Whose got the Baby Fever?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm at that stage in my life when many of the people my age are starting to have, or already have little babies kickin' around.  People are starting to ask, "so... when you gonna start a family" In typical Sarah-style, I am reluctant to the change...

Do you ever think back to how you imagined your adult life as a teenager?  Here's what I pictured: I imagined I lived in a old-fashioned house that was somewhat in disrepair, but perfectly decrepit.  I had a creative type job, maybe even my own business, was impeccably dressed (I am working on that bit), wonderfully independent, went to dinners at fancy restaurants, and was able to generally do as I please.

Well, I'm practically there.  Throw in a husband I never thought I'd have and a pug that is the light of my life and I am livin' the dream as they say.

As I get older (and by older, I only mean into my 30's, still just a wee lass!), I have to question, "Where do kids fit into the mix?" or "Do kids fit into the mix?"

I love my life right now, especially with the thought of taking the leap into full self-employment. I love being able to save money for the first time in my life.  I love being able to fix up our house without too much financial stress.  I love being able to eat out at nice restaurants whenever the desire hits.  I love my independence, my time alone, being able to have nice things that bring me joy, the silence of my big old house...  Dan and I do not have an extravagant life by any means, but we have a wonderful, simple life together.

I am just having the hardest time seeing where a kid fits into this picture.  The idea of not having kids makes me feel horribly selfish for some reason, like I'm not fulfilling some kind of universal destiny. Also, everyone else is doing it!  There is so much focus on a very idealized notion of motherhood and children in the news, gossip mags, blogs, the web, I almost want to not have kids because I feel like it is shoved down my throat every time I turn around.

I never wanted kids.  I remember being a teenager, adamantly vowing that I would never have kids.  My mark on the world would be through my career, through art, through who I am. Teachers, friends, older people in my life would say, "Oh, that will change as you get older, the clock will start ticking."  I'll be 30 next year, and the only clock I hear ticking is the one that sounds like, "SO, ARE YOU AND DAN GONNA HAVE KIDS YET?"

Since I met Dan, who does want kids, I've entertained the idea of maybe having just One baby.  Just One. Me, Dan, and Little One (and Oliver). One seems kind of cool.  I can picture One.  One gives you time to have a life.  It's easier to find a 'sitter for One.  One you can spoil and dote over.  We could afford One.  We could pay for One's college. When I brought up to friends and family that, "Yeah, you know, maybe we will start a family.  Just One." I heard an overwhelming response "OH NO! YOU CAN'T HAVE AN ONLY CHILD!" Ugh... Goodbye One. I somewhat joke and I know that everyone's advice comes from a good, loving place, but it just made me think, I don't even have kids yet, this is just a glimpse of the type of judgement that mothers face.  Why would anyone willingly subject themselves to that?

I joke a bit about not wanting to have kids, but the truth is, it's very difficult to talk about.  We still have this deeply ingrained notion that women are natural born mothers.  And it's just not true.  A lot of women find fulfillment in places other than motherhood, just like some men are not fulfilled by careers, but by caring for children.  However, I think more so for women than men, there is a societal feeling that there is something wrong with a woman if she doesn't have a desire to have children.

When I have asked for advice from friends and family, I usually get the same generalized, rather unhelpful response, "Once you have kids you'll see, your life will change, yadda yadda yadda..."  What do you think? Anyone else out there not keen on the idea of kids (sticky hands! Milk everywhere!)? Who else is bothered by all of the judgement surrounding motherhood (you don't breastfeed your toddler supplementing with an all raw, organic diet of home-grown beets and kale?)? Does that turn you off of motherhood?

I'm not writing off having kids.  Who knows, a year from now I could be gigantically pregnant and decorating a nursery.  Or I could choose not to, and that's ok.  I've never done anything in my life in any typical fashion... and I'm sure having (or not having) kids will be done in the same, dramatic, atypical flair.

57 comments:

  1. Wow, this came at such a good time for me. We just got engaged after living together for two years, and I can feel the expectations rising for kids. I have never liked kids, even as a child, and my fiance isn't too keen on them either. But then I start feeling like, is it wrong? Am I supposed to do this? Will I regret it when I'm 45?

    I always vowed I'd never marry or have children, and now that one of those has changed, I feel like the other is destined to. But the idea of giving up your life to someone else just seems like something I don't want to be a part of. I think it's fine to change your mind, but make sure you have kids for the right reason--not because your friends are all having them or society tells you to be a mother. At least, that's how I feel!

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    1. When I hear other women talking about how much they want to have a baby I always feel slightly bad, like I must be missing that baby-gene or that I'm a bad person for not feeling that desire. I think some people are just not baby-people, man or woman! I wish that was more ok in our society. I think a lot of people have kids because they feel they should, and wind up not being very effective parents... Having kids for the right reason is super important, having kids for the wrong reason can be tragic! I totally agree :) Thanks for your input.

