You will have a baby at the wrong time because there is no such thing as a right time. Could there ever be a right time to set off an explosion in the midst of your (relatively) ordered life?
Instead of waiting for life to magically pause, your goal should be to select the “good enough” or “least wrong” time. That is, if you even want kids, which not everybody does.
Take a look at the really, really wrong times you should try to avoid: If you and your partner are considering breaking up; when you just lost a job; when one of you is ill, receiving treatment, or on medications or treatments unsafe for pregnancy. Also: When you’re starting a graduate or professional program; in the middle of a make-or-break project at work; or moving to a state with no mandated fertility coverage.
Then consider seven major factors that will affect your ability to have and raise a child:
- Fertility: How easily you think you or your partner might get pregnant now or later. Keep in mind that pregnancy is usually easier in your twenties and thirties than in your forties.
- Career: How will your career be disrupted if you got pregnant soon? Are there actions you can take to make it easier in the future to work from home, part-time or on contract? Are you up for tenure/promotion/junior partner or about to start a grueling training program?
- Financial: Have you saved enough money to have a baby? Do you need to move?
- Emotional maturity: Have you worked through emotional problems such as anxiety, or healed from a difficult childhood so you’re ready to parent?
- Psychological readiness: Are you excited about making parenthood the next stage of your life and relationship?
- Relationship: Is your partner a good choice for shared parenting? Have you been together long enough and happily enough, to add a child?
- Couple agreement: Do you both want a child? Do you agree on the right time to start trying? Keep in mind that many couples start trying months or years later than the baby-craver wanted, and months or years earlier than the baby-resister wanted. You are not alone in this!
Use this chart, or draw up one like it. Put an X in the time column that best describes your readiness in light of the seven factors on the left hand side. Have your partner do the same. The column with the most checks wins, although you may want to give more weight to some factors than others.
This might be give you some idea of the optimum time for you. But remember, no moment is perfect. Children have a wonderful of way of messing with our carefully-laid plans, so you might as well get used to it.
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