Talking to someone the other day about when "the right time" is to have kids, it made me think about my own thought process about this over the years.
In my twenties I had decided quite vehemently that I would NOT have kids. I felt that too many people did it for the 'wrong reasons' or did not put enough thought into it. I felt the world was over-populated. I felt that I should have the RIGHT to not have children. More than anything I really wanted to make a decision that was... somehow not expected, not "normal", not 'what everyone else does'. I had gotten married at 23 and within months everyone was asking "so when are you having kids'. Of course this pissed me off. Was I expected to do so? Is that what women are SUPPOSED to do, is get married and make babies?! What frickin year was this, what an archaic stupid question!!! Being asked all the time only made me more and more irritated about what was expected of newlyweds and I said HELL NO WE ARE NOT HAVING KIDS! Meanwhile my sister and brother went ahead and had children and watching my sister's belly grow I thought omg I am DEFINITELY not doing that! It looks terrifying! How the hell can your body get so large and pass a baby through your ... oh lord, I didn't even want to think about how much that would hurt. Why would I want to do this? I was terrified of the whole process. Again, cemented my convictions NOT to have kids.
Into my mid and late thirties my relationship began dissolving (for other reasons) and I began concentrating on my career. By 36 I was divorced, moved into a new relationship, moved into my career (leaned into my career) but I began thinking about whether I was all that committed to my previous beliefs about not having children?
In my new workplace I was surrounded by other women who were within my age range (36-40) who were suddenly pregnant AND in management. I quickly realized hey, maybe I *CAN* do both? Maybe it's not a choice between having a career and a family(?) One of the women had a stay at home husband and the other was a SINGLE woman who found herself pregnant but had her mother's support. My spouse was a part time worker who would prefer to be home, and so I found myself thinking about whether starting a family could be a possibility in the near future? Maybe I should think about whether we wanted a baby? Or was it too late? Or was the "right time" finally coming? I had other considerations as well, like my spouse was an only child and both parents were passed. It left only him. I thought maybe I was being selfish deciding not to have children- what if he wanted one? What if he *needed* a family and a sense of belonging?
By age 38 -in the Spring- I had been transferred back to my home province within a few hours drive of both my parents and my sister. By late Fall in October I found out I was pregnant. I spent my pregnancy affirming that my body was made for birthing and certainly if my other friends were able to do this, then certainly I could. I said to myself regularly that I was in the right place at the right time and this was going to turn out great.
It absolutely is a huge decision that involves a lot of humming and hawing. People say having them early means by the time they graduate then YOU have time for yourself earlier. But my argument was that then you lose your 20s and 30s to child rearing, don't have your career established yet, probably have a little more financial stress buying a home, getting everything going in your life. Then others say having them later in life when you DO have your career established, are well into a mortgage etc, that you are "too well rooted' in your personal routines and lack energy to chase after a baby. Personally I feel like things worked out for the best and that waiting until my later years was actually perfect ...for me. I didn't feel that my "routine" was altered. In fact in retrospect I think wow, what the hell was I wasting my time on before this!? Suddenly I find hours available in my day to play with my busy toddler daughter, grocery shop, work & commute 11 hrs a day and somehow find a few minutes for me and my spouse.
So is there a right time? Are you ever 'prepared'? I don't think you are, or that there is a perfect time, but having said that- ANY time is the right time and you will find that when you do have your child (if you choose to do so) that you suddenly were prepared and you always were.