That's For The Future And The Future Is Now

When I was born, I had the cord wrapped around my neck five times. On New Year's Eve, eight months pregnant, my mother had been lying on the sofa, Blondie loud on the stereo on the last night of the seventies. As big as a watermelon, or maybe bigger, I was dancing around inside her, the outline of my tiny fists punctuating the skin of her stomach while my mother watched in wonder. At a crescendo, I jumped, flipping around violently like a porpoise getting tangled up in seaweed. Debbie Harry made me do it.

My mother spent the first six weeks of the new decade on bedrest in the hospital; I was all turned around and in the wrong place. The medical students came by every day and took turns guessing where my head was. When I was born, my mother woke from the anaesthetic and turned to my father. "We've got a little girl," he said, because of course you couldn't know beforehand then.

***************************

I have been thinking a lot about babies recently. Not surprising, really: I'm thirty, I'm married, for the first time in my life I have a spare bedroom. Haven't I always wanted babies? Well, sure, but in the future. When we're older. When we're richer. When we're grown-ups. Don't you think Jeter would be an awesome name for a baby? Ah, so maybe not quite yet then.

It is common, I hear, to have an urgent, powerful need. It is common to have a delineating and delineated point in one's life where one says that's it, I'm ready, let's do this thing. It is not so common, as far as I can tell, to go backwards and forwards, wavering like a tree in the wind, setting a start date and pushing it back, trying not to buckle under the weight of the relief when you do.

Or maybe it is, but nobody tells you. This isn't like choosing a sofa or buying a house; it isn't even like getting married. Reversible, all of them: none of them forever. But this is forever. Foreverandeverandever. Are you sure? You can't even choose a cereal at the grocery store! Cooing over tiny onesies at Baby Gap isn't the same as tossing them in the washing machine night after night when they're covered in rancid puke.

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows / here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud. My fear is that I will change my mind. My fear is that it will change my life. My fear is that I will never sleep again and I like to sleep, oh god, I really like to sleep. My fear is that I am selfish. My fear is that I might not be as good at this as my mother. My fear is that I might not be good at it at all.

How do you know? When do you know? Did you know?

1
Sarah
Nov 09, 2010

I didn't know, we just did it, and sleep or no sleep, we have never looked back. Life before was then, this is NOW and it happens, at a hundred miles an hour, with dimples and sprinkles and smiles that destroy. The only advice I have for friends who are in the same place as you, is don't think, there is never going to be a right time.

2
Cathy
Nov 09, 2010

I'm where you are, except I'm 4 years older. Damn...I'm nearly 35! We keep talking about having kids, we're even sort of 'trying' in a very unfocused lets-see-what-happens sort of way.

And I still don't know. I guess, if it happens, it happens. If not, I'm not sure I'll be too devastated. Although..who knows how I'll feel once it's definitely too late.

I think this is one of those decisions that makes itself, in a lot of ways.

3
Hairy Farmer Family
Nov 09, 2010

Ehhh.

I was 27 when I met John, 29 when we married, and we threw away the contraception the week before the wedding.
*looks back on all the IVF and hoots with laughter*

I think the long & short of it was that we met one another at a time in our lives when we were both ready to think about kids fairly soon, and didn't have to go through any major adjustments en route. We were already in That Place, the point where you Want Them Now.

You and Sean have... what? 'Approximately seven hundred million years' (!) of relationship behind you, which I expect makes it a lot harder to arrive at That Place - and get there at the same time as each other, moreover.

Best of luck with the backing & forthing.

4
rachel
Nov 09, 2010

Oh, I knew. I knew it had to happen around when I turned 30. And we got right on it, and it happened, and it is a mysterious wonder every minute of the day how we survived without knowing the awesomeness of parenthood. It will so entangle your heart that, if you look back to now, it really won't matter how much you loved sleep or going out with make-up.
I think you will find that you are much more selfless than you ever imagined, and you will channel your own mother's wonderfulness, and you will be completely in love with your parents!
In short, you will rise to the occasion. But dwelling on and changing your mind about the biggest decision besides if/who to marry...well that is completely understandable.

5
Rae
Nov 09, 2010

De-lurking to say: I don't have any answers; all I can tell you is that I completely understand how you feel. You summed it up perfectly in that second-last paragraph.

6
rachel
Nov 09, 2010

You will rise to the occasion. And it will be unlike anything else!

I knew...but I don't think everyone does. My husband, for example. He did not feel the gnawing that I did. I did crazy things, like APPLY TO GRAD SCHOOL to distract myself.

I think the part that relieved me from any questioning of that gnawing feeling was that I had my partner with me, no matter what. Once he was on board it was all okay.

7
Emma
Nov 09, 2010

The fact that you're having all of these thoughts is so indicative of the fact, that on some level, you probably are ready. I'm now 2 years in to this Mothering business and I still question all of those things. I am still fascinated by how my life has changed, by how much I still feel like 'me', and yet, I'm someone's Mother (!). I think the fact that I still question my 'me-ness' is a sure sign that this is an authentic experience - full of amazing, joyful highs and weary, frustrating lows . It doesn't just magically all come together in a moment of blinding clarity (well, it didn't for me).I wouldn't change a single thing about the priviledge of being her Mother. Even the sleep deprivation, for what its worth, I am learning how strong I am - before her, I had no idea. Good luck.

8
Shut-the-folk-up
Nov 09, 2010

While you were sleeping
The babies grew
The stars shined
And the shadows moved

9
Sydnew
Nov 09, 2010

I knew when I got pregnant, oops. But my kid is 14 now and I can tell you, yes, life changes in a lot of ways, and it's never exactly the same as it was. But that happens anyway, just because you get older. Whether you have a kid or not, at 40 you're going to be a different person than you are today. And the not sleeping stage is really pretty short.

10
Marcy
Nov 09, 2010

I don't know much but this I know...

I do know is It has been the BEST most important thing I have ever done in my life.

I know that NEVER... and I do mean never .. will it ever be about you again... A baby ( even your grown baby) is always in your thoughts and heart.

I know that no one is an expert at this baby thing.. We all do/ did the best we can.
If you were lucky enough to have had a good Mom.. chances are you too will be a good Mom.

I know that it is /has been (my kids are no longer kids but close to your age) one of the most frighting yet exciting..roller coaster rides I have ever been on.
Up until than life was basically a Merry Go Round.

So to answer your questions...

How do you know?
I think most people Don't know.
(You could go on for years and years throwing it back and forth.. sometimes missing out on the chance to do it at all)
I for one am extremely happy we had our children while we were both very young (I was done at 25) It wasn't always easy but now both are married.

I see alot of ladies around my age who still have younger kids...One gal I know has a preteen daughter...Their only child
One entering Puberty
One entering Menopause
How would you like to be the guy in THAT house?
Ugh..

When do you know?
*You know when you know.

Did you know?
*Baby #1 Totally planned.... Baby #2 Total Shock and Surprise..( They are 16 months apart) Now THAT is what you call Shock and Awe.

