Ever ask yourself: “Should I have kids?” Or “Is having kids worth it?” Or even “To have or not to have kids…hmm.”
You’re happily in a relationship; whether you’re going steady, engaged, or married, you want to grow your family.
Having a baby is unlike any experience you will ever have, and there is no telling what postpartum experience you will have.
It’s incomparable to anything else, and unless you have kids, you will never truly experience it fully.
There are crucial points to consider before bringing a baby into the mix.
Marinating in this decision-making process is essential to prepare yourself before jumping into parenthood.
I don’t say these things to dissuade or scare you from having kids.
I say this because I believe in preparation to the fullest and knowing what to expect to prevent you from feeling like you have fallen into another realm.
Are you ready to become a mom or dad? Are you wondering why have kids?
Preparing yourself mentally and physically before welcoming a new family member into your life is essential.
If you and your partner have asked yourselves, “Should we have a baby?” or ” Should I have kids?”, here are the 5 biggest factors to consider before trying to conceive.
Should I Have Kids?
Marriage After Baby Declines Dramatically The First 3 Years
When asking yourself: “Should I have kids“, one of the biggest factors to consider is that marital satisfaction plummets after the arrival of a new baby.
According to research presented at the APA (American Psychological Association), a whopping 67% of couples see their marital satisfaction plummet after having a baby.
Discouraging, I know.
But what do you expect?
Babies are complex, demanding, and, quite frankly, depressing.
Unfortunately, reality kicks in once the initial exhilaration of birth and a new family member wears off.
The nurse’s help is gone, and it’s just you, your partner, and the baby trying your best to survive each day.
Many factors and studies explain why the arrival of a firstborn is so hard on relationships that we could do a whole blog post on it.
After the arrival of a new baby, some of the problems in marriages that arise are trying to survive the balancing act of a new chaotic and stressful lifestyle to a plummet in intimacy, no matter how strong and healthy your marriage is before the baby, it will temporarily take a hit, which is normal.
However, if you check out /Deadbedrooms subreddit on Reddit, you will see how prominent unions become sexless marriage after baby.
Not to mention maternal depression is extremely prominent in modern mothers.
Depression in mothers isn’t generally diagnosed during pregnancy, with nearly 50% going undiagnosed, then rolling over into postpartum.
Getting back to pre-baby happiness will take time and work, but it’s not the end of the world.
It’s not all bad, though.
Marital satisfaction studies show that mothers reporting low marital satisfaction rose gradually from 12% to 30%, then an abrupt ascent after the first year between the pre-kid period and the period of having school-age children.
This isn’t surprising given the difficulties of babies in that first year.
Given that your baby is in all-consuming demand those first 12 months, bringing your marital health to an all-time low, it gradually rises again once they garner more independence.
Still, raising marital problems is something to be aware of before jumping into Babyland.
Think of your baby as the house barometer; if the baby is cranky, the whole house is cranky.
Their energy dictates everyone’s energy, and unfortunately, the first year or even two is mainly an energy-sucking event.
So remember this next time you are wondering should I have kids?
15 Best Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage After Baby
Baby May Initially Bring Home Negative Energy
Ahhh babies. They are so cute, right?
That’s what so many people would say about my daughter when out and about.
All I could think to myself was:
“ Oh yeah, take care of her by yourself for just ONE day and see how cute you think she is at the end of it.”
Babies are generally irritated, angry, fussy, annoyed, impatient, demanding, and uncomfortable most of the time that first year.
Between digestive issues, teething, growing pains, mental leaps, sleeping problems, and the urge to want to do more but not enough skill, it leads to a giant ball of negative energy looming in your home and following you everywhere you go.
That and the inability to effectively communicate their needs lead to SO. MUCH. CRYING.
This can cause feelings of anxiety, resentment, exhaustion, and irritation in yourself.
Think of your baby as the house barometer.
If the baby is cranky, the whole house is cranky.
My husband and I fought more than we ever have in our relationship in that 4th trimester.
