you are totally going to hate me

I really doubted whether posting about babies right on the heels of Tuesday’s post about babies was a good idea. I don’t wish to alienate you, dear friends. I don’t wish to make you cry in anxiety, or roll your eyes in scorn, or sigh in frustration, or click away in boredom. But my GOD. I have so much BABY inside me that I have to GET IT OUT. Which leads us nicely into:

GETTING IT OUT

Can you say, “terror?” Yeah, I can, and it’s pronounced “BLEUUURRRGHHHIIIAAAHHH!” But as much as the thought of childbirth makes me want to huddle under a blanket and blubber softly to myself, the thought of pregnancy actually makes me feel much, much worse. I am entirely skeeved out about the concept of something alive growing inside of me, not to mention the delightful smorgasbord of accompanying side effects: nausea, acne, hair loss, unwanted hair growth, stretch marks, swelling, gas, constipation, exhaustion, and the general aches and pains that come from hefting a belly the size of a small ottoman around with you everywhere you go.

And as immature as it makes me sound, I am resentful of the fact that I can’t really drink for nine months plus however long I breastfeed. Everyone has that vice they lean on to take the edge off of their daily lives, whether it be weed or chocolate or cigarettes or masturbation or clowning, and mine is alcohol. I can’t wait to finish my work and unwind with a glass in hand at the end of the night. As small as it makes me sound, I am deathly afraid of having my tiny crutch swept out from under me for, like, years.

Instead of going through the horror of pregnancy, I would genuinely prefer to simply walk into a hospital and get handed a four- or five-month old baby. Here you go! Here’s your child! Seriously. At this age babies are bigger, and thus slightly less breakable, plus they’re really beginning to show their personalities. However, they’re still sleeping a lot, if you’re lucky, and you can still convince them that you’ve completely disappeared simply by covering your face with your hands. In other words: gullible!

Sign me up for this program, stat!

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE PREGNANT THEN WHY DON’T YOU ADOPT

Because I am a bad, evil, horrible, selfish person. A person who is so incredibly on the fence about having babies that share her own genetic material that I am unable to drum up the selflessness required to give my love and support to a stranger’s child. I’m not sure I could do it, guys. And so at this point, that option isn’t on our table.

WHY ISN’T IT OKAY TO JUST SAY “NO” TO BABIES?

Maggie made a compelling point in the comments yesterday: we hardly ever hear the stories of couples who agreed that having children just wasn’t their jam. She said: “… a lot of women I know (mostly IRL) are pretty “meh” about baby-having… yet they almost all assume they’ll do it eventually. … The opting-out option is mostly glossed over, as if it isn’t REALLY a valid option.”

I have no good answer for this. I am wholly supportive of people who choose “no,” and maybe a teensy bit jealous, because I long to be that confident in my decision. It’s rarely cut and dry, though, even for people who are well aware that they lean towards opting out.

Maybe so many “meh” couples ultimately choose to have a baby because deep down, they’re afraid of being proven wrong. Because when it comes down to deciding, having a child seems like a safer life bet than not having a child. After all, you wouldn’t want to have to wake up one day and realize that all the annoying naysayers who said you’d regret not having kids were right after all… right?

Not me, of course. This doesn’t speak to any of my fears. Nuh-uh.

Anyone out there still reading this: have you and your partner chosen “no?” Care to share your perspective?

ALL MY FRIENDS

Just a month or two after I met the beau, he took me along to a wedding as his date. This was back when we were 24, and it was still highly unusual for people our age to get married. Four years later, this couple had a baby, and as soon as the beau and I announced our engagement the following year the wife pulled me aside. “You two need to have a baby right away,” she said. “Our son needs a playmate!”

As ridiculous a statement as that is, there’s a kernel of truth to her desperation. These friends took the early marriage/baby train, and they’ve felt alienated ever since. They want someone to share their experience with.

I am wholly aware that our theoretical children will cut divisive lines through my cluster of friends, both in real life and online. I’m afraid of losing touch with those with whom I’m currently close. Will our lives prove too different to relate to each other anymore?

