For some, the child free lifestyle is a no-brainer. They don’t want kids, and that’s that. No amount of time, pressure, or thought is going to change their minds. They just know in their heart of hearts that parenthood is not for them.
But for others, the decision is incredibly difficult. One day you feel like maybe you want to be a mom, and the next day you can’t imagine giving birth and raising a child. Pressures sometimes feel insurmountable, and you begin second guessing your child free lifestyle.
Sometimes people have simply put off making a decision, saying that they will decide “in the future” if they wants kids or not. And that’s fine. Maybe biology will take care of it for you, if you put it off until your child bearing years get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror. But chances are, at some point, you are going to have to take a look at your life and decide.
So how do you make that decision? I consider it the most important decision of your life. You can choose the wrong partner and get a divorce. You can change careers anytime. But once you have decided to have a child, there is no turning back.
I often tell people you have to be 100% sure that you want to have a child before you start trying. If you are even 1% unsure, you aren’t being fair to your potential offspring, your mate, OR yourself. Here’s why:
1. No child deserves to come into this world unwanted. Every child should be loved unconditionally by both parents. If you aren’t convinced you want to create a new little life, then you absolutely should not.
2. You and your significant other must totally, utterly, and completely agree that you want to be parents. You both have to want a child. You cannot pressure your mate to change his or her mind about becoming or not becoming a parent. It has to be something that both of you want, at your very core. If you haven’t started talking about it, do it NOW. It won’t go away.
3. To be true to yourself, you have to try to separate yourself from all the external pressures (easier said than done, I know!). You have to turn off all the voices in your head, including parental pressure for grandchildren, society’s ideal of the “perfect family,” and even your partner’s desires. The desire to have a child has to come from INSIDE yourself. If you are swayed by pressure of any kind, you may be making the wrong choice.
I believe that anyone who wants to become a parent should spend some time with kids. You should imagine yourself as a mother or father, and NOT just the Kodak moments either. Talk to new parents. Get the scoop about what life is like for them. Think about the sacrifices you will have to make. Are you willing to go through pregnancy and child birth? Days without sleep? The financial burden, change in your lifestyle, dirty diapers, pukey tummies?
If you have been on the fence about having a child, then you have to go through this process before making a final decision. Some people have known all their lives that they want to be parents. If that is you, then great! Go out and start a family!
But if you have doubts, you can’t just jump into parenthood blindly. There are lots of things to consider.
Will you regret not having kids someday, when it is too late? Maybe. But isn’t it better to regret NOT having kids that to regret HAVING them?
Remember, it is your decision. No one else can make it for you. Think long and hard about it. It may be the most important decision you ever make.
Check out the subject heading “Maybe…Maybe Not” on the MNK homepage for more resources to help you decide if kids are for you.