To be honest, it’s borderline traumatizing.
It’s crazy witnessing how quickly everything can turn into chaos and spiral if you aren’t careful.
Their energy dictates everyone’s energy, and unfortunately, the first year is mainly an energy-sucking event.
Babies are just generally grumpy balls of energy suckers.
You can do everything right, the baby sleeps well, is fed well, is growing well, is healthy, and have all the books and toys, and your baby will still be upset about something.
The first two years truly are just constantly managing their fussy temperament.
There is always a chance you are blessed with a unicorn baby; none of this will be what you experience.
However, I hear even the easiest babies are only human and will succumb to the general baby b*tchiness at some point.
The Fourth Trimester May Feel Like The Hardest Time of Your Life
You know about the 1st trimester, 2nd trimester, and 3rd trimester, but what about the 4th trimester?
The fourth trimester describes a baby’s first 12 weeks on Earth, give or take a couple of weeks.
More or less the newborn phase.
Even if you luck out with an “easy” potato baby, the fourth trimester is SO HARD.
There’s this new person you don’t know in your home that DEMANDS you, all of you.
The only way they can demand is through crying and fussing.
Everything they exert is a negative response.
It is incredible how much a baby’s cries can wear you down.
Nothing brings you to your knees more than an infant.
The sheer volume of a baby’s cries and yelling is crazy and can leave your ears ringing.
Absorbing that negative energy can wear you down over time.
They don’t care if you throw everything at them or have nothing to give.
They never stop demanding.
Your hormones drop substantially, you’re healing from delivery, whether from C-Section or Vaginal, sleep-deprived, full of anxiety, and you feel like the rug has been swept out from under you.
The arrival of a new baby torpedoes the ship that is your union.
No matter how strong and healthy your relationship is, your union will take a hit, at least temporarily.
You are both out of your element, trying to get your footing.
If your relationship was on a solid foundation before the baby came, you should be able to mend the blow on the ship and sail off into the sunset.
It is possible, but my goodness, it is hard!
Although it did slightly get better with time, if I’m keeping it real, they could use the fourth trimester as torture to get terrorists to give up classified information about their government.
You Might Feel Like You Regret Having A Baby
Now notice how I said feel, not will or do.
I know this doesn’t happen with everyone.
However, I know going from 0 to 1 kid will sometimes make you feel like you made a HUGE mistake.
“Why did we do this? Or why does ANYONE do this? Why? We were so happy!”
I would envy you if you never had these thoughts and feelings!
Going from being responsible and managing yourself, your partner, and maybe a few pets to keeping a full-blown baby alive is a demand I never knew possible.
In those early days, we had more bad ones than good (we were still figuring it out with a 1- year-old), but this made me feel like such a failure!
I couldn’t believe I couldn’t get a hold of myself or my baby.
If I prepared, studied, tried hard, and wanted it enough, I would generally succeed at whatever I did.
Baby rearing, though, I couldn’t believe it.
I felt nothing I was doing was working.
It didn’t matter how much I tried or wanted it.
I felt like I was failing over and over and over again.
You start feeling like you aren’t cut out for this and have made a huge mistake.
Whenever I envisioned having kids, I never envisioned them as babies.
They were always at least 4-5 years old.
I never fantasized about the baby or toddler stages.
I was and never have been a baby person, and my Postpartum experience confirmed that.
How could I not know I would suck so bad at this?
I felt like an idiot for thinking I could take on a baby.
I had so many days where I had thoughts of:
“Why did we have a baby? I can’t do this. I feel like I can’t keep up.”
The only thing that has helped these thoughts become fewer and far between is the love that grows for them, and our stamina grows THANK GOODNESS.
It makes all the bullsh*t more manageable.
They say it gets easier.
Honestly, though, I don’t think it does.
I think the ability to tolerate eating sh*t gets more manageable.
Also, the love that grows for them makes it manageable, but it never does get easier.
