Four men on why they don’t want to have children

Some people choose not to have children. Four men share why they do not want any part of fatherhood.


Kiarie Kimani,32, photographer
By the time I was 19, I had figured out that having children of my own would be hard. I thought that feeling would pass, but when I got to 30 it became more apparent that I did not want to have children, at least not my own. This was perhaps because of my own insecurities, feeling like I would be inadequate as a father and not be physically there for my children, the way a dad should be. I did not feel like I had that paternal instinct. I can only hang around children for a short time and then I reach my tolerance threshold very fast. The only children I can stay with for long periods of time are those of friends I know very well, whose children I have bonded with from an early age.

With a partner, those are one of the things you raise early. If the lady feels being childless is not for them, then they are free to go and have them. I am a firm believer in letting people go when you need to. I cannot hold her prisoner.

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When people ask me about it, I remind them that children are good, but not for me. I do not owe anyone a child. It is not a debt I owe you and I do not owe it even to myself. I also ask them, if for some reason you and your partner cannot have a child, do you split? Adopt? I like to pose a variety of reasons for people to think harder about it.

It is a great responsibility to have children for some people, and I do not have it in me. So I feel it would be really selfish to bring a child that you cannot take care of into this world because if you are not present, it will be far more damaging to them.


Rodgers Ainsley, 26, statistician
I decided I do not want children the moment I realized that being a parent is more than just siring one. When you look around, there us a lot of gruesome evidence that there is a total failure in parenting. High school students are regularly caught taking drugs, and having orgies rather than focusing in school. I am also discouraged by how cold people are to each other. It is every man for himself. So why bring a child into all these?

There is always the desire to see yourself in someone else, but when I realised that there is more to it than that, reality set in. As a parent you have to make sure your children are well-behaved, well fed, get quality education relate well to other people and not only their friends and relatives, but also strangers as well. It is evident that many of the adults walking around today were not raised like that. I use the Bible to determine what good parenting and bad parenting looks like. David and Abraham were examples of good dads.

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I don’t talk about not wanting children a lot because when you speak your mind about it people think you are crazy. People start judging you and thinking you do not want to get married but you can. If I meet a good lady I will marry her. If she really wants children of our own I will ask her to imagine what it would be like if I was impotent. Sometimes you never know if you will be impotent, and as a Christian we do not test before marriage, we just hope. So we shall talk it out.

Why should we bring more children into the world when there are so many orphans? Why not take that opportunity to offer a child that is already here a chance to enjoy their life on earth? Even with Adam and Eve, it is clear God meant marriage for companionship. Procreation came later, so it was not the core of marriage.


Kabethi Kinyua, 50, a meditation instructor
People think having children is a default setting. I grew up thinking I would get married, then at some point I started questioning if I really would. I had assumed at some point it would just happen, then I eventually decided it would not. I love children, but I just do not think they have to be mine. I do not really think you can own a person, not even a child.

If I really love someone, do I really want to bring them into such a world? That is how I decided not to get any children. Having children would also limit me, because if you have children you have to focus on them. I live in Liberia now, doing volunteer work without a salary, and I am sure if I had children I would not be able to do that.

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I always had crazy ideas about children even when I thought I would get married. I used to think I would prefer to marry a woman who already had a child, so that I did not have to get another one. Because I would get to know that child that already exists, and there is no guarantee that my biological child they will turn out to be good. But if you already have a good child, it matters little to me whether they are my biological child or not.

Most people have given up on asking me about it and no longer ask me directly about children, but they ask when I will get a wife. They ask questions like, “What about carrying on your name?” “Who will carry your parents’ name forward?”First, I never do things because people expect me to. They may ask, but if I were to have that family, will they take care of it? So are they really concerned about me?

I do wonder, do people really remember people for their children or for what they did? Think of the great people you know. Do you know Mandela’s children? It is a very lazy way of thinking about it. If you want people to remember you, do things that they can remember you for. I do not begrudge those who have them, but do it for the right reasons, not to carry on your name.


Kiuri Mburathi,40, architect, DJ and meditation instructor
I had an intuition that I would not have children at the age of 13. I just kind of knew I would not get married, but I did not really know the reason. I realized what the reason was later on. And it is that it takes time and energy to raise children, and I have chosen to transfer that same time and energy to my spiritual journey.

I do not have a problem with children, I just chose differently for myself, once I realised the importance of my spiritual journey at around 24.

People who know me and who know what I am doing now understand me and my actions. My parents also understand it, and I give them great respect for doing their own investigations into what I had chosen to do. It does not mean that this path is of a higher value, it is just a different personal choice.

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ParenthoodFatherhoodParentingHaving Children