You don’t know my hypothetical future child. Should I have it?

April 27th, 2010 | by TJ |

I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve never been a fan of children.

Some of you may think you’re catching me in a fib – after all, I did babysit two kids for a quite a long time. And I liked them. Quite a bit. I liked those two. One time, their mother was asked by a friend to pass along the name of her sitter, and declined to do so. Not because she was selfish and wanted me to always be available to them, but because she knew I didn’t like kids. Only hers. Not someone else’s.

For the whole first year that Phil and I were together, it was generally understood that neither of us particularly wanted to have kids. We have a lot of toys and we don’t want to share them. We like to stay up playing video games and eat whatever’s in the fridge, leaning up against the counter. We like to take middle of the night trips to the gas station for sodas the size of our heads. We don’t really like noise or hubbub much at all.

However, we’re not so arrogant as to believe we know the future, and while we didn’t think we would have kids, it was always with the understanding that we’re relatively young (28 and 33) and that could change at any moment. That doesn’t make our choice not to have children any less real. Those “Oh, you’ll change your mind” people are some of the most arrogant and obnoxious people in existence, and I will never, ever be one of those.

The thing is, though – I did change my mind. Kind of. Not totally, but also definitely at the same time. I’m not sure how to put it. I still feel the same way, but I’ll be doing it anyway. It’s an inevitability, to me.

I remember the exact minute I changed my mind, I think. Phil and I were in the car last August, driving to his Aunt Laurie’s house in California, the day before the BlizzCon we weren’t attending. We’d been engaged for about a month and a half. We had picked up our tickets (that we sold) and were back on the highway. I turned to him and I said something along the lines of, “By the way, I think I’m going to need to have one kid, so, you know, fair warning if you want to bail out of this whole thing.”

(Spoiler alert: He didn’t.)

Anyway, while that may have seemed sudden and out of the blue, that’s nothing like things have become. Having agreed on the whole kid thing, we are waiting until post-wedding to start on the project, for reasons that are many and not even remotely up for debate or discussion with the Internet. That was all well and good, until maybe the last month or two.

The first thought I think every single morning is probably about babies, or baby related. I don’t smile at babies in public anymore. I scowl at them and say darkly to Phil, “Those people have a baby.” As if those people are specifically and totally responsible for the fact that I do not. The idea that we are waiting until post wedding to even begin is difficult. The fact that even if I got pregnant immediately, there would still be FORTY MORE WEEKS until I had a baby is agonizing. And that’s if everything went absolutely, completely and totally perfectly! That whole “even if I got pregnant immediately” thing? Yeah, I’m not so naive as to count on that in any way, shape or form. I think about the not-especially-likely scenario of Phil getting orders for a solo tour to Korea and being gone for a whole year, adding on even more time.

In short, Internet, I’ve caught baby disease. I can’t explain it better than that, and I am counting on those of you who have experienced it to understand. I would chalk it up to my own breed of insanity, but it is too entirely real to be made up, or limited to just me. Something this intense, something that absolutely cannot be reasoned away, something that takes up such an enormous amount of my mental power that my three times per day posting habit is dwindling specifically due to how hard it is to not post about it just can’t be an experience that I have uniquely experienced.

It comes back, though, to what I said above: “I did change my mind. Kind of. Not totally, but also definitely at the same time.”

There’s no real doubt in my mind that, if thrust into the situation, Phil and I would both be quite competent parents. I’m not saying you’d all agree with our methods, and I’m not saying we’d raise a kid just like you would, but I’m saying I’m reasonably certain that we could take a person from infancy to adulthood without any serious scars, physical or emotional.

But while I am suddenly overtaken by this ridiculous, unrequested and completely nonsensical baby greed, nothing that I stated above has changed. We still have a lot of toys we’re not totally keen on sharing. The idea of giving up middle of the night trips for head sodas isn’t totally appealing. I still don’t care for noise or hubbub. None of that has changed in my entire 28 years of life, and I can’t imagine it changing suddenly any time soon. My overwhelming want for a kid exists at the same time that none of the whole kid business actually sounds that good to me.

I don’t think I’m so unique. I think there are a lot of people out there just like us – some who have opted not to have kids, and some who have gone ahead and had a kid and are doing just fine with it. I don’t think that my dislike of children completely rules me out as a parent. It should have ruled me out as a babysitter, but it didn’t, because I will tell you something, Internet – those two kids are the one thing that made leaving Maryland difficult.

Catherine at Her Bad Mother had a post recently called “10 Things I Hate About Motherhood (And One That I love).” It was, in part, a reaction to a post on Jezebel about how the childless are kind of being scared away from having children. Mommy blogs have long (“long” being a relative term, but we are talking about Internet time here) been regarded as the first real public declaration by mothers that that shit is hard. And that sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it sucks a lot. Previously, it was kind of an unspoken secret, I guess – being childless, I never gave it too much thought. To those of us who have been blogging for a hundred years, it doesn’t seem like a big deal – there’s so much of… everything… on the Internet that mothers admitting that sometimes they don’t care for being a mother is hardly the most shocking thing we’ll see – in a single day, even.

Blogs have served as an incredible tool for mothers who previously thought they were alone in their feelings – I can only imagine how it must feel, when everyone around you seems to adore every aspect of being a mother, never loses her temper, does everything perfectly and doesn’t even hate it a little, and that doesn’t match your own experience at all. Blogs have provided a connection and an outlet and support for mothers who have been brave enough to speak up about how sometimes it just flat out blows.

Like Catherine’s post, though, as much as any mother can rattle off a list of frustrations, aggravations, various forms of infant-inflicted torture and tales of days when it is just plain hard, it always comes down to the same thing – the fact in the end, you have your child or children balances it all out. On one side of the scale, you have 800 different varieties of suck, but it is completely and totally outweighed by the kid you ended up with.

As a parent, if someone was to ask you, “Should I have a kid?,” it is probably easy to look down at your own kid and say, “Oh, definitely, without a doubt.” Your personal scales are totally tipped in favor of your personal child.

But what if you removed your personal child, the one that you obviously love very much despite how much of your stuff they break or how bad they may smell at times, completely from the equation?

More and more, starting with blogs and moving on to other online sites, magazines and media, mothers are becoming comfortable with being open about how very difficult being a parent is. A curtain is being pulled back – one that was previously completely opaque to those of us without children. Those already behind the curtain are happy to stay there – your children are there, after all, and you’ve carried them for nine months or adopted them or blended them into your family or found them in the cabbage patch, or however you got them, and you know them and you love them. You couldn’t come back on to my side of the curtain, because you would have to leave the child you know and love back there, and that is incomprehensible.

In the past, if I chose to have a kid, I would have walked blindly through the curtain and had to deal with what I found back there. Of course, my love of my own child would keep me from even considering walking back onto the baby-free side of the curtain, even if I was surprised and taken aback and shocked and frustrated with what I found back there.

But this curtain is being pulled back, and I can see back there now. I can see the good things and the bad, and I can see that it’s not all sunshine and roses like some may have believed in the past. I can also see that even those people working to pull back that curtain and shine light on the fact that not everyone enjoys being a mother all the time wouldn’t chose to come back, because their kids are back there with them.

But my kid isn’t back there. My kid doesn’t exist. Behind that curtain are the sucky aspects of motherhood PLUS your children. While your kid or kids makes it more than worthwhile for you to be on that side of the curtain, there’s nothing over there for me. For me, there are the sucky aspects of motherhood and no kid. A hypothetical kid, yes, but you can’t love the idea of a kid in a way that makes it perfectly obvious that all the sucky aspects of motherhood would be outweighed.

I appreciate that those of you who have children would never change a thing. You stepped behind the curtain and while it’s not easy or always happy or always what you pictured, you wouldn’t come back out because of what you got out of the deal. You have to deal with all of those sucky aspects in order to have the kid. It’s a trade off, and one that, for most normal people, is completely working out for the better.

However, I don’t have a kid yet. I don’t have to step behind that curtain. When I was younger, I imagined if I had a kid, I would be its mother and I didn’t think much beyond that. The world of blogging and mothers becoming more comfortable with voicing all aspects of their experiences, even the unpleasant ones, has totally changed things.

As someone who has not spent their whole life dreaming of having a child, you can understand that all of this information is difficult to process, especially in light of the GREAT HORMONE TAKEOVER OF 2010. Way back, you know, six or eight months ago, the fact that motherhood is so hard and often unrewarding would have just confirmed my choice to not do the whole motherhood thing. Now, while I mentally feel the same, parts of me have made it VERY, VERY CLEAR that it will be VERY, VERY DIFFICULT to live my life without Hypothetical Child.

But difficult, as, you know, difficult as it sounds, does not mean impossible.

If you were to think about being on the mother side of the motherhood curtain, but think of it minus your particular child, the one that makes it so unquestionably easy to be on that side of the curtain, what would you say to me? Someone who is peeking behind that curtain but has no kid back there? No counterbalance to the sucky parts, except in idea form? What if you were me, very dramatically torn between two potential life paths, right now, in the middle of the whole whirlwind of curtain-pulling-backing?

In no way am I asking for you to issue a judgment on whether I personally should or shouldn’t have a kid. And I realize it would be very easy to toss off a comment along the lines of, “Oh, it’s so worth it.” We’re going to have kids or not have kids based on more than just the advice of the Internet, and I understand that your children make what you went through/go through to keep them from being all out heathens is totally worth it.

I’m asking what you would say to someone like me, who spends large parts of every single day watching a whole bunch of women she respects greatly forming a community and bonding and supporting each other through the extreme difficulties and, often, unpleasantness of motherhood. Someone who doesn’t have a kid, and doesn’t have to have one. I don’t even specifically know what I’m asking, to be honest. I’m not asking to be swayed one way or the other. I’m asking to know. I want to just know, without all of the platitudes and the “so worth its” and the trite baloney. I’ve read mommy blogs! I don’t buy that shit any more!

Just tell me what you would say, as a parent, to someone like me.

250 Responses to “You don’t know my hypothetical future child. Should I have it?”

  1. By Tchann on Apr 27, 2010

    I am not a parent, and therefore what I have to say probably isn’t what you were looking for, so I’ll just apologize in advance.

    I’ve known from the start that I want (at least) one kid of my own. But I’ve been married almost 5 years now and it hasn’t happened because we can’t afford it. And I’m too paranoid to try to go forward without knowing for sure how we’re going to finance it.

    I want to be home to raise our kid. But right now I make more money than my husband does, and it’s nowhere near enough by itself to support a family of three. It really isn’t, and there’s no way around that except promotions or career changes that aren’t likely to happen.

    So if you choose to have a kid after getting married, and can afford to do so, I just want you to know that I will be shaking my fist from the sidelines, cheering you on while being green-eyed with envy. :)

    TJ Reply:

    You have a better head on your shoulders about it than I do. My girl parts basically, go have one and THEN figure out how all the financials and stuff will work out.

    Adlib Reply:

    I have a feeling that happens to most parents though. I’m pretty sure that in most cases it works itself out. Not to be cliche, but is anyone *really* ever ready?

  2. By Superjules on Apr 27, 2010

    I don’t have any kids yet either. But I think you should. That’s all I got.

    TJ Reply:

    Haha, noted!

  3. By Rachelle on Apr 27, 2010

    My husband and I also decided early that we wouldn’t have kids. Like, in the first two months we were together.

    Then, all his brothers’ wives started popping out loinfruits like crazy, and now that we’re an auntie and uncle, we’re more open to the possibility. We’re still not PLANNING kids, but if our birth control goes wonky and I get knocked up, we’ve decided it won’t be the worst thing in the world.

    The thing is, we’ll be 38 (me) and 39 (him, obviously) this summer, and so our window is closing, and we’re having to decide if we actually want to pull the trigger and do it on purpose.

    We realize that raising kids is a risky affair – I’ve learned a lot from watching my sisters-in-law raise their kids. Bottom line, all we know for sure is that whatever kid WE raise probably won’t end up to be a serial killer, and maybe that’s enough.

    Incidentally, we had the same original thoughts as you and Phil – we liked our lives as a couple, and couldn’t conceive of a time when we might not be able to do whatever we want on the spur of the moment. But the reality is, if I want to stay up all night and eat iced cream, I’ll still be able to do that if I’m a mom. Because, you know, I’m the mom, and moms get to do whatever they want, because they’re grown ups.

    TJ Reply:

    Oh god, the “window” thing. I’m always doing mental calculations – if I had a kid at this age, I’d be that age when the kid was whatever age… and then the whole actual viability of it at different ages… Sigh.

  4. By Holly on Apr 27, 2010

    Again, no kids here, but I have this to say.

    Blame Brinkley, cause dogs are the gateway drug to babies, I swear.

    Laurie Reply:

    HAHAHA! I was thinking the same thing!

    TJ Reply:

    You know, you may have something there. I am looking at him with totally new eyes now.

    Adlib Reply:

    That’s kinda what happened to my sister-in-law. They gave up on having a baby because they had been trying forever. They got a dog, and boom, pregnant! Then, they had another pretty soon after since they weren’t paying attention, apparently. :) This was all just within the last 2 years!

  5. By Jess on Apr 27, 2010

    I am going to have to say I have always known I wanted children. Now I have two boys, and without a doubt it was the right choice for me. You’re’s hard, and it sometimes sucks donkey balls.

    But I love the snuggles, the changes, watching them grow and get bigger and become -people-. I loved being pregnant, not all the discomfort obviously but the feeling of a life inside of me..a special secret that no one else in the world could feel. My boys and I had 40 weeks together, it was the most personal and intimate experience I have ever had with another human being and it makes me love and appreciate them in ways that I can never articulate nor calculate.

    But I knew that I wanted this. If I could I’d have two more to be honest. I love being a mommy.

    It sounds like you really want this, or at least you are really seriously thinking about wanting this. So I’m going to say to you, as a parent, that this job, this choice is a landscape of the most extreme emotions you might ever have. That longing, that want you have now only grows, and morphs into bigger and bigger emotions.

    That’s why I don’t mind giving up my toys, and my late nights out with the girls. It’s why I don’t mind the messy house, the inescapable noises and yes the smells. Because I was completely and utterly unaware of how deeply I as a person could feel, or how much I could accomplish, or how strong I was as an individual before I had children.

    Is it the right choice for you? or for anyone else? No..I can’t say that, and I won’t ever try to pressure anyone else into making this decision because I think that nagging someone into being a parent only sets people up to be unhappy. It’s not like the species is threatened or anything.

    But it is worth it. For me. It is worth it.

    Jess Reply:

    Also I did not mean this as trite platitudes honestly I am just that sappy and dorky

    TJ Reply:

    I wish I had been one of those people who had just “known,” you know? The fact that I didn’t always KNOW makes me question if I really DO know right now.

    Jess Reply:

    I think that it comes down to this. The likelyhood of you regretting your children small.

    TJ the most fucking lame thing..but the most true thing I can ever say about this situation is this.

    I pray that Heaven is a series of moments relived over and over and over again. So I can lay in those hospital beds holding my new born children again and again and again.

    Because those are the most perfect moments of my life.

    I hope this choice becomes easier, or less conflicted for you. If I could give you my certainty I would in a heartbeat. Either way it would go.

    Tammy Reply:

    Jess, your comment about what Heaven should be is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Of the meaningful moments in my life that I would repeat over and over, almost all involve my son.

    Anastasia Reply:

    Wow, Jess. I just burst into tears at your description of what you hope heaven can be. (And I am still crying, just thinking about it!) That is one of the most beautiful things I could ever imagine. Thank you for giving me that divine image. <3

    Jess Reply:

    Thank you guys. I’m glad it didn’t come off super sappy and stupid. I can’t help being that way, I’m one of those horrible people who like romantic comedies too.

  6. By Leah @ L4L on Apr 27, 2010

    I’m not a parent so I’m not sure if I am allowed to comment or not but I am going to assume it is okay and forge on.

    I’m going to preface this by saying I am only 24, so I, too, realize my opinion may change but for the time being, I am standing fast.

    I do not want children. I don’t dislike them. At all. But I don’t ooh and ahh over them either. I believe I am far too selfish to have children. My life is hectic enough without them. I generally think that most people have children because it is the socially excepted norm and it feels like a natural progression of things, and they are getting bored, in a sense, of their life as it is. (Disclaimer – I only speak of “planned” pregnancies.)

    Besides the huge change in overall lifestyle a child brings, it also brings an even larger financial burden that I am not even close to prepared for at the point in time and don’t see myself being for at least 10 years. (Student Loans, anyone?!) I also don’t feel like putting my body through 9 months of distress. The thought of birthing sickens me, acutally. And I’ve worked hard to lose weight… I don’t care to see my stomach quadruple in size.

    But it can not be disregarded that our sole function in nature is to procreate, to carry on the genes, survival of the fittest, the more babies, the more you rock! I choose to defy nature. I think that the world is over populated and the tree hugger in me would rather adopt than birth if I get the motherly urge.

    I also feel like as a mother, I would hold myself to a ridiculously high standard of mothership and would not want to work full time, would make my own babyfood and use resuable diapers, all natural products, and never have my child in daycare. And none of that sounds particularly appealing to me either so again, I am electing to defy nature’s true calling.

    So I guess the point of all my ramblings is that if you want to have kids, that’s great. Rock on. But just make sure you think it through and really want it, not just fulfilling an urge or a void you feel like you may have in your life. Kids are a serious thing. And I’m not up to the challenge but maybe you guys are.

    Flame Reply:

    “So I guess the point of all my ramblings is that if you want to have kids, that’s great. Rock on. But just make sure you think it through and really want it, not just fulfilling an urge or a void you feel like you may have in your life. Kids are a serious thing. And I’m not up to the challenge but maybe you guys are.”

    Ditto! Leah already said what I wanted to say. The only difference with me is that I don’t have them because I DON’T like them. lol

    TJ Reply:

    I used to be able to look at it JUST as logically. Almost every single thing you said applies to me as well. That’s why I question whether it’s a really good idea. I still recognize all of the downsides, but seriously, it’s like I have no real good sense left about this matter.

  7. By Diane on Apr 27, 2010

    Man. I wish I could answer the questions you’re asking! All I can tell you is that I used to want babies. Babies babies babies SO BAD. I got married at 21. Originally we wanted to start having babies as soon as we were out of grad school. Then I decided maybe I was going to want a Ph.D. And we went through some marital issues. And I told my husband I probably wasn’t going to want kids for quite a while, if at all.

    And then, I swear to GOLLY, I woke up one day and just … wanted to have kids. Right now. Let’s get to this. And we did.

    It’s so hard. I’m a SAHM, two daughters (1 and 3), and it’s HARD. I miss a lot of things. The middle of the night excursions, being able to do things without planning around naptime. Just the general freedom. It’s gone and I miss it terribly. I miss when it was just us and our own version of fill-in-the-song-lyrics-with-Brinkley’s-name and our after dinner silly rituals and it just being OUR world. Obviously, I wouldn’t trade them for a thing. What I do know is that this, the needy needy time? Is temporary. Obviously they will always NEED us (until they don’t, and then WAH), but I won’t always be nursing a baby to sleep, soothing nightmares at 4AM, and trying to translate the raving lunacy of a learning-to-talk-toddler. It will be hard in different ways, but different ways that give me more freedom.

    Even though I already have two kids, I’m still facing a similar dilemma to yours, in that we’re deciding if we should have a third. (Okay, obviously those are COMPLETELY different decisions, but they are both freaking monumental when you’re talking about bringing another whole person into the world.) Do I want to give up those freedoms, my career, for an additional 3-5 years? What if it’s the thing that makes this all SO much harder?

    Hi, I’m totally crowding your plate with MY issues. Isn’t that helpful?

    The short of it is, you will figure this out. You will have a full and meaningful life either way. You will obsess over it in the meantime.

    TJ Reply:

    You make such a good point about the couple time. I hate that I’m so overcome with this feeling NOW. We’ve had barely any time together. And if we do have a kid, we won’t be “just us” again for at least 18 years. I’m talking like it’s being forced on me. Some days I feel like it kind of is. I could hold out and try to have that time of just us, but I don’t know if I’d be really happy about that. But then, you know, even though you say you miss it, you’re considering adding yet another 18 years onto that. So, a lot to think about there.

  8. By sandi on Apr 27, 2010

    I don’t know you, but I’ll offer my $0.02 :)

    I have kids, three year old twins. While growing up I assumed that I’d have kids. As I became an adult I thought I didn’t want kids. As you said, they’re noisy, messy and annoying. What changed? I met someone I could see raising kids with and whammo kids!

    My dirty secret? While I love my kids I’m still not a fan of children in general. Babies are adorable and I squee over them the same way I do over puppies. But both babies & puppies grow up. I feel like I’m betraying all of motherhood by admitting that other people’s kids are annoying for the most part.