I know it doesn't seem to make sense.. but when/if it's time... it is time.

Good Luck..You'll be a great Mom when the time comes.

11

I never knew. Although I love children, and suspected one day I would become a parent, I never felt that biological urge people talk about. And at 43, it's unlikely I'll ever feel it.

However, about a year and a half after I got married, and saw my husband with his nieces while on holiday in England? I knew that even if I wasn't entirely sure about being a mom, I was definitely sure he should be a dad. And since I'd been interested in adoption since I was a child (I have cousins who were adopted), as soon as we got back from our trip, we looked into it. Four months later we were matched with Alex's birthmother, 2 months after that, Alex was born, and 6 months after that, the adoption was final.

And it was the best decision we ever made. She's a treasure. And yes, there are times that I miss the way it was just the two of us (though I suppose I'm not supposed to ever admit that out loud), the truth is the way we are as the three of us FAR FAR outweighs the way it was with just the two. We were made to be a threesome.

So, my point is (if I have one): first of all, you're very young, and you have way longer than you think to biologically produce a child, if that's what you want. But secondly, even if that urge never comes? There are certainly other ways to become a family, as well.

In other words, I wouldn't sweat it. When it's time, it'll be time. And I'll wager you'll know it when it's time. :)

K.

12
Sara
Nov 09, 2010

I have four children and I STILL have those fears. Maybe not the one about changing my mind--although there are days... I think that anytime someone is wholly dependent upon you, it's crazy NOT to be fearful.
The thing is, there is never a perfect time to have children and I never had a definitive I Know Now moment. You just have to jump in and believe that it's going to work out. And in the end, when you are caring for and laughing with and loving on and amazed at the baby in your arms, the toddler at your knee, the child on your lap, or even the teenager who just rolled her eyes at you AGAIN, you'll wonder what took you so long to make the decision.

13
Nina
Nov 09, 2010

My fear is that I will change my mind. My fear is that it will change my life. My fear is that I will never sleep again and I like to sleep, oh god, I really like to sleep. My fear is that I am selfish. My fear is that I might not be as good at this as my mother. My fear is that I might not be good at it at all.

All that may well happen and it will still be all right. That's how it was for me.

Motherhood was an ambigious thing for me. In a lot of ways I didn't have a good childhood so for most of my teens and twenties I was sure I didn't want children. And then I fell in love with a man who did want them, very much and who promised he would pitch in and do 50%. And I was 27, and we had been married for a year and a bit and I thought "Well now is as good a time as any to turn our lives upside down" so we stopped preventing stuff and cast our lot to the wind and the wind brought back our son.

And my son was a terrible baby. He never slept, he cried all the time. He was an exhausting, unsoothable, high-needs baby. I remember his infancy as a haze of stress and sadness and resentment and terrible, terrible dissapointment. My husband and I fought all the time because we were both exhausted and each felt like the other wasn't doing their share. We both looked like zombies. Enviably thin zombies perhaps, but seriously we had the skin tone of John Major. When I look at the photographs from three years ago my son looks terrified and I look absent. My eyes are dead.

It was a stressful time. I was alone. The sleep deprivation was so brutal I felt like I was nightly being beaten with sticks. I was miserable and traumatised. I nicknamed him Shiva, the destroyer of worlds.

But as horrible as that was, it was temporary. He grew, we both slept more and cried less. We started to enjoy each other's company. bit by bit, then more and more. When he was about a year, I started to love parenthood.

Motherhood is an acquired skill. I was rubbish at it. So I learned. Asked some advice, read some books, got some help, tried some things and learned.

And then the babies grew and the stars moved and our life was no longer chaos, and something in me said "I want another". It wasn't a logical choice, something intuitive just happened and then my daughter happened and she is the most angelic sweet tempered baby in the world, and everything I thought I knew about what it was like to raise babies has been reversed again because I had no idea it was possible to feel such satisfaction, such visceral joy in the company of another human being. I am more experienced, more organised. She is more easily settled. Her cries are as distinct as words to me. I know what she wants and needs and we are in tune - partially because she is easier than he was, partially because I am more experienced.

My life was destroyed, but a new one came to take its place. My son's gift to me was in that moment of sundering inviting me to rise to the challenge. To be transformed and flower as a person in ways I had no idea it was possible. Precisely because it is a foreverandeverandever sort of love. For better or worse you belong to your children and they to you in a way that is unlike anything else I have ever felt or will feel, because everything else is to some degree negotaible, subject to change or condition.

It is a scary thing because the moment you get pregnant you largely give up control. Sure, you can prepare but you can't really know the outcome until it happens. There is no GoogleMaps for future babies and no one can prepare you for the bad bits but no one can prepare you for how good the good bits are either.

I learned I did not have to be the same kind of mum my mother was. I could be the kind of mother who swears and loses her temper and it would still be fine. I am selfish and I like to sleep. But it's okay. Some things I compromise on, and sometimes I put me first. My partner and I take turns about who gets up with the children and who sleeps in.

I hope one day my children will be able to look back and say "Our mother was a powerful woman with a bright mind and a temper that was warm and fiery when the occasion moved her or we pissed her off. She wasn't perfect and didn't have to be. Sometimes we fought and struggled together, but we learned to adjust to one another. She loved us and we loved her."

True, my life is very diffeent and more financially and logistically strained, but it's all small fry. Drops in the ocean of the Big Picture. Lives are long. We will travel and go out again. Someday we will even sleep in. But ultimately - not the broken nights, or the films we didn't see in the cinema, or the theatres we didn't go to, or the beaches we did not laze on - none of this will matter as much as knowing that I have made these children, these two people. That I have watched my heart incarnate grow bigger and fuller more than I ever thought possible, and go out walking by itself in the world. My life is good and pretty and pleasant, like a pastel picture. But now it's all vibrant acrylics. There are some low lows, and some tedium and frustration, but overall everything is more intense, more meaningful and interwoven with the kind of joy that I don't think I could feel in any other context.

Uncertainty by any other name is adventure. And beyodn fear I have always loved adventure.

Whatever else I do in my life (and I hope to do a lot), nothing, none of it, will ever be as satisfying or meaningful or as magnificent as the having and raising of my children.

14
Beth
Nov 09, 2010

Holly--it WILL change your life. And if you feel that you are selfish, there is NOTHING like a baby to wash that selfishness right outta your hair. Or, something. And sleep? Well, sleep is somewhat overrated, anyway. With my first, I could hardly keep my head above water with the not-sleeping thing, but by #2--well, it seems that my endurance and stamina have increased. There are certainly things that I miss about my pre-kid life, but I wouldn't change it for the world. And, for the record, we did not "plan" our children--7 months after we got married, I was unexpectedly pregnant. If it had been up to me, I'm not sure we would have ever had kids. But we do, and I'm glad.

15
Emma
Nov 09, 2010

I have no advice to offer except that this really struck a chord - you've expressed a lot of my own current thoughts and feelings about it. From what my friends who've had babies already say, from what I can tell you're never 100% "ready", it's just a case of taking a bit of a leap of faith.

