The first time, I was disappointed with the negative outcome. But, I could barely hold back my joy when after a week of nagging backaches and cramps, I took the pregnancy test again and saw the 2 red lines appear magically on the kit. That, for my husband and me, was worth the 5 years we'd waited to have a baby and taken care of all our other priorities before taking the plunge. Those were years when, at every family function, aunts, uncles and relatives, no matter how distant, had taken the liberty to ask us that dreaded question-what are you waiting for? Unlike our parents, our extended family simply couldn't understand why it was necessary to wait beyond the customary one year (even less for some) to have a child.
Becoming a parent, both during the pregnancy stage and while raising a child, is a rewarding and beautiful experience. But it can be difficult, especially if you're not ready for it. So while there is never the perfect time to start planning a child, we decided to hold off until we felt ready and then let nature take its course. But there were a few aspects that helped us make the decision.
Age: The golden age that I had decided on to become a mother was 30, and happily, I nailed it! Having just turned 30, and on the verge of completing my first trimester, I can call myself lucky for being able to conceive at the time I wanted to. At 30, I feel I'm more capable, both physically and mentally, to handle a child. I have had my years of fun and freedom, and I'm ready to spend less time with myself and more time with the child, something that might not have been easy before now.
Finance: We all agree that having a child can be expensive, and it is an expense that will keep mounting. So while we can never really determine when we will be fully stable financially, we personally ensured that we had fulfilled our main goals and obligations before we got into the baby-making mode. By the time we got pregnant, we knew we could actually afford a child.
Work: This is the one area where things didn't go exactly as planned and we had to course correct. Having taken a 2-year break to accompany my husband for his studies abroad, I was keen to stop freelancing and get back into the office environment. However, when the lovely stork paid a visit, I decided to continue with the freelancing. While that meant a drastic change in plans, working from home has allowed me the time to take care of myself, eat well, read as much as I want to and avoid the stress of travelling in Mumbai's traffic. And, for the social company, I make it a point to keep in touch with everyone as much as I can.
Health: The day I decided I wanted to conceive, I started devoting more time and effort in taking better care of myself. I started off on folic acid early on, added more fruits, vegetables and nutritious food to my diet, exercised regularly and took better care of my health. Now, throughout my first trimester, instead of eating 3 wholesome meals like I used to before getting pregnant, I've started to eat 6 small meals at regular intervals of around 2 hours, to make sure that I don't suffer an acidity attack.
The whole experience of planning before we decided to start our family has been a rewarding one for us. It's a long journey till September 2014, when our baby is expected, but one that I'm looking forward to eagerly-all because I am very well-prepared mentally.
Read Gayatri Vinayak's Pregnancy Diaries on becoming a first trimester graduate here.