Why I Will Probably Have Kids: An Introduction

 
{image source}
I don’t think this baby is that cute.  I mean, I know that it’s a
Cute Baby, but I’m just not that into babies.  And you know what? I think that’s okay.

Over the past few days, my good e-friend Ellie has been talking about her decision to be child-free.  I was leaving a comment on her blog when I realized that I had a *lot* to say about this subject, and I should probably write my own post about it.  Then I realized that I have even more to say about this than I originally thought, and decided to split it up into multiple posts like she did.  Thanks for the inspiration, Ellie.

Some men and women grow up and know that they want to be parents.  It’s just a feeling they have.  Some people don’t think about it at all: having kids is just the next logical step after marriage.  Other people just kind of “fall into it,” and end up loving parenthood (or at least saying they do).  And then there are people like Ellie and I, who give a lot of thought to the idea of motherhood because we never really had that feeling, and now we’re married and not sure we want to “fall into it.”

The other day, Ellie and I talked a little bit in passing about her decision to be child-free.  I mentioned that I thought she’d raise some great kids.  You know why I said that?  It’s because she is so REAL.

My mom is real like Ellie is.  She is honest and open, and she doesn’t put on a happy face just for the heck of it.  If it weren’t for my mom, I’m pretty sure I would never have kids.  I’m still not 100% percent sure, but I’m young and have plenty of time to get there.

It’s actually kind of funny how my mom helped sway me toward having kids; I don’t think that most people would hear what she had to say and think, “well, maybe I should have kids!”  On the surface, what she said might be construed as Scary.  My mom told me that right after I was born, she freaked out a little bit.  She didn’t feel connected to me right away, and I was a little parasite and she couldn’t get a moment to herself.

In short, she didn’t always feel that I was a “miracle” or “the best thing that ever happened to her,” despite the fact that she feels this way now. This coming from a woman who really, really wanted to have a baby and had a hard time getting pregnant.  I am so grateful to my mom for telling me this (I also feel like I should qualify her disclosure by saying that my mom and I are very close and I don’t tend to take things like this personally).

Growing up, I liked to play with toy cars in the dirt.  I climbed trees, ran around outside, and wrote stories.  I played with My Little Ponies and trolls.  I hated dolls.  Everyone was always giving me Barbie dolls and her accessories.  Barbie herself rarely got playtime, but I used her car to drive my pet rats around.  Baby dolls were abandoned in boxes.  I don’t have a single memory of pretending to be a mom. I had no desire to play house.

At a young age, I remember thinking, “I don’t think I could deal with a baby.  What if it wouldn’t stop crying?  I’d want to put it in a closet and close the door.” Now that I’m older, I realize that those kind of thoughts are what PPD is made of.

My worries about having kids aren’t limited to fears of frustration, though.

For as long as I can remember, I have had a Dominating Fear of how my life might turn out.   I am absolutely terrified of ending up in the suburbs with a minivan, being “just like everyone else.” I even mentioned this fear in a Random Facts meme awhile back.

The Dominating Fear is pretty much the crux of this issue for me, though, so I think I’m going to dedicate the next post to it, rather than go into it here.

I’m not sure if anyone’s going to have anything to say about this conversation just yet (since I have yet to really get into the meat of it), but I hope you do!  If not now, then maybe in a couple of days.

28 thoughts on “Why I Will Probably Have Kids: An Introduction

  1. Nadine says:

    Thanks for writing about this. In my little corner of the internet world, it seems like everyone just knows that they are going to have kids, but there is very little discussion of how they got there. It’s refreshing to read about the process of making such a monumental decision. I’m still on the fence myself. Like you, I am very close to my mom and this spurs me in the direction of wanting to have kids. But also like you, I never played “mom” when I was a kid. I loved my stuffed animals, but couldn’t give a damn about my baby dolls. When I did play with them, I’d inevitably drop them on the sidewalk and then feel immense guilt about what a crappy parent I was going to be. Hmm, maybe this is some deep rooted shit that I need to address in therapy. Ha.

  2. Stinkerpants says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!! I seriously can’t stop laughing. I have a really hilarious vision in my head of a tiny Nadine crying because she dropped her doll.

    I really wish that the people who are doing the most breeding in the world would stop and think about it before they did it. If they did, I’m sure we wouldn’t have an overpopulation problem.

