So you want a baby…. maybe.

Everyone told me I’d change my mind about having children when I turned 30. As though 30 is some magical age where you wake up one morning with maternal instinct and a desperate need for a baby. I have always been very on-the-fence about having children – “I’m not saying no, but if I had to decide right now… then no.” On the one hand, I like my body, money, and free time. On the other hand, I come from a big, happy family and don’t want that to be a thing of the past. Still, thirty came and went, and I felt no different – a hard “maybe.” But then 32 rolled around. It was a slow trickle as opposed to waking up a new person. One day my friends’ snaps of their babies weren’t annoying, they were actually kind of cute. A few weeks later I thought, if I had a baby, where would she sleep? Upstairs seems far, so maybe in our bedroom? Then another month passed and it was the holiday season. I live far from family so having just my husband and myself around felt a little lonely for the first time. If we had a baby, we would be taking sweet pictures of her under the tree right now. 

I waited and waited for these thoughts to dissipate, for me to return to my natural childfree-by-choice state of mind, but they never did. I decided it would be best to clue my husband in on these feelings since he had always been more “no way” than “maybe”, but he always said if it was something I ever needed to do, he would probably be on board. Well… not exactly. He didn’t freak out the way I thought he would, but he definitely wasn’t on board. He gave a million reasons NOT to have a baby, some of the main reasons including:

  • He doesn’t feel like he “has it in him” to be a dad
  • He feels like he would be giving up any chance of becoming successful because he would no longer have time to work on his projects
  • He doesn’t want to pass on his OCD and anxiety to a child
  • He doubt he has the energy to be a good dad
  • He feels that it’s unfair to bring a child into the world today with the population rising so fast and economies already suffering

I listened and nodded, and then he asked my reasons for wanting a baby. They included:

  • I want family
  • My husband would make a great dad and I think I would make a great mom
  • I want this experience with my husband
  • When I think to the future, so many more holidays and special events just the two of us feels empty
  • I have a strong feeling I will regret it if we don’t
  • I am starting to feel that need everyone told me I might feel someday

After listing my “why” I went ahead and listed my “why nots” which included:

  • Exhaustion
  • Any problems in our marriage will be magnified
  • Expensive
  • Messy
  • Needy babies sound annoying
  • No free time
  • Really hard!
  • I have to actually BE pregnant

And then of course my pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Financially secure
  • We have a strong marriage
  • Our jobs are conducive to raising a child
  • We are both working actively on ourselves and our relationship – minimizing baggage we would potential throw on this tiny person
  • We have great paid leave options and amazing insurance

Cons:

  • We just went through a bit of a rough patch in our marriage
  • My husband doesn’t seem to want kids at all
  • A child would negatively affect my career
  • My husband still has some issues to work through

 

So. What’s the right answer? Do I actually want a baby? If I do, am I supposed to just leave my husband and hope to find a new partner to have a baby with within my reproductive window? Is he supposed to just go along with a baby he doesn’t want so I don’t leave him? Can I live happily, without resenting my husband, if we don’t have a baby?

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