If Not Now, When?

My sincerest apologies for neglecting to finish the Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? series.  After a few weeks months of blogging whatever comes to me at 11p.m. the night before, I *think* I’m ready to get back to business and finish the series.  If you’re new, you can catch up here.  If you’ve been waiting patiently, you can expect to see posts on

  • body changes after delivery
  • what about Dad?  (how does baby change your relationship)
  • fore-milk vs. hind-milk
  • fighting the postpartum frump (physically and mentally)
  • exercise after baby
  • adoption
  • creating a birth plan
  • child spacing
  • caring for a preemie
  • transition from a career to WAHM or SAHM
  • when to say when (What’s the ideal family size for you?)

What else?  What am I missing?  I’d like to keep the series focused on pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum issues.  If we want, we can always do something on baby and/or toddlers when this is finished.

For now, I need your help answering a reader question.

I’d love to see your “Why Didn’t Anyone Tell me?” series address the topic of how to decide when is the right time to start having children.  I’ve really loved reading your posts about “Mommy Come Home” and my husband and I desire for me to be a SAHM/WAHM so we’re trying to get our finances in order, we recently paid off all our debt, are saving up money for a down payment on a small home that we could manage on his income, etc.  But we’re struggling through the decision for when to start trying for children.

Of course this is a very personal decision and there is no right answer, so everyone must decide for their own family what is right (or truthfully…sometimes the Lord decides for you when the right time is by giving you a baby unexpectedly!) but I think it would be great to hear from a couple mothers about how they decided, or if they decided.

What a great question!  As everyone’s experience will shake out differently, I can only tell our own.  When we married, I was the breadwinner.  My husband had been coaching at a small, private college, and while that was a great experience for him and opened many doors, it did not put many dollars in the pocketbook.

Because we desired for me to be home with our children, we didn’t actively seek pregnancy for a few months.  Six months into our marriage, he secured a teaching job.  Yay!  Time to have babies, right?  Wrong.  So very wrong.  Three years of infertility later, I’ve always half wondered if we should have just let the chips fall where they may and started trying for a baby immediately.

You know what, though?  God is in the details.  Always.

Yes, we would have loved to have had a baby 3 years earlier.  But, life wouldn’t be what it is now. Without those extra years of teaching, I may not have felt “fulfilled” in my career and may not have enjoyed my time at home as much as I do.  Without those extra years of saving two incomes, we wouldn’t be making it without great difficulty on the income we now have.  Without those extra years our children would be older, our housing situation would have changed faster, we might not have moved when we did, and I may never have discovered blogging!

Everything happens for a reason, and God’s timing is the only timing I truly trust. (Yes, even when I don’t like it.)

In the end… looking back… we wouldn’t change a thing.  (Oh, wait.  One thing.  We would have taken Natural Family Planning classes before getting married instead of after we had trouble conceiving.)

What about you?  When did you start your family?  How did you know it was time?  Do you wish you had started sooner?  Do you wish you had waited?  What were you waiting (or not waiting) on?  What would you share with a newly married couple about the best time to have children? As this is a highly sensitive matter, I trust that my readers will act with kindness and grace toward each other in the comments.

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Comments

  1. I’m SO looking forward to all of these posts!!
    I really feel that waiting for the ‘right time’ is fruitless; the right time rarely, if ever, shows up.
    It is G-d who gives us the gift of children, so trust in G-d and wing it.
    We started trying as soon as we were married, but it took 8 months to conceive.

    • “the right time rarely, if ever, shows up.” So very true! We are very limited in our thinking and planning abilities.

      • Yes, we definitely are!!
        I’m Jewish, and I’ve always been taught that the monetary blessings come WITH the kids, not before them.

        My husband and I do not plan on using BC, and I am a SAHM. But I have to say the one circumstance where we have agreed to consider BC is if I end up having say, 3 kids in 3 years and I (or both of us) just get too overwhelmed. I don’t believe that giving more kids to an overwhelmed mother is the way to fix being overwhelmed. At least, this is what we agreed on pre-marriage and baby. After having my daughter, I don’t know if I could stomach the idea of preventing a possible child.

