Motherhood

Motherhood Mondays: One Woman Asks: “I’m Not Sure If I Want Kids or Not. How Do You Decide?”

My good friend Corrie Pikul, a 36-year-old magazine writer and blogger living in Brooklyn, has never been sure if she should have a child. She doesn’t for sure want one, but she also doesn’t not want one. She’s completely 50/50. So, as she gets older, how will she make the decision? Here, Corrie shares her fascinating story…

***

Corrie’s story:

I have to say, it was funny to me when Joanna was curious about my baby ambivalence, because I’ve spent so much time wondering about the opposite feelings—of certainty, of desire, and of urgency. At least, that’s how I imagine it feels when a woman knows she wants to be a mother (am I right? Please tell me!). The only thing I’m certain about is that I lack that feeling, and I’ve spent the better part of the past decade trying to figure out why. It’s my obsession.

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

It’s not that I don’t want a baby. Or that I do. It’s that I’m exactly 50/50—I 50% want one, and 50% don’t. I’m totally, completely middle of the road—which makes making an actual decision feel impossible.

How does baby ambivalence feel? Frustrating. Temporary—it can’t last forever, because eventually age forces us to make a decision. Lonely.

I worry that I’m an anomaly. Why can’t I just get over this, and either throw myself into baby-making, or decide once and for all that I’m not meant to be a mom? Neither option feels right to me. I’m stuck in the middle, and I feel trapped. Baby ambivalence isn’t a form of freedom, because I’m too skittish to celebrate the fact that my husband and I don’t yet have kids. What happens when/if we change our minds? Down the road, we’ll think back on all the money we perhaps blew on, say, learning to scuba dive, and how it would have been better saved for pre-school tuition. My husband and I live in this “maybe” world.

WILL GETTING OLDER HELP?

For a long time, I thought that age would help me answer the baby question. I started thinking (fantasizing?) that, as I grew older, my fertility would naturally decline, and some biological mechanism would kick in that would help me realize that time was running out, and would cause me to feel a strong desire for a baby. There’s cultural precedent for that—women on TV and movies suddenly start talking about their ticking biological clock and how badly they want a baby. So I thought that since I didn’t feel strongly either way, some hormonal change would happen as I got older that would push me in the baby direction. But the question then became: Does that really happen? And if so, how long do you wait for it to kick in?

I investigated the link between age-related infertility and maternal desire for ELLE, and while researching that article gave me the opportunity to talk to some fascinating people (like a laid-back California psychiatrist named Warren Miller, who researches why people have children; and a whip-smart sociologist in Finland, Anna Rotkirch, who has done studies to test the existence of “baby lust”), I wasn’t able to find any proven link between what’s going on in our ovaries and our emotions about motherhood. Although Dr. Rotkirch has found that many women do experience that intense craving for a baby, she hasn’t been able to pinpoint a biological cause of that feeling—it may be related to hormones, but we can’t be sure.

MONEY WORRIES

The lack of a gung-ho, go-for-it, let’s-make-a-baby! feeling may seem like a flimsy “con” to have on the Baby Decision List, but my other worries loom large—and there are so many of them. My biggest concern is money (the astronomical cost of raising kids from infancy to college is another subject I’ve written about), and not having nearly enough of it to support both a child and my own dreams of a fulfilling work life. I’ve seen women leave jobs that they enjoyed because those jobs seemed incompatible with motherhood. And I’m not talking about crazy jobs that required traveling to Hong Kong every other week or pulling endless all-nighters in their cubicles. I’m referring to the kinds of normal careers that ambitious women want and succeed at, and believe that they’ll continue to succeed at before realizing how all-consuming and expensive raising a baby can be. In this country, the cost of full-time childcare sometimes doesn’t make working feel “worth it.” That freaks me out: that having a baby might mean that I wouldn’t be able to afford to work. I hear the word “choice” used a lot in discussions of moms and work—as in, “You make the choice that’s best for you” or “It was her choice to stay home.” But as Sharon Lerner, the author of The War on Moms, told me, for some people, it’s not a fair choice if all the available options are so crappy.

I’m constantly on the lookout for role models of women who are raising children and flourishing in jobs they like (or even love), and still enjoying their marriages. And, frankly, the numbers are discouraging. I feel so let-down sometimes about the daunting prospect of having a baby and finding a way to make the extra thousands of dollars I feel like we’ll need, while working less than I do now (who doesn’t pull 60-hour weeks these days, especially, it seems, in New York?), that it makes me feel like everyone with children must know some secret that I don’t. Or they have some special advantage, like a savings account they’ve had since first grade, or super-rich parents, or parents that live nearby and can babysit for free whenever necessary. Or maybe they have super powers! Seriously, how else would you do it?

That’s why I really appreciated the series Joanna did on mothers who blog, because it showed some of the different strategies women use to balance motherhood and work. It was reassuring to hear real mothers talk about how they’re making all the pieces of their lives fit together. We need more stories like that, of moms and dads talking honestly about the challenges of work, marriage and parenthood.

EARLIER LIFE DECISIONS

It recently occurred to me that all the life decisions I’ve made, all the decisions that helped define who I am, worked against the idea of a baby: I moved away from my parents, who are wonderfully generous and supportive people and who have reassured me that they’d help out with some of the childcare; I didn’t pursue a lucrative career (I’m a writer); I settled in one of the most expensive cities in the world; I married a man who, while perfect for me in just about every way, is as indecisive about children as I am (and who didn’t choose a lucrative career, either).

I never gave a thought to how all of these decisions would factor into MY ultimate motherhood decision, and now I realize how naive that was. It’s not like I thought the U.S. would suddenly turn into a parental utopia like France (check out Sharon Lerner’s eye-opening book for more info about how seriously unfriendly America is to families), but I guess I still thought that whatever I decided, everything would work out.

That’s what everyone tells us, right? “You’ll find a way. You’ll make it work.”

WAITING FOR THE URGE

And that brings me back to The Urge, and why I’d really like it to hit me—bam!—right in the kisser. In the same way that I fell in love with my husband, I’d like to tumble head-over-heels for the idea of a baby. That just seems like the best and easiest way to go against reason and logic and convince myself that all the sacrifices will feel worth it.

***

Corrie, thank you so much for your incredibly thoughtful and honest essay. What do you think, everyone? Do you feel the same way? Do you know for sure you want kids, or are you 50/50, or do you know for sure you don’t want kids? If you do have children, how did you know you were ready? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this fascinating and very personal topic.

P.S. More Motherhood Monday posts

(Photo by Ruth Orkin)

  1. Marianne says...

    This post makes me feel for all of you American ladies. At the same time, I can’t understand why some label us Scandinavians as “socialists” like it was a negative because of our high tax policies – problems like these does not exist in Norway, where I live. Even though no one likes to pay a high percentage of their income to the state, we get benefits like one years’ paid maternity leave (that will match the income level you had when you were working), free kindergarten and education – all the way up to a master’s level at university, and additionally free health care. We are not all the same, but we all have equal opportunities. Fight for your rights, ladies.

  2. At first, I seriously doubted that I wanted to have children. Then after my maternity rotation in nursing school, I realized how amazing it is to give birth. From that point onward, I began to lean more towards having a child of my own someday than not having one. There are tough days as a mom but I know one thing for sure — I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything. If you end up staying home for a period of time that doesn’t mean forever. You can always go back to work :)

  3. Anonymous says...

    Get out of my head Corrie!

    This made me feel so much better. I’m not alone in my ambivalence. I WANT to want a baby more.

  4. Anonymous says...

    this is a great article! i just turned 26 and i’m nowhere close in considering having a baby. i think i’m like 70%/30% (don’t want/want) but that might change in the future. i mean, i don’t wanna exclude the idea of having a baby, i just think that having one might just not meant to be for all of us. i just came back from a 10 day trip abroad and i think i wouldn’t be able to do that if i had a baby. my friend who has a 2 year old toddler (whom i dearly adore!) told me that she was kinda jealous of me for being able to do that. i was clearly happy i wasn’t in her shoes i must say! my mom told me once that she’d always dreamt of having kids, on the other hand, i never did, that’s gotta say something, right? although, you’d never know! i really hope you reach a decision soon corrie! xxx

  5. love motherhood mondays…my husband even reads it (new parents to our 7 month old, lucy). refreshing to hear corrie’s story.

    any potential motherhood mondays on preferred sleep routines/sleep methods for little ones? book recommendations on the topic? we are co-sleeping and are not ready and don’t fully align with the cry it out method but are still interested in sleep :O) hahaha, laughable, i know. i’m curiuos what you/your friends/readers do/did.

    have a great week!!!

  6. Anonymous says...

    For me the question was not to decide to have or not to have a baby, but decide whether I wanted my own family… Babies stay babies for 2 or 3 years, and then they grow up, become little individuals, and absolutely don”t care whether their mother wants to have a career or not.. You have to take care of them for at least 20 years and it’s a hard work. I never felt the urge of really having a baby, pregnancy, breastfeeding and napping babies aren’t my best memories, but living with them is what makes me really happy, and this more and more as they are now almost adults..
    As a happy mother of 3, I would say, make sure the father and you really love each other, whatever you decide, you are 2 in the biggest and most risky adventure of your life. However, when you get older, you never regret it…

  7. Heather says...

    I never felt any kind of huge urge to have a baby. But, my husband was SO excited to have kids. And, I’ve always felt that I should have children. My marriage is lovely and I think a good one to bring children in to. So, after a year of marriage I got pregnant. And, I still wasn’t entirely thrilled until the day before my baby was born. I had an amazing experience where I felt so close to her. And, then when I saw her for the first time a love took hold of me that was so deeply powerful and it has never left. In lots of ways, I feel like we’re not told the truth about motherhood. Society focuses on the sacrifice and difficulties. What is so often missed is the indescribable joy that comes from having children. I am so excited for my next baby now.

  8. Anonymous says...

    There’s still far too much stigma around this – the 50/50s aren’t the minority, I’m willing to bet. I look at the women around me – women in their 30s – and not one of them is certain they want kids.

    The 50/50s probably face the same sort of stares as those of us who have made a choice not to have children – at least they have a 50% chance of feeling accepted for their life choices. Ha, ha.

  9. Anonymous says...

    i am dying to have a baby (i’m 32) and my husband is completely ambivalent (or maybe i’m just in denial). before we got married he told me that he wanted kids and now that it’s “go time” he’s telling me that he might want kids in 5 years, or maybe, never. he says that he might wake up years down the road and realize that he should’ve had a baby but, now, things just aren’t perfect enough. he said we need to make a certain amount of money (we’ve hot that # two years in a row now), he says that he wants to move by family (we’ve looked and there are no job there), he says he wants things to be more solid between us (“the baby thing” has been causing us to fight more than anything since it’s really on my mind all the time). really, he keeps moving the target.

    my ob-gyn told me that if someone doesn’t want kids that they never change their minds. he keeps telling me that he might want kids but just not right now. i keep wanting to hang onto the hope that he’ll see how amazing kids are and how they could enrich our lives… while knowing that it would be very difficult to be a parent. i tell him that we’d do it together and that we’d be okay. we have enough money. as hard as it would be, we could do it.

    it’s devastating to want a baby so bad (i was ambivalent until I was about 29/30 and then it “hit”). i told him i can’t wait forever. i just imagine holding the baby and watching it grow and then i imagine having conversations with it down the road. i would be resentful and my life would feel incomplete if i never had a baby. i wonder if this desire is stronger than it would be normally if i didn’t have to “fight” for it. i wonder if there are articles about men’s ambivalence and how it went either way.

    and not to be a major debbie downer but just for perspective… my old co-worker who is quite a bit older than me was asking me if we were going to have kids and she said, that her not having a child is one of the things she regrets most in life. she went on to say that her life is fine and she’s mostly “over it” but that she likes to tell younger women how she feels now that that time in her life has passed.

    good luck with your decision. maybe all you need is to have someone tell you that you can’t have a baby to make you want one.

  10. Anonymous says...

    I thought I was the only one who felt ambiguous about this…except, I don’t worry about money (we aren’t rich by any means, but we have enough and I know we could make it all work)–I worry about TIME and having enough time to do all I want to do…I sometimes feel I will have a child purely out of fear that if I don’t, I will regret it…this article almost brought me to tears…it’s nice to know I’m not alone…

  11. Anonymous says...

    I didn’t have the urge, either. It would have been nice, but we’re not all so lucky. I jumped and the net appeared – and my daughter is the love of my life. Everything else falls into place. I wouldn’t have it any other way now. I had NO idea how much I could love before her. My life and my mind and my heart has opened in a million ways that I’m not sure it ever would have had I not had a child.

