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Friday, December 14, 2012

Couples Say ‘No’ To Parenthood Citing High Costs

A newly-decorated Christmas tree lit behind him, U.S. Army's 1st Lt. Aaron Dunn hands his baby Emma to his wife Leanne, in their living room, a week following Dunn's return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, in Fountain, Colo., Saturday Dec. 8, 2012.  (AP/Brennan Linsley)

A newly-decorated Christmas tree lit behind him, U.S. Army’s 1st Lt. Aaron Dunn hands his baby Emma to his wife Leanne, in their living room, a week following Dunn’s return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, in Fountain, Colo., Saturday Dec. 8, 2012. (AP/Brennan Linsley)

When The New York Times’ web producer Nadia Taha got married, people started asking more and more frequently, “When are you going to have a baby?”

Though she hadn’t yet felt that certain biological calling, Taha decided to crunch the numbers. She factored in the cost of daycare ($20,000 was the floor for childcare in New York City), housing (keeping in mind the need for a good public school district, and maybe an elevator), college (she and her husband would pay half the cost for a public four-year institution), and even grandparent-hood (using insurance provider Metlife’s estimates).

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Taha came to an estimate of $1.7 million. She’s received enormous backlash from online commenters, many of whom have called her selfish and callous for doing this kind of cost-benefit analysis.

“The tough thing about the decision is that you can see up-front, very clearly, what the disadvantages are to having children.”
– Nadia Taha

“It does seem sort of alarming to people,” says Taha. “All of human history we have reproduced and multiplied without giving it much consideration, it’s a basic biological function.”

But the advent of birth control has changed this, Taha says this has made starting a family “a life style choice.”

“We all know families who did some thinking about when to have their first child, when to have their third,” Taha says. “To me it seems pretty natural to sit down and look at the pros and cons. The tough thing about the decision is that you can see up-front, very clearly, what the disadvantages are to having children.”

Taha says the advantages are less clear, and, people tell her, she won’t know them until she becomes a parent.

Raising A Family: Location, Location, Location!

Taha’s numbers are largely on a USDA surveys on what parents today are spending on their children. The USDA estimates that a child born in 2011 will cost $234,900 to raise. But there’s a big difference in Taha’s case: she not only lives in the urban North East, she lives in New York City.

Taha says in her case the USDA’s math was on the low side. While transportation in New York City is on the low side, Taha says daycare is “outrageous,” she says $20,000 a year for infant care in Manhattan is pretty typical.

Housing is another big expense.  Taha says she doesn’t like the way the USDA measures the housing costs of a child.

“[The USDA] takes a look at, for example, the bedroom that the child occupies, and figure out what proportion  of the house that is, and attribute that as the cost of housing the child. But that’s sort of misleading,” she says.

Taha points out that childless couples are fine living in a district with bad public schools. But once couples become parents, they are likely to move to better school district, which brings along higher housing costs and taxes.


  • Nadia Taha, web producer for The New York Times

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Clare

    Anyone who is earning a salary far about the average and decided not to have children because of the cost is someone who wasn’t that interested in having children in the first place.

    • Info

       Or, maybe it’s the case that it’s very difficult to live and raise children into a healthy middle class future, even for those who earn a salary above the average.

      • Clare

        It may be difficult, but if you really want children you will find a way.  Remember, we aren’t talking about people who are struggling financially. 

        • Info

           I get where you are coming from, but it’s also the case that in many areas, earning the “average salary” or even above does not necessarily mean being of middle-class means, able to provide, save for the future, and live in a good school district.

    • George

      Thankfully.  Imagine being raised by such a pecuniary person.  How awful.

  • Mike

    Are children an expense or an investment?  Maybe children were the original pension plan?  They were certainly the original low-cost labor pool.

  • SomMom

    The thing about these calculations is that there are MANY ways to cut back on how much you pay for things. For example, the “back to school spending” estimates per child for Americans is more than 10 times what I spend on my kids, and the estimate of how much high school students spend on proms is WAY higher (more like the cost of a cheap wedding than the c. $200 we spend).

    You can also find good public schools in less-expensive places than the expensive suburbs; think about schools not as the sum or their test scores but by visiting them. (We also live in an expensive urban area, BTW.)

    It is true that women tend to lose income by having kids, and daycare is expensive (though childcare providers are underpaid).

    The whole point, though, is that if you’re getting by and you love your kids, you make choices and sacrifices (for us, it’s been travel, since we have to spend our vacations seeing extended family, and having a nicer house). But these sacrifices are weighed against real, living and breathing people.

  • Jim

    Children are a miracle from God. No couple can “create” them, nor create the means to raise them on their own. It is a faith issue.

    • Info

       Jim, couples create their child through sexual intercourse, and then by raising them well. It’s also up to them to pay the bills and put food on the table. God doesn’t cover any of that.

    • Dude

       You’re right Jim! Conception happens as a man and woman are having sexual intercourse. When the man has an orgasm, god comes down from heaven and inseminates his partner.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/6XELQEIP2C4V5JNNRGFAWQIQ2I Holly

        Amen, Dude!

    • Daniel

      Wow!  Ji,m perhaps God should start to look after all those little “miracles” that are starving, homeless or otherwise abused.  

  • Robin

    It’s perfectly okay to make the decision not to have kids (for whatever reason), even as a young woman.  When I got married at 25 (12 years ago) my husband and I made the decision and we’ve stuck with it. There are a lot of us out there. You don’t need counseling and you are not being selfish.  You are being strong and making your own educated decisions.

    • Mike

       Yes.  Part of the decision to make a baby should be:  Is that person going to be glad to be brought into this world?  Not everyone turns out to be glad to be alive.

      • Clare

        How can something that is impossible to determine be part of your decision about having children?

        • Mike

           When one has to make a decision when it’s impossible to determine, we call that faith.

          And they should decide  about creating a life, and make the best decision they can.

    • Dean

       There’s also the case of people who have had difficulty with mental illness (eg. depression) and have seen that it runs in their family. Knowing how hard life can be with this condition, they sometimes have reservations about having children, lest the disease be passed on. Also, depression is exacerbated by stress, and that is what child-rearing offers in abundance.

  • guest

    These kinds of calculations would scare anyone away from
    having kids.

    But you’re forgetting to take into account that having kids
    have a long term benefits for society as a whole.  We need to have more kids so that there are enough working
    folks in the future to help fund social security.

      Pay up front to raise the kids, so they will pay later for your
    welfare when you retire.  It’s like reducing global warming—we all have to do our part
    to make sure social security can continue as we know it.


    • Provost

       Actually, we need to keep population growth under control if we want our descendants to have a stable, functional world to live in. Also, as technology advances there will be less need for labor, not more, in the long run.

  • rick evans

    I wish more people spent more time thinking about having kids like Nadia and her spouse. She sounds perfectly rational to me.  She certainly sounds more rational than someone who gets knocked up because she didn’t use or make him use birth control then spends years trying to get child support blood out of the bio-daddy turnip.

