…but you don’t really want to have them, either…
A conversation Sven and I had recently:
Me: Are you ready to have a baby?
Sven: I’m 35. I could have a 10 year old child by now.
Me: Ok, but if you didn’t feel like you should be ready just because you’re old, do you actually feel a desire to be a dad?
Sven: I guess not, but I think it’s something I don’t want to miss out on. I know I won’t regret having them, what about you?
Me: I felt like I was closer to being ready, but now I feel like it’s just because I’m 31 and that I should want to have kids by now. Is that really the right reason to have a kid? I don’t feel like it’s because I actually want a baby, and I definitely don’t feel a desire to be a mother.
Sven: I think you’re overthinking this.
Maybe I am overthinking this. The truth is I had been sort of warming up to the idea. But then I realized my thoughts about having a baby were about timing based on my age, and not about the excitement of potential parenthood. This is not about (not) being ready. If I was 100% sure I wanted to have kids, I wouldn’t worry about whether or not I was ready. I’m never afraid to dive headfirst into anything I want to do, even if I’m unprepared. The question is, do I even want to have kids?
Yes, Sven and I have had this conversation several times over the years, and he’s made it clear that it was a deal breaker if I didn’t want to have kids. I just thought at some point, I would want to. But we’ve been together for ten years and married for two and a half, and I’m still not sure that I do. And it’s not like Sven is dying to be a father, either. He still recoils around rambunctious children and actually refuses to hold babies because he thinks they don’t like him.
So, what do you do when you don’t want to have kids, but you don’t not want to have them, either? I decided to make a list of Pros and Cons:
Cons (Reasons I don’t want to have kids):
- I’ve always been pretty adamantly against doing things just because that’s what everyone else does, or because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do: meet a man, get married, have kids, etc. At this point, having kids seems less like something I want to do and more like something I’m “supposed” to do.
- On the flip side to what I just said, Sven and I don’t have many friends with kids that live here in New York City. We’ve gone out to parties every weekend for the past five weeks, and we still regularly wake up at noon on the weekends. Sure, maybe we should grow up, but I think it would be easier if our friends were grown up, too!
- I like my life the way it is. I would be happy with just Sven, and the freedom to do whatever and go wherever the wind takes us, and I wouldn’t regret it.
Pros (Reasons I would be open to having kids):
- I wouldn’t regret it, either. I’m sure parenthood would be a fulfilling experience that would give me a much different perspective on life, and probably make me a better person.
- I know I just said I’m not a fan of blindly jumping on a bandwagon, but if more of our friends started having kids, maybe, just maybe, it would be easier to see myself wanting to have them, too. I have one close friend who recently had a baby. She’s actually the one who warmed me up to the idea of having kids because she never specifically wanted to have kids, either, but now she’s an amazing mother. And her daughter is insanely adorable. So she taught me you can be a great mother even if its not something you always wanted in life.
- At some point, Sven will make me. So really, it’s not like I have a choice.
Sven says I should stop acting like I’m 25, so let’s just make a baby. He’s hungover and woke up at 1:15pm on a Sunday.
To be continued.