The world grows up feeling this gigantic pressure to get married and have families. It's an idea that is put upon us as soon as we are old enough to play make-believe. "How many babies are you going to have when you grow up?" I find myself asking my daughters this question. Although I’m not sure if it’s the right message to encourage, making the assumption that both will, in fact, have children. But, just as I felt the need to have children as part of my quest to create a fulfilling life, I hope for them to be able to have an opportunity for choice, for them to choose if that is part of their path, and to have the knowledge and strength to feel good about their choice.
Eight long years after I gave birth to my first baby and one more child later, I find that original excitement to give birth was a little misplaced. To be quite honest, it’s been REplaced with late-night pep talks for patience and forgiveness, yelling at my children so much more often than I ever thought I would, counting the minutes to bedtime, and a little too much vino after they are finally asleep.
Looking back, I try to recollect why I had originally wanted children and I can’t remember. I can’t remember if it was actually my need or if it was an idea put upon me over the years. If you really think about it; there are some great reasons to have children. Truthful, loving reasons that make you really hope that anyone who has them gets the opportunity to see them fulfilled. And then there are some not so great reasons, reasons that are a little skewed and potentially selfish. I’m interested in taking a look at these and perhaps figuring out my original motives once and for all.
25 To Have Someone To Take Care Of Us When We Are Older
Whether we admit it or not, we all have that fear of living alone in our senior years. It is a period for those advanced years, in which you experience those inevitable stages of our lives when our ability to care for ourselves slowly dwindles. We can’t always depend on our spouses to be there to butter our toast, especially if we’ve married older. And really, there’s no actual guarantee they will still like us by then. Honestly, do you want to trust your final years to someone who’s waiting for you to croak? Of course not! So, creating children is our best bet to have at least one of them there to change our adult diapers during our final years of life.
And, depending on when in your life you have babies, they should be young and vibrant and physically healthy enough to be able to catch you as you stumble into your elder years. Besides, they owe us, don’t they? Just like we’ve been reminded over the years that we owe our parents for bringing us into this world; we need to have children in order to pass on that nagging reminder and that same daunting obligation.
24 To Carry The Family Name
Some of us have a family name with a lineage that needs to be preserved. Let’s be honest, most of us feel the obligation. It’s this pressure to do whatever it takes to make sure that your family name not only lives on but is looked upon fondly. Whether you are the long lost descendant of the Royal family (English or elsewhere,) or of some sort or just feel a certain amount of loyalty to your father’s God honest, hardworking relatives; keeping the family name alive is definitely enough to have a child or two.
No one - and I mean no one - wants to be the family member that prevents the family name from living on due to a need to avoid a couple hundred dirty diapers and the extreme limitations of family life. Besides, imagine that proud expression on your father’s face when you announce to him that you, and you alone (well, technically you and your partner) have saved the lineage from dwindling off. I believe there will probably be some fantastic baby shower gifts in it for you and your little one, so there's that little bonus factor.
23 Because They Are Cute
There’s no way of avoiding this one. Most people would agree that these little beings are literally the cutest creatures on the face of this earth, except besides perhaps the cutest of puppies. And really, the only thing better than cooing over other people’s babies is cooing over your own. Unless you’ve had your own baby, you have no idea how cute babies really, truly are.
Every baby has a certain degree of cuteness even if they have a unibrow or a shnoz that looks like a ginger root. But, when it is your own baby, the cuteness factor automatically flies through the roof. I found myself, with my second baby, who had the roundest, softest, most squeezable cheeks in existence; gritting my teeth so intensely when I hugged her that I actually chipped a tooth. That’s how cute my baby was. I had to grit my teeth in order to prevent myself from literally taking a bite out of her fantastically adorable skin. Yes, the cuteness factor definitely holds an irresistible pull to having children.
22 To Stay Young Ourselves
There’s nothing like singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" a hundred times over, running after a toddler day after day after day, or playing eye spy in the bathtub to keep you feeling young at heart. The first couple years of parenthood includes a lot of sleepless nights, dark circles under your eyes, and either a muffin top from comfort eating or sullen cheeks from no time to eat.
