Monday, January 18, 2010

Part 1 of the Never-Ending Series: Kids?!!!

So. We've had a request to blog about having kids. I've been trying to gather my thoughts all week and I can't. It's too much. I quit.

....Ha! Ok not really. Well the thing is there is literally so much I could write about the whole process about deciding when to have kids, trying to have kids, having a kid...that I think we will entitle this blog, "Part 1 of the Never-Ending Series: Kids??!!!"

So you're single and people ask, "When are you going to find someone?" You date and they ask, "When are you going to get married?" You get married and the first thing people ask you as soon as you get back from your honeymoon is, "When are you having kids?" It's inevitable and it is a question that all people in any kind of committed relationship have to answer at some point.

How do you know when you're ready to have kids? It's funny. Living in two different states since Jake and I have been married, we've experienced two different "societal expectations" of when to have kids. Where we used to live in MA, people had children rather early on in marriage and they tended to be younger in their twenties. In CT where we live now, the norm is to have kids more into the early thirties...after a couple has achieved a certain level of financial stability and career success. So society can play a part in when a couple decides to have kids. Jake and I felt the pressure to get pregnant back in MA...but now I would venture to say we feel pressure to wait and not have children "so early."

I think there are a bunch of general things to think about as a couple as you are deciding when is the right time to start a family. I think the first and main thing to discuss is if you both feel ready. Which is enigmatic because it's hard to really pinpoint what "ready" feels like. I personally am going to totally freak out when I get pregnant..I want to have children totally...but it's such a huge responsibility and life change... no matter when it happens, girls get ready to calm me down!! But in truth, we do have gut feelings. It's good to pay attention to how both spouses feel about the idea of children. I think it's wise to make sure that everyone is on board with the idea of becoming parents and that one spouse is not pressuring another spouse. You don't want to pressure your husband or wife...that probably would surface as a lot of resentment later on when the demands of a child are a reality.

Also, I think it's good to examine "why"? Many couples have kids to try and fix their problems. Much in the same way that people think getting married will solve all their personal problems. Have the wisdom to take time to discern why you and your partner feel it's a good time to have kids. Do you feel strong in your relationship or unhappy? Do you feel pressure from outside sources to get pregnant? Sometimes when we see everyone else having babies, it can feel like the heat is on to get started with a big life change that we may or may not be ready for.

Think about finances. I have been told, "You will never have enough money to have a baby." It's true. However, I think it's a good idea to look at your financial situation as a couple and try and discern if you could reasonably support an addition to your family. It's worth thinking through who will work once the baby is born, how you intend to cope with additional bills and expenses, thoughts of maternity leave and possibly day-care costs. Too many of us blindly think "it will all work out" and then find themselves financially in a bind once the baby comes. Also, too many of us think "we have to have it all together" and wait and wait and wait to get pregnant. I think a wise choice would be somewhere in-between. Having faith that God takes care of us when we need help and also being aware of our finances and wisely evaluating them.

Another thing to think about...I told you I can just keep going....is how old you are. Seriously, it's something to consider. I believe women's fertility peaks at somewhere around 26 or 27 and then starts to decline after that. If you and your spouse wait until you are older, just be prepared that you might have a harder time getting pregnant. In Hawaii this summer I was on a raft in the middle of the ocean with this lovely woman and her two twin girls. She had them "In-Vitro" at the age of 40. Which is fantastic! But she said to me, "Don't wait, I thought that I could always get pregnant, so I kept waiting and then I was older and it was so heartbreaking to not be able to get pregnant." It's something to think about realistically. If you wait until you are older are you prepared to face some potential challenges in getting pregnant?

I'm going to end here for right now. This week Jake and I are going to each write a blog, me from a woman's perspective and Jake from a man's perspective. We're going to try and articulate what goes on in our minds, hearts, marriage, and relationship with God as we've thought about when to have children and trying to get pregnant. Yes...we have tried to have a baby....and no we haven't had any luck in a year...so things don't always go according to plan! More thoughts to come. And please share yours below!!

1 comment:

  1. Okay you two. Take it from a 55 year old who has a 20 year old with special needs and a 17 year old going to college next fall. Have em while you're young enough to chase them and deal with whatever issues they bring into the world with them. And take it easy on that first kid you practice on.:) I'll be interested to see how you work through this. Just make sure it's your decision and don't let anyone talk you into something you're not ready for. Of course none of us is ever ready for that moment when your first child comes into the world. You'll never be the same.:)

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The goal is to provide three things:
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2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
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