When parents question whether their children were worth having

The boy and I are at the age when the majority of our friendship group have children or are pregnant and I’ve noticed recently that a lot of them seem to be questioning whether having their children was really worth giving up their social lives, stifling their careers, the endless sleepless nights etc.

A few weeks ago a friend told me that if they could go back they would have waited until they were older before having a baby (they’re 33 and their baby is 14 months). Today another friend put on Facebook a link to an article about babies “Are they really worth it?” which essentially concluded that you make the most of having a baby but your old life is ruined forever (the analogy being that a baby is like winning the lottery but losing a leg).

When you feel like your entire life is focused on trying to get pregnant and sustain a successful pregnancy it is really hard to hear people who have a baby with no effort at all questioning whether it was worth it. Almost questioning why you’re bothering and implying they would swap their life with yours.

I’m not naive. I don’t imagine that having a baby is all giggles and sleepy cuddles. I know there will be difficult times when I struggle with the lack of sleep and loss of independence. In fact one of my biggest worries is getting post natal depression. I’m conscious that recurrent miscarriage can greatly increase the risk of mental health issues post pregnancy. But when I think about what I’ve been through so far and I’m still no closer to having a baby, I need parents who’ve made it to the other side to remind me why I’m doing this and to make me feel like the months of un-romantic sex, weeks of praying that each pregnancy would last, pain of miscarriage and surgery and months of mourning, is going to be worth it in the end.

I hope that if I am able to have a baby that I will feel differently to my friends. They miss their old lives because they have nothing but fond memories, whereas I find that being able to go to a pub on a Wednesday is simply a reminder that my life isn’t where I want it to be. I have had a good time focusing on my career, taking expensive holidays and going for impromptu dinners and drinks but now feel like I’m done with that and I’m ready for the next step. But what if I’m wrong? If they are right and this part of my life is as good as it gets, why am I going through all this pain and heartache just to get a baby which those who have one seem to resent and would trade to get their old lives back?

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3 thoughts on “When parents question whether their children were worth having

  1. Don’t believe it for a second! Children are a gift,a miracle – and we are stewards of the little lives. Babies and children don’t exist to make US happy; we have a responsibility to them! If someone doesn’t wAnt that, then no, they shouldn’t have kids. But I know plenty of people who say raising kids and being a parent is the hardest thing you will ever do – BUT WORTH IT!!!

  2. I have a nine year old son, and he drives me to insanity sometimes, but I honestly cannot remember my life before him. None of that matters- I love being his mother. And after experiencing a pregnancy loss last summer, I will never take motherhood for granted again.

  3. I have heard those same remarks countless times also, and I think it’s the season they’re in. Day to day life with kids can get mundane, but I think there is also a sacredness in the mundane and I would bet most of these people making these remarks would not trade their children for the world, and admit there’s nothing like it (having children) to compare to (because I have heard that too) I’m sure there are a lot of freedoms they miss- alone time, lots of sleep, etc. but the love they get to experience as parents grows too, and I think in the big picture- it’s always better to have more love over comfort and extra sleep:-)

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