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to think having kids isn't all it is cracked up to be?

(134 Posts)
gummo Mon 06-Jul-15 21:13:55

I don't have children yet and am trying to decide if it is right for me. I have the added issue of a genetic problem if I do have decide to try which would require some intervention which is off putting enough but I have found after the past few years really paying attention to friends and family who are parents that it just doesn't look quite as joyful as it is made out to be.

It is very difficult to get a straight answer on this as I don't think you can give one. It is pretty impossible to say I love kids but I prefered my life before and wish they had never been born because even though people might have liked life before they had kids they could never wish their kids had not been born.

The only thing I can relate this too personally is that in my early 20's I started on a career which was dangerous and took me away from home for long stretches, my husband hated me being away and it caused horrible problems for us, in the end I had to choose between my career and my husband and I choose my husband because I love him and couldn't imagine a life without him. Perhaps if I had had the choice between love and the career I wanted prior to falling in love with my husband I would have chose the career.

If I had a child I am sure I would love it and give my all to that child but I also think that child would alter every part of my life my relationship with my husband, my new career only in its early stages, my freedom, my priorities and even the way I think would shift and I don't know if I want it too. It just feels like a very final choice to make and very limiting.

People say a lot of wonderful things about having kids but it isn't easy to see in their lives. Money, time, identity is all eaten up by children and it is impossible to do right either you stay home to look after them and are a parasite in the eyes of some or you work and neglect them in the eyes of others. So many I know have kids but only see them a few hours a day some even less if they are shipped out to grandparents.

I had a great childhoon and love my parents but I don't really feel any huge desire to have my own, I don't understand that, how it feels but I worry I am just missing something and one day I will realise too late what I have missed?

I can see how having family as you get older is a comfort for many but is that a reason to sacrifice my life now? Sometimes I feel that perhaps I am just not a people person and children are just little people. I even found the cat I had as a child a bit clingy.

I just don't get what other people see in it, and I wish I did.

Chillyegg Mon 06-Jul-15 21:18:01

Im confused.
What part of your post unreasonable.
How old are you op?
In my opinion its better than people make out! With your own you don't mind the dirty nappies/ time /life changes.

bialystockandbloom Mon 06-Jul-15 21:18:29

Well it sounds like you're pretty much decided that having children isn't for you - and no reason why it should be. But yabu that having children "isn't all it's cracked up to be" - it basically, um, is - even if it isn't always exactly what you expected.

But no-one's forcing you. I wouldn't really worry about it.

Lateswim16 Mon 06-Jul-15 21:19:00

It's not the law to have children. My sister is happily child free and has a wonderful life.

I have 4 and have, on the whole, a wonderful family life.

The real fact is though, that as soon as you have a child you are forever vulnerable and never really stop worrying about your kids until you die.

Lateswim16 Mon 06-Jul-15 21:20:38

Posted too soon! So my opinion is if you want a completely happy and tranquil life don't have children. grin

BoomBoomsCousin Mon 06-Jul-15 21:21:35

You will rarely get a parent saying it's not a good idea, because you just can't say that about your kids even if it's true. So the parents who love it all speak up and the parents who don't, for the most part, will just stay silent. If you can't see what other people see in it you're probably best off steering a different course.

gummo Mon 06-Jul-15 21:23:00

I am in my mid 30's so make your mind up time, not sure just everyone I know with them says how wonderful it is etc but they all seem shattered, miserable and unfulfilled in areas outside parenthood, especially the women.

I can appreciate you not minding the work and life changes if it was your own kids I think I would be the same but knowing how hard it is and how it changes you would some parents in their heart of hearts have rather not had them?

Appleblossom82 Mon 06-Jul-15 21:23:35

Im expecting our first but am very happy with our life as it is. Love meals out, lazing with dh, expensive holidays, spa days. But ultimately we cant imagine life without children (altho im not fussed with other people's kids other than those of close frends).

Those indulgent things we enjoy will just have to be more few and far between but im excited about all the other things we will experience with our children. That said, not having kids is a perfectly good choice as well!

RJnomore Mon 06-Jul-15 21:24:12

Yanbu. I have two and I love them of course but honestly my life would be just as good without them. Very different but just as good.

