I've got baby fever, but I'm in no rush to actually have a baby

March 29 2013 | Guest post by Olivia O'Bryon
Charlie-11
Photo by Toni Scott / heidinphoto.com.
Recently I realized something a little startling: I know 17 pregnant women. Okay, maybe 15 now because one or two have popped. I am 29 going on 30 — this is the time where babies fall out of trees, or vaginas, or what-have-yous.

That is a whole lot of pressure to have my own. Babies, babies everywhere. I work on a staff of teachers with an average age of 30. Everyone is having a baby, or so it seems, especially in this world of Facebook feeds, where you may know hundreds of people, but it is those 17 you keep seeing over and over again that make it feel like everyone is taking that gigantic leap into motherhood. If one more friend tells me she is pregnant, I think I might have to run out and adopt twins.

Add to that a happy marriage, house, and a dog, and well, my biological clock is ticking. I'll admit it. I have baby fever. Now, here's the thing about baby fever. My logical brain has plenty of reasons for us to wait. However, as soon as the middle of my cycle rolls around, all I can think about is babies. Last weekend, I texted six pregnant friends just to see how those bellies were doing.

Baby fever is tantamount to obsession. Suddenly, everywhere you look there is a baby. Restaurants, grocery stores, gosh darn Facebook feeds. "Let's wait a few more months," the hubby and I will say, then baby fever will hit and I won't be able to think quite so clearly. Really, it's a sickness. Screaming, diapers, pregnancy horror stories, nothing will deter me. Baby fever prevents intelligently functioning brains from making rational decisions. Forget birth control.

Fortunately, it only lasts a couple days and then my brain returns. Not that I don't want children, or babies, I just have a bit more to do first. My husband needs time to establish himself in a new, entrepreneurial endeavor. I need time to get more comfortable as a teacher in a low-income school. I also have a few more words to write before I am forced to decide between teaching and writing and the balance of motherhood. Yeah, yeah, I know — you're never ready. Maybe that's why baby fever takes over: to ensure we have those babies before it's too late.

My solace in all this tortured waiting, I already have 30 kids. And, next year, I will have 30 more, and then two years later, another 30. When everything is said and done, I will have had hundreds of children. Hundreds. I am a fourth and fifth grade teacher. I keep the same kids for two years, so I have potentially fewer kiddos than many other elementary school teachers, but in a way that's what makes them more my own.

My current batch is nearing completion. We've shared the same small classroom for six hours a day for nearly two years. They know when I say, "I'm done," I'm done. In fact, sometimes, in the middle of a particularly aggressive admonishment, a student will ask me, "Are you done?" Talk about knowing each other's buttons. They expect me to help them with Band-Aids, listen about their newly found periods, and moderate their frequent disputes. You would think all of these challenges would make me want my own kids less, but the more I love these kids, the more I imagine what it is like to love my own.

I guess the baby fever really doesn't go away.

  1. Oooh, I know how you feel, girl. I've had baby fever since I was about 19, and it's just gotten worse as I'm getting older and older. Of course, it doesn't help that so many people I know are getting pregnant left and right, and the number of people I know getting pregnant seems to increase by the year!

    On the other hand, this would an extremely bad time for me to have a baby because I am about to start a new job after getting let go from a previous one. I also plan on getting married before I get pregnant for personal reasons. If everything goes well, we plan on trying to conceive a little over a year from now.

    To try to overcome the baby fever, I just keep telling myself that if I do all the things I need to do for now, then I will be all set to have babies and all the waiting will be worth it in the end.

  2. Word! I've got it, too. If we weren't preparing to move in the next year we'd probably be trying sometime soon. There's always something, right? I just remind myself that we're moving for that reason in the first place. So dang it, calm down hormones!

    • Yes, always something! I keep telling myself that the upcoming wedding I'm in and a bachelorette trip to Vegas are reason enough to wait a little longer… Doesn't really work though πŸ˜‰

  3. I totally understand. All I've ever wanted is to be a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, and now that I'm 25, my hormones are making it that much harder to stay on the birth control wagon. However, my logical brain always kicks in, reminding me that my partner and I are both unemployed and live in a travel trailer and I still have five years left of college. How the hell could we raise a baby?