    Not sure if this is what you wanted to hear. Good luck!

    TJ Reply:

    It’s reassuring to know that you can indeed not like kids but still like kids, you know? I feel like revealing the idea that I don’t like kids immediately makes me a bad parent candidate in people’s minds.

    Adlib Reply:

    My mom actually always told me that other people’s kids are annoying, but having your own kids is a totally different thing. I always used to look at mom and ask her how I could ever have kids because so many of the ones I knew were terrors. So I’m right there with ya!

  9. By Liz on Apr 27, 2010

    Oooooooooh, woman, speak to me. I don’t have kids (yet. maybe.), am 28, and am so, amazingly, unspeakably PISSED OFF at myself now that, despite all logical evidence and understanding I had previously, life suddenly seems completely unlivable without a baby. I’m so MAD at myself for this! My husband has a daughter – aged 13 [holy god you want to talk about hormones? egads. 13 year old girldom is effing scary.] who is wonderful and lovely and I thought, you know, hey man, love that child, I am good. I am good with this life. This is what I want. It works for us, for so many reasons.

    And the my friend announced she was pregnant. And I held her baby on my lap, and I couldn’t even talk to her. I couldn’t be happy. I was so.. I was just so sad. There’s no good reason! My life is AWESOME! It would change in so many unawesome ways! What the hell am I thinking! But ohmygod I want my baby. I want it. I want I want I want I want.

    I don’t think I’ve ever felt so betrayed by my mind and body. I’m living the life we chose, and without my consent, that life is no longer what I want. How totally fucking annoying is THAT?

    (spoiler: we’ve got a baby plan. Hubs rolled with my crazy very well. Better than I have, in fact)

    TJ Reply:

    Lame confession: I totally almost cried reading this comment because that is SO EXACTLY IT. Right down to the PISSED OFF part.

    Liz Reply:

    Ugh, I almost cried writing it. I wrote a blog post like 6 months ago in that vein and cried my way through that. My husband read it and was all “Um, I’m going to go hug our dog now because… you’re so sad and angry and I have no idea what to do” and then I cried more.

    (tacky to blog pimp, but if you’re interested in my personal meltdown, enjoy:

    Liz Reply:

    Also: HA. You came wanting answers, and instead you get my angst. That’ll learn ya!

  10. By Julie on Apr 27, 2010

    As a mother of three and stepmom to another, also being familiar with you and Phil to a certain degree, I can say you would be awesome parents…if you decide to do so. As someone who really doesn’t like kids either, I can tell you that how you raise them makes all the difference in the world. My step daughter is not my child, but Michael and her mom did a good job with raising her so far, and I find her a likeable kid. Lovable even. I think no matter which way you and Phil decide, you will be happy. You will also wonder what it would have been like if you’d made the other choice. Ultimately, I think the world would be a better place with a baby made by the two of you in it, but as you are obviously aware, you have to decide for yourself. Know that your friends will be here for you either way, ready to listen and offer whatever opinions you may or may not want. :)

    TJ Reply:

    You know what I worry about? Having an UNlikeable kid. I mean, someone’s got to have them, right? I know I’d end up with a dickhead, I just know it.

  11. By agirlandaboy on Apr 27, 2010

    I’d say be prepared for the experience to be NOTHING and EVERYTHING like what the mommyblogs would tell you. As I read and read and read and pined and pined for my own hypothetical child for YEARS, I soaked up every bit of wisdom and warning I could so that, when the time was right, I could say I was at least going in prepared. In many ways, that meant going in knowing a lot of the experience would suck, and suck HARD, but I couldn’t ever say I went in blindly.

    And then? I had the baby and the things that seemed to suck for most everyone else didn’t suck for me. And some of the things that seemed to come natural to everyone else (e.g., sharing my toys) DIDN’T come natural to me. In many ways, mommyblogs only prepared me for motherhood in that they built it up into a big, scary, awful thing (that was “so worth it!”), and thereby made me completely overly prepared for the kid (and the pregnancy, and the labor, and the birth, and the recovery, and the breastfeeding, and the sleep issues) I was dealt. (I was very lucky to have an easy go with all of the above.)

    So. It can be hard, yes, but since those are the stories we’re most likely to hear because those are the people who need the most support and get the most attention, that’s not the whole story and certainly not the only story.

    For me, the parts about parenthood that suck are having to share my food, wake up when I don’t want to wake up, and stay home with the sleeping baby during a midnight doughnut run instead of hopping in the car with my beau. Which means that the hardest part of being a parent is finally having to act like a grown-up, which, frankly, was long overdue anyhow.

    So, my advice would be that if you do decide to have a kid, be prepared to NOT feel yourself instantaneously overcome with misty watercolor selflessness. You will probably still feel like you, and that will mean learning to share your toys whether you like it or not. :)

    TJ Reply:

    That’s the thing exactly – it’s been built up to be so scary, and I’m sure for the mothers writing the stuff, it’s easy to say it’s scary because then you turn and hey! there’s your kid! and it’s all ok!

    Except I read about how scary it is and I turn and there’s no kid yet, only the choice of whether or not there will be one. I feel like I’m braced for an awfulness that might not even happen, or, alternately, doesn’t HAVE to happen.

    agirlandaboy Reply:

    I think it’s depicted as scary and awful because for a lot of people it really is. But there’s absolutely no way for you to know how it will be for you, right? Because you could have the easiest baby/child ever and be all “my god, I can’t believe I ever worried about that” (see also: all the endless and needless worrying I did about TTC, labor, breastfeeding, going back to work, etc. etc. etc.).

    I think the best you can do is take stock of what horrible things are most likely to happen (e.g., being awakened early every single morning and/or multiple times during the night, getting poo on your hand, ruining your vagina) and then asking yourself if you’re okay with that for the payoff of what you can only hope will be a highly lovable kid. There are plenty of parenting duties that I DO NOT LOVE, and I think that’s true of most people. One of the most mess-with-your-mind myths of motherhood is that you’ll turn into a nurturing goddess who suddenly doesn’t care about sleep or poo or sex, and that’s where you’ll get into real trouble because that’s just not realistic. So…pull out a pro and con list and fill it out according to some of the harsher stories you’ve heard about having children?

    I don’t know.

    In the end, it really is a leap of faith based on as much information as you can gather (just like marriage.) You just have to take a leap trusting that you’re going to like your kid enough for it to be worth it. (And the odds are really heavily in your favor, and not just because most parents tend to love their kids but because you and Phil are pretty awesome.)

  12. By Katie on Apr 27, 2010

    TJ, I think you’re asking the impossible, as all the above posts seem to demonstrate. The ONLY reason to step through the curtain is your kid. Without that kid, it’s just stupid, and what they don’t show you on the blogs are the people who do it for the logical reasons (continuation of the species, joining the exclusive club o’ motherhood, ’cause they’re supposed to) who end up not even liking their kid. I met those mothers in college, the kind who were expected to have baby, and you got frostbite standing next to them.

    Basically, the best advice a parent (my dad) ever gave me about this exact topic: eff the logic. You will never have enough money for a kid. You will never be responsible enough to raise a child. You will never be mature enough to raise a child. People will warn you about the crap times, and those will work out fine for you. They will tell you what the best part is, and that will be the part that you hate. The only thing you can do is love enough to have a child, and honestly, it sounds like you got that going. The rest you just stumble through and hope to God everyone makes it.

    You might also, though, want to blame the engagement for the sudden baby craze. I’ve always wanted kids, but the second the potential to actually have one of my own in the forseeable (if distant) future, babies became crack. I see a cute kid in the store and I wave like some creeper and make eye contact with my fiance in this weird, “see, they’re doing it, we could too” kind of thing. I’m sure he’s terrified. I see a newborn and just physically ache to be pregnant. My whole physiognomy is going into overdrive like Bradshaw in a Blahnik outlet, where a year ago it was just a nice thought. It’s insane, and I blame the wedding industry for stressing us out and making us vulnerable to these things.

    TJ Reply:

    I think you make a point that I hadn’t quite articulated to myself yet – that nothing is ever going to be perfectly lined up for a kid. I can keep putting myself off, waiting for more money or until we’re settled somewhere permanent or any number of things, but there’s always going to be something else. There’s just no real point in trying to talk myself down for NOW, because there’s always going to be SOMETHING.

  13. By LizP on Apr 27, 2010

    Before I had my two kids, my first child rather, I did not like kids. I didn’t know how to act around them, I didn’t know what to say to them. I didn’t like the screaming, crying of other kids. Most of all, I like my sleeps! After I had my kids, I guess my motherly instinct kicked in. Basically you become this selfless person/parent to your kids. It didn’t matter what you said or wanted pre-kids (ie: not sharing toys part), you will be sharing those toys with them. We are done with kids now. But sometimes when I look at the cute baby clothes and babies, my uterus ache, but my brain says No No no. :)

    TJ Reply:

    On one hand, I truly, truly do believe mothers when they say that – that once you have the kid, it works. That you change and it works.

    But obviously, you know how I feel on the other hand – it’s SO hard to imagine such a shift in myself, and in Phil. I’m overcome by what if – what if I’m the one that DOESN’T happen for? What if I look at my kid and I’m the same, selfish, resentful person? I know it WOULD happen, but on the same note, I worry so hard that it won’t.

  14. By Chibi Jeebs on Apr 27, 2010

    I have no practical advice, anecdotes, or opinions, but it’s like you crawled inside my head (aside from the fact that I haven’t caught baby disease (yet?!? D:)).

    TJ Reply:

    I’m not one of those arrogant d-bags that says, “Oh, you’ll change your mind!,” BUT I will say that, for me, the baby disease came out of NOWHERE like a FREIGHT TRAIN OF ILLOGICALNESS.

    Chibi Jeebs Reply:

    Given my penchant for neurotic illogicalness, this actually frightens me mightily. Seriously.

    (That it could come out of left field like that, and that strongly. Could spell the end of my relationship, really, and that scares the ever-loving hell out of me. Sorry for the over-share. :-s )

  15. By Awlbiste on Apr 27, 2010

    You can take this comment seriously or not, since you know my utter lack of inclination towards children. But I will say this anyway:

    You will never be ready, if you want to have a child and are able to love a child and fulfill a child’s needs, then you should have one. I suspect you will still have difficulty sharing your toys, and one of you might have to stay home during the midnight head soda runs, but I imagine you will later say it was worth it.

    In the same vein, as someone who plans to forever stay childfree, I beg you not to become those people who slowly edge out their childfree/less friends in favor of those who do have kids. Because that shit stinks.

    TJ Reply:

    I would hope we wouldn’t be those people. I want to say I would be the type of person who is SO kid-absorbed that I only want to hang out with other kid people. But then, look at how dog-absorbed I am right now.

    Chibi Jeebs Reply:

    Lawd, this is a post I’ve been avoiding for awhile – growing pains with my best friend and her turning all Club Mommy on me. I… yeah. HEAD GO BOOM.

  16. By Wink on Apr 27, 2010

    Parenting truly is nothing at all like what you envision — when you are in the throes of babylust and all ‘wow, did you see the cute teeny clothes at The Gap’, and “omg that is the coolest stroller ever’, ‘I’ve never seen a more beautiful baby than THAT one’, etc.

    Parenting is a hard, demanding, CONSTANT, never-ending journey of legal indentured servitude. It is also amazing, thrilling, suprising, and satisfying. Kindof like being on a rollercoaster while eating Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream at the same time.

    I was sure I didn’t want kids either — I loved spontaneous weekend trips, going out to dinner at 9 pm, non-Rated G movies, sleeping late, convertibles, and only visiting the ER when it was “free blood pressure check day”.

    BUT, I met Someone. And after I realized I wanted to spend my life with that Someone, I wanted It All. A little piece of both of us, something that we created together. Not just a successful partnership, but something tangible that only THE TWO OF US could make. Together.

    I still miss spontaneity, sleeping late, cool restaurants. But I know all of those things will come back to me someday……The experience of becoming a part of something, bigger than yourself, *PARENTHOOD*, is hard to define. And all of us will have different definitions. But to actually feel your heart getting bigger, as it makes room for that new person you are bringing into the world – it truly defies description. There are no words, and yet there are millions of words.

    I think that there are plenty of people out there who should not be parents. And they know who they are. AND there are people who should be parents. Sounds like you know who you are now too!

    Parenthood – it’s an amazing journey. You’ll never look back.

    Thanks for allowing us to weigh in — and thanks for sharing that maddening conundrum once you realize that you DO WANT TO BE A PARENT, AFTER ALL.

    TJ Reply:

    You know, I’ve never even thought about a kid as a part of me and a part of him. To be honest, I’ve hardly had a logical thought about the whole thing. I’m divided between babybabybabybaby and irrational rage at my body for its sudden betrayal. I feel like I haven’t even had a chance to think through the reality of being a parent without my body stepping in and deciding for me. Does that sound insane? I feel like it sounds insane.

    Wink Reply:

    Mother Nature. She can be a cruel and fickle woman!

  17. By Delicia on Apr 27, 2010

    Well, so far you have some great comments here. Here’s my input:

    I had my first kid as an “oops” and we got married (were going to anyway, but we stepped up our time table). We were young, and rather stupid, and although of course I love my oldest son I really really wish we had waited. Our relationship was relatively new, and we really didn’t get any “us” time before introducing a baby that would then demand so much time and energy. Add post-partum depression (which I didn’t realize at the time, but looking back now recognize) and it was rough.

    It’s probably that experience that makes me want to yell at you and go ENJOY YOUR NON-KID LIFE NOW!! probably because I want you to be able to do all the stuff I couldn’t do then.

    The good news is kids get older, and as such as someone else commented they get slightly less NEEDY and you can actually be more free to go on a midnight camp-out of Gamestop when the next WoW expansion comes out, or have a date night, or whatever.

    Now.. here comes the kicker. I have three kids.. the youngest is almost 12. I’ve been divorced and remarried.. and.. we’re thinking about having one more. THIS IS CRAZY. I have NO baby stuff any more, my salary is necessary for our existence, I KNOW what a pain in the ass getting up at all hours to feed a baby, and having no social life, and etc etc and and.. and I STILL WANT A BABY. I’m beginning to think kids are like tattoos… I hear once you get one you get this niggling little urge to keep getting more.. (no, I don’t have any tattoos.. YET!).

    Yes, my husband would like to have a kid that actually calls him “dad”.. he missed out on all their baby/toddler/first days of schools.. but to start all over again.

    The best I can tell you is that having a baby is a wild ride, it has ups and downs, and yeah your kid will drive you nuts and you’ll still love them but damn that ride is crazy fun.

    TJ Reply:

    I want so much to enjoy my non-kid life while I have it, and to this point, I really have. It’s just that, while I do have fun and enjoy my time with Phil from day to day, my body and it’s unrelenting assault on me is basically making it just… not as fun as it could be. Not that I think having a baby is FUN. But. You know. I feel like even if I DON’T have a kid right now, my kid-free life kind of has a pall over it.

  18. By RhodaB on Apr 27, 2010

    I came to this through Chibi Jeebs. I have a kid. He’s almost 14. I also have a 25 year old step son.

    Much like you I have my toys, my not so appropriate video games and movies. I like my adult dinners out. I like going to amusement parks and getting on the “big rides”. I like being a grown up. A child “cramps my style”. That being said – I adore my kid. It’s been rough up until the last few years when he’s either been old enough to leave alone to go out to dinner or tall enough to get on the big rides.

    I wouldn’t trade him for the world, but, if I had to do it again, I probably wouldn’t. And if I had waited longer the “baby disease” most likely would have passed.

    I don’t have any advice or words of wisdom. I was a woman who had never wanted kids until I had a weak moment. I hate kids. Truly. But I adore my kid with my whole heart.

    You just need to do what is right for you. And just remember that it’s pretty much a permanent decision. It’s not like a hamster that if you decide you just can’t deal with it anymore you can give to a friend. This will always be there and not just for the next 18 years. For the rest of your life. And there will be days that you ask yourself OMG WTF did I do?!! And there are the days that just make your heart melt.

    So Hi! It’s nice to meet you and all that..

    TJ Reply:

    That point you make, about baby disease passing – I’m worried about that. I mean, I could wait it out, and it might pass, and then the “window” could close, and then maybe I’d regret not having kids. Or what if the baby fever passed while I was pregnant? Oh dear. It’s the not KNOWING how I’ll feel a year from now or even 6 months from now that’s so difficult. After all, the baby fever came out of nowhere suddenly, couldn’t it go away just as suddenly?

  19. By jonniker on Apr 27, 2010

    Hm, okay. I can only, obviously, speak to my experience here. I read all the mommyblogs, and thought that motherhood was going to suck and be so hard and my whole life would change and become this unlivable disaster. Then again, I tend to focus on the negative.

    I never really had the baby fever you describe. I wasn’t ready to have a baby at all — in fact, I would say that I wasn’t ready and didn’t really want to have a baby up to and including labor. I’m not kidding. I spent all of pregnancy dreading my due date.

    And then I saw her and it was .. it was over. I was so in love, like in the movies and stupid sappy books. I was so in love with her. And though it got super hard for a while (she screamed all the time for, um, months), I was still so in love with her. Still am. Still am amazed at how much I love being a mom, how much I love her, how much fun I’m having.

    It’s hard — so hard — and some days I have more patience than others, but for me, motherhood has been so much better, easier and more fun than I ever expected it to be, but remember, my expectations were pretty low. The hard stuff is hard, yes. Like, epically hard. And the not sleeping is crazymaking.

    But then I look at her, and she’s just so beautiful and funny and smart and I never ever thought I could love someone so much. I’m having so much fun, which is surprising to me. I can’t wait for summer, so that we can do fun summery things together, and I want to see the world all over again with her.

    Being a mom is the best thing I’ve ever done. The best. I am constantly surprised by this. I’m one of those lame, weird people who loves hanging out with her family more than anything. I love staying home with her. I want more kids. I’m exhausted, beaten down and sometimes, so sick of Elmo I could scream, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. Ever.

    For example, right now, my kid’s asleep. And I miss her.

    TJ Reply:

    That whole balance you describe – where it’s so hard and there’s screaming and there’s Elmo and there’s frustration, but still you’re SO HAPPY – that’s SO hard to grasp as a non-parent. I mean, logically, rationally, I GET it. Because that’s what so many parents say. But as a non-parent, you know, I’ve only experienced being sleep deprived and annoyed and drained WITHOUT anything to make it “so worth it,” you know? It’s a concept that’s so impossible to wrap your mind around if you haven’t experienced – that aspects will be so terrible but you will be so okay with it, over all. No matter how many people explain that, it still feels like an enormous leap of faith to trust that it will happen that way, you know? It’s one of those things that you really just can’t get from babysitting or holding a friend’s kid or something. You have to HAVE one to get it.

  20. By shriek house on Apr 27, 2010

    Well, you can’t really know until you KNOW, as my SIL with her first kid keeps mumbling, despite everything I’ve said to her in the last seven years about the parenting thrillride.

    But to try to get around that.

    Honestly, there’s a LOT you will miss, maybe even resent, once you go behind that curtain. Yes, my children are hugely rewarding and I can’t imagine life without them. And yet, because I chose to have them, my life has zagged and my career has suffered and my sense of my own VALUE – in my marriage, in our culture, in the workplace, whathaveyou – has diminished. Which is a shitty thing to admit, and an even shittier thing to feel, but there it is.

    I don’t think I could honestly say it is a fair trade. It’s something I wrestle with all the time, frankly, because that “parenting is the most important job in the world” line is maybe true but in a whitewashed kind of way. I go on tediously about this on my blog all the time, and never get anywhere, because it is a really hard question to answer. You sacrifice and you gain, and I have yet to find any scales that can quantify the whole business.

    I’m not saying don’t do it — I’m just saying, if you DO do it, be ready for it to be complicated, and to have mixed feelings about it. It’s sort of like regular life, even more so: the highs are SUPER high, and the lows are just excruciatingly low. You have moments of thinking I JUST CAN’T DO THIS and you have moments of DAMN I AM MAKING AN AWESOME CONTRIBUTION TO THE UNIVERSE HERE.

    I can’t say I have no regrets or I never look back, because I do. It is hard and painful, but not impossibly so. But ultimately I think, even momentarily taking the MY-NESS of my kids out of the picture, I would choose to do it. Because I would be unhappier always wondering what if. Because it is making me stronger. Because I’m learning so much. Because my heart gets really fucking big, really fast. Because a little hand in mine is, at the end of the day, pretty much all that matters to me.