16
Raven
Nov 09, 2010

You do get to sleep again! Mine is 15 now and even though I still get him up every morning, I have the luxury of going back to sleep after he's gone on to school. I also tell him that his graduation present is that mom is going to the Bahamas. haha.

I don't know how you "know", mine was a surprise, but I do know how you "do". Like the rest of that poem says, you carry their heart and they in turn carry yours. It's a love that completely affects you from the moment it hits, but it's also a love that completely grows with you, stays with you, becomes you. Even at it's scariest, it's also completely grounding and natural, at least in my experience.

17
Sarah
Nov 09, 2010

De-lurking as well:
I AM selfish. I don't sleep much. Our lives HAVE changed drastically. But having a kid is still the coolest thing ever.

After two years of marriage, we went for it, without a whole lot of thought! Ben is now 2 1/2 and my motto for parenting is "it will always get better." Basically, there are days when I want to walk out the front door because he hasn't slept all night or he's a puddle on the floor because his banana broke in half. Yet those days are always followed by AWESOME days, ones so love-filled and truly happy, that the sleep deprivation, fits, etc really do feel insignificant and distant.

Also, we've always had babysitters and date night. I have Friday off, but I still drop Ben off at preschool (without any guilt) so I can have a day to myself. I still feel like my own person and not just a mother.

Kids also say some random, funny stuff. We're expecting another boy in February and Ben told his class we're having a girl and her name will be "Halloween."

Go for it. You won't look back.

18
Dr. Maureen
Nov 09, 2010

You can't really know, I don't think. You can only go for it. And it's hard and you don't sleep and your life changes forever. Yes. But it changes for the worse only in superficial ways, like loss of sleep and freedom and carefree attitudes. It changes for the better too, in real ways.

And FWIW, it's easier to lose out on sleep when you're younger...

19
Heather
Nov 09, 2010

Wow, you perfectly expressed exactly how I'm feeling now. I've decided that there will be days when I change my mind- and I'm ok with it. I think it's normal. I know I will regret becoming a parent at first, or at some point, but I don't think it will be most days. When I get worried about it, I try to think about the child I will hopefully bring into the world as having a unique personality that I get to watch grow. For some reason, it helps me to not think about "baby" (crying, pooping, evil wriggling force of nature) and focus on "person." (I will get to teach her/him about the animals! S/he will develop her/his own interests!).

20
Leigh
Nov 09, 2010

Girl! As soon as you discover you are pregnant, you will never turn back. You will be all about that baby 110%!!!

21
Heather
Nov 09, 2010

Wow, you perfectly expressed exactly how I'm feeling now. I've decided that there will be days when I change my mind- and I'm ok with it. I think it's normal. I know I will regret becoming a parent at first, or at some point, but I don't think it will be most days. When I get worried about it, I try to think about the child I will hopefully bring into the world as having a unique personality that I get to watch grow. For some reason, it helps me to not think about "baby" (crying, pooping, evil wriggling force of nature) and focus on "person." (I will get to teach her/him about the animals! S/he will develop her/his own interests!).

22
Heather
Nov 09, 2010

Wow, you perfectly expressed exactly how I'm feeling now. I've decided that there will be days when I change my mind- and I'm ok with it. I think it's normal. I know I will regret becoming a parent at first, or at some point, but I don't think it will be most days. When I get worried about it, I try to think about the child I will hopefully bring into the world as having a unique personality that I get to watch grow. For some reason, it helps me to not think about "baby" (crying, pooping, evil wriggling force of nature) and focus on "person." (I will get to teach her/him about the animals! She or he will develop her or his own interests!).

23
Emily
Nov 09, 2010

I wanted *kids* but I never pictured myself having BABIES. I never felt that primal urge, I never yearned for a little bundle to hold in my arms. Our first was an accident, which was actually kind of awesome, because I never made a conscious decision to have a baby - he just... appeared.

And babyhood is difficult and unrewarding, but when they get older? I can't imagine doing this life thing without them. Even when I truly suck at being their mom.

24
Jenn
Nov 09, 2010

I always thought that I would be ready some day. I always thought that I would one day, I would look at a baby and feel that little "ding!" that people talk about. When I got married, I was 24 and people would ask when we were going to have kids (as if it was any of their business) and we weren't financially stable and I didn't feel like I was ready, and on and on.

One day, I woke up and realized I didn't WANT babies. Or any kids. Ever. My husband feels the same way.

A doctor at a walk-in clinic who was seeing me for a sinus infection once badgered me with questions about when I was going to have a baby, don't I want a baby and you're never 100% sure, you just have to go for it! I was like "Can we just stick to the sinuses?" (I asked my husband later if she badgered him about babies and he said she kept asking him how much he drank. He doesn't drink but she seemed convinced he was a closet alcoholic.)

25
pip
Nov 09, 2010

I knew I wanted babies and not too late ie to be starting at about 30ish.... and I do think my biological clock was ticking because I really felt like I desperately wanted a baby. But I did think I might be a rubbish mother and I might not really love them properly and that I might be too selfish to really do parenthood properly. But as soon as my daughter was born that was it. In love. Properly. And the thought that I could have missed out on that is terrifying. (Even now when my children are 7 and 6 and stroppy as can be). However, and this might not be a helpful thing to say but you did ask... in my book group once, 1 out of 3 women said that, had they known what having children would be like, they wouldn't have had them. I find that pretty surprising.

26
jonniker
Nov 09, 2010

I didn't know until she was placed in my arms. I didn't know.

And then I knew. And she didn't sleep, and I LOVE sleep, but still, I knew. Best thing I ever did.

You can't change your mind. It's biologically impossible. And Holly, it is so awesome. Right now, she's naked but for a diaper watching Laurie Berkner, eating Cheerios and dancing up a storm, stopping only occasionally to see if I'm watching so she can smile at me. Come on! Who doesn't want THAT?

27
Heather
Nov 09, 2010

I've struggled with this question, too, and really have yet to come up with a definitive answer. But one thing that's helped me get in touch with my gut is the question: what would you regret more? Doing it or not doing it?

For me, I have a feeling it's the former, so I'm pretty sure that's my choice. Pretty sure...

28
MS
Nov 09, 2010

This post sums up my feelings exactly. My husband and I have talked for years about "how many days a week are you willing to be a parent?" Started with me saying 3 days, him 1 day. Well 4 days does not a week make. Over the years, we've gotten to 5 and 3 repsectively. So while that's 1 day of overlap, it seems like the answer should be 7 for both of us. I'm the same age as you and go back and forth every day. Meanwhile, it seems everyone I know is pregnant...5 new babies will be here before Easter! If you find the answer, please share!

(Secretly, I think many feel the same way you and I do. They just leap anyway and it either works out and they're amazing parents or...well, they just do the best they can.)

