maybe baby

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lately, life has blessed me with the feeling of finally becoming a real adult. i’ll be the first to admit that i’m late to the party on this one, but my lifestyle just didn’t lend itself to acting so much like a grown up. i mean, i take care of myself and my business, but i’ve never had much concern about the big stuff. ’til now. it seems that a good, solid relationship can reflect itself in your priorities and goals remarkably. that’s what i’m learning. i’ve never been one to consider things like settling down, or owning a home, but, to date, i’ve never had any reason to. and, though, i’ve never felt the need to rule the possibility of doing so out, i’ve also never had to form an official opinion on becoming a mother.

this month, the awesome site owning pink gifted me the opportunity to take part in a six week course called maybe baby. the scholarship was just the coolest news and the goal of the program is quite simple in its beauty: to help the women taking part in identifying their real and honest feelings about having babies; to, as the tagline states, be at peace with your truth.

Maybe Baby Badge

as a woman, it isn’t like the thought has never crossed my mind. i believe it’s just in our nature to analyze our intentions on the topic. it is thrust upon us at a very early age, after all – i’m sure most girls still have a baby doll prior to their first birthday – and that trend of playing house doesn’t end there. in fact, i can think of several examples of women still playing house thirty plus years later.

some women just *know* what they want. others know exactly what they don’t. and some women think they know what they want and end up changing their minds completely. for example, i have a friend who swore she’d never ever be a parent, is about to deliver next month and is absolutely beside herself with excitement.

many of my friends have children, but i don’t ever remember the decision to have children (or not) being part of standard girl talk. true to that statement, the creator of the program calls the subject one of the biggest conversation women aren’t having.

after ten years of work as a doula, i’ve logged a lot of time around all things birth and baby, but none was spent on this huge question. by the time i got around them, my clients were already pretty committed. ;)

that creator i mentioned is a woman named randi buckley who is also the course facilitator. her program is built around videos, audio clips, reading materials and her own maybe baby experience. as she explains it:

“Maybe Baby” seeks your truth.  We’ll look at what may be in the way of that, and what it means. Some women I’ve worked with have talked about feeling like a hypocrite (because you always said ‘hell no’ about kids), wondering if you’ll be able to make it financially, how to talk to a partner about your feelings, your stereotypes of what people become when then become parents, how to be ok with wanting a child when a friend is suffering infertility or miscarriage, being scared that you might screw someone up, what you can say to well-meaning relatives who have opinions or won’t stop asking you about this, reconciling having once terminated a pregnancy but perhaps wanting a child now, being ok with no, being ok with “I don’t know”, being ok with yes.  The list goes on, but it’s your list and I want to help.  And I will.

we’ve only just assembled, representing seven different countries and it’s already a very powerful connection. it is always awe-inspiring to witness a group of women uniting with intention. the place we share is a sacred space and out of it will not come any stories, though i will likely be back with my own ideas and/or feelings as i process my work. i hope you will join in and share with me your insight into the experience of becoming a parent.

i feel lucky to have never suffered the kind of pressure from my family that you see in the movies or that i’ve heard about from friends. aside from a few totally out of line acquaintances, nobody’s ever even really shown interest in my desire (or lack thereof) for a family. i’m sure i am at a point when most people think that a baby is something i’ve decided against. though many mothers i know had their children in their late thirties, a lot of folks are still hung up on the idea that it’s too late. truth is, i wouldn’t give up any of the experiences i had until now to go back and change things. i ended up in this place for a reason and no matter what comes out of this exploration, i am confident that it will lead me to my own understanding. my hope is that i can dive in and really live it, get involved and make the most of this amazing guidance and opportunity.

more later, to be certain. in the meantime…

  • did you just *know* that you would (or would not) be a mother? (or a father, for that matter?)
  • what were your biggest concerns or hesitations in making the decision to become a parent?
  • as a mom or dad, what would you advise others to consider before going down the road of baby making?
thanks in advance to everyone who offers their two cents to the discussion(s), to my maybe baby group, to randi for making it happen and to owning pink for the scholarship to the program. this is just the beginning of what will certainly be an interesting journey.

11 responses »

  1. Love that you’re talking about Randi’s program! She’s fabulous and I know this is going to help a lot of women make a decision that can be heart-wrenching and feel too big for one (or two) people.

    I’m well past the age where I think it would be a good idea to have a baby. My husband and I decided years ago it was not for us. That sounds like we made the decision flippantly, but truly we didn’t. We talked a lot about it, shared our fears and concerns our views of the future…and a philosophy I lit upon when we were engaged and I was around 20: “there is no unselfish reason to not have kids. But there is also no unselfish reason to have kids” It’s not about being altruistic or “doing the right thing”, it can only be about doing the right thing for you.

