Am I Ready To Have A Baby?

Questions and discussion for those who are or have been pregnant (or have pregnant partners), parenting or about options with an unintended pregnancy.
No pregnancy scare posts here, please.
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This area of the boards is for:
• People (or their partners) who are or have been actually pregnant: not might be, not worry they are, but who have verified a pregnancy with a home pregnancy test, a test from a clinic, a doctor's exam or with birth or a termination
• People (or their partners) who are pregnant looking for help and support choosing between remaining pregnant and then choosing to parent or arrange an adoption, or terminating a pregnancy with an abortion
• People looking for help or support after making any of those choices, or making them with a partner
• People looking for various kinds of information about pregnancy, and options with pregnancy, including things like healthcare and birth choices
• People wanting help with parenting, particularly around sexuality or relationship issues

Please do NOT post pregnancy scares here, or "Am I pregnant?"-s. If and when you are currently or have been pregnant, especially unintendedly, having someone talk about their fears who is clearly not pregnant, or who is not even willing to take a test to find out can feel deeply maddening and frustrating. Talking about a pregnancy fear as if it were an actual pregnancy is also deeply disrespectful to people dealing with actual pregnancies.

If you have questions about if you should seek out emergency contraception, take a pregnancy test, how methods of contraception work, or what things you have chosen to do may or may not have presented pregnancy risks, those questions belong in another forum, such as the Sexual Health forum, the Bodies forum or the Ask Us forum. Thank you!
eatyourgreens
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Am I Ready To Have A Baby?

Unread post by eatyourgreens »

Sorry if this is posted in the wrong area.

I have thought a lot about this topic and seem to end up with no clear answer. There is so much to consider. And a lot of articles out there explain the ‘general’ signs that someone may or may not be ready, but it’s obviously not the same as really understanding yourself in your current situation. So I was hoping someone could give me some clarity on my specific situation :) thank you in advance.

My partner and I have been together for 4 years, we live together and own a dog (who is now 2). We raised him ourselves, making sure he was socialised and a wonderfully trained golden since 4 weeks old. Our finances are sorted, we are firmly in each other’s lives and have strong ties to each other’s family and a similar group of friends (as well as our own friends of course).

We are both homebodies, which doesn’t mean we don’t love to travel or go to music festivals or socialise, but we would definitely call ourselves introverts as we usually need to recharge after social situations.

We have a strong relationship and very open communication. It’s not that we don’t have problems, we argue as normal, but generally it feels as though we are ‘one’ and that we can effectively manage conflict/stormy situations. To be honest, we aren’t married but it feels like we are. We cook together, enjoy watching tv programs together, enjoy doing groceries together. And I love that. I love the structuredness of our lives and that I can always rely on him. We still have such a strong connection, particularly because we still find each other hilarious. Our sex life is good, and improving as we learn more about each other. And we have navigated times when it hardly happened, and we’ve been through the whole rediscovering thing and it just seems that we are very open about repairing and talking about things like that in our relationship.

We have spoken about kids before, and marriage and all sorts. Our beliefs align, our concepts of parenting align, and even though it’s only a dog, our experience of raising him have allowed us to see each other in that sort of role. Our dog obviously depends on us, on a daily routine. It’s been nice seeing how we support and take on those roles. We ask for help when we need breaks too.

There was a time when I really wanted children, like so bad. When I was in early teens. Then I had some bad relationships, went through my own stuff (I’m 26 now) and sort of realised I have some demons. I got terrified and was put off by the thought of babies for years. I even at one point considered getting that surgery which makes me never get pregnant. Then I met my boyfriend. Before then I think I was still affected by past trauma a lot, I didn’t realise that’s what it was but I had the habit of running away from things, fearing vulnerability etc. My relationship with my partner made me face a lot of that because I found myself repeating those patterns but this time with someone who I really loved and who didn’t deserve it. Long story short, I started to focus on those issues and already healed in many ways. (I think hence why I really love the structuredness and stability, a concept I never really grew up with).

About a year in, I started having all these strange feelings. Like I could see myself having a child with this person (he had already been made aware that I did not want that). I tentatively started to think about the idea even though I was so afraid about it, and I ended up speaking with my partner. He is extremely supportive and so he didn’t have any bias, didn’t push me in any way. But instead just allowed me to talk about it, reassuring me that the feeling is not necessarily bad and that it can be a beautiful thing etc. Since then I eventually understood that it is something I want - with him. But not now, in future.

3 years later and I am trying to now understand, if this is that future? (Not because of the time frame but because of how I am feeling). I love our life together, I love everything we have, and those feelings I felt when I started to change my mind are popping up again. About how beautiful it would be to create something from our love, about how we would be a family. I have a strong urge to feed/pamper/etc which has felt even stronger lately. I’m happily surprised that my dog is not fat (but not really, because I am extremely disciplined too and actually trained him myself entirely from scratch).