29
Jennifer
Nov 09, 2010

Everybody's different. I knew. I was ready, but not everybody knows. The good news is if you get knocked up, you have 9 months to GET ready. And as someone who also deeply, deeply enjoys sleeping, you just deal with it. It sucks, but at least your body produces hormones that allow you to function on less sleep (dads don't get that). And then there's the whole overwhelming, insane, unconditional love thing for this little blob, which just gets stronger every day. That part makes up for the lack of sleep (almost).

30
Kari
Nov 09, 2010

I am pregnant with my first child and due on January 3rd. I am 31 years old and have been married 10 years, so we thought and thought about what we wanted to do. I had a good life and I think I could have been happy if we had decided otherwise.

I have never ever felt that urgent, powerful need. I have not felt it, even since finding out I was pregnant. I have not enjoyed being pregnant very much. I am very much worried about the sleep and about not being as awesome as my own mom and where am I going to get the patience to do this.

But. I am the sort of person who believes in God, and believes that he invites us to participate in the creative process. I decided that I would be missing out on an important part of life, being a co-creator with God, if we chose to remain without children. As part of my faith, I stepped out in faith hoping that it was the right decision, a step closer to the person I was created to be.

Some people do know, do have that longing. But some of us don't. And so we just have to decide.

31
glschneider
Nov 09, 2010

Hmm. We had a grand plan for having a baby but I don't think I was ready until they put her into my arms. I vividly remember crying the night before my scheduled induction in a panic because it wouldn't be just "us" ever again. And I liked just us. But I like the new just us even better.

And when they say you will never be ready, they aren't lying. You kind of just have to accept that if you are kind of ready, you are probably ready and run off the cliff with your arms wide open and enjoy the ride.

Oh, and I like sleep also. The sleeplessness is truely awful. But it doesn't last forever.

32
jen
Nov 09, 2010

i'm with you. we go back and forth. when we got married (young, at 22) we said we'd wait for 2 years. Then at 24 we postponed it another 2 years and on and on. I always felt a huge relief to postpone the decision and the responsibility. Fast forward to age 29. i felt ready - as in "if i get pregnant, i would be happy and not devastated"- and so i stopped taking birth control and sort of forgot that we were trying. We were very nonchalant about the whole thing...

Until 5 months later when i got pregnant. and i was thrilled. deliriously happy and excited. then i had a miscarriage and realized how badly i wanted a child.

We've postponed it again because we're moving to a new city and want to get settled into that life before we change everything, but it was getting pregnant that really made me want a child. i know that doesn't necessarily help, but I think it's a leap to make a decision knowing what you'll be giving up.

33
Sarah
Nov 09, 2010

If it helps the back-and-forth, we had a set time of year for "negotiating the contract." I work in the school system & having a spring baby would maximize my maternity leave, so I'd have to get knocked up in the late summer/early fall. In the summer, we would look at our lives & see if it was time. When the fall came, if we hadn't decided to go for it, it was on the backburner for another year.
It sounds like you are going to do it, it's just a matter of when, so why not allow biology to dictate: work back from age 35 for having 2 reasonably spaced pregnancies (if you want more than one kid).
And as for the sleep thing: we have a 4 month old & it works itself out. I have some word retrieval issues when speaking, sure, but talking is overrated, right?

34
Monica
Nov 09, 2010

We are in the same place as you guys. And we have heard it from everyone we know - there is never a right moment. So we decided to just dump it all and let it happen, if it does it does, if it does not, the the universe has a different plan. We know we love eachother and that is enough for us, baby or no baby in the horizon.

35
madge
Nov 09, 2010

I'm in a similar quandary about an additional child. But all the arguments against are based purely on my own comfort (sleep, travel, etc.) and are relatively short-lived when compared to a lifetime lived with a person I'll no doubt love more than myself.

It's so true, there is never a right time. But, if there is even an inkling that you might want a child, don't let yourself wait until it is too late.

36
sunnie
Nov 09, 2010

i was in the EXACT same spot as you just a mere 6 months ago. i actually don't even really like babies that much. but we're turning 30 and my hubby and i said "what the heck, let's go for it!" i'm 5 months pregnant now and i'm already in love with this biscuit that's baking in my oven. it's weird. you change.

37
hip hip gin gin
Nov 09, 2010

I wonder the same thing, all the time. I am waiting for that "I need a baby" feeling (my friends call it "baby fever"), but I wonder what happens if I never feel it? Does that mean I don't want a baby? That I shouldn't have a baby? I think I want children but anytime I think about when exactly I think "in a couple of years", and then a couple of years passes and I think "in a couple of years". Hmm. And I am terrified that I will change my mind, and like you said, there is no going back, ever.
I really wish someone had the answer, because I am much too Virgo and control freak to just go for it and trust it will work out.

38
Victoria
Nov 09, 2010

I had similar thoughts before we had our first child. For me really is just one of those things where you have to close-your-eyes, hold-your-breath, grit-your-teeth and throw away the birth control. 'Cause, like other commenters said, you aren't ever going to be "ready." And it really wasn't so bad. The first 6 months are incredibly hard, with a few amazing moments thrown in, but it gets so much better after that. And really? You can do anything for 6 months.

We are debating baby #2 right now, and really it's not so much about whether or not to have one, but the timing. It's an easier decision now, because I've never heard anyone say, "Wow, I wish I had had fewer children." It always seems to be the other way around. I grew up with a big family, and can't imagine living the second half of my life without that.

I also agree that it's so much easier to recover and survive the crazy months when you are younger...

39
lkamin
Nov 09, 2010

I hear you, I really hear you. Then when you do decide to try, if you run into any complications, your life becomes all about GETTING PREGNANT. So much so that you can focus on the getting so much you sometimes forget that there will be a real live baby to care for at the end. I hope you have no problems at all, but it can take longer than you think once you decide to go for it.
So I got pregnant finally and then started to wrap my head around what that meant and oh dear god I love to sleep and be lazy sometimes.
So you adjust, its easier than you think. And my baby started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks and never looked back. I love her to pieces and maybe a little extra because of this.

40
Melissa
Nov 09, 2010

I always knew I wanted children, had been married for nearly a year, and was in my mid-30s when I got pregnant, and I STILL wasn't 100% ready. My husband had to nudge me along.

How much your life will change really depends on your attitude and what your baby's like. Some people have easy-ish, portable babies that they can take out and travel with. I did not have that kind of baby, nor was I particularly flexible, so the baby years were hard for me. (And it's totally okay to hate the tiny baby stage. Many people love it, but give me a walking, talking toddler any day.) But it's really such a small part of your life.

41
JenAHM
Nov 09, 2010

I'm 35 and just over 4 months pregnant with our first baby. And while this baby is already very loved and was very much wanted, there are times where I already mourn my old life with my husband. But, I'm confident that this new life will be even better -- how can it not be when there is someone new to love?

A few years ago, a very wise neighbor gave us this advice when she asked us if were planning on kids, and we told her we weren't quite ready....she said "There's never a perfect time to have a family. There will always be bills to pay, things to save for. If you wait for the perfect time to arise, the next thing you know, you'll be 50 years old, childless, and wondering where life has gone." She was childless, so I think she spoke from experience and regret.