There's no fountain that could fix those types of damages.
Once you are over that hump, though, and you've survived those nights in which you thought you would never make it through, and the family has found its new groove, I literally think that parenthood can help the aging process come to an absolute standstill. As we try to teach our children through the example of healthy eating, being active and exercising, and enjoying each day to the fullest; thankfully we too can benefit.
We have no choice but to be the best example to our children. To take them out into the fresh air to play, to eat the healthy food that we encourage them to eat, and to laugh almost as often as they do...well, that's the magic stuff that will keep us all young. So when you break it down, without the encouragement of our favorite little person to play, dance and create freely with full abandonment and without any judgment, our bodies would age irreversibly.
21 To Be Bumped Up From The Kids' Table
How many years have you found yourself sitting at the kids' table at any and all family events? When you were younger, it was definitely the most fun place to be, but as you’ve grown...well, let’s just admit it; you’d actually prefer to be treated as someone with a little more maturity than your six-year-old cousin who is eating his mash potatoes by shoving it in his mouth by the fistful. And you would prefer to not end the evening with any suspicious bodily fluids on your plate or in your hair.
Well, if you are ready to venture into the unknown territory; you can bet, most definitely, that if you are either bulging with a child or have succumbed to the experience of giving birth to this said child, you will no longer be discarded to that card table off in the hall with the children. You can graduate to the bigger table, the one with nice China and the real glassware, as opposed to the lovely red plastic cups that are always being thrown at the dog from the kids' table. Although, secretly I think us parents would, at times, prefer to be offered the choice to sit with our kids, because, let’s face it, sometimes they have more interesting things to say then all of the adults invited combined.
20 To Learn About Accountability
As we get older, I think it becomes more and more difficult to find reasons to do the right things. Not that we are out to wreak havoc by any means but, we don’t have anyone looking over our shoulder, or regularly checking in on us. So we cut corners, jaywalk when we shouldn’t, and we drive a little too fast. As adults, we tend to figure out how to get away with more, how to avoid the rules, and to bypass certain regulations. But, as a parent, that becomes incredibly difficult. We can try to teach our children right from wrong and then do the complete opposite...but then there’s always the risk that we may be raising psychopaths and eventually, one day, we may be blamed for something we won’t be able to wiggle our way out of. When you are a parent, you are forced to be more accountable for your actions. Children see and hear more than we give them credit for. And, although you can get away with a lot when they are young, it will eventually catch up to you. The best lessons we can teach them are through example. And that keeps us accountable.
19 Because You Can, And Not Everyone Can
This one is a difficult one to talk about. Basically, we are unfortunately not all equipped with the ability to create an offspring. With all the various factors that can prevent a healthy pregnancy; like hormonal issues, scarring, premature menopause, poorly functioning fallopian tubes, endometriosis, just to name a few. And, of course, it doesn't end there - because why would it be that simple, right? Then, there are environmental factors, as well as our own habits, diet, and physical activity. It is horrible and unfortunate for those of us who can’t. For those of us who can, it’s all the more reason to do so.
We feel almost obligated, almost like our bodies were made to procreate, and it would be going against ‘nature’ to not go at least one round, if not more. We have this fear of taking this amazing privilege of being able to do something that not every human being can do for granted. As if it’s a waste if we don’t. However, that is an incredible amount of pressure for a woman to be burdened with; especially if you’re not sure it’s something you actually want. Not to mention the enormous disappoint for those women who really want to have a baby but discover that they can’t.
I learned after my first pregnancy, that I was definitely blessed with a body that could. Five hours for my first and three hours for my second, all while at home, on my living room couch. I really should have had more...
18 To Live Through Your Child.
Of course, as we get older we come across certain limitations that we may not have experienced in our youthful days. Limitations due to our aging bodies, our day jobs, economic status, schedules, mortgages, car payments, and then there are the emotional limitations. The “I’m not sure I’m up for that” feeling that sneaks into our vocabulary sometime after our thirtieth birthday. And so, the risks we would have taken when we were younger become further and further out of our reach.
