Monday, August 09, 2010

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in a golden carriage

Parents! And Parents-to-be! I have [more] questions for you. 

The question of the day is: How did you go about planning to have children? More specifically, did you reach an age where you said "We must have kids NOW, the time is right" or did you specifically plan children, say, for when you reached the age of 26?

I know folks in both boats and there are many reasons for deciding upon each course of action. I had a few friends who got married and said "Hey, now that we're hitched, let's see if we get pregnant; we can't wait to have kids!" 

And then I have other friends who planned it out: "We're just out of graduate school, got loads of debt, just getting the career started [etc], let's wait five more years and then reevaluate. I think age 32 has a nice ring to it."

Or did you say, "eh, I'm not married but I want a child! No long term significant other required, thankyouverymuch." 

And last, but not least, did you not plan on having children at all, but "surprise! I'm pregnant!" 

Of course, it should be noted that deciding to have kids is very different than actually having kids. That requires a lot of luck and good timing. But I'm not interested in that right now. I'm interested in how you went about planning for children. 

When in your life was the time right/not right for you?


Our Story

When it come to big events, Chris and I are generally on the same page: we like to plan. Which is a bit unusual for me since I'm typically more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal. 

Dating at 20, moved in together at 22,  engagement at 24, marriage at 25. And, we thought we'd perfectly planned out the start of parenthood: 1st child in the vicinity of 28, then, come the time we're thinking about retirement (hopefully mid 50s), the kid(s) will be finishing up college and ready to jump off the deep end into that pool called The Real World. Perfectly planned, right? Three years between marriage and birth, plenty of time to get into the swing of things and get ready for a kid. 

But when 27 rolled around, the time when, if you want to have a baby at 28, you need to seriously start thinking about getting busy, we weren't ready. We lived in a rental house in SoCal, were both working crazy full time jobs, Chris was embroiled in the midst of his MBA, and there were a few big trips (Africa, Belize) that were in the works. Frankly, we were enjoying being a couple without a mortgage, few responsibilities, and a disposable income.

Plus, I wasn't yet at the point where I was shooting envious glances at every cute pregnant lady shopping in the baby section at Target. 

I actually remember the conversation pretty well: A baby? Next year? Oh god. How about we reevaluate The Plan? How does 30 sound to you?

And so The Plan was changed. 

Baby J is due within a few weeks of my 30th birthday. Which in my family is fairly standard timing: both my mom and grandmother were first time mothers on or after the start of their 3rd decade. 

I'm actually looking forward to reflecting on life in 30 or 40 years (provided that I'm still around) to see how The Plan has been altered over the years. Because, of course, not all things in life go according to the schedule, despite one's best intentions or careful planning. There are simply too many uncontrollable variables. Life has a sneaky way of throwing a wrench into the best laid plans. Which is why I'm still sticking to my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants mentality as a backup.

So let's hear your stories! What was your path to parenthood like?