  • George

    I think such a self-centered-attitude actually makes having a family problematic.  Doesn’t this cause the elimination of this sort of brain&mind from the gene pool?  From what I can see, and that isn’t all that much, raising children in NY,NY would be difficult .  However, as well, I can only imagine that Nadia didn’t have a very pleasant childhood herself.  
    Raising a family is at its best a place for loving and growing, an investment in the greater order.  What with the population explosion and all that that entails  the more people who don’t have children bode well for the continued survival of the earth.  I hope such an attitude prevails.

    • Info

       “Self-centered?” Pop-psychoanalysis of the childhood of someone you’ve never met? It’s must be so nice to be an anonymous internet scold.

      Maybe some people just have different views of the world than you do. And evolution doesn’t work the way you seem to think it does. If it did, no one would ever choose not to have children.

  • Dan

    Robin, I usually enjoy listening to your show but this segment made me want to scream. The fact that Ms. Taha is even asking herself this question means she is not ready to have kids. Ms. Taha makes things very clear: financial security is very important for her and I would add a bit of celebrity status. What else would make someone continue to speak when they have a clue of what they are talking? I don’t think you should spend so much time on air with such lame thoughts.

  • Hampton

    I certainly think adults have every right to make these types of decisions.

    The cynic in me says that this piece we’re commenting on is truly about the bottom line:  this writer’s bottom line and her ability to sell as many articles and/or books as she can.

    For me the prospect of growing older (and old) without any immediate family, but with nicer stuff, a nicer house, and having attained a higher position in some company, seems terribly lonely.

  • Julietigard

    My children are raised and I have grandchildren as well as elder parents.  All these people make my life very full and vibrant.  Yes, sometimes I get tired; but who else will visit my parents at the assisted living facility and who else will take my grandchildren to the zoo?  I very much would have a life “too full” than a life “too empty”.  Nothing can replace the hugs of a child who really cares that you come home from work.  That car in the driveway never cares who drives it & it won’t give you a hug – money definitely doesn’t add up to happiness.  

    I have an MBA in Business/Finance; but would never trade a career for the love of my children.  They brought so much excitement into our lives through baseball games, 4-H, their friends and all the other activities children find interesting growing up.  They continue to keep us young.  The  young lady who wrote about how to decide whether or not to have a child,  has not experienced enough of life yet.

    • Info

      “The young lady who wrote about how to decide whether or not to have a child,  has not experienced enough of life yet.”

      I’m sure you didn’t mean to sound patronizing, but have you considered that other people, just as mature and self aware as you, might just simply come to a different decision about what is important to them? Maybe some will change their minds in the future, and some won’t. Either way, it’s a hallmark of maturity to be self aware enough to make important decisions for one’s self without worrying overmuch about social norms or the facile disapproval of others.

      Maybe those who choose not to reproduce aren’t selfish, materialistic or immature, but have simply chosen to live in a way that you don’t understand or approve of. At least consider that possibility before lecturing others about their choices.

      • John

         Well said!

  • Pat

    It’s good that someone is thinking about having a child before having one.  I am amazed that thinking about it can be considered objectionable.  Another reason not to have a child is overpopulation.  We already have way too many people.  Unfortunately, hardly anyone thinks about what we should be doing differently to lower population.

  • gene in CT

    I’ve known all my life I wanted to be a dad, and my wife has a smilar feeling.  We love our children without question, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be a parent.  I think it’s important to embrace people who choose not to become parents.  For a few reasons.  First, it’s thier choice and no one elses business.  Second, our planet is over crowded already, there’s no reason to encourage people to add to the problem.  And third, we all know it takes a village to raise a child, and if there are people who love children but choose not to have thier own that makes them more available to to help others who need a hand raising children.  I think we ought to embrace the decisions people make not to have children, even if we don’t understand that decision.

  • anonymous

    Its too bad that, in almost any culture, women have to state a reason why we don’t want children.  People usually question why one doesn’t want them instead of why they would. As a younger woman I used to lie when someone would ask me why I didn’t have kids.  People, families and strangers, can get pretty aggressive when trying to convince someone why they should have a child.  When confronted with someone I suspected might get militant on me, I’d usually say that I’ve been unable to conceive just so they would drop the subject and be embarrassed for being nosey.  

  • Marissa J Daleo

    Kudos to Ms. Taha! I am a young married woman in my late 20s, and I know that I do not want to have children. People constantly question whether or not I will change my decision. They say I’m too young to make it up my mind and that I will be missing out on a critical experience. The child free by choice movement is growing for many reasons, some of which Ms. Taha cites in her interview. It’s a shame that the interview drifted in the position of doubting Ms. Tahaband others who make this decision in our age group, stating that we might ‘find’ ourselves later on. Maybe some people just don’t want to be parents. We can still contribute wonderful and meaningful things to this world. We need more people like the author. Brava!

  • anonymous

    I welcome a conversation that acknowledges that having children is not for everyone and is a personal decision. I don’t judge Ms. Taha for deciding not to have children, no matter what her reasons. I just wish this conversation would acknowledge that having a children is not always within reach. For many who desire to have children infertility and other challenges may prevent them from becoming parents. We shouldn’t assume that anyone who is not a parent desires to become a parent similarly we shouldn’t take for granted that parenthood is available to anyone. I would add to her calculations the costs of ART or adoption which many parents have to pay before holding a child in their arms.

  • New414

    Nadia Taha is courageous and correct in analying financial reasons for not having children.  I was raised in a catholic family, my parents had eight children and we are all adults shaped by a lack of enough material needs as well as emotional support.    I remember the embarrassment of receiving Holy Communion knowing people might see the cardboard covering the hole in my shoes.   I know my parents loved us but my father needed more from my mother and she from him in the way of  understanding and  companionship.  Such a shame to live their whole lives without the chance of much happiness. 

  • ThinkerRRR

    Kudo to your guest. Having children SHOULD be a conscious and careful decision. No matter what one decides, the chances are GREAT that there will be heartbreaks that result directly from the decision either way. Many people who have had and/or will have children have or will have made the WRONG decision…either for themselves, the resultant children or both. Until it becomes possible to clearly and precisely know the future it will be impossible to say how having or not having a child will turn out. Consider Adolf Hitler’s and Idi Amin’s parents…consider Mohandis Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King Jr.’s parents.  All a couple (or single woman) can do–and SHOULD do–is consider the available information and make the very best decision they can. There ought to be no criticism from anybody regarding another’s conscious and careful decision to have or not have a child/children.

  • Info

    I have to say that while yes, women get the most pressure over having kids, we men are not fully spared the sidelong glances and pop psychoanalysis either, when the subject of “no kids” comes up. It’s very annoying to be patronized by people who don’t know me, saying things about “fear of committment” and “but without children, what is the point of life?” or, “it’s just a phase, you’ll feel different when you’re my age”.

     To be honest, I would consider having children with the right partner. Even then, only if we could reasonably afford to give those kids a leg up in this unforgiving world (which means having the financial resources to provide a healthy upbringing with good education and emotionally present, non-workaholic parents). But I do not accept the notion that children are necessary to be happy and complete. Rather, I think the best parents are those who are comfortable and happy with themselves, thus having no need to look to another person to give their lives meaning.

  • None

    Ms Young: If you find yourself asking “is this a rude question?”, it probably is.  I was offended when you asked your guest if she might been psychological counseling because she doesn’t want to have children.  Then entire tone of your interview seemed condescending.  Even at the end, you strongly implied that once your guest grew up a bit more, she would change her mind.   I would hope that you would treat your guests with more respect.

    • joe

       Yeah, really.  I felt the exact same way myself when I heard this.  There’s something wrong with someone because she doesn’t want kids?  Really? I usually like Robin, but her prejudice was obvious in this interview.

      • Robin

        Hi there. Just puttering around, remembering when we thought THIS was the most important subject of the day.

        Appreciate the Joe’s!  I left a comment above, but thought I’d also address what several of you obviously thought was a prejudice. I’m wondering, which prejudice would that be? Against women who don’t have children? Like, um, let’s see,

        me?All best to all!!R

        • http://www.facebook.com/marfknox Martha Knox

          I’ve known a few women who have chosen not to have kids for a variety of reasons, and the ones who also got married receive lots of criticism and pressure from relatives and friends about having kids. There definitely are prejudices against people who are in a good position to have kids and still choose not to. But I didn’t hear any bias in your interview. Maybe people are perceiving that bias because they’e seen it so much elsewhere. 

    • betty

      I agree that Ms. Young seemed quite condescending and unprofessional.  I hope she will review the interview and take note of her attitude.  Ms. Young could have expanded the interview had she shed her prejudices.  Certainly an acknowledgement is due as may be an apology.  

      People, of any income, who decide not to have children for whatever reason are making rational, logical and fair decisions and should not be judged as “pecuniary” or “selfish”.    Along with all of the good that comes with it, parenting is also difficult, frightening, expensive and heart-breaking.  We have kids out of desperation, carelessness, culture, religion, and, for women all over the world, no choice.

      The planet is overwhelmed, our resources are exhausted and bringing children to this worn out planet is the epitome of selfishness.  Ms. Taha is to be commended as should be all others who make this commitment. 

      • Robin

        Okay everybody here I am!

        I hear you, and here are a couple of thoughts.

        I do think asking questions is my job,  and when someone is so strongly of one point of view, I think it’s my job to take the other. Most of the questions I asked, she asked and answered in her article, and frankly, I think she makes a better case because she addressed them.  I thought she was terrific.

        By the way some people thought they heard me tell her to get counseling! I didn’t, I asked if anyone had suggested it and at the same time said, that was probably insulting.  We’ve all heard of women who regret not having children, and so I don’t think that was wrong to ask, but again, her answer was so strong,
        and that’s what counts.  

        By the way, this story came just before the extent of the Sandy Hook shooting. We dropped it for our 2 pm west coast broadcast. So apologies to anyone coming to this site, who might not know we dropped this peice.

        What a horrible horrible day.



        • Joe

           We still luv you Robin.

    • Debbie

      I, too, thought the tone was bothersome and wondered what the positive reason was for asking those questions in that manner.  It did surprise me – in a negative way.   
      I decided in 10th grade (in my World Affairs class) that I would not have children and add to the problems.  It was obvious to me then and reinforced the rest of my life that that there are way too many people on earth and I made the right decision.  I am now 58 years old (and married) and have no regrets.   This freed me to donate money and thousands of and hours per year to community causes that people with kids or less financial resources could not contribute.  I feel what I am doing makes the world a much better place than having children and the drain they would put on the worlds’ resources.  I would think that the people that do want children would be thankful for people like me that make the world a better place for them and their brood.

  • John

    Good on her.  Too many people decide to have children without considering the challenges involved, especially the financial challenges.  I didn’t have children and I don’t regret it.  I’m in my 50s now and I’m much better off financially than most of the people I know at my age.  Grown kids can be a liability too,  particularly in an economy like this.  Some of my friends have had their entire life savings drained supporting children who haven’t prospered.  Some of their offspring have made a credible effort and failed,  others are just lazy and will mooch off their parents as long as the resources last.  The latter is particularly heartbreaking because the parents, with the mother’s in particular, are helpless to say no.   And no amount of parenting skill can prevent a kid from being what he is.  Genetics plays a much bigger part in a person’s character than most parents know. 
     My friends with younger kids have had a cold dose of reality thrown in their faces. It’s not the fantasy they imagined. At times it can be a real struggle money wise.
      The interview with Nadia Taha should be required listening for those considering having a child.  If more people thought about their finances before they decided to have a kid, the world would be a much happier place.

  • Mary

    It is about time that we discuss this topic of having/or not having (planning head!) children.  I was born in 1954 and was raisetd by very traditional Mexican-American parents.  It was often assumed in my family that the males were to choose their professions and choose a wife.  As for the females in our family, we were to prepare to be the best wives and mothers as possible.  In order to leave our home, most of my sisters married.  I chose college.  My parents were proud of my brother (2 years older) for going to college but when it was my turn it surprised them and they refused to support me until my school advisor spoke with them.  Children were not in the picture for me because I believed (and still ibelieve) as Ms. Taha, financial security is one of my top priorities.  As the years have gone by, I chose not to be a single mother nor a woman dependent on others to live and thrive.  Sometimes I think it was the best decision I have made so far in my life because it set the stage for educational and financial advancements I couldn’t of predicted.  My decision years ago (27 years old) to not have children was very difficult but necessary.  I chose to have a tubal-ligation and the Dr. had the nerve to ask me to get my boyfriend’s or father’s signiture in order to proceed! I refused to do such a silly thing and insisted on the surgery. I was not only constantly challenged by societal norms but also cultural norms as well. How long are we women going to play along with these demeaning ideas of what womanhood should look like?  Finally, we have more women not onlytalking about their options but also acting on all the possibilities our lives have to offer each and everyohe of us.  The discussion was so affirming in the tough choices I made  to be a strong contributor to our society.  Perhaps, I have contributed more by approaching my life, although childless,  with a positive outlook on the importance of making decisions about how we choose to live our lives.

  • Ebertani13

    I am frequently irritated / resentful of people telling me that I will change my mind when I get older or meet the right person etc, essentially waving me off as being too young, stupid, uneducated to make this decision. I am a 32 year old physician and I have known for quite some time that I do not want children. Another argument I frequently make in response to “you’re runnig out of time” is that IF I ever change my mind, I will foster or adopt one of the millions of children who do not have a home. There are other options. I agree that it gets tiresome to have to defend my decision.

  • Alaskarayburn

    I respect anyone who decides not to have children, but feel the emphasis on not having them for purely financial reasons is skewed. If you are able to make a decent living and are healthy, then choose not to have kids because you don’t want to have them. Don’t put it off on the financial equation.

