Why I’m Glad We Waited

Nicole and I rarely discuss the details of her pregnancy with anyone but family. I’ll make an exception today. We decided about nine years ago that we would stop taking birth control measures. We thought we were “ready enough” and if nature decided to make a baby, then so be it. After a while, we started to think there just might be something wrong with our plumbing. Eventually we went to a fertility specialist, but the battery of tests was an immediate turnoff. As romantic as it sounds to masturbate into a plastic cup, I must admit that I REALLY wasn’t looking forward to that part of the process. Now a paper cup might have been a different story! Hubba hubba! haha. Nothing like turning our sex life into a glorified science experiment! So we never followed up with the prescribed testing, poking, and prodding required to take things to the next level. We just didn’t want a baby that bad.

Fast forward several years and it was time to, as my mom would say, shit or get off the pot. We decided that if nature wasn’t going to allow this little miracle to occur without intervention, we would have to at least take measures to make sure there would be no surprises. Having kids any later than 35 didn’t hold much appeal for us, so Nicole made the call to go back on birth control after her 35th birthday. Exactly one day before her birthday, we had a positive pee stick. Well, fancy that!

Now that we are seven months into the Battle of the Buldge, I am really giving some thought to the path Nicole and I took and how we arrived where we are today. I can’t help but ponder what life might have been like if we had a baby nine years ago when we first opened the door to the possibility. So much has happened in that time, I can’t help but feel elated that a combination of mother nature and our general apathy toward parenthood led to a nine-year delay in conception. In fact, I cringe when I think of all the times I have heard people give advice like, “Don’t wait for the perfect time to have kids, it doesn’t exist!”, “Have kids while you’re young so you’ll be young when they move out.”, or “Have kids as soon as you think the thought, and everything will just work out.” For some, things do indeed work out. You make ends meet and life goes on. But for many others, having kids early means a constant struggle and a massive strain on what is likely a fairly new marriage (or other committed relationship). Now I agree with the advice-givers in that there is never a PERFECT time for anything in life. But there sure as hell are better and worse times for things to happen. And for many, what should be one of the biggest decisions in their lives (having a child) is given far less weight than it should be. I wonder just how many couples put more thought and research into a car purchase than they put into the repercussions of having children. Probably more than we care to know.

I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but for Nicole and I, we are far better off having waited. Just for fun and a little self-examination, here’s what life was like nine years ago. We were living in our first home in Temecula, Ca. with a fairly high mortgage payment. We had several credit card debts totaling $50,000+. We both had school loans and car payments. I was working at an antibody company (miserable) and Nicole was working in a different division for her current employer. We were just getting by and we were both perched upon the bottom rung of life’s ladder. We had a strong relationship, but my work-related stress often led to me being a little less than pleasant to be around.

Now let’s look at all the things that happened since then. I quit my job to pursue my passion for woodworking. Nicole wound up taking on a new position in her company that paid significantly more, but required a shit load of extra travel. This new position is what allowed us to take the risks involved in starting my own business. We moved to Phoenix. About a year later, I came up with the idea for The Wood Whisperer. Thankfully, the stars aligned and the business flourished. Debts were paid off and I am happy to say life is………great. In fact, it is so great that we had to wonder if we wanted to roll the dice by bringing a child into the mix! Well, too late to change that, ha!

So the question I have to ask myself is, if my little bambino came along when we originally opened that door, would my life look ANYTHING like it does today? I can wholeheartedly answer, NO! I had a hard enough time turning my back on my science career and a steady paycheck as it was. Nicole pretty much had to force me to do it. If I had a child to take care of, there would have been no way I would have relinquished my steady income. I would have kept my shitty job and I would have been the best dad I could be under the circumstances, work stress and all. Nicole would have likely turned down the position she took on. After all, how many new moms takes on jobs that entail MORE travel?!?! We’re looking at major opportunity loss for both of us. How about our debt? I seriously doubt adding a child into the mix would have improved that situation much, unless the child had some immediate talent that we coud exploit (joke). But Nicole and I are a strong couple and I like to believe we are smart people. We would have found a way to make it all work. Life would have progressed and we would have traveled down our path having no clue what the other road would have looked like. No near-term financial stability, no Phoenix, no big screen TVs, no Wood Whisperer…..

