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The Mommy Club: to Join, or Not to Join?

woman with brown hair standing on the street leaning against a building and looking into the distance

After focusing on preventing pregnancy for so many years, deciding to plan a pregnancy is a whole other ball of wax.

I have always wanted kids, but they were not my first priority. I had a Plan. First, I wanted to get a master’s degree, become a director of an organization, travel the world, and have enough money to feel secure. (One can do all these things while being a parent, of course, but did I mention that I have a Plan?) The Plan is still in motion and I still have my chosen method of contraception in place—an IUD.

I got my first IUD while I was in graduate school. I wanted highly-effective, non-hormonal contraception that left little room for personal error. I wanted a break from hormones (I was previously on the pill but stopped due to migraines) and after some research, I decided that the Paragard IUD was the best fit for me. (To learn if an IUD is right for you, or to talk about any of the other methods of birth control that are on the market today, make an appointment at your nearest The Right Time health center.)

My friends start joining the Mommy Club, but not me.

When I got married after grad school, people asked when my husband and I would start a family. The answer was “not yet.” Getting pregnant and having a baby right after getting married wasn’t part of The Plan.

A few years later, I still wasn’t ready to become a parent, even though many of my friends were making the choice to join the Mommy Club. My newsfeed was blowing up with ultrasound photos, baby announcements, and pictures of infants and toddlers. The pressure was on! Between my mom asking me when she would get some grandchildren and my friends taking the leap into parenthood, I started to question my choices. Should I have been ready? Should I have wanted kids then? Others were doing it and they seemed fine, even happy. But, the thought of being responsible for another human freaked me out and I still had other priorities.

Now I’ve finished my education, I’ve traveled the world, and I have enough money to feel secure. I haven’t been a director of an organization yet—and that’s okay. Every good planner knows that things don’t always go according to Plan. I did my best, and my IUDs helped me along the way.

Am I ready?

So, here I am, kicking off my 30s. I feel confident and happy about where I am in life, and ready to join the Mommy Club. I’ll admit that now that I’m here, it’s scary. Is now the right time? Like… right now? Maybe a little later would be better?

Maybe there isn’t ever a good or perfect time, as some of my friends have advised.

Pregnancy doesn’t look like a walk in the park and parenting seems like a daunting task—one that lasts a lifetime. Witnessing my friends’ lives change as they have kids has been interesting. Their priorities are different from mine, but their lives also seem to be filled with more joy. I am still wrapping my head around the challenging but rewarding around-the-clock experience of pregnancy and parenting. In the meantime, I can be confident my IUD has my back. It’s not going anywhere until I’m ready.

Updated October 2020

Elizabeth Dawes Gay, MPH, is a health and social justice advocate who is especially concerned with improving maternal health in the Black community and protecting and expanding access to contraception. She is a member of the Echoing Ida writing collective, a project of Forward Together. Her musings can be found on Rewire, Huffington Post, and She is the proud mama of one cat named Nina. Follow her on Twitter.

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