42
afc
Nov 09, 2010

do it now. you will never regret doing it, you will regret not doing it. and after you're there, you'll look back & say, "what were we waiting for?".
you will never remember a day without your child .. you are lucky to have so many photos of your lovely trips .. they will seem as distant and foreign as they actually were, just in a different way.

43
April
Nov 09, 2010

As one who is experiencing the whole no sleep portion of the program at the moment with our second child, I can understand your hesitation. But, the no sleep part is short lived in the grand scheme of things. And they make up for it by being so darn cute. Does life change? Yes, it has a hell of a lot more meaning, you care a lot more about politics and the future and the state of the world. You'll have a new little person to help you explore the world and see it in new ways. And Sean may finally have someone in the house who cares about baseball as much as he does. ;-)
When I had these same questions, my mother told me that there is never a good time, a right time, I might not ever get baby fever, but I would never regret having my children. I think she just desperately wanted grandchildren. ;-)I didn't get baby fever, but I love these little people more than life itself and I wouldn't trade my new life for my old one, ever.

44
Tina
Nov 09, 2010

We knew we wanted them down the road. So we just stopped trying to prevent it, and it happened. Before that, the first time I thought I was pregnant I was scared and relieved I wasn't, it was too soon after we were married. We decided to stop trying several years after we were married "just to see what happens" (you never know if its going to be easy or hard to conceive). I was at the point I was fine either way so when we found out it was a joy.

45
Tina
Nov 09, 2010

We knew we wanted kids down the road. So we just stopped trying to prevent it, and it happened. Before that, the first time I thought I was pregnant I was scared and relieved I wasn't, it was too soon after we were married. We decided to stop preventing several years after we were married "just to see what happens" (you never know if its going to be easy or hard to conceive). I was at the point I was fine either way so when we found out it was a joy.

46
Janet
Nov 09, 2010

So perfectly said. I feel EXACTLY the same way. And, seriously, I can't even bring myself to decide on a couch. I'm still sitting on lawn furniture and I moved into this new place two months ago. Sigh.

47
Kait
Nov 09, 2010

A week before we got our daughters, a doctor asked us "Sooo...are you two ready to try getting pregnant?" and even though we had agreed the night before that we were, we both said "No" without thinking.

A week later a family member called and said "Take them or the state will" so we did and in 14 hours we went from childless to two kids under two.

Everything, every single little thing, changed. And yet I would be hard pressed to explain how it changed other than it's different. They are wonderful and lovely and amazing. Every day I am in awe of the fact that I get to be the one they call Mama.

And two months ago, when someone told us about two little boys in Lesotho, waiting in an orphanage, we found ourselves saying yes again without really knowing why.

That's the truth to the whole thing, to me. If I had to choose, if someone stopped and made me think about it, the questions and risks would overwhelm and terrify me. But when there really isn't a choice (letting them rot in foster care? letting them remain orphans?) it's easy to say yes and do it and hope for the best.

Jump in with both feet. It will be the most amazing thing you ever do.

48
ellbee
Nov 09, 2010

Same here. I never considered myself particularly maternal, but here I am, with my 6 week old son snoozing peacefully in my lap. (After yes, he did in fact spit up rancid milk all over me this morning. Like my very own little Exorcist baby.)
The thought of actually going for it and having a baby was an organic thing that just seemed to grow between my husband and I, encompassing the mundane (hey, we have a spare room, we're not getting any younger, etc) and also the extraordinary like the love we have for each other and our families and the great examples they set.
But, yeah, I'm still baffled that this little creature is OURS.

49
Kate (and Ben)
Nov 09, 2010

The desire to want a child, even in the smallest amount, will be enough to make you a good mother.
We do not want children. We have known for years we didn't want children; they don't fit into our lifestyle; we don't find the idea appealing; and all sorts of little reasons to show us how much we don't want one (after five years of taking care of our dog, we still forget about him). Because you are thinking about it, even doubtfully, probably means it would not be a bad decision.

good luck.
-K

50
Operation Pink Herring
Nov 09, 2010

I'm currently stuck in the following cycle:
1. Convince myself I'm infertile.
2. Panic. Decide I need a baby right now but I'll never be able to have one.
3. Start to wonder if I might be pregnant.
4. Convince myself I'm definitely pregnant.
5. Panic. Decide I'm not ready, OHGODWHATHAVEIDONE.
6. Take a pregnancy test, get a negative.
7. Cry.
8. Convince myself I must be infertile.

All this, mind you, when we're not even "trying". So if you figure out the secret to knowing when you're really, really ready -- please pass it on. QUICKLY.

51
Kristen
Nov 09, 2010

I think your fears are a lot more common than you realize. I certainly have them, and I've talked about them a lot, and there's always someone who says, "ZOMG me too! But I was too embarrassed to say anything!"

My plan is to wait until I feel like it's definitely a good idea. I don't know if I want kids -- I know I don't want them now, but I always pictured myself being a mom ... someday. But it's not a risk I'm willing to take until I feel far more certain that THIS is what I want. I love what I have in my life too much to change it for something that doesn't feel like a need, you know?

52
Melanie
Nov 09, 2010

You never REALLY know, because all of your planning and preparations can go away in an instant - you'll never get to the point where there is "enough" money, "enough" room, "enough" of anything, and everything material you try to store up in preparation can disappear - or multiply. You don't know what will happen tomorrow. Somehow, things always work out, and I can tell you that my children make me laugh daily. I wouldn't trade a single moment of it. Their wet kisses and tight squeeze-y hugs are worth everything.

53
Melissa
Nov 09, 2010

You won't regret it. Not one bit. Ever. Event when you've gone without sleep and are cleaning the tiny onesies of rancid puke. I promise. You can hunt me down and say "I told you so" if you do.

I spent the majority of my pregnancy trying to decide if I was really ready. Trying to figure out if I was going to be any good at this whole 'Mama' role. Scared. To. Death. That it wasn't going to be my thing. I AM selfish, I AM immature and I DO love sleep. But from the moment he was born none of those things entered my mind when it comes to his care.

He was my 'just one'. My husband has two children from a previous marriage (teens now) and we decided to have 'one more', my 'just one'. As scared as I was that I wouldn't be good at this, now I'm seriously contemplating a secondbecause it is such an amazing experience, and because you know what? I'm REALLY good at it. And you will be too!

54
sarah
Nov 09, 2010

I don't think anyone is ever 'ready'. You just do it.

My son is about to turn one. We found out I was pregnant (Surprise! We weren't trying...) about 2 weeks after my husband and I signed the papers on our first home, which was only about six months after we'd gotten married. I was terrified that not only were we taking on a mortgage, but a new life as well.

Today, I couldn't imagine our life without the boy. He is the best thing ever. And yes, I do miss sleeping in and going out whenever I feel like it, but I'd give that up in a heartbeat (and, in fact, did) to hear him giggle, sigh, or best of all, call me 'mama'. So when did I 'know'? Not sure there was one particular moment - instead, it was many small incidents - the amazement the first time I caught a glimpse of my growing belly in a store window and didn't recognize myself, holding my husband's hand on my tummy to feel those first flutters, seeing his tiny fingers grasp my hand, every time I get to witness the pure joy he feels when discovering something new in this world.

