Marie Forleo introduction

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I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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It was just a matter of time before this Q popped up here on MarieTV.

Truthfully, versions of this have been asked before, but they were always worded in such a judgmental, sexist way that I ignored them. But Talya’s question is different.

She’s having a serious conversation with herself and wondering, “Should I have kids?”

I could tell by the gentle nature and careful wording that she was genuinely curious about how I came to my decision. As you may or may not know, I do have a step-son who came into my life when he was nine.

But not having biological kids, and the decision-making journey behind it, is a topic not often spoken about in public.

Mostly due to the vitriol and punishment that gets piled upon women whose choices defy societal expectations.

You don’t need to look for permission to live the way you want. You already have it. Click To Tweet

The things people have said to me — usually right to my face — have left me shaking my damn head. I’ve heard it all including…

“What a shame!” “You’re so selfish.” “You’re WASTING your DNA!” “You’ll regret this.” “Oh, you’ll change your mind, just wait.” “You’re going to die . . .  A L O N E!”

Whether it’s about not having kids or making some other major life choice that goes against the grain, today’s episode is about having the courage to listen to your inner wisdom and live a life true to yourself.

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

Listen Now

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, I’ve love to hear from you. As I shared in the episode — we are not giving advice to Talya on whether or not she should have kids. We are not going there people!

Also, I have countless friends who desperately want children but are having extraordinary difficulty, for a wide variety of reasons. That’s *not* what we’re talking about in this episode, nor is it the focus of this discussion.

Instead, let’s center our conversation here:

Have you ever wrestled with a big life choice because what you’re considering goes against the grain?

What helped you navigate your decision and what insight did you gain from that experience?

Share as much detail as you can. Because thousands of incredible souls come here each week for insight and inspiration. Your story may be just what someone else needs to have a major breakthrough!

Important: please share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments. Links to other posts, videos, etc. may be removed.

Because I’ve been on the receiving end of some truly ignorant remarks on this topic, we’re ensuring that our comment section remains positive and forward moving.

That means we’ll gleefully remove any comment that can be perceived as sexist, hateful, accusatory, inflammatory, mean or bigoted. Use the T.H.I.N.K test before you post.

Is this True?

Is it Helpful?

Is it Inspiring?

Is it Necessary?

Is it Kind?

Thank you so much for watching, sharing and continuing to be a part of my world.

Remember, you don’t need to look outside yourself for permission to live how you want to live. Just keep paying attention to that feeling deep in your heart. All the wisdom you’ll ever need is already there.

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518 comments

  1. Hey Marie & Team Forleo,

    I struggle with this on a daily basis. I always find myself getting ridiculed for the way I do business, and people always find the way to tell me that “my way” of listening to people like you, Marie, is hopeless and unrealistic. That I need to hustle in a different way other than B-School, because entrepreneurship is not based on education but on experience. yadda yadda yadda.

    Of course, this gets me so worked up, but I know in the end that I’m right. But I can’t lie and tell you and say that it doesn’t get me, because it does. Especially because I don’t have any concrete success. Yet.

    Still love what you do Marie, and keep going girl 😉

    Love,
    Hadeel.
    B-schooler since 2015.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Success comes in many different ways, Hadeel. And the knowing you have in your heart is part of what success looks like. Thank you, so much, for being here. xo

  2. Emerald O'Brien

    Great video. When I saw the title, I was like, oooh she went there! I’m so glad you did!
    Like you, Marie, I’ve never felt that having kids would be the right fit for my life. It’s something I’ve felt since late childhood. As you touched upon in the video, it would be great if that’s where the conversation ended. A woman making her own informed choice and feeling like she was respected without having to seek their approval.
    The truth is, those examples you gave are just some of the things I’ve heard often after getting married as well. Others include “You’re robbing your husband from the gift of being a father.” despite the fact that he has also decided he doesn’t want kids, and “Who will look after you when you’re old?” as if one of the main reasons to have a child is so that they can be tasked with taking care of you later in life. Unfortunately, the people who say that might not realize that just because people have kids, doesn’t guarantee they’ll be close as a family (by relationship or distance) later in life, never mind take care of them.
    For anyone who has been confronted with all of these statements and questions, just as Marie said, you know you best. Maybe you’ll change your mind and maybe you won’t, but it’s your decision. Such an empowering message we need right now. Thanks to Marie and the team for this one!

    • Hey Marie and hey Emerald, oh how do I see / hear / feel where you’re coming from and what you’ve heard over the years..! I’ve been through the same – as you rightly said, Marie, you know in your heart of hearts what is right for you and what is not, and children were not. Heard it all over the years, still hearing it now .. and it still drives me mad! but your suggested answers, Marie, will be useful (rather than my usual blunt reply of … who are you to stick your nose in my business?..!). At the end of the day, if more women were asking themselves the same question before giving in to family / friends / peers’ pressure, there might be less unwanted kids around looking for adoption or being left to their own device way too young in life. Thanks so much for yet another insightful episode of Marie TV, I try to watch them all even if it’s a few weeks (or months..!) later than released! Hugs to all xx

      • Keri

        I really enjoyed this message today. Not only have I chosen not to have children, I have also chosen not to marry. I knew early on that if I did ever get married it would be later in life. As for having kids, I’ve felt for most of my life that I’m not suited for parenthood. The most ironic bit is that I have finally found my purpose and guess what? It’s writing children’s books. When I tell people that I write for children I am often asked whether I have kids and I just laugh and say, ”no – I just refuse to grow up”.

        But when you’re a woman of a certain age, who has chosen not to marry or have kids, you can often get the pity looks and comments. ”Oh poor you, no one wanted to marry you and have babies with you.” Although I used to feel compelled to explain myself, I don’t do that anymore. I just see it as that person trying to justify their own life decisions. So if they need to feel good about themselves by pitying me so be it. I get to go and live my fabulous life on my terms, knowing that I made the decisions that were right for me.

        • Brandy

          Actually, Dr. Seuss was notorious for not really liking kids! 🙂

        • Clare

          Hi Keri,
          I totally get where you’re coming from 🙂 I’ve decided not to have kids either, and my calling is also to write children’s books. Sometimes the juxtaposition perplexes me, but it feels right. Sharing my knowledge (I’m a naturopath/nutritionist) and empowering kids to choose healthy, happy futures using words and images is my contribution to our upcoming generations. And I get to sleep as much as I like too 😉 All the best with your books, Clare

          • Flower

            That’s really great Clare, your chosen vehicle to spread your health message, love it ❤

    • When I opened my email this morning I was really surprised to see this as the topic. Pleasantly surprised! I have not led a traditional life: from my stance on marriage, and my decision not to have kids (I’ve known having biological kids are not my purpose in life since I learned to walk, which my mom says was exhibited by the games I played as a child, including “Boss Girl,” “Veterinarian,” “Writer” and “Park Ranger,” rather than “House” or “Mommy”), to the career path I took as an independent editor/writer and yoga instructor. People have told me (somewhat scoldingly) that they wouldn’t work in creative or holistic fields because it’s “too risky.” They have said how my stance on marriage (which is that I find the “institution of marriage” potentially self-defeating and the term quite appropriate despite the fact that I am, indeed, a married woman, and therefore, a hypocrite–having married for the tax and legal benefits) is disingenuous; and that my decision not to have kids is selfish and will render me regretful when I get older. To them, I make no claims or defenses because I don’t owe any. Just as my friends and family do not need my approval to build their lives the way they want. So, my response is usually a few simple questions: “Is selfishness solely defined by a person’s actions or inactions? Have you ever met a person who hasn’t felt lonely or regretful at one point or another in life? Can you or anyone you know see into the future and thereby eliminate all risk from future actions?” Aside from the occasional snarky remark, the answer is typically a resounding “no” to each question. Of course, selfishness, loneliness, and regret are part of the human experience from time to time. But when it comes to making big life choices, it would be poor self-care to embody a life a person knows is not a fit for them. It’s an act of love to listen to one’s self and to know one’s self well enough to follow through with what they know is right. Therefore, it’s the opposite of selfish. If I had a kid just because my parents or friends thought I should, I would be disregarding my relationship with my best friend/husband, my own values, and the life of the child, who would now have to live with parents who begrudgingly brought them into this world. That, to me, would be the ultimate selfish act; trying to please or get approval from others by doing something that I know is not in my best interest. Full disclaimer: I am a very fortunate person because I am surrounded by supportive, loving people who have embraced my life choices and respect my intuitive way of living. My run-ins with people who disapprove of my life choices are minimal. I truly believe that when we follow our hearts (aka intuition or gut instinct) rather than abiding by society’s expectations, we have a better chance at happiness. When we live authentically in our intuitive selves, we attract others who do the same and accept us for who we are. To me, the only disingenuous act would be living my life based on someone else’s values.

      • Elise

        All beautiful responses, but this response was what I needed today. The “ultimate selfish act” – abiding by ego over the heart. Andrea, thank you

      • Amy

        Wow. That was so eloquently and concisely said. I may be taking a nod from you with your pointed, but kind responses to people. Your response is helping me to get over this ridiculous guilt for not pleasing others who don’t have to live my life and to stand strong, so thank you for sharing! All the best to you for being you!

  3. I absolutely love your answer. I love kids, my nieces and nephews are the best, but it was never something I wanted. Like you said it was never on the table for me. I have considered being a foster parent though. I’ve never wavered from my position but boy do people try to convince me otherwise….Frankly it’s exhausting.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Thanks so much for watching and commenting, Caroline. We’re so glad you found this helpful.

    • Andrea Stuart

      I love being an auntie! In fact, when I was a kid, another game I used to play was “auntie.” I always looked up to mine and still do. The day I became one I cried so hard (being an only child, I didn’t know if I’d ever get the chance). I often tell people that my purpose in life is to soften the lines around the hard parts of life for others.

    • Amy

      Exhausting and emotionally draining is right! I would never dare tell someone how to live their life and yet I have been told by more than one person that I am lying to myself and they are psychic and can feel the lie and how it’s just fear keeping me from a dream I don’t realize I have. Well, I say let me learn the hard way, but I won’t go against my gut anymore in life because that’s when I have the most regrets. Thank you for sharing! Here’s to our emotional strength and health! 🙂

  4. Marie, I’m sooo glad you’ve opened up this conversation! So many women struggle with this decision thinking they are doing something wrong if they don’t want kids! I always share with my friends and clients, do what feels right to YOU in your heart of hearts. There is no such thing as right and wrong or shoulds.

    I think this also occurs when people are deciding whether to have multiple children. I have one 5 year old son, it took me 3 years to conceive, so when he acts up I remind myself how much I wanted him! But only having one child also “goes against the grain” and I know that I now want to focus on my business, not have any more children. People keep asking me when I’m going to have another one, but it’s not their life, it’s mine!

    Thank you for all you do, I’ll be sharing this video with my membership community. xo And thanks for B School in 2018 – it has been a huge boost to my biz!!

    • Heather-Team Forleo

      Congratulations on your beautiful business success and your son, Melissa. Here’s to less ‘shoulds’ in life, and more joy. We’re so glad you’re in the B-School family.

    • Maria

      The judgement on having an only child is almost as bad as the child-free by choice.

      • Yep, isn’t that crazy??

        • Christina Lenkowski

          Totally agree – I also have one child (struggling to decide on having a second), and people are constantly commenting on it. The comment I make a lot when people ask (that usually shuts them up) is “Our Family is complete right now.” As I go through B-School right now it is helping me follow my intuition more and more! 🙂

  5. I struggled with the same choice at 40, after both my parents had passed away and my 10-year relationship ended. I knew that unless I made an active choice vs just waiting to see how life would unfold, I may have regrets. So when I was doing my first solo trip to New Zealand, this was one of the things I chose to work through. I got quiet with myself, journaled, listed pros and cons, and finally came to my active choice not to puruse having kids. And I reserved the right to change my mind in the future. It quieted the debate in my mind and gave me peace on my choice. I wish you the same peace.

    • Love that you traveled to New Zealand, that’s my home country! It’s an amazing place eh? Good spot for regrouping that you did with all those beautiful open spaces. xo

    • Stephanie

      I love this, Jennifer, especially the part where you reserve the right to change your mind. YEEES! That really clicked for me. Thank you!!

      • Maria

        Love that part too! I reserve the right to change my mind. So liberating!

    • Hi Jennifer and Melissa – from New Zealand! I mean, I’m still here in NZ 🙂 I love travelling, but I’m always desperate to get home.

      And I have, effectively, chosen not to have kids. That’s the short version. Now my standard response to the question “have you got children?” is “no biological ones”.

      Have you read Caitlin Moran’s fabulous book “How to be a woman”? (now THERE’S a great guest for Marie TV). Caitlin Moran has one chapter titled “Why you should have children”, and the following chapter is “Why you SHOULDN’T have children”. There is also a chapter on her abortion (She desperately wanted to keep the unplanned pregnancy, but didn’t feel her mental health would survive a third baby nor would she be able to continue being a good-enough mother to her two girls.)

      Best wishes and 🙂 from NZ,
      Rebecca

  6. Marianne

    Ohhhhh my goodness!!!! Thank you SOOOOOO much for this!!!! I’m told daily that I’m going to regret not having kids and that I’m making a mistake. And what I find SOOO interesting is that people are cool with you “trusting God” or your intuition about so many things BUT NOT whether to have kids or not. I tell people, I think if God wanted me to have kids he would have given me a desire for them/broody, instead of play an almighty trick on me by giving me no desire and then in 15 years say “hahahaha too late! you should have had kids!”
    My passion is building women up to their best selves in their lives – especially mums who give out to everyone else, so I know Ive been given a BIG purpose in this and in no way makes me less of a woman/less fulfilled. I’m birthing businesses/ideas/books etc so my womanhood and womb are still fulfilling their DNA of giving birth – just not to a child.
    Thanks again! SO helpful and reassuring xx

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      We LOVE hearing about your dreams, Marianne. Trusting that still, small voice and knowing your purpose is such a beautiful journey to witness. Thank you for being here and serving amazing women in the world.

    • Wow.. this is really powerful. Birthing books, ideas etc. Indeed, Be fruitful and multiply was never just about having children 😊

    • Trina

      Beautifully put Marianne. I believe all women have a bountiful Creative Fertility and the wonderful thing about this is that it never leaves and quite often, comes into its own power after the years of concentrating on bringing up a family and caring for elderly parents. Many years ago (almost 30) , my choice was not to breast feed but I felt I couldn’t admit that. So when I gave birth to twins, I used the excuse that my cesarean scar didn’t allow for comfortable feeding and no one tried to discuss it again thank goodness. But this choice caused a lot of anxiety during my pregnancy. Once I was relieved of this concern, I was much better able to enjoy my babies and felt I coped better than I would have done if I were breast feeding. This is NOT my advice to other mothers. I knew my body and was certain of my preference. Thank you so much Marie for opening this discussion so very thoughtfully.

    • Carol Landry-Fiske

      Marianne, so funny because I was adamantly not having kids being #2 of 7 kids . Well, just as I trusted God to guide me in all of my life so did I listen when after 6 years of marriage we decided yes we did want to have a child or two. I grew up in a small Southern town and every time we would go visit we’d hear ” when are you having kids”. Or I would go to Puerto Rico, where I was originally from and friends of the family would ask isn’t it time you started a family. I was always: Nope, not going to have any. My mom…the mother of 7…would tell her friends to bug off that if I wanted kids I would have them when I wanted and if I didn’t it was fine because that was my decision. (I still don’t understand why she didn’t stop with me #2??)

      One day I got this “feeling” and told my husband I think it’s time we consider children, he was ok, fine. Looking back now 30 some years later, we would of been financially richer…by a lot…but would of missed our joy of raising two fine children and now enjoying our grands. However, it is not for everyone and I know many fine Christian families including 2 siblings who do not have children as they never felt the “urge” to do so.
      I chose to put my career on hold and raise a family. However, I volunteered…I built skills I would not have today and made connections. I discovered causes I was interested in through my children. As the years went by I was not the same person I was at 30, none of us are, but rather I was a more enriched person. I’ve travelled the world, had opportunities I never dreamt of, and at 62 am building a business in an industry I knew nothing about but ironically did a 9th grade science project on..lighting.
      People asking you about having children makes me think of the many wonderful people who point out to me that if I joined their fitness program I would be healthier, happier, whatever. It’s my story…God gave me a brain and I use it to make the decisions that affect me.

    • Flower

      So true Marianne, I love that you are birthing ideas and a business to build women up and if you had kids you wouldn’t have the time to do your mission justice. Some of us women are here to birth other things to support humanity that’s not in the form of a human child. Wishing you every success with your mission ❤

    • Amy

      Your response about God not having jokes is brilliant! I laughed out loud and may have to use that one and silently send happy energy and love your way for being united on this. THANK YOU, Marianne!!

  7. Dot

    Hey Marie, I struggle with this and have struggled with it my whole life. I was both a mother of three children and a full-time career woman. My struggle against societal expectations came in that I am not naturally monogamous, and preferred to have several well curated and vetted partners at one time in my life. I have been shamed by every corner of society Though for a man that seems to be a symbol of power and success. I still haven’t totally resolved it but at nearly 60 years old I almost don’t care anymore. Thanks for your great example!

    • Kathy

      Dot! Thank you for your post. I have recently opened my marriage and am exploring new connection – felt totally against the grain in the beginning, but now just feels like this is the natural way I’m meant to live. Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Christine B

      Dot – About a year ago I read an article on CNN.com that humans are not naturally monogamous. It is society’s expectation that make us so. Kudo’s to you for sharing your going against the grain experience….and I hope you continue to live life the way you want, minus judgements and secret envy from others. Life is too short to live on other’s terms and expectations.

  8. Julie

    Bravo! 👏 Big applause. We need to stop asking permission! And, we need to support each other and encourage to take our own path, the one that is best for us.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Julie

  9. Andreina

    Amazing! I’m not the only one wrestling with this. The “idea” of having a family seems good, but taking care of kids it’s a whole ‘nother story. I want to have my own business and that’s sounds to me like having a kid. I’ll go for that.

  10. Claudia

    I’ve recently having thoughts about quiting my corporative life style and take a one or two year break, living in a very, very small town into the deep mexican jungle. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and now I am getting to the point where financially and emocionally feel ready. The reason why I want to do this, relies into my heart, I do not know what is waiting for me, but my soul really agrees with me on this, I know.
    Sadly my family and some friends are always advising me that I should thunk this better, because I have a well pay job, a 10 year old child, and a lot of “potential” to keep growing in my job… But that is not what I want right now. I wish they could support me on my decition. I know they want to prevent me from suffer, because they love me, but I am decided and I am going to do it.
    I apologize if I had some gramatical mistakes, I am writting from my office in Mexici City 😂

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Thank you for sharing so honestly, Claudia. It’s so hard when the people we love in our lives aren’t supportive of a dream. The thing is, it’s your life. You are the one living it. Trust that you will do what’s right for what you know to be true in your heart and dreams. We only get one chance to live this life. Making choices that are right for ourselves is the most important thing to honor who we are and what we want. Sending you a big Team Forleo hug. xo

    • Claudia, I really want to encourage you to follow your heart’s desire. I had several similar situations with my family and they didn’t get me at all which made me very sad. But in the end going away for a while helped me to develop myself some more and this maturity also helped to heal wounds with my parents and siblings. And although I am living far away from them, I have now better and healthier relationships with them. For me following my heart was essential to be true to myself. And whilst being on my journey I tried and try still to communicate very well, so that the sorrows my parents (mostly them) have, aren’t too extreme. But it’s still challenging. I wish you all the best and that you find the strength to go your way and find also calming and healing words for each person.
      Love from NYC, Kati

      • Kati,
        Well said. I have a similar experience. It took moving halfway across the country to make my family relationships better. I’m still working on it though. It can be tough with different time zones and not feeling guilt for not going home for every [insert holiday/birthday]. In the end, I’m thriving as a person where I’m at, even if it means leaving my family to start my own adventure with my spouse.

    • Hey Claudia,
      Trust your heart! It took me sooo long to be brave enough to follow my heart instead of people who only judge with who they are/ what they know/ what they’re scared of.
      You’ll make it happen, I’m sure.
      Greetings from sunny Gibraltar, on a hammock, on a sailboat. Back in 2015, I had never set foot on a sailboat but had this dream of crossing oceans one day. 3 years later, 9000 nautical miles and à ocean crossing later, I know who I am and what I want. When I come up with a new idea and project, the same people might discourage me but others listen and others now ask for advice.
      Go for your dream Claudia. Nature is the best inspiration!
      Cuidate
      Perrine

  11. UH

    Thank you for being so open to share your personal view on this, Marie! I know of so many women who didn’t want children who have received all sorts of patronizing advice on this. Actually, even I got it, although I did want kids – I just couldn’t have any. It feels liberating when women like you, who speak to such large audiences say something so empowering!

  12. Marie – thank you so much for bringing this up! So many times, NOT having kids isn’t seen as a viable choice or even one that’s put on the table – leaving people (men and women) growing up assuming it’s inevitable. The more women that speak out about not wanting them, the less it will seem strange!
    To take the long view, like Marie mentioned in the video ….. I always think about how I want life to be when I’m 70. That does not include grandchildren. It also meant living in my long term home, which meant that I was a 20-something house hunting with things like “one story” “brick = low maintenance” “can I put a ramp on this” “could I modify the bathroom for old age” and other criteria were high on the list. My gut told me to walk away from a lucrative, easy job because at 70 I wanted to at least know I tried.
    Think about three generations down the line, did you leave the world a better place than you found it?

    • Christine B

      Katie – Kudos to your vision !

  13. Marie, I hear you saying that you’ve heard a lot of ‘suggestions’ from the people around you about the regrets. They are either not a parent or they are a parent who thought they are the expert in others life (particularly a parenting expert who is better than other parents). As a mother of two, I respect a lot to women and couples who know what’s the best for them.

    I went against the main stream idea of not having long distance relationship. I had long distance dating, marriage, parenting and didn’t get the luxury to move into the same city with my husband until our first children became eight months old. Was it hard? Yes you bet. Was it worth it? Yes – I’m super happy today because I’ve chosen a path that my inner voice told me to do so. If I’d followed the main streams and my friends’ ‘kind suggestions’, I’m sure I’d regret that I hadn’t given this relationship a chance to strive.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Amazing reflections, Katherine. We so appreciate you taking the time to share them here. xo

  14. Karen

    I knew I didn’t want children since I was 10 years old, so I didn’t have to navigate this decision at all. I never liked dolls either; always wanted a race car set for Christmas but Santa never delivered. I’ve moved on, though (I think 😉 ). I’ve heard things like “You’ll change your mind when you meet the right man.”; “You’re a woman, so you have to have children. It’s what you’re supposed to do.”; “You will regret it later in life.”; “Who will take care of you?” Some people meant well, yet were/are ignorant. When I visit my hospice patients in assisted living centers and nursing homes, there are hundreds of people who had children and are completely alone. They rarely, if ever, get visitors so having children doesn’t guarantee you will be “taken care of” when you’re older. Most of my life’s decisions have apparently made others feel uncomfortable, yet I live without regrets. Truly. Zero. I knew who I am and what I want, and have since I can remember. At times, I’ve taken long, bumpy roads along my journey yet I’ve come out the other side stronger than ever. Stay true to yourself and you will live a life of peace.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      The gift of living without regrets is a beautiful one to give yourself, Karen. Here’s to more people living with peace like you are.

    • Flower

      Oh Karen, that could have been me writing that post. I also knew from when I was a young child I didn’t want kids, I had no interest in dolls, teddy bears etc I was much more comfortable playing with my brothers trucks or climbing trees. My mom use to tell me off for saying I didn’t want kids…..who’ll look after you when your old/ you’ll change your mind etc. You can’t control another human being and produce them so they’ll look after you when you’re old. We are all individuals with our owns dreams and desires to be fulfilled. I am here to be me, maybe I will meet someone and have kids or not, if not it wasn’t for me. I also know many people who sacrificed love and having a family just so they could look after elderly parents as they felt obliged or pressured to do this! Choice is the key, do what feels right for you in your heart ❤

  15. I am a 61 year old woman and a recent widow. I also knew in my heart at a very young age that motherhood would not be for me. I have never regretted this decision. When my husband died 10 months ago, I realized I just need to put a plan in place for my later years, where most people hope their children will step in. It’s not a given that your children will take care of you in your old age anyway. The reaction I get when people realize I never had kids is sympathy. I have to laugh because this is not sad to me. I am grateful I chose this path and have never looked back with regret. Thanks for a great episode, Marie!

    • Beth… so very sorry about your husband’s passing. It’s a trying time, to be sure. I’m in your age bracket, and believe me… we are not old. I had a dear friend who once told me that she would not admit to being old until she was well into her nineties, and even then she might not say it out loud. She died at 95, just after she returned from Paris and not once did I ever hear her mention the “O” word.

      We are merely in another chapter of our lives, a chapter that can be just as exciting and fulfilling as any other chapter. I have two grown children, and would never expect them to step in or would I want them to. I can’t imagine living under their “rules.” And for me, that’s what it would be if I allowed them to help out. Like you, I’ve always been a very independent woman, despite having been married for most of my life. I’ve had a great career in electronics, and for the past 15 years, I’ve been a successful writer. I intend to go on with my writing career well into the future. I get that same advice…isn’t it time you let your kids take care of you? It makes me cringe. No. Never… at least that’s my plan. Like you, I made up my mind very early about children. I never challenged that decision, but I know many women who came to the opposite decision around that same time. When I was much younger I couldn’t imagine not wanting children. However, as I matured I realized that for many of us, a child was never an option. Either way, it’s our own personal decision and either way it’s up to us to live the life we choose. That’s what really matters. We must be true to ourselves.

    • Christine B

      Beth Parker – you have an amazing insight about this issue. I am around your age and look and feel super amazing with no kids due to medical issues in the past. You just have to make plans for yourself. I do ponder what to do with myself in 20 years. I am financially independant having worked hard to retire early and I can do what I want and go where I want even tho I have a spouse.. I heard on Dr. Phil talking to Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. The good thing is that, you’re the only one in control. The bad thing is that,
      you’re the only one in control. It’s how you frame everything.

    • Beth,
      I have been widowed at 24 and again at 62. I do not have children, and I do not regret not having them. It is the path of my life. I don’t feel regretful, empty, or torn by my children not making the decisions I would have made, were I in their shoes.
      The reality is, some of us were not meant to be parents. And it is okay to own your decisions.
      There aren’t any guarantees in this life, so the 10 year rule is as good as it gets when making long term decisions.

  16. Peter Drucker, credited with the founding of management science, wrote about the hard decisions where you are in effect at a fork in the road. He proposed a solution.

    Figure out the two choices. Expect that based on what you know now, there is no clear right answer or winner. Rather than worry about it, decide which decision can be the most easily reversed or unwound. Pick that choice. If, in the future, it becomes clear the other choice was better, you can ‘reverse’ and go in the other direction.

    Very close to when Marie said that if she felt she wanted to change her mind about what ever it was she picked, she would figure it out then.