  • Drlaryn

    I wish NPR wouldn’t indulge the hyper-intellectual compartmentalizing of life – this is how the phrase “missing the forest for the trees” must have came about.  If someone doesn’t wish to have children, fine.  If some person needs to add up the costs to figure out whether they should have kids or not, they are clearly not going to be great parents.  Life is a whole, not the overly analyzed sum of “time, money, age, income, etc”  Money comes and goes, we learn how to manage it.  Human relationships endure when money runs out or when we’re very rich.  By focusing solely on costs of creating a family the concept of humanity is devalued.  It is all we are and have.  Perhaps this is lost on someone in their 20s.  I hope your guest can find her way to valuing the intangibles of life.

  • Daniel

    What a great piece!  Thank you Nadia for speaking for those of us who choose to not have children.  My future wife and I have choosen not to have children based on a few factors but finances being a major determinant.   I find it annoying when others feel it’s ok to probe as to why we don’t want children or make condescending comments about “chaning our minds” later or just not being “ready yet”.     

  • Anonymous

    I had to turn this broadcast off eventually-I felt as though Nadia Taha was being attacked on Here and Now,almost as if the questions asked were supposed to change her mind. On a personal level I agree with Taha completly, the cost to raise a child as well a my parents raised me has soared since I was young. If the bond between parent and child isnt number one priority then yes, I believe it’s a lifestyle question. I think everyone in this world should be as considerate as Taha was in her essay before they start a family! I live in a low income neighborhood in Philadelphia, and I work in a wealthy neighborhood. I see wonderful families in both places and parents who look like they had kids because it was almost expected of them as well. This is not a pissing contest about whether or not children are worth it or not, but it’s a chance for people to see that it’s okay to take a step back and see where their morals and lifestyle values are before they give birth. I for one am most likely not going to have my own, I have two stepchildren. If one day I have one of my own I will not take back my opinions expressed in regards to this essay-I’m grateful for my life,my stepkids,all parents (especially mine), and for people like Nadia Taha!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12200878 Marissa Joy D’Aleo

      I agree. I was annoyed at the attacks on her decision. I feel that the choice to NOT have children is questioned, when the choice TO procreate is never analyzed in such depth. It’s just assumed. I suggested the following: Why Have Children by Christine Overall and Childless By Choice/Two is Enough-Laura S. Scott

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for writing this, I am a 34 year old woman married to a man with 3 children from a previous mariage. For a long time I wanted children and in the past few years as they have begun to grow up and move out I am feeling like I do not what to go back to the beginning. I wish to start my life with my husband and embrase the freedom that a childless mariage has to offer. I see how much work it is and all the sacrfrice that it entails. They only one draw back I can see to not having them could be the regret at 80. Is that enough of a reason to have a child? 

  • Stephanie

    Your research is fascinating and very responsible.  We should all consider the costs of raising children before doing so, but if we all relied on the numbers, none of us would qualify to be parents!  When it’s all said and done, you can not put a price on the unconditional love between a parent and child.  If you don’t want children because a personal choice, there is no judgement there, but please don’t eliminate the possibility due to your number crunching.  You always find a way to make due.  

    • it

      Research? She is a New York Times web producer. The numbers are a ridiculous fabrication to try to support her preconceived idea for a story. Don’t insinuate that there was something scientific about it by using the word research.

  • Matt

    parenting is an awful experience full of smelly sticky loud obnoxious horrible little children…it’s also invaluable rewarding warm snuggly and worth every dollar.

  • Adamrnmiller
  • Alyssa

    It’s good to know that I’m not alone in this decision.  I always wanted children, but now in my mid-20s, I know that I would not have the finances to support them.  When I tell people this, their response is “You’ll make it work.”  But a constant struggle to care for my children isn’t what I had in mind when I envisioned being a mother.  

  • Shawn

    If you have to be convinced to have children, you definitely don’t need to have them.

  • Karl

    Nadia i am wondering what your reasons for getting married are? Having children is a continuation of the love between spouses as you continue to live less for yourself and more for your family. Do you think that having children would bring you and your husband closer together? 

    • John

       I have a friends who have had children because they thought it would bring them closer together.  In fact, it created more friction and drove them apart.  And now they are miserable and trapped.  It’s very BAD reason for having kids.

    • SEBA

      This is a pointless argument. Why do you think her and her husband need to be brought closer together? I am married and madly in loved with my wife and we have no intentions of having children. Reproduction in this century is merely about self fulfillment act for those who feel the need. 
      Those of us who do not feel that need should not be judged by people like you because of our decisions.
      Lastly, getting married is first of all about two people. After that it is the couple’s decision if they want have kids or not. In any case, just being married makes them a family.

    • it

      Karl. Liberals don’t buy that argument that marriage equals family and actually means something, so it is falling on deaf ears.

  • Hansb

    If the decision is because you cannot adequately support a child that is understandable. If it simply is because you will have to drive a Toyota instead of a Lexus then that is pure selfishness.

    If it is because you don’t want to alter your lifestyle, then that is a lifestyle choice. You will keep some things, but lose out on the incredible experience and love that children will bring into your life. It fundamentally changes how you love as a person.

    • zebra_blue

      Selfish? You have a weird idea of what selfish is. So I must sacrifice any available crumb,  have as many kids as possible and take away resources from other children so I can make a partial duplicates of ‘me’ that will make ‘me’ feel good.
      Oh and have you ever tried heroin? Heroin will fundamentally blow your measly experience of love out of the water. Do you think that you are missing something vital in your life if you don’t have this particular powerful experience?
      Because  I got fixed when I was 19 (& I have never regretted it for a moment now 36) I have had a lot of experiences I would never have had. Most of them pleasant but some less so mostly from people who feel I have no value unless I have kids and that particular brain high that developed merely to perpetuate the species (I will not leave you in the bushes when you wail cause chemicals in my brain are positively reinforcing the behavior that I comfort you instead).

  • Steven Tubbs

    We were fortunate enough to enjoy a one-time trip to the Big
    Apple a few years back.  We spent a
    delightful ten days roaming around Manhattan, never leaving the borough except
    for a brief trip on the Staten Island Ferry. 
    After a number of days, we asked of our hotelier where the local Laundromat
    was located.  He looked at me briefly,
    and then said, ‘You don’t want to spend your time doing laundry.  It will take a lot in quarters, and it is far
    more convenient and nearly as inexpensive to take to the cleaners.  They are right across the street.’  Having wasted many an hour in odorous public
    laundries while on the road, hoping for an empty washer or dryer, I didn’t
    require much persuading.

    Running across the street, I went into the cleaners with the
    bag of clothing.  I was greeted by an
    attractive young woman who asked all the usual questions.  My goods were promised in a reasonable time,
    and I left.  I had noticed that the
    establishment’s hours were long, and it was very convenient to drop off in the
    early day, but pick up after we’d spent the daylight exploring.  Returning in the dark of night, I was
    surprised to meet the same young lady.  ‘Wow’,
    I commented, ‘you work long hours.  You must
    do one of those ‘work for three days, get four off’.’  ‘No’, she responded,  ‘I’m here as long as we are open’, without a
    hint of dismay.  ‘How are you going to
    find a boyfriend?’, I asked.  ‘I’m
    married already’, she smiled.  Just then
    I noticed her young child crawling on the floor behind the counter.  ‘When do you get to see each other?’, I asked
    with some incredulity.  ‘He also works
    here; so we see each other all the time’. 
    Six days a week; more than twelve hours a day.  Hard working. 
    No complaints.  And blessed with a
    young child.

