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You don't need to have children to be successful, but gender roles and societal expectations are awful. Just ask any woman you know: Chances are she's been poked and prodded and interrogated over her decision not to have children.

But life goes on and it's full of surprises, as we were so kindly reminded after Redditor Tera711 asked the online community: "Women of Reddit who didn't want to but ended up having kids, what was your experience like?"


"I'm the daughter..."

I'm the daughter of a mother who didn't really want kids or think she'd have them due to the possibility of an inherited disability. Long story short my parents saw a geneticist who said as long as they had kids before a certain age the risk was lower so they went ahead and had my sister and I as my Dad did want kids (although to be honest he just liked the idea of kids rather than the actual raising & responsibility of them). My mum used to tell me she felt cheated having us as we didn't fit into her plans or have the same interests as her.

I think that people need to realise that the kids have no choice in this matter once they are born and I hate that my relationship with my parents is so poor because we weren't really wanted.

healtruralhome

"I didn't want kids..."

I didn't want kids, my ex husband did. We had 2. He asked for a divorce 8 months into my second pregnancy. It's way harder than I ever thought it would be. And I love my kids, I couldn't imagine my life without them now. But I still dream about what I wanted to be doing.. or how I can do something with small humans. It slowed down my career, it put major investment opportunities in hold. The sacrifice is underrepresented, far more than I could ever tell you. It's not the worst, worst thing. But if you don't want kids, don't change your mind for someone else.

emeraldjalapeno

"I love them as people..."

Oh, not good.

I love them as people, they are my family, they will have happy lives and I will protect them to the death...but I don't enjoy being a mother. I don't identify with it. I have to make sure I have a significant sense of self in my life outside of my time with them. I was young, and think I wanted the experience of being pregnant without what came next.

This is compounded by having two children with special needs, no doubt. When circumstances collide... I have to say no to a work trip, childcare falls through, etc, the sense of sadness and panic of the reality of being tethered to this role, forever, is... Overwhelming.

Channianni

"And I'm so happy..."

Was always very firm I didn't want children. Not maternal at all. Got pregnant at 21 and had a daughter. I love her more than anything and I think I'm a good mum, but I don't think my life is somehow magically better for having her. I think I would have been equally happy without her. And I'm so happy that now she's 11, my time of active parenting is getting less. I will absolutely never have any more... I'm old enough to recognise I'm too selfish now. My views may be skewed because I've done it all alone, and that's not something I'd ever risk again.

queenpizzasaurus

"I always said..."

I always said I never wanted kids, but my husband and I decided to have one. I only said yes because he's the only person I could imagine doing that with and I honestly believed if I didn't, I would regret it when I was older.

Our daughter is almost 3 now and I had no idea I could love, and hate someone so much in my life. No matter how hard days have been with her (she's strong willed and hell bent all the time and is pretty much allergic to sleep), I have small moments with her that make my entire soul happy.


I hate having to live so much of my life for her because it can be overwhelming at times, but I never feel like I regret it. I literally cannot imagine what life would be without feeling her fall asleep in my arms, or seeing her face when she wakes up and sees me, or when she just kisses me and tells me she loves me for no reason.

I'm not a helicopter parent, I likely let her get away with too much, but she's a sweet kid who wants to take care of everyone around her, who just happens to have a raging attitude just like me.

10/10 would do again if I went back in time.

bitchrage

"A year later..."

Giphy

I originally DID want kids. But then I had a nephew and decided I didn't want to be a mom. Being an aunt better suited me and I was totally in love with being one.

A year later I found myself pregnant unexpectedly. My birth control failed and my boyfriend and I had only been together for a couple of months. It was a whirlwind of emotions. But now we are a very happy little family living under one roof with our nine month old.

She is SOMETHING ELSE sometimes. She was an incredibly difficult baby- nothing like my nephew. I admit, there are times when I resent her and I feel like she's taking too much from me. But I can't imagine life without her now. And my boyfriend, who never wanted kids, is smitten with her. He texted me this morning "she sure grows on ya, doesn't she?"

