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One of the most common questions I get asked is when Matt and I are having kids. Now that we’re 2.5 years into our marriage, it seems to be the announcement everyone is waiting for. My answer is always “not right now.” Here’s why we’re not rushing to have kids and are delaying parenthood… indefinitely.
Trust me, I get why people ask questions. The age old adage “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage” is practically ingrained in every American’s head. I see evidence on my Facebook feed weekly. So, it makes total sense that people ask us this. It’s the way most people have been trained to think about the progression of life. However, if you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I like to go against the grain a little.
Before I answer this question, I just want to say that I’m 100% supportive of all things parenthood and child related. SO supportive. Seeing families together makes my heart melt. Getting the Tinybeans daily updates from my friends that are new moms is one of my favorite parts of my morning. It’s so special to witness and I can only imagine how special it is to experience personally. Parenthood is one of the most challenging things in life and I have the utmost respect for every single parent. Seriously, I don’t know how you do it. Please send tips.
While there are a lot of factors at play, the most important of which is that we simply aren’t ready. I could end the post right here because that’s truly the biggest part of this decision. However, things aren’t that simple and that would make for a really boring blog post. Neither Matt nor myself have that burning desire to have a family. At least right now. I keep waiting for the day where one of us wakes up and says “I’m ready” but so far, we can both definitively say that it’s quite the opposite. I’d really like to feel ready before I commit to that big of a life change. That’s just how we feel. Doesn’t make it right or wrong. It’s just us.
Another reason we are delaying parenthood is that we still have so much to do. Our list of goals and life accomplishments is long and as any parent knows, having a child makes achieving them just a little bit harder. It does make things a little more complex. Right now, I want things to be more simple. I have enough to juggle! A majority of what is on that list are places that we want to travel. It’s difficult to travel with children (although not impossible) and we’ve seen this firsthand in our friend circle. I don’t want to be seeing far off places for the first time at age 60. I want to see them now, while I’m young and can enjoy them to their fullest. We also both manage day jobs and work on Visions of Vogue on the side. We love the freedom and feel like we have enough responsibility right now. We’re not looking to take on more. We just don’t see how a child fits into our life at this time. Are the sacrifices worth it? That’s a decision every person gets to make for themselves. That’s the great thing about our lives! We are in control! Just remember, that decision is solely for yourself (i.e. not to pressure others with).
Economically, it doesn’t look too pretty. I’m not saying the investment is not worth it. Unconditional love is amazing (I know from marrying Matt) and having more of it doesn’t sound bad. I’m just saying that as a finance-minded individual, running the numbers makes me cringe a little. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise a child and that’s before paying for college (which I am a strong proponent of). My life wasn’t always easy. There was a point where I was living on dollars in a bank account. Yes, I said dollars. It was at that point that I made a promise to myself that I never wanted to live like that again. I never wanted to worry about when my next paycheck would hit my bank account. And I never wanted to not be able to do something that I wanted to do because of money. That’s also part of why I work so hard, just ask Matt. We’re all shaped by the experiences that we have in our lives. That one was a particularly memorable one for me. While I recognize it’s totally possible to raise a family and be comfortable, I just like to think it through before I take the plunge. Maybe plan a little more if not save up. However, I can think of another big purchase I’d like to make first and that’s a home.
Physically, childrearing does not sound like a walk in the park. Fortunately, I have a lot of friends and coworkers going through this to confirm this for me. So, the research is solid. I’ve never heard a single one of my pregnant friends describe anything positive about growing a human inside of you. While this is only a minor reason in why we’re delaying parenthood (very minor), it’s something I think about on occasion. Do I really want to erase the hours and hours of work I’ve put in at Pure Barre? I get that it’s totally possible to bounce back. But I’m not having great luck even maintaining my weight here in Chicago so far and I’d rather not exacerbate that. I repeat: this is not a showstopper, it’s just like the guy next to you in the movie theater that is trying to get his Sour Patch kids out of the plastic bag. Annoying, but you still can experience and enjoy the movie.
