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Old 12-10-2001, 09:15 AM   #1
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Need advice from interferencers with children/babies!

I'm not sure if this is a Free Your Mind or a Lemonade Stand question, but I'm putting it in here anyway.

OK. This will sound like a strange question, but I'm one of those people who likes to ask people for advice before plunging into anything.

Now that the distraction of the tour is over, I am left with a pile of debt and a few life decisions to make. One of these nagging worries is: do I start a family. I am 30 now, and this is something I really should decide on relatively soon, because I CERTAINLY don't want to be raising a teenager in my 50s/60s!

My question is, if you are a parent, what made you finally decide to take this plunge? Was it spontaneous, or did you plan it out carefully right down to the timing of the conception?

I live with my husband happily in our house, and enjoy my life as it is enormously. I love the freedom of being able to travel and go out on a moment's notice. I am constantly bombarded with people saying "If you have a baby be prepared to never sleep/travel/have any fun/money again!" Not a great advertisement for parenthood! Everyone says that unless you are DESPERATE for children, not to bother having them. Is this true?

My sister says that children are like messy houseguests who don't clean up after themselves and never leave. My brother says "don't do it Jess, you'll regret it!" My mother says that having a baby will make up for the lack of U2 excitement. I would also really like to get away from work and if I have a baby I'm guaranteed a year off. Also, one of my best friends is about to try for her second, and corny though it sounds, it might be nice to be pregnant at the same time and go through it together, and she can teach me all the ins and outs of motherhood.

Do you think that someone who is not really maternal by nature can suddenly have a baby and adore having it? I don't want to be a bad mother! (I have always been very anti-babies, but am slowly mellowing and beginning to find some of them rather cute).

I am totally split in two. I am worried that if I don't have a baby that I'll regret it later, and worried that if I DO I'll regret it later!

Any thoughts on this that you have would be HUGELY appreciated. Don't feel unduely pressured, I will ultimately decide what to do on my own, but I'd love your honest perspectives on this.

[This message has been edited by Mrs. Edge (edited 12-10-2001).]

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Old 12-10-2001, 09:21 AM   #2
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Hmmm... big decision. I'm not a parent, so I can't really advise you, but I don't think parents really see their kids as messy houseguests who never leave.

Having said that, from what you write, I don't think you're quite ready for parenthood. Lack of U2 excitement and wanting to get away from work don't seem like good reasons for having a baby.

How about "borrowing" one for a weekend? Maybe a niece or nephew. It won't be like the real thing, of course, but it would keep your thoughts on the issue 24/7.

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Old 12-10-2001, 09:56 AM   #3
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im a mother of two and im 20 years old.
i have always wanted children so as soon as i knew i met the man i was to marry i fell pregnant,i fell pregnant within 4 weeks of trying.
being a mother s VERY hard work they take up alot of your time and you cant go out whenever you feel like it,you are very ristricted
but saying this i never regret having mine,all the hard work is worth it especially when you see your children grow up,you get so much pride from knowing you brought these ppl in the world!!!!!!!!!!
i knew someone who wasnt maternal atall but she fell pregnant and when the baby was born she fell in love with it instantly,so i wouldnt worry about that.
im younger than you so i have my life to come when they are grown up,but i would think about if there s anything in your life which you want to do before you decide on becoming a mother
even though i have always wanted children when i did fall pregnant i was scared i kept thinking about if i had made the right choice or not!!!!!
i dont think you will ever be 100% sure about wanting babys but dont rush into anything.
email me if you like

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Old 12-10-2001, 11:57 AM   #4
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Having children I think is something you know if you want or not when you are young. I always knew I wanted to have children from the time I was a child. But I think you have to be settled in your career, your home, and have most of your traveling done before you have kids. I had my first child when I was pretty young (24), and had been married for two years.

My sister and two sister-in-laws tried to have kids in their mid-30s and all had problems conceiving. My one sister-in-law had five in-vitro fertilizations done before she finally got pregant, and gave birth to triplets! So unfortunately, their are risks and heartbreaks involved when you conceive later in life.

