Parenting

Is It Ever Really the Right Time to Have a Baby?

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine who just went through IVF. Thanks to a cocktail of modern science, insurance, and hard-earned money, she and her husband were able to conceive, schedule the birth date, select the genetically perfect embryo and even pick the sex of their first child. And they deserved to be able to do all of that for what they went through just to have a baby. But, if I were presented with that many choices, I might have just gone insane.

As it was, our decision to get pregnant appears rather simple on paper. We decided it was time to try for a baby. One month later, we got an A+ on the test. When we told our friends we were pregnant I humorously explained, “I can’t stand my job anymore and we’d always planned for me to be at home with the kids anyway. So, one day I finally told my husband we needed to have a baby because I needed to quit my job.”

It was only a half-truth. But, no one wants to hear about the unemployment struggles we faced early on in our marriage, or the financial concerns we had when it came to having a child. Fewer still ever knew that had I not come across the right doctor at the right time we may not have been able to conceive so easily. And no one needed to hear about the psychological and emotional impact the decision to have a child had on our marriage. Sure, I wanted to do more with my life than work in an office, but contrary to popular theory, a woman’s decision to have a child involves so much more than just work.

Now that we live in a society in which everything is carefully planned, especially birth, the decision to have children has become insanely monumental. What married couples took for granted not all that long ago has become the biggest ideological burden weighing down a relationship. Do we or don’t we? When? How? And how do we give birth? How do we raise the baby? We’re anxious readers who can’t wait to get to the next page, so much so that we’re willing to skip chapters ahead just to figure out what’s going to happen next.

The reality is that when it comes to having children, ignorance truly is bliss. I didn’t read one book on the care and maintenance of children when I was pregnant. And I loved being pregnant. Had I attempted to prepare in advance, as so many in our generation do, I would’ve only worked myself into the anxiety that hits every new mother before it was my time to do so. We think all this planning ahead somehow makes up for the lack of local family support. That’s the equivalent of asserting that Google can tell you more about yourself than your own mother. Some things are just meant to be done the old fashioned way.

So, when do you know it’s the right time to have a baby? When it’s the right time, you’ll know. And having the “when” down ensures that the “hows” that follow will all fall into place, because once you’ve decided it’s time to have a child, you never give up. The purity of the calling outweighs the angst of the planning, just like the bliss of the arrival outweighs the pain of birthing, adopting, fostering, and/or needling that child into your life. It really is as simple as all that.

So, put down the book, the calendar, the iPad, the notepad, and just have that baby.