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Deciding on whether to have a baby

(39 Posts)
bridieb Tue 09-Jun-15 19:44:50

This is my very first posting on here and I have been looking at all the topics titles with wide eyes!

I am 34 and have been having lots of talks with my OH about whether we should try for a baby or not. I simply just don't know which way to go. OH is trying to be helpful by saying that it is up to me but I'm finding the responsibility to choose for the two of us a little overwhelming and I'm not entirely sure that it is fair to place the decision on me! He has said that he would be happy with a child and with us bringing one up but would be just as happy with it being just the two of us. His reasoning for it ultimately being my decision would be that it would have a greater impact on me as I would be the one that would carry it and give birth to it. His job would give him 6 months paternity leave if needed and he is willing to help in all ways.

Now that I am facing the possibility of having a baby I am finding the prospect of being pregnant quite scary - more so than the actual giving birth part if I'm honest! I am worried about what will happen to my job (I'm self employed and it has taken me a long time to build up my client base - and although I would be able to keep some I would end up losing all of those involving me traveling to) and I worry about if my relationship with OH would suffer.

But then again, it's a pretty amazing thing to bring a life into the world, and then to be able to nurture it and guide it and help it to grow into a wonderful person.

But oh gosh - it's all very grown up!

Did any of you suffer from indecision, or did you 'just know'?

I feel a bit like a rabbit caught in the headlights at the moment! confused

LolaStarr Tue 09-Jun-15 19:49:06

I'd say go for it, but I'm very biased as I have an amazing 20 month old son, and having him is the best thing I ever did! Your life will change more than you can imagine, but whatever concerns you have, when the baby is here you just work around them smile

scarednoob Tue 09-Jun-15 19:55:02

it might be worth asking yourself some questions and making notes of the answers. for example: if a doctor told you tomorrow that you could never have children, would you be devastated? do you enjoy spending time with your family's children or friends' children? do you picture yourself with them? which is more important to you, holidays, nights out, bit more freedom, building up work more, or being a mum?

they are questions that only you can answer! other people's experiences can help you, but their life isn't your life, and ultimately only you know what you really want. it just takes some time to unlock that answer.

my tuppenceworth, if it's even worth that, is that you probably do want a baby, because you are asking in the first place, but that's just based on your one post here!

lots of luck with your decision...

DefinitelyNotElsa Tue 09-Jun-15 20:28:36

As it says in the film Eat, Pray, Love (possibly paraphrased slightly...) - 'Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face - you need to be committed'. grin

I personally didn't have that moment of just knowing. It came gradually over time and then one day seemed to make more sense than anything else. Feeling like that didn't come at the same time as DH feeling like that though, so there was a wait involved. Eventually, we were both in the same place and decided we were ready.


cloudlessskies Tue 09-Jun-15 20:34:16

Hi OP. I'm two years younger than you and feel the same and my husband says the same thing. It's on my mind as everyone around me is having babies as we're 'at that age' but I really don't know if I want to do it. It's so hard as everyone else does it and mostly say it is amazing but I think it is terrifying! It was on mind a lot but for now I'm sticking with no because- I like having freedom to do what I want, I don't like being around young children, the thought of all the 'work' that comes with a child is crap (potty training, waking in the night, constantly cleaning) huge committment etc

I honestly don't know why so many people have children - I just can't see that there are that many good points. To all you that do (obvs we're on mumsnet!) I'm not trying to offend or judge so please don't take it the wrong way, but I just don't see it.

I come on this website at times to see what those of you that do have children say as I am conscious that my biological clock is ticking - I just don't know if I care.

MrsAnxiety1 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:37:08

It's something that no one can make the decision about but you - it's one of those scenarios that you can plan all you like for, but until it's actually happening, you don't know how you will feel or react. I do second the PP's advice about asking yourself, if you were told tomorrow that you could never have children, whether that would change your view on things. You might be one of those people who never thought that they'd find it particularly interesting or exciting to have children, but if you found out you were pregnant, it would end up being the best thing that ever happened in your life. It's impossible to know.

People on here can talk to you until they're blue in the face about the joys and sorrows of parenthood, but until you're in the midst of pregnancy and motherhood, no amount of preparation really ever does prepare you fully for it.

