Doper Parents- When did you know you were ready for kids?

I know a lot of you guys have kids, and the subject of being “ready” has been on my mind.

The quick back story is that my husband and I have been married for a year, together 6 years, and we’re starting to talk about when we want to go ahead and try to have a family. Oh and we’re both in our mid-twenties. Kids were always in the future, we’ve both agreed that we want some at some point, so that’s not an issue at all. Our only issue is, well, WHEN is the right time? How the heck do we know when we are ready to take this huge step? It’s scary!

We have lots of nieces and nephews on his side and I have of late been fawning over the adorableness of my one year old niece. While doing so last night Mr. Elysium said “if you want to stop your birth control and try to have a girl, we can do that. It’s up to you, whenever you are ready.”

This concept both scares and excites me. I feel that my body is totally gung-ho for it (pregnancy dreams, baby dreams, etc) but I still feel like a kid sometimes. I did have a week a few months ago where I thought I might have conceived, and actually felt acute disappointment when my period began. So there’s that.

I’d love to hear from you guys on when/why/how you decided to go for it an have kids. Do you ever feel ready? Is is better to just jump in and go for it? Friends and relatives with kids tell me you’ll never really have enough money, enough experience, etc., and to stop worrying about preparing for a child because you can never be totally prepared.

Any words of wisdom?

A friend of mine once said, “Overly, it doesn’t matter how long you wait, how much you plan, you’ll never truly be ready to have a kid. There’s no ‘right’ time. There are only ‘righter’ times than others.” Basically, he meant that nothing can prepare you for the realities of parenthood and that it was important to be emotionally and financially stable before trying to have a kid.

That said, if you happen to get pregnant before you get financially stable, you work through it. It’s just what you do when you’ve decided to have a baby. You do what you have to in order to provide for the kid.

We made the decision to start trying on a car ride from St. Louis to New York. We were somewhere in West Virginia when we started talking about it. It wasn’t an impromptu conversation by any means - we’d been planning to have it for a long time, but we never just sat down and had it. A 17-hour car ride was the perfect time to do it. At the time, I was a freelancer, he had a steady job and we felt comfortable enough in our relationship and finances that we could handle it. And we could and did.

The only thing I wish had happened differently is that I wish it had taken just a little longer to get pregnant. Either that or that we had been more organized before our son was born. Regardless, things worked out well.

In regards to the money thing, my mom has always said “If everyone waited till they had enough money to have a kid, no one would have any kids.” Basically, at least in the financial sense, you’re never ‘ready’. You just adjust as necessary and enjoy your tightened budget and new addition. I’d say that the fact that you’re considering it and your husband even mentioned it is a good sign.

Your friends and relatives are pretty spot on. Usually it happens before you’re fully “ready”, whatever that means.

We had been married for just over a year. Ideally we would have had more time to be married before we started, but that biological clock was a-tickin’, so we started in earnest. And what I mean by that is, if we had been able to just be a couple for a few more years- to travel, mainly- it would have been nice, but otherwise there was nothing holding us back.

And I always chuckle when people talk about it being such a huge step. I guess if we had a coke habit, or went out drinking every night, or had bi-monthly orgies in the middle of the living room, it would be a huge step because it would have meant a drastic change in our lifestyles. But it’s a kid- I think human nature sort of guides you- pick it up gently, feed it when it’s hungry, and change the poopy diapers- that’s about as hard as it gets (for a while- it gets harder in some ways, but it’s gradual). Sure, you’ll be short of sleep, but all of that is offset by this sense of love and awe that makes you want to do all of it so you don’t feel like it’s this terrible thing you’ve gotten yourselves into.

Elysium, I empathize. I’m going through the same thing. 33, married a year, together for almost four. I married into a family- my husband has custody of his nine-year-old son. While he pretty much feels like mine, I can’t shake the idea that I want the experience of caring for a baby and seeing what that’s like. I coo at every baby I see, and once, when I thought I was pregnant, had the same reaction you did. I decided to discontinue birth control right after the wedding, and so far nothing.

Somedays I think it would be the greatest thing ever, other days I think of my “play money” being eaten up by diapers and daycare along with my waistline and what little spare time I have. I get scared and think that I’m okay with the status quo. Other days I see Jr. with a baby, talking to it in a soft voice and my heart just melts, I want a baby so bad my arms ache.

I figure I’ll leave it up to fate and see what happens. Maybe I’m not meant to be a birth mother. Maybe I waited too long.

Word. You’ll never know. Some considerations are having a job that offers insurance. THis is no guarantee you’ll always have a job or insurance, but it’s good to have these things prior to having a baby.

Stable relationship with like outlooks on child-rearing

Roof over your head

Daycare funds


This is a good point. It’s funny how in the U.S. we make a HUGE deal out of having babies. If you ever go to a foreign country, a new baby is certainly an exciting thing, but other than night waking and diaper changes, I’ve noticed that it doesn’t change a lot of people’s lifestyles. When my husband and I were in India, one of his childhood friends had just had a baby. A lot of his friends co-sleep and don’t buy all that much special stuff for a baby other than some toys, so they were mystified over how much crap we towed around, that sleeping was ever an issue and that we worried so much about his bowel movements, especially given that our son was 18-19 months at the time.

I wish we’d gone earlier - I was so neurotic when we first had our son. I cringed whenever I took him out because I had these visions of all the stuff I’d have to get ready. How long would we be out? Would he poop? Would he mess up his clothes? Did I need to bring the stroller? What about toys? Did I need those? What about food? Could I breastfeed or did I need to add a bottle and some formula, too (I had to supplement). By the time we left India, sleep was no longer a problem (well, it wasn’t after our son got over the jet lag) and we realized that all we really needed was an extra diaper and a baggie of wipes; maybe a change of clothes and we were set. He could be entertained for hours with two bowls filled with water and a couple of spoons. I could have used that conk on the head far earlier. I would have been much more relaxed when he was a newborn.

