Is There A ‘Right Time’ To Have A Baby?

One conversation that comes up quite a lot between my friends and I is the topic of whether there is a ‘right time’ to have a baby.

I think one of the worries that most people have before becoming a parent is whether or not they will miss their old life.

They think of all the things they will no longer be able to do, for a while at least.

All the money that will be spent on nappies instead of themselves.

Nights that will be spent pacing up and down the living room with a screaming baby instead of curled up on the sofa with your partner.

I felt all of these things when I was pregnant with Iyla, it wasn’t a planned pregnancy but I knew deep down that at 25, I was ready to give up my old life to become a mum.

I had already stopped going out partying and as I had been doing it since the age of about 15 I felt like I was well and truly over it and I was right. At no point in my 32 months of being a parent have I wished my life to be any different.

I feel like I had children at the ‘right time’ and that I was ‘ready’.

BUT I still have times where I think about what I would have been doing in my pre-children days.

Especially lately because the weather has been so nice. For instance the other weekend we went down to Devon – How To Make 24 Hours Feel Like 24 Years . We went to the beach and whilst I was sat in the shade trying to keep Jobey cool, I couldn’t help but think about how in my old life I would have been relaxing in the sun. Then this weekend we went to a wedding, it was another glorious day and the kids were so good but part of me did spot the sofas on the lawn, cocktails on the table and imagine how had I not been a parent I would have been laid on one with said drink in hand.

Luckily before I got too carried away I remembered that had I not had kids I would have been relaxing in the sun drinking for a while but then I would have ended up passed out in a corner puking all night (I wasn’t a very good drinker!).

For me it was just a case of noticing the differences between my old life as oppose to wishing I had my old life but seeing all my friends who don’t have kids yet made me realise just what a hard job being a parent is. Whilst all the people without kids get to sit in the sun with a drink in their hand, all the people with kids are stood in the shade rocking / bouncing / chasing their children. Instead of holding a drink they are cleaning up the smashed glass from where their toddler smashed it on the floor after wrestling it out of their hands (or that might have just been us?!).

Life with two kids is utterly exhausting, let alone going out with them. Even when you are not doing the actual jobs that are involved with looking after children – the nappy changes, getting them dressed, bathing them, feeding them – your brain is always thinking about them. Where are they? What are they doing? Where have they gone?

By the end of the day I was SHATTERED.

Then I saw this quote yesterday that completely summed up what being a parent is all about.

being a parent

The things you experience from being a parent are worth all the hard work and things you no longer get to do.

So is there a ‘right time’ to have a baby?

Well I think yes and no.

Obviously if you can then it helps to get all the things you want to do out of your system before having kids but that isn’t always possible and in most cases once that little baby is placed in your arms your priorities will completely change. All of a sudden you realise that the enjoyment you get from sunbathing, having money to spend on make-up or being able to buy a one-way ticket to Thailand just doesn’t compare to the feeling when your baby smiles at you for the first time.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. says

    I couldn’t agree more. I think if everyone waited for the absolutely perfect time to have a baby, then no one would ever have children. There would always be so many reasons not to just yet, but once they are here, everything changes and you just can’t imagine life without them.
    I am the same, I have moments when I think, “if we didn’t have the kids we would…” but it’s never thought in the kind of way that I wish I didn’t have them, more of a look-how-my-life-has-changed kind of way. x
    lucy at dear beautiful recently posted…rumble in the jungle {what we’re reading}My Profile

  2. says

    I’ll be honest and say that it does sting slightly when I hear all about my friends’ holidays and amazing things they’ve been able to buy with all their disposable income. I am mournful of the fact that Sam and I only ever experienced one trip away together before having children, and since having children we’ve been unable to afford holidays at all.

    It does hurt me slightly that some of my friends don’t seem to grasp that life has changed massively for me (recently during a catch-up, a friend asked if Sam and I were “going out tonight or just having a quiet one at home?” Rory was 6 weeks old! Also everyone always assumes that it’s easy working from home as a parent and that I just take both kids along with me to photoshoots, which irks me NO END). I really would have loved to have had a few friends doing the baby thing at the same time as us because one of the things I’ve struggled a lot with is feeling alone in this parenting lark.