I’m just not interested. I was never one of those girls who grew up playing with dolls or playing mom. My dad gave me Hot Wheels instead. And I liked it. As weird as that may seem, it’s completely normal to me. It’s just who I am. I don’t ooh or aww over babies. Sure, I can acknowledge adorable baby photos but my interest kind of stops there. I don’t have a desire to hold them (what if I drop them?), I’m quite horrible at tolerating loud sounds (kids love loud sounds), and I like our home to be clean and things to be in their place (do I even need to explain?). Maybe I just need more time to develop this maternal instinct. Maybe one day this will change. But that day isn’t today.
Quite frankly, babies terrify me. They’re like these little aliens that can’t speak to you to tell you what they want. You have to guess. I know how frustrated Matt gets with me when I tell him nothing is wrong but yet I secretly want him to know what’s wrong. Having a baby is like that but ALL THE TIME. Until of course, they can speak.
If you’re reading this and just don’t understand, I understand. I’ve had so many comments made to me, choice-shaming me for admitting that I feel this way. I’ve been asked quite a few of awkward and rude follow up questions. The judgement is real. I’ve had people tell me that I’m missing out, that they hope I get to experience parenthood, or that I wouldn’t understand how great parenting is. Yet, if you think about it, you could easily flip any of those arguments back on the asker. Not that I’m advocating doing that! Aren’t parents also missing out? Last I checked, parenthood isn’t smooth sailing for everyone (or even anyone from what I gather?). And some might argue parents don’t understand how great it is to not have kids. The point is, we all should be able to make our own decisions and be supported in those decisions. Without the judgement. You do you.
So, I’m not saying no to parenthood. I’m just saying not right now. This could change in a month, a year, or never. I don’t know! I just want to make sure that I feel ready when it does change. I want to be 110% into it. I’m just that kind of person. Trust me, when Matt and I make a decision, you guys will know!
What do you think about delaying parenthood? Do you have any strong opinions either way? Please share!
Great post!! I think you’re allowed to feel however you want and I think more people need to weigh the financial burden before just having kids and then not being able to afford them.
Kristen A. says
This reminds me of a beautiful passage I read in the book “Captivating” — its Christian, I’m not sure your beliefs, but maybe it will still resonate with you in some way!
(All women are called to mother and all women are called to give birth. Women give birth to all kinds of things – to books, to churches, to movements. To ideas, creative expressions, to ministries. We birth life in others by inviting them into deeper realms of healing, to deeper walks with God, to deeper intimacy with Jesus. When we enter in our world and into the lives of those we love and offer our tender and strong feminine hearts, we cannot help but mother them.)
It also defines “to mother”: to train, to educate, to rear, to encourage, nurture, and mother ‘them’ to their true selves.
I see such an encourager and an educator in you! You are self-sacrificing just as any mother is by sharing your personal life so intimately and creating a safe place for women to share their stories, to relate to you, etc.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic – I am one of those who always wonder when the baby announcement will be coming but NO MORE! 😋 God bless ya ❤️
Lisa Bruno says
Wow! Great post and thanks for being so open and honest especially since it’s really not our business. But thanks.
I was adamantly opposed to having children and waited 8 years before I finally felt ready. I had my first baby and in the delivery room, I told my husband we were doing it again. We have four now and I would so have gone for five but I was old and my husband is 7.5 years older than me. I was born to be a mom but it’s not for everyone.
I look forward to continuing to read all about your life with or without children!
Michelle Zavodny says
Jenna – You’re my soul sister, lol. I’ve been contemplating writing a post just like this, but I haven’t because people are so quick to judge. I’m 31 and I go back and forth because I want my children to know their grandparents, have “young” parents who can play catch with them, etc. At the same time, I feel like I’d be putting my own goals/dreams/desires on hold for an 18+ year responsibility that I never truly cared to have. If we get there, we get there. If not, there’s plenty to enjoy in this life! This is getting reposted to my personal Facebook page so people will lay off, haha! I’m glad to hear I’m not alone, so thank you for writing this.
