Other people’s good news and negative thoughts

It’s hard to wait around for something you kno...
Photo credit: deeplifequotes

The other day, I learned that a good friend is pregnant. She’s already mother to my favourite child in the whole world, who will be one on Friday. The new baby is due at the end of August. On hearing that she was pregnant again, my thought pattern went something like this:

  • Aww, M is pregnant again. How nice! S will have a little brother or sister.
  • S is going to be one soon. It’s been a whole year since we were welcoming him to the world. What have I done during that year? Nothing, that’s what. And now M is pregnant again.
  • Other people my age are moving on to their second child. I haven’t even had one yet. When does it get to be my turn? Not any time soon, that’s for sure.
  • What if it’s never my turn? It’s not like I’m getting any younger. I’m 30 this year! For all I know I’ve already left it too late! And even if I haven’t, by the time Jan either makes up his mind or I manage to find someone else it probably will be.
  • Do I even really want a child? maybe I just think I do because it’s the next step in life. And because babies are cute. If I really, truly did I would probably have done something about it by now. Yes, Jan says he isn’t ready, but I can’t really blame this on him, can I? I could have left before it was too late.
  • Anyway, newborns terrify me. I’m always convinced their going to break if I even think about touching them. And I have no idea how to change a nappy. I probably wouldn’t make a very good mother anyway. Maybe there’s a good reason I’m still childless at nearly 30!
  • Who am I kidding! of course I want children. I always have! I can’t think of anything sadder than having to go through life never having a child of my own to love. And look at how happy all my friends with kids are. They get to lavish their affection on someone that they actually made, teach their babies everything they know, nourish and nuture an actual human life. How can that not be an amazing experience?  And just look at how adorable their little people are. How could I not want that?

Sometimes, I truly wish that I didn’t want kids. Life would be so much easier! And I wouldn’t have to feel horrible about being jealous of people I’m actually incredibly happy for.

14 thoughts on “Other people’s good news and negative thoughts

  1. Found you today whilst looking for the I Wouldn’t Thank You for a Valentine poem (yes, it’s almost that time again). I love Germany … and I’m intrigued by your books to read/things to do lists as I have them too. Isn’t it great to strike things through? Sometimes I add new things that weren’t on the list, just so I can do that.. My new favourite blog.

    1. I think that poem has brought more people to my blog than anything else! Sadly, I suspect most of them are looking for help with their GCSE coursework (lots of searches for “I wouldn’t thank you for a valentine analysis”).

      Glad you like what you see. I’m a huge fan of lists!

  2. This post really got to me so I apologise in advance for sticking my oar in. Honesty on the internet demands a response, I find.

    Without belittling your maternal urges – believe me, I know how strong they can be – the grass really is greener on the other side.

    Yes, children are all those things you describe and more, but they are also HARD WORK, require total commitment and abandonment of self (for a while, at least), and ruin your figure which you will never have time to get back. You will spend the rest of your life worrying about them, feeding them, swearing you’re not cleaning up after them then doing it anyway…should I go on?

    What I will say, however, is that they are totally worth it.

    Children are expensive, tiring, hard on the body. I had my first baby at 26 and my second at 32. The second baby was an easier child but I found it harder because my body was six years older.

    I am not trying to sway you one way or another – I had children and have never once regretted it; they are the joy of my life. But don’t be fooled that it’s all smelling like baby powder and gurgling smiles: it’s vomit and poo and exhaustion and stupid mistakes and, occasionally, rage.

    What you have to decide, I suppose, is which you want more – Jan or a baby? Time, unfortunately, will soon be against you. Yes, women are having babies much later in life but most who do have supportive partners and/or saved income. Will you have that?

    You owe it to yourself to make up your mind, one way or the other. You can carry on as you are and it might happen; or it might not and you will resent him and perhaps leave him, regretting that you didn’t do it sooner so you’d have had a chance at motherhood. You might decide you want a baby more than you want him, break up, and it still doesn’t happen to you for various unknowable reasons. Then you discover he met someone and they had a baby and it will kill you inside. Or you leave him and the miracle happens. Life is messy and doesn’t always give us what we want; but sometimes it does.

    I’m not trying to be a doom-monger; what I’m saying is: make up your mind; make your decision; then, whatever follows, choose not to regret it. Waiting for life to decide for us is an option, but often one we regret once we can’t do anything about it.

    It’s like this comment: I am hesitating over the post button because you might be offended by it. Then again, it might be just what you need to prod you into taking action. Or you could act upon it and the whole thing could backfire on you. No one knows what’s going to happen next. All we know is, it’s worth taking control of what we can.

