When you know, you know. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. Those feelings will come.
That’s just some of the unhelpful fluff women are told when they aren’t sure if they want to have kids.
Many women emailed me in response to my article on what to do when experiencing parenthood indecision. Reading through them, what stood out to me the most was this: I’m not the only one who hopes that moment where you “just know” one way or the other arrives.
Of course, that’s not the case for everybody. We’re sharing stories from three women who detail the very different ways they made a call either way.
Managing parenthood indecision
Despite loads of soul-searching I still don’t know if I want to have kids — and there are men and women struggling with the same thing. But there is a way forward.
Read more’Limbo is a terrible place to be’
Anna, 32 from Sydney, NSW:
As I was reading this article, I was thinking to myself — I’ve got to send you this Cheryl Strayed column — and I was happy to see you had already found it.
The column by Strayed was honestly what tipped me over the edge to try to have children.
I had a vague impulse that I may regret later not having kids, and I knew my primary fertile years were coming to a close.
I kept waiting for a moment to arrive where I would “know” I wanted kids, and it never came.
My husband and I decided we would try for a period of time, but that if it didn’t happen, we wouldn’t pursue it further with IVF or other means.
I’m 32 and pregnant with our first child. I’ll be 33 when it is born.
It thankfully happened for us easily. So far, I do not regret my decision (this could change once I actually have the baby, of course).
However, I know I could have also had a fulfilling life without children.
Being in limbo is a terrible place to be. Once the decision is made you can plan your life around it.
There’s likely to be some regret no matter what option you choose.
Tell us how you made a choice about parenthood, or what things helped while dealing with indecision. Leave a comment.
‘I’ve never felt the pull’
Brodie, 32 from Gladstone, QLD:
I feel like the choice of whether or not to have my own children was made over a lot of years.
I have never been what some would describe as a maternal person, and having kids has never felt like a priority or necessity to lead a fulfilling life.
Those for and against being childfree
Support, judgement, concerns about the environment and mental health, a love of pets, and thoughts about loneliness — readers had a lot to say about the childfree life.
While I am the type of person who gets overly excited to hear of friends and family expecting and welcoming children into their lives, I’ve never felt the pull myself.
As people do, the comments always come by saying that the body clock will start ticking and better not wait too long, etcetera.
At 32 I find myself being more content than ever with the idea of not having kids.
In the last year I’ve met a great man who I hope to build a long life with. He brings with him two wonderful kids from a previous relationship that he cares for part time.
For the times that the children are in his care I find myself enjoying the time and responsibility that comes with part-time step-parenting a three and five-year-old. But this part-time albeit continuous foray into parenthood has only cemented my choice that having my own children is not for me.
Thankfully my partner is very content with this choice.
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‘I started to feel a deep primal desire’
Suzanne, 66 from Ormand, VIC:
I had always seen myself as an independent, modern feminist woman, and having children wasn’t necessarily part of my life plan.
It wasn’t something I was absolutely opposed to, but I didn’t feel drawn to it.
Then I got involved with a man who had a very clear idea of what he wanted. A family.
We dated, then lived together, then suddenly I was 39 and it was crunch time. I knew we had to make a decision one way or the other.
I’m not sure how it happened but I started to feel a deep primal desire to get pregnant.
It was not at an intellectual level. I didn’t think about it and decide it was a good idea. I had no idea if it was going to be OK.
It wasn’t at an emotional level. I didn’t crave to hold a baby and love it. I didn’t look at other people’s babies and feel mushy.
In fact I found other people’s babies and kids annoying and often boring.
This drive to get pregnant came from a different place, somewhere very deep inside my being. I just went with it.
Your stories of being a parent
From the pure joy of hearing the words “I love you”, to worrying about a child with a sickness no doctor can diagnose, readers share the highs and lows of being a mum or dad.
I fell pregnant just before I turned 40.
When I was about six months pregnant I recall visiting a friend who had just had a baby. I watched her hanging copious amounts of baby clothes washing on the line, and wondered how I was going to cope with the drudgery of my life as a mother.
My son was born, and my heart and my life opened in a way I could never have expected.
I don’t want to romanticise motherhood as idyllic. It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done. But it’s by far the best.
And I went in for a second time when I was almost 45, and we have a beautiful daughter too.
Thanks to everyone who shared with us. Some comments have been edited for brevity and clarity.