Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

How did you know you were ready to start having kids?

Asked by nikipedia (27333 points ) February 27th, 2012 from iPhone

Follow-up to Simone’s question from yesterday.

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35 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

Never planned on it. I have 3 and I’m still not ready.

john65pennington's avatar

I don’t believe people are ever ready to have children. It just happens and we accept it.

Blackberry's avatar

I’ll never forget what a co worker said long ago when I asked him this. The look on his face and the way he said made it so memorable. You could tell he was joking but also serious, and had a look of disappointment on his face with a bit of forced happiness and said: “I was ready when she called and told me to get ready. (his girlfriend calling him to break the news she’s pregnant)”

Jude's avatar

For me, I think it will be when my partner and I are financially set and are able to live together. (we’re from different countries). I’m 39, so, I’m ready in every other way.

SuperMouse's avatar

My ex-husband and I had a deal that when we could afford for one of us to stay home with them, we would begin trying to have kids. For me it was really just an artificial benchmark because I wasn’t really sure I wanted to give up my job when I had kids. The timing turned out so that right as we got to the point where we could afford for one of us to give up our job, I was laid off. By default it was me who stayed home and I haven’t regretted a minute of it.

cookieman's avatar

My wife and I are slow-burners.

We dated for nine years (finished our degrees, got careers rolling, bought a house) and said, “Hey, let’s get married” – as if it was the next natural step.

Then we were married seven years (remodeled house, travelled a lot, saved some cabbage) and said, “Hey, let’s adopt a kid” – as if it was the next natural step.

We just try to move toward our goals and stay in synch with each other. When it’s time for the next big step, we just seem to “know”.

ucme's avatar

The wife already had 2 kids from a previous marriage. We both had such a commitment to each other that the decision to have children together, which involved her having her tubes untied, although not taken lightly, was entirely inevitable. We haven’t looked back since…...which is nice.

Jude's avatar

(sorry, read this question as “How do you know that you’re ready to start having kids?”)

wundayatta's avatar

When you spend tens of thousands of dollars in the effort to have kids, you can be pretty sure you are as ready as you are going to get.

But I never worried about my readiness to have kids. Early on, I realized there are a lot of myths about what it requires to have kids that simply aren’t true. Myths about being financially well enough off. Myths about not getting over what your parents did to you.

To me the only time you know you aren’t ready is when you don’t want them. If you don’t want them. Don’t have them. You aren’t ready. You may never be ready. Don’t do it because you think you should. Do it because you want kids. If you want kids, you are ready for kids.

Bah! This notion of readiness. It’s nonsense. These two statements kind of catch the flavor of it. You are never going to be ready for kids. You are ready as soon as you want them.

If you worry about it, then you are ready, because you will learn what you need to learn. If you never worry about it, it doesn’t matter if you are ready or not, because if you get pregnant, you will most likely become a parent. You’ll do what you do. Maybe well, maybe not. In the vast majority of cases, the kid will grow up and become a self-sustaining adult.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I didn’t think I was ready, I knew it would happen whether or not I was ready because I knew I would be a parent.

Sunny2's avatar

We got married late. It was now or never and hurry up about it!

YoBob's avatar

Erm… when the EPT stick all but burst into flames after my wife urinated on it…. ;)

flutherother's avatar

After we got them out of nappies through school and off to University. Then we were ready.

nikipedia's avatar

@john65pennington, it doesn’t exactly “just happen.” If you google carefully you can probably find out where babies come from.

YoBob's avatar

I don’t know @nikipedia – It kind of “just happened” for us. It was shortly after a relaxing vacation to Jamaica. My guess is that it had something to do with large quantities of rum and the famous Jamaican “no problem” attitude… ;)

nikipedia's avatar

@YoBob, I don’t understand how anyone could make that kind of decision with such a “well, let’s cross our fingers and hope it works out!” sort of attitude.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia Well saying you’re not ready is different from saying ‘I am not sure if I want children’, that’s why. For some of us, we weren’t ready (because who ever is?) but because we wanted children theoretically, it didn’t matter that it ‘just happened’ because it would happen eventually.

YoBob's avatar

Not to worry @nikipedia – we were both quite ready or we wouldn’t have even considered playing “Russian roulette”.

nikipedia's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, sorry, I don’t understand. Are you saying that people who want to have kids at some point in their lives should have them at any moment whether they’re prepared to or not?

JilltheTooth's avatar

@nikipedia: Most people don’t go at it scientifically and clinically. I’ve known couples for whom family planning has been very casual, the “well, we wanted kids anyway, and although this is a little sooner than we thought we were ready for, fine!” and people like me who had to plan and fight and go to rather extreme measures and are grateful to have the one. Often, families just kind of happen, and people adjust and are delighted. It’s a life thing. Stuff happens. Some people plan and schedule and prepare and good for them, and some people just let it happen and are able to deal happily with it when it does. One can “prepare” for the children after the first. The first one is never what you expect and takes you by surprise.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

In my day, it was just expected – what people do. They get married and have kids. Nowadays, chosing to wait, or to not have children at all, is a lot more common.

tranquilsea's avatar

I didn’t think I was going to be married until I was 30 little less having children. But then I met the right guy at 21. We talked about when we’d like to have kids while we were dating and decided that we’d like them sooner rather than later. We got married and a year later we had our first.

