I think too much (to have or not to have babies?)

"You over-think" was actually the result of a quiz I took in this month's Psychologies magazine: "What are your secret stresses?". And it's true. I have a constant stream of thoughts going through my mind, the voices in my head are never quiet. And sleep would be a welcome reprieve if I didn't usually have vivid dreams related to whatever I'm worrying about.

Last night I had a restless night and thoughts of babies and the impact they would have on my future going through my mind constantly. I felt unsettled, anxious, unsure if I really wanted to go ahead with trying to conceive (we planned to start next month). I couldn't shake the thought that this decision would impact the next 20 years of our lives (and beyond).

I've always been ambivalent about having kids. I don't have the "urge" I see in some friends or read about on parenting sites. But I also don't imagine NOT having kids at some point.

I have no doubts whatsoever about the relationship I'm in. If there's anyone I want kids with, it's my husband, I know that's not the issue.

So what's the problem?

Well, I just seem to focus on all the negatives: less time for me/for us, sleepless nights, dirty nappies, crying, tantrums, illness, no more lie-ins, too much responsibility, everything structured and planned, routine... I worry about not having any room in my life for this new person who will undoubtedly take up all my time, about being tired, stressed, unhappy...

It's not a career/children issue in the sense that if we do have kids I'd prefer to work part-time, preferably from home, and that wouldn't be a sacrifice in any way, but I do worry about finances and will we be able to make ends meet if I'm only working part-time? As a kid, my parents and - after the divorce - my dad struggled with money and I didn't have a lot - I put myself through university on a grant and felt so liberated when I got my first pay-check. I am terrified at the idea of going back to a place where every penny counts and we can't do what we want - holidays, dinner, clothes, all the things we can treat ourselves to now.

And I suppose more fundamentally, I'm just not sure if I want whatever it is children are supposed to bring you - unconditional love? a sense of purpose in life? fulfilment? I'm just not sure I need those things, and whether they're worth the sacrifice of time and energy involved.

Also, I am shit scared of losing myself, of becoming a "mommy", of being redefined by the children I have as opposed to who I am. It took me a while to find that person, after years of living with an overbearing parent, followed by a fucked-up relationship, and I'm not ready to lose her again.

I'm finally getting to grips with my eating disorder, self-image and self-confidence. I have defined myself as a creative, talented, intelligent woman. I don't want that to all be erased by a "mommy" label. And I'm afraid that if I have babies I'll turn into a different person (well, that's more like a certainty) and I kind of like the person I am now.

Finally, at least for the purposes of this post, there's also the question of how our relationship will change if we have a baby. Will we manage to find time for each other? Will we respect each other as parents? Will we deal with the added stress? Will we agree on parenting issues, from bedtimes to pocket money and the thousands of other little things parents have to decide on?

The thing is, I'm 31 and Bart is 37. I don't want us to be "older" parents. I feel if we want to do this we need to decide now or at least soon. And Bart wants kids, so it's all on me. And I can go through the motions and rationalise myself into it, but these nagging fears just keep popping up. I know the responsible thing to do is to work through these questions before jumping head-first into this pregnancy, so I'll be doing some serious soul-searching over the next few weeks. Although part of me feels I'm over-analysing it and should just let nature take its course. In the meantime, I just feel so confused about the whole thing.


MrsC said...

The fact that you have all these worries and thoughts just shows that you are thinking properly about it. Better to be prepared than jump in with eyes shut x

Sara said...

Thank you MrsC, that helps me feel (kinda) normal again :)

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