I decided to have a baby

“What made you decide?” said my friend Brenda, on the phone.

“Um,” I said. I thought for a while. “I should figure it out,” I said. “I should try to think of the moment.”

It eluded me.

I could explain the reasons not to very easily. “Having a baby is like giving up.” I’ve never been into babies, really. Over the past couple years, I sometimes wanted to have one with sudden ferocity, but then afterwards I felt a little ill. Terrible idea! What about my life? 

She laughed. “There were a bunch of people in my high school who were pregnant—there was a class for them.”

“Yeah, girls get pregnant in high school and that means they’re not going anywhere. It’s a bad thing.”

“You’re not in high school.”

“But I’m too young for New York.”

What I mean is- I’m too young for my world. My friends. “Thirty-five is a good age,” they have been known to say. They are good at their jobs. They are going to get better, and make more money, and be more famous.

“Technically,” I said, “I’ve already waited over a decade. I’ve been fertile for a long time. I’m, like, biologically old now.”

Fertile is a funny word. It just pops into my head these days, now that I’ve decided to have a baby. Fertile. And I think of farm-y fields. And trees. I think of fruit, like on the cover of a book by Michael Pollan, not the fruit that actually grows on my parents’ trees in their backyard, which is delicious but spotty.

(boobs! source)


Maybe I am giving up, a little. It feels good. I have this idea that I have to do everything in my twenties. Make myself unforgettable. Make myself permanent, somehow.

(i basically just want to be this. source)

As though there will be no time at all later. As though I’ll have missed my chance completely. I have a friend who wanted to get a book deal by the time she was thirty, and she came pretty close, but then she turned thirty and the book deal fell through, and there she was on the other side, on her knees, felled. And then she got up and looked around and was like, “In the meantime, I’ve done pretty well.” I have no doubt that she’ll get a book deal someday. Maybe just not today.

I think when I’m not harassing myself, I can see that I probably will too, someday. And if I don’t, I’ll self publish like a mofo and design clever cover art. But I am no longer willing to make everything else wait patiently in the background.

I have decided to stop thinking that my life will end when I have a baby. I have decided that my life will be long and that one day, almost unimaginably, my children will be grown and I will still be writing and living, on the other side of everything. I have decided that I want to have a kid while my parents and Bear’s parents are still young enough to chase after it. And while our grandmothers are still here.

And now it occurs to me that I have no idea about babies. About fertility. About how this whole thing works. I’ve always thought that I’d just get immediately pregnant if I missed a day of the pill. If there was any semen in the vicinity. I was always rushing to the health center in college because a condom had maybe broken a little. A minor tear, possibly.

(run, egg, RUN!!! source)

“No, I wasn’t raped. For real. He was very nice, I swear. Don’t you remember me? I was here last month? Just more plan B, please. Just in case. I really, really don’t want to be pregnant. Really.”

Wait, I thought suddenly after deciding to have a baby, what if I can’t get pregnant? I mean, who knows if I can?

Apparently, even if you can, it might take 3-6 months for you to start ovulating again after being on birth control. And even if you’re ovulating, it can still take a while to get pregnant. 7 months on average, I think.

I had a lot to learn, so I did the rational thing: I googled baby names. “We have to decide,” I told Bear.

“Elmo,” he said.

“No, look at this list.”

“I like Elmo.”

The list was really long.

“This is boring,” I said. “Let’s just make something up.”



“We are not naming our child after someone you had a crush on.”

“It’s perfect! Sagan!”

“Boy or girl?”

“Girl, of course.”

“That’s not happening.”

And then Bear accused Carl Sagan of being a mere popularizer and said he’d rather name his child after a serious scientist or theorist.

Which is ridiculous, because Carl Sagan was a completely legitimate astronomer and astrophysicist.

(doesn’t he want our daughter to know how to control this thing? source)

We started reading a lot of stuff. About birth and the labor and delivery floor and the C section rate and midwives and genetic testing and ovulation. We watched The Vaccine Wars on Netflix and thought it was pretty well done.

“Science!” said Bear.

“People!” I said.

We agreed that everything is probably ultimately a combination of the two.

We watched The Business of Being Born and I cried pretty much every time a baby came out because it was so overwhelming. Bear got a little teary, too, I think.

I stood naked in the bathroom, looking in the mirror over the counter. My body, in light of the possibility of having a baby in it one day, looked tight and lithe. My belly, which sometimes strikes me as gooey, seemed taut, a sweet drum. Am I ready to give this up? I thought.  Which was a weird thought, because usually I’m like, “Hmm…pretty decent, but needs some work.”

And then I just felt proud of myself. My body seemed really remarkable for having this potential. And I felt as though I’d been missing that about it, for a long time. And I was pretty damn psyched to see what it would do next.

*  *  *

Anyone else thinking about having a baby? On the fence? Just decided?

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in a fuzzy hat.

P.S. Obviously, Bear decided, too.


Kate on November 7th 2012 in body, family, life, new york

103 Responses to “I decided to have a baby”

  1. D responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    I want a baby in the next couple of years! My husband and I decided that we wanted children quite a while back, but I think we are finally getting to a point where it could actually like, happen. The fact that our bodies can make a whole person is pretty cool.

  2. Liz responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    This is crazy! Just 1 week ago, my husband and I realized we’ve stopped being scared shitless at the thought of a baby, so we’re going to let the chips fall where they may…. Part of the reason we’ve held back is student loans (duh), and just, I dunno, fear. The fear part is me. I know what I’m getting myself into, and doing it in a foreign country is terrifying to me. Plus, we don’t have enough money to visit home every year AND have a baby. We finally decided that the future lies in offspring – not needing to spend Christmas with cousins, etc.

  3. Liz responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Oh! And just to add – are anybody else’s partners/husbands somehow convinced that they will have problems with fertility? My husband knows just enough people who had problems to convince him that once we start trying, we’ll hit a snafu.
    Part of me is a little worried too (all of my older relatives telling me to do it before it’s too late have wormed themselves in my brain), being almost 30 years old.

  4. Melanie responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    I think you’d make a wonderful momma. For sure.

  5. Call Me Jo responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    We recently succeeded at the baby making! It turns out being on the pill a long time make it a lot more complicated than the books suggest. It took me almost a year to start ovulating on my own – but then, BAM!, baby. And now, BAM!, horrible side effects related to giant hormone increases. Still pretty exciting though.
    The career conundrum is always a difficult hurdle to mentally clear, but I’ve been told that having a baby helps you put it in perspective.
    Best of luck!

  6. lik_11 responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    God- I wish this would happen to me! My life would be so much easier if I actually wanted children, and appreciated them. I’m 32 and all my friends have kids, my in-laws and family want me to have kids, my husband would like to be a father. People keep reminding me of my age and dwindling fertility. I keep hoping I’ll wake up one day with some mental switch turned, and the idea in my head that my life would be better if there was a child in it.
    When I was a kid, I told my Mom I would never have kids- and not to expect them. She always responded that when I met the right man, I would want to have his babies. That hasn’t happened….yet???