  12. Sorry for the second comment – I hope it’s OK, Joanna – but after scrolling through the comments I want to say one more thing. One woman above alluded to it, but I always wonder why motherhood is considered to be the only way to contribute to society in a mothering way. I am a very nurturing person and see myself aging without children (I’m 41 and have none, even though I’m in a stable and happy marriage), but always being involved in some kind of a caring pursuit (I like to work with the elderly). It’s just something to think about. We need people in society to take care of those already born who have no one else! Choosing to not give birth doesn’t mean that one can’t nurture, obviously! :)

  13. Anonymous says...

    I never had the clock tick or the overwhelming urge to have a baby. I have always been happily focused on my career, and got married for the first time at 42-to the first man I would have ever CONSIDERED having a baby with. I would love to have a baby with my husband, but, I am 43 now-and though I got medically cleared to “try”, we are very anxious about it. We are ok with waiting-waiting for what, though? There’s a good chance we might not proceed with trying and just focus on ourselves and friends and family. Our friends with kids don’t get it-how we could be happy without children. I think we could be happy either way-but, we are still kind of on the fence, have had nothing clear say to us…ok let’s go for it! I’m just a late bloomer, and maybe still blooming. My life started getting great at 40, so I’m rolling with it as I usually do.

  14. I’m 41 and do not have children. Like you, I never really wanted any. In my mid-30s for a while I had a bit of doubt about it, and wondered and struggled, etc., but I decided ultimately that that was about ego, not wanting to feel “left out,” not wanting to close a door. It’s not easy. If it helps any, a psychologist told me of a study that showed that the women who were the most upset, later in life, over not having had children, were the ones who were “sure” about not wanting them at the time. Those who struggled and thought at length about it, on the other hand, were at peace with their decision later on in life, which makes perfect sense!

    I know a woman who at 36 got pregnant. She was married at the time and neither she nor her husband wanted it very much. She decided, however, that it would probably be her last chance to have a child and so she went through with it. She’s now in her mid 60s, loves her daughter to death, but has told me that if she had to do it all over again she probably would choose not to have the child. She’s very unhappy with where she is in life now and feels that she gave up all that she wanted to be. I’ve tried to convince her that she can still do a lot of things, but she’s divorced, left her career behind long ago, etc. etc., and feels that it’s unlikely that she’ll be able to “become who she might have been.” It’s not easy finding entry into many areas of life as an older woman, though not impossible. Anyhow – different perspectives!

  15. Anonymous says...

    OK- weighing options like this in life starts to become a bit absurd. I guess I am tired of the endless whining about what if- god help me- my life becomes …difficult.

    Hate to say it guys, but life is not to be designed. It is a haphazard, crazy rollercoaster. If you can roll with the punches and celebrate the victories, it will be a wonderful ride.

  16. Anonymous says...

    Please get feedback from mothers with older children, grown children. The early years are so blissful, so full of promise, so fun. Talk to mothers who’ve dealt with big problems for years, whether it’s drugs, difficult relationship with a child, disappointment in a child, disappointment in self. Believe me, it’s a completely different situation. Motherhood is not a sprint, but a marathon. Personally, I can’t imagine my life without my beloved grown child, but I also know my husband and I would have been very happy childless.

  17. Anonymous says...

    I am 33, married and have struggled with this issue for years. Since I can remember, I have been emphatically “no” about having them. But as I’ve gotten older and have seen those around me start families, my original resolve has (for whatever reason) softened and I’ve begun to look at things & life differently. Although I feel the decision is so huge that, by its nature, it cannot be made, I also think I need to just decide. Deciding yes can be finite. Deciding no leaves the window open. And dealing with the uncertainty for too much longer will simply drive me insane.

    Corrie and all the commenters- thank you. You have so eloquently & honestly expressed exactly my (your) feelings on this issue, and given me more validation than so many other places I’ve turned to in search of answers. There’s a lot of trite crap out there & it’s refreshing to hear stories of those who were unsure, went for it, and are glad. That seems to be the direction I’m headed.

    Now, please move to my city so we can be friends!

  18. Anonymous says...

    It’s so nice to know I’m not the only gal out there who is not 100% certain that kids fit in the picture. Aside from the birthing part (horrifying!), there’s the money and the fact that I feel too selfish. Am I really willing to give up my freedom and spontaneity (although slight), now or ever? I’m not sure. When I tell some people this, I get that same confused reaction I got from people when I became engaged and declined the ring. I didn’t want to wear something everyday that permitted me from effortlessly slipping my hand into my front pocket. The idea of having a kid—a life to care for and be responsible for—seems similar in some way.

    I wish this essay was longer. I could have kept reading and reading and…

  19. Maybe this has been said above, but for me the baby question was resolved like this: I love my family. I love being in a family and I know that I want to have a family of my own one day. While I don’t like babies or kids, I know that one day I’ll have my own because I want the family that they will turn into. All the other concerns you have are the same ones everyone else has too and so many people manage to have children so you just have to trust and know that if you decide to have kids, you’ll just make it work.

  20. Wow. Go Connie. I applaud her honesty. It’s hard to raise children in this uncertain world. I’m merely a 24 year old, with no boyfriend or children of my own, but I am a part time nanny. Doing this makes me think really hard about my deep rooted desire to have kids. My worries are not merely financial, but more physiological.The way society has changed is scary within the last ten years. Is this really an environment I would want my kids to be raised in? And not only that, but do I have the patient to raise kids in this society?

  21. Anonymous says...

    The reality is when you have a baby and you are unable to foot the bill for child care in NYC, you as a couple will have to either move out of NYC to someplace cheaper, move closer to your parents, change jobs to get more $$$ for childcare, or worst case, someone has to put their career on hold for childcare.

    It will be HARD. We had one kid, then moved to NYC and we are just barely able to manage the expense because we both work well-paid but boring tech jobs. I would like to do something more creative BUT now I have a responsibility to keep supporting the kid (pre-school, college!) and can’t earn less. And I do NOT want to give up my job because coming back to work after maternity leave, that was the only time I felt that I was normal and myself again. And of course, once we have two kids, we will have to move out of Manhattan unless a magic trust fund appears out of the blue. I mean, we could still live here with 2 kids, we would just save *nothing* apart from small 401k’s.

    Having a kid is a MAJOR COMPROMISE of one’s ideals, one’s desires, one’s art, one’s work and most of all, freedom. Is it worth it? I love her but it is impossible to answer that question because now I can’t imagine a life without her.

    I used to think you couldn’t be truly happy if you didn’t have kids (perhaps a cultural byproduct of coming from a country where family is the be all end all but also one where there is much community support in child-rearing). Now that I have one, I realize I could still have been happy and fulfilled without children. That in this day and age, a life without children is a life of having the freedom of your 20’s with the the financial security of 30’s and beyond. Thrilling!

    So it is a hard decision. As someone with a child, if you decide not to have a child, don’t listen to the societal pressure. It is an entirely legitimate choice and you get to skip all the stress, the hassle and you get to keep your freedom. There is the bliss of mother-child love but I am saying, there is much joy outside of it too.

  22. og says...

    I don’t agree that baby lust is actually the best determining factor. Many people with baby lust view parenthood with rose-colored glasses and when reality hits, they’re totally unprepared and actually hate it. I’ve known many people who were very, very gung-ho about having kids and I was always ambivalent. The gung-ho ones viewed parenthood as fun and had a harder adjustment (and maybe more regrets?) because well, parenting is really be harder than expected. I viewed parenting as sacrifice/responsibilities so I am happier at the unexpected joys. And despite my ambivalence, I love my kids more than anything in the world and have never felt such deep love.

  23. I have to say I was a 50/50 person too. And being 34 I started to question it too. I was hoping once I started getting older something would just click and I’d want a baby, but it didn’t happen. So I had to make a decision. My husband and I decided that a life without the experience of children might be boring and unfulfilling to an extent. Not to say we aren’t happy with it just being the two of us. But experiencing life through the eyes of a child… And building a family started sounding more exciting. Do we really want to wait a while and then regret not having a family? It’s a tough decision. We decided to leave it in God’s hands…. I’m now 12 weeks pregnant (after only 2 months of trying). And I have to say, after seeing and hearing that heartbeat on the ultrasound my mind was made up! What an amazing miracle to be able to create a life! I’m still freaked out and scared about all of the unknowns, but so wowed that I have a little person growing inside me!

  24. great post! I don’t think this is something that gets discussed enough. I am 47. I had no children of my own but helped raise my husbands 2 children. By the time , I had met this man I was in my mid 30’s and well settledin my life and choices. I could not invision my later years being spent raising children. I never felt the baby urge that strongly. It just so happens that my best girlfriends aside from sister are also without children and I have to say as a general statement they appear to be much content and happy in their lives, careers and marriages than most of my other friends with children.Of course this is a generality but it takes ALOT of work to make even a marriage successful ,let alone throw in some kids. Having children will CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER. Someone noted that alot of people have kids because they got pregnant-so true! It is very rare for people to regret having them once they do but I do know women that struggle with the balance , the grief of feeling like they have lost their own identities all while loving to death their children. Your children can be the source of your greatest joy and it can also be the source your greatest fear and sorrow. Raising them will make you question so many things about yourself, your own parents, they will make you feel like the BEST PERSON on the planet and then some other moment you will feel completely at a loss. I say this from having watched my husband. But that is life isn’t it?
    ENjoy your life at the moment, that’s all you have, one can’t plan their life really ,we like to think we can but it doesn’t work that way.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. When my husband and I were first married, we agreed (jokingly) to a 5-year plan to wait to have kids. When we reached 5 years, we still didn’t feel ready. So we “renewed” our plan. As we both crossed the 30 year threshold of age, we started revisiting our plan. We weren’t having urges per se to have kids, but we did know that if we were going to have them, we better not wait too long (we had some concerns about down syndrome that came into play). So on our 8th anniversary we discussed it over dinner and decided to take the plunge. And it was terrifying. Almost a year after our decision, we had a beautiful baby boy. We don’t regret moving forward AT ALL. I am a freelance graphic designer and took on projects shortly after our little guy was born. I love being a mom, but working provide me with a different kind of fulfillment. We don’t regret waiting and now that we have crossed over, we certainly don’t regret our decision. 50/50 is a hard place to be. Regardless of our life choices, I believe we have to choose to be happy in our circumstances – with or without kids.

  27. Anonymous says...

    While your biological clock might not be ticking in your head, believe me, it is in your body. By the time your head gets around to deciding your body may have already made the decision for you and it mightn’t be one that you like.

    If you’re mid 30’s and ambivalent just go for it otherwise you could sorely regret it.

  28. I wanted to have kids when I held my brother for the first time. I was 5 years old. I had my first at 35 and thought I was prepared. I’ve spent literally a lifetime researching how to be a better parent. But actually being a parent is hard. I just had our second 9 days ago and I remember now why I told my mother 4 years ago, she’d only have one grandchild. I wasn’t doing it again. But somehow I forgot it all and decided I wanted/needed a second. Are we prepared financially…no. I let go of my career bc I didn’t want to outsource my children. I plan on returning to work in roughly 5 years…I pray the return isn’t brutally hard.

    It’s been rewarding. I love being a mother but it’s the hardest thing I’ve done. Now when I hear friends say they don’t want kids I admire them for a: knowing themselves b: thinking it through and c: not following norms.

    The thing about parenting is that being a “good” parent means different things to different people and there is no universal measuring stick to know who really is a good parent. So while others are “making it work” that doesn’t mean the same scenario would work for you.

    Children teach you one thing for sure. You can’t control life. Sometimes just hanging on ends up being the biggest thrill ever. Even if ur white-knuckled the whole way!

  29. Anonymous says...

    My husband and I always assumed we would have a child “in a couple of years,” but the time never came. We are nearing our mid-40s and very happy, which is not to say I don’t wonder about the path not taken.

    What has made all the difference for me is something an older friend told me. She said it was important to her to have children in her life, but it was not important for her to be a mother.

    So it has been with me. My own volunteer work with foster youth is incredibly important to me. And so is my career, and my time with my husband.

    I am endlessly puzzled by the notion that not having a child is selfish. There is a whole world out there filled with people who need other people. You don’t have to create a brand new human being in order to nurture, or love, or transform a life.

  30. That is really tough. I agree with the posters that have said to ask yourself if you would be happy if you were without a child for the long haul. It’s such a huge decision, and obviously one you can’t go back on!!

    From my humble perspective, I’m currently in the throes of baby BLISS. However, I always knew I wanted children, it was just a matter of when. After 4 years of marriage, it felt right. But even knowing that I always wanted it, there was still fear that I made the wrong decision or would miss my old life. Well, not to sound cliche, but both of us, are happier than we could have ever imagined and just LOVE this kid more than we could have ever known we would. Yes, there are definitely sacrifices. Yes, sometimes I’m stressed out about my work/life balance. But in no way ever do I think, “This wasn’t worth it.”

    Good luck to you, Corrie!

  31. I remember being in my 20’s and not at all sure how I felt about children. I don’t like babies very much and really didn’t like them when it was a good time to have one. I knew things had changed, a little, when the sound of a crying baby didn’t instantly make my spine shatter into a million, little pieces. I think it’s helpful to open yourself up to the idea that you won’t like all the stages of parenting—and that’s ok! Some people are great with babies, some people are amazing with adolescents, others are at their best when their children are adults.

    I don’t remember why or how or what compelled me to get pregnant. I think it was a conscious leap of faith—in myself, in my husband and in the future. I certainly was not head over heels in love with the idea of a baby, but 23 years later I AM head over heels in love with my 2 sons and the man I have been with since I was 16. It’s been an amazing, beautiful, stressful, joyful, sleep-deprived, eye-opening, rich, lush journey. I am surprised that I find motherhood my greatest strength and deepest fulfillment. Looking back I don’t think I can say that “I knew” it was the right time and rationally it probably wasn’t but now it all seems clear, and perfect and beautiful because one can never have enough love.