    As an aging grandparent, I know of the costs of raising
    kids.  The toll is not only monetary, believe
    me.  But a couple that declines to have
    children based on money loses far more than they might gain.  Having children is not necessarily rational;
    but the treasure and pleasure of family is reason enough to crowd a one-room
    apartment.  I was as astonished by the poverty
    of Nadia Taha as the wealth of the young woman behind the counter at the
    laundry.    Steve Tubbs, Vancouver, WA  98664

  • Shirley

    I hope  your guest will consider a follow-up article on the cost to the environment to having a child.  We are 7 billion.

    • It

      What a disgusting comment. The world will be better when you stop emitting CO2.

    • Robin

       I think this is a very good point. Our planet is over populated without a doubt.

  • Anne Boleyn

    This young woman is wise and honest. Not every is yearning for parenthood and too many people have children without considering the costs, emotional and financial. Neither of my beloved daughters has chosen to have children and I applaud them. It’s not about security in your old age, a great relationship before that, or even about money. It’s about whether YOU choose to have a child. It’s so smart to weigh the incredible cons and pros! BRAVA NADIA!

  • http://www.facebook.com/julie.murphy.3158 Julie Murphy

    With the advent on the birth control pill in the 60′s, women effectively have their finger on the genetic trigger.  Those of us not interested in having children or too intelligent were able to opt out.  A generation or two later now we have hoards of women who are so fizzing with estrogen that they cannot understand such a stance.  I would recommend two things to understand this issue.  One is the great novella “The Marching Morons” by Cyril Cornbluth and the very funny but very horrifying movie “Idiocracy”.  Both are based on the premise that intelligent people who actually THINK about having children are extinct and the marching morons have overwhelmed the planet as we have daily proof.

  • zeropopgrowthnow

    Another reason not to breed, aside from financial strain, is the massive carbon footprint that comes from bringing another person into the world.  I wish more people would simply make the decision to stop breeding.  Having a child is a deeply selfish act. 

  • Regina Best

    First, Ms. Taha, I commend you and your husband being so responsible and honest about this issue. I have several people in my life who have lost homes, have no jobs, no insurance, etc., but just keep having children–and who also seem to have a sense of entitlement about free childcare from grandparents, and about “the system” attending to their families’ healthcare needs. I wish more people would be this wise and responsible about bringing human beings into the world.

    Second, Ms. Young, I was stunned that you asked your guest if she’d considered seeing a counselor about her choice to not have children–”to see if there’s something else there.” Are you kidding me? Do we ever suggest that people who want children see a counselor to “see if there’s something else there” behind their reasons for wanting to have kids? I was shocked that in the 21st century we are still branding childless adults in this way.

  • SEBA

    My wife and I strongly think we will never have kids. However, we are still young and that could very well change.  That being said, I am ecstatic to realize how much more thought is putting into reproducing by some people. Unfortunately, this is not shared with everyone as some modern families still go for 5 kids or more.
    I cannot find many reasons to actually have kids. Overpopulation is already a curse on human species’ adaptability. Care for when you are old is a maybe, but modern society has other ways of coping with this like retirement homes and if one keeps one’s finances on track, a nice retirement is a big possibility.
    I wish every child was thought through before being conceived. If you want to have a child, that is your choice and it is perfectly fine. But if you don’t, that decision is also valid and does not need to be stigmatized by society.

  • Sacargile

    As a 34 year old woman with no desire or plans to have children, I find it incredibly insulting when people insinuate there is obviously something wrong with me–something which happens not infrequently. I also find it insulting when people just laugh and say, “oh you’ll change your mind!” or that I had better hurry and start spawning. I’m not quite sure how it makes me “selfish” to decide to not have children I do not want and will only resent, and I’m very tired of the bias against those of us who choose to remain childless.

  • Snapdragon_sage

     Your bias was really heard in your tone and statements,Robin.
      I’m glad more people are choosing to be childless. The Earth is over-populated. I’d like there to be pristine wild places for plants and animals and not have a future looking something like a combination of Soylent Green and BladeRunner. Stop pressuring folks to be parents. I think only people who truly have a passion for children should be parents. I could go on and on but I’ll just stop here.

  • Clare Rock

    I completely respect women who choose not to have children yet this guests’ reasons seem to highlight the problem of our society;  we put too much emphasis on the value of money instead of the value of family.  while this reasoning is appropriate to apply to business management applying this it to parenthood seems to over intellectualize the most innate human experience.

  • anonymous

    Fascinating.  Listening to this discussion was very informative. This is a valid point.  Being a parent  does have financial consequences, affects career paths and lifestyle decisions.  It is life-changing.   So many people become ‘accidental parents’, without thinking about the consequences or costs of parenthood, and not being able to provide for their children financially or emotionally.  It would be helpful for everyone to take this into consideration before changing their life or impacting other lives.  As a mother of 3, who gave up a professional career voluntarily to raise my children, i would not trade this experience for all the money in the world.  However, i am also fortunate to have a supportive husband and financial security.  

  • Robin

    I’m a twenty six year old woman and I have never had any particular desire to have children. I don’t see why this should be a problem for anyone; it is possible that the people who are bothered by it feel insecure about their own choices? Personally, although I find small children occasionally charming when someone else is taking care of them, I don’t enjoy spending time with them, I don’t think I’m good at connecting with them, and I find them annoying. I don’t have confidence in my ability to figure out how to act in a way that would promote my child’s growth and overall well being.

    I have various issues in my life that make caring for myself challenging, let alone having children to take care of. I also have various life goals and I want to work to achieve them instead of having to put all my energy into being responsible for another person.

    I also see no reason that someone should not take finances into consideration when deciding whether to have children; while I think that once someone does have children it is their responsibility to devote their lives to raising their children properly, regardless of their other financial goals, I also think that  it is very reasonable and responsible to take finances into consideration before making the decision to have children. Having children should be a choice, and one takes finances into consideration when making a variety of other big choices in life.

    It’s refreshing that someone would crunch the numbers and ultimately decide it isn’t financially a good decision to have a child when so many people have children without considering whether or not they can take care of them properly. Sometimes the best way one can give their children the best life possible is to not have them at a particular time (if at all).

  • Alex von Hoffmann

    I am always relieved when I hear about someone who decides to forgo having children. I love my children dearly, and wanted them desperately before they came along. However, many if not all the terrible problems facing the world can be traced ultimately to overpopulation; and very few people seem really to be contributing to making the workd a better place. I honestly doubt that I have managed to raise them to do more good than harm to the environment, for example (although they are pretty nice people so far). Not having children seems to me to be a much more morally justifiable position than putting someone into the world to fulfill my selfish need for love and someone to love, even though that is what I chose to do.

