Thoughts on Action
"Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live." ~ Nicolas de Chamfort

The Final Baby Decision

These questions have been plaguing us for years…Could we afford it? Would we give it the attention it deserved? How could we find room for it in the house?

Finally, we received a sign from above: right there, on a top shelf at Marshalls was the exact model and color we’d wanted, at a drastically discounted price. Our new KitchenAid baby!

KitchenAid Baby

Oh, if only the human baby decision had been so clear-cut. Those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning know what a hot mess it’s been. But, folks, the decision has finally been made. And it’s pretty irreversible at this point, considering I’m more than five months pregnant.

Yup, five months…that means I’ve been avoiding writing this post for at least that long. Partially because I know many of you just heard “Another One Bites the Dust” roll through your head (or was that just me when friend after friend announced their pregnancies?) But the much bigger reason for my delay is that I had no idea how to explain it. After five million entries dissecting the issue from every possible angle, how could I not find a way to sum it up intelligently? I still haven’t figured it out, but at the very least, I owe the Undecideds an attempt. So here goes.

It started about a year and a half ago when I went home to see my parents and Indiana made me a little sad. No, it wasn’t just the iceburg lettuce and shredded cheddar “salads”. It was the reminder that we were 2,000 miles away. That we had to spend $800 in plane tickets and a few oh-so-coveted vacation days just to get our fix of playing family card games. That the only people I could wear my worst sweatpants in front of were people I only got to see twice a year.

So what were our options? Move back to Indiana? I’d sort of rather die (sorry, fellow Hoosiers). Aside from that, my recently retired parents were becoming a flight risk, talking of warmer climates. So what about the rest of the fam? Our siblings were scattered throughout Chicago, New York and Cincinnati. There was no single place to settle down, and even if there was, who knew how long they’d be there if the right job or house or whatever came up across the country?

That left us with two choices: find a friend group that felt like one big family, or build a bigger family of our own. We love our friends, but California is a transient place.  One glance at a kickball team photo from 7 years ago would reveal that only 10% of us still live here. We’ve still got the same sized group, but it’s something of a revolving door these days. It’s become difficult to want to get too comfortable with anyone.

A tiny crack opened in our Childfree wall. We’d been doing the same sort of thing for so many years; it felt like time for a big change. So we flipped the switch. Instead of No, we thought what if Yes? New questions rose to the surface. Would it be hilarious to coach a Little League team? Could we finally have an excuse to rent an RV for educational vacations? Would we be endlessly entertained by talking about our kids, speculating on their motivations and dreams as often as we did with the cats?

For the first time, it sounded kind of…fun. So, Yes?

We decided to marinate on it for six months and found that Yes, this could be what we wanted, what we needed. A seriously drawn-out job change complicated things and we wound up waiting a year and a half instead of six months before pulling the trigger. Now here we are, another five months later. Carrying the most well-thought-out fetus in the entire world.

By no means have I done a 180. Walking past the daycare at work and hearing the sounds coming out of that place still sends shivers down my spine. Those “precious baby kicks” I’m feeling only conjure visions of Sigourney Weaver in Alien. I dread – DREAD – the thought of attending anything resembling a Mommy & Me gathering. For that matter, I dread the thought of being referred to as a Mommy. These things will likely never change.

The one thing that has though? For the first time, I can see my future clearly. And it excites the hell out of me. I’m not wondering anymore if I’m going down the right path. I’m going down the one that I’m on, the one I’ve chosen – even if it wasn’t with 100% certainty. It probably won’t be everything I think it will be (when is it ever, for anyone?), and I imagine I may struggle more than most because this mothering thing doesn’t come naturally to me. But we’ll do our best, and I’m wildly, irrationally confident that we’re going to have a pretty damn great life.

Can’t really ask for much more than that.

I want to thank everyone who came along for the ride over the past few years. There were countless comments, recommended articles, and heartfelt emails (on BOTH sides of the issue) that helped me get to where I am today. And while I wish I’d done this years ago to save myself the agony of this process (and perhaps some of the physical horrors of being pregnant in my thirties), I don’t think I’d feel as at peace with my decision as I do right now.

For those of you out there still riding the fence, I bid you good luck. No one knows better than I what a struggle you have ahead of you. I wish I could leave you with some parting words of wisdom that would make it all clear, but you’ll have to settle instead for one last command: Keep your ears open for other people’s stories – some will resonate more than others, and this will be telling. Don’t let anyone make you feel crazy or selfish or stupid for taking the time to consider where you want your life to go, or for making a choice that wouldn’t have been theirs. But most importantly, when you finally turn left or right, do your best to keep your eyes forward and throw yourself into it with as much gusto as if you’d known from the start that this was where you were meant to be.

