A Penny for Your Thoughts…










I love to blog. Partly because I love to write. Partly because I love to photograph. Partly because I love the idea of documenting Hooper and Van’s lives from the beginning. And partly because I love the community and support it brings. It’s because of the latter that I share what I’m about to share with you. I’m encouraging as much conversation and comments with this post as possible, for the sake of a dear friend. This friend has allowed me to share a personal struggle of hers: to join the journey of motherhood, or not.
For me, the decision to have children was very innate. I carried dolls around with me through my entire childhood and enjoyed playing house more than anything else. I never imagined my life without children. But I think it’s unfair to assume that everyone who enters motherhood does so without question if it was the right path for them. Anyway, here is what my friend had to say. Please comment below with your personal journey, advice, or opinion.
You asked why I’m afraid to have kids. Um, hello, why would I NOT be afraid to have kids? First of all, there’s Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and a number of other potential catastrophes to consider. Plus, would the world even be nice for my kid in a decade or so? Pollution, global warming, wars, financial collapse… need I go on? Even aside from those global issues, there are issues with me (I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true). There’s the fact that I’m pretty impatient. And I don’t have the best stress-tolerance. And I like to be selfish with my time. And I have a tendency to be resentful when I can’t be selfish with my time. And I’m a control freak who feels lost without organization. I’m pretty sure children make life pretty disorganized. 
What if my kid is an asshole? All kids these days seem like ungrateful heathens with ADHD. And they’re sexting like mad! What about the time I want to spend with my husband? You know, sharing a bottle of wine, having spontaneous sex, trying new recipes, visiting fancy restaurants, going to middle-of-the-week baseball games. I’m possessive of that time with him. And I’m possessive of my time with wine. And beer. What if I hate my post-baby body? What if looking in the mirror makes me cry? What if sex never feels the same again? 

Truthfully, I’m really fulfilled by pets. Can’t I just get some dogs? All they need is a walk and some food, which is totally manageable. Kids can talk, which makes their potential for annoyance way higher. Kids have tantrums! My kids are going to want to eat Kraft mac-and-cheese and hot dogs. I’m not down with that. A son could grow up to be like many lazy men I’ve dated who are perpetually broke and dependent on their parents for money, well into their thirties, when their hair has started receding. A daughter could grow up dressing like a ho at 12 and calling me a bitch on a regular basis. Ew, and I’m going to have to help with homework. Once I finished school, I swore I’d never do homework again. I have nightmares of being back in school and having a report due. Seriously. Nightmares. 

What about gene pools? I have some crazy relatives. And I’m a little crazy myself, evidently. I don’t really like other people’s children. I’m not that social, and you have to be with kids so they have activities and friends and whatever. Ugh, I hate that word — “activities.” I would totally fall behind with my DVR. We all know how much I love TV. It would probably take me a freaking year to read a book. Forget having time to write or do yoga or catch up on celebrity gossip. And forget about having time with friends. Goodbye pedicures and weekend hikes and martini-fueled girl time. 

Don’t kids cost a lot of money? They break a bone, they need braces, they want to sign up for soccer, they want to go to an ivy league college (my children are going to be brilliant, even if they are assholes). I prefer my life to be without financial concerns and pressures. I like knowing that I could lose my job and it would be just me who is affected. I’m not responsible for, you know, OTHER LIVES. Plus, financial stress means marital stress. I would definitely fight with my husband more if we had kids. How could I not? There is way more at stake. And he’d be in support of Kraft mac-and-cheese and hot dogs. I can see that being a huge argument.

I don’t do well without sufficient sleep. Period.

And, lastly, there are so many non-kid-friendly adventures to be had. Adventures in the wilderness. Adventures in countries where English isn’t spoken and food is of mysterious origin. Adventures that cost money, money that others would place in college funds.

The crux of it is that the pros of having a kid seem very vague to me. Yes, it sounds amazing to create a life with someone you love, but what if my worst fears as expressed in the previous paragraphs become realities? Then is it really that amazing? Maybe having a kid would help me get out of myself, let go a little bit, experience love in a whole new way, create a stronger sense of family. These things all seem very abstract though. I’m not good with abstract. 

Am I alone with all these worries? Do I need to up my dose of anti-anxiety meds? Help!

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16 Responses

  • Hello

    I am not a parent, so I’m not sure if i am qualified to answer this. But, up until very recently (this year actually) i hated hated the idea of having kids, for the majority of the reason you mentioned above. My family are shitty people, I have little contact with them, so why would I want to start my own if in 20years time my kids didn’t even want to be around me! And also the pregnancy, i hate doctors, i hate hospitals and its something i would have to endure for 9 months without much of a break. Nightmare.

