Starting a family


#1

Hello to all. I've been a lurker here for a little bit, but recently I've wondered about something that I'd hope for some input on. I've been married to my wonderful wife for a few years now, and due to some circumstances beyond our control (finishing school, getting jobs, etc) we had determined that avoiding pregnancy for a few years was justified. Neither of us were particularly eager to start having kids, but we'd figure that eventually it would happen once we were settled. Anyway, a few weeks ago we were discussing such things and determined that we've reached a point where we don't think we could keep morally avoiding having children anymore. The catch is that a) neither of us are thrilled about it, but figure that we got married with the intention of accepting the children God gave us, so we gotta do what we gotta do and b) most of our friends and colleagues who started down the family path are kind of scaring us in how much they've become "Mom and Dad" instead of who they used to be, but with kids. Honestly, looking around at society today, being responsible for a child is less scary than what people think parents should be, look like and act like. We're really eager to avoid b) forever, no matter what.

So, the advice I'm looking for, is did anybody else here enter parenthood with a little more apprehension than joy? I'm not talking about "Oh, this is wading into the unknown, it's kinda scary" kind of apprehension, but rather "I don't really want this, but it's what you're supposed to do, so we should do it". Secondly, is it possible for us to retain our identities as people outside of being parents? Difficulty -- is it possible for us to not have our kids taken away from us because we'd let them skin their knees and fail at things instead of trying to bubble wrap the world for them?

As an aside, my title is "Starting a family", but does anybody else think that the phrase a bit misused? Right now, myself, my wife, our parents, our siblings, their kids, etc -- are we not already a family? Our children would only be adding to the family, not starting a new one... but that's more of a semantic point.


#2

[quote="kerebos, post:1, topic:251947"]
Secondly, is it possible for us to retain our identities as people outside of being parents? Difficulty -- is it possible for us to not have our kids taken away from us because we'd let them skin their knees and fail at things instead of trying to bubble wrap the world for them?

As an aside, my title is "Starting a family", but does anybody else think that the phrase a bit misused? Right now, myself, my wife, our parents, our siblings, their kids, etc -- are we not already a family? Our children would only be adding to the family, not starting a new one... but that's more of a semantic point.

[/quote]

I cannot address your first point, as we were excited for kids.

Second point: You will be people outside of parents. You will still be a husband. You will still be a son. You will still be a brother. You will be an employee. You will find, however, that the focus of your life will become being a father. Babies have that awesome power!

Third point: Children learn best from making mistakes! Please do NOT bubble wrap them. I teach children, and those who are the best adjusted are those who try, make mistakes, fail, learn, and go forward. Those who have everything handed to them are apathetic and spoiled.

As far a "a family", people generally mean your "immediate family", which right now is you and your wife. Your extended family includes all your relatives.


#3

[quote="Catholic90, post:2, topic:251947"]
I cannot address your first point, as we were excited for kids.

[/quote]

This is a bit of my fear. We're not nearly as excited as anybody else I know and it's just not sitting well. Are we broken or wrong, or worse, for not being all "Yay, children!" like everbody else?

[quote="Catholic90, post:2, topic:251947"]
Second point: You will be people outside of parents. You will still be a husband. You will still be a son. You will still be a brother. You will be an employee. You will find, however, that the focus of your life will become being a father. Babies have that awesome power!

[/quote]

One thing that's been pointed out to us is that when we got married and started living together, we didn't really change. I'm sure we did, to some extent, but several people have commented on how we were indepenent people, then we got married, and now we're the same independent people but living together. That works for us and is what makes us a good couple. It would be great if, in the future, we could be us as we were before, plus a baby. We're not quite so deluded to think that's going to happen, but we didn't really change who we were when we got married, and we don't really want to change who we are when we have kids. We've seen a few people just absolutely forget who they were before they had kids and we absolutely don't want that.

[quote="Catholic90, post:2, topic:251947"]
Third point: Children learn best from making mistakes! Please do NOT bubble wrap them. I teach children, and those who are the best adjusted are those who try, make mistakes, fail, learn, and go forward. Those who have everything handed to them are apathetic and spoiled.

[/quote]

One of our "favorite" activites is seeing our friends who have kids and their padded, protected worlds, then coming home and saying "Our kids will not be like that..."

[quote="Catholic90, post:2, topic:251947"]
As far a "a family", people generally mean your "immediate family", which right now is you and your wife. Your extended family includes all your relatives.

