How do you know when it’s the right time to have kids?
Some couples are on the same page and moving forward with baby making full speed ahead. Other couples look at them with hesitation and reservation and start questioning how they could ever be so motivated and certain.
We were one of the “other couples”. We both knew we wanted to have children someday. But while Kevin was ready to have a baby when he “knew we were going to get married”, I was the one insisting upon having life in perfect order first.
We’re sharing our list of pre-baby must-haves that helped us take a confident step into parenthood together.
First, I wanted to know that our home was safe. My definition of safe was:
a) that we could foresee no major repairs needing to be made within the next 2 years,
b) that I was comfortable being home alone with a baby there, and
c) that if our primary source of income were to fall through (Kevin’s full-time 9-to-5 job) that we had some means of paying the mortgage/utilities for 6 months.
When we were paying our mortgage and utilities comfortably, in a decent neighborhood, with a 6-month-reserve for home stability, that is when I could be open-minded about conception.
This seems like a tall-order right out of the gate, but it was a motivating factor for both me and my husband.
Securing home financially in these ways was the best prerequisite to parenthood we could’ve set for ourselves. Assuming a healthy mom and baby, the bare bones basics we would need for parenthood was a safe home to shelter us. Everything else would be secondary.
Sometimes mom and baby do have complications, and as the old adage goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. Our second nonnegotiable was to have well-rounded medical insurance or a designated health money plan that could cover what our insurance didn’t.
We contributed the max amount to our Health Savings Account (HSA) that would be matched by Kevin’s employer, then we made a pre-pregnancy preventative plan that conditioned both of us into optimal health before conceiving. Preventative care is much cheaper than curative care.
When we committed to maximizing health on the front-end of parenthood, we secured an easy, organic and low-cost conception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience as much as possible.
Kevin and I were both raised by stay-at-home moms. We appreciate the life that gave us and had always known that this parenting style was a must for our someday family. Another post will follow on that specific decision-making.
We needed to be able to afford life on one income comfortably so that I could have the postpartum recovery time my body needed. We needed the option to return to work in my “spare” time without the pressure of a set start-date.
For our generation, stay-at-home motherhood appears more like a luxury, but this is where the conversation of “needs” vs “wants” comes into play. In order for me to be the happiest, healthiest mother possible for this child-to-be, I knew I needed to arrange our life in whatever ways allowed me to free up the pressure of TIME. We made edits to our lifestyle to make this happen and where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can do it, too.
Kevin was actually using his gym membership. I was actually doing YouTube videos at home. We were in a fitness routine that had us feeling toned and relieved of stress. I felt good in my body and more confident than ever that I could carry another life in addition to my own.
We both felt like we understood what foods made our bodies feel the best. We knew why we wanted to consume organically. We agreed that a commitment to organic nutrition was a must-have before baby was conceived and made the small changes to organic shopping before trying.
Vitamins & Supplements
If you do nothing else before conceiving a baby, please for the love of yourself and that baby, take the best prenatal vitamin you can afford. I cannot rave enough about MyKind Organics Prenatal Daily Multivitamin and their Daily Calcium Supplement. We had done our research and known what we wanted to have “in my system” before trying.
Our sex life was great. We knew we could sustain the spontaneity and romance if sex ever started to feel mechanical, and we made a commitment to being honest about returning to romance if baby-making sex ever felt like a job. I think this is a severely underrated part of starting a family.
My lady parts were healthy. This might seem obvious, but its worth mentioning! I had an OB/GYN wellness appointment to rule out any pre-existing conditions. An all-around clean bill of health gave me confidence that I was primed for performance.
Many couples choose to start a family with emotions first. I don’t blame them! Choosing to make a baby is a bundle of emotions, let alone the ones you feel once baby is actually in your arms. Emotional is something you’ll be quite a lot!
However, letting emotions lead can get you in over your head. You can’t hit the backspace on parenthood. Once you’re in it, you’re in it. For an irreversible decision, you might as well prepare physically and financially first, so that your emotions have a safe place to release and don’t interfere with the smart logic required for healthy parenthood.
We felt ready to turn inward for a bit.
We had traveled a lot and felt okay with pausing our big travel adventures for this new parenting adventure (if one required the other).
We felt like we had more love to share.
We were happy with who we were going into parenthood and weren’t looking at motherhood/fatherhood as a way to love ourselves more. We were looking at it as a way to give more.
When you meet your physical and financial prerequisites, it actually takes the mechanics out of parenthood so that you free up the space to feel all of the emotions.
You’re less stressed because you feel prepared. You’re less confused because you have plans. You’re less pressured because you know your options. The positive emotions you feel will be felt by the baby in utero. Give them all the goodness you can!
How did you know you were ready to start a family? What would you add or take away from this list?