  17. Thank you Marie – great advice. Although I have not been in this exact situation I have something I feel was pretty similar. I’m 64 and 2 years ago was in a job that was pretty cool, a great boss, salary people envied, benefits like crazy and not too far from retirement. I listened to my intuition, my gut, that told me this was not the job for me anymore.
    Not logical given all of the above… I resigned with 6 months notice and started my own DreamBuilding Coaching business and have not looked back! Did people tell me I was crazy and should just stick it out? Yes! But I listened to my intuition and when it’s coming from your true self, it will never steer you wrong.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      YES Demara! What a beautiful example of following your intuition and going after your dreams. So many people will be inspired by you and your example. That’s how you change the world. xo

  18. Kimberly

    I am struggling with the decision to end my 24 year marriage and find myself struggling with walking away from the very thing I wanted for so long. Which was security, stable finances, etc. etc. Over the past 10 years I was unhappy but tried to bury it which was a huge mistake and led to the build up of resentments and hurts. Leaving 10 years ago would have been much easier but I lacked the skills, courage, and vision. I have it now and am working towards it. I think for me the takeaway is to trust the little voice inside no matter how outlandish it may seem. I cannot look at myself in the mirror in another 10 or even five years and know I stayed out of fear. I am working on finding a new job so I can move on and have something to look forward to. I’m not sure how I’ll do this but know I must. This is my truth and like my decision to not have children, it goes against the grain. But it is right. And I’ll get there. Thank you very much for this post. So important for women to understand they have the right to do what they choose and to not hand over their future to the voices of those who are so quick to judge. xo

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Kimberly, thank you for sharing with an open heart in such a beautiful way. We’re so sorry to hear that life is a bit tough right now for you. Trust that where you are, right now, is supported by everything that you have in your mind and in your heart. You deserve joy and happiness and that still, small voice that Marie talks about is always guiding you. Sending you so much love. xo

    • Judy

      Sending you strength, Kimberly. When my divorce became final I had been married for over 27 years and had 5 children. Walking out into my own uncertain future alone, keeping my relationship with my former husband amicable and productive and continuing to make decisions that both honored who I am and did not trample all over my children was very challenging. And the first year has had its emotional challenges because giving up on such a dearly cherished goal is hard and we don’t just bounce back like beach balls and go merrily on our way. So hang in there. Take just one step at a time. And surround yourself, if possible, with people who love and support you for who you are.

    • Stephanie

      Oh my gosh, yes, Kimberly. You stated this so beautifully. “So important for women to understand they have the right to do what they choose and to not hand over their future to the voices of those who are so quick to judge.” This is the number one lesson I’m taking away from this whole conversation. Women have the right to choose what they want to do with their lives! We don’t need to receive that permission from anyone else. We’re 52% of the population, for crying out loud. Thanks for this lovely, supportive reminder.

    • EC

      Kimberly, I could have written this myself. My 20 year marriage ended officially a year ago, and while I did have kids, there were a lot of “ways” and “traditions” and norms forced upon me. I envy the women here that had other role models growing up that marriage and kids was not the only way – and had courage to do their own thing. What could I have done if I had just bought a house instead of getting married……
      Well nothing to do about it now but keep kicking ass and going up! Thinking of you today and every day Kim……I see you flying with beautiful wings xo

  19. OMG yessss!
    I have been through the same questions and comments Marie talks about, having decided since my teenage time I don’t want / don’t need kids of my own.
    I’ve heard also all kinds of comments and “advices”, going from “how selfish of you not to make kids!” To “you’ll end up alone”…. now at age 46 I’m finally to old to receive these comments… and now I get sad looks… well! Thank you so much Marie for this heart warming video! I’m taking care of plenty of kids of my friends, and of my friends, and I’m in total peace with my decision being sure also I won’t end up alone. But it’s true that such well meaning advice can be hard to hear sometimes and push us in a direction we don’t want…
    My university studies for exemple I did to please my parents!

    Thank you so much ☺️

    Barbara

  20. I loved every single sentence of your response, in fact, it brought tears to my eyes. As a brand new grandma, I can tell you I love that I had kids and grandchildren. However, what I love even more? The CHOICE to follow my own inner voice that spoke loud and clear when I was ready to have children. No child should be brought into this world who isn’t 100% wanted. As Cheryl Richardson taught me so long ago, “if it’s not an absolute yes, it’s a no!” I personally think this is a good standard by which to have children, only have them if it’s an absolute yes! Thank you and bless you Marie.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Marie always says, “If it’s not a hells yes, it’s a hells no.” We couldn’t agree with you more, Lori. Congratulations on your new grandchild. Enjoy the moments, and those tiny finger nails 😉

  21. Thank you for this Marie! I’m turning 31 this year and am still getting ridiculed for my decision to not have kids. I always hear the same things, especially that “I will regret it!” I’m an only child and my Mother had me at 34 years old, so people think I’ll just be like her and can’t seem to understand that I’m sticking to my decision because even though I love my nieces and nephews (and even my friends’ kids) that I don’t feel motherhood is right for me! I’ve been telling people since I was a kid that I only wanted animals and a farm… I was never really into baby dolls or playing house… so guess what… now I have 7 dogs, 9 chickens, & 4 ducks!

    • Christine B

      Amelia – Yeaaaa. High five to you that you know what you wanted a long time ago.
      There should be a community for us that don’t have kids to celebrate that we are OK and we are not broken. Something to mitigate all the negatives that are showed on us… I wonder if there is such an online community ?

  22. Thank you Marie, like you, I knew from a very young age that kids weren’t in the cards for me and like you, there wasn’t really a lot of decision making around the idea. People did try to convince me otherwise however. I wish this voice in me was as loud in other areas of my life like my business, but it was loud and clear about the decision not to have kids. What I truly loved about this episode is the statement that all women should have the choice and the freedom to do what they want with their life, career, and their body. It is so important that we change this belief that someone else has the right to tell us what we can and can’t do with our lives. It is so important that we (especially women) learn that all of our answers are inside of us, maybe not right away, but they do come. Somewhere along the line, we were taught that someone else knew better. Thank you for all that you do. I hope that we come to live in a world where we truly embrace, accept and appreciate each other for our differences as well as what connects us.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Thank you for your beautiful comment, Tanya. We do have the answers within us and in time they do come. We simply need to re-learn how to listen and trust that voice. She’s our best friend. We’re so glad that you’re in our community. xo

  23. Great episode (per to usual)!! I have also known since a very early age that I didn’t want to have children. Luckily, my family never pushed the issue. There would be a few comments here and there like ‘you’re going to be missing out’ and ‘you’ll like your own’, but I was never told outright that I was making a mistake. I’m 42 now and I have never looked back or regretted my decision. I actually see my friends’ kids and say to myself ‘I LOVE my life decision’. I have always known in my heart that children would not make me happy and I wouldn’t make a good parent because I would be unhappy and impatient.
    Parenthood is not for everyone and that’s ok. Frankly, not everyone should be a parent. I think parents are amazing people and I am so grateful for mine & how wonderful they are. I also see how awesome my brother & sister are as parents and am so happy they have kept our family going. I love my nieces and nephews and totally respect people that make the decision to have kids. Just like they should respect our decision to not.
    …At least, not have human children … I do love and care for three dogs, a cat, and a guinea pig and will never be without a motley crew of furry kids who need homes!!
    Thanks, Marie and crew, for all you do! You are fantastic!!

  24. Marie, I *love* that you talked about this.

    There have been so many times now where my husband and I have made big life choices based on what we want our lives to be like, not what’s expected of us.

    In the course of 10 years, we left London to live in the countryside (‘but your career!’), left career jobs to start our own businesses (‘the risk!’), chosen not to have a car – we don’t need one where we live (‘!!!!!’) and yes, not to have kids either. I totally recognise all the comments you’ve received 🙂

    Each time, we thought through (individually & together) what we loved about our current situation / anything we thought was missing or that frustrated us. Looking back, our decisions were largely based on these three things:

    – Life’s short! – Does this decision align with how we’d love our lives to be.
    – What’s your gut saying? – As you say, that still voice is soooo wise!
    – Practicalities – *How* do we make it work practically – a bit of creativity is sometimes needed but it’s totally doable!

    Thanks for your beautiful wisdom, and for talking about this. <3

  25. Ellen Silverman

    Great one Marie! I too am told I will die alone since I never had kids. But is that the reason to have them? I always put my time and energy into work that interested me and my relationships. And I have no regrets. I like your 10 year test – a great tool!

  26. I all kinds of love this!!! Thank you Marie for your honesty!!!
    I agree with intuition. From forever ago I’ve known that my number was one, and I actually had some dreams about him before he was born. WHICH WASN’T EASY. It involved all kinds of IVF and quite a wait.
    Then after he was born, I got a whole new kind of mama guilt. He’s ALONE! Why don’t you have two?!?! (So BTW the judgments never stop.) And here’s the intuitive message I got, you’re going to have more kids in your life but they won’t be biological.
    So one funny August when the shit hit the fan in my life, I needed to hire a nanny, and my husband wouldn’t stop showing me news stories about child trafficking which was TERRIFYING. I don’t know why he does stuff like that. Actually I kinda do. It makes him feel safe which is super weird.
    Anyhow, I live in Colombia and there are a lot of families coming in right now from Venezuela. I spent a morning with this woman, talking and getting to know her, she’d just arrived from Venezuela, and I hired her the same day. Fun signs, great intuition and overall fabulous person. I had no idea that she had a granddaughter (who she was able to bring over from Venezuela 4 months later after she was settled in) and now her granddaughter is like my son’s sibling. Everybody is happier and more stable than during those crazy tumultuous times, when we couldn’t see the future. And now 2 years later stuff is only getting better from there.
    Long story short, listen to your intuition. There are no limits to the synchronicities that will form your “family” WHATEVER that looks like. It will surprise you in all sorts of amazing ways. One easy way I tune into my intuition if I go astray to take a walk, and ask which way to turn go next. It’s a simple question, but it’s the same still small voice. It helps me remember neutrality and clear off any stress that might be sizzling over that voice.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      What a cool and amazing story, Emily! Isn’t it amazing how life works with magic?! We’re so glad that you follow that small voice, too. Life can be surprising.

    • Maria

      Wow, thank you for sharing Emily. I come from Venezuela and felt so happy reading your story <3

    • Carla

      Hi Emily! Your comment really stood out to me. I have wondered if I was the only Marie follower in Colombia. My husband and I moved here last year. We have also been going through the IVF journey and I know how challenging it is. Thanks for your advice about intuition. I’ve come to realize it’s definitely useful living here in Colombia 🙂

  27. Laura Ramos

    STORY OF MY LIFE, today’s show. Thank you for this wisdom and yes, people will give you the most bizarre and unsolicited advise… just Follow your Intuition and Inner Voice. It has worked for me.

  28. Naomi

    What is that music on your intro?
    Choooon!

  29. Great episode Marie! I so agree with you that women should have control over their own bodies, no one, no government has any business telling them whether they can or cannot terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
    I do know what it feels like to make a life decision that is unpopular, especially when your spouse is not on board…it is REALLY TOUGH. Doing what you need to do for yourself because you know you will die inside if you don’t takes courage, it’s scarey, there are no guarantees. I am going through that right now as I leave a good, stable but unfulfilling job for the great unknown. I am 58 and feel like it’s now or never. I’ve choosen now, wish me luck!

  30. But Mary one day in your program B-School, during office hours, you said you tried very hard but didn’t work out. I’m confuse now.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Hi there, Maira! We’re so glad you asked so we could help clear up any confusion. Marie has actually never said that about herself. Yet, as a Team we do remember it coming up on a call before, yet it wasn’t related to Marie and her journey.

      This episode today is very much Marie’s answer to this question and we most certainly hope that it inspires you to follow your instincts, in whatever area of life you’re making a decision in. Thank you for being here.

  31. Ioana

    I do agree with Marie on taking decision you feel are right for you and detach yourself from what people have to say. However on the topic of kids, I believe that if this step is in your life path you will get it regardless of any other choices you make. Writing from experience.. I grow up feeling I will never have kids..but I ended up having 5 step kids and one biological. The miracle here is the biological one. I knew I don’t want kids and around the time I was pregnant (I did not know yet, I though I was not able because I was on medication) I had to take a big decision on my life. I prayed and meditate on it for couple of days. My decision was to either continue on the road I was or to just radically change my life and pursue a different path. Having a baby would keep me on the current path. The night before I was going to attend this meeting to change my life , I start feeling bad and ended up in ER with doctors telling me I am pregnant but the baby it is just hanging in there so it is my decision now, if I want it or not. If I want it will have to be a long and high risk pregnancy. I sit with myself there in the ER room and in that quiet I heard, “You asked me if you should change your life radically..here is my answer..now it is really your choice. I am telling you, you need to stay on this road but the final decision is yours..” I asked the doctors to do everything possible to help my baby stay inside and grow to a human being. Just in that moment, first time ever in my life I knew my baby is what I need to have in my path.
    Moral of the story, if it is to have it you will have and you will know you have to have it. Just as Marie said, you just have to listen to your inner self and know that is the truth to follow.
    Blessing to all of you beautiful souls!

  32. I didn’t have to think if I wanted kids or not – I knew that I did and I had him. I knew I wanted to immigrate. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
    What I don’t know yet is the marriage thing. While I see myself with a longterm partner, marriage (at least in the traditional way) doesn’t feel to be my path.
    But, I’ll know when I’ll see it ; )

  33. Lola

    YES! My choice to divorce for a second time has been questioned and ridiculed. But I had to do what was right for my kids and for me. I moved all the way across the country just after, to pursue career options. Has it been easy? No! Being a single mom is great and awful at the same time. But I don’t regret having my kids — I knew I would regret not having them.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      We’re so glad that you’re doing what’s right for you and your kids, Lola. Be so proud of your courage and determination.

  34. Tanya

    I am a mum of four young kids and love being a mum and always knew I wanted to have kids. Being a mum of 4 young kids in some ways goes against the grain of expectations. People expect you to just have two or once we had our son they thought – ok you have a girl and a boy you don’t need more ( as though kids are just products!). However we joyfully and intentionally wanted to have all our kids and sometimes in doing that … in being a mum of multiple kids … it is going against what society values also. Many don’t value multiple kids ( more than 2). And they don’t value mums or motherhood. So I guess it goes both ways. There is a value to motherhood that society diminishes …. stay at home mums are shamed as though they are wasting their time … so I guess I’m the opposite to you. I’ve done the motherhood path but still feel in some ways it is against the grain of what society expects. But I love it !

  35. Hello, here is my against the grain story. I wanted to be a business owner but one family member said I wouldn’t do good as enterperneur. Especially, in the real estate field since this family member didn’t do well in it. But my husband has been 100% behind me in what career I choose. It is perfect now and as we talked about, one of us is home with the kids and the other is making the money to live. I just can’t do nothing so I have many business ideas and projects between taking care of my three boys.
    I know many women who decide not to have children and are okay with being just aunts. I know women who couldn’t have children and decided it was okay with that. Please remember there is over billions of people on our planet already, I believe we need to slow down the growth or our planet will not survive. I agree with you, Marie, as a society we need to stop judging and telling women what to do with their bodies and lives. I believe this is the next step of our society to grow into accepting.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Thank you for sharing your story with such an open heart, Kate. Here’s to more amazing women like you trusting that they know what’s right for themselves and their family. And looking within themselves because we truly know what’s best for us. xo

  36. Thank you so much for this!! I struggled for many years thinking I was going to miss out on something by not having kids, even though it was never something I truly wanted. When I finally looked inside myself and realized I do NOT want kids, I made the decision right then and there, and immediately felt this HUGE sense of relief. It was liberating! I’m now 38 and have no regrets and I’m so happy with my decision.
    I thought your advice was spot on. Women need to look inside themselves for the answer and be brave enough to trust their own instincts. And I’ve actually noticed the more confident I am in my decision, the less people try to convince me I’m making the wrong one. =)

  37. I loved this Answer. I have 1 kid and it’s great, but I am often asked ‘when are you going to have another kid?’ Seriously. You know what made me feel really confident in my decision to have a child (one child)? I found an old journal where I wrote down, years and years ago, that I wanted one child. It was like past me was reaching out to tell present and future me that it was okay.

    When people ask you if you would do something a certain way, they are sometimes opening up a conversation about something else, or inviting you to ask them the same question to them. Sometimes people want to tell you why they made a particular decision for themselves, and that can be useful information, not that you have to follow their choices, but it tells you the way they made them.
    Love you Marie!
    xoxo
    Rose from England

  38. Meenakshi

    Thank you for this video. My big challenge right now is navigating the marriage lane. Being a 30 year old woman in India who wants to take time to figure out the whole life partner business is excruciating. I spent a few extremely stressed out years in which I fought a lonely battle against arranged marriage. Last year I decided enough is enough, and began the long journey to self discovery. Lots of journalling, therapy, and introspection later, here I am still discovering. It may take me forever but it’s my journey. It gets lonely sometimes but I always find my light again. I am very grateful to the community here, for the comraderie and support. I am not there at the kids question yet but I do know one thing – if a child is to go through me, I want to make him/her out of love, and not just out of my insecurities of sticking to societal labels. We’ll see. 🙂 cheers and love to all of you!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      The deep personal work that you’re doing, Meenakshi, is the greatest gift that you can give to yourself- and the world. The more you do what is right for YOU, and your heart, the more others see that they can do the same. We see your light, and it’s shining so bright for all of us to witness. Keep going. xo

  39. Cel

    Great feedback from you to Talia. I am a woman, who, like you, ALWAYS knew from the time I was a child, I was meant to be an “Auntie”. It’s my calling. I’ve been an amazing Aunt, Sister, Friend and even “Step-In Mom”, when we, (my hubby and I), were needed to take in nieces and nephews for a time. We were happy to be able to be the support. We loved every moment with the kids and had no, (nor have any) regrets returning them to their rightful owners. LOL!!! But having children is an individual choice. At least for me it was. That said, it’s important if you’re in a “partner relationship” that this is one of the topics you discuss and agree upon. My desires were mine lonnnnnng before hubby came along. Fortunately, it did not damage our relationship. We agreed to be Aunt and Uncle members. Someone’s gotta be free to baby sit every once in awhile! Don’t you think? LOL!!! Marie, you done good (yup, meant it just as written). Your advice to Talia is excellent. Could not have said it better myself. Keep doing what you do girl! You’re AWESOME!!! Okay….I’m outta here!

  40. Great answer Marie. I would cringe when people asked… what do you do? Are you married? Do you have kids? I felt a great deal of shame for my choices. And I agree, people should keep their negative opinions to themselves but they can’t help it. What I have come to understand is others fears and doubts possibly even jealousy dictate their responses. Just like they have dictated mine. Accepting myself, my choices, instead of judging myself showed me how to accept others responses. Acceptance also gave me the confidence to answer proudly. This is who I am!

  41. My biggest “against the grain” life choice was studying and observing Orthodox Judaism. Then leaving Orthodox Judaism was against the grain of the life I had established.
    Leaving my corporate job to become an Alexander Technique teacher was very much against the grain.
    Choosing to not have children has felt against the grain.
    As I’m pondering these life choices, I’m realizing that every big life decision I have made has gone against some group’s “grain.” I’m proud to say I go with the grain that counts more and more quickly nowadays. My own.
    Thanks, Marie!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      YES, Dana! Here’s to going with your grain. We LOVE that. xo

  42. Name withheld

    I’m 71 and I wish I’d had someone like you to empower me when I was young. I “went along to get along” and I regret it. I had kids because it was expected of me. It stunted my life and it didn’t do the kids any favors either. I wasn’t cut out to be a mom. The kids suffered because I didn’t have that “mom” instinct. I didn’t mistreat them or abuse them, but I wasn’t the mom they should have had. Even today, when they’re close to 50, we don’t have a close relationship. I haven’t seen either of them in ages (read years) and the part about dying alone – I probably will, even tho I have kids so that’s no guarantee, either. I wish I’d had the courage to listen to my gut. I’m asking you to withhold my name because I don’t want to cause them the hurt of knowing they weren’t wanted.

    • Ali

      This was so brave if you to post. This is an even bigger taboo than deciding not to have children. Too often mothers are vilified if there is any ambiguity in their relationship with their own children. That even doubting for a second or regretting for a second after they are born is sacrilegious. I love both my children dearly, but there are times that I wonder silently to myself what life would have been like had my husband and I decided not to have children. We both had fulfilling careers and rich, meaningful lives without them. And yes, they are my biological children that I birthed.

      Ultimately, I love my life now. Our children bring joy to our lives in ways I didn’t know was possible. And yet I can understand and even embrace the different decisions that others have made. This is a deeply personal decision that does not need to be rationalized for judgement.

      Thank you for posting your story. There is nothing to prevent you from trying to develop a stronger bond with your children now if that is what feels right to you. Wishing you all a life of purpose, meaning and joy.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      All of us on Team Forleo are sending you so much love and appreciation for showing up with your full heart and honest words. Thank you.

      It is truly our belief that with each day, we get to choose again. We take a small step towards something, or choose a different thought, or simply write words that are hard to write like you did today and each time we show up in the world and try again, that shifts the energy around us and it makes the world a better place.

      While your words may have been a truth for you and how you felt as a Mom, you changed the world for another woman today because you bravely shared what she was thinking and has been too scared to say out loud. Know in your heart you changed lives today. xo

  43. I’m so glad you touched on this subject. I feel like there are not enough examples of women without children out there. Like you, my vision for the future never included kids. Even as a little girl, it isn’t something I wanted or dreamed about. Approaching my 40th birthday, I did have some FOMO creep up that I wasn’t expecting. I debated, wrote pro’s and con’s lists, read books. Ultimately, it was my mother who reminded me that whenever I have wanted something, I go after it with full gusto. And if I’m having reservations or negative feelings about how to fit a family into my life, then it isn’t something I want with my whole heart. So now, I’m a happy family of two … just me and my husband. Enjoying life, traveling a lot, and building a business I love.

  44. The best episode ever!!!

  45. THANK YOU! I always thought there was something wrong with my hormonal balance, or something psychological…I have never ever wanted kids….ever. Not that I don’t love kids, not that I don’t love my nephews, but there was never that thought that it was for me. My husband and I even decided if it was meant to be it was meant to be and after 10 years together, it’s apparently not meant to be. I love that my mother told me I would die alone and every mother’s day I get wished it 10+ times because society assumes every older woman is a mom. It just wasn’t in my life plan and that’s fine. I love my friends that are mothers, moms are amazing….just not my destiny.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Keri, words can carry such a weight, can’t they? Your amazing thoughts and attitude towards this subject in your life are beautiful. We’re so glad that you watched and that it was a helpful message for you and your heart. xo

  46. OMG! Don’t You Want A Baby – funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.
    I love the message that you need to listen to your own instincts, inner voice and ignore the others. There’s a difference between doing something because it’s expected and doing something because you feel you must – even if it goes against the grain.
    In my case, I am the only member of my family launching my own business. My parents and siblings all think I’m very brave. In private they probably think I’m crazy. BUT, this is something that I HAVE to do. I simply CANNOT put so much effort to benefit someone else’s bottom line anymore.
    Ignoring your inner voice will lead you to bad decisions every time. Sit still, see what you really want. It may be no baby for now, that may change later. You’ll know either way when you stay true to your inner feelings and thoughts. They’re yours and yours alone.

  47. Vasilenia

    Oh Marie! What a great topic…AGAIN! Yes, struggling with the same topic (being 36 and living in Greece) and also.. Fo being different and following my heart. Not always easy as the loud voices and “shoulds” visit me sometimes but when things feel weird, I turn to my self again, the quite place that can accept me and guide me! Your videos remind me that I am not alone in this! Thank you!

  48. Lisa

    I did always want children, but only one. Living in a suburban community where most families have 3 or more, I’ve been on the receiving end of many obnoxious comments. One of the interesting questions was if I had to work if I only had one. Head scratcher…

    I felt that I could only give the proper attention to one child and find that many people don’t understand. Our son is a kind, beautiful, empathetic, sarcastic, smart, athletic, enthusiastic and loving person. I’m proud of my decision. I don’t think anyone should have to defend their life choices. Because I was 41 when I had my son, I feel like I’ve been on both sides of the lifestyle. I absolutely love being a mother to our son. However, I am also acutely aware of how much more productive I was in other areas of my life when it was just me and my husband. I have to work a lot smarter to meet my own expectations and dreams but I also get to be silly, cuddle and watch another human being discover music, art, politics, love, disappointment and their own magic. He has a tribe of fabulous aunts who do not have children. They tend to be his favorites because they dote on him and give him their full attention. They take him on exciting adventures, love him and hug him extra hard. Why judge anyone’s choices? We all have our own paths to forge and there are many ways to have children in your life… if that’s what you choose. 🙂

  49. Great episode.
    Big Life Choice: Just put in my letter of resignation & gave my two weeks (yesterday) to a corporate job that was gave me A LOT (vacation, health insurance, work/life flexibility, part time working hours, bonus etc.). Going against the grain as everyone thinks IM NUTS to let this go. Hard decision … but my gut says, “yes” Thanks Marie!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Congratulations, Kinga! What an exciting time for you. Keep following your gut- you’ve got this. Enjoy the journey. xo

  50. Long time watcher, first time commenter. I really loved this!!! I’m childfree by choice but I guess I get sick of the fact that this whole issue gets so defined by the extremes — really wanting kids and really NOT wanting kids. There is such nuance in the in between spaces and Marie you are testament to that! I think people sometimes assume I *hate* kids when it’s really quite the contrary. I like kids and enjoy being around my friends’ kids. I love being an aunt. There are things about the motherhood and nurturing experience that speak to me…just not the lifetime commitment aspect. Also total kudos to all the step parents out there!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      What a beautiful statement, Amanda- there IS a nuance in the in-between spaces. Here’s to more people celebrating that and trusting that it’s perfect for them.

  51. There are some things you should do only if you are sure it is the right fit for your soul. They are the things that cannot be undone or mitigated and necessarily shape your soul and someone else’s. The most obvious decisions are getting married and having kids. They are bells that cannot be unrung. You may say that you can divorce or you can make some accommodation regarding child-rearing but you and some other human being will forever shaped differently by your decision.
    Actually, to me they are similar to the events that brought us to #metoo. You deny someone else’s agency; you may regret it later, but too little too late; you shape another person’s world so you can show your power, your acceptability in your chosen group. I think it’s evil.
    Truth time: My mother made no secret of the fact that she didn’t want kids. Mind you, she would throw herself in front of a moving train for us, but she didn’t want us. All 3 of us can tell you what form of birth control failed so we came into the world. Luckily, we had a father who adored the entire idea of children and of course we were the Perfect Children (ahem) and he was hugely involved in our lives and our upbringing. Not only would he have saved us from the train, the railway lines would never again have been able to carry a train.
    So that’s my thoughts on that sort of decision. This is you and a human entity you don’t know, your heart will forever beat in someone else’s body. This is a decision that you must make for yourself in consultation only with your own soul. If you have friends whose reactions/questions bring to light pieces of your self that you hadn’t seen before, you may contemplate that.
    For some people, choosing a college major carries similar weight, but you can always change your mind: even 50 years later, and pursue the alternative.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Thank you, Katie, for your beautiful words and heart. We’re so glad that you shared them here as they most certainly will impact another. Here’s to more people trusting their souls. It’s a beautiful compass to look to. xo

  52. Amiete Aprekuma

    My mother always told me there are biological mothers and then there are mothers. What this means is simply not every woman is built to be a mom. You usually know if you want to be one but if you’re like my sister it happens and then it becomes something you are grateful to have. I’ve learned you shouldn’t let it consume you but live your best life with an open positive stride, see where you go as you aren’t always sure of your final destination, cause it can change.

