Soooo? Is it your turn next??.....

....asks the well-meaning loved one.

The age-old question. The minute you get married, everyone can't help but ask, "So, when are you going to have kids?" Once your siblings, cousins, peers or friends begin having babies, the question becomes, "So, is it your turn next?" with a surreptitious wink. No, no, well-meaning loved one, it is not our turn next. Let me tell you why.

First off, I'd like to lead this post by saying that I am not writing this to pass judgment on my friends and family that are my age and have children. I think having a family is awesome, and an awesome responsibility - precisely one of the reasons we do not have one yet. I love babies, and baby showers, and baby things, and celebrating with my friends when they get pregnant. It has nothing to do with me judging anyone or saying that my lifestyle is better than theirs, or that the way Seth and I are choosing to live our marriage and our life is better than anyone else's choices regarding their marriages, lives, finances, goals or family-planning choices. It's all about why our timing is right for us, and about being very honest with myself about why I feel the way I do about parenthood.

Now that I've cleared the air, let me begin to tell you, well-meaning loved one, why we do not yet have children.

Disregarding the obvious - that that question may be well-meaning but could be extremely stressful and/or hurtful to someone suffering from infertility (which we are not, thankfully). That question just shouldn't be asked. But, for the purpose of this post, I won't be addressing the inherent nosiness of asking when Seth and I are going to start timing our amorous activities and I'm going to start pushing humans out of my nether-regions. Not that it's anyone's beeswax or that anyone is owed an explanation, but this is a topic that interests me at this stage of our lives.

Here is my reasoning for why we do not yet have children (Seth's reasoning is probably fairly similar, as he appears to be much further from Baby Fever Land than I am):

1) We have a specific set of benchmarks and goals we'd like to achieve for our children before we start having them. Some of these stem from the fact that I come from a  low-income family and want to feel stable and secure (financially, professionally and socially) before I start having children, some of them stem from the fact that I am an OCD control freak, and some of them stem from the fact that we are enjoying these selfish years when it is just the two of us. We have a benchmark for how much money we'd like to have saved prior to having children, we'd like to be in a house where we'd be comfortable raising them, and we'd like for both of us to be in long-term, family-friendly careers that would allow us to both raise children, spend time with each other and be able to afford what we need for them. We also have a "pre-baby bucket list" of things we would like to do, experience, and places we would like to travel before we take that next step.

2) We are selfish. We are enjoying these idealistic years together, while it is just the two of us, before we become parents forever. Once we have children, it will never be "just the two of us" again. Yeah, yeah, our kids will grow up and go to college and go on to get jobs, and yada yada. But there will always be the possibility - and likely necessity - that we will need to be a support system for them, because that will be our responsibility as their parents. I'm cool with that, and I look forward to that! But we get very few years together where it is truly just the two of us, and we aren't in a rush to plow through these years and on to that next, very permanent, stage in our lives. On a not-unrelated note, I am not ready to be confined to top-rope only climbing. Just saying.

3) Our timing will be perfect, for us. Most of our friends in Indiana have children, and none of our friends in DC have children. Culturally, Hoosiers tend to marry younger and begin having children younger, while folks out here in the nation's capital tend to marry later, work on their careers, and begin having families at 30 or later. In our late twenties, we will be falling perfectly within our two social circles. It feels right for us to be waiting, even though there are loved ones that I'm sure would love for us to hurry up. I've done a lot of hurrying up - hurrying up to get my degree, then hurrying up to get another degree, then hurrying up to get engaged, then hurrying up to get married - and I really regret not enjoying those stages of my life more and focusing too much on the "what's next". I'm done hurrying up. I'm really relishing this time with my husband (and I hope he's relishing it with me, haha!) I don't want to let others' opinions or timelines dictate when we have children. That's just crazy to me! Becoming a parent is a huge responsibility, and I want to do it on our terms.

4) I have baby fever. Like, really bad. I also have baby fever for all the wrong reasons. I'm ready for the attention, the parties, the cute little baby with its cute little clothes and cute little toes. I'm ready to name our child (we have lots of ideas!) and raise them to be an independent, educated, forward-thinking, self-sufficient member of society. What I'm not ready for is all the very "real" parts of pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood - sacrificing my body for someone else, pushing a fully-formed human out of my vajay, weird things growing in weird places, bodily functions not working (or working too much!), the sleeplessness, the poopy diapers, breastfeeding, all of that. I sometimes think, "Oh, I can't wait," but I assure you, I can. At the end of the day, when I am being really honest with myself, I know I am really only ready for the superficial parts of the whole experience of becoming a parent. And that, to me, means I'm not really ready.

I know most parents that read this will say, "Having children is worth all that!" and I agree. It is totally worth all that. The point is, though, that we are waiting for "all that" until we are ready to take on this responsibility. We don't want to rush into it unprepared, or for the wrong reasons. Yes, I realize you can't ever be fully prepared. But, there are certain big-picture benchmarks we'd like to reach before we start talking about babies. That's all.

(Thanks to my girlfriends for encouraging me to write this post and speak my mind, even though it might be a slightly more controversial, personal subject than I am normally willing to write about. Love you.)

4 comments:

  1. I just love reading your blog posts! They're so well-written and interesting to boot!

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    1. Thanks so much Danielle! I'm so glad you're enjoying it! It helps to hear comments like that because I swear sometimes if it weren't for those and the Google Analytics I would swear no one was reading it! Haha!

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