Are there Catholics who simply do not want children?


#1

I mean, I know a lot of people on here seem to imply its pretty much a duty, but can you be a Catholic (and not a nun or priest) and just not want kids?

Ive just realised there's a similar post on Marriage and Children. However, if you're not married, would people expect you to be? Or to want to be?


#2

There's usually a psychological reason for not having the urge of having your own children.

I personally love children, and feel that I could be a decent and strong mother, but that doesn't mean that I'll ever get married and have children.

Only God knows all of our motivations, so if a person is motivated by selfishness or lack of love when not wanting children, those negative characteristics most likely bleed to other aspects of life as well.

If you do not want children, what is your reason?


#3

I don't know if I'll have children or not. However, I do not think that selfishness is the reason people don't - many people HAVE children out of selfishness - they like the idea of having children, of passing on their genes, of having someone to look after them when theyre old, or theyre just biologically driven to it. Very few people have children thinking of how good the child's life would be.

I suppose that's why I might not want children - I would have to feel sure I could be a good parent, and have a child who will lead a good, happy life. And I don't think I could be the parent I want to be, so I would rather not muck up a child's life.

I also do not want to be pregnant or give birth. Sure, that's only a tiny bit of time compared to the child's life, but I think you only see it that way if you truly do want children, for whatever reason. The idea of being pregnant just does not seem like it'd be 'me.' I think the decision to have children is a lot easier for men - they're just not as involved biologically at the beginning. If I was a man I think I'd be more likely to want children. I would prefer be a father than a mother - strange huh? I'd also prefer be the breadwinner than be staying at home to look after the children - I think it would drive me insane, and I have quite a bit of patience, I've worked in a nursery, but 24/7 is so different.


#4

I do agree that there are people that have children out of selfishness, rather than selflessness.

When I say that some people do not want children out of selfishness, (and I do not insinuate any of this about you), there are women that do not want to lose their body shape, and can't fathom the possibility of stretch marks. There are men that do not want to feel 'tied' down by the responsibilities of fatherhood and just want to be forever bachelors, and so on.

It's another thing not to want to have children because you feel you could not provide as well a life as they deserve or you are not psychologically or physically equipped to handle the demands of parenthood. Those are legitimate reasons.


#5

Based on what some friends have told me, they have some crippling hereditary traits that they do not want to pass on to others. Life is a struggle for them and they do not wish to pass those terrible handicaps on to others.

Could be physical or psychological.

Fellow named Steinmetz was a brilliant inventor, but had a terribly crippling problem and just could not bear the thought of his children inheriting that handicap.

Generally they do not marry. They do pray a lot. And work to support themselves and are generous to the Church. Some men marry late in life when the women they marry are beyond child bearing years.


#6

[quote="Lethe, post:1, topic:189551"]
I mean, I know a lot of people on here seem to imply its pretty much a duty, but can you be a Catholic (and not a nun or priest) and just not want kids?

Ive just realised there's a similar post on Marriage and Children. However, if you're not married, would people expect you to be? Or to want to be?

[/quote]

It's a duty for married couples to be open to having children (not necessarily to actually have them, they may not be able to).

However unlike Judaism, Islam and most protestant denominations, the Catholic Church does not *teach that anyone has a *duty to get married, or that there is anything wrong or shameful about being single one's whole life (and not be a priest, brother or nun).
In fact the Church teaches that the lay single life is a vocation in its own right. I know many such people and they are wonderful Catholics who are a great asset to the Church.
What these people complain about is that **secular society
, not the Church, assumes, expects and in some ways almost demands that everyone must be half of a "couple".

It's perfectly OK for a Catholic to not want kids. But if you don't want kids you shouldn't get married. This is one of many perfectly valid reasons for not being married.


#7

No and yes for me... No, because I have wanted to have children from the age of 8 (when my oldest niece was born). Although I haven't been Catholic for even 2 years yet, I have always wanted to have a larger family, at least 5 children, although since I have converted I have amended that number to whatever God has in mind if I should have kids.

Yes, I do not want children because I have been diagnosed in less than a month's time that I have two debilitating (as in there is a good chance that I'll be in a wheelchair by the time I'm 30... I'll be 24 in 2 months) conditions... one is hereditary, and the other is secondary to the first disorder. Not that any child born with these conditions is any less valuable or any less loved by God, or would be loved any less by me.... I do not even mean to imply that at all!!! I just know how difficult it is to deal with chronic pain, constantly dislocating joints, blood pressure and pulse that cannot regulate itself so well.... etc. And that's just scratching the surface of my disability. I can barely take care of myself (or even get out of beds) some days. I don't think that I would physically be able to care for God's gifts they way they need and deserve to be treated.