I’m glad you wrote about this. If in the end you do not want to ever have children that’s up to you. My husband and I have been trying for a year and no baby. It’s frustrating because we want one so bad. For me, I’ve always wanted this, but that’s not the case for everyone. I’m glad you two are mature enough to make a large decision like this, together. 😄
Ashley Melson says
Thank you for writing this! My husband and I are exactly the same way. We were both in med/grad school or residency until just a couple of years ago, so we didn’t get to do a lot of the exploring and traveling many people get to do in their twenties. We just haven’t felt ready up to this point. I’m starting to feel pressure to make a decision because of that whole age thing (I’m 33), but I’m the same way as you – I played with basketball action figures more than with dolls, and just haven’t had the interest in babies that so many women have! I work with kids 40 hours a week, so it’s not that I hate kids, I just haven’t felt the urge to have one of my own yet. And you are so right, the judgment is REAL! People assume all sorts of things about us based on the fact that we don’t have kids yet, and I hate that but that’s life, I suppose! We have some close friends who are in the same boat, and it’s always nice to know that others have the same dilemma or question about this. Thanks for sharing.
It always surprises me that the baby question comes so quickly. I am the oldest of my siblings and my parents didn’t have me until they were married seven years. To some people that is just weird, but it isn’t uncommon to wait. I want to be married and have kids someday, but I also wasn’t enamored by babies growing up. (The dropping fear is so real! lol) I played with toy animals growing up, not with dolls (except my American girl dolls, but it wasn’t really in a motherly sort of way).
I am well into my 30’s (considered medically high-risk, ha!), and still struggle with whether or not I want children. I never wanted them while growing up, and have always joked that I have no biological clock at all. I love babies and children and think I am the best aunt to my sister’s three kids, but the thought of having my own scares me. I am currently getting a ton of pressure from my boyfriend’s family, who wanted me pregnant like yesterday, but my family knows not to ask me about it. I think one of these days it’ll happen, and I’ll just have to accept that I’ll be an old mom, lol. Thank you for sharing this- you are definitely not alone in your thoughts on having children.
100% YES. We have been married over 3 years now and I’ve been getting asked since we got engaged, I swear. We are very similar in our views: I don’t want to spend the money, I want my freedoms, I want to travel, I want to be at a certain point in my career and I physically don’t want to be pregnant (right now, at least). I LOVE all my friends babies and love snuggling and playing with them, but I have no desire to have one of my own right now. Rarely, I’ll get a little twinge but it passes within 15 minutes and I’m back to planning vacations. Thanks for posting this because I feel so much judgement from people about it all the time!
Jenna I just had a baby 4 months ago.
You’re good. Take your time. 🤣😚😚😚😚
Ramandeep Kaur says
I love this post. First of all I think it’s not anyone of ours business to ask these questions about your life, but thank you for sharing.
This post resonates so much of how I think about being parent… no one says it but it’s scary. Period
I don’t like when people start thinking that there must be a issue that’s why they can’t have a baby or start comparing to other couples. Are those people going to help you out to soothe the baby in the middle of the night or pay for child expenses? No, they will not.
I love that you have dreams and goals that you want to accomplish before making such a big life decision.
Love this post! Couldn’t agree more!
Jerra Nalley says
100% with you girl!
Love this post! I’m getting married in September but I’ve been with my fiancée for eight years so our families are ALREADY asking if we are going to try for a family right after the wedding. I used to think I’d want to do that, but as I get closer to it…. not sure at all. Maybe this sounds selfish, but I love our life together already and don’t feel like it needs to change just yet! And aside from that, we both still have so much more we want to accomplish in our careers, places we haven’t traveled to yet, etc. I don’t judge any women for their choices (so much love for my friends who are mothers!) but I’m also super glad we can share posts like this so those of us who don’t feel ready know we’re not alone :)
Thank you so much for this post! As someone who also didn’t grow up playing house or with dolls and is similarly weirded out by babies, it’s so refreshing to see others who feel similarly. The judgment is SO real and it’s so discouraging to hear constantly tell you that a well-thought out decision is wrong and treat you like you’re a clueless idiot who can’t even make decisions for yourself. So keep doin’ you and know that you’re not alone!
Jenna – You could not have said it any better! I am right there with you.
I pretty much feel the EXACT same way as you! Glad I’m not alone.
Excellent post! 🙌🙌 I could relate to soooo much of this!