SOMEONE’S GOT A CASE OF THE ANGRIES

I’m mad that we’re probably going to go through with this. I am sincerely angry. Sometimes — when I’ve had too much to drink, naturally — I get so upset that my standard jokes cross the line from blithe to cruel and cutting. I lash out at the beau; I lash out at the universe. Why do I have to do this? Why am I the one who has to have the baby; the one whose body has to go through such trauma and change? At times like these I think, if there is a God, he is a man and he clearly has it out for women, because it’s not fair that we’re the ones that have to deal with menstruation, and it’s not fair that we’re the ones who have to deal with pregnancy and childbirth, and IT’S JUST NOT FAIR. And it’s not fair that I have to choose between having a child and not having a child, and not being absolutely convinced that either choice won’t quietly tear me down, bit by bit, for the rest of my days.

Whew.

*****

Housekeeping: I’ve made a tag called “The Final Year of My Life.” If this is actually happening, then I need to chronicle it. Clearly.

Also: we had such a good conversation on Tuesday that I can’t imagine you could, would, or should want to contribute any more to this topic. Never fear! With this writing, Baby Week is officially over. Please duck and cover; stop, drop, and roll; or otherwise assume the position: Wedding and Marriage Week is nigh!

After that I promise to return to my regularly scheduled programming of posting about utterly inane, worthless shit.

PS – I’m also kind of angry that I blew my picture load on the last post. Why haven’t I taken more photographs of my husband standing in front of cheeky baby-related signs? Why?

47 Responses to “you are totally going to hate me”

  1. Dude, Check out thirty-something bride’s rant and comments on babyage. I am a person of the mid-thirties variety and I am not going to be having babies. I always felt creeped out/indifferent by the whole thing and my partner is against it and so bam. No babies. And that is just fine with me. I know it’s supposed to be all la la la, having babies transcends it all, but not for me. I’d never get anything done. I support people who really want to have babies, but you just don’t have to. It’s not the 1950s anymore.

  2. We decided to go the no baby route. I’m probably the major driver of the absolute decision, Forrest was much more on the fence “I could be happy either way.” I don’t even really know exactly what lead to it: a bit of fear of things changing post baby, a lot of fear about money, an acknowledgement of my selfishness in not really wanting to sacrifice freedoms, and mostly my meh/blase about babies.

    BUT meh doesn’t have to mean not having children. Plenty of people accidentally get pregnant and still love their kids, if they can go from meh to love someone who plans for it probably can too.

  3. We, as a couple, (okay….maybe more ME and he just has no choice, which I sometimes feel guilty about for like, a nano-second and then I’m over it) are a “no baby zone” couple. I’ve had three surgeries on my baby parts in the past four years. No thanks. And, I’m selfish and can’t stand needy people. Kids kind of naturally fall into that category. I’m constantly scared that we’ll slip up and I WILL get pregnant and hate my life forever. And thus, I hardly fit in anywhere. Babies don’t make me coo with cuteness, they make me curl my lip in disgust. And that’s kind of off-putting, ya know? I have to fake it and it’s exhausting. For some reason, it’s jut not OKAY to dislike kids. And the best is the constant harassment from people as to whether or not we’ll have them, when we’ll have them and then the arguments about how I don’t yet know what I want. Um, I’m 34. I sure as fuck do know by now.

    • I don’t understand the “you don’t know what you want” statements. OH, THAT’S RIGHT. I don’t know my own mind! While you’re in there figuring out what I want for me, could you go ahead and tell me what I should have for dinner, too?

  4. To this I give you my Answer to All Things:

    I think you should get a dog.

    Just think of the great tags you could get out of it. Plus great blog fodder, PLUS no vagina-trauma. Plus anti-selfishness training PLUS CUTENESS.

  5. You know, earlier this year I was having drama with my lady parts and at one point I actually thought, “Maybe this will turn out to be awful, and I’ll have to have a hysterectomy, and then I’ll never have to make a decision about babies, because it will be made for me.”

    Yeah.

