Yesterday I hit on three key reasons why you shouldn't have a baby - or rather, three scenarios to consider before deciding to have a kid. But three just didn't feel like enough, when my brainstorm list had over a dozen. Here's three more situations to consider before deciding if you'd like to have children.
To Oblige Your Partner
Recently, a friend reached out to me. She shared that she =was considering marrying her current boyfriend, but that he was hung up on the question of children. In her words, he didn't want the responsibility of children (more power to him for knowing that). She thought that one day she might want children - so she hadn't ruled them out yet. My advice to her was to be sure that she wouldn't resent him for a life without children if that's how things went down. And if she could live with that, and not resent him, then it would be okay.
All that to say: Don't have kids just because your partner wants to. This goes for any potential parent. I've also seen marriages break up because one person wanted kids and the other didn't. In these situations, having a child to satisfy your partner's expectations is not a great idea.
It seems odd to me that I need to include this, but here goes: Having a baby because you are curious as to what it would look like is a TERRIBLE idea. Once in college, a boyfriend asked me if I hadn't considered a baby that would look like a combination of us. I shuddered back then.
Look, I get it. Curiosity feels like it's going to kill you! But this is a terrible reason to have a baby. Once I found out I was pregnant with Shep, I started to imagine what that baby might grow to look like or act like. Would he have his father's nose? Or my eyebrows? Will he be able to grow a fierce beard, or will he have a decent sense of rhythm? Turns out, I gave birth to a clone of my brother, weirdly enough. So yeah. Hard pass.
Some relationships seem to exist in a perpetual roller coaster of emotional dynamics. When things are down, no one is happy and everyone piles on to the negative crap pile. But when things are up? Hey - everything is unicorns farting rainbows! Of course, every long-term committed relationship is going to have dry periods, or rough patches. But through it all, functional families retain a sense of emotional stability.
"Let's have a baby!" - Not a solution for your relationship problems. Also not a great way to preserve that moment of ultimate upswing in your dynamic. Also also a great way to be severely disappointed that the stress of raising kids is only going to further stress your relationship. Children aren't a negotiation tool in a relationship, and they're definitely a huge commitment. Be wary before using one as a fix-it stop-gap.
I'm tapped out. Without coming from a place of judgement, I can't narrow down reasons you or I ought to have a child. So maybe it seems more politically correct - more compassionate - to focus on the reasons not to have a child. Because hey - if my apparent pessimism hasn't deterred you - maybe you are ready to become a parent yourself!