Decision time
July 25, 2012 7:28 PM   Subscribe

How do you decide to have a baby? Like, actually, literally decide, "today we're going to try"?

My husband and I are fairly certain we want to have kids. What we're not certain of is when to ACTUALLY pull the trigger on it. If you have kids, how did you make the decision to actually start 'trying'? What was the trigger that tipped you over from "yeah we should do that, it would awesome" to "let's do that right now"?

We feel reasonably confident in our ability to financially and emotionally handle having a kid if it happened tomorrow, but at the same time we enjoy the freedom of having two incomes and few responsibilities. We're 27(me) and 29(him) so young, but not SO young. We agree we'd rather become parents at 29 than 39. We both have fairly demanding jobs.

The tricky part for us is that he is currently a postdoctoral fellow with one more year of grant funding and his PI will (definitely, not even a question) fund a few more years beyond that - meaning he could have a very flexible job for up to three more years. I have very little job flexibility and am unlikely to in the near term future, so it would be pretty advantageous to use his post-doc period for some child-care flexibility. But that means deciding this NOW, which seems so... soon?

How did you decide to jump in?
posted by annie o to Human Relations (38 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
There's never a right time to have a baby, as they say.

At some point, early in our marriage, we said "it would be good to get pregnant by the time we're 30". One day we woke up and were 29, things were going reasonably well, so we chucked the birth control. We got pregnant on the first try, but not everyone is so lucky, so consider that.

Flexibility is great. Use that to your advantage. Don't be surprised if you figure out other ways to be flexible with your own career.
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:35 PM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

Folks told me repeatedly: if you wait until you're ready to have kids and your jobs and life situations are right, you'll never have kids.

That said, you guys are pretty young, and could easily wait five years before going for it.

To actually answer your question: my husband and I waited until we had relocated to our current country of residence, both had jobs, and had a little bit in savings. The trigger, I suppose, was my age (37). I'm now 38 and 7 months pregnant.
posted by Specklet at 7:40 PM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

We did the same as dpx.mfx, talked about age 30, then early this year realized it was time. It was time, plus we both felt "not scared" (not exactly ready!). So now I'm 5 months pregnant and turning 30 on Sunday! When we realized it was time we also talked about how much we should "try". Just so we were on the same page. Took 3 cycles bit only one cycle of really trying (counting days etc.). The whole process of making this decision and executing it was/is both exciting and scary! Yaaay! Happy talking!
posted by Swisstine at 7:54 PM on July 25, 2012

For me, it was going to visit my sister about two weeks after she had her daughter.

I spent a week helping them out, came home, said I WANT A BABY NOW, and ten months after that, our son was born.
posted by Lucinda at 7:55 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had my first at 24. We simply decided that we didn't have anything else very compelling going on, realised that we'd prefer to start trying while I'm still young and had the finances to back it up. I just stopped taking birth control, but we didn't pay much mind to conceiving and managed to get pregnant within a year. I'm glad we started casually with the expectation that it would happen in its own time and we'd be happy if it happened immediately or sometime in the future. No pressure. No ticking clock. I'm glad to have gotten my childbearing out of the way early. Easier on my body in terms of pregnancy and child rearing, fertility and my kids will be out of the house before I'm 50.
posted by sunshinesky at 8:03 PM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

I read once (in a magazine, I think? but I'm pretty sure the author was quoting her ob/gyn) that you shouldn't wait to have kids until you're 100% sure, or you'll never do it, but that 70% sure worked perfectly well.

I've adopted that advice for most big decisions in my life, but it was originally meant for babies, so there you go.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:04 PM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

We did some cold hard calculations. Age, job commitments, health care coverage. Plus, he was getting older (10 yrs older than I). Finally we decided. Then he said, "well, I don't know if we can afford a new car and a baby in the same year," and I said, "oh, hell no, you are not changing our mind.". Then it was, "oh my god what have we done?," and now, a scant 5 minutes later, the babies are lovely people and we are nearly empty nesters and are starting to wonder when the grand kids will come along.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:05 PM on July 25, 2012 [8 favorites]

We got married when I was 29, husband was 32. Thought that we would start trying when I was 32. My birthday happened, we thought "crap, it's our best friends' wedding in two months and we want to party". So we waited 3 months, and started trying. Had a baby 10 months later.