  2. I didn’t get married until I was 32. I felt like I had no time to waste so we got right on it. It took 5 months to get pregnant and he was 11 weeks early, so we actually had our first baby 1 month before our 1st anniversary. I wish I’d met my hubby earlier so we could’ve started earlier. I worry that I won’t have much time as a grandmother. It is nice to have your financial ducks in a row before you get started.

    • You sound a lot like my sister. She got married later than she planned, but they had their first baby just a few days before their first anniversary. I feel like we, too, are “old” parents and sometimes worry about the grandparent thing, but I try to trust that God will be all over that, too!

  3. With our first child we started trying right away,but my hubby got deployed so we were only together for about 4 months the first year. God timed it right though. With our 2cd child we started trying after our first turned two and once again God timed it right. I got to teach for a couple years in between them. With our third who is three months old she was a surprise. We knew we wanted another, but was not going to try until our second child was two, but God had other plans. They are all two years apart and I think that is good spacing. I am now staying home and enjoy every minute. You still have time to have kids and enjoy them

    • Ah, the military sacrifice sure does bring a whole new wrench into “plans” sometimes. I think two years is great spacing, too. We always joke that our fourth child showed up “a year late.” ;)

  4. My husband is one of nine, and we became convinced before we were married that, barring any major health concerns for me, we would just ‘wing it’ and have as many children as the Lord would give us. I got pregnant three weeks after our wedding. Our third anniversary is one week from now and we have a 2 year old daughter and a 4 month old son. I have no regrets about not waiting to have children. I look at my precious daughter and can’t imagine life without her–and if we had waited, she wouldn’t be here!

    With no savings and my husband’s business in early stages (I was 18 and he was 22 when we got married), most people would’ve probably advised that waiting would be wiser. I quit my full-time job as a secretary as soon as our daughter was born. Of course we have had some financially difficult times, but God has faithfully provided for all of our needs time and time again.

    While I wouldn’t say birth control (the non-abortive forms, of course) is wrong across the board for every reason, it is a serious issue. When you choose to prevent pregnancy, you are in essence preventing a person (or people) from existing.

    If we have even 5 godly children, and they all have 5 godly children, that’s 30 more people who are living for the glory of God. As Christians, Kingdom advancing has to be our top priority, and raising godly children is probably the most effective, far-reaching, long-lasting way we can impact the world for God’s glory.

    • “When you choose to prevent pregnancy, you are in essence preventing a person (or people) from existing.” Yes, and a very serious issue. Thank you for bringing that up! I applaud your young heart and motherly spirit. I was 24 when we got married and 28 when our first was born. Sometimes I feel like I “missed out” on some great childbearing years. ;)

  5. We got married early- I was 22 then but didn’t get our 1st child till I was 25yrs old due to 2 early miscarriages. I’m not for any birth control due to the numerous side effects.. however we do natural family planning and space out our kids.. so that they are 2-3yrs apart. #1 is 7yrs old now while #2 is 4yrs old and #3′s 7mths old.

  6. We knew we wanted to have kids at the peak of our energy, not the peak of our financial circumstances, and so we had our first child just after I finished college. I was married at 19 and that still gave us three years together and time to get to know each other. We had all three of our children 18 months apart. While a little hard on my body, I wouldn’t change a single thing. We were poor, but had tons of energy. We were young, but learned quickly. Our three kids are such a blessing!

    • “We knew we wanted to have kids at the peak of our energy, not the peak of our financial circumstances”
      A great way to say a great point!!

    • I also love the “We wanted to have kids at the peak of our energy, not the peak of our financial circumstances.” That is such a great point and you said it so well. Definitely something to think about.

    • Married at 19. You had a 5 year jump on me. ;) It’s a good thing I didn’t know my husband at 19, though. I wasn’t ready for him (maturity-wise) then!