  7. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Sweeeeeet news to hear! You’re not too young if you’re ready. You’re both educated and on an established path, having a child in your 20′s means you’ll have more energy to keep up…I’ve raised 3 daughters and they did not stop me from doing things that I really wanted to do. As a matter of fact, they have each inspired me to do things I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, babies are portable…you can take them anywhere really. I once worked for an ad agency and the female partner, who is an artist and writer, was frequently seen writing and nursing in her office, on airplanes, on site for commercial shoots. She made it look very easy. You will too…you’ll be so good at it, you should write a book about the pros of starting your family early! Good luck!

  8. lik_11 responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Not that I haven’t met the right man- just that I don’t want to have his (or anyone else’s) babies!

  9. Raia responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Congratulations! It’s a big, scary decision to make. I’m the mother of a 2 year old. I remember when we also decided to jump in and try to have a baby. We watched The Business of Being Born, too. And I cried. Come to think of it, since becoming a mother, I cry at a lot more things. It’s like I feel everything more deeply.

    From my experience, nothing would have prepared me for motherhood. And so many things ideas about what things would be like, what I would be like, have been challanged and stretched.

    I hope the journey to parenthood goes smoothly for you! Welcome to the adventure, it’s a wild ride : )

  10. Sarah responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Oh Kate this made my morning. I am so excited for you.

  11. Stephina responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    I’m 26 and expecting my first in 4 short weeks, or sometime there abouts. It took us 10 months to conceive and we were using FAM as a form of birth control, so I already was ovulating regularly. I also know some couples who try and get it a “hit” on the first try.

    I am beyond excited to meet her and the hubs is too. He is already so in love. We still haven’t picked a name. The nursery is still not done being painted and I’m have no idea how we’ll swing the costs of daycare, but I’ve always wanted to be a mum. My aunts told me at my baby shower that from the age of two I was walking around with a balloon under my shirt pretending I was pregnant.

    I’m going to be totally and completely honest here. for me, being pregnant sucks. There are some women out there who relish in it and love it. I don’t know what kind of hormones their body is making, but I’ve never felt more crappy in my life. As happy as I am to be creating life, I will be thrilled when she arrives and I can have my body some-what back.

    Although I’ve been on a hiatus from my site since getting pregnant, I do have a little bit of info about fertility, pregnancy and birth on there. Cheers, and congrats on your decision to become a mum!

  12. Stephina responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Oh, and about your book. My sister-in-law is in her late 30′s, has two children and is self-publishing her very first book. She graduated with her masters just days before he first child was born. She’s very good at juggling life, finding balance and still striving and attain her goals all while raising a loving family. She’s my inspiration and a total rock star.

  13. Emily responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Ahhh! awesome! I should have called yesterday and heard this on the phone but I had people over :( SO HAPPY FOR YOU!! I’m still crossing my fingers for a little blonde child to pop out of you <3 it will be curly blonde hair though so a little better :-p

  14. melissa responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    I’m one of those people who is incredibly certain about not wanting to have a baby. I guess it’s easier when you’re certain about something. Though, being certain about the No-Baby is kinda tough in a society that doesn’t want you to make that choice.

    Good luck!! Now I’m confused about the Pill… I’ve heard that people are ridiculously fertile after coming off of it. Must be one of those case-by-case deals O_O

  15. Marie responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    I felt like maybe I had given something up after I had already had a baby, and other things in my life weren’t going as planned, and I felt that maybe I could blame it on having had a kid. I felt that way for a few months, and then I realized that I am 26 with a two-year-old and a Master’s degree, and if I don’t start a kick-ass career for another 10 years so what? I’ve got a great start now, and even waiting I’d still have another 30 years of career ahead of me. I think that deciding to have a kid or actually having the kid automatically makes you think beyond the next five years. Suddenly you are aware of your entire life, and there are brand-new anxieties to take the place of your old, short-term ones, as well as a sense of calm.
    Pregnancy and childbirth help you cultivate that sense of calm, because no matter what you plan on, your body will do whatever it is going to do. For example- Like you, I was sure it would take a few months to get pregnant. I was pregnant immediately. I was sure I would love having a wiggling baby in my belly. I only loved that for a month or so, and then I felt desperately guilty for wanting to be able to be alone with myself again. I was sure I would be in difficult labor for hours. I almost had my boy in the car. I was sure I would have a fight getting him to sleep through the night. He has slept through the night since he was six months old. I thought he would be a snap to potty train. It’s turned into (still-ongoing) full scale war. Children, from the moment you even think about them seriously, will always cause you to reexamine your expectations and motivations. Occasionally that is incredibly frustrating, but it can make you a better person, too.

    I’m also looking forward to having a second baby (still in the “twinkle in the eye” stage), but at the same time I am terrified of so many things still. Not the same, mostly physical, concerns as the first time around, but new, completely abstract concerns that are sure to turn out to be just as frivolous as my first-time concerns turned out to be. Just be sure- whatever you are worried about now is most likely nothing important. The important stuff will appear suddenly and not give you any chance to think about it.

  16. Tasha responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I’m 24 and I occasionally get that overwhelming desire to get impregnated. I know it is partially hormonal fluctuations and partially insecurity about my relationship. My boyfriend and I intend to get married, but I still find myself worrying a lot that he will never propose. I am not the type to do it and I know it would make him unhappy if I did as well. I don’t think he’s quite ready yet, so I’m trying hard to get rid of all those notions that it has to happen within a certain time frame. We’re closing in on 3 years of dating in December.

    So a baby really isn’t practical. We only have enough money for the two of us. A baby would break the bank. It’s still tempting. I know my boyfriend isn’t ready for that either. I am happy with him and our cat and am trying really hard to let go of all the ideas that have been impressed on me as I’ve grown up suburban Western society, but it’s damn hard! It makes me feel pretty pathetic.

  17. Stephina responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    @ Marie,

    Nailed it on the head. I’ve felt that same guilt (currently very pregnant) of wanting to alone and not share my body. I don’t think women talk about this enough. Thank you!

  18. Annie responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    (hugs from a random internet person)

    Dude, I tied myself in knots over the “but but but what if having a kid will somehow make me less of an artist??” for years. I’m also not sure when that moment was when I finally got over that insecurity, but I wish you lots of mental peace going forward.

    I’m about 6 months pregnant now, and can say (from my experience, anyway) that a.) I still draw, still work, and have not morphed into some weird Stepford abomination. Go figure! Also, b.) it’s been really fun watching the tummy get bigger. Not always worrying about how “flat” it is has been SO liberating. :D

    Best of luck to you both!

  19. Rapunzel responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    @ lik_11

    Me too.

  20. Cynthia responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I just wanted to say that I really liked this post – it made me smile :) good luck to you, and Bear!

    I’m getting married next year – my fiance and I have been discussing babies and we both feel like we want to, but also worried we might be ‘too young’ – I’m 25, he’s soon to be 30. We should feel like proper adults by now, surely! I have quite a few friends at the moment that are pregnant, or have just had babies – but they’re are all in their 30s.

