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How will I know if I want children or not?

(45 Posts)
MaKo2015 Wed 12-Aug-15 13:02:24

Not sure if this fits in here... I just wonder what made you decide to have a baby? I'm serious about this. I'm currently exactly 50/50 about the whole baby thing.

My boyfriend and I have stable lives, we own a flat and both have fixed jobs although my career is not very important to me. We don't have an extravagant lifestyle and don't spend much money. I sometimes think it would be nice to have my own family and start the adventure of raising a child, teaching them useful things, spending nice time together etc. My boyfriend would make a good dad, in my opinion, but he is as unsure about it as myself.

But I'm also terrified. I'm afraid that I will regret my decision so much it will make my want to run away and never come back. We don't have much support either because almost all our friends don't have kids and our families live thousands of km away.

Don't get me wrong: I have no illusions regarding being a parent. I have been long enough in this world to understand what a hell of a workload kids are and that things may as well go very, very wrong.

I'm 29 and I know I still have time but I don't think my feelings will suddenly change and I will know for sure what I want. People say "one day you will know it". I don't believe that. Not my case. What can help me take this big decision? What's your experience?

Lottapianos Wed 12-Aug-15 13:17:50

Hi OP, I understand where you are. You sound highly ambivalent - there are tempting things about being a parent and tempting things about staying childfree. It's such a difficult place to be and it would feel like a relief to suddenly 'know' what you want to do! I've found it really difficult to stay with the ambivalence and hearing other people's stories only helps so much, because in the end, no-one can tell you what is right for you.

A few things that have helped me make my decision:

- how would you feel if you were told today that you were medically unable to have children? Disappointed? Devastated? Relieved? A mixture?
- what would you like to see yourself doing on a Saturday afternoon in 10 years time? Chilling out at home? Doing your favourite hobby? Planning a party? Are there children in there somewhere? Can you imagine your life with children? Can you imagine your life without them?

You sound extremely clued up - its really important to think about things like how much support you would have around you, and you're not looking at the future with rose-tinted specs on. And don't let anyone tell you that no-one regrets their own children - some people do and its a seriously miserable situation for all involved. Its a decision that deserves serious thought

Would it help to think that very few people are ever 100% rock solid on this decision? Whichever path you choose, you will probably have moments of wistfulness about how your life could have turned out had you chosen the other path. This is totally normal. I think you just need to go with whichever option feels best for you.

I don't have children by the way - I'm 35 now and I wouldn't say I've closed the door completely, but I'm probably about 95% sure that I'll stick with my decision. More and more women are not having children for all sorts of reasons, so you would be in good company if you decided not to be a parent! Good luck with your decision, its really tough

Cnmorgan13 Wed 12-Aug-15 13:37:48

I was you a few months ago. Always thought I'd have kids.... At some point. But when was 'some point' my mind changed almost daily, we're ready, we're not ready. Eventually we just left it to fate. Wasn't actively trying but not preventing either and here I am 10 weeks pregnant. I am so looked forward to meeting my little one and now I can't imagine a future without a child. Hope this helps at all.

Gunpowderplot Wed 12-Aug-15 13:42:14

Also think of it from the child's point of view - this is a very bad time to be born.

MaKo2015 Wed 12-Aug-15 14:04:50

Why is it a bad time to be born? People used to raise kids when there was war, no medical care or good schooling available. Children used to have fewer rights. The world has always been a dangerous place, I don't think it has reached the peak in this particular moment. If we wait for the world to improve we'll wait forever.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Wed 12-Aug-15 14:09:34

I was never sure either! I had too many things I wanted to do first.

Perhaps think about if you've done everything you want to do that's more difficult with children in tow e.g. travelling / backpacking, partying etc.
Also I notice you say children, not child. If you wañt more than one its it's worth thinking about spacing. E.g. if you have your first at 33, second at 36 does that sound OK to you? There's no rights or wrong with that of course, just a lot of people including myself thought about DC1 then realised time was not on my side for the others

Gunpowderplot Wed 12-Aug-15 15:01:18

Climate change. It's permanent, so I agree, waiting won't help. Things will get much much worse from here on in.

OMGBabyNo3 Wed 12-Aug-15 15:07:30

Wow! You're cheery gunpowder!

Personally think if it's something you're considering do it. I think there are v few people who regret having their children and who don't consider having their children to have been the best thing they've ever done.

toohardtothinkofaname Wed 12-Aug-15 15:22:25

20weeks here & still sometimes think 'hmmm, is this really what I want' but I've no doubt that's just the selfish part of me wanting to be 'free' even though I know it leaves me feeling hollow & I don't do much exciting anyway! grin

April2013 Wed 12-Aug-15 15:23:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mmmuffins Wed 12-Aug-15 15:35:05

I've always liked the concept of having a family, so I set up my life in a way to facilitate that (married to a lovely man who wants children, financially stable) and am now pregnant with my first at 30.

But you know what? I think I would be perfectly happy to never have children. I've never been desperate for a child, nor could I imagine pursuing IVF if I had difficultly conceiving.

I think it's perfectly fine to accept that there are multiple paths we would be happy to travel. I've picked a path with children but know I would have been happy with a different path too.

Sometimes I feel a bit sad when I think about all the cool things I could be doing if I didn't settle down and get pregnant, but I'm sure once my baby comes I wont want to send her back!

beehappybe Wed 12-Aug-15 15:36:08

I was also unsure for a while. What convinced me was realizing that I would much more regret NOT having them. Pregnant now and despite the constant nausea and hugging of the toilet bowl 4 times a day I am VERY happy. Good luck.

