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

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49 comments | Click here to reply

This sounds exactly how I felt before I had Alice who is now 3. Everyone is different, but I will say that for me, I wasn’t really SURE until about three days in to having a baby. What my mom always told me was that you never regret having a child, but you MIGHT regret not having one. And just one quick mention about holding babies and getting that “feeling”—I still don’t reallu like babies and kids. I mean, they’re fine but I do not have an emotional connection to them in any way. My baby was so different. Joy and love and pain and fear and wonder all in one. You can’t really compare it to anyone else’s kid cause there’s NO comparison. And that’s just fine I think.

Andie Powers

For quite a long time I thought that someday I would have children but each time I was asked, my answer was “not for the moment, thank you !”.
And then in my 30th year I had to change my IUD. My boyfriend and I had been dating for 8 years and he had just bought an apartment for us, but I realized that we hadn’t talked about children for a while. So we did, and now I’m expecting baby number 2!
I think I had to be sure to be “secure”. With a stable job, a home and a partner who I trust to be there and do his part of the parenting job, I finally could decide to be a mom.

Maza

Thanks for opening your heart, this is not a topic explored by lifestyle bloggers very often so is very refreshing.
I knew from a very young age that I didn’t want biological children, I’m 31 and my position hasn’t changed. My partner and I have been together for 12 years and he can’t have biological children due to a tumor he had 10 years ago, this situation felt like a big confirmation that I took the right choice for my life. We have a 10 years old pup that’s our whole life, we don’t travel anywhere without him (we’re very limited for that reason) and I can’t imagine our life without him, it’s going to be hard.
I also not ok with having a child when you’re in a position when you can’t give that child the best life possible, when you rent, have debts and can barely pay your medical bills.
That being said, I’m totally in favor of fostering/adopting, the thought of being able to change someone’s life for the better makes me feel joy and to me that’s far more important than being a biological mother, sadly in my country adoption is very hard, very expensive and time-consuming, there are not many options like you have in the USA, but it’s a possibility I’m open to.
I hope you find your answers!
Excuse my English 🙂

Maira

Thank you for sharing this! I can totally relate! I’ve always been in the maybe camp for all the same reasons as you. I also never had that feeling that I’ve always wanted kids. But I also can’t imagine myself at age 60 and not having kids. I guess the fear of having regret not having kids at the end of my life outweighs the rest.
Last year there was a huge babyboom among my friends and I have to say that changed my mind as well. So I guess that deep down I know that I want kids.
But, there is a big but. My partner has a genetic disease that we don’t want to pass on. So we would have to go through the whole process of IVF. That scares me A LOT. It’s a though process. And a long one. If it succeeds at all.
My partner and I have said that if we decide to give it a try, 2018 is the year to do it. We’ll see how it goes…

Dorothy

Your honesty on this subject is SO refreshing and much appreciated. Thank you!

A

Hey Brittni!
I love the conversation! I think you get to an age, all your friends are having kids and you feel like you should decide one way or another. It’s so different for everyone and I honestly feel like one day you will just know what you want to do. It will happen organically. You may not know for 2, 3, 4 or more years but one day you’ll know. Life sort of falls into place. But whatever you do, don’t wonder “what would it have been like to live the other life” because the life you have is the one you are supposed to have! And you are wonderful at what you do! But chubby baby legs ARE the best!

Erin

What a great conversation !

I am considerably older than you “kids” are. I always felt that I would not make a great mom….for a variety of reasons. One of them being that I need sleep, worry too much and I thought that I might be just too selfish of my time. At 21 I remember saying that I would “I make a better Mom to cats rather than to humans “…and that’s pretty much how it has been.

I think that I made the right choice for me, but no-one knows you as well as you do- and only you are qualified to make that decision. I do believe that there is probably no,love like that of a mom for her child, but only you can decide if you want and need that life experience. As I grow older I have wondered if having children might have been a help in one or another way (maybe just to keep in step with younger thinking!) but that’s a crappy reason to have children! I know so many families where the children and parents seem to remain at odds throughout their lives, but I also have friends who were just made to be parents…and I celebrate their joy! It makes me so happy to see well adjusted, well adored, children in stable families!

