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How do we make the decision to have children now?

(36 Posts)
Cwmtydu Fri 04-Feb-05 16:28:10

Hallo Mumsnetters! This is my first post, and in introduction, I'm 27 and don't yet have any children. I hope I'm welcome despite this cos I've been lurking for a long time now and really wanted to ask you all something. Hope this is the right forum too, I wasn't sure it fitted anywhere else.

DH (first time I've written that!) and I have been married for six months, and have been together for eight years. We're both sure that we want children and we're both very interested in everything to do with children -- I'm obsessed with Mumsnet and we watch all the parenting stuff on telly, and we talk about it a lot. We haven't got a lot of experience however with real life children!

I know that having children will have a big impact on our lives (obviously) and I've considered that a lot. I'm a bit worried about my job, which is actually three jobs, and stopping that even temporarily will involve giving up a lot of control (it's not high-powered, just I'm the only one who does the jobs). But I assume everybody worries about the impact it'll have on their lives, and at some point you just have to make the decision that it's time to do it.

That's what I'm having trouble with. We're sure we want to do this, but when it comes to leaving the condom off we just find it hard to take that final no-going-back step. I'm also aware that when we do, conceiving won't necessarily be as easy as I'm hoping it will be. So, anyway, how do we finally make that decision to do it now? How did you? Any thoughts? I wish it would just happen accidentally, but it's not that easy!

moondog Fri 04-Feb-05 16:32:12

Well, I was with my dh for 12 yrs before we did (although he wanted to). Too scared to take the plunge (me) I think. Anyway, eventually did at 33 because I had promised him we would have one before I was 35.
Best thing we ever did. Our life is so much better for it (usual hassles notwithstanding!)

There is never an ideal time-think of it sort of like a parachute jump. Scary (terrifying!) but incredibly exciting!!

Croeso to MN-you must be yet another fellow welsh girl!

serenity Fri 04-Feb-05 16:33:49

Pick a date, anything or something special (we chose our anniversary!) and stick to it. It is a bit nerveracking, especially the first time when you lie there and think 'oh god we've done it now.... and potentially theres no turning back

Good Luck btw!

logic Fri 04-Feb-05 16:35:16

I think that you just have to go for it! No matter how carefully you plan, it'll never go the way that you expect! Ok, babies do involve total commitment and sacrifice but it's worth it - she says with bloodshot eyes, a wrecked back and a chaotic house. Still, when ds looks up at me and says "cuddle your little man, mummy" what can you do but melt?

Pamina3 Fri 04-Feb-05 16:42:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purpleturtle Fri 04-Feb-05 16:44:29

I used to be a bit of a control freak. Did a job I loved, and couldn't imagine anybody else being able to do it as well as I did. I've changed, honest!
Actually, I dealt with some of the control issues and perfectionism, and then reached a point where I decided we'd 'see what happened'. 3 months later I was pregnant and a bit scared of what we'd done. 4 years later, and I've never been in control since . It's great!
go for it

SoupDragon Fri 04-Feb-05 16:45:21

Agree with Pamina. If you wait until you're "ready" you'll never do it. I still don't feel ready to be a parent and DSs are nearly 6 and 4...

berolina Fri 04-Feb-05 19:48:18

Hi and welcome to Mumsnet. I'm 27 too and last year dh and I were in a similar situation. I'd just started a new job, he was finishing his degree and has now gone on to doctoral study. We both knew we wanted children and really didn't want to 'wait' any longer, but the first month we'd agreed to ttc I was absolutely terrified and kept putting off that first time without the condom until we'd probably missed the crucial time. We actually conceived the next month - I remember panicking a couple of times while waiting for my period, along the lines of 'how are we going to COPE?!' - but sadly I had a m/c. After that all doubts were gone though, of course, and happily I'm now 23 weeks pg again - and certainly not feeling mature or responsible enough to be a mum - but soooo looking forward to the birth . I'm in agreement with the others that at some point you just have to be brave, take a deep breath and go for it. There will always be something that make conditions less than 'ideal' or 'perfect', but isn't that a distinguishing feature of life??
Good luck!

janeybops Fri 04-Feb-05 20:00:24

I met dh in 1986 and we didn't have our first till 2001, so not sure if my advice is going to to be that great.

However, even when pregnant I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing... But now with 2 kids I only wish I had started earlier. If I had I would have ended up with a football team.

DH and I decided to give it a go as a few of our friends were discovering they were infertile and were having all sorts of problems.

motherinferior Fri 04-Feb-05 20:03:03

Alcohol helps.

(But then what do I know - my first baby was a distinct 'accident', four months after getting together with her dad )

prunegirl Fri 04-Feb-05 20:10:46

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fee77 Fri 04-Feb-05 20:14:46

Shocking motherinferior!!
All the talking inthe world wont make the decision any easier. There is never a right time, and you will always be able to put it off. Just make sure you have enjoyed yourself as nights out will become a thing of the past! A peaceful night on mumsnet is the best night you could wish for!
And you will never feel mature enough to be a mum - i remember lying in hospital the day after giving birth thinking oh sh*t! Eight months notice just isn't enough

kama Fri 04-Feb-05 20:19:29

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fee77 Fri 04-Feb-05 20:43:35

That is sooooo true kama - well said!
Go for it!!!

soapbox Fri 04-Feb-05 20:47:03

oh you need to read that sloppy poem that someone posted a while ago. Hang on a sec I'll go and look for it!

soapbox Fri 04-Feb-05 20:50:08

here it is:

We are sitting at lunch when my daughter casually
mentions that she and her husband are thinking
of "starting family."

"We're taking a survey," she says, half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "No more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations...."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my
daughter, trying to decide what to tell her.