However, by having children a new road opens up for us; an opportunity to not quite take new risks ourselves but instead, encourage our kids to take them for us. By giving birth to a couple mini-me’s, we can encourage them to go on adventures that we would love to be partaking in but, due to our fears, our lack of self-confidence and our inability to just leap...we don’t. Instead, we settle for living vicariously through our children’s experiences. Quite honestly, due to the natural closeness of our relationships with our children, it can be almost as good as doing it ourselves. And quite honestly, that sounds like a good enough reason to me!
17 To Feel Fulfilled At A Job Well Done
Nothing feels more meaningful in life than creating life out of nothing. Even more so, is creating life out of love. Everything about that just sounds so fantastic, and poetic and fulfilling. But, it doesn’t end there; trying to mold that new little person into someone you would both be proud to know, now that makes the experience that much better. When your job feels meaningless, your life feels monotonous, or your relationship is stale, well, that molding of a little person can bring more joy and fulfillment than anything else I can think of.
Sure, you may have to sacrifice your freedom of before and after work activities, of playing hooky from work, sleeping in (FOREVER) or even simple nights out with your partner, but the achievement of creating and then shaping a new human being is bigger. To witness the growth and development of a new little person, who could perhaps one day do something to affect this world we all live in, well that is more fulfilling than anything else imaginable. And that is definitely an honorable and selfless reason to have children above any other. Wouldn’t you agree?
16 Trying To Fix A Broken Marriage
Some people would argue that babies bring couples closer together. Probably in most cases, I would guess that those ‘some people’ are people who don’t currently have children. Or who are desperate to find a band-aid for something that cannot be fixed. Really, it’s a fantastic idea in theory, but not one that I would necessarily agree with. I can understand where this idea comes from though. The excitement of choosing a name, going to ultrasound appointments together, planning and working together to make everything as perfect as possible for your new little person. It can definitely make everything else in your life seem insignificant, for the moment anyway.
The months leading up to having a baby can be filled with so much joy and anticipated love...I just wonder if that love is maybe a little misdirected. A bad marriage is still a bad marriage with or without children. Having babies only increases the number of people affected by the toxic relationship, and in the end, they will probably suffer the most. This is definitely not a reason to revisit when we, as parents, are feeling overwhelmed or at our wit's end. And this is definitely my least favorite reason to decide to have a baby.
15 Creating Your Own Squad Has Never Been Cuter
It’s a bit of an obvious, yet slightly foolish, notion but give it five years or so, and you’ve grown yourself your own little friend. We all see those mother-daughter couples enjoying life together as thick as thieves in the schoolyards, museums, and amusement parks. I admit that I had thought of that often during my first pregnancy and, to some extent, had that with my daughter until I gave birth to my second daughter. A couple weeks later, she said to me; “Mommy, why can’t we do all the things we used to do together?” And my heart was broken.
Five years later, and a lot of gentle mother-daughter time with each child, I have two little best friends and I am so much better for it. So, if you’re not so great at social situations, never quite confident when it comes to starting up a conversation or meeting new people; you could always give birth to a new little person and raise them to be your future best friend. Why not? It definitely forgoes the small talk and the getting-to-know-you conversations. Besides, there’s no one in this world you are going to be closer to than your own little offspring.
14 Reason To Avoid Work Parties (Again)
This one is a bit more of a surface idea, but why not? What better way to get out of those boring office parties than to have a little one at home? In fact, there is a myriad of social obligations that are easily bowed out of when you have a needy infant waiting for you. You may think that you will still want to be out and about, late into the evening, after the baby is born, but think again. Your sleep deprived, baby-brain will welcome the company of the couch and television after a day of baby talk, rocking, feeding, and burping.
Although this may not be the best sole reason to have a baby, I would think that it could certainly tip you off the fence if you wavering back and forth. There’s really no other time in your life when you can use the same excuse time and time again, and still not be suspiciously outcasted from the office do-gooder crowd. Hey, and you can always look forward to that one party that the office throws in your honor about a month before the baby is born. Just saying.