You'll be good at it. Trust.

55
-Jen
Nov 09, 2010

Some people just don't know. I didn't know, but I knew that my husband knew. I viscerally felt that he would be a fantastic father, so I felt that we needed to have a baby for him. Life has changed, absolutely, but I love my boy above reason.

A secret I don't say out loud is that I can imagine my life without my son, and I know that I would be ok with that life. However, I love my life with my husband and son.

56
Liz
Nov 09, 2010

Wow. We're in the exact same place. I had a timeline, then life happened and my timeline went out the window. Now I have a new timeline, but that keeps changing. I've been in my house for 4.5 years and still don't have any CURTAINS because I can't decide which curtains to buy. It seems like such a permanent, expensive decision those curtains. And what if I don't like them? So hard to take them down and return them. Even harder, I hear, with babies.

57
Lawyerish
Nov 09, 2010

It's okay not to be ready, you're just married and still young, after all. Revel in that for a bit longer if you need to.

For me, there was never a definitive point where I thought, "Yes! Let's do this thing!" For ages, I didn't think I wanted kids at all, and then maybe it was when I hit a critical mass of close friends with kids, I started to think that we weren't going to get out of this without a baby.

And then when I decided that we should pursue adoption (since pregnancy seemed somehow much more terrifying), the ball just started rolling and I started to have The Babywant, which I'd never had before. And then that whole drama unfolded and we didn't adopt, it was crushing.

STILL, even when we started trying to have a baby the old-fashioned way I felt a bit conflicted, but then! The very first month after tossing out my Ortho-Tri-Cyclen-Lo, I took a test and it was negative. And THAT was when I REALLY KNEW I wanted a baby more than anything else. So in a way it was like the process of trying to have a kid (one way or another) CREATED the desire, rather than the desire leading the action. For me, anyway.

And I do miss sleep and some aspects of the old life, but it's so much more, so much richer now with Felicity. I couldn't have known that before, and I am sure I appreciate her more than I otherwise would have, having been through the failed adoption first.

So I don't know -- you have time. You don't have to KNOW-know to go for it. It's the biggest leap you'll ever take, so it's okay to go on that last blowout trip (for a while) and sleep in a little longer.

58
Leigh
Nov 09, 2010

It totally changes your life. The sleep thing sucks. I hear. We adopted our son from vietnam. He was 9 months old and sleeping through the night. I got to drink through the whole wait too. You are a good person so you'll be a good parent. Every parent has there crazy moments. That's life.

Plus you can't wait until you are ready because you'll never be ready.

59
bessie.viola
Nov 09, 2010

Yes, this. I think it IS exactly what you said: thinking maybe yes, maybe no, then deciding to take the leap. I thought I wanted a baby, and so we tried. After the first month trying I saw the word PREGNANT on the stick. And... that was that. I wasn't sure I was ready throughout the pregnancy, and even after she was born and we were waiting to be discharged, it was a feeling of: "Whoa, are we SURE? They're going to just let us LEAVE with her?" I mean, I loved her more than anything already, but it seemed crazy that they were just going to let me HAVE her.

So yes, it's pretty much like that. The back and the forth. I'm still not sure if I'm always ready, and she's almost three. But I've always WANTED her, no questions asked, so maybe that was my "ready enough." You'll find your "ready enough" too.

60
Rachel
Nov 09, 2010

When I became pregnant I was surprised because even though we had decided to try, we didn't think it would happnen on the FIRST try. I know that we are lucky, but still somewhere in the back of mind I just figured it would take a while. I was happy, but kept thinking it's 9 months away so I'll have time to get used to the idea. In month 8 I distinctly remember rolling over (barely) and waking up my husband to tell him that I didn't want to have this baby. That I was too scared, selfish, and not ready in the least. He just rubbed my back and said, "Honey we can't go back and I think when we see him or her we won't want to ever go back." Of course he was right. I guess my point is, I don't think there's this light that goes off when you're ready. It's more of a naturally occurring thing. Being a mom is really hard, and you're not going to be perfect (PLEASE remember that), but just do your best. Ask for help when you need it. And it is truly the most rewarding and heart bulging thing ever. And I bet your mom, dad, siblings and husband believe that you'll be the best mom ever. (BTW, if you're even thinking about this so much says something too.....Just sayin')

61

I have no idea. We have no idea. Lately, I feel this instinctual pull toward babies. I want to hold them, smell them, snuggle their heads against my neck. And then I think about all the logistical things, and I freeze. I'm terrified that I'll make the wrong choice. Or, just as bad, that I'll make no choice at all, and then find myself at a point where there isn't the choice to make anymore.

Selfishly, though, it's nice to hear that someone else has these same doubts. Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world who doesn't know what she wants. Thank you for sharing.

62
Melanie
Nov 09, 2010

I am 6 months along and some days I am still unsure of what I've gotten myself into :) But at the end of the day, I know I want this baby. We waited until we were 27 to start trying (after being married 6 years, which feels like a long time to me) and it still took another year and a fertility drug. It took longer than I expected, which as time went on, became terrifying. I knew I wanted a child and that I was ready when the possibility of it happening suddenly became very nebulous.

I know we won't sleep, we won't go out as much, and our lives will change forever. Sometimes I mourn this even before it's happened. But...you just jump in. As someone once told me, "If you wait until you feel 100% ready and every little thing is in place, it will never happen, because that's not how life works." I believe there is some truth in that.

63
Michelle
Nov 09, 2010

When my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted to have a baby. In all honestly, I hadn't really thought through all of the "details" that go into that. My body just told me "It's time". I thought that it would take a while for me to get pregnant. Yet, a mere two months later that little stick covered in my pee changed my life.

Having a baby does change your life. And anyone that tells you that you won't have a moment after having a child when you think "maybe this wasn't such a good idea" is lying to you. Every great parent has those days when you long for a day (or heck, even an hour) of just lounging on the couch or in bed and taking trips to Target that don't involve an hour of planning and preparation. But, at the end of the day, that child looks up at you and smiles and all is right in the world.

Being a parent is absolutely the hardest thing that I have ever done, but it is so worth the effort.

64
Lara
Nov 09, 2010

I like to play the "What if we accidentally got pregnant now?" game and wonder what life would be like then. Although it's a terrifying game to play at 16, it's much more amusing when you are 28, healthy, married, own your own home, spare room and health insurance. It's much more fun to daydream that question because to actually make the conscious decision to create a child makes you feel like YOU are responsible for all the changes that will happen henceforth. That's a lot of pressure!

65
ladysaotome
Nov 09, 2010

Even when you think you are ready, there are doubts that pop up - fears, insecurities. Terror at the responsibility. But it all disappears everytime you look at, hold, even think of your child. Or not disappears - but suddenly becomes much less of an weighted issue on the other side of the scale.

