I was asked this question yesterday by an old work friend in relation to having a child. He’s been with his lovely wife for most of the time I’ve known him – which is a good few years, easily five – and just like most couples the question has started to loom. As is often the case, she is ready, but he remains apprehensive.
This was the first time he had seen me since I gave birth. The last time he saw me I was a pregnant, water-retaining whale in a fancy dress at our company’s award ceremony for managers. It was kind of hard to miss what was happening, but I guess they hadn’t started talking about it at that point in time.
“Is it worth it?” He asked me, eyes attached to the child straddling my hip. It took me a few moments to realise precisely what he was asking me. I thought like most co-workers he meant was it worth it returning to work as a casual after being a manager for so long.
I can’t remember my response verbatim, but this would be pretty darn close.
“I won’t lie and say it’s easy, because it’s not. Late nights, early mornings, giving up things – but nothing, NOTHING, beats listening to him laugh and seeing his face as he learns new things and enjoys playing.”
He nodded along. Whether he was convinced by my words or not, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure he has no idea I even have a blog, but I’m going to write like I’m talking to him still. So Matt:
Sure, you give up things. For example the only reason I was there was because we had tried to go watch a movie, but after an hour Xander just couldn’t take it anymore so I left (luckily the tickets were free, so I really didn’t care). Having a child is more rewarding than the value of those lost or once common now rarely done things. It goes beyond just looking at that perfect face and laughing along with the most infectious giggle ever created. It even goes beyond the sense of accomplishment as you teach him how to talk, walk and play new games. You learn to value those precious little snippets of time and use them more productively, you enjoy those rare things far more now they are rare and you discover a whole new world through the eyes and actions of your offspring.
I waited to have children. T-J openly confessed he couldn’t wait to have kids very early on in our relationship and I was straight-forward in my reply that I did want them but it was going to be a while before I would be ready. I calmly explained I was too selfish and immature. I knew these things about myself. I could not have been the loving mother I am today six years ago when we first were married. Waiting until you are ready is important but there is also a line between wanting to wait and not wanting at all. What you need to assess is which option is you. Don’t rush to it. If your partner is the right person they are willing to wait (just ask T-J, he waited 7 years). But I’ll answer your question right now.
Is it worth it?