We often hear about how moving and beautiful the experience of motherhood is. However, not every woman dreams of having children. This doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with them, and it doesn’t even mean that they don’t love children as a whole. It simply means that they realize their skills and goals lie in areas other in motherhood and that they are choosing to honor their unique path. However, knowing the right path isn’t always easy.
So how can you decide if motherhood is right for you? Consider the following tips as you make this life-changing decision:
Borrow a baby. It’s very easy to catch baby fever when you see a cute little newborn briefly at the grocery store, or when you visit for an hour or two with your friends and their new babies. However, the reality of parenting is much more grueling than these new parents let on (and no matter how cute the baby is, two hours of sleep is still two hours of sleep).
Do your friends (and yourself) a favor and babysit the newborn while the parents go on date night. Get a crash course in parenting and discover if you really can see yourself giving up fun Saturday nights in exchange for diaper duty. Suddenly, ‘bottle service’ will take on a whole new meaning!
Consider your motivations. In other words, what makes you not want to have a baby? Are you afraid of your lack of finances or are you worried about losing your identity? Or, do you feel like your own childhood might have ‘scarred’ you and made you unable to parent?
Now think about why you do want to have a baby. Is it because your partner really wants children, or because you feel like it’s the next obvious step in your relationship? Or is it because you are ready to start a family and share your life with your new creation?
There is no ‘right’ answer and it’s likely that you will find you have many different reasons behind your fears and behind your dreams. However, it’s important to make sure that you are having a child because it is what you want to do, not because it’s what society or your partner or your mother-in-law wants you to do.
It’s also important to make sure that you aren’t having a baby to “fix” problems in your relationship. Problems will only get magnified with the stress of raising children. It’s okay to feel a little nervous about your decision, as this shows that you grasp the gravity and importance of the situation, but if you feel nothing but anxiety, then you definitely might want to reconsider motherhood.
Give back. Even if you decide against having children, you can still offer your big heart to needy kids in your own community. Volunteer at a domestic abuse shelter, or read to kids at a nearby public library. Or, take one of your nieces or nephews out to the park for a beautiful day of sunshine and bonding. Just because you don’t want to have kids of your own doesn’t mean you can’t offer something to the younger generation!