    I feel like I SHOULD feel like getting a load of stuff out of my system before settling down properly – but I’ve never really felt the need to go crazy raving/drinking/partying like mad. Maybe this just is who I am? I think so anyway. Maybe. :D

  21. Sari responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:00 pm #


  22. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Thank you! Me too, actually. I’m weirdly confident.

  23. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    @Call me Jo
    Sorry about the hormonal stuff! I am almost positive I will experience every extreme side effect imaginable.
    I am also aiming for perspective. Just making this decision has helped put things in perspective, honestly.

  24. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    And yet all of the studies show that people who DON’T have kids are long-term happier… :-)
    I want to make you not feel bad about this. Having kids should never, ever be mandatory. It’s awesome to live in a time and place where there are real options. One of my best friends never wants to have a baby. It’s like her worst nightmare. I’m getting her to write a guest post about it here soon, so stay tuned!

  25. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    @Kimmy Sue
    SO ENCOURAGING. Thank you thank you thank you!!

  26. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    holy shit, more crying? I already cry way too much….

  27. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    That’s why the internet is so important. I feel like many of the people I encounter online don’t want a baby and are sure about their decision. I also know and love many people IRL who feel this way. Their lives seem sweet.

  28. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    This is fascinating and helpful. And I love that you’re reminding yourself that there is time in life. That is the biggest lesson I want to learn. That I don’t have to be a prodigy. That I can just keep going, and keep working, without that crushing pressure to do everything right now.

  29. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Hugs back. LOVED this. Thank you for not morphing into anything out of Stepford.

  30. teegan responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Yay! I’m excited for you. I wish for you my pregnancy. I hardly had any bad symptoms, just some cravings, some yoga-tamed mood swings (r you my pregnancy. I hardly had any bad symptoms, just some cravings, some yoga-tamed mood swings (and when I wasn’t in one of the few, low-blood-sugar, awful times, I was generally happier than I’d ever been in my life), and achiness & insomnia in the last weeks.
    As far as having a baby – I’m only six weeks in. I’m just learning to shift into writing mode while still reserving part of my brain for him (whereas before it was – MUSIC! COFFEE/WINE/TEA! 100%WRITERMODE!). But I think it’ll help my writing in the long run.
    And I just read an old interview with Carole Maso this morning in which she talks about how having a kid means never getting to be completely alone with your thoughts again, always being a duality, which is weird for someone who’s been a writer for a long time, but it also broadens AND deepens your sense of emotions and the world.

    If you have questions or anything, send me an email! All of this pregnancy stuff is definitely still fresh in my mind. And we picked out names long before we wanted to start trying to have babies…

    @Liz – we worried. I was a perfectly healthy 24 year old when we decided to start trying, my husband a perfectly healthy 32 year old. We still worried and worried, especially when it didn’t happen IMMEDIATELY. Six months later, we were knocked up and everything went great.

  31. teegan responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Aaaand typing while nursing a baby leads to typos. Sorry about that mess of a first paragraph.

    p.s. yes there is crying. over whether you’ll be any good. over your body. over anything you could possibly worry about. but i have a feeling bear will be just like mark – act super understanding and tell you you’re beautiful and everything’s okay.

  32. teegan responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    p.p.s. we joked about trying to make an obama baby last night (don’t know if we can yet, didn’t even try), and i seriously wonder how many couples DID make a celebratory baby in the last 15 hours or so…

  33. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    As Bear was leaving for work this morning he said, “Let’s name the kid Barack” (jokingly?)


  34. Rachel responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    How exciting! We want to have a baby, but we don’t know when because jobs and school and jobs and school and moving and school. I’m already in my 30s and am applying to go back for my fourth degree. That’s probably self-indulgent of me, but I really like school (which probably sounds weird to you).

    You career is certainly not over. My very favourite author of fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold, didn’t publish her first book until she was 37 with two kids, and now she has sold millions of copies of her books worldwide and has more Hugo and Nebula awards than anyone but Bradbury. In fact, while a baby might interfere with your writing practically, I think that it would only boost your creativity and wisdom and all that other good stuff required to be an award-winning writer. (At least, after the pregnancy-brain-melt my girlfriends have mentioned.)

    Hell, maybe you should have had a kid years ago, for career reasons. ;)

  35. Rachel responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Oh, and I just saw a picture of Bear on the Carl Sagan post, and he IS really cute!

    Also, Carl Sagan is totally crush-worthy. His widow tells a nice story in this podcast:


  36. Twyla responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    So happy to hear this news Kate! You will be a wonderful mother! And I will come visit you and Bear and your baby. :)

  37. Jenn responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Woo hoo! We also watched The Business of Being Born when talking about babies. And, although I had a full life before kids, I now feel my life didn’t start until we started having kids. They are real life.

  38. STARGAZYRR responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    “Having a baby is like giving up.” – This is one of those incredibly accurate things that you write and I’m like, “Yes! That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking in a really muddled, abstract, vague way!”

    My husband and I have married for 2 yrs next week, together for over 8 yrs, and are finally going to get moving on this kid thing next year. Funny thing is, I’ve always wanted to adopt and I’ve always wanted to have several children… but now that I’m close to being 35, it seems like life is just too busy and too complicated to throw a kid or two into the mix. I am self-employed and I’m grateful that my business is successful, but I’m hitting the breaking point of working 80-hr weeks almost constantly now. My husband is almost 41 and he’s getting panicky about being too old to have kids… actually, he’s been panicky about this for a few yrs now, truth be told.

    It has been such a stressful combination of working constantly, feeling the clock ticking, subtle pressure from husband, having relatives and friends bring it up frequently, my mother yammering on about the beauty of childbirth… it makes me feel like I’m lacking a crucial maternal impulse that I just keep putting it on the back burner. I just feel like there’s so much to do before I’m a mother. And time just keeps ticking away…

  39. Margie responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    I guess I am just confused at how people think it is so easy to just “decide” to have a baby. My husband and I have been married for 5 years now and no baby. I have never been on birth control nor have we used any kind of means to not get pregnant. And as much as we do want children, we continue to pray and we continue to live out our call to marriage which means that we are open to having babies if God grants them to us. If God blesses us with children we say thank you. If he doesn’t, we still thank Him for what He has given us.

    Babies don’t just happen because we wish them to. Sure there are many scientific ways to force nature to happen, but even then, it is God that allows it to happen. I’m also surprised that coming from you Kate, a person who seems so into her faith and committed to the church, that you would not sound as secure in God’s teachings of human life and marriage and abstinence before marriage.

    I guess what I am saying is that I am just surprised. I was hoping that you would talk about praying with Bear about having children and not looking at parenthood as a burden or an inconvenience. Having children is a blessing and it is part of marriage. Having children does change one’s life, but should not be looked at as something that ruins it or does not allow for other things to happen. It is a transition in life… an extension… a different path. Not a road block.

