They say you’re never ready for kids, that if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting forever. But, that wasn’t the case for my husband and I. There was time in our relationship when we knew we were ready to expand our family.
My husband and I have been together for a total of 11 years this summer—five dating, one engaged and five married. I guess you could say we did everything “by the book,” which was what I had always envisioned for myself.
We met and started dating when I was 19 years old, and Jake was 23. We got engaged when I was 24 and married when I was 25. But even before getting married, we both knew we weren’t ready to have kids any time soon. In fact, somewhere between meeting Jake and getting married, I questioned if I even wanted children at all.
I think that’s something a lot of women—and maybe men—feel. I couldn’t imagine a baby or a child in my life, and therefore, it felt like maybe I didn’t want one. Eventually, I came around to realizing I did want to have a baby, but just not any time soon.
We knew we wanted to enjoy married life before entering parenthood.
When I was in my early twenties, I remember thinking I wanted to be married by 26, have one kid by 28 and maybe have my second and final kid by 30. But once we got married, I realized that timeline was not my dream anymore.
Jake and I both wanted to enjoy our married life together. And, man did we enjoy it. Since being married, we’ve travelled to four countries, explored new cities, done updates to our home and welcomed a second doggy to our family. We’ve celebrated the marriage and babies of numerous friends, and I’ve made a few career moves.
Jake has always been a little ahead of me as far as “being ready” for kids goes. This is partly because he is older than me and doesn’t want to be an “old dad.” In the fall of 2015, I remember telling him and my girlfriends that I wanted to go on one more vacation, and then I’d be ready to start trying. But after our vacation to Costa Rica in spring 2016, we both agreed that we were still enjoying living life just the two of us and our (one) dog at the time.
I had a non-negotiable pre-pregnancy checklist.
I’ve also always had a long list of must-haves that I felt were essential before I’d be open to getting pregnant. Those included having a fat chunk of cash in our savings account, having two new cars, having a house and being in a stable job that I loved.
This checklist was non-negotiable for me. When I considered all those must-haves, the reality of pregnancy wasn’t in the near future. We had the house, but we needed to build-up our savings account after tapping into it for the wedding and honeymoon. (Fast forward a few years, and I’d quit my job and start freelancing, which would deplete our savings again.)
Another thing on my “pregnancy to-do list” was to start trying in June—of whatever year we decided to start trying. We decided that if we started trying to conceive in June, we could be pregnant by early fall, and I wouldn’t have to be pregnant in the scorching hot summer months. (I knew nothing about getting pregnant, so I had no idea that this plan was very ambitious.
We realized we were ready for a change and started sending baby emojis.
I think it was late 2016 when doll and I realized we were starting to be ready for the next chapter of our life together. How did we know? I wouldn’t say we were bored, but we recognized that we were ready for something more, something new. We thoroughly enjoyed our life just the two of us, but we were now excited at the thought of there being three of us. It was like a stillness, a sense of completion. We felt that we were ready to close one chapter and start the next.
We started sending baby-related emojis randomly to each other via text. Those texts went on for about a year and a half or so. Even though we were sending those texts, we knew we weren’t going to start trying to have a baby just yet. But, this type of conversation was exciting, and having a baby was something we no longer felt was far off in our future.
I stopped taking certain medication to prepare for pregnancy.
In the summer of 2017, I stopped taking my spironolactone, a medication to help my hormonal acne. You are not supposed to take spironolactone when pregnant or trying to get pregnant, so I wanted to go ahead and let the medication get out of my system.
At this time, we still didn’t know when we wanted to stop preventing pregnancy. However, stopping the medication was one step I had to take for us be able to freely make that decision.
In regard to birth control, I wasn’t on it, so I didn’t have to let that clear out of my system. I took birth control off and on between 17 and 19 years old, but I hated the way my body reacted to it. Doll and I used condoms the first few years of dating, then we started using the “pull-and-prey” method, as my doctor calls it. We used that method up until the night we decided to stop preventing pregnancy.
In the oddest of times, we decided we were ready for kids.
In November of 2017, I was still freelancing, making a quarter of my usual salary. We only had one new car, not two. Our savings was still measly from where we tapped into it when I first quit my job. And, it was November, not June. But, we decided we were ready to stop preventing a pregnancy.
What?! Not a single one of my “pregnancy must-haves” were checked off, but in our hearts and in our marriage, we were so ready.
We finally stopped preventing pregnancy.
I can’t recall exactly how we decided to stop preventing pregnancy. I’m not sure if we just decided that very day or if we talked about it for a couple of days. However, November 9, 2017, a Thursday, we purposely stopped preventing pregnancy. I always hoped that we would know the day that we got pregnant, but I knew this may not be possible. So, I made our first night “not not trying” special.
I had high hopes that I’d be pregnant by Christmas, and we could tell our families the news as a Christmas surprise. (Again, I had no idea how getting pregnant worked. I had never even considered that a sperm was a cell.)
Little did we know at the time, we wouldn’t get pregnant any time soon. Instead, we would get pregnant over a year later, at a time that couldn’t seem any more perfect or magical, and we’d find out we were expecting on Valentine’s Day 2019.