As I write this, I want my readers to know that I understand every couple is different and faces different personal struggles. Matty and I have faced unique struggles together, all of which led to our decision to have Mason. Ultimately, it is your decision whether or not to have children, and I totally support everyone’s right to their choice! That being said, let me share my story.
Matty and I wed in the summer of 2014. Writing this, I can’t believe that we will be celebrating three years of marriage in just a few months! After the honeymoon, we spent our first month of marriage in that post-honeymoon mist. Despite our current living situation (living at his parents in a spare room after we’d moved back to Tennessee from Ohio), we were the happiest two people in the world. I spent August writing wedding thank-you’s and preparing for school, while Matty started his job at Tennessee Temple University.
At the time, we did not think about children at all. While we were dating, sometimes we would talk about our future children. We’d ask each other questions like, “What religion do you want to raise them in?” “How many kids do you want?” “What do you think they’ll look like?” We enjoyed fantasizing about our little family, but that’s as far as it went for a while.
After celebrating our first year of marriage, Matty started to have some doubts about what he wanted to do with his life. In our efforts to live more authentically and to love our lives more, we quit our jobs and got new ones. It was a rough few months back at the end of the year in 2015.
During that turbulence, I got to thinking about our future. We didn’t know where we would end up, with jobs, our marriage, or what state we lived in. All we knew is that we wanted to be together, and to be the happiest we could be. And I couldn’t shake this image I had in my mind: a little Matthew.
It was November 2015 when I turned to my husband and said, seriously, “I want a baby.” The conversation wasn’t long, as we both knew we wanted to have a family. I remember Matty asking me if I was sure we wanted to start our family right then. Without a doubt in my mind, I knew I needed to make a baby.
How To Make The Decision
The decision to have a baby is, pure and simply, your own to make. In no way am I pushing your decision one way or another. But I found it immensely helpful to read real stories from other mamas about motherhood.
When I made the decision, I had to pause my life and think about why I wanted to create a little human. It’s easy for me to get caught up in all the cute baby things, and “baby fever”, so I needed to write down my thoughts and feelings.
Make A List
- I wanted to have a baby with Matty: I didn’t know at the time if he and I were both healthy enough to make a baby (didn’t know what his sperm count was, if it was viable, or what my egg count was).
- I am young enough that if I needed to try a few times, I had time to do it: Lord knows all the potential tragedies there are out there. Not even just with kids. But I knew that I was young, I had a healthy body, and I had time to continue to try.
- I wanted a little Matthew: I’m not kidding. I wanted a son and I wanted him to look exactly like Matthew.
- I knew how we were financially, and that we could handle it.
- I couldn’t help but smile thinking about my baby and my girls playing together.
- With all that’s happening in the world, I wanted a ray of sunshine that was just for me.
I know some of those were tailored just to me, and this list isn’t meant to be a “checklist” for you to work off of. These are my selfish and personal reasons that I knew I wanted to try to make a baby. So, if writing down reasons works for you, do it! Spoiler: It’s OK for these reasons you write down to be selfish. This is your baby, for crying out loud!
Think About How Your Life Will Change
This is a hard one to do, because it’s hard to pinpoint what life with a baby is really like. Before I became pregnant, I didn’t have a lot of experience with babies, or kids for that matter. I didn’t know how to change a diaper; I didn’t know how my sleep would get affected; I didn’t know what it would do to my marriage.
All I knew at the time was that when my son was born, my life would forever be different. I didn’t know how it would be different, but I’ve accepted that it just is. The biggest and most important thing to accept is that a baby will change your life in ways you never expected, and it’s okay to not know how to handle it.
Every day Mason presents new challenges for me. For instance, my poor baby is working on cutting his first teeth. I do everything I can for him, but it’s my first time comforting a teething baby. It’s scary, but I know it’s all okay. Mason is also starting to learn to crawl, and it’s scary. All these challenges surprise and excite me, but I know that my family is happy and healthy and that’s all that matters. My husband is so supportive, and was ready to be a parent with me. Having support from a spouse is immensely important (or really just any support system).
We had to think about how our existing children would handle a new baby. We prepared for Mason as much as we could: let the dogs smell his clothes, crib, and car seat. They met him in a neutral setting, and I have them extra love while they met him. The cats have slowly eased into him, though they still have hesitations with him.
Our marriage has definitely evolved and strengthened since having Mason. To be honest, though, we’ve gotten into more tiffs than we ever had after having him. We used to neve argue, but now we have another life to care for, and we both want to do it in our own way. There’s a lot of learning and compromising that we’ve come to as parents. This is one aspect I didn’t see affecting us a lot, but it’s turned into the aspect of our lives that have changed the most.
So when you are thinking about how a new baby will change things, try to visualize it. How will your relationship with your spouse change? How will you handle your hormones and physical changes? Are there any sacrifices that need to be made? If you can visualize it and you’re comfortable, perfect. If not – that’s alright, too. Just know you’re in good company, and everything will turn out great.
Talk It Over With Your Spouse
This should be an obvious thought, but a good one to drill in. If you’ve been thinking about making a baby, please let your spouse know. You both need to be on board, and feel ready for it. No good comes from couples who are split on having children.
If your spouse doesn’t feel ready, talk it through. Really understand them and their reasonings for not wanting to start a family. Their feelings and beliefs are valuable, too.
Another thought as well is the possibility of having struggles to become pregnant. I can’t express my gratitude enough for the healthy and safe pregnancy I had, but others do not have that fortune. It’s a big deal to seek help and treatment for infertility, and that too will take a toll on your marriage and relationship to your spouse. Be prepared for this, too, when you think about starting a family.
Try not to start a family when you’re broke. Or homeless. Chances are, you’d figure things out, but why stress a situation when you don’t need to?
When you’re in the situation of a planned pregnancy, please think about finances. Matty and I were not (and are not) swimming in cash, but we were ready. Though I do wish he didn’t have a dairy and soy allergy – the formula is expensive!
Just do your research, use hand-me-downs, consider reusable diapers, yada yada. Soon, I’ll make a post of my newborn essentials to review, but for now, as relatives what they used and borrow things from other moms. Buying brand new things isn’t always necessary. You can go to a local children’s consignment shop to get most of what you need!
I hope this has been helpful to you. And I wish you luck with your future family! Don’t hesitate to ask questions!