  7. I think there are a few things to consider when “planning” your family. (In quotes because I think we all know that we really have little to do with the planning.) First of all, I don’t think people should wait for all financials to be in order; it may NEVER feel like you have a total grip on that and, quite frankly, even if you do, you never know when circumstances can change. (My husband lost his job smack in the middle of one of my pregnancies… whoops!) I DO believe you should make sure your marriage is in good shape. I joke that babies just emphasize your current condition. If things are good, babies can make it even better and stronger. If things are bad, babies will NOT fix them. Finally, I believe “the right time” is totally individual, of course, but we each need to remember you can never go backwards. I am so happy that I truly enjoyed my time as my now-husband’s girlfriend. I then had time to relish being his “fiancee”. And I spent a couple years embracing my role as a new wife. I was truly ready for the next step (motherhood) when it arrived. That worked very well for me. :) (And, on a random note, it CRACKS ME UP how different regions of the country seem to define “old moms”. I was 28yo when I had my first and I am, without a doubt, the youngest mom in the kindergarten class here. This was NOT the case in the Midwest. Interesting to me!)

    • NewlyWed Wife says:

      Oh I totally agree!! It is funny to notice that! My husband and I live in a large metropolitan city so most people think my age (27) is WAY too young to start trying! While my in-laws in a small town in the Midwest think I’m absolutely nuts for not having at least one child by now! So funny how those things differ by region/ group of people.

    • My friends from Seattle thought I was crazy to get married at 21 but my friends in Idaho thought I was getting a little bit old. It really is funny how that is different in different regions of the country. A lot of my Seattle friends got married later and had kids right away. Some of them also lived with their husbands before they got married so in essence they experienced a few extra years of “married life”.

    • “I DO believe you should make sure your marriage is in good shape.” Funny how that isn’t discussed much, but is so very important!

      Also, the age thing… CRAZY! I’m the “old mom” here, for sure. My mom had all 4 of us by the time she was 30. I was just getting started!

  8. My husband and I really want to have all student loan debt paid off before having our first child to allow me to stay home when the baby is born. We’ve been using all the money I make to pay off debt, and the loans are all we have left. But we know that ultimately we aren’t the ones in control. If I get pregnant next month, it would still be a blessing; we would just have to change our financial priorities. Maybe I would have to be a working mom for a while, or maybe we would just make some more sacrifices.

  9. Deciding when to have a baby is hard, and even when you do make the decision to have one – likely it won’t work out like you planned. You can only decide when you are ready to try for a baby. We looked at our financial situation prior to kids and realized that it would be years and years before we would be able to have kids and have me stay home. So we opted to go ahead and start trying right away because we weren’t willing to wait years and years. If it had been a 1 year process to getting my husband’s income up enough for me to stay home, we would probably have opted differently.

    You need to take a hard look at your goals, figure out when you will accomplish them without a baby and then look at when (or if!) you would accomplish them if you had a baby during that process. That will help you figure out when the best time is for you to start trying. Good luck!

  10. I don’t know if I’ve ever commented on here, but I have been reading your entire series. As someone who hasn’t had children yet, I really appreciate getting to hear all the different ideas, views, and experiences that have been shared in the series while there is still plenty of time to consider them.

    So this is probably the only topic that directly applies to me right now, so I just wanted to share my thoughts.

    First, like you said, I realize that ultimately the decision is in God’s hands, which is comforting considering how limited my wisdom is. While we have chosen to use birth control methods to prevent pregnancy, I realize that no amount of birth control could prevent God from giving us a child if that’s what He wanted. (And vice versa, no fertility treatments or efforts could cause God to give us children before He’s ready.) That said, I still feel it’s right for us to use the best wisdom that we have at this time to make the best decision that we can, knowing that God has the power to change that.

