29 November 2011

Why Have Kids??

why have kids, should i have kids
I have contemplated a lot about why people choose to have kids.  
WHY? 

I've had a lot of time to think about these things.  Ha!
(And oh my....I would loooove to hear why you had kids!)

On a walk this morning, my friend & I were discussing it and thought that maybe people have kids mostly due to cultural norms....as in....It's just what you do!  Right?  You get married and then have kids because everyone else does...and everyone says it will be great!  So you go for it... cause it's the accepted path.  Plus I think it's common to want to share in the experiences of your peers....just so you don't feel on the outside of the experiences your friends and family are having.

Or, you have kids because you don't want to be an 80 year-old woman left behind with no family around you.  And so you have them to ensure that you have a family.  And you like the idea of family life.

Or, you have them because you think having children will enrich your life somehow.  The experience will bring you happiness.  Or maybe it will even enrich your marriage.  Or give you more of a purpose.  Or maybe it will just make you melt to see your spouse as a parent.  Or maybe you just like kids and think they're adorable and want one for yourself.  Or maybe it will get you out of working a job that you no longer want to do.

Well, I actually don't really need to have kids for any of these reasons.  Well, maybe a little of the not-being-lonely-at-age-80 sounds good.  And actually, a little Danny running down the hallway would just about kill me.  But you guys, after 7 years of not getting pregnant, I've learned how to be pretty darn content with my life.  And if I could figure that out now, I am sure I could figure it out at age 80.  I hate to admit it, but I don't looong desperately for kids like a used to.  (Um, at the moment, it's pretty great just blogging, running around the park whenever the heck I want, helping people, learning lots of great things, & going to brunch with Danny...you see what I mean?)  I look at all my friends who are young moms..their lives couldn't be more different than mine.  They literally don't have 5 minutes to themselves in these small apartments.  And they are hauling strollers up and down stairs.  And cooking or cleaning up meals every last spare minute of the day.  And going to Costco on foot with a stroller and a camping back pack.  I know their lives are fulfilling too, just in a different way.

Meanwhile, I just barely learned the word "bump" like last week when I did it for the first time (as in bumping a stroller down stairs).  I have never had to clean up a blow out.  Though one time I got the tiniest wet spot from one at church while I was holding a baby.  I have almost never wiped baby goo off a baby or myself.  I have never had sex with kids in the house.  I have never not slept in on a Saturday morning when I wanted to.  I have never been awakened by a crying baby.

So as I face treatments at $20k a pop + drugging up to the max + going through a lot of seriously deliberate effort to make this happen (even though there are no guarantees that it will actually happen) I have been forced to think a LOT about my motivations to have a child.

And, I hate to say it but I have observed that most of the reasons people want to have kids involves THEMSELVES.  As in...This will bring ME so much happiness.  This will bring ME the family lifestyle that I love.  This will allow ME to fulfill my dream.  This will bring ME fulfillment & purpose & joy.  This will bring ME & my husband closer.  This will make US a family.  This will allow ME to use my talents or strengths (etc. etc. etc.)  But since I have learned to meet these "needs" in other ways, the normal reasons to have kids aren't motivating enough for me at the moment.

So I have tried to tap into a greater reason to want to have kids.  And I kind of like it....  :)

I have decided that I want to have kids for THEM!  I want to do it out of love... for them!

Just as I have had a chance to come to this earth and have this amazing life and learn and have all these enriching experiences, I would love to give another little spirit that same opportunity.  I want to give back all the goodness that I have received.

I believe that we are all created equal...and so any child that I may have will be my equal.  And so instead of working some children into "My Perfect Life Mold of What I Want & Envision for Myself" (which would be soooo easy to do without even realizing it), I've decided it's more about just helping a fellow spirit brother or sister along their way.  It's more about what I can offer them, instead of what they can offer me.  I love this thinking....because it takes the pressure off of your kids to bring you happiness & fulfillment.  It takes the pressure off of them to fit into YOUR MOLD now or at anytime during their lives.  It takes away the self-centered nature of "I need a baby to be happy" "I need my kids to do this or that to be happy."  And instead, you get to just be at the sidelines - loving and assisting and offering.....and giving back all the goodness & wisdom that you've already received in this life, without the expectation of receiving anything in return.  (But let's be honest, you send good out into the world and chances are it's going to come right back to you in some form or another, whether it's now or later :)

My lovely friend hugged her baby really tight as we walked & had this conversation.  She loved the idea, too, and it made her heart swell as she thought about her darling baby.

