Nov 12, 2022Liked by Matt Zamudio

I don't remember where I read this or whom to credit....."having a child is like getting a tattoo on your face, think long and hard about it". That quote aside, you sound like someone who would be willing to throw yourself under a bus if necessary. You'll make a great dad.

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Take it from a mother of four now (almost) grown-up sons: You are quite right to be scared. It is chaos and mayhem, and the first years are spent without sleep. Lego-minefields are a thing, my feet could tell you stories of nightly injuries that you'd never believe, and the sound level when all four of them played together - my head still aches just thinking about it.

Then again, they are wonderful, wise, funny and so, so lovable. I may not always have loved what they did (and do), but I've always loved them and I never ever want to be without them. To see their different personalities, their many similarities, their little quirks, and their talents germinate and develop is such a joy!

Do it scared! You'll love it!

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Before I had kids, I tortured myself with many theoretical concerns. Such as, would my skepticism ruin my kid’s ability to simply enjoy life? Do I have any power over if she grows up to be villain or a hero?

And when my daughter arrived? None of those pre-baby concerns mattered. None matched reality. The concerns I have as a dad are much more practical. As a baby - I wondered has she been fed? Is it nap time? Now, as a 6 year old? Has she been fed? Is it bedtime?

Good luck! Don’t worry.

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Beautifully written, Matt. Great post.

Two siblings I know who'd had the absolute best childhood ever decided - independently - not to have children, each explaining their decision by saying something along the lines of 'because I couldn't hope to do as good a job as my parents had'.

I fully respect their decisions but gosh, that makes me sad.

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thxs for the likes Matt- welcome

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Sep 30, 2022Liked by Matt Zamudio

Poetically put, Matt. You have a healthy attitude and you’re a creative guy. And parenting is all about creativity (i.e, sometimes those teenage deflection shields are pretty stout and you just have to go around them instead of through them.). That you’re scared is a sure sign that you will be a great dad.

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Dude just do it. There is no perfect time. I never wanted kids, my wife did but now I have a 7 month old son and he’s the best thing ever. Sadly one of our cats died last week and maybe the stress from the baby made him worse but then again maybe it was just a pulmonary embolism or something. He was like my best friend and the smartest cat I’ve ever met. He managed to break into 3 different brands of child proof locks on the fridge to steal chorizo. It was very quick. Miss him to death but I don’t think it had much if anything to do with the baby and dogs cope a lot better than cats with babies.

Don’t overthink it just do it. Your life will change forever in ways you can’t even comprehend right now but you won’t regret it. When he’s 3-4 months old and starting to interact with you and discover the world through fresh eyes. All these memories from your childhood come flooding back.

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You will make a great dad. The fact you're thinking things through tells me that you will.

Introduce the dog to the baby in the right way, and they will be best of pals.

By the way, millions of dads do OK.

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Changes you forever, in a good way. Love at first sight. Really.

I used to be a dog person, they don’t mind little people. Now I am a cat person, I have 6 so I might be a crazy cat person…cats might mind.

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Hi Matt,

First, a thank you for the “like” on my blurb “Why I started a Substack.” “Likes” serve as kindly nudges to keep me, and I suppose all who write here, writing; it serves notice that someone out there in these breezy corridors of anonymous flashing electrons, is listening and might like to hear more yodeling from my mountaintop.

Your piece “On Having Children” really touched me in a tender spot. As I got going here I realized that one needs to go out on many limbs to cover a “moment” that is more like a surprise party that has the drama of fate’s grand plans and is among the most consequential, direction-altering events in your life and your lives together. Let me add, to avoid any confusion, I take full responsibility for my content as just some thoughts that could have utility, bring a greater degree of focus to what can seem difficult to bring into clear focus. It’s a bit of writing only very distantly akin to “advice” but more like a scattering of seeds from which thought-fullness and its current of feeling might spark. And my bias becomes evident. If you are (and you do seem to be) someone who thinks and feels deeply, with an open mind, an open heart, respecting opinions even if you disagree, I believe that they all make for better “choosing.” People often forget that “choosing” to become parents as a distinctive, binary, one-or-the other “choice,” is of relatively recent historical provenance in human history. And we, who are privileged by a first-world life, talk about “choice” as something taken for granted. Until recently, even in the history of so-called advanced, first-world cultures, “expecting” just “happened” or didn’t.

While I am by no means a confirmed, avowed, Buddhist, I do have sufficient familiarity with Buddhist thought to say my line of thinking comes with a touch of dharma, a perspective quarried bit by bit from my occasional views of life looking out from the cusp of the Baghvahd Gita and the vantage of many Buddhist sages. That so consequential a choice is “scary” suggests that the two of you, perhaps without realizing it, have been assessing your own and each other’s courage to make so transcendent a decision. There are so-called “experts” in possession of accumulated data which really boils down to advice of awfully variable quality, meaning some will seem to have more gravitas than some others. But it’s still just a subjective take, the only truly empirical is by way of someone’s subjective experience, received gossip or rumor, and the coolly “objective” manipulation of data adding a gloss of the scientific to the “studies.” This Mark Twain quote may certainly apply: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” (Statistics are quite useful in other contexts to gain some clarity about uncertainty when ethically applied.) What objectivity there is, I find really notable is research coming out of neurobiology: there is now a well-regarded view that most cognitive “thought”is supported by affective arousal systems: “emotion” as bodily, visceral responses (e.g.flushing, heart rate, BP, tremor, and of course,“gut feeling”): then “feeling” as cognitive rendition by an embodied-brain from which a minded-self-awareness (consciousness) arises. The short answer here is that feelings matter at least as much or more in decision making.Trust me on this. It’s a limb I’m surely out on here which I won’t explore further until I’m farther along in the forties or fifties as my postings accumulate. (If you must, see Panksepp, Jaak: Archeology of Mind for a very detailed view of this idea.)