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    2. I so agree with you! And I worry I'm missing that gene, or that I'm suppressing it somehow without realizing? It feels good to know I'm not the only one who feels like this!

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  2. I feel the same - thank you for writing this! We must be around the same age and EVERYONE is getting the baby bug.
    My MUM is harassing me and I can truly understand why. But I'm 28 and still looking at a baby and then thinking about what it would be like to *have* one, does not incite the right emotional response in me at all. Its something I want to avoid at all costs. And yet people say "oh you're still young yet" - but at 28 I think I've got enough of an idea about who I am as a person to be able to make that kind of decision for myself. And my boyfriend of 7 years doesn't want kids either so why all the pressure?
    Dont get me wrong - OTHER people can pop out as many as they like. But it's not for me. I'd rather phrase the question to others "Are you thinking of having kids?" instead of "When are you having kids?"

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  3. I also never wanted children. Growing up I got no less than 16 cousins on my mothers side alone, and at least half of them would visit during weekends. I would babysit most of them, and I feel I've done my share. The pressure have gradually subsided and after turning 40 people hardly mention it any more. I do find the nagging thoughtless. It's bad enough if you don't want kids, but imagine having people asking these things if you desperately want kids but cannot conceive.

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    1. You bring up a really good point; that must be like a stab in the back for people who cannot conceive.

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  4. It's very difficult to separate the how do I feel from how you have been conditioned your entire life as a female to feel about bearing children. And it's tough when you are the age where all of your friends are getting pregnant and having babies, but let me assure you of the immense sense of relief you will feel when those kids all turn into teenagers!

    I've been saying since I was still a kid that I wasn't going to 'until I was tired of having a life of my own' - so it pretty much hasn't surprised anyone that I'm nearly 40 and still no kids. Yay! I feel like I've almost made it to the finish line or something.
    Either way - I'm at the decide or the decision will be made for me point, but you ALL have LOTS of time to live your lives and enjoy just figuring out your career and relationships and decorating, and worry about babies later if ever. It may feel like a secret club, but I for one am very happy not to have a membership card.

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    1. " It may feel like a secret club, but I for one am very happy not to have a membership card." I Love this!

      Teenagers terrify me.

      Thank you for your comment! I really enjoyed reading it and can really relate to what you have to say.

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  5. The role of women has changed a lot over the years and having careers and other activities make it harder to choose to give up a good portion of your time to take care of a child.

    Family structures have changed quite a bit to and MANY people are choosing to only have one child. And since we know problems that only children may face, we can try to avoid such issues (and there are issues with bigger families too, so it isn't really a disadvantage one way or another).

    As for feeling "motherly" instinctively, I think that comes for a lot of people when they are pregnant. Don't get me wrong some people naturally are mothering before they get pregnant, but I found it amazing how much change I went through when I got prenant. Some mothers do not get that feeling until after the child is born (or slightly later). I would not let lack of that feeling hold you back.

    For me, the question is what do I want for my life in the long term and what is my purpose here (if you believe you have a purpose).

    The medical field has learned a good deal of things as well and women who are older are being able to give birth to healthy babies, so you do not have to be pushed into making a decision right away.

    Esz - as for your rephrasing the question from "When are you having kids?" to "Are you thinking of having kids?", I agree that you have the choice and that is a btter substitute question, however most people who have had children know the joy and purpose their children have given to thier life and can't imagine other people not wanting that. (honestly it is hard for me to remember anymore what it was like not to have kids and how I spent my time. But then again the way memory seems to work for me is that I remember the best and the worst things and nothing inbetween)

    That was way more detail than I wanted to go into.

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    1. A lot of people with kids (all of them, really) tell me that having kids changes you completely, and I don't doubt it! I guess what is hard for someone who doesn't have that innate drive to have kids, is actually getting off the pill and seeing what the buzz is all about lol :)

      Thank you for your insightful, and well-put perspective!

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  6. Sarah, I am SOOOO with you. FUCK PEOPLE WHO GIVE YOU GRIEF FOR NOT WANTING CHILDREN. I'm sorry for the vulgarity but the pressure women get on the kids issue makes me utterly bananas. It's nobody's damn business.

    Not everyone is meant to be a mom - I had a dear friend with 2 kids tell me honestly, "If you don't want them, don't have them. No amount of them being adorable is going to make you forget everything you gave up in order to have them". I may change my mind later, but that is what adoption and fostering is for. If you want to have one, have one. Only children are maybe a little more spoiled but there is no reason they won't end up being upstanding humans. We shouldn't be letting our friends and family dictate or influence what is the greatest personal decision we ever have to make.

    For what it's worth, life in a n old house with a wonderful man and a pug sounds pretty freaking perfect as is.

    In childless solidarity,
    Heather

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    1. lol! You made me laugh.

