Kith and Kin

How nature and nurture shape relationships

The Maternal Myth

Surely all women must have a maternal instinct or the human race would die out. Some women don’t seem very interested in having babies but that can’t be normal—can it? Read More

Sadly the children will suffer.

A woman I know had a child, neglected it, then unwisely had a second child because her hubby wanted another. Both children were taken away due to extreme neglect. The kids are living with the grandparents and have a wide variety of learning difficulties and psychological problems. IF YOU DON'T WANT KIDS, DON'T HAVE THEM.

That's a sad situation...

but it takes two to make a baby. Doesn't sound like the father was much use in this family.

You are correct.

The father isn't of any use to anybody, both parents substance abusers.

That really is tragic for the children....

unfortunately when an addict has a chemical reward - nothing else - not even their own children, can hope to compete.


please, help me to understand one thing, are you in some how saying it is wrong not to want to have kids?


quite the opposite!

Great Post

We explore the reasons women have first babies later in life and the TRUE affects of age on fertility & maternal/infant outcomes in our PT blog Beyondtheeggtimer. We initially hypothesized that the economy and life situations (particularly meeting a partner later in life) explained the delayed childbearing and then subsequent lower birth rate but I think your discussion about instinct rings true with many women. We have interviewed quite a few women who did not have that drive until they were in their mid thirties.

Thanks -

I'll go over and take a look.

+50% of all pregnancies are unplanned

Even in this age of reliable, safe contraceptives +50% of pregnancies are unplanned.
I think we have a biological drive to have sex, not reproduce. Women have an urge for a 'baby' which is very different from wanting children. Puppies are cute until they grow up. But teenagers, old people, sterile people have sex; it feels good & it's (sometimes) enjoyable.
I knew as a kid that I didn't want kids. Thank heavens for voluntary sterilization. If only society made it easier for people who really wanted it! Most doctors won't do it if you've never had kids, even if you have enough to pay out of pocket! Some reproductive freedoms we have, public assistance to pay for an abortion but you're prohibited from permenantly preventing them? Hello? Voluntary sterilization prevents abortions AND child abuse! Arrrgh!

I wonder....

if there were no more unplanned pregnancies maybe the human race would die out. Gill

Every child a wanted child!

No more unplanned pregnancies means every child would be a wanted child. Unless of course, you think hundreds of thousands of children waiting to be adopted is a really, really good thing?
The human race would not die out without unplanned pregnancies, but it would definitely be much smaller. And probably happier & healthier, too!


Many countries with family planning are not replacing their population - i.e. they are having less the 2 children per 2 adults per generation. If that pattern were repeated across the world the human race would actually die out. I make no judgement about that (not sure that I care that much either way) - it's just an observation.

I do think children should be wanted - but most unplanned children are well-loved by their parents and sadly, many planned children are not actually well-cared for. So it's just not that simple. People think they want something - but the reality is different.

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Gillian Ragsdale, Ph.D. is an Associate Lecturer in biological psychology with the Open University, in the U.K.


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