Do I really want a baby? Or has society just made me think that I do?

(49 Posts)
Sd183 Mon 19-Apr-21 15:13:04

I would love to hear your thoughts….do I really want a baby? Or has society and my own hormones lured me in to thinking that is actually what I want? My husband and I are just about to start TTC, something that we have been planning for a year or so now, and honestly, I feel so very ready for a baby. However, I can’t help but feel this niggle in the back of my mind…we have a happy, carefree life, and lockdown has really scuppered our plans for our final years of freedom before settling down. I have just read that raising a child to 21 now costs over £230,000, and I read a study recently that apart from in a few European countries, adults with children report being less happy than those without (including the UK). Has society and marketing done a great job in making me dream of a cute little bundle of joy bringing a family together, all dimples and smiles and happiness, when I know full-well that its mostly long nights, exhaustion, poop, snot and arguments? And that’s before you get to the real “grown up” years? I guess I am asking to hear why having kids has made you happy please, and some reassurance?

OP’s posts: |
otterbaby Mon 19-Apr-21 15:17:49

It definitely is long nights, exhaustion, poop, snot and arguments...but it's also introducing your child to new things and seeing pure excitement over something as simple as bubbles or a dog...it's gummy smiles and baby giggles...it's raising a little person to be like a mix of you and your partner but without all your bad bits.

Life before my 6 month was fantastic but it's just a whole new level of joy now that she's here. But I do still mourn my carefree days sometimes!

FeistySheep Mon 19-Apr-21 16:22:31

Well yes there are downsides to having kids, but your post misses out the joy part!! You have to decide whether the downsides and sacrifices are big enough (for you) to mean that you don't want to experience the joy.
I could tell you that yes having kids is hard, but also massively rewarding and joyfilled, and I think the sacrifices are hugely worth it. But that's only me.

The £230k is only if you choose to spend that though. Do you know what that's based on? All new clothes? Keeping up with the latest tech? £300 Christmas presents? Skiing trips with school twice a year? I was raised 'in poverty' - for me that meant a loving childhood with relatively out of date tech gifted to us by richer friends/family, hand-me-down clothes, and no fancy school trips. I can't imagine I cost anywhere near £100k let alone £230k!

Sd183 Mon 19-Apr-21 16:27:52

To honest that figure came from a mumsnet article so I don’t know the stats behind it, but it really shocked me.

I can totally see the joy parts in my mind but I’m just so worried that I have rose tinted glasses on.

We also don’t have much of a support network so that concerns me. It is something I really really want, I think perhaps the anxiety is kicking in, and sadly it’s far more ‘entertaining’ to moan about parenthood than speak about the good bits (at least on the sm I’m exposed to) so I don’t always get exposed to the good stuff.

OP’s posts: |
ivfbeenbusy Mon 19-Apr-21 16:32:42

Being a mother is about sacrificing everything even when you have nothing left. But you'll want to do it - when you're tired you'll find the energy for one last game, when your hungry you'll give them the last chocolate from the box when you have zero money you'll spend your last penny on them. It's a difficult feeling to describe. Being a mother completed me. I was never particularly maternal but the first time by daughter said mama or when they out their arms out for you to cuddle them - the feeling is overwhelming and addictive and you'll do anything to get a smile or laugh or cuddle.

I have also have 3 month old twins and yeah it's bloody exhausting but honestly that stage passes by so quick compared to what I hope will be a lifetime of joy, love, laughter, companionship

And no i don't think the love for my husband compares in anyway- it's not in the same league, not in the same universe

thelegohooverer Mon 19-Apr-21 16:47:52

Motherhood is transformative. I’d describe the process as annealing.
I don’t think it’s possible to understand it until you’ve been a mother.
Even now when the rational part of my brain knows, beyond a shadow of doubt, that more dc are not a good idea, I still feel the lure of curled baby fists, and the scent of their heads and the weight of them against my shoulder. I think it’s primal.

The social shite is designed to undermine women and trap us into doing the work, sacrificing our social and political clout.

Imo they’re two different things.

AegonT Mon 19-Apr-21 16:52:07

I don't really like spending time with other people's kids and find them annoying. The intense longing I felt for my firstborn was probably programmed by evolution! Also I wanted a person to raise just the way I thought best - I like a project!!

She's now 6 and I'm due my second this month. The intense longing for a baby didn't happen before this new one but on balance I'm looking forward to doing it all again but with more experience on my side.

