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Becoming a Parent vs. Staying Childfree

Many people want to get married and have kids, but not having kids could have benefits.  


In the United States, 44 percent of adults without children ages 18 to 49 say it is not too or not at all likely they will have children someday. Out of these, 56 percent do not want to. 


Having a baby can be expensive. A first child can cost about $16,000 for the first year. Although it may not be necessary to pay for expenses such as a car seat or stroller for the second child, it can still cost about $12,000. Women that do not have children have higher incomes and are promoted at work more than mothers. Also, 56 percent of parents say having kids had a negative impact on their finances.


Besides, it can be stressful even before the baby is born. Pregnant women need prenatal care every four weeks during the first and second trimesters. That increases to every two weeks during the third trimester before week 36, then every week until the baby is born. There are also foods women must avoid when they are pregnant, which can be unfortunate for those who love those foods but unnecessary to avoid for women who never get pregnant. 


After the baby is born, parents must adjust to a new lifestyle of taking care of their baby. They often lose hours of sleep to take care of their baby and wake up during the night. That can be bad for parents because they are not getting enough sleep. Before having kids, 68 percent of parents were getting seven or more hours of sleep. Yet only 10 percent of parents got seven or more hours of sleep after the baby was born. They must consider how they will take care of their child and chores. That includes feeding their child at night, changing diapers, doing dishes, cooking meals, and doing laundry. 


Not having kids can also be good for marriage, as marital satisfaction decreases after having children. It means less time for the couple to spend together, with friends, or on hobbies, as well as less money. Marital satisfaction also increases after children leave home when they grow upAccording to the American Sociological Association, parents are more likely to be depressed, and people without kids are the happiestHowever, parents experience more ups and downs, so they have more stress and also more joy in their lives.


Not having children means more freedom. People who do not have kids do not have to wait until retirement for hobbies such as art, travel, writing, or golf. 


On the other hand, parents must worry about things such as school, which can involve waking children up and school traffic. People thinking about having kids also need to consider if they will feel bad about losing their freedom. Also, prospective parents plan babymoon vacations while the women are still pregnant, knowing they will lose freedom after the baby is born. 


Although parents can travel with their children, they must often make travel plans to accommodate them. They usually cannot travel when their kids are in school. They also cannot go to adults-only resorts or cruises. Certain activities are more difficult for people to partake in with children. For example, hiking, zip lining, or whitewater rafting. Therefore, people without children have more options when they travel. 


People who do not have kids are often called selfish and accused of hating them. However, many of them love spending time with kids. It is essential that parents understand that many child-free people are not against children and may have, for example, a nephew or niece whom they love. 


All in all, there are benefits and disadvantages to both sides of the issue. Some couples trying for a baby are disappointed whenever they find out they are not yet pregnant. Before the baby is born, parents are often excited to announce their pregnancy. They are also able to have their friends and family throw baby showers to celebrate the baby. They also can make their parents happy. Some people dream of becoming grandparents. People who are in the process of getting pregnant can make that dream come true for their own parents.  


Most countries have paid family leave for parents who are thinking about starting a family. In the United States, where paid family leave is not required, many companies offer it nonetheless. Besides, there is an option of financial assistance available for people who want to become parents but can't afford it. 


Also, many adults have children, meaning couples who do not have kids are outliers among their friends. 


Although parents have less time to spend with each other, it is still possible to spend alone time without their children. Among many other options, one could hire a babysitter or ask a relative to supervise the kids for an evening. 


The average couple waits three years between getting married and having children in the United States. That means adults who want kids can enjoy their freedom before and experience life without children while not feeling bad about never having them. It can also be better to wait to have children as it also allows people to gain financial and family stability first. That means they can study, have a career, save money, and provide for their kids. It is also vital that partners are in a stable marriage because stable home life is significant for a child's development. 


Having children is a choice every couple makes for themselves. It is unfortunate when people cannot have children or must have fewer children because they cannot afford them. However, it is crucial that childfree people are not judged for their choice. 

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