How To Decide: Should I Have Kids?

For her final post of the month, our always-insightful Guest Editor Jessica Murnane, offers a seriously helpful step-by-step guide to figuring out whether having babies is the right move for you, however hesitant you might feel.
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I’ve never had that burning desire to have children like so many other women. I didn’t have it as a little girl and not as an adult. I’ve often wished I were the type of woman who dreamt of being pregnant and decorating a nursery, because it would have made the decision a lot easier. 

Because when you aren’t one of those women who knows in her gut and her heart that she’s meant to be a mom, then how are you supposed to know if you should become one? There’s no test you can take to figure it out. There isn’t a return policy on babies. If you get them home and “they don’t fit just right,” you can’t take them back. No. It’s just something you’re inherently supposed to know. And if you don’t know, then how are you supposed to feel? Maybe like there’s something wrong with you? Or you’re just mixed up and confused right now? Or when you meet the right person, that’s when you’ll know? But what if knowing never happens? 

Like I said, there’s no test to determine if being a mom is your path, but if you’re feeling anxiety over the decision and feel lost, the questions below are a good place to start. You don’t have to have the answers right away. Sit on them. Let them marinate. Don’t rush yourself. 

1. Ask yourself if you want to give birth.

If the idea of giving birth is causing even more conflict in your mind about having a baby, there are other ways to create a family. Adoption, fostering and surrogacy can be beautiful options. These “alternative” choices are often presented as last resorts, but they can be your first choice. And they aren’t as scary as Lifetime movies make them out to be. Not every woman wants to experience childbirth and that’s okay.

Begin to think about what it would look and feel like if you brought a baby home and into your life.

2. Ask yourself why.

I never really got why my husband wanted a baby. For ten years of our marriage and after lots of discussion, I still wasn’t sold. It wasn’t until I went home for Christmas one year and watched my family from afar playing games, laughing and having fun together. Then and there, it hit me. 

My husband didn’t want a baby. He wanted a family. 

Begin to think about your “why.”

3. Ask yourself what kind of mom you want to be.

Does the word “play date” make you nervous? Does the “Mom” title conjure up images of ill-fitting jeans and never seeing your friends again? We’re conditioned to think that when we become moms, we lose our identity and subscribe to a certain “mommy lifestyle.” That might not match the person you want to be. But you have a choice in this, and you get to be whatever kind of mom you want. And it’s okay if she doesn’t look and act like she’s “supposed” to. 

Begin to think about what kind of mom you want to be. Maybe even identity some mom role models that seem to be the version you want to be.

4. Ask yourself what kind of support you’ll have.

Having a supportive partner is a game changer. And not having one can lead to a lot of resentment and anger when raising a child. Especially for women that were unsure about having one in the first place. 

Is your partner going to take on diaper duty? Is your partner going to be a parent and not just “babysit”? Is your partner going to be cool if you just need to get out of the house and go to a movie alone? If you need your partner to be 50/50, you’d better make sure that’s clear before you start a family.

Begin to think about how your support system will look. Refer to question three again, if necessary.

p.s. If you're still “nah” after answering these questions, that’s also okay. Take your time. Check out this book. It’s an incredible resource. And in case you’re wondering, this author, Jessica Murnane, adopted a baby boy with her husband two years ago – a husband who is cool with her going off to a movie alone on a Saturday. She still never wants to be pregnant and thinks it’s okay if you don’t want to be either. If you want to read more about her adoption journey and decision to be a mom, you can visit her website here