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?

91
Annegirrl
Nov 09, 2010

The uncommon is really the common. It's just not the accepted since the order is fall in love, get married, buy a house, have kids, get old and die. You just let go and do it when you leaningg in favor of going for it and don't look back.

No one loves sleep more than this girl that slept in until noon or 1pm on the weekends. I actually don't miss it. At all.

92
Home Sweet Sarah
Nov 09, 2010

Girl, I'm pregnant right now and I'm not sure I'm ready! There was NEVER a point in the baby-making process where I said, Okay. NOW let's do this, I'm 100% ready.

Even though I wanted a kid, when I took a pregnancy test in July and it was negative, I was sad but also SO RELIVED.

And then, even when I found out I was pregnant in September, I immediately thought, Oh my god, I'm going to pass out and Oh my god, I'm going to throw up.

It's scary because it IS foreverandeverandever and you just don't know how you're going to be, if you're going to be a good parent or a shitty one or if you're going to become a total Mom, like the kind who wears ill-fitting jeans and stops caring about makeup. You don't know if you're going to lose yourself and become one of those total Moms who says, "We used the potty for the first time!" (I hate the "we." Slap me if I ever use the "we.")

But I guess for me (and, uhh, my husband, as he was sort of necessary in this decision too) it came down to believing that the adventure of a kid is probably cooler than any adventure we'll ever go on.

The thought of us, 10 years from now, in relatively the same place in life, doing the same jobs we don't necessarily love seems ... Boring. I wouldn't say I'm ready for the life changing-ness RIGHT NOW. But if I wait 10 years, I doubt I'll be ready for it then, either.

I will always love sleep and a clean house and I will always hate puke and poop and other baby/kid ... stuff. But I guess I'm ready (I have to be now!) because I'd rather deal with the lack of sleep and the icky kid stuff than not deal with it.

So! Aren't you glad you asked all these questions?

93
Marcheline
Nov 09, 2010

Holly,

I think Sarah (#82,84 & 85) might be the only person who commented on this post that did not actually have children or want them.

And so here I am.

I have never wanted to have children of my own. I had a fabulous childhood with loving, supportive parents. I just never wanted to have children. I love spending time with kids, as long as they go home with someone else. Kids like me, and more often than not it's me who ends up like the pied piper at company parties and family get-togethers where people bring their brood. Yet, at the end of the day, I enjoy coming home to my quiet cottage and having everything in its place (or at least right where I left it). I am happy and fulfilled, living with my husband and my cats.

As it relates to your post, I suppose my advice would be this: The fact that you are focusing so much on the topic and going back and forth about it probably means that you are getting closer and closer to being ready to do something about it.

P.S. No disrespect to Kristina (#76), but having children in order to have grandchildren is not a good plan. There is no guarantee that your kids are going to want to have kids, no guarantee that they won't perhaps be gay, or infertile, or a million other things. People who have children for ulterior motives (grandkids, someone to care for them when they're old, to "save the marriage", etc.) are sad cases. The only good reason to have children is because you want the children themselves.

94
Delaney
Nov 09, 2010

It's on my mind all the time lately. Not so much wondering if we're ready, but wondering when it would be too late to decide? I'm 100% that I don't want a baby now, or in the forseeable future, but I'm 33. Someday soon the forseeable future will be too late. If I'd gotten pregnant when I was 22, it would have been fine. I would have done great, and I'd have an 11-year-old now. But now, the thinking about it, it's endless. And this is so, so silly, but a huge part of it is our pets. We have dogs and cats and we love them sooo much. They fill our lives up with joy, I know it's not the same as a baby, but for us, it is. And I get so sad when I see friends who doted on their pets, and then they have kids, and the pets just fade away into the backyard. I'd never want to do that to ours. Mostly I feel selfish for wanting to protect our (seriously, idyllic) lifestyle. My parents are wonderful and supportive and generous to my sisters and to me. Am I doing a karmic wrong by not passing that forward?

95
Kate in Ohio
Nov 09, 2010

I think that having children defined who I am. They bring out the best in me and the worst in me. They offer unconditional love, and I am able to give that back to them. I am a fundamentally selfish person, and I still find that i resent it when they want my things. Does that make me a bad mother? I don't think so. I think it makes me human.

I can tell you that every day both of my kids make me laugh out loud, and both of them make me crazy. I also find that I can still have a life of my own and be a mother at the same time.

Parenthood is what you make it. I think it is important to realize that you are a woman first, a wife second and a mother third. You have to be happy to have a happy family. Your marriage needs to be a strong foundation for your family, and the kids fall in line behind those.

You will be fine.

96
jive turkey
Nov 09, 2010

I spent the first thirty years of my life staunchly opposed to the idea of having babies. I had only held a baby ONCE in my life before age 31. I liked my independence, I liked my freedom, I LIKED MY SLEEP. I had a great marriage and there was absolutely nothing lacking in my life. What got to me was that -- while I couldn't IMAGINE myself being a mother -- the thought of being old and gray and not having grandchildren or adult children to share life with made me completely and utterly sad.

My little girl is 19 months old now, and it still floors me that 1) she exists, 2) how awesome she is, 3) how mind-blowingly much I love her (OH GOD, SO MUCH!), and 4) how little I miss sleeping in on the weekends.

97
Savvy in San Francisco
Nov 09, 2010

It will change your life and it will never be the same. But in such a wonderful way that you can never imagine. But you will also mourn your life that you had before, but at the same time wonder how your life was without these little bambinos (I have two) in your life. There is such a double edge sword to having children. What you have to remember is to take time as a couple still and make sure that the two of you have a strong foundation and it will trickle down to the kids. Date nights, weekends away or even a mini-vacation without the bambinos can be so refreshing and affirming to your marriage. You miss the babies the entire time but love every minute you have just the two of you. Do it! You won't regret it the minute you meet your little one for the first time!

98
Erin
Nov 09, 2010

I dunno. I don't have any kids - we are "trying," but pretending nothing is different. I will say that now that I've started trying, each month that goes by with no pregnancy, it's a disappointment, which I think means I want a baby.

99
Diane
Nov 09, 2010

I've been lurking around your blog for a few months now, reading and enjoying every entry you've written. And today I read all the comments in answer to how do you know and when. I just had to tell you that I believe, as many of the previous commentors, you and Sean will be wonderful parents and when you do become parents you will be so amazed at the love you feel for your child and each other. My son, now 23, wasn't planned. I was 40 when he was born and I can't imagine how life would have been without him. Such an emotional thing-hope no one comes into my office and catches me all teary-eyed. The lack of sleep really isn't a big deal - it's such a short period of time in your life. Before you know it they're all grown up-but they'll always be your baby.

100
Diane
Nov 09, 2010

Savy in San Francisco said it so much better (than Diane 99)- great advice!