I am apprehensive about the first year though as I found that unbelievably hard last time and did think I'd made a mistake and desperately missed my old life. However even in the first few months it got easier and more enjoyable and as she got older our lives got much easier again with occasional short term difficulties like potty training. I also think it is rewarding when your efforts teach your offspring new skills. It really is very easy now with a fairly capable and independent 6 year old - it won't be like that for me in a couple of weeks but this time I'll know it gets better smile

Ell17 Mon 19-Apr-21 16:54:43

The question you have to ask yourself is - would you ever regret not having children? Missing the boat? Because you could regret not making that move BUT you'd never regret having children. ♥️

I have a DS who has high dependency special needs and my world broke when we found out about his life long diagnosis.....and here I am again TTC. It makes you a stronger person. Forget the finances, honestly, you will work it out. Being a mother moulds you as a person. It's a skill/attribute you didn't know you needed.

Wishing you well in your journey xx

AegonT Mon 19-Apr-21 16:57:10

We have no support network here (in fact I help care for my mum). It is harder but with my daughter being an only child gir do long, my husband doing his share and an amazing childminder it works.

Sd183 Mon 19-Apr-21 17:18:59

Ell17

The question you have to ask yourself is - would you ever regret not having children? Missing the boat? Because you could regret not making that move BUT you'd never regret having children. ♥️

I have a DS who has high dependency special needs and my world broke when we found out about his life long diagnosis.....and here I am again TTC. It makes you a stronger person. Forget the finances, honestly, you will work it out. Being a mother moulds you as a person. It's a skill/attribute you didn't know you needed.

Wishing you well in your journey xx

I know that I absolutely would regret not having them. I already almost feel regret for not starting earlier, especially now I’ve had an endometriosis diagnosis, but then the sheer panic and fear about what it all means and the seismic change it will bring has stopped us so far. We do feel very ready now though. I think I was just looking for the reassurance that it can sometimes be all the lovely wonderful things we think it could be and that I’m not just deluding myself into believing that.

OP’s posts: |
MerryDecembermas Mon 19-Apr-21 17:32:11

Top tip. They don't stay a baby very long so it's not really relevant to the decision...!

I had kids because I thought about being 60 and decided I'd prefer 60 with offspring vs 60 without. Luckily I was able to have 2 healthy babies. Hopefully when I'm 60 they will have turned into 2 healthy adults!

zafferana Mon 19-Apr-21 17:33:52

If you weren't panicking a bit too OP it would mean that you weren't going into it with your eyes wide open. Having a baby is HUGE! It will change your life in ways good and not so good, and ultimately only your and your DP can decide if it's what you both want, but it sounds like you do. Yes, it's exhausting and messy and difficult and travel will definitely never be the same again (or not for a long time), your career may well be derailed or partially so, but if you want to do it, just go for it and don't think about it too much or you'll talk yourselves out of it!

BiBabbles Mon 19-Apr-21 17:41:16

I don't think having children made me happy, but I don't think that's their responsibility. I've found pleasure, interest, and meaning in parenting like other things in my life in large part because it was something my spouse and I discussed in great detail to build our life around and I choose to appreciate the pleasures that come -- sometimes, there have definitely been things where I've loved it sometimes and hated it others. Life always has challenges, some we choose, some we don't. Only you can choose if it's a challenge that's worth taking the risks for the potential benefits.

If he hadn't been interested in being the hands-on father he is, then I would have been equally though very differently happy without kids having chosen different challenges in my life (or only having one if those promises hadn't come to fruition). We had little outside support, but we were in a position of being poor students who had a lot of time to help each other when we had our first. For me, it's us doing it together and, as they've gotten older, us doing things together as a household that have been what makes it worthwhile and made the happiest times.

Part of it will be society/cultural, the systems and people around us affect all of us. That doesn't make it automatically bad or wrong, but it's good to recognize - I definitely found the forums and groups I was in when mine were little had an impact, so I'd recommending choosing that carefully (and if possible, trying to avoid the more ideological ones or the ones that make you feel shite either by making parenting sound utterly awful or trying to make it sound so lovely that your struggles make your feel shite).

Some people regret not having children, and some people regret having them. That's true of any life choice, I personally don't think it's helpful to ignore that's a possibility, but I wouldn't overanalyse a niggle. I'd recommend talking it through with your husband and considering multiple ways you both can go forward in the future. One of the things that catches a lot of people out, and is the topic of many a relationship thread, is that everyone has to learn how to be a parent and has different ideas on it and has struggles at time. You won't know all of them ahead of time, but talking them through to figure out how you want to work it out has been one of the benefits of parenting for me.