  • Idaho

    I found the whole discussion regarding Ms. Taha decision regarding children fascinating. First, it sounded to me that Robin the interviewer was trying to impose her feelings on to Ms. Taha, Ms Young just wasn’t convinced and kept badgering Ms. Taha to admit she might be wrong. Second the executive who raised five children without a problem, well his wife raised them, he got to come and go to his job. Third, regarding that close bond that Ms. Young spoke of between parent and child reality is that that doesn’t always happen. Ask any parent of children who do unspeakable actions about said bond. That bond is not guaranteed. 
    My hat is off to Ms. Taha for taking the time to contemplate the decision one way or the other. It is a big decision not to be taken lightly and too many women feel that they don’t have a choice. 
    My sister is a nurse and she questions why people need to get a driver’s license to drive but NOTHING is needed to have and raise children.

  • Sarah

    As a full time working mother of a 3 year old, I understand where Nadia is coming from and respect her opinion. I don’t agree with her, but she can take comfort in the fact that if she ultimately chooses not to have children, she will never know what she is missing. The love I have for my child and the joy he brings to my life cannot be quantified on a spreadsheet and trying to do so is futile. Perhaps those parents who have sympathized with her position are just trying to be polite. I have friends who have decided not to have children and it can be awkward to seem too happy in front of them as I don’t want to appear like I am boasting about how amazing being a parent is. They seem to try to justify their decision often by pointing out what they see as sacrifices and I don’t want to argue with them or make them feel bad about their decision (especially when it is too late for them). I will sometimes just agree with them about the challenges of parenting, just so they don’t have to feel regret. Just remember, as much as you loved your father, he loved you infinitely more. Having a child, as least for me, takes your understanding of love to a new dimension that you cannot experience in any other way. But again, if you never get to feel that, it will be OK. You can’t miss what you have never had.
    You (Nadia) sound like you would be a wonderful mother, and the world needs more people like you to raise the next generation.

    • SEBA

      Sarah, I respect your opinion but you sound awfully condescending in how you describe your opinion of your friends that decided not to have kids.
      As most things in life, you do not know what you were missing until you actually do it. However, I am not planning on doing base jumps or living in the woods out of what nature can provide just to try if I was missing anything before.
      Some people feel the urge and the need to have kids. Others, like Nadia, my wife and myself do not. So it is irrelevant that ” … if you never get to feel that, it will be OK.”
      Lastly, I agree 100% with you on “The love I have for my child and the joy he brings to my life cannot be quantified on a spreadsheet and trying to do so is futile.”. However, the fact that Nadia started with a spreadsheet maybe shows that she is not desperate to feel what being a mother is like.

    • Cymbriofthefaeries

      You don’t have to pretend that you do not love being a
      parent in front of your child-free friends, most of the time we are trying not
      to talk about how much being around your children reinforces our decision NOT
      to have children-really. I’m being serious here.  More to the point, I like seeing parents who
      are really good parents-who love being parents. This is one of the main reasons
      I chose not to have children. There are people who are truly “called” to be
      parents and I want to make room for them and support them. A good parent is a
      rare thing, seeing one does not make me feel diminished but joyful. We all have
      our gifts to give to the world for some that gift is being a parent and raising
      great adults. Others have another muse calling to them. You answer yours with a
      full heart and no regrets and that is how I answer mine.  

  • Anonymous

    I wish everyone would think like Nadia Taha before deciding on having children or not.  If you choose to have a child, it should be your financial responsibility to raise the child…. not the State, not the Church, and not your parents.  So if you don’t think you can (monetary) afford to have a child, to give him/her the best chances in life, then don’t have the child.  Plain and simple. 

  • Simonsezdd214

    Nadia and her husband should not have children. Coming from a 33yo father of 2 ( one 7yo girl, one 4yo boy), it is tough. But the only reason I say they should not is because of the obvious reason that they are selfish. Period. They obviously value their life as it curently stands and do not want to give up anything for the privilege of bringing not just another life into the world, but the ultimate symbol of devotion to not only their loved significant other, but also to the life that comes from that loved significant other and themselves. Notice I said privilege. While it is a right, it is mostly a privilege. She and her husband should know this and get off the air wasting the precious time we have with robin on such a patheticly self centered story. Grow up

    • SEBA

      It is a free country and everyone has a right to choose the life they want. If that is the life they want, then they should probably not have kids.
      This has very little to do with selfishness. Being selfish is not caring about people sleeping under a bridge when you have more money than you need, is saying you are sadden by the millions of kids waiting for adoption but having 5 kids of your own because they fill a gap in your life that needed to be filled, is watching in horror how Chinese kids struggle for survival due to horrible polution and by 3 Ipads for Christmas.
      This is the 21st century, overpopulation is one of the biggest problems future generations will have to deal with.

  • My65 Vw

    I grew up in a wonderful home environment on a farm with both parents,two brothers and a sister and my great-uncle.  We had  two sets of grand parents for family examples as well.  I never felt the mothering urge.  Even after I got married and felt “I should”,  I didn’t.  

    In my 30′s  I decided never to become a mother.  I got the lecture from the Dr. about being too young (at 30 yet!), and regrets later.  I had to “sign off” before he would do the operation I desired.  It was in no way a financial decision, I didn’t feel the need to justify my decision to anyone.

    I waited through my 30′s, 40′s and 50′s for that moment of “regret” to hit.  Didn’t happen.  I’ll be 62 this year, and as sure now as in my 30′s that the decision I made was the correct one. 

    Some people do know what is right for them.  Some people don’t, or won’t admit to it due to family or social pressure, and many times families suffer for that reason.   Not every man or woman should be a “Dad” or “Mom”.    Thanks to those with the courage to make the decision.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7DJ2HJHCH2HERFX3UAPVGQK3FI Mack

    As I listened to this story, my wife called me in tears informing me of the elementary school shooting leaving many young children dead.  I couldn’t help but wonder how much the parents of those children would have been willing to pay to keep their children alive.  All the money in the world, I would imagine.  I hope that people that don’t want kids don’t have them.  What could be worse than growing up knowing that you were unwanted?  However, I found Ms. Taha to be selfishly trying to put forward her opinion on the rest of us.  I certainly hope that she doesn’t have kids.  For the rest of us, I plan to go hug my 20 year old son as soon as I get off work.

  • Stephanie

    Hooray that we are living in an age when we can make a rational decision about whether or not to have children!  Making a plan for parenthood, or not, is everyone’s personal choice, and it’s ridiculous for anyone to criticize anyone else for coming to their own decision.  For Mrs. Taha, finances matter.  For me they didn’t – our family of 4 gets by on $30,000 per year so I can stay home with the kids which is our priority.  We pay the rent, utilities, and health insurance, then figure out how creative we have to get with our meal planning, retirement saving, and other flexible expenses.  The kids are having a great life and have no idea they’re poor.  Both the Tahas and my husband and I have made the right decisions for our families.  I congratulate her for considering her needs and resources and then making a plan that gives her the life she wants.  Everyone should do that, and every decision will be different and should be respected by the rest of us.