The reason I’m confused is because I don’t feel a sort of excitement and happiness, what made me notice the feeling is that I feel sad. I mean, I noticed it all of a sudden when I get sad that I don’t have one. It’s stupid but I noticed it when I really wanted to feed my dog (I’ve been doing more cooking in quarantine, particularly as a way to connect to my heritage), and one moment I suddenly had a flash that I was feeding my child instead and how much I wanted that. And thinking about all the things I could teach them, how I could pass all this learning of my heritage, of the warmth and love. I got sad at why we don’t have that, why we haven’t expanded that, I felt limited and almost empty.

But At the same time, those thoughts have coincided with a weird reaction towards my partner. I started getting more irritated with my partner, angrier for no reason etc. (I was going to therapy at the time and it genuinely was for no reason). I was confused for a while, why when I’m feeling closer I’m also angrier. Now I’m starting to realise (I think) it’s old patterns coming up, the whole fear of the vulnerability and trying to push it away. Deep down I think that old fear played up like ‘how do I know if I’m ready to commit to this one person, if I have a child with him I’ll be stuck with him forever. Is he going to be a good enough dad? Have I actually seen enough to justify feeling this way? No way I must be crazy. Alert alert. Everything can’t all be fine.’ I’ve been doing this as long as I remember, and while I really believed it for a few months and put up some mad defences, I’m starting to get the hint that maybe I will never allow myself to think he’s good enough, not because he isn’t but because I’m just afraid.


So I thought to myself, if I wasn’t afraid and If everything would be fine, and he wouldn’t hurt me and it would be the right decision, would I want the baby? Yes.


So... which one should I listen to? Is my constant questioning a sign that I am not ready? Or do I need to face the truth that I can never be fully in control of my life and ensure a completely perfect outcome and allow myself to do what I ‘instinctually’ want? I feel like there are two parts of me and I don’t know which one to listen to. One feels as though it has defenses and the other feels like it comes from love. (But my defences obviously makes me think of it as being foolish). But I don’t want to be trapped by my defenses anymore. I am tired of feeling as though I am a hostage to them.

Is my sadness that I don’t have a child a sign that I’m not ready? Is it meant to be joy and excitement? I am not feeling this sadness because there’s some problem in my relationship that I want the baby to fix, I feel sadness because it feels like I can never find the right time to feel like it’s okay to have it. And it’s something I want. I think.

I’ve thought about all the changes. The duties, how I wouldn’t have a lazy Sunday, the changes to the relationship, the vomit and the sickness and the fact it would be there, and I simply do not care about it. I know it, I understand it. The other day I witnessed my dog eating full of fresh diarrhea and I know he’s a dog but I also know that I love my responsibilities for him, I know I am resilient and capable. maybe the thing that I had most reservations about was the fact that it would be there 24/7, but even that, I don’t care anymore. Not because of desperation but because the question is a moot point, of course it would be there because I wanted it, and I want that. That’s the point of having the baby. The things I used to be worried about, I’m not worried about them anymore. It’s more about the what ifs.

I know that many things I want to do are still possible and either way I don’t think that they are more important than having a family... this connection, expanding our community. expanding what we have. I feel as though I have everything else. I feel like I’m just holding back, and I am so upset why I am not feeling some lightbulb moment. I don’t want to have to wait anymore.

Or am I just being stupid? :(
Siân
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Re: Am I Ready To Have A Baby?

Unread post by Siân »

Hi there eatyourgreens!

Becoming a parent is a really big decision, it's not stupid to think it through carefully. It sounds like you've had quite a journey to get to the point where you can think about having a child, and it's normal to sometimes see old patterns re-emerge in moments of change or stress. That doesn't negate the work you've done, or take away from how far you've come.

It sounds like you have a lot of stability in your life and in your relationship and whilst nothing is ever certain in this world, having good family connections, stable finances and a strong relationship put you in a good position for thinking about having a child. I don't have the answer for whether it is the right time for you, but I do have some things to think about:

1. You don't have do decide right away. You've noticed yourself thinking more about children, so perhaps your first step can be to start actively thinking about whether this is something you want, with your partner. Read some books about pregnancy and parenting, bring the idea into your every day conversations in lots of small ways, start building up a picture together of what parenting would look like for you. Talk to your friends and family about it, especially if you hope they will be there supporting you. What are you excited about? What seems scary? Does your partner want this as much as you?

2. Babies grow. Lot's of people romanticise the idea of having a small baby to care for, or child to play with but parenting goes way beyond that - at the end of the day the goal of parenting is to raise an adult. Yes, think about the pregnancy, birth, those first few years but also take a moment to picture ten, fifteen, twenty years down the line.