    TJ Reply:

    I feel like I’m too simple, too black and white of a person to handle that kind of mixed feelings thing. I know the whole parenting thing is so much more of a gray area, but I just feel like I will either love it or hate it and there’s no middle ground. Is that realistic? No, probably not. But this whole baby thing suddenly seems so real, since think my body is 15 minutes away from slipping itself a roofie and getting knocked up, that I’m quickly slipping off the edge into totally irrational. I feel like I’m over thinking one of the biggest decisions a person can make, if that’s even possible.

  21. By Swistle on Apr 27, 2010

    Here is the problem: having children is THE BEST THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, totally worth all the work and shittiness and everything. And the problem is, that once they’re in the world, they can be LOST. And that is so much worse than anything that can possibly be imagined, I can’t even recommend children. Knowing now that my children could be hurt or even worse, I almost wish I hadn’t had them—because the happiness of my entire remaining life has been attached to their well-being, and their well-being is such a tenuous and unpredictable thing. If any of them were [can't say it], I would want to die, and I seriously mean that. I would want to die, INSTANTLY. And so I don’t recommend having children.

    But the problem is, when you have the Baby Drive, there is nothing to be done about it. You have to have the babies, and attach your happiness to their existence, and that is the way things are. There’s no “what would you advise” or “what is sensible” or “what is the best thing” about it. I had that Baby Drive. There is no arguing with it. You will have babies, and you will have to hope for the best and keep a cyanide capsule handy.

    jonniker Reply:

    God, this is so, so true. I think about it sometimes and, no kidding, I almost BARF from the horrid anxiety of it all.

    Kristin H Reply:

    Yup, what they said. You know how you can make a wish at 4:44 or when you have an eyelash on your hand or your necklace is turned around? Maybe I used to wish for things like a happy marriage, maybe a better job, maybe that it won’t rain on my party this weekend or whatever. Now the only thing I ever wish for, ever, is that my kids live longer than I do, preferably in a happy and healthy way.

    It seems like you might be able to extrapolate some sort of “go through the curtain or not” answer from that, or maybe not. Maybe Im just neurotic.

    Miss Grace Reply:

    Also, Oh my god. Exactly this.

    Jess Reply:

    yes..yes and yes. All their hurts, all their pains, are yours in a thousand times stronger format.

    The thought of someone hurting my kids makes me insane with rage without even it having.

    One of my girlfriends said it best. Her husband was giving her shit because she was waffling over sending her son with him on an airplane to go see his parents, he cited the fact that she never worried about him like she was worrying about their son.

    She looked up at him and said calmly

    ‘I can replace you, I can’t replace him.’

    That. There. Exactly.

    TJ Reply:

    I have thought about this. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too high strung to be a parent. I wonder how parents can even bear to send their kids to school, out of their sight.

    When I was 16, my sister (14) and my brother (8) and I were all in a terrible, terrible car accident. At the time, being 16, I didn’t think so much about my parents. And now I think, my god, how close, all of us almost gone in just a second and I think about that now and I think about my hypothetical future kid and oh god, they could never drive.

    I see kids riding their bike across a street like a maniac and my heart climbs into my throat and I want to scream after them, THINK ABOUT YOUR MOTHER.

    my little brother went to college when I was 26 or so, and I wanted to call my mom and say, “How can you let him go? Don’t you know what happens at college? He’s too little. 18 is too little. He’ll do dumb things. DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT COULD HAPPEN?”

    And I realize that of course she knows. OF COURSE she does. But she has to let him go anyway. Like she had to let me go. And she’s got the three of us now, wandering around in the world all unprotected and out of her sight and that seems SO UNBEARABLE to me. How can parents even think thoughts when they can’t personally watch their kids every second?

    I mean (oh man, this is extending into novel length), when I’m in the car with Phil, I feel like I personally need to keep my eyes on the road, as a passenger, because only my vigilance will keep us safe. How is that going to translate to a child? It just sounds like agony.

    Especially, oh god, especially when you read about babies like Maddie Spohr and you have to face the fact that these things HAPPEN. And accidents happen. And it’s all so FRAGILE and unpredictable.

    I totally understand what you’re saying with the “don’t do it.” It seems SO UNBEARABLE, I feel like I need to chew on my arm just thinking about it.

    (Maybe should have been another blog post!)

    Adlib Reply:

    I’m not a mother, but I can remember the feeling of being annoyed every time mom & dad wanted me to call them when I got home to my apartment after visiting them. I always called, but now that I too am feeling the slightest naggings of having a baby, I can totally understand why they did that now.

    Maria Reply:

    Very much this.

    Though, maybe because I’m a dick, I’d still say, yes, have children. SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND AND SHARE MY PAIN.

    And joy too.

    TJ Reply:

    HA! I am on to you mothers – you want to bring us all down with you!

    I kid. Mostly. Sort of. Ok, I’m kind of suspicious.

  22. By Miss Grace on Apr 27, 2010

    I feel like no one ever really regrets having a child, because you have your child, and the unimaginable depths of love for this person who is your child. But people regret NOT having children. And there’s sort of a time constraint on these things.
    So I guess if you want to have kids and your body is telling you to have kids, I’m here to tell you that once you have the child and it’s not hypothetical any more, you’ll never once regret it and your kid will make you happy. So do what you feel.
    I think.

    brigita Reply:

    This was ultimately the argument that won me over to the baby-having side of the fence. I never had the Baby Drive, didn’t feel sprinkled with magical breeder dust during pregnancy, didn’t fall in love at first sight…but I am very glad that we had our girl (so glad we’re trying to have #2, a much more involved and $$ process than #1, for a variety of crap reasons).

    That said, if you like the way your life is right now, don’t have kids. Once that egg and sperm say their howdy-dos, you may never get it back.

    Flame Reply:

    I have to disagree. I think that there are people out there that DO regret having a kid (for whatever reason), but socially it is unacceptable to ever admit it. My mom and I have talked about this before – it might explain why some people are so horrible to their kids (blaming the kid for whatever happened/didn’t happen in the parent’s life – which is incredibly wrong since the kid didn’t ask to be born).

    Considering I do not want kids and am very happily childfree, my mom and I have some really interesting conversations back and forth about the subject.

    Miss Grace Reply:

    Okay. Let me clarify. I had an unplanned pregnancy, in less than ideal circumstances, and I have LOTS of friends from that period of time who also had unplanned pregnancies in less than ideal circumstances. And the thing that we could all agree on was that even though our lives had changed in many ways and maybe we would prefer to have our children with different people or in different times of our lives, we could never really regret anything, because of any of it was different, I wouldn’t have this SPECIFIC child, who is my child, who is the child I love to the depths of the world, and it’s impossible for me to REGRET anything that led up to that event.

    So I guess some people maybe do regret having children, but in my personal experience, I’ve never actually met someone who regretted having their child.
    I’m not sure if that makes sense.

    Awlbiste Reply:

    I agree and also take exception to people regretting not having children. Sure, some do, but many don’t.

    Miss Grace Reply:

    I didn’t say everyone regretted NOT having children. Many are happy with that choice. I just said that I personally don’t know anyone who regrets HAVING children, whereas I do know some (though not everyone) who regrets NOT. I dunno if that makes sense. I wasn’t saying that EVERYONE who doesn’t have kids regrets it, I was just saying it’s a choice that if you wait to long to make, your body makes it for you.

    TJ Reply:

    You know, when we were of the “no kids” mindset, we were also in agreement on what we called an “oops baby.” If I was to get pregnant, well, then, guess what? Parenthood. And we knew we’d get by and we knew we’d be ok and that we’d probably even enjoy it. But being okay and willing to take what comes in the case of an “accident,” and deliberately setting out to do it feels so terrifyingly different.

    Like… does this make sense? I feel like if I was to have an unplanned pregnancy, I could almost excuse myself for occasional resentment or unhappiness. But if I go into this knowingly, on purpose, I feel like any resentment will be… so unforgivable. And that the kid would KNOW. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

    Miss Grace Reply:

    That DOES make sense. Because I got have a sad sad story about how I got knocked up at the tender age of 22 via my cheating exboyfriend smack-dab in the middle of grad school and OH MY GOSH IS PARENTING HARD and everyone around me EXPECTS me to have these struggles with the single parenting and the et cetera and my but you just love your kid and do your best. So the regrets I may have, they are OUTWEIGHED by the child, but they are also EXPECTED/ACCEPTED by society, given my ‘situation.’ I know exactly what you mean.

    As an aside, I think you would really like Lora at Mainly, she’s awesome and I love her, but also. She was happy without kids for a long time and had an oops baby who is now four and she writes VERY candidly about her feelings on both sides of the subject, from that I-didn’t-want-to-have-kids-now-I-have-one perspective.

    Caitlin Reply:

    Oh, it makes TOTAL sense. I have had this exact thought.

    Adlib Reply:

    I hear ya on that TJ. Not long ago, my husband and I had kind of an “oops” moment, but it turned out I had just screwed up my birth control and skipped a period. It was a very eye-opening experience though. I think he handled it a little better than I did. Heh.

    We’re not quite at the “no kids” thing, but we’re undecided, but definitely “not now”. I think that pretty much means down the road we will have kids at some point. Of course, my husband is terrified of screwing up the kid because he had a terrible childhood. He knows it won’t be the same, but he is afraid of that happening to a potential kid of his. I, on the other hand, had what you could call a great childhood so I don’t worry as much about that, but I have to keep reassuring him that it’s us, not his parents, that would raise our kid(s).

    So. We have that to deal with.

    Also, I just turned 30 so I am kinda waiting for the Baby Fever to hit me pretty hard in the coming decade.

  23. By Motherhood Uncensored on Apr 27, 2010

    I never actually wanted to have kids. And I’m pretty sure that I’d never have “caught” the baby bug.

    I still don’t have the baby bug and I have three kids.

    Really, it’s all what you make of it. In the long run, even the hardest most challenging parts (whether that’s wiping asses all freaking day or staying up all night with them attached to your boob or like Leah said, missing out on the donut runs) are nothing in comparison to how much you love them. It’s a deep, gutwrenching love.

    And with that, I echo Swistle. The hardest part for me at least is that they are here and then can be not here. And then I can be not here and they will still be here. Death and my own mortality are now things I actually think about whereas before kids, eh, death, whatever.

    If it’s any consolation, I have no regrets at all. For all that’s been sacrificed and every bit of life that has changed, there are none. And I’d do it over again (which is obvious – did it three times) without batting an eyelash.

    Or, um, well, using a condom.

    TJ Reply:

    Hearing that someone who was never particularly baby crazy does not regret a thing does help. Like someone else mentioned, a baby isn’t like a puppy, it’s a permanent decision. Like, I consider my upcoming marriage to be a permanent decision, and I think it over every single day, but let’s be honest – I can un-wife myself. I could never realize I made the wrong choice and un-mom myself. If I have a kid, it’s permanent – I’m the mom. You have to go into it having faith that you won’t regret it, and not being someone who has always known I wanted kids, I worry if I’ll be that one who DOES regret it.

  24. By Amanda on Apr 27, 2010

    Hormones are the devil! The DEVIL!

    They kicked my ass something bad when I was 22 and our son was born in late ’02. All was going swimmingly, I had some semblance of personal freedom back, cinemas and nice restaurants were possible again! February last year, hormones punched me square in the face and our second son was born at the end of ’09. Whilst I love both boys dearly (still not a fan of other people’s children, sadly!), I miss my freedom every damn day.

    My sister has long been decided that she will not have children. In the last 3 months, hormones have flipped her baby switch into overdrive! All she can do is shake her fist at the ceiling and scream “FUCK YOU HORMONES, FUCK YOU!”.

    I think what gives us the capability of riding out the lows of parenthood is simply unconditional love. Loss of freedom and obnoxious tantrums are behind that curtain of which you speak.. both of which you can take out for a test-drive before buying! What you can’t try on is the unconditional love you’ll gain.

    Shake your fist at the ceiling and saddle up, Miss (soon to be Mrs!) TJ. Cause sounds like your hormones aren’t going to give you a choice in the matter :p.

    TJ Reply:

    High five on the devil hormones. It’s like I’m two separate people living in one body. One person has a brain, and one person has a uterus, and it uterus is WINNING to the absolute FURY of the brain.

  25. By KayleyM on Apr 27, 2010

    Lol… As I am sitting here, reading the replies about giving up our toys and sharing and acting like an adult, my husband turns on his laptop (kind of a grown-up thing) and starts playing Blackhawk Striker 2 (totally *not* a grown-up thing), announcing “We’re about to enter a war zone!”

    So I don’t really feel like I can offer any advice. We don’t have any children yet, but we were thinking about maybe giving it a try this fall. We’re still not completely sure we want any, and we like to buy stuff for ourselves and still like having our weekends to play and running around until 11pm and not worring about a sitter or who’s staying home. But I feel that longing, and he’s starting to say he does, too. So maybe.

    Sorry this wasn’t more helpful :)

    TJ Reply:

    They say that everything you give up and all the sacrifices are worthwhile, you know? But you can’t KNOW that until you have the kid, and if for some reason that turns out NOT to be the case, it’s too late! You’ve already got the kid!

  26. By Alias Mother on Apr 27, 2010

    1) I don’t like children, either. This doesn’t seem to matter as I like mine quite a lot.

    2) I remember that baby need. Jesus. I’d see a baby and my ovaries would hurt. Not kidding. They’d HURT.

    3) The only thing I can offer is that parenthood didn’t just change my life, it changed me. In deep, fundamental ways. I know more about myself, both the good (my well of patience is 100 deeper than I thought) and the bad (so is my well of rage). So, beyond the day-to-day annoyances and joys, I’d say that having children has made my life experience richer. And that’s that.

    TJ Reply:

    It really is a bit of a boost to see that people who are much like me – not really liking kids, experiencing ovary rebellion – have a success story. No matter how many parents say “it’s so worth it!,” there will always be that niggling fear in me that I will be the one who can’t stand it.

  27. By Caitlin on Apr 27, 2010

    Good LORD, thank you so much for writing this. I bug my friends with kids about this, ah, not infrequently. (Hey, Jonniker, remember that awesome email you sent me a while ago? I still go back and read it.).
    God, TJ, the curtain metaphor. So perfect. It HAS been pulled back. And it can be frightening for us without kids to see what’s back there.

    Reading about parenthood on blogs has not helped the issues/fears I already had about whether or not I should have kids. But some things that have helped me as I obsess over this: 1) Blogs are there in part to vent. I know that many people who lay out the worst of the worst about parenthood are better for it because they have a place to vent and be honest and then they can go back to their kids who they love feeling a little more fresh. That’s not a bad thing. But it can be scary from where we’re sitting. 2) I am sure parenthood will be tough, if it happens for me. But life ain’t all a bed of roses now. I mean, my life is great, and I am really happy. But there are hard parts. And it helps me to think that while there will be MORE hard parts, some of the toughness will also be traded for different kinds of toughness. AND there will be some parts that are just far better than ever before. If that makes sense.

    Oh, and yeah. The hormones. Gaaaaaah DAYUM! Biology is a one tough son of a nutcracker.

    TJ Reply:

    You know what is weird, though? I feel like, without the whole curtain being pulled back thing, I might not have entertained the idea of kids seriously at all, biology or not (OH GOD IT IS SO ONE TOUGH SON OF A NUTCRACKER). It’s just that as hard as it makes parenting sound, it also makes it sound like a much more complex and layered experience than I would have assumed before reading so many blogs. And it’s also enabled me to think of mothers as actual people, you know? That sounds lame. But I’m talking about pre-blogs. And I’ve been blogging for like, 11 years. So that’s a long time. But, you know. I’m rambling. I’m saying that while the behind the curtain area looks terrifying, it also looks like more than 10 years ago me assumed motherhood really was. Like, not totally lame and boring.

    Diane Reply:

    Reading your reply here has just made me have a thought, in that it never occurred to me that my mom was an ACTUAL PERSON until I had my daughter. I mean, obviously I KNEW she was an actual person, but the concept of her having been a person BEFORE I was a person, of her being a person OUTSIDE of being a mom just hit me all in that moment they were like, “Yup. That’s your baby. Now take her home, no questions asked!”

    And it’s like it all makes so much more sense now. The stuff I maybe resented her for is all washed away, because, my goodness, this isn’t easy! That’s why she did what she did the way she did it! (I’m not talking anything major here, but the stuff like making me call her when I got somewhere or not letting me ride my bike to my friend’s house even though all the other kids could, etc.)

    So I’m not saying HAVE A KID SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND YOUR MOM BETTER; I’m only bringing it up because this was so freaking surreal for me. Hey! Moms are actual people! When you have a kid, you don’t stop being your own person with wants and needs and desires! (And before I had kids, I seriously thought my mom was amazing. If some asshole on the internet had tried to tell me I wasn’t fully APPRECIATING HER, I would have smacked them silly. But then I was all HOLY SHIT about how much more I appreciated everything she did and gave up for us.)

    (Also, I’m not saying people without kids don’t appreciate their moms. Just talking about my OWN experience. Make of it what you will.)

    M.Amanda Reply:

    When I got my own house, I kept it sparkling clean. I would wonder just how lazy was my mom – God love her – that I grew up in a dusty, cluttered house where the carpet got vacuumed maybe every other month. Around the time my daughter started crawling, I had a lightbulb moment. Dude, she had four kids and a husband who would rather gouge out an eyeball than pick up a friggin’ broom. Considering how much I resent not having time to blow on the stuff I love to do (which is NOT housework) with my one kid, I’ve gotta give her credit for what she did.

    Also, since I think I turned out okay, it made me realize it’s okay to not be The Perfect Mother and have moments of selfishness. That’s a sanity-saver.

  28. By Jenni on Apr 27, 2010

    There is just so much love. Do it.

  29. By moojoose on Apr 27, 2010

    Coming from a slightly different perspective here. I have two stepkids, but no bio kids. Sometimes it’s like I have all the sucky parts and none of the good parts. A LOT of the times it’s like that really. All the tantrums and anger and messes, but no kid that looks at me like I’m their world that makes it all worth it. For a long time, after we’d drop them off, I’d think, I don’t want to have any of my own if it’s so sucky. Yeah, we get to have all the fun and then dump them off with mom, but gosh, from my perspective, with no love, it just wasn’t worth it.

    And then we went two months without seeing them.

    The first time after that two month period that we saw them, we were five minutes down the road from picking them up and they were yammering away in the back seat and I just silently cried. And not because I was sad that it was all back, but because I realized I loved them and that I was SO HAPPY to have it all back and that the empty feeling of not knowing when we’d see them again, even if they’re not mean was way worse than not having them.

    So now I’ve peeked behind the curtain, walked around even, and come back to my side. Multiple times. And you know what? I just want back there. I want my own, and not to replace the emptiness but because that feeling of love, of my heart being SO FULL that I think it might burst…I don’t think I can live without having it every day for the rest of my life.

    And you know, I like my late night pops and Comicons, too. And I’m pretty sure that’s why I got the husband who will go get a pop for me in the middle of the night and friends who will babysit. Just saying.

    TJ Reply:

    Isn’t it weird, how it kind of creeps up, and creeps up, and creeps up and all of a sudden, there it is? And it’s just… inarguable?

    moojoose Reply:

    More than weird. I kept thinking “yeah, I love em, sure, whatever” and then that one day it just socked me in the gut and I was like, oh god, I LOVE them.

  30. By moojoose on Apr 27, 2010

    Err…even if they’re not MINE.

  31. By Danell on Apr 27, 2010

    Ohhh, you’ve got some really great comments! (“You will have babies, and you will have to hope for the best and keep a cyanide capsule handy” and “Shake your fist at the ceiling and saddle up” being my favorites…)
    I never gave much thought to having kids until Baby Disease struck. Then it was kind of surreal…more of an along-for-the-ride kind of experience. Good enough ride to do it again, though. =) (I have a one year old and a four year old now.)

    TJ Reply:

    Surreal! That’s such a good word for the whole situation. Half of me is just in a constant state of bewilderment while the other half of me just carries on, thinking about cloth diapers and co-sleeping and breast feeding and what order to feed foods in. INSANE.

  32. By Kailen on Apr 27, 2010

    I’m not a parent; and I admit that I haven’t read all the other comments yet, I just want to say what I want before I forget:

    I think you two would make great parents, because you are both very loving people (like not harming Brinkley when he stole Furry Murray) and while parenting is tough as hell, I think you could do it.

    Parenting is definitely not for me, though! At least not now. I can’t stand the thought of some creature (puppy, child) that takes more than a couple weeks to potty train. Plus changing diapers, cleaning puke… gross. Not for me at all. Something to factor in, I suppose.

    I apologize for rambling. TL;DR version: It can suck but I think you’d be good at it, while you’d be giving up some things, you would also be gaining quite a bit.

