This is quite a tricky subject.
When is the best time to become a father? My answer has always been: when your partner is ready.
It’s a safe answer, I know, and while consent is another topic to conquer all on its own, being a first-time parent needs planning, several discussions, and a lot of adjustments to overcome.
But if I were to be asked again, given my experiences and of those closest to me: the most optimal time to become a father is within eight to twelve months after getting married. Too soon? Nah. Let me tell you why.
Talk about it before saying “I Do”
Most of you have probably done this while you’re all lovey-dovey with your girlfriends in the past: where you’re going to build your dream house; the theme of the wedding; where your fantasy honeymoon destination is; the names of your future children, and when you’re going to have them.
That’s cute, and great at the same time.
If you’re still in that phase of the relationship, congrats, and hats off to you. That means she is already picturing her life with you. But I suggest you take notes, and compare it with what you really want.
Do you actually see living in the suburbs instead of settling in the city, where your job and friends are? Is the wedding too expensive that you might be spending most of your savings? Is the honeymoon destination going to drain your bank account, no matter how breathtaking?
Will you be okay with naming your child with your wife’s favorite sitcom character?
Once you’re both past that, then go ahead with your plans. Get her to the altar. Say your vows. Be with the woman who shares your vision of the future.
The honeymoon phase
There is absolutely no way of telling when the honeymoon phase ends.
Some couples who have been married for five years are still enjoying their lives travelling in places they have never been. Others, like celebrities, have gone their separate ways after a couple of months of marriage.
It is that time in your relationship when you do the most spontaneous things to excite each other. You cook for her, surprise her with a new wardrobe and a dinner for two at a michelin-star restaurant. She’s going to reward you for that when you get in between the sheets.
She learns how to dress well for your work functions. Your buddies tell you constantly how lucky you are to be married to a woman who keeps herself in shape. Sex is never out of the question.
Suddenly, everything feels static. You get busy with work, she gets engrossed with the new reality show (that you’re not really interested in). There seems to be a disconnect. You don’t want to lose her, but at the same time, you want things the way they are.
Don’t be fooled, my friend. The honeymoon phase isn’t over. You just got too comfortable.
The natural next step: Parenthood
While I still think that there is no end to the honeymoon phase, I believe that having a child can help both of you get to know each other better.
Remember that dreamy conversation you had when you were still prepping for the wedding? Do it again, this time with more realistic goals and due consideration of your situation. Let’s say you’re already on your sixth month as a married couple. Here’s a good conversation map:
- Are you ready to become a father?
- Yes: Alright, that’s a good first step.
- No: Maybe you should reflect on the reason(s) why you feel that you are being held back, and talk to your wife about it.
- Is your partner ready to become a mother?
- Yes: Awesome. Make sure she is at her healthiest in the coming two to six months.
- No: Okay, maybe you should sit down and talk about it.
- Is your savings enough for a firstborn?
- Yes: That’s great! But I assume you’d want to give your child the best options, so wait until a couple more months before getting pregnant.
- No: That’s okay. You can still work harder and earn more so you can plan better for the next six months.
If your answer is yes to all these questions, your next move is to go to a doctor and request for an executive check-up. It is important to know your state of health before planning to have a child, so that if there is a need to fix some “lifestyle choices,” then you’d have ample time to do so.
If your answer is no to some or all questions, then I suggest you revisit this dialogue with your wife. Being a father is not just your concern, it’s hers, too.
What if a year has passed?
So you just celebrated your first wedding anniversary. She’s not pregnant yet. Should you be worried?
No, I don’t think so. But I’d talk to her about our plans, just make sure we’re on the same page.
A year into marriage would tell me that you’re already building your nest, buffing up that savings account, and making healthier choices for you and the wife. That’s not so bad. Again, I’d like to remind you not to get too comfortable in this set-up.
One last reminder: you do you.
I understand that every relationship has its own dynamics and trials, and there are things that don’t work in all given scenarios.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your partner when it comes to parenting is : talk. You are the parents-to-be. You are going to raise the child. You are going to be responsible for that life you’re going to bear into this world. While many would claim experts on the subject, it is still your decision as a couple on how to do it, and when.
After all, the optimal time is immaterial if the decision is not accordant.