    All the best to you as you decide.

  32. Someone once said (and I agree) that there are two things that a woman will never regret: going for a swim and having a baby. Both sometimes seem more effort or work than they are worth – getting your hair wet, wearing a swim suit- paying for childcare, giving up work. But with both- once you dive in you are so, so happy that you did because the joys just simply outweigh any pain.

  33. Wow. I totally could have written this. It actually kind of scares me because I, at 30 now, am still kind of hoping that urge just comes to me, but after reading this I think I may have to accept that it might not. My husband does 100% want kids, though, so that it something I have to deal with along with my ambivalence. It was great to hear that I am not the only one who feels this way. But also sad to see that I may never really feel 100% one way or the other.

  34. I love this discussion! I’m 33 and have no interest in children. My sister who has a 1.5 year old is desperately waiting for me to turn the corner, but I don’t even SEE the corner! Anyway, I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but Randi Buckley has an AMAZING course on navigating these waters called Maybe Baby – totally non-judgemental, totally AWESOME. For anyone on the fence, I highly recommend it. http://www.randibuckley.com/maybe-baby/

    xo

  35. Anonymous says...

    I always wanted a big family, and have 4 children. I can tell you honestly that giving up my (very fulfilling) career to raise them was the BEST and SMARTEST thing I ever did. However, I would never recommend it to someone who wasn’t completely sure of the decision. Raising a kid is damn hard work, no way around that. It’s hard on those of us who are 100% committed to the job. If you’re not – you will be miserable.

    As for the money – no, you won’t have enough, no one ever has enough to raise kids. There are worse things in the world than having to pinch pennies, or give up a few of your childless-life perks.

    And I don’t childless couples have unfulfilled lives, either.

  36. Anonymous says...

    I can’t believe how many people here are getting *comments* from other people as to their baby-making (or lack thereof)! I can’t imagine my office getting that personal, and neither mine or my husbands families have said anything (we’re 30 and been married 4 years). I guess we’ve been really lucky! There must be some polite, tongue-in-cheek replies…

  37. This is probably completely unhelpful…but I think that whichever decision you make, you’ll have many things you love about it and a few things you may regret. Being a mom is hard work and yet completely awesome, too. And I think – and I hope this doesn’t come across as condescending because I absolutely don’t mean it that way – that becoming a mom is one of those things you can read and read and read about, but you won’t understand how you could be capable of doing it until you do it.
    One thing I really worried and stressed about before I had kids was whether I’d still be the same person afterward – I didn’t want my whole existence to get sucked up into mommyhood. And I’m so glad to say that never happened. I’m still me. Maybe a little bit better :)

  38. Anonymous says...

    Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed reading not only Corrie’s story, but all the comments here as well.

    I’m almost 26…in grad school and well, actually have spent all of my twenties in school so that my career hasn’t been established…there’s only been the “getting there” part. I have debt/money problems…and know I don’t have to worry about having kids till my mid-thirties if I don’t want to. But the worry is there…having a kid in my early thirties sounds nice from an emotional/I love my husband and it’d be a great experience standpoint, but in relation to the life and career choices I’ve made it seems like a terrible idea…thus resulting in me being 50/50 as well. It’s been so reassuring to know that other women are struggling with this issue…I don’t think it’s talked about enough and it needs to be…especially among ambitious twentysomething/early thirties women who are told they still have time to decide…but don’t even know if they want kids in the first place. Thank you for this.

  39. Anonymous says...

    Wow- this sounds like something I could have written myself (although perhaps not quite so eloquently). I’ve been struggling with this same ambivalence for years now, thinking that as time goes on, I’ll suddenly start “wanting” to have a baby like the rest of my baby-crazy friends. I think I’d like to be a mother… but I also like being myself, working on a career, being a wife, and spending time with my friends and extended family.

    A baby is a full-time (expensive!) commitment… and there are so many reasons not to commit. We’re getting all of our loans paid off, decades before our friends with children. We’re working on our fixer-upper house and going on those vacations we’ve dreamed about. I’m just starting off in my new career after finishing grad school and my husband is beginning to excel at his own career. My husband and I have grown even closer over the years we’ve been together and I’m still loving every minute. Maybe it’s selfish, but I don’t know that I want to share what our lives have become with another person.

    On the other hand, if we do decide to have children, I’d like to be able to still enjoy life when my kids are adults, unlike my in-laws who waited until much later in life and are beginning to struggle in their older age. I’d love to see my husband be the amazing father I know he can become and my in-laws become grandparents while they are still capable of providing some guidance and hands-on interaction with their grandchildren. I have some doubts about myself, but I think I will be a loving and supportive mother as well and I’d love to give my children the guidance that I never received from my own parents.

    We’ve somewhat hesitantly come to the conclusion that we may or may not try this year… but it’s so hard to say if we’re making the right decision. And as for how I can balance the career I love, the husband I adore, the home I’m beginning to have some feelings for, our wonderful pets (who will always be a part of our family), and a new little person who needs constant attention and love?

    I don’t think there’s an answer. Good luck with your own decision. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one!

  40. Wow. This post puts into words exactly what I have been going through…all of it. Except for instead of living in NY, I WORK in DC and live 70 miles away…a commute that presents issues enough with just my husband and me…that and I’m 42 and reallllly up against the age wall. A point made most real recently when I was talking to a friend and prefaced a sentence with, “If we have a baby someday…” and she looked at me squarely and said,”You do realize that you’re running out of somedays.” I cried the entire way home. My husband and I have been on the fence about this for so long. At this point I don’t even know if I CAN get pregnant (next I’ll be reading Corrie’s article for Elle.) So, thank you for covering this topic. Corrie’s post doesn’t help me find my answers, but at least I know I’m not alone.

  41. My very close friend (35 years old also) was going through something alike. She always told me how she is not sure but she should decide because she is getting older and she had some health issues. And how she wished she was younger just to have more time to think this through.

    And then she decided to just give it a shot because she thought she would regret when she is old if she didnt at least try. It wasn’t easy but she went through some fertility treatment and it was seriously thought time for her and so far she and her partner still haven’t succeeded. But the good outcome of this is the fact that getting disappointed about not being pregnant yet, made it clear for her that she actually really wants a baby. It was surprising for her also how disappointed she was when she didn’t manage in the beginning. And now they still didn’t give up and I am sure they will make it, but I am happy to see how her mindset is changed and she is more secure about her decision and what she wants.

    Also I think that you shouldn’t give up something like this because of fear. Fear that you will not make it financially or that you will lose your freedom etc. In this case it’s the fear controlling your life, not the baby. And I think that’s much worse:)

    But of course, you know yourself the best and maybe you will just listen to yourself more patiently to understand what you really want. It’s completely okay not to have children either if this is how you feel. Totally completely okay:)

    Good luck! And don’t worry too much:)

  42. This was a very interesting article, than you. I am fifty-five. I managed to stay single during my childbearing years so that I wouldn’t have to make the choice. I also manged to marry not one, but two men who did not want children to be super safe. As I reflect back on those years I know at a very deep level that my choice was driven by fear. I was afraid I would be an unhappy, wretched mother. Like my own. Yet, I nurtured small children in my role as a teacher for thirty years and now I nurture young women who are struggling to learn how to nourish themselves and their daughters in the space of a busy and productive life. I feel completely fulfilled in my “motherly” roles. My advice to you is to continue to reflect. There is no rush, no biological clock ticking madly in your ear. Stay in the conversation with people who share your ambivalence. Check out Randi Buckley of Maybe Baby who is building a community of women who are supporting each other as they wrestle with this decision. Be well. . .

  43. Anonymous says...

    Going out on a limb here but a baby is a child…a life.. a human being and…forever. If you have any kind of ambivalence about it, the answer is “no, i should not be having children right now.” seriously.

  44. Anonymous says...

    I never, ever post a comment, and I’m late to the party, but I felt compelled to add something. Perhaps I should preface by saying I have a two-year old who is the light of my husband’s and my lives–but I find astonishing that anyone would ever feel 100% ready to bring a child into this world. Having a kid is beyond scary: it’s the only thing, really, that you can’t take back. And you can’t predict what types of problems or issues might arise with your particular kid. It’s a serious, serious thing that requires some hard thought.

    And to add to that–there are some certainties–you’ll be able to spend less time on your career and, as statistics show, women with children earn less and are promoted less than women without. You’re also subject to more scrutiny and judgment than ever before. Regardless of what you do, you’ll probably feel at least somewhat guilty about it.

    Look at the comments here–people are actually telling you whether or not to have kids based on reading one essay you wrote! Nothing gets judged more than motherhood, especially other moms because it’s really easy to feel insecure about what decisions you’re making.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that motherhood is a really complex thing–like marriage. Do I love my kid? Yes. I love my husband too–and I have a great life for which I’m really thankful. But there are times where I fantasize about being husband- and child-free. I certainly don’t regret having a kid–he’s the most amazing little person–but I think ambivalence is probably normal. Especially for someone who takes parenting seriously.

  45. i am 34 and feel almost the same way – 50 / 50 about the baby. i live in india where most people have children in the first or second year of their marriage or at worst, in the first five or so. I have been married for more than 10 years now and i still don’t know whether i want a child or not… and i really hope i figure that out before it’s too late.

  46. Up until about 27 we both 100 % were not interested in having a baby (did not even like babies or kids really), then all of a sudden we were 100 % interested and had our first when we were both 28.

    I do understand how you feel though because we are vary between 90 % not wanting and very ambivalent about a second. Our daughter completely fulfills us, and we never think about another. We are not at all concerned about only-child ‘issues’ (because they have been disproven by physiologists). Our daughter is a happy social child. However, societal pressure is to have siblings, so it makes us second guess and worry we are making the wrong choice.

    When we get all the “when are you having another?” questions that make us second guess, we try to focus on what makes us happy, not what society expects. So hopefully you can eliminate that from your decision too. I know society puts on that pressure to have children as I have friends who have chosen not to and they get sick of the questions about when they will have kids.

    I would say also that if you can’t envision being a mother as a wonderful fulfilling job that you will flourish in (as much as your career), even if you choose to be a working mother, then perhaps it is not what you really want to do. Perhaps the secret is that once you have chosen to have a child that you accept compromise and change and getting around money difficulties because it is all worth it. I guess that comes down to the urge again, the feeling that it is something you want so certainly that all the difficult things will be worth it.

    I know in my heart that is the only thing that could convince me to have a 2nd. If I woke up one morning and felt so certain that I wanted to raise another child. Right now so many people tell me “oh but your daughter needs a sibling, you should have another one for her” and I just think “really? for her? not for me or my husbands choices? we are going to be the ones to raise a second child and we had better well want it 100 %, not just for our daughter, or that is not fair to anyone”.

    I have had people say to me, “oh but you would never regret having a child once they are here”. I always think that on some level, if I had not had that certainty beforehand, I would have regret that would overshadow my parenting. I don’t feel like a bad person to say that, I am just aware of my limits.

  47. I’m right there with you, Corrie. As a 27-year-old in a 5-month-old relationship, I don’t feel the urge to reproduce. I’m at the age where friends around me are married and starting families, and it’s making me question why I don’t have the urge to do the same. I feel almost stunted compared to everyone else. The truth is, I left a comfortable, long-term relationship because of indecision. I didn’t know if I even wanted to marry the guy, and that right there told me that he wasn’t the one for me.

    Now, I love kids and I think they are a blast (when you can give them back to their parents the minute they start acting up), but I feel like I’m too self-centered (not in a bad way, but in a way that doesn’t encourage spending all my attention on one thing/person). I used to hate the idea of having kids, but then I started to babysit my then-boyfriend’s niece. For 3 years, from the age of 1 to the age of 4, I spent several hours a week with her. She became my best friend and I started LOVING kids.

    But I’m still on the fence of whether or not I want to have kids of my own. And I feel like I should mention that the idea of being pregnant totally creeps me out!

    But you’re not alone in this 50/50 debate.

  48. kp says...

    I LOVE this post as it so names the challenge I faced and so many others. Our era is sooooooo different than any other! That we are even having these discussions on this scale.. .to be or NOT to be… is remarkable. Just a moment ago only the very very few chose something other than the usual route of children… let alone conscious choosing to have one without a mate/father. WE are in uncharted territory

    Recently I have sent connected some friend’s to Randi Buckley’s Maybe Baby class. Randi takes people on a deeper journey to get clear so that this all important decision comes from a deeper place of self knowing. I LOVE her work. As woman, her wisdom runs deep. My friends came to some powerful realizations…. and choices.

    Thank YOU for keeping this topic ALIVE! as we can see from the responses…. this is one hot topic!

  49. Anonymous says...

    Having a child is like having your heart, walk around outside of your body, for the rest of your life. Yes, a lot of those early years are amazing and joyful. And I read a funny quote that said – don’t worry, only the first 40 years of parenting is hard. haha. I’m in no way a doom and gloom person, but I do look at world conditions. Is it a place you want to bring a child into? If your not sure, take that into consideration. And I think it’s becoming more common to not have children.