    TJ Reply:

    It’s so funny you mention Brinkley because oh man. We could never harm him. The idea of someone harming him infuriates me. The idea of his FEELINGS BEING HURT brings me near to tears. Insane? Yes. It makes me wonder if there’s actually space in me for liking a baby, so much is dedicated to Brinkley. But as much as you can’t compare a kid to a dog, the insane devotion I feel towards another creature and the idea of how impossible it is to imagine my life without him is something I didn’t really expect to ever experience, so I suppose that even though it’s hard for me to imagine feeling like that about a kid, it could very well be possible.

    Kailen Reply:

    Even though I say harm, I pretty much mean a smack on the butt or snoot. Heh, nothing serious.

    And no, kids aren’t like dogs, because you can train dogs.

  33. By Flame on Apr 27, 2010

    I can’t help with the “baby rabies” as it’s something I have never felt (I’m 33 and I think I have no biological clock). I have heard a lot of my friends state that they don’t like other kids, only their own. I also see the people (like my mother in law) who love every single kid they meet and gush over them and look ridiculous. I don’t get it. For me, the choice is clear and I will not have them. They are not the right fit in our lives (my husband is happy being an uncle… I could care less that I’m an aunt).

    My mom must have been ahead of her time because since I was a teenager, she told me how hard it was to raise kids. She had 3… and I was a nightmare! My mom was teaching/helping parents of newborns through a hospital program and she loved to use me as an example. I had one hell of a temper, did not like to be held, was very independant and drove my mother crazy. (My mom used to call her mother and cry and ask her if it was ok to not like your own kid. Granny kept telling her everyone has times they don’t like their kid.) We butted heads on EVERYTHING! We fought constantly until I got married and moved out of the house at 23… but I love and respect my mother and she did a fantastic job. We are extremely close now. It’s funny to talk about now and hear the stories, but we made each crazy because we each wanted our own way all the time.

    My sister was the extreme opposite. She was quiet, lovable and wanted to cuddle all the time. Probably every mothers dream come true. My brother fell inbetween the two temperaments.

    You don’t know what you are going to get. Biology tells you to love that child no matter what… your brain sometimes fights that. All you can do is your best and ask for help from others when you need it. Whether you have kids or not is up to you, but whatever you do, just think it through and you’ll make the right decision for you.

    TJ Reply:

    I am not a kid lover. I feel like that by saying I’m not a kid lover, I’m revealing the fact that I’m not cut out to be a parent, you know? I’m not impressed by or amused by children in general. I mean, everything you’re saying makes sense to me. But yet, there is biology, knowing on the door anyway.

  34. By Jessi on Apr 27, 2010

    Here is what I would say to you:

    Yeah, sometimes being a mom sucks. Sometimes the suckiness is a little overwhelming and you sit in the floor crying and asking yourself why you ever did this shit. That’s true. You know what else is true? Sometimes being married sucks and I sit on the hallway floor and cry and scream, “Why the hell did I marry you anyway.” Sometimes being gainfully employed sucks and I hide in the bathroom to wonder why I can’t just stay home and be with my kids. Sometimes being a blogger sucks and I wonder why the hell I can’t just ignore the writer’s block and go to bed. Sometimes being a homeowner sucks and I wonder why I can’t call the f’in landlord and explain that the furnace just blew the hell up and it’s twelve degrees and I’ve got BABIES for the love of God. Sometimes being a woman sucks and I wish I never got my first period.

    Sometimes just being sucks and you have two choices. You can hide in your house and refuse to experience any of the outright joy and love and amazing power that the world has or you can suck it up and perservere through the sucking.

    Understand, I am not telling you that you should have a kid. Kids are important, too important to stumble blindly into. You should think about it and you should make a choice based on what you want for yourself and your life (and then, because sometimes kids are something you stumble into, you should prepare yourself to get what you don’t want, just in case). What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t let the mommyblogging whining and bitching scare you. Because, yeah, sucks, but also, yeah, it’s so worth it. So, so worth it. Trite or not.

    TJ Reply:

    “Sometimes just being sucks.” Dude. That makes so much sense. And it’s so true. And wow, I am really thinking on that right now.

  35. By Wulfa on Apr 27, 2010

    Oh lol. The baby urge. My thoughts on the baby issue? I never liked them never wanted to hold them never wanted one. And then one day I turned to my husband and said “We should have a baby.” And so it happened. Right then, actually, because after the deed I decided it wasn’t the right time. 9 months later our daughter was born.

    It was hell on earth. We were in a new city, only had one car so I was unable to leave the house, had no friends, and my daughter had colic for the first 4 months of her life. And if you had told me that’s what it was gonna be like I’m not sure I would’ve had a kid. But going through it? You just take one day at a time and you get through it. Because you have to. And you find the joy where you can.

    My second son was born while my husband was away at basic. I still have people ask me how I coped with two young ones alone. Same thing. One day at a time. And is it truly horrible? It all depends on your perspective. There is a season for everything. Eventually I will have time to myself again. Eventually I will be able to stay up past 10 p.m. But having my munchkins has enriched every part of my life and has forced me to grow up and become a better me.

    And the two pieces of advice that I actually found useful? 1) Breastfeeding hurts like the dickens for the first 6 weeks but if you can make it that far it stops hurting. 2) Your experience will differ from everyone else’s and you HAVE to go with your gut. This child was given to you for a reason.

    Oh gosh this is long. I totally sympathize with the resentment. I already have two kids, can’t have another one right now BUT there are plans in the works for down the road, and I STILL get annoyed when I see cute baby clothes or a new baby. Why aren’t they mine?

    And as for whether you should go for it … only you can decide that, obviously, but the baby longing only gets worse. And when you’re old and dying it probably would be nice to have someone at the funeral :P

    TJ Reply:

    I can only marvel at how you talk about how hard it sucks, only to then go on and say you had another one. And that you think about MORE. I think that says a lot. Both about the reality of having kids AND the reality of how much we can really handle vs how much we THINK we can handle.

  36. By Dammerung on Apr 27, 2010

    Before reading this post I thought I should comment so that my comment wasn’t biased by any of your confluted argumentations!

    You should have 23 kids…. because as I’ve been told by my mother over and over and over again the best way to perpetuate your culture/lifestyle is to out breed the others who have it wrong.

    This argument has nothing to do with the desire for more grandkids I’m sure and as such is perfectly applicable to TJs.

    TJ Reply:

    Man, you just brought on a whole new level of thought. I don’t care for other people’s kids. What if I have a kid, and then someday that KID has a kid, and I don’t care about my kid’s kid? WAY TO LAYER IT ON.

    Adlib Reply:

    Well at least you can give them candy and then send them home with the parents to deal with. Heh.

  37. By Barb @ getupandplay on Apr 27, 2010

    Whoa. This is so huge to tackle, but there have been some great comments already. I will just address one little part. I have a kid (13 months) and I always wanted kids- just so you know where I’m coming from. (And I read Swistle’s blog which is how I wandered over here.)

    Every day- no exaggeration- one of us will look at the other and say how much more fun life is with the addition of our son. Seriously. Even though there’s less freedom (especially for the stay at home parent), less spontaneity, less money, there is so much MORE love, joy, and FUN. Really, honestly. So if liking your current lifestyle is one of the main ‘cons’, I say it’s still worth it (sorry to trot out the trite phrase) because your idea of fun changes.

    TJ Reply:

    I hope, or find myself hoping, that having a kid would be fun, and then try to bring myself down to earth by reminding myself that having a kid is SERIOUS BUSINESS and I shouldn’t have one just because it seems like it might be fun. Not JUST because it might be fun. But a little bit because it might be fun should be ok, right?

    Dammerung Reply:

    Making kids is fun.

  38. By Ruune on Apr 27, 2010

    I totally went the other way – I always assumed I would have kids – my husband and I talked about it before marriage, decided how many and all that jazz. And after we were married a couple of years we both kind of simulatneously said “Actually, not really on my priority list”.

    Like you, we were well within the window and in no hurry to decide, and I have always half expected that the urge or the hormone thing would happen. But it hasn’t so far after 13 years or so and we will soon reach the end of our window.

    And I am okay with that. I always think that if all else fails with big life decisions, try to figure out whether you will regret it. Without the urge, without the hormones and enjoying my life as it does, I don’t think that I will regret it if we don’t. But at the same time, my sister asked me to go backup for her three (to be nominated to look after them if something happens to her and her hub) and we didn’t hesitate. Because we would totally have regretted saying no to that. So it is not that we find the idea of a family repugnant, it is just not for us at the moment.

    So for what it’s worth – if you are going to regret not finding out for yourself then that seems like a good reason to me.

    TJ Reply:

    That’s how we were before my sudden change of heart. Or of uterus. We just felt no real pressing urge to have one, and we were cool with how things were, and very happy with each other’s company. I kind of feel like I’m being a traitor to last-year-us to suddenly change my mind – like I’m saying that our life isn’t enough and that HE isn’t enough and just us isn’t enough. I just feel like a traitor to the me I thought I knew, you know?

    Ruune Reply:

    FWIW the annoying downside of choosing not to have kids does get more annoying as time goes on and you are married longer. All our parents notionally accepted our position but still kept asking. I broke them out of it by telling them we had found out we were infertile and preferred not to talk about it (because, seriously, sort of a minefield question to ask really).

    However, we tend to find that family gatherings are organised less with a view to our convenience than to my siblings who breed and stuff like that. So even if you think you are a traitor to one year ago you, maybe part of you just wants to rescue 5 years from now single you(se).

    Awlbiste Reply:

    I am totally feeling this from my family (extended, not immediate) and I’m only 25. Seriously. That’s the part that’s not fair. But just the same as I won’t go on some crazy fad diet to be accepted, I won’t have kids (freakin KIDS oh my god) just to fit in better.

    And the thing I mentioned earlier about couples with kids edging out non-kid singles/couples? That HAPPENS. A LOT. And really blows.

    Dammerung Reply:

    Pfft thats because us kid-having-there-of people are better. Seriously you guys should all have to walk on the other side of the road whenever we go out and stuff ;P

    Ruune Reply:

    Oh the stories I could tell about this sort of BS with families. It’s not malicious, and I do get what is behind it, but it can grate a bit. For those outside of immediate family I don’t give a shit.

  39. By cindy w on Apr 27, 2010

    Hmm. I wanted to have a baby since like, oh, forever. So that was always understood. Like you, I had to wait until after our wedding to go off birth control because Dave is sensible and was all, “for the love of God, woman, how about one major life transition at a time?” So I went off birth control about 5 months after we got married. Then it took 7 months after that to get pregnant. And oh, that sucked. I cried. My cousin announced she was pregnant, and I cried more. Friends had babies, and I was mad & resentful & stompy & weepy. But, you know, then we got pregnant, and then there she was, and… well. Insert rosy mama/baby/love cliche here.

    But, I don’t think that everyone HAS to have babies. My sister doesn’t have kids. She’s also single and she’s turning 40 later this year, so it’s unlikely that she ever will. And she seems to be fine with that. She’s lived in Italy and NYC and she travels all over the world. She is the world’s most kick-ass aunt, EVER, and I think that’s enough for her. She’d have to make a lot of sacrifices to have a baby, and it isn’t worth it to her. And you know? That’s fine.

    I seriously cannot sit here & tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. It’s such an intensely personal decision. On the plus side, based on what you write about Phil, it sounds like you have a pretty awesome partner there who’d be a great dad and co-parent. On the minus side, yeah, there are things you’d have to give up. Like silence. Is it worth it? Absolutely. But is it the right thing for you? You & Phil are the only ones who can decide that.

    TJ Reply:

    I always wanted the life of people who don’t have kids for myself. You know, disposable income, doing what I want to do when I want to do it. I can still HAVE that life. I haven’t gotten pregnant yet, you know? But I think the fact that, like you, I find the waiting unbearable – waiting until the wedding, and then waiting however long it takes after that, and then waiting NINE MORE MONTHS on top of that – and how much just thinking about that length of time makes me want to throw myself on the floor, says that as attractive as that life may be, it doesn’t look like it is going to be for me.

    One bonus, though – we’re military, so we’ll get to live in different countries anyway! Heh.

  40. By -R- on Apr 27, 2010

    I am not a baby person. I don’t really like babies. I think they’re boring. I never had baby fever. But at one point, I just felt like I was more pro having a baby than against having a baby, so I had one, and I have never regretted it for a second. It was the best decision I have ever made. I love my own son and think he is so fun and interesting.

    So my opinion is that if you have baby fever, you should have a baby at some point. Even if you don’t like kids, you will like your own kid. Yes, having a kid is difficult, but you shouldn’t let the fact that something is difficult stop you from doing it.

    TJ Reply:

    I find it so comforting that so many people have fallen victim to the baby fever. It’s lame, but I feel like I’m not even the me I thought I knew, and some days I literally feel insane. Just insane. It’s VERY helpful to know that it happens to other women and it IS normal.

  41. By Shannon on Apr 27, 2010

    I think it’s a leap of faith no matter how you feel about having kids. If you choose not to have kids you have to have faith that you will not regret it some day. If you really want to be a mother then you have to have faith that you will like it as much as you hope you will. If you aren’t as passionate about it, you are having faith that you will like YOUR child, even if you aren’t overly fond of other peoples’ kids. The truth is, you WILL like your own kid, if you choose to have one. Biology has some kind of trigger that makes you like your kid. It’s bizarre! :) If you choose to have a child, there will be sacrifices and your life will not be the same. Different, but not worse. While it’s true that blogging has opened the door for moms everywhere to voice many of their darker feelings towards motherhood, but that doesn’t mean that the more fluffy and cliched stuff isn’t actually real. It’s just that now people are able to see both sides more clearly. Every job has ups and downs. Many people would never sign up for most jobs if they clearly saw all the negative aspects of them! But when they are doing that job five years down the road they wouldn’t choose not to do it.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. It takes a leap of faith no matter what you choose. Maybe that’s utterly UNhelpful but there it is. :)

    TJ Reply:

    Leap of faith is exactly it, because how do you even know for CERTAIN that that trigger for liking your own kid will go off? I mean, everyone says it does, but it’s a hard concept to grasp if it hasn’t actually happened to you. So to know, you have to do it, and you can’t KNOW before you do it, and there is my circular dilemma. Heh.

  42. By Morrissimo on Apr 27, 2010

    OK, well… these comments are all fantastic and there is pretty much nothing of value I can add that hasn’t already been said at least once. I was just telling my wife (we have three kids under the age of 4; most recent arrived this Feb) that the few little nuggets of wisdom that I was going to grace you all with …yeah, they’ve already been posted :D And presented more succinctly and well thought-out, too.

    TJ: you have an amazing audience. There is great wisdom in these comments. In accessible down-to-earth packaging, no less.

    TJ Reply:

    Seriously. I feel both more and less certain at the same time, due to such excellent comments. More than I ever would have expected.

  43. By DDStL on Apr 27, 2010

    You kind of already know my history with the whole baby thing. I actually didn’t think I wanted kids early in life, changed my mind leading up to marrying hubby, tried pretty much every medical option aside from actual ovarian surgery over the last 9 years, and spent a new vehicle’s worth of cash all to end up with mother nature giving me the finger. So, all I can really speak to is the anger part at other people with kids. No matter what you decide, you CAN get past that…but it’s not easy. I still get enraged reading about crack-head parents that do stupid shit to their kids, but the average woman in Target with a new baby doesn’t phase me any more.

    But I’ll warn you, my method of moving forward isn’t for everyone. (In fact, I hope this isn’t an option for you because that just means you have nothing but good people in your life.) I simply directed all of my anger at one person. And do I feel guilty about it? Not one goddamned bit. This woman is a conniving, manipulative, unscrupulous troll who happens to be my sister-in-law. And her husband (hubby’s brother) is her perfect match. I try to remember to at least feel sorry for their troll kids because she will suck the life out of each of them as they get older. Just as she has mooched, swindled, and parasitically infested my FIL (who is oblivious because it’s his “baby boy”). Occasionally I do feel some feelings of guilt about the kids (only the kids) but other times I see a picture of the little girl and think ‘oh man, that poor thing is going to look just like her mother & grandmother’.

    So I guess what I’m saying is…I used a straw troll to channel my anger and it worked? /shrug At least I don’t cry in anger any more. But hubby can still reduce me to a puddle in a heartbeat if he talks about missing the 6 we lost. Hormones suck all the way around…srsly.

    TJ Reply:

    I admire the fact that you’ve moved forward at all, no matter what the method, really. At the moment, with the insane, illogical way I feel right now, not even like MYSELF, I feel like moving forward, in any way, by any method, would be impossible.

  44. By Jennifer H on Apr 27, 2010

    I love my three year old son with all my heart. Everyday I think I love him a little more, and I wonder how that is possible. He is truly an incredible person.
    BUT… I was (similar to you) pretty sure I wasn’t going to have kids (for similar reasons) until the baby-fever developed. And despite the fact that I was in my mid-30s, set in my ways, enjoying my sleep, didn’t want to share my toys, and needed fertility drugs to get pregnant, we went for it. And to be honest, it was 10 times harder than I thought it would be. There have been plenty of times that I have resented his very existence, and his existence is my doing! (please don’t judge my selfishness too harshly – he has medical issues that are challenging). Another moment of honesty: parenthood has been really hard on our marriage. Its easy to get along and be gracious to one another when there is enough (enough money, enough time, enough sleep, etc) but when everything is in short supply, it gets harder. We’d been married 10 years, but never really had a difficult patch in the marriage – it was a real eye opener.
    Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

    TJ Reply:

    There’s SO much to think about on top of just how we would handle having a kid, like you pointed out. Like what it would do to the two of us and our relationship – which, while solid, is relatively new, compared to so many other people. Its not just worrying and wondering about adding a kid into things as they stand, it’s thinking about how everything will change, and things won’t be the same at all for our relationship – so it’s thinking about adding a kid into a relationship that will be completely different from the relationship we know now.

    Caitlin Reply:

    First of all, I feel like commenting on ALL OF THESE COMMENTS AND YOUR REPLIES to them, because YES. Just, very, YES. So much yes. And thank you. I am infatuated with reading these comments.

    I do have to comment on this particular thing: I have a similar situation, in which we have only been together a few years. And we are realizing that there is still so much to learn about each other, and about what being ‘us’ means. Not in a BAD way, or an ‘OMG, who did I marry?!’ way. Just in the way that it is, in the way that it takes time no matter how perfect you are for each other.
    Friends of ours who have a 9 y.o. and a 14 y.o. said that they think it’s a good idea (obviously not in all cases, but for people like us or them, who were either young when they got married or not together that long when they got married) to wait 5 years before kids. They said if they hadn’t waited, they couldn’t have done it. When I first heard this, I thought “well, but you guys were young.”. But the longer I’m married, the more I realize that there is a lot of truth in this. Keeping this in mind helps me put the brakes on the baby rabies (OMG. LOVE THIS. Am going to use it all the time.).

    Not that we will necessarily have kids, or necessarily wait 5 years – but I want to make sure our relationship is in a rock solid place before we get there. (not that we’re not solid! it’s just, you know, marriage is work and people are complicated, and ETC.)

    TJ Reply:

    The idea of waiting for a while SOUNDS so logical, but my insides totally rebel against it. That may pass, of course. But the fact that he’s in the military won’t, and that also factors in to when we would have kids. It’s a lot to go into, but for a number of reasons, it seems like the sooner the better, for us, particularly, but also NOT the best time, because we need our “us” time. It’s just not lining up. At all.

    Caitlin Reply:

    Yes! My husband is military, too. Uh, which, you know, means I am also military (which is so weird for me). I totally empathize. GAH, so hard how your life is not your own at times.

  45. By lenniejane on Apr 27, 2010

    Great, now I want one after reading all these comments. Thanks a lot, TJ.

    But seriously, everyone has said amazingly insightful things. After seeing my sister lose her first child (she had a first trimester miscarriage) and seeing her with her son now, it’s like looking into the face of a miracle every day. And yes it can be hard on a marriage, but it has only made hers stronger because yeah, it’s easy to accept someone when they are nice and chipper all the time, but to accept them when they are at their worst (tired, angry, annoyed, sad) THAT is where a strong marriage will thrive.

    Good luck in your decision making. There’s no wrong answer on this one.

    TJ Reply:

    Well, I think we totally have part of that in the bag, because I totally gave up being nice and chipper about a week and a half after I moved in. I swat at him like an angry bear when he tries to hug me every morning. I suppose that if things got worse, I could use BOTH hands to swat at him…

  46. By Anyabeth on Apr 27, 2010

    There is no logical reason to have a child.

    I kept waiting to come up with one, and felt borderline pathologically ashamed that I couldn’t come up with one but there really is no good reason to have one other than you want one.