I want her to know what she will never learn in
childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the
physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but that becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking "what if that had been my child?" that every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best
crystal without a moment's hesitation.

I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be
professionally derailed by motherhood. She might
arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of her discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity
will be weighed against the prospect that a child
molester may be lurking in that restroom. However
decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself instantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years-not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter's relationship with her husband will
change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children's future.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or a cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reach across the table squeeze my daughter's hand and offer a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

kama Fri 04-Feb-05 21:20:42

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marj Fri 04-Feb-05 21:24:41

Hi cwmtydu! I am assuming you are a fellow Welsh person from that nickname!
Just wanted to echo everyone else really and say there is never a "right" time you just have to go for it. The fact that you are seriously considering all the options suggests that you are well on your way!
Even when dh and I had finally decided to go for it, its so nervewracking. I got pregnant after only our 2nd attempt, and even though it was what we wanted I was overwhelmed. I expected to feel really excited and want to scream and shout and tell everyone but its that feeling of uncertainty about the future.
Despite all that though our ds is 20 months now and I wouldnt change anything. He is the most wonderful little boy and I absolutely adore him. We are now contemplating number 2. It really is a rollercoaster of emotion but worth every second.
Keep us posted on your progress! Lots of luck for whatever you decide.

kama Fri 04-Feb-05 21:30:04

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Cwmtydu Fri 04-Feb-05 21:34:42

Wow. Thanks for replying, everyone, and thanks for the welcomes. I'm really happy you all responded -- as I had visions of nobody answering at all! [relief].

I'm really moved by all the positivity I've had from you all. I expected a number of people to say, along with the "go for it"s: "you're obviously not sure enough, so you're obviously not ready"; I didn't expect everyone to be so encouraging.

I'm overwhelmed by the strength of feeling towards being a parent, and I liked the poem, thank you soapbox, soppy though it is (DH making sick noises), it, and all of your replies, seem to emphasise what a special thing being a parent is. It's something I feel I couldn't bear not to experience.

I'm a bit scared as well; posting suddenly made it quite real. I've been here, lurking all evening, watching your replies and thinking about running away and never posting again (I'm a bit scared of social interaction anyway! ). But I did want to say thank you. It's fantastic as well to know that other people feel or felt the same.

Picking up on purpleturtle's points about control and perfectionism, I worry a bit that I can't stop my job at the moment because I haven't achieved enough professionally or personally, maybe having kids is just a cop out, an excuse for not having achieved what I think everyone expected me to achieve, a chance for me to be good at something new. Not good motives maybe. But also not my only motives.

I'm fascinated by this mega change that happens to you when you become a parent. I'm thinking from what you've said that my narcissism might dissipate quite naturally when there's someone around to think about that is much more important than me and that although having children will mean giving up a lot it will stop mattering because I'll be a mum...

In the end I'm just going to have to stop thinking about it and do it, aren't I, and I think you're right, alcohol might help! Thanks so much for all your experiences -- I'd love to keep hearing your thoughts on this and I'm looking forward to maybe getting to know you all better. (I'd better just post this and stop thinking about what to say and how to say it; this, ironically, has taken me ages!)

Twiglett Fri 04-Feb-05 21:38:34

I think you might just find that having kids is a 'cop-in' (I made that word up <proud icon>) when you have a chance to be good at making another human being

I was so like you .. very focused on career .. had DS and went back to work then gave it all up 10 months later and have now been a SAHM for over 2.5 years .. its fabulous

I'm with whoever said alcohol .. it is the great decision maker

good luck to you and DH

Cwmtydu Fri 04-Feb-05 21:39:10

oh and thanks for the Welsh welcomes too moondog and marj! I'm only half Welsh but very proud of it -- it's important to me.

mummygow Fri 04-Feb-05 21:40:32

Oh kama the tears are rolling - how true!!!

It is a difficult step to take, although in my circumstances I was between careersa nd we decided that we were managing with one salary so the time was right. But we are ttc baby no 2 and that step was a harder one to take than the first. We had made a 5 year plan, we only have 2 bedrooms and dd goes to nursery in Aug so I was going to complete my second year of childcare and apply for teaching, so that in 5 years I would have agood career and we could move to a bigger house in a better area but then a couple of weeks later we changed it to a 6 year plan - we decided that if we waited any longer we would never do it - and we would have regretted that for the rest of our lives - we r going to have a baby - YEH

mummygow Fri 04-Feb-05 21:40:39

Oh kama the tears are rolling - how true!!!

It is a difficult step to take, although in my circumstances I was between careersa nd we decided that we were managing with one salary so the time was right. But we are ttc baby no 2 and that step was a harder one to take than the first. We had made a 5 year plan, we only have 2 bedrooms and dd goes to nursery in Aug so I was going to complete my second year of childcare and apply for teaching, so that in 5 years I would have agood career and we could move to a bigger house in a better area but then a couple of weeks later we changed it to a 6 year plan - we decided that if we waited any longer we would never do it - and we would have regretted that for the rest of our lives - we r going to have a baby - YEH

frogs Fri 04-Feb-05 21:44:48

Aah, just go for it. You can always get careless with contraception and have an accidentally-on-purpose. I had dd1 at 27 and have never regretted it. It does change your life, but you don't become a different person, and you can still (especially at the one-child stage) do a lot of the things that were important to you pre-child. You can't have it all but you can, if you're lucky and reasonably organised, have most of it.

I've got pregnant so quickly each time that I've only ever twice had sex with the deliberate intention of getting pregnant, but it was an amazing experience. Having a baby feels like a very powerful expression of confidence and faith in the future -- you have no control over what happens after that, but you'll all muddle through somehow, and it will be fine.

Good luck!

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