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    • I'll be quite honest that I never felt that urge to produce an offspring of my own or had my ovaries ache at the sight of a baby. Heck! I even found kid actors annoying when I was a kid myself. So because of this impartial feeling towards them, you can imagine that it was a big decision that I am in fact now a mother of an 18 month son. To get to this point where I have turned my life upside down and voluntarily chose chaos was not a quick decision by any means. Back in the day well meaning relatives would try to sway my opinion when I would say that kids might not be in the picture for me. They would say things like "Your life won't feel complete without them" or "You have no idea of the joy that they bring". Well, obviously. I didn't have them. But that didn't help me decide if this is the right direction. I even recall a conversation with my niece who was 11 at the time that I might not have a baby and she couldn't fathom why anyone would not want one or two or three. Is that our culture? Are women expected that we have to have it all? And not just have the family and the career but you better be successful at it all too. Because if you aren't and your work suffers because you have to take off for the umpteenth time for a sick kid or you gave formula to you kid vs breastfeeding till x age then watch out for the mommy shamers and the endless bouts of guilt that you are letting down your coworkers because you aren't in the office again. Oh, the mind games you play with yourself and the feeling of inadequacies. Again, those type of thoughts weren't helpful in making this life changing decision.

      My journey to becoming a mom really started years back when I looked for stories from other moms to hear how their lives changed. I didn't want to know about the practical applications of growing or raising a baby but rather who would I be when I had one or how would I juggle this new identity with my old life. Maybe that is selfish because it wasn't all about the baby but hey, when you are the one who is going to physically and emotionally go through this transformational process, you better believe that this is a hugely important element that one should think about. In what I came across in great books like Torn or articles online, I was able to get perspective that it really is to each their own. A journey of self discovery that isn't easy but doable and worth it. If anything, it taught me to work on letting go of pre-existing expectations because there is a good solid chance that nothing will turn out the way I planned. In the end, the decision came down to us asking ourselves what legacy would we be leaving behind with our last breath and would we have regrets if we never tried. So we did. And we ended up with a mix of the best and worst of us all rolled up in one skinny little miracle with curly hair, hazel eyes, a stubborn streak and who is wildly curious. He's perfectly imperfect, complicated and I love that he is ours.

      I'm glad that we ultimately chose to become parents. I'm even more glad that we waited till our 30s as I can't imagine doing this in my 20s. In the end, this kind of decision should be one that no one can make for you except for you. Especially if you are the woman. But if you are curious to know how the other side does it or came to this decision, I highly recommend that book Torn or even this Q&A post I came across on Flipboard. The response on whether the person should have a baby was probably the most humorous, honest and real answer that I've seen.

    • Whether or not to have kids is such a tough question! I think you've nailed why, and you've clearly given this a lot of thought.

      I've given it a lot of thought too, but it's something I don't really talk about unless someone asks, because people have such strong opinions about it. I like kids in general, and I like many things about the idea of being a parent, but I ultimately decided I don't want kids of my own.

      Someone β€” I forget who β€” said that having children is like letting your heart run around outside your body. I admire people who can do that. I'm just not strong enough.

      Every time my kid got sick, or bruised a knee, or was called names at school, it would utterly destroy me. And what if something worse happened? I'd be so racked with anxiety I don't think I'd be able to focus on anything else. I'm already anxiety-prone, and this would just be too much.

      I'm also a person who needs free time to de-stress, and who is very sensitive to sleep disruptions. Free time and sleep would be scarce if I were a dad, even if I managed to deal with the anxiety of my heart running around outside my body. 😬

      So, for me, it's a no, for reasons both selfish and unselfish. But I totally understand why the right answer for many people is "yes", and I'm glad those people exist to continue propagating the species. πŸ™‚

    • What an incredibly powerful question. I have some things to say about it, but I think I'll link to Brooke Lark's story first. I know her as a wonderful mom to four girls, career photographer and writer, and super positive person. So it was a shock to me that although she adores her girls, she has publicly written that she would have been happier without children.

      I've spoken to her several times about it and I admire her brave honesty to write about it.