    I just have to remind myself to be patient and that we're working toward our goals one step at a time. First, get a steady income. Then, build our house, get my B.S., and THEN maybe it will be time for children. These things take time, and it's not worth rushing anything just to satisfy my mommy-brain.

    • You're so right. I think it's really smart to look at it as one step at a time. I need to do the same thing, I just get super impatient, especially at 29! Be warned, it only gets worse… Sounds like you have an awesome plan though, stay strong πŸ˜‰

  4. I love this! I have been feeling this exact same way since my wedding 7 months ago. I'm so glad someone wrote this out so eloquently. I thought I was the only one feeling like "OMG I NEED A BABY…later." Thanks for reading my brain πŸ™‚

    • Exactly… married five months. Planned to start trying this august…then I lost my job. Now we're hoping for baby in 2015 instead of 2014.

      • Sorry to hear you lost your job– hopefully it turns out to be some sort of unexpected blessing, (even though I'm sure it doesn't feel like it). I always thought 2013 would be the year we had a baby, but barring any last second surprises, life had other plans for us too. Cheers to 2015!

  5. I had the crazy baby fever once too…and I caved! And of course the minute I got pregnant it turned to puppy fever. I got the baby and not the dog. Life's a trade off πŸ™‚

    • That's too funny. We just got our second dog a couple weeks ago… A short-term cure for my baby fever. You're definitely right, life is always a trade-off. Maybe a pup too eventually? πŸ˜‰

  6. Ack! I know other women get baby fever but it's always nice to be reminded that I'm not the only one that loses her mind every once in a while πŸ™‚

    I think it drives me even more nuts now because on the face of things it really is the perfect time for the hubs and me to start popping out kiddos. Except it isn't, damn you real life! Yes we have a house, a dog (though he would probably like to stay an only child), and he makes enough that I could quit my job to be a stay at home mom like we always planned. BUT he just opened his second business and is never home, my dad is having surgery for prostate cancer next week and just found out he has another aneurysm, and on a slightly happier note hubs and I agreed to run a 200-mile relay race in Sept.

    So no babies for me. I really don't know where I was going with this other than even when it seems like it might be the perfect time initially it might not be but maybe next year it will be our imperfect, perfect time. At least you'll have all those babies to cuddle in the mean time πŸ™‚

    • I loved reading your response. There is always something, or multiple somethings. Your excuses are better than mine. All I can come up with is that I just bought a bridesmaid dress for October, have a bachelorette party in Vegas to attend… and, oh yeah, I guess all that writing/husband job/becoming a better teacher stuff matters too. Not the right time for me either, even though my brain constantly tries to trivialize my reasons. Hope you find the perfect moment soon! Or some variation of a close to perfect moment πŸ˜‰

  7. Man, I love reading other women's stories about this because it makes me feel less like a lunatic and more like a normal human being who WANTS A BABY (not) NOW.

    It's a very weird thing… because I really *don't* want a baby yet. I'm focusing on getting my writing career off the ground and ideally I'd like our marriage to be a little more established before we throw a tiny third person in the mix (we've been married five months)… yet, on this deep, inexplicable, visceral level I want a baby desperately. Like, I had a scare and thought birth control had failed me, I was wrong, and I was bummed about it at the same time that I was relieved. What's up with that?!?

    In summary: HORMONES ARE WEIRD, GUYS.

    • Umm you just summed up my thoughts EXACTLY. I have had precisely the same thoughts in response to "scares." I don't know how we can be wired to feel so conflicted. It's like there is an override in our brain that tells us we must have babies NOW. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, made me smile and feel way less alone πŸ˜‰

      • I completely understand! It's been worse the last couple days since I just went off the pill and started charting. I simultaneously would like to start trying to get pregnant right now while I also want my husband to just get a vasectomy to avoid it completely.
        Hormones ARE CONFUSING!

        • Lol. I love that I'm not the only one who finds this urge completely confusing! I feel like the more it's possible the more intense the feelings, (and the swings between wanting one and not…).

  8. I totally understand this. I have been this way for the past 4 years, since my husband and I got married and bought a house. He has a son from a previous relationship and we have joint custody. He spends half the week at our house and the other half at his mom's. So I have always had a million reasons to put it off but and the baby fever is terrible! This past week was the worst. My husband has 3 women in his office that just had babies back to back to back. (Seriously, like one week after the other!) Two of the women came to visit this week and thought it would be funny to have them take a picture of my husband holding the babies and send it to me. Seeing my husband hold a cute baby, so not fair!