    I’m currently working full time in a secure job with an excellent salary (far more than my husband’s) because of my field of work. My dream has always been to be a full time stay at home mom and my husband completely agrees with that. There are times that I wish I could just throw the responsible financial planning ideas out the window and just start having babies! I love children, am super excited to have them someday, and am overall just super excited to start that phase of my life. Sometimes it’s just really hard to be patient and wait for the better time. However, there are some wonderful blessings that have come from waiting. For one, this extra time for me to work is making me even more confident that I do want to stay at home with the children. I also think I’ll appreciate being a stay at home mom even more since I had the opportunity to work full time outside the home for a few years and I know that is no picnic! We also have the opportunity to financially help many, many people in many ways that we never would have if we started having children as soon as we wanted them. We help those in physical need and some who are overseas spreading the gospel. We’ll also be blessed with a whole lot more financial security. While I fully realize that financial security is not everything and even that is not a guarantee, I have observed that when you’re not truly worrying about how you are going to put dinner on the table or a roof over your heads, you really do have a lot more energy to focus on other important things. I also feel like I’ll have a better understanding of the effort my husband is putting forth to support the family when we do have kids. The list, of course, goes on.

    At the same time, I’m sure there would be unique blessings associated with having children right away and learning to live long term on very little financially.

    Sorry to be so long winded. I guess what I’m saying, is that while there really isn’t a “wrong” decision, you just have to do what you think is best, stick with that decision, and try to appreciate the unique blessings that come with that decision.

    • Theresa says:

      My husband and I are in the same boat. He is the worship pastor at a small church, and a full time college student, and does not have a regular income, nor is what he makes enough to live off of. I finished both college and graduate school before we were married and have a secure job with a steady income and great benefits. This has allowed my husband to focus his energy on school and ministry with the hope that when he graduates in one year (yay! almost there!) He will be able to find a job that can support us.

      We desperately want children too and the waiting is hard sometimes, but we know that God has called us to wait right now. We are living as responsibly as we can and saving as much as we can in the hopes that I can be a SAHM when the time is right.

      Through our situation though, we have been able to open our home to individuals in our church who have had financial struggles. This would have been much more difficult to do if we had our own children, but we haven’t even had to think twice about it!

      Hang in there, Laura! You will be so glad that you waited!

      • Laura Jane,

        I 100% understand your position. My husband and I married five years ago. We chose to wait until we were in a secure location, with both of us in the roles we want for our family. It took us one 15 month deployment, two years together in a foreign country and my having a really hard time leaving the security of a second paycheck.

        Now my husband is 1/3 of the way through law school and I am at home full-time and we are happily expecting our first in October.

        Even though we married at 26, we felt called to wait and in the interim we both worked to prepare ourselves. The most crucial was that I lost fifty pounds, became physically fit and lowered my blood pressure – after all, our children deserve me at my best from the beginning.

    • “I realize that ultimately the decision is in God’s hands, which is comforting considering how limited my wisdom is. ” So, so true, for all of us! Every situation is so unique.

  11. Courtney says:

    My husband and I started trying for babies around our one-year anniversary. We had been using FAM (NFP with condoms during fertile period) so we just stopped all that and had lots of fun. It took a few months but we are now pregnant with our first and due in July! We were 28 (me) 27 (him) when we got married. We would have liked to have had more time just the 2 of us but our age limited that. Having a year just the two of us was a wonderful blessing and strengthened and grew our relationship. And this pregnancy has done the same thing. We feel very blessed that the Lord gave us one year just the 2 of us and now we are preparing to be a family of 3!

  12. I’m currently pregnant with #1, working full time and my husband is mostly unemployed. We’ve been married for 3 1/2 years, and got married at 27. He was in school when we got married, and our “perfect plan” was that he would finish school a year after we got married, get a job, and then we’d start trying to have kids a few months later (giving us a year of both of us working full time to save money and pay down student loans).

    Reality is that he graduated right when the economy tanked. That means that employment has been shaky or non-existent this whole time, and our steady income has been mine. We both desire for me to be a SAHM (or WAHM) and were “waiting” to see if that would happen. This last fall, he was in a temp job that looked pretty promising to turn full time. After much prayer, we decided that the time was “right” to try for a baby – trusting the Lord that he would turn the job into full time. A month later we found out it didn’t due to budgetary reasons.

    At that point, we discussed whether or not to continue trying and truly trust the Lord for our finances as well as our future children, or whether to wait. We both felt clear leading to keep trying. Two months later we were pregnant.