    I’m sorry to be the only one posting something that is not happy or congratulatory. Reading this though and many of the responses just comes across as selfish to me. “Deciding” not to have a baby and using various means to stop life from happening and yet “deciding” to still have all the gratifications from the pleasures of sex seems selfish to me.

    Maybe I’m the only one who feels that way. I really needed to post my thoughts though. For that I am not sorry.

    I really do wish you the best with Bear and family. May God bless you in your marriage and if it be God’s will, may your family grow in abundance!

  40. Janet T responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    I was 25 when I had my son ( who is now 25) this was not a planned event, and I sat down on the floor and cried, saying ” this will ruin our lives”. My wonderful husband said no, it will be fine. And he was right. It changes things, and sometimes complicates matters, but I adore my son (and my 21 year old daughter) and would not change a thing about my life.

    Kate, you and Bear will be wonderful parents. And I like the name Sagan.

  41. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    By decide I mean, go off birth control. Actively choose when I think I’m ready to get pregnant. Doesn’t mean it’ll actually happen right away!
    I hope that you and your husband live happy, fulfilled lives no matter what, and that you get what you want.
    I don’t go to church, I’m Jewish. And while I’m very involved in my community and care a lot about my Judaism, I don’t think I’d describe myself as faithful. But I’m glad you have faith to guide you!

  42. Margie responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    @Kate: Using birth control, if not used for other medical reasons, is “deciding” not to have children. Using Plan B, as you stated, is “deciding” to stop life from happening. That’s what they were invented for. Regardless, the decision is being made- whether there is a direct outcome or not. My point of view is to be open to whatever happens, without deciding one way or the other. The point is being open and accepting.

    I know you are Jewish, I meant that you are in music ministry in your community, or however it is called that you do. I am involved in music ministry at my church as choir director, so when I read your posts about singing they sound the same to me! And I guessed that I just assumed a lot of what I did not know about your faith. Sorry for that! That is between you and God! And sorry for sounding so jerky :( Not my intent.

  43. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    OK, fair enough. My view is definitely NOT to be open to whatever happens– I like to try to make conscious decisions about my body.
    And thanks for apologizing! That’s nice of you. Very cool that you’re a choir director at your church. You understand what it means to be involved in music and religion as one thing. Powerful stuff.

  44. Karen responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    Your post came with amazing timing! I’ve been married for 4 years and been with my husband since we were 15 (so about 10 years total) and after a lot of “yikes-babies-no-way-scary-I-don’t-know-if-I-can-ever-do-that” and “no-freedom-ever-again-noooooo!” in my head, we actually feel like we’re ready now (or soon, more accurately).

    I’ve only just started going on the pill, not for contraceptive reasons but for gynaecological pain reasons, and now I’m wondering if I should stop again if we stick to our timeline of starting to try at the end of next year! (My job means I have no option but to wait about a year minimum before trying).

    This being a woman business is tricky sometimes!

  45. Karen responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Margie, I think that what is relevant to you in your life (your relationship with God and your approach to contraception/childbirth) is wonderful and totally your call, but please do remember that not everybody has the same set of “parameters” in their life (e.g. a different, or no, relationship with God; different lifestyle circumstances; different emotional, financial or health circumstances, etc).

    There are many valid reasons to postpone having a child (or not have a child, in some cases). And ultimately, whatever choice is made, I think that is the couple’s prerogative. To each their own; what you do with your own marriage and life should be the focus.

  46. Amanda responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Not thinking about having a baby here — quite done with it, actually :) I’m 42, and my sons are almost 14 and almost 10.

    It’s not a possibility with us now anyway. My husband is “fixed” and I had this lovely thing called an endometrial ablation. We’re quite sterile. I’m 99.999% thrilled to bits, and only a teensy bit sad that party of my life is over.

    If you want to have a baby, don’t let your age be a factor. I know you’re young for NYC, but who cares? My sister was 31 when her daughter was born (she, her husband, and my niece live in Brooklyn) which is still young by New York standards, but she’s survived and this semester started work on her PhD at NYU.

    Her daughter? Two years old, and a pistol.

    Life doesn’t end with parenthood. No way. I can say mine is better now than it was 15 years ago, absolutely. Of course, I think I’d be in better shape now than I was 15 years ago even without the kids. Aging… just isn’t that bad, however you ultimately choose to go about it :)

  47. Emmi responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    I feel like this is a great decision for you and Bear!

    I am going to have lunch with an old friend and his tiny baby in a couple of weeks. I have never been around a baby, ever. Seriously, the tiniest human I have ever actually interacted with was like 3. This baby was born at the very end of May but was 11 weeks preemie, so technically she’s still only a couple months old, developmentally. I know my friend is going to make me hold her and snorgle her and he is going to take eight million pictures and send them to my mother and she is going to not-so-subtly nag me about grandchildren.

    Having never been around babies, and feeling awfully conflicted because of my medical condition, I still tend to doubt I’ll spawn any of my own. I don’t discount changing my mind – actually, in the last couple of years I have gone from someone who has totally resisted change whenever possible to someone who is all, bring it on! I am evolving and it’s cool! – who knows? But I think I am finally coming into being at peace with the uncertainty. I don’t need to know, and that’s fine for me.

    I look forward to hearing about your journey with potential babyfication, and I hope you will be willing to share a lot about it. I for one would love to hear how it all goes for you! Best of luck :)

  48. Randa responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    I’m 21, engaged, and have desperately wanted to have children since I was four. Legitimately.

    Haha! My motives have changed a lot since then, but they’re still there and going strong. Children seem to be nowhere in my distant future. We’re getting married in three years after we finish school and waiting a couple of more before trying… and it gets me depressed a lot. There are people I know who get pregnant on accident and my head gets all filled with envy and frustration.

    Anyway, I’m trying to just appreciate the life I have. Being young and stuff. It’s funny for me to read all this because having kids means something different for everyone and it’s refreshing to see that. I love your blog because you are a real, amazing person with common sense and a wit. Good luck to you both! :)

  49. Another Melanie responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Congrats on the decision and good luck!

    As a TMI aside, I went off the pill after over three years when I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility (not to get pregnant, just to take a break from the hormones) and they warned about irregular periods or lack of ovulation after being on the pill. I was expecting things to be wonky for a bit, but I ovulated the first cycle I was off the pill and my cycles were regular immediately. So not everyone has that issue!

    (Back on the pill now but hoping to be in your shoes in, ehh, five more years? Tick tock!)

  50. Cindy responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    I’m very much on the fence about having babies. Some days being a mom seems appealing, but most days it scares the hell out of me. My boyfriend and I both have anxiety issues that we’re dealing with; throw in something as stressful as a baby, and I’m worried that one or both of us is going to regress or worse, pass on those issues on to the baby.