Okay, that was like three commands, but accuracy was never my strong point in these posts.

Adieu, friends!

31 Responses to The Final Baby Decision

  • Serious_about_Smoothies says:

    All I can say is that reading this entry makes me VERY happy for you. Thank you for sharing your decision making process with us, and for bringing those on the two sides (are there really just two?) of the debate together. Picture? We are confident you won’t neglect your cats. You do what you have to do when you are ready.

  • Jac says:

    I’m so happy for you! Thank you for writing about this topic so honestly. Good luck with everything!!

  • Anna says:

    Congratulations! I’ve been following along for a year or two with a similar mindset. I’ve found myself feeling as you described in this post. I think you’ve got an awesome ride ahead of you. Best of luck, and I hope you keep up the writing, here or elsewhere.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I have followed you for a long time and I am so happy that you have made your decision. I have gone through the same struggle and we made the same decision you did. We haven’t acted on it yet (I still have some bucket list trips coming up) but we will. Your reasons and your decision have made me feel more secure and confident about my own. Thank you!!

  • Miss Emily says:

    So I guess that’s what happens when you quit straddling the fence and straddle something else instead ;-)

    Congratulations! I’m sure you’ll be a very thoughtful and wonderful Mom.

  • Robin says:

    This is such a great post. I have to share that I too am originally from Indiana but my husband and I currently reside in Boston. When you were talking about dreading IN I thought for sure you were going to say because there are children everywhere! My husband and I are expecting our first baby any day. Our journey is a bit different then yours as we tried for almost three years and eventually sought IVF to conceive. However whenever I went back to IN I felt this “pressure” to have a baby because that’s what everyone does. (At least in the Midwest). I am in my early thirties and have to say I’m glad my husband and I waited until we were (almost) 30 to try but I do wish I had gotten pregnant sooner than 33 because now I question having the two kids I always wanted. We may just have one. Anyway, I’m so happy for you and wish you the best as you navigate this new journey. Just remember it’s you and your husband’s journey and you two get to direct it. So smile, nod, and keeping looking forward as millions share their congratulations along with much advice that can go in one ear and out the other. You’ll be a great mom and I love that this baby was truly one of the most thought about, debated upon, and completely dissected thoughts. After all that they were chosen to be had and will be loved beyond words. Enjoy your journey!

  • Lynn says:

    Congrats on the decision! Please understand that I now have an almost 5 yr old and a 9 month old, and pretty much every day I have the thought that I’m really not cut out to be a mom. It’s tough, but you legitimately get to feel like a bad ass when you start to clear milestone hurdles…..like, yeah- I DID that!

    Good luck! May the force be with you…and I’ll miss reading!

  • Liz says:

    Congratulations! After riding that same fence for years, I’m not sure there is anything more liberating than climbing down one side. 4 months along for us as well – and having a clearer picture of the future is a beautiful thing.

    All our best wishes to you and your family, and our thanks for your earnest thoughtfulness and exploration on this blog over the last few years. You’ve helped more people than you’ll likely ever know.

  • Jesseline says:

    Thank you for your honesty. I have been following along for quite some time, and am still riding in the cheerfully Childfree lane. Your final decision and the thoughts leading up to it have given me much food for thought though, as did many of your posts.

    PLEASE say you won’t stop writing. The viewpoint of raising a child from someone who has been Childfree for so long is so unique and needed, and a voice I would very much like to hear.

  • Jordan says:

    Congratulations on your decision! Your blog is so ridiculously relatable for me, and it’s been really therapeutic to have a “friend” going through the same struggles as me, while my real-world friends can’t relate in the least. You’re obviously well-equipped to be a great mother and will raise an intelligent, free-thinking child. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • L says:

    Jesseline, I second that!

    Please, don’t stop writing! It would be SO great to follow you in this new adventure!

  • EricaEnyc says:

    I’ve been following your blog since the beginning and am thrilled for both you and Drew. Congratulations! I’ll certainly miss your posts but maybe you’ll start a new blog, “Our Maybe Baby – It’s a ______!” Um, maybe? ;)

    I’m not a mother but as a former nanny, all of your research is an outstanding testament to what thoughtful parents you’ll be. And you definitely don’t owe any of us an explanation as to why you decided to start a family. You simply wanted to, ’nuff said!

  • Scott says:

    All I want is for people to put as much thought into javing kids as you have done. If you consciously made the choice that’s best for you, then that’s a good thing.

