Worried if you should have kids or not? Just can’t seem to decide? And finding the question is starting to haunt you in a way you aren’t sure is normal?
Anxiety is driven be fear-based thoughts about the future. And kids are a future possibility. So if you are already prone to anxiety, the having kids question can be one your mind loves to spiral out on.
For some, the question of 'should I have kids' triggers low self-esteem. "Am I worthy of kids, would I be a bad parent, what if I can’t handle it, who would want to have kids with me, anyway?" And low self-self-esteem is a causal factor of depression.
It’s also possible for the kid question to raise identity issues. An example is if you come from a close-knit family where it’s expected you will have children. Are you willing to give up your family’s approval, and who you would be without it? But if you do have them, would you be giving up your true self?
Of course deciding about having kids is also a major issue in many relationships. It can either be that one person wants them and the other doesn’t, or that both are uncertain and flip flopping.
In both cases it can cause arguing and upset. The issue can also become a sort of power tool in the relationship, with one partner using it against the other in ways that can be damaging.
The idea that therapy is only for when we are falling apart is outdated. Therapy is wonderful for navigating big life decisions and changes.
Here are just a few examples of how it can help you decide on kids:
1. Get clear on your own values vs. those of your family, peers, partner.
Identifying our personal values is incredibly powerful. We can feel as if a fog is lifting as we realise that we’ve spent our life living out the values of other people. When we really know our real values, we can then align our decisions with them and feel better faster.
2. Clear out limiting beliefs.
Sometimes what drives our uncertainty about having children is outdated beliefs about the world and others that we’ve carried around since childhood. For example, if as a child we decided ‘the world is a dangerous place’, we can still have that buried in our unconscious. Of course we are worried about having kids if we think the world is unsafe!
3. Learn to listen to your real self.
Often the soundtracks in our heads aren’t even our own. We have the voices of our parents, or people from our past. Therapy helps you zone out the static and start to hear your own needs and wants.
4. Communicate clearly.
If having kids is an issue with you and your partner, couples counselling creates a safe space to communicate in constructive over destructive ways. You will also learn how to truly listen and support each other.
5. Heal old traumas.
Childhood trauma, left unhealed, knocks our ability to trust ourselves. And if we don't trust ourselves, we won't trust our decisions. We'll fall into the pattern of doing things to please others instead of taking care of our own needs. And we certainly won't trust ourselves to be a parent.
Children are a big life change, and taking the decision seriously is one thing.
Letting it get the best of you is another.
If the kid question is honestly causing you depression or low moods, or is endangering your relationship with the partner you love, isn’t it worth seeking some unbiased support?