I graduated high school in 1967.
I feel like I'm part of the first generation that didn't automatically assume that becoming a parent was the be-all, end-all purpose of our lives. Whether it was the feminist movement that suggested there was more out there for women than being mothers, the advent of free love that brought with it STDs which impacted our ability to give birth, or hedonistic boomer lifestyles that made children a burden as much as a blessing, it was suddenly OK not to want or have children. In fact, in some circles, it was environmentally correct to not add to the population bomb.
I'm sixty. My sister is 59. Neither of us has given birth. However, I did become a parent to five wonderful daughters through adoption.
At some point I discovered that when I initially said I didn't want children, what I really meant was that I didn't want babies and I had no particular desire to give birth. As far as passing my genes along, there are already enough chubby white women in the pool. But over time, I realized I really did want to parent. So I found a way.
Still, let there be no equivocation about the financial consequences of my decision. Even with Medicaid and monthly Adoption Assistance (all five of my adoptions were through the state foster care system), KIDS ARE EXPENSIVE! And it doesn't end with childhood. All five of my children are now adults. Adults who continue to cost their mother money!
There's an interesting discussion going on over at Voluntary Simplicity on this subject. The comments include a great deal of ambivalence as well as accusations of selfishness (though, interestingly, both lifestyles with and without children, are described as selfish).
Having children has greatly impacted my finances. Yet I don't regret my decision to parent.
Then, again, neither does my sister regret her decision to remain childfree.