  53. Darci

    Something I’ve been thinking about lately is not just considering what I want or what is right for my life, but also those subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) and constant messages that I grew up with. I’m not sure I ever really knew that not having a kid or going against the grain was even an OPTION. There was a script that I was supposed to follow. Now I’m about to be 33 and the script has never developed the way I thought it was “supposed to”. I love my life, but I still have to take a time out and think about what I want versus what I was told since birth that I wanted. That is sometimes really hard to suss out. Those embedded thought processes from childhood have held strong for me. My inner reflection has to be long and often repeated because I’ll find myself switching into autopilot and I have to take care to really figure out what I want instead of what others wanted for me.

    • Darci

      oops! I accidentally posted with my work email. Just a side-bar that these are my personal thoughts and don’t necessarily reflect the views of my organization. Except my organization DOES support self-awareness, honesty, and openness to all ideas.

  54. Absolutely! While against-the-grain decisions may be difficult, I learned to be open to my internal guidance and not be limited by conventional wisdom or rationalization. If something feels right in your heart, you know it (if you’re honest with yourself!). In fact when I was much younger, I wrote a book of fiction, Human Slices, whose main character was childfree by choice. I felt that perspective was missing a voice in fiction. And guess what? I was told time and time again by publishers and agents that “There’s no market for a love story about a woman who doesn’t want children.” Undaunted, I self-published it. The agents were right…I sold only a handful of copies but that was before social media and internet marketing were pervasive. Nonetheless, I had given myself and my character a voice, something I am still proud of and a gratifying part of my journey.

  55. Dammmmn that was awesome and vulnerable and on point. Thank you for putting that out there. As someone who shares your birth year, Marie, I have been up and down this shame rollercoaster ride around marriage and children. I am learning to own it loudly and proudly now but it’s taken a long time to get out from under that cultural “shoulding”. I hope all the women out there are taking this advice to heart. Your life is YOUR LIFE and at the end of the day, you will be the only one that has to answer for the decisions you make. Please make sure you make them consciously and in alignment with your soul. **muah**. Love you, Marie!!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Those ‘shoulds’ are thrown around by people all the time, aren’t they, Megan?! Keep rocking your life and know that we’re cheering you on every step of the way. xo

  56. Nicole Ardiel

    Dearest Marie,

    I have been a fan and avid viewer for years, but this is the first time I’ve felt so strongly that I needed to leave a comment. Marie – your words today were struck me with such a force that tears sprung from my eyes. I have said so many of those same words…it felt like an echo of dozens of conversations I’ve had with myself and others. I am 44 years old, never married (although currently in a lovely living-separately relationship) and have been running my own business since 2002. Children were never on the radar. Not once. Despite all the pressure from my family and questions from my friends, I never had that urge, feeling or desire. I used to say that I was born without the biological clock. And, despite the many times I’ve heard “you will regret that”, the fact is that I don’t. I know the life I am leading right now is the best one for me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t adore and dote on my nephews and niece, or love my friends’ children…it means that my choice to not have my own children was the right one for me. Thank you SO much for so beautifully expressing that today.
    Xox
    Nicole

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Beautiful Nicole, we’re sending you so much love. Thank you for watching. This work is an honor to do and when it allows someone else to witness what they themselves have been feeling, well, it’s the greatest gift in life. xo

  57. For me this is so true! After our son was born and we wanted a second child, something was nagging inside me. We decided to adopt our second child. People questioned this and even my parents were against it. But something inside of me was so strong, nothing could stop me. Never felt so sure about anything in my life. Also my husband, we just knew. Amazing things happened, the right people showed up at the right time. We choose China. It feels that something bigger was guiding us there. I feel a strong soul connection with my daughter, as we’ve known each other for a long time. Following your heart or intuition is the best experience ever and only you can know what your truth feels like!

  58. Cel

    Oh, I’m sorry but, I wanted to add the other “thorn” which was (and still is), the good ole, “You’re not married yet? A pretty girl like you and you’re still single? What’s the matter? Too picky?” Yes, married and a baby have been two topics that have plagued women who may not consider these as options they want to pursue. I also did not want to get married for the longest. If the man who is now my husband (still can’t figure out how that happened….I was a sworn and devout single woman….but he is a blessing), had not come along, I’m certain I would have been fine to remain single. The Universe saw different (Jokes on me….LOL!). Seriously, everyone is not meant to be a part of the traditional roles they, 1. do not embrace, 2. played no part in creating. I’m so happy we’re beginning to create an atmosphere where we are starting to consider honoring the choices of others, even if the choices are not our beliefs. This is the expansion of humanity. Especially for women who have struggled and continue to struggle for the right to make choices valuable to us. We are the group that must come together to honor and respect one another’s right to choose. This is a time of great change and no matter what the illusion, I believe and know in my soul, we’re moving toward elevated growth on this human journey. The conversation is on the table finally. It’s a good thing!

  59. Rachel

    Hi Marie, Thank you for talking about this topic! Would love if you could expand more on the fact maybe you think you want kids but still have not found that person to share the experience with. I know there are other options but I have always wanted to share that with my “husband”, but I am having the hardest time with dating and I have too many friends in the same situation. Do you think its an issue today in age that there are so many great women but not so many great men? Or do you think people feel more comfortable about speaking on this now and before women were just settling. Is this my reality that I wont find someone great and then not have the option to have children?

  60. Judy

    While it was important to me to have children, I want to take a moment here to acknowledge and support everyone who has decided not to. Because when EVER you do something less culturally accepted, you have to swim through an undertow of disapproval, comments, and just general lack of support that means it takes more forbearance and more energy just to “do you”.
    Especially because I was something of an outsider growing up, being a “typical” mother when my children were little was precious not just because I had wanted the children, but because all of a sudden I was doing something validated and supported. Being the recipient of the invisible groundswell of support – whether it was actual services and discussions about them, or the encouragement of family and friends – felt like I was in an alternative universe. And I was. It was fun while it lasted, but once my path diverged from the norm again, I was glad I already knew what it felt like to support myself emotionally, and knew just how much extra energy it would take to keep myself on an even keel without all that delicious (while it lasted) support.
    So if you decide to do something different – regardless of what it is – Please: take very, very good care of yourself. You’re your own best cheer-leader.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      What a beautiful post, Judy. Thank you for your compassion and words. We’re so honored that you shared them here.

  61. Great Question Tayla and fantastic answer Marie. I never really knew where you stood on this point but I have so many friends who have made that same decision. I think with something like kids, you should really know. My humble opinion. 😉 AND I really 100% agree, like I want to echo your message from the rooftops, to ALL my clients, the WORLD needs to hear this message, “As a society, I think we have to stop telling women what they can and can’t do with their lives, and their relationships, and their businesses, and their bodies.” YES and this, “And as women, we need to STOP looking outside of ourselves for permission to live how we want to live.” YES! It is the single most important element we must get as women. WE define our lives. Thank you so much for this video.

  62. Jorge

    Marie, thanks for your courage talking about this. Thanks for not being afraid to invite a shit storm upon yourself while making such a needed difference for girls and women out there. It’s difficult to be a freakin’ outlier. It’s hard to be the person who is too big and multisided to fit the stereotypes. No matter what box they try to stuff you into — the box of a woman, the box of an Italian-American, the box of a coach, the box of an online entrepreneur — you still have big outlying parts. You’re bigger than any of those boxes. It pisses them off, and it’s okay. Keep rocking, girl. The world needs your gift to become a more empowered and compassionate place. P.S. That life choice that goes against the grain is what my entire story is about since I turned 25. It was the choice to find out a way to leave the country where I was born and start over in the country where I belonged. It was the choice to leave the profession I got a university degree in and manifest my dream of working in the industry where I belonged. It was the choice to start writing my first book in English, without any previous experience in creative writing, broaching a bunch of complicated political and social issues on the background of a hard yet realistic love story. It was the choice to accept myself as a gay man in a country where I had no prospect of ever having a relationship. It was the choice to not settle for the misery I had in my country, employment-wise, money-wise, politics-wise, and the devastating scarcity of opportunity for self-actualization, even though that’s what the majority of people did and aggressively pushed me to be “like everybody”. It was the choice to get crystal clear on what kind of life I deserved and how I could get it. It was the choice to not give up on my dream for five years, continuing to work and network with prospective partners without any result, amidst worsening circumstances of my life and a lot of trauma and most recently cancer with no access to adequate healthcare. This choice to live your own truth is about braving the wilderness. The price is high, the reward is great. Or so I’ve come to believe.

  63. What a blessing is your video! I feel the same way. I am almost 37 and I never felt the calling for children, it’s simply not there. When I think in 10 years I feel I would regret if I do hahaha. I know there are so many other options to figure it out indeed. My gut says no. When I allowed the desire ‘no children’ I just radiated, it feels as the most aligned choice for me. Thank you for opening this conversation up! Such a blessing.

  64. Linda

    Hello. I have struggled with “needing others appoval” most of my life and fankly, in midlife I’ve continued to look for the approval my close friends and family. Just recently I’m embracing the fact that their approval doesn’t matter because at the end of my life I will be the only one with regrets about choices I did or did not make. It is not easy for me to live the unconventional life but I experience things I want to experience, meet new people frequently, and travel often. I can not imagine going back to a regular 9 to 5 that feels like an anvil over my head or doing what I am “supposed” to do. With that, your comment about picturing you life ten plus years from now and not feeling regret rang especially true to me and laid yet another brick in my path to confidence in myself and my choices for my life. Thank you Marie!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      We hope that the 10 year picture is an action step that is helpful for you, Linda. Here’s to less regrets and more joy in life. That’s a goal we can all get behind.

  65. Thank you for this video! I am the mother of a 26 year old daughter who is getting married in a few months and also struggles with this decision. Thankfully she and future hubby are aligned in their thought process but I will be sharing with her the 10 year test. While I see myself in 10 years a grandma loving on my grandbabies I understand this may not be her 10 year vision. I took this like a personal stab to the heart at the time but quickly got over myself and realized that was very unfair and a little embarrassing yikes… While misdirected we all sometimes just need a video to provide some clarity lol. I did stop projecting my selfishness onto her so she always feels like she can talk to me about this as we are extremely close. I believe I’ve given her similar advice about listening to her inner truth and love the perspective you shared to add to that. I had an AHA moment watching that brought further clarity to me – as the children in MY vision can be from many different paths as my husband and I pursue our service to the community and also have choices we can make. While NEVER intended to be insensitive, I will be cautious of the comments I make to others who share this information. As usual… you “nailed it.”
    Have a beautiful day!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Jeannette, even your awareness and shift in how and what you say is a beautiful gift for you and your daughter. You’re so right- your vision can take the form of many different things and as long as it’s the path and vision that’s right for you, you’re in the right spot.

  66. DW

    As a young person, I was steadfast in my belief that I would have a husband and no children or a child an no husband. I didn’t see myself as a Mom when I dreamt about my future. Fast forward a lot of years and I do have an adult child, who I love deeply and a husband. Neither was planned, but they were the right choice for me.

    However, in the same way, people believe that all woman want to have children, after the birth of my son, instantaneously the questions regarding when child number two would arrive. People, particularly my family, couldn’t grasp the concept that I was happy with just one child. Even when I went to the dr. @ age 24 and said I wanted a tubal ligation, he refused because, in his words, “It would be a medical mistake because, in a year or two, you will want to have your second child.” I often daydream about sending him a family Christmas card showing him that although he, a perfect stranger, though he knew what was best for me, he did not.

    Here are my two cents, do what is best for your right now. If you do not want to pursue motherhood than don’t, and if people can’t understand, that is their hangup to work on, not yours. Also, if ten years from now, you change your mind, awesome! The best part of being human is the ability to make choices that best suit our needs at the moment we need them.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      What an experience you had, DW. Maybe the mental Christmas card is gift enough for you. Wow. Thank you for sharing your words so that others can see an example of following what’s right for you and your heart. xo

  67. Great Advice Marie!
    We can’t let “society’s expectations” to dictate our lives. Only WE know what’s best for us. Let’s follow our heart, make our own choices & live life on our own terms.

  68. Heather Dressel

    I just love you so much Marie. I admire you for so many reasons! Listening to yourself and following that knowing inside of you is so frickin important. Damn Girl! I mean if we can’t follow our own path and dreams what’s the point, right?! You are a total rockstar Queen. I do have kids because that was my path, but I never snuff women that choose not to have kids. We get one life and we should dance like no-one is watching and choose from our heart not what outside noise & chaos tell us. I have such a tender spot in my heart for people that follow their own. Brava Mama Marie!
    With love & sensitivity-
    Heather Dressel
    B-School 2018

  69. Hello Marie and Team Forleo;
    Wow! Thanks for an exceptional episode as I could relate to you. I never had kids and felt it was not in my path. The society opinion put too much pressure on women who have not got their man and their kids yet. Society act like something is wrong with women (no kids) rather than maybe there is something wrong with the way society thinks of them. It’s a women’s choice to decide where to follow her core desired feelings. Thank you again for a great episode as I have people come up asking those dreaded questions and telling me those dreadful answers.

  70. Amy

    I am an American living in Japan and one of the recent major headlines was a politician telling women that they need at least three kids. Even though I am an outsider (according to the society here), what the politician made me mad. I also currently work as a teacher where co-workers say things like “You won’t really understand kids until you have them” or “Do you have a boyfriend?” (It’s the next question after “How are you doing?”) My relatives ask me the same boyfriend question every time. I just don’t need a boyfriend right now, it’s not in the plans. I got other stuff to do at the moment that I love to do or seek to better my future.

  71. Loved this episode!! I never envisioned myself having kids. Like Marie, I married someone who already had children, and while I love his sons, I never felt a desire to have biological children. It’s interesting to me how my choice not to have children has made other women feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, a good friend once told me how she admired me for knowing myself so well and not giving into pressure or making excuses for it. On my journey, I’ve learned it’s important to know myself. Having that clarity has illuminated so many things. There’s no need for me to explain my choices to everyone. I just know they are a right fit for me.

  72. Great topic! Love that you addressed it. I actually feel like there’s a lot of “gas-lighting” that goes on around this topic. As a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, I’m soooo maternal that some people just can’t understand why I don’t have the physical urge to bear a child. This sometimes turns into them acting like something is *wrong* with me – like some part of me is broken because I’m essentially warm and nurturing, but it doesn’t translate to wanting to be impregnated. I don’t care about what most anyone thinks, except my mom and sister, who I sense will be deeply disappointed if I don’t bear children. And it hurts to realize that they can’t step into my shoes and accept/respect that the urge simply isn’t there. I’ve got a few years left, and it’s possible this will change, but it’s also totally possible it won’t. BTW I never understood the “selfish” argument – isn’t it more “selfish” choose to make a new baby in a world that’s overpopulated when there are tons of un-cared-for children out there? Personally, I just don’t think it’s anyone’s business what anyone else does, unless it is directly damaging to others. On another note, sometimes I say this to people, and weirdly they really get it: “I just feel like I’ve been a mother and raised so many children in previous lives, I want to take this one off.”

  73. Mindfulness has helped so much. My angst was coming from the voices that had trained me from infancy. Bottom line – “Live for Money!” Gotta go to great schools, connect with connected people, so that you can have all life can offer so you can be fulfilled. I realized a fulfilled life was something else than a life ruled by the demands of money. By shushing the voice, I could hear my true self and follow my Creator to be exactly who I had been created to be for such a time as this.

  74. Hi Marie,

    I know these comments shouldn’t be about having kids or not, but as a 39-year-old woman who, like you, just knew early on that it wasn’t the path for me (so I honored that), I just had to say: thank you for this video. It’s nice to know that there are other women out there making the same choice and facing the same opposition and that it is OK to honor your truth.

    You’ve made me smile extra big today!

    Biche

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      You’re so welcome, Biche. Thank you for taking the time to watch and comment. And by reading the comments you’ll see there are many women who feel the same way you to. That’s the gift in sharing our truths.

  75. Marie, thank you so much for talking about this! As someone who has wrestled with this decision for a long time and decided not to have kids, I’ve noticed that there isn’t a lot of room to talk about the ambivalence and complexity of the decision. It’s not just “I want kids” or “I don’t want kids”—it’s so much more nuanced than that. Going against the grain can be lonely and painful, even if you know it’s the right decision for you.

    I hope this is okay to post here: I started a podcast about figuring out what it means (not) to be a mother, because I found there weren’t a lot of places to talk about what it feels like to go against the grain. I wanted to sort through my own feelings about it and make room for conversations with others. I’ve heard from lots of women who are in the same boat as me—making a decision that’s right for them, but still wanting to process the emotion of the decision and the emotion of not belonging to the same club as everyone else. This is such a personal, rich, and complex topic and it has been so meaningful to me to have these conversations.

  76. Jesan Barnes

    FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY someone has the guts to say this. I’m 33 and I am constantly inundated with judgemental comments and questions regarding my personal choice. I love Marie’s #1: I haven’t regretted my decision at this time. So many times we hear the case for the Career Mom vs. the Stay at Home Mom. But what about the UnMom? Does it make me less of a woman? NO! And Marie is absolutely right. We are in the 21st century and there are so many options if I change my mind. Thank you, Marie! It needed to be said.

  77. Kelly

    Marie, so glad you addressed this topic! I love your method for finding one’s truth, and that it doesn’t involve giving weight to fears – like these bogus warnings about not having someone to take care of you when you are old or fear of regret. Fear is no way to live and make decisions! I did choose to have kids. I actually had a lot of fear around having them – that I would lose my identity, that I would miss out on opportunities (and regret it!), that something would happen to them – but the thing is, ultimately I knew that I wanted to be a mother, and I had faith that I would be able to figure out my own path along the way. I am not someone who thinks having kids is for everyone – only you know your own life! It can be so hard to weed out your own still, small voice among the racket of social expectation. Whether or not you choose to have kids, these expectations continue to follow you, and the ability to sit still and listen inwardly is so important. Thanks for your work, Marie!

  78. When I decided to homeschool my two youngest daughters. Once I weighed the pros and cons, I made my decision. I heard lots of “concerns” from others, very few “oh, what a great decision”, but I stuck to my guns. Now I have two amazing daughters, now in their 20s who are living the lives they want to live. No regrets! Of course, I’m the type of person who often goes against the popular decisions, so it wasn’t that hard for me. When I truly believe in something, that it’s the right thing to do, I know it has come from me and not from external pressures.

  79. Great video. I’m on the same page as you, Marie. I’m not having kids, and it never really felt like a choice, I just knew it wasn’t part of my story in this lifetime. Thankfully I found a fella that is also not interested in having them because I know differeing priorities and values can put a lot of strain on relationships. It was two week into our relationship when I told him that kids weren’t in my plan. I was nervous to tell him, but he sighed and said, “Oh thank God.” I used to get all the same comments too. 90% of people I tell that too say one of those things. About 10% of people commend me for making a conscious choice. I found that people, in general, stopped saying anything I became very clear and accepting of my choice. Talia, if you happen to be reading this comment all I will suggest is listen to your heart, she will never lie to you. Xxoo

  80. This is the most courageous video I’ve ever seen. Thank you Marie, for being bold enough to tackle this topic!

    I’m child-free by choice. Like you Marie, I just always “knew” somehow that having kids wasn’t my path. Yet, when I was in my child-bearing years I got all of the unsolicited cliche advice that you showed in the video, and more! And I did question myself about my decision.

    Then, I realized that if you have one kid, people tell you that you should have two. If you have two boys, they want to know if you’re trying for a girl. It just went on and one. And everything was driven by other people feeling comfortable with my choices.

    I remember telling an HVAC guy I didn’t have kids and he suggested adoption. WTF? I didn’t want my own biological kids! Why would I want someone else’s?

    Not having kids can be one of the biggest most unselfish life choices, even though people will tell you that you’re selfish. And I have always had kids in my life when I wanted to and when it was fun for me. No regrets!

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Well, if the HVAC guys suggests it you should do it, right Mary Ellen?! 😉 We’re so glad that you’re living without regrets and have shared your story here so that others can witness your example.

  81. Every day I,m more proud to be part of this community, thanks for this …
    I am 33, I have been married for 10 years and we have never considered having children, even though the pressure is real, thanks for this reminder.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      We’re honored to have you in this community, Aura. xo

  82. For a long time I didn’t want kids. My mother had my youngest brother when I was well 13 and I became a defacto parent. It was hard and I had decided pretty early kids weren’t for me. I was confident in my choice and never feared voicing it. Then, when in my mid-30s I did a similar long-term visualization to what Marie describes in the video and I realized that I did want children. I have two daughters now and so grateful I took the time to understand what I wanted, not what fear was holding me back from. Looking to your future, really listening to what you want – its the only way to figure out what’s right for you. Spot on advice, Marie! Thank you as always!

  83. Dear Marie, (and Tayla for the question)
    Like you Marie, I just “knew” when I was about 8 that I would never have children. Because I “knew” I guess people never asked. My mother would wonder at times but only in recent years did she point blank ask. I am now 68 and I have never regretted following what I believed to be my life call, to support the children of this world, not to have them.

  84. Tracey

    Thank you, thank you for addressing this!!! I’ve felt confident since my mid-20’s that kids weren’t going to be in my future. I’ve dealt with the questions and the same judging commentary you described in the video. However, lately I’m struggling with adjusting to a new career and indecision about where my value and purpose in my life lies. It’s easy to start throwing out, “Well, maybe we should just have kids. Maybe that’s where we find purpose.” This was the reminder I needed to not get too dire about being at this place in my life and to NOT make a decision I will regret later.

  85. Daniel Pereira

    Hi Mary thanks you for your email, but this one I would like to place my foot in to it.
    First no one can give an advice in this matter regarding having children to any female.
    Believe me, is not just woman that want to have a partner and a child to call him daddy or mommy.
    All I can say you the one that must make any decision that you should have children or not, nobody should give you an advice or you listen to any advice in this matter because we are all different unique individuals.

    You will not be a better woman or lesser woman not to have or have a child, to be able to love and have an excellent happier life. Analyze the facts that to have a child is not a cheap toy that you can ignore or place it on the side on the bad days, or what many women call it off days. A child from the moment that has been conceived, that child needs continuous caring love energy from the mother, one has to have a inner feeling of love and acceptance for that new child, if you feel that you will not have the time or the passion or love for that new baby, don’t ever think of going off the pill, the loop the cap and whatever will be in the market to avoid the unwanted.

    Your happiness it will not come from the new child that you will have, it is you as a responsible educated human being, to come to your senses and access your life of likes and dislikes and make up your mind, to say yes or no way before you decide not to be cautious not to fall pregnant.
    Getting old it das not mean be miserable or lonely, because your interests change as well with age, not just psychological but physiological as well. There are millions of people in the same situation as you. What you need is not sit in a room and expect people to come and interact verbally or physically with you, because then you will be dying alone and miserable.

  86. I genuinely appreciate the humor in the video. What it made me realize is that people feel that they have the right to public abuse you or invade your privacy if you don’t want/have kids.

    I remember people saying to me “What’s wrong with you?” Imagine if I DID have something wrong with me and couldn’t have kids! That would have been so hurtful.

    Again…Marie thank you for talking about this topic so candidly.

  87. Dina

    Funny Marie….I had the exact opposite experience in that I always knew I wanted children!! What I didn’t know is that I didn’t have to go about it in the “Traditional American” way. SO I found a man got married set up a home and life and had my 3 children. Now in my late 40’s I have what looks like from the outside the “Perfect American Dream”. And it turns out that its the last place I ever wanted to be. My soul wanted the children. Not all of that other “stuff”. I often imagine what would have been if there had been someone in my life or other role models that would have showed me that I could have had my children in many different ways. I honestly didn’t know any better and thought there was only one path.
    So now the Unravelling
    Thanks for reminding me that although I took a major side trip that it is still my birthright to follow my soul.

  88. Marie,
    Thank you (and Talya) for bringing up this question and experience. As an entrepreneur, B-schooler and coach, this is a topic I’ve recently starting bringing to the world more formally because it’s impact and importance is a huge one. With a leadership colleague, we’ve created a project called “What’s Dying to Be Born?” It’s about redefining fertility to encompass all versions of pro-creation, not limiting it to the human variety. This feels like such a deep and rich topic and the shame, guilt and judgement that is heaped on is terribly unhelpful and a bit nearsighted. All the forms of “birthing” we do, be it art or business, writing a book, starting a movement, all contributes and benefits our society. This applies to men, women, nonbinary people, I could go on but I’ll stop here. I appreciate that heart-felt and positively influential people such as yourself are opening awareness to this subject, and I wish Talya (and any person in the thick of this process) all the best as she unfolds her truth, whatever that may be. I would be happy to be a support or resource to in any way that feels helpful.

  89. Outstanding episode Marie! Women should make whatever choice works best for them regarding having children. It’s truly a personal choice and whatever choice each woman makes is the right choice for her.

    As an ob/gyn physician I would like to say just be sure that you’re thoroughly informed about your options as you make a decision. I come across many women who don’t understand how much fertility declines with age. They also usually overestimate the likelihood that freezing their eggs will result in a baby.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Thank you for commenting, Nicole. Your insight and expertise are most certainly timely to this discussion. We’re so glad that you’re here.

  90. Thank you, Marie! I’ve always used that question, “What will I regret?” too. It’s one of the first things I’ve turned to when making a decision. I also consider my values – what’s important to me and what I will be proud of having done. Next, I consider if there’s any fear present. I’ve found that being afraid of something often masquerades as “I don’t want to” when actually I really do want it but I fear I won’t get it. For example, sometimes I’ll encounter a business opportunity I’ll feel the urge to step back from, and in the past I would have believed I didn’t want to go there. However, when I dig deeper, I often discover fear. If I’m afraid, that’s a whole different story. Fear usually means I DO want it, I would regret not doing it, I would be proud of doing it, it’s important to me… and the benefits of going down that road could be amazing.

  91. Tara

    I feel like I’ve always known that I didn’t want to have children of my own. On top of that, I never was the little girl who fantasized about my wedding. I’m not married and am not seeking to be married at this point in my life. I’m 37 years old. THAT goes against the grain!!! I have my own business that I love and have been running for 20 years of my life. I know who I am and love my life!

    • Jillian- Team Forleo

      Tara, we love that you’re living your life according to your desires, that you’ve taken the time to really get to know who you are and what fuels your heart. The self-love is palpable here!

  92. Ava

    I have one child and I am a single mom. Like Marie, my family and friends keep pressuring me to get married and have more kids. Saying, “you can’t just have one kid, are you ever getting married?” Ugh. Having my daughter has been wonderful for me, but I do not want anymore. As for marriage, who knows, maybe someday. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Your daughter is lucky to have such a smart Mom, Ava. You’re setting a beautiful example for her.

  93. Karen

    So glad you brought this up, Marie.
    It seems that no matter what choice we women make we get flack for not making a different one. It’s infuriating and sometimes soul crushing and what’s worse is that we combat it every. single. day!
    Those comments never seem to stop.
    Thank you for this show and for all that you do to empower women to be their best selves. oxoxoxoxo

  94. Jess Hill

    -Hello Marie & all you lovely MF insiders!!!