BeautifulBatman Wed 12-Aug-15 15:37:53

Get married first. If you're not prepared to do that, don't have a baby.

CheezyBlasters Wed 12-Aug-15 15:53:31

First, do not listen to the advice. Make your own decision.

I think (here comes the advice) if you feel it, do it. If you don't, don't. It can seem like babies are everything. They are not. They wind up dead bitter old people like the rest of us. Although they are lovely.

lemon101 Wed 12-Aug-15 15:56:51

what?! Batman I'm not sure that's required! Its a bit old fashioned to think that marriage equals a stable environment for children. There are many cohabiting couples who have better relationships than married people. Similarly she could get married and then divorced and be raising the child alone.

I'm not sure marital status is a consideration. If you are bringing a child into an unhappy or unsuitable environment - thats a consideration

snowgirl1 Wed 12-Aug-15 15:58:53

I was a bit ambivalent about having children. I didn't not want them but nor did I actively want them. I waited for the urge to have a baby - but it never came. It was my husband who said that he thought we might regret not even trying. So we took the 'not trying, not preventing' approach and now have a 3 year old DD.

Even during my pregnancy I had worries & doubts, but once she was born it was like a switch was flicked. I was very lucky that I felt a strong love of her from the moment they placed her in my arms. Before having DD squidgy little babies didn't really do anything for me, but they really make me melt now.

My only regret is not starting earlier and having more - we're really a bit too old now to have more. So even if you decide you only want one, leave yourself enough time to have a second if you change your mind.

We don't really have much family support - nothing on DH's side and only GF on my side (who isn't particularly nearby) and we get by. To me, having a partner that you pulls their weight as a parent is important (as it allows me a little time for 'me'). If you decide to have a child, I'd strongly recommend doing NCT antenatal classes - we met lots of people that way.

Good luck with your decision, whichever way it goes.

BeautifulBatman Wed 12-Aug-15 16:00:20

No, it doesn't automaticallt mean a stable environment for children. But it means you've got legal support and you're not quite so screwed if you split up. It's common sense.

Fishwives Wed 12-Aug-15 16:03:03

There are about a million threads on this, OP. Do a search and you'll see several lengthy ones. If it helps, a lot of people feel/have felt as you do.

lemon101 Wed 12-Aug-15 16:06:16

Hmmm, the CSA will still work out maintenance costs if the guy is the named father, married or not (is at least the official line on the government website - not had personal experience).

BeautifulBatman Wed 12-Aug-15 16:17:19

It's not just about maintenence - it's about housing, assets that aren't in joint names etc etc. Maybe you need to read up about it all a bit more.....

Nousername2015 Wed 12-Aug-15 16:25:02

I felt the same as you OP, I've just turned 30. Not many of my friends have children and I do sometimes envy their lifestyle but at the same time I'm very appreciative of what I have.
I don't have kids yet but am 17 weeks pregnant. My first pregnancy earlier in the year ended in miscarriage. I did become acutely aware of my age at this point, especially as I now hope to have more than 1 child.
When we started talking about trying the first thing we did was book a holiday. Having that experience of 'being selfish' was wonderful.
I don't see having children as being a barrier to travel, in fact I see it as an opportunity. I can't wait to travel with my baby and show it the world (as much as finances allow!) To me experiences are more valuable than fancy clothes and ipads.
I'm not really trying to give advice, you should do what instinct tells you. Have I ever had the 'urge' to start trying? Absolutely not.

To whoever is worried about climate change. Yes, it is a very serious issue and we should do more about it and take responsibility. However, where will the activists and scientists of tomorrow come from if noone has children? All research and work done up to now would just stop.

Skiptonlass Wed 12-Aug-15 16:44:14

There's no sudden biological irresistible urge (well, there wasn't for me.)

I think for me it was a combination of having married a decent man, having a decent job and having hit a point in my life where I'd done a lot of education and travel. Also, seeing friends have kids, turn out to be decent parents with nice kids and seeing that it hadn't ruined their lives ;)

Crucially though, we talked about it ...

We talked about the pros and cons. About our feelings, about our expectations of each other as parents. We talked about parental leave, finances...everything really. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Don't stress about having little support - my family live in a different country and his hundreds of miles away.

Whatever you decide is valid. Ignore anyone who tells you you must have kids/are selfish not to - that's bollocks. There are seven billion people on the planet, we aren't an endangered species!

I didn't feel ready at 29. By 35 I'd met my husband, emigrated, and forged a stable career and then I was ready. I'm expecting my first now, looking forward to it but with no illusions about how tough it's going to be!

There's no one right time - only a good ish time that's right for you. Communicate, communicate, communicate with your partner.

TenForward82 Wed 12-Aug-15 16:59:26

I was pretty "meh" about having kids. Then post 30 I started getting the urge. Now 32 and up the duff.

Don't put pressure on yourself. When you feel it, go with it. If you don't, that's ok too.

MaKo2015 Wed 12-Aug-15 17:04:10

Thanks for your advice (yes, it was advice although you tried not to give me any). That helps.

Oh and yes, if we had kids (or just one child) I would prefer to get married but I'm not desperate for it.

AmiL123 Wed 12-Aug-15 22:52:58

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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