Babies Are More Then Just A Cute Picture

My nephew DJ gets cuter every day

Looking at those little arms flailing about, that joyful little baby expression and those bright eyes makes my heart melt.  Literally.  It's in a puddle on the floor right now so I don't even know how I am typing this!  If this pic doesn't make you want one of these I don't know what will.  That's just the thing though.  Babies are more then just a cute picture.  I am not a kid person.  Never have been.  I absolutely did NOT expect to be this enamored by my little nephew.  I can't stop talking and thinking about this precious little boy and that kind of scares me.  I don't want children.  At least I don't think I do.  Until I hold him and look at his pictures and feel those maternal instincts tugging at my heart like never before.  Babies are so full of life.  Sometimes a little too much of it at 2:00 am when my sister would kill for another hour of sleep but still.  When you look at their little faces you just see so much hope and possibilities.  They are so innocent and have so much living ahead of them.  It really is a beautiful thing. And as a parent you get to be a part of that.

But they will not always be babies.  They grow into terrible two's and angry adolescents.  I have to wonder.  Do I just want that cute little baby to call my own and not everything else that goes along with it?  There is so much time, energy and money that will go into making that little boy a man.  Is that something I want to take on for myself?  I am determined to think logically here and not be swayed by emotion.  My head says "Hell no I don't want any kids," and my heart says "Yes." But only some of the time.  Having a baby changes EVERYTHING and I'm not so sure that I want everything to change.  I actually kind of like things the way they are.  Mj and I are free to do or not do whatever it is we please.  We can travel or just go to he movies without thinking twice.  The house is quiet and the only person I have to pick up after is him! What effect might it have on our relationship? I think I'm tired when I get home from work now?  Well, the work never ends when you have a little one.  Being a stay at home mom likely would not be an option.  Going back to work would be so hard and of course there are astronomical child care expenses.  Any extra money right can go towards savings, retirement or just ourselves right now but that would not be the case with a child in the mix.  I can't even afford ballet lessons for myself so how am I supposed to feed, clothe, support a child AND pay for their extracurricular activities?  They want and need so much and I would want to give it to them.  Sometimes people jump in without considering these things.  People just assume that having a child is what they are "supposed" to do without really considering the option of doing the cost benefit analysis and simply deciding not to.  That it might not be the right thing for them.   People worry, me included-that a life is incomplete without a child but I don't want to do something just because that's what everybody does and I THINK I might be missing out.  I wish I just KNEW for sure either way what I really wanted.  I'm not getting any younger here.

I need to baby sit this little guy to see what it feels like but even still I will never know the full enormity of what it is to have a child of my own unless I actually had one.  That's the tricky part.  It's natural for any woman to have doubts and fears about having a baby but because I am not a woman who has always wanted to be a mother I have to be very careful here. I have to think with my head and not my emotions.  It can't be a passing fancy or just a moment.  It has to be a desire and a need in order for me to move past those normal doubts.  And then there is Mj of course.  It has to be a joint decision.  He is still at "HELL NO" and despite those maternal feelings I didn't even know I had, most of me is still there too.  So for now the answer to the baby question is still no.  Whether or not that changes remains to be seen and in the meantime I'll just have to direct all of that revved up maternal energy towards my sweet little nephew.  Which won't be too hard-I mean...just look at him!


Lil' Woman said...

I def. want kids but not for AWHILE yet. Being around my 4 year old nephew for a couple hours is all I can handle for right now...he's a handful! :)

Faith said...

tell me about it! i know i want children but not anytime soon ... but when i met my nephew he just changed a lot of my thinking. he is just so beautiful. so fun. so innocent. every little thing about him is amazing.

but that doesn't change the fact that we are not ready yet. maybe in a year but not right now. right now i am content to just hang out with my nephew and squeeze him!

Natalie said...

Baby fever has officially hit me and my husband. We want kids now but know it is still not quite the right time for us. This is the only time it will be just the two of us so I want to relish in this newlywed time for a little bit longer. I know babies change everything but I know that a child will enhance our relationship even more :)

Dancy said...

Ironically I have a post scheduled for later on this week on the very same topic (no I'm not pregs). I was convinced I would never have children but life steps in and changes your mind. The good news is - you really don't have to think about it right now & can re-visit it in the future. ;)

Erica B. said...

Too often times we want something just because someone else has it. Not enough time is put into the reality of the situation.

I've known from puberty that having a child is NOT on my to-do list. I see no intruistic value of having children be a part of my day to day life nor do I actually do not enjoy anything baby related. The friends that I have retained who have become parents don't define themselves solely as parents. We've bonded over music, literature, career aspirations, etc... We do not talk about that portion of their life beyond the pleasantries because that is not a common interest nor is that something that I can remotely fake interest in.

Before committing yourself to the prospect of motherhood, It is IMHO that one should be happy and content within oneself first.

Mali said...

