Maybe Baby: An Open Discussion on the Topic of ‘To Baby or Not to Baby’

Maybe Baby: An Open Discussion on the Topic of 'To Baby or Not to Baby'

I wrote this about eight months ago, but never published it, when I was still in the ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ state of mind and even though I’m out of that questioning chapter now (story for another time, but nope, I’m not pregnant), I felt it was worth posting. So here’s what I wrote more than half a year ago and never published, until today. I updated a couple of things and added a few more thoughts before posting…

At least once a week for the last year, the subject of having kids has come up like clockwork, in normal discussions with Jeff. I felt so plagued by not knowing the ‘right’ answer that I’d often bring it up to try to figure out what I really wanted. ESPECIALLY since I didn’t have that thing that I hear so many people talk about. The ‘I just always knew I wanted to have kids’ thing or the ‘I held a baby and realized I wanted that for my life’ thing. That didn’t happen to me.

I haven’t seen many people talking about the whole ‘maybe baby’ thing and trust me, I’ve looked. Trying to figure out if this is something that I can 1) handle without completely fucking up a human beings life 2) if I want to make all those sacrifices that I know Jeff and I will face with having a kid.

So, that’s what I’m talking about today! Maybe baby! Any thoughts?

Before starting this story, a quick something to share that I think is important to state at the very start! 

Having kids is not for everyone. It’s not a one size fits all kind of thing. Some women, no matter how smart, nurturing, kind, compassionate, and mom-like just don’t have a desire to have children. EVER! And that is PERFECTLY okay. No one should make another feel badly about that very personal decision. Right? RIGHT!

So, if we’re all in agreement, let’s keep going… When Jeff and I were engaged, more than one person at my bridal shower asked me when we were going to have kids. Which at the time, we had no plans for. I was 25 and I had NO idea what I was doing with my life. Marrying Jeff was one of the very few things I knew that I was doing right. Other than that, it was kind of a shit show of feelings. Mainly, I thought that I should have my act ‘more together’ than I did, at my age. I didn’t have a clue where we’d be a year from then, which meant you could completely throw a five year plan out the window. And KIDS?! Huh?! Who knows?! I’m young and free!

But now we’re older. Some days it feels like we’re MUCH older and we’ve been together for more than 12 years (married for 8). I’m 33 and Jeff is 36 and if we want to have any biological kids, it feels like time is kind of running out. Assuming we can even have biological kids. I don’t want to be that parent that doesn’t have enough energy to play with their children as they get older. And while I’ve read more and more articles recently about how women are having healthy babies later and later, I still wonder. Would that work for me? What do I want for our life together?

It’s also entirely possible that one of the reasons why I’ve felt unsure is because I don’t have any overwhelming desire to have a baby baby. I feel like I could completely skip the 0-6 months stage and just get straight to the good stuff when babies stop being aliens and start being cool little guys and girls with personalities, pudgey little leg rolls, and cute squeaky laughs, etc. AND there are lots of babies and children out there already, that desperately need good homes and loving parents. So for me, the ‘maybe baby’ train also includes the possibility of fostering and adopting. Which is again, a whole other rabbit hole – not for today!

As of right now, what we DO have (without kids)… 1) Disposable income! Can I get an amen?! 2) Freedom to travel whenever we want… And travel we do. 3) The ability to dedicate a lot of our energy to pressing forward with our careers. 4) A pretty cool cat named Franz. 5) And until six months ago, we also had the biggest piece of our previously ‘I feel fulfilled already’ puzzle – our dog Luna. She passed away and I still haven’t had the heart to talk about it, six months later. To say that she was the love of our lives feels like a good way to put it right now. She was absolutely everything to us and definitely felt like the closet thing to a baby I could imagine, without actually having a baby of my own. I mean, we literally moved out of my dream place to one that is not my dream in the slightest so that she didn’t have to deal with going up and down stairs. We made big decisions with her in mind. And now she’s gone. I’m not dumb, I’m sure having a baby is vastly different than a dog. But she was WAY more than a dog to us. I can’t put it into words, exactly, which I why I haven’t shared her passing publicly before now. But in some strange way, that hole that she left has freed us up to think differently about our future.

Will things change if we have kids? I mean I know they will, but will things change for the better or for the worst when it comes to our relationship? That’s one of the things I worry about most. And I don’t know what the answer there will be because (obvs) I can’t predict the future. My parents got divorced when I was a teenager (separated right before my senior year of high school) and I don’t want that for Jeff and I. We have a really strong relationship, filled with ups and downs like everyone else. But the ups far outweigh the downs and I’ve always worried that having a baby could change that. Not because of anything that’s happened with Jeff and I, but because of that past experience with my own family. There’s some sort of insecurity there, I think, that that will happen to me as well.

