Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dark Side Before Venturing into TTC

Okay, I've been avoiding my blog.  There has been something on my mind and I have been afraid to write about it.

First, with open enrollment at work for healthcare choices and tax savings accounts, it has gotten me thinking about how to afford a child while paying for daycare.  Staying home is not a very likely option.  Family is far way, so we cannot ask my parents to help out a few days a week.  The cost of daycare scares me, let alone getting a child into one after hearing horror stories of wait lists and non-refundable wait list costs, some that you still have to pay even if the daycare center does not eventually have an opening.  Let alone the rules.  We would only need part-time daycare as Tal and I work different shifts and my schedule rotates.  During the week, we would need about three days for four or five hours each.  But some places require that you pay for all five days.  Would we be lucky enough to find a daycare or private daycare provider who would be okay with a rotating schedule?  I know I'm putting the cart way before the horse.  But, you have to have some kind of plan before you try to have a child.  Or at least me.

Those worries led to worries about quantity and quality of time with a possible future child.  Working second shift makes it tricky.  But, there are other people who work second shift and have families.  It is doable.  Right?  I really like my job and I feel like it is a good fit.  That is also important.  Right?  Then, I'd feel guilty if I would not be spending enough time with a possible future child.  Would I be being selfish having a child and working the hours I'm working?  I think it could work and be okay for the first few years before they would go to school.  By then maybe there could be an opening for a position with more nine to five?  A lot can change.

Also, I guess part of me is somewhat grieving the loss of not being able to stay home to raise my child.  I always wanted that, more so than anything else.  As a little girl, the first thing I wanted to be was a mom.  People laughed at me or would tell me that was not what I really wanted to be.  I loved my mom and felt so loved by her that I wanted to be a mommy and take care of a child so they could feel as loved as I felt as a little girl.  As I realized that "mom" wasn't the answer people were looking for, I expanded my list to include teacher, ballerina and artist.  Don't get me wrong, I liked the idea of those, too. But, after I would say those things, I'd secretly tell myself..."and a mom."

So with lots of hard thinking about how to puzzle it all out with the logistics of having a child and making time to spend with a child, it got me thinking some more.  This is where the darkest question and fear loomed.  What if after all of this, if we had a child, what if we regretted it??  What if parenting was harder than we thought, like really harder than we thought?

Ugh.  I don't even want to admit that question crossed my mind.  It makes me feel like a horrible person.  Does it make me less deserving to be a parent?

I just don't want to screw it up.  I am afraid of being so stressed out that I will be a terrible mom, wife or person.  I do not want to lose me.  I do not want to be totally consumed by parenthood.  Life would change, no doubt.  Priorities would rightfully shift.  How do people do it?

With all of these thoughts running in my mind, I came across a blog from Mel's Friday Round-up.  Actually, it was part of the second helpings.

My response to "Women Who Wish They'd Never Had Kids" and "Why Parents Hate Parenting," by The Unexpected Trip

That blog and links within it led down a wormhole of some very raw, very hard realizations and insights shared by those who do regret having a child.  It is so sad, and my heart feels for those who have disclosed some very dark thoughts.  I don't want to be one of those of those that is completely overwhelmed by parenthood or bitter or resentful.  No, so sad.  I do not want to judge people and I guess it is good for them to have an outlet to express themselves, but still sad.  As the author of the post that reflects on all of these links about parenting, maybe it is healthy for parents to have space to process feelings, all feelings, as a way to heal and carry forward.

How do people do it?  Maybe I am thinking too much.  I just don't want to be holding the experience of parenthood up to wildly, impossible standards then have it all come crashing down.

Then this post popped up on my Facebook feed.

10 Dark Parenting Truths We Never Talk About, by Kristen Oganowski

And while the author tackled some of the dark sides of parenting, she somehow made it less scary.  There are truths in her words.  And it is what it is, but real and with love.  Life with or without children, is different...not better or worse, but different.


  1. Childcare is a scary thing to tackle. It's insanely expensive and not as accessible as it needs to be. So I understand why you are researching it now as you plan and prepare.

    I read the articles you linked to. I do think there is a benefit of exploring these topics. But I'll also be honest and say that I've yet to meet anyone who has lived with infertility and loss come back and say that they regret their decision to expand their family. Part of this may be due to the immense backlash they would face, but I also think that when one spends so much time thinking about and planning for this, there's some soul searching that tends to happen. Why are we breaking ourselves to parent? Is it truly the best choice for us or is there a different path? Also there's the element of knowing what is lost. Regardless, a good topic to explore, because my heart does hurt for those mothers and those children. I know far too many people who's parents (mother and/or father) emotionally/physically abandoned them and those scars are life-altering. Hence it is something I wish more people would explore.

    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. You make some good points! I think soul searching is a good way to frame it. Important reflective thought to visit, but not longer too long. Thanks!

