In my new series, "How To Baby", I share some of the wisdom passed down to me by mothers who came before me. Fair warning: I might include a dash of my own lived experience in there, too. My goal is to cover every single aspect of having a baby - from deciding when it's a good time, to knowing if you should learn the baby' sex, to figuring out how to diagnose a lip tie. Hopefully this can become a guide-book of sorts for first-time moms! One that's based on current science and best practices, and not on your mom's old, "Well I did it this way and you survived!"
For my first installation, I felt that the decision to have a baby was a good place to start. Well, maybe that's a misnomer. Did you know that half of all pregnancies are unplanned? So maybe for many it's less of a decision and more of a happening. But for those who are in the grey - not sure if they want to have a baby or not - this first piece of the How To Baby guide is perfect!
Sometimes the easiest way for us to understand what something is, is to contrast it against what it isn't. Couching something in these binary or conflicting terms helps your brain to grasp the concept - but it's just a beginning seed of understanding. Even huge life decisions, like deciding to procreate, come into sharper focus when you apply that type of contrast.
To Relive Your Youth
No. Just....no. This is some sick and twisted crap, a really great way to give your kid a complex. It's okay to move on with your own life and MORE than okay to give your kid the chance to lead their own life and make their own choices. Kids are not actually clones, believe it or not.
Because You Have Never Considered The Alternative
This is the same concept as couching this decision in absolutes. If you've never considered live a life without children, try it on for size. Really make sure that you've decided against it - that might be easier than deciding *for* children. Or knowing that you can't shake the appeal of a childfree lifestyle might help you decide against spawning spawnlets. Either way - you'll be more certain that you made the right decision.
You Want To Be Pregnant, Not A Parent
Hard to swallow, I know. Take a moment to reread that.
One of the defining moments of my twenties was the realization that I desperately wanted to be a parent - and specifically, I wanted to make babies with my husband. On my way home from an errand run, I let my mind wander to a time in the future when I might have kids in the car with me. In other fantasies, I am cooing in the face of a perfect cherub baby. But this time, I was imagining the conversations I was having with my eight-year-old. A full-grown child, with interests and opinions and knowledge to share. My heart squeezed. I knew then and there that I wanted to be a mother. I didn't care if I was going to do it by being pregnant with my own kids. It was going to happen.
Before you get knocked up, make sure you want to be a parent. For life. To be responsible for another human's existence, at all times. There's nothing wrong with saying you'd rather not. And there's nothing wrong with saying you can't not.
For me, having children has been a life-changing and overwhelmingly positive experience. Although, in my immediate circle, I know women who regret having kids. Don't think they lack love for the children. It's just simply an expression of what-ifs; something I think any healthy person does at least once following a huge life decision. So before you have kids, be totally sure. Any doubt? Squash it out before proceeding.