Basically, we waited until we'd been married a while, but while I was still (culturally, for our particular peer group) reasonably young, in case we had issues getting pregnant. Job-wise it was kind of shitty -- I was a post-doc, husband was in his liver path fellowship, so we were both working hard. But we had the kind of jobs that meant we would *always* be working hard, so didn't let that affect us too much.
posted by gaspode at 8:06 PM on July 25, 2012

OH yeah. And the first time you have sex, you know, trying? Holy shit that is some freaky mind-fuckery right there. Brrr.
posted by gaspode at 8:07 PM on July 25, 2012 [20 favorites]

We were married and looking at houses and had decided that we theoretically both wanted kids someday. Then - despite being very, very straight-laced - we both got profoundly high one night, and during the thirty seconds I normally would've attended to birth control, I fuzzily thought, "Eh, what the hell?" And nine months later...
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:19 PM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've been with my husband for almost 8 years (married for 3). The last few years we've kinda loosely planned on getting pregnant in 2012 because we both turn 30 this year; my parents were 30 when they had me, and it seemed like a good age. Sometime late last year we actually sat down and decided that we'd start trying in June for a bunch of ideal timing reasons (hoping to avoid being 9 months pregnant in Florida in summer, avoiding a December birthday since my mom hates hers, convenient seasonal time for me to take maternity leave at my job, etc.) None of these are super important reasons, but it was emboldening to give it some thought and take away our own autonomy a bit by setting an actual month ahead of time. Fortunately we didn't have any crazy family dramas or financial problems that could justify departing from our rough plan once June rolled around. I got pregnant on the first try.
posted by gatorae at 8:35 PM on July 25, 2012

We had been married almost six years (together for twelve) and suddenly went from "Someday we'll have babies" to "We need to have some babies". It took a full six years to get to that point but it happened when I turned 27 and he was 29 (Same ages as you two!). We agreed to start trying and chucked birth control but it still took a full six months before we were pregnant. Then for the second it was easy-now or never. They were born 20 months apart! There was never a perfect time. There never will be!

The only thing I can tell you is that we both had okay jobs (at the planning stage) and a health plan and a cute little apartment and we felt like it was the 'right time' -somewhere between being adults at last but not wanting to wait until we were too entrenched in life to take the leap. And we still feel good about that decision, especially when I see my family members still having babies well into their forties and my children are now *finally* old enough to babysit!
posted by pink candy floss at 8:39 PM on July 25, 2012

Plan ahead a bit.

Is he FOR SURE going to find a position after his postdoc is done? Will you have to move? Will you be able to find work there?

What's your childcare sitch? How much does childcare cost where you are?
This is a huge expense and you need to think about if you can swing in.

I say this as an academic with a 3.5 year old. He was born right before my qualifying exams.

You guys probably could do it with ease. Or you could also let him go on the market this year, move, have baby in new location. That might be less stressful - if it was a choice between this year and next year, I'd rather move without a new baby. Isn't the worst, but...
posted by k8t at 8:40 PM on July 25, 2012

It was the January before mrgood was to turn 40, and I was 34. We'd been together for many years, married for two, owned our house and had good jobs. We were tossing the idea around, in that we'd go to antique markets and see wee vintage cowboy boots or a tiny Ramones tee shirt, and would make up an imaginary babygood to wear them. Many of our friends had kids that had become interesting little people instead of drooling blobs, and we admired their parenting.

