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      That’s so wonderful to hear, Victoria! Hope you have a lovely rest of your week and weekend ahead!

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  62. S
    SC wrote:

    I love absolutely everything abt this post – and feel like I could have written it myself (even the part abt the niece). My husband and I have been married for 15 years (40/39 yrs respectively), also Chicagoans and this so spoke to me! I NEVER comment but since who knows what snarky comments you might get, I wanted to send a thank you for this!

    Published 10.14.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Oh my gosh – thank you for taking the time to comment – it truly means the world. You and I are totally on parallel paths! Thank YOU for your kind words!

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  63. G
    Gabbie wrote:

    We are also the child free couple who love our life so much more than anything! Glad you also chose this!

    Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  64. J
    John wrote:

    Such a thoughtful post, Jenn! Being married for almost 11 years before having a child taught us that true love and connectivity can happen child-free. Anyone who limits your current perspective in their mind is simply projecting. Maybe they haven’t had the life experience (true love and partnership) we’ve had the privilege of experiencing? Maybe they think a child is the only way to accomplish that level of love and connectivity? Speculation of course, but we know is that judgment from others typically comes from a place of insecurity, or sensitivity in their own life. So all we can do continue to speak positively, and bid them a good day 😂

    I loved what you wrote surrounding having a child for the right reasons. Bringing a child into a good good environment is key. It’s one reason we chose to wait so long. Our choice was based less on financial position (although important), and more on our partnership. Having a child is the single most difficult and beautiful thing in our lives, and I can’t imagine doing this without having focused on our relationship/foundation for over a decade prior. Again, everyone has a different path, and there is no right or wrong way! Supporting others choices should be second nature, but sadly it’s not. Thanks for reminding everyone that we are capable of making our own choices, while supporting others that make the opposite choice with a genuine heart. 😉

    Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      I’m so grateful for you and Meg! Thanks for such a thoughtful comment, John! Can’t wait to see how you two will continue to flourish into amazing, wonderful parents. Sending you both all our love!

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  65. P
    Paula wrote:

    I really like your take on this! Here we also have decided together not to have kids, but for different reasons. We live in a developing country and the economy and society are not going very well, so we fear for all the children’s future. Also, our planet as whole is not well. What gets me is that every month my hormones can almost make me change my mind, I think that is awful and unfair, not being able to simply live in peace with the decision. But again, as you brilliantly said, being able to make a decision is already privilege, and I am thankful for it!

    Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you so much for commenting, Paula! Yes – I couldn’t agree more that being mindful of the future environment and economy are such important aspects to consider as well.

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  66. M
    Mandi wrote:

    I stumbled across this post through Jessica at My Style Vita and I have to say THANK YOU. Thank you for posting this, opening up your personal life to such an extent. My husband and I have decided not to have kids and we are in the minority on that. Just about everything you touched about resonated with me and had me nodding my head and saying “yes”. Thank you for putting words to this choice in such a fantastic way.

    Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thanks Mandi! I truly appreciate you taking the time to comment. I’m beyond thrilled that the post resonated with you. I hope you have a lovely rest of your week!

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  67. C
    Cinnamon Mason wrote:

    It comes down to you don’t want kids because you don’t want them. And where does ANYONE get off feeling they have a right to an opinion about your choices? Personally I don’t like children. Never have. Never had even a remote maternal longing. I’m a senior, totally unencumbered by a relationship or kids. I’m totally on my own and frankly, it’s on me to set things up for the time when I need assistance. Y’know, not everyone has that chip. Not everyone wants the complications that children bring. If having kids is your life’s dream, by all means pursue that. But stop the tyranny of imposing YOUR values on anyone else. No one should have to justify their decision because what you do with your body and your life is your business. 90% of the world’s problems would be solved if people would just mind their own business.

    Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you so so much for sharing your perspective and experiences. I agree that it’s so important to support one another and embrace each other’s decisions. Sending you lots of love!

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  68. K
    Kelly Ryan O'Brien wrote:

    You are the embodiment of this shift of the ages sweet Jen, you have chosen the narrow path and in doing so are co creating new archetypes for other Beings to intuitively navigate and seek their own truths in harmonic resonance. This impress (empress) of rare energetic alignment emanates from both within and without as a legacy for all Divine Children to find should their soul seek. Even without your message being generously amplified by this beautiful community you have co created – the ripples in the aether are part of your divine purpose, as I am sure you can feel in your heart. May all find their own embodiment of joy and Truth (which is always perspective) and May we all honor those choices and celebrate the parts of ourselves that are unique…they are the calling card to our soul families on earth. Love to you.

    Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Oh my gosh, thanks for taking the time to comment, Kelly – means the world. I hope all is well with you!

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  69. T
    Tiffany wrote:

    Thanks for sharing your journey, conversations, and decisions. I’m so sad about that rude comment. I honestly believe that sometimes mothers are jealous of women without children (been there) and that sometimes women without children can be jealous of mothers (also, been there) and that’s okay. It’s just appreciating someone else’s journey and the joys that come with it. It’s not okay when those jealous thoughts turn into hurting someone else. Deep down inside, maybe the person who sent you that comment is hurting. All of life has ups and downs, we should all try to listen and support one another.

    I think it’s also important to remember and accept that sometimes people change their minds! (I’m not saying that you should.) I’ve heard of people saying they don’t want kids ever and then something happens and they are a parent (maybe it was an unintentional pregnancy or an effort to grow a family after changing values). Only God knows our future and we have to accept that! 🙂 We also have to accept and support our friends and family with their journeys…even if it’s different from what their formally declared plan was!

    Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Thank you Tiffany for your incredibly kind comment – I couldn’t agree with you more. Sending you all my love!

      Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  70. H
    Heather wrote:

    Jenn, thank you for having the courage and strength to write and post this on behalf of all of us in the same boat! My husband is also Bob and we had so many of the same conversations that you did. I am at peace with my decision and the shock and initial response from our families, which came out kind of like disappointment, was the hardest hurdle to overcome. Now that our decision is out in the open with our families, we can continue living the life we love together (and spoiling our four nieces and nephews). Thank you for sharing your perspective and providing food for thought to some who have not considered all of the things that go along with being child free.

    Published 10.15.20 · Leave a Reply
  71. C

    Jenn, you write so beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. This has helped me and I’m certain it will help thousands of others. Wishing all peace and love to you!

    Published 10.16.20 · Leave a Reply
  72. E
    Emily wrote:

    Jenn,
    I cannot tell you how much this post meant to me. Upon going through each paragraph, I had a huge smile and even internally yelled, “Preach!” at the top of my lungs. It is so difficult, in my experience, having to shut down the criticism from family and close friends but do not understand the reasoning behind our decision to be Childfree. Thank you for opening your heart to us, and I cannot wait to share this with others.

    Published 10.16.20 · Leave a Reply
  73. K
    Krystle wrote:

    Thank you for this post, I enjoyed reading it so much. As a fellow childfree by choice woman, I love hearing others and why they choose to be CF. It’s refreshing to see you, hear you and I value this read, much appreciated.

    Best,
    Krystle

    Published 10.16.20 · Leave a Reply

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