    • My wife and I met as counselors at a summer camp when I was 19. We both loved kids. I thought I'd be a camp counselor forever.

      The wisdom of the day was to have kids while you're young to minimize the generation gap and the risk of complications. So Toni was pregnant with our first when I was 22. I had to work from 3 am to 8 am at UPS to pay for him. I thought it was probably the end of my dream to go to a good graduate school, but we decided he was worth it.

      Our second was born 4 hours before my most important final exam, after a scary delivery. I had so many doubts about whether this was even possible. Could we even be good parents? Stanford grad school didn't allow me to work part time, so to pay for it we lived in a different rich person's house each week in places like Atherton. We cared for their kids for $25/night while the parents traveled, trying to keep our two feisty boys from breaking their houses. And yet we decided to have two more children. πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦

      All these years later, and after talking with dozens of parents who have adult children, what stays with me is how much devotion and love you have to be prepared to give. I totally understand people who say it isn't for them, or who regret having children. There can be very dark days of worry, heated emotions, sickness and heartbreak.

      And yet. We would totally do it all over again.

    • I never imagined having kids. To be honest, I was more into drinking, hanging out with friends, playing sports, watching TV, etc. I never thought I'd be the "parent" type. I never grew up around kids and so I never felt comfortable around them, or safe- LOL!

      Fast forward to 2005 and Jessica and I had our first baby (boy). It was then I first learned how to do a diaper change. And within 15 years of marriage we have 5 kids (4 Boys and a Girl) aged 10 years and younger, and I've learned to do a lot of different firsts beyond diaper changes, like remove crap and rid puke stains- to which I am really good at but that's neither here or there.

      Nonetheless, I have evolved you can say to not thinking of kids to wanting to have lots of kids. Yet, having kids comes with a lot of challenges and I didn't realize how really hard it really is, and so I truthfully doubt myself as a parent (a lot). I think I am screwing up my kids' lives. I work long hours in one of the most demanding areas in the world and feel I'm more of a role model for working vs fathering. And that sucks, (What I wouldn't give to be able to be home more to rear and see them grow older), but I can only continue to develop as a parent and work on being more calm and patient and less selfish. I'm getting there.

      So.... despite it all I absolutely adore and love my kids. I may not have wanted kids when I was younger but I wanted to have kids later and I can't imagine life without them. Yes, that's cliche to say. But it's true. I testify to that. It's because of them I have learned to appreciate the small things in life, like crayon marks on the wall LOL, be a cheerleader, friend and parent that will always be excited to hear their stories and stand up for them because no one else will, realize how a gentle kiss, smile or touch becomes a priceless memory, etc, and I don't think any business or thing could stress me more to change and grow and want to be a lot better.

      The question is a good one- "To have or have not.." It's the same as "To marry or not..." I believe it's each to their own. Some people are meant to and others are not. But I don't think people should make decisions for other people!!! Anyone can "scare-talk" and talk you out of something. The big life decisions have to be personal. And you'll know you've made the right choice b/c you'll remain excited and exhausted continuously until the end- #life.

    • A couple of years ago, we spied a huge house under construction in St. George, Utah. 3 stories. We couldn't resist walking inside and counting rooms. I couldn't count that high. It was mainly wood framing and plywood at that point.

      Some of the family showed up to work on it as we were walking through. Kinda awkward, but they were super nice. One of us got the courage to ask how many kids they had because the house seemed unimaginably large. 16. First thought: Oh. Polygamists. I see them shopping at the local Costco a lot.

      The dad interjected: "We adopt special needs children. We have 10 of them, in addition to our biological 6." 😲 There must be a special place in heaven for that couple.

    • Very well written, @quicksstrong. Thanks for sharing!

      We have a 2-year old and we haven't spent a day without feeling deeply grateful about having him in our life. That said, I distinctively remember how both of us felt perhaps 4-5 years when we first got married - having a child was not even a topic that we talk about. We basically didn't want kids and we were so sure that was what the other person was thinking about as well that we don't even need to talk about it. What an experience to have gone through this perspective-changing journey!

    You've been invited!