Monday, June 7, 2010

Baby, you give me fever

Maybe it's my age, my mild discontent with life right now, the fact that my friends seem to be popping out babies like rabbits, or a genuine desire to start a family... but I'm experiencing something akin to baby fever, with a hefty dose of a mild panic attack, coupled with the realization that I'm going to be twenty-seven next month and my child-bearing years are ebbing.

 (My adorable nephews, Shane and Joshua - two of my sources for both baby-fever and wow-I'm-glad-I-don't-have-this-responsibility-fever)

I love kids, I want a whole hoard of them (well wait, how many is a hoard exactly?) and I very much look forward to being a mom. I am blessed to have a husband who would be ready to be a dad tomorrow. I'd like to be a mom who is young enough to enjoy and keep up with her kids (and let's face it, most days I already feel too old and worn out to keep up with my own life). I'd like to have kids soon enough that they know thier grandparents for a good long time.

But I also love my freedom, my alone time with Devin and my general lack-of-crucial responsibility. I have places I want to visit and things I want to do. I know that once you hop on the family train there is noooooo going back. These selfish (are they?) reasons are warring against my desire to start a family.

I don't like it. God made woman's bodies to have babies and that process seems straight-forward enough, why isn't the decision to actually have a baby straight-forward enough? Blah.

Most of my married friends tell me how important it is to wait to have kids and enjoy "just the two of us" time. Which I fully agree with. But I also have to face the fact that most of those friends got married when they were twenty-two, whereas my nuptials began when I was already past twenty-six. It's easier for them to say "wait" when, at my age, they have already enjoyed four-years of marital bliss (whereas I have a grand total of eight-months under my belt. Shoot! If my marriage was in utero it wouldn't even be fully developed yet!)

I am very much aware of the fact that the above musings indicate that I very likely may not be ready to start a family. However, I also feel that if I were to become pregnant sooner-than-expected, I would be thrilled. So, I guess my real question is: How did you and your spouse know you were ready (or not ready) to start a family? Was it a difficult or easy decision for you?

10 comments:

  1. Stephanie BashamJune 7, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    Easy decision. I knew when I wasn't ready, and then I knew when I was. Daniel was ready shortly after that (although he may be the first one to be ready for the next one, considering he's pretty much already there).

    Everyone's different, though. You can get pregnant before you're ready and become ready during the pregnancy. You can be ready for five years before you get pregnant. And I'm sure there are people out there who don't feel "ready" until they have a child in kindergarten. I know I'm blessed for deciding I was ready and getting pregnant about ten minutes later. That doesn't mean it will happen again like that for my future babies, but I'm so glad it happened like that with my first.

    I don't think anyone is completely ready (and all-out excited) about losing the freedoms you have before kids. I guess you just weigh the two and at some point having the baby and the lack of freedom sounds far more appealing than the freedom with no baby.

    And yes, "just the two of us" time is important, but a healthy length of that time can vary drastically. My time was over 3 and a half years, but I got married when I was 21. In a parenting class in college, a year and a half was the length of time they gave for a good minimum (for building your relationship with your spouse first). Shoot - you could get pregnant next month and qualify for the 18 month rule! ;) Plus, "waiting" is often partly because of a need to mature and let's face it, you're already more mature to begin with by getting hitched at 26 instead of 21 or 22. So your waiting period can legitimately be less.

    Wow - did I seriously just write a comment that long? I apologize. :)

    Love you!!!

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  2. @Stephanie Basham - Oh Stephi, you always know just the right thing to say to me! I love you!

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  3. I love Steph's comment. There is NEVER a good time to lose your freedom. No one (at least not me) wants to sacrifice doing whatever SHE wants to do whatever SOMEONE ELSE wants/needs. And for someone with as much going on as you, you're never going to reach the I'm-Bored-So-Let's-Get-Pregnant stage.

    I will say one thing. People who want a horde of children typically need to get started ASAP. ;)

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  4. Jen,
    I have a friend who has been married for about 8 years without having kids. 8. They are both around 30 and just now trying for kids. So say their kid graduates high school when they are 48 years old. Does 48 really seem old? I say no. I think you will know when you are really ready to have babies. Does the the thoughts of being independent and travel bring you more joy than the thoughts of the being a mother? Consider that. All I can say is that my friend who is just now having babies has not regretted anything and feels confident knowing that waiting this long was the right thing. But you need to decide this for yourself. But do not make the decision based on thinking you are aging or anything. you are ONLY 27 and will STILL be a young mother if you wait a few years. Whatever you choose, obviously the Lord will bless you and protect your marriage and your sanity :)

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  5. Do we share a brain? Pretty sure you just pulled all those thoughts out of my head! So if you need to vent/ponder/thing out loud about this decision, I'm here to listen, and relate. I also have a husband who would be a dad tomorrow :-) Just don't tell anyone - haha, too late.

