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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When I was little I had the conviction that having and rearing children is the ultimate achievement in life. If I saw an older person who was childless I felt it was pitiable, no matter how much they accomplished and lived. When I look at it rationally I feel that this is ridiculous, because there are lots of awful people who have kids (and make their kid's lives hell), and many wonderful people who cannot or choose not to have kids. Also the world is overpopulated, and it may even be an unselfish thing not to further add to the population. But still somewhere in my subconscious lurks the idea that a life without child rearing is always incomplete.

This is not an idle question because as a soon to be 30 year old virgin, there's a good chance that I never am going to have kids. A few years ago I was friends with a girl my age who was vehemently opposed to ever having children, and this was a novel idea to me. It feels somehow wrong and unnatural. Part of me feels like I am failing my family and ancestors whose traits have passed on to me and may end with me. I'm left these gnawing questions... if I don't pass on what was passed to me, was my life in vain? Is having children selfish, unselfish or neither? Isn't the ultimate purpose for an animal to procreate or else die?
 

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I don't think children should be had for any other reason than that you truly want to love them and raise them in the best way possible. They shouldn't be had because you want to carry on your genetic line, or because they are a form of life achievement or milestone that you want to attain.

I don't really care about my genetic line. I'm not interested in the survival of the fittest. In the end, my genetics are just bunch of cells and chemicals. They have no important meaning for me. The human race will continue with or without my genetics. You could look at my DNA and it wouldn't appear particularly different to any other humans DNA. It might tell you what I am, but it won't tell you who I am.

I can understand that you may want to leave a legacy. But there are other ways to do that besides having children. You can do it through your good works, your achievements and the impression that you have left on others.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I existed as a being in isolation, I'd have no interest in replicating my genes. The feeling comes from looking at my parents and grandparents, seeing all the wonderful traits they possessed and lives they lived, and feeling like something was put into my safe keeping to be carried on. I agree that children should be had only if they are wanted and the parent wants to care for them. "Achievement" wasn't quite the word I meant, and milestone doesn't fit either. Maybe "fulfillment of purpose" is closer to describing the feeling. And yes I realize there are other ways to leave a legacy, which I hope to do before I die. I've considered sperm banks as well but it just seems humiliating. Also I don't believe in the reductionist view that we are merely the sum of our genes... there is a spiritual component to me, a link into the ancient past.
 

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When I was little I had the conviction that having and rearing children is the ultimate achievement in life. If I saw an older person who was childless I felt it was pitiable, no matter how much they accomplished and lived. When I look at it rationally I feel that this is ridiculous, because there are lots of awful people who have kids (and make their kid's lives hell), and many wonderful people who cannot or choose not to have kids. Also the world is overpopulated, and it may even be an unselfish thing not to further add to the population. But still somewhere in my subconscious lurks the idea that a life without child rearing is always incomplete.

This is not an idle question because as a soon to be 30 year old virgin, there's a good chance that I never am going to have kids. A few years ago I was friends with a girl my age who was vehemently opposed to ever having children, and this was a novel idea to me. It feels somehow wrong and unnatural. Part of me feels like I am failing my family and ancestors whose traits have passed on to me and may end with me. I'm left these gnawing questions... if I don't pass on what was passed to me, was my life in vain? Is having children selfish, unselfish or neither? Isn't the ultimate purpose for an animal to procreate or else die?
Uhh no, there is no "purpose" except what you decide your life to be.
I don't feel bad at all for not having kids...and have never had those same feelings you have.
 

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If I existed as a being in isolation, I'd have no interest in replicating my genes. The feeling comes from looking at my parents and grandparents, seeing all the wonderful traits they possessed and lives they lived, and feeling like something was put into my safe keeping to be carried on. I agree that children should be had only if they are wanted and the parent wants to care for them. "Achievement" wasn't quite the word I meant, and milestone doesn't fit either. Maybe "fulfillment of purpose" is closer to describing the feeling. And yes I realize there are other ways to leave a legacy, which I hope to do before I die. I've considered sperm banks as well but it just seems humiliating. Also I don't believe in the reductionist view that we are merely the sum of our genes... there is a spiritual component to me, a link into the ancient past.
Then why do you feel you have to fulfill roles assigned to you? You didn't ask to be in this place did you? To do what your grandparents or parents wanted you to do is to subvert your own free will.
Also, what about the larger family...the human family, the animal family, the sentient life beyond our planet, the sentient life 1 million years from now which is likely in a galaxy you will never experience...it will go on, whether you create kids of your own, or not, we are all humans, and I am closer to many people not of my direct family tree than my own family, for sure. So if anything, why wouldn't I want to fulfill their wishes, instead of my families?
 