#8

When I was 20, after I was hospitalized for severe depression, I decided that I should not have children because I did not think that I would be a good enough mother. I suspected that I would commit suicide one day, and did not want to put that burden upon anyone. (I thought that if I waited until after my parents were dead, and if I never married or had children or had intimate relationships, then perhaps my suicide would not hurt anybody's feelings very much.) Also, I did not want to pass my "bad genes" of inclinations to mental illness (and my family's history of substance abuse) to future generations -- I believed strongly that every child conceived should be as perfect as possible.

However, although I realized that artificial birth control is immoral, I did not at first realize that my decision not to have children meant that I could not marry in the Church -- which meant that I would not marry at all. This took some getting used to, but not a lot. My libido is relatively low, anyway.

I suspect that if my depression had been better treated or if I had never had any mental illness, I might have made a pretty good mother. But now that I am 43 and my depression has been stabilized thanks to a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotics, I have no regrets. I am active in my parish as a catechist, lector and EMHC, am a Lay Carmelite and member of the Legion of Mary, and am attempting to discern a possible vocation to consecrated virginity lived in the world. Sure, my motives to remain a virgin were originally more out of neurotic fear than of love of God, but they have been and are being purified.


#9

Yes, there are Catholics who simply do not want children. Those without a vocation for parenthood are a minority, but still a significant number.

It poses a conundrum, because of the Church's teachings. All married couples are required to be open to having children. Thus, those committed to Childfree life cannot marry in the church.

Some Catholics leave the church if they want to marry, but not have children. Some simply remain unmarried. Others stay in the Church, and use methods of artificial birth control.

The last group is troubled, and not consistent with Catholic teachings.

I am Childfree, myself, and if I ever marry, it will have to be outside the Church.


#10

I knew of a couple where I used to live that used NFP because they did not want to have children at all. Period. Her husband thought pregnant women looked disgusting, thought babies repugnant. I do not know why but he made it clear before they were married that he absolutely did not want children. I do know that he came from a divorced family but that’s about all I know. That is really the only case I know of. It seems the majority of Catholics embrace parenting as a natural part of married life and view children as blessings. As far as wondering if one will be a sufficient parent, look at it this way - God does not make mistakes! :smiley: The “scary” thing about parenting is that it forces oneself to face our personality flaws head on. It means if one is naturally introverted and your first born is one that enjoys playing with other children a natural consequence is interaction with the other parents to arrange “play dates”, etc. and vice versa. When a child is an adult it almost takes your breath away to see that they may have a more mature and logical way of viewing a particular incident than you do! It seems that those closest to us initiate the most work on our interior life on many levels, which is a good thing, even if it does not feel that way at the time. Most of the time it causes joy in the realization of how generous God is to allow these special people be a part of our lives.:thumbsup:


#11

Of course there are some Catholics who don’t want children. I am not entirely sure that these people should get married if they don’t want to follow God’s commandment to be fruitful and multiply…however, I don’t feel qualified to pass judgment on that issue.
I think being single and remaining childless to devote your life to God and His work here on earth is truly one of the most beautiful things a person can do with their lives. I personally have been touched in my heart and life by several different nuns, priests, and celibate laypeople who devoted their lives to the Lord.


#12

From age 0-28, 29, 30ish (I’m 30 now) I was convinced I didn’t want them, but did want to get married.

Not that I’ve changed 180, I’m not 100% sure I want them now-it’s sort of a “maybe to no”. I’m honest enough to admit it. Most women I date don’t really have a problem with it. I love my life, have a kick butt social life, and I’m very happy with it now. So I’m not complaining. I have a niece in Kindergarten and a nephew in preschool. I adore them dearly, basically because I can give them back at the end of the night and go home to my books and dogs.

I’m not a shrink, (although I read Freud all the time :D) but I don’t think there is anything psychological about it. I’ve never understood why people look at me crazy because I’m not sure if I want kids.

My big thing is not sure leaning toward no. I understand completely with those who are solidly no. You can be moral, upstanding, and Catholic (and, not a priest or nun) and no want kids.


#13

Catholic marriages are centered around "going forth and multiplying" (being open to life.) You may not want kids, but God instituted Catholic marriages to be procreative.

Single: doesn't hardly matter unless you are on the road to marriage.
Religious life, priesthood: you have spiritual children and you darn well better want them. ;)

God Bless :)


#14

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:5, topic:189551"]
Based on what some friends have told me, they have some crippling hereditary traits that they do not want to pass on to others. Life is a struggle for them and they do not wish to pass those terrible handicaps on to others.

Could be physical or psychological.