The eat sh*t muscle you flex over time gets stronger and stronger.
Things you could barely tolerate early on are super benign as time passes.
Then the challenges of a new stage start to sound like nails on a chalkboard, and the whole cycle starts again!
My Birth Story⎢ A True Blogger Birth Story
You Can Feel Like You Signed Up For Voluntary Slavery
Ever watched the show Severance on Apple+?
The concept revolves around employees of a corporation who sever their memories between work and home.
So when they are at work, they forget their outside life.
When they are outside of work, they forget their work life.
They live a never-ending, instantaneous life for both lives.
One life is spent forever at work and the other vice versa.
No matter what, you can’t resign.
That’s what this first year can feel like.
Groundhog day, never-ending, constant WORK.
You can’t, no matter how exhausted and desperately you want to throw in the towel.
You can’t quit.
The demands never stop; it’s 24/7, constant managing another human being.
You have to do it, even when you don’t want to.
Being so, at times, has made me compare it to voluntary slavery.
Yes, I signed up for it, but to be fair, as a first time mom, just like in the show Severance, we don’t know precisely what we signed up for until we experience it.
Karen: “Do you really have to go?”
Gil: ” My whole life is ‘have to’.”
– Parenthood (1989)
Yes, we know the labor involved in child rearing, but nothing can fully prepare you for postpartum.
There is very little time when the baby depends on you to stay alive and thrive in that first year.
If you have been thinking: I want to have a baby, consider they consume all of you.
When all you want to do desperately is anything else but manage your cranky and crying baby, you can’t.
Do you want to know what’s crazy, though?
Every night when I look at the baby monitor, I can’t believe I love her so much, and bizarrely so, I look forward to doing it all over again tomorrow.
The love is indescribable and the most complex feeling I have ever experienced.
Parenthood is filled with complicated feelings and emotions, that’s for sure!
What To Expect Before You’re Expecting
I hope I didn’t depress you too much.
However, these are extremely important factors to consider if you’re looking to get pregnant.
It’s important to share what generally isn’t talked about.
There is a whole iceberg of sh*t submerged under the water that many of us don’t see.
The tip of the iceberg is what we generally see, which is usually the fun, easy stuff.
It’s what’s below the surface that social media doesn’t share, which is generally the meat and potatoes of life as a parent.
Why would anyone want to share that when we only want to share how happy we are?!
Those first two years are a whirlwind for every parent.
New and seasoned!
It is normal to feel like you have landed in the twilight zone.
For real, though, the days get better, the baby gets more independent, and we finally reach calmer waters.
You went through a hurricane and back to get there, but you did.
Just remember, nothing lasts forever.
The baby stage, as grueling and miserable as it can be for some, is just one stage of this little human you will raise into their person, who will have their hopes, dreams, fears, and loves.
That is worth it.
Kids are hard, and having kids means choosing a more difficult lifestyle and a marriage but an incredibly fulfilling one.
You have to be extremely intentional about your wellness, happiness, and the overall health of your whole family.
Ultimately whether or not you should you have children is up to you and your spouse after serious deliberation.
Marriage After Baby
It’s extremely important to prioritize the wellness of your marriage before having a baby.
We all go through our pregnancy honeymoon stage where we are pregnant; our partners look at us like goddesses for carrying their child, and all feel bliss.
A newborn baby, especially as a first time mom, can rip the rug out from under you and your partner.
Ensuring you and your partner prepare for postpartum just as much, if not more, than your birth plan is essential to a smoother parenthood transition during the 4th trimester.
As a new mom, the biggest thing you must demand from your spouse and family is time to yourself to recharge and get the much-deserved break you need!
Your marriage isn’t doomed to implode after the baby arrives, especially if you know the not-so-great realities of postpartum and have better and more realistic expectations for your fourth-trimester experience.
Plan and prepare; you will do fine as a new mother!
This post was helping those questioning themselves “should I have kids?” and went over 5 important factors you should consider before doing so.