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Deciding to Start a Family

by Amanda on October 17, 2007
category: Pregnancy

A reader asks The Mom Crowd:

“Mark and I are talking seriously about trying for our first baby and the thought of it is so overwhelming. I would love to know what other moms have been through, great resources to check out, etc. Another thing we are dealing with is different opinions on some parenting questions. I know every marriage is different, but it would be great to hear how other couples deal with differing opinions.”

My husband and I did not agree on the timing of our first child. He wanted to wait longer and I was thinking, “I’m not getting any younger.” Timing was the one thing we did not agree on. I remember praying that we would get on the same page and I just waited. About year and a half after we got married, we were at a fancy birthday/Valentines Day dinner we were talking about when to have kids. We miraculously agreed on a year and a half from that date.

Fast forward a year and a half and we still weren’t sure if we were ready. We had some concerns about not being out of debt by the time the baby came so I could quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom. There was also the larger question of “are we ready for this?” Circumstances arose that helped calm our fears. While talking with his friend who had just become a father my husband realized, “He did it and he’s still alive.” Also, our best friends were about to try to start a family. So we took the leap and started trying. Honestly, that part was super fun. Two months later we were pregnant. I was vomiting all the time and the fun stopped, but we were excited about being parents. We weren’t going to be completely out of debt by the time the baby came, but we trusted God that He would work everything out and He has!

starting-a-family.jpg We didn’t know how to address parenting questions until we were actually parents. We talked about parenting in our pre-marriage counseling, but had no clue about the feelings and emotions involved in these types of decisions. Each day together we are still learning how to parent Ace. The pre-marriage curriculum that we went through was called Marriage Savers. The couple that counseled us is still around and has three amazing grown children. We know that we can call them anytime we have questions about parenting. We often ask other parents what worked for them.

The decision for me to stay home came naturally for us, but I know it does not for other couples. Each couple has different opinions about staying home or working based on what their parents did. One spouse’s mom may have worked and took care of the kids, so they set that expectation on their spouse. I believe some moms are meant to work and it does not take away from their role as a mother. Ultimately, it is about trusting what God wants for your family. If God called me to go back to work I would be there and I would trust that He would work everything out. We were able to have an open dialogue about the decision and eventually came to a mutual agreement.

We did have some financial concerns, but we got lots of advice to not let finances control our decision about when to start a family. I am glad I listened to that advice. I wouldn’t trade our decision to start a family for anything.

How would you answer the reader’s questions? How did you decide to start your family? Did you and your spouse disagree on any parenting issues and how did you resolve them? Do you have any resource recommendations?

Additional Resources:

Marriage Builders on How to Resolve Conflicts
Stay at Home Calculator on Parents.com
Articles relating to staying home on Babycenter.com
Chapter 6 of Financial Peace Revisted by Dave Ramsey. This chapter talks about the finances of a second income.

4 Responses to Deciding to Start a Family

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Breanna
    October 17, 2007 @ 10:39 am

    Our first was a surprise (two months after we got married), so we never really got the chance to have this discussion. When we found out I was pregnant, while my husband was really excited, I was overwhelmed because we weren’t ready… in a lot of ways. We were newlyweds. We had a fair bit of debt and not a lot of extra $. And we both knew that we wanted me to be home with the kids. Well, fast forward three years and two kids later, and here’s what I’ve learned: you’re never “ready”. You can never be fully prepared for kids! There’s never enough money or time or knowledge, and yet, it somehow works out. And it’s AMAZING! Kids are an enormous blessing, and what’s even cooler is how God gives you what you’re missing. Seeing how he provides financially when you’ve cut your income in half. Seeing how he gives wisdom when you and your husband disagree on a parenting issue. It’s not always easy, but its an awesome ride! :)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Kristi
    October 17, 2007 @ 12:36 pm

    Raising children is one of the best gifts God has blessed me with. I love being a mom!
    My husband and I recently decided to start trying for our third child. I have a joke that my husband was secretly praying over my womb because I thought we were done and God changed my heart about that. I realize now that timing is everything and when it’s God’s time He’ll guide you and help you figure it out…or He’ll just surprise you. :)
    We were very young (19) with our first and we were 22 with our 2nd. We were basically kids when our son was born. God’s grace covered us and He put special people in our lives who gave great advice, love, and support. Support is one of the key things that will help both you and your husband through your parenting journey. We used things we learned from our pre-marriage counseling to assist us in our parenting decisions. Even now almost 7 years later we are still applying those basics we learned.

    A source you might be interested in is fertilityfriend.com when you are ready to start trying for your 1st child. Sometimes the trying part can be challenging and this site helps you get in touch with your body.
    Another great resource is Dr. Phil’s “Family First” book. It is filled with solid advice on all things pertaining to family and parenting.

  • Comment by McKenna
    October 17, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

    We weren’t exactly “ready” when I became pregnant with Darah. DJ and I weren’t done with college, but it put a rush on DJ finishing and he finished a week before Darah was born (but still didn’t have a job…that came three months later!) We had been married nine months and were getting a little lazy with our method of birth control and became pregnant FAST! Even though the circumstances weren’t ideal for family expansion, it was obviously all part of a plan for our family and I’m glad it took us by surprise! Becoming a Mommy has been the best thing that could have ever happened to me and I’m so glad we had Darah when we did. We were trying when we became pregnant with Connor and having two kids has made our family even more complete! Seeing my kids interact with each other is the highlight of every single day!

    I do think some things need to be “ready” before you start trying. You need to have a solid relationship with your spouse and God! So my advice is to strengthen your relationships with your hubby and God and GREAT parenting will naturally follow!!

  • Comment by Amanda
    October 18, 2007 @ 9:58 am

    Mckenna, I completely agree about strengthening your relationship with your husband and God. It seems that we are always doing some marriage study. These studis help us communicate a lot. We do a lot of “What I am hearing you say…” It helps that we can talk through each situation and try to understand each other’s frame of reference.

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