      Your friend offers really good advice. Parents give up a lot of things, but I guess they gain different things in return. Parenting is not for everyone!

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  7. I wholeheartedly agree that parenting is not for everyone. You can have one kid, or no kids, or have them later, or whatever you decide you want. Who cares what anyone else says? I can promise you that these people are not going to come and watch them for you in the middle of the night when they are teething and won't sleep.

    I always thought I did want to be a mom and hogged everyone's babies as a young person. Then, as a married adult nearing 30, I began to wonder if I even wanted kids. Now that I have my daughter, I hear a lot about when she is going to get a sibling and won't she be a screwball somehow if she is the only one? It doesn't stop.

    What no one tells you is that having a child can put a huge strain on your marriage. It will also very likely slow your career plans. But more than that, it can introduce an ever present fear that something could happen to the little person that you love more than anything. I can't even describe it. Sometimes, it absolutely terrifies me; there is no other fear like it that I have ever experienced. For me, that is always there, and that is the thing that has sobered and changed my life more than teething or not being able to go out so much.

    I do wish that we could all be less judgmental of each other as women. I actually really hate when discussion in any way descends to talk of other women "popping" out kids. As I said to my cousin when she made that remark- they don't pop out. You have to push them out, and it's really, really, really difficult and painful. I wish they just "popped" out. And though I planned on going back to work, I found that the thought of leaving my daughter with someone else was absolutely heartbreaking to me (call me selfish :) I was the one who breastfed my kid for two years and made her baby food for her from farm stand vegetables. And, it was hard, and people told me I should just give her a bottle. And some nights, I sat up awake wondering why I was doing any of it when I had recently graduated college top of my program. My point is, no matter what you do, you will probably end up questioning yourself and don't need others to do it for you. All of us women- kids or none, and regardless of our parenting techniques are really just trying to do our best, and we should try to support each other in that.

    I hope that whatever you and your husband choose will be the right thing for you, and you will continue to be really, really happy, and that others will one day learn to mind their own f-ing business. Sorry about the rant.

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    1. lol Well it is an important topic! We all need to have our say. I am glad I am getting the input of moms too :)

      It seems that no matter HOW you raise your children, people are going to tell you you're doing it wrong. I don't think it used to be this complicated... I think people just did what they thought was best for their kids and that was that!

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    2. I also wanted to thank you for bring up some of the not positive things about being a parent, like the strain on an marriage. I feel like often you hear parents beaming about how much they love being a parent, when in reality it's incredibly challenging. Rewarding I am sure, but challenging :)

      The whole birth part terrifies me, I have to be honest.

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    3. Just in case it sounded like I'm down on my role as a mom (because I did figure you had heard all of the "being a parent is so wonderful" stuff), I will throw in that my daughter is already my best friend, and she does add a new dimension to life that is inexplicably wonderful and beautiful. I just wanted to point out above that, like everything in life, the joy is measured by an equal amount of hardship, in my experience.

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    4. I think you offer a very realistic perspective!

      The one thing that gets me seriously thinking about kids is thinking of how much I love my mom. My mom is my best friend, she is just such an awesome lady, we have the best times together. Thinking of BEING that person for someone else is kind of mind-blowing.

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  8. Yes, I agree with mostly everything you wrote in your post! I'm living with my boyfriend and while my family and friends aren't pressuring me yet, I'm getting close to 30 and 97% of my friends are either pregnant or trying to get pregnant. The bf and I have talked it over and while we'll entertain the idea of children in the future, it's just not something either of us want right now.

    Differing from you slightly, growing up, I always wanted to have lots of kids (or adopt lots of kids - no bf or husband in the fantasy for some reason), but when I got to 22 or 23, that all stopped. Now I see kids are much more of an inconvenience. I mean, the idea of children is nice. You have a cute little kid who looks like you and you get to mold him or her however you choose. That's exciting to me. But what if you screw it up and they're a disappointment in some way? Or I can't provide for them? Or they're raised in the wrong environment (ahem, I also want to have children not in the US)? Just so many things can go wrong, and if I'm not sold on the idea, why even try? It's not like I'm doing a project I can throw away if I don't like the outcome. It's a child!

    Anyway, I don't see anything selfish about it. Honestly, isn't it more selfish to want a child? Continue to be childless if you want to. (Or not, if you don't.) My boyfriend always says that people who insist on children are bored with their lives, and while that may not always be true, I can definitely see how that's the case. We just got two kittens a few months ago, and I think they're the perfect replacement. They're already potty trained, you feed them twice a day, and you can cuddle with them forever. (And since we have two, we don't have to worry about constantly entertaining them.) Kittens > Children as far as I'm concerned. At least for the moment. Continue doing what feels right for you!

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    1. I'm definitely warmer on kids now than I was at say, 21. It's interesting that you went the opposite way. I think a lot of people have a real idealized view of raising kids. A.J.A above brought up some good points about the reality of parenting - the strain on your marriage, the judgement, the fear of making the wrong choices...