Then I had three clients in a row (working at an auction house, dealing in personal items like jewellery and couture) and all were women whose lived didn't turn out the way they thought they would. They either took sick, or their husbands passed or were incapacitated, and these women didn't get to retire well or travel with them or die happily in their own homes surrounded by loved ones. I took it as a sign to start living more mindfully with less of an eye toward the future. Mrgood also felt his mortality, and we came up with the idea that we'd "pull the goalie", and if I was pregnant before he turned forty, then great - we'd have a kid! If not, we'd rescue animals or travel and volunteer or do more of whatever people who don't have kids do.

I changed jobs to one where I could focus more on having a kid if that happened, and of course it didn't work out and I was out of work and had to scramble. Thankfully an old boss took me in, and good thing, because soon I was feeling like I maybe had mono or something -- and I worked for her until the day I called in "sick" to give birth. And that's when I had littlepeagood, who's now eight. It was the best decision ever made for us, ever.
posted by peagood at 8:42 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

It was our wedding night and I knew I was ovulating that day (hurray for Fertility Awareness!). We decided why not, let's see what happens and here we are expecting our baby in January. Our relationship is strong (together for 5 years before marrying, friends for 10), financially we're doing well (he has a stable job with benefits, I'm starting a fully funded masters degree program) and we both took our marital vows to be open to children seriously. I suspected that we were very fertile but I didn't expect to be able to conceive at the very first try, so you never know! We're both 28. In our professional peer groups we are young to be having children but are quite old for our first child in our families.
posted by wilky at 8:43 PM on July 25, 2012

My wife survived a pulmonary embolism and was no longer allowed to take hormonal birth control, so we pretty much just said, "screw it, let's have kids then". Also, she wasn't dead, which I think gave us a bit of a "seize the day!" mentality.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:46 PM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'm a doctor and I think having a baby during residency is inconceivable, so I knew I wanted to aim for right after I finished my program.

My husband is a very very cautious person and fears change, and so I started talking to him about the hypothetical possibility that we might one day want children about 2 years ahead of when I really wanted to do it. I would drop it for a few months, then I would lightly bring it up, we'd talk about it a bit, get a little excited, then he'd get nervous ("but what if I'm not a good dad?!"), and I'd drop it. That way, when I really needed him to be on the same page with me, he was ready to be there. I said "listen, my program ends in 9 months - are you with me?" and after a little bit of nervous chatter, he agreed. Like everyone else said, it felt incredibly momentous at the time.

And then the months ticked by, and ticked by. And I had to give up all thought of trying to time a baby in between jobs or time it in any way at all. Then I had to give up the thought of being able to have a baby without outside help. Then I had many tests done, took many medications, and had many nights of crying and staring at negative pregnancy tests. I finished a bottle of 300 prenatal vitamins and I still wasn't pregnant, and I cried some more. And finally, with a lot of help from the wonders of modern medicine, I got pregnant, two years later. I'm pregnant now! And I'm so glad I started trying when I did.

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:47 PM on July 25, 2012 [17 favorites]

p.s. I would like to add to my above post that pregnancy is not actually 9 months (I am a bit numerically challenged so I did not realize this), so I had not timed my discussion correctly, in fact. If you actually want to time things this precisely, do not do what I did, instead do Fertility Awareness for several months ahead of time so you actually know when you're ovulating, and give yourself 40 weeks from the day of your last period.

(ah, if only life actually worked like this. But I can see from the posts above that it actually does for some people!)
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:53 PM on July 25, 2012

We had been thinking and talking about it for a long, long time but never really changed our birth control practices. When we finally started actively trying I felt it was for a practical reason. I knew I'd be leaving my job that had good health care coverage to do something more flexible but less likely to cover the pregnancy and birth as completely as that position did. So we had about a year and a half to make something happen with those benefits -- everything worked out with two months to spare.

But to be honest there was an emotional reason too. Just prior to our practical evaluation of the situation we had an unexpected death in the family that hit hard and led to a lot more conversation about what we wanted out of this life. This little guy laying next to me as I type this in the dark was definitely on the list for us both. We were just so unserious about things for awhile. That loss made us serious about more than a few things.