I wasn't "ready" and spent half my pregnancy terrified and the other half feeling guilty for not being as excited as I thought I should be. The hormones didn't help either. But the instant I saw her... I've never regreted it - she's my husband's & my world. And she's 6 and in kindergarten now!

(that being said, we're very content with just one child, we've figured out what works in our family and we are complete)

66
Christen
Nov 09, 2010

Oh Holly, THIS so beautifully describes exactly what my husband and I are going through. I'd just like to thank commenter Karen from Chookooloonks for being honest enough to admit that sometimes she does miss the "just a couple" days, because that is one of my fears. And the last thing I want is to be resentful of some innocent baby. Sorry this isn't another reassuring "It'll be GREAT!" for you, but hey! You're not alone! And for what it's worth: while you may feel like since you're married, 30, and have a guest room you MUST be ready NOW for a child or else there's something painfully wrong with you, I think you have some time to continue to enjoy married life (or at least get some of the big house projects out of the way?) and your childfree existence before you take the plunge.

67
rae b
Nov 09, 2010

My baby started sleeping 10-12 hours a night at 2 months, so not ALL babies will keep you from sleeping. You may just get lucky.

Also, I say go for it. You and your hubby are two amazing people, and we need more of those in the world! And ask you mum to come help for the first couple weeks. If she is anything like my mother, she will leap at the chance, and you will have wonderful help and memories of that time forever.

68
Julia
Nov 09, 2010

I'll echo the comment above about not being sure whether I was ready to be a parent or not, but knowing for certain that my husband was going to be an excellent father. That was a prime motivation for me. (It helped that I had just finished my master's program and got a nice promotion, so we were at a good "place" in our lives, as defined by social convention.) I used to tell my husband, "I want a baby!" and he'd reply that we'd have one...in a couple years. About 10 months ago that answer changed to "Okay!" After that? Didn't seem like much need to wait on it. I'm 3 months pregnant now, due in June! Off we go!

69
Ami
Nov 09, 2010

Sounds like most people have already covered most of the bases here: some know, some don't, no one is regretting it if they did it, all of which I echo.

I will add this though: It's okay if you choose to remain child free. I have two kids, and I always knew I wanted to be a mom, so I'm okay with all the sacrifices. But I have two very good, very dear friends who are child free and happy. There's nothing wrong with you if you don't want to make babies or raise a child. If you're waiting for some magic sign to fall from the sky and tell you: NOW! You should definitely do this now! then you'll be waiting forever. Think of it more like this: Is it a risk you're willing to take at this point in your life? If you are, then maybe now *is* the right time. If not, no worries.

70
Lole82
Nov 09, 2010

I thought this post was lovely and compelling. And I wondered whether you might find this article thought-provoking: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/the-referendum/

71
-R-
Nov 09, 2010

I was never sure. I never had those baby cravings people talk about. But I got to a point where I was like 55% sure about having a baby, and we had one, and I am so glad we did. The not sleeping thing does suck though; I'm not going to lie.

72
Sheila
Nov 09, 2010

I always knew that I wanted to have a family. When it was looking as if I wasn't going to even get to Step One (a husband), I began to plan a career change, in order that I could be a part of some kids' lives in an occupational way. The pull, for me, to connect with children has always been strong.

And yet.

Even after meeting and marrying my husband (yay!) and fortunately getting pregnant easily (yay!), doubts began to creep in. There were many moments in all three of my pregnancies where I thought, "Oh, my. What have we gone and done?"

The first time, it was "Are we responsible enough? Will we ever have time for Just Us?" The second time, it was "What will this do to our perfect little party of three?" The last time, it was "What were we thinking, adding to the craziness?" Night after night, I lay awake thinking we had made a HUGE mistake.

You know what, though? The fears and doubts will always be there (for every stage of parenting), but overriding all of it is love. Watching my husband become a father has tripled my love for and admiration of him, and raising these kids is the best life sentence I could have ever asked for. (Even the one who rolls her eyes at me more often than not these days.) The good days far, far outweigh the bad ones.

It's tiring, back-breaking and overwhelming. But it's also hilarious, gratifying and deeply moving. And I have a hunch you and Sean are going to be great at it.

73
Patsy
Nov 09, 2010

Thank you for being so brave to put this out there. I am so very glad that I am not alone in trying to figure this whole baby thing out.

At 30, my husband and I have been together for over 12 years, and the expected "When are you having kids" comes up all the time. We love our life and our independence, why would we go and change it? We both want kids, but like you, we were/are scared out of our mind to about the actual 24 hr care, feeding and raising of the kids.

A couple of months ago, we took the baby step to throw caution to the wind and not prevent but not try. If we didn't we would/and still do spend hours and hours agonizing over the pros and cons. I can't tell you how FREAKED out I was (and at times still are) during the first couple months. It was not pretty.

Once we made the decision, we lived with it for a while. Then changed our mind, then changed it back again. I doubt that it will ever be the perfect time. However, after the first couple of months of not trying and not being pregnant, I was/am so incredibly disappointed. That is when I realized it was right time for us.

Good Luck.

74
Amber
Nov 09, 2010

We just had our first baby last week, so I am so far away from being qualified to give advice... but I can tell you what it was for us. I always wanted kids and was so looking forward to it but life always has some excuse to wait. You have places you want to go, things you want to do, you could always be more secure financially or emotionally or whatever.. there is never a time that will be perfect. You just go for it. I really like what Sarah said above, that was life then and this is life now, and it's fantastic. You adjust, you make changes, and you are blessed with the best little bug you can imagine.

75
Ari
Nov 09, 2010

You & Sean love each other very much, and a great marriage often makes for great parents. Also, you have the most wonderful parents in the world. You have probably learned so much from them that your body & your heart are just waiting to put into action. Holly, you are so caring and responsible and lovely; how could you not make an amazing mother?

76
Kristina
Nov 09, 2010

Well, how much do you want grandchildren? That is something a friend of mine considered during her musings about parenthood. I thought she had a point. I can't imagine not having grandchildren someday.

My daughters are no longer babies. At 12 and 14, they are growing independent and doing math at school I can't help them with. They have become good friends to each other and to their father and I. I just think it's so cool that I made my own friends.

I can't imagine my life without them. I find new joy in them every day, and have since the days they were born.

p.s. And as a mother of a beautiful 14 year old daughter, the thought of grandchildren terrifies me.....

77
Blythe
Nov 09, 2010

You've described just how I felt. I loved the life I had and it was frightening to think about changing it. I kept waiting for The Feeling and it never came.

When I turned 35, we decided we needed to make some decisions. So we jumped off the cliff (and that's really what it felt like). My son was born just before I turned 36. Now I understand the agony/ecstasy that everyone talks about.

The bottom line, for me, is that I would have been happy either way. My husband and I would have been a happy. childless couple that traveled the world and pursued our careers and did our thing. We decided to have a child, and now we're a happy family of three that has a little less money and a lot more chaos. We're not as mobile as we used to be. On the other hand, we're having so much fun. Some of it is dreadfully difficult but most of it is great and hilarious.