DDIJ Mon 19-Apr-21 17:42:34

I regret having mine. If I could turn back time I would not have had them.

Fourstonesmash Mon 19-Apr-21 17:44:07

The overwhelming unconditional love you experience and the love you get back is utterly transformative. It grounded and made me.
I suspect that cost of raising a child includes loss of income from those who give up work or reduce hours some of which might be voluntary.

DDIJ Mon 19-Apr-21 17:46:33

The overwhelming unconditional love you experience and the love you get back is utterly transformative

Yet not everybody feels this. I felt, and feel, nothing for mine.

Ell17 Mon 19-Apr-21 17:47:06

DDIJ

I regret having mine. If I could turn back time I would not have had them.


Oh @DDIJ 😢 What has made you say that?

DDIJ Mon 19-Apr-21 17:52:04

I just don't like them. I read a lot of threads like this before I conceived, and all the replies said how wonderful it would be once you have your own. I probably should have trusted my gut instead of taking advice.

TaraRhu Mon 19-Apr-21 17:54:08

I was really ambivalent about kids. Then curiosity got the better of me at 35. Thought I'd come off the pill and see what happened. A month later I was pregnant.

He is the best thing I have ever done. Yes it's different and hard at times. However, I never bargained on the joy that a he has brought into my life and that of my family. Now having a second.

Not everyone feels like this I know but I do think it's hard to see the positive side of children until you have one.

AliasGrape Mon 19-Apr-21 18:00:27

When I was pregnant I started a similar thread asking people to reassure me I wasn't going to hate every minute. I'd read so many threads where people regretted having children, didn't like motherhood, heard so many horror stories. I kept hearing 'noone tells you how hard it is' whilst I felt like that's all anyone ever did tell me.

Honestly it's amazing. And yes really bloody hard sometimes. But not as hard as I'd imagined somehow. And I say that after a traumatic birth, emergency section and complicated recovery, inability to breastfeed despite trying desperately hard, diagnosed with pnd (think it was more postnatal anxiety actually). Oh and doing it all in the middle of a pandemic in an area that never really came out of lockdown and with little to no family or other support. Sometimes.its really awful granted, and the fear of something happening to her or what would happen to her if something happened to me is something I wasn't really prepared for. Also she's only 8 months and whilst she's very much a velcro baby who will only sleep on me she's fairly easy in other ways so I know I've probably got some rude awakenings coming. But its still so worth it.

Ell17 Mon 19-Apr-21 18:18:03

DDIJ

I just don't like them. I read a lot of threads like this before I conceived, and all the replies said how wonderful it would be once you have your own. I probably should have trusted my gut instead of taking advice.


@DDIJ I cannot comprehend your reasoning. Also, do you have twins? If not, why didn't you stop after the first? Or did you think a second would change your feelings?
Genuinely interested ♥️

DDIJ Mon 19-Apr-21 18:27:58

My exH wanted them.

MrsArchchancellorRidcully Mon 19-Apr-21 18:31:48

I was like you 13 years ago (except covid of course). No one tells you you will love your children more than anything else ever. Even your DH. I would choose my kids over DH every single time and I'd expect DH to do same. It's a love like no other.

Before kids I saw having children as closing a gate behind me that I could never return. Behind the gate was fun and golden times. But no one prepared me that ahead you open up a new gate with a golden field full of new experiences and I don't miss a thing (well maybe getting trollied on a Saturday and sleeping till noon on a Sunday). Nothing beats the shriek of 'mummy' from a 5 yr old running out of class to wrap their little arms around you. Nothing.

SausageDogSandwich Mon 19-Apr-21 18:36:51

We don't have children and have a pretty lovely life.

When I hear other people talk about their kids it sounds like my idea of a nightmare to be honest.

HermioneWeasley Mon 19-Apr-21 18:38:30

I agree with others - for some women, motherhood is wonderful, transformative and fulfilling. It’s not the same for everyone.

Have you agreed with your partner how you’ll split childcare, housework, days when the kid can’t go to nursery due to chicken pox? Whose career is taking the hit? The comment about playing another game despite zero energy is bullshit IME - I found playing games boring and tiresome - my kids learned to play by themselves,

We have two kids who I love, but I’m secondary care giver and absolutely could not be the primary and if that was the situation I would not have had them.

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