    1. Definitely not offended! While I never EXPECT a reply to my posts, I am aware that putting these things on the Internet (especially on a topic like this!) is highly likely to provoke responses. I may not always hear what I want to, but in my experience fellow bloggers ALWAYS give good advice 🙂

      All of those things you said – the lifetime commitment, worry, etc. – are things I’ve asked myself a million times. Can I really imagine having someone depend on me for the rest of my life? Do I really want to deal with vomit and poo and the heartbreak of having a teenager who will inevitably hate me, for a while at least? Would I honestly be able to cope with the lack of sleep? I’ve seen first hand how frustrating kids can be (6 year old brother). Would I even be able to deal with that? A few years ago, I would have said Yes, absolutely. As I get older, I’m no longer sure. I still WANT a child, but I worry that having ME as a mother can only be a bad thing. Then I think maybe I’d be better of just leaving things as they are.

      Jan and I have agreed to talk about things again once he has his PhD. Hopefully, he’ll be handing in his thesis in October. If he can’t give me a positive answer then, I’ve promised myself to leave. According to him, he actually wants kids. He’s just not ready YET. Of course, he has the advantage of being highly unlikely to ever run out of time. All he has to do is exchange me for a younger model…

  3. Aw, I know that feeling! The amount of pregnancies and weddings that have been announced here over the past year I know it well! Still, I’m trying not to think about it and get on and enjoy what I do have (namely me!) and hoping it will all work itself out eventually. It is a really down feeling though, made even worse because you inevitably feel guilty about having it. Hugs!

    1. In between announcements I find it easier to convince myself that it WILL happen eventually and it’s not too late yet. But then when first birthdays roll around or (like in this case) someone announces their second pregnancy panic sets in and I start to think “It’s been a WHOLE YEAR! Why has nothing changed yet?!” Grr!

  4. Your thought train reminds me of me, eeeps. I think the same way and nothing gets my negative self rolling more than someone else’s good news. And guess what the first thought always is, what did I do in the time that this happened to them? Eeeps again. Your blog says you are 20 something still, I am too but for 2 more months. And like you I too keep wondering did I wait too long, should I wait anymore, should I just walk? And then back to do I want marriage and kids and all that really? And back to thought 1 and a fresh subsidiary track. Le sigh.

    1. I’m always glad to read that someone else feels the same way… not because I would wish this on anyone, but at least I feel more normal 😉

      I’m 20-something for another 6 months – my 30th is in August (actually, precisely 6 months tomorrow! Eeeek!).

  5. My thoughts x I felt such compassion for your plight, I know the longing for a baby, then I thought why doesn’t she get sneaky and get pregnant.. Then I wondered how old Jan was and how I had to push Dan to be a dad at 27 yet by the time Jake came at 35 he was so ready, so great at being a dad. Of course Amy trained him.. I will read the other comments now, but know my heart goes out to you, I believe in making life happen and sending you all the good vibes I can x

    1. He’ll be 33 in a few weeks. He told me recently that he wants to wait “until he has something to offer a child, not in a financial sense”. I’m convinced he would make an amazing dad (having seen how he is with my little brother and with friends’ children), but he doesn’t believe it. Just like he doesn’t believe that his dissertation will be any good/of any use to anyone, leading to him not working on it and now panicking because it has to be handed in in October and he’s nowehere near the stage where he could actually start to write something. It wouldn’t be so bad if I thought he might be ready in a couple of years, but the way things are going I suspect it will be more like 6 or 7.

      People have suggested that I should “accidently” forget to take my pill, but I just can’t bring myself to do that.

  6. I know what you mean and it’s a breech of trust but these are exceptional circumstances and it could be a bout of diarrhea that did it. While I hear the introspection and lack of confidence from Jan it’s also a bit mean and selfish, you can’t prepare for a baby anyway. Sometimes being met with a foregone conclusion is accepted. You love him and have invested so much. If you ever did it though never tell a soul. X

  7. Sometimes, I truly wish that I didn’t want kids. Life would be so much easier!

    I’m one of those people. I knew a long time ago that I didn’t want kids, and I’ve been very careful to avoid it. I will say this, though- life isn’t necessarily any easier- it’s just less complicated. The only real difference between me and a father is that when I wake up each day, I am only responsible for me. I don’t have another life reliant on me for their basic existence. I can take trips whenever I want without arranging for babysitting. My income is my own, and doesn’t have to go toward diapers, kid’s clothing, medical stuff, school supplies.

    Ok, when I say all of that, it does sound like a childless life is easier.

    Anyway- I’ve always felt that people who really want kids should have kids, and people who really don’t shouldn’t. You’ll get there, just don’t be in a rush to leave behind your currently childless freedom to do whatever you want. 🙂

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