I hate that I feel like I need a big fat disclaimer that this is NOT an indictment of moms and dads who have babies at younger ages, and it is NOT a judgement if you decide to make a different choice. When I was 24 and 25, I wanted a baby NOWNOWNOW. Had I become a mom at that age, I would have been a good one.
But for a host of reasons, my husband and I decided to wait. While there is absolutely no perfect time to have a baby, I do think that getting pregnant and having my first at 32 was the perfect time for me. Here’s why.
- Travel: we were able to hit just about every item on our list, from cruises to multiple trips to Europe.
- Job changes galore: including an entire career shift for my husband.
- Money: we saved it. A lot of it.
- Patience: we learned to embrace it and definitely learned that while the little things are sometimes the big things, sometimes they really are the small things.
- Personal goals reached: I completed three half marathons and multiple triathlons, spoke at conferences, built my blogs.
- Support of other friends and family with kids: we gots it with BTDT — been there done that — friends who can help us keep our own kid alive.
- Confidence in my parenting choices (that I might not have had at a younger age).
- Total ownership of who I am, what I look like and what my body can do.
- Did I say money?
My husband and I will be 51 (can that be right???) when Audrey graduates from high school (and obviously we’ll be older than that for any future kids). We’ll likely be among parents who are in their 40s or perhaps even their 30s. They’ll think we’re dinosaurs. Heck, my own kid may think I’m decrepit.
But I know in my soul that the person I am today is, if not better, a more giving, selfless and appreciative woman than the person of a decade ago. I have nearly 7 years of marriage as my foundation, to a man who loved me for ME but now loves me for us, all of us. I don’t have even a single thought of what I could have, should have done before her, because I did it all. I have the confidence that my instincts — while not always easy to listen to — are all I really need because they’ve kept me alive for 32+ years.
And perhaps the most important thing I have is an identity outside of being Audrey’s mom. It’s the most important and fulfilling job I’ll ever take, but it’s not the only thing I am or do. She comes first by a wide margin, but she’s not the only priority I have. I will never be anything better than her mom, but I will always be other things in addition to being her mom.
I’ve said a few times to friends that had I been able to look into a crystal ball and know that I could have had a healthy pregnancy and delivery at 38, 39 or 40 and beyond, I might have waited even longer. Now, I don’t think that’s true. I think I was meant to spend 32 years finding myself, so I could truly appreciate what a blessing and a gift my Audrey is.