    I went from ambivilent to baby fever pretty quickly. And the time it took to have a baby was much longer than one would have hoped. And when I was pregnant I spent a lot of time wondering if I had made a huge mistake. But I have no regrets. The bad things are bad. But the good things are better. At least for me. I would probably have more enthusiasm but I spent the day covered in puke from the fruit of that ambivilence so . . .

    It will change you. And your husband. And your marriage. I guess if there is one thing that is something you have to be ok with.

    TJ Reply:

    You’re right. Sitting around and waiting for a real “reason” to go through with it, one that can’t be poked full of holes, is just never going to happen. What makes it so hard is that it’s so easy to come up with logical reasons NOT to have a kid. Too bad baby fever will have NONE of that logic!

  47. By Lori on Apr 27, 2010

    Well, I skimmed through the last five or ten comments, so I’m really not sure if I’m coming from a different place than everyone else or not, but I’ll tell you my story anyway.

    I’m not a parent, but I spent a ginormous chunk of my life desperately wanting kids. I had the baby fever of which you speak. For YEARS, for as long as I can remember. My cousins had kids, and I was GREEN, oh my God, so very jealous. My brother got married and had kids, and I could hardly breathe for the envy. I can’t tell you how much I ached to have a baby.

    Then, something changed. I graduated from college and started teaching. My fiance and I broke up. It was horrible. I hated teaching. HATED it. The kids, for the most part, were good kids, and I am still close to many of them, though I am no longer teaching. The stress nearly killed me. Seriously, last year at this time, my blood pressure spiked to stroke levels (I was 34). I just couldn’t deal.

    I taught for three years. I love the kids with whom I have kept in touch. I love my niece and my nephew so very much. Even so, I no longer want to parent. I still have twinges. I’m engaged to a different man now, and he definitely wants to remain child-free, so that makes it easier for me when I have the twinges. I just couldn’t do it, for SO many reasons.

    My personal opinion is that people shouldn’t have children unless they really, really want them. If you really, really do, then maybe you should. :)

    TJ Reply:

    What’s so hard right now is trying to determine whether the biological, uncontrollable, illogical “baby fever” is the same thing as really, really wanting kids, you know? I’m only 28, I haven’t been alive long enough to have had my body rebel on me in such a way before. How do I know if it’s “real,” or just more of a passing hormonal phase, like puberty? I don’t feel like I know how to work my logical mind on this subject anymore!

  48. By Alison on Apr 27, 2010

    I am going to throw my $0.02 in. I am not a mother. I am a college undergrad looking at plenty more years of schooling, so a child is not in the immediate future but in the distant future(fingers crossed).

    I have always wanted a child, probably two. When I was younger, I was GUNG HO. I loved babies and dollies and all that. I love other people’s babies. Heck, I’m a human development major so I can learn about babies (and other cool stuff too).

    But now? Now that I have seen and read about the heartbreak that can happen and the reality of bringing something you love SO much into the world and the difficulties of just day-to-day parenting and the uncertainty of it all, I am much more anxious and concerned about it. But, when all is said and done, I think it’ll be worth it.

    I have no idea where I read this or heard this, but I know someone said once that having a child is letting your heart live outside your body. That takes insane courage. I’m not saying people who choose not to have children don’t have courage, they just don’t test theirs in the same ways. (No judgment here from me.)

    TJ Reply:

    Anxious and concerned. There are two good words that illustrate how I feel now, but never would have anticipated feeling a few years ago. There’s so so so so SO much more information now, personal experiences and real, unwhitewashed reality that I feel like deciding to have a kid is SO much more weighty than it was at any time before.

  49. By Julie on Apr 27, 2010

    We didn’t plan on kids, but one insisted on turning up anyway (the pill is only 98% effective). Pregnancy sucked, and the first year was pretty hellish in the vomit and no-sleep departments.

    But as the years went by, the kid got cooler and cooler. At 5 years old, she’s the most amazing and precious thing in our lives. As someone else posted above, the thought of something horrible happening to her scares me shitless.

    I watch her sit and compose a story, carefully forming each letter and spelling each word, her brain and body working in harmony, and I’m amazed at the complexity of this little perfect person we’ve created.

    We’re very very lucky. She’s healthy, smart, pretty, well-mannered and makes friends easily. It could easily have been very different, and I wouldn’t have loved her less, but I would probably worry even more for her if it was possible.

    We’ve made sure not to give up our coupleness. An analogy of a couple being a tree, and children being the fruit of the tree is useful – because if the tree is sick, the fruit will sicken too. So we make sure to keep our relationship thriving. And even while hubby and I so absorbed in each other, the kid has remarked “We’re so rich, because our house is so full of love”.

    If anything happened to her, it would be devastating. However, we wouldn’t have another child. It’s not children we love. It’s *her*.

    Ultimately (and obviously) the decision of whether or not to have kids is up to you and Phil. I think you’d be great parents, but it is a big step, and parenthood does change the way you view the world irrevokably.

    TJ Reply:

    It seems like you’ve struck a good balance and really made the best out of what could have been, for a different couple, a very unhappy situation. The more and more I hear the experiences of others, the more likely I am to believe that it’s worth it, but the more and more issues to consider are coming up as well. Like, for example, Phil and I aren’t particularly great at “couple time” as it stands now, and we have nothing preventing us from having as much as we want. More effort and more everything would have to be spent in ALL areas of our life. It’s a lot more to think about than just “would I like the kid?”

    Julie Reply:

    For two people who aren’t good at “couple time”, you sure seem to have a lot of fun and enjoy being around each other a lot :)

    People always told me that a good marriage is hard work. Sometimes it feels like we’re cheating though, because we have an awesome marriage and it’s so EASY.

    It helps that we’re both sulkers though, so if something pisses us off, we go to our respective caves and fume in silence until we’re ready to kiss and make up, so there’s never any harsh words to regret, stew over, or be rehashed in further arguments.

    But if what makes you work is just enjoying each other’s company, having fun together, sharing the same sense of humour (hehe the hat still makes me giggle), letting each other know how much you love them, and communicating on the important stuff – that doesn’t have to go away because there’s a kid on the scene.

    And if you keep that love and fun alive and on display in the home, you provide excellent role models for the kids’ expectations of what a decent relationship should be like.

    Ruune Reply:

    I know this is off topic (but this is such a great thread) but we have observed a simple rule re couple time (and we don’t have kids, just busy lives). We have a regular (mostly weekly) “date night” – it is when we consciously say that the night is time to spend with each other and what do we want to do. It doesn’t mean that we won’t necessarily just watch old episodes of JAG while eating takeaway, but if we do so we do it because it is the way that we want to spend time with each other, not just because we collapsed on the couch within reach of the remote and the phone/delivery menu.

  50. By squandra on Apr 27, 2010

    Oh, dear. I’m 27 … Hoping this isn’t what I can expect out of 28. What a tough decision!

    I’m still roughly where you were, until recently. I don’t want children. WE don’t want children. I’d be pissed, too, if I suddenly did. I have five nieces and nephews and my brothers are proof that yes, it works. I just don’t want it to work, for me. I don’t want the Elmo, the frustration, or the happy that balances it all out. I adore my life already; I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. If my hormones go and put a pall over that I’m going to be real upset.

    Not to mention that, as a couple, it is not part of our deal. We’re both free to change our minds, of course, but we’re also free to opt out if that happens. We took our best guess at the life we’ll want to build together, and it doesn’t involve kids.

    ANYWAY. I think I agree with Anyabeth when she says, “There really is no good reason to have one other than you want one.” And you want one! So … Go for it?

    TJ Reply:

    Ha! I doubt everyone experiences the same thing at 28, but I will say that it just came out of nowhere, like a freight train. And it DOES piss me off!

  51. By Tal on Apr 27, 2010

    I say go for it. If you really do end up with a really crappy kid, you can always feed it to Brinkley.

    TJ Reply:

    Oh, don’t be silly. Brinkley has an extremely sensitive stomach! I won’t even feed him the crap peanut butter I feed Phil some times.

    Tal Reply:

    Well, you can’t feed it to Phil, can you?
    Then again, I’m sure there are needy dogs somewhere who would be delighted to get some free baby.

  52. By Chris on Apr 28, 2010

    Just do it. One of the bad things about blogging is how it encourages overanalytical introspection. In the old days – you’d have these doubts…You might air them with a few friends, you’d get advice, in the end you’d decide. Now, there’s just so much of everyone else’s perspective out there it’s sometimes easy to lose your ow perspective. You’ve had loads of good advice, but most everyone’s in agreement – there’s no ‘one fits all’ and no way of being certain ahead that you’ll be a good parent / will have good kids. I have older kids 17 /15/ 13, and my two older boys have been blissfully easy, for the most part. My youngest, daughter, is very different indeed, and has presented me with very many challenges. Yet meeting them has been satisfying, and as everyone say, even though it’s difficult, I wouldn’t go back. How do you know if you’ll like being a parent? I think it’s quite easy, and it comes down to being honest with yourself about how selfish you are. If you’re quite selfish, you may find that the resentment of the loss of freedom / disposable income / peace of mind outweighs the pleasure you will _undoubtedly_ get from your child/ren, and that when you come out the other side of it, you’ll be relieved. But if you aren’t selfish, you _will_ love it.

    TJ Reply:

    Well, it’s true that blogging does encourage a lot of thinking and OVERthinking, but this isn’t really a situation where I’m 100% comfortable with “just doing it.” Not just because of blogs, but because I myself am so conflicted. The “if you’re not selfish” thing gets me specifically, because, well, I kind of am. And that’s ok because I’m 28 and childless. You trust in that to turn off when you have a kid, but I’m not even 100% sure, rationally, that I WANT to be that unselfish. Of course, there’s a huge part of me that doesn’t want to think about it at ALL anymore and does want to “just do it” as you say!

    Chris Reply:

    OK, maybe I should clarify the ‘selfish / unselfish’ bit. I think a lot of people, particularly if they’ve had critical parents, get to thinking of themselves as ‘selfish’ without truly examining the truth of that self-image. It’s emblematic of teenagers after all, and some of us take a long time to get past the teenage outlook – I know I was quite ‘teenage’ well into my twenties, and reading my self-indulgent journals of the time makes me squirm (narcissist! Thoughtless! Insensitive!). But once you get into more adult relationships with others – co-workers, neighbours, anyone you see regularly, you get a sense of whether or not you get a lift from doing things/ saying things to help or to please other people. Even just noticing what other people might be thinking about is for me an indication of actually not been selfish. The true narcissists just don’t get that, and don’t feel guilt about putting themselves first. I was used to thinking of myself as selfish, and I guess I was, throughout my teenage years and into my twenties. But life gets to you, and you realise, most probably, that you aren’t. I think the fact that you’re actually agonising over this decision is a very clear indication that you’re actually an extremely unselfish and caring person, since what you’re actually worrying about is whether you’d be a good enough parent ergo are already worrying about the welfare of an as-yet unconceived child! Most well-adjusted people have a great capacity for happiness, and although I don’t know you, you sound pretty well-adjusted to me. Honestly – just do it!

  53. By Lisa on Apr 28, 2010

    I’m not a parent, but I have been exactly where you have been, to a degree. Unlike you I did spend my whole life looking forward to the day when I would marry and then I just KNEW I’d have a child right away. 12 years later, still no child. A lot has changed and I can tell you that while it seems that everywhere I look I see pregnant women or parents with young children, I am not positive I wish children. I like being able to go to the gas station at 2am, or out for dinner without fuss. I like the quiet of my house and being able to spoil my nieces and nephews and then come home to my dog and my quiet.

    All I can offer you is it might not go away, but it will ease. I’m 33 now and it just eased this year. Perhaps the future will hold a child for us, but we’re leaving it in the hands of fate. If we don’t and wish it when we’re older, adoption is always available to us. Something you might wish to keep in mind.

    TJ Reply:

    That’s reassuring – to know that, if I really wanted to or have to, it IS possible to hold out through the ridiculousness. Or, you’re WAY stronger than I could ever be – one or the other!

  54. By Giselle on Apr 28, 2010

    Hopping over here from Swistle…and I have not read the other 130 some comments, so I apologize if this is a repeat of others.

    Having a child is a leap of faith…regardless of whether you have “seen behind the curtain” or not.

    To look at it another way…you are choosing to get married. Even though the internet and tv is full of examples of horrible, miserable, disintegrated marriages. You are taking a leap of faith, following your heart and gut…despite all the “truth” out there.

    Of course, to be the devil’s advocate to my own example…you CAN get out of a marriage. Parenthood is forever. Which is the real problem, isn’t it? There’s no escape hatch once you leap to that side.

    But now that you’ve got the fever…would you rather spend a lifetime wondering about that baby, or would you rather take the chance (and chances are you’ll adore your child and think he’s gifted and handsome and the best creation of human since the first one stood on two legs…we’re kind of programmed to adore our kids…)

    Best wishes. There is no wrong answer…so you’re kind of good either way, right?

    TJ Reply:

    There really aren’t THAT many things in life that are either/or and completely irreversible, you know? This is one of those very few things. It’s comforting to know that either way it would be ok, but the fact that whichever way you choose, you can NEVER EVER EVER know what would have happened if you went the other way is weirdly paralyzing.

  55. By Khronos on Apr 28, 2010

    I’m not gonna read through the other 122 posts, so maybe this stuff has already been covered, but here’s my thoughts. Situationally, I’m 26 and a father. My wife is a year older than I am. We were in sort of an odd position, but maybe a little similar to yours- we didn’t WANT a kid, but we didn’t NOT WANT a kid either. It surprised me a little when we found out, and even now (our little girl is nearly a year old) I have mixed feelings about it. (Whew, that was a long intro…)

    I think, even setting my own child aside, that you should have a child if you even think you might want one. It is a difficult thing to REGRET doing, and it has extreme rewards. It certainly does have moments that piss you off, moments that make you frustrated (and that’s only the first year). But you are not alone in the process, as you’ve already pointed out, so you will have people to share it with- most importantly each other. It really does bring you closer together in many ways.

    However, I would also say that you should wait just a little bit. The only regret I have as a father at this age is that my wife and I didn’t get a sufficient chance to be ‘just us.’ We were only married for a year and a half when pregnancy started, and I would’ve liked a little more time to spend alone with her. Not a lot, maybe only another year, maybe two, but a bit. I love my kid to death, and I’m so grateful to get to spend every day with her, but going from two to three so quickly is something I think I’d avoid if I had to do it again.

    TJ Reply:

    There’s a lot more circumstances that go into how and when than just the fact that it would be nice to have more time to ourselves, you know? Nothing is going to ever line up just right, where we feel like we get “enough” us time, but still have a kid in the situation in which we want to have a kid. I get that if we DO have one, though, it’s unlikely to make me miserable for the rest of my life, and that’s reassuring, but I wonder if it’s ENOUGH to know that I won’t totally mind any suckiness.

    Khronos Reply:

    Yeah, I definitely know there are a lot more circumstances. That was just one of many, and having read other comments after I posted mine, it’s one that comes up a lot. But the others are right that neither time nor money will ever get to a point where you say “YES! This is when we SHOULD have a baby!” So I agree with you there.

    As for the second part, I’d like to say “Yes, it’s totally enough,” but I’m afraid that would just put me in the class of people whom Awlbiste would beat mercilessly, not to mention be completely unhelpful to your specific question. :/

    Awlbiste Reply:

    I’ll only beat you up a little bit, softly. Don’t worry.

  56. By Kelly on Apr 28, 2010

    Two kids here… one who’s about to turn 21, and another who would have been 10 this past Christmas, but didn’t make it past 4 days. I’ll tell you what I tell all my younger childless friends… save yourself. If you don’t have an overwhelming desire to have kids, don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughters unreservedly, wholeheartedly and unconditionally. But if I could go back in time and talk to my 25 year old self who suddenly got Baby Fever after a lifetime of not liking any child, I wouldn’t say anything to 25 year old me. I’d just smack 25 year old me upside the head with a baseball bat. I even thought (at the time) that waiting until 30 to get pregnant was incredibly mature. Ha.

    Granted, I probably would have given you a different answer before the Offspring hit puberty, but having barely survived her teen years with my sanity intact, I don’t think I’d want to do that again. I DEFINITELY would not do it it a second time, because I completely lost my shit when Mack died. Seriously, they should have hospitalized me in a padded room for a while.

    So yeah… I’m not going to be one of the folks who say, “Go for it!” If you don’t mind giving up your own life for a couple of decades and understand that selling kids to the gypsies is no longer a viable option, then… well… ok.

    TJ Reply:

    Decades are a LONG time. I haven’t even been alive for three of them. And now I have to decide if I want to commit for something that would span, at least, more than half of the time I’ve already existed. THAT’S A LOT.

  57. By Carrie on Apr 28, 2010

    So, having skipped to the end of the comment section, I agree with Khronos in the “wait a little while” department. I found out I was pregnant a month or two after I was married, and even though my husband and I had dated for a year, I still look back and wish we’d had a bit more time to do the “newlywed” thing before we jumped into the “parent” thing. But things being what they were at the time (we were married in February and my son was born in October, you can do the math there if you want), we rolled with it, and it’s been good.

    All I have to say besides that is you never know until you try… and you’ll understand completely if you do go for it when you have all of the pregnancy “firsts”. The first time you hear the heartbeat, the first ultrasound, the first time you feel the baby move. There’s nothing in the world like any of those things.

    I closed the doors to my baby factory after my daughter was born, but sometimes I wish I could do it all again, just one more time.

    Also to the “can’t afford it” people, let me just say that if you’re waiting for a certain magical number to arrive in your bank account, it never will. Just go for it. Yeah, you might not be able to buy the entire Baby Gap line, but in the end, that’s not what matters. There is nothing wrong with hand-me-downs and secondhand stuff, because they’re just going to grow out of it anyway, probably before they’ll be able to wear/use most of it in the first place.

    Awlbiste Reply:

    My dad left when I was 2/3ish. My mom had no job at the time and we lived off welfare and the Goodwill for almost a year until she got back on her feet. I don’t even remember this. So, just agreeing somewhat with your last point there. I only remember my mom really loved me.

    TJ Reply:

    I think that the “wait a little while” advice is good in theory, but there’s a lot of things working against that, things I don’t really want to go into on the Internet because then the Internet tries to reason with you, you know?

    I don’t know. I feel like it’s a choice – wait and have our time together, OR have a kid in the circumstances that are most ideal for us to have a kid. Both can’t happen. They just can’t. I doubt I’ll regret whichever choice we make, but I will certainly miss the choice we don’t make.

  58. By Carrie on Apr 28, 2010

    Fascinating discussion.

    I haven’t read all the comments yet, so I don’t know if I’m repeating here…. All I can say is that you are lucky to get the peep at the other side of the curtain–and realize IN ADVANCE that the support is THERE. It’s THERE. We’re all here at our keyboard–and in the ladies’ at work and at the park and in line at the grocery store. Those of us with a baby saddled on our hip and a toddler screaming in the aisle–we are all just DYING to talk to each other and compare notes and RANT about the sleeping issues and the potty training issues and the diaper-changing phobic husbands, and then…take a deep breath and get on with the parenting.

    You’ve got a great support system ALREADY BUILT for you here online. You don’t have to worry about trying to get up the nerve to talk to the mom down the block–you’re already IN with everyone HERE!

    Seriously–this support group is the best out there. IF you choose to have kids, you already know how to USE IT!

    Support. Necessary. And all yours for the taking. IF you want it. :-)

    TJ Reply:

    You’ve hit on something that is a HUGE deal – the whole pulling back the curtain thing has ALSO resulted in a huge, welcoming support network that didn’t previously exist. In that way, it seems almost easier than ever before to take that leap of faith, knowing that there are tons of people who have done it and liked or hated it and are willing to be very vocal about their opinions and suggestions on those points.

  59. By phil's best friend on Apr 28, 2010

    so, babies. where do i start. well, seein as im only 21 and im a male. i OBVIOUSLY cant hav kids. if i were in a situation where my wife (who wont exist for another 6 years at least) wanted kids. it would b one of those 50/50 things. im not totally against havin kids, but then again…havin a kid creates so many financial “priorities” and you also lost the factor of bein with your loved one alone on some of those nites yall usually enjoy. but then again i wouldnt mind havin the joy of havin my own child around. but im not Dr Phil and to b honest he himself is a joke. so i guess what im tryin to say TJ is this. if u wanna hav a kid and phil is ready and you think…no, KNOW that yall both r ready for that next step in the family…by all means go for it. but, if yall feel like yall aint ready or just dont want one…theres no foul. not every family has to hav a kid. some families r perfectly fine with out ya kno? im not sure how much that helps but i figured comin from me it may or may not giv ya some sort of inspiration. take the time to decide yall hav many more wonderful years to decide! :)

    “im phil’s best friend, and i approve this message ;)”

    TJ Reply:

    Well, now that I have the advice from Phil’s best friend, it’s a pretty much open and shut case. But… brinkley, when did you grow thumbs?

    phil's best friend Reply:

    well im glad to hav shut the theorectical case for you! i also hav many other lawyerins if ya need help on those too ;) and i grew thumbs only at nite when you r le sleepin. ;)

  60. By Maria- Mom et al on Apr 28, 2010

    Hi, I found you through Swistle, and I think this is my first time visiting you.