OK:  Now that I have knocked many of the common reasons why people have kids (haha...sorry about that :) :)  I still want to know why YOU decided to have kids!  Even if it was all for you!!!  :)  It would just be so fun to hear!  [Trust me, in my twenties before I had all this time to think about it - - getting pregnant would have been 100% for me all the way....give me some of those chubby cheeks!!]

Love you all!

Mara

P.S.  The photos above are of some of my favorite families in the world.  These were taken in DUMBO on our last Saturday together in Brooklyn.  I could die over those little girls.  I will cherish these photos forever.


46 comments:

  1. Yep! You are so spot on, as usual. I love the photo booth photos, too.

    I want children, but too am content being a little career lady and loving all my time. I want children and a the whole family life, but I can be fulfilled in my single life, too. That's the part that I think (esp in the blogging world) moms don't really get. Like seriously I love my 8-9 hours of sleep, thank you!

    I want to be a mom, when I'm married to a man of God, when we are financially able to allow me to stay home and when I feel ready. I'm not ready now because I'm not married, that's a non negotiable. I know it's not good to put of having children for $ reasons, and I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I may spiritually and emotionally ready, but other things need to fall into place.

    I "know" no people who are more deserving of a baby than you and Danny. The Lord has something really special in store for you.

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  2. Hmmmmm, well, I suppose the reason we had children was because my hubby and I believe it is a part of God's plan for us. I remember as a young wife, hubby still in school, living in a little basement apartment in Provo, Utah, that I experienced a distinct, spiritual prompting that it was time to have a baby. I had not grown up in a happy, big, LDS family with lots of babies around. My younger sis is only 3 years younger and I was never one of those teenagers that was totally comfortable caring for infants. I just "knew" that it was time. I have had that feeling all four times we had a child.

    It was something that made us (hubby and I) better people, gave us opportunities to learn, grow and serve in ways we had never experienced. We were capable of things we could never have dreamed of. I experienced what I believe is the closest thing to loving someone else as much as our Heavenly Father loves us. Parenthood gave me a glimpse of the infinite potential I have as a daughter of God. Having children has given me the experience of joy, love, fun, humility, worry, frustration, peace, contentment, service, sleep deprivation, sacrifice, problem solving, multi tasking, but, above all, love that is unfathomable in it's depth. Maybe there are some of us that do not need parenthood to experience these things, but, for me, I know it was what I was meant to do to become "the best me".

    Now, with our first grandchild born 3 months ago, my hubby and I get to witness that growth and love in our oldest son and his wife. I see so clearly how we are all linked.

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  3. I think I totally started out wanting children for my own selfish reasons. I wanted children because that's what you are supposed to want. At age 27 I thought it would happen right away. When it didn't and years and years (7 to be exact) began to tick by then it became a desparate kind of wanting. It became all I could think about. I'm not sure I even knew why I wanted a child but I felt it was never going to happen. I remember being angry at everyone- my friencs with kids, pregnant women I didn't even know and God. But it finally happened and now that I have an eight year old I realize it is about her. It's about her path and her quest. She has taught me way more than I have taught her. When she was three she told me that she remembered being with God and she was glad she picked us to be her parents. This shocked me since we didn't go to church and really hadn't talked to her much about God. It also gave me a totally new perspective on everything. I think God has a plan for us all and we just have to trust that. She came to us when it was her time and I can only hope that we are helping her on her path to be the best person she can be.

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  4. I'm Mormon and believe that there are many Heavenly spirits still waiting to come here and have this opportunity at life and I feel having children is one of the best ways I can show the Lord gratitude for my life and serve him. I also want to (attempt) to help my children reach their full potential and accomplish the missions I believe they'll come to this earth with and help them to (as cheesy as it sounds) make this world a better place.

    All of the other reasons you mentioned for people having children are for me the blessings of having children, because it's true, I was a happy and content person before I had a baby, but since having a baby I've never experienced this much joy and growth. Because, not only do babies come with all the blessings, but also those challenges and difficulties like you mentioned and that combination of blessings and challenges brings about a ton of growth and a closer understanding of Heavenly Father and his plan for us.

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  5. Hello Mara
    I love your blog, your spirit, your strength, your cuteness, your intelligence. I do not know why I wanted a kid. It just happened with my love, my husband. I always wanted to have a child, even before I met mu husband. And it happened. I HOPE your dream being a parent will be fulfilled!
    Sandy

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  6. Hi Mara,

    Initially, I think that I wanted to have children because it is the cultural norm, although I had my first baby at 24, about a decade before most of my peers out here in San Francisco with advanced/professional degrees. My husband was a lot older than I was, and I knew that I didn't want to wait that long. It was also a good time in my career.