I wish you happiness on this journey…..you will find the right answe

MZ Johansen

I appreciate your honesty. That said, I am very pro having kids-you will never be “ready”. You will frequently doubt your choice. You will bicker with your husband. Kids become your focus as a couple and you will sometimes feel a little crazy. I never thought “oh all I want is a baby!” I only had my first son (now 20) at the time I did was because I was lazy with my birth control for 10 days. I would have waited forever planning for the perfect time—there is no such thing! Jump into the deep end unless you completely hate the idea of having to put your needs second and have very little ability to be flexible with daily schedules and routines. I have 2 boys ( my other is 15) they are my greatest accomplishments. I would honestly die for them. I would kill the person who hurts them. They are the only people in my life I feel this way about. I love my husband very much but the love for a child is the deepest you’ll ever feel. I can’t imagine my life without my boys! Do it!

Linda

Commiserations on losing Luna, furry people should never be assumed to be less important in our lives because they have fur.
Congratulations on your bravery & honesty in this posting.
I’m 60 and had an unbelievably horrific childhood (biological parents made Hitler & The Spanish Inquisition look like a walk in the park) & despite full time care of my baby brother (he was 10 days old, I was 2.5 yrs) I always knew I wanted to be a Mummy, and a good one.
Fast forward got raped at 17 and lost my daughter when 5 1/2 months pregnant (due to childhood had no idea I was pregnant until 5 months or how). Married at 23 I’d had to go through labour because I have small pelvis and Drs. were saving me a caesarean for later life. 14 miscarriages later I learnt that I would never be able to carry a baby to term due to the abuse & my daughter was a miracle to have stayed so long. I have brought up 7 children from birth (including brother) and 4 older ones from 6 months & 2/3 years.
Each and every one is my child in my heart, BUT, for me there will always be a regret at not having carried my own baby.
I’ve broken the abuse cycle, I’ve been a fantastic Mum figure as evidenced that my children are living happy, independent lives doing what is right for them.
In my heart though I’m still not a Mummy, I didn’t carry my children (though sympathetic morning sickness with one and sympathetic labour with another) or give birth to them. I shared them with their biological mothers until they could be Mum in their own right (with 4 not until they were adult, and 2 went to live with their Father at 5 & 6).
I was divorced and met the love of my life who I had 20 wonderful years with. He proposed and sadly died as we were planning our wedding 10.05 years ago. My biggest regret is that we couldn’t have children. Not because I wanted `a baby’ but because I would have loved to have created a person who shared both of our genes.
I completely agree about borrowing a baby for at least a weekend or one of those dolls for a week that cannot be turned off.
I understand your fear re divorce if you have children, but although children add stress and joy to a marriage what breaks it is a breakdown in communication and a lack of pulling together not the child/children.
The urge for a child is NOT a myth but nor is it for everyone.
If you truly don’t see Motherhood as being part of your life then don’t get pressurized into it. Continue to have a furry family that can be in every way as loving, frustrating, demanding and a massive bonus in life as children can be.
Whatever you Both decide, decide together (honestly) and live your decision regardless of other people’s views.
An alternative way of being involved in a child’s life is sponsorship, something my SO and I did for a girl in Nepal for 16 years when she aged out of the program. But we ensured her education + treats, her village got water & toilets. She may not be my child but I made a difference to her life and her communities.
Good luck with your decision, and all the best what ever it is. Lucy

Lucy Wynne, Kent ~ England

So glad someone is talking about this! Thanks so much for sharing – it’s good to know you’re not alone.
I’m 28 and when I was younger (in my teens/early twenties), I wouldn’t say I really WANTED kids exactly – just that I kind of assumed that at some point I’d have them. Kids were always a part of the way-down-the-road future I imagined for myself. But as I’ve gotten older and become more aware of the huge responsibility of raising another human being in a world like ours (not to mention all the lifestyle changes, and all the things that a woman’s body has to go through to have a biological child!), I’ve found myself planting firmly in the ‘No’ camp. Interestingly, I’ve been with my husband for 9 years (married for 4), and he started out a firm ‘No’ and over the years has actually come around a little bit and is more in the ‘Probably not, but open to the idea’ camp.
I also have depression, a long-term probably-will-live-with-this-for-many-many-years kind, and that also worries me in terms of how it would affect my ability to look after another human being who would depend on me more than my husband does. It’s difficult enough to manage it on my own (with the support of my husband), and I don’t that it will actually help to have a baby (and then a child) to care for, nurture, and raise to be a decent human being.
I kind of have this feeling that I might change my mind on having kids when I hit my 30s… but right now, my husband and I are both pretty comfortable with the idea of not ever having kids, and just being the cool uncle and aunt for our siblings’ kids. And as you say, there are also other options like adoption or becoming a foster carer if I change my mind in the future but can’t have biological kids. My husband’s aunt is actually a foster carer so we have definitely seen how it can really work.

