Jean-Marc’s Story: I don’t want any child of mine to have the same childhood that I had

I am 54 years old and I am not a father. I have never felt that life should be lived along the standard lines: going to school, studying, getting a good job, getting married, having children, paying the mortgage, retiring and eventually dying. When I am reading a book, I don’t read page 4 before page 3. Life is supposed to be an adventure full of surprises, not a long list of tasks planned in advance.

I do love children though, and would have liked to have become a father. However, for me, having children is not a decision that should be made lightly. For one thing, you have to find the right partner. I have never been the kind of guy who takes pride in sleeping with as many women as possible and has children scattered all over the place.

I have lived with three women in my life so far, and they all had children of their own. Two of them didn’t want any more, while the third one was happy for us to have children together. I didn’t share her enthusiasm, however.

I disagreed way too much with her parenting style for it to work. Her relationship with her children was not a very happy one. She was too strict in my opinion. She was more preoccupied with setting rules than bonding with them. This is exactly the type of environment I grew up in, and it wasn’t a very happy childhood.

My father and stepmother (my mother died from leukaemia when I was a toddler) were also very strict. For them what mattered more was for me to help out with chores around the house and getting good grades. I never had a meaningful relationship with either one of them. I felt more like a trained dog than a child. I didn’t want any child of mine to grow up in that type of toxic environment.

I told my then partner that I didn’t want to have children. What I should have really said was that I wanted children, but not with her. Which would have been a cruel thing to say, of course.

I have been carrying a lot of emotional baggage and have had counselling for it. I strongly believe that you must sort out your emotional issues – not to say mental health problems – before having children. What you don’t sort out, you pass on to your offspring.

Jean-Marc Pierson is a public speaker, story-teller and comedian. You can follow him on twitter: @orfray , or visit his website:

Would you like to share your story? Send it to: [email protected]

Jean-Marc Pierson


  1. Hi Jean-Marc, thanks for sharing your story. Every time I read a new story, I learn more about the human experience and why we cannot all be expected to follow the same script.

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