    I had a second baby because I wanted to give my son a sibling--which I think shows how much my perspective had shifted since the birth of my first baby.

    Once my children were born, I found it surprisingly easy to let go of my expectations about motherhood, about what the experience would bring to my life, about what it bring to my marriage, and also about what looks to the rest of the world like success. All that I want for my little ones is to be truly happy, fulfilled, loved and loving people, and wanting those things for them changed what I want for myself. I know that this isn't universal. I live in an area where people worry way too much about where their kids are going to get into college and how that will reflect on them. It can be very competitive. Honestly, though, having graduated from the fanciest universities around and achieved lots of academic and professional success that looks impressive from the outside (but never brought me much private happiness), I do not care about where my children go to school, how much money they make, or how their achievements reflect on me and my status. I want them to be who they really are and to be happy, and that is all. And you cannot want those things more than anything for the people you love most in the world and not want them for yourself. I think that is the best thing that motherhood has given to me. Serious perspective about what matters and what does not.

    I have to add that having my children has brought other children into my life, and helping those children to be happy and to feel strong and safe and loved has been an amazing experience. Right up there with motherhood itself. I think that my friends feel the same way about my children. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I love being a mother to my children because I get to spend so much time helping these two amazing little people, but I think that there are lots of ways to have and help children in your life. And man, if you can figure out a way to get that joy and wonder and magic and still sleep late on the weekend and go running without serious planning . . . there are definitely worse things.

    I see I've gotten a bit off topic . . . . I wish you all the best, Mara.

    Molly

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  7. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've never quite thought about the why. I have two babies and they both took their time to get here. But amid all that waiting, the months and years of crying my eyeballs out and shaking my fist at God, I never once wondered why I wanted these little people so bad. I just did. But come to think of it, it probably did have an awful lot to do with my own happiness.
    But after having a baby, I think lots of mamas (and papas too!) realize that wanting one for your own happiness won't get you very far. In fact, if you continue to think about your own happiness, that child makes you all kinds of miserable. Because while kids are cute and fun to dress up, they are kids! Meant to get their hands (and clothes and houses!) dirty, to get loud and crazy as they figure out the world around them. This makes them not very good company at fancy restaurants, for one. But more importantly, trying to make them fit in to our adult expectations makes us (as their parents or significant adults in their lives) miss out on the magic, the great honor it is to help them on their way as they learn. Instead we just see the monotony, the dirty diapers, the house that's never clean, the body that has been changed (in ways we don't particularly like), the fact that we never get out, or have time for ourselves. So those expectations, turns out, are not a great recipe for happiness after all!
    All of this is just a long winded way of saying, I agree! I much prefer taking the role of guide and counselor for my children than expectation enforcer. Their definitely much happier for it and the cherry on top is that I am too!

    PS. DO THE YOGA! If I were in NY, or you were in UT, I'd drag you to class. :)

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  8. I didn't think much about having children, until one day I got the distinct impression (a few years after we were married) that it was time.

    It is a commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, as well.
    BUT
    i think that we should cherish and nurture and give of ourselves completely to each and every child we choose to bring to this earth. I feel that many people forget this important thing. Children need the security that comes from us to being present, aware, loving and giving to them CONSTANTLY until they start to try to do things for themselves. Then they still need those reassurances but in a different way.

    I think that some parents are having children for selfish reasons, but I think those people are far and few between. But i do however feel like each parent parents in different ways and as long as they have their children's best interest at heart, than thats ok!

    There is nothing more selfless that I have done in my life.

    I haven't had a full night of sleep for two years. I care for my 18 month old when he wakes up. I love him and cuddle him. I nurse him on demand because that nourishes him and brings him so much happiness and security. He giggles when he knows were are about to snuggle down together to nurse, because it's his safety net as well.

    If you would have asked me before I had kids if I'd be doing this, the answer would be no.

    And I did the same things for my daughter who is now 5. She is smart and happy and aware of her surrounds. She trusts the world around her because I gave her no reason to doubt that I (her primary caregiver) would be there for her as a baby, she learned how to trust. ( check out dr sears.com by the way)

    Is it easy to do these things? no! But I do it because I LOVE my kids and I listen to the spirit and I do what I hope is best for them so they can grow up to be happy, healthy, spiritual beings and learn to withstand trials. To KNOW who they are and why they are here ( all the while knowing that I love them and there is nothing they can do to change that)

    We laugh and play together all day, we discipline, we learn and grow, IT's not easy...ever...but it is always worth it. ALWAYS. I would absolute not know this until I had kids.