    I think you two would raise some really wonderful children, Nadine. Beautiful, accepting, kind-hearted children who would do wonderful things in the world. I, for one, hope that you guys choose to do it. 🙂

  3. Nadine says:

    Thanks, that’s so sweet of you to say. I tend to agree that we’d be great parents. There are appealing aspects to the endeavor along with plenty of unappealing ones. We’ll see. We are older than you, but we are open to the idea of adoption so that helps ease the pressure. Can’t wait to read more about your thoughts on this subject!

  4. maritess says:

    interesting read. my husband and i were born to be parents but that doesn’t stop us from having doubts. skills and wants are different. we’re both the eldest the family and hold true to the stereotypes. but we’ve help take care of others so much and now those people have kids (hella kids) it’s hard to feel excited about it. i’m kinda exhausted. i know i should let other’s rule my decision but i can’t help it. if you live in my family you would totally think differently. my grandfather has 40 great grandchildren! my kid would get lost in a family reunion lol.

    beside not sure about having one i’m not sure if i want to have it naturally or even capable of having babies. i’ve considered adoption of a toodler or even older children. i just think it’ll come to us or surprise us and that’s how i’m treating it.

  5. Stinkerpants says:

    @Nadine: I speak the truth. 🙂

    @Maritess: I can totally understand where you’re coming from! Your family sounds gigantic! I also know what you mean about whether or not you’re capable of having babies naturally. I worry about things like that, too (sometimes thinking, “I wish I just KNEW if it would take us five years so we could start now”). I think adopting older children is a wonderful, wonderful path in life. I don’t know you well, but I can tell you have a big heart–you could really impact a child’s life!

  6. Laura B says:

    I’ve been a lurker (from Weddingbee) for awhile but your post resonated with me so much that I really felt compelled to post. I’m really looking forward to the rest of your posts in this series. I can totally relate to your fear of the mini van and having a life like every one else. I feel like its really important for me peel the layers back and examine what being a mom really means and how I feel about it before I can move on with such a big decision.

    Can’t wait to read your next post!

  7. Ashley says:

    I’ve been following along with Ellie’s posts too and yours was an absolute treat to read. I’m with you – want kids and as of yesterday was actually trying to conceive (slight detour due to layoff yesterday). Also like you, I’m incredibly close with my Mom and my Mother-in-law, and I’m so lucky to have that mother/daughter almost sister-like bond with both of them. They are reasons I want to have children (among others), but I completely understand your fear of becoming “just another soccer Mom.” I don’t want that, either.

    Looking forward to your other thoughts!

  8. Lisa says:

    Sweet Sara! It’s been a while since I’ve stopped by the blog, but this one intrigued me. I have the world’s coolest kid (if I do say so myself) who I am raising and who is raising me. Having her at such a young age and “falling” into motherhood was both the best and worst thing that happened to me. I had to sacrifice SO much of myself that I missed out on a lot of self-growth that occurs when you’re 21-25. I would never recommend for people who aren’t ready and stable to have a child, this is serious business! I completely identify with your Mom. Having a new baby is annoying and exhausting and it takes a long time to really develop a true DEEP love for your child. And in the long run, they are sweet babies for only so long… then they are teenagers, young adults and so on. Do I want to have more kids? I’ve always said no, but lately I’ve really been thinking about it more. If you’re asking yourself about having kids, remember there is NO hurry! There are moms with first graders in their 40s at Mini’s school! And kids are FOREVER. It’s not just 18 years of commitment, it’s a lifetime a bond that even a divorce can’t break!

    All in all, the love you have for your child will be amazing. It grows everyday and stays with you every moment. Imagine the love you have for Y and then multiply that by a billion EVERYDAY. Like I said, it’s not an immediate thing, but those feelings grow and blossom and make you a better person and allows you the opportunity to raise a better person!

    Oh, and by the way, ADOPTION is awesome too! But that’s a whole other topic, so if you blog about that I’ll be sure to comment! 🙂

    Love you! Miss you!

  9. Wendy says:

    I too am really excited to read the rest of your posts on this. I have almost identical feelings to you, but they’ve led us to conclude that we probably *don’t* want kids (although there are some much more complicated issues in my husband’s past). One thing that bugs me, though, is being told what great parents we’d be when we tell people we probably won’t have kids. To us, that’s not the point. We both adore kids, and my husband especially is amazing with them. But just because I’d be a great mom doesn’t mean it’s somehow my responsibility to become one. I know that’s not what you’re saying to Nadine, especially because you guys are friends – but I do have to say that I sort of bristle when people say that. But again, I’m SO excited to read what else you have to say about this!

