The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge delighted many royal watchers by announcing that they're expecting a child together. When the news broke, media outlets and civilians alike reacted with phrases like "Finally" and "It's about time!" One would assume that William and Kate have been married for ages; yet they tied the knot just over a year and a half ago. If you're reading this and you're a newlywed, you may also relate to being bombarded with questions from well-intentioned loved ones, eager to know when you're having your first baby.
Like many other couples, Wills and Kate reportedly mapped out their baby timeline prior to saying "I do." Just two months after getting engaged, Ms. Middleton told the press that, "I hope we'll be able to have a happy family ourselves. [The royal family has] been great over the years, helping me with difficult times, and we see a lot of each other, and they're very, very dear to me."
There are many factors that can go into the decision of starting a family. Couples may hope to conceive before reaching a certain age, while others leave it up to chance on their honeymoon or hold off until certain career goals are met. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of a first-time mom is 25.4. But when is the right time to have kids, exactly? In an effort to gain more insight, I turned to the all-knowing Facebook and posted a status asking, "After your wedding, how long did you wait (or will you wait) to have kids?"
Responses and "likes" triggered a debate on my wall. Some argued that newlyweds need "we" time before two becomes three. They defined this time period as ranging from one to five years, when couples establish routines and strive to reach both personal and professional goals. One person commented, "You need to build a foundation for your relationship and be on the same page in regards to financial planning and emotional readiness for parenting. In this child-free time, you should travel as much as possible, check items off your bucket lists together, and build your careers with tenacity...It can be hard to balance home and work life."
However, several commenters shared the opposite viewpoint. One wife said, "I was pregnant a month after my wedding. Planning for anything is never a good thing because plans don't always work out. There is never a perfect time or situation. Sometimes, if you wait for the opportunity, it will never come. I didn't wait and I don't regret it; my marriage is still wonderful."
Whether you're for or against waiting, all of the married respondents agreed that it is difficult to find one-on-one time with your spouse after the baby arrives. One mom wrote, "Prior to baby, we went on lots of vacations together. We could take off for a weekend at the drop of a hat, have a wild night out, then sleep until noon. That's over now—but it's been replaced with the joy of being our son's parents. My advice for newlyweds: Sleep while you can!"
One thing is certain: The decision to have a child needs to be made behind closed doors. Ignoring the obvious innuendos, deciding to bring outside parties into the conversation could lead you to make a decision that you aren't ready for emotionally or financially. Here's hoping that Will and Kate's baby bombshell will distract relatives (mine included!) this holiday season, and prevent them from asking when we'll become parents.
Tell us: When would you like to have children?
Photos courtesy of the British Royal Monarchy on Flickr
Crista Battiato is a newlywed and the co-founder of Style She Wrote. She tied the knot in July 2012 with Michael, her newly-minted husband. This chic NYC couple describes their wedding style as “modern romance"—fitting for a pair who had their first date at a quaint seaport and became engaged in the same spot, overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. This fashion-forward blogger loves to infuse her traditional taste with unexpected contemporary accents.