How do you know when it’s the right time to have a baby? There’s a lot of practical advice out there, but the only way I can answer it is to tell you our story.
My husband Aaron and I met at UCLA and married young. I was 23 and he was 22. I had just spent a year in Japan after graduating with my degree in Sociology, and Aaron had an internship in Biotech. We had no idea where we were headed in our lives, but we knew who we were going with.
I quickly realized a desk job wouldn’t be a good fit, so I worked at our local coffee shop until I could decide what to do with my life. One year in to making lattes and schedules and ordering cups, and I was miserable. Aaron insisted I find a career that would make me happy.
I decided to launch a photography business and figure it out as I went along. The photography was easy and running a business was a bit more challenging. But I loved it.
We always said we would start a family after 5 years of marriage. But at the 5 year mark, I still felt like I had so much left to do. My business was my baby and travel was my ultimate passion. I didn’t want to stop pouring into my business, and couldn’t let go of the freedom we had to travel whenever we wanted.
I felt like if I just went on a few more trips, I would be ready to start trying. Our 5 year anniversary was in March of 2013. We went to Paris in June, I made plans to go to a Jose Villa Workshop (one of my dreams!) for that November, and booked my first destination wedding in Bali for June 2014.
I got pregnant in July of 2013, which was a lot sooner than I expected. I was 5 months pregnant and cranky at Jose’s Workshop in Mexico (less than ideal), and we carted our 12 week old infant with us to Bali (for the record, totally insane.) In retrospect, I tried to cram a lot in before it was “too late,” maybe at the cost of my own mental health.
Looking back, I don’t think checking anything off my to-do list would have ever been enough. Especially when it comes to business goals — there’s always a bigger one just beyond your grasp.
Although I didn’t personally feel ready, I knew that Aaron and I as a team were ready. While we weren’t especially good at dividing up our household chores or doing meal planning, we were emotionally ready. We put in a lot of mileage together, learning to communicate when we were frustrated with each other, and resolving a lot of conflict with one another. Parenting is hard on marriage, so I’m thankful that we spent the time learning to grow together.
Now that we have a child, I can’t imagine our world without her. While I cherish the time we had together without her, I now can’t wait to travel with her, and grow together as a family.
This post is in collaboration with some rad real moms! To hear their take on Growing Your Family – The When + Why – check out :