    When I bring it up to people and they say “oh, you’d be a good mom, you’re nice and you’re worried about being a good mom, so you’ll be a good one,” it almost makes me want to yell in their face. Anxiety and mood disorders can get in the way of your normal thinking and behaviour, making you behave in irrational, sometimes even mean ways while you’re very aware that you’re being irrational and mean when you don’t want to be like that. I don’t like the thought of putting a kid through that, especially since there is evidence that your ability to cope with stress is partly genetic.

    That’s not even taking into account that we really can’t afford to take care of anything more demanding that, say, a dog. Honestly, once I’m done school, a small condo (read: small two bedroom apartment that got re-labelled “condo”) is all we’re going to be able to afford for a long time. There’s also the fact that we both want to pursue artistic careers on the side, so between “real” jobs and making music/art, we might not have the time or the energy to look after a baby. Take the creative stuff out of there, and you take away a major source of happiness. Unhappy parents, in my experience, tend not to be good ones.

    I don’t, maybe in a few years we’ll be ready. Heck, we might even decide to skip the whole “worry about whether or not my fertility is messed up thanks to years of being on birth control” phase and look into adoption. Almost anyone can conceive, but there are somewhat fewer people who are willing and able to raise a kid.

    What makes all that even more confusing for me is…well, I like the idea of teaching a little kid about the world. Showing them that snakes and spiders are mostly timid, beautiful creatures, that intellect and curiousity are things to be nurtured, that no matter what happens, their family has their back. Thankfully my parents still have mine, and have told me that they’ll support my decision either way.

    Congratulations to you both, though. I wonder how many people see it as a decision and not just something you’re supposed to do. If you feel ready, go for it! Wanting and expecting a kid gives you more time to mentally prepare for it and to get everything ready, so that kid will be coming to a home that’s been ready and waiting rather than one that’s kind of rushed.

  51. Maya responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    We want to have children, and I get tempted to do it now/soon, but we’re still planning to wait at least until I finish my residency (a one-year proposition, as a chaplain), and possibly wait the additional almost-year until my husband has a job, rather than being in school, to start trying. (Our plan, from our early discussions on, has been to wait until we’ve been married 2 years, first.) Sometimes it gets hard, when it seems like everyone I know is pregnant/has a new baby (I’m 28). But it would be good to have a source of income that isn’t my work, first…

    And @Margie, if you’re reading this- it’s uncomfortable, for me as a Jew, to have my synagogue referred to as a church. And our religion has different teachings about fertility and conception than yours does. Traditional Jewish law says that while men have an obligation to reproduce, women technically do not (although, of course, one leads to the other), because you can’t obligate someone to put their life in danger, which childbirth does. Therefore, contraception that works only within/on the woman’s body is permitted- and some others are as well, in situations where there is a health risk, etc.

    Judaism also believes that sex has more purposes than reproduction, although we value that very highly. Nevertheless, a man is obligated to have sex with his wife, even when pregnancy is impossible- e.g. post-menopause, while already pregnant, etc. This means that sometimes, there is a reason to have sex and still the possibility that there’s an acceptable reason not to get pregnant.

  52. Raven responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    It’s not always an easy decision to make. I’m glad you’ve thought through it. I’m 18 weeks pregnant with my second child; my first is 12 years old. Both times I thought I wouldn’t be able to have a child with the partner in question. For the first, my partner was infertile according to a local lab, and she was in transition from male to female, taking prescription hormones including a testosterone blocker. For this one, I’d already started to think I’d never have another child. I’d terminated a couple of pregnancies due to age and finances, I’d miscarried six years ago, and my menstrual cycle was suddenly haywire, too heavy, too scary. Now I’m pregnant again, and it’s taken me a while to get to a point where it seems real, and though I’ve been through it before, I feel as though I’m starting anew all over again because it’s been so long since I did this.

    As for NY, 35 may be a good age, especially because it’s the average apex of human female fertility and then plummets rapidly after that. Not every woman will suddenly find their fertility declining at 35, there are outliers, but it’s the average, and yet in terms of career and maturity, it’s often considered better to wait a while. However, I didn’t really come into my own, find maturity, and begin to follow my path until I had my daughter. Suddenly, everything mattered: politics, the world, how we ate, how we lived, what I was doing to honor my path and support hers . . .

    So, congratulations on coming to this bold decision. It’s not an easy one to make, especially in this country where we have few too many support networks for parents. Though I’m certain you’re swamped with books already, here are a few titles that I found most useful in helping me make the decisions I did about my first birth and the coming one:

    Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce (this is the book my mother read when she was pregnant with me, and I was pregnant with my daughter)

    The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears (it shows practical applications of attachment parenting as suggested by Pearce in the Magical Child)

    Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf (details her own experiences with birth and post-natal infant care, including various U.S. policies and hospital practices related to both)

    Good luck!

  53. Caitlin responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    I never want children. It is a selfish decision, but so is spending my money the way I chose instead of living off gruel and sleeping in a shack so that I could send all my money to starving children in 3rd world countries. I find it interesting that people will reprimand me for not wanting to contribute to the overpopulation of the world, but not for going to the movies instead of donating that money to others who are less fortunate. Also, people like me aren’t the only ones choosing not to have babies – I see a lot of 2 children families every where, and I find it extremely unlikely those people haven’t been practicing any forms of contraception. But, when you chose to go against the grain like this, every one you know and even complete strangers think it’s some how their business and lecture you.

    Luckily for me, I live in Canada and as such am able to have full control over my own body.

    And Kate, I’m very happy for you and Bear! My best friend says she’s going to have 4 babies for me to be Auntie Caitlin to. Have you guys discussed how many you eventually would like to have?

  54. Ren responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    You’d make a kick-ass Mom! (Am I allowed to say that on here?) Anyways, you would. :)

  55. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    You’re so very much allowed to say that on here.

  56. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Yeah, ethics are really interesting….I often think that people just decide what constitutes “being a good person” and leave it at that. Like, giving to charity once a year. Done. But giving to homeless people? Who cares? Or, giving a LOT to charity? No way. There are these convenient stopping points.

  57. Kate responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    I actually remember the first time you mentioned your daughter on here— I was really inspired by your description. You talked about how the world opened up to you, and I thought that was awesome.

    Also, I really appreciate the book suggestions!!! A lot.

  58. Erin H. responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    We had literally just started not-preventing (as opposed to actually trying to get pregnant) when my best friend texted me with her own announcement. My first response upon hearing the news was to burst into tears. They were not happy tears. They were tears of pure jealousy and self-flagellation. Because the fact that my best friend got pregnant before me naturally makes me a total and complete failure at life. I am also a shit friend.

    It’s been a few months now, and I still feel like a shit friend, because every update on her pregnancy sends a sharp pang of sadness through me. We’re still not pregnant, and I’m starting to panic because I’m about to turn 30. Which here in the South pretty much makes me a dried up old spinster.

    Gah. Feelings.

