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"When my period was late." 28 women on the moment they decided whether or not to have kids.

Deciding whether or not to have a child can be a deeply personal choice. For some women, it’s a simple decision, but for others it’s anything but.

In fact frequently, it’s not a decision at all.

We asked women in the Mamamia community why they decided whether or not to have kids – every woman’s account is different, with a unique life story behind their child-free or child-filled life.

This is the moment 29 women decided whether or not to have a child.

1. Amber

I knew I wanted to have kids when I had an abortion.

I had just embarked on a six-month trip, travelling through Asia. I was doing a 25-day trek through Everest National Park in Nepal when I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend wasn’t with me for the first half of the trip, but he joined me halfway through.

I don’t regret having an abortion – I wasn’t even remotely in the right head space. I really felt I needed growing time etc. But at that moment, I knew I wanted to have kids with this man.

We now have a beautiful one-year-old after our travels and working for a few years when we got home.

2. Elise

The latest election has me seriously rethinking wanting children, because the earth is burning. My partner and I also both have genetic diseases that in an ideal world we do not want to pass on to our potential children. So I am quite firmly in the “being the cool Aunty” camp.

3. Rikki

I knew I wanted to have kids when I met my husband. Before that, ugh, no way. But then he came along and it all made sense. I also wanted someone to think I was cool, and a child was something I could manipulate into thinking that from the very start.

4. Nicolle

I think I’ve always known that I wanted kids. When all my siblings started having kids and I found myself the subject of ‘Why don’t you have kids?’ conversations ALL THE TIME, it made me realise I definitely wanted them, because people started assuming I didn’t.

I was 30 when I got pregnant, which is literally over the hill in my family when it comes to reproducing.

5. Louise

I made the decision to not have children after five long years of very unsuccessful, very expensive and very traumatic IVF.

Okay, so it wasn’t my decision really and there are some regrets…

6. Jessie

Something happened to me in my early twenties where every baby I encountered my eyes were just drawn to. I became, and still am, completely obsessed. I can’t imagine my future without babies in it. It’s a pull that I can actually feel in my body – it’s so bizarre.

Watch: With and Without Kids. Post continues after video. 

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7. Kathryn

I always knew I wanted children. My husband and I had issues getting pregnant with lots of rounds of IVF and some miscarriages. At one point my husband said, ‘Maybe we could be happy with just us?’ But I knew I wouldn’t be happy without children and was happy to do whatever we had to do for that to happen. Thankfully now I’m blessed with a two-year-old year and an 11-month-old. One IVF and one welcome surprise.

8. Elle

I knew I wanted kids when I met my nephew for the first time. I was so overwhelmed with love for him, that I couldn’t wait to experience it with my own kids. Up until then, I wasn’t really very firm with my plans.

9. An

I have had a pretty awful time with mental illness. During this time of not wanting to live, I decided to never force this on someone else. I do see fostering in my future, perhaps…

10. Yael

My husband and I were sitting eating pizza, watching people walk by with kids and I said, ‘I think I’m ready to have kids now’ and he had been thinking the same. We went home and made our first that night. Hormones are pretty freaky. We were pretty lucky.

11. Caroline

I just always thought that I would have kids, it was never a conscious decision. My yearning started when I was 30 years old when I had been with my now husband for nearly four years. But I had the conversation with him pretty soon after getting together that I wanted to have kids and if he wasn’t on board with that we weren’t going to progress.

12. Bonny

I’m getting more and more ambivalent about it the older I get.

13. Claire

I knew I wanted to have kids when my period was late.  I was 35 years old and I realised that a) I could actually get pregnant (for someone reason in my head I thought it was something that would happen to other people but not me) and b) I was in a relationship with a man that I actually wanted to be tied to for the rest of my life. Before my period was late though I had made zero decision on whether to have kids or not. I just thought: ‘If it happens it happens and if it doesn’t well then it doesn’t!’

