Monsters. Little humans. Rugrats. Children.
Whatever you want to call them, for many, settling down and starting a family seems to be the desired pathway when it comes to adulthood.
However, it seems that there are many young adults who don’t want to call them anything. So why is it that many young adults are being put off having children and saying no to reproducing?
Let’s get real here, the cost of living seems to keep soaring through the roof and it doesn’t feel like it’s slowing down anytime soon. Especially where I currently live in London, it seems unattainable to be able to ever afford a property and be in a stable position to raise a family.
Children are expensive, and they have no financial benefits. Unless on the off chance they find fame as a child / young adult and bring in an income. Otherwise there is simply no monetary benefit and they are dependent on you for pretty much everything. If I turned around and decided I didn’t want to work, (it would be silly), but it only impacts myself. When children are brought into the picture they bring a financial impact too.
‘The total cost of raising a child to the age of 18 now stands at £160,692 for a couple and £193,801 for a lone parent.’
– From CPAG report on ‘The Cost of A Child in 2021’
Admittedly, for many people they may never be completely financially ready for kids. There will always be uncertainties and things we can’t truly prepare for. It won’t necessarily mean you’re completely free of money troubles but the pressure will be reduced. I think it’s fair to say that starting a family adds some extra pressure on your finances. Therefore it’s understandable why people are being put off having any children or opting to only have one.
Pursuing Your Career
Many young adults are wanting to focus on their careers, and this may impact their choice to have kids or not.
For the majority of couples it makes sense for the highest earner to continue working. With the continued issue of the gender pay gap, this usually means the woman takes time off to look after the child.
Having to step away from your career can make it harder to progress and usually means a lower income. This could be for a short period but for many it will be for a longer amount of time. Childcare fees are extremely high which can mean one parent has to reduce their working hours or stop working. Furthermore, with maternity pay not always being sufficient it can be a challenge to balance work life with starting a family.
‘Those who gave birth to their first child at age 35 made more than $50,000 more per year than women who had their first child at 20.’
– From Insider
Essentially opting not to have kids will give you more time to focus on both personal, and career goals. Choosing to be child free means you don’t have to sacrifice your career as much and can focus on advancing in your profession.
Mental Health & Upbringing
Experiencing mental health challenges or trauma as a child / young adult comes into play for some when they are considering having kids. Alternatively, for those who grew up seeing their parent(s) struggle financially and the stress it caused, they may be apprehensive too.
‘A person who has a relative with depression is almost five times as likely to develop it compared to someone who doesn’t have a relative with depression.’
– From the Healthline article on ‘Is Depression Genetic or Environmental?’
Some worry that their offspring may also face mental health struggles and this may influence decisions. Fears that they might not handle the stress kids bring or that their children could also develop mental health challenges. Raising a child with these issues may be something that potential parents do not want to face.
Other reasons people are choosing not to reproduce:
- Commitment – Having kids is a lifelong commitment for most, and it’s not one that you can’t just take a time out from.
- Fear of pregnancy – Some women are scared about the risks that pregnancy can bring.
- Goals – You may have a vision of what you want to be able to give to your children. If you feel that you couldn’t provide the life for them you want, you may decide it’s best to not have them. Alternatively, you have personal goals such as travelling, which becomes much harder when you have children.
- Overpopulation – With the world’s population just under 8 billion, the battle for housing is increasing. Not having kids gives you less to worry about and can provide you with more options when it comes to things like housing.
- The impact on relationships – Children can put a strain on marriages as it can lead to partners having less time for each other. There becomes a shift in priority and attention.
There are several reasons why people are saying no to reproduction, some more personal and some more general. Of course remaining childless doesn’t automatically mean an easy life but most likely will provide you with more freedom. With there being several downsides to having children, avoiding this pathway completely for some feels ideal.
Are you saying yes or no to reproduction?
Tell us what you think.
Mikayla is a budding Fashion and Graphic Designer, she has her own brand, inspired by Mental Health, called “The Mattah”. Through her brand she discuses her own struggles with mental health and encourages others to express how they feel. When not designing garments and sewing, she also spends time cooking among other creative outlets.