Help! Will I regret not having a child?
You can create a family of affinity
I’m 37 and married. With a hectic work life, my husband and I decided not to have a family. While I don’t miss having a child in my life, I often wonder if I’m missing out on something important. Will we spend our old age in loneliness with no one to check on us? — Name withheld
It is a profound question to contemplate if you and your husband will be lonely in your old age with nobody to check on you if you do not have children. I hope you and your husband will age gracefully and enjoy good health and a sharp mind, so that you can remain active, independent and self-reliant throughout your lives!
I would like you to think about special family members and friends in your life. Having a deep and meaningful relationship with a niece or nephew, for example, will create a lifelong bond of love and caring. If you do not have extended family, you can create a family of affinity. This family would be comprised of special friends and their children with whom you can share a deep connection and mutual support.
You and your husband have made a decision not to have children, based on your lifestyle and not missing a child in your lives. I am inclined to suggest that you revisit the topic with your husband and have a thorough talk about it. If your only concern is not to have a child to look after you when you are old, then you need to talk to your husband about ways you can be supportive of each other, now, and into your later years.
Keep in mind that raising children can be very rewarding, and many are there to help their parents in their old age. However, children do not come with such a guarantee, and parents can still find themselves alone in their old age, even if they have had children. Build on your relationship with your husband, and as long as you have each other, you can face the future together.
(Dr Annette is integrated psychotherapist at CHMC, Dubai. Got a query? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org)