Hi there readers, this is an actual letter we received about having a baby. Or not. And the actual response I sent back. Did I give crappy advice? Tell me in the comments. Care to send us your own question? Feel free!
Dear Rookie Moms,
I really enjoyed your little video of the 4 women wrestling with the decision of whether or not to have another kid. I’m 35, married for almost 10 years and my husband and I go back and forth about if we should have A kid. Not another, just one. We can see the glass empty and full with both options. Do you have any resources for couples grappling with this decision. I just feel kind of alone, there’s really nothing out there for couples trying to make a decision. Which I suppose is just how it is. I’m fully aware that it is in the end our decision, but it would be nice to have one blog or book for some other opinions.
~ Lisa in Oregon
A few years ago, I ran across a blog/wiki that some people started to lay out the pros and cons of having a kid; I had hoped to link to it, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I used to not understand what it was like to be in your shoes and to totally “not know.” One of my very good friends was in a similar boat as yours (and I’d be happy to put you in touch); they married on the young side and just didn’t know. Year after year, they’d put off the deciding about whether or not they’d have kids. At some point, they did decide to and now they have a one year old.
I just did a quick google search and didn’t really find anything that was decent. Here are some of my thoughts and experiences:
For us, we already knew we wanted kids. And our first son came as a surprise, so we didn’t even have the luxury of deliberating our decision or kicking around the whens and whys of it. In hindsight, that may have been a good thing for us. We just had to roll with it. After the first one — and I’m not gonna sugarcoat it — was so hard and knocked us on our asses, we wanted to hurry up and have another before chickening out. For us, that all made sense. And, you can make up your mind all you want to but God/Mother Nature can have totally different plans. Anyway, that’s a long way of sharing our own journey that brings me to where I’m just not sure… we go back and forth. With the recession, joblessness looming, and a huge remodel, our talks kinda went on hold. I think we’re actually both leaning toward the idea, but just not yet.
So, blah blah blah… what I can say is that having a baby will change your life. Do you want your life to change? Do you want to have a little person in your home? Do you notice yourself having baby fever or staring a little too long when you see one passing you by on the sidewalk? Do you want to have a child in your home in a couple years? Do you want to have a teenager around soon after that? Do you imagine that when you’re an old couple that you’ll have older children to come around once in a while and fill your house with noise, chaos, and laughter? If you think YES, then you probably ought to go for it. If you and your husband disagree, then you probably want to wait.
If instead, you really want to be able to travel, eat out, wear fancy clothes, go to rock concerts at the drop of a hat (or hiking, horseback riding, whatever you’re into), and never adjust your career or your standard of living to the needs of a child… you might be perfectly happy and fulfilled not going down that path.
I do think that too much research or too much information might not help matters. I see another one of my best friends — who has long wanted to be a mother — basically freaking out because she sees her friends go through it and gets spooked. I tell her that it will all work out (because it always does) and that there will be bumps but she has a great support system to help her.
You could try the Dr. Phil method of pretending for one week that you definitely definitely want a child and then a second week where you definitely definitely don’t want children and see which feels more natural.
It also helps if you have an excellent relationship with your husband already. And if you’re both more-or-less on the same page with the decision.
If you choose to have a baby, it will be hard at times and wonderful at times… and eventually, you won’t be able to imagine your life any other way.
If you choose not to have a baby, you may also have an amazingly full life with family and friends and hobbies and a flat stomach.