    Yes I am currently at a crossroad in my own life. Mines is different though, I’m already made the jump into the domesticated pool (baby #2 due 8/25/18). My crossroad is something different. I’ve been working at my current employer for almost 3 years. The work environment is fine but I know this is not a permanent place for me. My passion surprisingly is Day Trading! I love the charts, the market (I can watch MSNBC all day). I’m completely self -educated in this (Youtube!!) But now, I’m determining when I will not only trade live accounts (with a 40% profit thus far!!) but go full time with my trading. This is completely against all grains I grew up in. I told my mom and she was not supportive of this. The only person who supports my plan is my husband. With a limited amount of savings and maternity leave in my near future, I’ve decided to take advantage of my time off to see how much more successful I can be with more time during the intraday trading hours where I can get the most volatility and volume. My husband (who has been at home with our 1st son the past 3 yrs) has offered to work a part-time job to supplement the gap in our income while I’m off. I believe and know that this plan will work out and soon I’ll put in my notice at work and go full time in Day Trading! I’m so excited and determined to make this work so that I don’t have to continue to leverage my time for income. My ultimate goal is to not only day trade but to teach my husband and have him trading as well. Ending with both of us parenting our children, having more children (we want 5), and living the best life we desire (homeschooling, traveling, etc) I finally, at the age of 28, found my purpose and Day Trading is my passion and nothing will stand in my way, not even me!

    Great question Marie!
    Best of luck in all of your decisions Insiders!!!!
    Peace & Blessings, Jess

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      Jess, how cool is this?! You’ve found something that you love, are passionate about, and are good at! YAY! Good luck with your maternity leave and this new adventure you’re about to embark on. We’re so happy for you.

  95. Lynn Davis

    HELLO!
    LOVE this topic and question! Also ADORING the support for Talia and everyone else.
    I always knew I wanted to find the man of my dreams, fall in love and live happily ever after….yep……very much a fairy tale that I am actually living. So far so good on this one. I didn’t want kids and neither did my husband. We thought we’d adopt or be foster parents just like we’ve done with our fur babies. I am 51 and have never regretted this decision. Have I been called selfish…..yep. Have I “let down humanity by not sharing my genes”……maybe. It used to bother me more …….NOW it’s not even a question. PLEASE go against the grain. Let your freak flag fly. Be YOU and only YOU. Being the true YOU is a gift for me and the entire world. BLESSING TO MARIE, your very funny team and all!

  96. Thanks, Marie, for covering such a unique topic that touches business women! Every woman is given massive creative energy – the kind that can create and carry a little human being in their bellies. Wow…pretty darn amazing! Yet, that same powerful creative energy can be used in so many ways. I’ve never given birth to a precious baby, but I have given birth to a business that I love (and, yes, it’s involved lots of labor pains!) and a purposeful life that inspires me every day. I’ve also “miscarried” many things in my life that have helped me appreciate even more this creative power that’s been gifted to me. More than anything, I’ve learned to USE this creative energy and not let it become stagnant. What do I want to give birth to in my life? I’ve given myself permission to answer that question freely and unapologetically over the years. I’ve tapped into my creative womb space and allowed it to grow in a way that’s best for me. May every woman do the same when it comes to any big decision in life. Ask yourself: What do I want to give birth to right now in my life? What would it look like? A 7 lb, 3 oz, blue-eyed bundle of joy or fill-in-the-blank? You choose.

  97. Thank you so much Marie‼️🙏🏻 I will listen to this episode over and over again 🤩. I was just wondering why people seem to be trying to make me feel guilty or scared for making the deliberate choice of not having children. It’s not that I had a miserable childhood, on the contrary: my sister and I had the most loving parents! It’s just that rationally it never made sense to me to make children of my own. I’m happy with helping out the kids of my friends and taking care of my friends and all people around me, volunteering also to help elderly etcetera… why do people need to keep telling us women what we’ll regret and what we should do in life? Does it make them feel insecure? Thank you so much ☺️

  98. CJ

    Thank you for addressing this particular topic – so many women still don’t have a community of others who’ve either either made the same decision or inately knew their unconventional preferences. I also knew from early on that kids were not for me. Having nieces and nephews is wonderful, and even now (surgically sterile and post-menopausal to boot) I have no desire for my own kids and no regrets about that decision.

    What blows my mind is that so many women who are child-free (as opposed to childless) feel a sense of being “other.” I gathered a group of my child-free friends together once I knew I would not have an unwanted pregnancy 9 years ago. Of the 12 of us, half only had more than one child-free friend. I suspect that now, almost a decade later, that sampling of experience would be the same.

    Being child-free was not a decision as much as it was a given for me. I have made a large number of other unconventional decisions over the course of my life, some of which I might make differently knowing what I know now, and none of which I actually regret. It’s all learning, whether the lessons have been a breeze or a challenge.

    I believe the important thing when making any irreversible decision is that it is selected with absolute certainty. We can walk out of a room and leave the door open, so my unsolicited advice to anyone in any situation is to be open to the idea that needs and wants may change. Sometimes, conditions, time and experience bring us to situations far more wonderful than we could have dreamed up from an earlier vantage point. I am thankful every day that my life now looks nothing like what I thought it would before I expanded my horizons.

  99. Amit

    Hello Marie & Team Forleo,
    What an important Q&A, Thank you for doing that.
    I actually feel like all the times I made such decisions, it was almost not a real decision to make, but actually the only way for me to go. Once I realized that this is my truth for that time, the decision already made. Still, needed to face people opinions and reaction, but from peaceful place.
    My main life decisions includes; quitting my orthodox family believes and lifestyle, gender transition and career shift. In that order, and about 10 years in between. I wander what will be the next one.

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      What a beautiful statement, Amit- “the only way for me to go”.
      When something feels like that, then you know it’s right. Thank you for sharing your words with us. Here’s to even more amazing life decisions coming you way in the future.

      • Amit

        Thank you Heather

  100. Vasko Kotevski

    Mans and Woomans hace a big diference/woomans are privileged to giv a life to the world,mens satisfaction is that without Us life is inpossible to be create.Last week returned from Prague where frequented Network marketing Elite seminar.Wen informed my Lady neigbourn She answered me/it is so good to have big individuality,to have a loot friends a loot possibilities to earn money or other goods from life,but if you stay alone…At this moment I liv with my moom,have a loot conections friends,but have a feeling that bigest life inspiration goona be to have a kids to help him to have beter life but mine,to have beter education.Wen die not goona be necessary sombodey to say something for me wil be spetialy Proud if my kids say he was a Greate Dad

  101. Yes! I used to follow the grain and was a ‘Yes’ person, so all my decisions we’re based on what others would think. No more! Now I do what I want, when I want. I have 2 beautiful children (because I wanted them) and am happily divorced and just started dating again. Life is sweet when you learn to listen to your gut and do what feels right to you. Perfect timing on this episode (as usual)…

    • Jillian- Team Forleo

      Oh Holly, we love hearing that you’re now saying ‘yes’ to only the things and decisions that make you happy, that fulfill your desires. Life is surely so sweet when you listen to your gut, and move from your intuition. Thank you for sharing this pivotal revelation with us.

  102. Paula

    I am 65 years old and have never regretted not having kids. I was married for 20 years and it only came up once. One day, after 10 years of putting off the question, we always figured, maybe “later”, my husband asked me “do you want to have kids?”. I just said, “Everything is OK just the way it is, what do you think?”. He agreed, and that was it. I’ve never had the urge to have kids. To me, there was always something else that I would rather do, than raise kids. It is a life choice. I used birth control and it worked. Now, if I had gotten pregnant, of course I would have had a family, and probably more than one child at that point. I would have taken on the role of mother. I know women who feel it is their calling to have children and I am so glad they are the ones who are there to love and raise wonderful children.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Paula, I love that throughout all stages and phases of your life, you’ve been thoughtfully making decisions that align with your desires. Allowing space for others to do the same is how happiness and acceptance is fostered, and you describe that so beautifully here.

  103. Veronica

    Just like Marie, I never really had to choose whether or not I should have babies of my own. Since a very young age, I had the feeling it was not for me. I actually felt silly when I would try to imagine myself pregnant, an interesting strange feeling. My sister did have a daughter, and blessed me with the incredibly beautiful “title” of godmother. I’m not religious but of course I did accept this blessing and became the happiest person in the world! Even before my niece was born, we already had a strong connection. I would play with her, talk and sing to her even when she was still inside my sister’s belly. My niece is truly a blessing in my life, the most beautiful light in my world, a loving source of inspiration for the person I want to be. I like to say I’m her Fairy Godmother! When she was very little, she would ask me to give her cousins. But as the years went by, she subtly started to show how happy she was that I did not have kids. She is 16 years old now. During her school breaks we travel together! I’m her aunt, godmother, fairy godmother and a friend! We’ve always played so much, and laughed so much, and have had so much fun together. She has always taught me so much all the time. I do not regret not having kids of my own. I’m really proud to follow my heart and intuition instead of what’s imposed by culture. Many thanks to Marie Forleo for posting this video and giving us the feeling that we are not alone.

  104. Jennifer

    Dear Marie,

    Great topic! I recently read an article on a similar vein about how women need to stop being defined by their biology. The article in question talked about terms such as ‘mompreneur’ where a woman, even though she is in business is still defined by her reproductive status. Men would never define themselves with terms like ‘dadpreneurs’. They are rarely, if ever, asked about how they manage a work-life balance or if their children suffer because they work full-time. In my opinion, women should be defined by their accomplishments – all of them. Yes, being a good parent can be one of these accomplishments, but should not over shadow who they are as individuals.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      This is such a great point to bring up Jennifer. We agree that women get to be defined by all of their accomplishments, personal and professional, and that ultimately, each woman has the agency to choose what that looks and sounds like. Thank you for sharing your voice here.

  105. At 28 I decided to move to Italy. I sold my car and got rid of the already few things I had. Nobody supported me in this decision, they were either non-responsive or suggesting alternative ideas. Even if I was bound for complete failure, I needed to do it, because it was calling me loud and clear.
    I flew to Rome on Christmas day 2011 with a suitcase and my bike – one of the scariest yet liberating things I’ve ever done. I remember walking out of the Rome airport at sunset looking for the 2-hour bus I need to take thinking I had nothing but freedom and a blank slate.
    It’s been the most miraculous and expanding journey of my life. Had I not done it, I would have a dead soul in a living person’s body.
    It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but once I committed, the universe met me, and step by step I created the life I wanted for myself. When we’re really meant to do something, it’s incredible how “mountains move”.

    • Jordana

      Brave woman!

  106. I have an amazing stepson and even better husband. While I live my stepson, the other children in my life and children in general, I’ve never wanted children of my own. I’ve spent my life conforming to what I was supposed to do, and now I’m doing what I want. I’m much happier.

  107. Mandy Hockenberry

    Gosh. I’d heard so much about why I only had one child, and since I wanted more than that one child, it really hurt. And that it came from customers, not even friends or family. I just didn’t need that reminder of infertility.
    Well, once I was 39, guess what happened. Yep, pregnant. My son was turning 13, I was enrolled in a degree program I couldn’t muster with him younger, and boy, did I struggle with whether to raise or adopt out. My dreams finally came time at the same time and collided with a magnitude that still shakes me. But while I wasn’t ready for my first, I’d hoped for ten years for my second. Still the hardest thing in life, and now the comments are on the age gap. It never seems to stop.
    Great job broaching this topic.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Mandy, it does seem that no matter what choice you make, there are varying opinions on whether it’s the ‘right’ one. Truly, all the matters is that each choice you make is right for you. The more we allow each other to listen to the voice in our hearts, the more space we create for happiness, fulfillment, and love. It sounds like you’ve been listening to and moving from your heart, and that’s all that matters.

  108. Great topic! What I find to be immensely helpful (in addition to Marie’s suggestion) is to view our Self & our life from the Macro, as opposed to the societal imposed Micro.
    Eg., We’ve had many lifetimes of many different experiences. Each lifetime experience becomes a Micro part of the Macro of who we are now, in this lifetime experience. Therefore, not having children, or any other type of experience in this lifetime, has not precluded us from already having had that experience in another lifetime.
    Perhaps this lifetime you have pre-chosen (ie before you were born here) to have an experience of 20 children or none, of 20 businesses or 1. These choices were made by you to create the energy that would in turn, generate the experiences that best serve you to fulfill your Sacred Commission (the particulars of how you serve others, the service you provide to this world).
    All this, of course, has absolutely nothing (No Thing) to do with anyone else! In truth, allowing another to interfere with your choices only impedes your fulfillment of the Sacred Commission that is unique to you & thus impedes your joy, health & wealth!
    So, as well as Marie’s excellent suggestion, you could also ask your Self,
    ‘If I profoundly knew/felt that I have already had experiences of………………………………’ (fill in this gap with whatever you’re wrestling with)
    How would I feel?
    What would I choose?
    What would I do now?
    Trust whatever first comes to you & check out what you see/feel/know/sense in your gut, solar plexus & heart
    This frees us up to make a decision based on what our soul desires, our deepest desires, rather than a decision based on the potential, regret/missed opportunity of:
    What if? What if I never have? What if I never have this chance again? Etc etc
    Hope this helps. With much love, Kim, B-School graduate 2018 – Yay!!

  109. Amazing topic – thank you for having the courage to share this with us and the world! I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28 (as a newlywed). Because of where the tumor was and how fast it was growing, I was faced with trying to preserve my fertility or my life. I chose my life…obviously 🙂

    BUT, not even an hour after waking up following my massive tumor-removal surgery – after which I medically incapable of bearing or conceiving a child but ALIVE – I had people telling me “you should look into adoption”, “get an egg donor and a surrogate.” I was so overwhelmed with the immediate PRESSURE to move past this crazy life-threatening incident to jumping immediately into starting a family. As if by simply surviving cancer, by getting a second chance at life, I OWED it to the world to have children. And I had always wanted a big brood, so this one-two punch was a lot to handle. Fast-forward 13 years (and DAILY comments/questions/harping about why I didn’t have kids or wasn’t married anymore) and I’m not sure I want to have children.

    My mom is my rock. I treasure and adore all my nieces & nephews! I support charities and causes that protect children. I respect and admire all mothers. I just don’t know if *I’m* ready to be a mom. And…that’s OKAY!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you @marieforleo for this post and all the folks who shared their stories. #sograteful

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Lisa, we’re sorry you were met with this pressure after going through such a trying and challenging battle with cancer. We’re glad to hear that you made it through that time, and emerged on the other side with your health and vibrancy. Ultimately, you’re making choices that are best for you, and how you want to contribute to the world. We’re so glad that you offered your perspective to the conversation; thank you for sharing your heart.

      • Thank you, Jillian! I am so grateful to have found Marie and Team Forleo. I know this is a safe space to share and to learn from some amazing people who are following their truths & living their values! 😉

  110. Hey Marie and Team Forleo!
    This was such a good one, thanks for sharing. In my family we have an expression, you may have heard of it, “she beats to her own drum”. My grandpa was a serial entrepreneur and hit his goal of being worth a million dollars by the end of his lifetime. While I never met him, I’ve realized how much I’m like him.
    He had multiple businesses throughout his life, some that failed and others that boomed, but it wasn’t until I heard Marie say the phrase “multi-passionated entreprenuer” that it clicked for me.
    My life choice that I wrestled with and have finally put to bed is starting my own business and allowing myself to create and build without guilt. I’m teaching Pilates, slowly building a coaching business and writing a book all at the same time. But I wouldn’t have it any other way! I know that if I don’t build this now, I’ll regret it and always wonder what my life could have been like if I didn’t build my own health and wellness company.
    I spend a lot of time talking to God, journaling out my thoughts when they’re scrambled and doing my best to slow down to think and search for insight. Sometimes you have to pause for longer than you think you do in order to get the answer. Looking within and using coaching tools to work through confusion, have a friend that you can trust to soundboard your ideas and at the end of the day choose if you’re going to go for it and then actually go for it!
    xo Rachael

    • Heather- Team Forleo

      We’re so happy for your amazing journey and words, Rachael. Keep creating that business that brings you alive. You’re setting an example for everyone around you. Shine on!

      • Thank you Heather! I love this community and the support that you, your team and Marie consistenly offer. I will let my light shine! xo Rachael

  111. Susan K Younger

    I thought I wanted a child after a relationship of years fell apart. I considered single parenthood and decided I would not do the child or myself right without a partner. Years later when I did marry my husband had teenage boys and we agreed to have the time for him to convince me his boys needed enough mothering to satisfy that need or me to convince him a second family was worth it. In less than a year there were more than enough options and I asked him if he wanted vasectomy for Valentine’s Day, his birthday, or our anniversary. No regrets.

  112. Allison Poulis

    Hi Marie-

    I’m 52 and about 4 years ago I decided to follow a lifelong dream as a fitness and nutrition entrepreneur. I have been a hairstylist for nearly 35 years and I am aging the price physically.

    There is a whole lot more to the story but the bottom line is that helping people with something I battled for 40 years and found the answer to brings me total joy. The pushback I get on switching gears is crazy. People think I’m crazy for leaving what “I know “ and what “I am so good at” even though my happiness and financial potential is so much greater as a health coach.

    I’m facing the same pushback as a single mom who wants the best life possible for my kids and myself which has put something else on my heart. I was born a beach girl in California, but sadly it looks nothing like the Golden State I grew up in and I am very drawn to a new place. Again, people say I’m crazy to leave and that I’ll “never be able to come back”. Who says? Who says i won’t make a crazy amazing living somewhere else and be able to come back? Who says I want to???

    Anyway, thank you for this topic and I wish all the women with tough decisions much love.

    Allison P

    • Allison Poulis

      *** I meant PAYING the price physically as a hairstylist. Dumb autocorrect. I’m aging just fine, thank you!! ; D

  113. Oooh, I knew this one would be a hot-button topic! A) I do not have kids. B) I am not going to have kids. C) Most of my life has been “against the grain” as stated above. It is so nice and refreshing to see the comments above that are understanding and supportive. I have always felt a little outside the norm and that is not easy. Whether it is choosing to not have kids or deciding to embark on an alternate career path, we have to stick to our selves and trust our gut even when it is difficult — and, oh, it will be. I was once told that I was “not a real woman” unless I had kids, which was one of the cruelest, most hurtful things anyone has ever said to me. It still bothers me to this day that other women feel that way. People always sat not having children is selfish, but I believe that having children just because you feel like you “should” is selfish. Stay strong, ladies! PS) I am a pet mom and animal rescuer — that is where my maternal vibes live.

    • Nikki

      YAS pet moms <3

      I have two fur babies, what about you?

      • I have six — 2 dogs, 4 cats — we just lost our eldest dog to liver cancer about 1.5 months ago. And, I often have a foster cat here too! Yay pet moms!

  114. Lorlene

    Hi Marie,
    Great topic!
    I, on the contrary knew I wanted kids. I just felt it in my heart, but chose to wait for “the right time”. You know, after school, after I got a job, after I am married. However, I kinda had to wrestle with the idea of wanting kids, as opposed to, not wanting kids, when after “the right time” was seemingly, not going to happen for me. As you pointed out in this video, I looked at my life beyond my current situation and all I could see was a child in it. I prayed about this feeling and searched very deep within me to see if this was really what I wanted, as opposed to a need to fill a void in the moment. Once I realized what I wanted, I went for it.
    I love your wisdom Marie, I connect with it, because I too believe the answer we are searching for, truly lies within our hearts. We reserve the right to make our own choices because only we know truly what our heart desires. I have personally done things that are against the grain and I have no regrets for the choices I have made thus far, because I am at peace with myself for following my dreams and intuition. For me, it was like a troubling desire, and once fulfilled, peace prevailed.
    I close with this quote from anonymous, that I made my personal motto “Listen to the wisdom of your inner voice and always follow your heart”
    Cheers!!!
    Lorlene

    • Nikki

      I agree that we should all follow our hearts!

      Do you have kids now?

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us! This is such a complex decision, with so many factors, and truly, you get to be the one who decides how all of them play out in your life. It sounds like you’ve done a lot to create clarity around what you want, which is so beautiful. We’re wishing you all the best as you lean into this vision, Lorlene.

  115. I love that this question was asked and answered. My fiancé and I do not want to have kids at all, but we’ve definitely gotten comments like the ones you talked about – thankfully from people whose opinions I care nothing about (my mom is supportive, same with my dad – haven’t told his parents/never plan to, hoping they just figure it out). I get the comments more than he does. People actually try to convince me to have kids! Like what? What difference does that make to them? I love babies and kids – I was a balloon twister for many years, so I was around them a lot – but can’t get behind the responsibility that goes with that. Driving the kids to and from school, to extra curriculars, for sixteen years or until they get a car? My fiancé didn’t have a car for a year and I drove him to and from work every day, and I felt like THAT lasted forever. Then there’s all the other stuff that goes along with having kids, like feeding them every meal of the day, behavioral stuff, etc… There’s just so much that changes when you have kids and I don’t see myself wanting any of those changes, now or 10/20/30 years from now. I’ll stick to being auntie and mother of cats.

    That said, I love the babies that surround me – my friends’, cousins’, and brother’s. I just don’t want that kind of energy in my house. It’s actaully the same reason I don’t want a dog (they have a lot more needs than cats). Whatever decision anyone makes is right for them, and I fully support anyone who wants or doesn’t want to have kids. I wish others would do the same.

  116. Emma

    Hey Marie,
    I, like you, have always known biological children of my own were never on the table for me. I have a few reasons, bad childhood, some not so good genetics on one side of my family and not being a relationship with someone I could see as being a good dad. I’ve never really shouted about it, and the worst I’ve had, was ‘you’d make a great mum’.
    About 4 1/2 years ago, I had to have a hysterectomy, when I was 36. This was harder to deal with than the initial choice. People, without thinking, when they found out immediately said ‘don’t worry, you can adopt’ – which I found harder to deal with and made me more angry.
    I do, however have a question, I’m dating someone, who’s recently divorced, and he has children. We knew each other when I went through the surgery, so he knows I didn’t want children of my own. It has yet to come up, as it’s only been a couple of months, but I’m concerned he won’t think the relationship is worth taking forward because of my earlier comments about having children of my own – it’s just biological children of my own I don’t want – how do I respond without completely screwing it up.
    Marie, you’ve been in the same position as I am – how would you handle this?

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Emma, thank you for sharing your experience here. It sounds like this person you’re dating is aware of how you feel on this topic, and as long as you’re both honest with the expectations of how your relationship is unfolding, there are a myriad of different outcomes that can play out.

      What’s best for one relationship isn’t necessarily what’s best in another, so talking with him about how involved you might want to be with his children, or whether adopting children together might be an option, might clear up any confusion for you. As scary as it can feel to bring these things up, the more you address how you’re each feeling as you move forward in your relationship, the more you’ll be able to get on the same page. We’re wishing you all the best as you navigate this topic.

  117. MB NYC

    Marie, that was awesome! Being open and sharing. YES! We all want different things …have different callings…dreams…..that is the beauty of life! of this world. I love being a mom to my little ones. But that’s me. One of my favorite people (BFF) in the world choose not to have kids and that is amazing. It’s her truth! Can you imagine if we’re all alike? that would be dreadful. Live you’re life …do you.
    I work at tossing judgment to the curb when it pops up ever so slightly. It takes up valuable space in my brain and soul (energy sucker). It’s adds nothing…takes away space from love. I choose love…it’s a choice.

  118. Heather McCartney-Duty

    I had three things to consider when marrying in my late 30’s: who would walk me down the aisle, would I keep my family name, and how would any children born to the union be named? My father died when I was 6 and I was uncomfortable with this traditions as I associated it with “transference of property”. This caused no small amount of family drama on my father’s side and my mother even received a call that in no uncertain terms, my brother would be my escort! I felt very certain that I was able to choose to marry and whom to marry, therefore, no escort required. The second part then became the last name. Since my father had passed so young, I felt that my name was his only tangible gift to me. I had lived 36 years with it and it was how I was known. I was also joining a family with an uncommon name. My fiance’ felt strongly about a family identity through name. My choice? I hyphenated. I was the first female on either side of the family to not lose my family name. At first, it caused all sorts of confusion. My friends and peers adopted it without hesitation, but my family? They are still not sure how to call me. It feels cumbersome to write out and it doesn’t fit their marriage narrative. And the child born to us? I gave her the father’s family name. Why? It’s MUCH shorter 🙂 and gave her a place with her siblings. I am happy with all of those choices, even if others are not.

  119. I feel like every step has been “against the grain” for at least one other person’s opinion or even well-meaning desire for MY life. Some are more common for us as women but I’ve definetky heard more naysayers than supporters. And people who give advice instead of asking questions and offering authentic listening are typically just trying to make themselves feel comfortable with their own decisions that they wrestle with!!!!!! I enjoy giving space and time to explore what I believe is best for me – honoring and loving myself and choosing my experience and responsibilities with intention and thoughtfulness. I, like all of you, evolve. So, choices need to be visited and sometimes my hindsight reveals factors I didn’t consider. But as long as I gave myself the time and space as I move along I feel good about my process and that’s what’s inportant to me. I wrote an article about this specific topic of parenting and have more to say and new feelings to add since I wrote it….because I evolve. Parenting is a responsibility and honor that deserves private respectful process in the way that is meaningful for you. Wait, that’s my answer for making decisions on ALL responsibilities and “holistic investments” in your life. Our choices involve all our intelligences…physical, emotional, intellectual, relational, spiritual. So my decionmaking process involves them all too! Thank you for addressing this topic and much love to all of you for the thoughtful considerate sharing that happens in this forum. When I wrote my article it sparked dialogue that was beautiful….holding and honoring each other’s process is an amazing gift to one another! Xoxo Andrea

  120. What a great topic, and thanks, Marie, for sharing so openly. I didn’t realize I was going SO much against the grain at the time, but when I got married, I kept my own last name. To me, there was really no decision: I’d had that name for 30 years, it was my identity, I liked it, and I saw no reason to change. But boy, did that start a storm of conflict and argument! At first my then-husband (notice we’re divorced now–lol!), said, “Well, we need to be a TEAM. Taking the same name shows you’re committed to the TEAM.” But when I replied, “Okay, then let’s both take my last name,” he flat-out refused (with no good reason). Once we were married, we both repeatedly told his parents that I’d kept my own last name, but his mother insisted on sending birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc. to me with his last name on them. I have to admit that I’m still surprised when I see women choosing to adopt their husband’s last name, even today. It literally makes no logical sense to me; the concept is a throwback to the 9th century when women were, literally, their husband’s property, with no rights of their own. Anyway, so glad I did–I know too many women in their 50s and 60s who get divorced and then are saddled with someone else’s last name when they no longer have anything to do with that person.

  121. I love your video and your advice to follow the still small voice of your heart for all life decisions. I think there are too many women who unconsciously choose to become a parent because that’s what society says they should . I have two daughters in their early 20s who I love and adore and chose to have. We talk about their dreams and desires and whether or not their future includes children. I honor and respect the women who choose not to have children of their own because that is what feels right and true for them.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Melody, what a beautiful example of openness and support you’re showing your daughters. This is how acceptance becomes a cultural norm, by teaching the next generation through our actions and words.

  122. Gloria L

    Yup. I don’t want kids either and I’ve heard some of the same things, and I know every time I hear any of those completely uninformed comments from people who clearly don’t remotely know or care about me as an individual, I’ve had a very visceral internal “NOPE.”

    Funnily enough, in those situations, I’ve noticed that I’m usually the one making the judgment – anyone who is so entrenched in societal norms that they feel they have the right to tell me what I want, is not anyone I’d choose to have much of any kind of relationship with. 😉

    My own opinion on this is that there are enough unwanted kids in the world, and our earth is already over populated. If I EVER want children, I would much rather adopt. I find it appalling and EXTREMELY selfish to bring children into the world for the reason of having someone to look after you in old age, or as some misguided attempt to “fix” a marriage, or to achieve/perpetuate some sort of dream or legacy you weren’t able to fulfill in your lifetime, or to otherwise fill a similar shaped hole in your life. Children are not slaves or servants you give birth to.