    • Definitely not fair! I think that's the hardest part, when you're surrounded by pregnant women and/or babies. I'm more than surrounded right now. And, coincidentally, we're going on four years of marriage. Thanks for commiserating with me, it helps!

  9. Thank you so much! You've managed to put actual words to what I've been trying to comprehend about my own baby desires! Thank you thank you thank you! I think I'll have to remember what Cali's said in times of OMG BABIES, 'hormones are weird, guys' coz they really are!

  10. I'm right there with you. We've been married 7 months and are both 30, and boy is my biological clock chiming with the DONG! of Big Ben. But my dear husband is underemployed, meaning money is super tight, and we still live halfway across the country from my family. I'm applying for jobs closer to home, and if that pans out it will mean better finances and more support. But in the meantime, it means a cross-country move and a new job, and that's not the best time to be pregnant. It's also weird because my friends are at extremes. Some of them are popping out kids, some are vehemently child-free. So I have to keep my baby crack under wraps, both to avoid being a creeper with my parent friends and getting weird looks from those people who are like "babies? ew." I'm glad there are more of us out there!

    • Oh man, this comment made me laugh out loud. I relate so much. This post was difficult to write because I worried I would freak out both my friends with kids and my friends without kids. Both groups are in such different camps. However, the secret is out now, so I might have to be the creeper and the weirdo for a little bit! Actually feels a little liberating… πŸ˜‰

  11. Toughest question any couple faces, I think. I respect that you and your husband are waiting. There's still plenty of time. You know when it happens? When you're "ready" for it to happen. That word has no definition in this context. It's just one of those things that is. You know you want one or two or however many — that's most of the battle right there. It'll happen. No need to rush. I frequently have talked about how I simply do not remember life pre-kids. You're doing the right thing — creating memories and strength in your relationship with your husband. Critical for the years ahead.

    • Yes, at the rate we're going, there will definitely be plenty of pre-kid memories. Thanks for the interesting perspective. I agree, it is a tough decision, which is why I find it so amusing how much of the decision is out of my control– the logical part of my brain shuts down and all I can think about is babies… A bit disturbing!

  12. this was very interesting to read, and the comments too!

    i feel the exact opposite. i feel no baby fever, at all. none. zero. and sometimes i wonder if that means i should never be a mom…? i dont know what it means. maybe it means nothing.

    • I'm no expert, but you might be surprised. I never thought I wanted a baby either, and when I hear women much younger than I am say they already have baby fever, I can't relate. Mine only kicked in a couple years ago. It might get you when you're least expecting πŸ˜‰ Then again, I could be wrong. I know happy women who never had children. I guess it's probably just different for everyone.

  13. In April my hubby will be 27 I will be 26 and we will be married for 7 years (EEK). And for some reason I feel like were not old enough. Were amazingly happy with two dogs, and a meek but beautiful home. But we dont even know what we wanna be when we grow up! We've got good jobs, he makes good money and I supplement working part time. Neither of our jobs are what we had in mind for our careers . Then It dawned on me a few months ago when my parents got arrested and found guilty of growing medical Marijuana(log story) that even if we line everything up correctly, shit happens that is our of our control. I still struggle between, "naw theres so much more I wanna do, travel, I enjoy sleeping in, we should get our ducks in a row first" and the opposite of " I Fracking LOVE kids!, there is never a perfect time, who says were too young, and I cant wait to be a mom!"

    We (future moms) wait so long, bide our time, and fight the fever. When some young girl turns around and tells us they are pregnant it throws us for a loop. "Wait people dont hyper plan this stuff, it just happens? Why cant it just happen to me too?" But No, we're waiting, for a written invitation from the universe that might not come!

    On a side note, I stopped tracking my period because I would Pee on 3 sticks when I was a day late. Counting days we did the deed and when i was supposed to ovulate. Then get frustrated and crestfallen when I didn't get two lines. WERE NOT EVEN ACTIVELY TRYING! It drove me crazy. It has defiantly eased up the crazy! I have plenty of time… but then again I've got Sleeping Beauty playing in my living room.