101
elz
Nov 09, 2010

Knowing when/why to have kids is sort of like knowing who you will marry. You know when you know. And, then you find out and get a bit freaked out. And then, your life is never the same. It is better; it is different; it is all jumbled and crazy. And, you know what? babies, toddlers, even small children love to sleep and cuddle with their mommies.

102
Joanie
Nov 09, 2010

I am sitting here pregnant with my second child and sometimes can't believe we are about to do this again. Other times I can't wait to get this show on the road and hug and kiss this new baby already. I don't know if you are ever truly ready. It will change your life, but who says that it has to be for the worse? You will adjust to the changes and probably wont even really notice. It is amazing the amount of love you have for your child that nothing else matters as much. For us it was a change, but I wouldn't change back for anything in the world.

103
Tracy D
Nov 09, 2010

My husband and I are doing the same thing...but mostly leaning towards just happily raising our cats and not dealing with kids. I think it is mostly because we feel like our lives are unstable and we don't want to struggle financially. I also recently lost my job, so realistically, I feel like I need to find a new job and be there at least a year before getting pregnant. I'm nearing 32...

I don't know if you're ever really "ready".

104
Lynn
Nov 09, 2010

Can I just say thank you to the moms out there who were brave enough to be honest. Especially commenter Nina. Half of the struggle is feeling like you don't meet the expectations. When we remove those, we can really be a good support system for each other. Thank you for this post and the ensuing comments.

105
Mary
Nov 09, 2010

I just read a post by Meredith at Lawyerish (http://www.lawyerish.com/lawyerish/2010/11/i-must-remember-this.html) that pretty much sums it up for me. I was always someone who assumed I would have kids, but even when we started "trying", I always had a nagging doubt in my mind if this was really a good idea. Even when I was pregnant, that doubt stood there. That doubt hung on through the first few weeks of my son's life, an alternating emotional rollercoaster between "ILOVEHIMSOMUCHNOMNOMNOM" and "OMFGWHATDIDWEDO". He's 5 months old today, and the latter panic has pretty much evaporated and the overwhelming terrifying consuming love has taken hold. Even at 2:30 in the morning, when you're getting up for the 2nd or 3rd time that night, all the annoyance and frustration and urge to beg him to sleep, those fall away when I pick him up and pull him close to me. I remember how much love I felt from my husband when he watched me walk down the aisle, that look of pure happiness and awe. When my son looks at me, it's like that, times 1000.

106
Lauren
Nov 09, 2010

DO IT NOW!

The longer the wait, the more risk you take in not being able to conceive or of there being complications. Plus, if you want your baby to have brothers and sisters (an experience you seemed to enjoy), you'll be even older when it's time for baby number 2, number 3, etc. You don't want to be 60 when your kids are graduating from high school, do you?

"My fear is that I will change my mind."
Once you see the positive pregnancy test, you will not change your mind.

"My fear is that it will change my life."
It WILL change your life - for the better. You will look back on your life before kids and think "why did I wait so long?" You and Sean won't just be "you and Sean" - you will be a family.

"My fear is that I will never sleep again..."
The lack of sleep was, admittedly, the hardest thing about having a baby. Mine will be one year old next week, and he finally started sleeping for 11 hours just last month. But ten months of no sleep is not forever. It will pass. And it is worth it.

"My fear is that I might not be good at it at all."
It's really not that hard. It's fun and surprising and amazing and wonderful. You excel at everything else you share with us on your blog... I have no doubt that you will be a great mother!

107
*A*
Nov 09, 2010

As usual, it feels like you're just one step ahead of me. I read all your wedding prep posts and then got engaged two months after your wedding (and I'm now doing my own wedding planning for our January wedding). You bought a house a few months ago, my fiance and I bought a house last week. And now you're writing about babies and I'm thinking about babies all the time, too. (I hope this doesn't sound creepy! It's all just coincidental, I swear! :-))
I've always known that I wanted to be a mother eventually. My fiance and I talked about children very early in our relationship, and the whole time we've been dating we've talked about how we would try to get pregnant soon after the wedding. I initially didn't realize that "soon" would mean beginning to try right after the wedding, but life seems to be pointing us in that direction. I'm 28, almost finished with my graduate degree so it's as good a time as any to dial back on my career a bit, we have the money and the house and there's no logical reason to put off trying to get pregnant. But a couple of months ago I was still playing the "I can't wait to have a baby!...Actually, wait, maybe we shouldn't start trying right away, everything is going to be so DIFFERENT" game.
As of now the plan is to start trying in six months, and I feel comfortable with that. I'm 90% excited, 10% terrified. I feel like maybe that's as close to "ready" as I am going to get.
I love getting vicarious advice through your blog. Thanks for the great posts!

108
SBMaya
Nov 09, 2010

I was married for 8 (long! exhausting! sad! frustrating!) years and I never for one single second wanted a child, no, no thanks, not for me, pass the martini shaker. Then I got out, got happy and divorced. Remarried at 30 (just in July we eloped, it was awesome) and part of the pact we made on getting engaged was that we both really wanted kids.

Deliriously stopped our heretofor rather shoddy preventative measures and began fiendishly charting and doing the whole "we're not really trying, we're just fooling around" thing. Bummed for two months in a row when it wasn't instant, realized yep, we want one. Insanely deliriously unbelieveably happy the day before Halloween when I found out I was pregnant. Felt amazing and wonderful and super peaceful and powerful. Lost the baby at five weeks, shocked how intensely sad I was (am) and how MUCH and how INSTANTLY we wanted that little life to be our family. We loved it, straightaway, like a shot!

So my lesson? Try. Jump in. Like I said to my dad when I told him, and he said, "are you ready for this?" (Dad who was all of 24 and made $5.00 an hour when I was born) "Nope, just like EVERYONE ELSE".

109
Christina
Nov 09, 2010

I am 8 weeks pregnant. The comments I'm reading are fantastic, but even pregnant, none of them quell my fears-- which are very similar to yours.

I think about those things constantly, even still, and I'm sure I'll continue to think about them in the months ahead. Holly, I don't think we're ever ready until we're there.

110
Caroline
Nov 09, 2010

As the Empress of Delayed Reactions... I had had my baby son at home for about two weeks when, one exhausted night after I'd been up with him a billion gazillion times, after he'd pooped and peed before I could get a clean diaper on him... I found myself sitting on the floor, my baby in front of me on a towel, and I realized that for the rest of my life, somebody would call me MOM. Holy sheet! It was a crazy revelation, and it just about made my heart stop.

Then I married a man with four kids under the age of 12; their mother had abandoned them. Holly, I never ever ever would have thought of myself as MOTHER material even, much less MOTHER GOOSE material. But those kids stole my heart. Their dad and I raised them clumsily but with love. They're all adults now, or at least, that's what the law calls 'em. But they will always be my dear and darling kids, and I will forever love each and every one of them unconditionally and without reservation... as their mother.

WHO'DA THUNK??? Not me. Never me.

