We Are Both Right

Planning — and Planning — to Have a Family

planning to have a baby

Sometimes family planning can take on a whole new meaning. ©Bjarne Henning Kvaale/stock.xchng

A few weeks after a first date with this guy I met in college, he asked me: “What’s your ten year plan?” I was 19, he was 20. And in true job interview fashion, I told him that my first order of business was finishing college and then getting an internship and hopefully a job in the city.

“Then when I’m thirty, I’ll probably get married and have a baby,” I said rather confidently, giving him a sneak peek at my fifteen-year agenda in case he needed to know. (He can’t say he wasn’t warned about my Type-A-always-in-control personality).

Somehow this didn’t scare him off. Instead he wanted to know what would happen if I met someone now who wanted to get married and have kids in a few years. “Well he would just have to wait until I was ready,” was my self-assured response.

Yeah, OK.

Graduated three years later, got married that September. To him.

But in a true sense of compromise we waited on the second part of the deal. And waited. And waited.

Because before we could even consider having a baby, we had to find stable jobs. And then they had to pay enough so that we could afford to move out of the first floor, one-bedroom unit of my grandparent’s house. Grad school tuition slowed us down a bit. Later came a cross-country move for better jobs and a new house.

Finally, we had arrived. There we were sitting in our new house with three bedrooms, a nice backyard, one block from the elementary school. The space was big, empty and quiet — even after we had unpacked the boxes and adopted a puppy.

I was 27, he was 28.

It was our fifth wedding anniversary, eight years since our first date, and still no mention (or sight) of those babies we had talked about years before. The way I looked at it, I was still ahead of the game. The way my husband saw it, he was running out of time.

And it was then that we decided — we were ready for a baby. Or more like, it’s now or never. Mixed with a little bit of I guess we’re as ready as we’ll ever be.

A few months later, when we flew home for Christmas and shared the news that we were expecting, our families kept saying: “We were wondering when you would finally get moving on that.” This from the same people who warned us not get pregnant right away when we married young.

So all the stars were aligned for the birth of our first child. There was a bedroom waiting for him, and a playroom no less. We had great jobs, good schedules that allowed for plenty of time together as a family, and everything we ever needed to be comfortable.

Our planning would have paid off. It could have been smooth sailing.

Except that no sooner had we shared the news than my old boss made me an offer to come back. Oh, wouldn’t that make everything all the more perfect if we could be near our families as the baby grows up?

And then we learned that sometimes, no matter how much you wait and plan and make things perfect, it can all change in an instant. We basically started from square one that autumn after L. was born and we had moved back home. As in gutting a house, nursing my husband back to health after a debilitating injury that put him out of work, and then moving twice before the baby’s first birthday.

But you know what? It’s all fine now. One more baby added into the mix. A little more chaos in our days. And really, it’s all good.

Just like we planned.

Amanda was quicker to jump into family life than I was. But with all of our fits and starts, we’re pretty much running side by side these days.