    • You capture the feeling of being conflicted so beautifully in your comment. I feel the same way. Up until a couple years ago, I was also in the same boat in terms of jobs/careers, but I finally found a space for myself in teaching and writing, (although, really, you never know where you'll end up next). We're also not actively trying, but I have the same response whenever my period is off– I think, maybe we let it happen, (and get excited!), and then disappointed while simultaneously irritated that it seems to just happen all the time for other people who want it far less. Then I remind myself I still have a lot to do and am happy with my child-free time… So confusing! I enjoyed your story, happy I'm not alone in this madness!

  14. I am 27 and zomg the babies on facebook! THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. It doesn't help that my husband's much-younger cousin and his wife just had a baby, so there's a chance of mounting pressure on the two of us. My mantra is "after grad school…can you imagine trying to do these classes with pregnancy brain? or with an infant?!" So we have a few years, during which time perhaps we'll learn to be better at keeping our apartment clean, move into a house, etc…Also we have two cats, who are an excellent snuggle-substitute for the time-being.

  15. So at the risk of being an unwelcome guest at this party … I have a confession. I have a baby & I have baby fever! For reals. Our daughter is 13 months & I have been plagued by "The Fever" off & on for a good portion of her life. One day I want a second baby with a desire that is stronger than 1,000 burning suns. The next day? I know I want more time with our girl. I want to nurse her as long as possible & not contend with another pregnancy while doing so. I want to funnel all of resources into her. I want to focus on her completely.
    So that's the bad news: Having a baby doesn't always cure you! Crazy, I know.

    • Ha! Me too! I had this same on again/off again baby fever that I wouldn't admit to having (the same relief and dissapointment whenever I got my period) until we did have a surprise and had an amazing baby girl. Right around her 1-year birthday I started getting it again… my theory is that by then you've gotten through the worst of the sleepless nights, are used to the diapers & the mess & adjustments to the parenting lifestyle… all that's left is the wonderful, awe-inspiring, love-gushing little being that you couldn't imagine your life without and you already miss how teeny-tiny they used to be.

      For me personally I'm glad that craving subsided (for the time being anyway) because she's now almost 2 and we weren't able to sell our house & get a more family-friendly one as soon as we would've liked. We're making it work with what we have for now, but another baby would be really tough… at the same time, the clock is ticking & we definitely want to have a little brother or sister for her! So we definitely have an incentive to keep our goals on track . But like any irrationally-baby-fever-induced pregnancy, we would make it work if it did happen a bit ahead of schedule too. And we wouldn't be able to picture it having happened any other way.

  16. Oh god, totally. I am 24, been married 7 months and this last week or two the baby fever has hit HARD. I have always wanted kids but omg. Everyone I know is having them and we're probably financially just about in a place where we could scrape by and whyyyyy can't I have one?

    Logically I know that my husband wants to do his masters degree and I want to get settled into my new job, and we both want a bit more life to ourselves first. Logically I also know there's really no rush.

    I am not often logical.

  17. So totally identify with this! Which is why I'm getting an IUD so there's no chance of user error for the next 5 years πŸ™‚

    • I just wrote a comment on my IUD before I read this….they work crazy good. My fiance and I should've had a million babies by now hahahaha

  18. Thank you for writing this! Baby-fever has taken over my life since my wedding. I suddenly went from "We'll enjoy a few married years, then visit the kid thing." to " OMG BAAABIESSS!!". The hardest part for me is that my my fever addled brain knows that my logical brain has few actual objections. I recently hit the career milestone I've been working toward for years in an industry that lets me work from home/make my own schedule. My husband's job is weekends only and provides us with health insurance and full-time pay. We're financially and emotionally stable. BUT, I'm not ready for the lifestyle change that baby-raising will bring… and the Baby Fever finds this an unacceptable reason.
    So, thank you for sharing, because it really helps to know I'm not alone!

  19. I feel you. I'm 26, have been married almost four years, and I've got the fever big time. Two of my nine coworkers are pregnant and, like you, I'm finding everyone on Facebook is preggo too. Thing is, my husband has been in grad school and we decided to wait until he graduates to have kids. That was an easy decision to make when we were 22 and first married- not so easy for me now. He graduates next month, thank goodness, and we're thinking by the end of this year we'll start trying. But when you've got the fever, man, everyday is a struggle. I think the best thing for me, honestly, has been getting OFF Facebook. I still check my notifications in case anyone who doesn't have my number needs to talk to me, but I refuse to look at that blasted newsfeed. It is not your friend!

