How Do You Know You Are Ready for Kids?
I invite you and welcome you to an open-ended discussion in my head. A discussion with no firm answers yet sensations of resolve as I perhaps step in the right direction of an answer.
So, how do you know you are ready for kids? I’d like to argue that its similar to knowing when you’ve found the one. Things come together, a sense of peace and assurances washes over you. It feels right and you want to keep that feeling forever. The love shared becomes a priority and one you’d lasso the moon for. You choose to love and overcome no matter the obstacles and the costs because your partner is worth the effort, time, and energy. Perhaps, your love with your partner evolves to something you want to grow and cultivate in the form a child, and hopefully a child that is biologically yours. Maybe? Sounds pretty, though right. Lol.
I have loved ones who planned their pregnancies, who left “life” do its thing, and others who were perhaps shockingly surprised with the news. No matter how they got there, they figured out what worked for them and rolled with the punches of parenthood and all its new responsibilities.
I’m the last of five kids. I have 3 nephews and a niece on the way from my immediate siblings. I also have some nieces from a half-brother, but I grew up knowing them to be my cousins cause we’re so close in age. *Shrug* That’s Caribbean households for ya! The point here is that I have had the pleasure of engaging in and with pregnant women all my life. The highs and the lows. The challenges and the successes. The lessons learned. The life-long healing from miscarriage, infant fatality, or even infertility struggles.
So I ask this question honestly and transparently again. How do you know when you are ready to have a kid?
Not to discredit anyone who did not plan for their kid(s), I ask IF you planned or are planning your parenthood journey what does that look like and how did you know you were ready? Obviously, I inquire because my partner and I do wish to become parents one day. We both turn 29 this year and are entering new phases in our relationship. However, (PSA) as a millennial and newlywed I must stress the importance of NOT assuming someone wants kids now or ever. Just ask, because it is rude to assume.
With that public service announcement complete, let’s explore deeper into my mind!
As a habitual and anxious planner, I work really hard to not plan every single detail and constantly leave room for God’s voice in the manner. And this is what I’ve been hearing/feeling in response to this question:
· How do you imagine your life and home with a child? Think about the environment, the access, the things you may want to provide.
· What about your current situation would make having a child difficult?
· Do you have the time you wish to dedicate to a child?
· Are you ready and willing to make that time?
· Are you healthy? How can you prepare your body?
· Are you both able? What’s the status of your reproduction systems?
· Are you both ready for parenthood?
· What can you learn today to prepare you for parenthood?
· When you think of the near future who is present?
It seems like more and more topics and decisions made involve the consideration of what will be our future child. When house hunting we only considered home layouts that had all the bedrooms on the same floor. The location of where we hope to buy a home was dependent upon the elementary school nearby that we like. Down to laying out our extra two bedrooms which will start off as a guest bedroom and an office. But eventually the guest bedroom will become a nursey and the office will double as a guest bedroom. As we joke about things like our new ritual of “Chop Cheese Tuesday” I can’t help but imagine a tiny voice cheering for “Chop Cheese Tuesday!” in their little New Yorker accent which Phillip will be responsible for. Not to mention Phillip has had the names of his children picked out incredibly early on in our relationship which was funny and sweet until now when the reality of using one of those names feels nearer and realer.
As I navigate this question for myself, I’d love to share the things I’m doing to learn more about me, my body, and my circumstances all in preparation for parenthood sometime in the near-ish future.
1. Birth Control & Protection. I’m on birth control because we want to plan our parenthood. I can’t plan if I leave room for “surprise”. I’m also a HUGE advocate for condoms made by women, with special consideration and safety for people with vaginas, and gynecologist approved. Thanks Lola 😉
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2. Exercising regularly. I keep up my fitness subscription with Vertical Joes. But also, have been working out for 30 mins with my sisters 3x a week via Zoom with free workout classes on YouTube. Thank you MrandMrsMuscle.
3. Eating Better than Good. I’m introducing new elements to my already healthy diet like Sea Moss and elderberries. And continuing to remove over processed foods and toxic preservatives from my grocery list. I’ve dealt with borderline cholesterol most of my life and high cholesterol and hypertension are common in my ancestry. So I actively work hard to keep those things in check. I buy my sea moss and elderberry items from this local Black female owned business called The Mossy Mob.
