Baby’s on the Way – Now What?

“We’re pregnant!” is a hugely emotionally charged phrase. A tornado of thoughts and feelings grip you like nothing before. Time for decisions on your life ahead.

We were married five months. They had not been the greatest five months. In fact, we seemed to argue a lot and both of us wondered if we’d made the right decision to marry at the young age of 22.

I was a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo and she moved from Ottawa to join me after the wedding. In a way, we were a traditional marriage. We did not ‘live with each other’ prior to getting hitched. We just knew we were deeply in love and we trusted in that.

Our transition as a married couple was difficult. Everyday, I drove to the lab to do my research. For some reason that I cannot remember, I left her at home without transportation. She did not know anyone in Waterloo. I was surprised when I’d get an earful about needing to come home. I couldn’t stay late in lab like I always had.

For five months, we argued. This transition was not going well. Slowly, and maybe not fast enough, the idea dawned on me that the situation had changed and that she was right. I had been a self-centered dough-head. I needed to start thinking of us as a couple.

And then, she became pregnant. “We’re pregnant!” is a very scary phrase. I immediately felt myself hyperventilating. I’m a scientist – I know how these things happen – facts, figures, timelines. I was hit with an emotional wall of confusion. Damn, things were just starting to go good for us!

Our plan was to have kids – but not until I was finished grad school – which was two years away. How could we afford a kid on a grad student’s income? Wasn’t I too young for this? Was this a bad idea to have a kids now?

I approached her with a difficult question. Did she want the child or was abortion an option? It was a tipping point decision to make that would affect the rest of our lives. We were just starting to get the hang of talking things through. It was a talk that challenged our values.

No – abortion was not an option. We were going to be parents – just a little earlier than planned. We trusted that all would work out in the end.

With that decision made, I knew that other children would follow in about two and a half year intervals. Before we were married we’d already resolved to have more than one child and that we’d only have one kid in diapers at any one time.

I felt overwhelmed with this new prospect. I was scared and anxious. I had to look after the future and given where I was now – it was scary on grad student pay.

Baby was on the way – now what?

I grew determined. A new direction and resolve grew in my belly. I had to get my ass in gear, finish by degree and get a job to support my family. I had to do that because … I was a dad.


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