- 6 years ago
- Wedding: February 2008
So at some point in the last week, before I had ever heard the term “CBC”, I went into a post no one had yet responded to, misunderstood the intent (eg a post for people who 100% NEVER want to have kids, I thought it just meant no kids yet, not sure if I want them – boy was I wrong 🙂 ) and shared my story. A few people on the fence PM’d me to say it was helpful, but the CBC community misunderstood my intent (I was NOT trying to convince a CBCer to change their mind, why would I?) and flamed me out….
I figured I would start a thread for those people on the fence about having kids. I have been thinking about it a lot this week…..And to preface this by saying that I am not sharing to convince anyone of anything, I believe everyone is able to make their own decisions, and I have lots of friends and family with no kids or plans to ever have them. I don’t think having kids is for everyone at all – just because it enriches my life doesn’t mean I think it will enrich yours – and I love that our generation is more free than prior ones to choose whatever works for them. But maybe having a place to talk about it will help each person with their own decision.
But, I know when I was unsure of whether or not to have kids, I felt like I had no one to talk to. Most people seemed to know which camp they belonged in – born to be a mom or never want to be a mom. Honestly, I was unsure. and it freaked me out that I was unsure. and i felt alone.
I guess I always thought one day in the future I would have kids. I wanted to want to have kids. I wanted that urge, that instinct to kick in. I have 3 aunts, and only 1 has children. When I looked at my parents and then at my childfree aunts, I wanted to have what my parents had – great relationships with their adult kids and grandkids – but I knew that was a horrible reason to have my own kids. Because I really had no interest in going through the child rearing process to get there. It was the last thing I wanted. I remember hitting an age where I realized that if I got pregnant I was secure and responsible enough to have a child, and that abortion might not be an easy answer, and it scared me to no end.
When I was in my mid-20s, I remember my first good friend had her baby. I was able to be pretty honest with her, and when I spoke with her in those first months I remember asking her, as the baby was crying int he background “so do you like it?” expecting her to go on about how tired she was, how horrible she felt etc. instead she said “i love it”. I was flabbergasted. how could she? it seemed horrendous to me. I loved to sleep in. I loved going out at night. I loved being with my boyfriend->fiance->husband. To travel. Go out with my girlfriends. Sit in a car without a kid whining. I worked insane hours. I remembered being with my brother after his first kid was born and the house seemed suffocating – my sister-in-law was exhausted, overwhlemed, her nipples were bleeding, she could barely sit down.
And I didn’t much like babies or kids. The thought of a crying, pooping baby turned tantrum throwing toddler turned bratty, obnoxious kid made me nauseous. It seemed like a whole lot of work for something that just seemed like a nuisance. I didn’t see babies and think they were all that cute or want to hold them. I saw kids and tended to see how annoying or bratty they were. The whole having a kid thing sounded AWFUL.
I would read about celebrities having babies and how it was the best thing that happened to them. I thought they were lying or exaggering, because they didn’t want to admit how hard it was or that it was the wrong decision. I thought they were secretly resentful of it all.
And yet, I barely shared how I felt with anyone. Because everyone just assumed one day I would want kids. I still assumed this, but as I was nearing 30 with no maternal instinct kicking in, I was getting worried. My same mom friend – the only one I really shared my fears with – assured me once I was married, I would feel differently. I did not believe her.
We were married when I was 31 and agreed to wait a year to talk about when to have kids. Then…it happened. I visited a few friends with kids and felt myself feeling some longing to have a baby. Not baby fever, but it was there. We started to try after about a year, and I found myself shockingly dissapointed when I didn’t get pregnant right away. When I finally did get pregnant, I was excited , but I didn’t feel particularly connected to the baby. I still worried – when we were in the car, I thought ” this is going to be my last enjoyable car trip”. Moms would tell me how they hadn’t read a book in 5 years, how I better “enjoy my sleep now”, and on and on. I wouldn’t say I thought I made the wrong decision, but I was worried about how much would change.
I will end by saying I absolutely love being a mom. It is a ton of fun, way more fun than I thought. Our sex life is as good if not better than it was before. We took two cross country ski trips with our son when he was 6/7 months old, and had a blast. I am planning a girls weekend with my college friends (I am the only mom in the bunch), who I still have brunch with (just girls) every couple months. My husband and I go out almost as often as before. I lost the 7 pounds I gained since I was 27, my body is otherwise intact except a barely noticeable c-section scar – no stretch marks, varicose veins, no incontinence, no stretching down there (I am still terrified of how my body could be ravaged by a vaginal birth). I do sleep less, but I have adjusted – and the kid sleeps 7:30-6:30/7:00 so we have tons of time alone at night to hang out. I love to spend time with my son, he makes me so happy, he brings so much joy. I see the world in a whole new way. Babies no longer annoy me (kids still do, I guess it is one step at a time!) I am not a morning person, but some times when I sleep in and my husband gets up with our son, I am bummed I missed out on the time with him. And he has been an incredible blessing to my family this year, as we dealt with a very big loss.
But my career has taken a hit, because maternity leave took me out of client service, and I lost my spot on several teams. I am no longer willing to travel as much as I need to. I am totally ok with the trade off, but it is real. We also have less money because a full time nanny is expensive! Our lifestyle is still very good, but we need to be a bit more mindful of our expenses. I have no idea what a second child will do, and I am scared of that, really am (almost feel as scared about two as I used to feel about one!). But the downsides were all worth it for me, and I would do it again in a second.
I will stop this ridiculously long post now, but happy to answer any questions if anyone feels in the same boat as they wrestle with their own decsiion. It is not an easy one but I do feel like eventually everyone will figure out what works best for them!