    I was so unbelievably just like you. I don’t particularly like kids and my husband and I for a very long time toyed with the idea of nixing the whole child rearing thing. Our thoughts were more inclined towards retiring young and living in a beautiful home with the backyard on a golf course and his and her golf carts in the driveway. I remember exactly when the baby bug hit me. I was tailgating at a Bruce Springsteen concert and voicing to my sister in law, as I realized it, the one truth that had been holding me back the entire time. What if I wasn’t good at being a mother, and what if it all went badly? What if we go ahead and do this and this child becomes what I presume would be the most important being in my life and my whole reason for living, and then he/she turns out to be a punk, or sick, or absolute worse case scenario has to leave me too soon? Could I appreciate the wonderful and be spared the heartache? Is it better to go ahead and have the child knowing that it could destroy my heart? And regardless of all that, would I be disregarding someone who is supposed to be here just because I am afraid?

    Our choice was yes, and my husband and I have two children. I’m not going to say that you should or should not do this. You seem well informed of the day to day suckage-to-bliss ratio. It comes down to you and partner’s hearts. Do you feel in your heart as though there is someone waiting for you? I believe therein lies your answer. My best wishes to you both whatever you decide.

    Caitlin Reply:

    Aaaaand I’m tearing up.

    Thank you for putting it this way. This is exactly, EXACTLY how I feel. And exactly the question I need to ask. THANK YOU.

    TJ Reply:

    This helps a lot, especially with understanding what we SHOULD be feeling if we were really ready for a kid. Sorting out exactly how we feel right now, though, is a whole different thing.

  61. By Grace on Apr 28, 2010

    I was like you too. My husband and I were married for 12 years, and we spent 11 of them listing “reasons not to have kids.” Then my dad got terminal cancer, and something inside me said, “death isn’t going to win– I can strike a blow for life.” We had our son. Now, you ask us to imagine our life without our particular child. That’s really not fair. I understand that you wouldn’t love my son like I do. But when you mix your genes and those of the person you have chosen as your life’s partner, the result is going to be someone like you and the one you love best. What’s not to love? I am constantly surprised by what of me comes out in him, what of my husband comes out in him, and what is completely just him.

    There have been times that I’ve hated and wanted to strangle him, but there’s never ever been a day that I didn’t want to be his mom. And that’s from a person who didn’t like kids. Now one is my second best friend. By the way, he’s 15 now, so I have also experienced teenagerhood… Every age is wonderful.

    Kirsten Reply:

    Grace, I just want to say thank you for posting this comment. I’m one of those never really wanted kids, feel really uncomfortable around kids, never know what to say to them or what to do with them, but after getting married last year, I found myself moving – inexplicably – into the “I could have kids (in a few years)” camp. It’s terrifying to me. But the reason I wanted to thank you is that I realized something with what you said: “I am constantly surprised by what of me comes out in him, what of my husband comes out in him, and what is completely just him.” I realized that there are many things that I just don’t WANT to see of me in my potential kid. It’s an alarming realization, but really helpful.

    TJ Reply:

    I realize it’s impossible for you to imagine your life WITHOUT your child, but it’s just as hard to imagine your life WITH a child who doesn’t yet exist and is such a huge question mark. It’s so frustrating. It’s like… I don’t have to train for and run a marathon to know that man, that sure looks painful and tiring but I bet it feels awesome at the end. It’s just not THAT easy with kids, you know?

  62. By Lindsay on Apr 28, 2010

    I’ll admit, I couldn’t make it through all the comments, so I am sorry if a similar story has been posted. First, let me set the stage: I have been married to my husband for a little over two years now. He is two years younger than me. I am 26, he is 24. We met, were engaged, and married in one year. Also, I was with a different guy from the time I was 17-22(ish).

    The guy I was with for five years? Oh I wanted to marry him SO badly, and have kids. Married with kids by the time I was 24 was my hope. Then, I broke it off, realized he was NEVER going to be ready for marriage and that was important to me. I found a great guy (my husband) and my feelings about babies changed. I want to make sure my marriage makes it first. I really LOVE being selfish too. However, I have had child feelings tugging at me. I am an only child and want my parents to have a grandchild, I want to carry on family names, I want to be pregnant (and preferably give the child up once they are 3 or 4 and can start to talk back and be snotty). ALL of my friends, and I mean ALL of them, have children now. Are we going to be left in the dust, left to find new friends? Am I going to get too old and regret this? I think we are both just leaving it at no kids for now, but if one of us changes our mind someday, we will talk about it!

    My point is, I wanted kids SO badly for SO long, in fact that was my main goal! Suddenly, that changed. So as I flipped from opposite side to opposite side than you, I firmly believe that the flip happens so fast and that you just ride with it and see where it goes! You might flip back just as fast!

    TJ Reply:

    The flipping suddenly thing – I both hope and dread that that happens to me. I mean, right now, for example, all I can think about is wanting a kid and suddenly not wanting one any more sounds AWFUL! But then, being free from this ridiculously illogical line of thought and being able to think it all through clearly sounds JUST as excellent.

  63. By Liz on Apr 28, 2010

    Wow, look at all these comments… It’s a hot topic, isn’t it?

    My husband and I decided before we got married that we didn’t want kids. We just… didn’t. Didn’t have anything against them, but it was more noise and smell and hassle than we wanted.

    And then our friends started having kids. And we held them and played with them and one night over dinner, he looked up at me and said, “I think we should have a baby,” and I looked back at him and said, “Yeah. Okay.” And now we have two beautiful kids.

    When you say you don’t want kids, you hear things like, “It’s different when they’re your own,” and you want to scream, “BUT WHAT IF IT ISN’T?! How unfair would that be to this poor innocent child you want me to have? You can’t just SEND THEM BACK!”

    But now that I’m on the other side of the curtain… it’s absolutely different when they’re your kids. And how stupid is that, that I’ll say that even knowing what the reaction is? What my own reaction was?

    So here’s what I’ll say: having a child isn’t something that you go into with your eyes open. No matter how much research you do. You can’t know. You can’t know until you’ve tried it. It’s a leap of faith more profound than any religion could be, because you’re not just risking yourself on that faith, you’re risking your partner and the child. You have faith that you’ll make a reasonable parent, and you have faith that you’ll be able to mold this little person into someone that you can stand to be around, and you close your eyes and step out into the void and trust that it will hold you up.

    TJ Reply:

    “When you say you don’t want kids, you hear things like, “It’s different when they’re your own,” and you want to scream, “BUT WHAT IF IT ISN’T?! How unfair would that be to this poor innocent child you want me to have? You can’t just SEND THEM BACK!””

    EXACTLY. People can SAY that to me until they’re blue in the face but there will ALWAYS be that kind of hesitation of the whole – WHAT IF I’M THE DIFFERENT ONE?

  64. By brien on Apr 28, 2010

    I see what’s going on here. You are just jealous that you’re not a real mommy blogger.

    Honestly, though, either way you’re going to feel like you’re missing something. If you have kids, you’ll feel like you’re missing your old unencumbered life. If you don’t have kids, you’ll feel like you’re missing out on that experience.

    I think if you’re getting the baby itch and you’re in a stable situation (as you are), that’s a really good sign that having a baby is a good idea.

    TJ Reply:

    You’re totally on me. I’m in it for the poorly personalized PR pitches and diaper samples. I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH DIAPER SAMPLES.

  65. By TodayWendy on Apr 28, 2010

    I’ve been exactly where you were. I was really waffling over the whole idea, my (then boyfriend) husband was almost entirely indifferent – we just both really didn’t know what we wanted, and we knew that there was absolutely no way to make the decision because you don’t get to meet your baby beforehand (unless you’re adopting…but even then you don’t get to live with them and really get to know them). We finally decided to go ahead with it partly because my hormones had gone into overdrive and I was desperately craving a baby (and I totally get then whole waiting until after the wedding, because we did that too, and I kept trying to talk him into getting things started sooner because what if it doesn’t happen immediately and so on). But also because I figured it was an experience I wanted to have. And that I might wind up really regretting not having had a child, but I was unlikely to regret having had one…at least not in quite the same way.

    One thing I hadn’t realized – when you’ve got a really awesome partner, having a child with them is like a really cool, complex joint project. You get to see a whole different side of them, you have to interact with them in completely different ways. It has been a lot of fun and really frustrating at the same time, seeing what having a child has done to our relationship.

    I don’t really think this is a choice you can get *wrong*. Either way, it’s your life, and there are going to be awesome moments, and really sucky moments.

    TJ Reply:

    “One thing I hadn’t realized – when you’ve got a really awesome partner, having a child with them is like a really cool, complex joint project. You get to see a whole different side of them, you have to interact with them in completely different ways. It has been a lot of fun and really frustrating at the same time, seeing what having a child has done to our relationship.”

    That’s a really appealing and really interesting angle on the whole thing, seriously. That’s something to think about.

  66. By Jerseygirl on Apr 28, 2010

    I always say that my perfect vacation would a trip to my single and childless days, when weekends meant sleeping late and copious amounts of alcohol and I didn’t constantly worry about children, because even when I have time away from my kids I still worry about them and miss them.

    Parenting is hard, but I also think there are challenges to not being a parent. So you have to decide which challenges you’re up for.

    I am done having kids, but there are times when I still dream about another baby, even though I can barely handle the 3 I have. The baby thing is very seductive. Unfortunately, that’s over in a year and then you’ve got a little person that you can’t really control to deal with for the rest of your life.

    TJ Reply:

    Well, I don’t sleep in and I don’t drink now, so I feel kind of ahead…. but the worrying thing. Oh lawd, the worrying thing. Once I started seriously considering a kid as a reality, I immediately also started considering the what ifs and the what coulds and oh man. I can picture that alone, just the worry alone, being so exhausting and stressing.

  67. By zelmaru on Apr 28, 2010

    There’s no way to know anything. There’s nothing I can tell you that allow you to make an “informed” decision, because it’s just not POSSIBLE to know what it’s like to have a child before you do.

    I will tell you that I “get it” in a way I didn’t before. I’m now in a “club” with my coworkers who have kids. Those who don’t have an incomplete picture of the world, and no amount of research can change that.

    Looking back, I feel like I would have lived my life just fine without kids and never really known the difference. I would have never been able to conceive what I was missing. Like I said, incomplete picture.

    Now, something you have to accept is that it’s NEVER going to be “about you” ever again. I’m not saying that right now it’s “all about you” – I’m saying that sometimes it is in fact “about you.” With a kid, it’s almost NEVER about you.

    If you feel overwhelmed remember – there’s never a “good time.” By the time you’re totally intellectually and financially ready, your ovaries will be all shriveled up. So when I got completely overwhelmed by the expense and my job and everything, I repeated to myself “people dumber and poorer than me do this EVERY DAY” and that helped.

    I have one kid. I know exactly how much it sucks being up in the middle of the night. And knowing that, I have no intention of having another kid. I’m behind the curtain. I’m not sorry that I’m here, but I know exactly what I’m getting into with a second, and I say NO THANKS. I did what I had to, and I love my daughter, and I willingly did all the hard work. But knowing EXACTLY how much work it is, and trying to apply that amount of effort to a HYPOTHETICAL baby, forget it. I know that if one showed up tomorrow, I’d be all mushy and love it and wouldn’t mind doing the work at all – but for now I’ll leave it at one child, and call it a day.

    TJ Reply:

    Well, to be fair, in the same vein, having kids gives you an incomplete picture of the world as well. I mean, childless couples have a whole different realm of experiences and things that people with children just can’t have. Either way you go, you’re giving up SOMEthing.

  68. By -R- on Apr 28, 2010

    Here’s the problem. I don’t think you can analyze this logically. I mean, I think you can ask whether you’re in a stable relationship and a stable place (physically and emotionally) to have a kid. But you can’t weigh the pros and cons of having a kid to figure out whether having a kid is right for you because it’s not logical, and you just can’t know what the pros are until you actually have the kid.

    TJ Reply:

    I get that you can’t analyze it logically, but I USED to be able to, BEFORE hormones took over. There ARE still logical thoughts in there, but they’re overtaken by this ridiculous urge. You know how people are always saying, “go with your gut?” It’s hard to bring myself to apply gut feelings over logic when it comes to having a kid.

  69. By Pablo on Apr 28, 2010

    Some simple truths:
    -No one is ever ready for or able to afford kids. If everyone waited to reach that point we would have died out long ago.

    -If you live your life afraid of what might go wrong, you’ll never really live.

    -Shit happens, otherwise they wouldn’t have made the bumper sticker.

    -kids can suck at times, but then they smile at you for the first time, they laugh at you for the first time, they roll over, they start to talk, they start to crawl, they start to walk, they learn to communicate, they learn to go potty, they start school and surprise you with what they do well and what they don’t do well, they fall asleep in your arms as you read them books, they play with legos, they behave in public and make you tremendously proud, they fart at the table – in front of grandma – and embarass you horribly but make you laugh at the same time, they learn to play video games, they share their toys with you, they get big enough for amusement park rides, they write glowing stories about you for school projects, they score touchdowns, they suddenly like to eat foods that they’ve turned their noses up at for years, they make you proud of what you’ve somehow managed to accomplish.

    You love them, you hate them and you can’t even imagine your life without them.

    and that makes all the crap so very worthwhile.

    TJ Reply:

    See, but a parent can only say those things from their own perspective about their specific kid. There’s really no guarantee that all of that would apply to everyone.

    Pablo Reply:

    Okay, well, of course, not all of that specifically, but most of that, plus their own little twist on things. They are their own unique little people and you get to know them better than anyone else on the planet.

    If you’re looking for guarantees regarding children? Hmmm, they should all eat, pee and poop. Everything else is up for grabs. If you get anyone that will guarantee more than eat, pee and poop, then they don’t know what they’re talking about. Soory, but that’s just the way it is.

  70. By Marie Green on Apr 28, 2010

    I’m sorry I don’t have time to read all the comments right now, but I have a few things to say.

    1. Scientists say that the desire to reproduce is THE STRONGEST instinct. THE STRONGEST. Your biologically programmed to need to reproduce for the survival of your genes.

    2. When/if you decide to take the plunge, get several of your grown-up desires off your wish list. Always wanted to travel to Paris, Africa, Alaska? If at all possible, make that happen before baby. I think taking time to be mindful of appreciating your kid-free life now will help you mourn it less later. Savor those late-night soda runs. Sleep in and enjoy every second of it.

    3. I’ve always wanted children, so I can’t totally relate to your situation. However, I can say that raising a child has helped me to feel like I’m experience what life has to offer more fully. Not only am I experience Maternal Love (slash ANXIETY and all the other sucky things) but I have learned SO MUCH about myself in the process. Besides all of the wonderful (and not wonderful) things my children have given me, the experience has given me so much pride, confidence, and maturity. I’ve learned things- good things- about myself that I’m positive I wouldn’t have been able to learn without the experience of Motherhood. I am changed, and better for it.

    I don’t think everyone SHOULD have a baby… but I’m sure glad I did.

    TJ Reply:

    With regard to number one: Dude. No joke. It’s worth than my monthly bodily demands of chocolate. Insanely strong.

  71. By Sunetra on Apr 28, 2010

    You’ve gotten a ton of great advice, so I’ll just chime in here to say…what they said.

    I’m 32, and my daughter turned 10 in January. My husband and I had been married about a year and a half when she was born (she was planned). I’ve never been “baby crazy”, and I *still* do not like a lot of other people’s children – although it’s probably that I think “OMG do their parents not teach them ANYTHING?!?!?!”

    My daughter is wonderful. She’s a complete geek who even as a little kid knew the logos for Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, etc before she knew the Disney shows (and preferred to watch scifi as her “bedtime movie”). She’s a gamer – she plays WoW, D&D, and Warhammer 40k with me and her dad. She is the funniest little smartass I know, even if I want to strangle her for it sometimes. She likes to read what I do (although we did filter our books into a “Ok-for-Talia” shelf), and she’s brilliant. The little weirdo does long division and diagramming sentences for fun! Ok, mom gushing over :)

    I did not enjoy being pregnant, and decided shortly after she was born that she was going to be an only child. I had some issues with depression after her birth that I’m still dealing with, and I didn’t think that I could do the whole baby thing again. I wouldn’t go back and change it, because she truly brings so much joy (and fun!) into my life, but I definitely won’t deny that it was difficult.

    The biggest fear that I had was that I’d have a kid I just couldn’t relate to. Looking back on it now I wouldn’t have worried so much – she and I have a lot of different interests of course, and different personality traits, but we’re still family and get along really well.

    Anyway, for the TL;DR version. It’s rough, it’ll make you cry, it’s awesome, it’ll make you laugh hysterically. Either way you decide, there will be joy and there will be regret, but whatever it is, it’ll be your life and it’ll be great!

    Adlib Reply:

    As one geek to another, I LOVED diagramming sentences back in the day! I loved figuring out the whole “puzzle”. That is cool and makes the grammar geek in me so happy.

    TJ Reply:

    I totally want a nerd-child.

  72. By Shin Ae on Apr 28, 2010

    For my entire life, all I wanted was marriage and kids. Then I met my husband, who was afraid to have kids and really didn’t enjoy the idea of having a bunch around. I just wanted the experience of motherhood. I hated babysitting. I was nice to kids and all that, but as soon as I got away from them I felt so exhausted and relieved and ready to sleep all day because being around them was such an exertion for me. After a couple conversations about it, husband won me over to the camp of not having a jillion kids (not difficult, I guess). All he had to do was bring up all the negative aspects of it that I didn’t think about that often. We were both pretty apprehensive about the whole thing. We decided to not work too hard to prevent a child, though. Aaaand I was pregnant within two weeks of getting married. We both cried. I, like Jonniker, dreaded my due date. I also had the screaming baby, and the screaming toddler. At nine, he never screams anymore.

    And that’s my point. Your kids are your kids. You teach them how to “be,” by which I mean, you socialize them to fit in your family. You can’t get them to be perfect or anything, but I think you know the point I am making.

    I agree that seeing behind the curtain and knowing the support system is there is a benefit. I didn’t know how difficult it would be. When I griped to people in my “real life” I got the “shut up” look…like, we all did it and stop acting like your problems are a big deal. Though I don’t really blog about my kid-related trials and tribulations, I found support on the Internet and that was huge for me.

    It seems like somewhere inside, you’re ready to go for it. There is something to that. Difficult things don’t just happen to people with kids. It’s hard to say where each path would lead, but skipping kids to avoid a bunch of life’s crap may not really work so well, and then you miss out on knowing your child(ren). And kids don’t just make the crap “worth it.” I’ve found that they are a huge help when life is hard. I love them, but they also love me. Often, they want to help or talk about things or support each other…be FAMILY, is what I mean.

    TJ Reply:

    “Difficult things don’t just happen to people with kids.”

    That is an EXCELLENT point. Life isn’t guaranteed to be pleasant or easy or even happy WITHOUT kids.

  73. By Brad on Apr 28, 2010

    So I will start by saying that list scares the shit out of me! The weird part is I have a kid. I have a kid that has lots of needs (she had two heart surgeries before the age of 1 and another next month). I just don’t see parenthood as an all-consuming thing. I have toys. I play video games. Parenthood is a huge aspect of my life, but not the entire focus. I know that there are women reading this right now that are saying “it is because you are a man and your wife does all the work” and my answer to that is 1) stop generalizing and 2) you are wrong. And video games are so fun when your three year old is yelling “shoot the zombie daddy” as she sits on your lap!

    This is soooooo un-PC to say, but as much as I adore my daughter and am so glad I have her, I am sure I would have just as content with life as I am now if she was not born. (I am literally looking over my shoulder to make sure no one is reading this here at work and judging me).

    So no real advice, especially since I believe that your mind is made up. I guess I want to offer you assurance that you will still have your life. You’ll make adjustments of course, some of which will be huge, but what change in life does not come with adjustments?

    TJ Reply:

    It may be un-PC of you to say, but I appreciate that you said it.

  74. By Sarah Lena on Apr 28, 2010

    You’ve gotten, like, a LOT of comments already so I don’t know that I should add to the fire (but, um, TOO LATE, so)..

    Wait two years into your marriage. I implore you. This is not because I doubt your ability to stay married, or because of the “first year is the hardest” bull, but because you guys need to enjoy yourselves as a married couple.

