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Should You Have a Baby?

Photograph by Getty Images

I’m at a baby shower for a friend and there is only one conversation topic—kids! The soon-to-be new mom seems relaxed. But her best friend to the left, the only kid-less one in the room, looks panicked. She takes me aside and confesses that despite having long since decided she doesn’t want kids, she and her husband are now reconsidering.

“I think we might want a baby,” she proclaims. “I’m not sure why.”

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She then explains that while her husband is sure he wants kids, she’s conflicted. She likes her life as it is now, she tells me. The thought of changing it has her worried. But she also admits the thought of having a baby really excites her. But like so many, she’s just not sure.

“How do you know if you should have kids?” she asks, knowing I, too, was conflicted before having kids.

I decided that my doubts didn’t mean I shouldn’t become a mom.

The truth is I wasn’t one of those people who dreamed of having babies. In fact, it was very hard for me to picture having them. It wasn’t that I didn’t want kids. But others around me seemed so sure, and I never was. Like the girl at the baby shower, I was conflicted.

How did I decide to have kids? I decided that my doubts didn’t mean I shouldn’t become a mom. Everyone has doubts, even those people who’ve dreamed of having babies since they were babies. Sure, serious doubts should be explored before you pull the goalie, but if it's just a run-of-the-mill feeling that you're not 100 percent sure, rest assured that a lot of people feel the same way.

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So I tell my friend this advice: If you know you don’t want kids, don’t have them. Otherwise, go for it! Everyone’s conflicted about what having children means for their life now and in the future. But being conflicted doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have children. Once you see your child, you’ll know it was the right choice.

Were you conflicted about having kids?

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