This post will address five things you must consider if you ask yourself, ” Should I have kids?”
Here you are!
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. 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?
Preparing yourself mentally and physically before welcoming a new family member into your life is essential.
This post will cover the important factors for people asking, “Should I have kids?”
Should I Have Kids?
The decision on whether or not to have kids is a big and personal one that shouldn’t be dictated by anyone else but yourself.
This post will hopefully help you see the nitty gritty that happens behind the faux lens of perfect social media families. Having a child is the most extraordinary and loving experience I’ve ever had, but it is NOT easy.
In fact, for those first early years, it’s mainly a lot of eating sh*t!
1. Marital Satisfaction Plummets After Baby
According to research presented at the APA (American Psychological Association), 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.
From 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.
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, it 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 pretty much dictates everyone’s energy, and unfortunately, the first year or even two is mainly an energy-sucking event.
2. 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.
My husband and I fought more than we ever have in our relationship in that 4th trimester.
It’s borderline traumatizing.
It’s crazy witnessing how quickly everything can turn into chaos and spiral if you aren’t careful.
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; which I can’t say what kind of that experience is.
However, I hear even the easiest babies are only human and will succumb to the general baby b*tchiness at some point.
3. 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?
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.
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 you have 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.
4. 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 made a huge mistake.
I realized 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.
5. You Can Feel Like You Signed Up For Voluntary Slavery
Ever watch 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.
No matter how exhausted you are, and how desperately you want to throw in the towel, you can’t.
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 first-time moms, just like in the show Severance, we don’t know precisely what we signed up for until we experience it.
Yes, we know the labor involved in child rearing, but nothing can fully prepare you for postpartum.
When the baby depends on you to stay alive and thrive in that first year, there is very little time.
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.
Should I Have Kids?
I hope I didn’t depress you too much.
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 returned 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.
The love you obtain for your child is unlike any other love on this planet anyone will ever experience; nothing even comes close!
That is totally worth it.
This post covered important points for people asking: “Should I have kids?”
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