FreyaPM

"I didn't want..."

I didn't want to have kids even after meeting my ex husband. He had a daughter and even though I grew to love her I was terrified of the lifelong responsibility but getting to know my SD made me want a little one on my own. I have two now, 9 and 5 and another one on the way with my new partner.

Piece of advice though, which I noticed a lot of people do, my ex husband urged me to stay together for the kids so they wouldn't have to deal with a broken family, never have and/or stay with a partner because of your kids, with having them you have to sacrifice some parts of yourself but definitely not that. Children are ungrateful and they leave in the end, give to them as much as you can without sacrificing yourself too much. We are important too.

fedupandascared92

"I am now divorced..."

I know having kids was absolutely not for me. I always said I never wanted kids, but the guy I married did. Everyone told me how I would change my mind and how I would fall absolutely in love once I had one. So I ignored my instincts and trusted everyone else and had a kid.

I am now divorced and share custody of my son. If I'm being honest, the shared custody is what keeps me sane. I could not do this everyday. Being a mom, especially to a baby or toddler, is pure hell. I don't know why anyone would sign up for that, like ever. Don't even get me started on how people have more than one?!

But the silver lining is, it does get better as they get older. It gets easier. And honestly, everything everyone said is true. I love my kid more than life itself. I would do anything to make him happy. I love him more than I love myself. Still doesn't make me love being a mom though.

clairefranklin

"I would have been better off..."

Not good. I had a lot of regret and rage for years. I don't recommend it if you're not 100%, or close to it.

I would have been better off never having had a kid. I dealt with it the best I could, because there's no going back and why make the kid suffer too.

Emptyplates

"I met my wife..."

I didn't want any. I now have 5.

I met my wife and she had one. The kid was cool and I figured we could do one more and I liked the idea of pregnancy. Then we adopted two siblings. Then we got a call about another baby in need of a home.

I mostly didn't want kids because I accepted it wasn't going to happen. I'm glad it did.

Fitztragedy

"I was on the fence..."

I was on the fence, leaning towards not having them.

He's the best part of my life. It's hard and frustrating and exhausting sometimes, but so worth it. He's only 6 months old and I can't imagine not having him, he made our little family complete and I'm so excited for the adventures we're going to have. I am so, so, so glad we had him and have not regretted my decision for a second.

We got really lucky to have a "unicorn baby"- he sleeps well, is perfectly healthy, and very rarely fusses or cries. I think his disposition has gone a long way in helping me enjoy parenthood, but I'd love the shit out of him either way.

But I also don't think I'd have regretted not having kids. I can't imagine life without him now, but I think i could've been perfectly happy and fulfilled being childfree too.

eatandread

"I did not want kids..."

I did not want kids, got pregnant at 17. Mother at 18. Stepmother at 38. So, now have two fully grown adult children. One married, one in college. I don't regret it as in, I LOVE both of them.

However, if I had it to do over again, I would make different life choices. That's the thing, right? We have this capacity to find the good and make the best of any situation even if it wasn't our first choice. But knowing what I have, I wouldn't give it up. If I had a do-over and got pregnant/didn't abort, I still would have kept the baby rather than adopt. But, if the do-over allowed me to NOT get pregnant, I'd choose that. It was really difficult for so many reasons.

All of that said, I've never been happier than I am now. My husband and I moved across the country, finally bought a house, and are both where we want to be. It took a lifetime, literally... but I'm finally here and finally at peace.

Having children is difficult under the best of circumstances. I feel that it was made easier for me for a lot of reasons. I had good family support. And having one "kid" at a time made things much easier. I knew my stepchild since birth but did not live w/get married to their father until they were in middle school. So, I didn't have to really do two "babies."

