This post will address things you must consider: “Should I have kids?”
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“You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.” – Grandma, Parenthood (1989).
That is one of my favorite quotes from the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin. After finding out his wife is pregnant again, he needed some perspective from his mother, who painted out parenthood perfectly. A great watch btw; you will find a young Keanu Reeves and Joaquin Phoenix!
Parenthood is choosing the roller coaster of life; numerous ups, steep downs, sharp turns, it scares the fuck out of you while also giving you the most exhilarating time of your life.
Becoming a parent 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, it’s mainly a lot of eating sh*t for those first early years!
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 baby garners 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 dictates everyone’s energy, and unfortunately, the first year or even two is mainly an energy-sucking event.
Related Reading: 9 Best Predictors and Reasons for Divorce
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 had 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 has 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; I can’t say what 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.
Related Reading: 15 Biggest Reasons I Had an Only Child By Choice
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.
Even if you luck 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. It’s normal, so give each other grace and don’t freak out just yet.
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
Mhmm, yup, I said it.
Now notice how I said feel, not will or do. I know this doesn’t happen with everyone.
So please don’t shoot me if you don’t have these feelings. 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.
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.
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 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. There is very little time when the baby depends on you to stay alive and thrive in that first year.
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.
6. Your Temperament Matters
Okay, as a massive introvert, one thing I stupidly didn’t consider before becoming a parent was how much more socializing I would inevitably need to do.
If you’ve read my 15 Biggest Reasons I Had an Only Child By Choice, you’ll know the fact that I am a heavy introvert is a huge reason why I know I don’t want more kids.
Not only do kids take a lot out of you on their own, but they also require a lot of socialization.
Some days I would rather smash Dunkin Donuts with my Iced Caramel Crazed latte and watch the Back To The Future Trilogy. But Miss Annabelle has a birthday party to go to, along with 15 other kiddos and their parents.
Weekends don’t exist for parents.
It’s not our time to recharge but to get active and out with your kids and serve them a great weekend.
This is great if you are an extrovert; you might love getting together with other parents and kids because the energy fuels you. If you recharge with activity and socialization, you will do super well as a mother, and it will feel pretty natural.
However, for someone like me, who, long before I had Annabelle or got married, treasured my alone time and needed solitude to recharge, having just one kid puts me over my socialization threshold way more than I would ever have realized when I was childless.
That being said, I am not gonna lie; when I read Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman (awesome book, totally recommended btw), I learned that French mothers drop off their kids at a birthday party and aren’t expected to actually stay at said kids’ birthday party because it’s generally understood in France that the parents would rather be doing something else and get a break, I was shook!
I petition we garner this French kiddie birthday party etiquette here in the States!
Alas, I live in the US and would be perceived as some uninvolved mother for not participating in another child’s 2nd birthday instead of being a tired mom who needs alone time to recharge.
So, if you’re an introvert, seriously consider your temperament before pulling the trigger on babies. Consider your degree of introverted-ness and flexibility. If you decide to have kids, you have A LOT of socializing in your future!
7. You’ll Become A Better Person
“But darling, if you have a baby, you won’t be the baby anymore.” – Edith Mintz, Overboard (1987)
Stay with me; I’m not saying you won’t live to be one of the best badasses ever to grace this planet if you don’t have kids.
I’m also not saying that becoming a parent automatically turns you into Socrates; if that were the case, there wouldn’t be so many immature, childish parents. I know those parents are out there.
Shoot, one of my biggest idols ever, Queen Elizabeth the First, chose to never marry or have kids. Marriage and motherhood weren’t her calling, lifting humans out of the Dark Ages and bringing about a golden age that forever changed the trajectory of humanity for the better.
However, I am saying that being a parent changes you in the most extraordinary way possible. It pushes you like no job, sport, project, or anything you’ve ever encountered.
And if you take the process in stride, you will shock yourself at how much you’ve grown up and how proud you’ll be. You successfully took on the hardest job that many people opt out of.
Because, frankly, until you have a child, you are a child. You are someone else’s child, whether you have a relationship with your parents or not; you only have the perspective of being someone’s child, not someone’s parent.
When you’ve never been a parent before, you can tend to be more aloof in energy because you’ve never really been pressed in how parenthood presses you to your limits and way beyond or consider someone else in your daily activities.
As someone who has been childless and is now a mother, I can say I was way more aloof and naive before having a child.
Unless you are or have been the personal caregiver of someone 24/7, they are your sole responsibility, and you did it for free, endlessly; no job compares… unless you’re a monarch like Queen Elizabeth the First lol.
My husband, who was once a CEO for a company in Toronto and dealt with bloodsucking lawyers and double-digit days, long flights, and little sleep, confirms it doesn’t come remotely close to the demands of parenthood because he only needed to consider himself at the end of the day.
For instance, a child-free individual can make a last-minute change to their day to see the Barbie movie with friends. Nothing happens last minute as a parent, nothing good, at least lol.
That date to see the Barbie movie was scheduled with a babysitter a month in advance for the parent!
We don’t see a movie if the babysitter flakes(which happens more often than not), gets sick, or needs to study for their final!
Having that freedom stripped away with motherhood has made me realize parenting is all about giving more than you get, forever and most of the time without a thank you.
And because of the sheer gravity at stake in raising a healthy and loved human, taking it seriously and caring will undoubtedly make you the best person you will ever be.
The growth you experience will be amazing, and you’ll look back at your life before and think how nothing mattered until you became a parent.
You can still be extraordinarily impactful and important without having kids; being a parent will just accelerate it!
Should I Have Kids?
“Done properly, parenting is a heroic act. Done properly! … I am fortunate that it has never afflicted me.” – Edna Mode, The Incredibles 2 (2018)
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!
I truly cannot envision a life without my daughter, nor do I want to. She has given my life more purpose and passion than I imagined. I realized just how bored and unfulfilled my life was before becoming a mother.
You can only indulge in yourself so much before you become numb to it.
However, I don’t want any more kids. I’m happy with Annabelle; you can read more about my decision to be one and done in 13 Biggest Reasons I Had an Only Child By Choice.
Now that my daughter is officially a toddler, all the bullshit you go through with them is worth it. No experience will truly humble you, better you, and grow you more than being a parent.