  59. Kiannah responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 11:33 pm #

    Kate, just reading the title of this post made me smile! I suppose pre-conratulations are in order :)

    I personally can’t wait to have kids – and by “can’t wait,” I actually mean “absolutely can and will wait,” because I am a first-year in college and currently fond of the stereotypical Millennial “I’ll ‘settle down’ around 30″ attitude. But in all seriousness, I am already looking forward to becoming a mother. It’s funny, because when I was ten, I would literally adopt out my children in The Game of Life to my fellow players…and then go work on my own version of the game that substituted kids for a plethora of pets. But for the past few years or so, I’ve known I will someday be a mother. A husband would be appreciated, but optional- for me, kids are not. I’ve been somewhat precociously reading stuff on kids occasionally for the past few years and I have that Business of Being Born movie saved on Netflix. However, I’m sure I’ll still be about as clueless as the next parent years down the road when I have my own; I just find the material intriguing.

    I look forward to more posts and updates on this topic- such great writing material! I have full faith that you will make a wonderful mother.

  60. Kate responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 12:15 am #

    I laughed out loud at your “by ‘can’t wait’ I mean…”

  61. sara responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 12:27 am #

    Hey there Kate,

    I loved this post and the comments and your reply to the comments. I love that you are so confident in your ability to be a good mother. I think this post is the epitome of why I love your writing. You have shared something so beautiful with us. I personally don’t know if I will ever get married, but I would like to. I don’t know if I will ever have children, and am not sure one way or the other yet (I’m 26). I could probably be persuaded if it was with someone I loved and someone I could imagine having kids with.

    As for writing, I feel like I don’t write enough as it is. I’m in school for my 2.5 degree so that I can get another degree (masters in creative writing). But I think I will spend the next year teaching English overseas and writing. I was initially worried about being so old when I went back to grad school for the second time (and hopefully I won’t drop out this time :) ), but now I’ve decided to let things be. Life is beautiful no matter what you do, as long as you decide that it will be. And I’m saying after being so sleep-deprived and sick from school, then I haven’t been able to get to class in 3 days. :)

    So, this is my rambling way of saying Congratulations on your decision!

  62. Cinthia responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 6:05 am #

    Congratulations on deciding to try for a baby! I did it the easy way–I got pregnant unexpectedly and chose to follow through. It was the best decision of my life. Being pregnant is amazing, and birth was the most awesome and primal experience of my life. Totally and perfectly cool. And the neat thing about a baby is that it grows into a toddler and then into a child, and the whole time you think, “I couldn’t possibly love him/her more,” but you always do.

    I think if you wait for the perfect time to have a child, you’ll wait forever. Same with a book deal. You simply have to write and submit and have great sex and live your life fully and completely in the moment. The rest will come, trust me.

    Cheers and happy Alaska hugs to you and Bear and the future little one.

  63. Alpana Trivedi responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 7:48 am #

    @Rachel: I’d go to college the rest of my life if I could. I LOVE school and milked it as long as financial aid let me till they told me I HAD to graduate and do something with my life. LOL

    @Kate: Congratulations on your decision. Regarding being accomplished by a certain age, I know that I had promised myself I’d be a published author, have a few college degrees (I do have two Bachelor’s degrees, so I guess I accomplished that goal), be good at three martial arts, etc. As you can see, I haven’t done a whole lot. But I’m getting a little better.

    Regarding having a child, I don’t want one. But I do like playing with other people’s kids. Congratulations again. I think you have a lot to share with a child (your writing and the uncanny ability to say out loud what most people are thinking being one of those special things).

  64. Lynn responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Lovely post, Kate :) Congratulations all around! You and Bear will make wonderful parents! I have very mixed feelings about children. Actually, no, that’s not right. I want a child/children very much, the mixed feelings are about *when*. I’m 29 (turning 30 in about two weeks), and my husband is 32. We met when I was 27 and he was 30. We had both spent the majority of our 20′s in long-term relationships with other people that we thought were ‘the one” and then turned out not be, so, sadly, a big chunk of my *fertile* years have already been spent (although I know tons of women who have had perfectly healthy children in their 30′s).
    My husband and I have both said we want some time with just the two of us before kids, but, I would like to have at least one child by the time I’m 35. So, basically, we’re looking at a 5-year window. My husband is in the process of going back to school, and I’d like to knock out some debt, we’d like to travel some more, possibly buy a house or move into a bigger apartment, etc, etc. So that is the toggle right now, do we heed the *ticking clock*, or do we focus on competing other areas of our life before turning our focus to children? Sometimes I literally ache to be pregnant, I want it so badly. And other times I feel massively unprepared and feel like we could put off having children for a long time yet…..so, in short, we’ll see…

    So happy for you! Wish you all the best!

  65. Amy responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 8:51 am #

    How wonderful, Kate! I’m so excited for you!
    I just recently got pregnant. Like 3 seconds after getting engaged. We definitely had not planned it that way. My mother would have strongly preferred we actually be married before any babies were being made but these things happen.
    I had a feeling that something was different and when the test came back positive I felt…heavy and terrified and sick. For about a second. Then I was excited. My fiancee is probably more excited than me. We just had the 9 week sonogram a few days ago and he put the print out picture on the fridge the second we got home.
    I can’t wait to hear similar stories about Bear when you are pregnant. I get the feeling he is going to be the best!
    So happy for you two!

  66. Lindsey responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 8:56 am #

    I love this so much. It’s such a weird moment when you realize “oh, it wouldn’t be completely tragic for me to get pregnant now!” I’m not married, but I’m absolutely sure that my boyfriend of six months is the one I’ll marry. I was always the kind of person who thought she wouldn’t want a baby, ever, and now that I’ve “met the right man” I’m really offended by people who smugly say “I told you so.” Because it’s SO not about the man (he’s wonderful! I love him! He will make an amazing father! But it’s not about him). It’s about me – about how I’m 29 and my body just wants what it wants and doesn’t really have any regard for my politics.

    I firmly believe that it’s okay to want a baby. Or not to want one. Or to have one or not have one, or to be ambivalent about it. I think it’s a shame that we feel obligated to defend our position, and to explain ourselves if and when our feelings change. I never thought I was going to be “the kind of woman” whose body DEMANDED a baby – I am a career woman and an athlete and for me, that path did not include growing a person inside of me. There was a whole identity surrounding that conclusion, and it took me a while to come to terms with the change because I felt so much pressure to explain WHY things had changed.

    You don’t owe anyone an explanation. You owe it to yourself to be true to your feelings and your desires. That’s all you’re responsible for.

    You and Bear will be amazing parents.

  67. Sheryl responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 9:26 am #

    My husband and I had been sure that we wanted children since the start of our relationship and went about the business of setting timelines, that we would promptly push back. “In two years” got pushed back when he decided to pursue a new career, and so on.

    Then his father unexpected passed away far too young this spring and it prompted the decision to start trying, now. Because life’s too short to waste. We want our (as yet hypothetical) children to get to know their grandmothers and to have as much time with us as we can give them. Death kind of put everything in perspective for us. Children are important to us and we will always have reasons to wait. Those reasons aren’t as important as our desire to have a family and share our lives and all the love around us.