CatOfTheGreenGlades Mon 06-Jul-15 21:26:01

Well, firstly there's nothing wrong with how you feel, not everyone is desperate to have kids. I was, and it blinded me to a lot of the stress and difficulty it involved. It's OK to be clear-sighted about the reality of it. You're right I wouldn't want to wish the clock back, but if you're not sure in the first place, don't feel pressurised by what you "ought" to feel.

I think a lot of that pressure comes from people wanting to justify their choice to themselves, and from society making out that it's the ultimate fulfilment for a woman. It's not true, people are different, and women are different. I also think you sound like a bit of an introvert – I am too, and having to talk to, listen to and be on call for your children 24/7 can be absolutely exhausting, emotionally as well as physically. And I'm someone who really wanted DC. If that's not you, it's fine to accept that – you can also accept that you may change your mind, or not. But you sound as if you'll have a very full life without having children, so I don't think you'll somehow lose out and regret it if that's what happens.

gummo Mon 06-Jul-15 21:26:35

I am just wondering if I have a weird massive blind spot about kids and that maybe one day I will just wake up knowing I really want one. I have spent my whole adult life waiting for my biological clock to kick in, even my most unsure friends are now having them but while I think they are interesting to watch and cute at times I still don't fancy doing it every day for 18 + years.

I can't help it but I do feel abnormal for not having baby hunger and I worry I will regret it when I am an old lady.

SweetAndFullOfGrace Mon 06-Jul-15 21:27:09

I was very unsure if I wanted kids at all. It took me to my mid 30s to decide. The two things that decided me:
- if I imagined my old age, were there grown up kids around;
- was I more than 50% convinced that I wanted to have kids (since I think it's rare to be 100% about such things)

MamaLazarou Mon 06-Jul-15 21:28:00

Nah- being a mum is the best thing ever! grin

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 06-Jul-15 21:28:20

it is absolutely not compulsory. I know many people who don't have children and are entirely happy with that choice.

Is this about you or your DH though? From your post, he didn't really like not being top of your priorities before. I pretty much guarantee he won't be top of your priorities if you have a baby. Apologies if that's off beam.

freelancegirl Mon 06-Jul-15 21:30:50

I felt like you - I couldn't really see the attraction and loved my life as it was. I used to feel sorry for people who had children as they couldn't travel, go out, go to the gym and all the things that were so vital to who I was. I just thought there must be something great about having kids as everyone says there is. So I went for it.

I was so surprised to find out that it's great. It's so brilliant you can't put it into words and that's in spite of the sleepless nights and lack of freedom for the first few years. It's the cause of the strongest emotion I've felt in my life. It's incredible. Of course if you don't know them you don't know what you're missing and I am sure will have a prefectly good life too.

CatOfTheGreenGlades Mon 06-Jul-15 21:31:26

Also when you say "especially the women", that's a very important point. In so, so many relationships, women are left to carry for more of the housework and childcare, even when both parents work. i know so many men who just think it's their right to bugger off for the entire weekend whenever they like, do a tiny proportion of the housework, be the "fun" parent and opt out of the boring crap like filling in dozens of forms for school. (And these men are often described on here too.) It makes a huge difference if you have kids with a man who will take on his fair and equal share of everything. Then you can also have weekends away, nights out, a rest in the evening etc. and you need those to keep you sane.

gummo Mon 06-Jul-15 21:32:04

Catofgreenglades, thank you for that it does help. I am kind of thinking that really knowing you want kids, making that an intentional choice for your life makes all the difference when it gets tough. Whereas going into it on a whim or because you're worried about making a mistake might make the tough times a lot tougher. I need a crystal ball or more than one life!