So again, I have to say I am so incredibly thankful that our bundle of joy was delayed. We are bringing a child into a financially and emotionally stable environment. We had plenty of time to be “kids”. We have traveled to nerd conventions and we have wasted money on silly gadgets. We spent countless hours destroying imaginary monsters with our friends from around the globe. And we have taken the last 12 years to become a strong cohesive unit, able to handle just about anything life throws at us (including a little human being who is likely to turn our lives upside down). We still plan on indulging our inner children as we grow old, but things might just look a little…….. different. I’ll have my little guy on my back as we wrestle through the crowds at ComicCon. We’ll have to make some space between our gaming stations for baby’s first gaming PC. And I’ll even put a little chair next to my comfy comic book reading recliner. I truly believe life will be better for all three of us simply because we waited.

Of course if the kid has no interest in video games, comic books, or sci-fi, we’ll just have to trade him in for a new one.

31 thoughts on “Why I’m Glad We Waited

  1. to think without TWW you would never have crossed paths with me….and your life would have forever been devoid of meaning…..so i say you are certainly in a better place!

  2. This was a very interesting article. I am about the same age as you and my wife is a little older, she just stopped birth control about six months ago and we have decided to let nature decide. There is no way I could have handled a kid nine years ago, sometimes I am not sure if I could handle a kid now. It sounds like the baby is coming at the perfect time for you and Nicole. I wish you both best. Good luck!
    James

  3. Nicole and Marc, thank you for giving us a window into your experience, every relationship, couple, partnership is different and it always is interesting to see where it all ends up. Congratulations on your baby, I am so thrilled for you. I guarantee you will learn the most about yourself when you look into your baby’s eyes.

    Warm wishes and to good health,
    Gail

  4. Marc,
    Well said. You’ve touched a bit of a nerve (we can discuss it in person over that NY pizza I owe you), but I understand exactly where you’re coming from. Let me Just add that kids are both fantastic & disrupt any time they come. As for opportunities, you’ll miss some around your kids, whenever the kids come. There will be other opportunities that come later, or come just because of the kid. So while the kid will impact which opportunities you & Nicole have, consider it an opportunity swap, not a loss.

    Good luck, and here’s hoping for 12/19. ;-)k

  5. Marc, even more reason that this is such a wonderful thing for you and Nicole. Little ones can be a challenge but on nights like tonight when my 3 year old daughter grabbed me around the neck and said “you the best Daddy and we’re best friends”, it makes it all worth it. Good luck to you both.

  6. Marc,
    Great blog post, and thanks for being open enough to share this part of your life.

    I can definitely understand your perspective, because I’ve lived both experiences. I became a dad for the first time when I was barely 20, and then was a single dad with full custody for many years. It was tough being a dad and growing a career with no partner to help along the way. I did a good job but it was stressful and there are things I could have done better, like there always are. My oldest is now 21 and in college studying to be a teacher. I remarried when my oldest was 15 and now my wife and I have a 4 year old. Things will be different this time – having a wonderful partner and being financially stable. My two daughters are 17 years apart and are obsessed with each other.

    I’m happy for you both and I know you’ll do wonderful jobs with BabySpag!

  7. I’d say you made the correct decision, the short story is a good one. At least one parent will be home with the child most of the day. Us we work opposite shifts 6am-2pm and 2pm-10pm so the Yorkie (small dog) princess, our only child is rarely left alone. That alone is an odd story. Spend plenty of quality time with the baby and you will be rewarded tenfold, who cares if your child is spoiled. It sounds like your work schedule may allow a similar situation, you may just have to adjust your work schedule to the afternoon shift or vise versa. After 23 years of marriage it has worked for us but only with cats and dogs as children. Congratulation on the upcoming adventure.

    Gary

  8. Enjoyable and thought provoking. I know it’s something that is hard for many to believe, but I really think life works out. You’re no where near too old to have a baby and still enjoy your after teen life. My buddy Joe is my age and has yet another baby on the way after trying for quite a few years. They didn’t do the lab thing either, simply because it’s hard on the woman and fear of mass multiples.
    I think if you clearly define what you want out of life in the most simple terms, work toward it without getting in your own way too much, you will arrive at your destination. You still have many cool things to share with all of us and living your lives as you have always done, you will continue to have much to share.