I hope some of this helps you!
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Old 12-10-2001, 12:15 PM   #5
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Jumping into it isn't a good idea, but, as already stated, problems come when you are pregnant around 35-40+, and birth defects are more common. Basically, it is because younger women will miscarry fetuses with severe genetic abnormalities (which, unfortunately, are more common than one realizes), while older women, for some reason or another, don't reject these fetuses.

However, my point is that, if you are considering having children, this would be a good time, rather than waiting even longer and putting undue risk on yourself and future children. Yet--and I've seen this a lot--people just seem to feel obligated to have children, and then give nothing up in the process. Still putting in their full-time job (I know some have to financially do this to survive, but many just do it on greed factor), sending their children to day care, never really knowing what they are doing. Then their children become dysfunctional brats that I grow to loathe. I would say that if you are prepared to have children, I would make sure you are prepared to make a life-long commitment. There are benefits and drawbacks to both, obviously, but if you are simply wanting children out of obligation, I would consider not having them at all.

Anyway, you know yourself better than I obviously, so just listen to your heart.


"Then she was in the helicopter, and it was rising, and I had not gone with her, and I never saw her again, none of us did, and the last words she screamed down at me break my heart every time I think of them, and I think of them a few hundred times a day, every day, and then there are the endless, sleepless nights." - Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet
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Old 12-10-2001, 12:26 PM   #6
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I was never maternal and really didn't care if I had kids or not...I was married for two years and was age 24 when I found I was pregnant..didn't plan it.
The baby was born healthy...was no problem...slept through the night...but I did not 'fall in love with him' right away...I didn't find out until later that is a a normal reaction... also for some reason had a case of the baby blues...mine only lasted a few weeks so I just want to warn you about those things that might happen.

However after the baby started to react to me..things like smiling and so forth...then I fell in love with him. He is 19 years old now...still a good kid. He has been taking his friends to Burger King over and over just so he can collect the Lord of the Ring toys so he can give them to's that for a cool kid...

My daughter was planned...three years later...great talents kid (Bono was her inspiration to start singing ...that was love at first sight as it was with my youngest...a now my most difficult child but I now have the maturity and experience to deal with him.

I did have some rough spots in the very begining...but in the end it was worth it.

dream wanderer

[This message has been edited by dream wanderer (edited 12-10-2001).]
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Old 12-10-2001, 01:17 PM   #7
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My child was not planned, although I had been married for 3 years my husband and I weren't exactly what you call financially stable. We didn't think we were emotionally stable enough to have a child so when we found out we were having a baby we panicked. My husband was never particularly fond of children and I didn't think I was ready (I was 25 at the time I found out) and we considered the options. Not going through the pregnancy, or leaving the child up for adoption.

Thankfully we had the support of our families and that made all the difference in the world. But we still wondered *how* we were going to handle raising a child. Would we resent the child, would it cramp our style? Now mind you, my husband and I were party animals always on the go with our date books filled to the brim with social engagements. We knew we'd lose a lot of freedom... not to forget, we'd probably lose lots of sleep.

My pregnancy was a piece of cake and I'm grateful for it. Not a bit of mornign sickness, although around 5 and a half months there was a lot of heartburn and I craved every piece of food I saw. As a matter of fact, I didn't know I was pregnant until I was 15 weeks in (long story, but I was on the pill) I had done some questionable things during those first critical months and I was worried this would affect the baby's health. I ended up gaining a lot of weight. I mean... a LOT of weight and even though it shouldn't have, that brought me down.

Once our son was born, any prior misgivings we had slipped away. On one hand we were filled with joy that we had this beautiful little baby that resembled me and my husband's love. The first couple of months were joyous. But then... adjusting to life with a little person we were now responsible for was trying on our marriage. We lost a lot of our freedom and once you look into your child's eyes for the first time, you become keenly aware of your mortality. It's hard to describe, but you just do. You realize that the life you led before the birth of your child is now a closed chapter in your book of life. These things you absolutely must deal with, there's no way around it. And if you aren't quite ready like I was, that road is a long haul.

