I’ll be 33 by the time my first child (yes, that’s him to the left) is born at the end of this summer. By many folks’ standards, that’s ancient. Especially considering that my husband and I have been married for six years.
The thing is, I love kids. I have always loved kids. I’ve been volunteering in children’s ministry ever since I was 18. I have always dreamed of having lots of kiddos and all the fun we’d have together. In many ways, I’ve felt mentally ready to be a mom for years.
When Devon and I got married in 2010, we realized we would not be able to have kids right away. Here are the reasons we waited to have kids:
The truth is, we were a bit of a wreck when we got married. Even though we’d known each other since we were teens, our entire dating and engagement was spent long distance. There’s very little real life problem solving that occurs prior to marriage when you have a couple that’s madly in love that lives eight hours apart until a week before they get married.
So, let’s just say, things were a little rocky when we first started out. We’re two people with strong, stubborn personalities. Heads butted. Tempers soared. And I’m so glad there weren’t little kids in our lives at the time. Both of us needed a few years to learn how to be a good husband and wife before we could even dream of becoming good parents.
Now, I realize this isn’t true for every couple. Some couples have a very solid foundation to their marriage before getting married. They’ve known each other for years and have worked through tough situations before tying the knot. Even for couples that don’t feel “ready for kids” when the kids come, they make it work. But for us, I’m so glad we waited.
When we were engaged, my husband and I decided that he would return to school for five years to earn a nursing degree and a Nurse Practitioner degree. This was a big decision to start off a marriage – one that meant we would rely on my income for five years.
Naturally, the question of when to have kids came up when we discussed our five-year plan. Sure, we could have kids and technically get by on my income, but it would require even greater sacrifices than the ones we were already making. Not to mention that we were going deeper “in the hole” every day due to the fact that we had to take out student loans for my husband’s education.
We realized that if we waited to have kids until after my husband finished school, we’d be living on two incomes and we’d be at a point where we were paying off those student loans. In essence, our kids would be born into a more stable financial environment. We decided we could afford to wait a few years to not only build a stronger financial foundation in our family, but also to help our kids have even more opportunities.
Finally, after five years of my husband being in school, he graduated last May! It was truly one of the biggest successes of our marriage. We had waited so long to have kids and were mentally ready to have our first child within months of him starting his career.
But that didn’t happen. We started trying in January 2015 and had to wait nearly a year before I got pregnant. The year of waiting was one of the most frustrating of my life. I had already waited five years for kids! I expected God would drop a baby in my womb the minute He got the memo that Devon was out of school and that we were ready to have a kid. But that didn’t happen.
I’ve learned that our timing is not the same as God’s timing. We may think we’re ready for something, but God may still have something to teach us in the waiting. In my case, it was a matter of learning to trust Him more. There came a point after about nine months of trying that I truly started to doubt if I would ever become pregnant. My doctor mentioned that I might be infertile, and it tore me apart. Why, after all this time of faithfully waiting for my husband to get through school and for us to be at a good point in our marriage, would the Lord allow me to be infertile?
It was around that time that I discovered an amazing community of women that brought me much encouragement. A gal I grew up with, Lauren Bourne, has started a Periscope channel and blog for women struggling with infertility and miscarriage called I Am Fruitful. With God’s help, she helped me realize that birthing a child was a desire of my heart that God had put there. And therefore, it would come to pass as I delighted in the Lord (Psalm 37:4).
I know there are countless families out there who have tried years to have kids and have not been able to conceive. I don’t pretend to understand your heartache or frustration. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do know that sometimes, a child who desperately needs to be adopted is the answer to that heartache. Other times, it’s a matter of praying and trusting that God is going to help you conceive at just the right time.
Whatever your situation may be, I’ve found that often times, the solution is learning to trust God. Do you trust Him, even if you don’t become pregnant? Do you trust Him, even if you don’t have children for 10 more years?
If you’re waiting to have kids at this point in your journey, stay encouraged. Whether you’re trying to develop a stronger marriage before having kids, become more stable financially, or just waiting to get pregnant, God is not having you wait to torture you. He is a loving Father and knows what’s best for you. Trust His timing and know that He will fulfill your heart’s desires in His way.