Even with all of those things though, I’ve often wondered (and so has Jeff): Are we missing something? I mean, how can I possibly know what I’m missing out on when I’ve never had it? And at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to life than just traveling and being able to buy the stuff that you want when you want it. 🙂

When I think about what having a baby would be like and envision the things I would look forward to most, a few things come to mind… Trying to make those special moments super special (decorating for birthdays, scavenger hunts for Christmas), helping to shape the mind of a human that will (hopefully) be a decent, open-minded, (and fingers crossed)  funny little person! Also…the clothes! Don’t get me started on the clothes. Sure it’s superficial to get excited about something as trivial as buying cute little baby / toddler / whatever clothes BUT I don’t care. It’s one of the things I think about, so I’m writing it down. And there’s plenty of other things to list here too, but I don’t want to go on and on because this post is already way longer than I intended.

SO, all these (hopefully semi-coherent) paragraphs later and I’m wondering where that leaves us?! And I also wonder if you have ever been in this same boat?! And if you’re even still reading this?!

That said! So many questions for you. Did you go back and forth on having kids? Are you still going back and forth on having kids?! Are you in the yes, no, or maybe baby camp? Did you not want a baby and end up doing a 180 when you actually had one? Did you want a baby and end of doing a 180 when you had one?! I would LOVE to know your thoughts on this subject – whatever your experience may be! I would really love to hear it and make this a space where we can all talk openly about this very big topic. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo via Mothermag via Domaine Home

SaveSave

SaveSave

49 comments | Click here to reply

Everything you’ve said here—right down to the amazing dog who feels like a baby!—describes our situation too. We’ve been wrestling with this a lot, and it feels like we have to decide in the next 2-5 years something that will affect the rest of our lives (I’m 30 right now). We’re on the fence right now, but we know that for us, we’d like to have kids by around 33 if we decide we want to do so. So what we decided to do is to set ourselves up over the next 3 years to be in a great position if we decide we want to. We’re using the next 3 years to save as much money as possible and travel to places that will be harder to travel to with kids, like Machu Picchu and Japan. Then, if we decide we want to, we’re as prepared as we’ll ever be. If not, we have extra money saved and we’ve done some awesome traveling! If you’re like us in that you’ve never had that mythical “baby fever” other women talk about, it’s never going to be an easy call. But leaving yourself options and setting yourself up as best you can to make that big decision seems like the best thing you can do. Thank you for sharing—no one ever talks about this and it was so helpful to read your thoughts!

K

That’s a real conundrum that apparently a lot of women face. I never did. I always knew that I wanted children. My daughter on the other hand has always said she didn’t. She’s been married almost a year now and is helping her husband raise the child from his previous marriage. She’s known the child since the child was not quite two years old and loves her very much. But it’s a big change to go from single to wife with family in one fell swoop. She’s 35. Her clock is ticking and she’s in the
“Should we/shouldn’t we have another one” boat. She flip-flops back and forth, back and forth. I wasn’t a lot help when she asked me how I knew that having children was what I really wanted….. I just knew and always had known that I wanted to have a family. Maybe that’s where the difference lies? For me it was not a question of did I want to have a baby, the question was did I want to have a family? And while family can encompass many variations on that theme, for me it meant a husband and children and hopefully grandchildren. If I couldn’t have had a biological child, we’d have adopted children. My daughter has a child who, although not her biological child and a child that must be shared with her biological mother, she considers her child. Her question should be “Do I want another child?” I told her that her father and I never thought we’d ever have a grandchild. More would be great but we’re grateful to have the one we’ve got!

kddomingue

I think you’re right, Lisa. Probably a lot less common to have that love at first site thing than it seems. And I’m definitely more of a realist in that way, like you.

Brittni

I’m so grateful that you shared this post! I’ve been batting this question around in my mind too with so many of the same particulars. I’m also not one of those people that held a baby and was like, “oh yeah this is it!” I think a lot of that is hype, like love at first sight. I’m sure it exists, but it’s less common than you think.

Lisa

Hi Aika. So glad to hear that this topic is one that you identify with. Funny enough, my husband and I also got the ‘when are you getting married’ question a lot before we got engaged too. So I feel you on that one as well. And ten years together?! That is definitely a commitment (with or without a marriage). I love that we’re able to talk about this kind of stuff openly and get it all out there. It’s kind of freeing in a way!

Brittni

FINALLY someone is talking about this. I am perpetually HOUNDED by questions about when I’m getting married and when I’m having kids to the point that my general response is “February 30, 2020”

My peers are constantly asking me when my bf of 10 years and I will finally commit. We have 2 cats together, we share an apartment, we have been together through thick and thin. How is that not a commitment?

Even my mother, who is a hardcore traditionalist, has given up on the idea of marriage and is just asking for a grandchild. Like come on! It feels like my every accomplishment as a person and as a successful attorney are null just because I don’t want to get married or have kids (at least for now). Like let me live! Amiright?

Aika Danayeva

Hey Phoebe. Thanks for sharing! There really are so many questions to answer to this whole baby thing aren’t there?! Sometimes I don’t even know where to start in answering them. But I’ve been trying to trust even the tiniest of thoughts that take me one way or another. Sometimes just making a decision (one way or another) is the best thing. I think for me, the back and forth ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ has been the most exhausting part.

