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How did you realize that you did not want to become a parent?
For me, it wasn’t so much a case of not wanting to become a parent, it was a decision I made with my late wife. There were a few mitigating factors in our decision.
My late wife had a tough childhood and adolescent period because her mother and father were not the best of parents or care givers. They failed to protect her from repeated painful and damaging situations which could have been easily prevented. Because of this, she did not want to have children. She was scared to death she would be a bad mother too and ruin her child’s life. She loved children. My nieces were her pride and joy and she showered them with love and attention. Sadly, I could see she was missing something by not having children and by the time she realized how good of a mother she would have been, she fell ill with the cancer which ultimately took her life.
I was a career Sailor and 18 of my 21 years in the Navy were spent on Sea Duty which meant lots of deployments and time away from home. I just never thought it to be fair to leave her home to take care of our child for months on end year after year. It isn’t fair to the child either. About the time the child would get used to me being home, I would be packing to deploy again. There are many families who do it, but I made the choice (with my wife) not to put our family through it and I think it was the right choice for us at the time.
Now, I am 42 years old, and am remarried to an amazing and beautiful woman. This woman also happens to be the mother to my 2 beautiful stepdaughters (who own my heart). God help the person who ever hurts one of them, they will have to deal with pain they have never imagined.
So, here I am after having made the choice years ago to not have children. I even had a vasectomy fairly young to prevent the potential. My life now is full of love, laughter, tween giggles, teen drama, teen giggles, and a responsibility I love. I probably would have loved this responsibility all along and it leaves me wondering, what kind of dad would I have been? I am okay with my choice and the decision made long ago to not have kids, but I think I will always have the “what if” in the back of my mind. If my wife and I were to miraculously end up pregnant, I would consider myself even luckier than I already am. Either way, I love my stepdaughters more than I can explain and to me, they are my daughters in my heart.
What else matters? As I finish this answer, I am now looking at my screen through tears, how lucky am I to still get a chance to make a difference in a child’s life?! Just a couple short years ago, I was alone and empty inside. Now I have a beautiful family and love I could never have imagined to be this powerful.
The decision to have children makes a lot of decisions for you in your life, I am lucky beyond measure to have seen both sides of the equation. People who choose not to have children will probably never quite grasp the effort and love parents put forth on their children’s behalf, nor will they ever know how much your heart can swell when your 15-year-old daughter says, ” I love you, Joe, you are my big Teddy bear and I am so glad you are in my life.” Uggghhh Allergies.
Joe Hollelman is a Retired USN Chief Petty Officer, dog lover, gardner, fisherman, and shade. You can read more from Quora below: