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Natalie Thomas Headshot

When Is the Right Time to Have Children?

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I'm sick of myself. I am. I talked a big game about waiting to have children in order to live my life. And I have. I've checked numerous items off the bucket list, climbed the proverbial corporate ladder, traveled extensively and indulged (a.k.a. partied) enough for a lifetime or two and I enjoyed every minute of it. But enough is enough. I've finally gotten to the point where, despite my full life, I feel there's more.

I'm ready to trade my independent and selfish ways for a life with more purpose. I want to challenge myself, step outside my comfort zone and discover another role and side to me. I want to give selflessly and endlessly to another. I want to be a mother.

As an avid, albeit amateur photographer, perhaps I should put this in photography terms: I can't take one more picture of my husband and me. I will, of course (hello, trip to the Amalfi Coast this summer!). But I'm longing for a new subject. I'm ready to start a family of our own and raise children that I can help guide, watch grow and, yes, document along the way.

For most of my life, I've babysat. From the age of 12 (what kind of crazy parents let a baby watch their babies?) to age 25, I took care of kids pretty consistently. Once I started making enough money of my own without the side gig and supplemental funds, I took a hiatus. Since then, I've had two nephews and two nieces come into the world. They are the loves of my life and by far some of my favorite people. They're also the best birth control possible! After a few full days with them, my husband and I return to our carefree life and decide to wait a little longer. But, after years of delaying, I'm finally ready.

I want to delight in my children's firsts and once again see the world through fresh eyes, giddy (and grumpy) temperaments. I'm prepared for the challenges, excited for the lessons and thrilled at the thought of putting someone else first. And it's about time.

At 33, I'm eight years older than my mother was when she had her first child and for her generation, that was considered late. During my first visit with my new OBGYN, she looked down at my chart and, upon seeing my age, remarked, "Oh, you're young!" I was thrilled. I thought for sure she'd lecture me about being behind. Then she asked if I had kids. When I said no but that I'd like to someday, she recoiled and replied, "Ohh," as if she wanted to retract her previous statement.

But, despite her disgruntlement and my desire, this is not a public proclamation that it's go time. So, Mom, please don't alert extended family that we're trying, because we're not. Not just yet, anyway. After all, we have that trip to Italy to photograph first!

I'd love to know, for those of you that are mothers and fathers, how and why you decided it was time to start a family? And, do you wish you did it sooner?