111
Maren
Nov 09, 2010

I always knew I wanted kids, but just wasn't sure when. I had no real burning desire for them, until one day my husband texted me "I want babies with you". Doesn't sound all that romantic, but it was the tipping point. When I got pregnant on the first try I was terrified, thinking that I had more time to get used to the idea. When I lost it I was devastated. Baby Jack was born this July, and so was a mama. I have been amazed at my ability to deal (patiently...not one of my strong points...or a point at all) with the spitup and the poop that goes all the way up his back and over his shoulders sometimes. He is lovely and that covers all of that grossness and fear.

112
dmnuckels
Nov 09, 2010

I feel the EXACT same way as you do. Thank you for not only sharing, but making me feel normal!

113
Amy
Nov 09, 2010

You put into words my feelings, exactly - so you're not alone. Only thing is, my husband says his meaning in life is to be a father, so I'm in line to be a mother, someday, if I want to be with him. So I just keep hoping that someday I'll really want children and then the next day I'll want them even more, and so on and so on.

114
Emily
Nov 09, 2010

I have all of those fears. Those exact same, to the letter, fears. I'm selfish. I like my life the way it is. My work (research and writing) interests me and engages me and takes a lot of my time. And I like to sleep! And I like my relationship the way it is-- what if children change it for the worse? And (here's where I frequently lose people) I'm not that wild about children. They're great and I like to play games with them and race around the (read: someone else's) house, but I also like it quiet. And, as I understand it, children aren't so great at the quiet.

But... there's always a but. It might be really awesome, too. It would change things, undoubtedly. But does that mean the change would be bad?

In short: I'm no help. But you're not alone. The dominant message is exactly what you've described. Most of my girlfriends knew from the moment THEY were in the womb (to hear them describe it) that they wanted babies. It's just not the same for everyone.

115
Emily
Nov 09, 2010

You are amazing for sharing these feelings. I think they are the feelings of every woman of our generation. You put all that into wonderfully concise words.

116
Rebecca
Nov 09, 2010

Honestly, I've never felt the urge to have children. The idea of children sends me into a panic. I don't worry about the lack of sleep and all the things that most people seem to worry about. I think things like, "Oh, god, if I get pregnant will I even want the child?" I just don't seem to have a maternal instinct.

I'm happy though. My husband and I are content. We're in the same place right now. Neither of us have ever really thought of having kids.

We might change our minds someday. We're young... but honestly... the idea of my husband and I growing old together without kids makes me happier than the idea of grandkids. :/

117
sara
Nov 09, 2010

My baby craving was a sudden, urgent need, which is weird because I never liked other people's kids. And the truth is I still don't. I can't understand what they're saying, I don't understand why they aren't potty trained already for the love of god, I don't really know how to play with them.

But MY two year old? Is the best thing that ever existed on this planet, and I know him to his core, and I also know that I am the best possible person to be his mother.

So I think that you can waffle & weave all you want, but when you have a kid that's yours, you don't need to worry about being good at, you just are.

118
Margaret
Nov 09, 2010

Before I had my son, I thought I'd never want a child. He was a total surprise and I won't lie, I was worried about what kind of mother I would be.

Once he was born, that all got put on the back burner because I was consumed with so much joy and love. Sure, it's hard. Sure, I don't get as much sleep as I'd like. And there are plenty of times when I cry because I need a break (I'm doing it all on my own).

But when he does something cute (which is often), or when he is sleeping and looks so peaceful, the joy takes over again.

I don't regret anything, and life is so much better now than it was when he wasn't around.

119
simon
Nov 09, 2010

Don't worry that after you have the baby you'll change your mind about it. At least once a week I want to send ours back from whence it came. You'll want to be rid of it now and again, that's a given.

And don't worry about the selfish part. You'll be selfish. That's just gonna happen. There will be times that you want to do what YOU want to do instead of what the BABY wants to do. So accept that now, and you'll be happier.

Sleep? Gone! None! Don't worry, that's a given.

And not being as good at it as your mom was? Well, that one's easy. You'll probably be just as good, but the fact is that you'll never be as good as you THINK she was. Once you accept that, you're in the clear.

Basically, you're never ready. You just pull the goalie and hope for a good one.

120
Nicole
Nov 09, 2010

There's no perfect time, there's no certainty. You just do it. If you've ever thought that you might want kids then you'll be fine. Once that baby is here and it's a little bit of you and a little bit of him and just so completely amazing you'll wonder how you ever considered not doing it.

121
agirlandaboy
Nov 09, 2010

I'm almost certain that at least one of the 120 people who have commented before me has said this, but just in case no one has:

It HAS changed my life. I DO sleep less than I used to and way less than I'd like, and OH, I miss it terribly. I AM selfish, and sometimes that makes parenting really, really hard. I KNOW I'm not as good at this as my mother (but how nice to have a great role model instead of a crappy one, right?). And sometimes, I don't think I'm very good at being a mother at all. (I don't feel guilty about the things other mothers feel guilty about. I'm not as self-sacrificing as other mothers are. Etc. etc. etc.) BUT. BUT! I have never ever ever changed my mind, and I know for certain I never will. Thinking about hypothetical children is so completely different from thinking about a child that exists in the flesh. It's easy to wish away imaginary babies who do awful things, but it's much harder to wish away REAL babies, when it's harder to isolate and focus on the bad things when all the wonderful, awesome things keep jazz-handing in your face when you least expect it.

My only advice is this: DO NOT get pregnant in March. (I.e., either start NOW, or next summer, but don't start "at the beginning of the year" lest you kill the rabbit in March and find yourself stuck with a Christmas baby (whom you would adore, of course).)

122
sophie
Nov 09, 2010

I think this is the first time I've ever commented on a blog. I'm 27 and currently 8 months up the duff. We knew we were ready. It is a mindmess of BIG life questions that can end up giving you brainache. In the end I just thought f**k it and went for it. :-) Now I cannot wait.

123
jill
Nov 09, 2010

I've SO wondered about this. I never felt the urge, nor pictured a future with children while I know so many people do. I married an awesome man and know he could be an incredible father. We are godparents to several children and have received much grief for not having our own kids ("but you'd be such great parents!"). We considered adopting but we've run out of time (too old, almost mid-40s). I love children. But to have my own? I think part of it is my fear of being responsible for another human's emotional well-being. I don't know if I can explain this, but knowing what negatives a person has to deal with growing up is not something I can impose on another person. Sure, that's life and that's how we learn, but I'd want the kid to live in a happy, protective bubble. Crazy and unrealistic, yes. So therefore, no.

124
Maude May
Nov 09, 2010

Our daughter (who's now 22) was born when we were both 35 - after 15 years of marriage. We weren't planning (or not planning) to have a child and then I got pregnant.

Children change your life, true AND also make you part of the world in a most amazing way. I know I'm a better person because of my daughter.

125
Angelica
Nov 09, 2010

I feel the same way. I thought I was the only one.