      I'm like you, I'm afraid that I could possibly have a kid that I might not like or that may in someway not be what I expected. I've met really nice people whose offspring are complete jerks! It can happen and It's scary!

      Pets make excellent child replacements :)

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    2. Ha, right? And as obnoxious as I am, I can only imagine that my kid will be 10x worse!

      Yes, this is such a fascinating discussion. I'm absolutely loving everyone's well thought out responses, from both sides of the issue. Thanks for posting! :-)

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  9. That was amazingly well put! Although I know it often comes from a place of caring, I do find the constant pestering question of "when are you going to have kids" both rude and presumptuous. And yes, women are pressured in our society to have kids, and I find that many of my friends who have chosen not to have children feel both guilty about it and somehow not "normal." But, as individuals we have to do what is right for ourselves - which isn't always as easy as it sounds! We don't all want to have children - and that's ok! The hard part, for me anyway, is learning how to listen to myself in making and being content with those decisions. Too often I've chosen paths in life (marriage, careers) at the advise of others or to make other people happy. It has taken me a long time to start to listen to myself more, but I am a lot happier for it! So yes, people will try to make you feel guilty about not having children, but you have to do what is right for you. Corny, but true :)

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    1. I find the pestering just makes me want to NOT have kids out of spite! I've always resisted doing things I was told to do :)

      I think it's hard for women especially to listen to their own desires, instead of what they think others expect of them. I know it's something I struggle with on a daily basis. Having kids is such a big decision, it needs to be done for the right reasons in mind!

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  10. Thanks so much for sharing this Sarah, it made me sigh in relief and realise that maybe I'm not so weird at all! Growing up in a big Cyrpiot family with lots of cousins and babies, you think that that's all life is. But now as I too approach 30, I worry that I'm not getting broody! Don't get me wrong, I like babies/kids (especially other people's as I get to snuggle/play and then give them back), but I'm too selfish to want to give up my easy/independent/free lifestyle at the moment. Like you, me and my boyfriend aren't extravagant in the way we live, but we're free to do whatever we like when we like...and being an only child myself...I enjoy my alone time. When you become a mum, I don't think there's ever any alone time and that thought scares me! I'm also scared of giving up so much and then maybe being bitter about it and unhappy! My boyfriend wants kids, but I often think it's because he genuinely has no idea what they are all about. Also, I'm not happy in my job/career path and I think if I have kids soon, I'll be stuck forever. Gah, it's all so scary to think about, so I do what I do best...I try not to think about it. But people are beginning to ask the dreaded question and put some pressure on, which is so annoying!

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    1. It's been great to hear that other people feel the same way I do! Dan and I talk about having kids quite a bit, and I always say I feel like I missed the memo about why I'm supposed to WANT kids.

      I sometimes think Dan is the same as your boyfriend - THINKS he wants kids, but doesn't really realize the amount of poop, sticky hands, weird smells, late nights, no sleep involved lol.

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    2. I asked my boyfriend once why he actually would want kids (i.e. is it just cause he thinks it's what he's supposed to do) and he said he wanted them in order to leave a 'legacy' behind. Haha! Although kinda cute, surely this can't be enough of a reason to have children?! Maybe it is for a guy though...who knows!!

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    3. That sounds like something Dan would say too lol! Must be a guy thing :)

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  11. i can safely say, as a person who never ever EVER wanted to have children: if the urge to have kids hits, you feel it. i told my mom when i was in highschool that i never ever ever wanted kids, so they might as well remove all my "gear" right now. i never imagined that 10 or 15 years later i'd be spending thousands and thousands of dollars and injecting myself trying to get just one. my husband and i are seriously considering making the choice to live child-free - the longer we try, the more it just sucks and we're quite enjoying being able to pick up and go on a vacation whenever we want and being able to sleep at night.

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    1. Wow. Yes, for some people, I think there is a definite clock! I am sorry to hear that you have had a hard time conceiving. I don't know that I could put myself through the injections and doctors visits... I guess that demonstrates how strong the drive can be for some people.

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  12. Hi Sarah, I just want to say I think you are super brave in posting this and I appreciate you speaking out. I feel the same way although I am 38! (shhh dont tell anyone) But ever since I was 18 I didn't want kids, Im not a children person and never have been. However, I do think about this everyday, I keep thinking that tomorrow I'll wake up and want children but it hasn't happened yet. My husband, who's also called Dan, is a recovering alcoholic and also suffers from a serious dose of depression and anxiety and these things are said to be hereditary and I just dont think I could cope with another family member suffering the same conditions. The funny thing is no one in my family has ever pressurized me about having kids, this is all my doing. Anyway, thanks again for posting, I am enjoying reading all the comments.