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If I existed as a being in isolation, I'd have no interest in replicating my genes. The feeling comes from looking at my parents and grandparents, seeing all the wonderful traits they possessed and lives they lived, and feeling like something was put into my safe keeping to be carried on. I agree that children should be had only if they are wanted and the parent wants to care for them. "Achievement" wasn't quite the word I meant, and milestone doesn't fit either. Maybe "fulfillment of purpose" is closer to describing the feeling. And yes I realize there are other ways to leave a legacy, which I hope to do before I die. I've considered sperm banks as well but it just seems humiliating. Also I don't believe in the reductionist view that we are merely the sum of our genes... there is a spiritual component to me, a link into the ancient past.
I can see how that would be important. I guess from my perspective I don't think the good qualities that have been passed down through my family are in our genes. I think they are found in the relationships we shared with each other and things that we taught each other. I can completely understand why things like that are important to be passed down, but I would be just as happy passing them down to an adopted child as I would be passing them to a biological child. I also feel that I can pass these qualities to others through things like friendships and other relationships.

But I also can understand that genetics could have a special significance for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Uhh no, there is no "purpose" except what you decide your life to be.
I don't feel bad at all for not having kids...and have never had those same feelings you have.
Good, you shouldn't feel bad. I don't like these feelings myself, but they are there, and I'm trying to understand them better. Perhaps there are others who feel them as well. As for purpose, it is murky with human beings. Animals seem driven and contented to procreate, but who knows what their actual purpose is, or if a human being differs in any meaningful way from an animal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I can see how that would be important. I guess from my perspective I don't think the good qualities that have been passed down through my family are in our genes. I think they are found in the relationships we shared with each other and things that we taught each other. I can completely understand why things like that are important to be passed down, but I would be just as happy passing them down to an adopted child as I would be passing them to a biological child. I also feel that I can pass these qualities to others through things like friendships and other relationships.

But I also can understand that genetics could have a special significance for you.
I share your feelings too about sharing of oneself through friendship and relationships. These other thoughts I tried to explain though sometimes surface like a sea monster and ruin my tranquility and convictions. Perhaps some things are best buried and ignored.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Then why do you feel you have to fulfill roles assigned to you? You didn't ask to be in this place did you? To do what your grandparents or parents wanted you to do is to subvert your own free will.
Also, what about the larger family...the human family, the animal family, the sentient life beyond our planet, the sentient life 1 million years from now which is likely in a galaxy you will never experience...it will go on, whether you create kids of your own, or not, we are all humans, and I am closer to many people not of my direct family tree than my own family, for sure. So if anything, why wouldn't I want to fulfill their wishes, instead of my families?
No I never asked to be here and a lot of times feel I never would have chosen to if I were able. But I am here, people expect me to live, and no one seems to question the rightness of that (it is assumed to be right). So I have a duty to live, which I can't explain... in the same way I feel I have a duty to continue the unbroken chain that's made my life possible.
 

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No I never asked to be here and a lot of times feel I never would have chosen to if I were able. But I am here, people expect me to live, and no one seems to question the rightness of that (it is assumed to be right). So I have a duty to live, which I can't explain... in the same way I feel I have a duty to continue the unbroken chain that's made my life possible.
But is your unbroken chain more or a legacy to be remembered by, or is it to bring somebody into a world somebody who doesn't exist yet. What if for instance, you started a group to help children, say a school for the blind, and the group was named after you and continued for say, 200 years and helped more people along the way than bringing children into the world would do?

Or the other options, you had children. Children, whose outcome might be say, a rapist, which you had absolutely no control over. Or mayhaps, a child who was raised perfectly by you, then for some weird brain misfiring, decided it would be a good idea to kill you.

In option A) would you still want kids? Or would that be a satisfying thought to be on your death bed with. or option B) again, would you still want kids if you knew that might be the outcome... or if you lived to experience that outcome? would you regret it, and wish you focused your life on other endeavors, such as option A?

Sorry to get abstract, I'm just trying to help you clarify what you actually want.
 

