To want to ask some questions before I get pregnant?(100 Posts)
So, I (we) have started thinking about maybe trying for a baby next year. We've waited because I was unwell and also we thought it would be good for one of us at least to have completed a PhD (him, last year). I then had an ectopic and realised I also wanted to complete before we tried again.
Here's the thing : the people around us that have had babies seem to really regret it. Last week a colleague returned to College having just had a baby sixish months ago (due just after the one we lost) and didn't have a nice word to say about motherhood or the baby (apart from the baby looks cute).
The whole scenario has made me mull things over in my head (finances, maternity leave, would it be better to wait one more year, coping with no family close by (and a partner who works away a lot), having a career and having a family (am I asking too much?), etc.).
A couple of people have said "just do it, it is what it is" (namely the people who now have regrets) and so I am starting to question - is it unreasonable to raise questions and look for answers to them?
I'm not really feeling comfortable just throwing myself in at the deep end, but also have no freaking idea where is the best place to look for answers (google? here? GP surgery? HR department?)
You will never find the answer because it is very subjective - it is honestly the hardest thing I have ever done but I have 3 and seem to manage!
There is no right time - you only become 'ready' when it becomes reality and you have to be.
YANBU to think this through beforehand of course not.
However I do think the only question that really matters is do you want children?
They are hardwork, all consuming and expensive but that is nothing if you and your partner want a child.
I suspect what your friends mean is that regardless of your situation you can always make it work, but you have to want to do it.
What are your questions?
Some people do regret having children, there have been loads of threads on here where people have been honest about this. Your colleague might be one of them or she might just be having a tough week.
Others don't regret having them ever. Even for a second. But you can't know if you'll be one of them until the children actually arrive, unfortunately!
How old are you? Honestly, if you're ambitious in career terms I think it's hard to do it before age 35.
Me and dh put off having children for many reasons over the years, mainly we both have top level jobs and focused on them.
We started ttc when I was 38 I got pregnant fist month of trying and now at 39 I have DD. She is now a few weeks old but I can honestly say it has been the best few weeks of my life, I feel like I've really taken to being a Mum and I can't believe I left it so long.
I won't lie however yes some nights when she won't sleep or take her feed, it is hard.
How are your finances? Do you own your home/rent? Saving?
Maternity leave? Would you and your DH maybe share it?
If you don't have a lot of family support, do you have close friends?
Children are hard work. There are days when you do think "God I wish I didn't have kids". But saying that, motherhood for me is extremely rewarding.
It's a hard and thankless job but when you've got those cuddles, see that sheer delight in their face or the simple "I love you mummy", it makes you feel everything is worth it
And presuming you are ambitious then IMO the best thing to do is to find some successful women with children in your field and talk to them about how they made it work.
Am I pleased I had a baby? Absolutely. Did I enjoy the first 6 months? Didn't actively dislike it but I found looking after a tiny baby dull as fuck and was happy to go back to work. Just because people might not enjoy the baby phase, doesn't mean they regret having them.
The thing is that everyone will have a very different experience and therefore point of view.
No two babies are the same. You could have a very 'difficult' baby but find it easy to cope or have an 'easy' baby and find it horrendous.
You aren't unreasonable asking questions but you cannot predict the future.
Fwiw I was very conflicted before having our first child due to similar issues you mention. Even in the dark days the good outweighs the bad. But I never looked at it as just having a baby, more like building a family if that makes sense.
There isn't really an answer, I don't think.
No one can predict how they will feel once they have a baby. It's natural to worry about it, it's a massive step.
I can only tell you about my own experience. I have a 3.5 dd and 15 month ds. Some days are bloody awful. I will feel rubbish, the children will whinge all day and nothing will get done. I still love them though.
Some days are great, we laugh none stop, we get loads done and I never want the day to end.
Some days are just ok. We have a few tantrums and set backs but get some stuff done and manage to have some fun.
I have to say most days are great or ok. I was not at all maternal before I had dd and my pregnancy was a shock. I assumed I would hate motherhood but I don't. They're amazing little people.
The thing is, parents/mums will complain till the cows come home about having children because it is the hardest thing in the world, IMO. But, also IMO, the best thing. There isn't anything to compare it to. Being a parent is one long contradiction. You have this person (people) that you grew and made and love beyond anything you've ever experienced before but they drive you fucking nuts, wear you out, steal your sleep, your energy, money, zest for life etc etc. But they are also totally awesome and amazing and wonderful and give you a purpose and bring you job you didn't think was possible. It's confusing!
Bottom line is, no one - not google, your GP or other parents - will be able to tell you what to do. It is very, very sensible though to carefully consider before you have a child.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
tbh I think, unless you have major health problems, if you feel you need to research childbirth etc so extensively before ttc then you're probably not ready to start trying. Suggest you get to know your cycles first. Keep track of them, and see if they might suggest any problems. You could even do a pre-conception check up if you wish.
Yes having DC can be hard sometimes but I've never wished I hadn't had mine or regretted having them. The good out weighs the bad times for me!
