My young girlfriend, Olive requested I do a post on when you know it is the right time to have a baby. It has been a while since I have considered such things and I now have the brain damage associated with childbirth and rearing and remember very little. Very little at all, actually. I thought about it for a while and here are a few things to consider:
Money: This is of course the biggie. Having the funds to pay your rent, utilities, student loans, groceries, car, and HBO bill is important. Duh. If you are choosing to bring a new little person into the world, you are going to want to buy all kinds of really cute pink and blue swag for that new little person. Oh yeah, and a maybe a house. You are also not going to be able to work in the same capacity as before. Even of you choose to work full-time, you will have at least a six week recovery time where you will be off work. Healthy babies have well visits every month for the first 6 months, then every 3 months for a while after that. Trust me, there will be lots of doctor appointments for the first year and lots of days when you need to call in sick because you haven’t slept since before you got pregnant.
Being pregnant and bringing a little person into the world are both stressful life events. The are undoubtedly good stress, but stress nonetheless. There is nothing that stresses relationships and marriages like some good money troubles. I do NOT mean to suggest that everyone should wait until they are settled in their own purchased home in perfect financial stability before they reproduce.
For Pete’s sake, the Hilton’s had loads of cash and look how that turned out. Someone at Husband’s work told him, “If you wait until you have enough money to have a baby, you’ll never have a baby”. Is that contradictory enough for you? I think the bottom line is if you can pay your bills and someone in the family has a steady income, giddyup!
Health: Before any woman gets pregnant on purpose, it is only responsible to make sure you are as healthy as you can be. Once that baby is born, you won’t go to your own doctor unless you are bleeding from the eyeballs. Or pregnant again. So, do you have any annoying ingrown toenails, funny moles, humps or other health oddities? Now’s the time to get those
removed checked out. Before we tried for Pumpkin Pie, I even made an effort to lose the last of the other kids’ baby weight. I know, right? It may seem silly, but I am happy I did it because I still gained 960 lbs with him, so that was 12 pounds I did NOT have to lose later. I still have it to lose now, unfortunately. Ah… C’est la vie!
Marriage: What kind of shape is your relationship in? Are you newly wed? Are you on the verge of divorce? The hormonal psychosis that is pregnancy and postpartum can be difficult on even the most patient of partners. Add to that the above-mentioned unavoidable financial stress and the anxiety associated with choosing between Rockstar, Princess or Peter Rabbit themes for the nursery and you are talking BIG TIME need to rely on your man.
I think it helps if you and your husband (I am not meaning to suggest that only married people have babies, but for Cloud 8 purposes we are going to assume that the only people reading this who might be trying to decide of it is the right time to TRY to get knocked up are married people. Rock on.) have had the opportunity to enjoy some smooth sailing before intentionally rocking the boat. Even if the boat is rocking a sweet bundle that smells like ambrosia and has feet that make you cry because of the cute.
How selfish are you? This is a trick question. If you are trying to decide about getting pregnant for the first time, of course you are selfish! You are the definition of selfish because you have no one to answer to and no one to be responsible for. Want to take a nap? Take one! Don’t feel like cooking this week? Frosted Flakes for every meal! Want to go on an impromptu vacation with your sweetie? Giddyup! It’s awesome! It is the delicious part of adulthood that we only get for a few years. Of course, like any other awesome thing in life (childhood, your hair, or a small fudge sundae to name a few) you don’t realize how awesome it is until it’s gone. I guess it comes around again later after the kids are grown. By then I will be too old and senile to notice and I will probably just take naps in the middle of conversations which won’t matter because the conversations will be with myself, anyway.
My girlfriend Molly told me something when we were thinking about trying for Pumpkin Pie.
Me: How do I know if this is would be a mistake?
Molly: You know you will never regret it. You know you won’t be sorry.
Of course she was pregnant with her fourth at the time and any pregnant lady loves another pregnant lady. Have I mentioned that Pumpkin Pie and her fourth are 4 1/2 months apart?
I wish there were some formula I could write to calculate Parental Readiness where you plug in your age multiplied by your Relationship Stability Score divided by square root of line 37 on your most recent 1040 tax form. Sadly, life ain’t like that. Some folks get pregnant when they aren’t ready, some can’t get pregnant when they really want to. Life is short and doesn’t always go as planned.
There are decisions are gut decisions and I guess this is one of them. In most people’s lives, finances are usually a concern. If you have your health you are fortunate, right? If you are committed to someone awesome that you love you are ahead of the game. As for the selfish… Enjoy the selfish, because it will be a while before it comes around again. Same with the money. And your waist. You’ll miss that stuff, but you totally won’t be sorry.
Moms, please let me know what I have forgotten (as I tend to forget more than I remember). What else is there for Olive to consider? Planetary alignment? Numerology? Chime in, she wants to hear it all!