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I share your feelings too about sharing of oneself through friendship and relationships. These other thoughts I tried to explain though sometimes surface like a sea monster and ruin my tranquility and convictions. Perhaps some things are best buried and ignored.
It's completely understandable. I have to admit that I feel the same sometimes. But I think it's good to remember that you are still a young guy and guys have a pretty large window when it comes to having children. I know you're having problems finding relationships, but you have time to work on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
But is your unbroken chain more or a legacy to be remembered by, or is it to bring somebody into a world somebody who doesn't exist yet. What if for instance, you started a group to help children, say a school for the blind, and the group was named after you and continued for say, 200 years and helped more people along the way than bringing children into the world would do?

Or the other options, you had children. Children, whose outcome might be say, a rapist, which you had absolutely no control over. Or mayhaps, a child who was raised perfectly by you, then for some weird brain misfiring, decided it would be a good idea to kill you.

In option A) would you still want kids? Or would that be a satisfying thought to be on your death bed with. or option B) again, would you still want kids if you knew that might be the outcome... or if you lived to experience that outcome? would you regret it, and wish you focused your life on other endeavors, such as option A?

Sorry to get abstract, I'm just trying to help you clarify what you actually want.
It's not to be remembered. If I could choose to wipe my existence completely I would have done it already. As for bringing someone into the world, it is a heavy responsibility but one I believe I've been prepared for. Your hypothetical scenario can easily be reversed. Say I started a group to help save children, and then the children I saved grew up to be murderers and rapists. Is that a reason to never start the group to begin with? Thanks for trying to help me clarify what I want. I really do not know. I feel impelled.
 

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This is a very interesting thread. I only say that because, in some very small ways I've had feelings similar to this.

For me, there's not so much mystery to it, because I believe I know exactly where the feelings come from.

To me, life is the most sacred, the most precious, the most wonderful of all the little miracles we see all around us and, all too often, take for granted.

I'm in a similar spot as you, being upper 20's, still a virgin, and I have a few family members (younger than me) who have recently had kids. There's a longing in me that goes beyond a sense of obligation to pass on my genes, or to perpetuate traits that have been passed on through my family for generations.

I just genuinely want to be involved in that natural process of helping to create little miracles that may grow up to be doctors and lawyers and generals, or may just grow up to be wonderful, loving people who impact their own little corners of the world by their love for one another and for everyone.

I'm not going to start a religious debate here, but I believe everyone is put on the earth for a purpose, and it's not something that's always visible. The full effects of a person's purpose may not be evident until months, years, centuries after they're born, and they may never ever be recognized by anyone.

I have no desire for that recognition, or "legacy" or whatever. I just want to do my best and live my best life for the God who put me here. I believe that even a quiet life lived right, raising a little (or big) family, tending to a little garden, or having a job that doesn't pay too much but gets food on the table, is a testament to His goodness.

Me? Heck yes, I want to have kids. I don't care if I have one or 12. And it's not even out of a sense of "duty to God" to procreate, to populate the world, whatever.

There's no duty in this desire. I just see so many miracles all around me in every aspect of this thing we call "life," that I can't resist this desire to be involved in allowing one or two or five little "miracles" to experience all these other countless miracles.

It's not that I want to pass on my traits or my personality or my bloodline.

But to think that I can help give the gift of existence to someone who may then one day be walking through the woods when she hears the song of a thrush and just stands dead still in amazement, or a little boy who scrapes his knee and then looks at it and goes "awww, cool" as he watches the wound through its process of closing up and healing, or a couple twins who have that "mind link" that allows them to dominate a game of Spades ...

Just to be able to help give the gift of life to a kid, who can be a kid like I was a kid, and see the wonder in those eyes at a beautiful rainbow, or even the momentary pain and betrayal when, sniffing a rose, she gets her nose stung by a surprise bee ...

Yeah, I know exactly why I want kids. And I just gotta trust (and you can too) that when the time is right, that relationship will be there that will blossom into the opportunity, that will give way to the reality ... and you'll experience all the ecstasy and the agony and the pleasure and pain, and realize it's nothing you ever considered when you had this enigmatic desire from a source you didn't know.

I don't know if that helped at all, but hey, that's me. :)
 

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Eghhh. I do not want children and have never wanted children. The idea of a life being incomplete without having children is a very alien concept to me. I've always felt that having children would be an enormous hindrance to living the way I want to live. That is, I want to get a PhD, spend more time travelling the world, and ultimately live a quiet life with a lot of books and a lot of solitude. I have never felt any urge to be a parent or to pass on my genes, and humanity's overpopulation problem is such that even if I absolutely loved children I'd adopt one that was already here rather than bringing yet another one into this world.
 