I believe you can have a family and a career. I had my first baby at 20 my last at 44 and I have worked in marketing at top level for the last 25 years.
Yes it is tough sometimes Me & Dh are both away at least 1 night a week for work. So we have a cleaner, a nanny and as a couple we manage our time when not away with work very well.
The things I think your asking about
Finances? Do you both get a good wage?
Housing? Do you own/rent?
Maternity leave? I've always gone back to work when each of my 4 DC was 4 months old. Could you and your DH share maternity leave?
How old are you?
Do you want children? Not like "I guess this is what we do now", but actually really want them? If so, do you want them more than the things you will give up for them?
I have always known I wanted kids. I wanted them desperately from about age 14 on. I finally had my son last year at 37 and I don't regret waiting until the time was right at all. Having a newborn was the hardest thing I've ever done. Every baby is different and mine does not sleep. I couldn't have done anything like studying while I breastfed every hour around the clock for months. And I am so glad that we have a house that we own and don't have to worry about noise between flat, or awful landlords. And that we have enough money to get by. I think if I'd gone for it at 21, with my ex husband, in a tiny flat with no time for education I'd have regretted it.
Depends the first six months were exhausting, think no more than an hours sleep at a time. But then they grow and become these comical little beings that learn new things every day and its fab!
But what are your questions??? You sound as if you are expecting exhausted new parents who are struggling with juggling babies and academic work to tell you what to do, or expecting them to be incandescent with joy...?
You don't sound as if you currently want to have a child, which is fine - it's not compulsory. And as an academic, I would advise anyone considering a baby during their doctorate not to, to complete and get a job/do a post-doc and crank a book out before considering conceiving. It's a tough enough world out there.
Different people will say different things on different days.
Overall my kids were worth having. However there have been times it's been unbelievably hard with little reward.
Finances are career vary from person to person. Depends on what you want your careers to be and look like, do you want one of you to be a sahp, have you looked at nursery costs etc.
I have never regretted having kids. But I will also admit it's been struggle.
I don't know anyone who has actively regretted having a baby.
It is hard, harder than I thought but I have a long term illness, had been evicted whilst pregnant, had to move to a shitty flat with a nightmare landlord, had crippling anxiety that was just left and bad PND. I do feel that this kind of ruined DS's first year or so.
Second time the anxiety was much less, we were settled in a house and my PND wasn't as bad, was recognised early and treated straight away. A much better experience.
You either want a baby or you don't. Only you can make that decision and don't listen to those that say they regret it. What is it exactly do they regret? The loss of a party lifestyle or truly becoming a parent?
Do you have specific questions? Mn is a good place to start in answering them or directing you to the people who can.
The people who seem negative about their children. Do you think that's really the case? I know I am more likely to make a joke about the negatives than to gush about the positives to all but my closest family/friends. It's bit like I don't want people to think that having children has 'changed' me or sent me soft (I'm not generally gushy) and I have an irritating habit of self-depreciation or finding something amusing rather than positive to say. It doesn't mean I haven't been changed by having children or that I feel negatively towards the experience, quite the opposite. I would just never go on about it to randoms, particularly childless ones. Maybe I'm just strange though!
I think it's a good thing that you are putting proper thought into it, but do try not to overthink it.
I'm 26, had DS by accident (coil failure) just after I'd walked out on my PhD and gone to medical school instead. I was thoroughly miserable for the first six months but it was less to do with having a baby and more to do with the headfuck of it happening when I hadn't planned it for years. And the fact he did not sleep. At all. I did my absolute best to take care of him but in retrospect we didn't really bond until he was nearly a year. So in that time I would have absolutely said I regretted having children and that while I loved DS I'd rather not have had him. I also didn't have the option of going back to uni early as had to take a full academic year off, so was stuck at home where I have no friends (near DH's work - I commute into London and all my friends are there) for nearly 14 months.
BUT: something clicked at some point and now I can honestly say DS is the best thing I have ever done. He's 2 now and I love him to bits, and he and DH and I have some brilliant times together. Like a Pp said - it's shit sometimes but the cuddles and random 'I love you's make it all worthwhile. Although I originally said I wanted to get through medical school before having any more, we're now TTC number 2 as we want more and kind of feel we should just get on with it. Having kids at any stage in a career presents challenges, and you do just have to manage whatever your situation is.
It took me a long time to have children and it has been everything I hoped it would be. However tiring it gets, the sheer joy of them is overwhelming. I still can't believe we've been this fortunate. There have been less fun aspects - lack of sleep and illness - but they're nothing against the happiness.
Be practical, give it your best shot and don't burden yourself with 'the hardest job in the world' ideas unless you find that inspiring (I don't, I find it really off-putting). Be optimistic.
Having a baby is relatively easy.
Knowing that you are raising a child to adulthood and beyond and all the physical, emotional, financial and practical stuff that goes with it - that's bloody hard and your life will never be the same again. In good ways and bad.
Don't do it unless you are very very sure it's what you want. It can be the best and worst thing you ever do, but one thing's for sure - once they're here you can't change your mind.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.