If I had only understood how amazing it all is I would have lobbied for us to start trying earlier.
posted by safetyfork at 9:01 PM on July 25, 2012

My period came, like it always does, and I realized it was really sad about it. That was what kicked us over.

My first child was born 27 months later, after two miscarriages. My advice to folks is, if you know you'll want 'em someday, start trying for them now, because sometimes you get them like picking up a penny off the ground, and sometimes you don't.
posted by KathrynT at 9:25 PM on July 25, 2012 [8 favorites]

Oh, I nearly forgot.
When we were ready for our second baby, (I wanted them 3 years apart, but when the time came I wasn't ready for a new baby, I was still playing with the little boy, so they are 4 1/2 yrs apart). When the time came for the second one, I did the math and figured out that if I got pregnant that month I would be ending my maternity leave just in time to go back to work for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Having worked mandatory overtime on Christmas Eve and then doubled back on Christmas for two years in a row, I decided to wait a couple of months. Went off on maternity leave 2 weeks before Christmas, had a baby Dec 30, and haven't worked mandatory overtime since.

The fun part of that story is that I can say I timed my pregnancy so I could be off on the holiday, cuz, you know, how trivial and weird.
The truer part is that although we originally planned to have a 3 year gap, we really weren't ready when the time came to meet that schedule. We waited until the time felt right for us and our little family.

I like Snarl Furillo's comment above about never being 100% ready, but that 70% ready is good enough to act on.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:53 PM on July 25, 2012

My brother-in-law and his wife had their son a year before we conceived ours. My partner's brother is seven years older, and was finishing med school. His wife is seeking tenure. I was basically ready to have babies as soon as we settled down together, but this was what kicked it over the edge for my partner. He was 30. I was 25. He said, "When I'm 37, I want a kid, not a newborn or a toddler." Our kiddo will be 6 when my partner is 37.

In terms of other practicalities, I had a good job with great health insurance, that seemed like it would be flexible after the baby came. It wasn't, in the long run, but feeling like it would be was a big contributing factor.

We seriously couldn't have timed it any better, I think.
posted by linettasky at 11:18 PM on July 25, 2012

I went to the doctor to see if there was anything I ought to do to prepare, and there was: she recommended to all her patients to take folic acid supplements for at least a couple of months before getting pregnant, if possible. And I think that (at our request) she referred us to a genetic counselor too. So I took the supplements for a couple of months, we had the counseling meeting, all systems were go, and then I went off the pill.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:22 PM on July 25, 2012

I'm with KathrynT: if you think you want kids, start trying sooner rather than later. My partner and I have been trying for four years, and have achieved one miscarriage. Still trying, but man, I cringe to think what would've happened if we'd decided to wait longer to start.

For us, the tipping point was that every time we saw an infant, we both sort of sighed and said "Aw, we should have [another] kid." And eventually we realized that the feeling we were having wasn't longing, but sadness that we didn't have another child. (We have one child, biologically mine from a previous relationship, who was five when all this started.)

Quite sincerely, though, my advice is to start trying before you reach the sad-about-other-people-having-babies point, and before you find yourself desperately wanting a child. There's never a perfect time to do it, so starting before you're upset/hurt/devastated that you haven't already done it is, imo, a good plan.
posted by MeghanC at 11:39 PM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

Kids weren't on the radar until we had a pregnancy scare after a couple of years of marriage. At that point both of us recognized our desire to start but we didn't have health insurance and had crappy jobs. So we had to wait. Then we were going through a training program and preparing for an international move and it didn't make sense to start (still no insurance, either). Finally we got to our new home, got insurance and waited the necessary six months for the maternity coverage to kick in. It had been about three or four years, I think. Even after waiting and wanting, we had a couple of months of going back and forth between "Yes, let's try" and "No, no, no, this is scary, what were we thinking?". Finally we were Officially Trying and it took several months to get pregnant, followed by a miscarriage, then another miscarriage six months later. We decided we were going to take some time off, that we were pretty okay with not having a kid for the forseeable future and, whaddayaknow, I got pregnant.

