This popular New Year’s Resolution was a surprise when we came upon it. Apparently, a lot of people resolve to have a baby in the new year. We totally get it, but it was a surprise anyway. So, whether this was a resolution for you this year or not, what we’re going to ask you to do is think about whether you want a baby in your life, and why or why not. Even if you’re not capable of making it happen biologically anymore because of age or surgery or general infertility problems, consider what adopting a baby might do within your life.
If you find yourself in the column of “No, I don’t want babies.” or “No, I’ve already had babies, I’m done.” then that’s a-ok and if you’ve thought it out fully and committed to that then you get some free time today and only have to worry about those daily tasks at the bottom of the post. Except making sure you have birth control taken care of, however you make that happen. Whether daily pills, patches, tubal ligations, vasectomies, condoms, diaphragms, IUDs, sponges, contraceptive gels, inserts… there are so many options that there’s not really any excuse for accidents anymore. Just remember that antibiotics (and some other medications) can make your birth control ineffective, so check with your doctor about prescriptions and use a backup barrier method. Men, birth control is your responsibility too. Don’t just believe her that she’s got it taken care of. If you don’t want to have a baby, take charge of that.
I was at Walgreen’s filling an unrelated prescription 2 days ago, and the couple that had been waiting behind me in line asked about getting a Plan B (morning after) pill, which they just pulled off the shelf and handed to them. One of the pharmacy techs said to the other that they didn’t understand why they never had more than one or two on the shelf and the other tech answered that they didn’t have to come to the pharmacy counter to get them so most of them were stocked on the sales floor. Who knew? I didn’t even know you could get them without prescriptions. Turns out you can even order them from Amazon if you want to have one around for backup. Before anyone gets upset about that from a pro-life stance, let me just say that while, for many of the early years, pharmaceutical companies didn’t really know WHY the morning after pill worked, just that it did, so there were theories about deliberately killing zygotes by not letting them implant, which you can have a variety of feelings about depending on your point of view, but research has concluded that the reason that the pill works is because it delays ovulation. I’m not gonna go into a full-on sex-ed rant here, so look it up if it interests you, but just know that it’s not any more an abortion than the use of any other birth control option. Just more of an expensive one. So, that’s why it’s a backup plan. And I’m gonna throw this out there even though it’s entirely unrelated to the post, because it happens and I want it firmly planted in everyone’s brain: if you ever find yourself the victim of rape, go get yourself a morning after pill immediately. It will be hard to do while traumatized, but a lot easier than 9 months of continued trauma.
If you’re finding yourself in a place where you want a baby, let’s think about this a little further. Why do you want a baby? Why now? A lot of people commit to it at New Year’s because they’ve just spent the holidays with family that have been poking and prodding and prompting with all those “You’ve been married ___ long now, when are you going to have a baby?” “When are you going to give me grandchildren?” types of questions. Others might have decided this is the year for babies because the holidays can be a big reminder of how lonely we might be feeling and we may want to fill that void with someone cute, who’s stuck with us for at least 18 years. Some may even be thinking “if I get pregnant/get her pregnant then they’ll be stuck with me and we can finally get married.”
I’ve had multiple miscarriages myself, and am at that age where if I’m ever going to do it, I need to do it now, because as a woman, after you turn 35 it’s considered a “geriatric pregnancy” and the risk of birth defects, multiple births, or miscarriage all increase and get higher every year. So, while this isn’t a resolution for me this year (breathe, mom) I’ve done a lot of reading and thinking and asking myself questions over the past few years. Now I’m gonna let you in on those questions so you can decide if this is really the right move for you.
For starters, if you’re in the mindset of “a baby will make my partner commit and stay with me” quite simply, don’t do it. That’s not a good reason to have kids, and it doesn’t work. This isn’t the 50s and people don’t do the shotgun wedding thing by default anymore. If they do, they’ll feel forced into it, and they’ll resent you, and you will resent them back, and one or both of you will find your way into finding someone outside of the marriage that you don’t resent while the kid you have learns that unhappy and unhealthy marriages are normal and what they should expect in life. If your partner doesn’t go for the marriage bit you’ll end up in a contentious situation where you’re going to court battling custody and child support decrees.