    I’m due in August, and we have no idea if or how I’ll be able to stay home. That is still both of our hearts desire. I have to daily give the Lord my fear that I will have to go back to work full-time after baby is born. I know that our desire for me to be home is a godly desire, but I also know that that is not a guarantee that that’s what the Lord has for us.

    In the past few weeks, I’ve been changing my prayer from a desperate plea for the Lord to provide a job for my husband, to that the Lord would give us our desire – even if that means changing my desire. Not easy, but I’m clinging to what Amy said – “Everything happens for a reason, and God’s timing is the only timing I truly trust.” I REALLY don’t understand it right now, but I KNOW that He is in control.

    • Oh, Sarah. What a tough situation! Cling to his promises. Staying home isn’t always possible, but God is certainly in the details. He’ll get it all figured out for you.

  13. valarie says:

    Amy- I am SO EXCITED you’ll be starting up the series again soon. I began reading your blog last year and followed the series (at the time we were TTC). Now we are (finally) 10 weeks pregnant with our 1st…YAY!!! I love all the practical information from a real mom…=) On that note, I would like to see a post about caring for a newborn. I plan to stay home. Unfortunately I don’t have very much support other than from my husband so I’m afraid even in all the reading there’s something I’m going to miss. It would be great to get your perspective on the essentials of newborn care, not just how many blankets to buy. =) Simple things like first coming home, perhaps things to do before baby arrives to streamline your routine, etc. I’m sure there is so much that I don’t even know I don’t know!!!

    • I agree–I’m pretty sure I’d memorize a post like that :) (Or maybe there is one already? I’ll have to go check the archives later.)

    • Congratulations! And thank you for sticking around while went in and out of “series mode.” I’ll try to stay IN for a while. I better get on that newborn care post before I forget everything… again!

  14. I got married at 18 years old. A month later (bam!) I was pregnant. It was very unexpected. I had decided to wing it and instead of not getting pregnant, I realized I was extremely fertile. My hubby wasn’t ready to have more kids after that. I believe in submitting to my hubby and if that means b/c so be it. I often feel like I’m being judged because of my choices but I always want to obey my hubby. We’ve recently gone off it so here’s to hoping :) … Prayers would be so appreciated.

  15. We started trying immediatly after we got married and I got pregnant 4 months later. So glad we did. 11 years of infertility followed. Thought it would never happen again but Sept 1st we become a family of 4! I can’t wait. Oh the wisdom of the Lord.

  16. When my husband and I got married he was still in grad school, so we decided to wait at least a little while before having kids. After 2 years though I was more than ready, as I felt such a strong desire to be a mom (and I didn’t want to wait too long because we’d like to have 3-4 kids but I want to be done by 35!:). My husband was hesitant, because of his school responsibilities and financial reasons, but I convinced him to leave it in the Lord’s hands :) We now have a 13-month old daughter who we’re crazy about. He’s still in school, and yes some months we aren’t able to put as much in savings as we’d like, but we wouldn’t change the outcome for anything.

    It makes me a little uncomfortable when I hear people say they have to wait to have kids because they can’t afford it (I know there are true cases of this, I’m just generalizing). It seems like many in our society fall victim to the belief they there are all these ‘things’ they need in order to bring home a baby – brand new everything, tons of toys and clothes, the perfect nursery. Well guess what. Babies don’t need much, especially in the first 6 months. They need your love and time mostly, not 10 baby einstein toys. You are their food source and their play thing (and once they do start eating solids they don’t eat much!). Hand-me-downs and thrift stores are wonderful – kids grow so fast most stuff in nearly brand-new anyway. One way we saved money was to register for cloth diapering supplies before our baby was born. If there was something we needed/wanted, we’d check Craigs list first (again, most things were barely used). We don’t waste money on cable or a fancy cell phone. We make meals at home instead of going out. Trusting that the Lord will provide is such a liberating feeling. Yes, we are to be good stewards of what He has given us, but don’t we all sometimes let doubt hold us back? I don’t feel like there are many sources of joy that can rival becoming a mother.