toomuchtooold Mon 06-Jul-15 21:32:58

OP I have a chromosomal abnormality and twins by IVF. I totally get where you are coming from. I was ambivalent about starting a family but was getting older and didn't know about the chromosomal abnormality initially, only found out after three miscarriages by which point I'd travelled quite far from my starting position of "maybe it would be nice to have someone to enjoy our nice life with us" to "having tried and failed to have a baby is going to poison my relationship with pretty much everyone who ever tried and succeeded". I did the IVF and had two lovely little girls but my head was totally in the wrong place and it had been a shit few years leading up. Let's just say that 3 years of looking after twins has been a lot on top. I've also had to give up my much-loved job for reasons related to the kids, so it has been a bad deal for me all round.
This is the bit where I should say... "but it's all been worth it to have my wonderful life-changing children." But no, it hasn't. They are lovely. I am glad to have been able to give them life so they can live. But my life is definitely much more shit than it was before they were born. I don't enjoy looking after toddlers, it's frustrating and exhausting. It has its moments but it's largely what you would expect, hours of repetitive conversations, tantrums over small stuff and having to plan everything like a military operation. Will it be worth it when they are older and I am older? I can't answer that any more than you can but what I will say is that having children has taught me I'm most happy when I am mostly doing things that I like, it's that simple. I suspect there is a lovely and very happy life ahead for you if you choose to do the things you like best, and if that doesn't involve children, that's most probably fine.

OrangeVase Mon 06-Jul-15 21:33:43

I possibly wouldn't do it if I had the choice again. I lost my career, my relationship has broken down, I am struggling for money, I would dearly love to go away but can't. Friends who didn't have kids have a great life. They are free and financially secure.

Do they feel they have missed out? Some do, some don't. I did feel I was missing out - that was one reason I wanted them. Have I had some wonderful experiences? Yes. Do I love them? Yes. Is my life richer and am I a better person? Yes. But if there were a parallel life in which another "me" was living a life without kids I suspect that person might be happier. Who knows.

Don't have them unless you really want them. You can be happy without.

But if you do have them you can also be very, very happy - and you will love them to bits.

Hero1callylost Mon 06-Jul-15 21:36:09

I love my child but I don't love being a parent. It involves a lot of sacrifice, hard work and no peace. If I could choose whether to do it with hindsight I would, because the high points so outweigh the low points. I wouldn't choose to have a second.

It's such a personal decision, no one can make it for you.

CatOfTheGreenGlades Mon 06-Jul-15 21:36:10

Some women who've never felt the urge do suddenly change their minds and "feel the clock ticking", so that could happen, but equally for some it doesn't. I don't think there is a big secret or something you "can't see". On the contrary it's more that wanting kids makes you blind to the reality of how hard it will be.

If you're mid-thirties you don't have to decide right now. What does your husband think – is he putting pressure on you to get started, or is he happy either way?

workadurka Mon 06-Jul-15 21:37:51

I really wasn't sure if I was ready to have a child when I had one, but I always knew in the back of my mind I wanted them one day.

If you feel the same, go for it. If you've never really felt you wanted children, think about it carefully.

I think Sweet 's post above is brilliant.

holmessweetholmes Mon 06-Jul-15 21:39:24

It's an interesting question. Although I always wanted kids and obviously love my kids very much, it does occur to me sometimes that although we think that we actively choose to have kids, the choice is perhaps more driven by biological imperative than we like to admit. When I look back and think 'Why did I want to have kids?', I'm not sure I can really answer. I just did.

And having kids did, in some ways, seriously muck about with my life. I have basically lost all interest in my career; I had fairly serious anxiety issues for several years after the birth of my second dc; I developed high blood pressure in pregnancy, which I'm still on meds for 7 years later.

But a) my kids are wonderful and b) I know that I would have been devastated if I'd been unable to have kids. It would have cast a big shadow over my life, partly because I wouldn't have known what the downsides of being a parent could be, and would have just dwelt on the upsides that I'd have been imagining.

wtffgs Mon 06-Jul-15 21:39:37

It's absolutely fine not to want kids - indeed, it is entirely sensible if you are a woman because pregnancy and child-rearing can have a devastating effect on your income and career prospects. If your marriage/relationship flounders you can be well and truly up shit creek.

I love my kids more than anything or anyone. I wouldn't choose differently, but there is no denying life is much harder with than without.

winewinewine or brewbrewbrew grin

Deemail Mon 06-Jul-15 21:40:16

i don't think my life would be just as good without them, even though they're at that head wrecking teen stage!! I love them very much and am very proud of them. Sometimes I don't like the way they behave towards me and their dad but overall I actually like them and can see they've really turned out to be nice people!!
I do think it's important to know your own limits, a few friends and relations wanted large families, popped out baby after baby for a few years without hardly drawing a breath, now it's abundantly clear that some of them are over stretched and struggling. i honestly think if they'd stopped at 1or 2 they'd be much happier!!

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