Denisse Myrick

7 min Read Denisse Myrick

Denisse Myrick

Our Top Reader Comments on Whether to Have Children

From the ParentData village

Denisse Myrick

7 min Read

Last week, our reader question was from someone considering whether or not to try to have a child. You all showed up and provided an immense amount of support, shared experiences, and judgment-free advice. That’s what the Village is for, after all! 

We know that the decision to have a child is not an easy one. And there are many people who want nothing more than to start a family and must navigate infertility or a longer medical process to do so. If you are going through these complex experiences, please know you are not alone. 

And now, here are some of your comments.

I believe that as we come to the question of parenthood later in life, we go in with lots of information and clear eyes as to the challenges ahead and rightfully ask the question of whether it is worth it. And much of that answer probably depends on how much challenge you are wanting, willing, and able to take on in your lives. You know it will be hard, even if it will have moments of huge reward and mind-bending joy. Are you ready and wanting to take on all the hard and grow through it together? You can still be terrified of the unknown levels of hard, but if the answer is yes, you can bravely move forward on that path. For many people, there is no shame in saying no, “we don’t want, need, or enjoy the idea of adding these new and massive challenges to our happy life. We are content as we are.” And that’s so valid.

—KateDi


What I recommend you look at and ask yourself is: for your friends who have kids and are unhappy, is it really the child that has caused the unhappiness? Or is it things around having the child? For example, I have friends in two-parent households who are unhappy but it has to do with things like different parenting styles or one parent feeling like they carry more of a load than the other parent or a parent feeling neglected by their partner, or one parent feeling resentful of the other parent being able to go to a job and take a break from full-time parenting, or a slew of other things. My point is, the parents might feel, deep down, very fulfilled by having their child and parenting, but that some of the logistical pieces or partner dynamics are causing some resentment or unhappiness. I would examine, with your partner, what your dynamic will be like, how you can both get what you need out of parenting and adding a third human into your life, how you can disagree and handle tough moments, etc. How you navigate all of that might be part of the answer to how happy you will be when your lifestyle and family dynamic changes.

—Alexfi24


I just wanted to play devil’s advocate that, although a parent, I am often jealous of my non-parent friends who travel internationally several times a year, have rewarding and demanding and interesting careers, see live music on weeknights, cook amazing meals together, sleep in, stay up late, etc. They pursue hobbies and athletics, and arts and crafts. I am not trying to say that these things are closed off to parents, and as a mom of a 2-year-old, things are hard but getting easier, and I genuinely do not have regrets (I always wanted to be a mom! And am pregnant again by choice!), but just wanted to offer that it is OK to not have kids. You will still have a rich, meaningful, and fulfilling life.

—DKHoneyandOats


Sometimes I feel the loss of my old identity, but mostly I feel like my children have pushed me forward in new ways that wouldn’t have been possible without children. My self-knowledge, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, creativity, and so many other parts of me have grown through this experience. For those who have unresolved emotional pain from childhood, parenting can poke at those wounds but also give you the opportunity to finally tend to them and heal. I feel like I’m leveling up towards self-actualization in ways I couldn’t have achieved on my own.

Parenting young children is especially hard on relationships, and candidly, there have been a lot more arguments and feelings of disconnection with my partner since we became parents together. But we are also acting as a team constantly and appreciate each other in new ways. I know that, when we get through this phase of life, we’ll be a better couple for having faced this challenge together. In many ways, this is already happening for us, even when things are hard, and all it takes to reconnect is intentional time together.

For me, parenting has been amazing, so it’s okay if it also makes me look and feel sort of miserable sometimes. Oh, and as for our dog, while I’m sure he regrets getting less attention and adoration from us than he was used to, he now gets a ton of people food (dropped by the baby) and sweet pets from our gentle toddler. So, while he’s increasingly old and crotchety, I think he is also satisfied with his new life situation!