You’re getting good answers so far. It’s impossible to be truly ready, but try to be aware of how much your lifestyle will change. If you frequently party, travel, go out to dinner/movies, stay up late or spend lots of time with your single or childless friends, your life is about to change dramatically. If you already have nearby friends or relatives with kids, the transition will be easier for you, both because you’ll have a ready-made support network and because you won’t feel like you’ve lost your entire social life at one go.

Thanks guys, it’s nice to hear the advice. Basically, I think we are both ready but a bit scared.

We both have great jobs and good insurance and a supportive network of friends and family. The only thing missing is a house (we rent) but on our current savings plan it’ll be a bit before that happens.

It helps to see my close friend with her 1 year old. Having her child hasn’t completely changed her into a different person. She still hangs out with us and plays video games and has a life outside of being a mom. And plus, even though her pregnancy wasn’t planned, she really thinks it’s the best thing ever. That’s reassuring.

I think it’s tough just because I’m prone to worrying and over-thinking things. All the what ifs are a big barrier.

At this point I can’t add much. There’s no such thing as totally completely seriously ready; you sound like you’re just fine. :slight_smile:

About a year and a half before we decided we were ready for a divorce, why?

I met my wife (second wife) when I was 38 and she was 39. We married within six months. Prior to the wedding she had mentioned wanting kids.

Most of my life, and throughout my first marriage to a child-hating, shrill, vicious harpy of a woman, I had absolutely no desire to experience fatherhood. It’s not that I didn’t like kids; I’ve always loved 'em, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to have any of my own. My new bride convinced me that maybe it was worth doing. My old college buddy Rick and his wife had had a daughter years earlier and he made it sound like…like the best damn thing in his life.

After Dr. B and I got hitched, we tried, and tried, and tried to get pregnant. Her OB/GYN gently suggested that maybe we had waited a little too long to start trying to conceive. We went to two different fertility specialists and they hinted at the same thing. In vitro procedures were too expensive to consider, so we decided to just stop trying.

A few months later, we were at a conference in Boston and the missus was sick as a dog. We attributed it to stomach flu. When we got back home, she went to our family doc and he told her, “…you’re not sick; you’re pregnant.”

Our son is now five and the apple of his daddy’s eye. It seems like life before he came along was just a long, weird movie; I remember it all, but it seems like it happened to somebody else.

We’re poor as church mice, I have little to no ‘free’ time or privacy, sex is an unexpected treat and we’re never sure when we’ll get to indulge, our schedules are always arranged around our son’s wants and needs…and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Ever.

Jettboy that’s great! I’m glad you guys are so happy.

It’s funny, I’ve known two ladies who came down with with a horrible “flu” and had it turn out to be a surprise baby. I honestly wouldn’t mind a surprise like that myself.

I think the toughest is thinking about the financial aspects. We have good jobs, but not super amazing and thinking about going to work with a kid at home in daycare seems so expensive. Did any of you continue working?

Hell, I’m still not ready, and the little Torqueling is almost 21 months old.

Parenting changes everything. The life you have now will almost completely vanish. With a new baby comes not only the seemingly endless tasks of caring for the little one, but a host of new family obligations. Everyone wants a piece of that cute little kid, and they’ll get their feelings hurt if you don’t pay a visit. It never ends. Time alone at home is just about nonexistent. I understand it may return sometime after she starts school.

But your work does get rewarded. Now, when I get home from work, a little voice says, “Daddy home!” and a red-headed blur runs up and hugs my legs. I’m the first man she has ever loved. Might not sound like much to some, but it is. It really is.

My wife is a college professor and I’m an artist/illustrator. When me boyo came along, I stopped working a 9-5 in the printing industry and stayed home to do the full-time dad/part-time artist gig. If you can afford it, having one parent stay home with the kid is really rewarding for both you and the young’un.

I’m not sure that I was ever ready, and the youngest of my four children is 23 years old. But, if they come, you have to deal with them, ready or not.

My wife is a very wise woman. After we got married, we knew that we would have kids “when we were ready.” After we were married for a couple of years, she said to me, that if we were to wait until we were ready, we’d never have kids. I agreed.

Ten months later, Fang was born.

Yeah, Maus. I think we’re at that stage now. It might be time to just let nature take its course.

At least we can save 25 bucks a month on birth control!

When I got a text message simply stating “I’m pregnant”, I was absolutely over joyed. Totally unexpected (heck, I’d only lost my virginity to the woman about 3-4 months before) yet I felt unexpectedly happy. Always have. I guess if I wasn’t, I’d know I wasn’t ready for kids.

I have always wanted children, but it wasn’t something that consumed my every thought or anything. I didn’t get married until I was 32. My husband was 34. We didn’t even think about it for a few years. And he was sort of of the mind that we couldn’t afford a child. If we waited until we could afford one, we would still be childless. So, now we have one and our money situation is pretty much the same as it aways was, tight, but not desperate.

My only advice, is that if you do wait…don’t wait too long. Once I finally did get around to trying for a child I was already about 36, and had a very hard time getting pregnant. We didn’t use any drugs or artificial means. We were just going to accept what fate had to offer. It took us over 2 years to get pregnant. and I was almost 39 when I had our son. Looking back I wish we had started trying right after we got married, but how was I to know that I would be the only female in our history to have trouble conceiving.

It sounds like you got a lot of good advice here. Good luck, with whatever you decide.