4. Taking a Modern Fertility Test. Modern Fertility is an accessible and affordable home fertility test. They test several hormones to determine what’s in your egg reserve, thyroid function, and help determine when you might enter menopause. Taking the test gives you access to a 1-on-1 session with a trained physician who will review your results. It also gives you access to their private slack community to discuss things like this! When do you want to have kids? They even have a free timeline tool to help you assess when you may want kids and the risks that come with the ages you are considering.
I’m also a HUGE advocate for choice and embracing options! Whether you want kids or not, whether you know or you don’t know. At the very least you deserve to know what your body and hormone levels are communicating to you. Gone are the days where we must be solely reactive or unsure what our reproductive future has to say. It is NOT as easy as TV makes it look to get pregnant and the risks only increase with age. Everyone’s journey is different. But with modern fertility they are giving people with wombs an opportunity to know where they stand in advance. It’s a proactive opportunity to just know. So why not? What you do with the information is up to you, but at the very least you’ll know something new about your body which may or may not influence whatever is next in your life. Use my referral link for $20 off your first hormone fertility test.
5. Going to visit my doctor. Meeting with my gynecologist (who is also an obstetrician) to discuss my options, my test results, and determine a proper plan for my parenthood journey based on me. I’m on birth control and I have PCOS (1 in 10 women have it), so I definitely have lots of questions on navigating those things and whatever else my hormone tests reveal. Having PCOS can actually make it more difficult to conceive or pinpointing your most fertile windows.
6. Talking to my Partner! Phil and I promised that when we were ready we’d say so to each other. We had ages in mind for parenthood, but the reality is our biology has a lot more to say. So the new plan is that after I get my modern fertility results we’ll discuss a new game plan for operation parenthood and start figuring out how we can get ready together, cause it takes two.
7. Upgraded my Flo Tracker App to premium. My bestie Shavel turned me on to the flo tracker app which has been my favorite free resource for anyone with menstrual cycles. Its actually the #1 Mobile Product for Women’s Health. But they have a new premium version with blogs and mini articles from doctors who support the app with content relevant to my interests. It was never a priority to go premium before, but now they have this whole “prepare your body for pregnancy” learning path I’m hoping will help further educate me. They have a lot of free articles available online check them out here.
8. Saving More & Living Below Our Means AKA a budget. 2020 blessed us with the opportunity to become consumer debt free. We won’t talk about student loan debt. Lol. We live on a strict budget and treat ourselves as our budget allows. We ditched credit cards and saving for bigger and better things, our future. I know better than to think there is some magic dollar amount that means “you are ready for a child” but I do know that cutting down our expenses and getting to a point where we have more disposable income after living expenses will allow us to financially take care of our kid in the best way we can.
9. Consolidating Work. I’ve been upskilling myself and consolidating my work to eliminate the number of side gigs I take on and focusing on work that is giving me experience I can later cash in on. By upskilling I have made myself more valuable which will allow me to have access to higher paying jobs. If I make more money, I won’t need the smaller side gigs anymore. I went from having 6 jobs and 2 volunteer gigs in 2019–2020 to just 3 jobs and 2 volunteer gigs in 2021. This took a lot of self-reflection, self-investment, and faith in myself. I had to claim and declare that I am worthy of the salary I dream of and the work environment I wish for. In the next year or two I intend to be in the work environment of my dreams.
I may not know when I’m ready to have a kid with my partner, but at the very least this list above comforts me in knowing that I’m walking in the right direction of readiness. When we are really ready to start trying to get pregnant, I know to take pre-natal vitamins early (which was news to me) and I’ll look more closely into doulas in my area. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more as I read and learn from Modern Fertility and Flo Tracker App and of course my doctor. I can’t wait to hear from your stories too! Please share in the comments.
What do you think about my list?
For my childless readers, have you wondered these thoughts and question for yourself?
For my parent readers, did you plan for your kid? If yes, how did you know you were ready? What did you do to prepare?