  9. What a great story to tell Marc. I am a believer that things happen for a reason, and life had a bigger plan for you and Nicole before it blessed you with a child. What you are doing now, not only has improved your way of life, but it has enriched your life by allowing you to touch, inspire and teach so many people., Growing up being raised by a single mother, I always wanted a family, to be the father I never had, and to have a full life. life had a different plan for me. As i approached 30, not finding that ideal partner, or the financial stability i had hoped for, I made the decision that it would be unfair to bring a child into this world under such less than ideal conditions. Something i have always wanted, just was not an option..Now at 37, still single, and trying to build a company from nothing, hoping to better my life with this last venture. The time has flown by and the window has closed. The option to have a family no longer exists…Children are a blessing. You and Nicole have put your lives on track, and by doing so you have ensured a happy and good life for your child adn yourselves…Kudos to you both, best wishes and all the many blessings… A long and happy life you and the family.

    • My story – I never had a girlfriend until I was 33. I married that girlfriend when I was 35. We had our first child when I was 40. In 2009, we had our 4th child when I was 50. There are sure challenges being older parents. And I have no idea when I can retire or how we will be able to afford to pay for college expenses. But my kids are the joy of my life and wouldn’t trade them for anything.

      And my point is your window is not closed if you do not choose to close it. Keep that window open. Maybe things work out maybe they don’t but don’t give up. Best wishes.

  10. Thank you for sharing. I have the same feeling about the whole fertility world and my wife and I discussed this early in our marriage on what we wanted to do if she had trouble getting pregnant. My family started out with boy/girl twins who will be 5 on Halloween the totally natural way. Had a 3rd surprise and she is 2 1/2 years old. It’s an interesting roller coaster ride having kids but is totally worth it. Just remember, you can still enjoy your inner child with your kids. My kids last year were Luke, Leia and R2D2 for Halloween after a little convincing by their dad. A 4 year girl will dress up as anything with princess in its name.

    Have fun with your new child.

  11. Your child will make your family complete. You nor anyone can experience that until you have a child, it’s just different. Take the child everywhere and don’t hold back… My wife and I waited 7yrs…

  12. Marc, these what if scenarios are fun yet terrifying to play with. My wife and I are still waiting. I wonder where many of us in the woodworking online community would be without your influence. You were my point of introduction to this whole thing and I know I’m not alone so who knows where we would all be without your first steps. Regardless, I’m thrilled for you both and watching this kid grow up will be a blast.

  13. Dude… powerful words. Well written. Thanks for sharing the story…

    Rhonda and I waited five years before we tried, and the time we spent together those first five years helped both of us mature. We both had better jobs with benefits, no student loans, we had bought a house. The works.

    I don’t know who was more surprised by the decision to go ahead – Rhonda, because I was the one who suggested it, or Me, for wanting to take the leap.

    But, one thing is for certain, Marc. You and Nicole will never regret one moment of being parents. You may not always enjoy it, but you will NEVER regret it.

    Today, as I look at both of my boys, I couldn’t imagine life without them.. or even want it that way anymore. They have helped make my life complete.

    I wish you guys nothing but peace, health and love.

    In bocca al lupo, mi amico!

  14. Marc, thanks for that… I had vision of you as Luke with a mini-Spag Yoda on your back trudging your way thru the Degobah that is ComicCon.
    Anyway, my fiance & I in a similar situation… we’re even holding off on even getting married until she finishes up her Biomed. Eng. degree (2-3yrs); it makes me a bit nervous because I’ll be in my late 30’s by the time we even think about kids.

  15. Marc….I have got to laugh when I read you saying all this. I’m slightly older than you and my kids are 4 and 1. I’m 37. Time and perspective my friend. 4 years from now, please write another post about when you wish you had your kids:-) I’m mostly joking…but you wait my friend. Kids are awesome and you seem like you’d be an awesome dad. Have fun. Spend as much time with them as you can…every minute counts, even the not so pleasant ones:-)
    Congrats from a big Canadian Fan!!

  16. Marc,

    Having had two children 8.5 yrs apart, there is no doubt in my mind that your timing is likely perfect. I love both my children very much, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t change a thing. If I had it to do over again, waiting would have been more of a priority for my wife and I. We were barely married a year before she was pregnant with our first child. I’m not ashamed to say that our relationship at the time was not as strong as it probably needed to be to raise a child together, and I’m also not ashamed to say that, as a result, it’s quite likely the relationship my wife and I have today is not as strong as it would otherwise have been.