13 Have A Second Chance At Doing It Right
We all feel as though we’ve made bad choices at some point during this journey called life. If you were offered the chance to do it over, would you do it? I realize that is not yet totally possible but, by having a baby, it comes pretty darn close. You can bet that if you nurture your child to love the very things you always enjoyed, there is a good chance they may make similar choices.
They may go to the school you had really wanted to go to but was afraid you wouldn’t get in, or perform on the stages you had always dreamed to perform on, or travel to all those exotic locations you never thought you could visit but had always wanted to. Perhaps, as the parent, you may be able to persuade your child to learn from your mistakes and possibly even choose to do what you wish you had done yourself. This could even include your choices in love and partnership. Perhaps you could even help your child to not let that one who had gotten away, go. I realize that it’s not quite the same as doing it yourself, but it could potentially provide a certain amount of satisfaction, and some inspiration to get yourself knocked up.
12 For All The Laughter And Joy In The World
Ok, be honest with yourself for a moment; have you forgotten to smile? I mean, really smile and really laugh? We can all easily fall into a rut of just surfing through life, getting by and surviving till the next day. We can all do that, and we probably all have at some point. What we all can’t do is find pure joy and laughter on a regular basis. That is something that only a child can do, really. And, it is something that a child can help their parents to do too, if we are open to it and let them.
Personally, I believe that children are 100% potential for joy, and why would any of us not want to spend our days around that? Realistically, we could always hang out with someone‘s child (who we don’t fully know or understand,) or we could have our own children and spend pure, unadulterated moments of joy with a little human that we helped to create. A miniature version of ourselves is someone that can remind us of that happiness we once had and still harbor somewhere deep within us. I seriously want to run out and make another baby right now.
11 To Be In Control Of Someone Other Than Yourself
Let’s just say it. In this crazy world of violence and natural disasters, jobs that take over our lives, media that controls our thoughts and opinions, social platforms that keep us communicating on digital devices rather than in person; it’s comforting to have control over someone other than ourselves. It’s not a politically correct thing to say by any means, but it does make you feel a little safer and stronger within yourself to know that you can at least rule your own roost. Somewhat. Sometimes. Alright, as parents, we will not always have control. It’s really quite the opposite, to be honest. But never fear, we do have our moments of experiencing it, and even the anticipation of it can be comforting.
Realistically, we have the first four or five years to enjoy a moderate amount of control before it all goes terribly awry; of course, not counting the growing number of temper tantrums and food throwing during year two and three. To have control of anything nowadays is definitely worth the sleepless nights, the stressful mornings and all the craziness in between. Wouldn’t you agree? Just nod. If not, then just move on to the next one...
10 Because We Think We Have To
Let’s face it; we’ve all been brainwashed. We have been brought up to believe that we must have high paying careers, big homes, a picket fence and 1.9 children (which apparently has decreased by more than half a child in the last couple decades for some reason) to be happy and successful. Why else did we struggle for years to get those attention-getting grades, make the perfect career path decisions, and bury our shoulders with unaffordable house payments, car payments, and lifestyle expenses? Believe me, if we don’t accomplish this materialistic, picture-perfect life we will have judging eyes to answer to, excuses to give, and reasons to explain.
So, we feel this pressure to procreate. That one is definitely the cheapest item to check off this list, initially anyway. And if we purposefully choose not to, people will ask us why not. “What are you waiting for?” “Your internal clock is ticking...” “It’s going to be just you?” Having a baby can avoid all of these embarrassing, uncomfortable conversations. That’s almost worth having a baby just in itself, isn’t it? Not inspiring by any means, but certainly, a great way to prevent the maddening interrogation.
9 To Diminish Boredom
As we get older and maybe find a way to fall into a comfortable routine with our jobs, partners, friends; things become well, a little boring, a little monotonous, and a little bland. It becomes, unfortunately, quite predictable. I remember hitting that point in my office services career in which I was waiting for the next ‘thing’ to occur; only nothing was happening. It was the same routine day in and day out and then all of a sudden I got this idea...babies.