    Sorry for the rant :)

    • “It seems like many in our society fall victim to the belief they there are all these ‘things’ they need in order to bring home a baby – brand new everything, tons of toys and clothes, the perfect nursery. ” Ah, a woman after my own heart. ;) So many THINGS can get in the way of our joy.

  17. God’s word promises in so many places that, if we want to follow his plan for our lives but aren’t sure what that plan is, he will show us if we just ask for his direction. So my encouragement is just to cover this decision in prayer and have faith that, when the time is right, God will give you peace to pursue childbearing.

    I think there are many reasons God might lead a couple to postpone childbearing. DH and I waited 5+ years to start trying for children; we also have not yet had another child, although our daughter is 5 years old. I have peace that this has all happened in accordance with God’s plan for us and that our family looks the way it’s supposed to look right now.

    The only thing we’ve changed is that I no longer use artificial hormones like The Pill. I actually used it primarily for medical, not contraceptive, reasons; however, I’ve recently felt God’s leading to focus on his healing and natural medicine, and The Pill just doesn’t fit that paradigm.

    • Abigail says:

      Have you looked into FertilityCare Creighton Model? It have great benefits for woman who were on the ABC for medical reasons. By charting your cycle you’ll be able to see so much more of what is going on.
      Good luck!

      • Thanks for the lead! I haven’t heard that name, but I have heard of charting. Right now, I’m waiting for my body to establish a new baseline after all the changes I’ve made. Once that happens, I’ll be ready to investigate leads like this one.

    • That’s a beautiful answer, Kathryn. It’s hard to remember sometimes that God truly does know what he’s doing.

  18. A good topic would be be Why didn’t anyone tell me that having good labor support can make a huge difference on how your labor turns out as well as how you recover later. Many people do not know there is a difference to be had, they think the nurses can do the job or they depend solely on their husband, which sometimes puts alot of pressure on them and can be a little hard.

  19. Abigail says:

    I love love this series! Thank you for extending it and there are some great topics ahead.

    My husband and I were 28 and 26 when we got married. We originally planned to wait a year and we’ll see. Well God worked on our hearts and said a year was too long. We got pregnant 9 months into our marriage and the 2nd cycle of letting him control. Our son was born at the perfect time for our family. It is a joy in our lives.

    One of the best things we did was take FertilityCare Creighton Model classes before we got married. CrMS was recommended to us by friends. I also started seeing a doctor trained in the system. She was able to pin point my cycles and saw that my progresterone levels were low along with my PMS. So she gave me HCG shots in my post-peak. This helped my symptoms for PMS. If I didn’t chart my cycles before conceiving then I could have miscarriage because my natural levels of progresterone were so low. I’m so thankful that God lead us to CrMS and my OB/GYN for pre-natal care. God knew that this stuff needed to get figured out prior to having my son. He really lead us in the right direction.

  20. Rachel says:

    I always get a little annoyed when people ask when my husband and I are going to have kids–as though it’s entirely up to us. My husband and I have been married 4 years and we haven’t been preventing for much of that time at all, though we haven’t been actively trying either (does wanting to get pregnant actually improve your chances?). I’m the primary breadwinner right now and it would be difficult for us to make it if I were to get pregnant but we also know that God is wiser than we are and we know that his timing is best.

    • You’re right. It’s not entirely up to you. I’ve been truly amazed at the number of people who have had infertility and/or miscarriage issues since we went through them ourselves. Wish I had a dime for every time someone said “Get going! It’s time for some kids!” or some other such ridiculous thing when we were having problems.

  21. My husband and I knew we didn’t want to have our first baby during Seminary (for him). Near the end of seminary, we decided we’d leave it up to God. That was 1 year ago.

    It bothers me when I hear people talking about “planning” children. Sadly, it doesn’t always work like that. I have some medical problems that are causing our issues. It’s frustrating – we want nothing more than to have a baby! People around us ask – and have no clue because we’ve chosen not to share yet. Our parents don’t even know.