    I like kids. I’ve always liked kids. I like that I grew up in a family with siblings and cousins and all the rest. I like the idea of having a family of my own. I like the idea of having someone who rolls their eyes and complains about how her mom is just so embarrassing when she gets all into her favorite band. I like the idea of passing things (traditions, items, recipes) down to someone.

    And I think I would be an ok mom. But I’m not sure I want to be. I share your leeriness towards pregnancy and childbirth. I don’t have the money to do it on my own, and I don’t have a guy in my life at the moment. But what really bothers me is the inherent unfairness: how, as a woman, you have to make the choice. If you don’t, that’s a choice too. If you decide to see where life takes you, well, it takes you to being too old to have a kid of your own.

    Maybe I’ll meet a nice guy with some kids of his own, and I can be a step mom? That sounds like a nice compromise.

  6. “I am entirely skeeved out about the concept of something alive growing inside of me”

    Same here. And I’m the oldest of 6, so I know quite a bit about the day-to-day aspects of pregnancy and miscarriages and recovery… and my mom had easy pregnancies, aside from the 2 that were high-risk.

    “Everyone has that vice they lean on to take the edge off of their daily lives […] I am deathly afraid of having my tiny crutch swept out from under me for, like, years.”

    And mine is *cough* sex (and reality tv ;)). Guess what else often doesn’t work so well during/post-pregnancy? Yeah. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, people who were rarin’ to get it on at exactly 6 weeks or even before… but overall, it just seems to f*ck things up a bit down there (or w/your hormones), one way or another. Not to mention how toddlers/kids throw a wrench in people’s sex lives up until they’re old enough to know what’s going on and be disgusted.

    “having a child seems like a safer life bet than not having a child.”

    That seems like a pretty accurate summation of how most people see it. Plus, I think people figure that they won’t regret their kid, whereas they might regret not enjoying their imaginary kid or grandchildren. However… I do know of a few people who… well, let’s just say they don’t *regret* their child, but they aren’t really thrilled or suited to parenthood. And that, to me, is way scarier. Having this kid around whom you love dearly but also partially resent and may be unknowingly damaging due to your resentment. Goodness knows I know a lot of adults who were scarred from growing up in that kind of environment.

    “Will our lives prove too different to relate to each other anymore?”

    Yeah, maybe. I already feel like I have far less to talk about with my friends who have babies. Maybe when when their kids are older and they’re less overwhelmed, we’ll be able to discuss topics other than “how the baby is-or-isn’t sleeping” and the contents of the baby’s diapers (seriously). I try to listen, because I want to still be a part of their lives… but to be honest, it’s not easy, since I don’t have much to add to the conversation. And it makes me sad. I can see why people have kids just to fit in. But I’m hoping we’ll be able to maintain our friendships, despite lifestyle differences… I know some of my single friends feel out of step with me, especially since many of them still go out every night and I rarely do, but it would make me sad if we let that get in the way. Or maybe I should just accept it?

    “Housekeeping: I’ve made a tag called “The Final Year of My Life.” If this is actually happening, then I need to chronicle it. Clearly.”

    I think that’s a funny, clever tag, but… if this is actually happening, I hope it doesn’t really feel that way for you! Despite my personal feelings on the topic, I honestly don’t think it has to be the Final Year of All Funtimes.

    • There is some sarcasm in that tag, for sure, because while I know my life won’t really end, I’m scared for it to change so much!

      “… let’s just say they don’t *regret* their child, but they aren’t really thrilled or suited to parenthood.”
      Ughhhh… scared that the hormones won’t exactly kick in and this will be me… either that or something I do or say will eff them up. Things weren’t always the best between my mom and me, and I’ve worked through the resentment now, but it took a LOT of work to work through the resentment. Afraid of making the same kinds of mistakes.

  7. Apropos of nothing, I am also scared that if I have kids, the cool kids will think I’m dumb, and I WANT THE COOL KIDS TO THINK I’M COOL. Because I guess part of me never stopped being thirteen years old.

