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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might not be the right forum, but here goes: DH and I have been talking about TTC for a year now, and we're currently discussing whether we're ready emotionally and if our relationship is mature enough to handle a child.

Does anyone know of a good tool to help decide if you're ready, like a book or list of questions? I've been scouring Amazon for books, but I'd really like to know what other Mothering-minded folks recommend.

Personally, I'm also struggling with whether to start a family before starting a new career that I'm passionate about (my current career is something I no longer believe in). But if I go with the career first, that means less money and that we'd have to wait 2-3 years before we'd be ready financially for TTC. If we're truly not ready yet, I guess that wouldn't be a bad thing. But the thought of waiting that long makes me sad.


So any suggestions on helpful books, etc. on that front would be very welcome too. Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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I'm sorry to say that I don't know of any books that help with that decision. My best advice would be to listen, really listen, to your heart. At one point I was faced with a similar decision, to go to grad school in order to pursue the career I wanted or to start a family. I thought a lot about what was really going to make me happy, what was most important to me, what part of my life I was more willing to put on hold, what regrets I might end up with, what the various financial situations would be and what we were willing to sacrifice in that department, etc. Of course I didn't make the decision myself, these were all discussions my DH and I had. I am analytical and I wished there were guidelines or rules that let me know how to decide, but in the end it was really a leap of faith. Only one decision felt right, and I/we have never regretted it. Good luck!
 

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I don't have any books to recomend either, and I agree that you have to listen to your heart. I had my kids while in grad school and I remember talking to my major professor when I was pretty much at the point you're at now. I asked her what she thought (I value her opinion a lot) and she is a very accomplished professor with 5 kids. Her response/advice was that for her, and many other professional women she knows, if you wait until the time is "right" you will wait forever. For a lot of people there is no perfect time to start a family, it's more of a this is as good a time as any to start a family
 

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I will be watching this thread because I always wish that this topic was discussed more often.

I must admit that the statement that there's-no-right-time-to-start-having-kids,-cause-you-will-wait-forever, irritates me to no end because to me, it doesn't explain anything and it smacks of throwing caution to the wind concerning SUCH a huge decision in life (and im not knocking the open-to-lifers either, i know there's a difference).

I dunno, maybe that's what it takes and im just mad about that itself, lol.

I mean, i know there isnt any mathematical formula that says you will know when you are ready when X Y Z is fulfilled, but GEEZ! lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. I hope more mamas can add their experiences here, because it really helps to read about how other people have made this decision.

I did find a book at the library called The Parenthood Decision but it's been kind of frustrating to read. The author is a woman who went through the process she outlines in the book to decide if she wanted kids, and she reached the decision that she wasn't ready for them and never would be because of her lifestyle. I respect that decision, but from what I've read, I feel like her opinion is that you shouldn't have a child until everything in your life is perfect...until you're perfect. I definitely see the value in going to therapy and working on yourself before bringing a life into the world, but the author sets some pretty unrealisitic standards to live up to. Or maybe my standards are too low and my judgement is clouded by a wee bit of baby lust.


Anyway, that's why I was so desperate to hear of any other resources! But I've found that these posts have been helping me work things out, so maybe I don't need an official book or whatever...so please keep those stories comin'!
 

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I didn't go to a book, i just started deeply contemplating.

the first thing i asked myself was whether or not i wanted kids. My answer is that i would prefer it, but it's not absolutely necessary for me to have a fulfilling life.


once i got an answer for that, i started to ask 'will i be able to handle parenthood?" At the time when i asked the question (3 years ago), i knew that i wasn't ready then--that at that time, i couldn't "handle it."

I then asked the question of, what do i need to do emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially to prepare myself so that i will be able to 'handle it?' From this questioning, i came away with a diverse set of answers of not only what i needed to work on, but also how to work on it.

over the last three years, my husband and i have revamped our financial situation. we got on a strict budget, we moved from being a two-income home to a one-income home (because we wanted to support SAHPing), and we have discovered how much more income we need in order to support *a* child (on average, the first year of a child's life can cost a family up to $15,000 according to the Dr. Phil show). So, with all of this, we began to really see what we need to do financially to become financially ready.

currently, my husband and I feel emotionally ready. now, we just need to become financially ready. that's our last element.

I feel it, not so much in my heart, but deep in my bones and self-knowing. I know i'm prepared emotionally and spiritually and physically for this--i've beenw orking on that these few years and achieved a lot. Now, we get this last ducky in a row, and there it is.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Brown Lioness
I must admit that the statement that there's-no-right-time-to-start-having-kids,-cause-you-will-wait-forever, irritates me to no end because to me, it doesn't explain anything and it smacks of throwing caution to the wind concerning SUCH a huge decision in life (and im not knocking the open-to-lifers either, i know there's a difference).

I dunno, maybe that's what it takes and im just mad about that itself, lol.

