• arekidsforme

Podcast Episode #10 - Saoirse & Colm

In this episode, I speak to Saoirse McHugh and Colm Cafferky about what it is like trying to decide whether to have children or not, and being very uncertain about that. We look at the many factors they are considering including the environmental impact of having a child, the type of world a child would be born into, the need for financial security, concerns about the physical and emotional impact of pregnancy and the fear of being left out, whichever decision they make. 



Episode Transcript:


Mgt O Connor

Welcome to the Are Kids For Me podcast. This podcast is for you if you have ever asked, or are currently asking yourself this question. It's a big question which can be hard to answer for lots of reasons. And I am hoping to provide you with some information that can help. In each episode I will speak to people with personal and/or professional experience in this area. My name is Margaret O'Connor, I am a counsellor and psychotherapist who offers specialist counseling on this topic. I conducted my master's research on how women in Ireland make the decision to become mothers or not. And I really really loved talking about this topic. I hope you find it useful.


Today, I am delighted to be talking to Colm Cafferky and Saoirse McHugh. Colm and Saoirse are in their 30s and they're both from Achill Island, Co. Mayo, having spent different periods of their life studying and working elsewhere in Ireland and abroad. They started going out three years ago and have settled in Achill for the foreseeable future. Saoirse is an environmental activist who has worked on agriculture projects across Central America, as well as having two whirlwind election campaigns in Ireland. She's a keen grower, baker and weight lifter. Colm is a screenwriter who enjoys Gaelic football, having one sat on the bench for Mayo. We discuss what it's like trying to decide whether to have children or not, and being very unsure about that decision. We look at the factors that Colm and Saoirse are considering, which include the financial implications, the lack of rental security, the impact on their lifestyle, concerns about the physical and emotional impact of pregnancy, and the fear of being left out, whichever decision they make. I'm really grateful to Saoirse and Colm for a very honest and open conversation on this personal topic. And I really hope that it might help others in a similar situation.


So I just want to welcome you, Saoirse and Colm. I'm delighted to be talking to you. From from Limerick to Mayo this evening. And yeah, so I was wondering if you could just maybe give us a bit of background information on when you met, how long you're together, things like that.


Saoirse McHugh

Off you go!


Colm Cafferky

Okay.. so we're both from the same place, like so we've known each other even though we're a few years apart, we've known each other sort of knocking around over the years. And we started working together then..about four years ago. Yeah, and got to know each other better, and then started going out then about three, just over three years ago. And, and so yeah, what else?


Saoirse McHugh

Yeah, I suppose. Um, like Achill is a really small place. So we always did know each other like my, my aunt was his aunt's bridesmaid. My uncle played football with his dad and they used to go on like football trips. So I suppose we did always know of each other, you kind of think, like, I've always thought growing up in somewhere like Achill, I always think like, you know, if you're not already going out with somebody, you can't even imagine who else is knocking around that you would end up going out with you think like, oh, you know, I burned through all the, the,,


Mgt O Connor

eligible?


Saoirse McHugh

Yeah, all the eligible people. But I suppose I had come back from Alaska, and you were back from Australia, and we just ended up kind of going out.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, and what..what is daily life, like generally, what kind of things do you do? Or how do you spend your time?


Saoirse McHugh

Well, so I, so we started going out and because we were living in Achill, we ended up moving in together probably after six months, which maybe if we were, if like I wasn't living with my parents, we wouldn't have done so quickly. But you know, they're the joys of living in Achill. And so then I suppose we've been, it feels sometimes like we've been going out longer because we've been living together for almost three years as well.


Mgt O Connor

Ok.


Saoirse McHugh

And daily life now, and I suppose with the Coronavirus that it is a bit different but it does involve a lot of chickens, a lot of gardening and you'll you'll go off to work. So our house is quite small. And what was happening was he you know, he's a writer and he'd be trying to write here, and I'd be talking or I'd be playing a video or I'd be like will you get this, will you do that and he'd be distracting himself. So he goes up, his sister has a chalet. And he'll go and work in there for a few hours. And I have gotten myself a bit of office space. It's just if I go to it, because I'm such a procrastinator, and I think, like, yeah, I think when the whole Coronavirus thing is gone or there is a vaccine for it or something..you know, hopefully, we'll be able to know if we want to move out of Achill or not. But for now it's quite, I suppose it's quite a steady slow pace of life isn't it.