    I definitely don’t subscribe to many of the societal “norms”, in many areas of my life. I’m glad it seems like quite a few others in this thread and community are similarly independent-minded! Fortunately for me, I’ve never had much of a “struggle” with this as I’m also very much led by intuition and instinct, and this video really struck a chord.

    To everyone who wants to have children from an authentic place of love, more power to you. The world needs more well-adjusted, well-loved, compassionate people.

    And to all those who don’t want children, don’t doubt yourself for a second. You’re clearly in good company here. Women don’t exist to be baby factories. We obviously have other purposes in this life. Like Adrienne said, I have other things to “birth” in this life. And that’s my focus. Love and support to all who struggle with and have to face this kind of ridiculous, ignorant abuse. Stay strong and follow your heart! You’re not alone!

  123. Thanks for bringing this up! I’ve never regretted it! I didn’t have kids–I knew from an early age it wasn’t for me, for a lot of reasons. An often-overlooked one is the environmental impact: creating another human, with that human’s footprint (especially in wealthy countries) totally negates other conservation steps you might take. It leaves a heavy legacy.
    For those who’d like to counter the myths–and they are myths–about the arguments people throw at those who are figuring if they want kids, author Laura Carroll’s brief-but-comprehensive book, The Baby Matrix, examines why people assume everyone has to have kids and gives great alternatives.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, and this amazing resource Maria!

  124. Jill

    Oh, thank you so much for this!! I would never give advice on this or any other life and relationship issue, but I will say, “Only YOU know your heart.” If I go against what my heart tells me, I’ll be wrong every time. If I’m on the fence about a decision, I go with my gut instinct.

    When I was growing up, everyone in my small high school (in my very small town) insisted that there was only one college worth attending, the one that was 20 miles from home. Even my guidance counselor told me a degree from another college (the one I wanted to attend) would be worthless and I would never get a job if I went there, or anywhere else but Tech. I didn’t go to Tech. I went to the other school, 3 hours from home, where I met other people from other places, got a degree in what I wanted to study (writing, communications, radio/TV, advertising) and worked in media for many years. I am one of the few people I know who is still using her degree in her career!
    I took vacations alone (Oh my GOD!! ALONE!! You’ll get kidnapped or raped or something!!) back in the 80s when it was SO not popular to do that. I lived alone and although I didn’t have that second income, I managed to get by. It was hard, but I did it.
    Many years ago, I knew I was not cut out to be a mom. I KNEW in my heart, and I wasn’t even sure if marriage was for me! I was so sure I was not mom material, I had my tubes tied at 29. It was so freeing. I married at 32, to a wonderful younger man (the right man for me – he understood my decision!), and we’ve been together for 30 years now. We have made moves we would not have made if children were involved, have had time to devote to each other, have traveled when we want, and have made decisions based on what was best for our own lives. I have a job I love and will retire from in a couple of years, so now I’m thinking about my possible retirement business.

    I love my nieces and loved having them visit for a few days or even a week or so when they were small, but when they left I never wished I had children of my own. They are now bright, independent young women with fantastic careers, and I encouraged them and was as proud of them as their own mom.

    Many people actually believe if you choose not to have children, it means you are selfish, you hate kids, or haven’t thought about “who will take care of you when you’re old.” A guy friend once told me he heard women who choose to be childless will suffer severe depression later in life! None of those things are true. I also never felt like an outsider around friends who do have children.

    I have friends who asked me if I have ever missed having children. I honestly, truthfully haven’t. But I would never advise them not to. I don’t regret one single decision I’ve made when I chose to follow what I knew was right for me, and I hope they will do the same.

  125. I’m 38 and know I don’t want children of my own. Luckily my husband and I are on the same page. Inside I am calm and know my truth, and not having children is part of that truth. But it’s the world outside that can sometimes be annoying and noisy with its whining about what women should and shouldn’t do (and virtually little to no noise at all about what men should with their bodies). So talking about this honestly the way you did in this video/podcast is so so so much needed. Please know that today, June 5, 2018, in a wet rainy Moiliili morning, you helped another fellow human being with this awesome show. Mahalo and terima kasih (thank you).

    • Tara

      Hi Nezia,
      I live in Hawaii too, downtown! It’s nice to read your comment about this topic. I too have struggled with this (I am 32). Even my gynecologist continues to bring this subject up quite a bit and the way she speaks about it feels like she’s pressuring me into making a decision that isn’t hers to make. It’s nice to hear that you know your truth and have stuck with it. Thanks for the good vibes!
      Tara

      • Jillian - Team Forleo

        Tara, we know that these pressures can seep into so many kinds of interactions and relationships. Keep in mind that there are doctors and gynecologists out there who are absolutely neutral on your choice whether to have children or not. It’s always an option to find someone new if you’re feeling uncomfortable talking about this with your current doctor. We’re wishing you the best as you uncover your own truths here.

        • Tara

          Thank you Jillian. It’s helpful for me to have that feedback. I was thinking about finding another doctor, but just put it off to the side. I guess I just stayed with her out of habit since I’ve been seeing her since I was a teen! I appreciate your encouragement and will continue to explore other options, whether kindly confronting/clarifying with her at my next office visit, or finding another doctor. 🙂
          Tara

  126. Great post and absolutely, we as women should be able to decide how our lives are lived.

    I want to briefly share my experience with this question. Back, way back, when I was in my 20’s and 30’s I had the same questions. Then the universe handed me an ectopic pregnancy and the doctor said my chances of having children were slim to non existent. Well that non-decision changed everything as I didn’t NOT want to have the experience of having children. I radically changed my diet and went on to have two wonderful children.

    Through their childhood I worked with my husband, studied, changed careers, started my own business, wrote a book, moved and traveled. It was often challenging but also fun. And their presence in my life introduced me to whole worlds of spirituality, healing, education and new ways of living that I would not have found otherwise. — Fast forward 35+ years and my daughter is now my business partner as I embark on a whole new career path built on my passions and experience so far, and this as I turn 70 in a few months. It’s an exciting time and my life is far from over.

    Back in my 20’s the question posed was, would your career be harmed if you had children, but Marie has changed all that. We don’t need to work for someone else and live by their rules, we can start any number of businesses in the course of our lives and enjoy the fruits of it all. Mine included children, others might not.

    SMP, B-school grad since 2012

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Thank you for sharing this with us Susan! It sounds like you’ve had a wonderful life, building your career, raising your family, and now starting anew alongside your daughter with vigor and inspiration. We love hearing that B-School and Marie’s work are helping to promote a new perspective on what it means to experience everything you desire, and we’re here cheering you on in this next phase of your life!

    • Daniela

      Beautiful comment Susan!

  127. Bev

    I’m a long-time B-Schooler and have never made a comment here, but this topic is dear to my heart. I’ll be 65 on Friday, and to this day, I have NOT regretted not having kids.
    I’ve been able to grow two successful businesses. One, a women’s surf retreat. Our motto is “We make girls out of women,” so I’m around a lot of kids. 🙂
    Before that, my husband and I founded a snowboard company. Lots of kids there too! Both occupations have required a lot of time and energy, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I hope more women choose a career path, one that’s as rewarding as I’ve found mine to be.
    When asked why I don’t have kids, I think there are enough of us!

    • Kathy

      Hi Bev,
      Thank you for commenting – this is an inspiration from someone who is further down the life path than me. 🙂 I also work in a school, so feel surrounded by the love of children and also agree that I think there are enough of us. I want to devote my energies to supporting and nurturing the life that already exists, and am not sure if one day I’ll have the want/desire to biologically have my own. But for now, I’m pouring everything into my business and existing and expanding relationships and certainly wouldn’t have it any other way!!!

    • Kim Klassen

      Cheers! Yes to all of this Bev! Life is what we make of it, we are meant to be happy and enjoy. I love what you did with your life. Sounds amazing 🙂

  128. Listen to your gut/heart on this one – it doesn’t lie!
    When I got pregnant with my first, I knew that it didn’t matter what I did during my pregnancy, I was going to have a happy, healthy baby. So, I ate what I wanted, shoveled snow, exercised…basically everything a normal person would do. I was heavily criticized by my friends but I refused to see pregnancy as a disability. And guess what? My baby turned out perfectly happy and healthy.
    Now pregnancy number two comes along and this feels different. I instinctively know to rest, take it easy, etc. And guess what? I miscarried. But had no regrets, no self-blame, because I listened to that inner voice that somehow knew. Because I listened to my inner voice, I never EVER wondered “What if I had only done….would I still be pregnant.”
    Listen to your voice (make sure it’s your voice and not fear or justification), and you will have no regrets.

  129. This conversation comes at such a poignant time during which I’ve been exploring this question myself from 2017-2018, when my mother insisted that after I ran the NYC marathon, that it was time to stop running and have kids. Not just one, but two.

    It’s always something I thought I’d do – get married, have kids, do the thing. But the more questions and pressure I received from the outside, the more I had to look inside and ask myself whether this was my idea, society’s idea, or perhaps my parents’ idea. After conversations with my husband, my friends, and my overall gut reaction, I realized I had adopted this idea from elsewhere, and it was not mine. That’s not say that the idea won’t be mine later – but at this moment, it’s not mine. It was one of the first times I accepted that I would disappoint my mother, and go against her wishes. I’m a 34 year old woman! That’s totally okay, by the way!!!

    I’m also at an exciting time watching my business grow. Not by coincidence, with the growth of my business has been the growth of myself, my mindset, my nervous system, my work habits, and my own spiritual evolution. In exploring entrepreneurial ideas and other ways of living that go beyond the normal programming, my husband and I also decided to open our marriage. This was a decision I felt was so authentic to who I am and how I experience connection, but I remember feeling nervous to tell people, anxious about their judgment or reaction.

    But I find that the more I verbalize my truth, the more I normalize it for myself and others. And when I can share my authentic experience with connection and the level of communication and commitment that my partner(s) and I share with each other, I’m so grateful to listen to myself. I feel like I am living for myself. I feel like I am living a life that I actively choose, and it’s an incredible privilege in 2018, and also something we can all access when we ask ourselves the right questions, surround ourselves with the right people, get intentional about our consumption (social media, news, romantic comedies, pop music, etc.) to ask ourselves – What kind of life would I like to lead?

    It’s occurred to me that I may not create biological life, but that I’m full of the power of creation, and I see that through my ideas coming into fruition, through the community I support, and the community that supports me. I realize that many of the voices that visit me are old voices. Old voices that say I have some kind of obligation to bearing biological children and giving grandchildren, and old voices saying that’s what I “should” do. I’m grateful to be able to talk to those voices that no longer serve me, and that I can ask myself how I would like to live.

    Thank you for this question and answer. My relationships and life choices around family have been central to also galvanizing and expanding my business, and I’m extremely grateful for how they are interconnected in a way which serves me.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Kathy, this line, ‘I’m full of the power of creation’ is so beautiful, and we love that you’ve been taking the time to determine what kind of creation feels the most authentic to you at this time.

      While it might feel as though you’re disappointing other people in your life by making this choice, you’re also freeing yourself up to make the most meaningful contributions to the world that you can, by working and creating from a place of honesty and love.

  130. Kimberly

    I also struggled with this in my early 30s. I was happily married and didn’t want kids until I had a career I loved, a house, etc. One by one I got those things and I guess I felt like I had run out of excuses, so I had a baby and then two years later, another one.

    I have been too ashamed to say this before, but I really didn’t like being a mom for a long time. I felt like the kids took away my identity as a person – all the things I believed made me who I am were overwhelmed by the all-consuming identity of being someone’s mom. I didn’t have a lot of help from family and I didn’t have a lot of patience.

    One day, after another sleepless/crazy night of feeding them, comforting them, putting up with their ridiculous demands, I felt like I was losing it. I felt like running away. I sat on the edge of my bed and prayed for help. And I’m not a praying person. I asked the Universe to send me an angel to help me.

    One moment later my daughter (then 3) walked into the room. From that moment on, I chose to see my kids as my angels rather than as burdens. With every passing day, they became more independent and I slowly resumed my life as my own person, defining myself on my own terms. I started a business and I love what I do.

    My kids are now 11 and 9 and they can still be annoying sometimes, but they have offered me the chance to love as purely and as fiercely as I have ever done. They are now old enough to travel with us and to enjoy most of the experiences I like to enjoy as an adult. And my own life experience is enriched by my role as their mom – one of the many roles I’ve chosen in this life.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Kimberly, this experience you’ve described is not uncommon, and we’re so honored that you shared it with us. It sounds like you found a beautiful way to connect to your children during that initial challenging time, while at the same time honoring your feelings as an individual. And the relationships that you’re creating with them now are even more fruitful and authentic because of it.

  131. Hi Marie and Team Forleo,
    I have been wondering what Marie’s decision had been on kids – I’m 34 and I get the question, it seems, almost daily, as to whether or not my husband and I are going to have kids – get this – ‘because I’m getting old!’. I have never wanted kids. I love kids, I love coaching and teaching, but it just has never been something that I’ve wanted for myself. I have my own business, which I love, and I have a life that I enjoy. Yes, my husband would love to have kids, but he said he was willing to not have them. I have been open minded about having them, and have been listening to EVERYONE tell me ‘you’d be a great mom’, ‘you won’t regret it’, ‘it’s the best thing they’ve ever done’, etc., but I still don’t have the desire – and like you, Marie, I go after what I want and having kids has never been on my list. The pressure to make the decision can be so overwhelming that it actually makes me physically sick some days. I can’t thank you enough for your very personal and honest answer to this question, it is so refreshing to have someone I admire so much just speak from their heart about it. Thanks again for all that you do, you and your team are rock stars!

  132. I absolutely love this Marie! This is something I have struggled with. Honestly, I struggle with it to a point even today.
    My grandmother made sure to point out if my hips were developing into good birthing hips, so I was raised to grow up, get married, and have kids. That’s why after learning that was impossible for me I was upset.
    I learned that there is much more to life though! Yes, I could sit and cry about the fact that there will never be little hands like mine, etc., etc. I could take any of the negative comments that I have gotten to heart and forget that we are all here for a much greater purpose.
    I could and we each could also choose to listen to motivational people like you Marie! We can let our hearts grow because of the beautiful things you teach! Thank you for having the courage to talk about this. I don’t know about others but your works have not only helped me to thrive in business but they have helped me to see that I am worthy of this thing called life. I may not be able to give physical life anymore but I am worthy of living the life I have! We all are! If I realized that at a younger age, I have no doubt life would have been easier. Thank you for being one who has helped with your teachings. May you always share such messages to continue helping others know that they are worthy too.

  133. I did have kids, and oh my Lord, that’s where all the outside “helpful advice” started coming in… From where they were born, to who attended the birth, and especially to how I raised them.
    I had studied fashion and was at a point of movin’ on up in my career when my Girl Child was born. I had honestly never even been around kids since I was one, and had no idea what I was getting into~ I never ever would have guessed that once she got here, I wouldn’t feel like my job was nearly as important and decide to cut back my hours, even if it was a shot in the foot to my career ladder climbing.
    I was told I was all sorts of crazy, wasting my education, my life, blah blah, blah.
    I followed my heart.
    A couple of years later, I had my Boy Child and entered my Ma Ingalls Little House phase when I moved to the mountains with 2 little kids thinking it would fun to live off the land in an off the grid cabin. People really flipped on that one. (Surprise~ it was really hard! But, I’m still super glad I did it!) I realized I like electricity and dishwashers, but I also realized I loved my kids getting to build fairy houses next to creeks and run around with baby goats and chickens all day~ so I found a way combine all those and moved to a place where we could have the kind of childhood I wanted them to have~ Easy access to town and amenities and lots of nature and space to get grounded and play and affordable for me to work part time.
    Homeschooling my kids (which was really more life learning, funschooling style) was probably the thing that got the most gasps and big eyeball stares. But, it was a conscious choice to live a life where we could be free to follow our interests on our timeline and chase our own dreams and goals, and not be tied to someone else’s agenda and calendar.
    Just like some people do better working for themselves, some people do better with that freedom and control in their education.
    People flipped out about it and gave all sorts of advice, making sure I’d heard of any families on the news or the random weird kid they met once who was homeschooled and didn’t read well. Ugh~ truly exhausting.
    Like Marie, I followed my instincts all the way, and have no regrets! My kids are 18 and 20 now and are awesome dream chasing, free thinkers who know how to hustle, can manage all sorts of situations themselves, including college, and truly appreciate their free range childhood~ They had a great, real-life education and have become life long learners.
    I had a blast too because I was learning and exploring, traveling and having fun alongside them.
    I can always make more money, (and I am!) but that time is something I am soooooooo glad I took~ no matter what everyone else said.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Thank you for sharing your experience with this decision Pamela. We know it can be so challenging to juggle your own desires with outside opinions and judgments, and it sounds like at every opportunity, you’ve listened to your intuition, and you’ve created such a beautiful life for your family. The gratitude you have for all the choices you’ve made is leaping off the screen, and we love that!

  134. Thanks for this Marie. I know more than a few couples who have decided not to have kids and they alway face the same old insensitive responses. You nailed it and gave excellent advice here.

  135. Ada J

    Marie, you’ve heard it all before…how you inspire! So many of your episodes hit home and I thank God for your gifts and for everyone who is connected here because of you. I’m commenting for the FIRST time! You can read my story below, but in case you don’t care, I’ll cut out the labor and give you the baby haha, no pun intended!
    –I have much respect for those who decide not to have their own biological off-spring, whatever the reason or reasons. I don’t respect those who bring kids into existence and don’t put in the WORK to properly RAISE them. —
    YESTERDAY I watched an interview between Hoda Kotb and Sandra Bullock regarding the subject of to have or not have children, more specifically the choice to adopt children. In the end she said these magical words I wanted to share: “It’s amazing to me how we can take away people’s happiness by telling them that this is the box that you have to stay in,” Bullock continued. “There is no box. There’s no box.”
    A year and a half ago I made a decision to leave a man I loved because he was liar, a cheater, a bully, emotionally unavailable and had no remorse or regret for any of his actions that harmed us deeply throughout our relationship. After 9 years of him dangling the carrot…(marriage) I had a life-changing incident that opened my eyes to the toxicity I was allowing. Life is fragile, it is short and it is our own to live. I had done my part, I didn’t want to live like this anymore, I didn’t want to love someone who wouldn’t love me back.
    In the midst of this ‘beginning of the end’ a close male friend of mine became romantically interested in me and stuck to me like white on rice…I appreciated him but I wasn’t easily convinced that I could love him in return. A little at a time I fell in love! I am not the cheating type so I filed for a divorce because in TEXAS there was enough evidence that the Ex and I were holding out as married therefore informally or common-law married. We’d built a home and a life together, he denied it all, but I wasn’t leaving without a fight. It took 9 months of litigation, all the while I still lived in our home under temporary orders, but love couldn’t wait and I started dating. My family didn’t understand, they wouldn’t listen, they didn’t do their homework. How interesting that all those who wondered why I was with him if he wouldn’t commit were the same ones who turned their back when I needed them most? Even after I shared some very intimate and painful things he’d done. It was exhausting. I didn’t have the time or the energy to explain to everyone. I wanted their love, compassion and support. What is family for after all? I’m 46 years old and here I was expecting to have everyone’s approval on a decision for my life. Why??!!
    Well, I’m now married to that man, my friend turned husband who couldn’t wait to make me his wife, who loves me and admires me beyond words! I didn’t know a man could fight for love instead of fighting love. I didn’t leave my ex for another man…I left him for a woman…ME! That me found true love.
    He’s younger, divorced and has joint custody of 3 little ones 10, 8 & 3 (they are bi-racial –that’s another topic O_o, people are so mean). My choice wasn’t easy, kids are a HUGE responsibility and they DO suck the life out of you!! I know this….I have happily raised 3 great kids of my own, 2 daughters are in college and my son is in 10th grade for me being a mom gave me a purpose, it has been my most challenging and most favorite job in life and this empty-nesting thing is no joke! So I meditated and prayed and ultimately decided it was a fresh start at motherhood, love came to me in the form of a package deal-3 new kids and a husband. I’m embracing it.
    I live with much happiness, more than I have felt in a very long time, but some days feel sadness. I miss my sisters and my mom, as they once were…the friends and family I lost as a consequence, first from the split-up…then the new man. They said and did a lot of hurtful things, how dare they? All I did was follow my heart. There’s no one way to do this thing called life. ‘There’s no box’.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      There truly is no one way to do this thing called life, Ada, you’re absolutely right. And we’re sorry to hear that in the aftermath of being able to make choices that resonate with what you want and who you are, some important relationships have shifted or changed in a painful way.

      There is always space to rebuild if that ever feels like the right next step, and as you navigate your feelings on that, know that at the same time, you’ve also attracted some amazing and supportive people into your world.

  136. Tara

    I’m 32 years old and this has become THE topic of conversation at family get togethers and with people I run into. I have heard the same comments and oh my goodness, don’t even get me started on the facial expressions that goes along with them! In my experience, I feel most people are trying to shame me into making a decision that I know isn’t theirs to make. I’m not sure if I want kids. Never really thought about or imagined it that much at all. My husband is very supportive and in our conversations, we’ve discovered that we could go both ways – have kids or not have kids. I also don’t have any problems adopting a child if I really want children in the future. I am born and raised in Hawaii where the scene is very family oriented, so this concept can be quite unfamiliar territory for people to understand. After watching this video, I feel more certain and confident in sticking with my decision and won’t be persuaded by other’s opinions/decisions they make about me and my body.

    Thank you so much Marie and Team!

    Tara

  137. Thank you, Marie for going super public on this issue. Yes, it’s really about women making their own decisions and life path, without societal control. I’m 60 and knew from age 12 that having kids was not for me. Oh, the ruckus that caused over the years! Never, ever regretted the decision. Fact is, the world needs every kind of person, mothers and non-mothers. We were all born here to be as we are and for good reasons, even if at the time we don’t see them. Over the years I’ve made decisions that others criticized me for- being an artist, for example, leaving one endeavor when I knew I was done with it to start another, and another and another. When you listen to your intuition, life may take you on risky paths. But when others say it’s risky, they are almost always talking about their idea of security and safety. Everyone has their own path or journey in life. I’m very glad to have been born in a time when I could and can make my own decisions, even those that caused pain and stress. I regret nothing, as the song says. Life is incredibly hard for me right now, due in part to accident, but also to the life choices I made. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing, because I am true to myself, even when the world has pointed it’s finger and yelled, “See? You made your bed, now you must lie in it!” Well, yes, and it’s my bed, I made it, and love it no matter what- because it’s MINE.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Thank you for sharing your voice here Chea. We’re so sorry to hear that you’re in a rough spot right now, and at the same time we’re relieved to hear that you’re feeling great about all the choices you’ve made.

      Yes, to one person a certain path might feel risky and unsafe, and to another it may feel adventurous and freeing. Ultimately, as you said, ‘the world needs every kind of person, mothers and non-mothers.’ This is how so much beauty is created, through every kind of perspective.

  138. Rebecca

    Hey Everyone,
    This is an important video to be sure.
    When I was 15 years old God let me know that motherhood was not for me, so I, too, had no struggle with this decision. People have said some of the same things to me, primarily, “you’ll change your mind”. Well, I’m 51 and have yet to regret this decision. I love kids and often enjoy holding a baby or playing with a toddler. And, yet, an extended period of time with kids confirms every time that not raising kids is what’s best for me. (And the kids I might have had). This subject can be particularly difficult to navigate in the Christian church, so I hope my sisters in Christ catch that this was God’s plan for me.

  139. Amen Sister. Yes we can decide for ourselves, on anything, not just having kids.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Right on Cali Bird, right on!

  140. Iva

    I am 28 years old (I know, I still have time to decide on this issue), but I feel like this is a question I’m confronted with daily.

    My younger brother passed away recently, leaving me an only child. I have never wanted children, but now find myself re evaluating whether or not a family is for me. While I once wished to be left alone on holidays, I now find myself yearning for a deeper connection.

    I’m in a serious relationship with a man who wants kids with every fiber of his being. I know that if I am to consider him my life partner, kids would have to be on the table. For now, I am learning to listen to my intuition and taking it a day at a time.

    Thanks!

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      One day at a time is a beautiful way to approach this, Iva. You don’t need to know everything right away or all at once.

  141. The best advice I ever got on ‘having kids’ was from my mom. She told me to NOT ask myself if I ‘wanted kids’ but to ask my self if I wanted to ‘be a parent’. Her take was that you don’t ‘have kids’ – you ‘have’ a car, a house a career, a purse….kids were not things to have. Thinking about ‘do I want to be a parent’ helped me make a well thought out decision. And I had one child. At age 34. ONE. I did not want more. I got the same type of shpeel you illustrated in your video because they didn’t see how I could possibly have ONLY one….yeesh! I also grew up in area in New Orleans where many of my friends had 4, 5 and 6 or more siblings. These families got the 3rd degree as well. PEOPLE! It’s none of your bees wax! Your life is yours. Thank you for this episode. As always Marie, you’re right on point.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      That advice from your mum is priceless Melissa. Thank you for being a part of this beautiful and supportive community!

  142. Jenny

    Marie,
    Your topic / question today reminds me of a quote I read by one of our contemporary leading women back in the day of Working Women Magazine, so around 1990. Hillary Clinton was asked if she questioned her decision to be a “working mom,” which at that time was being pushed against – imagine that.

    Hillary said, “introduce me to a woman who hasn’t questioned any of the decisions she’
    s made,” which I thought was profound.

    So whether you have kids or don’t, or whether you let your kids go to day care while you work or don’t, are all of the life’s decisions, among many others I’m sure, that we as woman get to navigate.

    Trust you!

  143. Amy

    I am currently struggling with the “but THEY say” syndrome, as I call it. I have spent WAY too much money to be involved in a program that I felt I “needed” because I feared that I wouldn’t be seen as ‘legitimate’ if I wasn’t ‘business oriented’.
    “But THEY say” that it’s too hard to make money as a transformational life coach.
    “But THEY say” that with my years of business experience, I’m better off doing small business marketing.
    I realize I have wasted so much time wrestling with this when I have known the answer all along.
    “But I say” that while I know I can do that and could be successful at it, a small business marketing coaching is not my soul purpose. I know this. It’s why I haven’t been able to get into action around it. I don’t get all jazzed and energized talking about perfect branding and generating leads. I get jazzed when I talk about the struggles of my peeps, my fellow GenX women who were fed a load of crap as kids about how to be happy, and are now middle aged, divorced, financially anxious, and wondering just what the hell they did wrong. I get passionate about teaching these women how to increase their vibrational level, about the power of visualization, how they can manage their negative thoughts so they aren’t held prisoner by them anymore, and about making dreams come true before the short time on this big blue ball is over (cuz it’s what the universe wants for you).
    It’s very hard to trust your intuition when feel like you’ve screwed up so much in the past, but I can’t ignore that it just doesn’t gel, isn’t sitting right with me, and hasn’t been for a long time. So THANK YOU for this episode. It was the perfect kick in the ass at the perfect time. It is again time to be the rebel that I once was a teenager. LOL Buck the system! What the hell do “THEY” know anyway? Don’t listen to anyone but yourself and what you know in your heart is right for you. That’s where the absolute truth lies. Thanks for the reminder Marie. As always, you f***kin’ ROCK.