  8. I have a very selfish reason for wishing more intelligent women were having babies: the more women who are intelligent, who think things through carefully and creatively, opt out of childbirth, the dumber we get as a society. Think about it. Think about who is having babies versus who is opting out of motherhood. Think, for example, about the current slate of presidential hopefuls. Think about their crazy eyed rants. Think about the rampant stupidity that is currently paralyzing us as a society and causing the line between poverty and wealth to widen in alarming proportions. Think about the fact that one crazy candidate has had to defend his decision to sign into a law a requirement that girls receive a vaccine to prevent a type of (preventable) cancer that only girls get. Think about all of the stupid, horrible, no good things that will come from the next generation of children who are being born into crazy eyed families because the smart, sane people have opted out of parenthood because they understand that it is hard work, requires sacrifice and stores of patience you didn’t know you have (but, trust me, you do).

    You should do it for your country. (Thank you, Grease 2.)

    • Do it for your country, for the red, white, and the blue. It’s not a lot to ask, our parents will approve.

      Shall we move on to a rendition of the reproduction song next?

      • REPRODUCTION
        put your pollen tube to work
        REPRODUCTION
        make my stamen go berserk

        • LOL! Reminds me of the time I worked on the (obscure) B’way musical “Baby”… there was one song that included the lyrics:

          “picture a mighty spermatozoan
          not even knowin’
          where he is goin’
          What’s that ahead?
          A diaphragm, screw it!
          He knows he’s dead
          my god he slips through it!”

  9. I <3 you both and now feel less old.

  10. The Final Year of My Life tag is awesome. We certainly have been using our time in similar ways. I have 4 smaller vacations planned during my pregnancy, after a year with two major vacations. I occasionally would get drunk on a Saturday night, just so I could. We picked up new hobbies and sports and slept until 11:00 am all the time.

    We talked about it, and we both want kids, and we both weren’t really ready, but it would have taken at least another decade or two to be done with how awesome our life is, so we decided to jump and add kids to share in the awesomeness. Travel will change, but not forever. Drinking will return. Naps are an option.

    I will say that as someone who always had a nightcap or two, stopping drinking was really easy. I’m comforted by this, because it means that I’m not an alcoholic, like much of my family. Right? If you can and do stop, you’re fine? That’s what I tell myself.

    And yeah, there is nothing freakier than SEEING PICTURES OF THE ALIEN PARASITE GROWING INSIDE YOU. WTF. That may be magical to someone else, but it was weird as fuck for me.

  11. Honestly, I’m glad I’m not alone with these feelings.

  12. Also? Watching my friends go through the baby thing first has been very reassuring. They still think getting drunk because you can is a good idea (they just get a sitter). (Although after one toddler started requesting orange slices in his milk so his drink would look like Mommy’s and Daddy’s, they considered cutting back on the Blue Moon). My friends-who-are-parents still think the same stuff is funny, and now this tiny person thinks the same jokes are funny, too. When the baby was super tiny, they mastered the art of tucking the sleeping baby the nook between your shoulder and neck, so both hands could be free to play Mario Kart. Or whatever else that requires two hands, but mostly Mario Kart.

    So, while I definitely share your terror that Everything Will Change Forever, it has been empirically demonstrated that the important stuff won’t change. Like beer and Wii.

    • OMG. “Orange slices in his milk.” I just about died from the laughing. Is it a bad thing that I automatically knew where that was going? lol

  13. Things like this give me hope about the potential coolness of motherhood/not entirely entirely losing my life: http://mommyish.com/stuff/the-highs-of-motherhood/ I’m doing it. Really and truly, this sounds amazing (or something similar).

    Also, all my baby-friends are far away. This just changed, with two of my local friends who are in babyhood land (one gave birth a few weeks ago, one is due any day.) They both look exceedingly pretty and handled pregnancy well and got great skin and hair to boot. I will look like a swollen cow, I’m sure. But still, it’s possible. They also exercise 6 days a week, which probably helped. Anyhoo, I’m hoping against hope my future pregnancy is like theirs. and if not, I’m getting them to join my stoned yoga baby-free mommy time group anyhow.

  14. Pregnancy itself doesn’t freak me out as much as popping that sucker out of my vagina. Oh holy hell, there is NO WAY that even is supposed to fit through there.