[/quote]

My point still stands... are my wife and I not a family now that having a kid will "start" a family?


#4

While man and woman were created to make life and the marriage was designed to bring forth children, not everyone wants to have children. I think you should bring these questions to God. Ask him to guide you. I don't think you should have children just because you think it's the right thing to do. I fear if this happens, if things don't go the way you want them to down the road, you may blame the child. Kids shouldn't be a burden, they should be a blessing. Perhaps this just isn't the time for you to start having kids, or as you say you are already content with the family you have, maybe having children isn't something you two really want to do.

The point I'm stressing here is don't have kids if you're not going to be able to look at them as a gift and blessing from God that you can love with all your heart and soul.


#5

Also, I think the term “starting a family” is just used to mean having children. Of course you and your wife as you are now are a family. I’m not sure why having children is the definition of “starting a family”.


#6

Oh, you can certainly retain your identities as individuals instead of parents. Being a parent automatically changes your viewpoint because you no longer have the luxury of spending all your time in the way you wish when you want to, but with work and attention, you can certainly do it. It's healthy and important to have hobbies and interests outside the house.

For example, our hobbies require a lot of outdoor time and a lot of traveling around. We live in the middle of nowhere and our hobbies are our links to 99% of our friends. Are we able to do as much as we could when we were unfettered? No. But we're also not hermits with all contact cut off from our friends because we never taught our kids to be good travelers who enjoy the outdoors and could coexist with our outside interests.

Kids learn well from their mistakes. Moms and Dads learn well from their mistakes, too. Don't worry about stocking up on bubble wrap.

re: "starting a family", I think there's a major difference between being a member of "a family" and actually being head of "a family." We were DINKs for nearly ten years before we were brave enough to deliberately try for DS1, but in the time I've spent as a mom-- starting in the nine months I carried him-- I've grown tremendously as a person and my focus and perspective have matured a lot. I've been forced to develop qualities for my children that I'd never needed to develop for my husband. Maybe it's different for families who live more than hundreds of miles away from their closest family members, but for us, there's a definite difference in the two perspectives of "family."


#7

To raise a child appropriately, it takes tremendous self-sacrifice and hence change.

Also, have you considered what you will do if you have a child with serious health issues?


#8

[quote="kerebos, post:1, topic:251947"]
most of our friends and colleagues who started down the family path are kind of scaring us in how much they've become "Mom and Dad" instead of who they used to be, but with kids.

[/quote]

The ironic thing is that since I've had kids, I look at my old perpetually adolescent friends and relatives with no small amount of pity and am glad I am no longer in the same shoes. Their lives revolve around taking Fido to the Petsmart spa.

Have all the kids you can, it's over in a flash.


#9

Other than how it will change the two of you, is there anything else that makes you reluctant to have kids? I have plenty of friends who did or are putting off kids because they're worried more about how it will keep them from doing things they used to enjoy. As for me, I enjoy everything I do with my kids more than when they're not with me, and a lot of my friends who finally had kids see things the same way.

As for whether having kids change who you are, I don't think that's necessarily the case, but it does tend to amplify or diminish certain characteristics. I think I'm fundamentally the same person I was before kids, just in a different way. I still value and enjoy the same things, although my priorities have shifted.

I personally believe that the people around you--or at least their perceptions of you--change a great deal more when you have kids than you do. I have a group of acquaintances who have a terribly negative view of parenthood (and, I think, responsibility in general). They've routinely turned their backs on friends and family members the second they've had kids. It's not that the new parents are any different, they just find very quickly that their pre-parenting priorities don't match up with their priorities once they've become parents.

Regarding the notion that you won't become one of "those" parents who shelter their kids at every turn...the friends of mine who were most insistent that they would never do anything of the sort are the most obsessive, nitpicky, helicopter parents you're likely to find. They insist that they're not, but then follow it up with, "I just don't let him do this, eat that, watch this, read that, see this, listen to that, talk to this person, visit with that person," etc. I think it a lot of it have to do with the fact that no amount of time spent around other people's kids will ever prepare you for actually being a parent. And, to be honest, I think that's a wonderful thing. I always knew exactly what sort of parent I'd be. When I started dating my wife, I certainly acted like that sort of parent with our son. The first day we were in our house as a family, though, it all changed. It certainly wasn't bad, just different. I'm a lot closer now to that dad I always thought I'd be, but it takes a lot of time to get to that point. It's definitely scary at times, but I can't think of anything better.