Resentment never crossed my mind. Not once. My son is beautiful and healthy and I am grateful that this amazing child is mine. But the adjustment was very difficult because neither of us were ready. It's as though we had 5 months to drastically change our lives and prepare for the task of raising a helpless child that we were solely responsible for. I had postpartum depression pretty bad. I knew the signs were there but I pushed them to the backburner because when I told people "I'm not happy" they criticized me for not being happy simply because I had a beautiful and healthy son. I didn't seek professional help until my marriage nearly collapsed. My family, once so supportive, made me feel selfish and ungrateful. There was no use trying to explain to them that although I was up to the challenge of raising a happy child, I still mourned for the life I once led. I just smiled and went on my merry way but I was hurting inside. I felt as though I lost my freedom and my friends (who don't have children) stopped coming by. I didn't work so I felt like I was trapped in my house all day. All I wanted to do was sleep because maybe when I woke up, life would get better. I did everything for my son and absolutely nothing for myself. I wanted to be a good mom but felt that all odds were against me. I didn't do my hair, I didn't bother to lose the 80+ lbs I packed on during my pregnancy. I didn't go out because I felt that if I gave myself a little bit of joy then my son would suffer. Typical signs of classic post partum depression. It took 18 months after the birth of my son for me to finally admit there was something wrong. And to the snickering of my family, I went and got some professional help.

Which helped tremendously. I wished I had done it sooner, I would've been better off. I learned that in order to raise a happy child, the mother has to be happy. That meant I needed (even though this sounds increidbly selfish) to do things for myself. Get a sitter and take a day at the salon and get my hair done. Go to the gym and get healthier. Go back to work part time. Get a sitter for an evening and go to a concert or a club. Life DOES revolve around your children, but it is your life too. You need to be happy and even though you may not have the freedom to up and go like you once did, you still need to do things outside of the realm of child rearing that will bring a little more joy (and sanity) into your life.

Now, 3 and a half years after my son was born, I am a much better person inside and out. My son is a well adjusted and polite little boy who is gorgeous and creative. He has a zest for being on the go and now that we can communicate, I am finding a friend in him.

I don't think my case is all that unusual for unplanned pregnancies *or* planned pregnancies. Child rearing is a tremendous life long endeavor. Nothing truly prepares you for what's to come. Not all the books in the world can simulate first hand and hands on experience. Child rearing can be scarey and overwhelming at time, but its rewards make all that nonsense I wrote above seem trivial.

[This message has been edited by adam's_mistress (edited 12-10-2001).]
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Old 12-10-2001, 01:25 PM   #8
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okay, I don't have kids. I chose not to (for me). But I will tell you what I have heard from my family and friends:

- THINK ABOUT IT FIRST. Then jump in later. Weigh EVERYTHING.

- Kids will be your greatest JOY in your life.

- Kids will be your greatest heartache--and heartbreak--in your life.

- It doesnt' stop at 18 - be prepared to *worry* about everything for the rest of your life from the moment you find out you're preggers!

- Will a child will fit into your lifestyle -or, are you prepared to change your lifestyle for a child? Because once you have a kid, your entire lives will revolve 100% around this new life! And kids are naturally selfish - they want all of you, all the time (well...till they're about 13 maybe).

- You can't go back. Once you go forward, that's it!!

- Your relationship to your families and friends will change - it can't be helped. If you have any "single" friends, you may not see them as much once the little one comes around. I speak from experience. ALL of my married friends--with kids--have now fallen by the wayside...or rather, *I* have fallen by their can't be just have less in common...

I don't mean to sound negative....this is a huge decision, and only you and Mr. Edge can make it!


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Old 12-10-2001, 03:53 PM   #9
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Well, I'm only 19, and drgnwolf1969 and I won't be married for awhile, which means no kids for awhile, but...I do have some insight, believe it or not.