126
edj
Nov 09, 2010

I didn't know. I was 28, thinking I should have one before I was 30. We decided to start trying in a year or so. I went back and forth too. However, during my back and forth time, I got pregnant. I was, quite frankly, terrified. Because, you're right, it's foreverandeverandever, and it's another LIFE you are messing with.
But take courage! There's a reason you get 9 months or so to get used to the fact. And nothing but nothing prepared me for the feelings I had when my son was born. And your life totally changes, you're right, but what you don't know ahead of time is that you won't even care.
And just between you and me? I suspect the fact that you are back and forthing means you are actually ready, like I was, only I didn't know it yet.

127
edj
Nov 09, 2010

Oh and also? My first son slept 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. at 5 1/2 weeks, pretty reliably. Babies like this are rare but they do exist. Of course I had to go and have twins next, but even though you get a few sleepless years, by the time they are capable of turning on Sat a.m. cartoons and pouring themselves a bowl of cereal, you can at least have a nice lie-in on the weekends.

128
Sarah B.
Nov 09, 2010

I worked with a woman who told me that she and her husband were not sure that they wanted kids, but they _were_ sure that they wanted grandkids. And while having kids is not a guarantee of that, it is certainly a prerequisite.

129
Amy
Nov 09, 2010

What Nina said. One thousand million times over, what Nina said.

130
Courtney
Nov 09, 2010

It will change your life, and you will be so GLAD.

Parenthood is so tough at first - the lack of sleep is a shock, and the crying (what the hell?), and what do you mean this baby wants to be held all the time I thought I could just lay it down on this blanket and go make a sandwich.

But then they start smiling, and laughing, and did you know even little babies give hugs? They start to develop their own personalities, and it just gets more and more fun. Sometimes my husband and I just look at each other and can't believe our son exists - like, we had sex, and then there was this little squirmy thing in my stomach, and now we have this little monkey who runs around sticking his hand in the toilet bowl and (inexplicably) loves dogs and pumpkins. And we are a family. It's pretty awesome.

131
Meghan
Nov 09, 2010

Wow, so many comments and so much wisdom. I felt similar to you Holly, except I was 33. Went back and forth and then decided to go for it in a few months. I got pregnant before we really started trying and then miscarried at 12 weeks. I didn't know for sure until then. Now we start trying again I am nervous but so so sure.

132
Terri
Nov 09, 2010

I don't have children, I have never wanted children, I can't relate to any of this ... but what Nina wrote is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.

133
Tara
Nov 09, 2010

I had all of the same thoughts that you have. I wasn't sure if I was mother material. Would I be any good at it? Did I want to give up the wonderful life I had for the unknown?? I just wasn't sure. I was thirty heading towards thirty-one. I always thought I would have my first when I was twenty-nine. What was I doing? What was I waiting for?

What made me jump in, was that I was much more scared of not being able to have kids than having them. So many people I knew waited and then couldn't get pregnant (my sisters included). What if I had waited too long, and, because I was too scared to start this new phase, I wouldn't be able to do it at all. That possibility made me want to go for it, because the other result would have been pretty devastating.

As well, I have to admit, sometimes I felt bored. "What are we doing today, honey?" Go for coffee, go to the bookstore, fix up the house, have friends over. All nice, but, after you've asked that question for the umpteenth time, the same old answers get a little repetative. I felt the need to change things up a bit.

We now have three not so 'little' ones, and I would never want my old life back. Don't get me wrong, it was hard, I was tired for many years, I longed to just have an afternoon to lie around and read a book, or go to the movie with my guy. But, this life just ended up better. Better in other ways I would'nt have known about if I didn't go for it.

Sometimes, I still wonder if I'm really mother material, when I'm not having that great of a day. However, at the end of it, the kids still argue that mommy is putting them to bed, not daddy. I guess I'm a better snuggler. During those last moments of the day, when I'm snuggling with my babies, there is no other place I'd rather be, and, I guess I must be doing something right - mommywise. They are my three blessings.

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James
Nov 09, 2010

The common thing is... it just happens. And you'll never, ever, ever change your mind.

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Leah
Nov 09, 2010

Going through the same thing!!! I've spent a lot of time brewing over my memories of my parents as they welcomed each and every expected and unexpected pregnancy after I was born - there are six of us in total!

I have come to feel that even as there is a (generally) natural predisposition to freak out in the face of such incredible life-changing possibilities, there's also a built-in mechanism to ensure that none of our worst fears come true. Watching other young and old mothers around me, I think that the very physical act of motherhood builds you a bond with the baby that, as a previous commenter said, "washes away all your selfishness"... and every other doubt. Sure, sometimes you might want to have a week off or a full night of sleep, but never, ever would you trade that baby.

So, what I'm trying to say is, if your circumstances are ready, take the plunge. You won't look back, whether it was the "right" time or not.

136
Mine
Nov 09, 2010

I always knew I never wanted kids. Always. It destroyed a great relationship I had in my 20s, when I had to face the fact that the man I loved dearly wanted a very different life from mine. It helped a great deal when I found my husband, who feels the sdame way I do - though that didn't happen until I was almost 40. And I've never had one of those biological moments, even though I've been present at the C-section births of a close friend's two baby girls. My husband's family is large, and his brothers and sisters all have children. We love them all dearly, and have them to stay with us when we can. But we both enjoy "just us" and know that it's what we have always wanted.

That said, I've often thought I'd like us to be foster parents. I like the idea of standing in for a kid who really really needs a healthy, happy and stable couple.

Holly - you and Sean will be great parents. Or a great childless couple. You're starting out with so much in your favour, whichever way the wind blows.

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Jennifer
Nov 09, 2010

Well....I totally know how you feel. TOT-A-LLY
My son is 15 months old and it IS a life changing thing.
But I will say this, I would never wish it to be any other way. You WILL sleep again, the first few weeks WILL be a blur. But it gets better. The mommy switch will get flicked on.
Just go for it.
You will be great parents.

We still travel, just like before. In the first 4 months of his life, he had ridden in the car two trips to Georgia from New York, and then when he was 6 months we went to FL on vacation. He's been to Boston, Disney World, Georgia, and lots of places in between. Just because you have kids doesn't mean your world ends.
It's just different, better, but different.

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Ms. T.
Nov 09, 2010

I've been a loyal reader for years, but have never felt compelled to comment before. This post, Holly, rocked me to my core. I'm 27 and you just eloquently expressed exactly how I've been feeling regarding parenthood. I've been married for fie years and with a younger sister who has four kids, going on five, the pressure's on for starting our own little family. I cannot thank you enough for expressing your fears here. I'm over here in DC cheering for you. We're on the same team. When you figure out how to pull the trigger, let me know. I'd love to hear how you make the commitment.

Lots of love!

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agirlandaboy
Nov 09, 2010

p.s. When you pee on the stick and see the two pink lines, THAT might be the moment when you most feel like changing your mind. "I wasn't serious! I wasn't actually ready! I want a do-over!" It's really very strange. But then, after a while, when you realize there's no going back and that this IS what you wanted, there's great freedom in knowing that you don't have to worry about the DECISION anymore. You're in it. And so you move forward and just do the best you can. You (and Sean) will be great.