  50. Anonymous says...

    I am 27, I am 95/5 on not wanting to be a mother. I always thought I would be one, and DREADED it, until one day it hit me- I don’t have to be a mother!

    In fact, the only reason I would consider it now is the fact that the man I’m with wants to be a father. It makes me really angry, though, to be honest that people (and I don’t mean him, I mean anyone who hears I don’t want to be a mom) think that his desire to be a father should be a reason for my body and life to be used in a way that I’m certain I don’t want.

    I might have a kid, but it wouldn’t be because I want to.

  51. kb says...

    This really echoes the way I felt about it! I’m 33 and got pregnant last year—a huge surprise, considering that my husband and I weren’t trying and literally just had a conversation that leaned more strongly toward *not* having kids and how we thought we’d be OK with that. (He’s seven years older, and felt that he really wanted to either do it or not before hitting 40.)

    Now that our son has just turned a year old, we’ve reflected on the past year and how we feel very lucky that our parental instincts kicked in despite how ambivalent we’d been, and that for us, the choice to go with it worked out for us. Good luck in finding what works for you!

  52. Anonymous says...

    Hi Carrie, I hope that you might still read this comment after so many have already posted. I am not going to speak about myself here, or my choices. What I want to say is for YOU! So many people have spoken about how, “there is no perfect time,” “you just have to take the leap,” or “you’ll never regret having a child.” What I’d like to say to you is that while it does indeed require a leap of faith and bravery to have a child, I think it takes an even bigger leap to consciously choose NOT to have a child. Our society is 100% geared toward the idyllic image of the perfect family life. It takes a brave soul to not be swept into this, and to forge ahead living a life that is outside the norm. Yes, being a parent is likely one of the most amazing things one could experience, and raising a child well, one of the biggest gifts one could offer. But the world has enough children. And perhaps you will end up contributing more to the world if you aren’t giving all your energy to parenting. The worry that you might regret it later is sadly a waste of your energy. I hope you can choose not to live your life in fear, but instead accept and love yourself for who you are and the choices you make. No one else can tell you what is best for you. No one else can define what a complete and satisfying life might look like for you. I completely agree with an earlier comment, “The fear of regretting not having kids in the future is not a strong enough reason to have them right now.” Good luck with it all – and digesting all that has been said here. Follow your heart.

  53. Anonymous says...

    funny as it sounds, I really wanted to be a mom till my best friend had her son and I watched the real day-to-day agony of life as a mother.

    I really began to ask myself why I wanted to have a child and I realized it had just been programmed in my head to be. When I really looked at it – I really wanted a baby but I didn’t want to raise an adult. and in the end, raising an adult is more important.

    at 43, I’m on the edge and it wasn’t until just a handful of weeks ago that my husband and I finally decided no, this isn’t going to happen [mostly due to some health problems of mine] I’m not going to say it’s been easy to say out loud, I’m still in mourning of the fact – even though I was really on the fence.

    I think it’s wise to question it instead of going blindly. In the end, I think if you choose to, life figures and rearranges itself to make room.

  54. What an interesting and important topic. I’m very ambivalent about having children and my husband does not want them either, But It’s a very hard decision to make. As sure as I am I can’t help worrying that one day I might regret my choice.

    I think a lot of people end up getting pregnant and then just make it work and my husband and I have often wondered if that’s the reason for most couples. Of course there are people that have always known that’s what they want but I had often wondered if people just didn’t give it much thought. So very interesting to read all the comments from women who have spent time carefully considering this question.

    I wonder, if you aren’t sure, will the sacrifices be too great? Is having a child something you desperately need to want to do in order to not feel trapped and resentful? Eee, yikes.

    I would love to hear from more woman who didn’t want kids but ended up having them (anonymous above is what I’m scared of) and wouldn’t it be interesting to hear from older woman who don’t have children…

    Thanks so much for this honest post.

    xox

  55. i am definitely in the “absolutely want a baby camp” but i have some friends who are unsure.

    this past december i visited a nursing home with some grade 7 students. we spoke with this one elderly woman who said “i’ve had a great career (as a university professor). i never got married or had any kids. that’s what i wanted. but now i have two degrees, but no one to come visit me”

    it struck me as so sad. when i relayed the story on to my friends, one of them commented that that was almost enough for her to change her tune!

    (that being said, someone could have kids, but they might not necessarily visit him/her regularly in a nursing home…)

  56. Jen says...

    It is so amazing to read how many women have similar feelings to me. My husband and I had been married less than a year when we found out we were pregnant (and on birth control no less! Malfunction on our part though :) ) and it was difficult for me to adjust. I didn’t think I had the mothering “gene” so to speak and my mom wasn’t around a lot when I was growing up; always working long hours and exhausted. Besides that we were married young (23) and none of my friends had kids yet. Now I love being a mom to my little girl-most of the time! It is still hard sometimes but i know God has a plan and He is in control. However I agree with a lot of commenters that deciding to try for a second is hard when you know what to expect! Right now we honestly can’t afford two in daycare/preschool, we cant afford for me to stay home, and in our state you even have to pay to have them in kindergarten full days! So I’m torn- should we wait until my daughter is in first grade before starting all over? I just don’t want to have the same struggles we had the first time around. Money doesn’t buy happiness but it can help alleviate stress! My husband is currently working towards his MBA in hopes that he will get a better job and we will be less dependent on my income. That’s still a couple years out so who knows?

  57. Mmmm. Good stuff. It’s nice to feel a kindred spirit with Corrie on this.

    Eat Cake

  58. In the end, the choice you make is the right one. Kids are expensive and time consuming and can give you the love of your life. Your life can also be wonderful and fulfilling without children.

    Once you decide, you live into the right answer.

  59. Happy marriages and fulfilling careers are not things that come easy… with OR without kids. If you want it all, you’ve just got to work harder for it. And if it is worth it to you, you will.

  60. Anonymous says...

    -It is wonderful to live in an era where there is freedom and choice.

    -There are ~7 billion people on the planet. It’s good that there are some men and women who do not want children.

    -Wouldn’t it be nice if every parent put their whole heart & soul into having/raising a child?

  61. I was ambivalent until we decided to at least start trying… the months passed unsuccessful, and then the urge started. It was almost like I had to fear I couldn’t have it to actually start wanting it. I now have a 2.5 year old son who is magically amazingly even tempered and patient, which means that even as a baby he rarely made a dent in the kind of life I was already used to having.

    Fast forward to now. It’s the time when most moms are having #2. And now I’m back here… ambivalent in a big way. So many pros and cons to list. I feel lucky that we got away with such a great #1, and are still able to have great social lives, travel at the drop of a hat, afford our luxuries. The thought of a challenging #2 leaves me terrified! But what about a sibling? What if we decide we want #2 and it’s too late?

    I can definitely relate to the frustrating nature of this. It’s as if you begin to feel you can’t just value the present as it is… the future question looms and distracts…

  62. Anonymous says...

    I’m single, 36, and totally happy + content. Although I’d like to have the option, I couldn’t be happier. The worst thing is other people’s attitudes towards me – as if my life can’t be fulfilled without children and that what I do in my career and with my time is meaningless “if you had children, you wouldn’t be able to run around…” People can be pretty insensitive too – telling me they wouldn’t even consider having a child after 35 etc, which I find hurtful. Still, it doesn’t bother me too much because I’m happy as I am. Great post, Corrie!

  63. Heather says...

    I’m not sure you are ever ready. We didn’t feel “ready” – we just realized that we didn’t want to miss out on the experience of having children. So for better or worse, we took the plunge and I was terrified – but our little boy is my reason for living and I wouldn’t change a single thing. And yes there are compromises and tears and stress. But I was without children long enough to know that there are compromises and tears and stress before kids too. I simply find that my life feels purposeful in a way I never felt before.

  64. This was such an insightful post and clearly something that many of us are thinking about!

    A couple of things: I think that one aspect of the children v. no-children question that is often ignored is what role children actually play in a family. Personally, I don’t believe children are merely accessories to a couple’s life–they aren’t little guests that you invite over for a couple of decades just to see how they turn out. They are a legacy, and in them you must instill wisdom, and knowledge, and values, and love, and all of these things that go into making them thriving adults that will carry our society into the next era. That’s a lot of responsibility! And certainly not a task to be taken lightly (though it’s not all serious stuff!). So I think the question isn’t “should I have children” as though you are buying a house or something, but “am I ready/do I want to spend my life cultivating the next generation?” They are entirely different questions, with very different sorts of gravity to them.

    With that said, I do understand the question of whether or not to have children–my partner is 30 years older than I, and he has two almost-grown children of his own. So while his “urge” (since we’re using that term) has been fulfilled and has passed, he knows that mine has not (yes, I want children, and I would like them with him). He has said that he would have six more, if it worked out! Before I met him, I never really gave it much thought–I always assumed I’d marry someone my age and we’d just have children together because that would be what we both wanted. In my mind, it was a given. But now there are a number of complicating factors, so only time will tell. It will, however, be a decision we make together.

  65. Natiuska from Chile says...

    Thanks to share your experience. I felt very identified with the 50/50, because I’m 34 and when we have to decide to have a child we could not. So we’ll need treatment and to spend a lot of money to try to HAVE a child. There I began to think if really was worth all the effort, money and hope to be a mom.

    I want a baby, but it’s not my goal. And I think that’s is normal in our times.

  66. oh this is such a tricky one. yes, it helps to REALLY want a baby before having one, but on the other hand, even if a pregnancy is unexpected, you’ll love that baby in a way you never dreamed possible, and he/she will change your life – not only in negative ways. since having our little boy my husband and i have traveled MORE and made MORE money, and gotten closer to family, and purchased a house and things that weren’t priorities before became more important to us. plus,(and this sounds so new-agey) babies come into the world with their own life path and it will affect yours in ways you can’t even fathom. that’s just my own personal experience. that being said, i don’t think parenthood is for everyone, or that someone is selfish for not having children. the choice to have children can be selfish too.

  67. Thank you for this, Connie! It’s always so relieving to read both viewpoints. I definitely want to wait a looong while before even thinking about having children.

  68. I m so grateful for my opprotunity to be a mother and thinkit is a blessing in may ways. Every decision we make in life, whether i be a new job, getting married, having children, seems to both open and close doors. Life is about change, choose to try this new change and to grow and to love. I know I shouldn’t tell anyone how to live their life, but fo all those people on the fence I will say motherhood is the greatest measure of creation, not only physical, but in creating love, memories, a future world where your child continues your legacy of love, hope, intellect, service, artisticness and so much more. The struggle and sacrafices are part of what helps to improve us through motherhood; we learn from it. Embrace it.

  69. i don’t think i ever had a strong URGE, but all of a sudden it just felt right to start trying to have a baby. so we did and i couldn’t be happier. i did not continue working (i’m a social worker), but i’m convinced that i could make it work if that’s something i decide to go back to. and i think you’d be able to as well. also, with me being a social worker and my husband in the military, we obviously don’t have lucrative careers either, but somehow it works out. as ambiguous as that is. it’s kind of like once you feel it’s right, then things will be right. and they’ll be all right too. now i’m due any day with our second and we can’t wait! but i wish you luck and happiness in whatever your decision is!

  70. Katie Bennett says...

    This is such an important topic. I don’t think there’s another decision we make in our lives that is as intractable; as permanent. Other major life decisions-
    careers, partners, etc.- not one of them is as life-altering as having a child. The magnitude of that change makes it hard to have an intellectual discussion. Impossible to make a list of pros and cons that even begins to get at the scope of the decision. At 34 I’m ranting at the injustice of reproductive biology. I don’t want to choose until I’m 50 at least! Just now I’m fully myself. I love my job and my husband and have a list of adventures and travels to take and long-shots to apply for. How unfair that human evolution hasn’t kept pace with social changes. Why don’t my ovaries know that 50 is really the new 35, or maybe even 30?
    Thanks for this post!

  71. Anonymous says...

    At last a post I can totally relate too. We are almost living parallel lives, only I am 38 and so the anxiety level is getting higher as to whether to make the jump or not.

    The pressure from all around is huge especially when the majority of couples I know have kids. I just got home from a play date with some friends and their kids, our conversation completely revolved around their children.

    Which when you don’t have them its hard to relate and also mentally exausting as your life is no longer of interest. I always leave a little depressed but also understand that they need to vent and connect with each other as mothers. I just feel like the spare wheel and that feeling will just get worse the older I get and all my friends become parents.

    Will I become like this if I choose to become a parent, is it inevitable? Also do parents just hang out with parents…or force themselves to have these friendships because their children are friends.

    Many friends have told me to just go for it, you will figure it out but refreshingly a few people here have said you really need to want a child before deciding to get pregnant or else you will be very miserable…maybe thats the answer….if I find the ‘want’ never happens then maybe thats the sign I shouldnt have them.

  72. How very honest. I stated for years that I did not want kids…and I meant it. Then I got married, and then at the age of 26 I held an infant for the first time, and I felt it, I felt The Urge. Shortly after I was pregnant with my first child.

    Not only did I feel The Urge again two years after having my daughter, I became obsessed with having baby #2. The Urge was even stronger the second time around.