I am one of two children (I have an older sister). I remember one day when I was little and was looking through photo albums of my parents when they were first together. I remember looking at pics of them at SeaWorld. I had said something like, "Wow! When did you guys get to go to SeaWorld?"

Dad replied, "When we were rich...then we had kids and became poor."

I didn't realize at first that he was kidding (well, HALF kidding), and he quickly added, "But we wouldn't have it any other way."

You know what though? Mom and Dad were able to go back to SeaWorld one day...with their kids...and we all had a blast. My mom always tells me that I am her best friend. I've seen U2 with my parents...I've seen The Rolling Stones with my parents...I've cried with my parents...I've laughed my ass of with my parents...

Jess, you sound like you'd be a great mom. From what I've seen here, you are very loving and caring. Sure you will have to make sacrifices...sure money will be tighter at times...but I think if you talk to most parents, you will see that it is worth it.

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Old 12-10-2001, 04:48 PM   #10
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I'm a nanny. All I have to say is, make sure you will have a nanny. And pay her VERY WELL, so as to ensure that you will keep her for a long time. As for actually HAVING a baby. Hmmm...concieve within the next year, after 30, cells stop dividing and your system starts to slowly shut down. Your chances of having a baby with bad genes increases with age after 35. So, start now and see what happens.

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Old 12-10-2001, 05:44 PM   #11
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I have no children by choice, and I've known that I didn't want kids since I was a teenager. I like my life simple and quiet and all mine. My husband and I have been married twelve years; he knew when he married me that children would not be in the picture because I didn't want to have any. I think at first he would have liked to be a father, but now he's gotten quite used to the freedom and the easier financial choices being childless offers. We've both been able to further our educations and not work full-time while we did it. We can come and go as we please any time of day, night, and year. I like it that way.

...a highway with no one on it, a treasure just to look upon it...

[This message has been edited by martha (edited 12-10-2001).]
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Old 12-10-2001, 10:25 PM   #12
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Quite a bit of soul searching you have set out for yourself and the hubby now isn't it?

You've asked for personal experiences to help judge what's in your here goes.

We had our first when I was 29, after nearly three years of marriage (13 together). I always wanted to have the first before I reached 30 and after I'd gotten a good dose of education, career, and travel. I accomplished all those. When we decided to try, all it took was once (thank the Lord for holeless condoms for 13 years!!). We survived tightly on one income and immediately fell in love with our firstborn son.

I cannot express the pride I feel everyday and that I created this child with my husband certainly increases my love for him!!!

My daughter was also planned (two years later) and is the princess of the family.

My youngest son (yes! you can get pregnant while nursing) arrived in my 33rd year. I guess once you decide, hopefully it happens quickly.

I once thought I'd never have the energy to love and care for a family of five, yet here I am at 36 with a little less freedom, fair material wealth (although getting tighter with the economy), and all the love one woman can cry happily about every beautiful day!!!

It's not any easy decision, but you're a sweet and thoughtful lady to ask everyone to share!! I know you and Steve will come to a meaningful path for the future.

P.S. Last night in the tub, all three took bubbles and put them on their chins, "Hey, I'm Santa Claus, no... wait, I'm the Edge!"

All you need is love....
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Old 12-11-2001, 01:22 AM   #13
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Have you ever thought of adopting? Or being a foster parent?

I am a big advocate of adoption. There are so many kids out there who don't have the love they need from a parental figure. While not adopted myself, I have many friends who are. When we talk about adoption, they love their parents almost more than I could ever love mine. I mean, how could you not appreciate someone who chose you specially and raised you because they wanted you?

Anyway, just wanted to present this as an option, this means that you can "have kids" later if you want because you won't bear them yourself. I hope that you consider adoption as an option to this question.