Colm Cafferky

Yeah, yeah, like you're near, there's lovely beaches nearby so in the summer, it's great. We use that a lot. At this time of year, a bit less so much but it's still very good. Gardening is definitely, growing veg is probably one of the nicest things. We'd always be off to some thing, protest or some event somewhere here and there again, you know, when you can.


Saoirse McHugh

It does feel like, sometimes it feels like we're the only young people in Achill though. Not even like we're that young..


Mgt O Connor

Okay, what would the population be generally?


Colm Cafferky

It's roughly about two and a half thousand but most of the people like when you look through the year you did the leaving (State exam in Ireland - Leaving Certificate), and they're nearly all gone. You know, most of them are gone by immigration, it's rampant like. And, and some come back and some settle but most of the time people are gone.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, yeah.


Colm Cafferky

It's an older population as well.


Mgt O Connor

Okay. Which I suppose leads us into the topic for this evening. So yeah, so, yeah. When when did the conversation or the topic of children come up? Or do you remember when ye started talking about it?


Colm Cafferky

I think we had spoken about this before we even started going out. I remember thinking about things.. there would be a bit of a catastrophist in both of us in relation to the environment break down and all that. But I remember and I thought I knew a good bit even before, long before I knew Saoirse, I was like what is the world gonna be like, in 20 years, 40 years, it's going to be a bit crazy like, and then getting to know her and her in depth knowledge of how awful it's going to be.. that that didn't allay much of those fears. So I think that we touched on it even before we started going out.


Saoirse McHugh

I suppose we, like we had talked, you know, almost more conversationally like would you ever have kids, but between us, I imagine, we started talking about like, would we ever have kids together maybe like a year ago. All my friends started having kids. Like, three, three of my close classmates have had kids in the last two weeks. And at the same time, about a year ago, like all your family started having kids, like his brother and his two sisters all started having babies. So it was kind of, we were looking at each other, like, sooo will we have kids? And, and we do probably talk about it, like it comes up maybe every two weeks or so. You know, and it's not always a big in depth conversation, but we never find the answer either.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, okay. So what kind of things do you talk about? What do you consider as factors?


Saoirse McHugh

I'm terrified of missing out on something and making the wrong choice.


Mgt O Connor

Does that go either way? Whether you do or you don't? Or just..


Saoirse McHugh

Yeah,


Colm Cafferky

And, and I love kids, I definitely love kids but looking at everyone who's having them, they're all consuming. Like, there's no, it's a huge commitment. So, so there's, there's that like, it would be it would be everything. If you're having a kid I think you'd have to give it everything you know, and I suppose we're kind of we're in a nice position in life where we don't earn much but we both are doing the things we want to be doing at the moment. I think that would change very much if you had a kid, you'd have to be saving up for nappies and everything. And, and, and again, then wondering about what kind of world they'd be coming into in 20, 30, years...


Mgt O Connor

Is that is that quite an important factor like or would you vary between you know, at different times, would you put emphasis on different factors or is that there all the time, the condition of the world and..


Colm Cafferky

I can't escape it anyway. Yeah.


Saoirse McHugh

Yeah, I often think of it, obviously, I would never say it to anyone..


Colm Cafferky

Except on a podcast!


Saoirse McHugh

Except on a podcast, yeah (laughter). And, you know, and I, I know that, like life can't stop. You can't just stop life. That's ridiculous. The only reason you would want the world for, you know is for life to exist in it. And and you do hear as well the argument saying oh, well, you know, people consume so many resources, you know, if you can reduce your carbon footprint, you can reduce all this by not having kids and I don't fully buy into that either. Because like, technically yes, if there were no people, we would not be in this problem. But then, you know, what's the point? And you know there'd be no people to save it for? Or I don't know, I don't think that's much of an argument. And, but it is always there. But then I think like, you know, babies are so versatile, and kids are so versatile, and you can just, you can have a baby, and you wouldn't necessarily have to... So I suppose one of the things we often think about is like, you know, we're quite free now in that like that we don't earn a lot, but the pair of us can put up with a really cold house. And, you know, maybe things you might feel bad bringing a kid into. Like, I also think, you know.. you can, you know breastfeed for a few years, so you don't have to worry about that immediately. Like, people have had kids forever. It's not like you need, because I've often thought of kids..and I know, this is silly, but like the cost of them, you know? And then we're, you know, where would we and we don't really have a hugely secure housing situation. And we don't have.. neither of us have a secure job. So I often think is it that you have to change all that and all of a sudden, be.. have all these secure things? Or do you not have to do that? I don't know.