    That’s my biggest regret, in all honesty. Which is not a huge regret, and one that doesn’t really even enter my mind most days, but it’s there nonetheless. I wish we had more time to just be “Bryan and Sarah” before we became parents to children.

    Regardless, you’ll be fine. Just enjoy it all, whichever way you wander.

    TJ Reply:

    When I was younger, that was always my plan. I’d get married, have some “couple” years, and then have kids. Of course, I thought I’d be married in my early 20s and had no idea I’d be marrying a guy in the military. All of that, for us, factors in to “when” is a good time, and we have limited “windows.” I would like the make the choice to just have time with him for a while, but we’d be giving up a ton of other things for that – for example, having a child in the country where our families live, which is important to me. Two years from now, or even one year from now, we are very likely to not be here anymore. Arrrgggh. Damn you, USAF!

  75. By MommynaniBooboo on Apr 28, 2010

    Oh crap- I was so you.
    I didn’t want kids, I knew I was too selfish for kids. I liked being my own person, and doing what I wanted, when I wanted.
    Then I got married, and changed my mind, but you know, not really. My womb was kinda doing the thinking all of a sudden. A year later I gave birth, and I still wasn’t ready.
    Havinga child will not be magic and unicorns… except for those times when it is.
    I’m happy and resentful, fulfilled and hungry at the same time.

    It’s too damn complicated to even begin to explain.
    But we’re talking about having another.
    And when I die, I know exactly what I would’ve given the world…

  76. By Arrens on Apr 28, 2010

    Man. Helluva discussion, Teej. Forgive me, but I’ve a feeling this is going to be a long comment from a male perspective.

    My wife & I got married when we were 22. We’re both 34 now. Back then, I knew I didn’t want kids. I hated kids. I still largely do. But we never talked about kids before being married. Probably for the best, since she’s always known she wanted children and it would’ve likely been a deal-breaker for us.

    But time pressed on, we’d been married for 8 years, and she looked at me and said, “We need to have kids now.” I hemmed and hawed as is my norm when being forced to do something I didn’t want to do by She Who Must Be Obeyed. But she kept offering me sex and, hey! I’m a guy! I like sex! So I agreed. It took a long time for all that birth control to leave her system and/or my little swimmers to get directions to the nearest egg to impregnate. But on a chilly San Diego day, November of 2006, while watching the Ohio State Buckeyes beat the crap out of Michigan, my wife walked into the living room holding an EPT with tears in her eyes. And I knew. “Oh shit. It’s real.”

    Fast forward 9 months. There I am in the emergency room with SWMBO lying on a table getting a C-Section when the nurse handed me our son for the very first time. I was speechless and awed and felt a sense of love for someone I’d never before met that simply cannot be described. Several hours later, when I finally had time to call my parents and tell them they’re grandson was fine and healthy, I hung up the phone with them and bawled like a…well, baby, for a solid 20 minutes.

    Over the past 2.5 years, I’ve watched my son go from that little wrinkled ball of goo they handed me to something resembling a person that falls a lot as he runs from the living room to the back yard. He doesn’t speak yet, but he signs to my wife & I. “I love you,” “Thank you,” and “Please” being his favorite signs. Each time, the wife and I just beam at him, the love being more than should be legally allowed.

    Yes, there are hard times. The tantrums, the falls, the stitches, the hitting, biting, scratching and kicking. And the poo. Oh God, the poo! But they’re fleeting moments in this massive endeavor known as Parenthood.

    No, you’ll never be “ready.” Hell, I’m STILL not ready and we’ve had this child for nearly 3 years now! That said, I’d not change a thing for the world.

  77. By Amy on Apr 28, 2010

    It’s funny. The biological clock doesn’t tick… it screams like an alarm going off. And you can hit the snooze all you want but it just keeps coming back.

    Raising kids is hard (one is easier than 2, 2 and 3 not so much different). Yeah it’s hard, but alot of things in life are hard. It changes you, makes you grow up in ways you didn’t know existed. But it’s all very slow and gradual (after the initial OMG I have a baby, then OMG I have this baby 24/7!!! thing). You take parenthood a day at a time and read books like “Positive Parenting”. They will give you the tools to reinforce your parenting skills. Ultimately, you are gonna raise your kid the way you want to, not the way a book says you should. But don’t be shy about reading.

    Good luck! And don’t forget to savor the pregnancy. It’s a very special time.

  78. By Lynnette on Apr 28, 2010

    Okay, I don’t know if this is new information after such a wealth of comments, but here goes. I was with my husband for a decade before we got married, (highschool sweethearts), and we waited 2 years before deciding to start trying. I am so glad we had those 2 years after the wedding to be our own little family before adding to it, though I was definitely feeling the ovarian tugs. We then tried for over a year, and after some diagnostics and surgery, got pregnant with my now 8-month-old little girl.

    I can tell you that while I was and still am deeply in love with my husband and best friend, almost immediately after she was born I started feeling like if the marriage ended, I would be okay. Why? Because the love I felt for her was immeasurably more than for my beloved husband. I would be okay because there was that love in my life. Many months later, I am still desperately in love with both of them and one of the greatest parts of being a parent is seeing the two of them together, because Papa is smitten, and as far as little girl is concerned, the sun shines out of Daddy’s ass.

    I am currently interwebzing while she naps. By herself. Away from me. You see, there is time! And after she goes to bed, I will watch DVR’d Cardinals games with my husband for the next 5 months. Because that is what we like to do.

    Did I mention she’s freakin’ cute? Because she is. And she is an awesome baby. Sometimes, you fear the worst experience, and you get the opposite.

    Also, I very much liked our lives pre-baby, and was hoping she would just slide right in, but of course there are some big adjustments. (I haven’t been outside after dark since the time change.) But I also have learned some very big things about myself and grown in ways that I didn’t learn about in blogs. I am a different person, but still me. Hard to explain. I think it is an adventure worth pursuing, but I certainly wouldn’t tell you what to do. Anyway, I’m pretty sure your mind is made up.

  79. By coranada on Apr 28, 2010

    First off: I don’t have kids.

    When I was younger I assumed I’d get married, assumed I’d have kids. I never really thought much about wanting or not wanting. Then I paid my way through college by babysitting and … yeah, there are a lot of kids I don’t like and only a very, very small number of kids I do like. (Say three or four.)

    So by 20 I was on the “I may but I probably don’t” bandwagon, kinda like you were before. That was the case up until last year (age 34) when I was in a relationship with a guy who was on the “No kids ever” side of things. I figured it didn’t matter too much because my thinking had always been that I’d want to be married and have a few years of “us” time before kids and at 34 that just didn’t add up mathematically … but at the same time I didn’t like being pseudo forced over from the “probably not” to the “definitely not” category.

    Now: that relationship is over, I’m another year older, and on top of all that there are medical reasons why me having kids isn’t going to happen. Even if alternate ways of having a kid were explored I’d be entering the parenthood game pretty late even if I met THE guy tomorrow.

    So now, when my own baby disease has shown up… I’m pretty sunk. I absolutely don’t want to pursue having/adopting a kid by myself because there is just enough room left for logic in my brain to realize I personally can’t choose THAT route.

    But it’s really hard seeing other people having kids, my best friend talking about how much she wants a kid and knowing she’ll have one somehow… and knowing that road is pretty much 100% closed to me. It’s hard enough that this is the first time I’ve admitted it.

    Going from 15 years of not really wanting a kid to wanting a kid and knowing it won’t happen… well, it makes me feel like a jackass.

    I wish there were a cure for baby disease – one that didn’t involve a lot of cats.

    Mandapanda78 Reply:

    If I may say so, you seem to be counting yourself out of the baby game kind of early in my opinion. 34, heck 38, isn’t by any means “too old to have kids”. I’m 32 and don’t plan on having our first until I’m at least 33. My sister was 37 when she had her first and 39 when she had her second. Don’t count yourself out just yet!

    coranada Reply:

    Well, I mean from the stance of still wanting to have several years with this theoretical guy and then the time for a baby to happen one way or another… Being 35 now that’d take me to 40 and that’s with Mr. I Dunno He Exists popping up tomorrow.

    But thanks. You’re right – it isn’t an absolute impossibility, just a very unlikely one.

    Also, I don’t mean to paint a picture of a miserable life now that I’m wanting a kid and not likely to have one. I’m just kind of annoyed with my timing.

  80. By M.Amanda on Apr 28, 2010

    For a period of my life, I totally believed that motherhood was not for me. Even now, I think I could have gone without having a child and still lead a full life. Whether entering into parenthood is or is not the right decision is personal, so I won’t say “You totally should!” or “Don’t bother; it sucks.” I might think that someone is ill prepared or terminally immature and selfish or likely to be unhappy with what they miss out on (not you, btw, I don’t think I know you well enough to have an opinion either way), but I don’t say it because it’s not my business.

    That said, parenthood is both amazingly joyful and sucky. There are days when I can’t wait to get home to my daughter’s giggles or even her tantrums and days when I am grateful for sitters because I really think I’d go crazy without being able to forget I was somebody’s mother for just 2 f-ing hours. The fact that you realize it can be like this is a good sign, I think.

  81. By rockle on Apr 28, 2010

    OK, so — everybody has such great things to say. Everybody’s opinion is awesome and valid and I wish there were more blog commenters like this in the world, really.

    Here was our story: when I was young and strong in my convictions, I did not want children. Like them fine, have lots of aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and whatnot with kids, but I didn’t want any of my own. Like, at all. They were noisy and messy and unruly and sticky and yucky. Plus, TEH ENVIRONMINTS! Negative population growth and whatever.

    Also: I am terribly, terribly neurotic, and no kid deserves these genes. Srsly.

    Then I fell in love and got engaged and about 6 months before the wedding I got the Baby Rabies and I wanted to be pregnant NAO! Immediately if not sooner! Let’s get crackin’ while we’re on our honeymoon! (I was 25 at the time.) To this day, I blame dress shops for this. Am irrational.

    We decided to wait until after the wedding — for a year afterwards, anyway. We could talk about it all we wanted for that first year, but we were not going to start our family, or even TRY to start our family, until after the first year.

    And, like, six weeks after the wedding, the Baby Rabies passed. Just — POOF! Went away.

    Nothing else came of it until we were married for like 3 years, and we decided to start trying. And we tried and tried and tried and long story short, we went through infertility and it was long and difficult and we almost got divorced and then my friends got pregnant and I wanted to stab them all and then die in a fire myself, the end. (I am not a nice person, much of the time.)

    When we finally decided to become foster parents, and we had to jump through flaming hoops and learn new tricks and balancing acts, by that point we had decided that we were okay if we never had kids. Being an aunt and an uncle was fine by us.

    Then my younger sister got pregnant. And my head exploded.

    And then we adopted. And it was awesome. And it is awesome every single day, even though my 3-year-old says “No duh!” already, and is a better WoW mage than I am.

    Do I know our lives would be different if we never got our daughter? Hell yes. Do I think we would have been happy anyway? Hell yes. Do I have any words of advice for you? Um, no. Except: good call on waiting until after the wedding, because everything else makes more sense when there is not this big DEADLINE over your head.

    Oh, and this: Every day I have at least a few minutes where I want to run away and join the circus. I don’t have those feelings any more or less often, or more or less intensely, since The Kid, but I do have a little more GUILT about them now, which is how I know I will never be completely cured of the Baby Rabies.

    PS — I still blame the Wedding-Industrial Complex for doing these things to women’s hormones. It’s something in the air at David’s Bridal, I swear to all that is good and holy.

    rockle Reply:

    (I did not actually want to stab my friends when they got pregnant. But my brain made me think I wanted to. I was [and still am] in therapy, no worries. Pass the Xanax.)

  82. By Mandapanda78 on Apr 28, 2010

    A lot of comments here have been immensely comforting, as I also have the irrational baby rabies. I’m also comforted to see a lot of the people who went ahead and had kids infer that they still have time for WoW. No seriously, I was worried about that. Just fit “worried that I won’t have time for WoW” right next to all of my other irrational hopes and fears.

    Jade Reply:

    I’m still laughing so hard at the “baby rabies” comment. And I’m not TOO worried about WoW playing time, because I spend the time I’m not playing WoW reading…on my Kindle. ;)

    But I don’t have a puppy or a baby either.

  83. By PsychMamma on Apr 28, 2010

    SO many awesome comments!! In an effort not to repeat too much, I’ll try to be brief.

    I was married at 18 and went through what you describe as baby fever, which feels like your entire BEING desparately NEEDS a baby. We tried, unsuccessfully, and, in the meantime, the relationship turned abusive, and I ended up leaving. I went back to college, then grad school, and met Mr. SOMEONE. We dated a long time, & then got married. We talked about kids, VERY seriously, but somewhere along the line, that baby fever disappeared for me. I realized it didn’t make me sad to see babies everywhere & not have 1 of my own. I knew enough parents & had been around enough kiddos to know the not-glamorous side of the story. We decided on no kids.

    SO: YES! The baby fever, central-to-your-being (hormonal?) NEED you feel CAN fade and flip-flop. But maybe it won’t for you. It sucks, but no one can know this. When we decided no kids, I knew that if I flip-flopped again down the road, but my biological clock had ceased ticking, I would be OK with adopting.

    Then, 3 years into our marriage, our “Oops/Surprise!” moment happened. Our baby girl is now 4. She has a long list of medical special needs. I mention this, b/c it’s not a typical thing people think about or prepare for in any way, & it’s something you might want to add to the list of thoughts you’re mulling over. On top of all the other stresses & strains of “typical” parenting that were mentioned above, consider 24/7 medical special needs. Insurance nightmares. Money stressors that you never dreamed about. An endless succession of doctor/therapist/specialist appointments. The inability to have the family outings and trips that “typical” families enjoy. Waking several times a night well into childhood (possibly throughout its entirety) instead of it ending (mostly) after infancy. Uncomfortable stares from people in public, instead of oooohing & ahhhing over your beautiful baby. Loss of friends because you can’t go out & do things b/c you can rarely leave your child unless it’s with a trained provider. A strained marital relationship because there’s barely time to shower & brush your teeth, let alone find time for each other (and the rareity of being able to go out). The heartbreak of knowing your kiddo is never going to fit in with or keep up with others. The complete terror of the real risk of losing your child forever as a result of a condition you are powerless against.

    I could go on, but you get the point, I’m sure.

    NOW: I love my little girl more than I ever knew my heart was capable. She brings me joy & unconditional love every day. I have discovered a personal strength I never knew I had. I have become a better person. Did I mention that I love her with my whole being??

    That said, if I had a time machine, I would not be honest if I didn’t tell you that I’d probably go back & skip the sex on that one, particular night. I’d do it to keep my little girl from the daily struggles & pain that are her life. I’d do it for my husband to alleviate the constant stress that he carries. I’d do it for the health of our relationship. Plus, a host of “selfish” (?) me reasons.

    Just saying that makes me feel like I’m a horrible person. GAH!!

    Let me say it again: I love my little girl w/every fiber of my being and with the shining strength of 10,000 suns!!! Life is what it is, and we find the joy every day. But some days it’s damn hard.

    You will make a choice, and you will, hopefully, find a way to find the joy in every day on whichever path you choose.

    P.S. So much for being brief! Ha!

  84. By Alex on Apr 28, 2010

    Great question, TJ. These comments have been fantastic.

  85. By Jade on Apr 28, 2010

    I always knew I wanted kids, I just never felt the URGE to have them. Well, until recently. The hubs and I have talked this out thoroughly, and being the “plan it out til it’s dead” couple that we are (I blame him for this, btw), we’ve got the marriage, the house, and now we’re thinking it’s time for a kid.

    Except, I want a baby NOW! I want to be pregnant NOW! And this urge has led to this conversation:

    me: I want a baby!
    him: I’ll go to the store and get you one.


    Mandapanda78 Reply:

    My husband: What do you want for your birthday?
    Me: A Kindle, a puppy and a baby.


    rockle Reply:

    I tried that once. I got a talking robotic puppy that read some kind of fairy tale story. In Hungarian, I think.

    Mandapanda78 Reply:

    I would laugh, but he’s an engineer. He’s probably trying to build me a reading doll that does tricks right now. Thanks for the warning!

  86. By Steph on Apr 28, 2010

    Parenthood has been, to me, a billion times easier than I anticipated. Two caveats–1) my (only) child is only 10.5 months old, so, uh, not like I’ve been at this for a long time, and 2) I am (was) a very type A over the top high stress person. But something happened when my son was born…and I think birthing a baby also birthed the stick from my ass. (Sorry, gross, huh? Maybe I should just say “I think parenthood has relaxed me.”)

    I’m sure that I just got lucky with a laid back baby, and certainly I went through the sleep deprivation and the painful painful start to breastfeeding, and the adjusting and all that fun stuff. And maybe part of my outlook is because when our son was 12 weeks old, my husband deployed to Afghanistan for 5 months (another Air Forcer–holla!) and currently he’s in Alaska doing some flight training and then he comes home for 10 days and he goes to Vegas to do more training and…oh, yeah, this post wasn’t about “bitter spouses who are annoyed at forced separation all the time” was it? Anyway. I’m saying that I was on my own. And I just could not maintain the level of stress and anxiety and pursuit of perfection when I had a newborn and a dog (labs r awe-sum) and working full time and trying not to let myself think about my husband’s plane crashing every day. So I relaxed.

    And I just…went with it. If he got up 3 times a night after sleeping through the night for 5 weeks, then I got up with him (although I will admit the first time that happened I was PISSED at that tiny baby for 2 nights before I just let it go and went with his flow). If the dog only got a 10 minute walk in the morning because I was running a few minutes late, then he got a longer walk that night. If I was 10 minutes late to work, then my patient had to wait 10 minutes to see me. I just couldn’t worry about it all. I had maxed out, apparently, and my psyche literally could not perform the anxiety I was asking it to. Wait, was that a real sentence?

    I hated pregnancy too. HATED. I am in a profession where I deal with lots of high risk pregnancies and so I see every day the birth defects, lethal genetic disorders, stillbirths, etc. I was TERRIFIED. Until he was in my arms and breathing I was terrified. And I don’t think that will change with any future pregnancies.

    Although, what am I saying? I agree with Swistle about the fear and your happiness wrapped up in your child’s well-being. My husband and I watch Criminal Minds and there are so often scenarios on there involving children that we have a checklist of what he’s nevereverever allowed to do (ride a bus, go to a fair, ride his bike, walk to a friend’s house, be out in the yard, swim in a pool, etc). If I let myself I can dissolve into tears in seconds about potential harm that may come to him. I can also do that for the dog though so take that for what it’s worth. But I can’t. I can’t let my mind go there. Especially when it goes ‘there’ about my husband. He didn’t text me ONE DAY (recently) after he landed from his flight and within 4 hours I had left him 3 texts, an email, 2 voicemails, and I was starting to google “*his plane name* crashes, Alaska”. So.

    So, anyway, what am I saying? I’m not sure. You probably don’t know either. Maybe my point is that, um. Wait. I’m not sure now. Babies are easy? Right. Not really. But mine changed me for the better, I think. I am not the kind of mother I expected to be. I still could turn out to be high strung and hovering, but I don’t think so. It’s been so much FUN to watch him so far. To watch him decide that clover actually doesn’t taste very good…on his own. I wasn’t sure if I wanted one (baby, that is) and I think I still could have been swayed if my husband hadn’t wanted kids, but man. Now? I want 8 more just like this one.

    Soooo. Most unhelpful comment? This one. Sorry. Good luck and I know you guys would be fabulous parents. Brinkley is happy. That’s a good test-run. For real.

    jonniker Reply:

    This is exactly how I feel. I am a different, better, more laid-back person since having my daughter. It made me a totally different person — I’m still me, but I’m a version of me I greatly prefer to the old me. It’s fabulous. I’m more fun, lighter in spirit and much more able to roll with shit than I ever expected.

    And my baby was NOT EASY. (Four months of colic, reflux and screaming. OMFG.) She’s 14 months now, and it’s only gotten better.

  87. By Amanda on Apr 28, 2010

    TJ – I was very much in your boat, 26, never needed to have kids, never even thought that I would have kids, christ I went into my marriage telling my husband ‘no kids’. And truthfully, I could have lived without them or with them and been happy just the same. I think that initially I thought I was already a “bad mother” b/c I was ambivalent towards having kids and in my mind, that’s clearly not the feelings you should have towards something you are forever responsible for.

    But alas, my lady bits won over and I jumped in head over heels. My son was born last July and truly has changed every aspect of my life. There are definitely times that I think about being childless again, and I don’t look back on those times with sadness, it was just different. Whether you decide to have kids or not, you could possibly have regrets, and that’s okay.

    I guess for me the unknown possibility of my life with kids outweighed the known of my prior “childless” life.