    Also, I’m really glad we’re not the only ones who couldn’t do the adoption thing. Neither of us could really see being okay with raising a child who wasn’t biologically ours, and while we’ve tried to explain it, it always makes us sound super selfish. (Which, yes, but still! Selfish isn’t necessarily bad, right?)

    On the alcohol front, my one friend with a kid times things out so that she can still drink. As in, she feeds her son, immediately runs for the kitchen and pours a glass of wine. By his next feeding, she’s all safe again! It’s all about strategy.

  15. Okay, now that I’ve traumatized everyone with lyrics from Grease 2, I now feel like I should actually chime in with some real thoughts on babies:

    It’s the end of the world as we know it, it’s the end of the world as we know it, and we feel fiiiiiiiine. But that’s the thing, it’s only the end of life as we know it; it’s the beginning of the next big adventure, however it turns out. (LENNY BRUCE IS NOT AFRAID).

    We’ve talked a teeny bit about this, and you know I don’t want kids. And I never really have. I frequently tell people that I didn’t like kids even when I was one. Kids make me feel nervous and awkward (granted, people in general tend to do that). I don’t feel natural around them. I don’t find them mind-bendingly cute. I have absolutely no instincts to be maternal (except maybe towards a nice corgi).

    Conversely, I have no problem (abstractly) with the idea of being pregnant: yes, many aspects of it are gross (wait, WHAT happens when you are giving birth? IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE??!@!) and somewhat creepy (HELLO, internal parasite being! Have fun hi-jacking my body!?) not to mention limiting (WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO COFFEE ZOMG), but at some point you are no longer pregnant. There is a light at the end of that particular tunnel. My problem is that when you are done being pregnant, there is this BABY, and that baby is going to grow into a PERSON, and there is no end to that. Forever after, you are that person’s parent. This scares the ever-loving crap out of me.

    However, I love the idea of having a family (in the traditional sense… in a not so traditional sense too, for that matter). At one point, when I was in a certain long-term relationship (you know the one), I was at a party with his family. His brother and sister-in-law had just had their first baby. I remember sitting somewhere, watching him with his nephew and thinking, I could see it, us having kids. I imagined us going on walks to the park with our kids (there were two) and it was a sweet picture. Then I removed him from the picture, leaving just me and the kids. All I could think was, NO NONONONONO NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I can barely take care of myself, how could I even consider asking someone else to be completely dependent on me? And that mostly settled the question for me: if I didn’t want to have kids enough to be willing to do it on my own, I shouldn’t have any. I don’t see being transformed into a better person by the experience as a given. But it also makes me sad to think that I won’t ever actually know the answer to that question, that I’ll never know what that is like, that I’ll be missing out. Then I think that my theoretical kids are better off for it (I am a selfish bastard).

    Sometimes I worry about what this sort of stance might cost me in the future, because at this point I don’t think I’d be willing to reconsider. I think maybe it’s just as scary having already made up my mind as it is to still be figuring it out. But you never know; life is strange.

    And because of everything previously stated, I also worry about relationships with my baby-having friends (E. is also talking about wanting to have kids in the next few years) drifting apart. I won’t have the same experiences to share and compare and contrast. I will never be able to recommend a remedy for colic or truly commiserate about diaper rash (unless I decide to become some sort of barren baby savant). But I will be interested in their kids, simply because they’re theirs (and therefore probably awesome, even when all they do is poop and spit-up a lot). The thing is, though, I also think if you really love each other, it won’t matter. Those relationships will evolve and change in the same ways they already have through so many other life events, and they’ll end up being the richer for it.

    In conclusion: when/if y’all have kids, I hope they aren’t allergic to cats (or more likely dogs, even though they are not the cliché companions of old spinster ladies) because I’ll probably have a whole passel of them to play with while “auntie” and mommy have a drink (or several).

  16. And I forgot to mention that they sell alcohol testing strips for breast milk. Totally have them.

  17. I’m greatly comforted by the fact that alcohol is a primary concern re: babies for someone other than just me. Currently when I think about pregnancy, it’s mostly just ,”But the booze! Won’t someone please think of the booze?!”