And I can imagine so many people can relate to that. Because in all kinds of different ways, you know, because of the rental market and housing and precarious work situations, I suppose we're we're kind of led to believe that there's a cycle isn't it, like, you know, you get a job and you buy a house and you do all those things. But that doesn't happen, and it can't happen for everyone. So then, where does.. if you're wanting to have a baby, where does it fit in? In the order of those things yeah... Okay, so there's really practical considerations. And, and, I suppose, I mean, the environmental aspect is quite practical as well. I know, sometimes it might feel a bit abstract for people, but it's very much part of your values and kind of how ye live your life as well. So it's quite, it feels very real to ye as well as a factor. Yeah.


Colm Cafferky

Yeah. It's one of those things when once you've looked at it and really thought about it, there's no looking away.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah ok..I think it's interesting, you know, it has become so much more of a topic, I think, or it's become more..is it mainstream as a topic in the last few years, the environmental aspect and population and, and sustainability where, I don't know if it was an issue for people, even five years ago, or 10 years ago, maybe in Ireland. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong on that but I suppose it feels like it's getting more attention lately.


Saoirse McHugh

Yeah. Yeah. I find myself.. like we we met a man you know, there recently and he's 85. And I found myself looking at him and thinking, oh, my God, what I would do to be 85 now. To have lived my life, thinking like, oh, there's a hole in the ozone layer there. Oh is there, oh, well (laughter). That was great. Like, I would love that.


Mgt O Connor

Wow. Okay. Okay. You think he had a good..He hit a good time? (laughter)


Saoirse McHugh

Yeah, I just get so afraid. Like, you know, they were all reporting now, in just last year, and the year before..probably maybe two years ago was the first time I heard you know, oh, if the Amazon forest loses a certain amount, and it will become savannah because it won't be able to create it's own rainfall patterns. I saw an article there like and yep about 40% of the Amazon is on it's way to becoming savannah and I was like oh that was quick.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, okay. So something that sounds quite dramatic is actually happening. Yeah. Okay. I can see like that, that has a real effect on you like that makes you really sad. Which is should. Like I mean, it is a sad thing. But I think a lot of people I don't know, do people maybe not pay attention or it just feels all those things feel very far away. It's hard to connect what's happening in the amazon with..


Colm Cafferky

It is yeah.. And it's all it's all abstract to think of until it knocks on your door and there's a fire outside your door or your water's dried up, I suppose. Which is, which is the problem with a lot of it like. It's just not a consideration. Like you know, maybe we're maybe like, I hope we turn out to be crazy (laughter). That'd be great. Like, in 20 years time and everything's just a okay. Yeah. That would be nice. Okay, yeah.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, so the conversation started. And as you said, you dip in and our of it, um, and then it's obviously quite a current topic because with your friends and family, there are babies and people having babies around you. So what's that experience like? Like is it something that you can come and go from? Or do you feel like it's there all the time for ye?


Saoirse McHugh

And, for me, anyway, it's quite, it's quite regular, but it's tied into a whole load of different concerns. So like, I have this persistent oh, my God, what am I doing with my life? I'm 30. I have no idea what my life is gonna look like in 10 years, or 20 years or five years. And, and in there is should I have a baby, should I not, can I have a baby? I don't know. And, and it's, I, I'm just so afraid of making the wrong decision and regretting it. Like I was just saying today, I thought, I'd almost like and I know, I know, that's not the case because, you know, if I wanted a baby, and I couldn't have one, and, or, you know, I know that people do end up being in situations they don't want to be in. But part of me is like, oh, I'd love the decision to be taken out of my own hands.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah. And but no, I know and a lot of people say that. So it's almost the burden of choice. So if it just worked out one way or the other, and you didn't have to think about it, you'd probably just accept it and get on with it. But it's it's having the freedom of that choice can be really difficult. Yeah.