    You should know that your readers had a pool going. I don’t have the board handy. Who placed their money on “pregnant by end of 2013″? I had ten bucks riding on “first kid in 2015.”

  • Scott says:

    P.S. We reserve the right to call you a hypocrite if you use your baby’s photo as your FaceBook photo. Please for the love of God maintain your own identity.

  • Darcy says:

    I have to admit my heart sank for a second when I read this. Not because I am bummed about your decision (because I am not) but because I am going to miss your witty posts. I am 33, happily married with a dog and have worked with children for 14 years. I do not believe it is my calling to have them, but rather to make a difference in their lives on a daily basis. Your blog has inspired me to stay true to myself. I think every woman should spend time and energy thinking about bringing a person into this world. I may not know you personally, but based on your blog I know you have devoted real time and thought into this life changing situation. I wish you every happiness and I thank you for the joy you brought to my life over the last two years. God bless.

  • Basketcase says:

    Yay for a decision!
    And yay for such a well-thought-out decision. (and I would have said the same either way)
    Hope your pregnancy goes well and you enjoy parenthood. Its hard work, thats for sure, and I still struggle with it every day (10 months in).

  • Diva says:

    Congratulations!

    I actually wondered if you were pregnant…

    Thank you so much for your blog, I have truly enjoyed it and thought over many of your posts. I too echo the thought that there needs to be a new blog on your motherhood journey. I would love to see that one day.

    All the best to you and your new family, I think you and Drew are going to be wonderful, funny and thoughtful parents!

  • Marie says:

    I’m a mommy-and-me reject too! My neighbor once asked if I wanted to go on a mommy-date to the park and I had to resist poking her eye out. It’s taken me a while to find other moms who aren’t mommies either but we are out there. Thanks for your wit and insight. Thanks to you I take myself way less seriously as a parent which is so refreshing. Maybe it’s your pregnancy hormones coupled with mine, but I loved the way you describe the fun you are looking forward to. I’m actually thinking of quitting my job this year to spend more time with my kids while they are young and fun, before they become brooding emo teenagers and want nothing to do with me. Our culture really has a major problem with getting in other people’s business and that is especially true when it comes to kids and family. My husband has a theory that the U.S. has an unofficial two-child policy. If anyone violates that by having none, one, or more than two kids, then people fry you like an egg. We are expecting #3 this year and when I told someone I know, her response was that I must have waited too long to get my tubes tied. Why is that ok to say to anyone? (And he’ll get snipped before I get tied, sheesh!) I really hope you continue blogging. It’s so awesome to see other moms out there who are not gushing over what new mommy fun they had recently. Maybe it could be called, “Don’t Call Me ‘Mommy!’ “?? And I echo what Miss Emily said, not following the herd will make you a more thoughtful parent. It’s a tough position to stake sometimes, especially when you do something differently than what the internet says you should do. Best of luck for a straightforward, uncomplicated rest of your pregnancy and delivery.

  • Ugh says:

    “We’d been doing the same sort of thing for so many years; it felt like time for a big change.”

    So you decided to have kids because you were becoming so bored with life being just the both of you? That’s why parents say stupid things like, “My life was so empty before these kiddos came along.” All the thought you put into the decision of whether or not to procreate and you came up with one of lamest reasons to go forward with it.

    But what’s done is done so congratulations. Welcome to the program.

    • Diva says:

      I’m sorry, maybe it’s just me, but this post seems rather mean-spirited.

      Ugh, did you read the entire post? How about the entire blog? Obviously there were other factors, such as family and wanting to have one, that played into her final decision. To narrow it down to boredom is simplistic and dismissive of all of the work that has gone into the decision. Even so, sometimes, after all the thinking and debating, the final answer can be quite simple. That doesn’t make it any less valid or the decision less joyous.

      “But what’s done is done…” THAT was my favorite — oh, well, might as well have the baby now! Followed by your begrudging congratulations. (And bringing this entire thread to a complete standstill…)

      Ugh, indeed. You certainly have lived up to your moniker!

  • Kate says:

    Congratulations!! I do hope you’ll keep writing though.

    There was SO MUCH about this post that I relate to. Not having family around, a dwindling local friend group, getting fed up with debating this issue for years, etc.

    My husband and I did not make as thought out of a decision as you (long story), and as I am now 3 months pregnant, we are also no longer fence-straddlers.

    I still shudder when I hear children throwing tantrums in the food store, or at the thought of becoming a Mommy. Part of my greatest fear is that I become the type of person I’ve always disliked – the kind that we all make fun of on blogs like this.

