Let’s Talk About Babies…

Something weird is happening as I get older…

I want babies…less and less. Is this happening to anyone else? When I was in high school, I was beyond certain I would have two kids, a dog and a husband by 30. It seemed LIGHT-YEARS away and totally feasible. In college, I felt a change in my body that fascinated me; I longed for a baby in a physical, visceral way, like my uterus somehow knew it was go-time.

But now that I am actually nearing 30, the idea is…terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, they are cute. I will always appreciate those chunky thighs and how they stumble around like tiny drunk men. But I also know, from a few sobering years of nannying, that they full-on poop in a bath (WITHOUT WARNING, PEOPLE), that they manage to get their fingers jammed in a door the split second you look away, that they require 8 million things just to walk to the park, that they will DEMAND the most random thing to eat and then, once acquired, have no interest in eating it. Oh, also? The car seat. *Mic drop.*

It’s funny how time can change the way you feel about something. Who knows, maybe in a year I’ll be itching for squirmy little drunk dude of my own. The reality is that I am still finding my bearings with this whole adulting thing, and it feels like it will be years before I wake up and think, “Yep, time to throw a baby in the mix.” A friend of mine and mother of two recently said to me, “The older you get, the smarter you get, the less you’ll want a baby.” She said it with humor, chasing after her two-year old, but it stuck with me. Maybe I know just a little too much, maybe I’ve had one too many babies poop in a bath under my watch, and maybe I’m missing the whole point — that having your own baby is an entirely different experience, one you can’t even imagine.

I have always assumed I would be a mom one day, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to never have any kids. I know an older couple who passed on having children and instead, sailed the world and saved lots of money. Now they throw THE MOST epic dinner parties in their backyard.

I know this is a personal topic, but feel free to share how you feel — I’d love to know. XO

Photo via Reveries.

19 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Babies…

  1. Yes. This. Exactly. I am freshly 30 and have noticed myself wanting children less and less. So happy to know I’m not along in this transition!

  2. Love this topic! I am definitely still in the “give me all of the babies” phase (like, I’m seriously considering getting my doula certification). I wonder if that’ll change in a year or 2 once I’m closer to 30. Or once I’m a doula and see how much you have to go through to have one…

  3. I think is partly the benefit of wisdom as we age. I remember wanting 4 (!) children when I was a teenager, and then saw that number steadily drop the more I was around children (worked in a daycare during college). You’re more aware that while children can be joys, they can also be holy terrors. And I also think the older I get, weirdly, the younger I feel–I’m more aware that adults don’t actually have everything figured out. I’m 35 and am often shocked by my own age–I certainly don’t always feel like a proper grown-up! That said, I’m also a bit older than you, and it sometimes makes me so sad to think that I might not ever have children. But then again, I also am genuinely unsure how much of that is an inner longing for children and how much of it is social conditioning–that I fear I’ve missed a mark of adulthood or even a bit of FOMO. How much of it is related to feeling left behind by my peers? Maybe having children is like a lot of adult decisions–there’s good reason to do it, and there’s good reason not to. Either option can send your life in one direction or another, neither one better than the other–just different.

  4. I’m 54 and have never wanted kids (and don’t have any). NEVER. Not even at age 12, when all the girls were talking in the locker room about wanting to be married and have kids… I just kept quiet. I have never wavered on this, despite LOTS of social pressure (from everyone from former in-laws to PhD advisor to people I meet on planes) to have kids. (Fortunately my ex-husband did not want kids either.) I am SO glad I have done what felt right to me and have been true to my deepest self. After all, the decision to bring another being into the world is a big and important one! I understand that many (most, apparently) people want children, but not everyone does. I just wish there weren’t such a stigma attached to being a woman who wants to do other things with her life.

  5. I’m almost 30 and have always wanted children. However, as I get older I simultaneously still want them but also am totally fine not having them yet. I think it’s because I see how much hard work they are! I don’t take having children lightly. One of the most important things I would need to have children is finding a partner and for us to decide to raise children together. I personally don’t want to be a single mom, and finding a partner seems like the most difficult part! I got out of a five year relationship last year and am now very single. It makes me a little anxious that I am not even close to having children. Part of me has always been like, “If I don’t have a serious partner by the time I’m 35, I’ll adopt!” But that’s only 5 years from now, and I’m not sure I could do it financially by then or if I would even want to do it alone. I think about and worry about it more than I should, but I also try to enjoy my unattached single life now where all I have to do is worry about myself.

  6. I am almost 38 and have two children – a 4 year old and 8.5 month old. It is hard. Really hard. I have an amazing partner and it is still hard.

    Several things I wish I had thought more about prior to having kids…

    1). I wish I would have considered having kids younger. My partner and I have been together for 10 years, married 7. I thought we needed some time where we were married but didn’t have kids but sort of wish we hadn’t waited as long. We both have parents in their mid-70s and I worry that my kids won’t have them in their lives long. Parenting (and pregnancy and nursing) is also really physically demanding. Older bodies make it harder too.