When I got married, my in-laws started in with the "when are you having a baby!?" stuff and I firmly said NO. Only pets from here on out. Truthfully, getting pregnant is one of my biggest fears. At this point in my life, I would be literally DEVASTATED to have to go through it all again. It's sort of up there with being buried alive. But I don't hate kids. I find other people's children to often be a wonderful source of joy. It's just not for me. I'm very happy being an aunt to 8.

LilBrownBunny

"She developed some severe behavior issues..."

Sometimes yes and others not. Kid's dad ended up being basically useless, though I chalk that up to me being young and dumb and making a young dumb choice. She is wonderful. She was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 11 and it's not fully controlled so that's been hard. Luckily she doesn't have too many of the big kinds of seizures. She developed some severe behavior issues in adolescence and is now 16 and was just diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at the all girls residential psychiatric facility (think pool, chef, etc) I checked her in to to get her. I love her so so much. I am also terrified of when she comes home that she will upend my life again. It's finally been a quiet, stable six weeks with no surprises happening except one, and someone else handled that. I don't want her back. Not like this. Only because I can't handle it. I literally cannot work because of the impacts on me and there's no one to support me. I'm fucked, at least for a while. There are many wonderful days I've thought to myself how glad I am I had her, and others (even more recently) where I regret ever having a kid.

It's such a roll of the dice and you've no control over what you get. I don't think most people ask themselves if they're ready for these kinds of tragic and difficult situations - disease? Disability? Personality disorder? Illness? Something that makes them be a caregiver for the rest of their lives?

dontdrownthealot

"I never wanted kids..."

I never wanted kids, but here I am with a 4 month old. I got pregnant, and everything inside me screamed not to abort. I had a fear of giving birth, it was actually my main reason for not wanting kids of my own, I didn't want to give vaginal birth. But I did. All the midwives and doctors told me it would be ok, my downstairs would return to normal. It might be, but this feeling I'm stuck with. I feel like I'm less worth as a person.

I love my baby, I'm glad I had him, because a world without him would be worse. He is such a happy baby, he constantly smiles and laughs and "talks". But I had him at the cost of being okay with myself.

hihelloletmego

"I was so sick."

I didn't want children, and I got pregnant not long after my first year of marriage. I was careful with my birth control, but I learned later that my migraine medication lowered the effectiveness of the pill.

I was so sick. I had to be put on special medication to stop me from throwing up, as I was vomiting upwards of 9 times a day. I couldn't eat anything. I wasn't sleeping, my headaches were awful since I couldn't take my medication. I'm a special education teacher, and someone always had to be covering my room so I could leave and throw up.

About since six months in we learned I had pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure was just out of control and some of my organs were starting to struggle. I was put on bed rest for a month and my mom had to come stay with me so my husband could continue working. He was calling every hour to check on me, and I was scared and still getting sick.

I was induced a month early, and I truly don't remember much. They over estimated how much anti-seizure medication I would need and I was confused and disoriented for most of the day.

I absolutely had PPD afterwards. I just shut down. I took care of our son, and that was it. I never neglected him, or was unkind to him, I fed him, changed him, rocked him, even sang and cuddled him, but I didn't care. My body was going through the actions and my mind was somewhere else. I would stand in the shower for hours and cry until the water was cold enough that it hurt to breathe. I would just sit and stare out the window or lay down in bed and look at a book without turning the page. I wasn't existing. I didn't talk to my friends or my husband. I didn't do anything. I scared my husband to death. I thought a lot about how easy it would be to drive my car into a tree or off a bridge. To take too many painkillers or leave the car on in the garage. I didn't want to be here anymore.

We couldn't afford for me to go to a therapist, and I never let anything out to let my husband know how bad I was spiraling. I don't know what got me out of it. Time, I guess. Rhythm, having a pattern that I followed everyday. My son getting older and gaining a personality. The consistency of my husband.