  20. Oh my goodness, BABY FEVER!!!! Compounded by the fact they my hubby-to-be has it even worse than I do! We are getting married in 11 weeks…eeeek!…and I am determined to wait until after the wedding. I want to be able to enjoy my bachelorette party, etc etc. The good(?) thing is that I have an IUD, this thing works crazy good. So the only way we will get pregnant is if I take the step to have it removed. I AM TERRIFIED. At least ten time in the past 2 weeks I've picked up the phone, dialed the doctor's office, listened to the recording, freaked the hell out and hung up the phone. I have a 3yr old toddler, so its not the fact of being pregant or anything like that. And I want a baby with the future hubby more than anything. I keep telling myself to just wait until after the wedding because I have no idea what physical side effects I will have after taking the IUD out. But then I see a baby or my coworker brings her 4 month old in, and there I am googling the number for the doctors office again…. If only my man would stop mentioning babies literally at least once per day it might be easier to wait…maybe….ok probably not…

  21. This is exactly how I felt! I'm one of the ones who always wanted kids but would never have been ready to say "okay, let's do this" and give up all the independence & adventure of our married yet unencumbered & crazy busy life. My husband and I had both said we'd like to wait 2 years after our wedding to start thinking of having kids… 2 years flew by and we looked at each other & said "another 2 years." Neither of us would have ever said "now." It's terrifying knowing you're actively, willingly taking that step! Maybe that's why we're all so conflicted. We want this, but know how hard it's going to be and how much will have to change… so we internally battle these crazy mixed emotions month after month, and instead of consciously trying to conceive we get lazy with the birth control… and give fate a little opening to sneak in and give us that nudge we needed to plunge into motherhood. At least that's the way I look at it. And I couldn't be happier that our daughter showed up when she did, even though it wasn't the perfect time. It turned out to be the perfect time for us, and for her.

  22. Wow….I do not have this feeling at all. I'm 27, and my husband and I would like to have kids in a couple of years….*in theory*. I keep SAYING I want kids someday, but I don't really FEEL it. I think I'm just too introverted: I like to do my own thing, WHEN I want to do my own thing. Once baby comes….no more running off alone at random times to hike/read/antique or whatever. I'm also not one of those, "Ooo, baby!" people who coos over others' babies and drools over adorable outfits. I almost think I'm one of those people who'd be better off adopting a toddler…except that I figure the best way to make sure I'm crazy in love with my kid enough to put up with the rough times is to go the biological route to insure some serious biological bonding. *sigh* Maybe my clock will start ticking NEXT year.

  23. Jamie, I wouldn't be surprised if it does… not that everyone has to be driven by procreating but you sound just like me a few years ago πŸ™‚ 27 is still young to become a mother, for a lot of people anyway (although you may not feel that way when you see a lot of 20-something women having babies all over the place). For me, and a lot of my friends, I'm happy we got to really enjoy ourselves and have our lives together throughout our 20s before settling down to parenthood. My baby fever didn't start to hit me until I was over 30 & I never was a baby person either; I always felt a little fake with the obligatory oohing & aahing over them, and was always a bit weirded out by offers to hold someone's baby–for fear of breaking them and because I didn't really get the attraction. And I'm still not a kid person… I mostly just like my own! Although she's made me much more tolerant of others too now haha.

    I'm really trying not to sound like one of those "you'll see!" people but… just wait & see how you feel (I say without the know-it-all smugness that statement usually implies). You may feel differently in a few years or you may not, but either way it sounds like you'll do what's best for you, not what anyone else tells you to do. In the meantime live it up, girl. You have the rest of your life to be a mom if that's what you want.

  24. I'm 25, married 7 months and I have implannon so absolutely no accidents will be happening here. But I have a slightly different problem; the implant means that I can't 'get it up' the way that I used to. I've had little to no interest since I got the first implant put in at 20 (followed swiftly by a miscarriage, so I'm not entirely ruling that one out for killing my mojo).