    YOu can't understand how all consuming caring for a kid is until you have one, but you can't understand the awesomeness of the whole situation of bringing children to this earth, loving and raising them in hopes of teaching them good things, until you've tried it either.

    THE BEST THING EVER

    And

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  9. that was a novel....sorry lol

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  10. Your post reminded me of my favorite part in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", have you ever seen it? It's a scene with Sydney Portier (who plays John) and John's father. The father is expressing to John his worries about John's inter-racial engagement, and says that he worked too hard to give John the opportunities he has had to have him throw it away by entering into a controversial marriage. Then John says to his Dad: "Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing. If you carried that bag a million miles, you did what you're supposed to do! Because you brought me into this world. And from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me like I will owe my son if I ever have another." I remember that being a revelation to me! If you have a child, they don't owe you anything because it was your decision first. They didn't have any say in the matter, and for that I think you are bound to do everything for them that you can. I like thinking about being a parent that way. You're right, it's very pressure relieving :) Poor kids and their crazy parents! :)

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  11. we all have those "am I sure I want to do this?" moments when it comes to bringing kids into the world. BUT after you do it, you think "I could not imagine my life any other way!" my husband and I often reminisce about this.

    another thing is that children DO teach us and help up grow, whether we think they will or not. You cannot learn this type of selflessness any other way that I can think of. So that may seem "selfish" but really it's not. It's all part of the plan. Children are amazing!

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  12. I loved this post. I think there are many reasons to have children but also important to have time with just you and your spouse. I had children because I LOVE KIDS!! Always have. I nannied for 7 year old triplets before I got married and I loved the kids (even though they were really tough to love sometimes). My husband and I waited 5.5 years before trying for our first. We had to get a little help with Clomid for the first one, had a miscarriage and then got pregnant a few months later. We now have 2 and a 3rd on the way. I am not sure if other people feel this way also but I am adopted and to see my features or my husband's in our children is so amazing to me. Then to watch these little monkeys drive me crazy and also make my heart swell with love and laughter and know they are mine for eternity is the icing on the cake. I can attest to the fact that whether the children are biological or not they feel the love equally and are eternally yours. I have never spent one day feeling different about my parents. So my reason...simply I love em'.

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  13. Hi Mara,
    I found your blog through design mom and have found your posts so inspiring. I have been coming to terms with secondary infertility and in the past year have been trying IVF to conceive. I have been reading your blog through the last few weeks and a have been inspired to find a new perspective of how i deal with difficult times. I loved this post and have found it very thought provoking as I don't think many of us truly look deeply at our motivations for having children. I love what you said about having children for 'them' and to love them and guide them, this is truly what love is and what I hope to aspire to as a parent.
    I don't usually comment on blogs but I wanted to say thankyou and look forward to reading more.
    Thankyou Mara for sharing

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  14. Not sure why this rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe because it seemed you put most women into the category of having babies for themselves.

    For us it was because it is part of Gods plan to bring these precious spirits down and raise them in a way that would bring glory to God and contribute to society. Yes, there are reasons for ourselves too because it's impossible not to have it benefit parents. But any good mother would do ANYTHING for their child. It's not for themselves, it's out of pure Christ like love for that child that you serve them with all of your heart.

    Maybe for some the reasons to start having kids are selfish, but the moment you see that baby it completely shifts. They are your world, and you would do anything for THEM to bring them joy, and bring them up in a way that would help them fulfill the measure of their creation. I was not prepared for the amount of love I would feel for something so tiny and helpless. It was life altering for us.

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  15. OK didn't read them all but here are my why's....

    I'm not sure. I wasn't one of those girls who played house and dreamt of becoming a wife and mother. I wasn't even sure I wanted to get married when I was younger. But at some point I just knew I wanted these things. At some point I knew that it would be hard, but more fulfilling than the alternative. Because I believed in Heavenly Father's plan and that and our purpose here is to get married and have children (if we can) I faithfully accepted that council. I don't think I thought about it too much or questioned it. Additionally, I think you can have multiple reasons exist--even if some are just for you!--and they can all be good. Without a doubt having children has been the best and toughest learning process of my life.

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  16. Ladies - I don't even know where to begin. Your comments today have just made me melt...it has been SO beautiful to hear what you've had to say. The warmest thanks to all of you for taking the time to share such beautiful thoughts!!!

    LISA LOO - It's so beautiful to be linked with your children as you watch them raise your grandkids. ahhh....must make your heart just about burst.

