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Is Having Kids Really Worth It? 25 Parents Speak Out

Since I started writing about conceiving after a miscarriage and my experiences as a first-time mom, I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from both strangers and friends. Having a baby hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for me thus far—I've struggled with postpartum depression, my inability to breastfeed my son longer than 6 weeks and a general, um, dislike of caring for an infant 24 hours a day. So much poop, so little sleep.

I share my experiences with the hope that other women out there will read them and take some comfort if they are going through something similar. One of the recurring themes I have seen from other parents is just how "worth it" having a child will be one day. So far, I'm not sold, so I decided to ask some friends and family what has made it worth it. I got some really beautiful and honest responses. So here's a little inspiration for me (and maybe you) to hang onto in this tough first year.

Oh the love!

"All I need to do is look at their faces and the love that I feel for them both just brings me pure happiness and touches my soul, and that is worth everything. They have been my greatest gift and I cherish them. I won't say it was exactly easy but I would do it again in a heartbeat." — Cathy, mother of two, ages 30 & 37

"I love my son more than I love myself. That sounds so simple but in reality a mother's love is what shapes another entire human being. The more we put into it, the more THEY get out of it. In the end, it's not for our benefit at all but for theirs and that's what that love means. It's truly selfless. They come before us: their needs, their wants, their desires. We feel good when they are happy. Their pain hurts us more than any pain we could ever feel ourselves. They are our extension and are part of us, bu,t in the end, there is a peace in letting go of ourselves and leaving behind something even better in the world." — Angela, mother of one, age 9

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"The truth is, even if I tried for 100 years to even imagine a single scenario where my life was better without any one of them in it, I wouldn't be able to come up with one that doesn't include them." — Carlos, father of four, ages 9, 7, 6 & 3

"Being a mother is worth it, because you realize that you had more of a capacity to love than you had ever imagined. I remember patting my daughter on the back to soothe her, and then she patted me on the back in return. It was such a meaningful way for her to thank me, even though she wasn't speaking in full sentences at that time." — Karen, mother of two, ages 11 & 13

"It gives you a completely different perspective, one that you can't fully comprehend until you've taken that fateful plunge. It also teaches you about strengths, insecurities and weaknesses you never knew you had, to dig deeper than you ever thought possible, to forgive yourself, to better understand all of your relationships, and discover that you can love someone else to an extent that you never imagined." — Erin, mother of one, age 6

It was like falling off a cliff. I learned, the night she was born, the beginning of a true feeling of selflessness. Living for someone else entirely.

The Learning!

"Watching my son discover the world around him and within him and his connection to it brings me so much joy and satisfaction. He is teaching me to embrace the wonders and mysteries of life and find pleasure in the most simplest of things." — Marly, mother of one, age 3

"One of the best things about parenting is also one of the hardest: nonstop personal growth. You are constantly being pushed out of your comfort zone, and sometimes you're the one feeling growing pains. And you learn so much. About deep-sea creatures, computer games, how many crazy ways there are to do multiplication … at the end of the day, it is so worth it. To love these amazing little people, and feel that parent-child connection—protecting that bond is all that matters." — Jessica, mother of twins, age 10

"So much has changed in the last 10 years since she was born. It was like falling off a cliff. I learned, the night she was born, the beginning of a true feeling of selflessness. Living for someone else entirely. It was beautifully frightening, still is. Getting to witness her evolution, sing her perspective on the world, the beauty and the light in her. She and I were walking to the store and I looked up and I said, 'Look at those birds on the wire,' and she said, 'No, Dad, that's Romeo and Juliet.' I don't know why but it made me cry." — Micah, father of one, age 10

"When they're babies, they're not really people; for me, it was watching them grow and learn and become real people." — Ruby, mother of three, ages 56, 43 & 40

"It's the combination of watching her learn and the joy that she has is just being near the people she loves. Having Emily has made me appreciate not only the time I get with her, but the time I get with all of the people I love." — Janine, mother of one, age 3

They have given me strength in so many different areas that would probably never even surface in my lifetime without them.

The Hope & Pride!