  2. Oh, childcare. Not a bad thing to start looking into options now, although it can cause a bit of panic to set in! We are on a waiting list for a local center that we love, and we just had to call again to be sure that they knew that we were still wanting to be on the wait list. It's nerve wracking. The flexibility isn't great in this arena, but there's also home-based daycares and babysitters that will come to your house, which several of my friends utilize and find to be less expensive. I personally like the center approach, but we'll see what happens when the time comes.
    I don't think you are less deserving at all for thinking through the fears of regretting parenthood, in fact I think that makes you thoughtful and reflective. I worry too, especially because I've spent so long NOT being a parent, that the transition is going to be just SO HARD. And it's not all sunshine and roses, but I think you get through the hard parts. But it's okay to question that. I think it's perfectly normal. I read something recently where someone was suffering morning sickness and her thoughts were both a happy "this is really happening" and a terrified "OH MY GOD THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING AND I CAN'T TAKE IT BACK!" I think looking at your fears is a good thing, and determining if it's something that would make parenting difficult or a fear rooted in not having kids for longer than others...that's the part to suss out. I think you're totally deserving and these thoughts flit in and out of most people's heads, they just don't admit it. And not everyone has had the time to really explore all these different perspectives on parenthood. Thinking of you!

    1. Good to know that waiting and hopeful adoptive parents can put themselves on a wait list. I think after the first of the year I may do some preliminary research.

      Thanks for understanding my feelings, and reflective thoughts are helpful. I think being a little older gives you more time and experience that sometimes you can know too much. But then once you become a parent, there will always be stuff you didn't know or think to anticipate.

  3. It's admirable that you have thought (and continue to ponder) so much about your future, both the possibility with children and without. The vast majority of parents out there didn't put as much effort into thinking how their lives would change, for better or worse, with adding a child or each subsequent child. I think IF people tend to think a little more about it, because parenting seems like such an unattainable goal for us. We almost try to justify why we don't have children, as if somehow the universe is telling us that we aren't worthy or that we wouldn't be good enough. Therefore, we aren't blessed (yet).

    Knowing you as well as I think I do, you wouldn't screw parenting up. Nor do I think you would regret the decision, because you did not make it lightly or without thought. You rarely do ANYTHING without thinking it through and weighing the positives vs. the negatives. Yes, your life changes DRAMATICALLY. Yes, there are days when you miss your "child-free" days, being able to just take off on a whim and take a trip, or have lunch with friends, or eat dinner at 10pm and sleep in the next day. Yes, there are days when you think you are the worst mother on the face of the earth and maybe this child would be better off with someone else. And then that child looks at you and says, "You're the bestest momma in the whole world!" You are allowed to have feelings of doubt and worry. But don't let them silence your desires to be a mother. Look into your heart for the answer and you will find it.

    Parenting is never what anyone "thinks" it's going to be. Unrealistic expectations go along with it, and there are disappointments in yourself, in your kids (believe it or not), in your partner, in your community and schools. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it, if that is what your heart tells you is your destiny. I have never known you to shy away from a challenge or succumb to a fear.

    As for childcare, I empathize with you. I'm sure it's not easy without family being close by. All I can say is, you are nothing if not thorough. I'm sure you will find somewhere suitable, somewhere you trust. I will help you as best I can, use all of my resources in that area to find recommendations from friends with kids there. Don't worry about quality vs quantity of time spent with any potential children. You will make it work and your child(ren) will never doubt how much you love them.

    1. All really great points, Diane! You touched on so much stuff. It does seem normal to revisit these questions, even if I had already done so with my previous relationship. I'm a different person than I was ten years ago. I'm with a different person, and we have a different relationship. I'm in a different place in my life in so many ways. It surprises me some since I've thought so much about having children, but I guess it should not because so much has changed. Plus, those thoughts were kind of placed on a back burner and now it is a more working reality to really visit it all again.

      Thank you for your perspective on how things change and expectations. What you shared was more in line with what the one blog shared about life being different. You will miss stuff, but it comes with the blessing of having a child. As you and others have pointed out, you have to listen to your heart. There will be worries, but fear has a way of crossing the line and interfering. That is what I have to sort out. But it is helpful to lay it out there to let it go.

      I'll send you a message when I'm ready for some local tips. Thanks! :)

  4. I had many of those worries too, and some other ones you didn't mention (such as how my body would be affected). In Canada, it's at least a little easier because we can take a year of maternity leave. So there's time to figure out some things. The existential questions remain. To the great comments above, I would only add that it's wise you are thinking about the logistics early. It is good to have a plan. On the other hand, life doesn't follow a plan: possibilities, opportunities and insights are always popping up that weren't part of the anticipated reality. In other words, we don't know everything that is to happen, especially not how we will grow and adapt. That can be scary if you think "I can't control the future" (very true). But it can also be liberating. "The future and my role in it is like nothing I can imagine". Everybody's experience is different. I'm glad we budgeted for a child (and IF) and that we managed to find childcare (got lucky tbh). But 90% of the things I worried about before parenthood never came to pass. Now, the opposite could have just as easily happened. But even if it had, would worrying have helped? Likely not. It's responsible of you to look ahead and consider. But with all my heart I hope fear doesn't influence your decisions. There's so much beauty in the future to embrace. Tons of luck to you!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights! There is a balance between thoughtful research and consideration and with worrying too much in trying to have every question answered. There is only so much preparation you can do and the rest just has to sort itself out. When I feel like I'm getting too worried about it all or getting too ahead of myself, I'll remind myself that lots of other people are parents and they figure it out. It also goes back to what Diane said about quality verses quantity. What is most important is that a child feels safe, respected and loved. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!