Melinda

Great post and I appreciate you sharing. You’re asking the right questions on this decision. One thing to note, if you don’t have children, your marriage will still change/evolve as you both grow along the way. There will be ups and downs without kids, which you noted. My husband and I were on the fence about having kids when we got married. If we could have them, great, but we already knew what our limits were to having a biological child if we needed medical assistance. I donated eggs out of grad school and it was intense. My father in law died unexpectedly. While we walked the grounds of the hospital to get out of the room, we chatted about kids. We decided that later that year, we would give it a go. Life threw us a curve ball and we knew that’s what we needed to make the decision. There is nothing to prepare you for new motherhood. If you’re truly on the fence, ask one of your friends to keep their kid for the weekend. Seriously. Overnight isn’t enough. You need a couple of days/nights to see and feel that impact on your life. Maybe it’s positive. Maybe it’s a disaster. At least it gives you a real feel. I love being a mom and seeing my husband as a father. It has not been easy on both of us personally. but we are working together to find the right balance we both crave and need. Wow, that’s hella long, but a honest response from someone that didn’t know if she wanted to have kids.

tisha @ quiltytherapy

I always knew I wanted kids, but my husband and I wanted to be more financially stable beforehand. I’m 32 now(33 this year) and we’ve been trying for 2 years. Come to find out I’m already infertile and we’ll be lucky to have a biological child. Now I’m struggling with the “we shouldn’t have waited so long” thought. I guess there will always be doubts, regrets and what ifs no matter which road you take.

Tabitha

I love this, B. I wish we could sit down with coffee or cocktails and talk all about it.

First, I’m so sorry about Luna, I can’t say it enough. I know she is family to you and it’s unimaginably hard to lose a family member. There are no words I could say to help, but I just hope that time is helping you all heal.

Now here’s a little of our back and forth story, if it helps shed any light.

Ryan and I never really specifically talked about kids, we just sort of assumed that we’d end up on the same page. When it was just us, life was such an adventure — traveling, running our businesses, etc. — and I loved it that way. We started talking about whether we wanted kids about 3 years after we got married (I got married at 30, so a little on the older side), and we could never nail down whether we were a yes or a no. I didn’t want to lose our lifestyle. Finally one day Ryan asked me to picture us with no kids at 50 or 60 and asked how I would feel about that. And right away I knew that I wouldn’t have any regrets, but I felt like I would be kind of… bored. (No offense to Ryan, haha!) So we decided to try when the time felt right and a few months later I was pregnant with Henry.

Then we had Henry and he was a dream and life definitely changed, but not for the worse. A space opened up for him to fill and it was kind of like we were the trio that we were meant to be. After that I was even LESS sure that I wanted a second kid. I hated being pregnant, hated giving birth, HATED having a newborn. It felt so scary and out of control. But then Henry got to be around 5-6 months and I finally started feeling in control as a mom, and shortly after that, in control as my own person again. (Because that’s a thing too! I want to be a great mom AND a great woman AND a great businessperson, and they’re all different things.) So we talked a little about it and we realized we wanted Henry to have an ally in life (especially when we get old, so he didn’t have to go it alone), and someone to challenge him and love him in a way that we can’t. So we decided to have another. And yes, I hated being pregnant the second time too. Ugh. UGGGGHHHHH.

And now. Maggie is here, and it’s funny — I think of the times when it was just the two of us or even just the three of us and I get a homesick feeling for now, when it’s the four of us. It feels complete and neither of us have any desire for any more kids. We’re us. And we still travel and have adventures and for ME it feels way harder but so much more rewarding. To see Henry see New York for the first time, the city where we fell in love? Or to watch Maggie on the beach in Mexico discovering sand? Sometimes it’s almost too much to take.

Kids are certainly not for everyone, and that is as it should be (I wish I could underline that seventeen times). And I don’t know where you are in your decision or your journey. But just so you know, life opens up space for everything that you want. It might come in seasons, but you CAN have it all. Love you! xo

Chelsea

First, so sorry to hear about Luna, Brittni. ((Big HUGS to you!)) When I first got married, the questions immediately started about when we were going to have children. Not “if” we wanted children, which would have been equally intrusive, but “when.” It used to always annoy me because I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to have children for many reasons. I told my friend this once, and she called me selfish. Yet, her reasons for wanting children sounded selfish, too. Fast forward to several years into my marriage and well into my 30s, I started wanting to have children. But, it wasn’t so easy. I had two miscarriages and started thinking that that ship had sailed. Luckily, the third time was a charm (after having 14 fibroids removed), and I had a baby at age 41. Yikes! I didn’t LOVE pregnancy like many women talk about, but man do I love this little girl. However, finding the energy to play with a very active almost two year old is no joke! But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, I’m in that boat of trying to figure out if I want to have another baby…and if so, why? Because I genuinely want another baby or because I want her to have a sibling/playmate who will take some of the pressure off of me to play with her all the time?