#10

My husband and I have two daughters who are now 28 and 25. We were never gung-ho over having children. My brother was only 18 months younger than me, so we were more like friends growing up than siblings. I never babysat. My husband was an only child until he was ten, and then he resented his younger brother and sister to the point where he put his younger brother in the wastebasket and told his mother, "He's gone. I threw him away."

We did a lot of volunteer work with children and teenagers during our dating years and first few years of marraige. That was our sole experience with children. We had no experience with babies. I had never held a baby until I held my first daughter.

We never had "baby-hunger." We were actually pretty scared of having babies. Kids are fine, but babies--scary!

And I'll be perfectly honest--I really did not like my children when they were babies nearly as much as I liked them as they got older. The sleep issue was a major one--I don't do well when I am sleep-deprived. Also the whole diaper thing was unpleasant.

Finally, you're right--babies take 24/7 of your time and energy, and you just don't have the money and energy to do the things you did before you had kids. I realize that some women find their whole identity in being a mom, but I was raised in the 60s/70s, when the message to women was to escape the traditional roles assigned to women and find a career! Even though I didn't buy into that whole "feminist" mindset, I was influenced by it, nonetheless. There were times I really wanted out of the parenting thing.

Yes, we hired babysitters on a regular basis, since we didn't live near family and didn't have the luxury of dropping the girls off at Grandma's. But those few hours of "freedom" from the rigors of child care were not the same as the absolute freedom of being child-free.

However, I think that for many couples, parenting turns out to be the toughest job they'll ever love. I'm sure that if and when you have children, you will develop your own personal "style" of parenting in which your children are given the right amount of time and attention and love, while you are adults still pursue various interests.

One thing that you have to remember is that you will, in all likelihood, initiate your children into your interests, and THAT is a rush!

E.g., from the time she was a baby, my older daughter was immersed in the world of theater and performing, because that's what I was interested in! During various rehearsals for shows, my daughter was in the theater or church, watching! And today--she's a professional stage manager! Our whole family is thrilled that an interest that all of us have always had as a hobby is now a real JOB, a profession, for our daughter!

And both girls grew up on the ice. This has been the greatest joy for our family. We've actually considered developing a "podcast" in which our family talks "figure skating." It's really fun when we all are together (rare now, since we live all over the country) and talk non-stop figure skating. Just toss us a topic, and we'll run with it, in several different directions, since all of us are interested in a different aspect of figure skating!

So having children is an opportunity to add new "disciples" to whatever your interests are!

Just this week, we were out to dinner, and my husband said, "We're finished raising our daughters. So why are back in the kid-raising business again with our nephews and niece?!"

He's right--in the last few years, we have really thrown ourselves into aunting and uncling, and we now spend quite a bit of cash doing things with our nephews and niece. We are paying for my nephew to figure skate, which is no small cash investment. We paid many thousands of dollars for our daughters to figure skate, and my husband also figure skates. So it's a family obsession and we love having our nephew involved.

(In case anyone is wondering why his parents don't pay--one of their children, another nephew of ours, was diagnosed with cancer when he was 2, and the expenses, even with health insurance, have put them hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. They will pay this bill until they die and probably never pay it off. So even though both mom and dad work and have good jobs, the money is essentially gone as soon as their paychecks get deposited.)

My husband and I are 54 now, and we wish we had had more children. What mark a says is so true--it's over in a flash.


#11

One thing that I think makes a real difference in whether you enjoy parenting or find it an unbearable burden is how effectively you are able to discipline your children.

Our children were frankly quite delightful, and it was because we trained them well and effectively. We followed the parenting guidelines written by Dr. James Dobson, and were thrilled with the results. I'm not saying that YOU will follow Dr. Dobson's advice--you might choose another child-rearing guru. Whatever works for you is what you should do. But Dr. Dobson's guidelines worked well for us and we recommend them.

Our girls were well-disciplined, and we were able to take them places appropriate for their age and KNOW that they would behave and be pleasant and sociable and not raise a ruckus or destroy anything or ruin the occasion.