  18. Okay, I’ve been reading your blog for ages now… lurking in the background being too shy to comment but this time I have to. My fear of child birth pales into insignificance when compared to my fear of pregnancy. At least at worst, child birth is over in 48 hours – but pregnancy….NINE months! The thought of it is so alienesque to me, worried that I have some sort of genetic mutation to feel that way! Anyway thank you for such an intelligent and downright hilarious blog – you really have such an awesome talent for writing!

    • Natalie, thank YOU for commenting! I love reading others’ perspectives because 1) other people are awesome and 2) it makes me feel less alone in my bizarre insecurities.

  19. I also want to read more about people who just decided that children weren’t for them.

    Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. Duh.

  20. OH AND HOW SCARY IS THE HAIR LOSS???? I only found out about that last week thanks to Drea. (themaidenmetallurgist.com)

  21. I love these posts and this entire comment area.

  22. I do hate you, but only for serving up these fantastically honest and creepily relatable posts while I’m trying to keep on my serious academic face at this conference, and instead I end up in the back row reading your blog posts and nodding along to how IMPORTANT BOOZE IS! Yeah I’m pretty sure my jig is up.

    Onto the topic… well I have nothing really to add cause you already said everything I would say, right down to the timeline (we’re planning a last-chance-at-it trip for next summer), feeling like having kids is a safer option than not, wishing like hell that alcohol wasn’t such a damn no-no (and yeah, I do believe that it’s ok to drink a bit of wine here and there in the third trimester, but I just spent several days hearing all about how crucial early life exposures are and how they can affect not just your kid but your GRANDKIDS! pressure much?!? so I probably won’t be able to do it without barreling into a guilt spiral and then assuming every scraped knee was because mommy needed her juice.)
    Where was I? Oh yeah, and I totally agree with you on the adoption issue too. I felt awful when recently this came up with my friends and they were all “yeah I totally want to adopt!” and I was all “umm…. we don’t… ” Might as well have added in “cause we don’t care about poor orphaned children.”

    Anyways, that’s my brain dump for now. Whew.

  23. We are non-baby too. Love other people’s, just don’t want our own. Both of us are 100% sure of this, and talking to my friend who just gave birth only makes me more sure I could never live through a pain that is, on a scale of 1 to 10, “Oh, a hundred!” And that bitch had a one-hour labor!!!

  24. Hi, I’ve been a frequent reader of your blog via tweets from @KaraOTR. You’re hilarious and smart and a wonderful writer. Your post about your grandmother’s death was so moving and well-written, it really touched me.

    I just wanted to give you kudos on your thought process regarding this whole baby-making issue. Lots of people, your actual friends, have made some great comments, and you certainly know that it’s ultimately up to you. I thought I’d share my perspective because we have a somewhat similar background re: age and family/grandparents (I had my great-grandparents until I’d graduated from college and my grandparents well into my thirties, it meant a great deal to me and I worried about the same issue you raised regarding any kids I might bring into the world who wouldn’t get a chance to know them).

    My partner and I have been together 16 years now, got together in our twenties, but didn’t really get serious until our thirties. We consider ourselves “married” but since we’re both female and live in Texas, well, we’re not “technically” married, whatever that means.

    I’d graduated law school (which I entered as a second career at the age of thirty) and was in my second/third year at BigLaw, when my Belle (get it?) came to me and said she wanted us to have kids. I was 35, she was 32. I was adamantly against us having kids. I think, then, I had great reasons for it, but damn if I can remember then now. Honestly, I think I was just scared.

    The point of my sharing all this with you is to say that whatever your choice, it will be right for you.

    As for fears about the fertility process, my Belle and I can certainly relate, as that’s the only way we could conceive. At 32, she had no issue and got pregnant the very first time. I tried at 36 and could not.

    Today, we have a beautiful 6 year old daughter who’s the light of my life and the best part of my life. Yes, our lives have changed and there’s plenty we can’t/don’t do anymore (and yes, you’ll become intimately familiar with the likes of Dora the Explorer, or whatever new schlock the Disney Channel is running by then – or not, it’ll be your choice).