    Sometimes I wonder whether I would have been happier if we’d had a ‘planned’ pregnancy a few years later than we did, but there’s no telling whether we would have lived those few extra years any better or just taken them for granted. And obviously that pregnancy wouldn’t have been Arlo so it’s a nonsense hypothetical anyway!

  3. says

    I think if someone waits around for the perfect time they’ll never have one because there’ll be something stopping them, whether its money or career or whatever. Despite having absolutely no social life it is true you gain so much from having a child and life takes a completely different angle and its fun and exhausting in its own way.

  4. says

    I know what you mean about getting things out of your system. I still don’t think there is a perfectly right time though, especially if you’re waiting for it to come. I have seen so many times people wait until the perfect time only to be surprised that they are not blessed with a pregnancy right away. One could trying for the first time how they were at their wits end because it took the 3 months to conceive and the timing was ‘off’. After trying for 24 months I feel like 3 months is the equivalent at looking at a penis and falling pregnant with twins! Obviously that is subjective though. One thing I know would have been different if I had my daughter earlier is my wedding. I spent loads (more than necessary and definitely wouldn’t recommend it) and had the day of my dreams. It is one of the best memories of my life and was simply perfection. I can only dream my daughter will have a say like that BUT that is because I got married before I had her. If I got married now I wouldn’t have had the day of my dreams but also I think my ideas for the day of my dreams would have changed. I used to be stupid and frivolous with money but now I get anxiety if I purchase anything for myself lol. I feel frightened at the though of how little I would have grown without everything I gained from being a mummy. That was a bit garbled, sorry!

    • says

      You are right, having kids really does change your priorities so much and money is no longer something for yourself! Not in my case anyway! And I do agree about people leaving it too long then having problems when they realise they can’t get pregnant straight away. I think it’s a lot harder for women these days and they want so many things other than being a mum (career etc) but it’s hard to fit it all in before your fertility starts decreasing. The way I look at it is the really hard part of having kids doesn’t really last that long and there will be time in the future for yourself again – I have already started giving my retirement some though ;) x

  5. says

    I don’t think we waited for the ‘right’ time. My husband always told me that pratically we may never find a right time but we both felt ready to become parents. I must admit I do sometimes wish we could go out and relax in the sun rather than chasing round after a toddler and going endlessly round the playground and down the slide but I wouldn’t change it. I love the quote, so very true…I constantly wonder what I did with my life before I became a Mummy. Somehow it seems like everything fell into place once we had Lucas xx
    Hayley @hayleyfromhome recently posted…The First Trimester {Flashback Friday}My Profile

    • says

      Yep going out and relaxing in the sun is definitely something I miss! But then I remember that in a few years it will be easy to do it again so it’s only temporary! xx

  6. Manicmummy says

    You know what I couldn’t help but read this and feel the pang of jelousy. You know the one, where you do question your choices in life and the regrets hurt. Today I saw an old dear friend of mine that has moved back to the country they were born in. Having not seen them in nearly 4 years a lot has changed. Not only have they travelled the world but I made a decision to become a younger mum and normalise my life. Today I felt like I would disappoint my friend because the ‘me’ that they new and loved so much no longer exists. I also had this horrible pain inside of me that was saying “you will never ever have the chance to do what he has sine, you’ve made your bed and now you must lie in it.” Don’t get me wrong being a mum is true,y amazing but I am constantly fighting demons who doubt my decisions. Was it the right time.? What would I be doing had I of not had my child?

    Deep down, all of this does play a huge affect on parenthood but the one thing it’s taught me is even if I had a child 10 years down the line these questions would still be there and being a mum isn’t about forgetting the life you once had to make jelousy easier its about letting go and embracing the new, and this takes time, a lot of time and patience.

    • says

      Ah you are so right, I have a lot of friends who still don’t feel like it is the right time and they are all nearly 30. The way I think of it is that kids grow up so so quickly and then I know I will wish they were little again so that helps me make the most of it, as they get older and easier so does life for the parent. Just things like being able to read a book in the sun in my case! Parenthood is SUCH hard work but nature intended women to do it at a young age so that’s something! For me having this blog has given me something for myself which has helped me on those days where it feels like all I’ve done is change crappy nappies and listen to moans. It’s helped me find a community of mums who are all going through the same thing as me which can stop it feeling so isolating too.
      Having kids also gave me the confidence to do things that I hadn’t previously – I passed my driving test and finished a college course for the first time in Iyla’s first year of life. Anyway sorry for this essay! If you do ever want to meet up or anything just message me xx

  7. says

    Our daughter’s were both completely planned and I still don’t feel like I was ready!

