Flip a Coin
Everyone goes on about how having a baby is the biggest decision of your life, the biggest commitment you'll ever make and you better think really long and hard about whether or not you want to do it and be absolutely 100% sure. I don't think that's true or at least I don't think it's helpful. Having a kid does change your life to some degree, but not as much as something like The Rapture would. Since I'm a stay-at-home-mom now there is a bigger day to day change for me than for someone who spends 40+ hours away from that little reminder of how much easier life was when you weren't skidding across the living room on loose train parts. And all day long now, I do boomerang between the extreme joy and extreme fury of being a parent, the mundane and the sublime collide every hour. Yet the question of having a kid, I really don't think that is such a big deal. You can't plan it out. Of mice and men again. Or isn't there that joke about, "How do you make God laugh? Come up with a plan." Have kids or don't. Either way probably won't go the way you expect it to.
It's true having a child has impacted my relationships, my "career", my writing, my band, my travel plans, my friendships, my family life, my free time, my ability to meet people on roof tops and street corners, my drinking habits, my future plans. But still, it's not like you stand there brushing sand off your pillow at night and think--maybe this wasn't such a great idea. It just is your life at that point. And you're happy the way you were before or miserable the way you were before, except this time you clap your hands and stomp your feet when you're the former. I just thought I should maybe tell others, especially others wavering on the whether or not to have kids question, that you can treat the decision lightly. That's how it's been treated throughout most of human history. You can't trouble yourself over making the right decision. It's like where you go to college or if you go at all or if you move to New York or if you stay in rural Iowa or if you become a doctor or if you write trashy romance novels or if you fulfill your life dream to see Graceland...none of these things is really all that big a deal, day to day. You don't question and constantly wonder about having made the right choice (unless you gave away your life savings planning for a Rapture that didn't happen and someone says, "Why are you so upset? It's not the end of the world," and you say, "Exactly, that's the problem").
That crap about "You'll live with this decision for the next 18 years" is just obnoxious. It's true we don't want people having kids who aren't capable of taking care of them, but I have never seen any correlation between getting all the ducks in a row before having one and willingness to spend evenings lining plastic ducks along the edge of the bath tub on the other. If having kids is a big deal, it's because people (like me) try to carry on certain aspects of their lives as if they didn't have kids. And even then the kid-factor is simply a big deal that obscures something else that would have been the big deal of the moment. There is almost always something. Most of us can't think in front of tigers, and don't have much opportunity. Until then we'll harnass the anxiety from the fight or flight we didn't have to fight or fly from, and spread it out all over the place, to sippy cups, deadlines, bedspreads, something mildly insensitive someone we just met might have said.