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Episode 11 - When is the Right Time to Start a Family?

Updated: Mar 18

This question came in from a listener on Instagram.

There are several factors to consider before starting a family, but I (of course) want to talk to you about your mind.

Start HERE before you move onto the checklist of "must haves" and "to dos."

Ep 11 - When is the Right Time to Start a Family?

00:00 Episode 11: When is the right time to start a family?

00:16 Welcome to The First Year Married Podcast, where we get real about building the marriage of your dreams. I'm Marriage Coach Kayla Levin and I take newly-married and engaged women from anxious and insecure to confident and connected with practical tips, real life inspiration, and more than a little self-awareness along the way.

00:39 Hey there, everyone. I always want to say, "Thanks again for tuning in!" I guess I say that every single time, but I'm always excited that you tune in. It's really crazy to check in our little Anchor App and find out how many of you guys have been downloading and listening and it's awesome. If you have a friend that you think would benefit from this podcast, would you consider letting them know about it? It's definitely one of the ways that this podcast is spreading and it would mean a lot to me and I'd appreciate it so much if you would take some time and just think of one or two people or 10 ... You can go for 10. You could show it on social media. You could do whatever you want. If you could think of one or two people that you would share this with, I would appreciate it so much.

01:18 This week's question came in from someone on Instagram, so I love hearing from you guys over there. Basically the ... This is a newlywed, as per my podcast, and what she wanted to know about were my thoughts on when it's appropriate to have their first child. She and her husband are coming at it from two very different perspectives. He's sort of ... It sounds more like feeling it out and trying to sort of see when it feels right, and she really is wanting to have kind of a checklist, right? Like, what does she need to accomplish before she has a baby so she knows that she got those things done?

01:53 I was so tempted when I got this question ... First of all, it's just an awesome, awesome question and I've gotten similar ones in the past and I think this one was just articulated such perfect timing for the next podcast, so I was really excited to take this one. I was very, very tempted when I got this question to go and research lists of things that you should consider and I was just gonna sort of list off a bunch of different things that you want to consider. Where you are financially and where you are ... I don't even want to go there actually 'cause I don't want to suggest that to you.

02:24 That's what I was originally gonna do, right? Just give a list of all the different things that she might want to consider. I really don't think that that's helpful. What I really want to do is go back and sort of look at what that ... What's going on with that question and what that's gonna be doing for them as a couple. First of all, they're communicating clearly. I didn't give all the details of the conversation, but it sounds like they're really communicating and they're really sharing sort of how they're feeling about the other person's perspective and it's so beautiful. I don't want to underestimate the importance of that.

02:54 What we always want to do is we want to understand what's going on in our brain because the way it feels when we're not really paying attention to our brain is that when a thought comes up for us, that that must be my deep truth, right? I thought it, so it must be true to me, right? That can be so misleading because sometimes our brains are just kind of going haywire and we don't actually agree with that thought. A really basic example is that sometimes I'll have the thought that my house should be clean, but also my kids are busy playing and I think that my children should have access to art supplies. When I look at that, I'm like, "Well, then, obviously I don't think my house should be clean all the time", but my brain loves to tell me that, that I actually should have a clean house at all times.

03:39 That is just obviously a very basic example, but one that to me is the most obvious and comes out so very frequently. Anytime we're having a situation like this where we're trying to make a judgment call, you want to ask yourself what's behind it. Essentially what she's asking is, "When do we know we're ready to start our family?" What I want to question is, what is happening for you when you are operate from a place of there is an objective time at which it's the right time to start a family?

04:14 I actually had a guest speaker when I was in college. I went to school for drama and we ... I don't know if I can say this in his name, but an amazingly fabulous, wonderful guest speaker came to speak to us. I remember distinctly him saying, "There's never a good time to have children", because he wanted us to know going into a career in theater and acting that that was always going to be a challenge. Really he said it globally for everybody, it's like never a good time. In a way, that's a much more empowering thought than, when is the right time? You hear what I'm saying? I don't mean to say that she's wrong, and I think this is a totally normal and responsible and lovely thing to be considering because, of course, this is a huge commitment. This is changing your life. There's no one you are more committed to than your child. Think about all the different options that are available to you.

05:03 For instance, my husband and I married relatively young for the sort of background that we came from and we started our family within a year. A lot of people could say we weren't ready, right? They could say that we should have had more money in our savings account, that we should have moved into a house. We were still living in an apartment. We should have figured out what city we wanted to settle in. We should have been further along in our careers. There's so many should ofs that are available when it comes to when you should have a child, right? I guess because the question includes the word "should".