    Over the last year I have gained much more respect for women who do NOT gloat about their pregnancy and baby and so on. Logging on to FB and seeing a “Pregnancy Ticker” nearly makes me cry now.

    And yes, I know this sounds means of me…sometimes I am angry about it. But, thankfully, we do have some hope now – and we know this is all God’s plan. It’s just hard to understand why some couples have no trouble at all and others struggle for years.

    You can bet I won’t be discussing my pregnancy {someday} on FB – or bragging about it any way! A baby is truly a blessing from God – not something to be taken lightly.

    • What you’re going through is so hard! Those three years of infertility for us were very trying. It IS hard to understand, and personally, I think we truly *aren’t* supposed to fully understand. I remember wanting to tell people “Don’t wait because you just never know!”

  22. What i wish i knew with my first was exactly what labor and delivery was going to be like. I felt like I was DYING. even though i read everything i could get my hands on and went to the pre-natal classes…i still didn’t “get it”. I would have been more prepared if i could have watched a live birth or ten. Good thing they have baby story on T.V.

    • That’s a tough one. Each of my four labors were so different! And honestly… baby story was the least informative of my sources. ;) I strongly believe in taking a thorough natural childbirth class even if you have no intentions of birthing naturally. Those classes are very detailed.

  23. This is so personal; I don’t think there’s a right way for every couple. My own parents did not use any kind of birth control (although my mother had her ways, apparently, of avoiding pregnancy when she wanted to lol) and ended up with 11 kids; my DH’s parents planned very carefully, and their first child was born several years after they were married, and their second (my husband) almost 4 years after that. We are kind of a blend of the two. I think my DH would have preferred to wait until he was more financially stable before starting our family, but there was no getting around my ticking biological clock! Ultimately, I don’t think anyone is ever in a perfect financial situation to start a family; at least not at the age when it’s easiest to get pregnant.

    Wow, I’m really rambling, but my point is that we waited a couple years, but couldn’t wait any longer because I wanted to have my first child before I was 30 (and all my children before I’m 35 – I may change my mind later, but that’s how I feel right now). We’re not in any better of a situation now, really, we’re still living in an apartment and not a house like we would prefer. But God has supplied all our needs, and we are content and happy.

    • “I don’t think anyone is ever in a perfect financial situation to start a family; at least not at the age when it’s easiest to get pregnant.” Agreed. Most of us weren’t meant to “have it easy” when babies come along. ;) There is joy in the trials.

  24. We were married roughly 3 years before we started trying. My hubby was in school and I was the sole breadwinner. It was a really rough time because our church is very heavily children-based. We felt great pressure to start our family, and great “concern” from the elderly women that we weren’t having babies yet. We had hoped for me to be a SAHM, but felt that things would work out even if I had to keep working. We took a leap of faith and got pregnant 5 months after starting to try. The Lord answered my prayers in an unexpected way- I was laid off 1 week before my maternity leave was up. We decided to make it work, and I’ve been home ever since. It’s been rough, but we trust Him. I got pregnant with my second when the first was only 6 months old (OOPS!). It felt like a giant oops at the time, and I did not feel ready in the slightest, but I wouldn’t have it any other way now. I love both my kids and love how close they are in age (15 months apart). That being said, I do have an IUD now, because I couldn’t stomach the thought of another just 15 months after the first. Obviously we failed at natural planning. =) We are considering having another soon. We can’t really decide either if it is time. We want them close, but maybe not. The second will be 1 year this month. So who knows.

  25. We got married at 22 and 24 and waited for 3 year to start trying. We endured 7 months of infertility, then a miscarriage with medical complications for me. We finally had our son, after a pregnancy with further medical complications and a serious risk of late term miscarriage when I was 27. The whole experience taught us how precious the gift of a child is. We used BC for 2 months after my son was born (I was very concerned about maintaining my milk for him), but haven’t used it since. Our daughter is a year old now, and we’re hoping for another baby in God’s timing. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity for our children, I can’t imagine missing the opportunity to meet our next child. I do wish we hadn’t prevented in the beginning of our marriage. We might have saved ourselves a lot of heart-ache. In our defense, we didn’t know anyone who fessed up to leaving the timing of children up to God when we married.