Which brings us to the question of is the person you’re with the kind of person you truly think would make a good parent? Whether you love them or not, whether you’re married or not, think about this one. Nothing is certain about the future and the other half of your relationship can end up going their own way at any given moment really. Even if you think there’s absolutely no way that will ever happen, think about it hypothetically. If it ever did happen, would you feel comfortable with them having full or partial custody or visitation of your child? Would you feel like your child was safe with them and that your values match and that you would have compatible parenting styles that are teaching your child to be the kind of person you want them to be?
Have you talked to your partner about your resolution or desire to have children? How do they feel about it? Are they ready? Any time I’ve talked to my boyfriend about the possibility of us having children he tells me he’ll “buy me one from China.” So, it’s an emphatic no from him. He doesn’t want a biological child ever. Lucky for him men get a lot longer to do these things than women do so if he ever changes his mind he has the luxury to do that, instead of being down to the wire like me. But the important thing is that I respect that children should not be something anyone is tricked into. No “forgetting” to take birth control, no poking holes in condoms or diaphragms, no “I’ll pull out, I promise.” If you don’t have two people willing and wanting to make a baby, don’t make a baby.
The exception to that being if you’re independently wealthy and can afford to raise a child on your own and are prepared to do that single, then of course artificial insemination is an option, and it’s up to you how you feel morally about deliberate single parenthood.
Speaking of finances. Consider them. Can you afford to have a baby? Will you be better set to have a baby in a couple years after you finish school or get that promotion or pay off that credit card debt? If you wait for everything to be perfect before having a baby, you’ll never have a baby, but remember that this is a living person you’re wanting to create and that the situation you’re in is the situation they’ll be in by default. Can you do better than you’re doing now to give them a better start?
Why do you want to have a baby? This adorable little snuggle bug you’re going to create is eventually going to turn into a real live person with their own personality and quirks and thoughts and beliefs that may not mesh with yours at all. Are you prepared for that possibility? They WILL tell you they hate you at some point in their life, and in this era, probably cuss you out like you’ve never heard before when they’re hormonal and upset and trying to figure out how to deal and all they know is that you’re constantly there and constantly expecting something from them.
Are you only having a baby to shut up all of those people that keep asking why you haven’t? Are you feeling obligated and like it will make everyone else happy? If that’s it, don’t do it. Do you have a kid already that’s bugging you about wanting siblings? Would they be just as happy in an extracurricular program that gives them more social time? You probably shouldn’t let your kid call the shots on if you have additional kids. If you have a biological drive and have a few years before you really have to decide, wait and see if that urge doesn’t pass given a little time. If you want a child because you want the full experience with the ups and downs and highs and lows and in-betweens and sharing things you love with and teaching your values and life experiences and providing comfort and nurturing and seeing what kind of person they will grow into and choose to become, then you’re probably looking at parenthood for the right reasons.
Are you ready to change your lifestyle entirely? I know entirely too many people who’ve gotten married, had kids, and decided they weren’t done living their early 20s and spend all of their time and money out at clubs and bars and having sexual intimacy with multiple partners and doing drugs and really not living the parental lifestyle. You don’t have to give up your right to being a person or romance with your partner when you have kids. But you do need to consider that from now on everything you do or don’t do affects more than just you. There’s a little person learning how to navigate through life from you. Are you ready to teach them how to do it right and spend more nights in and keep your vices to a minimum and have family time and spend time playing and learning but also spend time cooking and cleaning and calming nightmares and getting thrown up on.
Are you as healthy as you could or should be before having a baby? It’s not only the woman who needs to cut off substances to achieve a healthy pregnancy, most of the burden is on her, but look up what things like marijuana use does to sperm. Both parties should be in good physical condition before they start trying to conceive, but of course women most especially need to make sure they’re not already carrying too much weight, that any dental issues they have are addressed, that any prescription medications they’re on are fetus friendly, that should be doing Yoga and gaining both flexibility and strength for when you have to deliver, but also doing everything you can to avoid birth defects and avoid your own complications or premature delivery. Gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, c-sections… there are all kinds of things you may have to encounter during pregnancy if you’re not in tip top shape.