05:37 The perspective we were coming at it from was that our home area of life is this grand adventure. The point is that we're doing it together and one of the parts of this adventure is the other people that are gonna be coming in. We don't even know who they are yet. These children that are gonna be joining us. I definitely don't want to ... To someone who's off-the-handle irresponsible ... You may ... You all know yourselves, right? You have to sort of judge this for yourselves.

06:04 If you tend towards being reckless, then you are not the person who should be questioning, "Oh, what do I need to do before I have a child", because that's not gonna be helpful for you. You veer towards the other direction, but for someone who is very concerned with a checklist ... What I wanted to point out to her is that if you're operating from a place of feeling that there is an objective time at which it's right to start your family, then there's a possibility once you've started your family that you missed the right time or that you didn't wait long enough.

06:37 Now, I don't know about you, but those wouldn't be helpful for me. What's helpful for me is the perfect time for your child to be born is when the child is born, because then there's no more questioning, "Did I not wait long enough? Did I wait too long?" By the way, this also goes for people who wait a really long time before they start their family. Maybe it's more complicated or they don't have as many children as they thought they were going to have, or all sorts of things come up.

07:01 When we come at it from a place of there was a correct time, there was a correct age at which I was supposed to get married and it didn't work out, or there was a correct time at which I was supposed to have my first child, and all these different things that we sort of believe, right? We were supposed to have this, but instead this happened. There was like a managerial error that happened upstairs and I ended up with this situation when I was supposed to have that one. It can be a very dis-empowering thought that can sort of make us feel very trapped.

07:29 What I want to recommend to this listener is to take some time and do a brain dump. What a brain dump is is you just take a piece of paper and across the top she could write "having children", whatever it is. She should just turn on some music, or not, and just take 15, 20 minutes and write down all the thoughts that are going on in her head about having kids. Okay? Anything it is. What she needs to do before she has children. How she's feeling about it. Concerns she has. Excitement. All the good, all the bad. There's no ... Nothing needs to be left out. No one's gonna read it. It does not need to be edited or spelled correctly or even written on straight lines.

08:08 After that ... She could this right away or she could do this a little later ... She's gonna look at that piece of paper, and I should say "you", you're gonna look at that piece of paper and those are the thoughts that are going on in your head. Thoughts in your head are always optional, so again, just because you wrote that down on the paper because it came up in your mind doesn't mean that now you've uncovered your secret, deep, meaningful truth. What it means is that your brain offered you all of these things maybe because it heard it somewhere or it sounded good or it was something to think about. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter why it ended up on the paper, but this is just opening up your brain and looking at what's going on inside.

08:49 This is what's driving you, right? What you get to do is you get to look at those thoughts and you know probably at this point that you could even run a model and figure out exactly what's going on with each thought. You can look at these thoughts and see, what are these different thoughts doing for me? Okay, so you might be very motivated by wanting to be in a certain place financially, but before having a child, and it might give you a lot of anxiety to think that you need to be somewhere with your career. Guess what? There's no rule when you go into have your baby at the hospital. No one's checking in with you to make sure, "Oh, have you checked off all of these boxes?" You get to have your baby when the baby comes, right?

09:28 This is good news. A ridiculous example, I'm sorry, but this is good news. You get to choose what your criteria are, and again, that's why I didn't want to give you even ideas or suggestions. If you really wanted them, you can Google them, but what I think is going to be so much more meaningful for you is find out what's going on in your head already. What is it you're already thinking about this decision? How do you feel about those thoughts? Are there any of those thoughts that you want to question or just dump? Just get rid of them, because they're not working for you?

10:02 Are there some thoughts there that are really helpful for you that you want to sort of bring in more? Maybe even stick on a Post-it on your mirror or something so you're starting to see it more and internalize that thought more. What's going on in your own brain and then you're going to be able to find a much more meaningful and actionable answer than anything I could offer you on this podcast.

10:23 I know this wasn't exactly what you were looking for, but I hope that you found it helpful. This isn't just for having children, by the way, this could be for any decision that you're making. Knowing what's going on in your head, getting it all down on paper, and then just looking at it and realizing that all of those thoughts are optional. They're just things that are going on in your brain and you get to decide, and it's a pretty unbelievable thing. I think you're going to get a lot of clarity from that.

10:48 I know I'm not giving an example of sort of what the clarity is that you're going to get, I don't want to do it for you. I think you're going to experience it if you run through the exercise. Please reach out, let me know how that goes. If anyone else does the exercise over any topic, I'd love to hear from you. I'll see you back here on the podcast next week. Bye-bye.

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