Re: pregnancy - yes, there are some who suffer horribly with morning sickness, SPD, piles, prolapses - you name it, there's a horror story for every 100 good, 'normal' pregnancies. But there are also all the amazing things, like feeling the baby move and knowing that everything you do in your pregnancy affects another human being in a huge way (scary but awesome responsibility). Pregnancy itself isn't easy per se, particularly on an emotional level - it plays HAVOC with your emotions - but it is also kind of amazing. ;-)

In your shoes I wouldn't leave it a very long time to decide, as the ability to become pregnant diminishes with age (though you do get a fair few 45 yr olds with kids, it's just the luck of the genetic draw). Something will tip you one way or the other and will lead you into the decision that's right for you. Good luck smile

ARV1981 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:44:05

I'm 26 weeks pregnant and terrified of having the baby. I want it. I love it. But I am terrified I'll fuck up somehow. I'm sure I will!!

I don't think I'll feel ready until it arrives, and even then I'll probably be scared of the whole thing.

Whatever decision you make, it'll be the right one. I hope you're very happy. flowers

2boys2girls Tue 09-Jun-15 20:45:28

If you dont know then you shouldnt go for it,

sophiaslullaby Tue 09-Jun-15 21:07:57

From the sounds of it your OH does want them but wouldn't want to feel he's asking this huge undertaking of you. So i'd scratch the 'choosing for two' off the board -if yousay yes he sounds as if he'll be right there with you AND understanding how it's going to affect you.
Then how pregnancy and baby will affect your relationship -i pondered this question and a friend said to me: "if you have a great relationship then a child will add to it, not take anything away". You always have to work at a relationship, having a child will change you and OH but not for the worse!

Im honestly not all pregnancy-cutesy -I always knew i wanted children but never got overly broody. Then recently been feeling something's missing, am in a great relationship but we're both wanting to complete our family, a little one to teach what we know/can do etc. So just felt right. But the what if's were still there, think the worry if part of pregnancy as its such a change.
Thats my pennys worth.

tigerdog Tue 09-Jun-15 21:22:52

All the questions you ask are perfectly normal and right to be on your radar. After kids I'm sure nothing is ever the same again!

If you think you do want a baby then I'd say go for it without delay. There won't be a perfect time. I'm 34 and knew I wanted a baby from the age of 30. Me and DP waited a couple of years, whilst we sorted out the perfect family home, jobs etc (his choice not mine, although I did agree) and we started trying over 2.5 years ago. No baby, unexplained infertility and one failed IVF cycle behind us. I'm sure that starting sooner wouldn't necessarily have caused this to be different, but I really wish we had got on with it earlier as age is now starting to bother me. Also, my DP was the same as yours, he was take it or leave it when it came to children. That changed when we starting trying, and he is now as ready to have a child as I am, and heartbroken over our current situation.

Only you know what is right for you both, but just wanted share our experience too. Good luck!

HazleNutt Tue 09-Jun-15 21:26:00

no I didn't just know. Was worried that we will regret it if we don't. So just because you're not sure and not massively broody, it does not mean you should not have kids.

iniquity Tue 09-Jun-15 21:33:58

You need to visualise yourself in 10 years time. Does the prospect of hitting mid forties childless terrify you or does it feel OK or even good?

ktkaye Tue 09-Jun-15 21:37:56

We (my husband and I) were in EXACTLY the same position a few months ago and I was agonising as much as you are too. What about my job? Should I lose weight first? What would we do for chikdcare? Once you start thinking about it it really does put you off doesn't it?! The whole 'it's your decision' thing made it so hard for me. My biggest fear was what if my oh decided it wasn't what he wanted after all. He'd never say but if something went wrong or we struggled financially would it be 'my fault'.
In the end I batted the ball back a bit. I came off my implant and left a box of condoms by the bed. Told oh I would love to have a baby but was also willing to wait longer - it wasn't a decision I wanted to have 'control' of. One day he didn't put one on and I stopped him just before 'the moment' and asked if he was sure. Turns out he was. I burst in to tears afterwards!! Take home message - I don't think it ever feels like a right time but the conversation should be ongoing if you are worried. Best of luck xx

CityDweller Tue 09-Jun-15 21:39:10

I don't agree with the 'if you don't know you shouldn't do it' argument.

