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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Girl, I could have written this post myself. I wrote a similar-ish one after E was born even – https://thesweetestoccasion.com/2016/09/i-never-planned-to-have-a-baby-ever/ I STILL maintain 2+ years after her birth that as much as I am so so so so happy she is mine and I wouldn’t trade her for anything, I really believe I’d have been fine without being a mother in the traditional sense. I think it’s such a deeply personal decision and I’m glad you’ve found some clarity! xoxo

Cyd

I relate to this a lot! My husband and I got married when I was 21 and he was 22. He shared during our pre-marital counseling that he wasn’t sure if he wanted kids, and that seemed like not a big deal at the time because, well, I was 21! I sort of tacitly assumed he would change his mind, or we would change our minds together. Fast forward almost 10 years and he’s still pretty sure he doesn’t want kids, for a lot of perfectly rational and valid reasons that I can’t argue with, such as, “What if the child had extensive medical or psychological needs?” I feel like I would be extremely happy TO have a child and I think being a mother could be a very fulfilling next step in my life. But I also love our life as it is, and I *think* I can picture myself being 80 years old and satisfied with the decision NOT to have a child. So basically, I am 100% with ya on this, and I don’t know the answers either!

Laura

Thanks so much for writing this. This discussion is one that my husband and I have had so many times. We’ve been more of in the boat of me wanting kids and him really being unsure about it, fearing it will change our lives in a negative way. None of my close friends have had kids yet, so we are the first ones beginning to seriously think about it. Recently what solidified my opinion and helped sway my husband’s was attending the funeral of his grandmother. We realized that as we get old, the only people who will be around will be family, especially as friends too grow old and die. Family will be the ones to take care of us and visit us when we are in a nursing home and also be the ones to which we feel we are leaving our legacy to. From that experience of realization, we have both come to agree to that having kids is in our future, but just not quite yet!

Annie

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Brittni, your honesty and vulnerability is truly amazing! I’m 25 and when I was younger, I used to want to have 5 kids! I know, crazy. But now that I’m in my mid-twenties, the idea of having kid(s) is kind of scary if I’m being honest. Not only that, but I feel like when you tell people you don’t want to have kids, they give you this look of like . . . disapproval. You’re definitely right of the whole having a baby is NOT a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. And I feel like this post really helped a lot of people feel okay with the fact that “hey, I like how my life is now and I don’t feel like I need/want to have any kids.”

Also, the part about your dog was precious. We actually put down our family dog the week before Christmas. She was the first dog we brought into our family and after 16 years, you better believe she was something of a “child” in my eyes! 🙂

Again, beautiful post and thank you for your vulnerability and honesty.

-Caroline

Caroline

Oh baby 🙂
I’ve been struggling with this question for years. I would even go so far as to say that it torments me. Last year was particularly intense because my husband and I both turned 37 and felt like we had to “shit or get off the pot” so to speak, once and for all. I read all the books and articles and podcasts I could possibly find and had a lot of heartfelt, tearful, conversations with my husband. We dug deep into what we really want. I discovered that I really love babies and really want one of my own, but I’m not to excited about anything beyond the baby stage, the lifelong process that parenting is all about. We also love our quiet, adult life just the way it is. Now I’m struggling to accept that truth and put my final “no” stamp on the baby question. I can’t seem to say goodbye to motherhood for good. I’m so curious what you decided!

Erin

I liked reading this, thanks for sharing! I am one of those persons that always knew I wanted kids. I also felt a heavy physical urge to do so at a certain point in my life, as if my whole body told me to get pregnant. Getting pregnant turned out to be very difficult, but long story short, we have 2 daughters now. I wouldn’t want to miss them for the world, they make me the happiest person on earth… BUT I also can sometimes really miss the days before them, and find mothering much harder than I would ever have imagined. They just take all my energy, which is logical but I am just a human and sometimes (often) it just is too much. The constant demands, the yelling and fights between these 2 (although they can be soooo sweet to each other too, I LOVE those moments the most!!). I must say that I found the baby phase somehow easier, even though we had our share of bad sleeping, difficult eating, … Now I have to think about how to set boundaries, how to teach certain things, how to get them to listen, all those more complicated things. And they are just 4 and 6, so it is just beginning 🙂 On the other hand, they are so funny and sweet and loving, and I miss them when I don’t see them for a day, I love seeing how they discover the world, how they see things, I find it so interesting to see how they develop, and all that. Again, I never ever regret the decision to have kids. But not having kids is definitely easier, unless it’s unvoluntarily…

It does change your relationship, but I can’t say it changed us in a bad way. Although I had to be careful not to lose myself in motherhood. It took me several months to get back a little bit in the role of partner, next to mom. Which is fine, and you can not always predict how you will be once you have that baby in your hands, But as long as you can very openly talk about it all, I think you should be fine. Babies are definitely not relationship rescue material, rather the contrary. But it can also strengthen your bond, as long as you manage to always connect with each other, and immediately talk about it when something doesn’t feel right or good.

But babies change even more your freedom than your relationship. That is the biggest change ever, in my opinion. But from a certain age you can also just take them along. We did a trip to Belize and visited jungle, remote islands without electricity, temples, homestays, … So it’s not impossible to travel like that, it just takes some more energy. But it still is different, you just can’t do anything anywhere anytime.

I don’t know if that helps at all 🙂 I would definitely do it again, absolutely. But I think I didn’t have the complete picture, and felt so urged by my longing and body and … , and maybe also thinking it thorugh helps a bit when you decide 🙂 BUT I also am very much convinced that you are just NEVER ready. What does that even mean? Did you think when you got your sweet dog (and I am so sorry for your loss!!!!) that she would have such a big place in your hearts and lives? I guess not. Would you have thought of moving to a place you didn’t like that much before you got a dog? I don’t think so… And yet you did it, and felt so much love it was all worth it. I tend to think it is a little bit like that with babies too 🙂

Good luck!!

Barbara
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