Hungry? There’s a pill for that. Tired? There’s a pill for that. Don’t want to get pregnant? Well, we all know there’s a pill for that too. But what about a pill to prevent the urge to have a child? To date, there’s unfortunately no such thing. Even those of us who are extremely happy with their childfree lifestyle still succumb to Baby Fever.
When a close friend of mine and fellow blogger Jamie was trying for a baby, it was definitely an exciting time. I’m pretty sure I asked her everyday whether or not she was pregnant. She was only a few weeks along when she shared the news with me so I got to take part in the secret until she announced her pregnancy publicly. If I told you the thrill didn’t effect me, I’d be lying. I started picturing a similar life for myself. Would I have a boy or a girl? What name would Colin and I choose? I could even visualize our spare bedroom transforming into a gender-neutral nursery. A private Pinterest board was made to spawn even more thoughts and ideas.
To tell you the truth, it wasn’t very difficult to picture my life as a mom as being childfree was a fairly recent decision. The more I conferred with Jamie, the more sure I was about wanting a baby. I began to make excuses for each and every one of my reasons for not wanting to have children.
I then discussed this somewhat irrational plan with Colin. While he did chime in, he didn’t actually have to. As soon as I heard the words coming from my mouth, I realized they were foreign. I continued with my spiel for what felt like an eternity and it became obvious what had happened. Baby. Fever.
When it hits, it hits hard. Since there’s no magic pill to counteract the effects, I’ve prepared a list of my top 5 homeopathic remedies:
1. Talk to people with varying lifestyles
Baby Fever is quite contagious so if you surround yourself with others who have it, watch out! That’s why I recommend spending some time with people who have made a variety of choices. When you can catch her, grab a cup of coffee with that neighbor who travels for months out of the year. Arrange a date-night with the older couple whose kids are now grown and out on their own. Get a well-rounded opinion of life with and without children and it should help you refocus on your own goals.
2. Draft a Pro/Con List
I am a chronic list maker so this is something I actually did after talking to Colin. Fold a piece of paper in half and create two headings. I believe I wrote
“Babies” and “Anti-Babies” to keep it somewhat fun. I found I not only had a greater number of reasons (cons) in the Anti-Babies column, but the reasons also carried more weight. For example, one of my personal reasons for not having children is due to a health condition. That con outweighs the pro of “babies are so cute”…I’m not making fun, I actually wrote that.
If you have been committed to remaining childfree for some time, you may have already made a similar list. Hang it on your fridge or revisit it from time to time to starve that Baby Fever!
3. Babysit for a friend or relative
My very first job was at a daycare and I spent three years as a nanny before becoming an E.C.E. teacher. I obviously love children so I am not encouraging you to babysit to horrify you into remaining kid-free. Instead I recommend this because sometimes you may wonder what you’re missing out on. Babysitting is a great way to gain some perspective. You may find it to be a lot of work. You may even find it rewarding. But if you don’t ever spend time around children, you will never find out how you feel about it. Just like I told the kids in my class when they were served tuna noodle casserole, “You can’t say you hate it if you’ve never even tried it.” They hated it.
4. Adopt a pet
One symptom of Baby Fever is the desire to care for a living thing. But who said it has to be human? Adopting an animal is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly or made on a whim, much like having a baby. But if you are happy in your childfree or DINK life and can care properly for a pet, then by all means do so. According to the ASPCA, 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats enter animal shelters around the nation each and every year. Visit your local animal shelter and you may just come home with very own fur-baby.
5. Get out of town
Being surrounded by the same houses, the same people, and the same routine day in and day out can cause you to think about changing things up. Baby Fever can result from Cabin Fever, after all. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. Not long ago, Colin and I came home from work after a long week and decided to book that night at a campground in a neighboring town just ten minutes away. Being out in nature has always helped us to regroup. Plus, spontaneity is one of my favorite reasons for staying childfree.
I’d really like to know your thoughts on these remedies. Do you have any suggestions to add? Let me know if the comments section below!