    My son is only 8 weeks old, but I have already been thinking “do I want #3?” My husband says we’re done having children, but I can’t say that because I know when I feel The Urge, I will do everything in my power to change my husband’s mind.

    So I do believe in The Urge, and I know that it’s so strong it takes over all aspects of life.
    Both my husband and I work full time outside the house and to attain balance in one area, we have to give up balance in another…it truly is a balancing act

  73. This was a great post. I feel almost exactly the same as you do. I feel that sometimes women who don’t have children are looked down upon, like there is something wrong with them. I hate that! My husband and I are perfectly happy in our twosome. Who knows though, I’m in my 20’s and things could change, or they might not. It is a frustrating place to be in though. I sometimes wish I could decide either way.

  74. Anonymous says...

    I was so career-focused for so long, and then I started to make a shift. I moved closer to home. I made an adjustment in my career. I bought a house. I felt like, if I opened up the space for the possibility of having kids, I would want to fill it. And I do. Being surrounded by more friends with kids, and a sibling who has a kid has also influenced my feelings. Now the hardest part is even though you feel like it’s just a simple decision to make – the reality of making it happen isn’t always that simple. Just because you decide you want kids, doesn’t mean your body will be able to have them.

  75. Thank you Corrie for sharing! You are not alone. You share the same sentiments as me and all my 30- something girlfriends!

    I was always on the fence about having a baby, until, in a way, it was decided for me. I conceived our baby on birth control, so imagine the shock! I was 35 at the time, newly married and just started by architecture studio. I felt like I was just on the cusp of everything and having a baby would topple that trajectory. I had all the same conflicts and worries you expressed, I was depressed, scared, full of question marks, fears, and hopes throughout my pregnancy.

    I don’t agree that if you are 50/50 then it means you don’t want or aren’t ready for a baby. We were completely unprepared in every way and don’t regret it at all.

    Yes, it is tough raising a child, but you can’t imagine the extreme joys of having a child without going though the toughness. It’s hard to explain. It is a struggle, there are frustrations, things will seem impossible or insurmountable, but you somehow find a way to make it work and those things don’t seem as hard anymore.

    I can’t imagine our life without our baby now and I can’t imagine what our life was before baby, it seems like she has always been with us.

    I wish you the best in your decision.

  76. I am right there. That 50/50 place, not sure of either desire. On the one hand, I love being around my friends’ kids and my nephews. And when I am I have all these thoughts of “Oh, it’d be so cool to have one of my own.” “I’d love to teach them _____” “I can’t wait to see my husband be a dad.” On and on and on… And then at the exact same time I have the feelings this author expressed: “It costs a lot, in money, time, energy, SLEEP, etc” “Its a huge committment and I’m not positive so I can’t jump in.” And it keeps going…
    Honestly, its a really frustrating place to be. I’ve only been married just under two years but I loathe the constant ‘baby question.’ The little jabs people take about how its ‘time already.’ It makes me super angry. But then also makes me wonder if I’m missing it somehow?

    Long story short, I’m 50/50 and that is reason enough to not move forward with becoming a parent.

    Thank you for this post. I felt like an anomaly also. Now at least I know someone feels the same way.

  77. Anonymous says...

    I have to disagree with the posters who say you have to really want a baby before taking the plunge. The truth is, you can’t really know what parenthood is like until you experience it. I have never been a kid person and to this day there are very few children I enjoy spending time with apart from my own. I didn’t have a burning desire to have kids and if anything was leaning towards not having them. We waited until I was in my mid-30s to start (in retrospect, I was very lucky not to have fertility problems). I think we ultimately decided to have a child because we could see that the experience made everyone else around us so happy (that, and a similarly-reluctant friend who had kids before me swore I would love my child). What I didn’t anticipate was the enduring love you feel for your own child and the joy that raising your child brings – it’s something you can’t possibly imagine until you’ve been there. Yes, it’s also a ton of work and involves sacrifices (especially in the area of a woman’s career) but it’s so rewarding it’s more than worth it – you can’t separate the two. I’ve never for a second regretted it. I’m in my early 40s with two kids and I work full-time. My two kids are my greatest achievement.

  78. I was just blogging about this topic the other day. Although I’m not married, I think about the idea of having children often. I never thought I would want kids, and honestly it’s a day-to-day teeter totter. Monday I want kids, Tuesday I can’t stand the thought of it.
    I keep telling myself the same thing the same thing Corrie has been struggling with….oh as I get older something will change…..not so sure anymore.

    http://20sandgrowing.blogspot.com/

  79. J says...

    50/50, either way… If you are ‘indifferent’ then don’t have a baby.

    Try to take the social norms and pressures out of the calculation along with the idea that we are entitled to have children. Not everyone wants children, and sadly, not everyone is able to have them.

    There is no perfect time to have children, it will never be easy to raise them either. Every person you add to your life requires adjustment on your behalf. The 24 hours are not yours to spend as you like anymore. There is no secret formula to wonder-parents doing it all; give up sleep, money, family time, personal time…

    If you do want children, then go baby making crazy. If you are too late; adopt. There are so many orphans out in the world in need of love.

    What I am trying to say is that it is up to you, not everyone else.

  80. Jill says...

    I never had a strong calling to have children and I always felt that it would be ok if I didn’t. I love my husband and I would be happy if it were the two of us. Then I got pregnant and it was unplanned and I cannot even believe it happened. I am 33 and due in July and now I cannot imagine my life any different. I am freaking out about all of the things that kept me from wanting kids in the first place but I feel at peace with the unknown. So weird from a planny patty like me. I also realize though that if this hadn’t happened to me, I would have never done it intentionally. Because that’s just how I am. This one time I am actually glad life intervened with my plans.

  81. Anonymous says...

    I found this post to be very interesting. Since I can remember…i believe around age 9, I wanted to be a mother. I still feel the same way. At 28 I am lost and struggle when it comes to career choices. I don’t have a career but only work retail. I have every longing to become a mother and raise my own children and no drive or ambition when it comes to having a career.
    -E.M.

  82. Amanda says...

    I didn’t make a decision since we got pregnant by accident, which turned out to be great for us since we probably never could have decided to have kids/not to have kids. That being said, now we’re on the fence about having a second one. Not sure we’ll ever be able to make up our minds about that either. I feel that one kid is about what I can handle if I want to continue to pursue my career. That being said, I live in one of the best countries in the world for raising children (Sweden). I imagine the financial and career stress is much higher in America.

    Good luck with your decisionmaking, I know how hard it can be!

  83. Anonymous says...

    I feel the exact same way – just completely 50/50.

    I don’t think a ticking biological clock should be part of the decision process. it doesnt seem right to have a child now just in case when the ‘want’ finally comes you can’t.

    there’s is always adoption.

  84. Anonymous says...

    Just adding to the many fabulous comments here for this wonderful post. I was secretly relieved when I decided on the decision not to have kids. I love children, married late and was went through a roller coaster ride each time I found out I wasn’t pregnant. Everyone around me just said they were praying for me. And then I hit 40 and people stopped asking and I was actually relieved. I didn’t tell anyone about my feeling, seems wrong but yeah it felt like a burden lifted. I am very happy with my life and at some point in my twilight years, I know I will think about missing out on motherhood but then again, I know that I will also think about what I missed out on. I also do think about the kinds of experience I missed out if I had gone to medical school or lived in another country or married someone else. I guess we only have this life to live and we can ony choose what feels right to us. Whatever your decision, make your journey in life an interesting one! Best wishes.

  85. Anonymous says...

    I was ambivalent for a long time about motherhood, too. My husband was more into the idea of becoming a parent than I was. As we got older, the more I thought about never having a child, the sadder it made me. I’d think, Oh, I’ll never have a child, and get really sad. Then I thought, there’s no reason to feel this way! When my nephew was born, my husband’s paternal instincts really kicked into high gear. We had lots of long talks about parenthood and he convinced me I’d be a great mom. Eventually we decided to just go for it. We have a son now and he is truly the light of my life. I love him so much, more than anything.

  86. Laura says...

    What a great, great post! We know that we want a child, but only one. Surprisingly, that draws a lot of ire as well, mainly from friends who grew up as only children and talk about how they always wanted siblings. And if I’m being honest with myself, I’ve met many only children who have a hard time sharing and seeing other people’s points of view. There is no “right” answer…

  87. Anonymous says...

    I have wanted to have a baby my whole life, and now that my husband and I are trying for one, I find myself thinking about all of the “cons” you listed- money, loss of freedom, etc. I quit my job recently for an unrelated reason, and we have decided just to leave it that way. Its such a huge weird difference in my/our lives, and I have to tell myself that I know this is what I want. Its really hard to picture myself going from a social, high heels wearing, wine drinking kind of gal to a sweat pants and diaper bag woman, but I try not to think about that, and tell myself I am in CONTROL of my life and how I will be as a mother, and it will not be sad and depressing! Thanks for posting! There is definately a lot of pressure for women on this- I have only been married 2 months and still get asked all the time when the babies are coming!

  88. Anonymous says...

    Thanks for this article. It often feels like a neglected topic! I’m the same: personally ambivalent and therefore saying ‘no’ so far (my partner would like kids). However, I am desperately hoping that I *don’t* have any sudden maternal urges.
    I am 30 and have spent my 20s raising a lovely step-son (1 when I took on this role, 6 now, equal time with both parents). I worry that having my own children would disrupt the lovely family we have already created, and am terrified I’d love my own children more than my step-son, and ruin my relationship with him. And my partner…
    Eugh. This stuff is haarrrrdddd…

    On the topic, it would be GREAT to see some ‘Motherhood Monday’ posts that address step-mum hood. We’re out there but totally invisible!

  89. Fantastic post. Everything you said is true regarding the hardships of having a baby… but there’s also great things about having a baby: endless love, added strength to overcome difficulties of life (a child makes you corageous)… but you have to be more certain to decide about family. I was really unsure also about having children but when i got 31, i decided that my urge was greater than my fears… and then i had 9 months to prepare myself psicologically to this new stage of my life… And after a baby, life has gotten harder, tiring but oh, so sweeter and loving… that’s one of the things you have to experience… words cannot describe the feeling. Don’t overthink too much, everything happens for a reason… not everybody has to be a mother… i believe that at some point you’ll figure it out! I live in europe which suposedly is more kid friendly and it is hard but i wouldn’t change a thing! Kisses

  90. I was so tangled and ambigious abiut having childre. I came across Randi Buckleys Maybe Baby course ans it changed my life. I am now confident on my non traditional mothrhood journey and am so grateful to Randi for curating and creating such a safe space former explorations. Without prejudice or pressure but with information and love. Check it out here://www.randibuckley.com/maybe-baby/
    Love and peace-ful hearts, Grace xxxx

  91. Anonymous says...

    My partner and I were exactly in the same boat, indecisive for many years (8 to be exact). I did love children but I never had an ‘urge’ to have my own. When I reached 38 and still feeling indecisive we decided to let fate decide for us and lo and behold I feel pregnant straight away.

    My son is now 20 months. My partner and I are so in love with him, it’s been an incredible journey so far and yes it can be exhausting but it is definitely rewarding.

    My partner and I are now full advocates of pro-have a child! We always discuss if we came across a couple that was in the same position we were in we would encourage them to take that leap.

    I am a full time Mum and my partner is a high income earner so I cannot say how things would be different if you choose to have a child. I would think it would be harder.

    It is such a hard decision to make, from my own experience I could always make up all the reasons why not to have a baby. I really just had to roll with it and it has been something I have never regretted.

    I have a cat that I thought I loved like a child, until I really did have my own child who I love a BILLION MILLION GAZILLION times more than my cat !!

    All the best, I hope reading through all these comments help with your decision. I remember I used to ask google all the time. Crazy I know!

  92. Anonymous says...

    My friend and mentor is putting on a course that focuses on exactly this topic. It’s called Maybe Baby? and is amazing. Anyone who is unsure about motherhood should check it out! http://www.randibuckley.com/maybe-baby/

  93. Anonymous says...

    At 28 I had no urge but I guess I always thought I would…but only because it was a social norm. At 29 something changed, we were on holidays, things were quiet in our life and we decided to try. I fell right away. So for me, the decision was just made. I really did not give it a lot of thought and it just happened and it was wonderful. I feel that if you have to question something it is not time. If I felt strongly against having a child there is nothing that would have made me take the risk. I spent a good 13 years avoiding pregnancy so being relaxed and on holiday is not what influenced my decision. What I am trying to say is this….if you don’t want a child or don’t want one now…you know. If you are unsure you will embrace that little bundle when it arrives, I can almost guarantee it…you just can’t comprehend that feeling yet, which makes taking that big step towards seem complicated.

    What we as women must do though, is support each other in the choices we make….having a child or not having a child is a purely personal choice. That choice is what we as women need to embrace and is what our mothers and grandmothers struggled so hard for us to have.