  • Karen

    I would like to say I think Ms Taha made several great points.   I eventually did meet the right man and decided I did want to have kids with him.  When I meant him at 34 years old, I was very happy without children and had no problem imagining a very full life without kids.  Now that I have my kids, I adore them and am glad to be a mom.  BUT, had I still not had kids to this point, I know I would be just as fulfilled and there is nothing wrong with me!  The number one thing I hated that people would say is “But you won’t have anyone to take care of you when you’re old”.  Who says my kids would even be speaking to me or god for bid, I outlive my kids.  That is the worst reason in the world to bring kids into this world.  I admire women and men that are being true to themselves and not doing what society ridiculously thinks is “normal”.  I know plenty of people without kids that are surronded by wonderful family and friends and are completely happy as it is.

  • Denise

    Hi. I think everyone should do what is best for themselves. I am a 40ish yr old mother of two:). I do not regret having children but it is a life altering decision both financially and emotionally It does change where and when you spend your wealth. It does change how you make decisions. I am impressed by the authors way of making that decision. I don’t like when people form opinions of other peoples decision based on what they chose to do in life. Everyone is different. Embrace it:)). My kids would be thrilled to have an aunt and uncle like them:)

  • Mbzbly2

    I commend the young woman who is taking the cost of raising a child into consideration. Brilliant, AND there is nothing wrong with her doing so. Most people never think of the child’s point of view. Atleast 50% (I’d say) of children are not the precious gift of sentient beings. They are treated like trash and brought up in negative emotional deserts dispite their “parents” best intentions. There would be fewer druggies,prostitutes and twisted people if both parents were sober and thoughtful in regards to the actual quality of life of their future children.Are you kidding me that a good reason to have a child is so they will take care of you in old age? Please, better chances winning the lottery!! Wake up.  What a narcissistic thought and you don’t even see it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6XELQEIP2C4V5JNNRGFAWQIQ2I Holly

    I will be 44 Wednesday.  I have never wanted children but I love children.  I am a good aunt and honorary aunt and babysitter.  I have observed family and friends having children.  Most run around like chickens with their heads cut off!  Grab fast food too often.  Struggle with finances.  Lots of stress.  Usually the women do most of the work.  If I ever desire being a mother or maternal figure I will foster or adopt.  I am surrounded by family and friends who love me and support me.  I don’t need my own children to take care of me.  Sisters and friends will do that.  Please stop judging us.  Accept people that are different than you.  Get off your high horses, please.

  • ravi

    Imagine an arctic tern saying “Why am I migrating all this distance and catching countless fish to give to my chicks just to reproduce?”  It probably happens occasionally, but those terns that opt out of reproduction are genetic dead ends, and don’t pass on their genes.  Thus the predisposition of most terns is to spend a lot of energy – “money” if you will – to raise their chicks

  • None

    Ms. Young:  Some of your listeners are way too emotional & bias.  Several posts referring to Ms. Taha in “missing out” on the “joy” and “love” of having kids.  Yes, having children can be a wonderful thing (I have one child).  However, Ms. Taha is referring to child rearing (and raising) in terms of cost & finance.  What good is it to the child when a parent loves the child ever to dearly, yet can NOT monetary afford to raise the child to his/her maximum potential?  Loving a child and (monetary) raising a child should be two seperate issues.  There is a reason why the USDA has a child cost survey.  

    I think Ms. Taha is correct…. if one can not (monetary) afford to have a child, one should not have the child. 

  • Yoda

    Dear Nadia,
    If your parents thought the same way, you would not be here to make this calculation

    • None

      First, why do you assume that Nadia’s parents didn’t think the same way?  Second, why do you assume that they couldn’t “afford” to have Nadia?  A bit presumptuous, isn’t it? 

  • Mbz

    Yoda, bright not.

    • it

      “Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.” Obi-Wan Kenobi

  • bellbird

    I’m in my 50′s and I made a decision many years ago not to have kids and i have never regretted it. When Robyn Young asked Ms Taha if she’d spoken to a therapist about her decision I was appalled–there’s nothing wrong with choosing not to have children for whatever reason!! I have never understood why everybody should have kids–it seems like so many people do it without even thinking about it, and I think that is just terrible.  Yes, I know everyone says it’s a love like no other, but I don’t care about that. It’s not at all about the costs of child rearing for me, it’s mainly because there are no guarantees. I  thought what if I had a child and he or she was severely autistic (which seems to be happening more and more now) or had some other problem or disability that required long term,special care–would i want to deal with that for the rest of my life?  The answer was no. And people might say that I’m being heartless because most parents of autistic children absolutely love their children and have no regrets.  That’s great for them, but I thought about it long and hard and decided that wouldn’t be for me.  And  as for the “who will take care of you when you get old?” question (which i get alot), again, there are no guarantees. Not only are nursing homes filled with the lonely parents and grandparents of kids who are too busy to take care of them (and i’m not talking about those elders with alzheimer’s or other problems that require round-the-clock care), but I also know of several cases where  kind, loving, hard-working parents had kids who were deeply selfish and self-absorbed and made the last years of their parents  lives sad and miserable.  I’m not sure that’s what the parents were expecting when they had kids.

  • Cymbriofthefaeries

    I decided when I was very young that I did not want to have children.
    People would tell me, “you are young; you will change your mind”. Well, I am 50
    now and very happy that I do not have children. My husband also decided not to
    have children at a very young age. He was so committed to his decision that he
    had a vasectomy before he was 30 to make sure he would not have children that
    he did not want. As I watch my younger friends try to juggle a marriage,
    children, and full time job and my older friends deal with their adult children
    creating havoc in their lives-I know I made the right decision. My husband and
    I get to focus on one another, our goals, our dreams, and our passions. Some
    would call this “selfish” but I think that has more to do with their own fear.
    Those who make choices that are different from the norm-challenge the status
    quo and this makes many people uncomfortable because it does not validate their
    own choices or as happens so often-parenthood by accident.

    I believe it is more about being self-aware, responsible and
    independent minded. We also feel that there are far too many people on the
    planet. Having children just to “fit in” would be a misuse of natural resources.
    When my husband and I die our foot print ends. This leaves resources open for
    those who really want to have children. This is one the gifts we give to our many
    nieces, nephews and all the children in our lives-along with being the cool
    Aunt and Uncle.  The human species is not
    in danger of extinction, at least not due to a lack of fertility.  As one friend put it, we just prefer to be among
    the “happy non-breeders from planet fabulous”.