  10. Stinkerpants says:

    @Laura B: I’m so glad you commented! Thank you!!

    @Ashley: I am beginning to realize just how important it is to have a great relationship with your mom if you’re on the fence about raising kids! You and and I are very lucky!

    @Li: Thank you SO much for posting this! It’s always really nice to read an account from a happy mama. 🙂 I just keep hearing about how rewarding motherhood is.

    @Wendy: Thank you so much for making that point! I definitely never would have thought about that. I’ve had people say that to me, but I guess I didn’t think of it that way. People also tell us we would “make cute babies,” which, when you think about it, is kind creepy in a way? Visions of people “making” babies? hahahaha. In any case, I’ll think about what you said before I say anything next time!

  11. RenaissanceTrophyWife says:

    I’ve been following Ellie’s posts too, and started putting together a couple of my own. I’m really looking forward to hearing about your process as well!

    We’ll probably have kids, but not anytime soon… I just don’t think I’m ready to write off an opportunity that could be that challenging and that rewarding all at once.

    And is it bad that as a little girl, I was interested in babies more for their scientific aspects rather than their cuteness? I mean, my poor little bro dealt with quite a bit of “let’s flip him on his back and see if he can roll over!” I *probably* won’t do that with my kids, but then again I might. It’s pretty funny watching babies grow up.

  12. Stinkerpants says:

    @RenaissanceTrophyWife: I kid you NOT, Y is IN LOVE with that Tesla. I thought we were the only ones in the world obsessed!

    PS, your first post made me laugh an evil laugh!

  13. Kasia Fink says:

    I couldn’t agree more about how Ellie would raise great kids, as would you and Nadine.

    In fact, that’s a major reason for my decision to have kids: in a way, I feel I owe it to the world. I’m not saying I’m so awesome (ya ya, pat yourself on the back Kas, good one) but one thing I know for sure is that my husband and I will throw ourselves into it heart and soul and our kids will be GOOD PEOPLE. Because we are good people. The world needs more of those.

    Can’t wait to read more of your thoughts.

  14. Allison (aka Miss Frenchie) says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Kasia that you, Nadine and Ellie would raise wonderful children.
    That is also one of the reasons we want to have kids because we want to raise GOOD PEOPLE, socially conscience, open minded, think for themselves kind of people.
    However, I am also afraid of becoming a suburban minivan driving mom… I’m interested to read your next post 🙂

  15. Bri says:

    No kids for me (I think). At the risk of sounding completely gross, I can’t imagine wanting to care about anyone more than I do myself. Yes, I am pretty darn selfish. Hosting a little alien inside me (“pregancy”), constant worry forevermore –> worrying every night they were out (“teen yrs + beyond”), sending them off to college (and paying lots o $$!) just to have them drink and screw it away.

    I realize this is the total Debbie Downer mentality and that somehow changes once you actually have a child, but I definitely do not feel a kid is what it will take to make my life complete. For the record, my Mom is my very best friend. We talk on the phone about 3x a day, she was the MOH at my wedding, love her to bits. THAT is also part of the reason raising children scares me. What if I can’t do it as goos as she did? How I can I ever measure up to my Mom?? I mean, She reared 2 kids that are practically perfect in every way!! 😀

    I think the idea of kids is wonderful and I LOVE other peoples! And my hubby wants kids, a lot. I know this will be a big issue for us down the road, but we both knew going into our marriage how the other felt. Never say never, but it would take a lot to sway me.

    Such a personal and HUGE decision for every individual. Thank you for writing this; I so enjoyed reading both the post and all the insightful responses 🙂

  16. Mr Pants says:

    Not to brag or nuthin’ but we’d make painfully cute babies! Plus we’d be spectacular parental units. (I just took a survey of all our pets and we got good reviews.)

    Also, to address a comment here about how a couple was told they’d make great parents after saying they don’t want kids, to quote Kumar, “just because you’re hung like a horse doesn’t mean you gotta do porn.”

    Finally, I find it a tragedy that the ones who have chosen to be child-free are the ones who should be passing their genes!

  17. Elizabeth says:

    I really appreciate your mom’s comments about being freaked out by this little parasite-baby, and not falling into insta-love. I bet many women feel that way, but are too ashamed to talk about it in the world where having a baby is supposed to be your one true calling and where you find all your life’s worth. Having these kinds of discussions is such a wonderful way to work through all that. Thank you!

  18. Wendy says:

    Mr. Pants – haha! Thanks for reminding me of the Kumar quote. That rocks… and I think I might have to make it my own. Is it weird for a woman to say it? Or just more awesome?