We didn't try to take them to grown-up restaurants, because we knew that children do not consider an hour sitting in a chair eating to be enjoyable, and coloring for a whole hour is too much coloring. We didn't take them to grown up activities--I know some people insist that if their children aren't welcome, they aren't interested. That's fine, but my husband and I preferred to bring the cihldren to activities and places that we knew they would enjoy and benefit from. I saw no point to bringing the girls to a lecture or a business conference.

Someone in our family is currently going through hell in their family because their children are totally undisciplined. Both parents have given up at this point, and they sit and stare into space while their children do things like use their poo to write on bathroom walls, hit other children with sticks, and lie. The pre-school warned the parents that their 5-year old son would be expelled if he continued his anti-social behavior; this year he will start kindergarten and we're guessing he will be asked to leave the school. The 9-year-old girl is in analysis with a psychiatrist for "lack of empathy" for others--when brought into proximity with another child who is poor or hurt, the girl says, "It was their own fault. Why should I care?"

My husband and I saw this coming from the beginning when the children were babies, but even though we tried to hint at it, the parents insisted that their child-rearing methods were more "humane" and "intelligent." Well, now they are in despair, and I don't blame them. They hate being parents and take advantage of any opportunity to get away from their children for a few weeks. It's sad.

I fear for the future for this family. Unless there is some major change, I predict that within a few years, the girl will be one of those teenagers who sneaks around, hangs with the druggies, and gets pregnant by the time she's 16.

And I predict that the little boy will probably commit small crimes when he is young and graduate to bigger crimes when he is older.

Both children have the curse of physical beauty, so it will be even easier for them to travel down very evil paths and deceive innocent people. If only they were ugly--then at least the "cool" sinners would reject them. Sigh.

So one of my pieces of advice to you is "PLAN YOUR DISCIPLINE STRATEGY before you ever conceive your children!" Be on the same plan--one of the mistakes that our relatives have made over and over is to contradict each other, and their children have learned to play mom and dad against each other.

Well-disciplined children who have learned to control their impulses are a joy to all who come into contact with them. You will enjoy your children immensely if you KNOW that they will, in most situations, obey you and trust you, and if they do something wrong, they will feel sorrow and regret.

If you fail to implement a discipline strategy, you will rue the day you conceived your children.


#12

[quote="Cat, post:10, topic:251947"]
My husband was an only child until he was ten, and then he resented his younger brother and sister to the point where he put his younger brother in the wastebasket and told his mother, "He's gone. I threw him away."

.

[/quote]

that is hilarious! :D


#13

[quote="kerebos, post:1, topic:251947"]

So, the advice I'm looking for, is did anybody else here enter parenthood with a little more apprehension than joy? I'm not talking about "Oh, this is wading into the unknown, it's kinda scary" kind of apprehension, but rather "I don't really want this, but it's what you're supposed to do, so we should do it". Secondly, is it possible for us to retain our identities as people outside of being parents? Difficulty -- is it possible for us to not have our kids taken away from us because we'd let them skin their knees and fail at things instead of trying to bubble wrap the world for them?

[/quote]

Yes and yes.

Before I got pregnant I was not thrilled about the idea. My husband and I were married for a year and I was quite happy with the way things were. I didn't want to have a baby any time soon. It felt like a duty and I wanted to postpone it and have a bit of fun first. However, I just turned 33 and started to worry about my fertility. My husband was really keen on us to have a baby and I decided we should go for it, mostly because of my age. It felt a bit like a military operation to be honest. :) It was planned, I charted my cycle and it happened. And I was terrified.
My son is now 13 months old and I love him to bits. I can't imagine my life without him. I can't understand why it felt like such a big deal then, when being a mother is the most natural thing for me now. Having a child really turns your world upside down. It brings out in you things you maybe never thought you had, like courage and willingness for self-sacrifice.

This brings me to the second point about keeping your identity. Your identity will change. You will become a father, and that is a big deal. You will still be yourself but with that extra role you will play. And guess what: that will make you happy. My husband says it does not feel like something has been taken away from him, but that something big and wonderful has been added. I feel the same way as a mother.

It is normal that you are worried about these things. Having children is a huge deal, but also it is such a natural thing. I can tell you with absolute confidence that you will experience such great joy when you hold that tiny baby for the first time. Put your trust in God and all will be well.