    The truth is that my wife and I both needed more time to “mature”…not only in our relationship, but in life in general. You and Nicole have had the time to solidify your relationship, and that will undoubtedly provide a solid foundation on which you can build a family. That’s not to say you wouldn’t have adapted 9 years ago…I have no doubt you would have…but there is also no denying that, indeed, your life would have been very different, and I can absolutely relate to holding on to the shitty job and not taking the risks that in the absence of children, might have led to a much better standard of living, and a more rewarding career.

    As with any personal decision, the decision to have children, or make allowances for the possibility of having children, is so profound that I doubt anyone making it truly, truly understands the significance and impact that decision has. That changes the first time you have to take your child to the emergency room, though. That’s when the full weight of reality kicks you right in the nads. (Just wanted to give you that head’s up)

    So, for what it’s worth, this guy thinks you were absolutely right to wait…even if the waiting wasn’t intentional. I wish you the best of luck.

  17. Wonderful story Marc, makes me take a different look at life and what’s been dealt out up until now. I’ve been through the wife and two children (plus a nasty breakup) and found that my kids where a real inspiration to keep trying and going on. It would be nice to find the courage as you did, to give up one career to create another one( I may get there yet), never give up I always tell my girls, so on that note I wish you and Nicole all that best that life has to offer and keep up the great work,(in and out of the shop, nudge nudge say no more).

  18. Marc, it’s like we have been living in parallel universes – I couldn’t help nodding emphatically throughout your story. My husband and I finally took the plunge into parenthood after 10 years of marriage (our daughter is now 3) and we are now looking forward to adding to the family within the next couple years (like Nicole, my expiration date is age 35 :-). Everything you said is absolutely right. I believe that God knows what we need and blesses us more infinitely than we ever could bless ourselves given our limited knowledge and understanding. You are going to love being parents more than you even know, it’s a complete game changer but the best thing ever! Savor every moment, cherish your child and one another.

  19. Interesting. But I rarely hear the opposite said either… “When I look back, I just wish we never had Mary/John/Katie/etc…”

    I bet that if you did have children 9 years ago, you’d be saying something to the effect that you couldn’t imagine life without your kiddos. Not using birth control for 9 years, and nothing happening, seems somewhat providential (i.e. happened for a reason). What I think is wonderful is that you guys were open to having children all that time, and now you’re blessed with one 🙂

    Now that I have three children, my focus of my career has diminished compared to my family unit. I cherish my wife and our kids and I couldn’t imagine waiting any longer to have had them thinking of the joy they’ve continually brought (and how my wife and I have changed for the good with respect to it).

    …just my 2-cents.

  20. I just about lost it when I read “As romantic as it sounds to masturbate into a plastic cup”. Hi-Larious… glad things worked out for you guys… A positive test the day before you were about to quit is a pretty good sign that it was meant to be!

  21. Wow, Marc. Your story sounds an awful lot like mine and my wife’s. Only difference is that we waited almost 9 damn years before we decided to try and almost 3 years since we started. I will be 37 in a month, so I sure hope something happens soon 🙂 All I wanted to say was thanks for sharing, it gives me a little glimmer of hope.

    Congrats and all the luck to you both!

  22. What a truly wonderful blog post Marc. The wood working world appreciates you sharing this with us and keeping us updated. Just think, a baby 9 years resulting in no TWW. Then you would not have some goofy Georgia boy making you into a ChiaPet. My story is very different but would not change a thing. We had children right out of the chute. I was involved in childrens activities from day one. Five years ago my oldest finished his baseball which was10 months a year, 8 days a week. My younger son in the same summer earned his Eagle Scout where I was an assistant ScoutMaster. Weekly meetings, monthly camping trips and many a ballfield engulfed our lives. It all came to an end the summer 5 years ago. I could never nail 2 boards together but I had some leftover Eagle project wood. I made a small rough worktable for my basement. Since then I have made many things, bought many tools, and made many woodworking friends. One of them you. Woodworking has filled the void in my life left by my children. You have helped fill that void. Good luck Marc and Nicole in your new adventure. You will lose sleep, hair and sanity but it is all worth it.
    P.S. Next time forget paper or plastic, I’ll turn you a bowl.