    2) Money plays into a lot of decisions. Having kids is really expensive. I work full time and like my job. I also know that I wouldn’t like being a stay at home parents. But I do wish I could work 3 days/week or a school schedule. Unfortunately we need two full-time incomes and daycare costs are approx $30k/year for us right now.

    3) I also wish we lived closer to family. Our closest relatives are an 8 hour drive. We also moved two years ago so we haven’t established a huge tribe to help us out when needed (or found people to pay to help). Those days when we are all sick, have no food in the house, etc. are when I wish we lived close to family to help out with. And even on healthy days, I just wish we could hang out.

    That being said, having kids is fascinating. It definitely has changed me in ways I could not have predicted. Some good, some less good. Four years in and I am still finding my footing

    • Whitney, thank you so much for sharing this and for your candid thoughts on parenting. I love that you say, “having kids is fascinating” because it SEEMS totally fascinating from the outside (especially how your children are essentially a blend of you and your partner, that must be endlessly fascinating) but I truly have no idea what it’s like. Thanks again for your insight! XO

  7. Sometimes I wish I had thought about having kids younger, too! Except in my 20s I was totally ambivalent about the whole thing. Then, right before turning 32, I went through a breakup (of a 4-year relationship). Suddenly single and 32, I was hit with the biological clock BIG time. Now I’m 33 and have a great partner who wants all the same things in life that I want – including kids – but it seems we should “wait” until “the time is right” (like, till after marriage) to get started on the whole kids thing. I worry a lot about getting too old. Even if we start trying in a year, I’ll be 34. I think women have a lot more pressure to start thinking about the kids thing earlier rather than later. Unfortunately!!

    • It is cliche but there really is no right time. I don’t regret waiting exactly, but I look at people who had kids younger and do feel jealous. But I also feel like the two I have were truly meant to be mine. (Of course, I would probably feel this way about any kids I had, right?)

  8. I’m 35 and have 2 kids – 2.5 and 1. What Whitney said – it’s so much work and so expensive. Like, “yes, of course, of course,” but seriously… probably more work and money than most people imagine. And yet, and yet, and yet… they are my supreme joy and favorite things. It’s been hard on our marriage, the way anything that causes total loss of autonomy, change of lifestyle and costs tons of money would be, but it’s also become the cornerstone of our marriage, and I’m totally obsessed with our family. When I get home from work, I really wish I could change out of my work clothes and pee alone for, like, 3 minutes, but I truly don’t mind because it’s so fun to be enveloped in all the daughter-love and provide for them.

  9. it’s all so strange…I’m 56 years old with a 26 year old…and suddenly when I see babies, I start babbling goo-goo-gaa-gaa.

    don’t know if I’m feeling the need to be a grandmother or the passing of one’s mortality…

  10. I’m 34 and have never felt the pull of having kids. I also don’t really want to play with or hold other people’s babies….which is the opposite of all my gfs (well, most). So I’m not sure–my husband wants kids, and I’m on the fence about them. I think he’ll be an incredible father, and our parents of course wants us to have them…and I think I’ll want them, in about 8-10 years. So I think we’re going to start “trying”, but to me, if feels more like an investment. I’m pretty sure I’ll want them in my 40s, but it’s safer (and probably easier to bounce back) if I have them sooner than later. Plus, I’m really hoping that I’ll want to play with my own kids…seeing as I never want to play with other people’s!

  11. Let me start this with a couple disclaimers:
    1. I’m 28 and married, and we do not have children, nor are we actively trying to have any right now.
    2. I would like to have some 1 or more someday, although parts of the idea of parenting are slightly terrifying.
    3. I do not believe that getting married OR having children are our highest good as people. Different strokes for different folks type of thing.

    But, all of that said, my uncle (who is a very successful financial advisor) said his clients with the most money do not have children, but nor are they his happiest.

    So, when I think about having kids, I know there will be a cost- monetarily, emotionally, physically, and mentally, but it also seems like there is a rich reward of lasting happiness. Whether or not that’s true- I haven’t found out for myself yet.

  12. Less and less, which was quite little to begin with. Totally agree with the sentiment that this feels very much like me wisening up to things, and so very grumpy at the world for “kindly” telling me I don’t know what I am talking about and that literally everyone knows better than I do what is good for me on this topic of kids.

  13. One of your best posts yet, Joy. Loved it and shared it with several friends.

    Honestly, the thought of kids feels SO far away, but I also realize a lot can happen really fast. Right now, I don’t want to think about it too much because I feel so unprepared emotionally and financially (and still so selfish about my own desires) but it’s important to have the conversation with yourself and your partner (if it’s relevant).

    Btw, every mother I’ve spoken to recently reiterates the “it’s never a good time to have kids” line. Sigh…..but kind of comforting too, I guess!

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments, too.

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