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    1. I can really relate to this. Having a brother who has struggled for a good portion of his life with a very serious addiction, and having some first had experiences with mental illness, it's scary to think of passing these traits on. I do think though, that having experienced these things, if I do have kids, hopefully I will be more aware that these are things that they may be vulnerable to, and that I will be able to see the signs of addiction before things go to far.

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  13. Such a great post! I think as women we always have odd pressures put on us. Though I will say it goes both ways. I grew up in a big family and hve always wanted to have tons of kids and homeschool them (like I was) and I get a lot of judgmental comments about that. How I'm doing no service to the enviroment for wanting a big family and how I should wait a long time to have children (I'm married and 23). I feel like if I'm able bodied and can support a family nobody needs to hold me to certain standards and judgements. Just as nobody should judge someone for not wanting kids. It's such a personal choice. Anyway, really loved the post :)

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    1. That is interesting! I hadn't thought of those who want big families and the ways that people perceive them. Big families are actually rather rare these days :)

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  14. What a great post! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I also loved everyone's input in the comments.

    I have turned 30 this year and have been married 3 years now. As soon as we got married the questions about having kids started especially since all my cousins were pregnant with their first child within 6 months of marriage. A lot of my friends have children now too. We don't get to see them very often anymore as social gettogethers slip down the list if priorities for our parent friends or its all about the children or the children come along and it's them running the show.
    It seems our circle of friends has shrunk a lot as you can imagine.

    I never wanted to get married or have children. I changed my mind about marriage when I met my husband and would prefer not to change my mind about having children. Like you, we enjoy our life together. It's also pretty simple, nothing fancy, but every now and then it's great to just go off on a weekend trip.... With kids you have to plan every next step. And you have to share your number one person. You have to put them first, always. And as very well pointed out before, you will worry like you never have before in your life.

    I know, there is so much to gain in return when having kids and some of my friends are amazing parents and have great children. I however can not visualise myself as a mother and fortunately my husband is in the same boat with me.

    I wish women who decide against having children would be judged less as being selfish or told they are missing out on something. At the same time it's hard enough for mothers (and fathers) to raise their children well, overcome their doubts and worries without other people telling them what's right or wrong.

    Before I go on and on, thank you again for this post. I can very much relate to everything you said. I hope whatever you decide now and in the future will be a decision you make for yourself (and you and your husband) that makes you happy without any regrets. And good luck for your full time self employment venture! You make beautiful lingerie.

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  15. I'm just like you; never wanted kids, and all my life have been getting judged for it. I'm 36 now and still don't want them. I can't understand why anyone would make a lifelong sacrifice without loving the idea of it!! Other people can choose to have kids; why aren't we allowed to choose NOT to?

    In my eyes it's a LOT more selfish to have kids out of obligation than to choose not to, knowing you really don't want them. If you feel strongly about who you are and sticky fingers, snotty noses and screaming doesn't fit into your plan, then why force it?

    As an interesting note, there seem to be a lot of people who say things like "now that they're here, I love them but if I knew what it was like I wouldn't have done it" I respect these people's honesty, and take it to heart; if these are people who WANTED children how much worse would I feel about it once it was too late??

    I for one am open minded, as I've always been. If I suddenly change my mind and my body is too old to cooperate, I will adopt. Otherwise, it's not meant to be and I will accept that gladly ^__^

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  16. I have never wanted kids.

    While I am still young by some measures (I am 28), and I do recognise that sometimes people change their minds about things, I also know myself pretty well and for the past 20 years I've never really fluctuated on this topic, and I also know what it's like to choose a lifestyle or faith and stick with it for 14 years and not "change my mind" because I "grew up". I think that I can be about as sure as any person ever can be that I won't change my mind. As a testament to my faith in myself, I got sterilised at 25, as soon as I legally could where I was living at the time.

    It's not an easy choice to live with. Not because being childfree is not super-awesome (it is!) but because some people really judge you. Harshly. Your choice not to permanently alter your super-awesome life with a very uncertain outcome (maybe it'd be better with a kid, maybe it'd be worse, but it'd certainly be permanently different) is seen as an attack on their entire raison d'ĂȘtre. Somehow, you'd be less controversial if only you'd said "I hate 'em chinks!" or "It's not rape if you're married!" I did an anonymous interview in a local newspaper (anonymous since I'm a writer with a really unusual name and I didn't want "evil childhater" to be forever my top Google hit) and I actually got a phonecall from a woman twice my age just to thank me for speaking out against this condescending and simultaneously hateful attitude she'd received since youth.

    Most of the time, though, it's super-awesome. ;)

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    1. Awesome comment!

      You made me think... a woman can say "I know I want to have kids." and people will accept that. If she says "I know I don't want to have kids," she is seriously questioned. Some women do, some women don't, some women (like me) are undecided. And in this day and age it should all be ok!

      Thank you for your input, I really appreciate your honest, well stated comment.