Brittni

I totally am in a similar boat. I’m just a hair younger (30) and I’m wondering when we want to have kids (or kid singular?). We haven’t had many serious conversations about it, and I’m sure I’d like one. As in singular. But when? And should we have two? I don’t really want two, but I feel like kids with siblings tend to have improved experiences (which I know is subjective, but it’s still something to think about). And if I want multiple, isn’t my clock running out soon? Because I would want to space them out. And I also, too, see the kids that need homes, and we all know we don’t need more help with humans in the world. Some of these thoughts are more unimportant than others, but these are certainly things that run through my head. So anyway — that’s my long winded reply to tell you: I totally feel ya.

Phoebe

Justina – It makes me so happy to hear that you felt reassured and comfortable enough to share your own story. I’m realizing just how important it is for us all to be able to talk about these HUGE topics so openly. Warms my heart. 🙂

Brittni

I so appreciate you posting this. I’ve known for a while that I don’t ever want to give birth to a baby. I’ve come to the conclusion that, for me, being pregnant would feel very violating and I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I feel that way about my own body. I’ve mostly been open to having kids through some other means (mostly because it’s just always assumed that I/women will have kids or want to be a mom), but haven’t worried too much about it because I’m only 25 and I haven’t felt the pressing need to make any child related decisions before now. I’ve been thinking about it a bit more recently though because my partner is 37 and that seems to change the whole “I’ve got time” mentality. It’s not anything we have talked much about and he hasn’t implied that he wants kids any time soon (he is gloriously go-with-the-flow), but I still feel like it is something I have to think about. Even though I couldn’t financially support a child right now and I don’t particularly want anything about my life to change.
Thank you for posting this. It’s reassuring to read other women’s thoughts and concerns about whether or not to have a baby and to have a place to share my own.

Justina

Thanks Ashley! I was pretty nervous about writing this post, but am so happy I did now that I’m going through responses and reading through everyone’s comments. Means a lot. 🙂 And so glad to hear that you are happy in your life, despite those circumstances. And walking right through that ‘other door that opened’. Amazing.

Brittni

Your honesty is refreshing! I “always wanted kids” and fate played a cruel trick as I can’t. Another door opened and I walked right on through it. My life and my heart are happy!

Whether you have a biological child, adopt/foster or keep on coupling… you will be fine as long as you stay honest with each other! Thanks for opening up.

Ashley

Rachel – So relieved to hear that others have felt the same way and/or still do. It really does help, doesn’t it? If I find that secret to life you’re talking about, I will definitely let you know. 🙂 Something tells me its not out there to find though.

Brittni

Thank you for writing this, you summed up my thoughts on this perfectly! I’m 30 and single and have always been in the maybe category. I’m wary of giving up that luxury of travel or when my lease is up, moving on a whim. (I’ve moved cross country twice and halfway cross country twice). Even if I was with the love of my life, I’d still be a maybe, for all those reasons you listed above. So if you find that secret to life (or this dilemma), let me know!

Rachel

I love that last line Christina. ‘I don’t. I just want this one.’ Thanks so much for sharing!

Brittni

I knew all my life that I didn’t want kids. Everyone I told would say “oh you say that now but you just wait, one day it’ll be all you can think about.” But I just knew that it was never my plan. I even worked at a preschool for a while with the 6 week – 12 month old babies and I loved them so much, but still never wanted any of my own.
My boyfriend and I had been together for three years and were actually in this weird place where he knew he wanted kids someday and I knew that I didn’t, but we loved each other and didn’t want to break up so we were kind of just avoiding it I guess. April 20, 2017 we found out I was pregnant. Fast forward, my boyfriend is now my husband, we bought a bigger house to have more room for the baby, and we now have a gorgeous two and a half week old baby boy and I am so in love.
Now when people say to me “and you said you never wanted kids!” I just say “I don’t. I just want this one.” 🙂

Christine

Thank you so much for sharing your story and being so honest, LP. I really appreciate it!

Brittni

I’m pregnant and I still don’t know if I want kids! We started trying because we thought the regret of not having kids would be greater than the regret of having them. Granted – it’s still early for us, I’m only 10 weeks pregnant but at the moment I can only think of how it will change our lives (and not necessarily for the better). For me when I look at many people who really want kids, they want to be needed, loved, wanted, fulfilled, and I am those things anyway I don’t feel like I need a child/baby for this. Also then I think that my negative thoughts might make me ungrateful and miscarry or something (silly I know!) so I completely understand your thought process and you’re not alone in it.

If all goes ok with my stomach I’ll let you know how it turns out later in the year haha!

LP

Thanks Courtney. I’ve been wanting to write some more personal posts for a while now and it feels good to finally start doing it. 🙂

Brittni

This was a cool personal post. Thanks for sharing.
http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

Courtney
Leave a reply