"Cheer up. Remember what the Monty Python boys say."
"Always look on the bright side of life?"
"No, 'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.'"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When the She is Ready But the He is Not.

This past weekend has given me some time to think and reflect.

Over the years, there have been so many times that I have thought I was ready to be a mother.
  • At 20, I knew being a mom would be great and that is what I wanted, now...
  • At 22, I knew that I was too young at 20 and that 22 was a great age...
  • At 25, I thought, now is really the time, 22 was still too young for me...
  • At 28, it hit me, I needed that few years of marriage under my belt before a child would be welcome...
Now at 33, with almost 5 years of trying... I still wonder if I really am ready for a child. So, I started to ask myself, when do we know the timing is right?

I realized that age is not a factor. Some women are ready and wonderful mothers at 18 and others are horrific mothers at 40. It is an internal readiness that flips the switch.

After one year of marriage, I am sure that I was not as ready as I thought. Half of my reasoning to that is the fact that DH was really not ready. He wanted to wait three years, no ifs, ands or buts. I didn't agree with him but I respected his desire to wait. I am not saying that if we would have unexpectedly gotten pregnant, he would not have loved the child, but I would always wonder if he would resent the child's timing.

I do see that DH would have been a wonderful father even if it was sooner than he thought. In fact, I know he would have been thrilled to hold a child in his arms that looked like us. Yet, it would have been different.

I have seen girls who "accidentally" forget to take the pill because they are ready and he isn't. I have seen girls talk their husbands into a child the man is not ready for because the woman is. I have even seen a marriage fall apart because the woman doesn't respect that her husband feels waiting is best for a reason.

I really feel that each spouse needs to be on the same page when it comes to children. How many fathers have a hard time connecting with a child due to lack of desire to be a father at that time? How many inwardly resent the child for being there too soon without even realizing it? What happens when the father finds out the pregnancy wasn't spontaneous but planned, in secret, by the mother? Will that not strain the relationship?

I may not have agreed with DH, but looking back, I know that we made the right decision. I could not have lived with myself knowing that I made the decision without him. When b/c failed to work, we found creative was to be together during fertile (or what I thought was fertile) times. Only after the three year mandate did I develop the "wait and see" attitude.

Yes, I am a bit jealous of the family friend that is pregnant. I am even a bit put off by the uber planning of when to add a child into the mix, but I have respect for the planning, too. At least they are both on the same page. They knew that the timing was right for both of them and they acted accordingly. I just wish our planning had resulting in the same relatively quick outcome.


nancy said...

You know, this speaks more to me than many posts.

I can't tell you HOW GLAD I AM FOR WAITING. Sure, maturity was a big part - since I spent mucho time being a free spirit and I honestly would have missed that.

But money, career and life experience is invaluable as a mom. I know I make a much better mom at 35 than I would of at 25.

Of course if I had been a mom at 25, I would of still loved it. But I wouldn't of known what I was missing. Now, knowing just how much your life changes (and NO, it's not just about going out when you want to) I would have missed a lot.

There are many advantages about being a young mom. Having the kids grown when you are still young, but then again, you'll still be working. We, on the other hand, will have the kids out just when we'll be able to retire 10 years "early". What a welcome break to send kids off to college right when we get to take a 6 month vacation through europe. I'll be in my early 50s when my kids set off to college. By no means is that old.

Anywho, you'll be happy when you realize just what having kids is all about. You'll look back and say "thank goodness". Believe me.

KatieM said...

I've been thinking about this topic lately (sort of). As most everyone out there knows I started trying young, and actually when I look back and see women/girls who are pregnant at the age I started to try I am amazed at how young it really seems. By all accounts I am/will be labeled as a young mother, but even in the few years it took to conceive I can see how I will be a different mother now than before.

I'm also thankful in some twisted way that since DH and I started trying as soon as we got married it took us almost three years to conceive. That was 3 years that I got to spend with my husband sans baby or child....three years of just enjoying each other that we wouldn't have gotten if it "happened right away". Were those years perfect? Hell no....but they were great and are forever in memory as just OUR years.

I always knew I wanted to be a "younger mother" because of CF...medically it makes more sense and luckily my heart agrees with that. Plus, it was rather convenient I married someone 10 years old ;-) However, I don't think anything of "older mothers" either...I don't think they were selfish for waiting as I have heard some people say...I think they waited because they wanted too, or they waited for their partner to be ready, or they just waited to enjoy life and that's a beautiful thing.

I don't think anyone regardless of age is truly "ready" to become a parent. I'm pretty sure it's like expecting a slap on the cheek, but getting hit with a bag of bricks instead. Everyone will process that in their own way, and each level of mothers (older or younger) has its advantages and disadvantages in doing so.

Eeek, sorry that got a tad long. Great post!