Saoirse McHugh

Like we were saying, you know, if, if I did just become pregnant, like we'd probably keep the baby. But then also, if I didn't, then we wouldn't, and I don't know. Like, it just, I just can't I can't seem to find a way to make the decision. What about you, is it persistent for you or only when I bring it up?


Colm Cafferky

No, it's not. It's not persistent for me. It feels like something that..and we are only going three years as well. It feels like something that we haven't arrived at the crossroads of yet. Of the like, okay, it's make or break. Do we? You know, do we have to do this now? I'd always thought about it as something like that it was just sort of the natural order of whatever you grow up and have a baby. And without actually ever thinking did I want that. Yeah. So I've never been fully, like, set on it. But I've always liked kids so yeah, it's not like it's this is this thing that hangs over us every day. Yeah, in my head, I feel like we haven't arrived fully at the point where we have to say it, right this is it, we are doing it or we are not.


Mgt O Connor

Okay. And it's funny, Saoirse because I googled something about you earlier, and your age came up. So you're 30 and I kind of looked at that and said she's very young and then went oh, yeah, actually.. because in my head you are (laughter) but in these terms of things you're kind of in the prime decision making age bracket so that..is strange..


Saoirse McHugh

And even like, even to make the decision. It's not like we make the decision and then in nine months time, I would have a baby. It would be like okay, so we will have a child, like, one of my friends I was talking to her and she said, well, we're probably gonna have a child in the next four years. And like, I was like, oh, that'd be great even to have that decision. Because I don't want it to be like, the crossroads day when we're like, oh God, do we have a baby or not! Like, like, you know, it's so..and a different one of my friends who has just recently had her second child has always known she wanted to have kids. So the choice, like, it's not like we're having a discussion, will we have a baby now. It's will we ever have a baby, and it feels like it'd be nice to know this even in my head, to say, right, well, you know, by age 35 I'll have a baby, just to..I don't know..help guide me or..


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, yeah. And do you remember when you were younger? Like had you any kind of inclinations either way, or, you know, when you when you imagined your life as a grown up, you know what.. were kids part of it?


Saoirse McHugh

My little sister is, she's 10 years younger than me. She's 21 now, she's not, she's not that little. Um, but she's, she has like, a lot of disabilities, and a lot of extra needs. And I do remember being about 14 or 15. Now, she needs a lot less, you know, less hospital time than she did in maybe her first five years of her life, but I remember being like 14 or 15, and being like no way like, because it just, it would terrify me. Hmm. And, like, I remember talking to mom about it and saying that I probably wouldn't and I'd be afraid. And I remember her saying, like, you just, you know, she, she would have thought the same thing before she had Iseult, that she wouldn't be able to deal with a child with a lot of additional needs. But she said you just do, you just do it and it becomes, it just becomes your life, you know, it fits in. And it's just like any other child, you know, every child has needs. And so I suppose looking at that, I think I was, you know, during my teenage years anyway, I was like, oh god no, no, I couldn't. I couldn't I wouldn't be able to manage that, I wouldn't. I just wouldn't have the strength, or stamina and patience and everything. And that fear has kind of lessened a bit as I've gotten older. But as a teenager, no, I never. It's so it's really only the last probably five years, I've started to come around the idea actually of ever having kids. And like that I often I like I look at pregnant women and I'd love to have a pregnant belly. And then but then like, I was just I was just quizzing his sister on her birth. She just gave birth there two days ago. I was quizzing her on it today. And like she still calm and she was like, yeah, it was fine. And I'm like, I don't know.. what exactly happened. Like it just terrifies me when I think about it. And I'm looking at this baby who is both so small, but also really big who has just come out of her. Oh my god (laughter). And she's like, just walk around like, nothing happened. I'm half terrified by the idea of pregnancy and birth and then having a baby after that. Like you are just given a baby and told to go home. So that yeah, but I suppose there is probably a lot of fear maybe attached to it for me.