You can plan all you want but plans don't necessarily translate to real life. Then again, sometimes they do. Parenthood is like that.
posted by wallaby at 3:52 AM on July 26, 2012

My wife and I knew we wanted kids, and we knew we had to wait 3 years for her to finish her veterinary training. She'd stopped taking her contraceptive pill a while back and we were using condoms for contraception. One night we just didn't... it was as illogical and unthinking as that for us, we both knew we wanted it and we both knew it wasn't a great time to be trying, but in the end it was the right time physically and emotionally which was as important as the place we were in our careers.

I have no advice, but if you feel ready, if you're in a position to financially and most importantly if you feel you want this baby more than anything else going on in your life, take the plunge. We did, and we certainly don't regret it. I agree with the other posters who've said you're unlikely to ever find yourself at 100% the right time to take the plunge, so you have to just go for it when the feeling's right or you never will.

Good luck, adventure awaits!
posted by tzb at 4:20 AM on July 26, 2012

Another thing that happened to us is that we made friends with a couple who had two kids. We had other friends with kids, but those friends with kids didn't compel us to want kids. This new set of friends, though - they operated as parents the way we wanted to operate as parents. Which is to say, they fit their kids into their lives, for the most part, instead of tearing their lives upside down for the kids. Which, now that I have kids, is easier said than done. But after watching them I was relatively sure that we could have kids, but still have LIVES.
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:29 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

We decided that we want them at some point. About five months ago we had a talk about timings (and the "I'm not getting any younger" thing) and decided that when my contraceptive implant is due for renewal, we'll have it taken out and not replaced. That's next month fwiw.

I definitely think that my other half is being driven a little by seeing all the pregnancies in his immediate group of friends. I reach the point that MeghanC calles "sad-about-other-people-having-babies" a few years ago though
posted by SuckPoppet at 5:51 AM on July 26, 2012

I had my kids at 31 and 33 and it felt like getting hit by a mack truck. People who have kids at 38 must be bionic, I swear to you. (There were other factors at work, like I am bad at being pregnant, and my husband has a super-high metabolism that my kids inherited so they wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME.) But really, we'd been married six years by the time we started trying and were in a decent financial place. Waiting until you're in a reasonably stable situation is good, but waiting for perfect is bad. Because there never is a perfect, and only a limited number of people are bionic enough to have kids at 38.

Anyway, we had a discussion around Christmas that, Oh, yeah, we're in a pretty good place, we should probably start trying. I had already talked about it with my ob/gyn at my yearly check-up in October that we thought we were getting probably pretty close and we'd gotten the go-ahead and discussed prenatal vitamins and stuff. Chucked the birth control at New Year's and didn't worry about super-trying, just let things go. Took about nine months. (The second time it took two months.)

I'd say talk to your ob/gyn and his doctor and say you think you're getting ready to start trying, get their advice, that'll be a little bitty step towards making it seem like the right time.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:59 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

We decided when I turned 29 to have kids. I ended up having my first kid at 34 and not for lack of trying. We had no clue that we were going to have problems, and the problems we did have were not associated with age, but plumbing. I'm now pregnant again at 36 (our prior infertility no longer worked as birth control) and I'm pretty certain this is it. This pregnancy has been easier in some ways than the one at 34 but I attribute that to the kid. Son has been preternaturally strong from the beginning (it's really something to hear that it took 3 NICU nurses to hold down your 24 hour old full-term child to get a line in him for antibiotics) and being pregnant with him was draining.

I don't tell you this to be gloom and doom about your biological clock, but more to caution that even though you don't anticipate having problems, your plans may get derailed and the one year plan might turn into something a little longer.