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Sarah
Nov 09, 2010

I came back to re-read your post to my husband this evening. (We have two young children that we planned for). I specifically wanted to share with him the incredibly beautiful and moving response from Nina. My chest tightened with its poignancy... truly amazing and so very truthful.

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niche
Nov 09, 2010

my mom told me that she didn't particularly care for babies (for herself or anyone else's) until she had me. She said that a mother's love is so immediate that you don't even realize you changed. I'm in my mid-twenties and I am fairly apathetic about having children or even getting married. I'm hoping that I will react the same way when I actually have the baby one day like my mom.

Dont' worry about regretting it, I'm sure my parents regret having me and my sister frequently. We're often spoiled and bratty and our parents still love us. hahahaha

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Ilsa
Nov 09, 2010

Well now I wish I'd read this post and THEN seen you on MUNI and been emboldened to give you a ton of (technically not unsolicited) advice, rather than being awkward and shy. Again, next time!

In any case, I had these same doubts/fears/questions (the sleep issue, I can soundly say, was a HUGE reason my husband and I waited ten years before having kids). But it was also all the other stuff--are we ready? do we have enough money? what will we be giving up? etc, etc, etc. You have to think about this stuff, sure, but don't think about it too hard. Because it's a leap of faith. A wonderful, messy, exhausting, totally worth-it leap of faith.

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SaraKB
Nov 10, 2010

Delurking at 2:30 a.m. while I sit here typing one-handed so I can feed one of our five-week-old twins to say I never felt ready in the same way some women say they are. I just got to a point where I couldn't stop wondering what it would be like to become a mom and watch my husband become a dad. We've been together 10 years and for a long time we didn't want kids, but gradually that changed and then we did want kids. Life over the past month has been frustrating, exhausting, maddening and gross, but it has also been amazing and beautiful and funny and totally altering. I still don't think I feel like a mom, but I'm realizing I still feel like me - just me with a couple of really great additions.

But I will say this (I say it to everyone considering having a baby, mostly because no one ever said it to me and it nearly killed me): it could always be twins. There are no twins in our family, but now there are and it couldn't be more perfect.

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Amy
Nov 10, 2010

This made me think of Bolivia:
http://www.fluentself.com/blog/stuff/bolivia/

Whatever you and Sean decide is going to be the best decision for your family.

You could try babysitting over night for a friend to see what you think of it. :D

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Tiera
Nov 10, 2010

Thank you so much for writing this, I'm exactly where you are except my whole life I have never wanted children. It was in large part because I had a huge part in helping my single parent mom to raise my little sisters. I knew exactly how much work it was and I felt like I had already been there done that and now that I'm an adult with a career and money it was time to live life for me. Except one thing, I now believe in the biological clock, except mine seems to have faulty batteries, it's not constantly ticking but every once in a while I will have the thought of a little child in our lives and what he/she would look like. I have started seeing children on the street and thinking that I want one dammit. I just don't know, but I will be turning 33 in December and I know that I can't go back and forth on this much longer.

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B
Nov 10, 2010

I'm a little late to the party- but I wanted to tell you that I felt exactly like you did. I wavered for months- and then realized that there was never going to be a "right" time. When my husband and I finally decided to maybe sorta start trying, I was pregnant that very month. Lucky? Yes- but also scared out of my mind. My husband was very excited- but I had the same fears throughout the pregnancy. What if? Forever? OMG-WHAT DID I JUST GET MYSELF INTO?

And then. Then there was the night that I started bleeding- way to early to have the baby- but still far enough in that I was feeling the kicks and the movement and knowing there was a little person inside of me...and it hit me that this WAS what I wanted- more than anything. It was still scary- but I did not want to lose my baby.

I'm happy to say that everything turned out fine- and while having a baby DOES change everything in both good and bad ways- my two-year old daughter is the bright spot in every day. She's my world. Even on the hard days.

You're perfectly normal- and you'll be great.

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Patrucha
Nov 10, 2010

I have all the same worries you do about having kids. That is why I decided not to have kids, but now...I don't know if it's my body, or my heart, or something else telling me to think it over again. Like you, I'm 30, except I'm single. For years I wanted kids, and then one day I made the decision that it wasn't for me because of all the fears I have. Everyone I know says it is hard and scary, but they would never change the fact that they had children. People keep telling me it's because I haven't found the right guy...blah. I say whatever will be will be.

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Karen
Nov 10, 2010

Really, some of the comments above are like beautiful essays to motherhood. I could echo many thoughts....

My wise husband sat me down and said... "don't think so much about whether it feels like the right time.... it never will. Look into the future... do you see us in 10 or 20 or 30 years as childless? or with kids and grandkids etc." And then it was easy. But the first few days of throwing away the birth control.... it did feel like a crazy precipice to be stepping over, just kind of cool to be doing it with an amazing man holding your hand.

And one of his other lines that got us through university, motherhood, and many other hurdles.... "you can sleep when you're dead."

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Angela Hanson
Nov 10, 2010

I can tell you that it is a wonderful experience that I would never, ever change. We had trouble conceiving my son and now that we have him, I can't imagine life without him. It is amazing to see life through his eyes and remember being a child myself. Amazing and very rewarding. Your life changes, but the changes are good!

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Claire Bidwell Smith
Nov 10, 2010

There's no right time. There really isn't. There is no right answer either. I had a baby a year and a half ago and I was unsure of whether I wanted it up until the very day she was born. Becoming a mom has been the best and hardest thing I've ever done. There is so much I miss. But I also feel like I've gotten to experience the very best thing in the entire world, and that it would have been hard and terrible no matter when I did it. All the money and stability in the world won't make it less hard. But nothing can change how wonderful it will be too.

p.s. We just kind of stopped not trying to get pregnant, and let fate decide.

151
E
Nov 10, 2010

Despite being "ready"... 30 w/ a supportive partner, house, spare bedroom, good job, and (a mediocre) child trainer aka, dog... after much deliberation we decided that even though we were in a really good place and wanted to start a family really soon, we wanted to cool our heels for just a little bit.

Sometimes it takes be "ready" to actually realize that you're not.

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liz
Nov 10, 2010

it WILL change your life, but in the most wonderful ways. of course I have days when I miss being able to pick up and do whatever I want, following no one's whims but my own, but truthfully all the joy outweighs the bad. it is an amazing thing, having a kiddo, and I don't know that one can ever fully be ready for it. if we all waited until we felt 100% ready there would be no more babies.