Mgt O Connor

Ok..And do you ever get kind of longings, you know, or do you..or I don't know do you have that kind of maternal instinct in that way? Or do you think about in terms of that?


Saoirse McHugh

Yes, sometimes I do. Like definitely when there's pregnant bellies and new babies. Yeah, I think oh I'd love to have kids, you know they're so cute and they're great craic and like when they're one and two. I do and then I think.. then I worry actually that I wouldn't be maternal because as soon as one of them starts crying, I'm like, okay, right time for me to leave. Like I just kind of instantly.. now once again mum says it's different when it's your own child. But then I worry that I'd be a terrible mum because I'm instantly like, as soon as a baby starts crying I'm like oh my god take it take it away. Take it away from me.


Colm Cafferky

It's never been your responsibility though..so it's easier to opt out whenever the crying starts..


Mgt O Connor

Well yeah..Okay, because I was just from like, even just looking at some of your photos on Instagram like you know, you have your chickens, you garden, like you mind and nurture lots of different things. I don't know do you ever think of it that way?


We can't go on a journey Margaret, without Saoirse spotting something on the side of the road and asking is that dead ..and next thing we've got a pigeon coming home with us. Or there's a seagull hopping along the road. It gets brought back to our house until it's well and nourished and nursed back the health..


Saoirse McHugh

Well that seagull escaped...


Colm Cafferky

But no, we can't. Yeah, you can't go five minutes down the road without..


Mgt O Connor

Ok..are they very different things to you or do you kind of connect them?


Saoirse McHugh

I don't know. I suppose I don't connect it now that you said it. Because they're totally different things. And yeah, I suppose its the amount like, the amount you have to give to the child. Like you can't just put them in a box with a dish of water. No, it's, it's, it's the amount and forever. Yeah, like, it's not just it's not even that you just have a child for 18 years. Its you have your whole it's like, it's less like you say, will I get a child? It's like, will I change my life and become a mother?


Mgt O Connor

Okay. Okay.


Saoirse McHugh

Because like, I was just thinking, I thought of it. It's not like, if anyone treated my house, the way I treat my parents house, I'd be so angry. Like I will just walk in. And I'll like go to the bread pin or the biscuit box. Like if, if a 30 year old did that to my house, I'd be like a excuse me. Like, and my brother's over there. And I and he's 28. And like, we'd like hey mum is there any chocolate. And she'd say no, leave it alone, that's my chocolate and we'd be like, yeah, whatever. Like imagine being treated like that by someone, it would be really horrible (laughter). You've no privacy or anything.


Mgt O Connor

It is. We take that for granted. Yeah. Okay, so you can't.. you're not fully on board with that idea just yet (laughter)


Saoirse McHugh

But um, maybe maybe it would change, maybe it's one of the things you never think about. Maybe as soon as you have a kid, your house becomes the home rather than your house os something...


Mgt O Connor

Yeah..And do you worry it would stop ye doing things that are important to you at the moment, then? Do you think you'd have to let go of some things?


Colm Cafferky

Yeah, that's a bit of a concern isn't it? Yeah, definitely. Like I was saying earlier about it becoming, you really have to make sure you're some bit stabilized. And that you can rely on that and your housing situation. So and even a lot of the other extracurricular things that we've been doing, where you can just take off for a day, go to some event or for an evening and get involved in different things. Yeah, it'd be..but we have chickens to think about and we always get someone to mind them for us..


Saoirse McHugh

But you would have social services, if you leave the chicken for a few months (laughter). You know, like we've gone off for a few years and I know it's a luxury now but we'll head off and let you know, we'll go to Greece or Spain for you know, between a month and two months and like that's a luxury because we can do it really cheaply when it's just the two of us, we can you know, have a tent with us and, and all of those kind of all those kind of things which do sound really trivial when you're when you're putting that against like you'll have a family. So that's not..well I suppose it's not one of the biggest concern for me, but it is a concern.


Mgt O Connor

Have you seen in any of your friends or family, have you seen people who have made it work, who've been able to keep you know, kind of their lifestyle to some degree and balance having children without having to lose things that are important to them?


Colm Cafferky

You'd see the odd person just kind of dragging their kid along with them everywhere they go you know. And has kept trucking along with whatever they were they were interested in themselves you know..


