I’m 30 years old. My husband and I have been married for almost 6 years. Is it the right time? I’m just not sure. How do you know?
Jason and I were married on 7/26/03. I initially thought we’d start trying to have a baby pretty soon after we got married. However, my husband wasn’t on board. Because of his never ending schedule of deployments, he wanted to wait until he was done with sea duty to have our first child. While I wasn’t really excited about waiting that long (4+ years) I did understand his feelings. He didn’t want to be an absentee dad. He wanted to be there for the first words, the first steps… all the major milestones. It was important to him.
This is just how my husband felt. I understand that many military couples do have children while experiencing deployments. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. Those couples make it work. My very good friend Holly, like countless other military wives, had her second child while her husband was out to sea. If you are woman who has had a child while her husband was deployed, or experienced deployments with a child – I admire you! My husband and I recognize your hard work and sacrifice, and because we understood the difficulties, we decided to wait.
While on one hand I had my husband saying he wanted to wait, on the other hand I had my family telling me to wait as well. My mother did not want her grandchild born while I was 3000 miles away. She wasn’t able to be as involved in my sister-in-law’s pregnancy as she wanted to be, and she envisioned herself going to doctor’s appointments, keeping the baby on weekends, and showing him or her off to friend and co-workers. I understood that! I envision my mother doing those things as well – especially the weekend. I see myself taking long naps while my child hangs out with his or her grandmother. J
Needless to say, due to the above, the desire to have a child went into hibernation. In fact, after awhile I began to wonder if maybe I just wasn’t mean to have children. Being a social worker doesn’t exactly show the best side of parenting. I’d occasionally bring up the subject with my husband, and we’d set a date to start trying. And then that date would arrive, and we’d push it back some more. The timing just never felt right.
At least for me, I wanted my husband to be vocal about his desire to have children, and he never was. Whenever I would broach the subject, he had a “whatever you decide” attitude. He told me once that since I was the person carrying the child, he felt like it should be my decision to have a baby. He wasn’t ready at this moment – but he felt like once it happened, that feeling would come for him.
That just didn’t sit right for me. I wanted him to be excited. I wanted him to be involved. In so many areas, I feel my husband is extremely mature, even though he is 2 years younger than me. But I just didn’t feel like he was ready to be a dad, and I didn’t want to pick up the slack while he played video games. After a lot of thought, I decided that I’d commit once he broached the subject and told me that it was something he wanted.
So time has passed, and here we are, almost 6 years later. To be honest, I was comfortable with this being a future goal for us as a couple. I had this place in my mind that I wanted to be at when I had a child – geographically, emotionally, and financially. While we’ve achieved the first two, we’re still working on the third. Like I said, the timeline keeps getting pushed off, and I just keep thinking that we have time. Time to save money, time to pay off bills, time to make this or that home improvement – TIME!
A consequence of all this time is that I’ve endured some pretty intrusive comments from people – including my parents, who were the first to tell me to wait. Comments like “I’m never going to get grandchildren from you!” or the absolute winner, given by some obscure relative at my uncle’s funeral: “Gosh, you are so OLD now. I guess you’re just not going to have children, are you?”
A few weeks ago, when we went home for my uncle’s funeral, we were blessed to spend a lot of quality time with the whole family. My cousin, Heather, had her second child, Mari Claire, 5 months ago. Mari Claire is a cutie patootie and is really the best behaved baby I’ve ever been around. She only cries when she’s hungry and wet, and she’s perfectly content to be held and cuddled 24/7. You get where this is going, right?
I decided to do a little experiment. I conspired to get Jason to hold Mari Claire as much as possible that weekend. I expected him to hand her right back, but as the weekend went on, he would sit with her for hours, just playing with her toes and cuddling her close.
The weekend after the funeral, I got those words I wanted to hear: the husband is ready. Mari Claire warmed his cold, scared heart and he wants a baby just like her. (Note to husband: MC is a freak of nature. Babies cry, poop, and spit up. They aren’t so cute then.)
The problem? I wasn’t quite ready to hear those words. I’ve spent years waiting on my husband to be ready, and now that he is? I AM FREAKING OUT.
In some areas of my life I am very impulsive. In others, like trying to conceive, I’m not so much. I am worried: about money, about miscarriage, about birth defects, about the economy – anything and everything. If you could imagine something going wrong during pregnancy or after - it’s running through my mind.
I know my husband and I are better off than some couples. We both have jobs. We make good money. We’re settled, own a home, and we have cars. I’m sure like every other couple, we’d make it work. We’d figure it out. But I can’t help but think about all the what ifs. What if money was tight? What if I lost my job? What if I had a child with special needs? What if I had a miscarriage? Am I ready?
The husband says we need to seize the day. That we could wait until we’re 40 and still not be completely debt free (thank you, student loans!). That we could have trouble getting pregnant and wish we hadn’t waited. That having a child with special needs could be in our future, and we’d still love him or her.
So here I am, wanting to hear some feedback from all of you. Am I crazy? Do all potential parents have these worries? Do you think they are silly or valid? I want to hear from you!
How old were you when you had your first child?
Were you and your baby’s father ready (financially, emotionally, otherwise)?
Do you wish you would have waited? Why or why not?
What is your advice to me?
I really do want to know your thoughts. If you are not comfortable leaving a comment, please email me at andrearhouse at yahoo dot com.