    Anyway, early this year i had a pregnancy scare. and for 2weeks whilst I booked a doctors appointment etc I had it in my head I was pregnant. Turns out, i was completely over the moon, I was excited to start my own family, my mind set sort of changed from “what if i fuck up like my parents did?!” to “this is my chance to not be a fuck up”. I also decided want to chase all my amazing adventures with my kids.

    All in all, do what you feel right!! You might not want kids now, but 6 months down the line you might change your mind.


    ps. being so organised will probably bode ridiculously well when having a baby.

  • Very well said. Laughed pretty hard in parts. All very legitimate concerns. My best friend has had the same thoughts for years and has given in to her husbands constant whinging to try for a child, but she would be happy for things to stay as they are.

    I have a toddler with another on the way and cannot imagine my life without children but my life before hand was spent very friviously with allot of partying and travelling involved. But in my case,I started having children at 39,so I was ready to settle down by that point.
    As you know Ashley, being selfish is not an option when you have kids and the overwhelming love and concern you instantly have for these little ones takes over any other feelings you might have had. I personally think if you take the leap, you will never regret that decision, but there are of course many people out there who shouldn’t have children. As for your friend,she sounds like someone I would instantly get allong with and share a bottle of wine with. Again,all legitimate concerns,but seem so small oncecomapred to the pure miracle of having your own child.

  • I do know exactly how you feel. Up until about 26, I was the anti-child person you hear about. I would roll my eyes when people discussed anything child-related. I would select restaurants based on the principal that kids wouldn’t be there. I did not want kids. Then something crazy happened, I met the right person, and now 5 years later, I have a 2 year girl would is my sunshine and we’re looking at adding number 2 soon. Having kids is not for everyone and if you choose that path then it’s meant to be. Some people are meant to be the “cool aunt” afterall! I couldn’t imagine my life without my little one but I do know exactly where you are coming from. Don’t beat yourself up, “your time” will either come…or it won’t. Good luck!

  • Thinking about your friend’s concerns, I realized I did feel sort of like that when I was younger. I didn’t even want to get married, ever!!! I come from a shitty family as well and the fear of all that drama being reborn again in my life, it was not wanted. As time goes on you grow up and I met a great guy. I actually got married! We traveled, explored new restaurants, bought a house, and had plenty of free time to do whatever we wanted. I enjoyed those times very much and often think back and feel like I didn’t total appreciate that time at the time. Now jump ahead 7 years, I have two boys. One is 22 months and the other is 3 months old. I love them to death. I felt a void in my heart before and now it has been filled by them. I try really hard to raise them a certain way so they don’t turn into assholes or lazy ass men. It’s work in progress, talk to me in 18 years.
    Kids are not for everyone and don’t have kids if you don’t want them. We have enough people in this world who have done that already. Maybe your feelings will change in the future. I hope you do so you don’t miss out on all the joys, laughter, hugs & kisses, teaching, and growing up of that special little person that will love you unconditional.

  • I can totally relate. I was scared to death of having a kid. I’m admittedly selfish. I had things to do. Places to see before I “gave up my life.” I wanted to have a kid, but not til I was old. My husband pestered me for five years of marriage before I had a kid. And when I did get pregnant, I still didn’t feel like it was the right time. I was in the middle of law school for God’s sake. But you know what? All those cliches are true. When you hold your child, nothing else matters. Nothing in life before my child, no perfect wave or unforgettable journey to a new country, nothing had ever brought me as much joy as my child. And I really think thats something you can’t understand until yu have him/her. Nobody could have convinced me a child wasn’t going to seriously decrease my quality of life. Nobody could have explained to me the love I’d have for my child.

    But you know what? My life didn’t end after my baby. I graduated law school with a two month old. I took the bar when she was four months. My husband and I recently climbed a mountain with her in a backpack. (proof on my blog). We have to take turns surfing now, but I know with how time is flying it won’t be long before she’s out in the water with us. And in 8 weeks we’ll be moving to a foreign country. We won’t even know which one it is until 2 weeks before its time to leave. Life didn’t end, it just got better. A little more challenging, but a lot more fun and way more fulfilling.