Kimberly

Thank you for writing about this! I feel like it’s not covered much these days. We struggled with the decision and ultimately decided to have children (second one due any day now). We’ve never been those people who love on babies or go out of their way to play with kids, and I will admit the baby phase wasn’t my favorite. We gave up a good amount of the time we used to spend traveling and doing our hobbies. But we also really love hanging out with the person we’ve made and are raising. There are really frustrating and scary aspects to parenting. There are also really amazing moments. I think what tipped the scales for us is that we never managed to find a single person who regretted having children. If there are pieces of parenting that really concern you, try to find people who have found creative ways of dealing with them. For instance, we have friends that take their small children traveling all over the world!

Bonnie

Thank you Emily! I’m really glad to hear that this post struck a cord with you. Yes – I do actually have some thoughts on the whole family asking about babies thing because we’ve gone through this as well. Not sure if this would work for everyone, but here’s what we did… After getting asked this question a lot, right around the time that we got married or maybe a year or two later, we ended up telling both of our families that we didn’t want to have kids at all. And if anything changed, we’d let them know. At the time that we told them that, we weren’t actually sure that we never wanted kids though. We honestly didn’t know one way or another BUT we were sure that we didn’t want to talk about it with anyone else until we decided for ourselves. It helped a lot to just kind of give a solid answer, that answer being NO, for the time being. And then whenever it came up (which was almost never), we would make some kind of joke about it and just keep moving. 🙂 One other thing I did (I think it was with my mom) was to have an open conversation and ask not to talk about it anymore unless I brought it up. That baby stuff was something that I was confused by (and probably on the verge of tears over the confusion of not knowing what I wanted) and didn’t want to discuss it with anyone other than Jeff at the moment. And she completely understood and has not brought it up since. If you’re upfront with people (in a nice way), I think they’ll surprise you.

Brittni

It’s almost like you reached into my brain and put all my thoughts and feelings into writing! My husband and I are only 30 and 28, respectively, and this is a constant topic of conversation from family. Apparently the answer, “we’re happy how things are right now” is not sufficient. I am generally good at letting things go, but that line of questioning is starting to wear me out. Any advice on how to respectfully, yet firmly tell your family that your reproduction is none of their business?

Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful post, and I’m so sorry for the loss of your pup. As someone who still misses her childhood dog, I can empathize with how you’re feeling <3

Emily

Such a great discussion point. I was never keen on the idea of having kids. Then, after a couple of years of living with my partner, I changed my mind. We never had a lot of money and decided there was no perfect time so just had a crack at it. Our son is now two and a half (I’m 30, he’s 32) and I can’t imagine my life without him. Our lives have changed completely – we both work part time as he’s not in nursery full time, so we’re the most broke we’ve ever been, but it’s worth it. We’ve never had a particularly extravagant lifestyle and have never been abroad together so we don’t really feel like we’re missing out on anything but we have friends who have been together ten years and travel six times a year or so and I imagine that would change drastically if they had children. Having a child changes everything and the best advice I can give is that it’s the hardest and most rewarding thing you’ll ever do, it’s a lot to put your body through if you’re not sure and everyone’s winging it!

Emma Farley

I’m a woman/mother who turns, yuck, 65 next month. I am not a grandmother, my 42 year old daughter has a wonderful career, she works for Comprehensive Cancer Center in Las Vegas and loves it. She told me years ago, “Mom I don’t want children, what do you think.” I looked at her a long time and finally said, “why does it matter what I think”, this is YOUR decision, YOUR body, YOUR life.”
My generation was told to marry young have children young and take care of both until your die, oy vey! I was told that I would never have children due to a serious illness/surgery I had when I was 5, so I never gave children a second thought. She was a big surprise believe me when at age 22 I was told I was pregnant, my husband and I divorced 1 1/2 later, his decision. I have been married to my second husband for 34 years, he raised my daughter, in fact, people think she is his not mine. Hence, my long windedness, Brittni, you do what you think is right for you and your husband. I love reading about your travels and your life, maybe a little jealous in the freedom you have at such a young age. Each to their own as I have always said. Vicky

Vicky Rodriguez
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