The decision had been made. I would become a mother, but I would only become a mother on my terms. I was an unplanned child and, while it created quite a change in my parents’ lives, they were willing to make changes and sacrifices I was not prepared to. So, my husband and I plotted out our lives and made plans for when the best time to have both of our children would be.
Perhaps it might seem a little naive. After all, babies come when babies come and birth control pills are not 100% effective. Still, I’m a planner. I can’t help but be anything else. I knew it was possible the birth control would fail, so I was relieved every time I got my period.
Taking Factors Into Consideration
I made the decision to have kids before I finished college, but I knew I wouldn’t be ready to become a mother until later on. I was not someone who ever wanted to have kids right after getting married, but I was determined to have both before I turned 32. Knowing I had a good ten years to give birth to two kids, I knew I would have plenty of time, and enough time to contemplate my eventual role in life.
Neither my husband nor I were ready to be parents after we got married. We were both focused on getting our careers on track first. He had his professional trajectory and I had mine. The one thing both, and our eventual parenthood, hinged on was where I would go for graduate school.
It was never a question of whether I would go or not. It was only a question of which school would accept me and what their program entailed. I had my fingers crossed for one in particular, the one I had aimed for throughout college. I got lucky. I got in. I was extremely familiar with their program by then. I knew exactly when the best time to have a baby would be.
There was also my husband’s professional trajectory to take into account. He was starting out in his field and wanted to have a good foothold. Not only did the timing have to be right for me, but it had to be right for him. We needed to wait just the right amount of time, and we needed to be in a single state. At the time I started graduate school, we were living in one state and traveling in opposite directions across state lines. I was afraid the stress would negatively impact my pregnancy, so stressed the need to move closer to my program. My husband needed enough time in his career to get to the point where such a move would be possible.
The Countdown Begins
As soon as I started my program, the clock counting down to parenthood began.
My husband and I spoke extensively about it. The ideal time would be the summer between my third and fourth years. It would be right after I took my qualifying exams and right before the first internship year. I was also told it was a common time for students to have babies. Perfect! Not only was there a program history of it happening, but they had several options for how I could finish my last two years.
But the window was also scarily narrow. I was planning on taking a year off, but internships normally started at the beginning of July, with a few starting in September. There was no guarantee I would get one that started in September, so I had to plan for a July start. I wanted to be able to take about a year off, so I really wanted an early July baby. June would have worked, too, but my exams were at the beginning of June, so that wouldn’t have been ideal.
We had to hope and pray. We had a two month window. We developed a back-up plan, but the first was the most ideal.
We reviewed our plan every year, made sure we were on the same page. We planned for when I would stop taking birth control, when I would start prenatal vitamins, and when we would start trying. The year I started my third year was almost completely planned out.
After all, the timing had to be perfect.