    Good luck for a crazy lady who is already trying for number 2…. : )

  88. By TheWicked on Apr 28, 2010

    I really don’t know what to tell you. For one I don’t have a kid. For two I’m a guy soo… yeah.

    I just wanted to thank you for reassuring me. My wife is about to turn 31 and she hasn’t caught baby disease yet. I hope she never does. Hopefully she is passed the baby disease window.

    I feel for you (and Phil) in your conflicted emotions and I hope for the best for the both of you whatever you decide.

    I’d be interested to hear what Phil has to say about the whole deal.

    Flame Reply:

    ” My wife is about to turn 31 and she hasn’t caught baby disease yet. I hope she never does. Hopefully she is passed the baby disease window.”

    Oh no… they still catch it. I know people in their mid to late 30′s that have changed their minds and caught it. I have a 36 yr old friend right now that caught it last year and she was driving herself crazy.

    I don’t think you in the clear of that window until they hit menopause (and this is coming from a woman! LOL!).

  89. By Nestle on Apr 28, 2010

    At nearly 35 years old, I can honestly say that I do not want kids. This may or may not stem from the fact that I can’t even take care of myself and my dog, not to mention a tiny, screaming and crying human being.

    It might also stem from the fact that I can’t really -have- kids. Which makes me oh-so-jealous of those that have the freaking CHOICE to have kids. Even if I wanted kids, I couldn’t have them. That pisses me off. Or, rather, it’d be really freaking hard.

    But I think you should have kids! You are awesome, and need to propagate your and Phil’s awesomeness.

  90. By Issa on Apr 28, 2010

    Hmmm, the one thing? That it’s the hardest thing you could ever hope to get the joy of doing in your life.

    And dude? I’ve got three. I don’t like all kids. heck, i don’t like most kids. But I have the raddest kids in the world.

  91. By Lady Jess on Apr 28, 2010

    This will probably make me sound like an awful mom, but I know I’m not so it’s ok. IF I had taken the time to think about having my first daughter, I probably wouldn’t have had kids. I was 19, and well SURPRISE! There she was. He was working at a fast food joint, I wasn’t working, and we both lived at home. I had never been around kids, never LIKED kids (still don’t except some friends kids, my kids, and my nieces and nephews), and knew nothing about taking care of one.

    We got married a couple months later, lived with his mom for a few months and got our own place. We were broke, and I mean we made $12k a year combined broke. And still opted to have a 2nd at 21. We struggled, we scraped, and well, we’re kickin butt these days.

    If we’d have waited til we could afford them, we’d still be waiting. If I’d thought about it more, we’d never have them. As it is, I’m glad we did it the way we did. It WAS right for us, and I don’t regret a thing.

    Do I think you should? i can’t answer, but I know if/when/whatever you do, it’ll be what’s right for YOU. That’s just how shit works:)

    I have more but I think I’ll just blog it tomorrow…lol

  92. By Kara on Apr 28, 2010

    I’ve got 3 ankle biters, between the ages of 7 and 2.5 (do the math, 3 kids in just over 4 years, not a lot of me time lately). I love my kids to death, but there’s a fine line. My kids are an important part of my life, but they aren’t my WHOLE life. I’m still me. I still have my own interests outside of my whole Mommy persona. I struggle with it, but to be sane, I can’t be Mom 100% of the time. My house is a mess, bills go unpaid, and we eat off plastic plates all the time. We aren’t allowed to have nice things in the house, because they’ll just get destroyed.

    But I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

  93. By Melissa H on Apr 28, 2010

    I never wanted kids at all. I don’t like them either and was probably a sucky babysitter. I now have a kid and still don’t especially like other people’s kids (terrible, right?).

    Anyway, I married a man who hoped I’d change my mind (he wanted kids all along) but knew I might not. Five years into marriage I suddenly realized I was ready to take the plunge not because I felt AT ALL ready to have kids but more because i realized that it would be a lifelong regret if I didn’t. Even though I couldn’t imagine giving up the freedoms (and money!) of kidlessness I could less imagine being 65 years old with no children/grandchildren.

    In the end it all worked out great. Huge impact for a few years and still a big time/financial impact (kid is now 4.5) but all in all she fits right into our lives and we absolutely adore her. And she’s so fun and funny! I don’t feel that my own personal interests have been taken over by motherhood–it’s just another (very important, very wonderful) aspect of who I am.

    Funny enough, hubby and I are now discussing #2 in a very real way and although the ovaries/hormones are in overdrive I have thought that maybe we shouldn’t “risk” it because our current kid is so easy/perfect and our hypothetical child could be anyone or anything. You get what you get, you know?

    Good luck with your decision and I’m here to say, that with a big dose of good luck, parenting doesn’t have to be as hard as some of the blogs portray ;) And if my experience is any indicator you don’t have to like kids in general to like YOUR kid.

    PsychMamma Reply:

    Hubs & I both talked about the whole “being 65 years old with no children/grandchildren” thing, & he had a very good point. There’s also the possibility that you have 2 children and 6 grandchildren that you never see b/c you end up not really getting along or they live far, far away & are very busy with their own lives. Having kids so we wouldn’t be lonely when we’re old seemed like a bad reason to us. We felt like – kids or no kids – we’re responsible for our own happiness. Pinning that responsibility on someone else (spouse, SO, kids, etc.) almost always leads to heartache & disappointment.

    Hubs was good at balancing my tendencies to fantasize about kids/family in a Hallmark, sunshine & roses way & pointing out all the instances he knew of families gone wrong. Sad, but realistic, and probably good for logical data gathering. Doubtful that a uterus with baby fever would listen though. Hehe!

    Now, we’re in the middle of the family thing and muddling through like everybody else, trying to do the best we can, holding on to love, & hoping for the best.

    Melissa H Reply:

    PsychMamma–I absolutely see your point but for me it wasn’t so much expectation that I would have a relationship with the child/hypothetical grandchild as an older adult, more that I would regret never having had the experience of mothering and would realize this once it was too late.

  94. By Andrea on Apr 28, 2010

    I’ve always known I wanted kids. But, my hubs and I got married young (both 22) and we decided to wait until we were more settled & financially stable before we started a family. (Meaning, LOTS of time to get comfortable with midnight jaunts. Lots of time to accumulate toys! And lots of time getting used to super-fun trips!)

    Then when we started trying to get pregnant. Nothing. More trying. Nothing. Tests (fun ones for him, painful ones for me.) Nothing was wrong. Fertility drugs. Nothing.

    SO, I had to come at this from another angle. I always wanted to be a mom, but maybe I wasn’t ever going to be one. I grieved. And then I had to get to the point where I wasn’t waking up each day thinking about babies. Where I was finally okay with my life the way it was- the two of us. It was hard, but I finally got there.

    I think the secret is to be happy with your life. In the end, whether you decide to kids or not, you’ve gotta be content with what you have.

    By the way- it finally worked for us. Don’t know why, don’t know how, don’t care. We had a girl and then a boy and will probably try for more!

  95. By Rhonda on Apr 28, 2010

    I don’t have kids yet and I like how my life is so I don’t want it to change right now. Although sometimes I think it might be nice to have a baby. The thing that scares me off the most is not knowing how I’ll feel after getting pregnant and having said baby.

    What if my thoughts about it now are just all cuteness and rosy glasses and perfect loving child type stuff. Then once the novelty of being pregnant or having a baby turns into DO NOT WANT? You can’t have a do-over, or go back and make the other choice. What if I hate being a mother? That’s not fair to the kid.

    But on the other hand I’m pretty sure I would regret not having kids. The thing is does the possible regret outway my fears of making some kid’s life miserable because I hate being their mother? Is it just a desire to have something I don’t understand the reality of just because I can?

  96. By Bailey on Apr 29, 2010

    I think one of the reasons that it’s so daunting looking through the curtain is that in some form or another people without kids have experienced the “bad stuff” in parenting. We all know what it feels like not to get enough sleep, or have arguments with irrational people or clean up a mess you didn’t make, or share your toys when you don’t want to.

    But the good stuff? The unquantifiable, mushy-sounding, truly sincere sentences that come out like worn platitudes? You don’t have a sense of that until you’re in it. And maybe you don’t get to that lovey-dovey sweetness for a while after you’re in it, like me. (But
    it’s hard to find someone that NEVER finds the sweetness.)

    I had an “oops” baby at 18; I spent the first year convinced I’d ruined my life and the life of an adorable little person to whom I was completely unattached. Turns out, I just don’t like babies (never really have). But now she’s three, and I’ve never been happier. Truly.

    What would my life be like if I was still child-free? To be 21, with no obligations to anyone but myself and my partner? On the days when I’m in the thick of the “bad stuff” of parenting, I’m dying to follow my what-ifs straight into an imaginary freedom.

    But I don’t. So today I’m waving from behind the curtain. Where I’m going to stay, holding the sticky little hand of the kiddo that is, as Alison said, my heart living outside my body.

  97. By Middle Aged & Crazy on Apr 29, 2010

    Ok speaking with some authority here, father of 2 boys who are 10 and 11, here is what I can say with certain authority.

    1. You will never ever have enough money put aside to have a child, you just do it and you will find that things that once mattered to you don’t anymore and that frees up the funds for the kiddos.
    2. You would never ever take a gold monkey for your kid/kids but, wouldn’t give a plug nickel for another one or someone else’s.
    3. There is nothing that will ever replace the feeling of holding your child/children the very first time and know that you did this and that they are totally dependent on you for everything; they will allways need you no matter how big they get and, will always come to you for answers, well after they get past the teen years that is.
    4. There will never ever be a more difficult job that you will ever undertake, you are responsible for the very future of our world, it’s a heavy burden but, as my wife is always telling me a lesser man (or woman in your case) couldn’t do it.

    There is a scene in the movie Parenthood where the grandmother is talking about life and how you can have simple basic life like a merry go round or a wild and wonderful life like a roller coaster. I have never heard it explained any better than that.

  98. By Coffee Catholic on Apr 29, 2010

    “Just tell me what you would say, as a parent, to someone like me.”

    I’ve had three kids in less then two years. After X number of years never wanting kids. I went through the same change-of-mind and baby greed after falling madly in love with my now husband.

    I remember when they first pulled baby #1 out of me – I had been in hellish labor for five days!! (They had a backlog of patients. Sucked to be me.) Elspeth was delivered by emergency c-section and when I first laid eyes on her newly born self the first thought that ran through my head was, “Oh God! There goes every scrap of free time! I’ll never get a moment’s rest again.”

    I thought I was probably the worst mom in the universe! My first baby is born and all I could think of at first was, “Oh no, there goes my self-centered life!” ???

    But geez, what did I expect? Talk about a life changing event…

    I felt nothing for that baby for the first week. I was numb! I went through the motions of feeding her and changing her and holding her but I was emotionally numb. Yet I knew that had anything even remotely threatened that child I would have died protecting her. She was MINE.

    It all came home one day when husband and I were in bed with our infant Elspeth. Husband was holding her in such a way that he was looking into her face. “I still can’t get over it.” he mused out loud. “A whole, wee little person – and she’s all ours!”

    His joy was so intense that my eyes filled with tears.

    There’s something about looking into your child’s eyes. You see an eternity of generations, those that came before her… and those that will come after her until… generation after generation stretching from the beginning and to the end of time. People that you have never known, and never will know, gaze back at you from within those silent eternal depths.

    That’s the best that I can explain it with words. You see yourself. You see your ancestors. You see your future genetic kin. They, with your child, are looking you in the eye.

    It absolutely blows my mind.

  99. By becky on May 1, 2010

    ok, i wish i could read all the comments before saying anything, but i can’t (because i only have 2 hours between the time my kid goes to sleep and the time i have to go to bed or else i risk being a horrible bitch the next day). so now i risk repeating what has been said by a few hundred other people already.
    the thing is, having a kid is just like deciding to be in a relationship. sure, you hear NOTHING but heartbreak in books and songs and movies and everywhere in public but then you know that there are pretty good chances that if you take the risk you are going to get something good out of it. also, we are sort of biologically set to try it out. the advantage to having a kid is that it is your job to teach them how to be, whereas in a relationship it is sort of seen as rude.
    but in either case, you have to jump. you have to risk heartbreak, make serious sacrifices, compromise, and make decisions based on another person’s well-being, needs and desires as well as your own. you are still yourself, but you have to adjust to another whole human being.
    sure, there are a million obvious reasons not to fall in love or have a kid, but you made the decision to be open to a relationship without having met the man you will marry, could you make the decision to show a child how to grow up without having met the child?

    TJ Reply:

    I know it’s a silly, wrongheaded way to think about it, but marriage, likely due to today’s divorce culture, seems so much less permanent than children. I don’t REALLY think that – that divorce would be an option – but it also seems more flexible. If I suck at being a wife, Phil can tell me and we can work on it. If I suck at being a mom, I could scar another person for life. Waaaa!

    I know I’m going to have a kid. I know I am and I can hardly wait. It’s still SUPER INSANE to me, though, that I’ve made such a decision, you know?

    becky Reply:

    oh i know! my son is almost 3 and it still seems insane that i have made that decision! i came from the same place you are at. i went from absolutely NO desire to have kids, to deciding that i absolutely had to make a baby, immediately. i’m not one of those people who has suddenly discovered they are great at it either. pregnancy was ok, but the intense level of responsibility and commitment came as more of a shock than i had expected.
    i come from a divorced family, and i always thought that i would never get married, and that if i had a kid at all i would be a single mom. so the commitment thing was definitely one of my hardest issues to get over. i felt like i discovered every day that i wasn’t good at parenting but i couldn’t change my mind and take it all back. but then, babyhood was over and toddlerhood started and now i feel like a much better parent. and he is so much more of a person that it is all about our relationship. since i have no model for a successful marriage, i think of my marriage and my parenting the way i think of my longest friendships. i just have to do my best whenever i can and hope that they can look past my failings. i like the comparison to a sprint. it really is, all the rules and variables seem to change often enough that if you suck at one part, you have another chance to excel. and most kids are born wired to love and trust you. if you just hold onto that you are probably going to be ok.
    and it might be a good idea to accept that for some people, every day means waking up shocked that you have kids. shocked that you are someone’s parent. you might not stop being surprised by that, but you will eventually get used to the shock.

  100. By Raisin'Cookies on May 3, 2010

    I’m pregnant with our fourth, and what I’ve come to realise is that yes, being a parent can seriously suck sometimes, but parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Or, in other words, it doesn’t suck all the time. Not even most of the time. Maybe right now, when I have four kids under the age of eight, life is gonna be tougher than I ever thought possible; but in five years? Ten? Suddenly I’m going to have a house full of teenagers and young adults, and I’m soooo looking forward to it.

    So yeah. Baby days are often a never-ending nightmare of bodily fluids, screaming and physical and mental exhaustion. Toddler years are full of tantrums and battles of will. But how many years of your life is that, really? Four? Five? Not much.

    I’m biased from my own experiences, of course, but I’ve found that I’m a much better parent to older children than to younger ones. It’s lucky for them that they don’t remember their younger years….

    TJ Reply:

    Putting it that way – that it’s just 4 or 5 years – really helps to put things into perspective.

    Raisin'Cookies Reply:

    I hope it helps ease your mind a bit, at any rate.

  101. By Emily on May 6, 2010

    Wow, I know I’m commenting late and you’re probably not paying any attention, but I had to say something here.

    I could have written this post three years ago. These exact words, and all of your comments on all of the other comments you’ve gotten. When I was 27/28 I went from being ambivalent about babies to BABIES NOW WANT and it was such a shocking turn of events that I felt a little betrayed by my body. There was no gradual ease into it, it was like a switch had been flipped and I caught Baby Rabies overnight.

    I’m 31 now, and my husband and I have been married over 2 years. We decided to finally start trying (after about 2.5 YEARS of baby fever!) this past August. And…nothing yet. Let me tell you, if you are jealous of pregnant ladies and people with babies now, it only gets worse after you actually start trying. Especially after 10 cycles of trying. We haven’t gotten to the medical testing and interventions stage yet, but I don’t know how much longer my baby rabies will be satisfied by “let’s just have a lot of sex at the right time and see if it works this month?”

    TJ Reply:

    “When I was 27/28 I went from being ambivalent about babies to BABIES NOW WANT and it was such a shocking turn of events that I felt a little betrayed by my body. There was no gradual ease into it, it was like a switch had been flipped and I caught Baby Rabies overnight.”

    Man, I hope you have some idea of HOW COMFORTING it is to hear that the EXACT same feelings happened to other people.

    I’m trying very hard not to dwell too much on how long it might take, even though I realistically know it can be a very long time. Right now, I soothe the baby rabies by telling myself that if I get to the wedding date + 9 months, I’ll have one. Realistic? NOT EVEN A LITTLE. But I’ll deal with the disappointment one month at a time, I hope, rather than telling myself there are still YEARS TO GO.

    None of this is even a little bit rational. I get SO AGGRAVATED with myself that these words come out of me. I used to make sense!

    And good luck to you, truly – as someone who is just starting to understand how you feel, I hope it happens for you very soon.

  102. By Shawna on May 21, 2010

    I think I always knew I wanted kids, but I’ve never been “baby mad”. For me it was more about how important family is to me and not wanting to be the last in my line. Seriously, I totally want grandkids as much as I wanted kids. I might have had them on my own if I hadn’t met my husband when I did (kids that is, not grandkids).

    My mom’s always said that the only kids she ever liked were her own, and the older we got the better she liked us, so I figured that that would be my worst-case scenario.

    Lucky me, it’s better than that worst case: I’m still not a fan of most other people’s kids but I am totally enthralled by my own. And I was taken completely off guard by loving the baby stage, when I’d been terrified of other people’s babies, so you don’t necessarily have to wait until they’re older to enjoy them.

    Sure, at 2 and 4 my kids try my patience but, frankly, I’ve always needed to learn to be a more patient person. They are adorable and funny and beautiful, and I can’t imagine anyone not thinking this way about their own kids.

  103. By Al_Pal on May 24, 2010

    Novel-length comment alert!

    This spoke to me in a lot of ways.
    I don’t have the baby rabies, but in the last while, my guy & I have been talking about the idea more, and been more open to it.

    I’m the eldest of four, and the youngest was born when I was nearly ten, so I put in plenty of childcare and diaper-change hours when I was young–and because of that, had little inclination to spend more of my life that way.
    There’s been times when I felt like, No Way, and times when I thought, Maybe. It was never, OMG can’t wait to be a mom.

    I’m 33 and figure that if we decide we want to make our own, we should start trying when I’m 37. But we’re fine with adoption if we “miss the window” and decide later that we want kids.

    Years ago, my partner seemed like he *really* wanted kids, and I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted them–a few years later, after he’d seen some of our friends become parents, and how much WORK kids are, he became more interested in preserving our life of sleep-ins, midnight strolls to the convenience store, and the funds to eat sushi.

    I always figured that when I’m 90, my babysis will be 80, so I don’t have to worry about there being people to care about me when I’m old. ;p

    But then, I went to a baby shower a couple months ago, and told a story from my perspective as a daughter [the baby is a girl]–that, with a lot of love and some luck, you can make your own best friend. And THAT? Is appealing. ;p
    No guarantees, of course, and plenty of people don’t have that luck, etc, but…I have a lot of love. And patience. So, IF we go there, we’ll be great parents…

    But yeah. For awhile it was like, zOMG people having all these babies! and they never hang out anymore! We love rock concerts!

    A while ago [last year], the subject came up, and for the first time, my reaction wasn’t, “oh dear god no”, but instead a small smile. & THAT was a moment for me, of, Wow, maybe we could really do this.

    More recently we’ve even talked, a little, about boy vs. girl, and did a heads or tails coin flip about it. Heh. & I was like, Dude I’m not having a boy for you if you insist on circumcision. & he didn’t want to completely cave, but said it could be the kid’s choice at 18. Which, Hai, what 18yo is going to say Yeah, I’ll have elective surgery to make my wang “prettier” and less sensitive. I don’t think so. ;p

    Also, we like to drink, and my mom grew up with her parents drinking way too much, so that worries her, and I feel a little like her expectations would increase my martyrdom. Or something. I’d have no problem giving it up for a kid, but I don’t want to be little miss sober while my dude keeps drinking, so that’s a factor.

    I guess we’ll have to just wait a few more years and see how grown-up we want to be. We’ve been dating almost 9 years, engaged for one, and planning to get married 1-2 years from now. SO. Slackers, obviously. ;p

    OH, and the worrying about the kid thing is huge for me, too–part of my contribution to the world, currently, is that I’m generally pretty happy and good at counseling/virtual hugs/making people feel better about themselves and the world–and if my kid died, so would the easily-happy me. So that’s scary.

    SO much luck, I wish for you. ;p

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