  94. Anonymous says...

    I was doubtfull also, what decided it for me was that I couldn’t wait to see what a mixture of my big love and me would be like. I now have a little girl of three months old and she’s so so so lovely. I think the world will be a better place with her on it, as simple as that! Thanks for your honest post and good luck with anything you decide!
    Maartje, rotterdam, holland

  95. If only every Mother or parent thought so honestly about Parenthood. I have witnessed some people parent with great finesse and total admiration…..and those are the same people I marveled at single and carefree. I think it is important to think of the child and what sort of person you want to be to that person.
    They are not babies for long….nor children for long.
    We live in a fast paced world.
    I love that my kids have slowed me down at times and then kept me motivated to move.
    Great post.
    pve

  96. Megan says...

    I asked everyone I knew “why did you decide to have kids?” No one could give me a definitive answer as to why..so it took me a while to realize that if no one could tell me why….there was no real reason to why not either. The only people i knew who didnt couldnt due to infertility issues. Using financial reasons as a reason or to is a decision made with your head not your heart, and I know now that my son is 1, that my decisions pertaining to him are so much more linked to my heart than my head (not sure if that’s a good thing or not…;) I guess that’s something else to consider – you won’t know until you decide to try whether you can – it took us 2 years and being told we had a 2%chance of conceiving naturally to finally fall pregnant…Rambling now – but finally – when I look at the relationship I have with my parents now and how much more meaningful it is, I can’t help but project forward 20 years and hope my husband and i have a similar bond with our son. I honestly believe that when you’re young you just don’t get how few and far between people who really are about you are, and if you get the parenting job right, how great it will be to have grand kids in your life to remind you that life really does come full circle…

  97. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Next month I’m turning 30 and the thought of having babies has been on my mind a lot lately. All of my friends and family seem to be doing it and I sometimes wonder if that’s why we think we should have babies… because everyone else is! To be honest I don’t really want children but I don’t know why. Sometimes I think about it but the issue of money, career, time and energy are big factors. I get really confused about what I want as well and it’s such a hard decision. I certainly don’t think it’s a natural want like we are led to believe. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one that feels this way! Thanks so much for a wonderful and very well-written post. You’ve given me food for thought for sure.

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

  98. Angela says...

    I’m 33 and pregnant with my first baby. I didnt have the “urge” but had never ruled out having kids. My husband did have the “urge” for 7 long years while I held out for marriage. I decided it was right for me because I think having a child will on the whole enhance my life and we have a lot to offer. Having read the info in your link by Sharon Lerner, I can understand your worries. In the UK we are very lucky to have maternity leave benefits and the possibility of reducing hours in our current jobs.
    I say ask yourself whether your life will be enhanced by loving and knowing the love of a little one.
    Good luck with whatever you decide x

  99. BH says...

    My husband and I were ambivalent for years about having a baby. We were 50/50 as well. We liked the idea about having adult children, but didn’t necessarily want a baby around the house 24/7. It took some close friends getting pregnant before we finally decided to just go for it. We realised that we would never have enough time or enough money and that there would never be an ideal time in my career (I’m a classical singer) to to this, so there was no sense in waiting for everything to come together.
    We had a baby and kept living life as we wanted it. When Charlotte was three months old, we picked up and moved to London (a dream of ours). I kept singing and I often travel a lot to do so. Not everyone approves of our decisions, but we are loving life! Yes, having a baby can be stressful, but having a child together brought my husband and me closer than we had ever been before (we’ve been together for over ten years). We’ve never smiled more or laughed harder.

  100. Anonymous says...

    Wow, that’s a lot of comments, I have lots of friends who would ask me my opinion on kids( I have 4) I said my standard thing ” you will never regret having one, but you may regret not having one” two off those friends whoe swore they would never have kids got pregnant by accident and are now glad they did.

  101. Anonymous says...

    (cont3) Also, women or men shouldn’t work just to get payed and well payed. Sociology studies on work show that although we do need to pay for food, school, morgage, rent,etc. The importance of working is not only about how much you will get payed, but it is also about integration and interaction in the society and social life (with other adults). I am not saying that people who decide to be full time parents are wrong 5 I actually do admire them, and I am not sure I could be one of them without becoming sour – but that’s me!!!). What I am saying is that you shouldn’t decide whether you keep a job or not only based in your income (and day care- even if it is a rough decision). You have to make the choice if you like your work, if it is important to you to do something else than parenting or being a housewife. Many jobs don’t pay enough but are very important to people -either because they are following their dreams, either because they help them have a balance with the rest of their lives, either because dealing with coworkers helps them get perspective, or because touching even a small pay gives them a sense of independancy.And all that is very important. So don’t underestimate it, even if your huband earns 3 times more than you do…
    And by the way, maybe we won’t be a 100% sure of many important life decisions that we will make…and that’s ok. Sometimes we are sure that “he is the one” only to discover 25 years later that not really and that’s also ok. Or we choose this move in a career and we might even be brilliant at it, just to realize that we would rather be doing something else and that’s also ok. But in a life time engagement like this one, having a baby or not, you have to choose to do the best out of it. There will be moments where you will question your choice – and that’s also ok. It only means that you are a rational being that evaluate your life and life choices.
    But if you do have a child, you engage in a way that even if you discover that you would have rather not had her/him, you should engage to do your best for her/him to have a good life and not blame this child for your choice or the things you might not live because you have her/him. And you will find ways to bea mom and try to live other choices as well.
    But what most people say is that, before we can only think about fear and what we will give them, and how this will change our life and etc. But we cannot imagine what will this child will positively give to us in our lives, how they will wuestion our beliefs and being and how they will change who we are and how we feel about things, and ourselves. being the adults,we have to educate children, but the truth is, they educate us as well…

  102. Anonymous says...

    (cont)
    I think that one of the questions we have to ask ourselves is why have children. Many people, even great parents, have children without asking themselves why. But do we do it because there is an urge, because we think that’s how life goes, that’s what couples should do, do we do it to give a sense to our mariage or life, because we want to have some continuity. Because I tend to think that all these answers are somehow wronged towards the children. They are not here to fulfill our expectations, mariage or life. They may even do that in some cases, but they shouldn’t be invited to this world for that purpose. For me it’s more like: would you like to invite a baby to live this human experience and try to give this new person the best tools you can for her/him to experience this life? Would you like to invite this new person to live her/his own life and become the person she/he chooses to? Would you like to be part of this?
    Talking to a friend who had twins she told me that before we have kids we are very scared about dozens of things: work life, children’s dependency, couple life, etc. But we can adapt quite well to most situations (and we can change things if it’s nort working for us). Most part of the time we can’t control most things that happens to our lives, so it is quite a humbling experience. But we can control how to deal with things and try to make the best of it, whatever is going on. We are wired to be able to handle all these things and even handle them well – not to become a super woman but just to be ourselves trying to do our best and be ok with our imperfections. (cont2)

  103. wow. this was an amazing post & essay. i feel so much better that i am not the only one who feels this way. its like wanting a baby should just happen to women and it hasnt happened to me. i feel like theres so much more i want to do in life (im only 26), like travel the world, live in different countries (ive started that- i live in israel currently, moved from texas) and experience new cultures and this is not something done so easily after a child is brought into the world. so it freaks me out! here in israel, especially, the pressure is ON to have a baby by 25, after that you are considered an old hag. i dont let that particular pressure get to me, but i seriously still feel on-the-fence about having a child. my husband wants 1, or 3, and i am pretty sure i want children, but i dont know when you are supposed to know. curious topic. thanks for posting and letting us discuss!

    Miyan

  104. Anonymous says...

    Hi, I am an european posting from France and I may tell you that this is a huge question here too. I think for several generations motherhood was some sort of social obligation. Then, thanks to feminists accomplishements, although there is still lots of social pressure, we were able to try to make “professional” careers without “having to become a mom”. (Being a mom is kind of a lifetime career too). And we might be the first generation (we around 35) who can really make a choice more freely. But that also means that we feel like we should be a super “everything” if we decide to have a children. That’s just crazy.
    First, we need for the fathers to share more time in housekeeping and childcare.It’s amazing the world’s statistics on this how women still do much more than men.And if we want that to change, we have to be the change, and our husband’s have to make this a priority too even for their bosses! That’s the only way to get us to be more capable of having our own life and being a good parent, wife,etc.
    Second, waiting for the perfect financial situation in times of recession and the possibility of a new economic crisis will only postpone this decision again and again. I am not saying: have babies even if you can’t afford them. But I am saying that if we wait to have a child only when we will have enough to buy the cutest clothes, the best toys and pay their Harvard tuition… My parents had 3 children and they’ve said that if they had waited to have a better life to have us, thatwould have been around their 50’s… and of course we wouldn’t be here. (cont)

  105. Anonymous says...

    I knew that I want child, but I’ve never been ready. Even when my husband and I agreed to work on baby, I was not ready. Even when I discovered I was pregnant, I was not ready. I even thought, maybe I’ll miscarriage (horrible but true). Then I gave birth to a tiny daughter. Our world was turned upside down irretrievably. I am not of those mothers who say that motherhood is a super cool, first year was difficult because I stayed home with daughter. Seven months ago I started working again and my life returned to normal with little changes. Unconditional love, cuddling, funny words and sound children’s logic in which we can enjoy I’d never change. We’ll have more children, just to our child have someone close in this world. Totally worth it!

  106. Anonymous says...

    This is why I took Maybe Baby! I thought I wanted one, but when I was around babies, I would freeze and feel completely uncomfortable. I couldn’t quite explain it.
    The Maybe Baby course (read: Randi Buckley!) gave me exactly what I needed to sort it all out [with a professional].

  107. Anonymous says...

    I am also in age which is said to be appropriate to have babies. But I also happen to fall on same middle road -> I am not sure. Same as Corrie Me and my husband do not chose a lucrative career (astrophysicists) and our parents stay in different continent. I truly relate to her concerns. I think its better to leave it on time.

  108. Oh, wow. This post is *exactly* the reason why my friend Randi created a coaching program called Maybe Baby — the mere question of whether or not to have a child is so huge, and can cause so much stress! (For anyone who’s reading and in a similar spot: http://www.randibuckley.com/maybe-baby/)

  109. Anonymous says...

    Your thoughts are very similar to mine. Me and my husband were happy with our life and really did’t miss any kids. But when I had passed 36 I realized it was probably now or never. Getting pregnant was not total happiness, i just felt.. weird. But, and this is important, the last few months of pregnancy I kind of grew in to it and the whole thing just felt very natural and I even felt a growing happiness. My daughter is now a healthy 8 year old and I love being her mother. I even got her a little sister a couple of years later! I see some of the comments here saying that you MUST be sure and convinced before getting pregnant. But i think that for some of us that isn’t possible. We have to grow in to it. Of course your life will change but you won’t regret it – go for it!!! Sara

  110. Dear Corrie,

    There is a time and a place for everything. You can never have it all at the same time because if you did it would be too perfect ;)Whether it´s time, money, perfect weight, boyfriend, house, husband, kids, career…something will always be missing from the equation, because if you had it all you would be bored out of your mind and wouldn´t strive for anything new! It´s so hard to find the time to do all we want to do because even if we don´t feel them, our biological clocks do tick and you don´t want to wake up one day and regret not having taken the opportunity. If you are 50/50 it means that you aren´t totally averse to the idea so my advice is to do what I did, put away the birth control, let nature take it´s course and take things as they come. I did this, not knowing if I was prepared. I got pregnant and then miscarried, but at least now I know I´m ready. Sometimes if you put your brain aside, your heart makes some pretty incredible decisions for you. Best of Luck!

  111. I had the storong urge when i hit 30 and the result is a baby boy.I live in Bangladesh, its a different world than for many of us. Raising baby its not very difficult as your parents are there for you. But as a working mom its a tough job.

  112. I, just like Corrie, am 50/50 about having children or not. I share some of the earlier decisions that she took, and funny enought I think that one day, just like I felt in love with my husband, I will know if I will want to have children or not.
    Someone once told me that the question to ask is not “do I want children?” but “Would I be of if I don’t have them”.

  113. annie says...

    On balance, perhaps not for you. Imagine how you’d feel if you found out tomorrow that you were pregnant. If that horrifies you, then you know the answer. You could trust to fate and take a chance. My big advice: turn off your head.

  114. Anonymous says...

    I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that motherhood IS a job and career. A mother raises a human being to hopefully be a productive and contributing member to society. At least, motherhood is the responsibility to do such (and might I add, the OPPORTUNITY to be a part of). To see a child experience life, and to be the person whom the child needs, looks to, and respects most, seems more rewarding than any career. That’s not to say that careers (no matter the chosen vocation) are not rewarding. But to foster an individual, perpetuate greatness, and inspire another human being–all the while enjoying yourself and having a new best friend, mind you–seems absolutely amazing. My mother had seven children and her enormous capacity to love I believe is a direct result of being a mother.

    Someone once told me that if I waited to have enough money to have a child, then I’d never have kids. And it’s true! It seems like, like most things in life, you take it one step at a time, being wise and prudent along the way.
    Good luck to Corrie and her decision making process! Heaven knows weighty decisions are accompanied by weighty and lengthy processes.

  115. This post is amazing! I completely understand but, I lean more towards no children then children. It’s like a 70/30.

    My parents and in-laws have asked my hus and I if we want to have kids. Every time, our answer is very fast and no. Their reply is-“Well, you are young. You don’t have that need or want yet.”

    But, we have these brief moments of, “if I got pregnant then….”. This moment occurs mostly when I see my baby niece.