  • Carl Bouton

    Taha has omitted a potentially major expense from her calculations: the cost of
    keeping the brains of one’s children updated. 
    If Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity
    is Near, 2006) is right, and he generally seems to be, the fusion of human
    with machine will continue at an accelerated rate.  Before long the wealthy, at least, will be
    fusing more than just cochlear implants with their brains, and those of their
    children.  They will be supplementing
    their brains with very powerful, fast chips. 
    If so, doesn’t it seem likely that in order to keep up with the Trumps
    and the Kochs and the Gates the rest of society will be under immense financial
    pressure to purchase the very latest software or risk having their children
    slip into a 3rd or 4th educational tier?  This will trivialize the constant pressure we
    have all been under to stay abreast of the latest Windows operating system and
    computers that can run them) over the past couple of decades.

  • It

    I am torn by this story. While it is obvious to anyone that can do simple math that your guest’s numbers are wrong or else everyone with children would be living under bridges somewhere, it brings up the real topic. Why do people have to justify not having kids? We are at a point in the history of man that the propagation of the species is not a question, but as Robin’s question that has brought so much ire here shows, that is not a “normal” thought. Thanks for the discussion.

  • reuben dermyer

    Is there no audio for this story yet?

    • ksundt

      Since news from Newtown broke we’ve been running around like mad here in the newsroom.

      We will get it up as soon as we can!
      -Kassandra, Here & Now

      • reuben dermyer

        Great, thanks!

  • kls

    I too thought Robin Young went off the rails in this interview. Found myself shouting at the radio – “give it a  rest!”  Many people experience little joy in parenthood, only heartbreak and insurmountable obstacles. Witness today’s tragedy in CT. A young man murders his mother and in the process destoys many other lives. Read Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon.  Having children can be a wonder and an adventure but you to prepare for anything and accept what you’re given. It can be a long haul with a lot of heavy lifting.

  • jb

    I have to wonder if Ms. Taha did the same reductive cost-benefit analysis for getting married? 
    If you don’t want to have a child, don’t. I don’t rationalize having my children and you do not need to rationalize not having yours.  

  • Melissa

    I felt this interview was interesting beyond the question of choosing to not have children, just the idea of what mothers give up to raise their children doesn’t come up much.  I am on a year’s maternity leave to care for my second child, and there is a big financial impact on our lives becaue of that decision and beyond that I give up both that social and intellectual interaction that I had at work.  I have very little free time even though I don’t work outside the home, thus it took me a whole day to come comment on the story.  I love my children and never regret having them or the time I took from work to stay home and care for them, but I don’t feel like I have made a valued choice by my society.  Choosing to not have children has a stigma but choosing family over career isn’t really valued either, particularly when you look at what you might be giving up financially, socially, in your career.

  • Deified_texan

    Truly reflective of our self centered culture. The 1960′s
    thought leaders dreams are coming to reality.

    Truth is these self centered mindless drone men and single women are narrow and
    thoughtless. Your culture, your contributions, your gene pool and really almost
    all you will be wiped away once these resentful singletons die off.

    The true evilness of all this can be seen in the “child-free”
    movement. A wicked political system centered on basis that family and children
    are to be fought against and kids enslave women.

    Go act like mindless children into your 40′s, worship at the altar on
    “careerism” because we all know that participating in the simple
    “buying and selling” of goods and services is something truly to
    focus you life on.

    There are two types here: these drones who have no vision beyond their
    lifestyle, adolescence, and self-centered ways (vacations, bars, etc). This
    type is like a kite in the wind, they could have been mothers or child-free,
    republican or democrats. They simple grasp onto the path in front of them.
    Liberals have the media and the schools so these women are single now.

    The other truly hateful class is the thought leaders of “child free”,
    feminist, declining populations and regressing societies and economics. This
    class can congratulate themselves as Western societies are likely doomed now as
    Europe, the US and Japan are entering a death spiral on population.

    Well, I guess these “child free” can enjoy their loneliness in old
    age. And the common argument I see from these feminist— we can import slaves
    (oops – poor 3rd world immigrants) to support our new aging society. That
    worked for the Romans in the end —- NOT.

    Own it you lonely women — clutch your yoga and 20 cats while you can.


      Take yourself and your ignorant thoughts back to Texas, please.

  • Humankind_be both

    I have been thinking about this program since
    yesterday and in light of Sandy Hook, CT, and have just read a handful of your
    notes and am relieved and appreciative of your thoughtful responses. I concur
    about the tone and condescending line of questions and was impressed with Mrs.
    Taha’s unflappable remarks particularly in light of the seemingly out of touch
    attitude with the times we live in.  Today, as I biked town 3rd Avenue
    during Santacon, I reviewed again why my husband and I choose not to have
    children; overpopulation, environmental degradation, resource scarcity, and
    there are many children we are great god (excuse the term, we are atheists) parents
    to, and why we once teased out the idea of launching a magazine called Childfree,
    celebrating our choice.  I was
    disappointed that Robin didn’t bring additional thoughts to the conversation
    and broaden the topic which has been growing in the media for a few years
    now.  Mardy Irelands book called
    “Reconceiving Women” or Corinne Maier’s 40 Reasons for Not Having Children, and
    the thought that kids should grown up in nature and not looking at screens,
    this is a very real concern for us. In my opinion an interviewers job is not
    “to take the other” point of view, but to guide the conversation, and to be the
    most intelligent person in the room at all times.


    Melissa writes “Choosing to not have
    children has a stigma but choosing family over career isn’t really valued
    either”; in Sweden mothers receive 16 month maternity leave and some parties
    advocate splitting this time between both parents; the United States is 1 of
    only 4 countries that does not mandate paid maternity leave, the other
    countries are Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland. Why doesn’t the United
    States stop funding war and start funding family? In light of yesterday’s
    horrible story, imagine how much violence would be reduced in this country if
    children were held more, and taken care of my their parent and not forced off
    to day care while the mother/father gay or straight has to work, not to mention
    the barbaric business of hospital births which compromising his/her quality of
    life from the start.  And this is a
    civilized first world country.


    I understand the Deified_texan’s disappointment
    in this “self-centered society” but ask him to consider how a nation centered
    on warfare and energy extraction is not also self-centered? Rights of capital
    over the rights of man and rights of nature? 


    Childless has been a conversation for a decade
    now…I appreciate the nuances and evolution of thought and look forward to
    following the discourse over time. 


    Humankind_be both

  • http://www.facebook.com/marfknox Martha Knox

    It concerns me that due to the conditions of our society and economy, more and more people who are so rational and level thinking are choosing to have no kids or less kids, because I’d like to see more of those traits passed on to the next generation. But perhaps the solution to that is to encourage child-free people to at some point in their lives devote some time to meaningfully interacting with younger people as much as and however they can, and hopefully transmit  the traits that way. Editing to add: I’ve been influenced and inspired by many people who were my parents’ age, some of whom never had kids, so I know what a powerful impact anyone can have on the next generation.

  • Kpelland99

    The 2011 documentary “Womb With A View” should be viewed by anybody caring enough to comment on this story. It’s not the highest budget doc ever made, but the cadre of women who tell of being childless and why, are fascinating. http://www.independent.com/news/2012/jan/31/womb-view/

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