I mean, i know there isnt any mathematical formula that says you will know when you are ready when X Y Z is fulfilled, but GEEZ! lol

Hmmm, it really helped dh and I put things in perspective. We were one of those couples who really were waiting until everything was perfect in our lives before we had kids. It was that statement that made us realize that we really were ready for kids even though our lives weren't (and never will be) perfect.
 

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Well, when we got married we didn't have a set timeline for when we would have kids--we just knew we wouldn't try right away. I knew I wanted to graduate college first. Once I was getting closer about 1.5 yrs after we got married we started really thinking about it and finally decided to go for it. It just felt right and I knew I wanted a baby. DH was more hung up on finances but someone told hm "there would never be a perfect time" and he accepted that and we got pg on our first cycle with DS1. I think each time has been a harder decision because it is now not just affecting our marriage/lives but our child/children's lives as well.
 

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It's a really good question -- how do you know when you're ready? I think often you don't know. And truly, it is probably a smart person who will always be a little apprehensive about having children, because it is a difficult task that completely transforms your life. You, and your life, and your relationship with your partner, will never be the same again. I'm always a little wary of someone who goes into it *totally* roses & sunshine.

Both of my children have not been planned. I got pg with my first during my first year of teaching. I will say that I am glad that I got my career in motion before I started a family, because I think it is important for a woman to have a way to support herself. Even though I am taking time off, I know I will go back to it in the future. I have options that I am happy for.

I agree that there probably will never be a "perfect" time to have a child, but there are no "perfects" in life, period, so it's difficult to make that statement very powerful.

I think my childbirth teacher said it best. A couple was asking her if they should TTC #2 when #1 was a year old, because they thought they wanted a two year spacing. She said, "If you don't want to be pregnant today, don't get pregnant."

I think it's awesome that you are doing lots of soul searching about it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by snozzberry
and we're currently discussing whether we're ready emotionally and if our relationship is mature enough to handle a child.
this statement sticks out like a sore thumb to me
if you are questioning the maturity of your relationship I would strongly advise you to wait
time is on your side
good luck with your decision
 

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I've been struggling with the same thing. I've finally figured out what I want to go back to school for...at the same time that everything else in my life has lined up perfectly and we are otherwise ready for kids. We bought our first house, my husband got the raise he needed to make SAHMing for me financially realistic, and we both feel our selves and relationship are healthy and stable - and we both want kids!

So do I go back to school now? Or wait until after kids?

I've decided to go ahead and go back to school now. It took my parents four years to conceive me; for all I know, it could take us that long too. If we get lucky and get knocked up before I'm finished, I'll take a break and go back later. Going to school after kids is certainly possible, but it's undeniably harder and the more I've finished beforehand, the better.

I really like zoebird's answer. Everyone has their own set of things they need to feel prepared. For me, this included owning a house, and both of us getting enough life insurance that we could keep our house and feed our kids for a few years if one of us died. It included refocusing on my health and improving my lifestyle. It included making sure I'm a basically happy and healthy person who can meet my own needs and is ready to meet a child's without sacrificing my own wellbeing. And my husband and I talked a lot and worked through some big relationship issues, and talked about what we want for our children, and how we want to raise them.

So, you both probably need to sit down and discuss what you believe being "ready" will mean for you, and what you need to do to get there.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by zoebird
on average, the first year of a child's life can cost a family up to $15,000 according to the Dr. Phil show
I have come back to read this over and over. It floors me! Do you have any idea what is included in that figure? I am trying to add it all up for us and I don't think I can come up with more than $3500 for either child--including the one where we paid for the homebirth and backup OB visits out of pocket. Of course we did not pay for formula, that would add $1000, or childcare, probably another $5000, and lots of pricy baby furniture would add money... anyway, I just had to come back and ask. It makes me
 

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Same here -- I was shocked by that $15,000 number, too. What in the heck would cost that much? Maybe if you're more mainstream and you do add in all the childcare, baby classes, formula, an expensive baby room/furniture... but seriously for both of my kids there's no way they cost us anywhere near that during the first year. Maybe 3-4,000$, but that's pushing it! Babies don't need much at all.
 

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I suppose if you add childcare it could add up to that much. I think for DD when I was working childcare was $13,800 for a year and she went to a moderately priced facility for our area (the highest priced facility with a huge waitlist but amazing childcare was $18,000), but I agree, without that it really isn't all the expensive!

In terms of making the decision, I tried to look at my whole life picture, not just where I was currently. Granted, we were in the "right place" - out of college a few years, married a year, financially stable, etc, but many of our friends in that same place are waiting. For me, an important factor was my life after raising children. I didn't want to be 60 when my kids got out of college and we could move into the next stage of life there. Part of that reasoning came from my parents, who had us when they were older and looking back kinda wish they had started earlier. Naturally this is a personal choice for everyone, but its something to consider.

When I started to get the 'baby fever' I read up on babies and birth and pregnancy voraciously. If you are just in the 'I don't know if I'm ready to take on this' stage, I recommend doing that - really learn about what you'll be getting into and you'll have a better idea of whether you feel like you are ready for the challenge or like its too much to handle right now.
 

