Whenever people tell me they are going to have a baby, my first reaction is always, "What are you nuts?!" Fortunately, I am (sometimes) capable of quelling my first reaction in order to not be an asshole, so instead, after a beat, I give the requisite congratulatory "Squeee!" and move on because I know that the people telling me are (hopefully) not nuts and (probably) really do (think they) want to do this. If the person in question already has one and should know better, this is harder to pull off, but I (mostly) manage.
After all, I thought I wanted two, too, before I had a preemie, went through his infancy, got old, and thought, "What am I, nuts?!" My reasons for not having another are rational and understandable. Where I have trouble is in understanding how others have not come to the same conclusion. After all, most of us are not running a farm or factory on which we need forced labor of our own making, and, especially in urban or semi-urban settings, our lives are busy enough without introducing another wakeful, whining, demanding being into our existence.
Marriage is hard, even when you genuinely like and love each other. When you bring in this other creature, who inevitably becomes the focus of your lives because it can't keep itself alive, you often lose everything you liked about each other. You talk only about work and the kid. Mostly how to arrange work to deal with the kid. Once it is in day care, you can add money stress to your list of enjoyments, as you will basically be paying two mortgages, except one is in baby rent (our day car is presently two hundred dollars more than our mortgage, and those people still don't make half of what they should).
Almost eight years into our relationship and four years into our parenting, things are not easy. An in fact, they are not going very well. Finn is a happy, well-adjusted child (so far), and we will work it out, but when you take two busy lives and add another huge and animated responsibility, it's just asking for trouble. Someone will always wind up doing more over-all, and someone will always feel like he or she has lost something in the mix. Usually, it's both partners for that last one.*
While it's true that there is nothing like having a child, and I don't know what I would do if something ever happened to Finn, it's true that there is nothing like having a child (insert serious eye contact here). It swings both ways. If you want to name something and talk baby talk to it and have cuddles, get a dog. There are plenty that need adopting at many nonprofit facilities around the country. Don't step into parenting a child lightly.
Heck, we are not even considering a dog at least until this kid finishes his first year of school.
Obligatory adorable family photo to assuage mother-guilt (taken by Crystal Liepa, who is amazing):
*In our case, it's the same thing for each of us: me.