Thoughtful Thursday: The Time Machine
February 12, 2009
Before you started trying to have a baby.
I realize that our time machines need to be set to different points. For some, a couple of years. For me, seven years. For others, longer.
So let’s get into our respective time machines, buckle up, and return to the days when most of us blindly, blissfully thought we could just decide to become parents and then a baby would magically appear 9 months later.
Today’s question: How did you decide when it was time to try to start a family?
DH and I got married very young, immediately after college. Children were out of the question at that point. Marriage for us meant being with each other, not creating a family. We’d raised some eyebrows by getting married so young — though DH’s father, who’d been married at the same age and divorced a dozen years later, told us “You are both infinitely more mature than I was at your age. I am not worried.” Young married couple, we could handle. Young parents, nope. Not the kind of people we wanted to be. Spouses support your career, but babies derail it. Nope nope nope.
Thus, babies were entirely off my radar for several years, until one of my classmates in graduate school announced that she was pregnant.
I was happy for her, because I didn’t have a reason not to be.
It also got me thinking. “How do you know when you’re ready to become a parent?”
I posed this hypothetical question to another (single and childless) classmate, and she said, “I don’t know when people know, but I am sure that you are ready now. You will be an awesome mother. Let me know when you decide and I will go shopping! I would love to shop for your baby clothes. I’ll buy them when they go on sale at the end of each season, and then we can time it so that the baby can wear the right size for the weather.” She’s a little cart-before-the-horse, that one.
This all happened two years before I started TTC. And then, I kept sitting with that decision, finding reasons to wait, until finally I couldn’t come up with any more compelling reasons against TTC. So my decision was not so much a decision, as an end to procrastination.
DH and I had always intended to be parents, and were both very excited about it even when our ages ended with -teen, but we had other things to accomplish first. As young marrieds, we considered TTC to be a different phase of life, and it took a lot of gearing up to move into that phase. I know many other people for whom “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in a baby carriage” cascades in a quick sequence. But we had all the time in the world… or so we thought.
Once I was on the cusp of saying that I was ready, I determined that there were several things I needed to accomplish before I could start TTC. I didn’t feel “ready” to be pregnant until these boxes had been checked off.
- Buy safety-oriented four-door car to supplement our two-door sports car (still own it, but almost every part has been repaired or replaced)
- Purchase supportive desk chair for office with my own money to nurture my soon-to-be-pregnant body (sat in it for a few years, then it broke and I threw it out… over 3 years ago)
- Stop birth control pills and chart cycles for several months while using condoms to begin assessing fertility and getting used to charting so that we could conceive immediately after our decision had been made (I have a couple dozen charts tucked away in a file cabinet somewhere, but I stopped charting after miscarriage #1 or I’d have –gulp!– almost 100 by now)
Throughout all of my stalling and list-making, DH was “ready when you are.” When I said “GO!” he said, “Tell me where to put the sperm.” No, actually he had already figured that part out. Little did we know, sex doesn’t actually make babies. If we had know that… ah, but this is Time Machine day, not Crystal Ball day.
Your turn: How did you decide when it was time to try to start a family? Or, if the initial decision was not yours but someone else’s or fate’s, why had you decided that it wasn’t yet time?
(On your way back to 2009 in your time machine, please wave hello to the dinosaurs. They’ve been a little anxious lately… some rumors about an upcoming ice age.)