Having a baby is not a decision anyone should take lightly. If you plan to parent with a partner, this can make the decision additionally complicated because it's important to be on the same page. Still, everyday couples all over the world decide to take the plunge. How do they know? What checklist have they completed to make them so sure of their decision? How do they know their relationship will be OK? While there's no definitive answer, I can tell you from my own experiences that the weird signs that prove your relationship is ready for a baby, help you reach the decision to procreate with a partner.
It cannot be denied that babies take a toll on relationships. Even the strongest and most dedicated of couples can find themselves painfully adjusting to life with a little one, simply because children take so much from you it seems like there's nothing left of you to give your beloved. And yet, at the same time, having a child together can absolutely make your relationship stronger. Not only are you connected to this person now, forever, via this tiny creature you are bringing up together and adore, but for all the trouble they cause kids have the potential to bring out the best in us, and encourage us to love everyone more deeply than perhaps we did before.
How can you know how it will play out for you? Well, you never really know, but here are some barely discussed signs that you are in a good position to find out. I'm not talking signs, like, "You've had important discussions about children and child-rearing" or "You're financially secure" or "You've talked about your local support network and agree that you and your child will be in a safe and loving environment." I'm talking about even more important (if off-beat) signs that The Man doesn't want you to know about.
You've Started Swaddling The Cat
It starts off as a joke. You snap a picture and post it on social media with an eye-popping filter and cute little stickers. You call her your little "Purrito." You and your partner joke about her being your first baby, but then your laughter gets awkward and you catch yourselves smiling lovingly as you gaze at your cat (who is really pissed off at this point and will probably wind up scratching the hell out of your arms and you will both deserve it).
You Wear A Backpack Backwards And Pretend It's A Baby Carrier
How cute does babywearing look, right? Meanwhile, your partner has taken to pushing a little handcart around. No reason. No reason at all. It's totally not that they're pretending it's a stroller. That would be weird, and you're both totally normal.
You Watch 'Supernanny' Re-Runs The Way Die-Hard Fans Watch Football
You call fouls on parents whenever they don't listen to Jo Frost. You scream at the TV when mom undermines dad or vice versa. You armchair analyze what led the family to the point they've reached before Supernanny even has the chance. You discuss how you would parent differently with the smug satisfaction only someone who doesn't actually have kids can muster.
When Buying Flour, You Rock It In Your Arms
Isn't it nifty how the weight of that 5-pound bag feels so natural in your arms? The way it just kind of rests in the crook of your arm like it belongs there. You smile and proudly pass it to your eagerly awaiting partner, who gently places it in the shopping cart.
A Talking Wolf Came To You Both In A Dream And Told You It Was Time
You and your partner suddenly wake and look at each other, somehow knowing you've just had the same dream. In it, a wolf named Atreyu bounds before both of you, a shimmering rainbow in his wake. "Hail!" he says with an inexplicably thick Dutch accent. "I bring to you news of good tidings and change. I come to tell you of a child that will be born."
"When?" you and your partner ask in unison, but Atreyu only winks, turns into a crow, and flies away.
Exact details of this dream may vary depending on the couple, but there's always a Dutch-sounding wolf. All parents will be able to tell you about the first time they had the wolf dream.
You Have Begun To Argue About Where Your Houseplants Will Go To College
You want Rosemary (you named your plant that because it is, in fact, a rosemary plant) to go to UC Davis, since you believe they've developed an interest in horticulture and Davis is known for its wonderful farming programs. Your partner insists that going to a community college for the first two years to get core credits and then graduating from their fancy schmancy alma mater is the way to go. You go days without speaking, communicating only in terse mumbles as you water the plant, which is starting to wilt a little bit under all the emotional pressure.
While Looking At Online Listings Together, You Linger On An Ad Reading "Adult Baby Seeks Caretaker"
You pause, squint at the screen, and slowly look at each other. One of you takes a deep breath, shrugs a little and begins "Well..."
"No," replies the other.
Good decision. There are reasons some people to want to get into the adult baby scene (power to them), but this isn't not one of them. However, the fact that you thought about it at all speaks volumes to your readiness.
You Awake From Fugue States With Pamphlets From Local Preschools In Your Bag
You don't remember going to any of these preschools, but you check your phone and sure enough you called every single one between 4:45 p.m. on Monday and 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday. There's a voicemail from Wee Ones Child Development Center over on Blaker Street thanking you for taking and interest and wishing you the best of luck on welcoming "little Isadora and Malcolm."
You didn't know you were considering the names Isadora or Malcolm for children, but now you can't stop thinking about it.
Colored Leaves Swirl About You On A Musical Wind When You Think About Babies
I assume, anyway. Beautiful leaves on a musical wind were how Pocahontas knew changes were coming, and everyone knows how historically accurate Disney's Pocahontas was.
You Throw Your Newspaper In A Rage When Neither Of Your Horoscopes Says Anything About A New Baby
You don't even really read the newspaper, but your constantly wondering if you're ready for a baby has led you and your partner to the newsstand every morning at 5 a.m. to buy every paper with a horoscope and pore over them, searching for any interpretation that says there's a little one in your future.
The silver-lining to this, of course, is that early morning wake-ups are really good practice for life with a child.
You Are Walking Through The Woods...
...hand in hand, when you come across a quaint-looking caravan. A mysterious-looking mystic emerges and with one long-nailed finger beckons you inside. There, she gazes into a crystal ball, summons spirits, and tells you that voices from the "great beyond" have told her that you and your partner are ready to have a baby. You leave, shaken, excited, and confused. You turn around to ask her a question, but both she, and the caravan have vanished.
(You tell this story at your next slumber party. It's a huge hit.)
You Just Know
This one actually happens to be true. So, honestly, don't be too preoccupied with signs and omens. When the time is right, you'll just know.