    JILL - LOVE what you wrote & I agree completely! "that combination of blessings and challenges brings about a ton of growth and a closer understanding of Heavenly Father and his plan for us." Motherhood certainly is one of the best ways to come to know the nature of God. I guess that is a ME reason to have kids...just to sign up for an experience that will bring you closer to God. I love it!

    MOLLY - I freaking love what you wrote. So awesome that you were able to find out first hand that certain things don't matter (like fancy schools). NY has done that to me. I have had a lot of great experiences that people would dream of, but having experienced them, it has taught me a lot about what really matters most...
    AND I've never thought about the fact that having kids will bring even MORE children into your life..and you can help & nurture & be an influence for good to so many little ones...that is just simply beautiful to think about. Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts.

    MORE responses from me will be coming!

    You guys are just the best!!

    xoxoxo

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  17. After struggling with IF for 8+ years, losses, and unsuccessful treatments - I too have had all of these thoughts myself. I wonder about the many lucky people who most likely had to give zero thought to wanting a child and it happening for them. I sit and think deeply about why I want a child, wondering that maybe my reason is not good enough and so that is why it does not happen. I know that is not true but there are always those days.
    But I know now that I have been blessed with a gift and that is to know for sure without a doubt that I want the child that we will someday have and they will always know how much they were wanted. I want to be able to bring a child into the world and do everything to give it everything we did and did not have or experience, whether it be a close and concrete relationship with an absentee father or making cookies with grandma (thank my lucky stars I made cookies with my grandma). There is so much that life has to offer and so much love to give, I guess those are my reasons when it comes down to it.

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  18. I'm sure you won't reply to this comment because it is more real than it is "Hallmark", but no one who ignores adoption and continues to spend a fortune on trying to get pregnant wants kids for "them". They want a mini me. So lets not pretend we are above being human. Everyone is born with that some what selfish desire to love and be loved in return. It is only human nature to want to have some one to love and to be loved. I believe this is why we get married and have a desire for children. I think the real question is are you looking for that love and relationship or are you looking for a mini you?

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  19. Anonymous - regarding adoption. I sense that your comment comes from a great love for adoption and for that I thank you. Thanks for bringing this up because I haven't had a chance to have an adoption post yet...even though that's a topic I LOVE and was planning to post about. I think a lot of people are wondering. WELL, Danny & I LOVE the idea of adopting! We talk about it all the time and we are already planning on it. The adoption agency we want to use requires that you have been married for 2 yrs so we are almost there and will likely be getting the process started as soon as we can, unless I get pregnant btwn now and then. Danny & I always wanted to have several children if possible...our divorces definitely held things up...so due to age and what not, even if we do by some miracle get pregnant, we like the idea of adopting some children as well. We'd take a houseful.

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  20. Okay, most of my reasons are selfish although I never viewed them as selfish until I read this post. I am 21 and not married, and I don't plan on having kids until after marriage. But I babysit a family of five kids a lot, often for a week at a time while the parents are on vacation. And when I get to step in and take care of these kiddos physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I am the happiest I have ever been and I feel like the best version of myself. I am currently working on my master's degree, I am smart and I get good grades, I have a great social life, and I'm a hard worker. But I believe that my greatest potential as an individual is through motherhood. I love kids, and that is why I want to be a mom.

    Now I have a personal question which you are in no way obligated to answer: What are your thoughts on adoption, especially on you personally adopting?

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  21. Nevermind, I was writing my comment when you were replying to Anonymous about adoption. You don't need to reply to mine!

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  22. wow, great comments. It is so fun to read why everyone wants/has kids. I have wanted to be a mom since I was 10. Danny is my youngest brother, and adorable as he was, he wouldn't let any of us near him. When he was two, I wanted my mom to have another baby so I could "mother" him or her. She said, sorry kiddo, you'll just have to wait and have your own. I have prayed everyday since then that I could be a mom, and have a lot of kids. Well, almost 30 years later, I am happy and grateful to have 7 children. Why did I want kids? Because I love them. I love taking care of them, I love helping them discover who they are and who they can become. I love this amazing plan of families learning and growing and helping one another. It is hard work, but it is the most fulfilling, challenging, wonderful opportunity and gift from God... that he would trust us to take care of and teach his children. We have kids because we know it is God's plan of happiness. We have a lot of kids because we are insanely in love with the chaos and happiness that our lives are right now. I am so personally grateful to be a woman. I can't thing of anything more wonderful than bringing a baby into the world and caring for them 24/7, it's an honor. Best wishes to all of you wonderful people in your endeavors to become pregnant and raise happy, loving, and responsible little individuals.