I learned my lesson though. When my son was two, I had had an IUD in since he was born. My husband had a vasectomy scheduled. And I had that same feeling, and I just knew. I took a pregnancy test, and I was pregnant again. I didn't sleep until I had an appointment at Planned Parenthood.

I was only five weeks along, but terminating the pregnancy was the beat decision I could have made. I know in my heart that if I would have kept it, and gone through another 8 months, I would have killed myself before it was over. I just couldn't do it again.

I love my son, he is three, hilarious, smart, and very very kind. He looks like his dad and his best friend is my mom. He loves our cat more than anyone and when he grows up he wants to be Elasti-girl from the Incredibles. He demands cuddles and we read a pile of books every night. He tells me I'm his princess, and I love him with all my heart.

I am a different person than I was before I had him. I miss the life I had before. I'm not going to say that I don't wish I couldn't change things. But that doesn't mean I don't love my son. This isn't the life I wanted or imagined, but it is mine, and it makes me happy.

daydreamintheflowers

"I never wanted children..."

I never wanted children because I didn't want the responsibility of taken care of a little person. It scared me more than anything. I got pregnant on accident and had my son and he is by far the best thing that could have happened. I loved being a mom so much we tried for more but sadly I miscarried multiple times. So he's my only one. The pregnancy for him was high risk, it was tough. He's my little miracle. I wouldn't change a thing.

-Lou-Lou-

"I wanted to be..."

I never wanted kids. Never wanted to get married. I wanted to be a sociologist in the Congo or something lol. 2 kids and 2 divorces later I've reconciled myself to the fact that I have no dreams anymore and my life and happiness is about the kids. I'm happy now but it took me a long time to be at peace with that.

donut-reproduction

Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

Life is hard. It's a miracle to make it through with some semblance of sanity. We are all plagued by grief and trauma. More and more people of all backgrounds are opening up about personal trauma and its origins. Finally! For far too long we've been too silent on this topic. And with so many people unable to afford mental health care, the outcomes can be damaging.

All of our childhoods have ups and downs and memories that can play out like nightmares. We carry that, or it follows us and the first step in recovery is talking about it. So who feels strong enough to speak?

Redditor u/nthn_thms wanted to see who was willing to share about things they'd probably rather forget, by asking:

What's the most traumatizing thing you experienced as a child?
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Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Being single can be fun. In fact, in this time of COVID, being single can save lives. But the heart is a fickle creature.

And being alone can really suck in times of turmoil. None of us are perfect and it feels like that's all anyone is looking for... perfect.

Now that doesn't mean that all of us are making it difficult to partner up. Sure, some people are too picky and mean-spirited, but some of the rest of us are crazy and too much to handle. So one has to be sure.

The truth is, being single is confusing, no matter how much we try to match. So let's try to understand...

Redditor u/Mcxyn wanted to discuss some truths about love and our own issues, by asking:

Why are you single?
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Tiard Schulz/Unsplash

Whether you're an at home parent, a college student just leaving the nest, or a Food Network junkie, there are a few basic tips that everyone should know.

Chef's gave us some of their top tips for amateurs and beginner at home cooks that will really make a difference. They are trained professionals with years of experience in the kitchen, so they definitely know what we're all missing.

If you're looking to improve some of your cooking skills and techniques, but you're still learning how to boil water correctly, this list is for you.

Redditor BigBadWolf44 wanted in on the secrets and asked:

"Chefs of Reddit, what's one rule of cooking amateurs need to know?"

Let's learn from the masters!


What a common mistake!

"A lot of the time when people add salt to a dish because they think it tastes flat, what it really needs is an acid like lemon juice or vinegar."

- Vexvertigo

"Instructions unclear I drugged my dinner party guests and now they're high on acid."

- itsyoboi_human

"Yes! Or tomatoes. They're pretty acidic too and go with so many things. Our dinners are so much better once the garden tomatoes are ripe. Or if a dish is too acidic, oil/butter or a little sugar can help add balance to it."

