(Closed) CFBC: Helpful Resources for Fence Sitters

posted 6 years ago in No Kids
Post # 2
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

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MissesAwesome:  Awesome resources!

I struggled—struggled BIG TIME—with sitting on that fence. You echoed a lot of what I was feeling and what I did to make a decision (spent many hours online reading articles too!). It was so hard because I had friends who either knew they absolutely wanted kids or absolutely didn’t. I didn’t know any fence-sitters.  My husband (BF at the time) most definitely did not want kids, so I dealt with this alone, and I felt utterly frustrated, confused, and mildly depressed because I didn’t understand and couldn’t process my feelings.

Discussion boards like these can be so helpful for people; thank goodness being able to read other people’s thoughts and feelings on the matter helped alleviate a lot of anxiety.

There aren’t too many resources out there for fence-sitters; I’m sure your list of links will be helpful to many πŸ™‚

Here’s an article that helped me a lot:

If You Can’t Decide, Don’t Have Kids, http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art56590.asp

Post # 3
975 posts
Busy bee

I felt exactly like the writer of the blog post on Cup of Jo. I actually think the urge she speaks of is more societal than biological – perhaps that is why some people never “succumb” to it.

After nearly 5 years of being on the fence, my DH and I decided that we DO want to have kids. We love our CF life, but when it came down to it, we really like the idea of raising another human being. It helps us tremendously that we have 2 sets of parents nearby (as well as a large local extended family) who love the idea of babysitting grandkids. However, we did make a CF “bucket list” and are slowly ticking things off (dirtbiking in Europe, safari to Africa!) before we TTC. 

Post # 6
5972 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Thank you so much for this post. I will definitely be sitting down to read those tonight.

DH and I are both fence sitters. Before we got engaged we tried to hash it out and decide because so many people chimed in and told us we needed to decide before getting married. We finally decided we’re okay with getting married while we’re fence sitters and we’ll evaluate our positions every once in awhile.

I’m scared that one day we’ll wake up and want opposite things and I’m scared we’ll make the wrong decision. It’s gotten harder lately because many of my friends are at the stage where they’re having babies.

I’ve never thought to research this so I’m hoping that will help me feel less anxious about it. Now if only I could find a future teller who can make the decision for me πŸ˜‰

Post # 8
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

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MissesAwesome:  I felt so alone too. I wish there had been a board like this when I was struggling to make a decision.

Most of my childless friends are childless not by choice due to infertility, unhappy marriages, or not finding the right person to have a baby with. They were–and still are—grieving, and they couldn’t relate to my ordeal nor I theirs. I have two childfree friends who made a conscious decision not to have children; they helped me through a lot because they said repeatedly that they did not regret their decision.

A little background here: I had always wanted kids. I adore children. So, I just assumed that I’d have them because, you know, according to society, what else is there? Then around 36, when most of my friends were having kids or trying to, I somehow lost the desire. As I approached 40,  I realized I had to make a conscious decision to choose a path. My BF at the time (husband now) did not want kids, so I thought, Well, if I want kids, I need to break up with him. But I couldn’t decide!

For a year, I struggled. I cried almost every day. I couldn’t understand what I was feeling—this was hard because I had no one to talk to about this. My two childfree friends hadn’t struggled as much I did. I thought, Maybe I’m crying because I do want kids. But it took friends and family to help me realize I was just anxious and a little sad because I was closing that door to motherhood and I was afraid.

What helped tremendously was my sister being pregnant, which is sort of the opposite reaction you’d expect. But when she had my niece, I was like, This is cool, I’ll still have kids in my life. And I adore my niece—she’s really one of the best things that has ever happened to me. And I felt like with other people’s kids in my life, I can still be involved and be an influence in a child’s life.

And now, I’m on the other side of that door, feeling very content. I’m happily married. My husband and I have 12 nieces and nephews between us, so we get our fun fill of kids several times a month! (In fact, I was recently told by some nieces that I was “the cool aunt”) πŸ™‚ 

I made the best decision for myself. I realize now I don’t have the patience, energy, or temperament to raise children. And that’s okay. We have to choose paths that are right for us. Like you said, MissesAwesome, you can’t cave into societal pressure. If you do, you’re not living your own life.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re struggling:

-What are the pros and cons of having/raising children in this day and age?