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  23. great post (again) - what a great perspective!

    Here's my story. I waited a long time to have kids (too long, according to my husband). For the longest time, I just didn't feel like I was sure about it. Then I got to the point where I was of the age where I either needed to do it, or make the decision to not have kids. I felt like that was a decision I'd regret, so I had my first child. I enjoyed my pregnancy and the baby years so, so much, that we had another baby, mostly because I wanted my daughter to have a sibling. And now, seeing my daughters interact makes me happier than anything else in the world.

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  24. LOVE. It was Christ's ultimate motive, the "why" behind what He did..."for He so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son..." We know what he wants to do(eternal life and salvation)but the motive behind this and everything He does is love. He is our ultimate example in life and through him we can find our motive or reason for doing what we do. There is nothing complicated or really even philosophical and deep, its just love. Love is ultimately the reason behind mine and everybody else's motive to have children. I also really like what John groeberg said about love... "since all love emanates from God, we are born with the capacity and desire to love and be loved. One of the strongest connections we have with our premortal life is how much our father and Jesus loved us and how much we loved them...Whenever we sense true love, it awakens a longing that cannot be denied."

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  25. Mara, love this post. Totally agree with you. I've been thinking recently quite a bit about adoption as well (I read the comments above), and I can't help but wonder...would there be a different bond or love for an adopted child verses one that was your flesh and blood? What do you think? I just haven't really had anyone to talk to about this, I don't know anyone that is close to me who has adopted, so I thought I'd toss it out there for you or anyone who may have experience with this. What are your thoughts on adoption?

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    1. Bianca,

      I am not sure you will ever see this but I had to respond because I can answer this. I never had trouble conceiving children. I got pregnant as soon as we tried with our two sons. But God planted a seed in my heart when I was a little girl to adopt. I just kind of always thought I would...so much so that I was actually a little surprised when we got pregnant so easily. God still had plans for us and without making this a novel, He put some things in our path to lead us to adoption. We adopted a little girl from China and she is such a HUGE Blessing!!!! It was WAY harder to adopt her than to have children biologically for us. I did wonder deep down if I would love her the same way as the two boys I carried and delivered. We have had our daughter for almost 5 years now and I love her more than one could ever imagine. In fact, in some ways our bond is stronger and I will tell you why.... I had to earn her love. I had to earn every single drop of her trust. My boys were born knowing me and my husband. They were born knowing that we would feed them and comfort them when they cried. They were born into the automatic and unconditional love of our family. When my daughter met me she was 10 months old. I was a complete stranger to her (she was in a foster family for those 10 months in CHina). She did not know that I would meet her needs and she woke up all night long scared of her new life. She did not know if I would come back if I put her in the church nursery. I had to prove my love to her. And when you work THAT hard for something is more precious than rubies. So, yes adoption is different but it is in NO WAY less. It is amazing. The most amazing love.

      Okay so I still wrote a novel but this topic is so near and dear to my heart.
      Blessings,
      Kim

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  26. Love this post! I have struggled so hard on deciding when to have kids. I have been told so many horrible things by other LDS women because I got married at 20. I've now been married for 6 yrs and haven't had any children, the first 5 by pure choice. I have been told I'm selfish, told that my now fertility problems are a punishment by God because I waited and so on.

    However when we finally decided to have kids it wasn't because I wanted kids, or because I felt pressured to do it, or it was the norm. I am doing it because I know it's what God wants for me to do at this point in my life and while I don't know the why now, why not back when we first married, of why not in three years when I'm done with graduate school or any of that. I just know in my heart it's what Heavenly Father wants for me. I'm still scared of it all, but I'm at peace with it and feel confident that everything will work out... whether we have them or if I'm never able to have them (oh hashimotos and PCOS!!!) I feel like Heavely Father will be there and everything will be fine.

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  27. I am a better mother because of your blog. I began trying to comment and was interrupted approximately forty seven bazoogle times by little ones and I just kept smiling because you had me pondering about why I decided to become a mom in the first place.