  • If you have an inkling that you might want a child or children, then just know these are concerns everyone has (or should have, they’re all very practical) and those who decided to have children chose to because the potential benefit outweighed the risk. However, if you’re considering children because of the pressure from a spouse or loved one or because it seems like the thing to do or because all your friends have children and seem so happy. Then don’t. Not everyone should have children and it’s perfectly okay if you don’t want to have children. I have known a few mothers who’ve had children for (what I think were) perhaps not the best reasons and really just view them as a burden, an obstacle keeping them from the life they wish they were living. I suppose some soul searching is needed to decide which camp you fall into. Good luck!

  • Having a kid is a scary thing. It’s not for everyone. If your fears overwhelm your excitement, maybe it’s not for you.

    My best friend and her husband have decided they will not have kids. She is a cool “auntie” to my daughter, and she gets much joy buying her books and playing games with her — she has most of the same concerns you do.

    Whichever path you choose, own it. If you decide to have children, you won’t regret it. If you decide not to have children, don’t feel guilty. In no way should any woman feel as though they have to justify their decision to have or not to have children.

    I will tell you this: I never truly knew how much my mom loved me until I had my own child. The love between parent and child … there’s nothing like it in this world.

  • Your concerns are very appropriate. I have never been a baby person myself. Last year I decided that there were still many places I needed to see but I was going to put them on hold and try motherhood. I have never been a person who is emotional about babies or pregnant ladies. When I got pregnant I was more scared than excited thinking about the million possibilities that could go wrong. As the months went by my fear increased, now I not only worried about the baby but the delivery process. I had all these thoughts of the delivery going wrong and having to make the decision of mother or baby; up until the day before my delivery I would make up a thousand reasons of why the correct choice was to save me and not the baby. Of course I felt guilty for the thoughts but I was still very selfish at nine months pregnant. Then of course, complications happened and I had to have an emergency c-section. The decision of mother or baby never had to be made but as I was being rolled into the operating room, I knew that baby was my choice. As I was telling my husband that, I couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth. The baby was born and tell you the truth I did not fall in love at first site. It might have been the magnesium hanging from the iv or the fact that I now had a cut I wasn’t expecting but I did everything I needed to do as a mother. In the first week my husband would ask if I truly loved the baby more than anything else and I would reply ” not more than you” and mean it. At two weeks I hit a low point with the lack of sleep and the baby being a baby. I certainly thought I had made a mistake and I really did not have what it took to be a mother. Not only that but recovering from surgery was hard, I had no tolerance for physical activities and my anemia made me dizzy half the day. On the third week I felt head over heels for what I called my baby rat. He couldn’t hold eye contact, didn’t smile at me despite all my attempts and all he did was eat, sleep and poop but there was no one else I would rather be with. He is now about six weeks and I passed on going out with my friends; not because I couldn’t do it but I chose not to go because I had to leave my biggest love in the world for the first time. If you would have asked me a year ago if a baby would make me be less selfish I would laugh and said no. Of course there would come a day (in the next couple of weeks) that I need some me time but for now there is nothing the world could offer me that would produce the same ecstasy as when I’m holding my little rat in my arms. Raising a grateful, responsible and respectful man is a challenge I am more than willing to take:)

  • First, your friend is hysterical…and a great writer. Loved everything she said. And let’s be honest, even with me having kids, most of the things she said are true. They are valid concerns. And I really don’t think having children is for everyone. I have a friend and an aunt & uncle who chose not to have kids. I think that is the responsible thing to do. If you don’t want ’em, don’t have ’em. Because, guess what, they do change everything about your life! I still go on vacations to other countries, I just take my kids. And traveling with kids is not relaxing. I don’t have the time with my husband that I used to or the time with my friends for that matter. And I don’t have the time or money to go out or go shopping like I used to. But for me personally, it is all worth it. Raising a little human being and seeing them learn the things that you teach them is amazing. Having them hug you with their chubby little arms and sing the abc’s with you is incredible. And for me personally an experience that cannot be missed.

  • For someone who doesn’t have children yet your friend really sounds like she knows what she’s up against! It’s pretty impressive actually. I feel like all of my non-parent friends have no clue how different my life is now. Anyways, from reading that blurb it sounds like she doesn’t want kids. And you really shouldn’t have one if you aren’t totally committed to the idea. It’s tough! It’s beautiful, but truly it is tough. Things do change very much so, but for me it seems all the things that were important to me pre-parenthood that i can’t do anymore don’t really matter. Your friend might not be aware of it now, but if she does choose to have kids all of the fears and anxiety will go away because not only will life change so much – but she will change so much. She won’t care about clutter or those dreaded activities. She will evolve. And she will love every little mundane thing about life with a child. But, if she feels fulfilled now and honestly has no interest in children then she should wear that with pride. It takes a strong woman to feel complete in herself alone.


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