Is There A Perfect Time To Get Pregnant?

pregnant woman with man

People say there's never a perfect time to get pregnant. We went for nearly perfect.

I tossed my last pack of birth control pills into the garbage and carefully lined up bottles of prenatal vitamins and folic acid pills. "So, are we officially trying now?" my husband Michael asked.

"Not yet," I said, even though I was itching to get started. But...

Public knowledge indicates that there is never a perfect time to get pregnant. There will always be bills. Lack of space. Job instability. Michael and I figured that we could at least plan for nearly perfect. So, for the past three years, we held off. We waited for our careers to take off and become more lucrative. We waited to feel more secure in our marriage (my chronic depression and PMDD used to have me trying to divorce the poor man almost monthly). We waited to build up some more savings, so that we could upgrade from our one-bedroom condo to a three-bedroom house. When's the Best Time to Start a Family?

Now, we are both at a point where were love the work we do. We've come out of the economic recession with new careers and steadily increasing salaries. We have enough money for a down payment on a house and we plan to place our condo on the market within the month.

But things keep popping up. Things that keep me from "officially trying." Things like the cruise through French wine country that we are thinking of taking, and the fact that I wanted to go hang gliding before my 30th birthday. Things that are not wise to do while pregnant. But won't things like this always be popping up? Is it finally time for me to put pregnancy first, and say a temporary sayonara to wine tastings and extreme sports? Confession: I Was A Reluctant Mother

We're waiting to see about that wine cruise, but otherwise I can safely say we're ready. When it comes to deciding that it's time to get pregnant, the decision can't hinge on you and your biological clock alone. Here are the three big things to consider as a couple before trying to conceive:

Marital Stability
I entered into marriage not feeling sure that I'd made the right decision. I've since realized that you can never be 100 percent sure about anything, and that—no matter how in love you are—a strong, stable and loving marriage will not always be a sun-dappled walk in the park. I'm pretty sure, however, that I love my husband, and I'm also pretty sure he'd make an amazing father. It wouldn't have made sense (or been fair) to have kids when I was still living with one foot out the door, getting caught up in the same major arguments every month. And children should never be used as a Band-Aid for your marriage, no matter how much you want them. After seeing a marital therapist together, and learning how to communicate more effectively, we finally feel that we're in it for the long haul, and that our marriage is strong and stable enough for the addition of a child. How to Get a Man to Therapy or Coaching

Career and Financial Stability
When we first got hitched, Michael had been at the same company for seven and a half years—and was miserable. I, meanwhile, decided to rely on my new husband's health insurance and steady salary, leave my full-time job in publishing and make a go of freelancing. The ensuing years were tumultuous, to say the least. Now, we're both happy and bringing in decent incomes, and we feel confident that we can support not only ourselves, but a child as well. These days, true job security doesn't exist, and your financial responsibilities as a couple will constantly increase. You could end up waiting forever for the right time to conceive. But if you're still living from paycheck to paycheck, dining out on the McDonald's Dollar Menu every evening and trying to find the career paths that make the most sense, it could be smart to wait.

We could add a child into the crowded mix that is our one-bedroom condo. Our own parents dealt with similar situations in the past, and survived. But we're already tripping over the three cats that we're not allowed to have. And our storage space no longer has any storage space left. And I've taken to working on my laptop in bed, which is not ideal. And sometimes, I feel as if I'm being consumed by furniture, knick-knacks, books, dust bunnies, everything. When my husband and I first moved in together, it took awhile to get used to to sharing such a small space with another person. We still have tussles over whether or not he's allowed to watch TV while I'm trying to get work done, or whether or not I should even be working in bed when he's trying to sleep. Adding a child to that chaos could precipitate a major meltdown. Talk together about the amount of space you want for your family, and how it aligns with the amount of space you most definitely need. Is an upgrade necessary before expanding your family and, if so, is an upgrade possible? Food for thought. The Thermostat War, And 6 More Silly Compromises

How did you know it was time to start a family?