If you’re married, you’ve probably been asked, “When are you having kids?” I think people are asking a little less often because so many people have been open about sharing struggles with conceiving, but it’s still a FAQ. I don’t really have a response, because we’re still trying to decide on the subject. It’s not that we don’t want kids, it’s just we aren’t jumping to have them right now. This got me thinking, are we the only scared ones? Are we the only ones who don’t have the next few years planned out? Are we the only ones who still cringe at the sound of crying baby or a toddler tantrum? Is something wrong with us for not one hundred percent knowing we want kids & wanting them by a certain time? Today, I’m getting personal & sharing all about the constant back & forth in my mind, & our minds, about having kids.
ARE WE THE ONLY SCARED ONES?
One of my best girl friends from college & I are the only two out of our big group who are married & don’t have kids yet. A lot of my friends from college married older guys & really had to jump on having kids. Some of them have three & we haven’t even had one. We both dated our husbands for a long time before getting engaged & married & seem to just take things as they come. We love to travel and have big career goals & we are worried that we won’t be able to figure out how to pursue those passions & start a family.. & do it all well. We’ve been talking a lot over the past year or two about the subject of kids & feeling like at times, we’re the only two who are unsure of whether or not we want kids. I know, I know. Some of you are shocked & can’t imagine it. Some of you are hopefully saying, “Amen, me too!” We were asking, “Are we the only scared ones?” to each other & I realized that if we feel this way, other couples & more specifically women, have definitely felt this way & probably share our same fears, so why aren’t more people talking about it?
WE WANT IT, WE GOT IT
We’re people who don’t plan too far ahead. We’ve learned in life that you really have no idea where life will take you. We like making shorter term plans & goals with a bigger idea in mind, but we’re not really a “In five years..” type of people. One example is we dated for six years before we got engaged. People always asked, “When are you getting engaged?” We were never ones to say we’d be engaged in a certain time frame, because we knew we’d just get engaged shortly after deciding we wanted to. If we decide we want something & we really want it, then that’s it & we find a way to make it happen. We are that way with all things once we’ve really decided on it, so we assume having kids will be the same way, we just haven’t hit that point yet. We haven’t had the “Omgosh, YES, let’s do this now.” moment in response to a baby.
PROGRESSION OF LIFE
I often think that people do things because they think they are supposed to. For many, this perspective may come later in life. You go to college, get a job, fall in love, get married, buy a house, & start a family. If not in that order, then in some similar order. You do it, because you’re supposed to. I don’t think everyone is necessarily cut out for each step along the way, but that so many people do it because they think they should. If that is how you or someone you know has gone about life, that is totally fine, but we just approach things as wanting to be sure we want to rather than feeling like we should. We’ve even heard some people who have been married & since divorced say they got engaged or married because they had been together a certain amount of time or because all of their friends were. We think it is so important to make decisions for you & not for what people think you should do. Just because we think something is the next step in life, doesn’t mean we necessarily have to take it. We’re definitely in the moment that starting a family seems like the next big thing, which means it’s often on our minds. We always hear, “you’ll never be fully ready” for any of these milestones, but the truth of the matter is that we were ready for all the other ones along the way, so shouldn’t we feel ‘ready’ for the biggest commitment of them all? I personally was always was one to be afraid of commitment, so it’s really no surprise to me that when it comes to the biggest life altering decisions, I’m scared.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE
I didn’t grow up in a home where everything was all roses. My mom had a very, very hard time raising two children on her own. I didn’t see this beautiful perspective of having children because taking care of us & figuring out the day to day was a really big challenge. I think so many have this picture perfect image of what having a family will look like & we forget that things are not always how we think they will be. My own experience growing up helps me remember that. My day job also helps me see that. I work with children with special needs & some of the families I work with have such a difficult time. I believe that we are all only given what we can handle, but I can’t not think about these things when trying to decide on having a family of my own. Am I ready for ANY kind of family I may be given? Am I ready for any life altering changes my given family may bring?
TIME IS TICKING
The real talk is that I’m approaching 32 years old & time is ticking, as they say. I was at work recently & near someone who is about to have a baby & I, of course, was asked if we were going to have kids. I said I wasn’t sure & was met with, “How old are you?” Ouch. My mom was close to 40 when she had me, so while I do feel like I have time, I also think there are a lot of pros to having children a little earlier on in life than the last few years I’m actually able, if I am in fact able to. Another fear with the whole biological clock thing is that it you really have no idea how long it will take you to get pregnant. Some people are lucky & it happens the first try & others try for years & years. As the amount of years you may have left to have a baby decline, you start to lose that comforting cushion should it be difficult.
