Before my husband, Bart, and I got married in August of 2005, I told him I wasn’t ready to have children right away. I knew he was really excited to have kids and would have been happy to have a honeymoon baby, if that’s what I wanted, so it was important to me that he knew I needed some time. I told him it might be up to five years before I was ready to have a baby.
Frankly, I didn’t anticipate it would be that long, but every year or so, when we’d discuss the possibility of trying to get pregnant, I felt completely unready and we’d postpone discussion of the topic for another six or twelve months. Our baby is due this July, one month and one day before our fifth wedding anniversary.
I certainly think that when to have children is an intensely personal decision and that there is no one right time for everyone (I am very grateful that my parents never said or insinuated or hinted at any preference about our decision to wait), but I feel strongly that waiting several years has been a very positive experience for us for the following reasons:
- I am pretty ambitious and I think if I’d gotten pregnant right away and not had time to do more schooling or work for a while, I would have been fairly discontended about the whole situation. As it is, I’ve been able to complete both a bachelor and master’s degree and work full-time for several years since we got married. I think having had these experiences will help me feel happier about my new role in life since I won’t be feeling like I haven’t accomplished the things that have always been important to me.
- I was only 19 when we got married (just a few weeks shy of 20), and while I (probably incorrectly) feel like I was plenty mature in many ways, I think I needed some time to grow up in other ways before throwing myself into motherhood. Not to mention that my biological clock wasn’t exactly ticking loudly at that point.
- Bart and I are both very independent and fairly stubborn people. At this point in our marriage, we are far better adjusted to working together and compromising than we were five years ago. Our vision of our lives and family is far more similar than it was when we first got married.
- Bart took a while to settle into his current career field (part of which included getting a master’s degree) and I’m unbelievably glad that he’s qualified and happy in his job now, a situation that simply didn’t exist for us two or three or four years ago.
- When we finally made the big leap to start trying to get pregnant, I was able to be really actually excited about it. It has been such a fun and joyful experience so far; I just do not think I would have felt this whole-heartedly happy about it if we’d gotten pregnant before I really wanted to.
- It has brought Bart and me closer together. Maybe this sounds funny, but there has been almost nothing Bart has done for me in the last five years of marriage that has meant as much to me as his absolute non-pushing on this issue. I knew, of course, that he was incredibly baby-hungry, and would have loved to have a baby a few years ago, but he has never made me feel like I was wrong to want to wait or that he was at all disappointed by my several years of resistence. Even when we finally agreed that we wanted to start trying, he assured me several times that if I wanted to change my mind and wait another year or two, he would be fine with that.
As I said, waiting or not waiting isn’t right for everyone – the timetable for your family is going to be different than mine and the reasons I wanted to wait and then not wait will hold no water with some of you. But for us, this was the right decision, and I couldn’t be happier that we’d waited or that we’ll have a baby daughter this summer.
(Cross-posted on That Wife while she enjoys her own newborn baby boy).