- darkhorse85

"Like tomato and eggs. Every Chinese mom makes those slightly differently and I haven't had a tomato egg dish I didn't like yet."

- random314

"There's a book called 'Salt Fat Acid Heat' that comes highly recommended to amateur cooks."

- Osolemia

"Reading even just the first chapter about salt made a lot of food I cooked immediately better, because I finally understood salt wasn't just that thing that sat on the dinner table that you applied after the meal was cooked."

- VaultBoy42

"Salt is important for sweets. A batch of cookies without that little hint of salt doesn't taste quite right."

- Osolemia

Unfortunately, this tip might not be accessible to everyone. Many people who contracted COVID can no longer use their sense of smell the way they used to.

"Have a friend that lost his smell from COVID, and now he only recognizes if food is salty, sweet, sour or bitter."

- AlphaLaufert99

"Just wait until he gets his sense of smell back and a ton of foods smell like ammonia or literal garbage now. Yeah, that's fun... It's been 7 months for f*cks sake just let me enjoy peanut butter again!!!!!!!!!"

- MirzaAbdullahKhan

You can't take back what you've already put in.

"You can always add, but you cannot take away."

- El_Duende666

"I find people's problems usually are they're too scared to add rather than they add too much."

- FreeReflection25

"I see you also grew up white in the mid-west."

- Snatch_Pastry

Safety first!

"Not really a cooking tip, but a law of the kitchen: A falling knife has no handle."

- wooddog

"I'm always so proud of my reflexes for not kicking in when I fumble a knife."

"If I drop anything else, my stupid hands are all over themselves trying to catch it (and often failing). But with a knife the hardwired automatic reaction is jump back immediately. Fingers out of the way, feet out of the way, everything out of the way. Good lookin out, cerebellum!"

- sonyka

"Speaking of KICKING in. On first full time cooking job I had a knife spin and fall off the counter. My (stupid) reflex was to put my foot under it like a damn hacky sack to keep it from hitting the ground. Went through the shoe, somehow between my toes, into the sole somehow without cutting me. Lessons learned: (1) let it fall; (2) never set a knife down close to the edge or with the handle sticking out; (3) hacky sack is not nearly as cool as it could be."

- AdjNounNumbers

"Similarly, NEVER put out a grease or oil fire with water. Smother with a lid or dump baking soda in there (do not use flour, as it can combust in the air making things worse)."

- Metallic_Substance

How else will you know it tastes good?

"Taste the food."

- OAKRAIDER64

"Also don't be afraid to poke and prod at it. I feel like people think the process is sacred and you can't shape/flip/feel/touch things while you cook them. The more you are hands on, the more control you have."

"No, this does not include situations where you are trying to sear something. Ever try flipping a chicken thigh early? That's how you rip a chunk out of it and leave it glued to the pan until it's burnt."

- Kryzm

Here's one just for laughs.

"When you grab a pair of tongs, click them a few times to make sure they are tongs."

- Kolshdaddy

"People really overlook this one. You've gotta tong the tongs a minimum of 3 times to make sure they tong, or else it can ruin the whole dish."

- BigTimeBobbyB

If you're looking to get into cooking or to improve you technique, pay attention to these few tips.

Salt generously, add an acid to brighten things up, and don't forget to taste your food!

If all else fails, you can always order take out.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Victoria_Borodinova/Pixaba

As part of the learning process, children often do embarrassing things before they learn a little more about the world and all the different implications therein. While the inappropriate moment is usually minor and ends in laugher some instances are truly mortifying.

One such instance involved a little sister who was around 6 at the time. It was the 90s and at the height of the youth-focused PSAs (think the frying egg representing your brain). One type was a safety PSA about stranger danger. The speaker would remind the children that if a stranger tried to take you anywhere to yell “Stop, you're not my mommy/daddy" to raise the alarm.

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