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angela
Nov 10, 2010

We knew we wanted to have children - but both of them were happy surprises. We get very little sleep & boy oh boy do I love to sleep. But its all okay. The first time your baby smiles, says "mama", waves, crawls, walks...you forget that you are sleep deprived, you forget all your selfishness and pray to God to stop time. These are the best times of my life and they are flying by too quickly

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Katrin
Nov 10, 2010

I have never understood why you would call people "selfish" who don´t want kids. There are a lot of human beings out there, way too many actually, so there´s no urgent need to create more, right? So why would you be selfish? However, if that´s what it is, I´m very selfish. I like my life very much as it is. I like having a bit of extra money for fancy clothes and furniture and free time for myself and to be able to travel withouth restrictions. And yes, I like to sleep. So no kids for me. And you know what, seeing all my friends with their newborns doesn´t convince me otherwise. Life may well be richer in many ways, BUT.ALL.THE.CHAOS. No freaking way.

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MsD
Nov 10, 2010

Or there's actually the option to choose NOT to have babies. WOW, what a modern idea...

156
Lisa
Nov 10, 2010

My children are 10 and 6 and already I can not recall too much from the sleepless nights or rancid puked upon onesies. However, I can recall with extraordinary detail their first words, first steps, first days of school, excitement over their first trip to Disney World, every Christmas morning, birthday party, Halloween costume, dance recital, pinewood derby race, and basketball game.
The truth is there will be bad times, but the good more than make up for them.

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anon
Nov 10, 2010

First of all, I love Nina or at least her post.

The decision to be a mother was a very hard one for me. I never wanted to be one and then, in my early 30s, I thought maybe I did. I took the leap. I do not regret it (but might have now and again for the first year!). I lvoe her more and more and more every day and miss her, pine for her, when I travel for work.

But I feel compelled to say that it does not always transform for the better. It is not always ok. Sometimes you don't fall in love with the kid. It does change things, irrevocably, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes the choice ends things even.

My daughter and I are a fabulous pair, but my partner decided it wasn't the right choice and is no longer a part of our family. So when people announce that "you'll come around" that "dads fall in love once they hold the child", it is not always so.

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connie
Nov 10, 2010

When you find yourself looking at pregnant women with a bit of envy, when you eye up babies in the store and imagine holding them, these are good clues that you're ready. But as many before me have stated, there is no one right time. You have to wing it and trust yourself and your partner to make it work when it happens.

I believe the statistics about women who wish they had remained childless but I would bet that very few would actually be willing to give one back.

My sense of you from reading this blog for a couple of years now is that you will make a great mom. Just remember that you can't plan kids the way you can plan a party. You have to go with the flow, relax some of your standards (or go crazy) and just watch it unfold around you. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

159
Caroline
Nov 10, 2010

You might not ever know, and that's okay. How can you truly know you are ready for something when you don't have a clue of what's really involved until you are doing it!? I always wanted kids in a fluffy, untangible, "when the time is right" kind of way but guess what? There is no right time. Maybe 55 would work. By then you have traveled, lived, had a career etc. but it doesn't work that way. You will mourn the life you had but the good news is that it isn't gone forever and the new life you get will be more amazing, and challenging, and trying and triumphant than you could ever know. Your life will change and you will be tired but it will be worth it.

When you meet that person that is a reflection of both you and Sean, and your families, you will learn that in parenthood, anything is possible. It will change you to your core and make you a better person. Even when you feel like it's turned you into a shell of your former self. :)

If it helps, I think you and Sean have exactly what it takes to be wonderful parents and I have no doubt that you will handle parenthood with the same love, loyalty, strength and humour that you tackle everything else with. Best of luck!

160
Erika
Nov 10, 2010

I've always wanted children. A whole houseful of them. My husband and I weren't really "trying" for our daughter, but we were both ready for her and didn't do a whole heck of a lot to stop it from happening either. I hyperventilated with JOY when I got a positive pregnancy test. Then my husband, who is in the military, was deployed and missed and the entire pregnancy past the fourth month. He was able to be with me for the delivery via Skype and saw his daughter's face for the first time over a computer screen. It was tougher for me to be dealing with his absence than the way my life changed when I became a mother. I loved her all the more for the little piece of him she gave me each and every day he was away. He returned home when she was 6 weeks old.

And now? She just turned 13 months old, and I couldn't imagine life without her smiling face. Every single time I look at her my heart fills with this incredible joy, and sometimes I even catch myself on the brink of tears just watching her play with her toys as she picks one up to show me or when she toddles hurriedly across a room so she can snuggle her face into my shirt. She is my entire world. I don't even know how I existed without her. I just have this urge to pick her up and snuggle her close while I pat the soft baby curls on the back of her little head 24 hours a day. My husband and I have date nights a few times a month, but anytime we're gone for more than a day I just want to be where she is and see all of the things she's accomplished because they change and learn so quickly at this point that one day can be the difference between crawling and walking.

Being a mother is the most exhausting yet most rewarding thing you will ever do. And every baby is different, so you can't expect that your baby will sleep like this person's or deal with being out in public like that person's. You just have to grow and learn with YOUR child. You'll all figure it out together as a family as you go. And it will be beautiful. Several people have told me, if you wait until you feel like you're ready to have children, you'll never have them. Because we are never truly ready for what it entails. We all have our bad days where we just want to sleep for 48 hours straight and have absolutely no responsibilities to worry about. But those days are rare compared to all of the days I spend loving every single moment of being a mother to my darling baby girl. And though there will be those days where you regret not having more free time, you will never regret having that child. In no time at all you will wonder how you ever lived without them and realize you never truly loved someone with every fiber of your soul until they existed. That bond, that love is the closest thing to magic this world has to offer. You just have to take the leap.

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Jess in Boston
Nov 10, 2010

You're not alone, not the only one who goes back and forth, wavering, setting dates but then finding great reasons why NOW isn't the right time, after all. I'm right where you are -- only I'm 36; it's a weird place to be. I'm hoping that somehow the ah-hah moment will come by 37 (which is the age that I've decided is my "let's do this or not do this" age), but who knows? I *do* know, though, that at 30, there's still lots of time to figure it out. And as for being "good at it," I echo the others who say that if you're thinking about it, then you don't have to worry, not a bit.

Thank you so much for sharing this, too, and so beautifully.

162
Heather
Nov 10, 2010

Nina did say it best, but I'll say it again with my story. I was married for five years before we had children. They were wonderful years full of travels and adventures and activities. We waited because of my job (resident on call crazy schedule and fellowships in different cities) and because we were enjoying each other. My friends started having babies a few years before I was even interested and I went to the showers and cooed at their newborns, but still didn't feel any obligation to have one of my own. I was even slightly annoyed that all my friends couldn't seem to talk about anything besides babies. I didn't want one, I didn't want one, and then I felt maybe I should, and then suddenly I did. And I was convinced that I would be the one that couldn't because statistically there should be one and even at 32, 35 seemed to be looming much too quickly. But then I was pregnant, and I survived the longest week of my life at a meeting in Canada bleeding and not knowing if I would stay pregnant. But I did. And then I had to go on bedrest for a month which was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. And yet my daughter was born before I felt ready. And she cried, and I had no idea what I was doing, and nursing was hard, no one told me nursing was hard. And just when I thought I would get things figured out, she would change things up on me. And now she is almost three and says the funniest things. She is the light of our life, and has three sets of grandparents and a grand godmother, and an uncle all wrapped out her finger. But I still love nap time, and insist on bedtime at 8, so my husband and I have some quiet time to ourselves. We have another little girl almost five months old that I want to throw out with the bathwater every time she wakes screaming at 2 am, but when she looks up at me and giggles, I instantly forgive her. So my lesson? This is a process that you can pretend is in your hands and is your decision to make, but it really isn't. Nothing makes time seem shorter than watching a child grow. Life comes and passes too quickly. Don't miss out on this if you have a chance.