    So again, congrats and keep writing. It would be great to hear a fellow former-fence-straddler’s perspective on this new adventure. :)

  • Scott says:

    Ugh:

    Dude, you’re not supposed to say that out loud….

  • Courtney says:

    First of all, Congratulations! This blog is a time capsule of a very, very well-thought-out decision…a decision that is now a tiny human! I applaud your willingness to share your journey with us…and I, for one, have thoroughly enjoyed reading along!
    P.S. I have to say – I was really missing the regular blog posts and was wondering if a decision had been made and you were no longer on the fence! :) If you find another blog voice, please let us know! Best wishes!!

  • Gina says:

    I just found your blog and I rejoiced. Everything you said sounds just like me. I’ve been debating having children and I am already 33 and still haven’t decided. You mentioned lots of taboo topics that nobody talks about. This society assumes that all women that question motherhood are a bunch of weirdos. Most people don’t think anything through, especially about having kids. Most kids seem to be “accidental” or the mom “didn’t know she was pregnant”. This society shuns women who don’t have kids and I’ve been feeling extra shunned in my recent kid friendly neighborhood. Its a shame that I feel pressure to have children by everyone. And its hard to figure out what your own feelings are when society pressures you. I am happy that you found your solution to your problem. But I’m still where you left off. Confused, alone, shunned. Maybe I’ll start a blog about continuing to be confused about having children.

    Anyway, I am happy for you, but I am sad that your blog might end. I think you’re a great writer and it would be neat if you continued to write, maybe about motherhood. I’m sure you would provide your readers with an honest and sincere opinion on motherhood as opposed to a fake glorification of it like most hollywood celebrities claim. Best wishes!

  • M. says:

    My inner crystal ball was right! I don’t know why or how I knew it, but I did. In fact, I always knew you’d end up making this decision. So, congrats. I’m really happy for you. I do have to admit, though, that I have mixed feelings about this news. I’m really, really, really going to miss this blog. It felt comforting to have a “place to crash” in which the baby frenzy was kept at bay. But again, I’m really happy for you. Now, my thoughts on the issue: I was once told that fence sitters are actually people who may not know what they want but they sure as hell know that they DON’T want. It seems to me that a lot of fence sitters (the ones I’ve met) end up having kids because it’s what everybody does, because they are bored with their lives or because their friends are no longer with them (and if they are, they are busy raising families). You know… I get the feeling that loneliness and emptiness (or the fear of suffering them in the future) are what tips the balance for a lot of people when it comes to making the final decision. All the people I know who have kids or want to have them have always known that motherhood was something they would want to pursue. They didn’t have to sleep on it, think about it, make a decision… they just knew. Maybe there’s something wrong with me… who knows. I wish you the best.

  • Lara says:

    ‘The viewpoint of raising a child from someone who has been Childfree for so long is so unique and needed, and a voice I would very much like to hear.’

    Just a small point but an important one: MaybeLady was never childfree, she was a fence-sitter. The whole blog has been about the fact that she wasn’t sure about whether or not to have kids. The childfree know they will never, ever have them. That’s why when parents say ‘When I was childfree … but now I’m a parent …’ we childfree people get annoyed. People who become parents never had the childfree mentality in the first place. Just as we can never experience what it’s really like to be a parent, they can’t experience what it’s really like to be childfree.

  • Stacey says:

    Congrats, Maybe Lady Liz! I had a sneaking suspicion that you were pregnant. I haven’t been checking the blog much lately because I hopped off the fence onto the baby side too. I’m 4 months preggo. Here’s to the next great adventure! I hope to see you on the other side. The mommy blogger set could use your voice of honesty and level-headedness. Congrats again!!

  • Totally On The Fence (not any more) says:

    I just checked in on your blog now that I’m back from maternity leave. I used to follow you too when I was posting as “Totally on the Fence” and ended up pregnant (and still wasn’t sure about it even then). I’m 34 and my son is now 4 months and I can honestly say it was the best decision ever. I’m so over the moon with him and you will be with your child as well. I still don’t have those ridiculous over the top “mommy feelings”- having a child didn’t suddenly make me inherently maternal- but I realize that’s totally ok! I’m a great mom to my son and that’s all that matters. I might never be hanging with the mommy-and-me crowd either but that doesn’t make me any less of a mom. Congrats! :)

  • Robin says:

    You must be due soon! Hope everything’s been going well with your pregnancy. I hope you come back and continue writing again. Many people have missed your posts. Having given birth nearly 4 months ago to my daughter I understand how a blog can get neglected. Especially those first few weeks it’s hard to sit down and write. Please post an update if not before at least once you have the baby. You don’t “owe” us anything but many people would love to hear from you.

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