    It’s a complex issue and I wish that every parent had the chance and foresight to really plumb the depths of their feelings about it before finding themselves responsible for a whole new human. I sure didn’t want to be one of those people who spent less time working through the decision than on choosing a car!

    So kudos to Randi and her well-needed program. And butterflies to you as you work through the program with her. May you find the peace you need with your own decision.

    • randi is certainly an incredible woman and this is going to be a great experience, i’m certain.

      i’ve thought a lot along the lines of one of your comments, but you articulated it perfectly. “people who spent less time working through the decision than on choosing a car.” it’s incredible that for such a major decision, people will resort to whimsy. i’m sure it works out in some cases, but i think there are also glaring examples of the cases where it doesn’t.

      thanks for your input! it was a very insightful contribution!

  2. I *never* wanted to have kids. I always thought I would never find the right person to have kids with, that I would never be able to give up the selfish parts of me, and that I was never good enough to take care of another human being. That being said, Oz was THE BEST thing that ever happened to me, and led us to being the five weeks along with #2 that we are now..

    It’s so hard to go into being a parent thinking that you’re giving up a part of yourself for someone else. But the most important lesson that I’ve learned in the last 4 years (holy crap, already?!) is that you don’t HAVE to give up any part of you. It becomes another part of you that you didn’t know you had. Finances worked themselves out, finding the right amount of space for a family worked itself out, the thing that I had to work on was knowing that I was able to do this. That the thought of being completely responsible for a little human was scary, yes… but that I could do it, and do it well.

    I encourage EVERY potential parent out there to consider the pros and cons of having children, and know that whatever decision they make is a very personal one, and there is no wrong decision.

    I think it’s really cool that you’re going through this program. I will be interested to read you working through what you’re thinking and feeling.

    • funny, megs. you’re such a natural at parenting and loving it that i’d never have suspected you doubted yourself.

      in entirely different areas of life, i’m learning that lesson that everything works itself out. as someone who used tog et pretty uptight about details, i’ve come light years over the course of the project i’m working on. it’s like trusting in the universe, right? having faith…

      i may do some work publicly, though it may remain private instead. touch back with me if it doesn’t appear here and i’m sure i’ll gladly fill you in. :)

  3. Whenever people tell me that they are having thier first child my response is always, “congratulations….sucker!”. I mean that lovingly, but honestly. All women should take the time to consider asking themselves if motherhood is right for them. Personally it has been the greatest experience of my life, as well as the most challenging. Until you have your first child you can not fathom how much your life will change in a single day. All those things that you take for granted as a single person become extremely apparent within the first month of motherhood. Also it is a bit of a crap shoot as you do not know if your child will be born with any health issues or other problems. My son developed Crohnes disease at the age of 7 and was extremely ill for 5 years in which he was bed ridden and had zero quality of life. He ended up having a major operation that changed everything, but NONE of that was on my mind when I decieded to have children. I just never considered that my child would be anything but healthy. Having said that I wouldn’t change anything, and given the choice to do it all again I would. My children are my greatest treasure and have taught me so much about what is important in life. The love you have for your children is unlike any love you feel for another human being. It is truely unconditional. I have freinds who opted not to have children and I appluad them. It is not for everyone and the more you can be clear and aware of why you want to take this step the better. However, if you do decided to do it you will still be totally unprepared for the reality of the situation…..ha ha sucker!

    • oh, nika, you’re amazing. <3 you've been through so much and, you're right, nobody considers an imperfect product. i suppose that's part of the huge gamble. if not health or behavioural issues, it may be, as jen shares, below, twins! it's risky business, but we so often paint it only in pretty little pastel colours. thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Hey Carly … what a great program and opportunity for you!

    - did you just *know* that you would (or would not) be a mother?

    I definitely did not know. Actually, I knew that I didn’t want children because I was enjoying my career and lifestyle so much. The baby seed was planted in my head by a woman I really respected, and it slowly grew over the course of about six months. One morning I woke up and was smacked in the face with BABY. Becoming a mother, having a family was all of a sudden the most important thing in the world.

    - what were your biggest concerns or hesitations in making the decision to become a parent?

    When my mind was set to becoming a parent I had very little concerns or hesitations and I was really excited to get pregnant. It wasn’t until after I had a positive test that I started worrying about everything, and that doubled when I found out we were having twins.

    - as a mom or dad, what would you advise others to consider before going down the road of baby making?

