10 brutally honest reasons why I'm scared to have kids right now
As a twenty-six year-old who’s in a long-term relationship, the number one question I get from relatives and my parents’ friends at family dinners isn’t about my job. Or where I live now. Or even my health. The most popular question I always get is when will I finally decide to have a baby. I get everything from unsolicited advice (“It’s better now, to get it over with while you’re still young!”) to compliments on how “great” I look with a baby, whenever I’m holding my seven-month-old niece — as though a baby is a statement piece of jewelry I’m hesitant to buy.
As a lady of the modern age, I get how un-feminist, how opposite of progressive this conversation is in the first place. But in my Russian-Jewish family, it’s assumed that you start your own family eventually — if not out of the natural inclination to do so, then the desire to keep the bloodline going. So I’m not angry whenever I’m asked when I’m going to have a kid — I’m stressed out. Because growing up, I always thought I would eventually become a mom. I mean, I like babies. They’re soft and somehow always smell like lavender and are everything pure and good about this planet.
But the thought of becoming a parent is SO SCARY, and it’s gotten scarier the older I become. I come up with more and more reasons why the cons outweigh the pros, and cons fill me with so much dread, I’m not even sure I WANT to have a baby. These are the ten thoughts I have about having a baby that truly scare me.
I really love my life right now. As is. With no baby involved. What if having a baby ruins EVERYTHING?
My schedule is way too full to also accommodate parenting. If i’m not at work, I’m working at home or binge-watching Jane the Virgin, or I’m treating myself to some pasta and a glass of wine, and like, I’m sorry Baby, but there is just no room for you here. The freedom is just too awesome. One of the reasons why I chose cats over dogs? They. Don’t. Need. You.
I can barely keep a plant alive.
Is there a correlation between remembering to water succulents once a week and raising a human baby? I don’t know. It still worries me I can’t keep most low-maintenance forms of life alive though.
I’m worried about how pregnancy and giving birth will take a toll on my body.
Every woman’s pregnancy and birthing experience is different. Some find pregnancy really difficult and giving birth excruciating. Some have mild (maybe even enjoyable!) pregnancies and say their time giving birth was tolerable. I am personally scared of both and how they might affect my body, in all the physical senses. I’m worried I won’t be able to handle the pain from giving birth OR the after-care. I worry about my vagina tearing, about being able to move around on my own and take care of myself. I know in the grand scheme of things (ya know, DIY’ing human life out of your very own cells), pain is not supposed to stop you from wanting to become a parent. But I can’t stop thinking about how much it’s going to hurt, and how long it will take until I feel like myself again.
I might need to go off my meds, and that freaks me out.
Full disclosure: I take Wellbutrin for depression and anxiety, as well as Xanax if I’m experiencing a panic attack — I’ve been on these meds for a couple years now, and I’ve learned I need them if I want to keep my mental health in check. I also take Ibuprofen for chronic headaches (and yes, I’ve gone to *many* doctors about this issue — so far there is no way to treat them. The only option is pain management.).
According to Drugs.com, Xanax “can potentially cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women.” And according to the White House, “Xanax is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance and Category D risk in pregnancy.” This means, according to American Addicts Centers, that enough studies have been done to prove that Xanax poses enough of a risk for pregnant women that they at least need to discuss the issue with their OBGYN. Wellbutrin has also been considered as risky to take during pregnancy. According to the CDC, a study from 2010 found that Wellbutrin MAY increase the risk of the baby being born with heart defects. However, the CDC also reports that pregnant women who have untreated depression are more likely to not carry their child to full term. Basically, antidepressants + pregnancy is a complicated relationship, one that has many, conflicted studies. Ultimately, whether or not I continue taking antidepressants would be a topic that I would have to discuss with my OBGYN to get a better picture.
Painkillers on the other hand, have always been viewed as a risk during pregnancy. According to Drugs.com, Ibuprofen shouldn’t be taken at all during the last trimester, and very rarely in the beginning and middle of the pregnancy. Any anti-inflammatory drugs (aka, NSAIDs) can cause: fetal renal impairment, pulmonary hypertension, and premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus.
Obviously, I would want to be responsible if I were to become pregnant — but could I do so while also taking care of the health issues I do have?
What if there will be complications?
Most medical procedures are invasive — when you hand your body over to a surgeon, you’re taking a chance. What if something goes horribly wrong during the delivery?
I love my career and the direction it’s going.
I love my job and I want to do it for eternity. I don’t want anything to get in the way of that — and I just don’t really buy the whole “leaning in” and “having it all” ideology. I’ve observed the lives of working mothers I know — they sacrificed something in order to have their job AND their kid. They went through tremendous obstacles to ensure they could still work and be mothers. And even then, they were derailed. Their personal relationships suffered. Can you really have a career AND be a parent in 2016? It makes me sad that this is something so many working women have to account for, STILL. But the reality is that the nature of most businesses doesn’t cater to the needs of moms.
What if my kid inherits all my badness?
My kid is bound to inherit some of my traits, just like how I inherited my mom’s anxiety and my dad’s impulsiveness. Is that selfish, then? To create someone, knowing they may end up with some of the same, difficult characteristics I have? To see the bad parts of myself in THEM, too?
I cannot afford child care by myself.
Child care is expensive. If I do have kids, I plan on being a working mom, but it costs thousands a month to make sure competent humans are taking care of your little human. “You’ll make it work,” is something I’ve heard over and over again, but like, no. I will not make it work, I’ll probably go into debt.
I’m scared of pretty much every aspect of being pregnant and giving birth.
Home-growing a miniature version of yourself is insane. I can’t believe humans are capable of that. It’s amazing and terrifying at the same time. That we walk around for nine months needing to pee a lot more than normal, deal with someone kicking our ORGANS, and then push pounds of baby out of a hole that’s normally pretty small is mind-blowing. I can’t seem to wrap my head around it all.
The fear that I might be a bad mom.
I always imagined myself to become the kind of mom I wanted when I was growing up. Not that my mom was a bad mom — mothering was just not the most natural thing for her. But what if it’s not natural for me? What I don’t understand my kid? What if my kid hates me? What if I don’t know how to handle it when they throw tantrums, or want food, or are so sad and they don’t know why? What if I don’t possess maternal instinct? Because at the end of the day, if I have a kid, I want it to be happy and have an awesome life, and I want to make sure I’m capable of providing that.