What brought you to the biggest decision of your life?

When I blog, I usually go on and on about what’s happening in my life. How many miles I ran this week (34), what weird thing we had for dinner this week (frogmere stew), or something odd our dogs did (Duncan went to the vet this week and I still have scratch marks all over my body as a result). But this time, I want feedback. It’s probably going to roll up to another blog post, but there’s something I can’t put my finger on rolling atound in my brain.

So, last week I came across this article. It was a post about the top 10 reasons people have children. The author polled her friends and then spent the entire article arguing against her friends reasons for having kids. I didn’t really get what she was trying to say. But it made ,me think about my own experiences. Shortly after my surgery, I joined a group on Facebook for women who were childless by choice. It made sense-I chose to get rid of my uterus, so of course it was my call! But these ladies were not just childless, they seemed to actively hate children. LIke, “why did they bring that drooling, obnoxious cry-monster in PUBLIC” bitter. So I dropped out of that group. Then there was a group of “childless support”. Tried that as a suggestion from my hysterectomy friends. And these people are all “how can people be so INSENSITIVE as to talk about their kids when I can’t have any???” and that’s not my crew either.

But I do wonder. So many people seem to firmly believe in the “kids are just what you do after you get married” school of thought. Clearly that’s not our gig. We’ve talked about adoption, but looking into it scared the crap out of me. Median price was $35,000! How on earth is that the median price to obtain something you’re going to spend another $200,000 over the course of your life taking care of? Well, it scared us away. I was of the mindset that if I were to adopt, I’d want to adopt a baby or toddler who wouldn’t be able to remember their life before us. Older kids scared me. All the horror stories of foster kids acting out, stealing, getting arrested, being destructive-hell, I freak out if there’s even a chance I left the front door slightly ajar so my dogs may escape, how the heck would I cope with a teenager living there?

So, friends, blog readers, random people searching for whatever I tag this post as, answer me this: what made you decide to have kids? What made you decide NOT to have kids? I”m not saying we’re going to decide the future of our family based on blog/Facebook poll, but I’m genuinely curious. So much of our last year has been focused on planning for a wedding, doing what’s medically necessary for me to be healthy, etc that I don’t really know the reasons most people actually take the plunge and have kids. So what led you to arguably one of the biggest decisions of your life? I promise, I am not going to be like the referenced author and argue against your reasons-they’re your own, and I’m genuinely curious.

11 thoughts on “What brought you to the biggest decision of your life?

  1. I’m not sure my husband and I are set in our decision, but I have never really wanted kids and he is starting to not really want them. I love my life as it is. I love being able to travel and I have wanted to travel and see the world for years. I’ve never wanted kids. Kids would hinder the type of life that I want to have and I just honestly don’t feel like caring for kids is something I would enjoy doing.

  2. You know, I really can’t say that I ever sat down and thought about it. I just always knew I wanted kids. Originally, I wanted a LOT of kids…like, ten. (I’ve since come to my senses on that.) I have two, who are now 6 and 7. In a perfect world, I’d have had a couple more by now…but I got divorced when my youngest was 2 and at this point, the thought of starting over makes me want to slit my wrists.

    None of the reasons listed in the article really applied to me (well, expect the last one). I certainly don’t like babies. I like kids, but I loathe babies. It’s not even the diapers or the sleepless nights…it’s all the damn crying, the not knowing what the hell is wrong. I cannot relate at all to women who are sad their children are growing up. I think it’s great fun to see my kids turn into real human beings, with personalities, versus loaves of bread.

    The author of that article seems really…well…almost bitter. Why does it have to be all or nothing? Her reasons for NOT having kids are none of my business; similarly, my decision TO have kids is none of hers. I don’t see why either side has to be so over-the-top. I feel like this comes back, again, to the decline of common sense in society. When did we become so hyper-sensitive about everything? I trust that you understand that if I tell you I’m pregnant (hypotheticals here!) I’m not trying to be cruel; I’m just giving you information. In the same way, I understand that when you talk about your trip to Italy, you’re not trying to make me feel like an idiot for reproducing.