That’s the thing. Sooner or later, we are going to either look to step outside of our norm and make an uncalculated risk (that could end very badly), or perhaps we will take on an undesirable habit that could also eventually end very badly. OR we decide to take what seems to be the next, natural step in the progression of our lives. Which, in my case, was getting pregnant. In other words, having a baby can basically help us to continue to move through our lives. It also creates a way to keep our lives unpredictable for years to come. I mean, it doesn’t matter what you plan to have happened when you’ve got a little one in tow everything can change. Everything.
8 Join A New Social Scene
In those somewhat stale office environments, we don’t always fit in. Let’s face it; we don’t always want to fit in. But, when you have a baby, your social status completely changes. You suddenly become seen and heard in ways that you probably have not experienced before. People want to see your baby, hold your baby, and talk about your birthing and other baby experiences. Mothers and mothers-to-be literally stop you on the street to coo over your child. They are just dying to talk to you, share stories, and ask for advice. It’s this unknown, entirely new social scene that you only discover once you start walking a stroller through your neighborhood. And it feels extremely supportive.
Think about it, it’s a coveted colony that you can only join if you have children. It’s a community of parents who are also sleep deprived, frustrated, shell-shocked and looking for connections to adults who can relate. If nothing else, this social scene makes you feel less alone. I’m not sure if you can as quickly or as easily cultivate a new group of friends as quickly or as easily as you can just after you’ve given birth. It’s a whole new slew of like-minded friends you can enjoy getting to know.
7 To Experience The "Joys" Of Pregnancy
Every woman at least considers the idea of pregnancy. The enormity of what our bodies are capable of and how privileged we are to create life within ourselves. Or in more simpler terms; the excuse to eat whatever you want, gain as much weight as you’d like, and increase, just temporarily, certain parts of your body that you may feel you’re normally lacking in. Seriously, it is a scary, overwhelming concept that many of us yearn to experience if, for nothing else, than to just know what the heck everyone else is talking about.
Nine months of experiencing a whirlwind of emotions, the effects hormones can have on our bodies and our minds, the stretching of the skin, the baby’s kicks, the aches, and pains...it’s scary, but the curiosity seems to be ingrained in a lot of us. Realistically, those of us who do have babies only get to do it once or twice in our lifetime, if we are lucky. So to have that opportunity to enjoy the roundness of our growing bodies, the growth of our breasts and the attention only a pregnant woman gets...well, that’s well worth everything that follows. I would definitely have my children all over again just to be pregnant again. And do that round-bellied dance just one more time...
6 Continue The Family Business
Anyone who has struggled to create a family business, who has worked around the clock, pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into keeping it afloat as they breathe life into an interest or passion of theirs, understands this idea. After all, the sacrifices made in order to get a business up and running, no one wants to see their all their work sink. When it is finally that blessed time to think about retiring, of course, you do have a couple of options. If it’s profitable enough, you could consider selling your business. If you choose this route though, there is less opportunity for you to be personally involved once it’s been sold. You could offer an employee a partnership which could result in you still being involved in the business, depending on the details and stipulations.
Or you could give your business to an offspring, and keep it all in the family. Again, not the best reason to bring a child into this world initially but, if added to a few of the other reasons, could build a pretty strong case. And it’s a fantastic way to assist your children with choosing their career path. Of course, there will probably be some resentment sent your way, and you will probably retaliate with a bit of pressure and a guilt trip or two...but eventually it should work itself all out...eventually.
5 Bond With Your Mother
Do you have a strained relationship with your mother? Perhaps she doesn’t agree with your choice of partner, career, location or any other aspect of your life that she didn’t get to give her input about. It’s reasonable to say that the mother-child relationship is definitely a delicate one that can easily be pushed offline, but nothing I can think of brings an offspring closer to his/her mother than having a child. The excitement and love that shines in your mother’s eyes every time she gets to squeeze her grandchild...it can definitely wipe away a lifetime of ill feelings. If you offer her the chance to be involved, if you make sure she feels like she matters in your child’s life...I’m pretty certain you will never be closer.
