I gotta be honest. Growing up, I never wanted kids. They’re expensive and sticky and loud and those are three things that I don’t like. Plus, you have to carry them for nine months and then give birth. No thanks!
Instead, I wanted to be a superhero and save the world. Or visit the moon. Or make a lot of money doing something good for humanity (is that possible?). But when I envisioned my future, it included me working a lot and not having time for any children because I would be far too busy chasing my dreams.
And then I met my husband. It sounds cheesy, but Matthew is my perfect match. He compliments me in every way, and I’m so lucky to have found someone so special and supportive and fun.
Falling in love with my husband has made me fall in love with the idea of having children with him. It’s hard to explain, but the thought of creating a human that is 50% him and 50% me is one of the most romantic things I could ever imagine. The two things I love most in this world are my husband and myself (just being real here), so I can’t even fathom how much I would love someone that is perfect mix of both of us.
Okay, enough with the gushy stuff. The point is, I changed my mind. At some point in the last seven or so years, I fell in love with the idea of becoming a mom to a mini Gwinn-Hewitt spawn, and I never looked back. But still, it’s pretty scary. When should we have kids? Will we have enough money? How will we balance this 70-hour-a-week sports job that I have? Why did I move away from my parents, also known as our free babysitters? The list of concerns goes on and on.
At some point in our relationship, we decided it was time to start “trying.” Of course, that was a while ago and things haven’t exactly gone to plan, but that’s really not the point of all this. The point is that even deciding to plan for a family is overwhelming, and it really shouldn’t be. So even though our journey has been more difficult than others, here is what I’ve learned over the last year and a half:
Family planning is scary for everyone. No matter how much money you make or how many hours you (or your partner, if you have a partner) work, it will be terrifying. For some, those fears are the strongest when you’re deciding when to have kids. For others, it comes raging in during the ninth month of pregnancy when you decide you’ve changed your mind and you’re not ready to do this. For others, it’s when you finally bring that baby home and it won’t stop crying. Literally ALL of it is scary, but I promise, it’s doable. People all over the world have been figuring it out for a long time, so I promise you will, too.
Families come in all shapes and sizes. There is no “right time” to have a child, and there’s no “right way” either. If you are single and decide it’s your time, there are plenty of resources available to you. Similarly, if you are older and unable to have kids the old-fashioned way but have decided you are ready, there are lots of opportunities to make that dream come true. Early in my marriage, I set a timeline for when we would have kids; by age 25, I said! Welp, that was two birthdays ago and things still haven’t worked out for my husband and me, but that’s okay. There is no perfect age or process and there’s no one-size-fits-all step-by-step guide.
Things don’t always go according to plan. When we decided it was time, you better believe that type-A Katie Gwinn-Hewitt had a plan in place. My thought process: “The date of conception would have to occur between late summer and early fall so that our baby could be born during the summer months and that I could miss the least amount of work as possible.” As many of you know, that plan didn’t exactly come to fruition, which has been a hard pill to swallow, but also quite a big learning experience. I went into this thinking that my pregnancy needed to fall in line with my job, but I’ve learned that once we have a child (even the not-yet-born kind), he or she will come first -- no matter what.
Just because you’re a woman does not mean you have to have kids. I promise. As someone who falls into the awkward category of “wants kids but doesn’t have any yet,” I’m acutely aware of how our society portrays mothers and, conversely, women who are not mothers. It’s unfortunate that our society so closely relates the ideals of “womanhood” and “motherhood” when they are, in fact, two very different things, but if having children isn’t in your life plan, there is absolutely no judgement here. Your life is YOUR life, and it’s full of choices that you get to make.
You can still have (and love) your career. If you are planning to grow your family, you might be thinking about how difficult it will be to balance alongside a job in the #SportsBiz. As with any career, you will question how you could possibly balance morning sickness, travel, giving birth, maternity leave, breastfeeding (if you decide to go that route), and/or spending quality time with your new mini-me. Guess what? All of these concerns will be valid, but chances are, there will never be *enough* time or *enough* money to make you feel comfortable about the situation, no matter what type of job you have. When the times get tough, remember that you have a job that you LOVE. If that changes, then maybe it’s time for a change of scenery or a deep look at what you want from your career. Just remember, there are people out there who have both families and careers -- so it IS possible.
Family planning can be confusing and difficult, especially for those in the #SportsBiz world who are most likely working unpaid overtime while ballin’ on a budget, but it’s doable. While there’s no right answer or guide or secret sauce to be found here, I hope these tips have helped!