    When I was a young adult I had a chance to attend a temple dedication during which I was doing a lot of pondering and praying. I received my own special confirmation that there was a purpose and mission for me in this life, and part of it included that I would become a mother. I gained a testimony there were specific spirits waiting and preparing to come to ME. That was my primary motivation in becoming a mom - I knew there were people, not just cute little babies but full grown spirits, and they were counting on me. It felt overwhelming - and it still does. We had some challenges getting these babies here, miscarriages and high risk pregnancies with months of bedrest and one baby showed up four months ahead of schedule. But each time there came a day that we KNEW someone was ready and we needed to prepare to welcome them. It wasn't always on our timeline, and it was always hard and never exactly the way we imagined! But just as we were preparing and hoping for them, I know they were working on things there to be ready for us at the perfect time. With our littlest two we had special experiences in which we knew exactly who was coming before we even conceived.

    Going through the process was hard (understatement, of course) and I had so many questions and I just wanted things to go the way I wanted! But I'm so thankful that I can now look back over the last decade (my oldest just turned ten!) and I can see how beautifully orchestrated it all was. It wasn't the way I imagined, because I didn't imagine anything this wonderful! The hardest parts make me appreciate everything even more...

    So that's why I became a mom. However weak my faith may be, I knew there was a bigger plan than I realized and I am daily trying to remember that. :)

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  28. And I'm sorry I just wrote an entire short story in your comments. That's what you get for writing a thought provoking blog. :)

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  29. Wow, each and every one of these comments practically deserves a post in response, there is so much wisdom and love in what you all have written. Mara and I are seriously touched.

    In fact, I think what each of you have written makes us even more excited to one day be parents ourselves. We've had a lot of opportunities for personal and spiritual growth even though we haven't yet been able to have kids, and all that growth has indeed been beautiful. But reading what each of you has written makes us even more excited for the different kind of trials and joys and happiness and love and sacrifice that will come with parenthood.

    Thank you for all of your comments!

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  30. Bianca,

    I just wanted you to know that my sister has adopted all 3 of her children. She desperately wanted to have babies on her own, but realized adoption was the only way to bring the children that were meant to be in her family to her and she LOVES her children every bit as much as me or anybody else loves theirs. So if you choose to adopt because it's the right thing for you and your family, then I feel certain you will be bonded and adore those babies as much as anyone else.

    Adoptive mothers go through their own "labor" to get their children here and I think sometimes they appreciate their little ones even more because of all the ups and downs they have to go through to find their family. It's a really beautiful thing to be apart of. My sister witnessed first hand miracles that brought her family together, so theirs NO doubting her babies were meant to be HER babies. :)

    I know you were speaking to Mara, but I couldn't help but write! Hope it helps

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  31. my totally selfish reason for having kids is so that I can make stuff (sew) for them :0)

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  32. I don't have children yet, but I think the act of wanting to have and raise amazing little people is an act of pure optimism. Whether or not you realize it at the time. I believe the same is true about marriage and all other matters of the heart.

    I have often wondered if I'm that optimistic. In my heart I know I am, but sometimes the woes of the planet creep in.

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  33. I love this post! I always planned to have kids, probably because that is what I was expected to do. But, the reason we had our first baby is because my husband and I both had a strong impression about getting pregnant. It was not convenient for us. We were both in school and not living by family, but we knew that the time was right. Fortunately, we were able to work through some of the inconveniences of having a baby at that time in our life.

    I must admit that I did not realize about the importance of having a baby for unselfish reasons until after my second baby. All of a sudden, living with kids was not that enjoyable for me. I think I struggled with some postpartum depression, and I really needed to ask myself why I choose to be a mother.

    You totally nailed it Mara. Once you realize being a mom is best when you take an unselfish approach, it really is an amazing experience. My kids bring me so much joy now, but it is because I have had to change my own life to fit into their world, not the other way around. Even though my kids drive me crazy sometimes, they also make me happier than I thought possible. I love watching them learn and progress.

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  34. Jill,

    Thanks for the response to my question on adoption, my husband and I just read it and it was great to hear your perspective.

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  35. I was ready to have a baby-or try for one after watching the October General Conference of 2006. it was a pretty strong prompting. I think i wouldve been content to wait another year, but you cant deny the feeling you get when heavenly father says its time! But seriously i loove my family growing up, my parents, siblings the whole shabang and couldnt wait to start and continue new and old traditions. Becoming a mother, i feel its about as unslefish as it gets. less dating time to have more family time, sleep deprivation, teaching your children everything from thier ABCs to the gospel to tying thier shoes. its a constant challenge trying to be patient, calm and sweet when the kids climbed up on the dinner table and smushed mashed potatoes into the table cloth while you were pouring some milk into thier sippy cups. But the loove. oh the love that comes from having children, and in all ways, whether you have them yourself or not. i have two siblings that were adopted at birth and i love love looove them so. Sacrifice and joy, two great lessons in life all rolled up in the beauty of having and rasinh our precious children.