I was really indecisive. Or rather, thought for years that we weren't really bothered about having kids. Then, we kind of thought, we'd take the gloves off, thinking we'd be happy with whatever outcome. I got pregnant very quickly (I was 36) and had massive second thoughts. I worried about lots of things, including the ones you're worried about. Then I came on here and got really great advice that went something like this: having children is not a rational choice. For those of us who don't have the 'biological urge' it's very hard to make a decision based on logic or weighing up pros and cons. In fact, if you looked at it rationally, it makes little sense to have children at all. So, you just have to kind of jump into the void and go for it.

Anyway, we went ahead with the pregnancy and DD is now 2 and we love her beyond anything. She has enriched our lives enormously. However, life is also much harder, more tiring, more expensive and we have less time as a couple. I do think that I'm more 'emotionally fulfilled' (not that i wasn't before, but I'm just more so now) and life has a particularly prescient meaning when you have kids. But I'm also pretty sure that if we'd decided not to have children we would have had a good and happy life.

Having kids is such a weird thing. It's not like changing jobs or moving or dying your hair. There's no going back, yet it's impossible to know whether or not it's the 'right thing' until you do it. However, very few people regret their children.

Good luck with your decision OP

Sapat Tue 09-Jun-15 21:47:30

Deciding to have a baby is like deciding to fall in love with someone. It is not something you plan, just something that happens and feels right. You never really know if it is the right decision until the end you just have to plunge in, try your best and hope for the best.

As far as I am concerned, having children is part of growing up. Apart from an basic need to have a child, I kept thinking of how I wanted my life in 10, 20, 30 years time. And I didn't want to be on my own with just DH. I don't mean I needed others, but I wanted to have children in my life, and to be part of children's lives. Yep, children have cramped my style though out my 30s and I don't think they have made me happy (I was already happy and certainly more carefree before), but I feel they have improved me as a human being, and at the end of the day, personal growth is probably something we all aspire to. I think that as I grow older, I will have all these people around me, part of me. It is rather nice. We work hard, it is for us, and our children, a sort of legacy. Otherwise it ends with us.

My parents have friends who are childless and jet around the world. They don't have a camera, because they have no-one to show their photos to. So what was the point?

willnotbetamed Wed 10-Jun-15 09:19:35

I second everything that everyone else has already posted, and just wanted to add, reading round pregnancy boards is a good idea, but it only gives you a fragment of the full picture! My first two kids are now 7 and 5, and I don't think I really envisaged much when we started a family beyond pregnancy, babies, nappies, etc. That phase - the first 2-3 years, including pregnancy - is incredibly intense, but it does pass! Some people love having babies, but plenty don't (I don't especially love it) - but they do grow up and you have all the fun and excitement of older children. And then teenagers. And then empty nest, potentially grandchildren, and all the rest of it. I like babies enough to be prepared to do it all again - I'm expecting DC3 now - but life with really small children is definitely not something I'm sold on. I do however love having a family, being able to talk to my seven-year-old about all kinds of interesting things, rediscovering loads of simple things (baking cakes, walking in the woods) that are so much fun with children, and watching my kids turn from mewling babies into real actual people with opinions and things.
Hopefully someone can add to this who has older kids and can add something about that - I am not sure how I will feel about kids when mine are, say, 17, 15, and 10...

batfish Wed 10-Jun-15 09:42:41

We always said we wanted kids - but actually could find few reasons for it. Everyone who has kids says it's great so I'm excited for the great bits and very nervous for the crap bits. We put it off for a while as didn't feel ready - but then realised we were never going to feel ready so decided just to go for it. We felt that we would regret not having kids if we didn't go for it.

Our apprehensions were that we have been together since we were 17 (now 33) so very used to it just being us and although we feel we have a very solid relationship we are worried about how it will change. We are also a bit lazy so the lack of sleep and constant being on the move is terrifying!

So I'm not sure I would say we were undecided as such as we never contemplated not having kids - but we definitely could have kept putting it off. I am now 23 weeks pregnant and pretty scared! But excited too.

The way I see it is that if you don't have kids then you'll probably be OK as won't really know what you're missing. But then by the sounds of it when you do have them it is so awesome (but still shitty at times) that you can't imagine life without them. I just hope all of our parent friends aren't bullshitting us grin Good luck whatever you decide!

