Looking back, I can identify a handful of life changing moments. Going away to college. Getting my own apartment. Meeting the man of my dreams, and getting married.
None of these major milestones, however, can compare to actually finding out that we’re having a baby.
My husband and I always planned to start a family as soon as we tied the knot. However, not even the best laid plans prepared me for the feelings I experienced once my home pregnancy test pronounced that a little bundle of joy was growing inside of me. Sometimes my excited feelings were overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety over the responsibility we’ve taken on.
Even so, I am glad that my husband and I took the time to prepare to be pregnant.
Things aren’t perfect, but I would have to say that my husband and I rate pretty well on the communications barometer. Whenever we’d take a look into our crystal ball, we didn’t necessarily know what sort of job we’d want to have in the future, or even which city we’d be living in, but we did share the desire to have a family.
We don’t necessarily agree on how many children we want, but the delta is a matter of one – something we’re both willing to handle depending upon the cards life deals us. Having an in-depth conversation about children is essential when choosing a lifelong partner. It really gets to the core of one’s long-term objectives. I just assumed everyone got this point cleared up with his or her partner before holy matrimony.
However, in preparation for our own nuptials, we learned from our priest (who is also a licensed family and marriage counselor) that there are a lot of couples out there that don’t really discuss the topic of children and parenthood in detail. Needless to say, this can be a breaking point for some couples.
Get a Dog
Since I entered my early twenties, I noticed that couples started to get dogs. Then I noticed that about a year later, these couples would announce they were pregnant. Coincidence? I don’t think so. My boyfriend (now husband) and I actually got our first dog shortly after we moved in together. From my own experience, and from those of many friends, I highly recommend getting a dog for those of you still trying to decide whether or not you want to share child-rearing responsibilities with this partner.
Indeed, sharing the responsibility of another living creature, even a dog, is a pretty good way to discover parenting styles. I discovered that my boyfriend was willing to take the dog on early morning walks, allowing me a few more minutes of shuteye. He was also very diligent about bringing the dog to obedience school and practicing the lessons.
I found that I was the disciplinarian, as well as the one to make sure the dog went to the vet as scheduled. So, you can see how the roles we assumed can translate into parenting personalities.
Knowing When to Say When
Once you and your partner decide it’s a “go” on this whole baby thing, you may want to figure out your best time for conception. OK, it’s not spontaneous, but the realities of business trips that separate you from your partner, and mothers-in-law coming in town to stay with you may cramp your baby-making abilities.
You can start taking your basal body temperature to determine when you’re ovulating. Or, you can buy a home ovulation kit from the drugstore (found right next to the home pregnancy tests). I know people who have tried both methods.
Both seem to work pretty well. Personally, I chose to use the ovulation kit since it seemed like less work than taking my temperature everyday as soon as I woke up.
Having a baby is the most life-altering decision I’ve made so far.
I’m glad that my husband and I took the time to prepare for pregnancy.