    But the things we love, we do, and share with her and it’s amazing, in all the good and bad and mundane and scary ways living life is amazing.

    As for the getting it out part? Um, that’s what drugs and doctors are for. That’s the route we took. But, I’ve known a midwife or two who make the birthing process sound like a little nest of joy. It ain’t, but…try not to sweat that part. It passes.

    I’m sorry for having droned on here. I just wanted to share a perspective from someone who initially was all “No. NO. No.” at the idea of baby making…and who’s come out the other side just fine.

    Whatever you choose, you will, too.

    Good luck and best wishes.

    • I can’t tell you how reassuring your story is for me. I’ve been turning it over in my head for the last couple days. Thank you so much for sharing!

      PS — I love your “Belle!”

  25. Ok- I’ve been thinking a lot about this, especially in light of the recent Twitter explosion about a race to have babies, and I just want to add my two cents, as a newly married 29-year-old who loves (and has a lot of experience with) kids. I’m also one of 5 kids.

    In a nutshell: I commend you for thinking long and hard about the decision to have kids, and I totally understand where you’re coming from. I have been a nanny for numerous families, lived-in with one family, and taught dozens of other kids. Having a kid changes your life and your priorities (no shit- I know you know that) to huge extremes. Here’s what I’m not scared about:
    :: popping it out.
    :: giving up booze (although I will miss it terribly).
    :: raising it (I know we’ll be good parents).

    Here’s what I am scared about:
    :: The temptation to be a martyr.
    :: A loss of my privacy/the life I now have with my husband: I like nights sipping bourbon, lazy mornings, flexibility in my schedule, and loads of personal time when I need it.
    :: Money: Raising a kid (the way I want to) is expensive.
    :: The energy/time it will take to be the parent I want to, when I would like to keep focusing on my career.

    I guess what pisses me off is a naive attitude that many have about raising kids. I have girlfriends who want to play house, and insist that I can help them with the real childrearing as long as they get to dress the kids. *barf* Also- I’m a firm believer that you can’t have it all (awesome job, fabulous marriage, perfect parenting)- so where do you compromise? I think it’s good to think more about having kids, versus the assumption that THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD DO (or what most people do).

    For now, we’re putting our decision off, maybe to return to it in a couple of years, but it’s playing with my mind a little lately. Obviously, you will pick the right choice.

    • This is KEY, and a whole other blog post (or series of blog posts) altogether. The fact that you can’t have it all is really, really hard for individuals, and for women collectively; your decisions about how and what you prioritize draw stark lines in your social community forever after that. No matter what you choose, you end up being harshly judged by others.

      Thanks for commenting!

      PS – I can’t believe there are people who openly admit to just wanting to have kids in order to play dress-up with them. Mind-boggling!

  26. Thank you Lyn for this post! It’s reassuring to find there are other young women who are “just not that into” pregnancy and ickle babies and parenthood. I like the idea of having a child someday (just the one, mind. I’m an only myself, and more than one makes no sense to me. Husband still needs convincing but respects my wishes). But I am completely bloody terrified by the thought of pregnancy and childbirth.

    This is compounded by my being a naturally underweight person but with a history of disordered eating. Being pregnant will CHANGE MY SHAPE AND THIS FRIGHTENS ME AARGH. It frightens me on both a superficial and selfish level – I’ve always been skinny and I don’t want to get fat – and also on a more serious one – fear of gaining weight may trigger a relapse into bad anorexic habits, which will be harmful to the baby and to me.

    Reassurances that I will “lose the weight breast-feeding” or (worse) “probably not put that much on anyway” or (worst) “be too busy with the ickle baby to worry about it” REALLY DON’T HELP. I know I will need to resume ED counselling before we seriously think about conceiving. But I’d be really keen to hear if anyone else who’s not in the I Heart Babies club has a similar background and fears.

    PS Lyn, I love your line about picking up a 4-month-old with personality and sleeping skillz! Brilliant! We applied the same reasoning in getting a young dog from the pound rather than a new puppy :)

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