Nonfiction Nagging- Maybe Baby

I'm almost twenty-eight, have been married for almost three years, live in house with a few extra bedrooms, have a good job, appear to tolerate children, and have the opportunity to travel some in the past few years. On paper, I'm a perfect candidate for motherhood.

I'm almost twenty-eight, love going to dinner at nine-o-clock at night with my husband, live in a house that I insists stay clean, have a tiring job, frequently visualize myself yelling at crying kids in stores, and want to travel to South America and Europe sooner rather than later. Candidacy revoked.

Caught up in this whole "my thirties are approaching" conundrum I did what I do best for advice- I turned to books. Maybe Baby, a collection of personal accounts by twenty-eight writers, details the decisions people have made in regards to becoming parents. The ratio is definitely far from even- six opposed, seven unsure, and fifteen who have taken the plunge. I suppose the lack of balance is realistic, as making a conscious decision to abstain from raising childhood isn't as common as the alternative.

The essays were quite interesting, and I have to admit I often found myself wholeheartedly agr
eeing with those who have decided to not reproduce. Like so many of the writers, I enjoy my life without children. On a recent drive home from a night out with friends it occurred to me how hard it would be to enjoy these sort of spontaneous outings with a baby at home. I'd have to schedule a sitter, write out pages of instructions, and pray nothing went wrong. And, let's face it: the dogs are hard enough to deal with hung over. The writers list the financial advantages of not having kids (I love the point one made about pinching pennies so "someone else" could go to college) and the research that has shown that having children can take a serious toll on your marriage. Not to mention the fact that kids are loud, full of germs, and enjoy annoying toys. And, more seriously, they can come with or develop serious diseases, be kidnapped, morph into the unibomber ("oh my kid would never do that" mothers around the world claim), or even die. And I'd do this by choice?

Those on the "other" side told tales of how they were pregnant accidentally, had sick children that live, and had trouble conceiving. Many discussed their hesitancy to become parents and how happy they decided to be. They mention love, happiness, and energetic infants. They claim parenting is a fight worth partaking in and how the struggle is worth it. They don't sugar coat pregnancy or child-rearing, but they're obviously all pleased with what sprung forth from their loins.

An important question that I think underlies so many of these stories is that of why people feel the need to have babies. Those that discuss their decisions to have children claim that there wasn't really an urge, seeming to at least partially attribute their lack of interest to biology. Those that do seem to just know. I suppose there is definitely a innate, Darwinian sort of aspect to having kids- our bloodlines and race must survive. I'm sure there are other reasons, anywhere from wanting to give someone a better opportunity at life, needing to "feel complete," wanting something meaningful to focus on, or needing something to love.

I've always assumed that I'd want kids- coming from a large family it just seems to be what everyone does. Yet as the "time" approaches it's a little bit of a harder pill to swallow. I worked very har
d through high school, college, and the first few years of teaching and am now at a point where I'm a little selfish. I get irritated when people screw around with my schedule or mess with my things. I'm very self-sufficient and I expect everyone else around me to be (last I checked babies aren't even capable of changing their own clothes, let alone folding them).

On the other hand, I know that when I'm forty-five or fifty I'll regret it if I never had kids (although I may be regretting it from a villa overlooking the Mediterranean while I'm enjoying some wine and cheese in Greece). With a few exceptions, I've always been a baby person- growing up I babysat constantly, was the baby-holder at gatherings, and I have to admit to frequently stopping the teen-moms pushing their babies in strollers at work for a peek. And at Target and other stores my eyes do linger over the cute little doll-size dresses on display. But then I start thinking of how quickly they grow and need new clothes. Or how they poop on everything and stain up all their clothes.

I know some of you reading are parents and are either secretly agreeing or are slamming your desk because I just don't "get how wonderful motherhood really is." The best posts are the most controversial! I highly recommend this book to anyone "on the fence," or needing an audience to validate the decisions they've already made. It won't push you either way, but, as we can all see from this long diatribe, it will make you carefully consider where you're at on the subject.

So, basically, from the way I see it, my dogs need to learn how to change diapers and breastfeed.


  1. That sounds like a really interesting read. I am not a mother yet, but my husband and I do want to have a child later on. We're 25, and we want to wait a few more years. We also most probably will have only one child. And that's if we don't have fertility issues because I don't want to take it for granted that we will easily be able to conceive with all those people out there who can't.

  2. I feel you. I actually always wanted 3 kids. BUT I love being a successful career woman, working late, staying out until all hours of the night when we go to parties, lazy weekends, vacations on a whim, MONEY in the bank!....
    We talk bout our future kids and soccer practice and whatever, But when the serious talks come, we just shove it off "5 more years... Yeah... we'll be ready then..."
    I have NO idea how people decide to ruin their lives and have children.
    I compare kids to my dog a lot. Honestly, my dog is smarter than some of my friends' kids. But I look at how many years she spent chewing my shoes, shitting on the rug, peeing in the kitchen, eating food off the counter and barfing up the absurd crap she had destroyed earlier that day in my laundry basket. I wanted to kill her a million times, but I would never ever give her back for the world. So I'm assuming motherhood is something like that?
    I also love my vajay and my bod and don't want to destroy them by putting humans in them and the squeezing them back out. Ouccccch.
    You could always be a movie star, steal kids from other countries, and then pay someone to raise them for you. All you have to do is take family pictures and send them to everyone. Easy peasy.

  3. Ouch. That comment was longer than I thought, sorry!!

  4. Bwah hah hah! I can totally relate to this post! My hubs and I have decided not to procreate for very selfish reasons: time, money, sleeping in, spontaneity, etc. And I don't ever want to get preggers because of a) the grossness of giving birth, b) words like placenta and amneocentesis, c) abstaining from my vices for 9 months. I like my life as is and don't want to overcomplicate the loveliness the Hubs and I have worked hard to establish.