Making the decision about having children or remaining child-free is complex and should be agreed upon by both partners in any type of relationship. Either way, this decision has lifetime consequences, especially for age gap marriages.
In this article, we discuss some of the practical, financial, and emotional reasons for having or not having children.
Considerations Around Not Having Children
- One partner is much older – This could affect the child’s development if one parent becomes unable to help with the care and growing up. A worse case would be if the older parent isn’t around for the child’s early life.
- Financial responsibility – The cost of raising a child in America is about $233,610 – excluding the cost of college – for a middle-income family, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This could be in addition to helping with expenses of raising other children from previous marriages, alimony, supporting elderly parents and other financial responsibilities.
- Loss of freedom – Having a child will impact your ability to travel or other leisure time plans. This can be a drag on the older partner, perhaps in or near retirement.
- Fertility – As fertility declines with age, it can be difficult and expensive to have a biological child for the older female partner.
- Added stress – Any relationship will have stressful times. Adding a child can sharply increase both emotional in dealing with parenting issues and financial stress.
Reasons to Consider Children
- Creating a family – many couples envision the warmth of a family life as part of a complete relationship.
- Additional bonding with your spouse – children may draw a couple closer as teamwork and shared responsibilities demand cooperation and devotion.
- Truly wanting to nurture another living being – for many, parenting is the fulfillment of love as a child requires so much from a parent. This focus may provide a realization of the human need to nurture.
- Expecting a grown child to become a friend or caregiver – this desire can be a valid reason for having children.
Reasons to Avoid Having Children
- Because your family is pressuring you to have kids
- Believing it will “fix” your marriage / relationship
- To receive a tax deduction
- To meet society’s expectations
- So you can force your dreams on your child assuming they will achieve what you did not
- If natural pregnancy is difficult consider vasectomy reversal, IVF, sperm donor, surrogate, etc.
- Adoption or fostering may be an option although there may be restrictions on the age of both parents as some adoption agencies require a that couples meet a maximum age requirement.
- Being an aunt/uncle, or volunteering with kids can be very rewarding and can allow you to have children in your life without the responsibility of being a parent.
Listen to the podcast episode for this topic below, or check out the YouTube episode.