If you are like me, you are at the point in your marriage where the idea of having children weighs more heavily on your mind. Whatever the reason for it, getting to this point has been an interesting journey, at least it has been for me! When we first got married the idea of starting a family was a simple goal for us: “Not for five years.” However as months and months have passed since then, I can tell you now that it’s actually not that simple, haha. This has been MY family planning journey…
(P.S. I refer to my medical struggles a few times and it’s not to push sympathy, but instead to explain how that has heavily influenced our family planning, just as it has influenced many others as well.)
- I wanted to experience married life for at least a few years, just with Trevor. Not that having a baby immediately is a bad thing, or that it automatically dampens your marriage! I just think that a couple needs to have stability in their relationship in order to be prepared to handle a responsibility like that, and I believe stability comes from working out those differences that will come up, and to have fun. I wanted time to do all this, because it takes time! I cared more about doing things I want to do and Trevor doing things he wants to do. I didn’t want to give those opportunities up yet. People could say that’s selfish but I think we are entitled to that considering parenthood is a lifetime commitment! And no one said you have to procreate immediately! It’s still a choice and that was our choice. Spending time to cultivate our marriage further is something I see as an investment into our family.
- Becoming sexually active brought with it that concern of potentially getting pregnant. I will admit I wasn’t mature about this idea at all! That was something I really did not want in my life at the time, and it wasn’t what Trevor and I had planned. So when there were times I thought I might be pregnant, they truly could be categorized as pregnancy scares. I joked too much about it, and probably offended others. It sounds bad now that I look back at my attitude because bringing life into the world is truly a miracle. However, I just wasn’t in a state of mind to fathom bearing a child and being a mom at that time. Every woman is entitled to anxieties about being pregnant and being a mom.
- I don’t like getting my blood drawn. I freak out, and sometimes pass out. I am a tough soul but I don’t like bodily pain, and medical talk mostly makes me nauseous. With that all being said, can you imagine what I would think about child birth?? :) hahaha. Up until a few months ago, I was not at a point in my life where I accepted this idea and realization quite yet, no matter how many women for how many years have been doing it and surviving, haha.
- Child birth has always been one of my fears but there was a point where the fear shifted a bit. It’s not fun being told you might have a hard time having children. There is a lot of unknown and it’s annoying. Fear is really good at pressuring, and we have felt that. So feeling fearful turned into feeling…
- We had a plan of five years to wait to have kids. But life wants to change our plans sometimes, right? When I had PCOS I felt confident that I could get things under control and I did, to the point where that was no longer a diagnosis. Then last year it shifted to most likely endometriosis. I’ve had those painful symptoms under control for the past few months, thankfully, but the likelihood of infertility or complicated pregnancy is between 20-45%. All of this has a way of making you feel guilty about waiting to have children because you don’t know what will happen in your own case. That’s something that eats at us — We don’t want to find out that it would have been better to start having children sooner than we did, and end up with regrets. So naturally, this has definitely been a driving motivation for us to move our timeline up.
- Trevor and I are at the point in our life together where we could totally have a child. We feel fairly settled into our careers, a home, and I can be at home with a baby. The past year I have also gained much more knowledge of pregnancy, babies, children, and all that through school, family, and friends. Seeing our close friends have babies this year has helped me warm up to the idea more and more, and has brought me closer to the idea of starting to have children, but it has also been very overwhelming still.
- Like I said, I have made progress medically, and we feel hopeful, but it’s still a little uneasy being surrounded by babies, baby talk, and pregnancy talk so often. I was also in a human sexuality course this last fall semester, and at least 2/3 of the lectures centered around all these topics! Towards the end we even had an infertility Q&A panel for The Gardners, The Utah couple who gave birth to quads recently, telling us about their long struggle. They were so awesome and strong in sharing their story, and it was helpful to prepare me I guess. But it was not what I needed right then, haha. Thinking about it so much brings excitement but also worries that you’d rather not think about every day. I’m sure most newlywed couples feel that way, especially when surrounded by many friends who already have kids. And of course it’s not the friends’ faults at all, it just is what it is!
- There was a point the past few months where it all became so overwhelming to me that I had to tell myself to focus on the NOW. There was so much going on that takes more focus from thinking about the future. My “now” has been finishing school, enjoying the holidays with family, focusing on getting some of these medical things figured out, and catching up on things I have neglected from being in school. During that break it was really nice to think less about babies, because though I fully believe that being a mother is a calling in life, I don’t think it should consume every minute of my life. Taking this mental break also helped me focus on what I actually want and what is best for us, creating more positivity around the topic.
- All of this has brought us to where we are now: filled with more desire. When we think about the decision now, we have achieved a lot of what we wanted to achieve, and we’ve had some good time together on our own. Starting a family is something we are considering right now, but it’s something we will decide on between us and God. I’m just grateful to be at a mindset that if we were to have a baby right now, I wouldn’t be upset. It began with: “Nope, terrified of getting pregnant right now.” Then the past year it shifted to less hesitancy, more peace, and more desire, which I’m grateful for.
What all of this has taught me
It’s all about timing
What I’ve come to learn through all of these family planning experiences, is that it’s all about timing. Time is delicate. It can be early, late, or right on your schedule. It could be against you and your original plans, or it could be on your side–completely working into your plans. A timeline is also different for everybody. Some people feel perfectly capable of handling a baby early on in marriage, and some aren’t even thinking about it for ten years! With my current status, I feel that time and experience has helped me grow closer to that big decision, and I now see it more positively. Really a baby is such a gift that it would be positive no matter when it happened. But like I said, I needed time to help me accept that.
I believe that God has a hand in the timing, too. If God wants us to have children at a certain time, I want to listen to that and follow-through with it whether it is in accordance to my timeline or not. We believe that having children is a part of God’s plan, and we want to follow that. But I am also grateful that it’s something we have a say in. There’s a great LDS General Conference talk that has been very relatable for me and probably for many of you. This quote in particular provides me with some relief through it all:
“We express deep gratitude for the enormous faith shown by husbands and wives (especially our wives) in their willingness to have children. When to have a child and how many children to have are private decisions to be made between a husband and wife and the Lord. These are sacred decisions—decisions that should be made with sincere prayer and acted on with great faith … We should not judge one another in this matter.”
– Elder Neil L. Andersen
I’m not sure what will happen next, but I do know that I have put a lot of faith and trust in God about it. I have faith that he will help me overcome the physical fears I have no matter how real they are or how silly they are. I have faith that maybe I’m actually a fertile-myrtle, haha, but if not we are willing to accept the alternatives. I also have faith that God will help me overcome the anxieties we may have about parenthood. Putting faith in God’s plan for us has actually helped me have more faith in myself, which I’m grateful for.
It’s not simple or easy
Though women have been having babies forever, it truly is a complex process. There is decision or circumstance that goes into it, and that brings a flood of various emotions to experience. Maybe for some people it’s an easy decision with no hesitation, and they instantly conceive! I think for most people though, it’s not simple like that, and it’s especially not as simple as joking nudges and, “Hey when are you guys going to give us some kiddos?!” It’s a different journey for every couple, and this has been our journey with it so far.
It’s not easy to share all this but I know family planning can be stressful for some people, so I thought it might be helpful sharing my experience. If you have had different or similar experiences with your family planning feel free to comment below! This is a resource for other couples and if you can offer encouragement, inspiration, comfort, and understanding in this area, I know it can be helpful for many people, including me.