An 85-Year-Old Widow Wrote an Honest Letter to People Who Don’t Want Kids

year ago

When it comes to having kids of your own, that’s a decision that can’t be taken lightly. In recent years, the number of people that are postponing or deciding not to have kids is rising. According to some studies, the transition to parenthood, when you’re having your first child, can have a negative impact on your marriage. So it’s probably better to give it some deep thought before deciding to have them or not.

Our Bright Side team stumbled upon a very honest and informative letter from an older woman who decided with her partner not to have kids, and we wanted to share it with you.

A letter to young people who don’t want kids

Dear young people:

I was married for just over 50 years. We bucked the norm and did not want kids. In those days, we would say, “We’re trying,” for a while, and then, “We can’t have kids,” end of discussion. It was our little secret and nobody’s business. If we were honest and said, “We cannot have kids because we just don’t want them,” the fallout with family and friends would have been tough for us.

Our 50 years, in a nutshell, were perfect. We had good jobs, no money worries, and followed our own interests and hobbies. If I could go back in time, would I do it again? 100% yes. I would live the same life one thousand times.

This is my humble observation:

  • GROUP A: They have kids, have a great life, and all is perfect. I know many, so it can and does happen.
  • GROUP B: They have kids, it’s a hard life, and they have problems. Many wish they could have a child-free do-over.
  • GROUP C: They have kids and all is good, but then the empty nest and dwindling contact breaks their hearts.
  • GROUP D: This is the child-free group — I only knew a few.

I cannot give breakdowns and percentages for all the groups. The bottom line, in my experience, is GROUP D is always the happiest and most content. Of course, there are many happy people from GROUP A, too.

My husband died 10 years ago. I mourned him and still miss him every day. But being child-free means this; my life was never defined by kids. I had a strong network of friends and so many hobbies. I was able to move forward. Life goes on, and I have a full and happy life and a new partner.

My friends who have lost their partners and have kids have the common problem of their kids not giving them enough time. It upsets and hurts them. They are too reliant on them. They expect “payback” for all the time and money they spent on them.

Their interests and hobbies are sometimes nonexistent because everything is/was about their kids (and grandkids). One friend said this, which I never forgot: “The empty nest thing is real, it is like being dumped by the love of your life after 2 or 3 decades, but staying friends. It is never the same.” I now have a private apartment in a “rest home,” lovely friends, full busy days, and lovely staff.

Have a nice day.

This woman’s letter sparked an interesting conversation in the comment section, and our Bright Side team wanted to share some facts about this interesting subject.

  • According to a study conducted in the US, people that decide not to have children are just as content with their lives as people that do want them. But they were also judged a little bit more for their decision by people that wanted children.
    This might be due to some preconceptions, maybe people that want to have children think that childfree individuals are being selfish, maybe it’s just a different way of living that they’re not accustomed to, or maybe they think childfree people don’t like kids at all, which is not always true.
  • Another thing she mentioned in her letter was the time when kids have to leave the nest. Psychologists have talked about the dreaded Empty Nest Syndrome. When a child leaves the home, it’s normal to feel like your life is changing. Those changes can be more difficult if your everyday life was organized around your child’s needs and not your own.
    Parents have to understand that they are their own person and that their identities are just as important as their children’s. To mitigate the pain of the departure, parents can focus on developing new hobbies, setting goals in any aspect of their lives, reconnecting with old friends, having a healthy diet, etc. Understanding that parenthood is just a phase in their lives can also help, which can change their perspective on the matter.

At the end of the day, we have to remember that this has been one woman’s life experience. What worked for her might not work for you, and that’s okay. You might want to have kids of your own, and that’s okay too.

What are your thoughts on child-free marriages? Is that something you would like to try? Tell us your opinions in the comments — we’d love to read them.


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I have no problem with whether you are a parent or choose not to be. What I do object to as saying that it is a solution to an empty nest. Children and grandchildren are our future, parents need to consider their relationships with there partners as important too because we only get to have our children on loan to us for a brief time. This can be hard for some but if you have a good relationship with both your partner and your children their moving out should be seen as a positive thing. They have grown up and you have done your job. Having children or not is definitely a personal choice but don’t do it just because of society saying do it. because it must be right for you because having children it’s certainly an amazing honour to some of us( and yes my kids are grown). However if its not right for you don’t, there are too many children who are not wanted and that is way worse society is getting better at excepting families are different there is not just a nuclear family now a family maybe a man and a dog.


I am an older happily childfree woman. I have friends in different age groups and different cultures and I don’t look to my children as my aged care plan. I am so grateful to the second wave feminists who made it possible for me to choose a childfree life by getting a tubal ligation when I was 24. I was happy then and I am happier now.


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