NeuroticFox1 Wed 10-Jun-15 13:06:33

Hi bridieb, your situation is very similar to where I was this time last year; lacking decision, 34 and self employed. My age played a massive part in my panic. I'd been waiting for my life to be ready for a baby and then suddenly I was 34 and it still wasn't. I nearly drove myself mad trying to make a decision. My partner had more issues and concerns than me, and yours sounds pretty on board. In the end we actually decided to let mother nature decide whether we should have a baby or not. As basically the decision only takes you so far. We conceived within a couple of months, so much quicker than expected, and once we'd absorbed the reality both of us felt happier than we could have imagined. Now looking back on the things that were holding me back they were insignificant really. However I am only 28 weeks pregnant so still the reality of having a baby is a little way off. Hope these posts have helped a bit x

nomorelostweekends Wed 10-Jun-15 13:41:11

Although your OH sounds very well intentioned in his take on this, the reality is that it is only during pregnancy, birth and potentially the first few weeks (depending if you breast feed) when the decision by necessity has to impact more greatly on you. In the great scheme of things this passes very, very quickly, and you settle into a long term commitment of the two of you meeting the emotional and physical needs of another one (or more) initially very dependent people. This can, and arguably should, have a profound impact on both of you. Its not about being willing to 'help', its about being willing to make decisions about everyone's long term best interests, as well as take joint responsibility for what can seem a very intense and sometimes unrewarding daily grind. It may mean compromising on where you live, how you spend your leisure time, and how both your careers proceed. This, to me, should be the nub of your discussions with your OH. It might be helpful in your decision making to know his take on this, and to get him to accept that in the longer term, this decision will impact on both of you. His response might help you make sense of your own feelings.

FWIW both my DH and myself have made compromises with our careers. How this works out in the very long term I do not know. On paper we have a good balance, both working part time and sharing child care, but neither of us has reached our potential in terms of what we could have achieved. We moved area's because of schooling, and this probably has had more of an impact on DH than myself. We have had quite different experiences of being parented, and as our DD's grow older (they are 9 and 6 now) this has brought us new challenges in our relationship - which again impacts on both of us.

I know that pregnancy and childbirth can have profound and long term effects on individual women, and you do need to take into account this risk. But it really is just a tiny aspect of parenting.

bridieb Wed 10-Jun-15 22:20:30

Thank you for all your replies - it is comforting to hear that other people are having or have had the same worries, and comforting to hear that are a few of you who sound as if you are in the same position as me too!

I have a sneaky suspicion that although I am full of indecision I actually think I am more on the 'go for it' side of the fence...but I just need to get my head around the work issue and accept that I will lose that, or accept that I can't lose it.

And I think you are right in saying that it isn't a choice that can be made by over analysing but is a leap of faith...I just need to figure out if I'm brave enough to jump!

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Wed 10-Jun-15 22:23:33

I always think that if you don't know whether you want a baby or not, you don't yet. When you get to the point you want it, you'll know, and the cons seem less important than they did.
It's not a head decision, its a heart decision.

2boys2girls Thu 11-Jun-15 06:22:31

Agreed winter

CityDweller Thu 11-Jun-15 11:12:46

Hmm, I'm not sure winter. I never had the biological urge for children. So for us it was a 'head decision' (we thought that we probably wanted kids in the long run, more than we didn't). I didn't realise I actually wanted children, in my heart, until DD was about 4 months old.

I actually think that if you're not sure whether you want a baby or not then you probably do. Or should just go for it.

And the point above about remembering that they're only babies for a tiny short time is a very good one. That's what tipped me over the edge in deciding to go for it. I was not at all envious of friends with babies or toddlers, but when I saw families with older kids/ teenagers I thought that looked like something I'd like to do with my DH.

newbian Thu 11-Jun-15 11:22:30

I don't agree with winter either. DH wanted to start trying right after our wedding but I asked for a year before coming off birth control. It took a very long time for my cycles to regulate afterwards and I found myself worrying that it might not be easy or possible for me to get pregnant after all. It was during that period when I realized I really did want a baby.

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Thu 11-Jun-15 11:26:43

It's only my opinion. But I am surprised at purposefully trying to get pregnant if you don't know yet if you actually want a child. Pretty big thing to get wrong! But each to their own.

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