So waiting until things work for you may not actually work out in terms of when you get the bundle to take home.
posted by Leezie at 6:27 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

We decided at Christmas 2008 that we would stop using protection and "if it happens, it happens." For various controllable reasons (low libido, smoking, unexpected housemate, not paying attention to my cycle), it didn't happen until very early 2010. Our decision in 2008 was not a good one honestly - I was 25 and he was 26, and it had been a BAD Christmas for me due to marital issues, and I had previously been making noises off and on about "when are we going to start trying" and so he offered "now", I think to try to make up for Christmas. Again, bad idea. Do not do this. We had a MAJOR fight in late 2009 due to the same marital issues and I'm so glad that that was PRE-pregnancy. (We are good now. And we were mostly good by the time I got pregnant. But STILL. ughh.)

We have never been what I would call "comfortable" in terms of finances, but his rationale was that if we kept waiting until we thought it was safe, it probably would never happen. And yeah, the first year was rough, we're paying for daycare 3 days a week, and he was going through diapers so fast and we had him on formula because breastfeeding didn't work out and THAT was expensive (I definitely remember multiple occasions when it was a week until payday and we were standing in the formula aisle at Walmart with $20 trying to figure out how we were going to feed ALL of us). But he's 20 months now, no more formula expenses, he doesn't go through diapers as quickly, he's old enough he can eat whatever we eat, and honestly, I'm so glad we did it. Sure, money is tight, but being a parent is amazing. It's funny how being a mom changes your priorities and goals and hopes for your future and you don't even notice it happening, and when you DO notice it doesn't bother you.
posted by agress at 6:39 AM on July 26, 2012

We had recently been married, after being together for 6 years. We were in our early 30's. She had completed her thesis defense and begun a post-doc. I had just returned to college, to complete my degree. It seemed like a good idea, and that there would not be a better time to have a baby. We had that discussion in bed, and the fact that some close friends of ours had just announced their pregnancy probably influenced it.

10 or 11 months later, baby! It was hard, it was messy, it was expensive, it was inconvenient. A couple years went by. Then, other babies started getting really adorable. Perhaps it was time to have another. 10 or 11 months later, baby!

The initial baby discussion concerned careers and time off. As a college student, I could arrange for evening classes and take care of the baby during the day. It seemed simple at the time.

Advice for you: Enjoy your sleep now. Write down a list of things you do in your spare time, and refer back to in when the concept of having free time is a distant concept. Prepare to spend bunches of money on daycare and all the stuff a baby needs. Once your child enters school, it is time to start funding the college savings with the money formerly spent on daycare.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 7:40 AM on July 26, 2012

I'm advocating for being as young as possible and in a very stabile relationship for having children.

I wanted children when I was in my 20s, but I wasn't in a relationship, so I didn't have any. As I got older my desire to have kids declined. When I finally married at the age of 39 and 8 months, we bagged the whole idea.

I'm very happily childless, but I'll tell you this. I have friends my age with little kids and frankly I don't know how they do it. I do not have the energy or patience for it, and I'm too set in my ways.

My friend's daughter and her husband have been married a little under 2 years. He was all for getting pregnant right away, she was ambivalent. They decided to go off birth control and see what happened. She's about 3 months along now.

I suggest that if you're in a good space, beef up the vitamins, go off birth control and see what happens. Don't get all nuts about it. Don't start thinking of making love on schedules. Just relax and see what happens. Either you'll get pregnant in the first few months or you won't. After about 6 months, assess where you are, and decide that if you're not pregnant, do you want to step up measures to become pregnant. Or you'll be pregnant and it will be academic.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:54 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

My husband turned 30.

You should start as soon as possible. It took my husband and I six months to conceive our first, and by the time he arrived it had been 14 months. That was pretty average. Your "up to three years" could really fly by.

