Friday, February 2, 2018

The waiting is the hardest part...

Our Oldest Nephew & his wife, both in their mid/late 20s, together for almost 10 years & married now for a year & a bit, have baby fever. His (only other)(besides Katie) cousin, who got married a few months before he did, had a baby last summer, much to the delight of the entire extended family. The baby is now about 6 months old and at that really cute stage where he's aware of what's going on around him, but not yet mobile.  ;)  Both Nephew & his wife love to hold the little guy when he comes to visit. Would-be Grandpa BIL keeps grumbling, "Hurry up!!" to them.

"Dad," Nephew reportedly told him a little while ago, "we really want to have a baby... but how can we, right now?"  His wife recently lost her job and is currently unemployed;  he's in a trade and making some good money -- but that's a relative thing hereabouts, where two salaries are pretty much mandatory to make ends meet, and the cost of housing is astronomical (nevermind all the other associated costs of living).  They live with their dog, rent-free. in a tiny apartment that BIL carved out of his basement for them, trying to save enough money to afford a down payment on, if not a house, then perhaps a starter condo (which can still go for $400,000+ around here).   

I would love to be a great-aunt, of course. :)  (Our nephews grew up way, way too fast...!)  Dh is chomping at the bit to be a great-uncle, too -- and has dropped some hints in that vein.

But I have vowed that our nephews & their brides will never get any pressure on that subject from me. I remember only too well the hints & nudge-nudges and raised-eyebrow enquiries that started as soon as we got back from our honeymoon. It was hard enough to deal with then, when we assumed we would be parents someday, at a time of our choosing.  It became excruciating once it dawned on us that parenthood might not be a given after all...

I also remember, only too well, what it was like to be young, newly married and completely, utterly broke -- wanting babies, yes, but knowing full well that we simply couldn't afford one at that point of our lives. You hear a lot these days about the millennial generation & how they are having a difficult time launching into adulthood -- but things weren't exactly easy when dh & I came out of university in the early 1980s either.  Unemployment and inflation rates were both very high; at one point, mortgage rates were a sky-high 21%.  (I knew several guys who were engineering students when I was at university. I remember hearing that, going in, there were three jobs for every engineering graduate. By the time they graduated four years later, though, there were three graduates for every available engineering job.)

Unlike our nephews, dh & I didn't have the advantage of living for free in our parents' basements.  (For one thing, it was simply a lot less common/acceptable back then to live with your parents after you finished school, whether you were single or married.) I was unemployed for the first six months after our wedding (and didn't make a heck of a lot of money once I did find a job);  dh left his salaried job with an insurance company for a trainee position with a brokerage company (salaried at first but eventually completely commissioned). To the horror of his relatives, we spent the first five years of our marriage paying rent on an apartment.  Buying a house as newlyweds was simply not in the cards -- and, shortly after we were married, the local housing market took off like a rocket. Even when FIL helpfully stepped in with some down payment assistance, it took us five years before we were making enough money to handle the monthly payments (at 11.75% interest -- and that was at a discount, because I worked for a bank). And even after we got the house, there were the mortgage payments, and other expenses related to owning a house, and the 10-12 hour workdays and 2-3 hours of daily commuting -- and prospective daycare costs. (Maternity leave was just 9 months back then, and only the first few weeks were paid.)  I knew that I was on my own as far as family help & support went -- my mother-in-law died before I met her, & my own mother was 1,000 miles away. And so we procrastinated, and postponed, and delayed...

Part of me thinks maybe I should speak up, warn them, tell them there's never a perfect time to start a family, that time (those fertile years) slips away much faster than you might think.

But I think they know that. After all (unlike me & dh), they have a cautionary tale right in front of them: us.  :p

So for now, I'm continuing to keep my mouth shut. (They get enough hints from other people aruond them as it is, anyway.)  But looking forward to the day -- hopefully not TOO many years down the road -- when I can happily and whole-heartedly go nuts with my credit card in the baby shops. ;)


  1. It’s such a catch 22. We spend our 20s getting ourselves on our feet only to then deal with waning fertility later in life. I have thoughts for solutions (*cough* society making things affordable *cough*), but it’s a lot harder and your nephews are likely very aware.

    That said, even though they do have you as an example, I wonder if they truly know your story. I’m not suggesting pushing, but the full stories I thought I knew didn’t come out until later on in my life and I remember being shocked by the details everyone else seemed to gloss over. So maybe it’s worth exploring sharing?

  2. I've had to have this sort of conversation with a younger woman at work recently, who knows about my infertility and babyloss. I said that I would urge anyone to try for a family when they were younger, citing myself as a reason not to delay things; that I'd known of many ladies who thought they would delay motherhood until their mid to late 30's which had turned out to be too late for some and that I'd hate anyone deliberating about having kids waiting too long and the fertility time clock running out on them. It's a fine line deciding whether to divulge this sort of thing or not though, isn't it?

  3. Heh. I have to bite my tongue sometimes when I feel like people are making assumptions about their fertility. I mean, I want to share what I know. But I agree it’s better not to make assumptions about other people or their choices. I have been pretty open with my so far childfree friends about our challenges so I gave to trust if they want information of support they’d ask. And I have a good spidey sense for when people might be if I’m not getting that wavelength I don’t comment

  4. Thin line to walk, for sure. I concur that you're taking the path that I would.

  5. Tricky, tricky. It really is difficult to weigh out financial readiness/security with fertile years. Seems unfair that as you become more financially secure your fertility drops, as a general rule. So, I had an uncle and aunt who didn't have children, and I STILL don't know their actual story. The rumors and gossip flew through my family (she didn't want them and he did, they loved their dogs as family and that was enough, etc.) but when we were in the thick of things one my other uncles told us that we shouldn't talk to the childless one about our situation because it was too upsetting, opened old wounds. So I have a sneaking suspicion that they wanted children, it didn't happen, there were fewer choices/options then (they are in their late 70s), and everyone just ASSUMED because it was verboten to ask (or they just plain assumed). So I kind of agree with Cristy that maybe they don't know your story to the extent that you might think they do. But how do you say something without putting undue pressure on them? I have THREE situations where I did mention to friends who were "waiting until later" or who talked like having kids was an eventuality, and they got pregnant NO PROBLEM. One friend started trying earlier than they'd planned because she knew me and another friend with fertility issues, and then got pregnant the first month they tried, which they weren't prepared for. Such a fine line, deciding what to say, what to share, if you want to try to sway at all.

    But I hope it all works out and you get to blow some money on baby things for them!