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I can relate to you (OP) very much in your feeling of "purpose" and "completeness" with having children. I feel the same way and always have. I always felt having children was the most important thing I could do with my life and what I needed to do before I died, if I did anything. I never even considered the idea of being childless. To me, a future in which i grow old and sterile without ever having used my uterus to bear children feels so empty and cold. I feel like I might as well not be here if I didn't bear children. I know there are people around this forum who do not want kids and I have nothing against them at all. That is a private decision that only you can make. If you had a kid and you didn't actually want one, that would be the worst mistake you could have made! Your child would be unwanted from the beginning, and that seems like such a lonely, loveless life. So I definitely do not think everyone should feel the same as me or go around having kids when they don't want them.

But I can totally understand where you're coming from with that innate feeling of wanting to reproduce. It's a deep feeling. I hope that one day you will be able to fulfill this dream. It was already mentioned, and I'm sure you know this, but men have a much longer timespan to reproduce than women. So you may be in your late 20's now but you don't know what will happen in the next 10, 20 years. You can guess, but you don't know for sure. Unlike me, who should finish having all her children in the next 3 years (I'm 32 and after 35, they say you are "at risk"). I feel pressure right now to have another kid and i'm only pregnant with my first! So I hope you can see that you have a little more leeway that you can be thankful for. I wouldn't count it out just yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
@icicle84 Yes I recognize too the feelings you speak of. To read your words feels like murmurings from the brighter past. I also used to feel that life was a miracle and gift that I wanted so much to share with a lover and then later on our child. Now I have to requestion my motivations though because a lot of times I feel life is more pain than happiness, and that to bring someone into this world is almost an act of cruelty.

@ethylester Thank you too for sharing the loving side of this desire, the one independent of utility and cold calculation. You're right that men have a little more time to work with. Sometimes I don't know if all the time in the world would be enough to untangle the mess that is my body and mind, to allow me to give love in a true and honest way. But anyway thank you for understanding and articulating the desire.
 

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@icicle84 Yes I recognize too the feelings you speak of. To read your words feels like murmurings from the brighter past. I also used to feel that life was a miracle and gift that I wanted so much to share with a lover and then later on our child. Now I have to requestion my motivations though because a lot of times I feel life is more pain than happiness, and that to bring someone into this world is in some ways an act of cruelty.
That's a very sad outlook to me, but honestly, I completely understand the disillusionment.

There have been times when I've been pretty close to that point myself. There's not really anything I can say, but ... I dunno how even to put it into words.

Yeah, absolutely, life is full of pain. But without knowing how dark the bad things are, we never would have any idea how bright the good things are.

I don't know when my perspective got to that, but I'm glad it has. Sometimes we INFP's can be (rightly) accused of dwelling on the negative rather than looking at the positive.

I think the trick for me is in appreciating the negative because it gives me more joy in the positive.

Yes, I've been stung by a bee, but it doesn't stop me from smelling the roses. And even in some ways, I appreciate that bee sting. Because it's a story of things working the way they should.

The bee was made with a stinger, and an impulse to protect itself and its colony. I as a human was made with the nerve endings to interpret the intrusion of a foreign body and poison as pain. The poison did its job and interrupted my normal functions, but my antibodies did their job in keeping me alive, and my skin did its job in reproducing itself and healing.

I guess that's why I can appreciate pain - because it provides an opportunity for healing. If we didn't know what it was to break, we wouldn't know what it is to mend.

And I feel like if, through my life, I give other people that blessed opportunity to LIVE ... and by life, I guess I just mean EXPERIENCE ... I don't know, the words I'm speaking sound very S to me - we N's are supposed to process through intuition.

But just to give someone the opportunity to experience both the joy and pain that I've experienced ... to know even the ugly because it gives so much greater appreciation for the beautiful ... I don't know, does that make sense?

Gosh, I am a romantic ...
 

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Part of the compilation of coming out was the thought I would never have children. Although watching my nieces and nephews grow up is very satisfying, I am relieved not to have the responsibility of being a parent.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yes, I've been stung by a bee, but it doesn't stop me from smelling the roses. And even in some ways, I appreciate that bee sting. Because it's a story of things working the way they should.

The bee was made with a stinger, and an impulse to protect itself and its colony. I as a human was made with the nerve endings to interpret the intrusion of a foreign body and poison as pain. The poison did its job and interrupted my normal functions, but my antibodies did their job in keeping me alive, and my skin did its job in reproducing itself and healing.
Yes that is an example of things working as they should... pain inflicted by nature. But human cruelty, is that still things working as they are supposed to? Can molestation and torture be deconstructed and made sense of too? Is that pain natural and necessary?
 
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