The Psychological Effects of Not Having Children

The decision of whether or not you want to have children is a life-altering one. And so is the ability to have or not have children.

For some people, starting a family of their own is something that they have wanted since childhood. For others, bearing a child has never been on the top of their list of priorities, or anywhere on the list for that matter.

For both of these parties, the mental health issues that they have to go through are somewhat different, yet very similar. So let us see how both can impact a woman’s life in terms of mental health issues or rather, the psychological effects of not having children.

Voluntary Childlessness

Lots of people opt for not wanting to have a baby. And they have their own reasons for not having them. Needless to say, these are extremely personal issues, and it is better to always respect someone’s personal life decisions rather than judging them for it.

However, this is a much harder choice to make than most people can imagine. And the stress that a person is put through because of not choosing to have a child, is something that isn’t often talked about.

Let us talk about how women have to go through the aftermath of not wanting to have children.

The Endless Pressure from Society

As sad as it is, society has always put added pressure on women to live life a certain way. However, things are changing. And women are breaking this cycle of patriarchy by taking life-changing decisions like this on their own.

However, the constant pressure that they have to put up with can be exhausting and frustrating. While some can brush off what family members or society are saying, others have a hard time dealing with it. And this can have long-term mental health issues like depression.

Strain on Marriage

It is possible that you and your partner may not have discussed the specifics about having kids before getting married. Or you might have just put a pause on that decision because you thought you would feel differently afterwards.

However, it is possible for your partner to not be supportive of the decision that you have taken. In such cases, marriages may also not work out, or you might have problems working things out with your partner.

Family Pressure

Much like societal pressure, families may also not be supportive of you not wanting to have a child. And this can put a strain on your relationship with your parents, as well as the rest of your family members. So much so, that you may end up not being a part of social gatherings just to avoid the whole conversation of ‘why’ you do not want to have a baby.

Involuntary Childlessness

Cases of infertility have been on the rise for quite some time now. In these cases, both a man and a woman might be infertile. And this can put you through an immense amount of mental distress. Mostly because you did not have a part to play in this –

Coming to Terms with It

Infertility comes with its baggage of emotional distress that you would rather not put yourself through. However, it is something that you cannot run away from.

More often than not, most people with infertility have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that they cannot have a baby. It hurts a lot more when you have always wanted to have kids of your own someday.

Telling Your Partner

It is possible that you two have been trying for a baby for a while now with zero positive results. So, out of curiosity, you may have gotten tested, and found out about your infertility.

Unfortunately, not all partners are as supportive as they should be. And this may increase negative tensions between the two of you, causing depression, anxiety or giving rise to other mental health issues.

Unsupportive Family

This is one aspect that is similar to that of voluntary childlessness. The world really isn’t fair to some people. And it shows when your own family is not there for you on your sad days.

Not to mention, it is hard as it is to go through the emotional baggage of not being able to have kids.

So when your family members are not as supportive as you would expect them to be, it can really alter your mental health and well-being.

Society Trying to Shame You

As backdated as it sounds, there are some cultures or societies where people are still shamed for not being able to procreate. So if you are not around people who are sensible enough to respect your privacy, it can cause a great deal of pain for both you and your partner.

How to Deal With It?

The best way to deal with any sort of mental health issue is to go see a therapist. It can actually help you come to terms with certain things and gain a better perspective about the circumstances life has put you in.

Long-term depression can also give rise to other health problems like obesity, weight loss, lack of nutrition, and many more hazardous conditions.

If you are having problems with your marriage, a couple’s therapy might be of help for both of you. You can both try out the suggestions (if any) provided by the therapist and work on your marriage together.


As mentioned above, seeking therapy would be your best option for dealing with the aftermath of not being able to, or not wanting to have a child. It is an extremely personal experience that both you and your partner have to go through. This is why the judgment you receive from others isn’t something you should bother yourself with. Moreover, if it is a baby that you really want, there are lots of alternative methods of having children these days. Not to mention, you can always adopt one as there are so many orphans out there craving the love of parents that they were deprived of.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “The Psychological Effects of Not Having Children

  1. Being able to be fertile and bare children is a great blessing and should never be underestimated. I am a parent and grandparent and I thank God for this beautiful blessing. I found this very interesting that some individuals have different values with family planning.

  2. Oh yes stress is such a big factor in our lives. In my family the same problems carry on year after year. I now refuse to discuss them. My brother does not talk to because he says we must discuss the problem but it is him and my father. He says it will heal us. Not me its not my fight. They go home to their wives I go home on my own. I have being stressed with this. Not discussing this problem is healing for me. He is mot happy with me. Well its to bad. I have to think of me.

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