Doing the Pregnancy Math

It's never easy to time having a baby, but Kathy Zucker creates long-term fertility projections alongside her household financial planning.

If you have ever been pregnant, you know how easy it is to get obsessed with numbers.

Forty weeks. That number becomes all-encompassing. Starting from the first day of your last menstrual period, you can track exactly when your baby's heart starts to beat. You can also stress about your due date and whether you will wind up with a cesarean section based on an early or late delivery.

But for many of us, the pregnancy math starts well before we actually become pregnant.

In the same way that I create long-term financial projections for my household, I also maintain fertility projections. I have absolutely no control over when I will conceive. All I can do is look at the odds and guess.

Factoring in potential miscarriages, conception time and spacing between kids, I assumed it would take us three years to achieve each take-home baby. Knowing that we wanted to have more than one child and with the specter of age 35 staring me in the face, age 30 seemed like the perfect time to start a family. It also helped that my husband and I had been together for a decade at that point; with five years of marriage under our belts, we had plenty to find ourselves plus get our financial house in order.

I became pregnant with our first child when I was 31 and our second when I was 33.

The first three years were really rough. It took a long time to adjust to our new life stage. Spacious when it was just the two of us and our dog, our Hoboken condo suddenly seemed ridiculously small when we had two babies and all their gear to contend with. Coupled with the hit to our household income when I decided to stay home, it took us five years to find a large-enough living space and get used to the new routine with a family double the size of our old one.

With two healthy kids under my belt before age 35, suddenly having a third became a very real possibility.

Timing a third pregnancy has turned out to be surprisingly similar to timing our first. We were not anywhere near ready to have a baby when we first started discussing it, but as time passed and we got closer to being ready, my pregnancy math projections tightened up until we had a finite time window. Given my history of pregnancy complications, my obstetrician strongly advised having the third child by age 38. My two kids became perceptibly easier to manage once they turned three and five, so the only remaining issues were money and career considerations.

We are in the window for baby no. 3; now is the time to set the plans aside and rely on prayer.

To read more about what makes Kathy Zucker tick, check out her blog at http://momcondoliving.com/ and follow her at http://twitter.com/kathyzucker

Zelda12 August 26, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Are you for real? I have seen other comments about this and it's true - You always sound this theme about yourself: You have a lot of money, and you did well in life because you prepared & worked hard and everyone else did not. Do we need to know that you had enough to put down a 20 percent downpayment on a house? And that we should have done the same? I agree that you think that you got what you have (and other people did not) because you worked hard and planned ahead, while they didn't. Don't you realize that many people do that but illness, sudden catastrophe, needy relatives, disasters, and other things, no matter HOW much they prepare, and sometimes when they are young before they even have a chance, can make them not even have a chance to prepare like you did? Not to mention that obviously your husband has money and your parents probably do too. Repeat after me - you are lucky, lucky, lucky. Why is it so important for you to keep finding ways to tell us how much money you have? "Wow, if everyone in the country had done the same over the last decade, I wonder how the real estate market would have fared?" Yes I guess no one is as 'smart' as you. You will probably never have enough money to buy the humility you really need.
Zelda12 August 27, 2011 at 10:29 AM
and people who have children before they can really afford them...may be doing it because if they wait too long, they'll need infertility treatments that cost a lot more.
Joni February 28, 2012 at 09:35 PM
what i find most interesting is for anyone who has ever seen the Zucker family about town, they are far from the happy and perfect family. On every such occassion they are usually either 1) yelling at each other 2) yelling at their poor children or 3) storming off and leaving each other curbside. Grow up and get a life Kathy. I know it will shock you but you are hardly the first person to put down 20% on your mortgage, indeed we dont even have a mortgage as we did work hard and we have paid it all off but we dont need a blog to show off about it (oh and we have 3 healthy and happy kids). Further you would do well to focus on your own family, stop pimping out your young kids as models and spoiling their childhood and work on raising them in a happy, fun and relaxed environment irrespective of your income level.
Grafix Avenger February 28, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Bob R February 29, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Yeah, who does she think she's kidding with all the back-handed bragging and self-promotion? What's so special about you? Do you not know that I'm the Duke of Windsor? That's right. How's that for one-upmanship? Yeah, you've got a huge condo and a lucrative business, but that pales in comparison to bona fide royalty. Did I mention I'm the Duke of Windsor?


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