Saoirse McHugh

It feels to me like a lot of people I know that have had kids, have had.. their lives were far more secure anyway.


Colm Cafferky

More settled yeah..


Saoirse McHugh

Like they have good jobs and they had pensionable jobs and houses.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah. Okay. So they didn't have to change as much because they already had a lot of what they might have needed.. Yeah. Okay. And is this this conversation..is it very much between ye or would you talk to other people about it or do you think there's any kind of support available to help you with this decision?


Saoirse McHugh

I've talked with a lot my friends about it. And I 'll I know based on who it is what they'll say. I've one and they say just have a baby. Just have one, you can have all my babies clothes. And then others are a bit more kind of reserved. But I've yeah, I've spoken about it a lot with my friends.


Colm Cafferky

Yeah I wouldn't no, talk about it much with mates.. not in any depth anyway. Yeah. Anyway, like you get an awful lot of people like oh, yeah now a baby is all you need now or whatever. You know, you get all these kind of sort of comments and you're kind of like oh, yeah but never actually have a chat about it.


Mgt O Connor

Is that anything to do with being a man? Is it harder to talk about or is it just you don't want or need to talk about it?


Colm Cafferky

It's probably a bit of both. It's probably that I don't have yeah, I don't have those kinds of conversations with friends. And, and, and the other one is that I don't feel it. Yeah, like I said earlier, I don't feel like it's an ultimatum situation.


Mgt O Connor

Ok. And have ye ever felt kind of like a sense of stigma around it, kind of even raising the topic, has anyone kind of reacted badly? Or is it generally accepted that it's something to consider?


Saoirse McHugh

And I've had a few people shocked at the way I was presenting it as a choice. Kind of like what do you mean, of course you're gonna have kids, right? Like not not bad but they were just surprised.


They genuinely hadn't thought of it. Yeah, yeah.


And I think I do think that it would be different if we were married, I think there would be a lot more expectation there. Because I find that even in myself, I found myself like, I'll look at a couple that got married a year ago, and I'm like oh jesus they haven't had a baby yet. And then I have to catch myself. Like when did I become like, it's so old fashioned. It's just just kind of that storyline you see everywhere. And yeah, you just have to, I've checked myself, I've even had to catch myself from saying that, like, when are ye having a baby, as if it's any of my business whatsoever. Like I said, I'll start a sentence and I've to change halfway..like when are you coming home next (laughter).


Mgt O Connor

Okay. Okay. And and on that, do you find it hard to imagine what a childfree life could be? So if you chose that, like, do you feel that you kind of have images or representations of what could be? In a good or a bad way?


Colm Cafferky

Yeah I think it's easy to imagine...like this but with more gray hair I'd say (laughter).


Saoirse McHugh

I do imagine, it would mean that a relationship would take, maybe, maybe not more, but a different sort of effort to keep a relationship together. Like, sometimes when we're arguing I'll joke and say can we not just have a baby and not talk about this (laughter). Because, you know, like, a baby becomes your project. And you're, it's exciting. And it takes it takes the focus off of the things. And you'd be like, I'm too busy I'm pregnant. I can't argue with you about this. And so I worry, and maybe this isn't the case at all, but I worry that it'd be harder to keep a relationship together. Because if there was no family or no, nothing like that in the future. And maybe that's not the case at all. But it is, it's, it's hard, it is hard to imagine because I suppose there is not a huge amount of representations of it out there. And if the if there is representations in the media, it's usually like, this poor, lonely woman. She is so sad and lonely. And, you know, and then that's just a storyline, she's either desperate to have a man or desperate to have kids, or else she is a witch (laughter).


Mgt O Connor

There is always that (laughter)


Saoirse McHugh

So I do sometimes wonder, like, you know, it's fine now, It'd be fine when I'm 40 or 50. But then, like, do ye.. and I've had people say to me, would you not be lonely when you're old? And I'm like, I don't know, would I, I don't know!


Mgt O Connor

Ok..I suppose I suppose it's so hard when you're in that and everything feels uncertain. So, yeah. Is that how it feels at the moment? So it's kind of hard to.. Is it hard to make any decision? Because even if you make other decisions, and you're still thinking, well, I don't know if this is going to be a factor or not?