If you have fertility problems and end up having to seek fertility treatments are you prepared for the likelihood of multiple births that comes with that? If you have twins or triplets or morelets do you have a local support system that is going to help you out, a partner who is committed to involvement in all of the steps of child care, and enough room in your home to actually keep them? Don’t be the people you see on TV that have a baby living in a closet.
If adoption is your best route, do your research. Know what adoption agencies are looking for and if you meet their requirements. If you’re up for raising a child someone else gave birth to, maybe even consider becoming a temporary foster parent for a while so you can actually see if children are a good fit for you. There’s nothing wrong with adopted children at all, every child needs someone to love them, but be prepared for some extra built-in emotional baggage when they start wondering about their “real” parents and why they were given up and if there’s something wrong with them. There isn’t, but be prepared for those conversations, and be prepared for the idea that someday they may want to go find those blood relatives to figure out answers about where they came from and why they were given up and think about how you’re going to cope with and handle that when it happens.
We’re definitely not saying don’t have babies, and we’re not saying it’s a bad New Years resolution, but we are saying think it through, make sure it’s the right decision for you and the right time to act on it. Ask yourself AND your partner all the hard questions before committing to anything.
Today’s little list of tasks is:
Do something about your armpit hair:
Not kidding. Maybe you’re all over this and take care of it daily and that’s awesome, keep doing what you’re doing. But if you don’t leave the house often or are suffering from depression things like hair removal might just make you go “meh.” You’ll feel better when you stop going “meh” and take good care of yourself for yourself. So, get a new razor, or your choice of wax, or book a laser hair removal session and get your pits cleaned up. Men, if you wanna keep some hair that’s obviously more socially acceptable, but consider trimming it some and making sure it doesn’t look like a live creature is nesting under your arms. Both genders, make sure you’re using deodorant, whether anyone else is going to see (or smell) you or not.
Clean your Dining Area/Breakfast Nook. Or if you have neither of those then clean your Dining Room. As always, start from the top and work your way down. Dust any light fixtures, dust any shelves or cabinets or wall art. Clean and polish your dining table. If you’re the type who uses your dining table as a catch all then put all the clutter away and organize any paperwork that’s piled up. Clean your chair cushions if you’ve got them, get rid of any crumbs, or if you’re like me, cat hair. Clean and polish your chairs. Get any dishes out of there and into the dishwasher. Sweep and mop the floor. Or vacuum if you have carpet in your dining room. Windex any windows or glass doors. Take out any trash or recycling that accumulated there. Annnnd you’re done. It’s a quick room 🙂
Do some Barbell Exercises For Your Upper-Body. Hopefully you have access to a barbell at a gym, either via gym membership, or from a gym at your workplace (which often exist but are underutilized), or a home gym. If not, consider looking into some of those New Year’s deals to start a gym membership. If not… see if you have something around the house you can improvise weight with. Even if the best you can do is a broom or mop handle, going through the motions will benefit you and help tone your muscles.
Do 10 Barbell Curls,
10 Military Presses,
10 Upright Rows
and 10 Wrist Curls.
Pick a starting weight that’s right for you, I don’t want anyone hurting themselves. When you’re just starting out with weight training, often just the bar itself is heavy enough without adding extra weights on the end. Try it and see how it feels, if it’s too easy add more. Don’t add so much that you’re killing yourself to do the reps or have to drop the barbell on the way back down, that won’t help you any.
Listen to a guided meditation or subliminal audio track for Letting Go of the Past. Letting go is hard. People are always saying “let it go” and no one ever has any idea about how to do that. It’s kind of the equivalent of “stop talking about it,” because if we knew how to let things go we would probably do that without prompting. So, we’ll be delving deeper into actively letting things go in future entries, but for today, let your brain do it for you without your help. All you have to do is listen.
A word about music: We include songs for a reason. Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much. Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason. If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
MP3: All That She Wants
Album: Greatest Hits