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April
Nov 10, 2010

When my husband and I started trying 5 years ago, I was sure I was ready. Then we didn't get pregnant and I was frustrated and scared that it would never happen and not sure what to do. But we definitely knew we weren't ready for medical interventions, so we just stayed the way we were. Then, after a couple of years like that, I started to decide I needed to fill in the space in my life that I'd made for a baby. I started drumming in a band and I went back to school. I'm 32 now and I would never compare those things with having a baby and say that my life is better because we never got pregnant. But I do know I like myself a lot better than I did back then and I'd make a better parent now than I would have when I was sure I was ready.
For awhile I had let my obsessive thinking about pregnancy fill up my whole life; once I let it go I made the life that I never thought I'd get to have. I think I was wanting a baby so I wouldn't have to figure out what to do instead. I don't think you have that problem and that means it's hard to make such a big decision and change all the good things you've put in place. It also means that you'll have a lot to share with your kid if you have one.

164
Lana
Nov 10, 2010

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone

I came across this quote somewhere, and wow, is it ever true. I thought I was ready, and got pregnant the first month we tried. My pregnancy was great and I couldn't wait to meet this little person inside me. When she came, I felt such a range of emotions - the good, bad and ugly. My problem was the baby I had was not the baby I had in my mind. I thought I would have a delightful baby and life would go an as normal, and I would LOVE being a mom. It didn't work out that way. I am selfish, I missed my sleep, and when she freaked out in public, I wanted to crawl in a hole.

BUT, in amongst the sleeplessness and tantrums and neediness, there are MANY more moments of pure joy and unconditional love and 'oh my god this is so amazing!'. I have learned to go with the flow more and enjoy the good moments and not let the not so good ones get to me as much.

SO, I don't know if you are ever 'ready' for a baby, as they all come with out any guarantees. What I do know, is you will be able to handle more than you thought, and love your little person more than you love to sleep ;)

PS- I absolutely know that my daughter will be an only child. It's really fun trying to explain that to people who think "Oh, you can't JUST have one" Sigh.

165
Ashley
Nov 10, 2010

My husband never wanted. I always did. Our son made a VERY surprise entrance into our lives. He fought through condom and after morning pill. We didn't think we were ready. We have never regretted having him. He is amazing. We weren't ready, but I don't know if it is possible to be completely ready. Just go for it. They are an incredible journey and both of us feel our lives are richer because of him!

166
Erin @ Fierce Beagle
Nov 10, 2010

I didn't have "an urge." We sort of just decided to see what happened, and I was actually fine with the idea of not having a kid.

Now he's nearly three, and life is joyful, frustrating, delightful, challenging, bursting at the seams amazing. Having a child is not a decision I regret.

167
Erin @ Fierce Beagle
Nov 10, 2010

I didn't have "an urge." We sort of just decided to see what happened, and I was actually fine with the idea of not having a kid.

Now he's nearly three, and life is joyful, frustrating, delightful, challenging, bursting at the seams amazing. Having a child is not a decision I regret.

168
tara
Nov 10, 2010

i felt the same way you did. 4 years ago, my husband and i lived in SF, had great jobs, bought a house and traveled the world. we took a 3 week trip driving all over europe, came back and said, "let's do this". we were scared and didn't want our lives to change. then our son was born and we were transformed. as well as completely shocked at how much FUN this parenting gig is. it's pure magic.

fast forward to now - we just had our second boy. since our first son was born we've traveled just as much as we ever did. after our second, while on leave, we went to portugal with both kids. we go on dates and go out to dinner, just the two of us. we get together with all our friends who also have kids and we all help each other, lean on each other and make each other laugh.

people think we are crazy for not slowing down, and yet, we HAVE slowed down. we've just realized that kids make everything more fun, and we want our lives to be full of the things that make us happy. sure, there is less sleep, more logistics and more patience required, but it is SO. MUCH. FUN.

i can't wait to see where this journey takes you.

169
Hoolietta
Nov 10, 2010

Don't wait until you are ready because you are never really ready. You aren't ready to wear your heart outside your body because that is what being a parent is. You will lose sleep, you will worry, your life will change and once it has you will look back and try to imagine what was so good about it before the baby. I am in no way saying that you won't cry with frustration and want to rip your hair out, I have two pre-teen boys and I periodically imagine running away to Bali or Timbuktu or just changing my name from MOM! On the other hand I can't imagine my life with out them. While they are moody and irritating at times (and who isn't really) they are also the sweetest, funniest and most amazing people. Good luck :)

170
Allison
Nov 10, 2010

Somebody up above said "You will rise to the occasion."

It's totally true. Life has a way of forcing you to do that, like it or not.

I've been on both sides of the fence: I strongly wanted my first two children, but my third? Well ... let's call him an *unexpected gift.*

I spent the entire pregnancy depressed and miserable that I had to go through all the baby crap again. When the baby arrived, I did not bond with him right away. Even after I bonded with him, during his first six months of life I would occasionally look at him and think, "You weren't supposed to be here."

Well. He's 19 months old, now, the sweetest, most breathtaking baby you ever met. He's utterly charmed me, his initially reluctant mother, and he fills my heart with indescribable joy. Watching him play with his brothers, I can't imagine life without him.

See, situations change, and people change, too. That sleep you love so much now may not seem as important a couple years into your baby's life. You may not initially feel like you're a good mother, but you'll get better.

If you're feeling brave, take the leap.

171
anna muelelr
Nov 10, 2010

yikes. I'll admit- I didn't thoroughly read through all the posts up there- but i skimmed, and I think it is safe to say that what I am going to write places me in a definite minority. But it still needs to be said.

I'm 34 years old. I do not want children. I am not having children. I've been with the same man for 6 years and this is a decision we have reached together.

I get shit for my decision. People call me selfish. (while I think it is equally selfish to have children...) People say all the things that people are saying in the comments above mine.

But sometimes- it is ok to never be ready for children. It doesn't make you a bad person. The pressure from society to settle down and have children- yes children, because once you have one, you'll have two- is incredibly heavy.

We look forward to spending our lives together, enjoying every moment just the two of us. And when our lives are done, we will lay down, close our eyes, and feel satisfied with our time on this planet.

