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July 13, 2020

23 Comments

Straight up – I’m not the type of woman who has always wanted children and honestly I’m kind of self-conscious about it particularly now that I have a child.

Like when my daughter is a teenager and goes ‘Hey mum, you always knew you wanted children, right?’ and I’ll go ‘Sorry? What? I can’t hear you, I just drove through a tunnel!’ and then I’ll run away.

Our baby was planned and very wanted, but she wasn’t born to parents who yearned for her. She was born to parents who could see a beautiful life with or without children who consciously chose parenthood.

Women like me are an interesting subset of people. We are either scarce, or we’re just too scared to talk about how we really feel.

I haven’t met too many women who are like me in this regard.

Some women know they want children. They feel it in their bones. Some women know they DON’T want children. They feel it in THEIR bones. I was neither of these women. When my partner and I announced our pregnancy over 2 years ago, I had lots of people telling me they knew I’d ‘change my mind’ and that really pissed me off. I never changed my mind, it was never made up, to begin with. I literally had no opinion either way – both options looked great to me in entirely different ways, so I was totally stumped. How can you make an intelligent decision about something so emotional?

This also isn’t something you can Google and not a lot of people talk about it. I’ve had a few people ask me about making the decision to have a baby when it was pretty clear we were on the fence.

In the interest of helping anyone out there in the same position, here are my thoughts on having a baby when you haven’t always wanted to have a baby.

1. Imagine your future

A friend of mine had a planned third baby a few years ago when her older children were 7 and 9. I asked her how she knew a third was in her future and she said ‘I looked into my retirement and for some reason I had 3 grown-up kids sitting at my table.’

So I looked into my retirement, and I saw a grown-up kid.

Obviously, anything could happen, but when I looked into my life when I was 70, I had a grown-up kid. I can’t explain it, it was just there. My partner saw the same thing. I saw myself with a grown-up kid in the future and then I realised I had to have a baby kid to do that. Damn. Lucky they’re cute. Check back in 12 years for a report on a teenage kid. I hear they’re quite hard work. Stay tuned.

2. Own your choice

When we decided to have a child, that’s the path we chose to go down, and that’s our life now. We have friends who were in the same position as us (undecided on children), and they chose not to have children, and that’s their life now.

 

When you’re undecided, I don’t believe there’s necessarily a correct choice. When you have the luxury of choice, the decision you make is the right one. For us we chose parenthood and have totally embraced every messy, exhausting, exhilarating, heartbreaking moment of it.

3. Just because you didn’t dream about it for your whole life doesn’t mean you won’t love it/be good at it

 

When we decided to have a baby, I was worried that I wouldn’t be a good mother because I didn’t have the built-in yearning. For me becoming a mother was a conscious decision rather than an uncontrollable desire. I thought that mothers who wanted it their whole lives would be better mothers than me. That their instincts would be more reliable, they’d bond effortlessly with their children, and they’d love their kids in a more pure way than I never could. That those mothers would experience more joy and satisfaction than I ever could from bringing a child into the world.

 

Thankfully, that’s not how things panned out at all. The first year of my daughter’s life has genuinely been the best year of my life. I know I’m lucky, I had a very positive first year of parenting, and I know that’s not the case for everyone. Still, my enjoyment of parenthood had nothing to do with whether or not I made the decision to one day have children when I was in primary school or as an adult. I really, really love being a parent and I don’t regret it for a second. Conversely there are people out there who have wanted children their whole lives who don’t have a positive experience with early parenting. The point is, you don’t need to have your future kids’ names picked out by your 9th birthday in order to have a fulfilling experience as a parent. Note: Being a fan of toilet humour helps. If you can laugh instead of cry when your kid drops a log in the bath, you’ll find the first of year parenting a lot easier. You will talk about nappies (Little One’s nappies are the bomb btw – they’re only ones I use and you can get them from Woolies!)  and poo more than you ever thought was possible.

 

I made a conscious, informed choice to become a parent, and I am loving it. Yeah, we have hard days, we have frustrating days, we have days where we wish we had 5 god-damn minutes to ourselves. Then our little girl throws her chubby hands around our necks and gives us snotty, sloppy kisses directly on our mouths and it’s so gross and so supremely excellent it all just makes sense.

 

There are days (lots and lots) of days when our daughter decides that constant shrieking coupled with flinging cereal on the walls is a super cool way to live. On those days we hang out for her bedtime so we can sit and stare at the TV before falling into bed in an exhausted heap only to do the same thing again tomorrow. Still, if I could go back in time and have a do-over, I wouldn’t think twice about it. She was 100% the right choice for us.

 

So here are some thoughts from someone who wasn’t sure about having kids who now has kids.

