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Will my life be over if I have kids?
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anna_bugz posted:
I'm 34 and I've only been with my boyfriend for a year, but he wants to have 2 kids, so I have to start in the next couple years. I never thought much about having kids one way or the other until I met him. It always seemed like something that I wouldn't have to worry about and if I did it would all just be clear. But ever since I've realized how soon I will have to have kids, I've felt like my life is over. I've never gotten where I want to with my career, I've never had money, never done anything fun, never even been on a real vacation. I feel like I have no hope of ever doing these things now that I might have kids. I feel like both physically and socio-economically I'll be cut down in the prime of my life and won't resurface again until my 60s. My boyfriend says kids are fun, but I don't know any women who would use that word. I won't go off the pill for probably another two years or so, but that doesn't seem like enough time to squeeze in everything I want to accomplish in life. Can anyone give me hope that my life is not over? Can I still accomplish things? Can I still have fun? Can I still be an adult?
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fcl responded:
To start with, you don't HAVE to have children. Secondly, it's not because he wants to have children that you should have them just to please him. In fact, I'd say that's a pretty crappy reason for having children.

Having children is not going to end your life but it will profoundly change it. It sounds to me as if you are not ready for children and that you might never be ready and you know what? That's OK.

Would not having children be a dealbreaker for your boyfriend? Does he know how you feel? Have you sat him odwn and explained that there are things you want to do before having a baby? Could you find ways of working things in (like making your honeymoon your "real" vacation)?

Whatever you do, make your decision for you (not him) and be honest with your bf (no platitudes).
 
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Anon_2991 responded:
I'd say it really depends on you. I know several people who do not want children. They do not want the responsibility that comes with raising another human being and they do not want to change their current lifestyle. And that's fine - good for them for knowing what they do and do not want.

For me, I honestly feel that my life didn't really start until I had my son. Did I give things up? You bet. But I got so much more in return. It's hard work, but the most rewarding work I've ever done. It's fun at times and it's challenging at times. But I've always known that I wanted children. And I'm grateful every day that I've got him in my life. It's also changed my relationship with my husband. We were together for 10 years before my son came along. It was actually nice to shake things up a little! But we had plenty of time to grow together as a couple first.

Kids are not for everyone. Just becasue I love it doesn't mean you'll experience the same thing. Think it over carefully and as the previous poster said, don't do this to please your boyfriend. Do it because it's the right thing for you.
 
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anna_bugz replied to fcl's response:
Yes it is a dealbreaker for him, the only dealbreaker. This is why it is becoming urgent-- he wants me to commit to having two kids beyond any doubt before he will fully commit to me. Thus, I have to decide before I'm ready. I am not with him because I need to be with someone-- I actually prefer being single. I'm with him because we just love each other. And it's not like I know for a fact I don't want kids, I would just rather think about it when it feels right and do things naturally. I know for a fact I'm not ready now, but I have to tell him that I'll definitely be ready sometime in the next couple years.

He knows how I feel but he doesn't understand it. He knows you make sacrifices but he thinks kids are just fun-- I can see how men could think that, but I don't think it's the same for women. He thinks we can still do all the stuff we want to do, that kids won't interfere with that, but I can't see how that's possible. I don't even see how we could possibly afford kids even if we never did anything for ourselves again, and since we'll be cut down at a crucial point in our careers, I don't see how we'd ever get out of that hole.

As for a honeymoon or whatever, we wouldn't do that because we'd need to save everything for having kids. I'm not even sure if we'd have much of a wedding, which makes me a little sad--it would just be something we'd kind of rush through to expedite having kids. I'd like to experience and savor these things, but I won't be able to on my boyfriend's timeline.

All I want is to start thinking about getting married, at a normal pace, have fun with that, live our lives, and work kids in when the time is right. But he is worried about my biological clock and says that's not being realistic for people our age.

I know it is ok not to be ready to have kids or to not want kids-- I think it is TOTALLY ok. He thinks so too, but I would have to do that without him. I've pretty much decided that I will try to have them eventually, but it is the timing and the loss of the things I want and the lack of natural flow that is killing me.
 
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Roy Benaroch, MD replied to anna_bugz's response:
Let me take off my doctor hat to answer this one. Consider me just another person answering-- this isn't a medical or "expert" opinion.

Please do not have children if you're being pressured in any way. This will not end well. You will remain resentful, you will split up, and the kids will suffer greatly.

It's presumptuous and frankly offensive for anyone to issue this "two children" ultimatum. What if you end up not getting pregnant? What if your 1st child isn't healthy? What if for medical reasons you shouldn't or can't have a second child? It is ridiculous to say "there will be two children and if not I am leaving this relationship."

I'm also wondering why there is no talk of marriage here. Committed enough to insist on two children, but not a lifetime together? Kids are not just playthings. If you two aren't on the same page here, this is not the time to have children.
 
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anna_bugz replied to Roy Benaroch, MD's response:
Oh sorry, there is talk of marriage-- we're not going to have kids until after we get married, that is definite.

If I can't get pregnant, which I see as a real possibility, we will adopt one or both. I have brought up the scenario where we could have one kid and plan on having another but circumstances change and it becomes what is not best for us, but he thinks this is extremely unlikely to happen and that it's just a way to waffle on my decision. He has been a little more willing to accept just having one kid, but still wants to do everything in our power to have two. I hope I am not painting too bad of a picture of him-- he has just always dreamed of having two children more than anything in the world, and it really is quite sweet. I respect that, and I am willing to be part of it, but I just don't think that you can plan and know everything so certain so far in advance. It is really a matter of a difference of philosophies.

