Today’s reader question is about whether to have kids when you’re happy without them — and the parents you know seem depressed.
It reminds me of a great piece by Jessica Grose last month called “Why the Joys of Parenting Can Be So Difficult to Express.” In it, she talks about the financial and structural barriers to parenthood in America and then goes on to say:
“You can’t extol the blessings of parenthood without addressing the serious challenges that caregivers will face throughout their lifetimes. Further, I strongly believe that it’s important for parents, mothers in particular, to acknowledge a range of emotions around motherhood. Parenting, of course, isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, so if you only accentuate the positives, that winds up doing everyone a disservice — making it harder to parent through the difficult moments if you’re crushed by guilt over every worry. And yet. I have to admit I do sometimes find it harder to express the existential pleasure of having children — the deep and unending satisfaction, laughter and wellspring of love that being a mother has provided me.”
Does this resonate with you? Have you been in our reader’s position and wondered whether having kids will make you unhappy? How did you make a decision?
I recently had a C-section and can’t do much, and the cold temps are keeping us inside with a very energetic 2-year-old. We put a kids’ trampoline in our family room for him to jump on while he’s watching big trucks. He’s burning energy and watching TV while I’m recovering and feeding the baby!
—Mom of One T1 + 2
Last week, our 4-year-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. On one hand, he is feeling much better since recovering from ketoacidosis and getting on insulin, and we are extremely relieved and grateful. On the other hand, I am struggling to cope with the realities of this condition. I watch the blood glucose monitor app all day and much of the night, waiting and planning for the next meal or worrying about being outside the target range. I worry about hypoglycemia in the short term; hyperglycemia in the long term. I just can’t escape the worry, and I feel terribly alone.
My six-month-old twins are finally sleeping through the night! Before we started our 14-day sleep training program, one baby would be up every two hours ready to eat while the other would cry as soon as we laid him down in the crib. Bedtime was something my husband and I dreaded — not anymore! They go right to sleep, and sleep through the night! Parenting win!
This week’s reader question
I’m 35, and so is my husband. We love our life, and our dog, and we do not have kids. We have many friends without kids who seem relatively happy, all things considered. We have some friends who have kids, and most seem more depressed than they were before they had kids. It is really, really, REALLY hard for us to decide if we want to have a baby. It seems like having kids is outwardly presented as the meaning of life but privately experienced as a massive toll on life. No one can really tell you if they regret having kids, either. So I’m unclear on what the experience is really like for my friends who seem so isolated and blah. I’m worried about missing this shrinking window in which we could have a baby. I’m worried about having a baby and being unhappy. How do people who haven’t just always wanted to be parents make this decision?
—Mid-30s with a Dog