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    2. She sure is. I didn't mention it in my original comment, but the hoops I had to go through to get sterilised involved being questioned by a gynaecologist who stated that when (when!) my husband divorces me and I find someone better I'll want his babies, as well as passing a psychological evaluation to ensure that my attitude towards childrearing wasn't "curable."

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  17. I've always wanted kids. I never knew what else I'd want to do but I've always known I wanted to be a mother.

    That being said, there is nothing wrong with not having an overwhelming desire for children. There's nothing wrong with not having even the twinges of wanting one. I don't think it's ever selfish to decide what's right for you about anything really and it's certainly not selfish to not have children if children aren't right for you.

    I think some women do change their minds. But many women don't. It's something like saying you want to be a nurse when you grow up. For some people, that desire never wavers. For others, it turns out that's not who you are or something else interests you.

    To be honest, I'd much rather people who don't want kids not have them. Certainly don't have them just because people think you should or it seems what's expected. It's work to be a parent. It's work to mold some baby into a worthwhile human being. We wouldn't expect anyone to take on any other task they didn't want to put the hard work into doing well. Why should raising children be any different?

    I hope I don't come off sounded like a gigantic douchebag on this topic. Kids can be great. I certainly love mine. I even like working with other people's children. But just like not everyone has an interest in learning to sew or starting a business, not everyone has a desire to have children. This isn't to say one can't be a good parent even if they aren't gungho about the idea. Surely plenty of people are. But man, parenting is such a commitment. There's nothing else on this earth people expect you to do put at least 18 years work into just for funsies. So why babies?

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  18. Also, you can't give a kid back, kwim? You can't later decide, you know what? Screw this crap. In for a penny, in for a pound.

    And honestly, that's the real reason people say you won't regret it once they get hear, because no one wants to live with the awful weight of wishing they didn't have kids. Very few people are willing to fathom that reality.

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  19. What an interesting discussion!

    As most of the ladies who commented below, I don't want to have children and never wanted to. First of all, I think that having a child is selfish in a way. Very often I hear people say: What will you do when you get old? Who will take care of you? So that's why you people want to have kids? Are we some sort of a breeding farm for our future nurses or what? Seriously, it makes me so angry.

    To me giving birth and having a child involves a lot of courage and self-sacrifice. You will discover world for this child and re-descover it for yourself! You are responsible for what kind of person this kid will become! Growing a child is a lot of hard work every day and every night during many many years. As for now, I don't have courage to commit neither do I want to "give it a try".

    OK, so I have a theory why people push you to have children (pure psychology and personal observation): Most of them are jealous and envious of your life and/or unhappy with theirs! From all my friends who have kids, only those who are not happy or successful at their parenthood are asking me these silly questions. Friends who are truly embracing the role of parents accept my choice and would never ever think of saying something of the kind.

    But, of course, people do change their minds! If I ever change mine, I'd rather adopt that give birth. I often think of how overpopulated the Earth is, but also about all abandoned babies! From my point of view, adopting would be much more rewarding and making sense (to me). You don't have to agree.

    We are lucky enough to live in societies where people can decide who they love and who they marry. Why can't we get rid of the stigma against women who choose not to have children? It's great to have a choice as far as you assume it!

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  20. Gosh, thanks for posting! I feel the same way-- I've never really wanted to have kids, and I feel this odd guilt for NOT wanting them. I'm turning 30 this year, and while I'm open to the possibility that I may change my mind (I didn't want to get married when I was younger, either, but changed my mind about that and am very happily married), I feel like I'm unnatural or somehow unwomanly sometimes because I'm just not attracted to the idea of motherhood.

    The thing that really sucks is that no matter how you choose to live your life, when you're a woman, you are scrutinized and judged for that. If you're a mom who works, if you're a mom who doesn't work, if you don't have children, if you want to have children but can't, sheesh-- it seems like everyone and their mother has feedback and "helpful" commentary. I don't really understand why the same comments aren't leveled at men-- I'm not sure that anyone has ever asked my husband his thoughts about fatherhood-- but there's a strange pressure on women about this issue, and most of it seems to come from other women. I wish we could extend some grace to the women around us and know that no matter how we're choosing to live our lives, we're all trying to make good, wise decisions, and we're all coming from different situations and histories, and dude, when in doubt, just DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL! It's not like the feedback stops when you have kids-- my friends with kids get CONSTANT feedback, criticism, and advice from total strangers about how to raise their kids. It's crazy!

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    1. Seems like a few of us are soon turning 30...maybe that's why we're feeling the added pressure?!? The point you make about unwanted feedback/criticism is spot on...why people feel they need to push their opinions on you is beyond me! This next thing is going to come out worse than I mean it to and it by no means applies to all mothers, but do you think that sometimes it's the mothers that put the pressure on/give the feedback, because they'll somehow feel better if more people are in their 'situation'? This could be totally wrong of me of course!