14. Alice

I decided to have kids when my boyfriend of three months (now my husband of seven years) told me that he would stay at home and be the primary carer so that I could continue my career. It works for us, I am a partner in an accounting firm and my husband (also a chartered accountant) is now back at work part-time as well (we now work at the same firm which is good). We have two kids: four years old and two-and-a-half.

15. Gillian

I had kids because I wanted a change from working full time. I actually thought it would be less work!

16. Meg

For us it was before we got married at 21 and 23 years old. ‘Let’s just see how it plays out,’ we thought. We were married two years later and our daughter was born when I was 36 after eight years of IVF. Starting early didn’t work for us. We now have a 13-year-old going on 30. God help us.

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17. Kirsty

I didn’t want to have a child and end up committing suicide later (I have serious mental health problems). I also have worked a lot with children and been a live in au pair while chronically ill and that’s when I realised it would physically kill me if I kept working. After six months I was using a walking stick and slept as much as a koala.

My body isn’t healthy enough to look after a child.

18. Francesca

I froze my eggs seven years ago thinking I might want to have children if I met the right man later in life. Three years (and many disappointing dates and a few relationships) later, I was holding a girlfriend’s new baby and I felt ready. I also had the realisation that my preference was to do it by myself. So I did. I think it was a moment that being a solo mum became a choice and not a Plan B.

19. Nicole

I’ve just never had the desire to want children… and it didn’t change when I got older as everyone said it would. I’m now 46 years old. However, I do love babies and my heart exploded when my nephews were born.

Also, years after the fact, I am still mortified that a close friend, upon introducing me to her daughter-in-law and newborn baby for the first time, felt the need to tell her that I never wanted to have kids!

20. Kelly

My husband and I decided in consultation with my neurologist. I have MS and needed to stop medication so it was a finely and engineered process to give both baby  and I the best chance of being healthy.

21. Christie

I decided to have kids when the stick read positive! A HUGE surprise.

women abortion
"I decided to have kids when the stick read positive! A HUGE surprise." Image: Getty.

22. Michelle

I am 47 and never ended up having children. I always thought I would and to be honest, there is a part of me that is shocked I never married or had kids – because I always wanted it.

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I guess it came down to circumstance in the end – and I remember very vividly sitting in my best friend's kitchen with her and her two children (her husband wasn't home yet), I was about 38 years old and I had been really thinking about motherhood because that was the time for the decision.

I did a lot of soul searching prior to this conversation but I said to her: "I just think that if it's a choice of single parenthood or no parenthood, I think I'll choose no parenthood"

"You've got to do what's right for you" she responded.

It broke my heart a bit to make that decision – but I made it because I would give 110 per cent to my child and have nothing for myself – and rightly so – but I wanted someone to share it with. Over the last few years in particular at different times I have thought I was pregnant (since turning 40) but I never have been.

In the uncertainty I've thought 'would I have the child?' and sometimes I thought 'yes', and sometimes 'no' but I was never actually pregnant anyway – just late periods etc. I don't live now with a lot of regret but I do think I would've been a great mum and wife... but life just didn't happen for me in that way.

23. Gina

I decided to get pregnant because I was unhappy with my job. Seemed like a good solution to my career crisis at the time. Turned out it really was.

24. Diana

I've never wanted kids. I think I was around leaving school age when I realised that not having kids was actually an option for life.

My husband and I have been married for eight years (together for 10) and it's never been something we've had an interest in. In fact we've consciously decided against it and I don't see that changing.

25. Donna

There was never a question of if for me, just when. I knew I wanted to be married and financially stable, because I didn’t want my first to be a 'shotgun' baby like I was. As soon as I was married, I wanted a baby.

26. Katie

I decided to have my daughter when I drank too much after my 18th birthday. And then I decided to have a son at 28 when I had too much wine at Thanksgiving. Possibly need to re-evaluate the drinks.

27. Linda

I decided at 15 years old that I did not want to be a mother. I am 55 now and have never regretted my decision.

28. Mari

I never decided to have kids or not have kids. I got married then realised there was never going to be a lightning bolt of realisation and decided to give it a go. I was lucky to have two amazing children and even though my marriage didn’t work out I have no regrets.

For more on this topic, read:

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