TTC? First off, you may be thinking, what does ttc mean? I remember googling those three little letters when my husband and I were talking about starting a family. I was the woman who would see a baby and get a twinge in my belly telling me to join the club. A baby brings an immeasurable amount of joy and happiness, but also stress, sleep-deprivation, and changes that last forever. I'd like to share my top five things to consider before trying to conceive.
1. Take a Luxury Vacation
Traveling with a child is oh so different from flying solo. My husband and I went to Anguilla and Aruba before we had my son, and sadly we haven't been anywhere tropical since becoming parents. We have the most wonderful memories of sitting on the beach, sipping cocktails, and doing absolutely nothing. Our vacations now are still wonderful, but very different. Rather than reading a book while drinking a piña colada, we're lathering sunscreen on a squirmy two-year-old and going to an early bird dinner so we can be home to put our son to bed. Don't get me wrong--both scenarios are awesome, but vacations with children aren't exactly relaxing. If you have a bucket list of places you'd like to see, I would highly suggest trying to get there before becoming parents.
2. Mind & Body Goals
Want to run a 5K? Maybe you'd like to take a pottery class. What about that french bistro you always drive by? Whether your goals are small or big, now is the time to make them happen. Accomplishing things that are important to you will make it easier to adjust to taking care of a baby that needs you 24/7. It's important to make time for yourself after having a baby, but the time you get is usually all too short.
It's also noteworthy to mention that being in top health can only help your chances of conceiving when the time comes.
3. Your Home
My husband and I lived with my in-laws while we built our dream home. We also had our son, who was six months old at the time. Picture this: my in-laws were retired, my husband was at work, and I had a six-month-old who wasn't sleeping. This created a high-stress home environment for us. Looking back, it might have been smarter to have our forever home first. While this isn't always possible, it's a good idea to at least discuss where you want to plant your roots and raise your family; think about school ratings, neighborhood demographics, and community activities.
4. Know Your Cycle
So this tip isn't as fun, but it will save you headaches down the line. Months before trying to conceive, write down your cycle dates so that you come to know your body. When it's time to try, these are important dates to remember. There are apps that also allow you to track your cycle--Period Diary is one of my favorites, despite the name.
5. Entertainment Bucket List
Whether it's a movie, a play, or a comedy show, create a list of fun dates to go on before becoming parents. Going out is free for now (read: babysitters aren't cheap!) Pair your entertainment with restaurants you'd like to try. Enjoying time as a couple will allow you to look back on these special memories you've created together.
Another fun idea is to binge watch TV series together, especially if you're tight on cash. My personal recommendations include: The Office, Friends, Sneaky Pete, and This is Us.
I hope these ideas allow you to connect with your partner and enjoy all life has to offer, sans baby! I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss those tropical vacations. One day... one day we will be back. But for now, I'll enjoy these family vacations, because these memories are pretty special, too.