There are parents. There are the childfree-by-choice who are committed to enjoying life unencumbered by little ones.
Then there are those in between. There’s a not small number of couples in their 30s and 40s who haven’t decided to not to have kids. They just haven’t decided to have them yet. As they age, they realize the decision may be made for them, but they still can’t quite make up their minds.
Sound familiar? According to a new Pew study, a lot of people are putting off the baby decision until well into their 30s or early 40s. One woman in that position recently talked to the NYT about it, and she says they got her wrong.
Tamsen Fadal is 40, happily married, and doesn’t have kids. She was profiled in a NYT piece about women who are forgoing having kids in favor of a “fabulous life”, whatever that means. But she says she’s not committed to a child-free life. She just hasn’t decided yet. She writes:
Bottom line: I have not said no to babies and yes to a fabulous life. Those two things can happen at the same time. I have said yes to allowing myself to take the time to make a decision that is right for me. Matt and I are being realistic about the fact that I don’t have forever to make the decision, and that we may not be able to have children at all. Mostly, I am thankful for the fact we are on the same page, and that with or without kids, it’s going to be OK.
A lot of couples I know are in a similar position: they’re postponing making a decision about whether or not to have kids, waiting for it to feel “right” or to achieve a particular milestone in their professional lives, or to have an attack of “baby lust”.
For people weighing the options between child-free living and parenthood, it can be hard to know when to pull the trigger and try to get pregnant.
For me, the decision was always crystal clear: I wanted kids, as soon as possible. For a lot of my friends it’s been less cut and dried.
So I ask you: what made you decide to have kids? Did you strongly consider a child-free life and then opt for parenthood anyway? What advice would you give couples caught in the decision-making process?