How To Know When You’re Ready for Baby
Have you ever noticed that some of the juiciest conversations seem to pop up instantly? This mother and her twenty-something daughter frequently find themselves working in front of the computer when an instant message appears on their screen. Here’s one recent back-and-forth that grew out of an IM conversation between mother and daughter.
Alexis: So it’s official, I’m off birth control! Crazy, huh?
Sharon: Wow, you really did it. So exciting. How are you feeling?
Alexis: I’m freaked. I’m happy, of course, to get off the hormones after all this time, but not sure I’m really ready for this whole baby-making business. James just emailed me our health insurance benefits with all of the maternity coverage highlighted. Aah!
Sharon: Well, I had no idea how long it was going to take for me to get pregnant, so your dad and I just jumped in. We didn’t realize it was going to happen so fast. Remember, I told you, after only 6 weeks you were on the way—so watch out!
Alexis: I really hope it comes that easy for us. I thought all my oogling over pregnant women and babies meant I was ready. But when I think about it seriously, I’m not so sure.
Sharon: Well that oogling is a sign. Now you are noticing how sweet moms and babies look together rather than just seeing their strollers blocking your path to the checkout counter. I can picture it now—you and your cute baby strolling down Chestnut Street, laptop in one hand, pacifier in the other.
Alexis: Haha. Who’s pushing the stroller?
Sharon: Me, of course!
Alexis: Lol. I’m actually feeling really good about writing my book and being pregnant at the same time.
Sharon: Being pregnant while writing a book—when you don’t have to be anywhere—definitely sounds good. Of course, your baby may be born just when the book needs final editing and major promotion, but it’ll be fine.
Alexis: Honestly if I were a few years younger I may be perfectly happy to wait a while longer in this self-indulgent space…but now that I’m 29 I don’t really feel like I have a choice.
Sharon: Lots of my friends waited 5-10 years longer than I did, got their careers going, had lots of freedom, and THEN started their families.
Alexis: Yeah, I feel like I’m going to end up being the first of my girlfriends, too. It’s exciting and I can’t wait, and then suddenly I’m completely anxious.
Sharon: No one ever feels completely ready. I can’t believe I was only 24. I didn’t have a clue what was ahead. But by 29, I managed to have all three of you and grow my practice anyway.
Alexis: I always imagined I’d be a young mom, too, but the clock is ticking on that one. I knew I probably wouldn’t start as young as you. But it’s a little intimidating you had all that by my age. Maybe it’s helpful—having biology make the decision about when to do this for me. Looking ahead to age 35, with all the added fertility risks, is so scary.
Sharon: If you don’t want a lot of science interfering with your pregnancy, then I would go for it now!
Alexis: I always thought that there would be some magic moment when it would be crystal clear that it’s time.
Sharon: Motherhood is about as magical as it gets.
Alexis Sclamberg is San Francisco-based lawyer-turned-writer, who is at work on her first book. Sharon Ufberg is an integrative health practitioner and NPR radio host. They write an advice column in the Bay Area J Weekly.