5 Books to Read if You’re Unsure About Having Kids

Learn from other people’s experiences when making the most important decision of your life

Shannon Litt
5 min readFeb 9, 2021


Photo by Nynne Schrøder on Unsplash

Deciding whether to have kids is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in life.

Unfortunately, it’s also a decision that everyone feels entitled to weigh in on. It was only six years ago in 2015 when Pope Francis famously said, “The choice to not have children is selfish.”

(Pope Francis, of course, does not have children.)

We’re in the middle of the whole “should we, shouldn’t we” debate, and I’ve been reading a lot, trying to learn from both parents and non-parents alike.

Here are 5 books that helped me. Maybe they can help you, too.

Complete Without Kids by Dr. Ellen Walker, PhD

  • The author is a psychologist who speaks candidly about her own childfree journey.
  • This book makes a great point of distinguishing between being childfree by happenstance, by circumstance, and by choice.
  • It was the only book that dove into the “non-decision decision” to be childfree (the author herself is childfree by happenstance).
  • Comprised of interviews with a range of parents and childfree people, of all genders.
  • The key takeaway for me was the importance of making peace with your decision, whatever that decision is. The saddest testimonials in the book were from people who lived in regret, thinking, “what if I had made X decision instead?”

Regretting Motherhood by Orna Donath

  • This book was a gut punch, packed full of stories that we don’t often hear, from mothers who regret their decision to have children.
  • The author herself is childfree, and the book is a series of interviews with Israeli mothers. The author captures a huge variety of…