When Is The Right Time, Part Deux

A few days ago, shortly after I made our announcement, I got an email from someone who said that I was “crazy” for having another baby now, with a husband who’s in business school in another state. And while I’m not sure the comment was especially well-intentioned…I still thought that it was interesting, because it brings up a question that everyone wonders about – worries about – when it comes to when to begin (or expand) their own family.

When is the right time?

And if you say “now”…is that crazy? Because I have to tell you: regardless of the specifics of your circumstances, the decision to have a baby always feels a little crazy. Or at least it does to me, and did the first time around, as well. Totally crazy.

Now? Crazy. Later? Still crazy.

Always crazy.

You know, we weren’t even sure we wanted to have more than one baby. It was a topic we thought about and struggled with a lot. We worried about what it would mean for our lifestyle, what it would mean for our son, what it would mean for us. We knew that it would make our lives more exciting and wonderful and wide-open in some ways, and more challenging and stressful and overwhelming in others. We knew that if our son ended up being an only child – whether because of choice or by chance or by biology – we would feel grateful beyond words to have him, and that if we welcomed another child into our life that our hearts would open up into spaces we didn’t know existed, and that we’d love him or her just as much, impossible as that seems when it feels at the moment like I couldn’t possibly love another human being the way I love my son. I can. I’m excited to see that for myself.

When I wrote this post, I was so taken by the reaction to it – so touched by the women who really did need to hear that no time will feel like the exact right time. And I suppose hearing someone call my choice “crazy” reminded me of that feeling, that “oh my god this is nuts” anxiety that came along with the first pregnancy, and that even now – despite the fact that we are very secure in our choice – comes along with this one.

Because it’s true: Kendrick’s in school, and that means that (for the time being, at least) a lot is up to me. And that unquestionably makes things complicated. Challenging.

So why did we choose to do it now?

On the logical side, we talked and talked and talked and decided that we thought Kendrick’s schedule would be more flexible in his second year of school than it would be in his first year at a new job, and we knew that we didn’t want to wait two or three more years; we wanted our children to be at least somewhat close together in age. We have health insurance. We have a home that’s warm and comfortable. We think our son is ready (well…as ready as he’ll ever be).

But that’s not the real answer.

The real answer for why we chose to do it now is that if there is one thing that parenthood has taught us, it’s that we can.

It’s hard, but we can do it. And right now, right this very minute, is as right as any time will ever be. When something is as hard as raising a child is, there is no perfect time. I suppose it would be nice if you could build the perfect nest and have it all ready and waiting for your baby’s arrival, if you could deposit them in the exact spot where you’ve planned and watch your life together unroll exactly like you want it to. But while plans are important and preparation is essential, there are countless things that come along with a brand-new life that are completely and totally beyond even a shred of your control.

You welcome a child into the adventure that is your family’s growing world, and there’s something to be said for leaving some things open for discovery. For jumping in even when might be a check mark or two left to be checked.

Because the fact is that no matter how many books you read and cribs you buy and walls you paint, whether mom and dad are home 24/7 or whether both are commuting to faraway jobs, whether there’s two of you or one of you or a whole army of nannies and friends and helpers and caretakers, nothing will ever make you completely prepared for an event that changes your life that much. And so sometimes you just have to put in place the things that you can control…and then have a little faith that those things that you can’t will turn out okay. Trust your family, and trust yourself.


Our life is going to change so, so much. In ways we can (sort of) anticipate…and in so many more ways we can’t even imagine.

It’s totally crazy. Of course it is. And I can’t wait.

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