 

  1. Give it time if you can. We didn’t rush our decision which I believe made a massive difference.
  2. As someone who has not had a child and now has a child, both ways of life are great. I don’t think it’s helpful to frame one way of life as more desirable than the other. They’re different.
  3. I don’t want to encourage anyone to have a child if they’re leaning towards not doing it. However, in my experience, having kids is not quite the life-ending explosion many people will try to have you believe. I remember looking at people with kids and wondering how the hell they didn’t fall over from exhaustion. I have a niece who I adore and I looked after her for 24 hours once when she was 7 and
    I needed a week of 12 hour sleeps to recover. From the outside, parenting often doesn’t look that appealing. My cousin told me years ago that you have endless energy for your own children and that’s been (almost) entirely correct. I like kids, I always have, but I’ve been pretty pleased to hand back anyone’s rambunctious toddler I’d been minding for them but my own kid? She’s heaven, (on a good day) I could hang out with her all day and then miss her when I put her to bed. That’s biology for you.

 

So yeah, those are my thoughts on having a kid when you’re a bit ambivalent about the whole thing.

 

Note – for women who want to have children and can’t for whatever reason, I think about you every day. I sincerely recognise my own privilege at even being able to have this choice. Infertility is so horrifically unfair. Please know that I see you and this piece exists only to help the undecided get some clarity.

What would you say to a woman who is undecided about having a baby? Did you always know you wanted to be a Mum? We’d love you to share in the comments below!

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This post is proudly brought to you by Little One’s Ultra Dry Nappies – designed to help your child stay comfy and happy. We’ve recently refreshed our Little One’s Nappies. We’re introducing our new nappies, and you will see more of them on the shelves over the coming weeks. They are still the super absorbent nappy you know and love but now proudly Australian made and a super soft breathable lining for softness. Discover at Woolworths. #sponsored

  • This would be such a difficult situation to be in. I cant imagine not wanting a baby so it was good to read about the other side

    Reply

  • This is a great article and really portrays another point of view! I’ve always wanted kids so its good to read how others may be feeling

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  • Really great perspective to read, I really love that.

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  • I have wanted to be a mum for as long as I can remember, and everything parent related has always come naturally with me. A friend of mine has never wanted to have kids but is planning on having a baby once she is married because her fiancé wants one. Another friend has been with her boyfriend for 3.5 years and have never lived together or intend to live together anytime time soon. She really wants a baby but he doesn’t (given their relationship not being on good terms). She doesn’t know how to care for a baby (and has admitted it) and plans on living with her mum until she is confident enough to do it alone. So many different types of situations.

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  • As you say it’s a personal choice.
    These days also we are lucky to be able to choose as years ago there was no ‘pill’ or any other way not to have children and mothers had many of them whether they wanted to or not.
    Must say I love my kids and miss them so much now I live interstate from them, however it is is wonderful to catch up with them and I talk to them often via the phone.
    Enjoy your life with or without children and be happy.

    Reply

  • This is very true. I guess you just need to go with the flow. Some people do a great job and they where not expecting to have to do it at all

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  • I always wanted my own children and have always been clucky. I don’t begrudge those who choose not to.

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  • An interesting article to read.We can’t control everything in our life.

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  • This was such a great read. I always wanted children once I’d met my late husband. I tried for a long time and had numerous miscarriages. I felt very depressed when we found out I had endometriosis and a doctor I saw removed most of my ovaries without checking with my specialist. I felt like I was being told I didn’t deserve children but now we have 2 wonderful boys.

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  • Always good to read what others have to say.

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  • I always wanted to be a mum but feared I wouldn’t be able to when my sister had kids (she now had 4) I just had this feeling because I wanted my own so bad that I wouldn’t be able to. I now have 2 beautiful kids but I had a miscarriage in-between. No one can tell you want you do or don’t want, but I love your advice to think about your future… do you want to do live with just you or do you feel you need to have children?
    I would never change my decision to have kids and although I say I’m done, I know I would not be disappointed if we had more kids.

    Reply

  • I always wanted to be a mum but in my second pregnancy im not sure if i want a baby but my partner helped me through my thoughts and now im a mum for two wonderful ???? boys now im looking for a girl hope i will be 3rd time lucky to have a girl … share your thoughts to your husband or partner what actually you really thinking about

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  • To those who’re undecided I would say to take your time to make a decision. We can’t force feelings, every feeling is ok and should be accepted by others.

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  • Some people dream of motherhood others don’t. No-one should be pushed into having a baby.

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  • I have a sister in law that never ever wanted children. Then she left her run a bit late and decided she did. Numerous IVF’s etc later still no luck.

    Reply

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