Also, as a woman I decided to never put off babies for career and never put off career for babies. Always take a new baby/career opportunity because you never know what will pan out and when.
posted by that's how you get ants at 8:15 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I turned 32 a few months after I completed grad school and we moved to a new state for my new job. I made some new friends, all of whom were pregnant or planning to have babies soon. I guess that set my biological clock off because I started thinking maybe I wanted kids after all (they were never on the table before). But my husband didn't really want kids, so we dropped the idea. When I turned 35, we had just bought a house, the job was going really well, and I realized we weren't getting any younger. Husband still wasn't entirely sure, but when I told him I wanted to have my IUD taken out in January, he said OK. January rolled around, IUD came out, and I got pregnant in February. Honestly even during my pregnancy, my husband was still really unsure of the whole thing. As soon as the baby was born, though, it was like finally we were... home. I don't know. I'd say I was 90% and he was 50% sure before he was born, but by the time he was 2 weeks old we were both 100%. So I guess sometimes you're not really sure until after it's a done deal. Our son is 19 months old now, and my husband is a stay-at-home dad and we can't imagine our lives without him.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:00 AM on July 26, 2012

For me, I got married at 30. Our original plan was to have kids in 3 years---2 of them. Well life happened--rollercoaster marriage, unemployment, start of a new business, more uncertainty of our relationship then it hit me, are we going to do this or not because by the time we figured shit out I was 36.

So we just jumped in for a year trying.

It didn't work. Off to the clinic we go. I was beyond lucky to get pregnant within the following year.

It was extremely easy to decide to try. Then the baby happened and rollercoaster #2 happened. Therapy, meds, ready to sign divorce papers. The last scared the shit out of him. For me, whatever was necessary to be the best mom I could be changed it for me. Meaning get my shit together too. I did. Things got way better--communication, baby wasn't sick anymore, we got sleep, we enjoyed life together with our son. So we went back to the clinic last year.

Time's up at 40 for me. Chance of pregnancy less than 1% with my own eggs.

Despite the rockiness, I have absolutely zero regrets in having my son. It changed me for the better in all aspects. I view the world and myself differently.

The only regret was not having him/a child sooner so I could make room for one more. But in all reality, they are a handful for some people and I'm glad he's around. Why mess with perfection?

Good luck and enjoy the ride.
posted by stormpooper at 9:34 AM on July 26, 2012

My kid was the product of contraceptive failure, so the pregnancy was a totally unplanned surprise and technically speaking a really poorly timed one, since I my husband and I were not yet married and he had just lost his job and my job paid poorly and had no health insurance. At the time it was scary and stressful but we just went with it. I'd been told by doctors that I had fertility issues and might need medical intervention to have kids (hah!) at all so somehow this bad luck accident seemed like awfully good luck, too. And it was. My kid is absolutely the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.

Because I was young when I got pregnant (in my early twenties) and all my friends were waiting until 30ish to have kids, my social life fell off the face of the Earth, and I was very lonely on top of the financial and regular old new parent stress. I had to work 60 hours a week through most of my pregnancy. I wound up getting married on the quick and cheap in a courthouse for health insurance purposes, instead of having the wedding we had planned. And then after my son was born my husband wound up working three jobs and was almost never home for my son's entire first year. It was hard.

So yeah, dealing with imperfectly timed parenthood was rough, but you know what I think is rougher? What some of my 30-something friends and family are going through now -- trying and trying and trying to have a kid, and not being able to. I bet they'd trade places with me in a second.

So I say if you feel readyish, start trying now, and don't worry about making the timing perfect. Even the most prepared and "perfectly" timed parents I know were totally blindsided and gobsmacked by the awesome life-upending responsibility of parenthood when it came. Kids don't care one whit about your career plans, or your life schedule. They want food and shelter and love and if you can give all that now, you've won half the parenting battle.
posted by BlueJae at 9:40 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I turned 30 shortly after Dr. Jilder got first real job after the Ph. D. I was ready well before it was feasible - we were living on my income, more or less, for a while, and taking any time off work was not an option. We fell pregnant first try, but it ended in miscarriage from which I am still recovering. It could be a while yet.

It won't ever be perfect. You only have 15 -20 years to try, and it's a cruel twist that more most women their peak fertility happens during their peak career development years. My advice is to try as soon as you start to feel ready, because even in healthy women your chances of misfiring first time out the chamber are a bit north of 20%, and it could take a while.
posted by Jilder at 12:46 PM on July 26, 2012

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