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    2. I think you're onto something. I've had people a few times act as though when you choose to live your life differently than they do, you're somehow condemning their choices. Or maybe it's just the fact that we're all a little insecure about our own choices and just really want affirmation that we're making the right ones!

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  21. I was told recently, by a relative stranger, that perhaps the reason I don't want children is because I'm not with the "right man". I've been with my man for nearly 8 years and every day he stills makes me feel lucky to have him!

    Luckily my partner also shares my views on children and understands that not every woman is a natural born mother! Ever since I was a young teen I have said I'm never having kids, like you ever since I have be told "you'll see...". But as I grow, change and evolve as one naturally does with age I feel less and less inclined to have children. I have no desire to have a child grow inside me, to be pregnant, to give birth.

    I agree with others comments about the world being over populated and if I ever did feel the need to have children i think fostering or adoption would be the only way I could.

    I think if you choose not to have kids you're the minority among women, and forever more you will be judged and questioned over this discussion. Whether it's be because other women feel judged in turn by your beliefs, or they don't understand or are frankly just nosey bitches, it will up to you to retain grace in answering (or not answering!) these queries. Anyway you have plenty of time to decide! And hopefully your husband will ultimately respect your decision, it's you that has to give birth and most likely will be the main carer and men can often forget this in their desire to 'spread their seed'. Like others have said having a kid can be incredibly selfish and sometimes I feel this selfishness can be seen in men particularly as they 'want a son' so watch sport with and just generally carry on their genetics and name... it's also selfish to bring a child into the world because you want a kid and then cannot afford to give it the life it deserves.

    Anyway, ultimately it's you choice and I hope you enjoy your own internal discussion rather than fretting over it, it's a beautiful thing to have this choice and we're lucky women to have it.

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  22. I've read your blog post, I have not read all the comments, but I will tell you the same thing I tell everyone else.

    Children are the goldfish of time and finances. They will take up whatever you have to offer, they will fill up your space, they will clutter your life, they will drive you absolutely mad and make you want to lock them in a closet (I may or may not have done this, I have locked them out of the house though). It is not bliss and it is not neat.

    What it is, however, is the biggest adventure you'll ever have. Suddenly you have this tiny person that you have to teach how to become an adult. (We don't raise children in my house, we raise adults.) And as they grow up you suddenly get to see through the eyes of children as an adult, and appreciate small things so much more. Going camping suddenly becomes about finding bugs, and frogs, seeing new birds and other wild life. Rain puddles are suddenly things to be splashed in instead of avoided. And if they turn out anything like mine (or one.. whatever) you'll be hosing them off before you let them in the house because they come home covered in dirt.

    But one thing, should you decide to have children, that you SHOULD NOT do, is feel that you have to give up who you are as a person. Your life should not be about your children 24/7. This whole notion that we should "give up our dreams for our children" is ridiculous. I didn't stop going to sci-fi conventions, or protests, or anything like that, i just take them along with me. And if you live close to you parents, EVEN BETTER! The grands will step in to help because you are working and they have time. People forget that that is what families are for.

    Will it change you? Yes. But anything like that changes you. But the BIGGEST reason to have kids is because you want to. Not because society says you should, or anything like that. Whatever your decision, you have support from this corner of the world. And as an only child myself, its not a bad thing, especially if you have a dog.

    Though, I have to say, if you do decide to have kids and they are half as awesome as you, the world will be a better place for it. Also, in a few years you can make them mow the lawn and do the dishes. Just sayin'. :)

    But seriously, make the decision for you, not anyone else. And if someone does it like it, go tell them to stick it where the sun don't shine.

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    1. I think you bring up a really good point and kind of turned on a light switch for me. I don't have to be that mom who gives up everything for her kids. I can still be me and balance being a parent. I'm sure that's harder than it sounds, but giving up "who I am" is my biggest fear.

      Just One + (another) dog actually sounds pretty cool :)

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    2. I personally feel that not giving up your own identity makes one a better parent. I've watched people do that and they become that helicopter parent that the kids eventually end up resenting. I take a very "free range"" mentality, myself, and at ages 9 and 11 mine a pretty self reliant.

      But as I said, its ultimately your choice and I'm not one to judge either way. And to quote one of my favorite author's "Freedom is the ability to tell Mrs. Grundy to take a hike".

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    3. ladykatza makes a very important point about grandparents and family being around. I am 9 hours from my nearest relative, and I'm sure that has been the biggest part of the "strain" that we have felt in our marriage at times. If we could drop the kiddo off with a trusted aunt or grandparent and go have dinner on the weekend, we'd be a lot more relaxed. We moved here knowing no one 5 years ago. Still, I love where we live, it is just harder this way. Definitely something to consider if you do decide to have kids.

