Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pregnancy - planned or by accident?

Ever heard one of your friends smile sheepishly announcing their pregnancy as "by accident"? I've listened to the "by accident" version numerous times from various people, in some instances from the same person for all pregnancies.

Before I proceed any further, common sense dictates that I start this post with a caveat - this post does not have any intended reference to my friends or acquaintances or their circumstances!

And I've always wondered, "Wow! How is an accident possible so many times?" Unable to control my curiosity I've even questioned them what exactly does this accident entail. No points for guessing. Most often, I was promised with an explanation when they met in person or a shy grin. I know! Who asks such embarrassing questions?

I've grown up since and understood that unplanned pregnancies are referred by people as "accident" for lack of a better term. Who would deny anything that comes as a surprise brings with it an element of excitement! But I'm not so sure about pregnancies. There's a lot at stake here if both the partners are employed, the woman is career-oriented and definitely didn't wish for a baby at that point in her life or had planned to postpone it by a few years because her biological clock wasn't ticking yet!

In my opinion, planning pays off where pregnancies are concerned. Factors such as where you would want to deliver your child, the support system during and post pregnancy, financial aspects, if you want to get back to work or be with the child in which case an alternate career option and most importantly being mentally prepared take some thinking. I believe being mentally prepared ranks first as there is no learning curve in a child's birth process and all things unexpected can happen any time. It calls for an adjustment in lifestyles, understanding between the husband and wife, sharing of household work or hiring a maid to reduce the burden and caring for each other. And, in the case of an unplanned pregnancy you just don't have the time to take in the news and readjust yourself. It just happens so suddenly! It's worse when you've just been married a few months.

I've seen women getting depressed because they had to leave their jobs for a while or she wasn't sure she really wanted a second kid at this stage in life with the first one barely two years old and the lack of a support system to carry on both. The added burden of making a decision whether or not to have the second child conceived brings with it another tension and the guilt of aborting, so most women decide to go with the flow.

So, this gets us back to the basic question - why act in haste and be unprepared or unplanned! You don't have to be cautious every moment of your life but this one is definitely worth every moment's precaution.

Ofcourse, no planning is enough as in my case. I thought we had it all figured out when we started planning two years in advance for our child on when to move back to India, settle down in my job and Bangalore for a few months and then go on maternity leave. But life had other plans and I decided to change my job that provided a work-from-home option. So plans for having a child got postponed by a few months giving me the window to settle in my new job. Just as I was getting adjusted came another surprise for which I was least prepared - moving to another city and another job which meant the baby had to wait for another 6 months. Move to another city, new job, the long commute, yet another new job that I wasn't happy with when I decided that this career stuff could just go on and on with no end in sight. That is when we made up our mind and put forth a plan - a plan to set aside all I earned as savings and sound investments for the next 12 months until the baby was due when I would eventually quit. In hindsight, that plan worked out wonderfully for us in all aspects.


GG said...

I've read ur blog on and off and I find the information very useful and the blog interesting! :) My q to u is, if its not too personal, wht kind of investments did u make that has worked well for u..?
I have a son who is soon going to be 1 and toying with the idea of quitting my job is not sitting well with me, any suggestions as to how to invest correctly, wud help me make the decision easier..Do let me know..

L said...

Hi GG,

Thank you!

Do you have an e-mail address that I can write to you at?

- Lakshmi

GG said...

sure L,

Its gayathri.n@gmail.com.. :)