    We are young and we are on the fence. But, whenever I see someone with a baby, kid, or teenager I can’t help but think, “Never. I don’t want that.”

  116. I absolutely 100% do not want babies. And by that I actually mean babies. I’m infertile, and I don’t want to have a baby coming out of me ever either way, but I would not mind having a child eventually. Meaning 5 and up at least. I just can’t tolerate anyone younger than that for longer than a couple hours. For me, personally, it’s never been a choice, it’s just how I have always felt. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be stuck in the middle, being certain of uncertainty.

    Although it isn’t the same as having your own child or raising a baby, have you ever considered being a foster parent? In some ways it requires even more work than having your own baby, but it can be just as rewarding. Perhaps what you would enjoy most isn’t one or the other, but a third or fourth or fifth option.

  117. Anonymous says...

    i couLd have written this – totally understanD! A counsellor once said to me when i told her i couldn’t make up my mind about having children, that I would know if I didn’t want to have kids. As you have put it, i think it is more about the WHEN.

    I am 35, and mother to a 16 day old newboRn. I have a great career and struggle with having put that on hold. But I knew that I didn’t not want to have kids. And I have found the role models that you talk about, who have done it, not without hardship and guilt, but have done it. It was only when i saw how they were doing it, and loving it, but also sometimes hating it, could i make my decision to have kids. I also vowed to myself that i would become a role model to the younger women that i work with, and am lucky that i work for an employer who values diversity and is looking for flexible work practicse to ensure women stay in the workforce. More than that, retain an identity and true to myself, whilst bringing up this little boy.

    I was also prepared to be childless if that was my path, and vowed if that were the case, i would forge ahead and have a great life regardless.

    Best of luck and hope you find your way!

  118. This post was great to read; it’s interesting to hear different sides of this issue, even if I don’t understand it!

    I feel the exact opposite of this, I think. I am 21 and I have been experiencing extreme and total child lust since I was newly 18. Before that, I had collected baby names for years. Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me, because none of my other friends seem to feel this way, though they want children later in life. It is just me who is one hundred percent positive that being a mother is something I need and want to do. I feel like I’m pretty realistic about it, as I have been a nanny and I understand that raising kids is not a walk in the park, but…I still want it more than ever. Luckily I’m not inclined to get pregnant RIGHT NOW just because…I will wait until we are ready emotionally and financially, but I know I’ll be having kids within 5-8 years and honestly, I couldn’t be more excited. I just wonder why I’m the only one of my friends feeling this…

  119. I am 37 and have a 2 year old….
    I am struggling with whether to have a second.

    as for feeling the urge… it just came with age. i wasn’t 100% sure, but i was sad when i thought of not having a child. i wish i could tell you what to do.

    P.S. anyone that would like to have some more discussions about whether or not to have a second child… please email me at Jacquelinedl@earthlink.net

    Smiles, J

  120. Corrie, darlin’, you took the words right outta my mouth. I’m right there with ya.

  121. I feel the exact way, haha. I’m only 23, though, so I feel like it is still too early in my life to worry about it. If I didn’t have other factors and peoples’ feelings to consider, I’d certainly just wait it out… but. ah.

    I feel a little obligated to think about it. I’M ambivalent, and I feel no strong desire to be a mother (and although brief, the entire ~pregnant~ thing kinda grosses me out. a lot.) or to not be a mother, but I think I’ve made it a bit of an issue for myself. Like you said, it becomes a bit of an obsession if you let it. No strong desire means I look at women who are child-free– and admire their ability to just say No. I look at my pregnant sister, my boyfriend’s 5 year old daughter, and admit that I wouldn’t hate having kids.

    It’s difficult, though. I grew up the eldest of 5 kids: I can’t romanticize pregnancy as anything other than something a bit icky and weird. I know children to be difficult and all-consuming, but still wonderful and worth every hard moment. But, as I mentioned, my boyfriend does have a daughter already– and has expressed an interest in more children. While this is hardly a deal-breaker, I’d like to just be able give a definitive answer. If it’s a “No I’d rather not & cherish what we have” or “No I’d rather adopt” or whatever, I think Boyfriend would deserve to know my intentions. But alas! I just.. uh.. don’t. seem. to have strong feelings in either direction. Thus, I obsess, and my heart skips a beat to read posts like this that encompass my feelings on the matter.

  122. Anonymous says...

    That’s exactly how I feel about having kids. I am 40 now, and I am still undecided. Even after one failed attempt – it felt good while it lasted, but when it didn’t happen, I was back to square one. Have to make that decision all over again, and again I am on the fence. It’s nice that someone writes about it honestly. It’s definitely not a popular opinion.

  123. Anonymous says...

    I am so glad someone wrote this post! I am 29 getting married summer 2012..and the baby issue has come up…I am too 70 against/30for..
    my fiance.is about 8 years older than I am and really wants to have them, he wants to be the dad he never had! I know he would be a good dad. I am just so blah on the subject…I love my friends kids to pieces.. Some peoples kids I just dont ever want to see…I mean never!
    I just dont know if I want them myself. My friend who was 30 had her first child..she never wanted kids, mainly due to the fact of the shitty, lazy parents we worked with. Now her daughter is her whole world.
    My sisters who are 27 and 26 also feel the same way of not wanting kids..my parents (great parents) is like what did we do to make you be like that….My mother is besides her self and says I am just selfish! I also have friends who do not have kids because they feel as though just because you can reproduce doesn’t mean you should…and that most educated people do not want kids and they are the ones who should actually have children but are to smart to know it is not what they should do. working at a children’s hospital I see such parents and think you should never had a child. It is not that I am scared to have them but I am currently working on my masters and just not sure. I have never had that OMG a baby feeling …ever in my life..to me its another baby, they all look the same, no I don’t want to hold some random baby..I am very choosy about kids I get involved with… As one poster put” maybe I am afraid to say I don’t want kids” due to what people may think of me, I have known people well into their late 30’s and 40’s who had a child mainly due to parent pressure, and felt that it was what they should do. The child truly suffers because their parents are tired, and really have that i love you but leave me alone attitude. I do not want to be that person at all..I am glad there are other people out there who are not sure about this baby issue too. Keep posting people!

  124. Anonymous says...

    If you get down this far in the comments…the way I hit a tipping point was sitting with myself at 75. Would I regret not having tried to have a family with my husband?

    Another good meditation is sitting with how you would feel if you decided to take the leap and didn’t get pregnant in a year of trying. How would you feel at the end of that year, facing another?

    On a gut level, if you aren’t ‘no’ than perhaps you are leaving the door open a crack, eh? How much would you say fear is the thing stopping you?

    Although it sounds airy-fairy, the book ‘Spirit Babies’ is a good one for polarizing vague feelings on babies.

    On the plus side, freelance writing is a great fit for being a present mother!

    Wishing you the freedom to choose and a healthy, happy future.

  125. Anzie Rose says...

    I never had the decision to have kids – to me, it just happened. I was on the pill religiously, had not felt sick or any other symptoms that might have put the pill out of action for the day. Yet I still got pregnant.

    I was 18, had just started my first year at university, and was rather shocked and despaired at the idea of it all changing. The man I was with I had been with for 3 years and was supportive, but only had part time work. So we prepared for our baby with a very low income, and government student support.

    All items were second hand, except for the cot, which was a gift from my mama. And that was all the monetary support we were given. My son was breastfed to 7 months, and would have been longer if my body had allowed. All baby food was homemade and was largely a mashed bit of what we were having.

    My point here is – Money, while it affords you luxuries such as brand new everything and top of the range private schools, is not a neccesity.
    We live on $1400 a fornight, for everything, including rent of $620/f which was the cheapest around, electrics/gas/water which here are around $600 every 2 months if they are low, and an education fund for my son which is $20 a week and will provide us with more than enough for fees when it comes. Yet we have no debt and still enough savings to be (fingers crossed) getting a house mortgage midyear this year.

    Our baby boy is now 15 months, I am 19. So when planning for a baby, you NEED very littly money, though you may LIKE more. The main thing you need is determination, time, and patience. And this is where the age kicks in- looking back, though i would have preferred to have finished my degree first, i do not regret having him young. Physically you bounce back faster, have more energy, and recover from late nights and early mornings much better than the older mums.

    But the challenges that face mums are by and large the same whatever age, and you will find that whether you have a huge baby urge or none at all, once the baby arrives your body will kick in and love that little thing like nothing else.

  126. Anonymous says...

    I felt the same way, until due to special circumstances, my husband and I learned we couldn’t have any children. Then I realized how silly we had been waiting for the perfect time to have a baby and thinking we had all the time in the world to decide. All of a sudden all those things I didn’t want to sacrifice for a baby — career, social life, extra money, travel — seemed insignificant and without meaning if I couldn’t have a future life with children to share my experiences and hard earned wisdom and knowledge with. After 3 years of infertility treatments and a heartbreaking miscarriage that I thought I might not recover from, we finally had our daughter. She has enriched and opened up our lives in a way that we could not have imagined. Every day is a challenge as I juggle work, marrriage, personal time, and parenting, and I no longer have the personal freedom I once had, but the satisfaction and pure joy I get from my daughter’s growth and happiness is what life is truly about.

  127. Well I never craved to be a mother. I actually thought I would be terrible at it. My husband wanted a baby – and that was my decider. Then I had a baby, my daughter. Pieces of me were filled in – colored in by her.

    So while I understand all your fears – 100%. I do know that something shifts when you become a mom. Something that wasn’t there can grow and it is amazing.

    I do know it is tough – and life changing. But i have to disagree that you have to be 100% that being a mom is the best idea in the world. I wasn’t a 100%. I was;t even 50/50 that I would be a great mom. I was pretty sure that my child would be lucky to have other people in her life than me.

    I am a great mom. I grew into one and it wasn’t painful… not a lot a least as painful as I thought.

    I think that if I never had children… our #2 is on its way, that I would have been okay. Just fine. But a different me than I am now. Becoming a mom has made me glad to have taken the leap. I would have missed out on some amazing things.

  128. Nina says...

    How fascinating to see all the different responses. This article has opened up a great dialog!

    I’m not on the fence at all. My husband and I have no desire for children. We’ve been together for 11 years, and married for 5, so it’s been an interesting journey.

    When I was young, around 15-16, I never imagined myself having kids. I couldn’t fathom the idea. If I told the response I got was along the lines of “You’re too young to know that for sure. You’ll change your mind when you’re older” Then I turned 20, and I still felt the same, yet the response was the same. At 26 I got married, and the FLOOD of questions of “when are you going to have a baby?” came in… But my feelings hadn’t changed, and my now husband wasn’t interested either.

    I’m 30 now, and I still have no desire to become a parent. I absolutely LOVE my life as it is. I love my job, I love my husband. I love that we’re the most important person in each others lives. I don’t feel like any of it needs changing.

    I actually get a little bitter when I think of all the people along the way that insisted that I didn’t know what I wanted, and I was going to change my mind. How can they be so bold to assume they know me better than me?

    Now I feel like people are rather put off by our not wanting children. I also am finding it a somewhat lonely place to be as all my friends are having kids, and that changes how a friendship functions. I have less and less in common with those my age, but still. Certainly not enough to push me any closer towards parenthood.

    To this day, my father still asks me when we’re going to have a baby… EVERY time we see him.

    le sigh

  129. Wow. I really don’t even know where to start. I feel like for most of my adult life i have felt ashamed that I never felt like I was meant to have children. I always joked about it and brushed people off when they asked me about kids. Things got really awkward after I got married 3 years ago. The questions from family and friends got more and more persistent and I started to feel extremely overwhelmed and even guilty, like I was letting my family down. Finally, I decided to “come out” to my mom. I told her the truth – that I could never see myself pregnant or giving birth. After I actually started talking to people about this I realized there were other women like me that felt like they were not meant to have children. There were also the people (not family members surprisingly but acquaintances) that made me feel down right awful about myself, saying that we were being selfish and that it’s our DUTY to bring children in to the world. Once I was able to talk more freely about how I felt I was able to look a little deeper and realize that it’s not that I never want to be a mother, it’s that I just never want to have MY OWN children. My husband and I always joked about adoption (we had the children convo before we got married and thankfully he was cool with how I felt) and recently we decided to start doing the research on what our options are for adoption. I still have all the same questions as Corrie, the financial responsibility, the time and the fact that a child is an enormous amount of responsibility but the fear and shame has passed. Thank you for writing with so much honesty, it means so much to me hearing that other women dont know what that ticking clock feels like.

    <3 Kate
    http://www.theforgetfulwife.com

  130. A-M says...

    Such an important topic! I’m 29 myself, have been with my now-husband for 12 years, and am trying to figure out the “when” question more than the “if”.

    As a teen I already dreamt about having a large family: 3-4 children. But, it took me a while to sort out what I wanted to do career-wise and the closer to society’s baby-making age I got, the more I was sure that I (and we) needed time to live our own lives first, have our travels, experiences, and truly enjoy our child-free lives consciously. My bestie had her first baby last summer, and I feel like watching her has prepared me for the reality — which is yes, difficult and exhausting, but also so amazing. I feel like I’ll be ready in about a year, while my husband may take a little more convincing as he’s very concerned about bringing kids into the current state of the world.

