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Cassandra Scrimgeour Headshot

When Is the "Right Time" for a Baby?

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It's funny how things you never considered before just start to feel right. When I finished school and was starting out in the working world still living with my parents, I didn't worry much about when I should move out or where I would live. Some things just happen by natural progression. I met my boyfriend (now my husband), and after a few years together he raised the idea of us finding a house. So we did -- the same house I now sit in while typing.

Once we moved in together, people started asking the questions all people seem to: marriage, kids -- when is that happening? I used to look at them like they were crazy and felt their expectations were a bit rushed. I figured, we'd get married if and when we were ready. On the second anniversary of living together, I received a proposal -- one I certainly wasn't expecting -- but I couldn't imagine any other answer but yes. Throughout our engagement and even at the wedding, everyone from family to not-so-close friends made comments and posed questions about kids.

Kids fall under the category of something you do "when the time is right." But how do you know when that time is? A few years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of being married and a homeowner, and now I'm both and happy to be. Almost a year into our marriage, we've had frequent conversations about kids. Do we want them? (Yes we do.) Are we ready now? (Not quite.)

I tend to think financial responsibility is a major deciding factor between me and potential offspring. My current employment situation is temporary and my job future is uncertain at best. I've made attempts to change this, but in an economy where everyone and everything seems to be getting cut back, it's easier said than done. To me, it's not responsible to plan a family if you don't know where your paycheques will be coming from (if at all) in a few short months, not to mention the need for maternity leave.

But financial reasons aside, how do you know when you're ready? How long do you enjoy being married and newlyweds before you take the plunge into dedicating pretty much the next 18 years of your life to someone else? I still love to buy clothes, go to concerts and there are so many places I want to travel (Italy, Ireland, the Universal Harry Potter Experience) without taking a baby on an airplane with me. But then again...

A few months ago we went to visit friends of ours, a married couple for a few years now who just had a baby daughter. She's about eight-months-old, tiny and sweet and I fell in love with her. Even though she wasn't feeling well and was fussy and cranky, she was so beautiful. When she settled a little and I was able to hold her, we bounced around and she looked up at me with these big blue eyes before fluttering off to sleep with her little hand on my chest. I swear I felt my heart skip a beat and a feeling stirring inside me I've never had before.

I know now more than ever that I want a baby, maybe even more than one someday. But can you ever be completely ready? Can you ever know for sure?

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