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  36. I read this post a bit ago and keep thinking about it... I'm not sure exactly sure why I had my little girl- just a gut feeling telling me to pursue motherhood? Not sure.

    I did however give Jack to his mom and dad at birth... and they are an amazing forever family. From reading the comments I know you have thought about and are perusing adoption. If you ever what to hear the other side (the birth parent) I would love to chat.

    I know you don't know me... and the blogging world makes it seem like you know someone, as I feel I know you... but I wish you the best with all the sincerity in my heart and prayers.

    And thanks for blogging about you. the real you.

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  37. So good. So on point. And I totally agree with your point of view. It is exactly what my heart also reflects. It truly is of the essence of bringing you closer to God and how He loves! We are after all created in His image. So we reflect exactly that!

    Love this blog, so so much! Just found it almost two weeks ago, and I'm telling you, it was God. Perfect timing and has already changed my outlook and perspective on things. Things that I've always known and have always found it hard to tap into but, seeing it in both you and Danny's perspective, SUCH a blessing!! One thing that sticks to me everyday now and that I am continually repeating to myself is from your post on "Identity" and how you tapped into your true self. The secrecy ingredient: "I am a Divine Woman. I am a Child of God." This I've always known but, having read your post from the begging till now (still have more to read!) Has helped in more ways than you'll ever know!! You both have reflected so much of what I have been thinking/saying/doing for most my life. Especially even more so now in my adult years. A huge THANK YOU for sharing your story, for honing in on your God given way of reaching a community of people who need this perspective and are drawn back to knowing that Love really does prevail. It is real and STILL is around. It is not dead. After all we are love. We were created by Love Himself. Learning to be happy as an individual myself, best thing you could ever have mentioned and shown by both of your example. Again, thank you and God Bless. From the bottom of my heart is my prayer to you both.

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  38. I'm sorry. What I really meant to say was "having read your blog from **beginning** till now." I realised that autocorrect typed 'begging'.

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  39. I want to have children for THEM as well! I have seen the heartache and joy that my siblings and I have given my parents, and because of this I have realized that I am truly grateful for my parents to help give me the opportunity to live the life that I have. When I think of being a parent it often scares me. I have seen siblings make such sad mistakes and I think to myself, "I don't know if I could handle this as a parent." It actually has brought me to tears. But I think that parenting is an act of selflessness (is that a word?) and I hope to be able to give a few spirits an opportunity to live a life of agency. Because that is what it's all about... Thanks Mara!

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  40. Really, I am glad you are happy with your experiences, but as I am adopted and was sexually abused by my 'loving' adopted grandfather, motherhood and grandparenthood just don't entice me. How can I be sure such a thing wouldn't happen to a child of mine. You cannot be sure. Real life is tough. You are lucky. What was the plan for my life, so different to most people even at age six...

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  41. "that combination of blessings and challenges brings about a ton of growth and a closer understanding of Heavenly Father and his plan for us"

    What about those of us who have had no choice but to 'grow' through the challenges of sexual abuse, bullying, infertility, character assassination, domestic abuse, narcissistic adoptive parents. Parenthood MAY be a way but please don't make like it is the only way.....

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    1. Anonymous - Thanks for commenting, and sorry for your pain, I certainly hope what was written here has not added to it. I hope you'll consider reading some other posts. You'll realize that I don't think that Parenting is the only way, but it can be a beautiful one. I have not been able to have kids. So I know personally that there are SO many experiences that can teach us and help us to transform and grow. I've experienced some of the things you mentioned, too. And I've had some of the greatest transformative changes take place because of my greatest trials. I wish you all the best.

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  42. Hell yeah I'm mad...get your heads out of the sand/clouds/your backsides for the sake of your kids!!!!!!!!!!

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  43. Thank you Mara. The best to you.

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  44. I know I'm way late commenting on this but I wasn't sure I even wanted kids when you wrote this and now I have an 8 month old. You are definitely looking at having kids for the right reasons, if you are doing it because you think it will make you happy, you are in for a rude awakening and doing the child a disservice. I got pregnant unexpectedly so I can't say that I ever had a soul search on the subject, but when it happened I went with it. I'm not a spring chicken, I was 36 when I had my son. I had my life the way I wanted it and wasn't sure I wanted it to change. But.....change it did, in a big way. I really miss my old life still and am trying to figure out how to merge the old me and the new mother me. It's not easy, but I'm learning as I go, just like all other mothers before me.

    good luck to you and Danny. I am anxiously waiting the news next week along with all your other readers!

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