Having that talk about kids

shutterstock_108002708It takes just one conversation for couples to decide that they don’t want to have children, a new study suggests.

Lead author of the study, Edina Kurdi, of Middlesex University, said that 40% of the childless women she surveyed for a study had either not talked about having children, or had only discussed this once early in their relationship.

“Not having children is obviously a very important decision, and what was interesting from the research was the negligible amount of discussion that couples engaged in – many are agreeing not to have children in one conversation, or in an unspoken way,” a researcher on the study noted.

“One possible reason that couples did not need to talk about the issue much is that they could accurately sense their partner did not want children from their beliefs and lifestyle.”

Kurdi carried out an online survey that looked at responses from 75 UK women aged 35 and above who were childless. She interviewed nine of them face-to-face.

The survey asked about discussions the women had with their current partners about not having children. She found that 23 of the 63 who responded to the question, had decided not to have children after one conversation. Three others said that they had not talked about the issue at all.

One respondent said: “Negotiation? It only needed one brief discussion, along the lines of ‘I don’t want kids – do you?’, ‘Nope, me neither’. Then move onto something more interesting to talk about … and neither of us reconsidered our options. There was no need to.”

Another reported: “It never really got said, it was just realised by our actions – we had a two-seater car!”

Other responses included:

  1. “We didn’t discuss whether or not to have children, we were both child-free when we met.”
  2. “In both relationships, the issue of whether to have children or not was not a point of major discussion.”
  3. “To be honest, it was never a serious discussion. I never reached that stage when I thought I must have this conversation.”
  4. “There is no discussion, I don’t want kids and I would never bother to pursue a romantic relationship with someone who did, it would be a pointless endeavour.”
  5. “We didn’t discuss really, just mutually agreed. There was no issue to discuss.”
  6. “We were prompted to discuss based on conversation and pressure from friends and family but neither of us wanted kids.”

Kurdi, a Lecturer at Middlesex University, said the result was, “somewhat surprising and very interesting”.

She adds: “Not having children is obviously a very important decision, and what was interesting from the research was the negligible amount of discussion that couples engaged in – many are agreeing not to have children in one conversation, or in an unspoken way. One possible reason that couples did not need to talk about the issue much is that they could accurately sense their partner did not want children from their beliefs and lifestyle.”