  68. Caitlin responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 9:40 am #


    It reminds me of how some people are fond of classifying those who do less exercise and healthy eating than them are unhealthy, but anyone who does more is a health nut.


    I’m terrified that will happen to me. If I suddenly start craving children (that may have come out wrong, but I like how it sounds), I’m going to feel as though my body has betrayed me.

  69. Kate responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 10:35 am #

    I love these comments!! They are so fun to read.

    And of course, a quick note to the one hate commenter: I deleted your comment, like I always do, because you were an asshole in it. But in case you or someone else who has something angry and mean to say is reading this: it continues to be really funny and cowardly how you guys never use a real email address. So that you can say something to me, but I can’t say something back. I’m happy to respond in private, but you’re never going to have a public voice here.

  70. Jess responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 10:47 am #

    I have a completely different set of pressures about being in my 20s. Everyone says this is when I’m supposed to be going out, partying, maybe travel. But who can afford it (none of the people I know doing it, really) and I hate coming home late. The one time I stayed out til dawn I could not have been more miserable, even angry with myself.
    I’d much rather work on my career, and curl up with hulu and a kitty instead. I don’t want kids til I’m 30 and I kind of feel like thats the pressure– you can’t travel on a whim when you have kids. You can’t stay out til all hours. But you get a whole new world of social opportunities. And I think I will be happier doing mom things anyway.
    And I guess really all I should do is appreciate the small amount of adult outings and traveling I can do more. Not do more of it if I don’t want to.

  71. Kate responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 10:49 am #

    I know what you mean. There’s this sense that we’re supposed to get it all done, fit it all in BEFORE everything changes. But what if that’s just not your personality or those aren’t your opportunities? I think about this a fair amount, just because I also would almost always rather stay in. But when I was at a party I forced myself to go to the other night, I kept thinking, “I’ll have to give this up!!” I told a friend and she was like, “You’ll probably go to the occasional party, even after you have a baby.”

  72. Jess responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Exactly, Kate! I don’t go to more than the occasional party now, how much could it change? I rarely don’t enjoy a time I’ve forced myself out, really, as long as I listen to what I want once I’m there (ie, being in bed before it gets light out). But I also don’t feel like I’m missing a lot by not going out more frequently.
    I congratulate you on making an informed personal decision about reproducing. I have a friend who was on the bandwagon from the minute she got engaged (as in, actually trying) which I feel was much more an influence of her husband’s and mother’s than actually hers. I fear she wants to please them. She’s beaten herself up here and there because she’s been “open” for almost a year and no dice yet. I think you have the right attitude. “Lets do this and see what happens. If not, I still have other things to do that I like just as much!”

  73. Shula responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Heh, my husband and I just decided that we wanted a baby too. I have been reading pretty much any book to do with babies that I can get my hands on. I wish you and Bear much luck and happiness with working on having one. The way I look at it, it is another facet of life that if you feel like it is time and right for you (some people don’t and more power to them, to each their own), that is amazing for learning yourself.

  74. Kate responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    And if you read any awesome books, please let me know!

  75. Tobasco responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    I can’t even begin to talk about this entire world in a comments section. We have one child, three years old. The only thing I highly recommend is reading “taking charge of your fertility” which, IMO, should be required reading for boys and girls in high school. I was kind of annoyed when I read it as an adult. Like, why didn’t anyone explain this to me before???

    Other than that best of luck to the two of you.

  76. Allyson responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    I’m one of those people who is in the never wants babies camp. Everyone keeps expecting me to change my mind, but at this point, I’m 29 and have been married for three years, so that seems unlikely though.

    I think it’s interesting that you’re finding that you’re finding you’re on the young side for NYC, because for some reason, so many of my friends on the east coast are having babies. My husband and I were just talking about how funny it is, because we’re from different midwestern cities, and none of our high school friends from either home town have had kids, though most of them are married. On the other hand, I’ve lived in both DC and NYC, and all the so-called East Coast are the ones popping out kiddies :)

    Seriously though, congrats on the decision!

  77. Allyson responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    And please, ignore my awful grammar in that last paragraph…

  78. Allyson responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Ugh, and that last part was suppose to say east coast elites. I’m apparently out of it today.

  79. Kate responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Thank you for the recommendation!

  80. Kate responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Didn’t even notice!!
    And that’s really interesting. Maybe I’m trendier than I thought?

  81. Karen responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    I just love your PS. Ehehe. Dry humour is always nice.
    So exciting for you to make this decision. I hope everything goes well. I mean, you know, the pregnancy/fertility thing. I’m sure the way to get there will go well. I really should have stopped talking two sentence ago, right? Hahaha.

  82. Kristin responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Ah, Kate, I wish I lived in New York, and you actually knew me, and then I’d take you out to lunch and just smile about how happy I am for you!

    I already commented a bit on your “marriage isn’t hard” post about how great it is to become parents, so I’ll try not to repeat myself here, but let me just say this: I was SO nervous about having a baby. For so many reasons, but a big one was worrying about the social stigma that you described – that you’re sort of naive and out of touch if you’re in your twenties and think you could have a baby. That you somehow have to prove something else before you’re allowed to take that step. I really struggled with those feelings.

    I’ll tell you what it really means, here on the other side of it – it means that you and Bear are letting someone else in on the joy. When you’ve got a great marriage, it’s pretty amazing to let someone else into that circle – someone that’s a little of both of you, and a lot of someone completely new and fascinating. And the two of you start to become a little new and fascinating yourselves, in all the best ways, as the baby brings out sides in you that enrich your life so much.

    It’s hard and beautiful and exciting and such an adventure. Forgive me for going on for so long, but I just can’t seem say enough about what being parents means to us, and to me. I wish you the very, very best.

  83. Marie responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    I married my husband two years ago. I’m 25 now, and finding and chasing new dreams for myself. Sometimes I want a baby really bad…in a hormonal, give-me-a-baby-NOW! sort of way. Other times it seems nice because I think I’d like to have a family, and I don’t want to put it off too long and then have trouble getting pregnant/be old for my kids. But then sometimes, I think(sort of selfishly) that I want to be able to go random places and do interesting things and that kids will change my lifestyle too much. And there’s the fact that seeing how some friend’s lives revolve around their little kids makes me kind of sick. That’s sort of mean, and I’m now sure why. I, like you, have a hard time seeing anything but black or white when it comes to an imagined future with children, and this creates a mess of confusion. I hope to find my way out, but in the meantime, I congratulate you on your decision. I’m pretty sure it can’t be as entirely dreadful as we fear.

  84. Kate responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    This is such an incredible, incredibly sweet comment. Thank you so, so, so much! And please do come to New York sometime, and let me take you out to lunch.

  85. Kate responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    LOL! I hope it turns out to be significantly less dreadful than I sometimes imagine…I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been there up until very, very recently.

