I’m Happily Child-Free But I’m Terrified I’ll Regret Not Having Kids When It’s Too Late

I don’t feel ready to be a mother right now, but I feel like I can’t actually take my time to figure out if I’ll ever be ready since my biological clock is ticking away into nothingness. What if I regret my procrastination in years or decades to come when it’s too late?

  1. I’m suffering from motherhood FOMO. I have major fear that I’m going to feel terrible in the future for not having kids. I worry that I’ll have missed out on something that could’ve been wonderful.
  2. I know I’m running out of time. I know women are having babies into their 40s and beyond (as my mother loves to remind me), but I also know that it does get harder to have kids as you get older. That’s just the way we’re built. I hate that I don’t have enough time to decide what I want, but who’s to say that even if I could figure it out at my leisure I’d be 100% sure? I haven’t been until now.
  3. It’s hard to decide things for future me. I know that right now where I’m at in my life, I don’t want to be a parent. But how am I supposed to decide if I should have kids in the future when I don’t know what I’ll want then? Ugh, I don’t even know what I want now, other than that I’d rather do other things than become a mom.
  4. I’m on the fence. I’ve always been on the fence when it comes to the question of having kids. I’ve always thought, “Kids would be great, but I don’t know if I want them.” I’ve never really felt strongly about having kids, and now that’s proving to be a problem.
  5. I don’t want to live on the fence forever. The thing is, I don’t want to be on the fence about kids forever. I can’t go through my 40s and 50s saying, “Well, maybe kids would’ve been nice, but hey, it’s too late for me now.” I don’t want to live a “maybe” and “I’m not sure” life.
  6. I don’t want to have them for the wrong reasons. Sometimes I imagine my life in the far future, when I’m 80 years old. I worry that if I didn’t have kids when I was younger, like now,  I’ll end up all alone. But that’s a really crummy reason to have kids! What about all the parents who had kids and are now alone in their later years because their kids don’t care about them? I don’t want to have kids for stupid or egotistical reasons.
  7. Is my uncertainty an answer? There’s always the possibility that not being sure about whether or not I should have kids is the answer I’m so desperate to find. Maybe not being sure means that kids are just not right for me? I remember Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, wrote about how having kids is like having a tattoo on your face. There’s no “maybe” about it, that’s for sure.
  8. What if uncertainty is part of the deal? On the other hand (and just to make thing even more complicated), I can’t help but think that having kids is filled with uncertainty anyway. Does anyone ever really know for sure if they’re totally ready for the big journey of parenthood? Probably not. Is that how it’s supposed to be? Gosh, sometimes even when people are ready for kids, they still don’t know what to expect. This freaks me out because I’ve never dealt well with uncertainty, and maybe that’s part of the problem.
  9. I worry about how my life will change. Kids aren’t something that you can sort of ease into your life. They change everything in an explosive way. That worries me, and I think that’s a big reason why I’m so afraid to have kids. I’m worried about how they’ll change things and how I’ll change. I’ve worked so hard to be where I am right now and I don’t feel ready to mess with that.
  10. Maybe this is something I need to ask myself monthly. It’s hard to plan for a future I’m not sure I’ll even want, so right now I’m going with this strategy: I check in with myself on a monthly basis to find out if I’d want kids right now. So far, the answer is always no, so I guess that’s the best I can do. Maybe one day that answer will change and I’ll just have to deal with it then.
  11. I’m waiting for something big. I guess I’m waiting for something big to come along and make me realize, “Wow, I really want kids!” So far that hasn’t happened. It might never happen, but I know the worst thing is to leave this up to fate. However, it sure would help if fate would weigh in a bit more. Just saying…
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.