PARTNERS, NOT ENEMIES
I’m sure we’ve all seen one too many couples struggle to parent together. I want to be partners, not enemies. Seeing a couple have a child or two & suddenly start arguing over every little thing & seeming like they are on opposing teams is heartbreaking. I can only imagine how many difficult things are brought into a relationship with children, but worrying that it will push you away from your partner instead of bringing you closer is scary. I know everyone has ups & downs, but being a couple who breaks after children because they just can’t refocus on each other is something we definitely do not want to happen.
If you haven’t ever heard of DINK, it means Dual-Income-No-Kids. It’s a pretty sweet thing. Having income that you can use how you’d like is nice, freeing, & fun. With children comes so many sacrifices, one big one being finances & that can be a big adjustment. There are so many people who stop working because paying for childcare just doesn’t make sense when you’re not making a ton of income after that’s accounted for. Plus, so many want to stay home with their kids during those pivotal early years. Going from DINK life to adding kids in the mix & sometimes adjusting so one parent can stay home & living off one income can be a huge decision & can totally change a lifestyle. Considering just how much our lifestyle could change over time is another thing we think about often.
Yup, I’m going there. I know it’s a taboo subject in so many people’s eyes, but fear in relation to losing my body is real. If you have never felt this then that’s great. If you think that your children were 100% worth every pound, scar, or stretch mark, then I am sure you’re right. But, it doesn’t mean that body issues aren’t real with every woman. I think this is a big fear of a lot of women who feel like they can’t speak out about it because it’s a sacrifice made for their babies. I get that. I think the woman’s body is amazing & can do so many incredible things. That can come with a lot of change though. There are some women who never seem to ‘bounce back’ or ‘get their body back’ after baby & I must admit, that’s a fear. Especially the older I get. I love feeling strong & confident in my body. If I’m not feeling my best, it affects so much more than what size jeans I buy. I don’t want to never feel good about myself again & have it affect my self confidence, my mood, my relationship, & more. It may be a selfish & somewhat vein fear, but it’s a real one. Life is of course about so much more, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t want to look & feel your best while living it.
LOSING YOUR SENSE OF SELF
Another fear associated with having kids is losing your sense of self. Have you ever caught up with a friend & ALL they can talk about are their kids? I totally get that life revolves around families & children, but I at least want to talk about SOMEthing else SOME of the time. I don’t want to be someone who has no other identity outside of being a mother. I want to have hobbies, passions, & interests of my own. I fear I’d become one of those all or nothing types who just can’t find the balance.
REGRET EITHER WAY
You’re damned if you do & you’re damned if you don’t. There may be people who regret having kids or you may regret not having them sooner or waiting as long as you did to have them, but you also may regret NOT having them. Obviously, you can’t take it back & you may get to a point that you can’t change it & decide to have one of your own. Wondering if we’d have any sense of regret either way is definitely something heavy on the mind. Some days it is, ‘What are we waiting for?’ Others it’s ‘Let’s wait as long as we can.’
We often reflect back on other big decisions we’ve made in life together: taking big trips, moving in together, getting a dog, getting engaged, getting married, and buying a house to name a few. We were both so scared before we rescued Maddie. Excited, but scared. Are we ready? What if we didn’t budget right? What if we have to change our lifestyle to accommodate for her? Things have happened and all of which have been for the better. Maddie gave us so much perspective on what is important & helped us prioritize down time at home rather than time always out & about. Remembering other times when we felt unsure or scared helps us realize that may just be the way we go into big decisions.
TIME WILL TELL
For us, I suppose time will tell. We’re just trying to take things a little at a time & find out what we want & where our lives will take us. Life is good & we feel very happy & content right now. In the meantime, I hope this honest & personal post helps spark a thought or a conversation & that any of you who have felt this way or are feeling this way feel more compelled to be open about it. We aren’t alone in our thoughts & we aren’t wrong for having fears. Truth is, it’s something that connects many of us & I think talking about it is important. For us, we’ll probably just decide that it’s time for me to get off birth control & decide to let life take us to the next step when we feel like we could learn to handle the outcome either way.
I’d love to hear your feedback & any fears you may have or might have had in relation to having kids! It may be something I don’t hear as much about because I’m not yet a mom, or maybe it’s just not something many people are open to talking about publicly, but I definitely think it’s a great topic of conversation & would love feedback from women of all positions & stages in life.