There was never a right time. Too poor. Too crazy. Too irresponsible. Too frantic. I couldn't beat my snooze habit, how could i raise a child?
I wasn't even sure I wanted one. I liked my life. Sure, it was hard, but wasn't that even more reason not to have a kid?
When I was dating a man back in 2008 – more than dating; he was my boyfriend and we were in love – he told me he didn't want to have children, and I decided then that I didn't either. It was a relief of sorts. Something less to think about. We could spend our days smoking bowls and drinking wine and not preparing for any life-altering offspring.
I was never one of those women who always wanted to have children. I never felt as though I would be incomplete without them, never felt as though it was my life calling. I remember a former roommate saying to me once that she wouldn’t feel fully human unless she had children; she wanted them that much.
When I told people this, they would respond in a variety of ways. “Just wait,” was one. “Oh, you’ll be missing out on so much" was another. But the one that resonated with me the most was, “Well, if you feel that way, maybe it’s best if you don’t have them. You can’t undo having a child.”
And so I waited. And occasionally I would entertain the idea. But there never was a right time. Too selfish. Too broken. Too afraid.
For me, having children was always about being part of a pairing. Some women want children and don’t want to raise them with someone else, and that is a choice I respect and admire. But what I did always know was that if I was going to have a child, ideally I would be one of that kid’s two parents. Obviously, things change and people leave, but I at least wanted to start the journey of being someone’s mommy with a daddy by my side.
The stars lined up just right in the summer of 2013, and I met the perfect person for me. Everyone who knows Dominique knows that he’s an A+ human being. And how I snagged such a great guy I’ll never know, but what I’m sure of is that I am supremely lucky.
On July 4, 2013, as he drove me alongside the Pacific Ocean on our way to dinner overlooking the sea, he said words that stirred something in me: “I definitely want to have children.”
Did I? No, really, did I? I’d only known him a few weeks, but I thought, “If I do, I want them with him.”
Years went by. Dominique and I grew closer, moved in together, made plans to marry. And soon I felt this itch, but it was more of a tickle than an annoyance: “Have a baby,” my body whispered. I ignored the voice.
At a routine gynecological visit I made mention of this tickle to my doctor. She looked at me with serious eyes and said words that changed the course of our lives: “If you want to have a baby, you should do it now. With every year you wait, the risk of something being wrong with your baby or your pregnancy or your delivery goes up markedly.” She wasn’t hinting around. She was dead serious. And her words rung in my ears for several months.
Still. Too scared. Too living paycheck-to-paycheck. Too unsure. Never the right time.
Then one day it was decided. Christmastime, 2015. “We’ll start January 1st.”
It could take six months, they told me. At your age, it could take a year, they said. And if it takes that long, you’ll have to see a fertility specialist and if you want to do IVF you’ll be 40 by the time you get pregnant, they warned.
It was time to start trying, because if I’ve ever heard anything from people with kids it’s that the time is never right.
I learned I was pregnant January 19th. I just knew. I sat at work one afternoon, and I could feel it.
I texted Dominique: “I think I’m pregnant.” He was dubious, to say the least. But that day on my way home, before even a single day of a missed period, I stopped at the dollar store near my house and bought three pregnancy tests for $1.25 each.
Once at home I rushed straight to the restroom and watched as the second pink line, faint but unmistakable, appeared on the stick. I knew, and I was right.
I went to our bedroom to see Dominique putting on his shoes. I told him to stay seated, because he may need to be sitting down. We were going to have a baby, and in an instant any doubt about the right time vanished.
It was the perfect time.