  144. Michele

    Hi – I did want children and so I went freelance to give me flexibility, built a business quickly but no kids came along. When my partner and I discovered we couldn’t have kids together it was a big blow, not least because it was out of my control. But years later other things have happened instead which are really positive in my life. But people made thoughtless comments because they assumed it was my choice. And thought I wanted a business over children. I didn’t, I wanted both! Other people make other choices. We only have one life and we owe it to ourselves and others to make decisions that we know in our hearts are right for us. Marie you are so right. Go for the gut reaction. Our intuition if we listen properly has all the answers. So we need to be brave and follow that voice and shrug off naysayers.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Michele, it sounds like you’ve had to deal with some painful assumptions from other people, and we’re so sorry to hear that. Yes, the practice of listening to your intuition can reveal all kinds of beautiful answers. We’re so glad you’re finding ways to shrug off the ‘naysayers’ and follow that inner voice instead.

  145. Marie,
    This is so good on so many levels. First, telling women to live their lives exactly as we want it. When I coach young women and this question arises, I really ask them to look at the conditioning from the culture and from our families…the tribes they were born into. Are they getting pressure from their moms or other people to have kids? From their religious upbringing? That may give a clue to why they are confused. Look at that, and then ask yourself what you really want for YOU! You may have to buck the tribe!!! And if you do, and listen to your soul, good for you!
    I have two grown kids and love them deeply, but they ask me these questions and I don’t pressure. I don’t do the grandma thing. I don’t do the “who will take care of you” thing. It is up to them and I am happy either way because first and foremost I want THEM happy.
    And an addendum here…talk about bucking the system. I just left a delightful two year relationship. He had pursued me and I reluctantly got involved, but he was a gift. Why did I hesitate? Because he is 30 years younger, in his mid-thirties. He is the age of my kids. The pressure from society is SO opposed to older women/younger men, so we kept the relationship under wraps…my decision as much as his. We didn’t want to be judged. So that is another bias to tackle.
    Meanwhile, the reason we ended it two months? He is European. His mother has been pressuring him to get married and have babies. While she was visiting the states recently, the family fixed him up with a lovely young woman. So we freed each other. He used to talk to me about this. He was feeling the pressure from his mother. (She didn’t know about me:). I told him the same thing I said here, “Feel into it. If you think you want kids, then go for it. Just be sure you find the right woman, so that you can both be happy.”

  146. Maria Horvath

    Hello, iam not sure i loved this episode as it crossed the respect line…(last 10 seconds)…
    Anyway, i will keep those emotions out and just would like to share a couple of my cool thoughts.
    I am running an international incredible career, worked on 3 continents and achieved whatever i liked to achieve… (is not the missing sign of modesty i just want you to know i experience this first hand) however the feeling what work gives is a kind of satisfaction. When i get a hug from 9 year old miracle babe, it is a soul-filling happiness!!! I would never ever change it for anything work related EVER!!!!!
    Secondly, i learned that my also very intuitive little voice is some days run by fears and if i would listen to it ALL the time, i would be in a very different place right now! Definitely being born in Hungary i would not have made it to Silicon Valley, CA!!! So, you need to use your rational side as well!
    Thirdly, the root cause of the major issues on this world can come down to one big problem, there are waaaaay toooo many people on planet earth, so probably a one-child policy is not such a bad idea after all…
    Love you guys all, with or without kid/s, with one or many and fully respecting your own situation, decision and way of living, just please don’t forget to LOVE those who are already here, this world needs more love, affection and respect towards each other and each other’s decisions! Amen

  147. Ysabelle

    I always know that i wood not have children

  148. Cara

    I wrestled with whether to home school my kids or not. When I initially posed the idea a few years before I had no support for it. But a couple of years later a situation arose and I thought the best solution to the situation was to home school. I really wrestled with this one and kept the decision making between my husband and myself because I had already sounded other people out and knew what they thought. It felt like one more way I was going to be ‘different’ than everyone else. Two years on and today I can say it was the best decision for our family. In amongst those years have been days of “what am I doing? This is too hard!” But the things I have learnt about myself and my kids have been so worth it. We are creating our lives and it’s fun.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Cara, we love that your experience of creating a life for yourself and your family is proving fun and adventurous. Challenges and obstacles are part of the journey, and as long as they’re born from a place of truly listening to your intuition, then it’s much easier to move through them with perspective and grace. Thank you for sharing your voice here!

  149. Lucy

    Thanks for discussing this topic. I’ve never wanted to have children and have never regretted that decision. My husband has two lovely, now grown up kids from his first marriage, so he’s fine with it. I’m so pleased for people that want kids and enjoy having them. I think that people that want to have them and those that don’t, provide a healthy balance for humankind. I have at times felt pressurised by society to have them, but I quite agree it is your own intuition that makes you decide in the end.

  150. Maria Horvath

    ja and one more, your own child feels very different than anybody’s else, so you can never imagine it ahead of the game…. when i thought about children around me it was always a NO WAY… and when i got my own OMG…. its a huge love story…..

  151. Lori

    Hi Marie,
    Absolutely, having children is not for everyone. I completely agree you truly have to do whats best for you and your own life. As for myself I chose to have children. Now as for my dear Brother and my Best Friend they didn’t go that route and it’s perfectly ok!! No judgement, it’s truly ok to live the life you want to live even if others don’t agree. Cheers,
    Lori

  152. Kat

    Hi Marie & All,
    My take on this: I have no way of knowing what goes on in someone else’s personal life and mind so have no right to make any statements about others.
    If I get a criticism like the one mentioned or experience arrogance I think to myself: this person may deal with issues himself/herself so let’s focus on what I have control over and see if that’s helps remediate the situation.
    And often I find that ignoring others’ voices is best I can in my own interest and feel less and less the need to react to those opinions.
    That’s it I guess on this matter. 🙂
    Thank you for reading it.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Kat, that ability to discern whether someone else’s opinion is actually related to challenges going on in their own life is such an important skill to hone, and we love hearing that that’s one of the initial questions you ask yourself when you encounter criticism. Thank you for watching and sharing your voice here.

  153. Amen Marie! I have never wanted to have a child either and I have heard it ALL. Thank you for representin and for encouraging women to choose what is true to them, not just what is culturally indoctrinated. Love and more Love! XoKristian

  154. Lea

    Going against the grain… yes… I have 2 teenagers who are very creative. The high public school system is not a good fit for them. They have started an independent study program to finish high school and parallel our whole family (we are all creators, ie authors, musicians, video creators, etc) travel together to various events and conventions to learn more about participating in the online world and helping the kids learn entreprenurial skills. We are definitely oddballs in our current community. We’ve also decided to move from our current home, which is a huge deal – because it’s in alignment with the changes we’re making… to get into a new community and make this transition. Oh – we’re also selling our current business… lots happening! But we’re excited for this next phase of life and I’m super grateful that we can do all this together as a family and that a lot of our personal interests align. It makes it fun! And scary… but my husband and I are going with our gut and trust our own skill sets and abilities. Having happy and thriving teens shows us we’re on the right track… and us being ready for a change makes this all feel right!

  155. I’m so glad you asked this question Talya – it’s a topic I actually love talking about and hearing about from other women. Thanks for digging into this one Marie!

    For those who have always known they didn’t want kids, and those who have always wanted to become mamas – it’s fairly straightforward (although not uncomplicated). But for those of us who aren’t sure, or who have changed our minds many times – it’s a very difficult decision and something I still wrestle with to this day.

    My partner and I have decided not to have children, and we’re also not getting married. After almost 10 years together, and sifting through all of my thoughts and feelings about the traditional path of marriage + children, I’ve realized that I don’t need either in order to be happy or to feel complete. Traditional motherhood (being a mom to a child) is wonderful and totally miraculous (ask any of my close mama friends – I love them and their families to pieces). But that’s not the only way to be a mother. There are MANY other ways to mother – beautiful and essential ways that women contribute their creations and “offspring” to this world.

    People have often asked if I’m scared or worried that kids will change my relationship or be “too difficult” for us to handle. The answer is no. In fact, I think we’d be pretty damn good at it! I simply don’t feel the need or deep desire for parenting (or marriage). Listening to my own gut instincts and desires has been SO empowering. Going against social norms hasn’t been easy, but it’s been so personally validating and rewarding. I credit having a group of amazing, supportive women around me, and a fierce desire to live my life on my own terms, for being able to navigate these sometimes challenging waters.

    So, what does my life look like without kids? Well, my man and I are planning a “WooHoo We’ve Been Together For 10 Years (and no this isn’t a wedding)” party, and we’re starting a new business together (our version of a baby) and we dedicate any extra time to being a great Auntie/Uncle to the kiddos in our world. And yes, we’re still happy, in love, grow together and feel very fulfilled.

    I hope this conversation you so generously started here, helps those who might be feeling pressure to follow the traditional path. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You get to decide what makes you feel fulfilled. Period.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      We love hearing all these incredible perspectives, and your story Stephanie is so powerful. Yes, there are so many ways to ‘mother’ and promote beauty and growth in the world. It sounds like all along the way, you and your partner have honestly communicated and made decisions that are best for the two of you and the life you want to design. Your 10 year celebration sounds incredible, and we’re wishing you so much fun and happiness!

  156. Valentina

    Thank you for this video and for this conversation. I am a 35 year old visual artist and I have experienced here in Italy the “what’s wrong with you why don’t you have a family?” until a few years ago, and in the last few years a more subtle, unspoken “what you do is not as worth as having a child”.
    Having said that, I have also come across the opposite. I remember specifically a female professor at school in London pointing out that all successful female artists she spoke about were not mothers, and reading in an interview from a few years ago Yoko Ono and Sam Taylor-Johnson discussing how they had been spoken of, by gallerists, as “less of” an artist for being mothers. In New York I even read a paper by a female curator in which she almost, but really did suggest, that female artist should give up their child to pursue their careers seriously.

    Personally, I have my own answer within my heart, as you say, and I have been surprised by what my heart has said. I agree that a choice should be respected and only one’s heart within can know that, I think.

    Thank you for this video, it makes me feel a little more complete just as I am today

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Sometimes the heart can surprise us with the truth, and ultimately, the bravest thing we can all do is listen to what it’s revealing as valid. We believe that ‘shoulds’ and ‘supposed tos’ don’t need to exist when it comes to how anyone might live their life or build their career, so whether you choose to become a mother or not has no bearing on your role as an artist, and vice versa. We’re wishing you all the best as you navigate this in your own life and lean into what truly feels good to you.

  157. Katie

    It wasn’t until recently that I came to the realization that I don’t think I want kids. When I was younger I just assumed by the time I was my age now, I would be married and have or be trying for kids, and that’s what I wanted. But that was then. It just became apparent one day that, at least right now, there isn’t a place in my life for children and that I’m perfectly happy with that. Sure I may change my mind again but I’ll deal with that when it comes up. I am adopted so I am super into that idea. I just need my sister to have a kid (which she wants) so my parents stop bugging me for a grandchild. 😉

  158. Annie

    A childless 52-year-old, here, and have not regretted it. Not easy to navigate a world where having kids is an expectation and a marker of success. Read a GREAT book lately- “Selfish, shallow and self-absorbed: 16 writers on The decision not to have kids.” Helpful read for we childless women and men!

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      That is SUCH a great book Annie – thank you for sharing it here so our readers can take a look if they want.

  159. Thanks so much for sharing this Marie <3. For me, I've faced many big life decisions from a very young age, and the one wisdom that I've gained throughout the years is this: always follow my inner peace. When something feels intuitively right, we will also feel a subtle sense of inner peace inside our body, and we should make our decision based on our sense of inner peace, even if the decisions might bring pain to the people we love the most. It's also because we can never predict what will happen in the future, so all logical thinking can never be wise enough to guide us through life difficulties. Trust our inner peace, and the rest will fall into place :-).
    Thanks for all that you and your team do, I really enjoyed the singing in the episode 🙂
    Much love and light.

  160. Me too Marie! I’ve always known I didn’t want kids. It’s funny how often lately, at 43, I actually think how blessed I am that I don’t have kids. And I’m so happy with my decision and love my life as it is. So full and free!
    There was a period between 35-40 with doctors pressuring me and my hormones being wak that I thought I wanted kids. But when 40 hit, I strongly reverted back to my life long feeling of not wanting kids and was so grateful that it never happened in that 5yr period.
    Thank you for talking about this! It’s so important for women to know they don’t have to have kids and it’s totally ok!

  161. Jay

    My big life choice was choosing to have a son at 15 years old. Literally everyone around me wanted to force me to have an abortion, but in my heart I had to make a choice that went against the grain of what society expected of me. I have continued to defy the odds, and go against the grain, and I never thought about the courage it took to make that decision until I saw this video Marie!! Thank you!! I have written academic papers on why specifically women who choose not to have children face a special and cruel stigma and how unfair and dehumanizing that is. PLEASE STOP POLICING WOMEN’S BODIES!!

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Jay, there was SO much courage in making that decision. We truly appreciate you sharing your perspective and opinion here.

  162. BH

    Marie—

    Thank you. Thank you. I can’t tell you how much the voices of more women like you are needed to say what you just did– that it is OK to be a woman and not have children. I have struggled with this question over the years, and while things very well may change, I have ultimately been unwilling to pursue the wrong relationship or life situation that would allow me to ultimately have a child. Without the right partner, I just can’t bring myself to do it. So, at 36, while most all of my closest friends are settled and have one or more children, I do find myself getting questions and often questioning myself about where I currently stand.

    I was recently reading an article by a talented woman I very much admire and respect, and in the comments, I read a comment by a man that admonished her that as a 36 year old single woman, she was pretty much at her “sell by” date. I was surprised by how much this comment affected me. I felt that attack personally, as I can obviously identify with her, and reading that poisonous message written out like that rather gutted me. I obviously reject this absurd notion, that women have a “sell by” date, but it is undeniable that this assertion is also (in addition to “beauty” standards, etc.) linked to our fertility. I will admit to feeling a queasy, hot second of panic. But here I am, and I have made the choices I have because the alternatives, or the status quo, just weren’t right for me. And I stand by it, as difficult as it may be at times.

    I look to women like you, wherever I can find them, that are vital, intelligent, and strong, and own the choices they have made and are fully present in the lives they have chosen to live. I have almost never posted a comment online, but felt compelled just now because there are so many women who I am sure, just like myself, need to hear voices like yours and deeply appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Women absolutely do not have a ‘sell-by date,’ and we’re so sorry that you had to read a comment as hurtful as that. Thank you for having the courage to share your thoughts with us; as much as we can, we’re here to provide a space for all women to make their own choices and build lives that authentically align with their beliefs.

  163. I always knew I wanted kids. It was the right decision for me. As a business owner, it sure does complicate things, but I make it work. As women we have very different decisions to make than men. Having kids shouldn’t impact our careers as it does in reality. And women should never have to choose between a career or having a family.

    The stigma against women who choose not to have kids is ridiculous. Being a parent is hard, really hard, and if you are smart enough to know that it’s not the way you want to live your life, we should celebrate that. Not tear it down!

    • Frederika

      I totally agree with you , it is time the world realizes this is our choice and ours only ! Women should have the respect and freedom to choose their own lives , the world would be a much better place for it! Frederika

      • Jillian - Team Forleo

        Heck to the YES Frederika and Vala – celebrating women’s choices (all of them) is the way forward!

  164. Natalie Littlefield

    I am 53 and I have 5 children – I knew I wanted children from a young age and getting married / divorced and married again it just happened. I didn’t think about it. I even got two step-daughters from the 2nd marriage. I think back on my decisions in employment and owning my own catering business that those things happened too. I am now a Grandmother and I am certainly not expecting my children to take care of me.
    I like how Marie said to ask yourself the question “How do I see myself in 10-20-30-40 years in the future”? I saw myself then being a mother, grandmother, wife, etc and as life happens I’ve also been a owner, entreprenuer, writer, and more. I have a daughter who for 9 years desperately try to have children and I am grateful that it finally happened. I feel for those women who cannot have children~as everyone ask them “when are you going to have children”? – My daughter response is I would if I could it’s just not happening. And now everyone is telling her how to raise her baby. I believe like Marie it is best to listen to your intuition and remember “You are the expert of your own life”.

  165. Clare

    Wow Marie, this is INCREDIBLE. I do not think that anyone who is not 100% certain should have children. It is an absolute life changer and not for everyone (even if you do love kids… ) Thank you so much for using your platform and and sharing this… I will be forwarding around in various business groups. THANK YOU.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      We’re glad this episode resonated so deeply with you Clare. Thank you for sharing it with your business community. 🙂

  166. Rime

    One of the decisions I struggled with the most these last years is whether or not I should move abroad alone. I was very unhappy in my hometown but felt guilty about leaving my parents as well as feeling selfish for wanting a better life that many people in my country can’t have.
    What helped me decide is to project myself in the future, as Marie said. I actually did a 50 year test, imaging my life after my parents are gone. And all I could see is that I didn’t want to be here.
    Another thing that really triggered the decision to move is my dad telling me “we never asked you to stay”, and this is why I love when Marie says that “as women, we need to stop looking outside of ourselves for permission to live how we want to live”, because I do it all the time, even when no one imposes anything on me.

  167. Hi , Wow …Marie, Yes so many times do I come across this, doing things differently than the crowd or family would see or like it to be !! It’s took me years to figure out that it’s Ok, we really are all different! None of us are the same even if we seem alike. We are unique!! and so are our choices!
    My Dad has always said since we were little “Listen to what people have to say, let it sink in a while, then go and make up your very own decision ! ” How wise this is, Life takes it’s own course and sometimes get’s in the way, but we should never ever feel obligated to please! or even to make choices others suggest. Take the time to let things evolve naturally and stay your course, your inner self or whoever we are ! will actually have it happen our way. Some things take us by surprised, some are mistakes to learn from, some we don’t understand, but no one can tell you what the future brings, even if we plan it, the unknowns remain unknown and happen.
    If you make your very own decisions as options present themselves and usually we do !!!. all will be well, and unique to you. Think about it, we never really do something we don’t want to do !! that’s very hard ! it’s usually a matter and result of our very own choices , for pretty much everything we do in life!

  168. I dealt with the issue of ‘kids or no kids’ over 40 years ago. Ground breaking at the time. But it was obvious to both of us when I posed this question to my husband: “Over the 20 to 25 years that we will be raising kids – are you willing to accept 50% of the responsibility? That doesn’t mean on a day to day basis – but if all the hours were added up – are you up for the ’50/50′ split as a commitment?” He wasn’t and I did not see myself being happy with anything less than that kind of understanding. However – it was the eye-opening question that brought instant clarity to both of us. We got flack from family and doctors as well who were reluctant to perform a vasectomy on my husband, ‘because it was such a final decision’ (like having children wasn’t a final decision – LOL). They thought it fine to give me a tubal ligation, but my husband asked if there was a way of finding out that I was actually sterile after the procedure. NOPE!! So he pointed out as there was a test for him to show sterility. it made it a ‘no brainer’ that he have the vasectomy. At that point, the doctor(s) felt we had ‘done our homework’ and relented. We have no regrets and in fact believe that the result of us having children would have probably been divorce. We’ve lived as ‘happily ever after’ as possible ever since.

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Wow Lianne, what a thoughtful way to approach this topic and decision with your husband. We’re happy to hear that you’ve had a beautiful and fruitful marriage!

  169. Yes, Marie, yes! I seem to live in the space of going against the grain…. Not having kids, marrying someone with a disability, the list goes on. 😀
    You called it. It comes down to trusting yourSelf to know what’s best for your own life path.

  170. Monika

    Dear all, for me it was just right to have kids, even the first one grow up without his Dad. I was proud to be pregnant and have 2 wonderful kids. And to the point of geting older and kids have to take care of us I say no. We don’t earn our kids we just take care for a little while and then they live their own life. I have to take care of myself, watch what I think, feel and what I decide. I die healthy, thats a commitment and Louise Hay is my idol. Enjoy life. Monika from Germany 😘

  171. Daniela

    It is great to see how many women have decided not to have kids. It is good to know that outside that bubble of critisisms and non asked opinions there are a looot of people that identify with you. I am in my 30s and the feeling of being a mom is not there what so ever. The feeling of starting my own bussisnes is there, the feeling of traveling is there, the feeling of studying a master degree is there, the feeling of taking dance clases is there. The feeling is so clear that I do not worry that much about it. I have to say that it angers me when my girlfriends or family say things like “you are not a full women until you become a mother” but I know at the end of the day I feel good with my life and choices. I also have to be careful with my words when I express why I have decided not to have children because I do not want to offend any mother out there.

  172. Thank you for commenting on this topic, Marie!

    Growing up, I always said I didn’t want kids. All through my twenties, I stuck to it. I heard it a lot, that I’d change my mind and it drove me crazy.

    Well, I met my husband and after we were married, I DID change my mind. I have a 17 month old son and I’m 16 weeks pregnant with baby number two. Seeing my son and being a mom.. although the hardest job in the world, was right for me… I know that!

    However, when women tell me they don’t want kids, I tell them, that’s great! Don’t have them!! Because motherhood is no joke and it’s A HUGE LIFE CHANGING COMMITMENT so if you DON’T want them, do not have them for other people! You must follow your intuition when it comes to babies. Thank you for sharing this loud and proud!

    I pray that all women that want kids, are able to have kids and I pray all women that don’t want kids, don’t have them. Great topic!

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Elyse, thank you for your kind and compassionate response here. It can be challenging to change your mind on such a big topic and potentially invite judgement from others, and we’re so glad that you ultimately made the choice that’s right for you.

  173. OMG the guy with the diaper had me laughing so hard. On a serious note, no matter what choice you make, someone always has an opinion.
    I have 1 child and someone is always telling me that I need to hurry and have #2 because the gap in age is getting too wide.
    My big life choice is to have 1 biological child and to adopt meaning change the lives of many other kids without having them live with me like my own Oprah Academy in Haiti.

    People even had an opinion about me not wanting to remarry because I am enjoying being a single parent, yes I am enjoying being a single parent.
    I also find that telling the person how inappropriate or hurtful what they said to you helps them re-think it. Sometimes people just say things and don’t think about the impact at all.

    I admire anyone who has enough awareness to know that they do not want children because anyone can have a baby but being a parent is a lifetime commitment. If you know you don’t want any, that is wonderful because our calling in life is different. If you want to be a parent, that’s wonderful too, you are called to guide another human being as a parent.

  174. Fran J

    Yes, my life, my body, my choice…

  175. Zuzanna

    This resonated with me so much. I am 31 and trying to make the same decision as Talya. I find it really hard when people say “you will find the answer one day, take your time”. And I just DON’T know, not at all, and my little inner voice is so confused!cSo I did a little bit of search and found out about the book I am reading now – “Motherhood: Is It For Me?”. Haven’t finished, so no breakthrough yet, but I found the way in which it allows me to not know, have doubts and want to decide very soothing, non-judgemental and helpful in. I hope that this will be useful for you, Talya, if you’re reading the comments now! All the best for your decision making xx

    • Jillian - Team Forleo

      Zuzanna, you get to take as much time as you need with this decision, and we’re glad that Marie is offering another voice, perspective, and resource here. Thank you for your kind words for Talya, and we’re offering them up to you too: all the best in your decision making 🙂

  176. I have definitely struggled with this in many areas of my life – I’m in my 40s, I have no kids, I’m not married, I’ve moved throughout Canada and continue to do so… I have no house (and don’t even own my own furniture ha) and I don’t want even have or want a car. Some of my relatives think I’m a freak. 😄Needless to say, I go against the ‘normal’ grain. I once had an aunt inform me (at the age of 25) that it was about time to ‘settle down’. Being a party girl at that stage, this advice wasn’t taken very seriously. 🤭When I moved across country a few years ago, I was told by a cousin to come back with babies. That didn’t happen. My focus was on my writing and making ME better because I had a lot of issues that I knew needed addressing. I think as we get older, it gets easier to go against the grain but when you’re young, there’s a lot of pressure to do what other people deem as the ‘right’ thing. I have no regrets and honestly, I think there is still tons of time to do some (maybe even all?) of these things IF I choose. But it’s like Marie once said (and I’m probably misquoting her but…) it’s either a ‘hell yeah’ or a ‘hell no’. I also agree with an earlier comment that no matter what you do, someone is going to agree or disagree with your decision. Always. You can paint your house blue and there’s going to be someone who will say ‘I liked it the color you had it before better’ or ‘you should’ve gone with red’. I think it’s nice to take everything with a grain of salt but you must never feel pressured to make a decision that is life changing like having a child.

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Michelle, thank you so much for sharing your experience here. You’re not at all alone in having dealt with these types of pressures or comments from family members, for simply living the life that feels true to you. It can be a lot more difficult (or attract more criticism) to go against the grain of societal norms and focus on your inward journey, so just know how courageous you are for continuing to do so. I love what you shared about it being either a “hell yes” or a “hell no” – this is such a powerful test for tapping into our inner wisdom. Keep being your wonderful self and doing YOU!

  177. When I saw the this topic I couldn’t believe it! is it by chance? Right now I’m dealing with this question and my family is not helping at all by putting extra pressure on me, (specially my grand parents who would love to know their great grandchildren). This is not an easy choice to me and honestly I feel like I still need to check somethings on my list before taking that step. When I was a kid I used to imagine myself as a mom but as I grew up and left my country my priorities changed completely.

    What I have discovered so far is the importance of being 100% committed to my personal growth by taking full responsibility of myself. I am truly aware of personal issues I need to heal first in my heart before I take life changing decisions like this one and what I’ve come to realise is that since I started my journey I conceived a spiritual child that’s been growing in me and that I’ve been nurturing with self love. All this of course with the help of my psychologist and by listening to really wise people like Marie. So my insight was that right here and right now my child is the inner child that lives in me and it’s my duty to take care of before taking life changing decisions and to trust that I will be wise enough to listen to my inner voice and choose what I really want to to do.

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Maria, it’s wonderful and wise that you’re choosing to prioritize taking care of yourself and healing your heart before making major decisions such as whether to have a child. I can tell from what you’ve shared that you’re incredibly in touch with your intuition about what’s right for you in each moment of your life. Keep trusting this voice, first and foremost, letting it guide you instead of any outside pressures. We’re sending loads of love your way and are so glad this was good timing for you!

  178. Yes! Can we all step back and consider the hundreds of thousands of children (in the US alone) that are in the foster care system? Heartbreaking.

  179. I struggled for years with a career path that didn’t feel ‘right’ and stayed put because of fear that I was making the wrong decision by considering a more non conventional path. After all, I had it ‘all’…career, home, husband. Except I was miserable and felt like I wasn’t giving the world my true self. Thankfully I found the courage to listen to that ‘little voice’ and while the road I’m on isn’t without its bumps, I no longer dread going to work! I say I’m finally climbing the right mountain! Sure, I’ll come across the occasional blizzard and might have to take the odd detour to get to the top, but it’s MY mountain and I’m happy to be climbing it, rather than looking longingly at it while clinging to the wrong one for fear of getting it wrong. If you follow the nudges of your heart you’ll never get it ‘wrong’. Not everything will turn out as you plan or hope BUT you know you are honouring yourself and that’s way more important than getting it ‘right’! Good luck with your decision Talya xx

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      This is such an incredible metaphor, Michelle. Beautifully put! We’re happy to hear you’ve taken steps to stay true to yourself and feel you’re climbing your own mountain. Thank you for sharing this here! xoxo

  180. Well done Marie! I’m sure that it took some courage to go there…and you did so with Truth and Grace. I’ve dealt with this issue with many of my female clients over the years…and it’s definitely a question of one’s Destiny. Some of us aren’t destined to be parents…it’s not what we signed up for this time around. Big hugs and keep shining!