    I think it’s important to understand why you want to bring a child into the world. Too many people do it because it’s what society says is a next step, or because something is lacking in their life or relationship – the latter being the worst, most selfish reason ever to have a baby! As one of the commentators above me said, the money, housing, car situation works itself out, or you make it work. Heck, I didn’t even have a car for my daughters’ first few years and we made it work by living in a condo in an urban center with a bad ass stroller. Six years later we have cars and a backyard in the suburbs but that came slowly.

    Our biggest shock was having twins … we never planned for that and it changed the course of our entire life. I had no choice but to say goodbye to my career and the city, two things I’d never dreamed of doing, and you know how that’s going now … it’s hard to get back into for so many reasons. Multiples, disabilities, health issues – no one ever thinks their bundle is going to be anything but a perfect angelic addition to their lives, and that’s the case most of the time but sometimes not. I’d just say never count on anything!

    Also, my coffee is cold and this comment took about an hour to write because of constant interruptions, kids bickering, requests for me to play teacher, etc., etc. … that’s what it’s like, that’s what no one tells you … you’ll never be able to write a comment in under an hour on a Saturday afternoon ever again ;)

    Good luck on your journey!!

    • thanks, jen. i’m pretty stoked for the opportunity!

      it’s funny how many women who are now mothers are telling me that at some point in their lives, for various reasons, they thought they didn’t want to be. maybe it’s like horses and every woman goes through a no baby stage. ;)

      i’m so curious about how the baby seed was planted for you. what did this woman tell you that planted it and why do you think her words or advice were so effective on you?

      twins would certainly be a shock, but you seem to manage it incredibly! i always enjoy your parenting stories be they via blog, facebook or twitter.

  5. I have always wanted kids (as has Chris). People seem to question that desire since Chris and I have been together nearly 10 years and married for 7 of those. The reality for us is that we have never felt rushed to be parents. I don’t buy into the whole I am getting old crap. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and timing is everything. If we are meant to be parents we will be whether it is next year or 3 years from now. We are probably more close to being ready to take that journey now than we have at any other point in our relationship. And you know I got baby fever and I gots it BAD! lol

  6. Well, I’m late to the game, but here goes:

    I always knew I would be a mom. Growing up it was always something that was part of my plan, unconsciously. Every guy I dated I wondered what type of dad he would make. Then when I got married, the possibility of being a parent was RIGHT THERE. I was pregnant within a year. When my son was born, it was the most natural transition ever. I instantly felt like a mother, and instinctively knew what to do with him. I never second-guessed myself, and my instincts never failed me. I was deep in baby-love, and my little guy and I were best buddies those first few years.

    But the baby stage, with all its challenges, sleepless nights and feedings, is the easy part. These little innocent souls trust you and think you are the shit. But then they go off to school and see a whole new world out there, and suddenly one day they become teenagers (or pre-teens) and things are very different. In the quiet moments they will still cuddle with you, but for the most part they are very different people. They’re trying out their independence, and they’re trying on personalities. It’s all normal, I keep reminding myself, but you know what? I have been so nostalgic over the past few months for the “old days” when my kids were little. Even to the point of wondering if I wanted another baby.

    I always said I would never have a third child because as much as I love the baby stage, that baby grows up, and it’s a lifelong commitment. I just couldn’t consciously decide to go through this again with a third. You can’t just think about the baby, you have to think about the three year old with the temper, the six year old who still thinks its okay to colour on the walls or furniture, the ten year old who has a friend who thinks its cool to mouth off to his friend’s parents. I’m sure at thirteen, fifteen and eighteen there are tons of other issues to deal with as well (I’m seeing some of them in the distance already.)

    So I guess what I’m saying is, kudos for putting thought and investigation into it. Because whatever you decide, you’ll be better prepared and comfortable with your decision. I think people get caught up with wanting a “baby” and they aren’t thinking about having a “person.” And that person is going to need a lot of their time and resources for the next 18-25 years (more, if the current media is to be believed!) and beyond, because you love this person so much you will do anything for them. And everybody’s experience of parenthood will be different, because I’ve talked to moms who hated the baby stage and love the older kid stage. But I would still encourage a potential parent to really make the decision based on that lifelong commitment, because you really aren’t just having a “baby.”

  7. I just read my comment again and it seems a bit negative. I don’t mean to come across that way, but the point I’m trying to make is that it gets tougher as time goes on and the challenges are different, and I think there is more at stake. Do I let my son get the “I <3 Boobies" bracelet that he wants to badly and that 'every other kid' in his class has? What about when the kids' friends start drinking? The issues just get a little harder to handle, and you can't always insist on it being your way, you have to let them explore and figure things out for themselves, too.

    I've made a point of talking to other moms whose kids are a little older than mine, and it makes me feel better to hear them say, "Oh, things will get better, but other things will crop up, and you'll handle that, too."

    Moms are good for that. :)

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