—Emily


I think this is a very personal decision for each person and couple to make, but I can tell you that having three kids has made my life so much better, and I have no regrets. It’s absolutely hard, especially when they are young, but it’s also filled with so much love and joy. The hardest part for me was that your identity really changes, and you have to figure out how to be both a parent and retain your own identity. It’s not easy, but I personally think it is worth it. I do have days where I miss when it was just my husband and me (and our dual-income-with-no-kid expenses!), but I wouldn’t change a thing!

—Alice22089


I was in similar shoes as you a few years ago. My husband and I had been married for six years and really loved our life. We got to travel a lot, both focus on serious careers, and otherwise lead fulfilling lives. But we saw the clock ticking and realized we needed to make a decision. Neither of us was sure! But we looked at what our lives would be like at 70, and we realized that we wanted to have our kids at our Thanksgiving table. The only way to do that was to have kids now. So we did; I had my first at 36 and am pregnant now with my second. Life is absolutely crazy, but I love it.

—GingerDi


One important thing—make sure you have established equity in household life with your spouse. Are you doing all of the invisible/emotional labor? I would not recommend having a kid if that is the case, because you will be shouldering even more (which is what makes many heteronormative moms so desperate and drowning).

On a personal note, what people don’t mention is how long the bad period can last. We are still doing some sleepless nights, and ours is 3.5. I am personally much worse post-kid (mental health, physically, financially), even with real equity at home, and yet it’s impossible to have regrets because she’s a f*cking marvel, and the highs are beyond anything imaginable (just go in knowing the lows are too).

—MTurner


As a joke with my husband, we often say short-term suffering for long-term reward. We are 36f and 38m and didn’t really feel like we had to have a child, but we would think about our future in 10 to 20 years. I was worried about that version of myself. Would she mourn or regret not even trying? So we tried, and have an adorable and busy 1-year-old. And it’s hard but so sweet and life-changing. I think parenting is wonderful, but if you decide not to become parents, you will be able to find joy in that space too.

—Leilatequila


If you haven’t checked out our Village yet, click the button below to introduce yourself and meet other ParentData readers!

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#parentdata #emilyoster #tickseason #bugbites #bugspray

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Prevention is key! I suggest:
⭐ Regular tick checks
⭐ Using bug sprays with DEET
⭐ Wearing long sleeves and pants in the woods

Some parents worry about DEET, but repellants with up to 30% DEET are recommended by both the CDC and AAP. The data says you’re in the clear, so go for it. Enjoy your summer!

#parentdata #emilyoster #tickseason #bugbites #bugspray
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OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

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We now have much better data on this, and the bulk of the evidence seems to reject the link between sleep position and stillbirth or other negative outcomes. So go ahead and get some sleep however you are most comfortable. 💤

Sources:
📖 #ExpectingBetter pp. 160-163
📈 Robert M. Silver et al., “Prospective Evaluation of Maternal Sleep Position Through 30 Weeks of Gestation and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 134, no. 4 (2019): 667–76. 

#emilyoster #pregnancy #pregnancytips #sleepingposition #pregnantlife

Is side sleeping important during pregnancy? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on whether sleep position affects pregnancy outcomes.

Being pregnant makes you tired, and as time goes by, it gets increasingly hard to get comfortable. You were probably instructed to sleep on your side and not your back, but it turns out that advice is not based on very good data.

We now have much better data on this, and the bulk of the evidence seems to reject the link between sleep position and stillbirth or other negative outcomes. So go ahead and get some sleep however you are most comfortable. 💤

Sources:
📖 #ExpectingBetter pp. 160-163
📈 Robert M. Silver et al., “Prospective Evaluation of Maternal Sleep Position Through 30 Weeks of Gestation and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 134, no. 4 (2019): 667–76.

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#pregnancy #pregnancycomplications #pregnancyjourney #preeclampsiaawareness #postpartumjourney #emilyoster
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We are better writers than influencers, I promise. Thanks to our kids for filming our unboxing videos. People make this look way too easy. 

Only two weeks until our book “The Unexpected” is here! Preorder at the link in my bio. 💙

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