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We started with a few things that we knew were important to us. I wanted to be younger than my parents when they had me (i.e. <35yo). I knew it took them several years to conceive and we were 85% sure we wanted to have a baby before I finished grad school (within a 3-4 year window).

That said, we became pg much sooner than expected and it really threw me for a loop. I now tell everyone not to start trying any sooner than you really want to be pg. If there's any chance at all that you'll be uphappy rather than ecstatic about a positive pregnancy test then think hard before TTC.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by speairson
...if you wait until the time is "right" you will wait forever. For a lot of people there is no perfect time to start a family, it's more of a this is as good a time as any to start a family

I completely agree with this statement! It's what I always told myself and others when they questioned our timing (a year before dh finished his PhD and as I was thinking of applying to graduate school, which I didn't end up doing...yet
)
 

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I guess we're in a different boat because we're contemplating additions to the household rather than a first child.

And ours was a completely different story:

At barely 21 I was told that because of the extensive scarring of my uterus, tubes and ovaries having a biological child might be impossible. I had a very lengthy laparoscopy and subsequent D&C to remove the scar tissue, etc and was in the throes of recovery when we were told this.

My RE, a very trusted doctor and one of my personal heros, sat me down at 6 am post the surgery and told me that I needed to take stock of my life and decide because at the rate the scar tissue was destroying my uterine lining I didn't have much time.

We were 21 & 22, both studying, no home, no car, nothing really. We were married and madly in love but nothing was perfect. So we took stock of what we wanted in life, a family, and we tried.

And tried. And tried. And lost and lost.

My RE was very right about the scar tissue causing a hostile environment for babies but after my worst miscarriage we did conceive Sophie.

In that time we had gained a lot -- degrees, jobs, a house, etc but still, life wasn't at all perfect. We struggled with infertility, miscarriage, crazy family members and the usual cast of life's tragedies.

She is amazing. Simply amazing. And stunning and worth it.

I can't imagine my life without Sophie. Granted, both Matt and I are very stable, mature people, very home-centric and very different to his sisters who waited until almost 40 to have kids so they didn't 'waste' their lives raising kids. =(

You have to take a good look at what your heart really says. I'm sure you already know the answer, just listen.

Now #2 -- that's a hard one!
 

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Snozzberry, wave and hello to you - we were in the same boat not so long ago, deciding whether it was "the right time", and confused about where the careers were going. Kudos to you for taking the time to work and think about it!

I hear what you are saying regarding the book you read - I had checked some books on Amazon, too, and some of the reviews were for books that similarly said, "These are the questions you have to ask... and the questions that decided for me, that I don't want children ever."

Regarding the career, and the changeover, is there anyway that you could start revamping your finances, as zoebird described in her post? Is the career adaptive to working from home, or part-time, or job-sharing - things that would make it easier to decide to do it sooner rather than later?

I agree with the comment that there is no "perfect time". Not that people shouldn't think about it, but maybe it's the thing that has to be said to those of us who are more perfectionists. Even at this stage (TTC) we know that not everything will be hunky-dory perfect all the time - I guess we had to learn that lesson first by getting married!

I do disagree with the quote Dr. Phil gave. Anytime I hear a comment that sounds doubtful, if I can't find it on Snopes.com, I do some researching. Basically, you can look up USDA government averages for the cost of having a baby (http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/crc2005.pdf), and if you make a lot of money (over $64,000) your average cost yearly can be close to $15,000. But that total includes a higher increase in your yearly housing cost - he's quoting people who make an average of $108,000 a year, and $6,000 of that annual cost is for housing. So, we're talking people who already have a lot of money, have children and may have gotten a bigger house in the booming market that costs them thousands more every month.

A parent who breast-feeds, makes their own baby food, uses cloth diapers and buys some used clothing, and stays at home full time or part-time, is not going to have the same costs as someone who uses formula, disposable diapers, buys all new stuff, and has to pay for child care. The latter people will probably spend about $8-9,000 a year on average, adjusted for income and housing costs if they have to move; the former will probably spend a bit less, maybe more like $3,000 to $5,000 during the earlier years.
 

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And honestly, if you wanted to you could be extremely economical:

First year costs:
Diapers - $300 (if you went cloth prefolds & covers, washed more frequently)
Clothing - $400 (if you only purchased minimal outfits in each size and bought used)
Food - $300 (extra groceries for the last six months when the child is on solids, this is being generous I think)
Accessories - $300 (Essentials for me, boppy, sling, high chair, stroller, bought used)
Car Seat - $300 (Assuming infant and convertible, bought new)
Toys - $200 (Bought for cheap at yard sales, etc some new infant toys)
Doctors Visits - $200 (assuming you have a copay or something)

So, I think you could get away with $2000 not counting the medical cost of birth, since that varies so much depending on insurance, birth choices. Now, you would have to be amazing to pull it off, only buying used, never being tempted by those cute cloth diapers, new clothes, etc but none of it is necessary
 
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