#14

[quote="LaFleurDeLis, post:4, topic:251947"]
While man and woman were created to make life and the marriage was designed to bring forth children, not everyone wants to have children. I think you should bring these questions to God. Ask him to guide you. I don't think you should have children just because you think it's the right thing to do. I fear if this happens, if things don't go the way you want them to down the road, you may blame the child. Kids shouldn't be a burden, they should be a blessing. Perhaps this just isn't the time for you to start having kids, or as you say you are already content with the family you have, maybe having children isn't something you two really want to do.

The point I'm stressing here is don't have kids if you're not going to be able to look at them as a gift and blessing from God that you can love with all your heart and soul.

[/quote]

In general theory, I agree with what you're saying -- but -- it's not really an option for us at this point. We got married saying that we would accept the children God gave us. The church teaches that we can only abstain/avoid pregnancy for "grave reasons", which we could always find something that we could justify as being "grave", but it's not really being honest to do so. We're at a point where we can't justify avoiding it anymore. Essentially, the decision is not up to us anymore -- it's up to God.

[quote="mark_a, post:8, topic:251947"]
The ironic thing is that since I've had kids, I look at my old perpetually adolescent friends and relatives with no small amount of pity and am glad I am no longer in the same shoes. Their lives revolve around taking Fido to the Petsmart spa.

Have all the kids you can, it's over in a flash.

[/quote]

And yet, I'm sure you and me also know a handful of parents who are still perpetually adolescent. I don't think that "having kids makes you more mature" is in anyway a globally true statement. "Properly raising children makes you mature" may be more accurate, but just being able to give birth doesn't guarantee anything.

[quote="Gordon_Sims, post:9, topic:251947"]
Other than how it will change the two of you, is there anything else that makes you reluctant to have kids? I have plenty of friends who did or are putting off kids because they're worried more about how it will keep them from doing things they used to enjoy. As for me, I enjoy everything I do with my kids more than when they're not with me, and a lot of my friends who finally had kids see things the same way.

[/quote]

Essentially, we're both just not "kid people". A lot of people will interact with small children to some extent -- we're just, well, apathetic is the wrong word, but the best I can come up with. People often play with infants to make them smile and giggle and such, and I just cannot see myself ever doing something like that. It's just not in my personality to act like that. Everybody says, "It's different when it's your own kid", but what if it's not? So we're heading into this phase of our lives with any real desire to do so -- not an active desire to avoid it, but not really wanting to get involved.


#15

[quote="Cat, post:10, topic:251947"]
My husband and I have two daughters who are now 28 and 25. We were never gung-ho over having children. My brother was only 18 months younger than me, so we were more like friends growing up than siblings. I never babysat. My husband was an only child until he was ten, and then he resented his younger brother and sister to the point where he put his younger brother in the wastebasket and told his mother, "He's gone. I threw him away."

We did a lot of volunteer work with children and teenagers during our dating years and first few years of marraige. That was our sole experience with children. We had no experience with babies. I had never held a baby until I held my first daughter.

We never had "baby-hunger." We were actually pretty scared of having babies. Kids are fine, but babies--scary!

And I'll be perfectly honest--I really did not like my children when they were babies nearly as much as I liked them as they got older. The sleep issue was a major one--I don't do well when I am sleep-deprived. Also the whole diaper thing was unpleasant.

[/quote]

Your situation does have similarities to mine. My wife is an only child. I'm the middle of three -- my sister was born when I was almost six, so I got to "hold the baby" a few times as much as a six year old could do (Sit on the couch, don't move, and we'll put her on your lap). Since then, whenever a baby is present, my hands seem to find their way into my pockets or find something else to hold. We've actually jokingly decided that if we could have a well behaved seven year old and just skip the first six years, that might make things better.

[quote="Cat, post:10, topic:251947"]
Finally, you're right--babies take 24/7 of your time and energy, and you just don't have the money and energy to do the things you did before you had kids. I realize that some women find their whole identity in being a mom, but I was raised in the 60s/70s, when the message to women was to escape the traditional roles assigned to women and find a career! Even though I didn't buy into that whole "feminist" mindset, I was influenced by it, nonetheless. There were times I really wanted out of the parenting thing.

Yes, we hired babysitters on a regular basis, since we didn't live near family and didn't have the luxury of dropping the girls off at Grandma's. But those few hours of "freedom" from the rigors of child care were not the same as the absolute freedom of being child-free.

However, I think that for many couples, parenting turns out to be the toughest job they'll ever love. I'm sure that if and when you have children, you will develop your own personal "style" of parenting in which your children are given the right amount of time and attention and love, while you are adults still pursue various interests.