    We are all just trying to live our lives the best way we know how. Sometimes, circumstances are such that choices are made for us. But if we want the freedom of our remaining choices, then we need to allow everyone that freedom. And we need to accept that, sometimes, it’s just none of our damn business.

    • Exactly! I agree that everyone has become hypersensitive and it’s dividing us. People in the childless group on Facebook keep talking about how their friends are purposely breaking their hearts by posting baby photos. I don’t understand how rational human beings can make that deduction. People are just happy with things going on in their lives and want to share! As a pretty middle of the road, easygoing person, it’s hard to find where you fit in when everyone leans so hard in one direction or the other.

      I genuinely enjoy seeing my friends have kids, love the silly stories, and like hanging out with them and their kids. I get to interact with a child, and then I get to go home and take care of my low maintenance pets and go to bed. I don’t think we need to cordone those with kids off into separate parties, dinner dates, or movie theaters. As long as people are teaching their kids respect and appropriateness to a situation, we all should be able to just get along and enjoy life together! That’s why we became friends in the first place, right?

  3. Good question. I was perfectly happy in our lives. Sleeping in. Late nights. Disposable income. And I was a bit taken aback when I found out we were having our first. But now that they’re here, I can NOT imagine life without them. My fave movie is Lost in Translation. I think Bill f’ing Murray describes it best halfway thru the film.

  4. I am not a fan of the linked post … but I couldn’t find a constructive way to comment there so I decided to let it drop. If you recall I had my ‘things people need to stop saying’ post, because I felt that there were too many hurtful and insensitive things being said, even if sometimes it was done with good intent. That post says that she is tired of being asked about kids, and then turns around and forces justification on what is a foundational element for the survival of any species. Um, no … just no. If you don’t like being questioned, then tell the actual people doing the questioning to STOP – let them know that NO ONE needs to answer for their personal family decisions, regardless of what they may be, and no one owes an explanation of what possible reasons might be behind whether or not they have children.

    My big issue with the article, I guess, is that she takes a negative approach to battle another negative behavior. Rather than informing, she seeks to shame. And thereby brings shame only on herself.

    Anyway …

    I would say that both Lisa and I felt that ‘biological imperative’ to have children, it was something each of us wanted – which was interesting since a few years before I’d assumed I’d never have kids, but after meeting Lisa I could totally see it. The desire and commitment to it was enough that in spite of heartbreaking infertility and painful miscarriages, and dealing with hurtful and insensitive comments from family and friends and strangers … we still held hands and sought to continue.

    But like I say – that is US. Our decision is about our life, and I don’t begin to claim it is right for anyone but us. I also know it can be hard when someone is going through difficulty having kids to see others who are having an easier time … but it is important to realize that they are not seeking to hurt, but rather celebrating the same joy that all of us who have dealt with loss and infertility wished to be feeling.

    Sorry to ramble 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing! It was frustrating to read her article. I’d been looking for something because I was genuinely curious what the main reasons people have kids ARE. Is it that they just think that’s what you do? That they want to carry on their genes? That they just love nurturing? But whatever reason, I would never try to refute it or shame it. That’s like how one of my pet peeves is when people tell you “you shouldn’t feel that way”. Yes, sometimes our feelings aren’t rational, but they’re our feelings and sometimes we just have them.

      I talk about the fertility struggle a lot lately, but I think I’m just trying to find my place on the spectrum. Bitter doesn’t work for me, sad doesn’t work for me, and child hating is completely illogical. Yes, I’m good with babies. Yes, kids love me. Yes, I love sleeping in, reading a book without interruption (at least from a tiny person-Jeff interrupts from time to time), and making spicy food at home without worrying it will hurt my child. Geez, I almost sound well adjusted when I put it that way! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Can’t We All Just Get Along? And Blog-Reading FOMO! | Running Around the Bend