-Why do you want kids? (Sounds like an obvious one, but you have to really take the time to answer that one honestly for yourself.)

-What am I afraid of if I have kids? What am I afraid of if I choose not to?

Post # 9
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

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“I’m scared that one day we’ll wake up and want opposite things and I’m scared we’ll make the wrong decision. It’s gotten harder lately because many of my friends are at the stage where they’re having babies.”

Yes! This was my biggest fear, and it kept me up several nights. This is exactly why I struggled.  Sometimes, I still struggle with my decision not to have kids, but not very often. But be assured that if you make the childfree choice, it does get easier. What has helped was realizing it was the fear of the future, not the actual childfree choice, that had me anxious and in tears.

I feel like fence-sitters have to go through this emotional struggle because you’ll come out on the other side fully aware and knowledgeable of the choices that you explored, researched, and pondered on both options. And you’ll be really happy with yourself knowing you actually took the time to deeply think about your decisions rather than just jumping one way or the other. 

You’re doing the absolute best thing: making a strong, conscious effort to explore your choices. Because of that, you’ll no doubt make the best decision for yourself.

Post # 11
419 posts
Helper bee

I wanted so badly to be a mom when I was young. When I was 20, I found out I had severe endometriosis and had surgery. The doc told me my best chance of having kids was within the year. Two years later, I had the surgery again. He said the same thing. I guess in my mind, though I knew it was still possible to have children, I wasn’t ready and turned myself off to the idea. Then I was single for a decade, and it wasn’t an option at all.

Now here I am, getting married in a few months, and Fiance and are both on the fence. Now that it is potentially an option, I just don’t know. What I loved in that Cup of Jo essay was that the author kept waiting for a “moment” – like falling in love. Except that, to me, falling in love with an existing person is easy. Making the choice to stay day in and day out is tough, but the person is there. Having kids, on the other hand, is like trying to make yourself fall in love with nothing. People tell you that you fall in love with your kids, some even while they’re pregnant, but that’s such a foreign concept to me. There has to be a lot of faith there – in you and your partner, in your future, in that little person. And I just don’t know if I have that.

Of course, we aren’t closing the door on it yet. But because I do have some..issues, it isn’t exactly like I could just get off BC and try. It would have to be a thoughtful, intentional process. And again, I just don’t know.

So all this to say – I appreciate this board. I appreciate your post and the links. I appreciate the conversation. Even if I still just. don’t. know.

Post # 13
65 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Here was the most difficult thing for me to tell myself and accept, and I urge anyone on the fence to say this to themselves, out loud. Brace yourself before you say it out loud:

If I choose to not have kids, I’ll never get a card on Mother’s Day.

Sounds like something so trivial, but that statement was like a knife to my soul. Mother’s Day has become one of the ultimate symbolic celebrations of motherhood, and for many in their minds, womanhood.

But then, I  put it into a larger context, and reminded myself that’s not enough to want to be a mother.  Plus, I can turn Mother’s Day around and just focus on my mom and my sister and friends who are moms. And since then, Mother’s Day has never been an issue; in fact, I celebrate it happily with family and friends!

It’s so much more difficult for women than for men, I think. Motherhood in our social context and history has been inextricably tied to womanhood.

But you have to remind yourself, you’re no less of a woman for choosing to be childfree. Ignore the societal pressures and the celebrity baby craze in the media and the Mother’s Day ads and religious influences and all the other yammering in between. Block that out completely. Think only of your own life. Consider how your day to day life tasks and activities will change. Think of how it will affect your own sense of self and your relationship with your SO.

I hope I’m not droning on and on. I really just want to help other women who are going through this because I was very lonely and confused, and I wish I’d had this board then. If anything I say can bring comfort or clarity to anyone, it would make me so happy πŸ™‚


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