3. It's okay that you're still working through some things. You've described a pattern of doubt and pushing your partner away. It's good that you've worked with a therapist on this - is that something you're still doing? You don't have to have absolutely everything perfect and be free from all fears and defences to have a child, but you want to be confident that you're in a good enough place to give that child the love and support they will need.

do I need to face the truth that I can never be fully in control of my life and ensure a completely perfect outcome


Have you ever heard the phrase "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good"? It's worth listening to our doubts, they can give us useful information about the things that worry us, and help us make plans to deal with those things if needed. Ultimately though, none of us can ever ensure a perfect outcome in anything. You get to weigh up the options, make plans for everything that is in your control, and then ask yourself - is this a risk I want to take? Do I want it enough?
eatyourgreens
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Re: Am I Ready To Have A Baby?

Unread post by eatyourgreens »

Siân wrote:Hi there eatyourgreens!

Becoming a parent is a really big decision, it's not stupid to think it through carefully. It sounds like you've had quite a journey to get to the point where you can think about having a child, and it's normal to sometimes see old patterns re-emerge in moments of change or stress. That doesn't negate the work you've done, or take away from how far you've come.

It sounds like you have a lot of stability in your life and in your relationship and whilst nothing is ever certain in this world, having good family connections, stable finances and a strong relationship put you in a good position for thinking about having a child. I don't have the answer for whether it is the right time for you, but I do have some things to think about:

1. You don't have do decide right away. You've noticed yourself thinking more about children, so perhaps your first step can be to start actively thinking about whether this is something you want, with your partner. Read some books about pregnancy and parenting, bring the idea into your every day conversations in lots of small ways, start building up a picture together of what parenting would look like for you. Talk to your friends and family about it, especially if you hope they will be there supporting you. What are you excited about? What seems scary? Does your partner want this as much as you?

2. Babies grow. Lot's of people romanticise the idea of having a small baby to care for, or child to play with but parenting goes way beyond that - at the end of the day the goal of parenting is to raise an adult. Yes, think about the pregnancy, birth, those first few years but also take a moment to picture ten, fifteen, twenty years down the line.

3. It's okay that you're still working through some things. You've described a pattern of doubt and pushing your partner away. It's good that you've worked with a therapist on this - is that something you're still doing? You don't have to have absolutely everything perfect and be free from all fears and defences to have a child, but you want to be confident that you're in a good enough place to give that child the love and support they will need.

do I need to face the truth that I can never be fully in control of my life and ensure a completely perfect outcome


Have you ever heard the phrase "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good"? It's worth listening to our doubts, they can give us useful information about the things that worry us, and help us make plans to deal with those things if needed. Ultimately though, none of us can ever ensure a perfect outcome in anything. You get to weigh up the options, make plans for everything that is in your control, and then ask yourself - is this a risk I want to take? Do I want it enough?


Thank you so much. You've helped a lot. All of that makes sense and, I think even the validation helps. I was so worried about whether it's 'crazy' and about taking everything into account, that I didn't have time to focus solely on emotional aspects of readiness. Knowing that generally my situation is good enough to consider it, now I can actually ask myself the emotional questions. There is still a lot of scared feelings and when I think about it, it seems overwhelming. I don't really think that part will change, but I think I am beginning to notice other parts more now. Like the parts that make me also like the idea. I have a feeling like maybe being ready isn't about not being scared at all, but about listening whether there are other happier stronger feelings there that make you want to 'take the risk'.

It's a big leap, and like you said I don't need to do it right away but that I can still explore it and talk it through with family/friends. I'm surprised I never considered this before - I kind of thought I had to know and be sure before talking about it with others. To me it was like saying to people, 'I'm moving to Australia' (when I live on the opposite side of the world). I thought I had to figure it out before saying anything about it, but I realise I can talk about 'thinking of moving to Australia' and it's probably healthier and more balanced that way. Thanks for helping me see that option!

I will take all that on board and process and reflect. :) Thank you.
Alexa
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Re: Am I Ready To Have A Baby?

Unread post by Alexa »

Hey eatyourgreens,

THIS:
I kind of thought I had to know and be sure before talking about it with others.


This is a realization I have all the time when I'm trying to make difficult choices! It's so good to use your support network to air out thoughts, concerns, dreams, plans -- all of it. I hope doing that helps. If you learn from that experience and want to bring new thoughts or questions here, please do! And good luck on your journey. Regardless of what you choose, I'm glad you have what sounds like a healthy, fulfilling partnership that is allowing you to explore these things that used to feel very important to you again.
Alexa K.
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Siân
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Re: Am I Ready To Have A Baby?

Unread post by Siân »

Just checking in to say I'm so happy that you found this helpful! I also LOVE your "moving to Australia" analogy by the way - it's funny how sometimes replacing the question with another, similar but less emotive one can make us see it in a whole new way!

Are there any parts of this you'd like to talk about a little more with us? Or are you more just wanting to go away and reflect?
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