Mat74UK's avatar

We decided that after a few years of marriage and financial security that it was something we both wanted so went at it like rabbits, only for nothing to happen. Once we’d come to grips with the fact that it wasn’t going to happen….... It happened!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia I’m not saying anyone should do any one particular thing. My answer is mine, not prescriptive for others. I am just saying that for people who want children, having them by accident (or whatever you want to call it) is not a tragedy, they’re not forced to have them, they choose to keep them. Remember, abortion is still an option for many of us yet we didn’t utilize it.

nikipedia's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, I guess I’m comfortable up here on my high horse. My 24 year old housemate got his 21 year old girlfriend of 4 months pregnant, which she announced within days of him telling the rest of us he was miserable and was going to break up with her (again). He is trying to do “the right thing” and is so unhappy.

It is just shocking to me how little planning some people put into such a huge decision.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I knew I wanted a family when I was young, so after getting married (the first time), it just seemed to fall into place. When my ex-husband walked out and I spent 5 years being a single parent, I figured I was done and had my tubes tied. Met a new guy shortly after that and things went well for us. We got married and almost 2 years later decided to have my tubes untied and expand our family. We’re now expecting #3 (our second together).

saint's avatar

When my ex wife, who unilaterally and without discussion decided to stop using birth control, informed me that she was pregnant.

cookieman's avatar

@nikipedia: I generally agree with you. My nephew did something similar to your housemate (at about the same age). They married, were miserable (real nasty toward one another) and bam, two years later – pregnant again!

I asked him, “Why would you allow yourselves to get pregnant again if you basically hate each other?”

He said, “It’s not like we planned. We had sex, shit happens”.

I was dumbfounded What? What?!

OTOH, if you’re in a loving relationship and know you want to have kids at some point in the near future, “winging it” isn’t unheard of or all that terrible.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@nikipedia Well, sure…that’s how many people who shouldn’t be parents are parents. I don’t quite understand what your example has to do with anything, though…that’s just one of those situations…if he doesn’t want the child, he needs to have that said…his ‘right thing’ will never be ‘the right thing’...his right thing was to break up with her.

YARNLADY's avatar

For many people (see above) it is not a planned situation. If you have the foresight and good sense to plan it, when you have a good job and both parties are amenable, that is the right time.

fizzbanger's avatar

I have trouble with this. Distinguishing the difference between temporary hormonal pangs and actual desire to have a child. Every now and then I think about having kids with my husband and it gives me a little flutter. But each time I consider going off the pill, I change my mind. I imagine the heartbreak of having a sweet little baby that uncontrollably grows up to become a huge asshole, or a criminal, etc. etc. etc. Millions of things that could go wrong. I don’t have the heart to just say “fuck it”, throw away the pills, and start shopping for little outfits and accessories.

Many of my female, similarly-aged acquaintances have been consumed by “babylust” lately.

Blackberry's avatar

@fizzbanger I’ve always wondered about that. How much of this seemingly unknowable desire to have kids is biological, and how much is just a need/want? It seems like some people literally can’t be without a kid, as if it were some uncontrollable biological force like sleep or food. And some have no problem at all not wanting one.

keobooks's avatar

I could have sworn I answered this way back when. I’d just like to say that if we all waited until we were ready to have kids, the human race would have died out hundreds of years ago. Most of us aren’t ready to have kids until we have them. Then we make ourselves ready.

Before I had my daughter I was one of those people that would have been in the “Some people shouldn’t have kids” bin in many people’s opinions. I’m naturally selfish and lazy. I’m disorganized and I’ve never been a very affectionate person. I used to have a serious problem with my temper.

I got pregnant due to birth control malfunction (long story short—I was told that I couldn’t get pregnant and I only took the birth control to control cramps. So when I took a drug that made the pill less effective, I didn’t bother with backup birth control since I assumed that I didn’t need the pill to keep from getting pregnant) and my husband and I got weirdly excited about my getting pregnant even though we didn’t plan to have kids.

Now we have her and we have adapted our lives to her. She has changed both of us for the better. We’ve both worked really hard to change our natural shortcomings. I bust my butt to be less selfish and put her first. I do what I can to get a little bit more organized every day.

The only one that seemed to change for me instinctively overnight was the physical affection. I think breastfeeding and skin to skin may have helped that a lot. I’m one of those overly kissy moms. Considering that my own mom had to work hard to get herself able to hug me I think I’ve come a long way.

When people see me with my daughter, they assume that I’ve always been a natural with kids and wonder why I didn’t start sooner. They have no idea that I was in the “I hope you never have kids” camp.

blueiiznh's avatar

I would like to say that the first time I had unprotected sex was when I was ready to start having kids.

I was ready to have them at a much earlier age than when I actually did. This is the luck of the draw.

For me, I knew I was ready when I finished the priority of college studies and securing work in my field.

creative1's avatar

I new I was ready when I met a wonderful man I was in love with but unfortunately he did not want to have children that he would not be there to raise. He had cancer at the time and unfortunately he lost his battle. While he was sick I decided to become a foster parent to fill the want for a baby in my life and at least it would give a child a home that needed it. He died the day I received the phone call that they had a 3½ mth old baby to place with me, his funeral was the day she came to me. The wonderful thing of it all she never left and I adopted her.

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