    • “We used BC for 2 months after my son was born (I was very concerned about maintaining my milk for him)” This is a new one to me that I’ve never heard of. How does that work?

      And no defense needed! Things always look different in hindsight. ;)

      • Perhaps the concern was that getting pregnant again while nursing could threaten milk supply?

      • Yup, that was the concern, but further research convinced me that my body wouldn’t allow another pregnancy if I couldn’t maintain milk and a new baby. We did concieve my daughter while my son was still nursing, but he was almost 2 and weaned a few months into the pregnancy, which was about when I’d wanted to wean him anyway.

  26. We got married a week after I turned 21. My husband had just graduated college and I still had a year and a half plus student teaching before I finished school. We had planned to start trying for kids about 4 years after we were married – or whenever my husband finished his Masters degree. Hubby entered seminary and I got a job that provided 2/3 of our salary. It took five years for me to finally be ready to even consider trying to get pregnant. So I told my husband that whenever he was ready I was ready and that was the last we spoke of it for quite some time. Well, the masters degree took a lot longer than expected and one night while washing the dishes together my husband said, “Well, we’ll never FEEL like we’re ready for kids so we might as well start trying now.” But we had always said that we would wait until he was done with school so we agreed to wait the four months for when he graduated. Six months after we started trying, seven and a half years after we got married and almost eight years to the day we were engaged, I found out I was pregnant.

    And just tonight while we were doing dishes (with no dishwasher to speed things along, we seem to have all of our serious talks while doing the dishes) we had the “when should we start trying for number two?” talk. Our son just turned six months and we have a move planned in August. I think we’re going to wait until we’re “settled” in the new town and with husband’s new job before we get crackin’. The baby will be about a year old by then. Ultimately though we’re still in a situation where we’ll never be “READY” for #2 so we might as well just pick a date go for it.

    After all is said and done, I don’t regret waiting as long as we did. The eight years that it was just the two of us were wonderful and we had so much fun together. This might sound weird, but as excited as I was to meet my son, I went through a what you could call a period of mourning during my pregnancy for the loss of the relationship with my husband that we had experienced for so many years. I really treasure the time I got to have him all to myself.

  27. NewlyWed Wife says:

    Amy– Thank you so much for running my question!! And thank you to all of the mothers who have offered their stories, advice and experiences!! I love all of them!!

    It’s so discouraging when the world sees children as an “inconvenience” and I can’t tell you how many people have told us to wait until this or that happens (wait until you buy a house, wait until you save enough money, take more time to date, wait until you travel to europe or take some exotic trip….wait wait wait!) I feel like I’m bombared with all of the negative aspects of children (you won’t have time for sex, you won’t have money, your house will be a wreck, your body won’t be the same, etc) and rarely have anyone tell me about the blessing and joy of motherhood!!

    I encourage you mothers to tell the younger women about the JOY of being a mom!! Titus 2 tells us to teach the younger women, so please do not neglect to tell them this too!!

    Thanks again Amy for posting my question in your series!!

  28. You might be planing to include this under “body changes” – but just in case you aren’t . . . incotenance. My “why didn’t anyone tell me” moment happened the day after delivery when I got out of bed and dripped urine all over the floor. I was ready for a lot of things, but not that!

  29. What a worthwhile conversation you have started here, Amy!

    We got married and decided to use the Pill from the get-go (a decision that I regret): http://metropolitanmama.net/2011/02/i-wish-i-never-took-the-pill/.

    Like you, I wish we would have taken NFP classes BEFORE we were married…and certainly before we had kids.

    I agree with other commenters who have pointed out that there’s never a “perfect” time to get pregnant. Eventually, you just have to step out in faith that everything is going to be okay.

  30. NewlyWed Wife says:

    I just realized that I never updated you ladies! After much prayer and consideration, my husband and I are actively trying to conceive our first baby!! Thank you for all of your words of wisdom and thoughts! What a blessing this post was for me!!

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