Saoirse McHugh

Around certain things, yeah...yeah, around certain things. Definitely. It definitely is. I suppose I just wonder, like, constantly, you know, what would it be like, Am.. I and then I also worry that, you know, if I got pregnant.. because I had an eating disorder for years, and any change in my body, you know, used to be like, it was the sole focus of my life for about 10 12 years. And I wonder, like, if I became pregnant, would that massive change in my body.. Would that put me into, like, would that put me way back into, like the depths of an eating disorder, and I would just be afraid that I wouldn't be able to handle that and then you hear people talk about after, you know, birth, all sorts of emotional problems, and, you know, mental difficulties that that women have. And I wonder, you know, would I be, would I be in an awful state afterwards? And like, you know, I know, these are silly things to focus on and like, these are all the what if the very worst case scenario happens?


Mgt O Connor

Yeah yeah..but I don't think they're silly. I think they're very, really concerns. I suppose it's just how they all interact, there can be so many things to think about, and the fact that you can't really control any of that. Yeah, you know, nobody can really. And so yeah. There is a lot to thin about.. Okay.


Saoirse McHugh

I don't know how to..like we talk about how, how would we make the decision.. is it that like, in five years, we say, right we make the decision now, one way or another? I wonder like, does it feel different for you because there you know, there's not a strict time limit?


Colm Cafferky

Yeah, it feels like something you could write down a list of pros and cons all day long. And you still wouldn't know and you could just, you know, score them do whatever, but still...yeah.


Mgt O Connor

And I think, you know, we were talking about Joanne talking about it in the the episode there. And Jenny, and Ann mentioned it as well, in their discussion, you know, that the search for the 100% correct answer that they will be absolutely no regret about. And it's so difficult, and you can put so much pressure on so I suppose trying to, to look at all the possibilities, and it doesn't have to be this very black and white, even though it can feel like that.. I suppose trying to take some pressure off. Did that help at all, or does that help? Can you can you train kind of connect to that idea? Or at the moment does it feel very, one or the other?


Saoirse McHugh

I suppose I like, well, for me anyway, I understand that it like, Joanne put it really well, in the episode she did with you, you know, if you do have a child, you'll miss out on some things. And if you don't have a child, you'll miss out on some things, and if you do have a child you experience things and the same the other way, like there's no, no right or wrong, but I suppose the choice has to be binary. You can't you can't like half have a baby. Which makes it hard because the decision around it won't be as clear as the choice will have to be. There's not 10 different options you can have for whether you have a baby or not.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, that's true.


Saoirse McHugh

So I like I suppose I'm leaning at the moment towards not having one. But by the fact like, I'm so unsure..And I'd say I'm probably leaning towards that one, now, because that's one that doesn't require any action at the moment.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, that's true. Yeah. Somebody said that to me, you know, okay, that if you do choose, if you do decide to have a baby, that's the first of many, many other choices you have to make that follow on from that whereas you can still make some choices, but maybe not as not as urgent if you decide not to. Okay, so that feels like the better option for the moment?


Saoirse McHugh

Yeah, well, I suppose on a on a day to day but if you said like, have you made the decision if you're going to ever have kids or not? Like today I'm not gonna have kids.


Mgt O Connor

Ok so that could change okay...


Colm Cafferky

Yeah I suppose I'm the same...we just haven't decided..


Saoirse McHugh

I suppose I'd be so afraid of just never making the decision.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, being in default almost decision. Yeah.


Saoirse McHugh

Yeah. Not having a kid because I never decided whether I would have one or not...


Mgt O Connor

Is there any advice, ye could give for anybody else in a similar situation? Is there anything that is helping ye or anything you would like to see as a support?


Saoirse McHugh

I suppose I have told myself, if I don't have a kid, or if we decide to not have babies and if I regret that decision..You know, there is always fostering. There is always adoption. There is always, I don't know, I suppose like opening an animal sanctuary or whatever (laughter). No but seriously, fostering or adoption of kids. I know it's quite difficult to do. But if it got to, if I got to you know 50 years old, and I was like I've made a terrible, terrible mistake. And if I thought, I cannot go on without having a baby or without raising kids, there are ways that I can, or hopefully there are. I do find that takes a bit of pressure off.