    Also, you’re both totally right that the world needs more smart people and that sometimes the people who decide to be child-free are the ones who should have kids. But along those lines, I worry about the smart people. My husband and I have both battled depression since childhood, and I feel like that is in large part because, especially as kids, we were hyper-aware of the shit flying around us. Although I think I have amazing parents, they weren’t able to protect me from that. I don’t know if I want my [potential] kids facing the same thing.

  19. Stinkerpants says:

    @Bri: As always, I heart you. My mom has told me one thing over and over: she raised me so that I would be better prepared for the world than she was. She wanted me to have the things she didn’t have, and know things at a young age that she learned later in life. She feels like she’s succeeded in that, because she’s always saying things like, “you’re so SMART. I didn’t know that until I was 45.” I know a lot of the things I know because she and my dad TAUGHT me! So I’m sure you’re well qualified to do as good of a job as your mom did, if not better–because her job was to make you that way. And heck, if you’re not (and you DID decide to have kids), she’d be there to help you. 🙂

    @Mr. Pants: It’s times like these that I am even more glad I married you. You are funny.

    @Elizabeth & Allison: thank you for commenting!! I agree, Elizabeth, that there’s a lot of shame in talking about being scared of your own kid. There also seems to be a LOT of competition between women. That seriously sucks.

    @Wendy: OMG I SOOO hear where you’re coming from. Ignorance is DEFINITELY bliss. I really try to educate myself about what’s going on it the world, and I find that I get really depressed when the news is depressing. I understand the injustices in the world. I agree, I don’t want kids to have to deal with that. It seems like the world gets more and more screwed up as time goes on.

  20. ellie says:

    Woman, you are so awesome. Thanks for joining in this discussion with me. I think it will be really interesting to see what parallels we draw.

    And thank you (and others) for saying I’d be a good mom. That really touches me. At the very least, my kids would be supermodels with near-perfect verbal SAT scores.

    When I look around at the parents I know, or the women I know looking to become parents, I secretly only endorse about, oh, ten percent. In truth, what I require of parents boils down to two things: true emotional security and fortitude, and deep intellectual curiosity. I think children raised by parents possessing these qualities have everything they need to succeed as human beings.

    Because a child taught to love herself and engage thoughtfully with the world is a child with the potential for limitless joy.

    You clearly possess those qualities. Any child would be so, so lucky to have you as a parent. You have the added bonuses of being hilarious, beautiful, and talented. Fucking gene pool jackpot.

    In fact, can I be adopted? I’ll live with the chickens.

  21. mhb says:

    Oooh! I’m thrilled to see another angle on this discussion. I’m thinking you and I may have some similarities: To me, babies are extremely intimidating… but I think junior-high-age kids are the most entertaining humans on the planet.

    My mother? Exactly the same. She was so good at being a mom to us when we were pre-teens to adolescents (OK, when she didn’t want to kill me. But I swear that was rare). She told me once when I was about fourteen that, basically, I was just starting to get interesting. As my friends and cousins are having kids, I’m appreciating what she meant by that more and more.

    Ellie said: “what I require of parents boils down to two things: true emotional security and fortitude, and deep intellectual curiosity.” Well put. I think my folks have those things, I know my hubs has them, and I’ve got the intellectual curiosity. I’m working on the other bits… which is one reason why we aren’t parents yet. 🙂

    Keep posting on this! And Mr. Pants, keep commenting. Comedy gold, that’s what that is.

  22. RenaissanceTrophyWife says:

    Oooh, glad to know someone else is as obsessed as I am about the Model S!

    @Mr Pants, you guys would absolutely make beautiful babies… I’m probably biased, being hapa myself, but I also think it’s so rewarding being able to grow up at the intersection of two cultures.

    @Ellie: “What I require of parents boils down to two things: true emotional security and fortitude, and deep intellectual curiosity.” Thank you for putting that into words so much better than I could have.

  23. divasaur says:

    I was right there too…a happy, fun-loving DINK who was 90% sure she’d be childless-by-choice, even after marrying the man of my dreams.

    Then, all of the sudden (and I am not kidding here) I turned 34 and things changed. I have never been a baby or kid person (although I am good with them) and really didn’t see myself ever becoming a mother or even wanting to…but then, I turned 34 and WHAM! Overnight I had baby rabies. And while I still don’t 100% enjoy other people’s kids, I am now looking forward to raising a couple of my own.

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