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Old 12-11-2001, 02:40 AM   #14
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I dont want kids. The only maternal instincts i have are for pets.
However, *if* I do in fact get married someday(and that is iffy), if it means that much to my husband, then I'll do it.
I mean, look at the risks. Look at how painful and gruesome giving birth is! There can be complications...Scary.
I myself am a free spirit, a wild child, and thats not going to change, and i am just not the motherly type.
If you do decide to have a child, just make sure that you do stuff for yourself and your husband, and keep each other happy. If you dont, its worse for everyone and things may fall apart. Also, dont spoil the kid, as this can be just as bad as outright neglect and abuse.
You sound smart though, so if you do have a child, I'm sure it would turn out to be a good one, and not the demon seeds we hear and see too often these days,lol!
Oh, and what does your husband think about all of this? The others on this forum are definitely right in that you MUST weigh everything, talk it over with your fella, read all you can, and meet other parents and their kids.
If you decide against it, take my advice and GET A PET! Pets have many of the same wonderful qualities that kids do, without the drawbacks. And if you want to travel, you can just stick 'em in a kennel and they will still love you when you get back!

Look...look what you've done to me...You've made me poor and infamous, and I thank you...

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Old 12-11-2001, 03:45 AM   #15
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That was a great suggestion hippy! Adoption is wonderful imo. My sis is, and I can tell you a family won't love the child any less, nor will the child love you any less for it, as it is all you know. People say to me, is it weird having an adopted sister? Also is it weird having one who is 'black'? (I am 'white' btw) I can't answer it cos I wouldn't have a clue. She is all I know, and I couldn't love her any less. She is simply and plainly, my sister, and I adore her. My parents feel the same.

But back to your original question, I want to disagree with Klod(the shock!!). The reasons you stated sound exactly the reasons why you are ready. Meaningless and material perhaps, but are they the only reasons? Obviously you have given it an awful lot of thought, and will continue to do so before you make the final choice. But it does seem as though if they are the best 'cons' you can come up with, then perhaps you deep down do know it is what you want. The maternal instinct is something I dont necessarily agree everyone needs or has for child birth prior to it. I probably shouldn't be jumping in on this as I dont have children, and doesn't look as though I can. But again, beside the point. I find the best thing for me when faced with any really difficult decision is to strip it down to a one sentence question and reply with a one word answer. Do you want kids? Take all the doubt out of the equation and find your answer. If it is yes, you do, work out all the yes BUT's later. Of course you will need to alter your lifestyle drastically, you know this and will have time to prepare. But your dilemma at this point sounds like you still aren't sure if you do really want them. If I was you, the best next step to take would be to ask yourself the question in as simple manner as possible. "Do I want children?" Answering yes is the hardest answer, as you then have to take definate steps to prepare for it, but if no, you can always change your mind later. Deep down, the yes or no answer should be easier than expected to reach. You will know in your heart if its for you. I think every other factor is where the challenge lay. If you really dont know, just give it time, the answer will come to you. Once you know, it will be easier. Good luck!

Thanks for letting us all read your stories everyone, especially adam's mistress.
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Old 12-11-2001, 04:08 AM   #16
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I dunno... the two things I mentioned are not really horrible, and I will admit that I do have a thing about mothers not remaining productive members of society, so maybe I'm biased. I definitely think that taking a year off from work after you have had a child is a good thing, but I think the "backwards" reasoning is a bit odd. I guess I've just seen too many examples of women having children because they didn't like their jobs.

Then again, I think you're at a good age for it. I don't think you have to start panicking yet, and I bet you're better equipped than someone having a baby at age 20. I guess it's all down to what you feel is right, deep down.