I have heard, although not yet experienced myself, that a grandmother is a happier and much better parent than a mother. They’ve been there, done that, and no longer feel the same immediate stress that young mothers feel and therefore, have more patience, time, and understanding. Again, although not the only reason to consider having a child, a very good one for you, your family unit and your extended family.
4 Creating Memories That Will Last Forever
Who doesn’t love looking through old photos? On those lazy, rainy afternoons when you decide to go through your closet and look over all the treasures, you’ve stuffed into the back of it. I enjoy looking back at my life through the various embarrassing photo albums I have scattered about, but even more than that, I enjoy looking through the photo books of my babies. It’s much more fun to look through moments of pregnancy, the birth, baby’s first days, first sit up, first steps, first words, all their development and growth, their crazy moments and moments of pure cuteness. It’s not just about reminiscing about them but that you get to do it with them.
You get to add them to your people with whom you share memories, and jokes that no one else will understand. Do you remember when you shoved that googly eye up your nose? Do you remember throwing up all over me? Add this reason to the above mentioned; ‘creating your own companion’ and I think you might just have a done deal. That is worth being a parent for sure, and possibly the closest I’ve gotten to discovering my motivation.
3 Kids Make A House A Home
I’m not a terribly creative home decorator; in fact, I’m not really a decorator at all. I would describe myself as a simplest in some respects. I’m not a fan of too much decor or art that I don’t have a connection to. For me, it’s all about living in the house, of letting things find their own spot as you forget to put it away or it becomes an inconvenience to take it out and then put it away and so it just stays put. Going shopping to find things to decorate our home is not within my vocabulary. I’m lazy that way. Hence why I would describe myself as a simplest.
I like a simple house with subtle taste and gentle colors. And so our house was until we had children. Now our house is constantly a mess, with dirt and toys accumulating in every corner. I’ve learned to accept the gaudy art pieces magnet to the fridge, the stickers and shiny jewels that reside in every crevice of the kitchen, the baby dolls, and baby clothing, the Shopkins, and Hatchlings that apparently take priority over the cleanliness of my living room and bedroom. But when you add all those items together you don’t get a clean, beautiful house; you get a home. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Perhaps you should give it a try?
2 To Prevent Certain Illnesses
It has been said that having children can give us a better chance of avoiding certain illnesses. There’s no guarantee but I would think that this is something to at least consider...
By getting pregnant, and essentially shutting down our ovaries for at least nine months if not more depending on how your body works, we can lower the risk of ovarian cancer. The less the ovaries work, the less chance of the lining of the ovaries to be damaged and susceptible to cancer. Being pregnant before the age of 30 lowers a woman’s risk for breast cancer, as does breastfeeding. In fact, breastfeeding can reduce your chances of getting breast or ovarian cancer as well as osteoporosis. It has to do with the prolonged production of estrogen that occurs when a mother is breastfeeding. Before you have the baby, it’s ludicrous to imagine a human swinging off that part of your body, but believe me, the benefits are fantastic for everyone involved.
Although it doesn’t directly reduce the risk of illnesses for fathers; it does get dads off their butts, make them care more about what they eat, and get more exercise. All of which improve fathers’ health situation in general. Again, not my favorite, but definitely an added bonus to having babies.
1 To Leave A Legacy Behind
Perhaps I would say that this one is the strongest argument of them all. If you find yourself at all in the stage of your life in which you question what this is all for, you may feel the need to figure out how to leave a piece of yourself behind. How to somehow make this whole journey worthwhile by living on through the lives of others. By leaving a legacy. It’s not about just leaving behind your genes; your physical features, artistic abilities, talents, passions, etc. but how you have affected those who you love. And since your offspring will hopefully live many years beyond yourself and your friends, siblings, parents...your best bet is through them. Your babies. By having babies, you’ve got an opportunity to be remembered, to live on long after you’re gone and hope to continue to affect others through what you taught your children. We all want to live forever, don’t we? And there’s no better way to do so without a fortune in Botox, facelifts and whatever else is out there to retain our youthful glow; then to have children. To pass on everything we are and love the babies we give birth to. And yes, I do finally remember why I craved to have children all those years ago.