Ziba Lennox says
Such an important message! People put a lot of pressure on us to have kids. I waited until I was 6 years into the marriage and honestly had no idea if it would happen or not. If you decide not to have them, you’ll never know what you’re missing, so you’re good! xo, Ziba
My name is Christie, I am a Mom to one boy (5) and I live in Chicago also! (Yay!) Anyways, I can say with complete and total honesty, I get it. I get your reasoning. And I respect it 100%. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It takes pure strength, trust, and resilience. But it is rewarding in a lot of ways to. I say, do you boo. Whatever makes you happy! I wish I would’ve traveled more before I had my son, but you know what? We’ll travel when he’s a little more independent! Whatever you decide, it will all work out because you decided it for yourself! I think it’s better to know what you want them to do something out of “the natural progression of life.” It takes a strong person to stand up and say “I’m ready to wait,” and I respect that more than anything! All the very best to you!!
***than to do something
OMG, same girl to all of this! My husband and I still have no idea when or if we’ll have kids but it’s a definite no for the time being because of everything you just stated.
I was dyinggggg at the part about not wanting to undo all your hard work at barre 😂 I feel the SAME way!! I see all these women who have such a hard time recovering from giving birth and although those women are so so so strong, I am just not ready to give up my bod yet. I’ve also read so many horror stories about nurses behaving terribly during delivery that women end up with lifetime issues from the nurse like holding the baby in because the doctor isn’t there (even though they’re more than qualified to deliver it themselves) and emergency c-sections and it scares me to my core lol.
Thank you for writing this! You are so not alone!
Love this post! I’m so happy your expressing your opinion on the matter and not letting others judgments get in the way of how you feel! I feel so similar to you and it’s great knowing I’m not the only one out there!
I love that you wrote this jenna! This is something I’ve been struggling with too, but it’s so new to me because I’m the complete mama type. I knew I was meant to be a mom since I was a little girl! But I got very sick and was diagnosed with a super complicated illness on my 18th birthday, and my situation is just so different now. This illness left me debilitated for years so that meant putting off everything and just focusing on getting better. Finally with my health under-control I was able to start college this fall at 24. I’m so fearful that having a baby right now will deter my dreams/goals even further and I’ve put so much on hold for so long already. My husband who is very much ready, is 30, and pregnancy is something weve been working towards since we married over 3 years ago. But now that it is actually possible with better health I’m pushing it off. I want to have it all! Babies and a degree/career, I just worry so much and with my health the last thing I need (in order for this to stay under control) is stress. Baby, while full time student=== major stress!! 🤷🏻♀️ I
kanchipuram Silk sarees says
What a wonderful post! Having children is one of the (if not the) biggest decisions a person can and will ever make. If more people took the time to actually think carefully about it, I believe people would be happier overall. You are so right about being programmed to have this certain life, etc. nonsense!!! I was married for over 7 years before my daughter was born and i cannot tell you how many people asked and asked and bagged and bagged me about having a baby! It was ridiculous!! When i finally had one, all people would ask is when is the next one coming! I only wanted one! When I explained there would not be a next one, oh the comment i received for that. Ugh! Anyway loved by your post! You don’t owe anyone any explanation. It is NONE of their business!
Carli Ann Roberts says
I was scared to death to read these comments because I was scared you would be crucified for your honesty. I’m so happy to see all the support.
Quite frankly, while I am a parent, I found your honesty to be refreshing. Truth be told, I didn’t choose to be a parent. I guess kind of I did when I didn’t act “smart!” Yet, I got pregnant on accident. I wouldn’t change it for the world bc I adore my daughter so much. But parenting IS hard. Parenting DOES make you miss out on a lot. Being a blogger with a two year old? Hard as heck. It really is. I don’t let my parenting stop me from life anymore like I used to though. I took her to Greece with me when she was 7 months old, but if we are speaking honestly, I have not done as much in life since I had my baby. Do I regret it? Not hardly. Do I wish I hadn’t gotten pregnant? Definitely not. Do I wish I could have had her when I was more ready? Probably so.
All this rambling to say that I think you’re being smart to wait. I don’t honestly think you will ever be truly ready to be a mom, but it’s smart to consider all that goes into it, especially the expenses that come along with it. Mommin ain’t easy, and Mommin ain’t cheap.
Thank you so much for YOUR honestly Carly! I completely see both sides and both have pros and cons! I hear you on the not feeling ready – I’m hoping I feel more “ready” than I do now at some point haha!