The decision to have kids is not an easy one for some. There is something to be said about the transition from single, to married, to married with kids. It’s a whirlwind. It’s a sacrifice. It’s definitely not something to be taken lightly.
When a woman on TikTok asked her followers to help convince her that having kids is “worth it,” one mom’s response perfectly summed up what it means to be a parent.
“I think if you're asking if kids are worth it, then you're not ready for parenthood,” writer Farrah Haidar says point blank. “I know that sounds harsh, but you're just not.”
Haidar goes on to explain that if you’re looking to get something out of having children, then having children might not be for you because that’s truly not what parenthood is about.
She is right on the nose. Especially in those first few months, an infant will drain you of all your resources and you’re not getting back anything, not even eye contact. It takes a few months for that first smile or giggle to fill your tank back up a little.
She also points out that no one can really tell another what parenthood is going to be like because every single parent’s journey is different.
“No one can tell you what parenthood is going to be like. You want to know why? Because every person's parenthood is completely different,” she explains.
“When you sign up to become a parent, you sign up for one of the wildest rides of your life that you have zero control over, zero preview of, and no one can tell you what's going to happen.”
Haidar says that the decision to have kids needs to be free of expectations because it’s a guessing-game. You never know what “kind” of child you’re going to get.
“You could have a kid with mental or health challenges that needs you to completely re-modify your life. You could have an athlete that makes you spend every weekend on a soccer field that you hate, or you could have a theater student that has you attending shows left, right, and center, but through all that, you're going to have to figure it out.”
That being said, Haidar wants to make it clear that just because parenthood can be unpredictable doesn’t mean that there is no happiness.
“There is joy in the giving, and I will tell you that kids, for me, are the biggest catalyst towards growth. They will test your marriage. They will test what you think about yourself. They will have, especially if you wanna be a good parent, they will have you healing parts of yourself you never even thought of,” she says. “They will bring you the highest joys and the hardest lows, and every stage will be different.”
To keep it very real, Haidar also sends a word of warning to women who are thinking of taking the plunge into motherhood.
“Also, I will say as a woman, no matter what you do, no matter how great your husband is, no matter what, you will bear a lot of the physical burden of having children just because you're the one birthing them. It's a reality. A biological reality,” she explains.
Instead of asking if kids are “worth it,” Haidar recommends asking if you’re willing to give and give and give until you think you can’t give anything else (and then give some more), and be willing to strap into the unpredictable, messy world of parenting.