Mgt O Connor

Okay, okay.


Saoirse McHugh

And what I always do is imagine if someone says to you, okay, you can't have kids. What do you feel about that. But in terms of practical suggestions, no I have none, sorry! (laughter)


Mgt O Connor

No that's ok (laughter). Colm, for you, is there anything, is there any advice you'd share?


Colm Cafferky

No, I suppose like that we're probably not the best people to give advice to anyone who is trying to make a decision like that. Because we can't.


Mgt O Connor

Ok! And is there anything else you would want to add, Is there anything else you want to say I suppose just about what the experience is like or what's going on for you?


Saoirse McHugh

Do you want to say about all your siblings having...


Colm Cafferky

Well the fact that all my siblings are having babies means that I get loads of baby time. So I get to hang out with loads of babies and be involved in their lives. So I guess it fills the need a little bit, you know, without having to do anything myself.


Saoirse McHugh

It's like some days we come home. We've had to leave because the crying started, we come back in and we're like, oh lovely such a peaceful house (laughter). But then also we don't have lovely experiences with babies all the time.


Colm Cafferky

Yeah.


Mgt O Connor

Ok..I suppose. Well, I imagine it's helpful because at least you have, you get to see what it is like. You have contact and experience with children. And you can see a range of different experiences. So I guess you can have some insight. I know it's different for everybody. But yeah...


Saoirse McHugh

There is a real fear, and I think this will fade as I get a bit older. It just feels like everybody's having babies at the moment. There's a real fear of missing out. I was at a baby shower recently, which seems to be quite a new thing in Ireland, quite an American import. But one of the girls who was eight months pregnant at the time goes to the girl whose baby shower it was, who was also eight months pregnant. And another one who was also I think maybe seven months pregnant. She goes, I shaved my legs for you. And I was like, so did I actually. And they all looked at me. And they were like, yeah, but she's pregnant. And I was like, oh, all right, yeah. I still shaved my legs for you. Thanks very much. They were talking about contractions and different creams. And all these different things. And I was like, I suppose I'll check Twitter and see what Charlie Flanagan is saying about somebody.. you do feel kind of left out.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah, absolutely. And I suppose it's how many milestones and how much they are celebrated, and I'm not saying they shouldn't be but I guess. we don't get the same level of celebration for other achievements. So we have, like you said, now we have the baby shower and the birth and the christening and the birthdays and all the million things that come after that, but we don't necessarily have the same level of recognition for other things so it can feel..


Saoirse McHugh

Like my dog's birthday.


Mgt O Connor

Yeah! And all the chickens, do you have all their birthdays? (laughter)


Saoirse McHugh

There should be celebrations for people who are never getting married but still want all the Le creuset cookware. (laughter)


Mgt O Connor

Yes absolutely! Totally, yeah. So yeah, I think it's easy to feel left out when society or social norms don't acknowledge everything or not to the same degree. Okay, well look I really have to thank you for being so open and honest about your experience. I think there's a lot of people who can relate to where you are.


Saoirse McHugh

I don't know if we help them at all. Just confused them more.


Mgt O Connor

I think it's just good to know that you're not alone. I don't know if that helps ye. I know definitely from talking to people that there are lots of people that feel like ye and it's not this automatic thing, or it is not necessarily an automatic thing. And there is so much to weigh up and think about. So yeah, just to know that you're not the only ones going through that and it's not necessarily a straightforward thing for everyone, hopefully that would help. Listen, thank you so much, I really appreciate it and best of luck with everything.


Saoirse McHugh

Thank you.


Colm Cafferky

Ok Margaret, thank you.


Mgt O Connor

Thanks very much to my guests for taking part and to you for listening. I would love to hear your feedback and any suggestions for other topics you would like to see covered in this series. I would also love to build a community of like minded people so please follow the Are Kids For Me pages on Facebook and Instagram if you want to find out more on this topic. I look forward to hearing from you and watch out for the next episode soon.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


57 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

087 9311574

Margaret O'Connor MIACP      ©2018 by Are Kids For Me. 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now