  181. Interesting topic. I always knew I’d have kids but thought I’d have a dozen of them. I had a boy at age 19, a girl at age 20, and decided that was a good number for my life. My sister had no children by choice and by body difficulties. And she was a terrific aunt to my kids and is a terrific great aunt to my grand kids (1st one just graduated high school, 7th one due early October). It’s sad to say, my 84 year old aunt who never had children by choice, is still assaulted by people questioning that choice. I’m so glad to see our society moving towards accepting that women can have value whether they hold the title “Mom” or not. One of my “saints” in my life was a woman (Lottie RIP) who adopted troubled children. I knew her for years and admit I don’t know which children (she had 12 the last time I saw her) were her natural children, if any. She was proud of each one of them and they all loved her deeply. That was a woman who understood success in the deepest way, even though her house was a disaster (mish mash rooms added on cheaply to provide enough room for all the kids).

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Wow, Mary! Lottie sure sounds like an incredible woman, as do you, your sister, and great aunt. What you shared here is proof that what it means to be a woman comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and expressions of love. Thank you for being here!

  182. Amen to that sister and thank you for giving us a voice <3 <3 <3

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Of course, Barchi. It’s our absolute pleasure. XOXO

  183. Beth

    Love this vid, Marie. I have been on both sides of the fence. Not wanting, maybe wanting, not wanting kids. The phase of wanting, I think, had more to do with wanting to “fix” the things of my past. This is, I think, a dangerous reason to have kids because it risks putting this other human in the position of having to live up to your ideal ____________ that led you to have them to fix things. In the end, I didn’t ultimately have kids and I (mostly) don’t regret that but I am 100% good with it. Yes, that makes sense.
    Like you, I have always gone my own way, and I have gotten both lauded and criticized for it. We all have. We all do.
    I have heard everything you have so that part of the vid made laugh. Even at 62, when that ship has well and truly sailed, I still get “it’s not too late”. Um. Yeah. It is really. Even if I did want kids. Which I don’t.
    Great post!

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Hi Beth! We love how thoughtful you are about this topic, and appreciate you sharing your own experience with all that goes into making this decision. We’re so glad this video resonated with you.

  184. OMG, Marie! I was SO happy to see you posted this.

    I don’t plan on having children (despite the fact that I love them and love moms). For me, it was a decision I made when I realized I was on a mission to change the world by sharing my gifts.
    The struggle comes from…family. Most of my family members (I come from Russia) don’t even understand it because it’s not so common that after a girl gets married (the couple then buys a fridge, then a car, and a house), there is no baby (-ies). My challenge to this day (it’s been 6 years since I decided to be child-free) is my mom and dad. Mom is hurt by my decision. She tries to bring it up once in a while and hopes I change my mind. Dad is insinuating that it’s the stupidest thing I ever decided on. I avoid the topic, and when it’s brought up, nothing good happens. So thank you for reminding me today that this decision is about me, not others. Any tips how I can avoid feeling the pain I’m causing to them?
    Loved this episode of MarieTV. Especially, the last 20 seconds of it <3

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Hi Anya! We completely understand how difficult it can be when it feels as though your life decisions are causing your family pain, or they simply don’t understand them. As long as you’re clear on your decisions and that they’re the right ones for you personally, this is the most important thing – it is your life after all! Something Marie has talked about in the past is the need to draw healthy boundaries sometimes, when it comes to how you communicate with your family. Check out this episode for some tips on how to do this – we really hope it helps! https://www.marieforleo.com/2018/05/family-drama/

      • Thank you so much, Julia! I now remember this episode and will rewatch! Have a wonderful day!

  185. Beatrice

    Thank you for creating this Marie TV episode.
    Its amazing. Not everyone wants kids and that has to be ok.
    I love your message 🙂 You’re amazing!!

  186. I’m always happy with a decision when I block out all the other voices and listen to my gut feeling. For choices that don’t need to be made right away, I follow this advice:
    Relax. Stay open. And the right choice will become obvious.
    Loved this episode! Thank you!

    • Melanie

      Like you, Marie, I knew very early on (like age 11/12!) that being a mom wasn’t my path. No, it wasn’t because I was tired of babysitting younger siblings, but just a preternatural clarity that came to me that that path was not mine. Call it super-mondo gut feeling/intuition. I’ve never been so sure of anything so fundamental in my life. (Much love, praise, and respect to those who had the same unshakeable belief that being a mom was their destiny–a good friend, after decades of sadness and trying, just had her rainbow baby at 47!)

      Having my “gift” so early gave me the courage to trust myself (and society makes this so hard for women! Why do strangers have the right to judge any of us for our choices?). It kept me from marrying the wrong kind of guy just to have the socially-acceptable mark of a husband. It let me say “yeah, why not?” to a lot of opportunities I might not have been able to pursue.

      I love being the cool aunt/godmother to eight young people. I’m in my 40s, so my childbearing years are pretty much over. But I have so much else in return. I travel. I’m writing a novel. And I just started a rock band. These would have been nearly impossible to do otherwise. I’m liking my life a lot more than I did when I was in my 30s. I know it’s a cliche to say, but I feel like I’m 90% of who I’m supposed to be, and that feeling is indescribably wonderful.

      • Julia - Team Forleo

        GO Melanie! We adore you, and everything you’ve shared here. You’re absolutely the cool aunt/godmother and it’s so wonderful that you’re following your own unique journey in this lifetime. Keep being your amazing self – we know you will!!

  187. Clare

    Yay! 👏 I’m 38 and I don’t have kids and tend to cop a lot of judgment. But it was just never a priority in my life. There are so many things I’m passionate about and wanted to achieve. My freedom was always my biggest priority. I’ve always been ruthlessly honest with myself. Sometimes not easy. I can’t fool myself. The reason I applaud you is because you’re thinking for yourself instead of doing what everyone else wants and expects from you. It’s your life! They have their own damn life. This is your choice alone.

  188. Colleen

    I’m so happy to see this topic as part of the discussion! I knew from age 17 that children weren’t what I wanted for my path, and I still feel that way many years later. What can be difficult for me is (like everyone else has experienced) the commentary from others…usually from those who don’t know me at all, and funny enough, usually men!! I even had a male stranger sitting next to my boyfriend and I on an airplane try to convince my boyfriend (and I) that I was going to change my mind and my biological clock was going to start ticking loudly. (All this female “knowledge” of his came from the fact that he knew ONE person who changed their mind about having kids.) I hope that all women can be comfortable and confident in their life decisions and others can learn to not weigh in on other people’s lives where it doesn’t concern them. Onward and upward!

  189. Sarah

    Yay! Finally someone who has said exactly how I feel, having kids or not was never an issue for me. Hallelujah!

  190. Kelly

    Thank you for addressing this topic, I am in the same camp as you Marie, the pressure from well meaning people over the years was challenging to navigate, but I knew in my heart that being a parent and following most of the “normal” paths in life weren’t for me. I’m so glad I followed my heart and live a life true to what’s feels right for me.
    For a long time I felt like I was weird, something was wrong with me, then I found amazing people like you to help me navigate through and once I reached a place of peace about my path other people like me showed up in my circle and my life is rich and full!
    Much love to you and the amazing team!
    Kelly

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Beautiful, Kelly! There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you for not wanting to follow those “normal” paths in life. Isn’t it amazing how when you follow your heart and live life in alignment with what feels true to you, the right people show up to help support you and enrich the journey? You’re amazing, and we’re so glad to have you in our community! xoxo

      • Kelly

        Thanks Julia! It’s so right, I’m totally blessed to have a supportive and understanding group around me physically and virtually! When I showed up, so did they! Funny that lol

  191. Cynthia S. Brown

    “Free your mind and you a– will follow…” that’s a line from a Parliament-Funkadelic song from the 70’s. It’s all I thought of as I glanced over the responses. When faced with a life-changing decision, Marie, what you shared was spot on! Where will I be in 10 years, and will I regret this! All the cultural and societal norms aside, becoming a parent simply is not for everyone. But once you become one, oh, all the judgment!!! I’m a mom to 2.5 kids (adult step-son, teenage son and 13-going-on-30 yr. old daughter); it boggles the mind how folks judge each other! I was a working full-time parent, then stopped to be a stay-at-home parent… now I’m hustling 2 part-time careers! Over the years, it was exhausting dealing with other parents’ assessments of “my life choices” because of the “you should do this” or “you shouldn’t do that…” I’ve heard it all, from strangers, nosy neighbors and well-meaning relatives. My suggestion: think about it, write about it, meditate, and/or pray. Then listen to your gut and do what works best for you!

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      That’s such a wonderful approach to coming to our own best answers, Cynthia! It’s incredible how much judgment there is about everyone’s unique life choices, and if we could all stay focused on making the right decisions for ourselves, there may be much less of this. Thank you for sharing your experience here!

  192. M

    Hi Marie,
    This is a perfect topic. Something along these lines happened to me that left me shocked.
    I have been single for a long time. I am also very private. Today, my mom’s husband (sho is an arrogant a**ole) made an inappropriate remark that I was likely a lesbian….. I.e. was his conclusion, or solution to the fact that I had been single and I happened to not be at my best lately.

    It was not said to me, he said it to my mom. She said she was not sure if she should tell me but she felt she didn’t want to cover up for him anymore in how ignorant he is.

    I am not a lesbian, nor do I have anything against them. Rather, it was the ill judgement and inappropriate context that left me feel insulted.

    Why would he say this, and how should I handle this?

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Hi, M 🙂 We’re so sorry to hear that you’ve been having to deal with comments like this from your mom’s husband, that leave you feeling judged and insulted. While we’re not sure why he would say something like this, we do know it says a whole lot more about him than it does about you. Since it sounds like this isn’t a very positive or supportive relationship in your life, you may need to create some boundaries for yourself.

      Be sure to watch this episode of MarieTV for some tips on how to handle family drama: https://www.marieforleo.com/2018/05/family-drama/

      We’re sending lots of love your way!

  193. Cynthia Wisehart

    Hello Marie and beautiful women,
    I decided, when I was young, that I did not want children. In my 20s I was pressured by my childhood religion to have children…so, I had my daughter. She was a very difficult baby and I was attempting to juggle being a Mom and my accounting career, where I was bumping against the glass ceiling. It was difficult…so difficult that, somewhere in my mind I thought, ‘she takes so much energy, she needs a sibling to play with.’ And, so, my son was born. Later came my “oops”, a beautiful baby boy who slipped past birth control. Now, I love…no, adore…my children and I would do whatever I am able to support, protect and uplift them as human beings. But I gave up much of my career and my forward movement so that I could care for them, later, as a single parent. I don’t think I was the best Mom and, to be honest, they might say the same thing. In fact, my beautiful daughter doesn’t speak to me…she says she is angry about her childhood. I don’t want to diminish my love for them…at all. Yet, were I to do it all over again, I would follow my inner wisdom; the one that said, “no, I’m not having kids this lifetime.” I know challenges, pain and heartache can lead to growth…but I do believe I would have had great challenges in my career that would have grown me just fine. Follow your inner knowing. Anything less…or more…just throws your soul off-track.

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Cynthia, thank you SO much for sharing your personal experience here. It’s clear you have a ton of wisdom and love to share with others, and we have no doubt that your choices and experiences have shaped you into the amazing woman you are today. XOXO

  194. THIS (cue slow clap): “You don’t need to look outside yourself for permission to live how you want to live.”

  195. MârieJosée L. Gabriel

    Oh Yes, the story of my life! Thank you Marie for today I did love the quietude that you reflect today, wisdom and free spirit.

  196. Michelle

    I’m going to be completely honest about this topic. I agree that nobody has the right to judge another woman about their choices when it comes to children. Everyone is on their own journey. I know many women who chose not to have children, for their own personal reasons. I’m a mom of 4 daughters and I’ve never judged someone who didn’t want to have children. I’ve always respected their decisions. What I’ve always had a problem with, however, is hearing so-called advice from these same people about how women should raise their children. I don’t think they have a right to judge parents since they aren’t a parent themselves. They wouldn’t know what it’s like to be one so they shouldn’t judge women of children. Wouldn’t you all agree?

    • Suz

      Not necessarily. I would need to hear what advice they’re giving you (or others). I think everyone is entitled to their opinions, and just maybe they’re giving good advice. It’s kind of like running your own business and maybe a friend of yours who has never run her own business gives you advice on a certain aspect of your business. (Whether it’s good or bad, you decide.) Sometimes outsiders might be seeing something from a different perspective.

      • Leah

        I totally agree with not chiming in if you’ve not walked in another’s shoes. I’ve been in conversations where another would start to judge a parenting style and my own answer to that, as a woman without children, is “I can’t judge, ‘cause I don’t know what it’s like to be in those shoes. I imagine she (or he) is doing the best they know how.”

    • Helen

      I agree Michelle. I don’t have children and don’t offer unsolicited advice to mothers on parenting, just as i don’t need advice on being single without children. If mothers want my thoughts i can give only from my perspective, or i can offer to help in a way that is actually useful to them. Genuine offers of support are so much more valuable than unasked for “advice” in any situation.
      I have found that doing the dishes, bringing the washing in, or walking a child to school is what is appreciated from my friends who are mothers, especially those on their own. ‘Do what they need, not what you think they need’ should be a given. 🙂

  197. lori parker

    Well stated Marie!!!! You always have well thought out answers to questions.

  198. Suz

    THE toughest decision I’ve ever had to make was to divorce my husband of 22 years. We never argued, he was loyal, hard-working, made a lot of money, and he would do anything I wanted. On paper, that sounds pretty perfect (to most!), but I just couldn’t see my future with him after the kids were out on their own. Literally, every time I’d think of us in the future, there was always just “blank air” in my head.
    Finally, I initiated a divorce, and I must say, even though I was the one who wanted it, it wasn’t at all easy to do! One of my best friends and I actually “broke up” over it (for about a year), but I listened to my heart and after 3 1/2 years of proceedings (he procrastinated on everything, hoping to get back together!), the divorce was final.
    It’s been almost 14 years, and although it was difficult, I’m sooo glad I did it. I have an awesome boyfriend (10 years now), and I can totally see our future!

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Thank you for sharing your story here, Suz! It takes a ton of courage to trust your intuition and make a decision like this. We’re so glad you’re happy! xoxo

  199. Charla

    This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I have been a vocal advocate for a woman’s right to choose (without societal pressure) for a very long time. I made my decision as a teenager and have never changed my mind. I am ChildFree by Choice, as is my husband. I turn 41 this week and I *still* get people looking at me with a disappointed face when they find out we don’t have children. Please … can we stop placing women’s value on their ability or willingness to procreate … pretty please??? Even in the MF Video, Marie is defending the fact that she *does* like kids (CF People are often portrayed as Kid Hating).

    More than 50% of women in Child Rearing Age (18-44) do *not* have children. True Story. It’s just not the story that gets portrayed in media very often.

    It’s a big decision to make, and that decision can only be made by the parents of the future child. Not grandma (who wants grand babies), not by the Manicurist (who continues to be disappointed every time I say I don’t have kids), or friends who encourage other friends join their lifestyle.

    Pressuring people to make decisions that aren’t in line with their true selves can have a huge negative effect on innocent people (like the innocent kids who grow up unloved, unwanted).

  200. Great topic! I’m 49, married 29 years, no kids. Sometimes I’ve actually credited our no-kids status to the success of our happy marriage. Seriously, lots less to fight about when you remove kids from the equation. I simply never had that craving and I’m lucky that my husband has never felt the need or desire to have a child either. Similar to how Marie mentions in the video, I’ve always been someone that drives forward in my life based on my instincts. I believe I would have desired a baby if it was right for my life. I’m blessed to have a mother and father who honored our decision and they’ve always given me kudos for knowing what’s right for me. My mom has commented on many occasions about my giving and caring nature and that not having kids probably aided my ability to give to others in a way someone with kids may not have the bandwidth. So far it’s been pretty sweet to be a D.I.N.K. (Duel Income No Kids)!

  201. Ginette

    Way to go Marie! I admire your courage and strength about this topic. We need to trust that we know what is best for ourselves.
    I am so grateful that I have the freedom to choose the life that I want to live.

  202. Amen sistah! I have a 6.5 year old son who is AMAZING, but in my heart I always knew having at least one child was a part of my path. But in raising him and helping him heal from Autism, I have to make choice after choice that goes against the grain. It’s been 6.5 years of strengthening my intuition and trust in my inner voice and compass. It’s been my savior, even when I hit backlash after backlash about our alternative healing choices. However, due to this, our son IS HEALING! Our own inner voice is the only way. We’re each beautifully made, perfectly made, to follow a very specific, unique path custom made for us. There is immense beauty in our different choices. And in the end, our human experiences boil down to the same basics…we all want love, acceptance, unconditional love (vs. conditional approval not fit for the beauty of our unique souls), compassion, kindness and respect for who we are and how we’re each built. Hell to the YES for having the courage to trust in instincts and follow your true path to every single one of us!!!

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Vania, thank you so much for sharing your story! Your son is so very lucky to have you. It’s often true, that no matter what life choices we make, we’ll receive opinions that we should or could be doing things differently – especially if our decisions go against the grain. You expressed that absolutely beautifully, that in the end, we all just want unconditional love and acceptance for being our unique selves. XOXO

  203. Allison Stabile

    Really appreciate the topic of navigating choices that go against the grain. I’ve tried life both ways and find that having the experience of doing what I thought was expected of me and what I truly wanted now helps me to turn away from outside expectations and toward what is true for me. Before I got here, though, were years of turmoil, doubt, and fear. Who wants to live like that? Honestly, if a choice brings up anxiety or fear, I’ve got to set it down and “go where the love is.”
    Someone once told me that it doesn’t really matter what people think of you. Because they go right back to thinking of themselves.

  204. Meg

    I love this epsiode, so glad you went there! I’ve always been excited by the idea of having kids, a big family and being (hopefully) a positive role model in their lives. I’m not a mum at this point but I’m definitely keen to turn my boyfriend into a husband and make a family with him in a few years time.

    Meg

  205. Ljubisa

    Hello Marie,
    Thank you for your open-minded and honest words. Everybody should be the exclusive owner of his/her body and the creator of his/her own future. But there is e problem in such kind of our aims: we have to find a partner who thinks and feels the same.

  206. Renee Stapleton

    Loved this episode, Marie!!! . . . Yes, life is about knowing one’s unique intuitions and desires. My basic desire for kids never kicked in, AND I reasoned that raising children required passion for it. So, I didn’t do it. Plus, my mom blessed me with permission not to do it (even though she raised four of us beautifully!!). . . My inspiration is to use the experience of knowing about kids to guide my knowing about career, love, and life. 🙂

  207. Lisa

    Our oldest daughter, now 34, told me at age 19 that she did not want children. I told her that if she does not want them, then do not bring a child into this world. Children are a big responsibility and demand lots of love, attention, and care (not to mention expense). It is not fair to a child to be brought into this world simply because the world says you should have one. Those who do not really want children could fall deeply in love and change their minds after having a baby…..or they could regret their decision and resent their status as a parent…..and worse, resent the child. Do what your heart tells you to do, and do not let others influence your decisions. We all have a path that is unique and perfect for us. Choose your perfect path and stick to it….kids or no kids. I love our daughter and son-in-law very much and do not need grandchildren from them to fulfill my life!! This is their life and I respect their decisions.

  208. Hi Marie,
    So glad you brought this up. I’ve been the same with children, never really wanted to have them but growing up in a culture where that’s what girls are meant to do, there was a lot of pressure towards marriage and children. I decided no on both and that was just my chosen path. I recently became a full time artist and a lot of my paintings are based on my life experiences. I have been battling with the idea of telling my story on my blog. I grew up in a culture where I was abused and treated unfairly just because I was born a girl. I hesitated for a long time to write my story, everyone told me not to talk about it. I finally made the choice to write my story and I think my decision came from my heart, I decided to listen to my intuition instead. It was hard navigating this one.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Shalini

  209. Lilly

    Hey there,
    Great topic! I’ve always had mixed feelings on the subject of kids – wanted them maybe then not sure. I’ve always known there are some women in my family that were pressured to do the “normal” thing such as marry and have kids and I’m not sure it’s what they wanted and they didn’t enjoy motherhood or their life.
    I had some women’s issues such as cysts which was not enabling me to get pregnant when I was kind of trying. I didn’t want it desperately enough to keep trying like some people do so I decided I am happy – I’ve taken in my nephews when they were teens and lost their mother, I work with kids,I am a big child.
    After my sister passed away, she was mentally ill, had many problems with prescription medications and didn’t seem to cope with her life- she too felt the pressure to have kids, be “normal” and she really went down hill after she had her kids. I may have turned out the same – mental illness runs in the family.
    Every woman do what you have to do, you matter. Some women are born to be mothers – others are not.
    Who cares, there are many ways to contribute to the world.

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Lilly, wow – you are such a wonderful soul! Thank you for sharing your experiences and those of your sister here. We’re so sorry to hear about her struggle, and it’s incredible of you to take in your nephews. They’re very lucky to have you. We adore your authenticity and candidness on this topic! And we couldn’t agree more, there are SO many ways to positively contribute to the world 🙂

  210. Ginger Curtis

    It seems like I’ve lived my whole life going against the grain, swimming upstream, or challenging the status quo in one way or another. I don’t mean to be difficult, it’s just built into my DNA to honor natural curiosity, personal integrity, and creative expansion. I’m always respectful of another’s choice and expect others to be respectful of mine. If not, I’ve learned not to waste my breath trying to explain.

    Like Marie, being childless in this life wasn’t really a conscious decision. It just sort of evolved through circumstances and accepting things as they are in any given moment. I love children of all ages and cultures, but I also love my life as it is right now.

  211. THANK YOU!!!! Thank you for this.

  212. Leann

    Thank you Marie for tackling this touchy subject! (ALSO I love your shirt!) I am 22 & have been already subject to these “have a baby!” remarks! It’s kind of annoying to have to counter people & fight for what I want out of my life, it’s like they don’t understand that. I also love how you mentioned other options like adoption & fostercare. Part of my not wanting kids is because there are SO many kids already in U.S. who don’t really have any family. Many families are stuggling in our communities & I would rather place my efforts helping my neighbors. Volunteer work has really opened my eyes more.

  213. Elisse

    Have to say, going against the grain has never been an issue for me. Nor has peer pressure. People don’t tend to question or try and sway my choices. Nothing in my world is ‘set in concrete’ and I make choices that are right for me at that time. What others are doing is irrelevant to the decisions I make. I have seen some taken aback faces pulled by children-loving parents/people when I respond to their question ‘Do you have children?’ with ‘I like dogs. Children have never even been a consideration in my world’. Only the other day my boyfriend and I were discussing peer pressure and ‘expected behaviours’ in certain community cliques and I was saying that I don’t know why people feel pressured or don’t just say no. For me that has always been easy. I simply don’t do what doesn’t feel right for me. I guess it’s not that easy for others, for reasons of their own.
    I was only thinking last night whilst driving to my boyfriend’s house, that that is probably one positive trait I got from my Dad. We haven’t had the best relationship but he has always been an honourable and strong-minded man in regards to the way he lives his life.

  214. Like many women here, I knew from a young age that being a parent was not for me. While I was very comfortable with my decision, most people in my life were definitely NOT! And religion came into it, too – growing up Catholic we were told that the purpose of marriage is to procreate, so when I married and chose to remain childless even my reason for marrying was questioned. Yet I did not waver on my decision. My intuition was loud and c-l-e-a-r on this one and, at the age of 53, I have never for one day regretted it. Talya, give yourself the space to listen to your heart on this. Shut out all the other voices and listen to YOU, to that voice inside you, the one that’s got your back. And go with what feels right for you, because this decision is allllllll yours. Cheers!

  215. mj

    This is such a personal journey. For each and every one of us. I’m the single mumma {by choice} to my gorgeous Poppy who is now 7.5 years old and truly the most amazing part of my world. But there are challenges. Daily. And there always have been. Those challenges/questions/fears/uncertainties/throw caution to the wind moments haunted me long {LONG!} before I held my precious bubba in my arms.
    My lovely sister chose not to have children. I have watched people question her decision for many years. People who should know better and mind their own business. She has a wonderful husband and they have been together for over 20 years. They have a great relationship and a life that’s full.
    We are all different. We should all respect each other’s differences. And embrace them. Support them. Celebrate them.
    Any of you who are facing this enormous question, and thinking you might take the parenting journey alone, I’ve written about my bumpy road to having a bubba alone and the craziness of our beautiful {and challenging!} life – https://bumpyroadtobubba.com/2011/02/15/tough-love/

  216. Sandy

    Thanks Marie for a great episode! This topic in particular resonated with me. As I was watching, I started to think a bit about times in life when I’ve gone against the grain, and realised I actually do it quite often – I think I have a little rebel inside and enjoy proving people wrong! Aside from not having kids for now, I also refused to go to university straight after high school because that’s what everyone else was doing – I decided to work to save up and go travelling instead (I did end up going to uni later on, but when it suited me, and when I’d decided exactly what I wanted to do in life). I don’t regret any of my decisions, although it is sometimes hard to handle others’ views and comments about my choices that sometimes make me start to doubt myself. But as you pointed out, you have to make the choices that are best for you!

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Sandy, we love that you’ve had the courage to always make your own decisions instead of simply doing what everyone else is at any given moment of life. Keep staying true to you, and don’t for one second let the perspectives of others make you doubt your intuition about what’s best for you and your life! xo

  217. you know, this really hit home. I 24 years old and i have a one year old and a three year old. In my community you start having kids when you’re twenty and you stop when the eggs run out. people knock me and judge me and say such stupid stuff to me because i chose to not have more kids because i want to be a normal mom to my kids and i can’t handle going through birth again, but marie is right. its my body so its my decision and they can all sit down now. i love you marie

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Hi Kayla! We’re so happy this hit home with you. Keep listening to that wise voice within, guiding you about the right decision for you and your body. You absolutely know best. We love you right back! xoxo

  218. I think it is perfectly fine to not want to have kids. I think the decision Talia needs to make is, whether the reason she is struggling with the question is because SHE doesn’t really know if she does or doesn’t or if the pressure of society to have kids is making her doubt her feeling of not wanting kids. I agree with Marie, go with your gut. In the heart of hearts, we do know what we want. Admitting it to ourselves and others is often the reason for our struggles.

  219. Virginia Reeves

    Marie – good to see this topic brought up. I’m 67 and my husband and I (43 years of marriage this week) have never regretted the decision to not have a child. We have nurtured, supported, and encouraged others. We’ve ‘done our own thing’ and it’s been fine. We were lucky, no one in the family or friends ever asked us or questioned this choice. It’s hard to look down the road 10-20-30 years or more for any purpose you have in life but you do the best thing for yourself at the time any decision is made. I’m glad many others have made comments that their life has not been harmed by not adding to the population – just to do so. We’re both the oldest of siblings (5 in mine and 4 in his). When we see how some of our relatives have turned out, let alone others, we are grateful to not have had many of those experiences. For those who want to be a parent – go for it. For those who don’t – it’s their business, no one else’s.

  220. Hi Marie , THANK YOU for sharing this message and spreading it to the WORLD !
    I am about to turn 36 and after almost 6 years struggling with infertility (unexplained)+ ivf treatments AND the day I found out I was pregnant….It is hard to say but I WAS SOOO scared as I knew I did NOT really want it …at least for NOW . I had followed my ego and the pressure of our society and I felt con in rushing into something I was not ready for.
    And most likely as a result it is why it led to a miscarriage… (11 weeks) ; The doctor let me know something was wrong at 7 weeks and as much as I was sad , I was mainly RELIEVED ( and I have never admitted it before ) as my partner was not so keen on all of it either….
    So now we take it easy , if it happens naturally great if it does not no worries and if I change my mind I will adopt and NOT A BABY , an older young kid(s) who will appreciate me as much as I would have decided to give him/ her a new chance in Life and bright up his life alongside of mine. THANK YOU for getting me to finally write it down.