Fellow named Steinmetz was a brilliant inventor, but had a terribly crippling problem and just could not bear the thought of his children inheriting that handicap.

Generally they do not marry. They do pray a lot. And work to support themselves and are generous to the Church. Some men marry late in life when the women they marry are beyond child bearing years.

[/quote]

And some of us see our crippling genetic conditions as a cross that we embrace and offer our suffering up to God.

We marry and welcome children as the treasures from God that they are.


#15

[quote="Petergee, post:6, topic:189551"]
It's a duty for married couples to be open to having children (not necessarily to actually have them, they may not be able to).

[/quote]

If one party (or both) intends at the time vows are exchanged never to be open to children, it would render the union invalid. One of the questions to which the bride and groom must answer "I will" or "I do" is "Will you accept children lovingly from God...?"

[quote="Petergee, post:6, topic:189551"]
the Catholic Church does *not **teach that anyone has a *duty to get married, or that there is anything wrong or shameful about being single one's whole life (and not be a priest, brother or nun).
In fact the Church teaches that the lay single life is a vocation in its own right. I know many such people and they are wonderful Catholics who are a great asset to the Church.

[/quote]

Agreed. Singleness is a wonderful vocation and gift to the world.

[quote="Jane11, post:10, topic:189551"]
Her husband thought pregnant women looked disgusting, thought babies repugnant.

[/quote]

I find his attitude repugnant. It amazes me that someone would want to marry a person with a mind like that.


#16

[quote="kage_ar, post:14, topic:189551"]
And some of us see our crippling genetic conditions as a cross that we embrace and offer our suffering up to God.

We marry and welcome children as the treasures from God that they are.

[/quote]

If 100% of your energy is taken up just trying to get through the day and to just cope with infirmities, physical or mental, then it just isn't possible to take care of a puppy, much less a spouse or a child.

Besides, why would we want our children to have the same kind of horrible crippling infirmities as we have.


#17

[quote="Monte_RCMS, post:16, topic:189551"]
If 100% of your energy is taken up just trying to get through the day and to just cope with infirmities, physical or mental, then it just isn't possible to take care of a puppy, much less a spouse or a child.

Besides, why would we want our children to have the same kind of horrible crippling infirmities as we have.

[/quote]

You may not realize how insulting you sound to those of us with serious, chronic genetic conditions.

My life is more than my deformity. I do not let it rule me. I hurt, I suffer, I also work and serve and pray and sing and laugh and make beautiful things and cook and love my husband and love my parents and teach and volunteer and pet my dog and have friends and annoy people on the internet and am in awe of the wonderful young man who calls me "mother".

I love my children if his is infirm or smart or dumb or healthy or injured or sick - he is a precious gift from God. My husband and I were open to life, thank God we were not afraid of my condition or that fear would have robbed us of the best kid on earth.


#18

[quote="kage_ar, post:17, topic:189551"]
You may not realize how insulting you sound to those of us with serious, chronic genetic conditions.

My life is more than my deformity. I do not let it rule me. I hurt, I suffer, I also work and serve and pray and sing and laugh and make beautiful things and cook and love my husband and love my parents and teach and volunteer and pet my dog and have friends and annoy people on the internet and am in awe of the wonderful young man who calls me "mother".

I love my children if his is infirm or smart or dumb or healthy or injured or sick - he is a precious gift from God. My husband and I were open to life, thank God we were not afraid of my condition or that fear would have robbed us of the best kid on earth.

[/quote]

You seem to have a very positive personality.

Ever hear of Munchausen's Syndrome?

Some people instead of having a network that helps, find that they have a network that works overtime to drain them, to plant the maximum amount of negativity, to actively sabotage them, to work behind their backs to hurt as much as possible. And by the time that they realize what is going on, it is time to die.


#19

[quote="kage_ar, post:17, topic:189551"]
My life is more than my deformity. I do not let it rule me. I hurt, I suffer, I also work and serve and pray and sing and laugh and make beautiful things and cook and love my husband and love my parents and teach and volunteer and pet my dog and have friends and annoy people on the internet and am in awe of the wonderful young man who calls me "mother".

I love my children if his is infirm or smart or dumb or healthy or injured or sick - he is a precious gift from God. My husband and I were open to life, thank God we were not afraid of my condition or that fear would have robbed us of the best kid on earth.

[/quote]

For me and my other friends with various chronic disabilities: Thank you.


#20

Prayers to all the angels and the saints, that they become your support system. Prayers that you find good friends who will help you carry your Cross, I find that meditating on the Stations of the Cross helps me - as even Jesus accepted it when someone wiped his face and helped carry his cross.


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