  23. Marc, there is a lot in your post that resonates with me and parts that made me chuckle, including the “advice” you received. We had many who stated that same advice, and were “curious” as to when we would “get started”. This even included my wife’s aunt who asked at our wedding! (Keep in mind my wife was 22 and I was a week before my 24th birthday when we got married.)

    My wife and I were married 8 years when our son was born. I honestly feel the time together prior was good for us to mature and grow as a couple, get established a bit including buying our house, and I’m glad we waited; even though we did need some fertility help to have him (Clomid, no IUI or IVF). What was the surprise plan changer for us was his premature birth (30 weeks gestation or 10 weeks early) and later diagnosis of mild autism, which meant our original plan of having my wife work part time in a traditional setting after a bit was out the window. She would be around to work with the early intervention folks and more recently get him to school where he also receives his extra services. What was our original plan of short term one income, has become more long term. We have tried for a second, again with fertility help but even more involved (IVF), without success thus far. The fertility road can be long and tough at times – and does feel like a “science experiment” as you put it :-). Time will tell where that takes us.

    You guys will be great parents, and once he’s here, you’ll wonder what things were like before! Kids help you keep your inner kid – what else would make me go out in public as “The Man in the Yellow Hat” along side my son as “Curious George” haha.

    I wish you and Nicole all the best!

  24. Marc,
    My lovely wife and I also waited a few years before starting our family, like you, we decided to let nature decide when we should start. Our sons are 15 and 19 now and I can honestly tell you that I can’t imagine feeling more pride when I see how they’ve turned out. They are both indendent, self-sufficient young men who can cook, clean, do their own laundry (a job their dad is forbidden to do ;-)) etc. Had we rushed, I don’t think I would have been able to devote the time they needed to do my small part in helping them grow into such fine men (mom helped a little). As you’ve already discovered, letting a relationship mature BEFORE bringing someone new into the mix is definitely the smart play. You have to let the concrete cure before you start raising the walls.

    Best of luck to all three of you!

  25. Marc and Nicole,
    We had begun to talk to the adoption people when our miracle baby arrived. Two earlier ectopic pregnancies made for nervous parents-to-be, but our daughter made and has made our lives. I was 38 at the time. While most people rally when appropriate, it would have been unlikely to start a business with family responsibility. The big plus for being more developed myself is that I could make time for Crosby. She could hang at the offices (downtown and home), I could hang with her as she climbed rocks and explored life, nature and herself. A true marvel.
    I smile to think of how great you and Nicole will be as parents. Thanks for sharing.

  26. No matter how or when you get there building a family is a true blessing. I took the opposite course you did. I stayed in biotech, and have been making antibodies for a decade now. I also have two girls: 9 and 13. Yes, woodworking was put on the back-burner because the $ was never there to buy tools (or a house with adequate space for tools) and time was focused on family and career. A decade later, all my dough now goes to college and retirement funds-alas still the power tools must wait. Ironically, I think this has made me a better woodworker however. I couldn’t justify a router but I could justify a $25 chisel and a 15$ dovetail saw on Ebay – hence I’ve learned to do all my dovetails by hand. No jointer meant having to buy and learn how to refurbish and use hand planes. Learning to start small (humble) and only buying what I needed to do projects I was really passionate about was a positive consequence of loading up on family/career & home improvement priorities.
    Woodworking aside, I have to echo some of the other comments that say having had kids I couldn’t fathom ever going back. Kids turn your world upside down in amazing ways your really can’t prepare for. Being more mature, and financially stable will help you cope and make better decisions, but we all eventually go through many of the same tribulations. Ultimately, for both my wife and myself we realize things could have been different if we waited but we’re just happy to be here – fighting the good fight. Our warmest congratulations go out to you and Nicole – there is no greater gift than family.

  27. If there was not a WW site, then I wouldn’t have a steady hobby… which in turn would have made me more annoying to my new wife…. which in turn would have stressed out my marriage. At it’s most basic level, TWW saved my marriage. Ha!

  28. Thank you for writing this! Me and my husband are a young couple and are constantly hounded about having kids. Well, I now want to wait another 8 years or so. I am glad I stumbled across your Article!!!

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