I got married young, but was determined not to rush into having kids because everyone thought I should. I was like you - being a mother had never been my aim. In fact, to me in the 80s, it seemed like a step backward. So I waited. And waited. I joked I was waiting for the maternal instinct to kick in, but it never did. And meanwhile I enjoyed my nieces, worked on my career and marriage, travelled, lived a good life, and became content with who I was. It was only then, in my mid-late 30s, when I didn't feel I had anything else to prove, that we decided we would try for a baby. I know that then, it felt right. Right for me, for my husband, and our relationship. And trying to conceive without that feeling would have been wrong.

I actually don't know if it was my true desire, or if hormones kicked in. Because they do kick in, those last years of the 30s and early 40s. I think maybe that's what the biological clock is - hormones going wild.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I couldn't have children. (Starting late doesn't help). It's about 10 years on now, and I'm living a good life. My maternal instincts are used with my nieces and nephews (although it's not the same), and I volunteer (a far higher proportion of childless/childfree people volunteer than those with children) that gives my nurturing instincts an outlet. The fact that I couldn't have children still makes me upset from time to time because
a) I hate not getting my way! and
b) the feelings I get from others/society/media that you are "not a real woman" unless you're a mother.

But secretly (and I think this is the first time I've said this) I think I am glad.

When I look at my life - the good I am able to do in it precisely because I don't have children and so have time and inclination to help others, and the great relationship with my husband of 26 years - I am happy. I compare it with those of my friends and family with children, and realise it probably never would have been right for me. I am glad I don't have the financial constraints. I am glad that I don't have the exhaustion of my sister and friends. I am glad I haven't had to squash my own desires for personal fulfilment in the way my friends and family have (well, no more than normal compromise in a relationship anyway!). I am glad that I don't have the enormous emotional stresses of caring for children. I am glad that I have the time to volunteer, to care for my elderly mother and in-laws, to explore my creativity, to put time into my relationship, to achieve and put back into the community in my career.

Ultimately, you'll know what's right for you. But know life can be really wonderful, rich and full without children, as much as with them.

- Franis said...

Kids do not make a relationship work better, they apply pressure - which is intense for a nuclear family to outlast. Having kids is expensive and it is volunteer slavery. It's unreasonable to expect only two people to raise even one kid. The likelihood is you'll end up divorced and broke as a single parent. AND after you go to the trouble of hopefully raising an adult, there is no guarantee the kid will even survive or thrive, and you'll blame yourself. Losing a kid as a parent is pretty much the worst thing that can happen, not to mention having the kid(s) being used as a weapon by your ex.

If divorce is where people go when things fail, the only solution that I could think of was to have the kids and pass them back and forth as if you've already been divorced. Agree to live in the same town, as close neighbors. Really, the divorce arrangement allows time to work, time to be alone and more time to spend with the kids when they are with you. It should be integrated into the marriage lifestyle - but people think of it as "disillusionment." No, they'd rather have the kid(s) and figure out how to clean up the mess later.

Don't have kids! It's only nature trying to sway your resolve that you know what is good for yourself and your marriage!

Frugalista said...

Dancy-look forward to reading your post. I'm no spring chix. I can probably re visit in a year but not too much longer!

I definitely appreciate the feedback. This is such a HUGE decision. Do I listen to my gut that has always told me this is something I don't want or do I listen to the tugging maternal feelings that are popping up?

Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition said...

I can so relate...I've never really wanted kids either, but lately I've been spending time with my friends and their new babies and it kind of makes me think maybe one day I might like some kiddos : )

Your nephew is just beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Frugalista, I found your blog via a comment you wrote on another blog. Like you I was on the fence for many years. As my fertility window was firmly closing shut, we decided for sure we didn't want children. It involved a lot of soul searching, research on the internet and talking to everyone I knew that has kids, doesn't have kids, parents that went through infertility treatment and adoption. Here are some links I found helpful:
This is a questionnaire that looks at the reasons why you want a baby. You and your husband should fill it out seperately and then compare answers. It was a very interesting excersice for us. For us it showed that my husband didn't want kids and it showed I wanted kids but due to external pressures versus really wanting to parent a child.

Here is a guest post I wrote on my friend's blog that might give you some things to think about. To get the whole picture read her original post, my guest post and then the comments section has some great discussion from every angle:

Here another perspective with many comments:

Here from Daddy Scratches, he is a wonderful writer and loves parenting and his kids:
And anything he writes, I think he is a genius.

Whatever you decide, you and your husband have to be 100% on the same page. Any hesitation on one or the other will lead to years of resentment and grief. Best of luck in your decision, you guys make a gorgeous couple!

Camille said...

Yes!! I'm not get it! It's refreshing (and reassuring) to know that I'm not alone. I'm in my early 30's, newly single (from a relationship that spanned a decade), friend to multiple individuals with the whole completed picture (marriage & kids), and am still finding myself... I get the endless questions about kids & am made to feel like some extraterrestial being or misfit b/c I haven't been bit by the baby bug. I fear that admitting that, while I love seeing others', I don't currently feel the urge to relinquish my freedom for an 18-to-life term of never ceasing employment without much reprieve..I'm just glad to hear someone else say it..thanks for being honest without apology!