So, for what it’s worth, I’ll offer something from our experience becoming parents:

1. For my wife and I it wasn’t about choosing “to have kids or not”; it was about “the desire to be a parent.” “Having kids” I always hear as a loaded phrase that feels to me like something is being dumped on folks as a burden passively received. What, to my thinking, it really depends on is whether you two “want to be parents.” It’s something, like other desires, that is pursued actively and well beyond a child’s birth.

2. If you enjoy and love having a dog you are well along in terms of what’s necessary for the pleasures of having the courage. I’ve had many, many. And whether you follow their advice or not, they are eternal optimists who wake-up every day and say, “I’m betting on you Bud, my whole stake... on you... a human!” And they do reward you with excellent teachings on how to be good parents.

3. It’s easy to overthink the matter to the point where you don’t know how you feel because all the available bandwidth is filled with millions of consuming thoughts.

4. Contrary to Mr. Kreider’s unkind description, I’d say “having your heart walk around outside your body” can be scary, but also thrilling! “Scary,” however, is a good place to start since it means that you must assess trust, courage, tolerance for change and sacrifice in both of you. It’s what a particular Buddhist lineage calls “Warriorship”: going through, and getting to, the other side of fear. That said, becoming parents was always on each of our agendas. It was a pursuit.

5. We got very lucky in terms of pregnancy: We married late. My wife was 4 years older than I. After marriage we waited 4 years (wife is 38 at that point) before “starting our quest to find who might arrive from her inner space.” Two years in and no results using every tip and bit of medical advice available (And we both were medical professionals.) Since we wanted very much to be parents we opted for an international adoption. A week before the “Home Visit” by the agency: BINGO! She’s pregnant!

6. Being my daughter’s parent is the best thing I ever did best. When I asked her, now fully grown up, what did she think was, in any way, something we failed at as parents her reply was, “You didn’t let me fail enough.” I’m happy to own that.

7. My wife and I, each in our own way, had difficult childhoods. That’s not to say we didn’t get certain good “basics” from our respective parents. But from what was unfortunate we learned not only what not to do raising our daughter, but also to invent ways to do things differently. Perhaps the biggest difference in our approach was that we very consciously treated our daughter as a person with an inner and outer, “authentic life of her own” that we were enthusiastic to learn about. Getting down to her level as a real person in her own right, especially as playfulness in the early “Wonder Years” when a child ’s innocence is “uncontaminated” by awareness of an autobiographical past or any genuine sense of a future. But it was equally important to stay “in synch bringing her up” to more adult levels as maturity progressed. When asked what she remembers about us as a positive being her parents she quickly responded, “You and Mom could always be silly!” I’ll own that one too.

8. If you think falling in love with your fiancee was and remains great, you may discover that your love for her as a mother and wife gets multiplied most generously by how much love you discover as a loving parent.

9. My daughter is the only person I would instantly take a bullet for.

10. If Archer thinks you are a good dad he likely won’t mind a sibling or two.

11. We went for a second but did not succeed. Having had dogs forever we made sure my daughter always had 2 or 3 around as her siblings. Everyone got along just fine. We never regretted having an only child and she is the most adaptively sociable person I know. Having had lots of canine brothers and sisters lead to she and her husband adopting a dog, Murray. It persuaded her husband to “go for parenting." Her clock is ticking but it’s on their agenda.

12. Always remember, you are the mighty spark of signal ignition for the being that will come into your life, but Grace has the body’s singular power to propel he or she on the journey from inner space.



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Than you for reading and liking my poems. You are wonderfully different.

About children: it's a scary time to have children. They are especially vulnerable and we adults don't know what's coming next. I consider the possibility of death by starvation, among other things. I'm 77 years and I've had a chance to experience and reflect on life. Will children born in these times have that chance? Please be realistic about the unbearable facts of our situation.

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I love this post so much! I’ll tell you what someone told me when I was expecting my first child. “You’ll never love anyone the way you love that baby.” She was right. We have five kids now and it’s the same for each of them. Such an awesome kind of love! Don’t worry about your doggo. Dogs and kids just go together. I always felt like my dogs knew my kids before they were even born just from being around me while I was expecting. And they were great with the babies from the moment we brought them home.

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You thoughtfully expound on a life-changing dilemma that most people will grapple with. It's very refreshing to read about this from a male perspective as well. Love is a formidable feeling. Self-awareness and self-acceptance of fear, are the keys to surmounting it.

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I think scary is the most appropriate reaction to the question of having a child (I’m highly hesitating and scared too!). But I do think It shows an awareness of our world, of the responsibility it takes to raise a human. And I don’t think there’s a wrong or right answer to it!

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Oct 10, 2022Liked by Matt Zamudio

Glad to know that.

thanks Matt

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Querido Matt, tener miedo te hace humano, sensible y no por ello con menos fortaleza. Tener un hijo tiene tantos significados como padres en este mundo. Solo la experiencia te invita a transitar tan amoroso evento.

Ten en cuenta que se necesitan muchas personas para criar a un hijo, un red de contención para cada uno de los involucrados.

Suerte!!! Y si necesitas ayuda, aquí estamos.

Hope that you 'll be able to read in spanish, my english is not so good to write a hole comment. But I undestood everything you wrote.

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