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  23. People can be so annoying and insensitive, what's right for one person does not necessarily mean it's right for you. You should do what you want to do in life, having children is not the be all and end all. I hate when people say 'Life only starts when you have kids' or 'You don't know what love is until you have a child'. So does that mean people that don't or can't have children don't have a life and are never going to experience what true love is?? So so annoying!! Don't worry about it and do what you and your husband want to do. You only have one life after all, and it sounds like yours is pretty perfect for you. XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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  24. If it makes the childless/free feel any better, people don't stop with the unsolicited advice/opinions when you have the kids either. Are you gonna pop that baby with or without meds? What pediatrician are you seeing? Orange juice makes your kid fat, shots give them autism, do you spank, are you gonna stay at home? How much tv does he watch?

    People like to be all up in your business lol.

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    1. "People like to be all up in your business" lol love it!

      You are very right! You're damned if you do, damned if you don't lol :)

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  25. I felt like this post was coming from my own mouth! I feel EXACTLY the same! Its really nice to know I'm not the only one (oh my god ... sticky hands...so gross - and please stop telling me I won't mind my OWN kid's sticky hands...) I'm old enough now to know that I should never say never - my family still teases me about how I was "never going to get married".... yeah well I did, and it was an AMAZING decision. But I'm not so sure about kids, and I'm not so sure I'll ever be sure. And while I seem to be okay with not being sure - it seems like everyone else around me wants to know if and when and how many babies I'm gonna make!
    I do feel somewhat lucky that I can say I have known some really amazing women who have decided, for whatever their personal reasons, not to have children - and so I feel like the idea of me being a woman and NOT having children isn't that foreign of a concept. I have examples of women who have led extremely full lives, without sticky hands and college tuitions (except their own, of course)...
    Anyways - I'm totally with you!

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    1. My kid's sticky hands gross me out. I was at the grocery store feeding him these disgusting cheeto looking things that were all healthy for babies and stuff and boy was coated in cinnamon mushed not cheetos. I contemplated leaving him the grocery cart for someone else to clean. lolol

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  26. I'm an only child and it's completely awesome. I highly recommend it. I thought I wanted a brother or sister when I was little but dude, I quickly grew out of that. I'm so very close to my parents that my husband, who has two siblings, kind of wants our own little dude to be an only child. Some days I do, some days I don't. But that's purely for selfish reasons - some days I think I'll never get out of motherhood with my sanity in tact, other days I want a million little boys to snuggle.

    I suppose I'm not your average Pinterest poster-child mom. We decided to get pregnant because my husband was ready and I was kind of ready. I figured I'd never be fully ready, since my life would completely change and his wouldn't. (I should be a fortune teller.) We got pregnant super fast, which I wasn't expecting, and all of a sudden there's this...baby. And while yes, he needs me and relies on me, he also ADORES me. It's like having your own personal fan club. At 14 months, we go on adventures, watch NCIS together (he knows the character's voices) and dance to the Jackson 5. He loves ham and his dog and when I roar like a dinosaur. My life isn't the same, and some days I really miss the way things were (sleeping in, going out whenever I wanted, disposable income). And yes, I often resent that my husband is like a movie star around these parts and I'm stuck with a cranky teething kid. But we feel so much more like a family now and I finally, at 31, feel somewhat like an adult.

    Everyone tells me that things will get easier when he's older, and I'm inclined to believe it. Trying to communicate with a mute, immobile person is difficult on even the best days. But seeing his little face light up when I walk into a room...how could I not want five more?

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  27. I'm of the opinion that it's nobodies business how many kids a family chooses to have or not have! The particular lifestyle that one chooses is not for everyone! That said, I wouldn't trade my two for any other lifestyle, not even to hit a re-set button and it just be me and hubby again. No one ever bothered us with the "when are you having kids" question - I guess since we married in our early 20s, people figured we'd wait a bit (we made it to 25 before the 1st one). But what really annoyed me was after our second one (we had a boy, then a girl), we got comments such as "your family is perfect now - you have a boy and a girl! No need for anymore children! I can recommend a great doc for the 'old snip-snip for the hubby!", as if having more or less than that is not perfect!

    My great-aunt and uncle never had children (I remember being told that it was some medical reason), but she was still "motherly" towards us (her great-nieces). Just because you're not a mother to your own biological offspring doesn't mean you can't be motherly and impact someone's life! By the way, I have baby fever, again!

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  28. If it is not too late to add my two cents, I had 6 pregnancies and 4 live births. Never really thought about kids, but once #1 came along, we wanted more. That said, my eldest son and his wife have never wanted children. They never changed their minds and are the greatest uncle and aunt that 6 neices and nephews could want. They made a decesion based on what they wanted and are very happy with it. I am happy they made this decision because it was right for them. Only you and your husband can decide. Truly no one elses business. BTW I am an only child and when I am told I have missed so much, I can honestly say "Not so much". Be happy and blessed. Regena in TN.

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