We read and reviewed The Baby Decision How to Make The Most Important Choice of Your Life by Merle Bombardieri. The book promises to help couples take the time and make the right decision regarding having babies.

Why we chose to review it

Both of us see parenting as the most significant responsibility in life. We believe that such a commitment is a decision that should be well-thought of and planned. Although we are perfectly happy with our life right now, we are in the stage where we have to consider the biological clock for child-bearing.

The baby decision is a topic that we have been naturally exploring and discussing with no definitive conclusion either way. This book looks promising in providing some guidance and sparking exciting discussions around this important question. Additionally, the book had great reviews. Interestingly the book was first written in the eighties and then later modernized to be more politically correct.

Key takeaways

Everyone should decide for themselves: a life with a child/children or a life without a child/children. Actively making a decision is very important to live the life we choose to the fullest. These decisions can be:

  1. I want to have a child
  2. I do not wish to have a child
  3. Let’s give it xx months/years and then re-evaluate

Not everyone is suitable to be a parent. Two happy childless individuals can be a lot more productive to the world compared to two unhappy parents and their two miserable children. Also, life can be just as fulfilling and meaningful without having a child.

When we do not actively decide and reside in a “let’s see mindset”, the topic will always be at the back of our heads. It can subconsciously prevent us from living life to the fullest.

The book breaks down the idea of having a child into small pieces, which helps explore whether you have a complete picture of what it means to have a child. You can explore your expectations on the child, the situational challenges, and solutions with the following questions:

  • Do you want a child, or do you want a specific process/stage of having a child? Are you attracted or not attracted only to the childbearing part? Are you attracted or not attracted only to the child-rearing part? Are you attracted or not attracted only to the crying/screaming baby stage? How do you feel about the cute toddler stage? How about the rebellious teenage stage? How do you feel when the child is an adult and can give you company when you are old?
  • Do you want a child, or do you only want a child that fits your specific expectations? Do you imagine only a healthy child? Do you imagine a specific gender only or a set of particular traits only? Every child is an individual. What if your child does not meet your expectations?
  • Do you not want a child, or is it the situational challenges that you do not desire? Is it the headache from the messy houses, from the sleepless night, from the difficulty of having a date night? Can you improve these situations? What if you can afford a babysitter or a full-time helper? Does it change how you feel about having a child?

It is not about making a decision we will not regret in the future. Either way we decide, it is likely we would feel regret from time to time. It does not necessarily mean that we would make a different decision if we had the chance. It just means that we are humans. The goal is to make a decision we would regret less in the future.

Actionable advice

  1. Use visualizations, do arguments with yourselves wearing the two different hats, borrow your friend’s babies and kids for a day to explore how you feel about situations you would encounter as a parent. The focus of these exercises is to help you analyze how you feel about parental concerns.
  2. Talk to friends that have decided on parenthood. Talk to friends that have agreed on a child-free life. Understand what their motivations are, what are their challenges, and how they live the life they chose to the fullest.
  3. Once you make your decision, own it. Couples who live a child-free life by choice are still unfortunately subject to society’s negative judgment.

How we liked it

This book made us think of childbearing and child-rearing with a long-term and holistic perspective. We know that life can be meaningful and fulfilling without having a child, but this book makes us realize that our views and emotions around this topic are limited to our current stage in life. We particularly enjoyed the first half of the book when the author emphasizes the importance of long-term emotion in answering this life-changing question through thought-provoking questions and practical exercises. This question cannot be answered solely based on logical reasoning. The activities in the book helped us discover where our true feelings lie.

Fun: 8/10 | Thought-provoking: 8/10 | Actionable: 9/10