    I want to get the implant taken out to see if that 'resets' my hormones (biology works like that, right?) since right now it's like I have none. No periods, no libido, no nothing. And no baby fever. We both want kids in the future and my husband's gotten more broody with some of our friends and family getting pregnant this year, although more broody means he's saying, "Maybe in two years when we graduate," rather than his previous, "Maybe in five years. At least five years. And we need to have bought a house," etc. 'Maybe in two years' within reason, of course. In two years we'll probably be moving house for his PhD and I'll be either training to teach English or taking another language degree.

    That said, I'd chuck my stuff out of the window if the deadline for kids got too close for comfort, though it pains me a little to type it. I'm only 25 so there's oodles of time, but if we want at least two kids (at most three) with a year or two (or three) in-between them, the 37 mark gets pretty tight.

    Not that having children after 37 guarantees you problems, or indeed that having children before 37 guarantees smooth sailing, of course. However, while I can just about always pick up my career later in life, or indeed find a way to do it part-time with kids (I want to teach English as a language) I can't leave having children too late without getting nervous. And as long as we're financially stable (read: all the bills are paid, we can afford some shiny things and still have savings) I'm not all that nervous about upheaval and so on. Maybe I'm being naive, but kids are portable, and there's not much I want to do in life that can't accommodate taking them with me or leaving them with my husband, family member, babysitter etc.

    Ah, but the aforementioned implannon – I don't want to live without a libido much longer. It sucks. It's boring. It's making my husband worried that he doesn't do it for me (he does, but it's like the connection from brain to bits is severed). But with implannon removal comes the faint possibility of pregnancy, even with my previous 4 years' safe experience with condom-only birth control, and that makes us both nervous, although I'm more, "Ach, the risk is tiny and worst case scenario, we'd work our way through it. There are worse things than ill-timed babies," and he's very much, "It would still be a huge derail for our plans, and I don't like creating risks, but you're unhappy, so I'm torn."

    If/when I get it removed, baby fever might hit me like a train, so that'll be . . . interesting . . .

    Also, I feel I should say that, while I would 'chuck my stuff out the window' and all that, I would not be alone in planning my stuff around kids. He wants to work from home as much as possible and have at least half the parenting duties. He wants me to have a career going before we start trying, a sentiment I very much agree with, and indeed it could be a real fight if I had to turn around and say, "I need to put this on hold. I can do my career later; we need to talk about having kids soonish if we want those two or three."

    Hopefully it doesn't come to that, but it's in the very back of my mind, prodding my 'career timeline creation'.

    • You could get the implanon removed and use a different form of contraception? There are other long acting things that are just as reliable.

      You shouldn't have to put up with not having a libido!

  25. I know this is old, but had to go find it to read again today. I'm so glad to know I'm not alone! I'm 25 and my bio clock just keeps screaming at me "BABY BABY BABY BABY BABY!!!!" It's like I have a baby radar for when someone brings theirs up to the office. It's crazy! I keep telling myself… finish the second degree, move back home to Seattle, and THEN maybe kids. If I have them first, I'll never make it back! I'm really glad I'm not on the pill where it's too easy for my irrational baby fever to take over and help me "forget" a pill… can't just yank out my Mirena without a doctor's appt!

  26. I get it all the time like everyday I see everyone getting pregnant, my older sister just had a baby and my nephew is so adorable and so like I miss him and that makes me want to have a baby of my own and I know like everyone having babies, and I go to the mall and having a baby is always in and I want that

  27. I wish I was less ambivalent about babies one way or the other. I thought I wanted babies until I turned 34 (months away from getting married) when suddenly I decided I wasn't sure. My new husband and I want to travel overseas and stretch our legs. We don't have money for travel AND a baby. I am a social worker, he is a chef and our families live out of state. So we decided on a life spent traveling for now. But now we are married and our families want babies and my mom wants grandchildren. I don't know what to say…
    Many of my friends have babies, but none of them seem happier for it and most are more stressed out than ever. The older their children get (toddlers now mostly) the less interested I am in procreation myself. It's a terrible place to be. I wish I was on one side or the other.

  28. I have two kids, the oldest 8 and the youngest almost 4. We might be done. Or we might have more… but later. We want to travel and are on the verge of doing so in another year. But yeah, irrational baby fever over here too. Pet fever too, and it doesn't make sure to get those on the verge of travel either. Le sigh.

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