[/quote]

I guess I'm also seeing so many parents talk about how wonderful and rewarding it is, but I just don't see it. It's kinda like bungee jumping or skydiving -- I'm sure it's a huge rush and people seem to enjoy it, but I don't quite understand it.

[quote="Cat, post:10, topic:251947"]
One thing that you have to remember is that you will, in all likelihood, initiate your children into your interests, and THAT is a rush!

E.g., from the time she was a baby, my older daughter was immersed in the world of theater and performing, because that's what I was interested in! During various rehearsals for shows, my daughter was in the theater or church, watching! And today--she's a professional stage manager! Our whole family is thrilled that an interest that all of us have always had as a hobby is now a real JOB, a profession, for our daughter!

And both girls grew up on the ice. This has been the greatest joy for our family. We've actually considered developing a "podcast" in which our family talks "figure skating." It's really fun when we all are together (rare now, since we live all over the country) and talk non-stop figure skating. Just toss us a topic, and we'll run with it, in several different directions, since all of us are interested in a different aspect of figure skating!

So having children is an opportunity to add new "disciples" to whatever your interests are!

[/quote]

The danger with this is also pushing your kids to do such things. I know I'm somewhat introverted, so my hobbies and passions tend to take that into consideration. If my kids develop more extroverted personalities, it just won't mesh well with my interests. They may not find what I do to be very interesting. It's a gamble, and it worked for you, but it's not a guarantee.


#16

[quote="kerebos, post:14, topic:251947"]

And yet, I'm sure you and me also know a handful of parents who are still perpetually adolescent.

[/quote]

So true. However, I find 50-ish parents who pepper they language with present day adolescent lingo, have piercings in their nose, eyebrow, lip, etc., new or refreshed tattoos especially pitiable.

I don't think that "having kids makes you more mature" is in anyway a globally true statement. "Properly raising children makes you mature" may be more accurate, but just being able to give birth doesn't guarantee anything.

True again, but on average and generally speaking, folks who are in the service of others and are not hyper-focused on themselves and are happier and better for society (even parents).

Essentially, we're both just not "kid people". A lot of people will interact with small children to some extent -- we're just, well, apathetic is the wrong word, but the best I can come up with. People often play with infants to make them smile and giggle and such, and I just cannot see myself ever doing something like that.

I was the same way and still am not really a "baby" guy, I have immensely enjoyed my children and others from the 3-4 year old age onward.

I have grown to really respect adults who can interact well with children and have grown to really respect their time they have given to my own kids.


#17

[quote="kerebos, post:14, topic:251947"]

Essentially, we're both just not "kid people". A lot of people will interact with small children to some extent -- we're just, well, apathetic is the wrong word, but the best I can come up with. People often play with infants to make them smile and giggle and such, and I just cannot see myself ever doing something like that. It's just not in my personality to act like that. Everybody says, "It's different when it's your own kid", but what if it's not? So we're heading into this phase of our lives with any real desire to do so -- not an active desire to avoid it, but not really wanting to get involved.

[/quote]

I'm not a kid person either. I would never go and play with children when I visit friends, it never even crosses my mind. But it is different with my own. I know many non-kids perople who are doing just fine as parents and are happy to have children.

It could be the case that you are over-thinking this. As usual, I blame the society and its anti-children culture. People often feel things have to be perfect before they have kids. I think that sometimes in life we just have to go with things. Don't be afraid, have faith and allow yourself an adventure called parenthood.


#18

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:17, topic:251947"]

It could be the case that you are over-thinking this. As usual, I blame the society and its anti-children culture. People often feel things have to be perfect before they have kids.

[/quote]

That's a very wise observation.

I think that sometimes in life we just have to go with things. Don't be afraid, have faith and allow yourself an adventure called parenthood.

And good advice.


#19

[quote="kerebos, post:1, topic:251947"]
Hello to all. I've been a lurker here for a little bit, but recently I've wondered about something that I'd hope for some input on. I've been married to my wonderful wife for a few years now, and due to some circumstances beyond our control (finishing school, getting jobs, etc) we had determined that avoiding pregnancy for a few years was justified. Neither of us were particularly eager to start having kids, but we'd figure that eventually it would happen once we were settled. Anyway, a few weeks ago we were discussing such things and determined that we've reached a point where we don't think we could keep morally avoiding having children anymore. The catch is that a) neither of us are thrilled about it, but figure that we got married with the intention of accepting the children God gave us, so we gotta do what we gotta do and b) most of our friends and colleagues who started down the family path are kind of scaring us in how much they've become "Mom and Dad" instead of who they used to be, but with kids. Honestly, looking around at society today, being responsible for a child is less scary than what people think parents should be, look like and act like. We're really eager to avoid b) forever, no matter what.