One reason I can't know all this stuff so far in advance is that I really don't know what it would be like to have kids. I really want to know if I can still have my life. All my friends' kids are still babies and I don't have much exposure to what it's really like. Is there any possible way a person can find out? Has anyone ever written a book on the subject?
 
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Anon_2991 replied to anna_bugz's response:
I don't think a person can find out because it's going to be different for everyone. It will be different if you choose to stay home or go to work. It will be different if you decide to go home and have a family member who will watch the child or if you will send them to daycare. It will be different depending on the child. There is no playbook for parenting.

In terms of career, I can tell you that in the 3 years since my son was born, I've advanced my career significantly. I've found a way to balance work and life - but I can also tell you I'm exhausted every night when my head hits the pillow.

And it also depends on what you consider 'having your life'. Chances are, your life will need to change. My husband and I try to get out on a date night every other month or so....but it's tough to stick with that. But we also go out and do other things as a family...no longer can we just up and go to a movie of our choice. It's now a trip to the zoo, the aquarium or a screening of the latest Disney movie instead. Dinner out is at a family friendly restaurant, not the 5 star establishment in the big city. No longer can I decide on a Friday night to take off for the weekend - it takes planning and a lot of packing. It's different. For me, it's better. But it's not for everyone.
 
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anna_bugz replied to Anon_2991's response:
Thanks Anon. This is a lot of the stuff I worry about, the little things, having to live like a child. I didn't even like kids' stuff much as a kid. It seems so trivial, but I've always wanted to go on vacation, and I just don't want my first one to have to be to Disney World. I badgered my parents into spending the money and vacation time to take us there when I was a kid, and I've felt horrible about it ever since.
 
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hgreenwood7058 responded:
You need to consider if you ever actually want to have kids. Is your life going to be over if you have kids NO. You can still have fun, you can still do things you want to accomplish if you put your mind to it. But you also have to be motivated and try harder at it. You said you never got where you wanted with your career (even before children) the only thing changing there is you have someone there that you will need to care for. For some thats more motivation. I am a woman that will say kids are fun. if you like kids. I just had my son almost 4 months ago. I went through a miscarriage about 6 months prior to getting pregnant with my son. I knew I wanted kids. I have a good job and we just bought a house. We set goals for ourself. I love my son with all my heart and i would not change it for the world. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He is my world. We still go on vacations and do fun things. You can still accomplish things even having children. My husband is actually going back to school as well as working to try and better himself and get a job he really enjoys because his current job he hates. This was the right decision for us though. We both wanted these things. At this point it doesnt sound like you really even want kids. Once pregnant some women do have change of heart and love their children more than anything while others seem to blame their kids for their life even though the child didn't have any control over it and don't end up with a connection with them at all. You don't want to put your kid through that if you decide to do it just to do it. You need to really think about if this is something you want. Things do fall in place and yes its a lot of work but to me its totally worth it. When I have a bad day and I come home to his smiling face I melt and it makes my day so much better. And to know that I created this little person with my husband is great. I was told clear back when I was 14 that I had PCOS and that there was a chance that I may never be able to have children (they put me on birth control clear back then actually the year before because I had hemorraghic cysts too so they were worried about scar tissue). So knowing I was able to conceive my little man and now I am getting to raise him is overjoying after being told I may not be able to. This is something you really need to talk to your boyfriend about and tell him how you really feel and see if this is something you really want, sounds like the boyfriend knows what he wants. But life is definately not over. I will be 25 in a little over a week. I am a computer analyst, married to a man i dated for 5 years but have been together with for 7 years and just bought a house. We plan to have one more child in a few years as well but want to enjoy our son for a few years first. My life is definately not over. If anything its just starting. You can still be an adult, you can still accomplish whatever you put your mind to it. Best wishes and good luck
 
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Anon_2991 replied to anna_bugz's response:
It sounds to me like you know the answer. I think if your boyfriend wasn't pushing you into this conversation, you wouldn't even be considering it and you're looking for someone to tell you 'nothing will change, you can continue to go on with life as you know it'. But we can't. Because it will change - dramatically. For me, it changed for the better. But I love the trips to the zoo, the farm, the latest kids movie and the park. I love the kids stuff. It's not for everyone (and it sounds like it's not for you).

Don't make this decision just because your boyfriend wants it - it won't be good for you, your boyfriend or any kids that result.
 
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anna_bugz replied to Anon_2991's response:
Well if I weren't with my boyfriend at all, I wouldn't be considering it-- it never even crossed my mind until I met him. I knew I didn't want to be a single mother, so I don't see the point of wanting or not wanting kids otherwise because I was, you know, single. But the problem is that if I were with him but he wasn't into it the way he is, I would be sort of thinking about it, but in the more natural way. It's not that I don't realize I'm only fertile for a few more years, I just wouldn't care. I would just think if I'm meant to have kids I'll have them, if not, not. The problem is that I have to figure it all out in advance of being in the situation I would normally think about it, and I have to do it all so quickly...it's just not the natural course of things. I usually cross bridges when I come to them, but it's like the bridge is way closer than I am prepared for. You're right, I am hoping that someone will say that you can still finish your life with kids, I am still hoping that...


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