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Sarah B. again
Nov 10, 2010

Holly,

Here are the brass tacks: Unless you KNOW you don't want kids, start trying as 30 is old enough to know who you are and young enough to have good odds for healthy kids/healthy mom. Also, you don't want to be having strokes and stuff when they are in high school and have to clean up your drool. You also don't want to have to go through IVF and crap.

You love your parents, you had a good childhood (minus the boarding school issues), you will be a GREAT mom no matter what you think.

Me? Even though I don't want them, have a zillion reasons why I won't/can't/etc, I still read mommy blogs and coo oer baby shoes and like to hold tiny (clean) babies. Babies rock. I love my niece and nephews. But I still don't want kids enough. I have major health issues and having a baby would make them worse, assuming we survived the experiment. In fact, I'm now on teratogenic medication. So no babies for me. Have one for me, k? Thanks!

173
Jen the Trephinist
Nov 11, 2010

Having a baby will change you. It actually changes your brain. There are studies, and they are quite interesting! I won't lie: it freaks me out a little, the fervent insistence that it is all SO WORTH IT and the alarming number of times that statement is repeated. But I do find it soothing that you obviously cannot regret it. Not only can you not regret it, it is not even within your power to not think your child is fascinating. While that fixation does bore the kidless sometimes (sorry, I'm doing my best to be kind about it, but it's true), I think it's also reassuring. It seems pretty unlikely that you will regret it. No one else seems to, regardless of their personality type.

That said, if you feel relieved every time you push it back, that may be a feeling worth listening to. I listened to that relief and I finally made a decision, even if some would say there was no reason to be so arbitrarily certain about it. I felt even more relieved then, to just be done with it.

It can be hard, not doing something, so you have my sympathies there. If you do it, it's done. If you don't do it, you have to not do it all over again tomorrow.

People get hung up on "going for it" or "not going for it," but here is the truth: happy people are happy people. Either answer is right. Neither answer will decide whether you are happy. You are the person who has to decide that, no matter what your life looks like. Very few things in this life really impact that, and those things are more serious, like chronic health issues.

I really believe that two women could be kidless or not kidless, either way, and live the exact same life, and be on their deathbeds, and the negative one would lie there and bemoan whatever they missed/didn't do, while the positive one celebrated that same life and all of its great experiences, whether that life involved watching Little League games or traveling the world solo. You know?

You don't get to do it all. You will always be missing SOMETHING. Your life won't be successful because you missed out on nothing; that's not possible. Your life will be successful if you enjoy the path you took. And I think that's very possible regardless of which path it is, and I think people get hung up on Doing Life Right as if that even exists.

Regardless, if you think it would be helpful to talk to someone who has a fantastic and fulfilling life without children, you know where to find me. I have a ton of community projects in my life that are bigger than I am, that fill me with humility and exhaustion and wonder and all of those things people talk about when they talk about kids. Except I still get all the sleep I want!

174
n
Nov 11, 2010

I don't think you're ever 'ready'. There are always vacations to be had, trips to take, projects to do, midnight movie showings to attend - all things you can't do with a baby, so whether you have a baby now or in 10 years, you'll still be missing out on something. It must be said the trade-off is awesome. I'm 23 and just had my first baby 6 months ago after finishing my master's degree. We chose to have kids this young because we realised there would never be this perfect Aha! moment in which we'd realise 'now's the time to have a kid'. There are always financial pressures, desires for travel, wanting time for yourself. Always. We just bit the bullet, and we've never looked back. Having a baby has fundamentally changed me in a wonderful way, it's a privilege of a human experience. I don't have any family near me, and we do just fine with baby. I know you'd be great.

175
Christy
Nov 11, 2010

Thanks for this post. You are not alone. At 30, I thought it was time - it wasn't. Since then I've gone back & forth - are we ready for kids? What about now? What if it doesn't happen for us? Is that a good thing/bad thing? Not sure about the answers myself but wanted to let you know I'm right there with you.

176
leyla
Nov 11, 2010

I also never suspected that I would be ready, and then one day I was! But, it is true that you just rise to the occasion. You will be a great mom, silly! At 32 years old, I have a 4 month old and I am sometimes glad that I waited a bit and other times I wish I would have done it earlier. Maybe the best thing to do is just to enjoy your life and new house and take some more great trips and relish every nap and full night's rest for a few years and then try to have a baby? Don't know.. either way it will be fine.

The people who DON'T ask these questions of "am i ready?" or "will I be any good?"
are the ones who society has to worry about. Carry on sister. :)

By the way, we also live in San Francisco and moved from Noe Valley to the Crocker Amazon 'hood (for a 2-bedroom) when we knew we were expecting. You recently moved to a more suburban area, too, right? Perhaps that is a sure sign that you are subconsciously or consciously gettin' the baby fever!

177
Valerie
Nov 11, 2010

I am not sure about knowing. Because I had an accident baby at 22. I am now 27.

But let me tell you this...never has anything in my entire life been as amazing as being a mother. And I missed things. Yeah. And sometimes I am selfish and think "If I didn't have a kid I could do this, or that." But you know, if I didn't have a kid, I would not have this amazing little boy who loves me unconditionally. Who learns from me, who makes me laugh, who makes me cry. This amazing little boy who briefly made me loose sleep. But now he is learning his letters, how to color in the lines, and is part of the No Cavity Club at the dentist.

With out my baby, I wouldn't have anything worth being proud of.

I encourage you to jump. It is so so so worth it. :)

178
Janet
Nov 11, 2010

I get your feelings. Our family is formed thru adoption, and I remember so very clearly, suddenly thinking, and saying, I think I have changed my mind only days before we were going to meet our daughter. This after a year of working towards adopting a little person. I am not sure some people are ever are 100% there and sure of the decision, I know I wasn't. But, without a doubt, I would not change a thing for the world.

179
Lauren E. E.
Nov 11, 2010

All the comments I've read so far say most of what I would tell you, but perhaps I have one unique thought for you to consider. I love to travel. It is my one passion in life. I hated the idea of giving it up to have kids, but decided that I wasn't giving it up, only putting it on hold until whatever kids I was going to have could come along and learn to love the world like I do. One of the reasons I love flying into a new country is because of all the new experiences, sites, sounds, food, people, ideas, etc. that you come in contact with. I'm a "newness junky." Having a kid is actually a lot like traveling, and I think that's one of the reasons I like being a mom so much. Parenthood is FILLED with new experiences and thoughts and places and people. FILLED TO THE BRIM with them! You're constantly experiencing something new and it is wonderful. I think you'll love it. Take the leap!

180
MelissaOklahoma
Nov 11, 2010

I hear you. I'm newly 31, newly engaged, and I hear my ticking clock. But like you, I love my independence, I love my sleep, I like to stay out late on the weekends, I don't like the idea of having to be at home when everyone else is out having all the fun. In fact I'm drinking wine right now.
But I don't want to miss out and wait too long and not get to have a baby at all. I believe people when they say that being a mother is indescribable... In the long run, I think you'll be good at it. I think I'll be decent too. Hopefully.

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