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  6. Jen, I will tell you that hardly ever does a couple just up and say, "AH HA! WE SHOULD HAVE A BABY!". Zack and I had just started talking about wanting to have a family, and then BOOM, 6 wks later I was pregnant. The biggest thing to think about is 1) Who will take care of the baby? Are you going to quit and stay home with it? Is Devin? Or are you going to leave it with someone else? I will tell you, that it is heart-breaking to leave your baby with someone else, even only for 5 mins to run to the store. You get pretty attached, and leaving to work is difficult. 2) Do you have the Money for it? We spend on average (mind you she is only 4 mo.) $250/mo on formula, diapers, wipes, etc. And it only gets more expensive as they age. 3) Don't worry so much about the traveling dreams, because I know from my family, my parents waited and took all of us to special places and it was great because they got to see and we did too. Very educational, and perhaps the only time they may ever get there. 4) Your age is a big factor. If you want say...4 kids, then you have to figure out how many years apart you'll want them, and find out how old you'll be when they turn 18, or have grandchildren...As it is I figured: We want 4, and if I space them about 2 yrs apart, then when the 4th graduates HS I'll be 52 yrs old. Think about it! I really belive that you'll just know when its time. Life just seems boring or your in a rut, and children make it crazy and a true challenge! ;-) You'll figure it out!

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  7. So Andrew and I got pregnant 8 months after we got married (not on purpose!). CD and Melody got pregnant 8 months after their wedding too. Garrett and Meagan were after 7 months. You could be a part of our little "group" if you really wanna, but you have to promise to have a girl cuz all of us already have 'em. A boy would just mess up our flow ya know.

    Why not get the major things you just have to do out of the way and then be open to what God has? And if adventure is on your list, don't think you can just do it pregnant before baby comes, I was just in Hawaii almost 7 months pregnant and was so limited on activites :(

    If you do decide to join our club you better let me know! Love you girl!

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  8. For the record, I found your blog through Marla's' (I worked at camp with her many, many years ago!). I was in about the same boat you are...I was a month away from 26 when I got married. We wanted to have the "married time" before we had children also. We had a "pregnancy scare" early on and I was devastated when I found out I actually wasn't pregnant, but after a few days I got over and realized that it was probably better for us to wait awhile. So ramblings aside, my husband decided to go back to school and get a masters degree and we knew it would be difficult to have a kid while he was in school, but ultimately we decided we didn't want to wait until he was done. I had my Gabe when I was 29 and 1/2. It was right for us. I loved having a few year before kids and I ADORE my son. I second Marla that you are never ready to give up your freedom. It's amazingly difficult to have that little person dependent on you (one way or another) 24 hours a day. I'm not 31 (almost 32) and while I don't feel too old per se, it obviously gets more dangerous and more difficult to get pregnant as time goes by. So all that to say, weigh what's right for you guys and how you feel as well as pray about it. Nice to "meet" you!

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  9. Ooh, I love talking about babies and pregnancy! I don't know what exactly it is, I guess it's just a God-implanted feeling, that whenever I hear someone is pregnant, I get so excited! A new life! So incredible, so crazy (that a new eternal soul has just been conceived that will live forever!), such a miracle! Being a mom is life-changing. It's also scary. Such a huge responsibility. Even if you are 100% sure and have tried for 19 months to conceive, once you see those 2 lines on the pregnancy test, fear sets in and you think, "Am I ready for this???" But I think a healthy fear is good--understanding what an incredible responsibility it is.

    Anyway, some thoughts to consider:
    -First, the math--how many children do you want, how far apart do you want them, when do you want to be done?
    -Second, just because you start trying doesn't mean you will have a baby 9 months later. Stephi got pregnant 10 seconds after she decided she wanted a baby. It took Stew and I a lot longer than that.
    -We are never ready to give up our freedom. But you want to have children. So which one is more important to you? You can't have both. That's what I've been dealing with in when we'll have baby #2. Isabelle is a lot easier now and I'm enjoying just her, but I don't want the age gap between her and baby #2 to be too big. So which one is it going to be? Well, that's up to God. Since it took us 19 months with Isabelle, we are not using any form of birth control. It's definitely a freeing feeling knowing that I will have no regrets. If we don't have anymore children I will know it was completely God's decision and not something I could have prevented.
    -I think you and Devin should just keep praying about it. James 1:5 says that if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God. He will show you clearly what to do.

    Thanks for sharing your heart with us Jen! I'm excited to hear what you decide!!!

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  10. Oh! I forgot to actually answer your question of how did we decide? I wanted to be married 3 years before we had a baby. So we started trying when we had been married a little over 2 years. But I also wanted to have all my school loans paid off and have a house (I didn't want to try and fix up a house with a little baby crawling/running around). I paid off our school loans 5 months before we started trying. We didn't look for or find a house until I was 7 months pregnant. We finished the house and moved in 1 month before Isabelle was born!

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