  6. Found you from Running Around the Bend’s post today (and since he did it, I’ll do a long comment too). I’m in the childless by choice camp. My husband has a grown son from his first marriage, so there is a possibility of grandchildren at some point I suppose. It’s hard to say why I don’t want kids (and haven’t since I was probably about 16ish), definitely a mixture of reasons.
    Part of it is loving the life we have — traveling overseas annually is harder with kids and with college savings needs, etc., but it’s truly one of my favorite things to do. I also really like getting to set my own schedule to decide for example, how much time I spend running or where or how often I go for races. And I definitely think people with kids can be just as happy or happier than people without, but the research that sticks with me (of course we all hear what we want to hear, I recognize that) is the studies that show that having children generally decreases happiness and life satisfaction. Certainly not the case for some, but true for others. I do not think I’d be happier with kids (of course, who’s to say?).
    Part of it (honestly) is not particularly liking kids under about age 10 very much — I like order, quiet, doing things on my schedule, having a plan that isn’t subject to change because someone missed a nap. And I’m not very patient. I don’t think I’d be a good parent for those reasons (and the world doesn’t need any more bad parents in my opinion). Maybe this is considered selfish, but I just like things the way I like them, and I recognize that. I’m fine with kids in small doses — and I love my nieces, nephews, godchildren, but days on end isn’t my cup of tea.
    Part of it relates to my body as well — I’d be nervous that I’d never lose the weight, get my body back to normal, be able to have sex in the kitchen, go a year without getting a cold, whatever. Plenty of women come back from kids just fine, plenty of women are in horrible shape without having had kids, plenty of people probably have sex in the kitchen (and if the kids see it, they may or may not be traumatized for life), and maybe not all kids are germ monsters/magnets. I’m just saying I like my body and sex life the way they are now and I’d like to maintain them in their current states as long as possible, and I don’t see kids as compatible with that for me.
    Part of it is not wanting to change my personality. Not that I’m particularly awesome, and not that everyone who has kids changes for the worse (obviously, many people I adore have kids). This could be kind of touchy, but I definitely have (or had) some friends whose lives are subsumed into their kid(s)'(s). They seem to have no independent interests. And that’s absolutely a legitimate choice for them. And there’s no guarantee that would happen to me just because I had a kid, but I’m very happy with where I am now, and with the social group I have now (many of whom also don’t have kids for various reasons), and I have no desire to be someone who spends a lot of time thinking/talking about nap schedules, soccer practice, classroom cupcakes, trips to Disney, etc.
    And part of it relates to finances and my general life vision. We love the idea of retiring early. I love the prospect of an uninterrupted career path. I love living in an uptown condo where I don’t have to worry about child safety gates on stairs or school districts (or school tuition). I love buying two plane tickets for vacation and not more. I love not having to insure a teenage driver. Kids are defintiely expensive, no arguing with that. Finances come down to priorities. The same way I might prioritize going on vacation or going out to dinner, someone else might prioritize back-to-school clothes, football camp, or college tuition for a kid. Different strokes for different folks.

    • Hi, Carina! Your life sounds pretty similar to ours. I love travel, and when we decided to schedule my surgery we promised to take the big trips I’ve always dreamed of. Coworkers talk about going to Disney and I’d put that right up there with being home sick as worst ways to burn a vacation day!

      • BTW, not knowing I just made this list yesterday, today my husband called me and said he just heard a story on NPR about a new travel memoir called “What I was doing while you were breeding” and he thought I’d enjoy it, knowing I like travel books in general. Can’t recommend it, but thought you may be interested.

      • I just want to say that, even as a parent, taking my kids to Disney sounds like an f’ing nightmare. I was just talking to some friends about taking a “vacation” with kids…I said it doesn’t sound like much of a vacation to me, at all. Even just the short trips I’ve taken with my kids to the Twin Cities have been a nightmare for me. I am certain that a trip to Disney would leave me wanting to blow my brains out.

        Similarly, I cannot relate to parents who have never been away from their kids or can’t imagine leaving them for a period of time. Maybe it’s because I’m divorced or maybe because I’m just a cold-hearted bitch, but I relish my time away from my children. I love them, of course, and I’m always delighted and happy to come back home and see them again…but I have absolutely no problems taking a trip by myself and enjoying it. My sanity is worth something.

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