    I am one of the first of my oldest friends to have children and I still see their fb statuses saying they are going out and going on lots of exotic holidays. But i can honestly say that I got my drinking/party days out the way before they were born as I was a bit of a party girl (which makes me sound such a loser saying it like that but I was!) I travelled the world and had a good job and I can honestly say that I don’t miss those things. Ok well sometimes I miss the holidays! ;) But nothing else.

    The one thing I do occasionally miss is the time to myself. Just to sit for an hour with a hot chocolate and read a book! But then I look at my girl’s and I change my mind quite quickly! x
    Katie @mummydaddyme recently posted…Miscellaneous Memories #9My Profile

    • says

      Yes I know what you mean, having to young kids literally means NO time for youself! But I keep remembering how quickly they grow up and then I will wish they were young again. Sometimes I do spend a few minutes thinking about the things I want to do when I retire though! x

  8. says

    I think from a career point of view there could be a “right” time but then, most of us can think around that and do life in a different order if we chose to. My mum had me at 25 and is now doing her PhD in her 50s. I had Talitha at 25 and don’t feel like I’ve missed out. I have lots to enjoy now and lots more to look forward to.
    Circus Queen recently posted…Second time pregnantMy Profile

  9. Lucy Oliver says

    Hi, I just just wanted to ask how you managed to decide to have a baby. I was single throughout my twenties and a lot of the time up to the age of 33. I was told by several people that being in a relationship should be ‘the last thing I should be thinking about’ because I had medical problems and with that, employment problems. So I avoided loving anyone so they could have a better life than they could with me. That makes me angry now. Then the most amazing person came along, and he lived on the other end of the country. We barely see each other, sometimes for months at a time. There’s something so missing, a bond of intimacy we never got to build. It’s been two years and I’m thirty-five and by the time we move in together I’ll be nearly thirty-six.

    I see younger couples walk together holding hands in the street and want to cry. They have each other every day and when we’re together it’s like starting all over again each time. We never get used to it and have a lot of problems. Relationships with health problems are hard and don’t work out 50% of the time. Then if your children inherit your condition it’s an even bigger strain on the family and so many of them break up. Surely it makes sense that we have just one year together, I’d much rather risk my fertility than risk my partner. I just can’t love someone who doesn’t exist yet more than someone who already does. We can’t wait to be together and make up for lost time. Then we can learn how to be a couple and build something strong together. We’ll still have high student debt in a year, we’ll still be renting a flat but we’ll have each other.

    In your point of view:
    Does that mean we don’t want a baby enough because we’re waiting for the right time?

    Would you have had a baby at all costs, whatever your circumstances?

    • says

      Hi, thanks for your comment and sorry for my delayed response. I can totally understand your point, I was thinking more of a lot of people I know choosing to wait but not having any reason why, just thinking that they might feel more ‘ready’ if you see what I mean? I’m not sure that there is ever a right time but there are things that you I would have wanted in place, however having said that my first wasn’t planned at all and my OH had actually split up, it happened on a night when we met up to discuss getting back together. Having a baby is a lot of hard work and can put a huge strain on a relationship, especially in that first year. The fact we’d had problems before has made it an ongoing work in process. I used to go through phases of really wanting kids then thinking it wasn’t the right time. Before having kids I wouldn’t have thought the time I fell pregnant was the right one but obviously now I wouldn’t change it for the world and would do it again. Sorry I’m not much help! x

  10. Lucy Oliver says

    Hi, thanks for your answer in November. I didn’t see it before but found it just then! Actually it was more helpful than you thought. Thanks for sharing your story. In a way, it would be helpful to get pregnant unexpectedly because there’s no turning back and you just have to get on with it although it also sounds very scary! I suppose I just get jealous of people who had years to spend together first but there are plenty of others who had no childless time at all (step families). Thanks again x

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