    I think being the youngest always and never being around babies or kids has very much made me want them, since I was little! I do know that my mom hugely regrets dropping her career to raise us in hindsight, though she was a fantastic fulltime mom, so I’ve made sure to find work I love that I can do part-time while a mother (I’m a designer). I think it’s especially important to hold on to the things you love so you don’t just live for your kids.

    Best of luck, Corrie. I hope you find joy in your choice.

  131. Anonymous says...

    Thanks for discussing this topic! I’m 32 and after being married almost two years I’m answering more questions about when we’re planning to have children. Since we’re also not sure I feel it’s not an easy answer.

    I’ve never felt the urge and have honestly never been that interested in children. I have a tough time imagining getting home from work and having the energy and interest in helping with homework or playing with toys. at the same time there is part of me that would love to see my husband as a father and what it would be like to have a new little person in our lives. It’s the day-to-day parenting routine that sounds draining and maybe even a little boring. Until I feel strongly that I have the interest and skills to be a good mom, I just am not ready and I’m learning to be ok with that ambivalence.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, this has been an issue on my mind lately and this is the first time I’ve seen it voiced.

  132. I’m 38, almost 39 live in NYC and about to have my first baby.
    I was you. Sometimes I am still you ;)
    The urge never came, it was a cerebral decision. But one I do not regret one bit. I became pregnant on my first try which was a shocker. But once I accepted I was on this new journey, it has been an amazing experience. And yes I worry about money, career and my marriage. But just as the cliches say I already have been given an incredible gift. I read Rebecca Walker’s Baby Love a few years ago and liked it, but it did not help my ambivalence. Now being pregnant I get it.
    I think one can be very happy with or without children. In fact I felt a bit like a traitor when I became a “breeder” because living childless should be respected and celebrated too. And it has advantages.
    Just know that if you take the plunge having waited, might have made it sweeter. I do not think I would have enjoyed it the same way at 28 as I do at 38.

  133. Amy P says...

    I live in a moderately expensive city and my husband has an average paying job while I stay at home with the baby. We plan to have four kids total. We make ends meet by renting out the downstairs as a suite, getting child tax benefits, and me having more time on my hands to make food from scratch and do more things myself (home improvements, clothes mending, etc). We also don’t get out much, thanks in part to the baby and in part to us being cheap by nature. And as a writer, there is potential for you to work from home part-time, right?

    I guess I know more people who regret not having kids than those that regret having them, so maybe that’s something. There’s sacrifice both ways. I hope your end decision makes you happy and satisfied with your life!

  134. puff says...

    Some women want children from the start, with some the biological clock sets everything in motion and for some it never does.

    I’ve allways been “meh” about kids.
    I spent the first part of my 20’s traveling, the second half I spent on my career and in the middle I met the love of my life. I could have had kids then, but we didn’t want to.

    But around 30 I got this feeling that my life wasn’t complete, and that I wanted children. Which mostly annoyed me because my boyfriend still wasn’t ready for it and we were still traveling and working all over the world.
    At 33 the urge to have a baby just got too strong, and I HAD to have kids- I literally didn’t feel I had a choice about it- and we both gave in and we now have the most amazing son.
    The time wasn’t “right”- it was actually terrible timing, but we jumped and we swam.

    To sum it up, my heart wanted kids but my brain didn’t… and my heart won.
    And I am still “meh” about kids in general. But I love my own like nothing else in the world.

    And yes, it is turning your life upside down… and there are a million new compromises needed to get everything to work… I wish we lived closer to my parents, and in a cheaper city but I have a man who is happy to stay home with our kid while I work, so we take equal time at home and keeping our careers a-float.

    And it works. We can still do almost everything we used to do… just not so much of it. I don’t feel I have given up anything that I haven’t gained in another way.

    The time is never right- or allways right- depending on how you look at it.

  135. Good to know that other people experience the same uncertainties as I do. I’m 28 (very nearly 29), single, and halfway through grad school, so I am not ready for babies in the near future. I feel like the clock is ticking, and I can’t imagine being ready for babies within 8 years.

    I struggled with the kid-no-kid question until I thought, “When you think of your life in 15 years, what does it look like?” and there is most definitely kids there. I just hope I start feeling ready sometime soon…(and, you know, deal with the small issue of finding a baby daddy)…

    A fabulous read! Thanks, Jo and Corrie!

  136. You should do whatever you think is right for you, and I’ll support your choice…That said, my three daughters are the best part of my life. No amount of money, or experience, would be worth more to me than they are. I feel so sorry for my friends who have not been able to have children. My girls are my friends, my support system, and my happiness. I have always worked and still been a good, involved mom, who, although I have a great husband (still in love, in a great relationship) whose a great father, I was the primary caregiver because I wanted to be. I spread my babies out (not on purpose), having one at 24, one at 38, and one at 42. I can’t imagine a really happy life without them. Now that my mom is in her eighties, I wonder what she would do without me, and what I would do without my girls as I get older. I hope you do whatever will make YOU happy!

  137. It is really tough because no one & nothing can prep you for it! $ plays a huge role-my husband & I both work full-time outside the home as well as inside & now we are changing our work schedule to save on after school club costs & to spend more time with our boys before they hit the magic age where parents are no longer cool.

    If you remotely think that you might want to, do it. No regrets-the amount of joy that you will receive is priceless.

  138. Anonymous says...

    Thanks so much for this post, Corrie and Joanna. Very well-written and illustrates an interesting topic that is almost taboo in America today. Everywhere I look, there are children, pregnant women, babies, strollers….and I have absolutely no desire to be a part of that lifestyle. When I was a child, I was described as a “little adult,” and have never enjoyed cartoons, children’s films, or the idea of playdates. I don’t want to go to a restaurant and have my child scream or make a mess of crumbs everywhere. I don’t want to have my home overrun with toys. I don’t enjoy hearing children screaming, see them throwing tantrums in public or having to compromise what my friends or husband and I want to do because we need to go somewhere “kid friendly.” I don’t want to lose my identity in diapers and feeding schedules and bodily functions (not that this is the case for everyone, though I have seen it happen). I choose not to have children because it’s not the life I would like to have. I think if it’s something you do want, go for it. Love it, enjoy it, relish it. That’s what I do without children. I sometimes feel discriminated against because of my choice, and my dislike for all things child-related. I wish more women would speak up about the struggle of choosing not to have children and the looks or comments others sometimes give – pity, horror, confusion and disdain. I choose this, just as others choose a family, and it’s my choice (and my husband’s) to make. And about those who say they do it because they have so much to give…I give back too. I give much of myself every day to help others, and I love it. I just don’t love kids.

  139. Well, I actually think you should just do it.. have a baby!

    I think that you are not going to look back in 10 years and regret having a child. but there is a huge chance you will look back and regret it if you don’t.

    As for role models.. look at Jo! Gorgeous baby, runs a successful blog, finds the time to write and seems to have a great relationship with her husband. I know so many women like this.

    If I’m honest, my point of view is influenced by my own struggles.. I have had one beautiful healthy baby, 2 miscarriages and a stillborn baby. I am now pregnant for the 5th time and after having my cervix stitched closed I am now on full time bed for 6 months.. that’s 24 hours a day in bed.. because we want to have another baby that badly.

  140. Laura says...

    Thank you so much for your honesty in this post. I’d just like to comment that as I read it, I could very much relate, yet I am not 50/50 about having kids at all- I actually feel like a giant swinging pendulum that could be “absolutely, 100%!” one day and “absolutely not! 100%!” any other day. (My recent career transition into the birth field of work has only made the pendulum swing further in each direction!) Yet my thoughts are much the same as yours. I really appreciate the topic and the responses from all of the other commenters- Thank you, Joanna!

  141. i fell pregnant by accident. it was a total surprise and we didnt feel ready but then a few months in we became completely accustomed and very excited about it all.
    About 8 of our friends then followed suit and we all miraculously had kids within a year.
    But if we had been the only ones not to have fallen pregnant i would have found the whole idea very daunting. Making the decision to actually have them would have been really intimidating, so i’m so glad it happened against our will.
    Someone once said to me if your not sure whether to have kids, if you’re undecided, then you should definately have them. Any small amount of interest should be fulfilled, because once they arrive there is nothing else in the world like it. The best love you can fall into! And you don’t want to never know that.

  142. Kristina says...

    I am the mother of a toddler (which, as a previous poster mentioned, is a lot like living with an insane, drunk roommate) and there are days, even now two years later, that I am still wistful for my “old” life – my freedom, my comparative lack of worry, etc. But after spending all of these days with my daughter, watching her grow and change into this littler person, I think often of one of my favorite Storypeople stories, Laughter & Noise, by artist Brian Andreas – “There are lives I can imagine without children but none of them have the same laughter & noise.” And that, for me, is quite simply, it.

  143. Anonymous says...

    Guys, for those who is 50/50 you won’t regret!!!! Kids grow up, your life will be back to normal! Don’t worry about mony it really is not that expensive to provide for a child! Honestly!
    Don’t doubt it! You will get joy satisfaction and incredible amount of love rising up a kid!

    I’d rather regret what i have done, than a thing i haven’t!

    Besides, how many people have u met saying: “oh i regret giving a birth to my child”
    Sounds funny doesn’t it! Because there are no regrets about kids!
    Think how many lovely moments yoi will experience with your partner rising a baby! First step, forst tooth, first birthday! First night no diper on! :)) feeds himself, plays on own, does’t want your help! And the list is endless !! So many sweet memories!

    1)Do have children, motherhood will come naturally, it’s in our genes!
    2) Do not eat coockies, ice-cream, cakes, and crap for 9 months of pregnancy and you will be fine!

    Tada! That’s all i can say! :)

  144. Thank you, Corrie for such an honest piece. So much of what you wrote resonates with me. Many of my good friends have either already had their first child or are pregnant with their first, but I still don’t feel particularly ready to have a child. It’s odd because I had always assumed that I would have a family, but now that I’m at the age where it’s something more “real” (for lack of a better word), I’ve realized that it’s not a simple decision. I have to admit that for me the actual “wanting” is starting to happen slightly more frequently, but I still feel like I’m facing a huge unknown. So thank you again for sharing such personal thoughts, it’s refreshing to know that others share some of my fears/reservations/concerns.

  145. Anonymous says...

    Megan said: “You may regret not having children. You definitely won’t regret having a child.”

    Wow, seriously, are you kidding me? That is a very dangerous piece of advice to give someone. The people I know who have consciously chosen not to have kids haven’t regretted it. MANY mothers regret it. Yes, they love the kid because it’s there, and once they have a child they “rise to the occasion” because it’s the responsible thing to do. That does NOT mean they never regret having the child in the first place.

  146. I never experienced the urge to have a baby but I worried that we would regret it someday. My husband and I were aways 50/50 about having a baby and just decided to go for it. My daughter is five and we have been discussing baby #2 on a weekly basis for years. I have never met another 50/50 couple so I’m glad to hear that there are others out there!

  147. I’ve a beautiful 6 week baby boy snoring softly next to me. We decided to make a baby, we’re both 35 and we thought it was the thing to do, that life could possibly get pretty monotonous without breeding. But we certainly didn’t ‘know’ we really wanted kids. How can you until you have them? It’s all just slightly surreal, unknown, hopeful, frightening until you take the plunge isn’t it? I never had the overwhelming urge. But I’m so glad we jumped, eyes wide shut into baby-dom…it’s a pretty cool thing.

  148. Anonymous says...

    Yeah it’s very sharp topic! Great post!

    I have to say everyone is different, you don’t have to be like everyone else!
    I didn’t have the urge to have kids, yet i knew i always wanted one, in the future! When we got reckless i got pregnant, and it was like, ok we gonna have a baby! Cool!

    See motherhood again is two faced coin! On one side your life doesn’t get any different, you can still be a working mother, have hobbies, meet friends, go out, and travel!
    On the other, your life is so much more complicated, fuller and different then before!

    I was over the moon from love intencity that i experienced after having my son. He is 3 now! Every minute spent woth him seemed a blessing! I can not describe how happy a women can be, to hold and cherish and care for a baby!

    You know, a part if Corry’s issues seem to be related to some selfishness. She knows what is involved and does’t want “ME & MY” go. Obviously the person has a happy life, successful career and comfortable life! It’s understandable!

    It is a challenge to have a baby, and i think it’s the fear of facing it is holding her back!
    Don’t u think?!

    PS: there is no doubt it’s easier to go to work, then provide and look after a child all day!

    Talking about myself my child turned my world upside down! I am a mum, and a student and i have a part time job! And i am not afraid to get pregnant again!!!! :D high five to motherhood!

  149. I can’t disagree more with the commenter who said a woman REALLY needs to want children before she gets pregnant. I was as ambivalent as the author when I got pregnant! I ended up loving my son and motherhood, but I think I’ve maintained more of myself than many other parents do (especially, it,seems, mothers).

    I think it’s biologically rare for a woman to genuinely regret having a baby, whereas it’s relatively common for a woman to give herself over to her kids at the expense of her career, marriage, friendships, etc. I think whichever way you go, ambivilance can only serve to keep you grounded.