"It gives me hope. I gave birth to some truly, innately awesome people. I look at them and I can believe that there is good in the world, and I feel like helping them to grow makes me part of the hope. " — Carly, mother of three, ages 8, 6 & 4

"I take pride in what these little people have turned out to be. My youngest keeps getting acceptance letter after acceptance letter for college. My oldest has already graduated cosmetology school. I'm so proud of them." — Reuben, father of two, ages 19 & 17

"I loved the opportunity to observe, guide and participate in the miraculous wonder of human development. No, really, I mean it!" — Carol, mother of one, age 30

"I was a handful and I'm sure the day that my mother saw me safely tucked into my dorm room room, my freshman year of college, was probably one of the happiest days of her life. After sending my children to college, I realized what my mother knew all along. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you have played a role in launching your fledging children toward successful adulthoods. And that they graduate in four years." — Jane, mother of three (one of them is me)

A Sense of Purpose!

"Being a mother gives my life a purpose more than I ever imagined possible. They have given me strength in so many different areas that would probably never even surface in my lifetime without them." — Renee, mother of 3, ages 10, 8 & 5

"Growing up, I knew it wasn't in my life plan to get pregnant. I was going to be the childless one in my family. At 27, I still feel the same. However, I felt in love with a woman who already had a child. I came into his life when he was 7 years old. When he started calling me 'Mom,' a label I never knew I would have, I knew this child—no matter what, he is my son. He is the reason why I wake up early to take him to school, why I now have become a tutor to help him with his homework, and the guidance to show him how to be a real man in life, show him manners, respect and love." — Julie, mother to one, age 10

"The first years are so tiring. The 'worth it' comes in many levels. The small ones are the ones to hold onto, though. The best feeling in world to me is that tiny hand on your face or chest when you feed them. On a deeper level, it gives you a chance to look at your own parents differently. All the things we judged them for suddenly confront us and you see how hard it is to make some decisions." — Jamie, mother of two, ages7 & 9

I was never a 'baby person' and wasn't sure the whole mom gig was for me. But every year that I spend with my daughter watching her change and grow is the best year yet.

The Bad with the Good!

"Some days are really freaking hard. Some years, to be honest. But one moment of silliness that belongs only to you, or a phone call that wouldn't mean anything to anyone else but brings you to tears—these are the moments where gratitude happens without coaxing. It's worth it because every day with children—every crazy, hectic, loving, frustrating, beautiful day—is a gift." — Heather, mother of two, ages 12 & 10

"Err ... ummmm. The jury is still out for me on whether or not it's worth it. If you like your life turned upside down and to be interrupted consistently from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., then it's definitely worth it. " — Emily, mother of one, age 4

"I have so many days where I probably couldn't give you a reason why it's worth it! Every now and then, I get an unprompted 'I love you' from my 3-year-old or a random hug from my 1-year-old that will melt my heart, no matter how frustrated I may be with them. It's no doubt a roller coaster ride with often more lows than highs, but in the end, I know it will be worth it!" — Michelle, mother of 2, ages 1 & 3

"Not being a traditional mother (in that my ex had primary custody of my two girls), I am thrilled now that my older daughter seeks my advice on child-rearing. Leaving them with their dad was not an easy decision, and they both needed to work through that seeming rejection, but it is a testament to their characters that they still trust and love me. Parenting never stops, no matter how old the kids become—the needs are different and the issues get larger, but nothing delights me more than hearing one of them on the other end of the phone saying, 'Mum, how are you? I was thinking about you today because I need your advice.'" — Anne, mother of two, ages 38 & 42

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"Some days, I don't have anything nice to say! But here's the deal and the cliche: It's all worth it when you are having a shitty day and those chubby arms wrap around your neck with a sloppy kiss, complete with 'I love you.' And all the shittiness of the day goes away. And you think, I made that! It makes it worth it." — Michaela, mother of two, ages 6 & 3

"I was never a 'baby person' and wasn't sure the whole mom gig was for me. But every year that I spend with my daughter watching her change and grow is the best year yet." — Madeline, mother of one, age 11

"I was always a little on the fence about becoming a mom. It was a rough first year having a baby with a heart condition. Now, I just enjoy this little person who makes me laugh daily and has made me slow down for a period of time and just enjoy the people around me for the love and joy they bring into my life. He has taught me to appreciate everything on a different level and I realize how fragile life is. I try and soak in each wonderful moment with those around me, which I never did before." — Bianca, mom of one, age 2

"I'm having a hard time, there is no denying that, but sometimes when he laughs and laughs and his face is just so sweet, I think, maybe one day, I'll tell a new mom it's totally worth it." — Rebekah, author of this post, mom of one, age 6 months

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