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The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Mother (From Someone Who Doesn't Really Know)

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Oxana Denezhkina via Getty Images


It was 7 a.m. on a particularly frosty Mothers' Day morning a couple of weeks ago, and I was lying in bed wondering how on earth my mother cared for me during the winter.

The cold weather is not ideal for getting out of a warm bed, especially if it's to calm a screaming baby. It's also not the kind of weather to be out at early morning sports either, although, I think I could manage some banana pancakes with smiley faces on them. I may even have all the ingredients in the fridge!

And so, on my quiet Sunday morning, I started questioning whether someone will ever utter the words "Happy Mother's Day" to me... Being the list maker that I am, I opted for some pros and cons.

  • Bringing new life into the world. I hear that this is pretty special. It's coined "the miracle of life," and people make it sound pretty damn awesome. Although, I can't help but wonder if I would get the same sense of joy from growing a vegetable garden.
  • Fostering a child's development. It would be awesome to watch as a little person starts to question the world, all the while I'm reading to them and answering questions like, "Why is the grass green?" and, "Why is the sky blue?" I am a teacher, and it's incredibly satisfying to be involved in the intellectual and creative development of young people, but would I want to be a teacher 24 hours a day?
  • That warm, fuzzy, family feeling. I did love, and still do love, being part of a family. Starting one of my own would give me the opportunity to recreate that.
  • Added responsibility. Sometimes I don't know how I manage to get myself out of bed and fed in the morning. How am I going to cope when I am responsible for a little person who -- especially in their formative years -- can't take care of themselves?
  • Sleep depravation. I kind of covered this one earlier. I really don't like the idea of losing valuable sleep, especially in the cold. Friends tell me it gets easier, although, I'm not sure how; when my dog was sick last week and I had to get up to him numerous times during the night, it didn't seem to get any easier.
  • Money, or more accurately, lack of money. I am not a big consumer -- I live a very simple life -- but I do love to travel and I would like to continue traveling. Everyone says, "You can still travel with a baby", but I have been that person in the seat in front of your child on the plane, and it's not great. Then there's the cost of having them in general -- braces, glasses, musical instruments, sports, clubs, social activities and birthday parties... the list of money-sucking activities goes on.
  • The whole career thing. As a member of the infamous Gen Y, I dabbled in quite a few careers before finally resting on a blend of teaching and writing. I don't know if I am prepared to give that up. I know this is where lots of people are going to shout at their computers: "You don't have to give it up, you can have it all!" But I just don't know. And that scares me. When you have kids, they're supposed to take priority right?
  • All that pre-planning: I have friends who are deciding which neighborhood to live in for their kids to go to the best schools, and they have only just gotten pregnant! I can't fathom planning two years in advance, let alone six. Or more.
  • What if I have a horrible child? Everyone tells me it's nurture over nature and I'm sure they're mostly right. But there are always exceptions to the rule. What if the old nature kicks in and I have this horrible, hyperactive child that the neighbours curse, the teachers cry because of and no one wants to babysit?
  • What if I am not a good mother? People who know me, and want me to start a family, keep telling me that I would make a wonderful mother. And I guess I can be caring, kind and considerate. I am patient and loving (most of the time), I have a clean house, I can cook, I am healthy and I love teaching people stuff. But I have pretty high standards, and I had a brilliant mother to set those standards. What if I don't meet them?
  • Population control: We live in a world with a fast-growing population, and there are already too many children who need good homes. Should I be bringing another child onto the planet when I could be working towards giving a child already in need a good life? I probably ask myself this one the most.

My, there are certainly more cons on that list. Are you unsure about whether you want to become a parent? How do you feel about the whole idea? Please share in the comments section below.

Photo: Mother and child by mrhayata licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.