This might sound like a dumb question but how should a woman who is 49 handle the question on a dating site in regards to wanting kids? I always wanted kids but my life did not go the way I thought it would. Never got married so didn't have kids, even though I know you don't need to be married to have them. I am realistic and know at this age it's unlikely and I also am not sure it's fair to have a child and start to raise them at my age. I guess I should say doesn't want kids but when you always wanted them it's hard to say those words. Is it worse if you leave it blank? I am not even sure if you can leave it blank on the site. I hope my question make sense.
This is not a dumb question and it makes total sense. In fact, it's a conversation I have regularly with male and female clients in your age range who wanted - but never had - kids. I know it's difficult to accept that you may (may!) never have children. For women especially, emotions around this issue run the gamut from deep disappointment to regret to even shame. We also feel compelled to explain that, while we don't have or maybe don't want kids, we tooooooooottttalllly love them. Anybody who judges a person for not having maternal or paternal instincts is limited in their understanding of just how complex humans can be. Everyone's purpose in life is different.
I don't want kids. I find the relatively well-behaved ones mildly interesting at best. I had and still have other priorities. Come at me, bro. If you don't want kids, check off "doesn't want any." Those who psycho-analyze you for that choice aren't going to be a good partner for you anyway.
Know this: you did not fail at anything. You are exactly where you are meant to be. For all you know, it's in your plan (the one I truly believe is pre-determined for each of us) to be a foster parent. The idea of fostering is daunting for many, but the act can be life-changing and life-saving for all involved. As someone who lost their mother at a very young age, I can tell you there are a lot of kids out there desperate to feel loved and wanted.
My suggestion for both men and women would be to select "does not want kids" only because you're going to want to come up in as many searches as possible. Potential matches in your age range (say 45-55-ish) likely either have kids and don't want more or don't have children. When performing a search they're probably going to look for people who either have children or don't want any. Also know that you do not - in any way - have to justify why you don't have or don't want kids. It's nobody's business.
Something else to consider is that you can change your basic stats and search criteria at any time. Switch it up here and there. You can put a line in your bio or summary that says: "While having my own children probably isn't on the itinerary, I'm open to fostering or adoption." I bet there are men out there your age who also still want kids. In fact, I know a few.
This is a very emotional crossroads for you, so go easy on yourself. Believe that there is a design for your life in place. I know it's hard to keep the faith sometimes, but that person is out there. They just haven't found you yet. The same could be said for the child you're meant to raise. Being a mom might not look like what you thought it would, but it will bring you the same happiness.