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Audrey, thank you for sharing your experience here so bravely. You are in no way alone in having felt this way, and we admire your wise perspective on what you’ve been through. Keep trusting that voice within and being true to what you most want in your life! Sending so much love your way.

  221. Jade

    I love this video. I wish you well in your decision making Talia. Interestingly I’m facing similar feelings in relation to trying to build my business. I have 3 young kids (being a Mum was always a given for me, I have very much known it was to be part of my journey) and now I’m in the process of trying to build the business that I have been invisioning for about 5 years. Whilst also raising said kids and working for actual money while I build my business. The last few weeks my headspace has been in ‘maybe this is just an unrealistic dream, I don’t know if I can actually do all of these things (well) simultaneously’. But if I apply the 10 years test, I would certainly regret not building it.

  222. OMG i can so relate to this, I’m 38 and have heard all these phrases all my life plus more cause i’m Romanian and i should get married and have kids. You know if your European your whole life purpose is just to bring kids into this world and get married hahahahahah. I’m neither married and never will be nor will i have kids.
    I was old that when I turned 20 something would click in my head and I would become maternal, then 30 became the magic number. I love my life ad love the fact i followed my own truth and didn’t just follow the pack and become a sheeple (sheep people).

  223. Davi

    This is why a lot of people come to me and ask, why am I single without kids? Even I do not know what to answer because like you said, there is a little voice inside me calling always and showing a different life and direction. It´s not that I´m against this issue, everyone is free to make all the decisions. Always stay on your game, thanks

  224. Hey Marie, great stuff. I know a lot of women would have appreciated hearing this. Our family went in the other direction – we have 5 kids, which attracts its own saga of commentary from well wishers. Words like ‘Irresponsible’ and ‘Selfish’ also come up – especially when we are in the midst of chasing our dreams and growing our business. It seems the more kids you have, the more you’re expected to follow the status quo… The pressure to conform isn’t limited by gender boundaries. As a guy I see a lot of men unhappy and dying a slow death within themselves following what they believe to be the ‘right’ and ‘noble’ path – “get a job, provide for the family and let go of all your ‘irresponsible’ dreams…” I truly appreciate the spirit of this episode. YOU know YOUR truth.

  225. osla

    Thank you for opening this important and seldom discussed topic. There is an old saying that ‘men push women down but other women pull women down’. It is my hope that this will change through yours and others efforts and of course my own daily actions.

  226. Wow! what a hot topic. Marie, I have to confess to being one of those people who may have, with good intentions, said similar things in the past to friends who have chosen not to have kids, and I’m sorry for my ignorance of how it may have come across. One friend of mine who has made this choice pointed out to me, about “who’s going to be there for you when you get old” that he visits his grandfather in a nursing home and sees, first hand, how many elderly people are alone even though they have kids. I am the youngest of 6 myself, and I’m the only one there for my Mom, and my siblings and I are estranged. So, yes having kids is no guarantee of TV sitcom harmony and support. I’m 54, so I was raised on traditional values but that doesn’t mean I can’t open my eyes now to see the value in everyone’s unique decision. Another friend is making the opposite decision. She has wanted a child so much and has not found a fitting relationship, so she has decided to be artificially inseminated and is choosing to be a single mom – there’s anther decision that everyone thinks they have to share their views on. I cheer for both friends for choosing for themselves and not for anyone else.
    My personal struggle has been in parenting. I have had to struggle with everyone else telling me how to raise my kids because I stood by my values and didn’t follow the crowd. I get so frustrated with people who think their way is the best, or only way. Now, more mature and having raised 3 amazing adult children who value the lessons I taught them, I see that often these comments from people and their insistence on pressuring you to follow their life decisions is really just their own insecurities being voiced. If you are choosing a different path than they have, maybe they chose the wrong one. I’ve learned a lot about people over the years and I have found that those are most vocal against you or your life decisions are really internally so afraid of making the wrong decision that if they can bring you to their “side” it will validate them and make them feel better. People confident in their own life choices and don’t need anyone else’s validation are able to appreciate you for your decisions without any question. So for any of you out there struggling with life choices and dealing with others who trying to convince you to follow their path, remember, its not about you at all, or the impact your decision with have on your life. It really about them and how your decision impacts their lives, whether it be a parent wanting to be a grandparent, or a friend/neighbour/colleague needing validation for their own choices. Be strong, be confident and be true to yourself and you will have not regrets. When I finally learned this I felt at peace inside for the first time in my life – knowing that my choices are my own and the only regret I have ever had were when I allowed others to steer me against my best instincts.
    I so love Marie’s last words (or close to last). No decision is unchangeable and everything is figureoutable 🙂
    I love you Marie. Thanks for this episode.

  227. Diana

    Hi Marie,
    Such an interesting question. Ironically, considering of the stress, money and mental/ache that I am going through now with my kids and my husband, the question did arise, if I would do it all over again… I do love my kids, but it’s soo hard, harder to live and expensive as hell . Not including family dynamics and dysfunction…husband and I see the world differently since the kids. I truly love and live for my kids and will never change that. However, I did loose myself and husband feels totally neglected. If I new back then of what I know now…I would really give it more serious thought–especially if you chose the right partner, as I think I was fooled in blind belief. I believe my husband feels he did me a favor by giving “me” children. We lost communication and love and I’m just trying to live for the moment, only way I can get things done.

    • Diana

      P.S. I thought that was the way everyone should live their lives…the thing to do….get married and have kids. So I did!

  228. Ginny

    I decided to have one child and I was asked by multiple family members/ friends/ colleagues when I was going to have another one. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to be have the kind of career success and parent well with 2 children and in my heart I knew that. I spoke to my husband and he supported that decision- our son is now in university and when I look back I knew made the right decision for me, my marriage and our family of 3 – we are all happy!

    • Diana

      Ginny,

      Glad to hear you are happy….I gave up my career to help my husband run his business and it’s been 15 years with two kids, and then some, and I do regret giving it up. I thought we were on the same page-Not! I am not happy and depressed….sorry guys…I’m sure there is lot of happiness in families…but oh man, I am paying a huge price 🙁

  229. Mel

    OMG!! My choice to remain kidless, my decision to leave my first husband, my decision to leave my stable (at the time) corporate job, to make art full time? Yep. And I regret NOTHING! 😀 I turn 50 this year and I love my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way. To the naysayers, I say, “Thanks for the advice. Don’t need it!” 🙂

  230. Darlene Lush

    While I respect people’s choices to have them, I could never see the point of children. To my highly logical brain, I wasn’t sure why people would want to have them: noisy, smelly, expensive, demanding. On the pros and cons list I could only see the cons. However, I adore cats & dogs as they make my heart sing; I totally go to pieces when I see animals! I have only ever liked 4 children that I’ve met in my life. Hence I am not a great candidate for being a parent.
    I got sick of hearing people say “You’ll change your mind” (What the hell makes you think you know more about me, than I know about myself?); “You’re selfish” (Selfish is having kids when you ‘re not in it 100%); or “are you planning to have kids?” (No, we have cats).
    But kudos to those that do have them when they are 100% sure they want them.

  231. Alicia

    I must say, I did wonder about your experience with this. Women and their reproductive roles is on my mind a lot. I’ve struggled with illness that made me infertile. 1 in 7 women struggle with infertility, actually. It’s hard to talk about. Most people assume I chose my career over kids, and judge accordingly. And being infertile is often judged even more harshly.

  232. Thanks for this video. Loved what you said – it’s high time we STOP telling women what they “should” do with their bodies. Back off everyone. This hits a strong note. And a reminder for us all to look in our hearts for courage when we feel we must go against the grain.

    I help women lawyers who struggle to leave big law. They have to deal with lots of other people’s stories of what they “should do” and what they are “giving up.” That kind of interference make it harder to hear the still small voice in their own hearts.

    Love your A to the Q. Thanks for your honesty.

  233. Hi Marie – thank you for speaking your truth and worldview about what a women does with her body and her life. We need more female leaders of large tribes to encourage their truth. Well done and thanks for sharing a personal story.

  234. Sheila

    Thank you so much for this video, Marie! I agree – bringing new life into the world in any form (especially in the form of another human!) is a deeply personal decision! I am a very proud aunt but decided to forego having biological children because I didn’t think I could give parenting my all while also do a PhD and rape crisis work. I have been harangued by colleagues, friends, and family for this choice and sometimes I feel a deep sense of shame about not having kids (one relative likes to hiss about “career women” and how selfish we are… Yikes!). Shame is dangerous because it moves people away from living authentically and damages our ability to share our gifts with the world. Thanks again for bringing light to this taboo subject so we can all relax a little and be who are meant to be!

  235. Angie

    Hi Marie, Talya & Everyone! A topic close to home for me too, given i’m 49 and no children. I went thru my own journey of asking the universe not to give me kids if i was going to destroy them, to not wanting one unless i was in a deeply loving relationship, to going into the fears everyone projected onto me as my so-called time clock was ticking, to looking if i had a void inside myself that i needed to fill with a child. What i did was go into each and every one of the scenarios, and truly went there in my imagination. You know what? No-one truly knows what you are going to experience, feel, create in your life. People only project their own fears, insecurities, judgements, hopes & regrets, and one needs to see past that & go into it if they’re feeling it too. And no-one is ever going to come back to you 30 years later and say i’m sorry my advice didn’t work out for you, here’s another 30 years. So, always always always go into your own fears, insecurities etc, look at them thru a microscopic lens, go into them, feel them, sit with them, make friends with them, and you will come out from that with a certainty born out of your truth. And you know what else? That truth is relevant for right here & now, because even we don’t really know how we’re going to feel in the so-called future. Seriously, Marie’s advice that everything is figureoutable is true. You follow your present moment truth, and move with it as it moves in you. Nothing’s ever too late & you will figure it out, whatever it may be. That’s been my journey thus far with following my own truths, and living against the grain. Always with deep love & respect for wherever people are on their own roads.

  236. Ian Swarts

    G’day Marie and team, Great to see you tackling the hard but real issues. Before I offer my comment, I want to be open and declare a few biases. Firstly, I’m a man, however I endeavour to be a understanding, nurturing and caring man. Secondly, I’m a man of deep faith, and my faith based worldview inspires my life. My faith is exactly that, mine. If I can reach out to you, and serve you or others with it I most certainly will, but faith and their values can’t be opposed on others. Lastly, I’m a father of a large happy family.

    If these 3 biases hasn’t turned you off, then I’d like to share with you my experience. I’d counsel everybody to think really carefully about who they let speak into their lives. I have a 6 trusted advisers who’s counsel I regard highly. Their advice forms the bedrock on which my key like decisions are made. I have found this to be 100% more reliable than ‘my truth’ which often has been clouded (can’t see the wood from the trees). What type of decisions: To change the direction of my career (gave up 8 years of my life), my investment risk profile (cost me > $1m in capital losses). But for the injury and pain I caused others (especially those closest to me), I have no regrets. I’ve learnt a tonne, I’ve grown heaps. For this I’m eternally grateful.

  237. Alex Sosnkowski

    When I made the choice, I didn’t realize I was listening to my intuition. But the way that I (my husband and I) made the decision was that I knew that I didn’t not want kids and that I did not want to regret deciding not trying to have kids, trusting that if it was meant to be, it would happen.

  238. Hello,
    My son was less than three months old when I was asked by a check-out-chick at the supermarket if I was going to give him a sibling. When I said no, she cut me off and told me I was being selfish. Never mind the four miscarriages I’d had and that I had an emergency C-section to get him, so I felt blessed and lucky. I left all my groceries on the belt and walked out.
    Whatever decision you make, make it yours x

  239. Truth

    If there is one thing I have learned it’s that I am the only one who is having my experience and the only one who knows what that is and the only one who can tune into it and use it to guide my choices, decisions and actions. As Ester Hicks points out, “I am in charge of my own focus of attention and thus on what I am vibrating in harmony with. We are all on our own path and there is no common path. Oh yes, we can dance together and sing together, play together and share time and expreiences together but we are the only one having our experience. So, do what you want to do and follow your own energy to whatever feels right for you. Thanks Marie for having the courage to follow your own knowing.

  240. Helen

    Marie, you are a GODDESS! And that was the BEST use of an 80s song in your videos yet.

    Thank you so much for responding to this Q. I have personally wondered about your choice (tho would never ask as it is none of my business!) as we are the same age, and age is a factor in this particular situation, and because you are a fantastic role model for women, with or without children, in business.

    For me the struggle has been internal rather than external. No-one has ever offered their unwanted opinions on my womb-status, aside from my mother & grandmother, but i have had a tug-of-war between career or children for the past two decades; most often with one cancelling the other out – which has lead to regret, disappointment, anxiety & depression. I have definitely not been as decisive and self-assured in my direction. A big part of this has been the battle between my brain and…. HORMONES! A decision made one day, in utter confidence and truth, can be derailed by the influx of hormones two weeks – or two years – later. My body definitely wanted kids – but my brain did not, and my heart was pulled in two directions for so so long. I have to say, it is a relief now to be single and almost out of eggs!!!

    One thing i admire about the mothers in BSchool, and business in general, is that unlike me they didn’t feel it had to be a choice between one or the other. I am hoping that upcoming generations of women will know that they *can* choose both, and that we will all help shape a society that values both roles, as well as the role of women *without* children – which has always been a decent, but under-represented, chunk of the population. Step-mothers are also very under-appreciated in society (no thanks to the fairytales). My own was a great role model for me, being a smart and headstrong working woman in a very male-dominated industry. It can be an important role in a child’s life that women can be very proud to take on.

    For me, now, i am glad to have finally accepted my choices, and i have no regrets anymore. There is no shortage of children in the world, and we can all play a part in being good “mamas” to them, whether they came out of us or not.

    Thank you again for stepping forward in truth and bravery to address this subject. It IS none of anyone else’s business – but it is also great to be able to discuss it openly in a safe space – without conflict or judgment – if we choose to. So much appreciation to you and Team Forleo for creating that space…

    xox

  241. Rosalyn

    Hi Marie & MF Family!
    First Marie, I want to thank you for being such an inspiration and all around bada$$ for speaking truth on a topic that hits home for so many woman. I could not agree more with this message that the choice to have kiddos must and should be an individual one. Kids are a life long commitment and this is not a decision that is made lightly. The right answer to this question can be found in your heart ladies.
    Keep On Keepin’ On,
    ~Nurse Rosalyn

  242. Betzi Hekman

    Marie!
    Thanks for being awesome! This is a great topic! I decided not to have kids 12 years ago and haven’t looked back. I never really thought I wanted them but I fell in love and my boyfriend wanted to have kids….and I wanted to stay with my boyfriend so…we went to couples therapy for a year to see where we ended up on the issue. We ended up exactly where we started, he still wanted kids and I still didn’t. So we split up. It was really hard but it was the best decision we could have made. He never would have been happy without kids or at least trying to have kids and I would’ve resented him and them. That’s no way to live. Its a shame that other people feel like they have the right to chime in and shame folks for this very personal decision. Some women used to look at me like I had horns coming out of my head when I would tell them that kids were not in the picture. It used to make me really upset. Why do I need to defend my life decision to a complete stranger? The truth of the matter is I didn’t but sometimes it takes a while to figure that out. Its my life not theirs.
    Here’s to women everywhere living their best life! Thanks for being a huge part of that!
    Cheers!
    Betzi

  243. Having kids has never been on my radar, ever. I’ve always known that I don’t want children. I don’t give it a second. It wouldn’t matter what anyone said to me, it’s like water off a duck’s back. I’ve written a couple of articles about this myself because I feel it’s important for women to understand that it is ok for them to want something different to the ‘norm’. It’s ok to be a woman and not be maternal. All of the answers anyone needs is inside of them. Stop looking externally for the answers and being swayed by what others believe. Look within and do you. I totally agree with everything you said, Marie. I feel exactly the same way.

  244. Omg Marie i have wanted to ask you about this topic forever. I mean forever.

    I have also consciously chosen to not have children- as for me personally i cant comprehend bringing in another child when their are so many children and animals needing homes. I have chosen to help these children and animals as opposed to having my own.

    I am opening up a rescue animal farm in 2020. So i guess fur babies are my calling 🤔

    I believe their are 3 types of people
    1. Those that r born to be parents and raise a strong and compassionate next generation.
    2. Those that become parents out of fear of being alone when older or fear they may regret not having children later in life
    3. Those that have been called to be mothers or fathers to the world (helping those souls in need)

    i am definately the latter and yes i get afraid of being alone at times when i am older- but i also know that the universe has called me to “be the voice for those that dont have a voice”.

    I could not possibly do what i do financially and emotionally if i had children. Everyone thinks i am weird- but that then just reminds me that i have definitely chosen the right path.

    It actually empowers me as i feel strong that i can live my life by my own code of ethics rather than fitting in with the status quo

    One of my quotes near my bed is “Rise strong and dare to walk your own path- even when it may mean at times you walk alone”.

  245. Bjørg de Meza

    Yaaasssss – I did struggle with a life changing decision about 4-5 years ago.
    I wasn’t happy in my current job as a lawyer. I felt kinda trapped, my husband and I would from time to time sit and have those “what if” conversations about our lives and carriers and dreams. We’d also on a regular basis talked (and dreamed) about “what if” one was to start one’s own business? What should I do? How could that dream/idea turn into more than a dream and become profitable and something that could keep the lifestyle we liked and already had with two good and steady incomes? (We have two kids and there for more than ourselves to support)
    My husband was actually the one to plant the seed of following my passion for photography and starting on my own.
    I’m not lying within 2 seconds a tsunami of doubt flushed over? Can I make a living if it, and enough to help support myself and family? What will everyone else say and think? Throwing away a law degree and promising career? Is this at all responsible and isn’t it too risky? And on and on it when.
    I am so grateful to have married a man that truly stands by me in life and supports this decision – to give it a try! I started building my own business while still working full time.
    Even up until the very day where I was going to quit I was doubting!
    But a guy and photographer I met and worked with asked the exact Q – what will you think 10 years from not if you don’t at least try? Will you look back and regret it? The answer was YES I would!
    I quit and started my own full time photography business 4 years ago!
    And one thing is for sure I do NOT regret trying.
    I may not live iof being a photographer until I die – but it has opened a brand new world of opportunities and taught me that I can learn new things and I am actually good a it.
    Keep trying out there – ask yourself
    Will I regret?
    And what is the worst that can happen and can I figure that out if necessary?

    Thanks Marie, you and team Forleo and B-school has and still is with my on this journey

    All the best,
    XOXO
    Bjørg

  246. Deb

    Big life choice? Going against the grain? Yes and yes and right now! My big life choice in this very moment is this… Do I remain with my traditional, secure, 9-5 job (that, more often than not, turns into 50-60 hours a week) or do I take a leap of faith to launch an idea that I’ve been working on for 3 years now? I know, if it’s been 3 years why hasn’t the idea gotten off the ground yet? Quite frankly, time. It might sound like an excuse but the slow, incremental progress I’ve made is simply because I don’t have enough hours in the day (if I want to sleep or eat on a regular basis). I’m feeling that tug to ‘go all in’, take a leap of faith, go against the grain but I’m really struggling because this decision doesn’t just affect me. Any advice?

    • Hey Deb!
      Perhaps I can help. Going “all in” is scary. When I made that leap I looked at how I could manage my risks and also focused on what I did have and would do if I failed.
      I work in the change strategy space, and one thing I can tell you is I have seen secure jobs disappear because of new technology, new products, governments create changes or the need for companies to reduce their costs if they are to survive.
      Change can feel scary and awkward, and entrepreneurship is ups and downs, so for me I looked at why I wanted to jump off the corporate ship, what changes could I make to how I lived my life to make it work, and what would plan b look like if it all turned to kaka.
      I’m happy to say I’m five years in to the official jump and all is well. I’m a single mum (also felt like going against the grain), have flexibility and know the things I need and don’t need.
      I’ve built a business that meets my lifestyle – there is always a way.
      Good luck with your decision and I hope my perspective has helped you to think through possibilities.

      • Deb

        Thanks, Belle!
        Your insight is helpful. I am truly an entrepreneur at heart. I’m in that ‘weighing the risks’ and ‘what if I fail’ stage so there is lot to consider. I guess the louder voice is screaming, but what if I succeed! I am not new to business ownership, but this one seems like a bigger step. Thanks again for your thoughts and encouragement. I really appreciate it.
        Deb

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Hi Deb! I can tell you’re in an exciting place of growth right now in your business and we love how deeply you’re considering your different options. There are a few episodes of MarieTV that I think you’ll find helpful in determining your next best steps:
      https://www.marieforleo.com/2018/02/growing-business-hiring-people/
      https://www.marieforleo.com/2017/06/side-hustle/
      https://www.marieforleo.com/2017/02/career-change/

      We’re sending all our best wishes your way!

      • Deb

        Thanks Julia. I’ll take a look.

  247. Hey Marie!
    Great post and well handled. It’s such a tricky space to navigate. I have two kids, and had to make the decision of becoming a single parent family and going against the traditional grain. For me to get there, I used to start by thinking of Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love where she was deeply unhappy. I first asked the question of what would Elizabeth do, but soon realised I had to change the question to what am I gonna do, and how was I going to do it.
    I really had to change my definition of what a successful happy family is – and for me i came to realise that happiness is not structural, but it is foundational.
    I feel so much stigma can be attached to choices we make – like my success as a person depended on my success in a relationship. If we shift it to what happiness looks like for us, despite the awkward feeling of going against the grain, then maybe just maybe we will encourage more people to be ok with living life – fully living on their terms.
    I honestly hope that I raise two kids with their Dad who know how to be brave with their lives and help create happiness without harm.

    Warmly,

    Belle

  248. Like many others in the B-school community, I’m in the process of transitioning from my “traditional” career into entrepreneurship (but still keeping that bridge job as Marie suggests!) – and that whole process entails going against the grain and facing a lot of questions and unsolicited advice from well-meaning friends and family (and of course the kids question gets thrown into that whole line of questioning as well).

    As much as it can be frustrating, and I 100% agree that its not right to “should” all over people, I can honestly say that some of those questions have brought me greater clarity, and have even fuelled my commitment. I’ve never felt the need to have the answers to any of those questions, but my gut reaction to them would often make that message from the “voice from the inside” clearer to me, or give me some insight on things that maybe I need to get clear on for myself.

    And of course this honest self-reflection is possible because of the great community of Marie TV & B-school…so thanks for your support and being that place to turn to during those times when I feel like no one else “gets” it!! 🙂

  249. F*ck yes Marie!
    Women have a choice.
    My whole life goes against the grain and now I am helping other women to follow their own path too, whatever that may be for them.

  250. Parijat Rao

    Thank you for this wonderful episode. You have solved the questions inside me. Your video has changed the way I view and live my life going forward. Keep inspiring and changing lives like this 🙂

    • Julia - Team Forleo

      Parijat, we’re SO happy to hear this episode was helpful for you! Sending so much love your way 🙂 Thank you for being here.

  251. maisie

    What a great video and conversation! I just want to point out that while some people know from an early age that they don’t want kids, some of us are just unsure. And that’s OK, too! Take each day, week, month at a time. Sometimes, it helps to just let it go for a while and decide not to decide! Stay open, and the answers will reveal themselves to your heart.

  252. Flor Mazeda

    I love this!!
    As a married mother of 3, I have experienced both sides of the spectrum with my oldest becoming a mother at age 14 and my 22 & 19 not even thinking about dating let alone having kids. I do remember questioning them about the issue when they were younger and learning to respect their ideals and understanding when they explained that there’s more ways to become a parent if they wish than having biological children.
    Going further my grandkids are 11 & 10 now, they have not attended school for the last 4 years and people still question my daughter’s decision of not giving them a formal education …. At times I have really wanted to say “It is none of their business”😁 but now they see the difference between the maturity of my grandkids and their own kids around the same age and wonder what they have done wrong 😜😜

  253. Christina

    LLLLAAAAAAWWWWWWDDDD A MERCY!! Strike me down where I STAND! Marie, SPEAK IT GIRL!!
    Bottom line with ANY decision made by you is: “YOU. DO. YOU.” Fin.
    Men don’t face this same scrutiny on finding a wife, on having a family, they make decisions FOR their business WITHOUT batting an eye! Just because they have the equipment to start a family doesn’t mean they will use said equipment 😉
    When I wanted to pursue a massage therapy career transitioning from the corporate world, the sheer amount of “you’ll regret it!”, or “oh you’re never moving out of your parents house then!” and other such nonsense was….palitable! Ps 8 years running and those same nay sayers are asking me for treatment: hard NO!
    **giving advice from personal experience here** I’ve been pursing my own business since I was a little girl- always knew I wanted to own my own business & that I’d be successful with it. I never focused on children because that was something I knew would be in a way out of my control because if first have to find a mate and then procreate with them and all that takes TIME. With a lot of help and cheering from team Forleo (and ignoring nay sayers) I’ve reached a point where I’m pausing to have a kid. Tosses a wrench in the rhythm of plans but it’s a temporary wrench. It’s like having a business set back which is also the timing I had with my career so I decided to take advantage of this time and if it happened it happened. Well it happened!

    Something from therapy that has served me VERY well is visualizing this: you’re on a hiking path which represents your career (or staircase, or rock climbing or something where you’re climbing/clawing and really focused on the task at hand).
    and as you’re trekking along, you MUST have a failsafe point mentally where you can safely get knocked off kilter from your path (by a silly comment like kids or questioning your decision) and fall backwards safely to a surface that is wide, strong & sturdy….like a trampoline. It’s not a breakable glass ceiling surface. It’s FIRM. Mentally you land here, and it is made up of all the strong mantras, happiest moments, breakthroughs, wins and memories of achieving your personal best goals. Keep reliving these positive wins and you will start to jump in place- remember, it’s a trampoline, it will serve as a surface to bounce you back to where you were. Once your jumps are strong enough, kick those stupid comments to the wayside and get back on that path!

    A LOT of meditation, vision board tinkering and as Marie said the 10 year rule WILL help you come to your conclusion.
    No regrets. Everything you do is a decision JUST like having to choose location, software, staff, where to set up business shop, how to start the right business, slightly shifting from your original focus of business, choosing a different path with business etc. Life is full of choices and ONLY you can make the ones that “sit right” for you. You are NEVER letting anyone down and you certainly have NOBODY to answer to. Your body, your business, your choices. Meditate tho- that’s the key to success🙌🏽

  254. Claudia Williams

    Hi Marie,
    Such an important topic, and so glad you’re following your own path. I heard all the same cliche comments about not having kids when I was younger, then when we adopted our first child when I was 40, many people said I was crazy, too old, wouldn’t have the energy for it! Next up, surprise, surprise, I had a child when I was 42 (followed again by some thoughtless comments). I swear, not matter what you do, there will be some people who just don’t understand being supportive. Fast forward, my now 13 and 11 year olds are the best part of my life, but not the only part. I’m planning my next chapter (professionally), caring for my elderly parents, and having the best experiences possible everyday. I live a typical life that is wonderful, but it’s not because of having kids. It’s because I’m living my own choices (sooooo important!). I tell people all the time that, for me, being a mom is not hard, it’s challenging and joyous, and it was my choice, made in my own time. I truly believe we al