So, the advice I'm looking for, is did anybody else here enter parenthood with a little more apprehension than joy? I'm not talking about "Oh, this is wading into the unknown, it's kinda scary" kind of apprehension, but rather "I don't really want this, but it's what you're supposed to do, so we should do it". Secondly, is it possible for us to retain our identities as people outside of being parents? Difficulty -- is it possible for us to not have our kids taken away from us because we'd let them skin their knees and fail at things instead of trying to bubble wrap the world for them?

As an aside, my title is "Starting a family", but does anybody else think that the phrase a bit misused? Right now, myself, my wife, our parents, our siblings, their kids, etc -- are we not already a family? Our children would only be adding to the family, not starting a new one... but that's more of a semantic point.

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Here is a question for you, being a Catholic forum.

You think Jesus was a little " apprehensive" about Hie ministry on Earth?
Think He might have been a little less than excited about His passion?
Are you trying to live a Christ-like life?

Any single one of us raised in THIS world, and especially in these past couple of decades, have been brainwashed with the idea that life is about ME, My comfort, goals, pleasure, MY success, MY desires etc etc.
Parenting is the juxtaposition og that. Marriage and parenting is a vocation to LOVE.
Jesus showed us LOVE= sacrifice!

You will either embrace the sacrifice out of true and deep love when it comes to children, or they will be a burden until they will be old enough to serve you.

Selfishly, we all hope to have our children grow up, and love us and be mini me's, and then care for us when we're old. Well, then we have to do our own share of loving and caring and investing in them, as a matter of fact we have to do. WAY more because we have to set the example.

I was 23, had just finished university with honors, had some awesome career opportunities laid out before me, DH had a great job, life was marvelous and I didn't want a thing to change. 9 months later I had my first, and my life was completely turned upside down. I would look at my daughter and see a slave driver. Her purity and innocence and love won me over soon afterwards and I began to understand how empty life lived for myself was and how much of a way I had to go before learning the first thing about sacrificial love. Yes, DH and I were involved in all kinds of church activities, we were involved in local charity work etc but that is not even comparable to the sacrifices NOR the joys of parenting.

5 years later, we have 3 wonderful children, who get sick, keep us up at night, need us weekends and holidays but we have also grown to love giving of ourselves, to understand what it means " I came to serve", to know fullness and happiness in our daily lives even if I spend most of it feeding, cleaning and changing diapers and though for the time being, DH and I are primarily mommy and daddy- won't be this way forever- we also have a stronger relationship as husband and wife than ever.

If you do it with God's love you will reap MANY joys, if you do it just because, I certainly can't guarantee that.

Lastly, while you may be able to envision all the terrible things I.e you know how bad sleep deprivation feels, and hate the idea of having to plan things according to someone else's schedule, and poo is definitely not appealing, you cannot understand the joys and satisfaction of the first smiles, of hearing a little person call you "daddy", the closeness you can share with your spouse knowing you have co-created something so amazing nor the awe of seeing that little miracle unfold and grow right under your eyes daily.

Conclusion, fear of children is normal (pedophobia) - probably one of the biggest fears of our times, but it is not Christian. The closer you draw to Christ, the more you will be healed of it.


#20

[quote="LaFleurDeLis, post:5, topic:251947"]
Also, I think the term "starting a family" is just used to mean having children. Of course you and your wife as you are now are a family. I'm not sure why having children is the definition of "starting a family".

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Let's say you are both single children and have no family living in the country, if someone were to ask you " hey, do you have a family in the states?" would you say " yes, have my wife" or " no, I don't have family here"?

Spouses are a couple, but not family per se..
The two became one :)

"the man shall leave his father and his mother...." (Genisis) once the man marries his family becomes his spouse and his children. The man is henceforth PRIMARILY responsible for his wife and children not his siblings or parents or cousins. (see the catechism)

If you were to have problems arise between your parents and your wife or children you'd certainly understand this.


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