Ken and I had our “Preparing for Childbirth” class this past Saturday at the hospital where we will (in all likelihood) be delivering our son. Seven hours filled with graphic videos, extensive discussions and details, and a tour of the 1980’s chic maternity ward. But I think it was good for us to get a glimpse of the hospital, hear about this particular hospital’s policies/procedures/practices, and get a little more in-depth knowledge of what we have to look forward to when Junior decides he’s ready to take on the world.
We were one of four couples in total taking the class. And as we were introduced to each couple, I realized something that I didn’t quite expect…
At 30 years old, we were the oldest couple in the class! Say what?!
My husband and I married 35 days after I turned 23, my husband was still 22 (17 days shy of his 23rd birthday.) We married “young” in a lot of people’s opinions. We dated for nearly 2 years before becoming engaged, and were engaged for nearly 15 months before our wedding, so all-in-all a total of 3 years together pre-wedding. By the time we both hit 30, we had been together for 10 years (7 married, 3 pre-marriage).
Wedding Day – May 7, 2005
Needless to say we were getting interrogated on a frequent basis as to why we didn’t have kids yet, did we want kids, were we planning on having kids, and the inevitable discussions surrounding a “ticking clock” and “not getting any younger.” A lot of our married friends starting having kids within a few short years of getting married. Why did we wait so long to hitch our caboose onto the baby train?
For us there were a bunch of reasons we waited on kids. First, we wanted to enjoy some one-on-one time before introducing kids into the equation. I got to visit some pretty spectacular places that might not have happened if we had kids early on, including: cruises to Mexico, vacations to Hawaii and Italy, weekends in NYC, etc. Secondly, for the first 2 years of our marriage, we lived far away from family and my husband traveled a lot. Not fair to me, him or the kid if I was all alone trying to raise it and Ken never got to see his child grow up.
Hawaii – June 2007
Italy – June 2010
After we moved back to the northeast, Ken started going to school for his MBA, meaning nights and weekends were jam-packed and he had very little time to focus on helping me raise a child. All the while we were ever mindful of the biggie that worries a lot of couples planning to start their families: finances. We wanted to not only be able to “make it work” but provide a more comfortable lifestyle for our family rather than have to watch every nickle and dime with the eagle-eyed focus of a forensic accountant.
So, after 10 years together, we decided it was time. And God blessed us with our soon-to-be son in a rather rapid fashion (our patience was rewarded). I always hoped to have my first child by the age of 30, but with Junior due 23 days after my 31st birthday, it looks like I’ll just miss that goal. Ken will still be 30, but only by less than a month.
I have a few friends who are my age that just recently had their first baby, and a few friends who are currently expecting their first child around the same time as us. But the majority of my friends were parents long before 30. And you know what? They are great parents. But for my husband and myself, the right choice was to wait and have children when we were ready – not when everyone else was going gaga for babies.
And I’m glad we did. Even if that makes us the “old fogies” at the pre-school orientations and high school graduations. Because I don’t feel old: I feel ready. And I feel blessed. And those are two things that I know will make me a better mom to my child than if we rushed into a decision based on peer pressure or worse, somebody else’s perception of my “ticking clock.”
Besides, the difference between my goal of being 30 and my reality of being 31 is just 23 days. And 30 is only “old” if you’re 15.
How old were you when you had your first child? What helped you decide when you were “ready?”