An 85-Year-Old Lady Wrote an Honest Letter to People Who Are Unsure Whether or Not to Have Kids

4 months ago

Deciding whether to have children or lead a child-free life is a complex choice for numerous individuals. Couples often grapple with the concern that they might regret their decision not to have children later on. In a poignant open letter, an 85-year-old widow, who spent a long and fulfilling life with her husband without raising children, addressed those who find themselves uncertain about their desire for parenthood.

A letter to young people who don’t want kids

The woman disclosed that she and her husband were married for over 50 years. They bucked the norms and did not want kids. During that era, the standard response to inquiries about having children would be, “We’re trying,” followed by, “We can’t have kids,” effectively closing the topic. This decision was their closely guarded secret, deeming it a matter solely between them. Revealing the true reason, that they simply didn’t desire children, would have likely led to challenging repercussions with both family and friends.

In a nutshell, their 50 years were perfect. They had good jobs, no money worries, and pursued their own interests and hobbies. If they could go back in time, would they do it again? Absolutely, with a resounding yes. They would live the same life one thousand times.

Her humble observation is as follows:

  • CATEGORY A: They have children, lead fulfilling lives, and everything appears to be perfect.
  • CATEGORY B: They have children, experience challenges in life, and encounter difficulties. Many in this category express a desire for a chance to relive their lives without children.
  • CATEGORY C: They have children, and everything is positive, but the emotional impact of the empty nest phase and diminishing contact with their grown-up children can be heartbreaking.
  • CATEGORY D: This represents the child-free group, a category the woman encountered with only a few individuals.

Breaking down percentages for all the groups is not possible, but in the woman’s experience, individuals in CATEGORY D tend to be consistently the happiest and most content. However, it is acknowledged that there are also many happy people within CATEGORY D.

Her husband passed away 10 years ago. She mourned him and still misses him every day. However, being child-free has meant that this woman’s life was never defined by kids. She had a robust network of friends and numerous hobbies, allowing her to move forward. Life goes on, and she now enjoys a full and happy life with a new partner.

The woman’s friends who have lost their partners and have children share a common challenge — their children do not allocate enough time for them, causing distress and emotional pain. They find themselves overly dependent on their children, who, in turn, expect reciprocation for the time and money invested in raising them.

Their personal interests and hobbies often take a backseat, as everything revolves around their children (and grandchildren). A poignant remark from one of her friends remains memorable for this woman: “The empty nest thing is real; it is like being dumped by the love of your life after 2 or 3 decades, but staying friends. It is never the same.”

The woman now resides in a private apartment within a “rest home,” surrounded by delightful friends, engaging in busy days, and benefiting from the company of caring staff.

This letter has gained popularity on the internet, sparking discussions and attracting comments. We decided to explore the opinions of younger individuals regarding the insights shared by this 85-year-old woman.

  • From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I, like many women in their 30s, find myself at the mercy of family/friends/society’s invasive questioning and guilt-tripping on this topic. I’m the only single/childfree person among all of my many cousins and friends, and sometimes it is just *so hard* to stay strong about the decision when you’re constantly being told that your choice will result in you living unhappily and dying alone. Your post reaffirms that neither are true. I am more convinced than ever that this is the right path for me too. Thank you. © Matilda__Wormwood / Reddit
  • The empty nest thing is real. I have had many older individuals or mothers come to our crisis team upset because their family won’t speak to them or their children can’t make it home for the holiday. It is very painful to see and difficult to address in a way that won’t cause them to become defensive. © strugglebusconductor / Reddit
  • The decision to have children is personal, but honestly, my experience has been quite the opposite of this woman’s. Everyone I know with kids seems happier and much, much more grounded and fulfilled than those who don’t. Are kids a lot of work? Yes. Are they expensive? Yes. But they also force you to grow up and give your life a purpose like you’ve never known before. © Lisa Marie Tovey / Facebook
  • Thank you so much for this post. I had never wanted children, but after 10 years of marriage I began to question my choice. My father died unexpectedly and I saw how broken my mother was. I very much feared being alone and started reevaluating my decision. My husband and I sat on the fence for about three more years, putting off the decision. My husband turned 42 and said a decision had to be made. We’ve decided to be childfree. We are very content with our lives, but we feared that some day down the road, when the other had passed on, we may regret our decision. I have read many childfree blogs, but was always hoping for some wisdom from someone with a few years of added perspective. Your post has really been a source of comfort. © aunt-la / Reddit
  • That’s for her, not for everyone. Most people want to have kids, and once you do, that’s the best accomplishment in life for many, many parents. You might have a great career, money, and fame, but nothing compares to your children. © Anisoara Palade / Facebook
  • There is, of course, a group E. Those who desperately want kids but can’t have them. We all have our own wants and needs. In my 20s, I didn’t want kids, but I met a wonderful man, and we had a daughter. She has been hard work over the years, but I wouldn’t be without her. Also, without her, I would not have a lovely son-in-law or 2 wonderful grandsons! © Terry Key / Facebook
  • Thank you for posting here! I’m confident in my childfreedom but it is always nice to read about the lived experience of others who blazed the trail. © good_for_me / Reddit

Meanwhile, not too long ago, Miley Cyrus openly shared her reasons for choosing not to have children.


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