Btw, I also loved Hippy's adoption idea.
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Old 12-11-2001, 04:22 AM   #17
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Well, I am one of those who never wanted children. Of course, I never wanted to get married either (was too much of a "flitter"), but I found someone I couldn't pass up. He wanted kids, so we kinda let things happen when they might. Two years after our wedding, we found we were expecting (on Father's Day, at that). The babe didn't mean much to me, as a matter of fact, I honestly think that had I miscarried in the ninth month, it would not have affected me much. soon as I held my son, I never wanted to let him go. I even wept over this day old infant's future. Me, who never wanted children, was joking with my love about when we were having the next one as soon as I got home from the hospital! (The next one was shortly to come, but that's another story) We now have three gorgeous babies (4, 3 and almost 2) and they are the light of my life. Children do present a sacrifice, however, but it sounds like you have a good idea of that already. Do your siblings have children? Those are rather harsh comments they made, I think. The greatest piece of advice I could give you is this: don't have children if you are not going to raise them. Don't hire someone to do your job. Children are a blessing, and it is a blessing to have the privilege of raising them. You can't train them in the way they should go if somone else is with them all the time. Be there....even if it means putting your career on hold. You have 18 years of these children under your roof....nothing else is more important. Every time I think "oh, I wish I could do this than sit here and be with the kids" I think, someday these children will no longer be exclusively mine....they will belong to a college, a job, a spouse, their children. I need to enjoy them and relish them and the time I have while I still have it. My greatest fear with my chidren is looking back someday and saying "I wish I'd been there when...."
Consider carefully, this is no longer just your life you are contemplating.

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Old 12-11-2001, 05:29 AM   #18
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Klodomir i am 20 with two children,im vey well equipped i like to think im a good mother and i would be a no better mother than i am now if i was 30

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Old 12-11-2001, 06:54 AM   #19
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Poptart, I didn't mean to offend anyone, I can only speak from the experience of seeing parents of different ages around me. Everybody is different, but generally speaking, I'm sticking with what I said, especially if we're talking about parents of roughly the same age. Very young mum/slightly older dad seems to work out better in my experience, but of course there are plenty of exceptions.

And I'm sure you're a brilliant mum!

Btw, I have accepted not ever having children because I feel that I - and only I - am too old now (30 and single).
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Old 12-11-2001, 12:28 PM   #20
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WOW!!! I just wanted to thank ALL of you for taking the time to write such thoughtful, fascinating and insightful answers! Everything that you have said has been reassuring one way or the other. I can promise you I will be giving this LOTS of thought, and I will let you know if I make any earth shattering decisions.

poptart2001, I am in awe of you. I could barely babysit at 20 let alone have 2 kids!!! I may be emailing you yet, thanks for your addy!

Angela, that's a great idea to strip it down to a one word answer. Right now, I am closer to the yes than the no, I think it's more a matter of when and how. Am I ready to give up the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed? That's the hardest part I think, because I am REALLY set in my ways. However, I did have loads of fun in my 20s, so at least I won't feel totally cheated if I do give up some freedoms for awhile.

Adam's Mistress, that is quite a dramatic story. I am much more selfish than you, I would always take time to myself, otherwise I'd go crazy! I'm so glad you have been able to find happiness and balance!

I come from a long line of late birthgivers. My mom had me (as an accident) at age 39! My brother and sister were pressured for YEARS by my mom to have children, and resisted. They finally decided to have kids in their early 40s (no one had any genetic problems or difficulties of any kind, maybe it's the genes?). They each have 2 kids, and overall, I don't think they'd trade them in, although my sister seems happier with parenthood than my brother. He really caved to pressure from his wife.

My mom raised me herself at home, and if at all possible, I would like to do this with my kid(s) too, if we can afford it. If I do have to go back to work, I will find an excellent nanny and PAY HER WELL, right Lilly?

Klodomir, I agree, no none should have kids just to get away from work, but it sure is tempting! I'm sure that if I had children, when they were in school I'd do more volunteer work, or go back to work part time.

Ormus, believe me, the LAST thing I want is disfunctional brats, if there's one thing I CAN'T STAND it's bratty children!!!!!

Oh, Miss MacPhisto, I do have a pet, a cat that I adopted from the pound ages ago. You are right, they sure are hassle free!!

As for adoption, I agree, it's wonderful and well worth considering. I had a colleague who was adopted and what a wonderful life she had, I can't imagine what would have happened to her if her family hadn't adopted her.

Anyway, many, many thanks again to you all for answering!

Mrs. Edge is offline  

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