To have child(ren) or not (part 1)

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The decision to have children is probably the hardest and scariest decision I will make yet. Though it is not emotionally charged at the moment, I have no doubt the entire process from day 1 will be. Everyone who has ever had a child (and even some who have not) have a million things to say about it, from the very worst to the very best. All of that is both incredibly helpful and not.

What people have said…

On pregnancy:

  • It’s great! You are going through something that is just magical and wonderful. You are glowing!
  • It’s awful. You are sick, you can’t eat what you want, you can’t do what you like, the last trimester is just horrible. You can’t sleep well, can’t move the way you used to. You don’t feel or look like yourself. Your body has been hijacked, by the baby, the hormones, everything. You go through a battery of tests; they are suppose to reassure you, but they can also make you feel even sicker, and more anxious. If you get sick, you can’t take a bunch of medications because they might harm the baby.
  • Not to mention all the difficulties of getting pregnant in the first place, which can range from 1 month to maybe never.
  • And then there are the worst: miscarriages and life-threatening (and heartbreaking) complications. Losing a baby is unimaginably tragic to me.

On child birth:

  • You will be fine. So many women have gone through this; you were born to do this. It will be a miracle.
  • It’s absolute hell: it’s the worst kind of pain, for possibly longer than 24 hours. You are ripped apart, and left broken, and utterly exhausted.
  • You should definitely get the epidural. With the epidural you will barely feel any pain. You will still be in a great of deal of pain even with the epidural. You might not be able to get the epidural. They might mess up the epidural. The epidural might cause complications with the birth. 1/3 women end up with an emergency c-section, which is the worst of both worlds, with the worst recovery and highest risk of everything. Planned C-section is better. Vaginal delivery is better.
  • Breastfeeding is a nightmare. Breastfeeding is great. You should definitely pump and bottle feed to give yourself more rest. You should breastfeed as much as possible. You should definitely request formula at the hospital.
  • Recovery: You should be fine after a few days. It will take a whole year for you to fully recover. You will need at least a few weeks. You might get terrible tears, which will make going to bathroom painful, if not impossible. You won’t even be able to sit comfortably.
  • Newborns sleep a lot. The baby doesn’t sleep at night. You should sleep when the baby sleeps. You won’t get any sleep at all for the first few weeks.

On actually raising a child:

  • It’s the best thing you will ever do. It’s rewarding and fun, though challenging.
  • Your life will never be the same again. It is the biggest change ever.
  • Do all the traveling and having fun now, it will be much harder if not impossible when the children come.
  • You are exhausted all the time. Your life isn’t your own anymore. You never have time for anything anymore.
  • It will put incredible stress on your marriage. It will you bring you even closer with your spouse.
  • The terrible twos will mean tantrums and lots of “no!”s. The teenage years will be the worst. They will be wonderful. They will break your things, they will break your heart. They will suck up all your time, energy, and resources.
  • Being a parent is the most selfless, rewarding, and meaningful thing you will ever do.
  • As hard as it is (often), they don’t regret it one bit.

On timing:

  • Have them as soon as you can (when you are financially stable and have found the right partner)
  • Spend a few years with your spouse and enjoy that time alone
  • Wish they waited or could have waited so they could have more time traveling and doing the fun things with their spouse
  • Regret having waited as it only gets harder both in terms of conceiving, pregnancy, and actually raising the child
  • Have them early so you can have more years with them

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