  86. Kristin responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    So understandable. Just want to throw out there, don’t be worried. It’s simpler than you think. You won’t turn into some mother-crazy-person that is completely foreign to you now. You will still be you. It’s pretty much impossible to ever stop being you. And that would be exactly right for your kids. So don’t let other parents (and their styles that you don’t care for) psyche you out – you don’t have to be them.

    Ha, we’ll see what you’re craving by then :) .

  87. dee responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Why do you want a baby? Why do you want to be a mother?

  88. Kate responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    So many reasons! And also just a certainty/purpose that’s hard to explain or put into words.
    I hope you’ll forgive me for not giving you a thorough response here– I feel like that’s another post.

  89. dee responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    I’ll look forward to the post:o) I’m a mom of young adults and had them when I was your age…I sometimes wish I had explored the same question (more) myself. Motherhood changed me, and while I love my children, I’m not sure I like the changes.

  90. Mary responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    I think having a baby before you turn 30 (if you’re committed, have a life plan & stable home etc etc) is probably a great decision.
    A) like others have commented, you will have the energy to run around after a little rugrat after getting two hours of sleep the night before. I’m not looking forward to it in my later 30s.
    B) I have run into parents who had their first kids at 35 or later, and I have to say that it really seems as though some of the parents have really lofty goals – the kid has to get into the best preschool to get on the right track; the kid has to play music and be athletic and be scientific; they don’t discipline the kid because their spirit would be crushed; the kid is showered with material goods of all sorts, etc. … This falls under the category my bf and I call “White People Bullshit” (we are both very white).
    Some of this makes sense, because if you’ve had your first kid at 35, you probably planned it that way. And if you’ve planned your life right up until that point, you’re likely to keep on wanting to plan it. Responsibility gets you pretty far in life, no joke. … But the thing is (to bring it back around) that kids change everything. Plans change when they are around, life changes. Priorities shift. And you have to be open to it.
    So I suppose what I’m saying is not that older parents are unrealistic parents. I’m saying that (it seems to me) it’s easier to be a realistic parent when you’re younger and less ensconced in how you have designed your life to be. You’re more open to the craziness of family life, and the possibility that your kid won’t be great at the piano and might take a long time to learn to read. And you also might be happier and less frazzled.
    BTW, this comes from a neurotic 30-year-old planner and organizer. I have 8 nieces & nephews, the ninth on the way, and love them to pieces.

    All in all – very excited for you and Bear, Kate!

  91. Kay responded on 09 Nov 2012 at 2:00 am #

    Good on you for making the jump. I am 24 and I’ve spent so much time worrying about the future and what I will/won’t accomplish, especially in the 2 years since graduating from college and meeting the person I plan to marry (but we won’t be able to for a few more yet, and that depresses the hell out of me, which makes me feel pathetic), that I feel I haven’t really been living. And my body has recently decided it wants a baby, but for many reasons I absolutely cannot do that now, or maybe ever. I dunno. I hope in a few years I will have some clarity as well. Also I think you’ll be writing some really funny and interesting articles about pregnancy/babies when it happens and looking forward to reading them.

  92. Alicia Cumming responded on 10 Nov 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    seeing everyone pregnant or having kids, i -despite my unstable job situation and inability to budget or put my financial state in perspective-got into the baby craze and began talking about having this fat and amiable child I’d call Donnan, Baby Don-Don affectionately. mom, who’s struggling with health issues (weight one of them) due to offspring-related stresses, informs me that kids aren’t something that would always pay off the way you deserve, and that she’d give me one of those dolls that looks like a real baby. i was horrified; i like the real thing, having a replica of a baby is just weird-and achingly ungratifying.

  93. Jiminy responded on 12 Nov 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Congratulations! Tough decision, one of many to come – but I’m not writing to scare you :) .
    I’m writing to tell you that the `giving up` thing is, to me, more of a `giving in`. As someone very similar to you in many ways (as your blog does not stop showing me every day), I have a natural control-freakishness about me and I need to have things figured out a step ahead. Yet, at the same time, I’m trying really hard to let go of the conditions I preimpose on life and live it as it comes. The day we said we’d go for our first child was a rather ordinary day, in which I still had a very ordinary job, I was in a seemingly endless process of applying for a much better job, but which would or not be mine – then or ever, and I had just had enough of waiting for everything to be just right. So we kind of talked about it and I distinctly remember my husband jokingly saying that night `all right then, let’s make a baby`. Four weeks later I had my interview for the job I really wanted and a positive test in my hands. And I was changing countries, jobs, houses and having a kid all at the same time by the end of the year.
    I only mean that, while it may look as giving up a certain eventuality, it may just be that, by deciding this, you are surrendering your need to control all the circumstances of your life to the elusive flow of what the universe has in store for you, you know? Is it ok to think like that when you are a very rational person for the rest ;) ?

    P.S. I was in New York last week and I was really tempted to ask you out for a coffee, but my husband and I were on the first four days together in years, so I… well, chose him :)

  94. Jiminy responded on 12 Nov 2012 at 7:19 am #

    PPS – I also did not know whether you had had to evacuate or not, it seemed like a very unconsiderate time to be in New York at all, going around Sandy while flying in (through Atlanta) only to be stuck on the way out for 36 hours on JFK by the blizzard. So I worried about you silently.

  95. Kate responded on 12 Nov 2012 at 11:00 am #

    I think I can probably forgive you for choosing your husband over me..Maybe..
    No, but seriously, next time let me know and we’ll meet up!
    And I appreciate the sentiment of this comment– I really do like to plan the next step and feel like I’m in control of my life, and the idea of having to give that up is a little terrifying. I also kind of think it might be good for me. Thanks for sharing your story!

  96. laura responded on 13 Nov 2012 at 9:38 am #

    try reading intended for pleasure by Ed Wheat to make sure the spices are just right ;)

    after things get going http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com to finish the deal!!

  97. Olivia responded on 13 Nov 2012 at 9:39 am #

    I’m glad you’re making the choice. I read articles like this …


    … And feel bad that women don’t feel empowered to say, yeah I feel like having a kid would be the right choice for me.

  98. Barbara responded on 16 Nov 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I like the name Barack, too. Now I see I wasn’t the first to suggest it! :)

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  103. Elizabeth responded on 02 Dec 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi Kate,
    replying 1 year too late :-) I have read all your recent posts though so I am up to date with little Eden’s progress! Yes when I was 25 I started trying and trying to get pregnant… went off the pill, husband and I busy according to the calendar, me constantly trying to remember when my last “day one” was (I was really bad at keeping track)… now I’m 34 and still trying… We’ve definitely decided to have a baby, but the trouble is, man plans and God laughs or something like that. But, we’re waiting out the two-week wait for our blood test post embryo-transfer (we’re doing IVF – thanks Canada!!) and are still hopeful. I’ve been googling baby names for years :-) Maya and Emma and Olivia seem to be pretty popular in recent years :-) I personally like Maria and my husband being of Russian descent will probably be ok with it… maybe one day there’ll be a little Maria in our home to kiss and love…
    Thanks for your writings Kate and God bless your little family!!!!!