I had to stop obsessing about what BIG LIFE-CHANGING DECISION I was making and remind myself that there was no wrong choice. Sure, there would be difficulties and probably some regrets either way, but both ways would be wonderful.

78
Mir
Nov 09, 2010

You'll be exhausted and you'll wonder OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE in a few dark moments, yep. It's wonderful and terrifying and the best thing ever and the most foolish choice you'll ever make.

It will change you. But in fabulous ways, and one day you'll look at Sean and say, "How did we ever live before this?" And he won't know, either.

79
Elizabeth
Nov 09, 2010

You know, I wasn't even sure I wanted kids. And then one night I was sitting on the couch some random Thursday evening watching bad reality tv and goading my husband into giving me a foot rub, and I thought to myself “I’m really pretty happy right now. But things seem a little boring. What could we do to spice this joint up a little bit?” And that was the moment when I first knew I wanted to have a baby.

80
Grem
Nov 09, 2010

I don't know if I want a baby...and I'm 4.5 months pregnant. The only way I can explain this is that I am totally in love with my fiancee, he wanted a baby with me, and there was alcohol involved. lol! I'm really hoping all those people are right - that I'll fall in love with my baby when it's placed in my arms. Up until July, I had never wanted children and had even talked to my doctor about tying my tubes. Now, I'm just trusting in God that everything will work out as it should - He's the one in charge as I obviously have no idea what the hell I'm doing.

81
Sarah
Nov 09, 2010

I knew with absolute certianty when I was 25 that being a mother was what I was meant to be. And then the universe laughed at me. I didn't meet my now husband until I was 28, we married when we were 29, and started trying to have a baby the following year. My only doubt at all was waiting a whole year after our wedding to try. I wanted to try right away.
And then it didn't work. It was crushing and awful and made me so sad I wasn't sure I'd recover if we didn't have a child.
Then we did. He was born a few months before our fifth anniversary. We didn't sleep. He was a really intense baby. Not unhappy, just intense. Two years later, I'm still mildly sleep deprived and find I don't notice as much. My marriage is finally recovering from the ugliness that was new child + partial jobloss + daycare costs + not sleeping. Man it was rough going there. But I always knew that mothering him was the right choice.
Only now do I wish hubs and I could have more time alone. Or less time with him. For two years all I wanted was more of him. More time, more silliness, more watching him sleep.

If you aren't there, give yourself time. You really can't take it back. The struggle after baby is worse I think if you weren't sure. The lows will be harder to cope with I think (having watched a few friends struggle with this it feels fresh for me). The future baby bonfire needs a mom who is so sure that she can weather whatever storm comes with his/her birth. Give yourself that.

82
sarah
Nov 09, 2010

In 13 days I'll be 39. We're at opposite ends of the same decade, in a way. Here's my experience, as much as it can be wrapped into a neat, tidy comment.

For decades I believed that if kids were meant to happen, they would. And in the meantime I traveled, got a graduate degree, had two lovely relationships that ended (yet not so badly I had to throw away all the photos and momentos) and (quite literally) landed my dream job.

My life is fantastic.

I believe that kids will happen if they're meant to be, even though it's really looking like I'll bear any of my own.

This sounds sad, but let's blame that on the fact that I'm an engineer, not a writer.

I like - no, *love* - my life. Not all of it, of course. But day to day, I don't wish to be someone else or doing something else or wanting a life I can't possibly make for myself. I feel lucky about that.

I do wonder - and lately, quite often - "what if I'd married him and had kids instead?" But it doesn't make me panic, or tense up. Sometimes I cry a little, but I think I'm forcing a feeling out of boredom, or too much merlot.

For me there was never that "Let's do this!" moment. What I do remember, though, is that I was terribly afraid to be trapped. That feeling's faded some, now that I'm older, but I still remember being 29 and feeling so anxious, so "can't breathe-can't sleep-can't eat" when I'd wake up from a dream about being pregnant. (Even today, when I dream about that, I'm either very scared or very sad.)

Now, for the comic relief. As I write this, from my office at a lovely company, I can hear a newborn crying. That's incredibly unusual. I guess someone's brought their baby to work for a lunchtime visit.

I suppose none of this really helps you, much. I wish I could offer you more, or at least something better.

*sigh*

83
Julie
Nov 09, 2010

My husband and I were married a long time and kids seemed very far in the future. (I was 28.) Then, one day we were in Home Depot and I saw a man with a baby in his cart - an 8 month old boy.

It was as if I was kicked right in the ovaries. I turned to my husband and said, "I WANT ONE OF THOSE."

Before that, I thought that the biological clock thing was just a theory. But it was real.

I asked my mom how she decided to have kids and she said, "We just did it. We didn't worry so much about things." I wonder if your mom would say the same?

Good luck making your decision! I have three children and I've never been happier in my whole life. Having kids with the man that you love brings more joy than you can now imagine.

Sounds intriguing, no? : )

84
sarah
Nov 09, 2010

So the spam filter ate my comment. maybe that's for the best?

I do wonder "what if..." about the other life you might have led...but at the end of the day, I like where I am.

In my case, when I dream about being pregnant or having kids...I'm either sad or terrified. I often wonder, "What if I'd married him and we'd had a family..." (Often only lately because I'm approaching my 39th birthday and am all "What have I done with my life?")

*sigh*

I wish I could offer more than that...but that's all I've got.

85
sarah
Nov 09, 2010

yikes. that was incoherent, at best. The original draft was much better. :)

86
Alison
Nov 09, 2010

you will know! then the title of your post after you find out will be "Ohhhhhhhhh....NOW I get it..."

Once you find out you are pregnant, a feeling comes over you that you never knew you could feel.

87
Kristin H
Nov 09, 2010

I think it's different for everyone. Some people must know for sure that they want kids, but for me, I was sort of thinking about it, and my husband was sort of thinking about it, and we were still very unsure. We decided to try, still feeling unsure, and it was scary but happy too. But I didn't know for sure until after I had her. THEN I knew, and it has definitely been the best thing I've ever done.

88
Thespian Libby
Nov 09, 2010

You two wouldn't be anything except the most splendid parents, so shush that thought immediately.

Obviously I don't have children, purposely. Perhaps it was selfish, or fear of commitment, or not wanting to give up the "we can go where we want, when we want". And I've never regretted that decision. I have delicious nieces and nephews whom I can spoil silly.

It does demand a great deal of thought (evidenced by the fact that too too many people obviously don't think about it). Whether you decide to have children or whether you choose not to have children - either choice is the right choice.

89
Kat
Nov 09, 2010

This post exactly summarizes how I feel only I am four months pregnant. I don't "get it" yet and I'm not feeling transformed. Maybe when the baby is born? Who knows.

90
D. Marie
Nov 09, 2010

Mother's intuition is real. Feeling life grow in you helps put things into perspective. Having a great mother gives you a sounding board and advice at your fingertips. Parenting is figuring it out as you go along. You'll be fine. :)

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