I met Andre when I was twenty-six years old. We fell in love fast, and within six months, we were living together in an apartment in Koreatown and raising a puppy we had rescued at a local shelter. Two years later, we started a handbag line, bought a house, and got married. A lot was happening. And then, when I turned 30, my entire career changed. Andre and I closed down the handbag business because it just wasn’t making any money, and I was forced to rethink what I truly wanted to do. After a few months of testing the waters in the food industry, I launched Valleybrink Road. Originally it was a boutique catering company where I cooked for intimate events at people’s homes. It took off quickly and was so labor-intensive, requiring me to be at each event. During this time, Andre and I also decided to start trying to get pregnant and, after one month of trying, I was.
I tell you this because I don’t think there is necessarily a “right” time to become a parent. I think it’s more about where you are emotionally and mentally that makes a difference because much is out of your control. If I had been thinking in those terms, I never would have allowed myself to get pregnant at 31. There was so much I wanted to do professionally; I had just started a business, I didn’t feel financially secure in the least, and Andre and I were still essentially newlyweds. On the other side of it, I knew that we wanted to have more than one child, I wanted to be a young mom (in LA standards), and I was married to someone who was seven years older than I was. Also, I didn’t know how long it would take to get pregnant. Just because we decide “we are ready” doesn’t mean that it then happens right away. I had many friends who had tried for years to get pregnant with no luck, so I knew that it also might just take some time. When it happened so quickly, I was shocked, delighted, and terrified, all at once.
When I look back on that time now, I felt so much anxiety about what would happen to my business once the baby arrived. Would people still hire me? Would I be able to be a new mom and run a company? Would we be able to afford this new baby, and what was that going to even look like? There were so many unknowns that had no clear answers in sight. But I can tell you that you will figure it out. After Costa arrived, the business grew even more. I felt more creatively inspired and had a deep desire to build a secure future that was truly ours. I was grateful for a comfortable pregnancy and the arrival of a healthy and happy baby. All the things I had worried about during pregnancy, didn’t play out in the way I’d been anticipating. Life blossomed and became even better. And, it was the same with Paolo. I didn’t feel ready to have another baby, but I knew that I wanted to have two, and Costa was getting older. It also took much longer to get pregnant with Paolo, which I hadn’t expected because I got pregnant so quickly with Costa.
My advice would be that if you feel happy and healthy in your relationship, or you feel ready to raise a child on your own, then the time is now to start exploring what that looks like for you. Whatever way you decide to become a parent, whether it be getting pregnant, adopting, or having a surrogate, the journey is usually longer and harder than we anticipate, and can be more emotionally exhausting than we could ever have expected. You won’t be able to control it, so letting go of that idea in the beginning is helpful in managing expectations. No one and nothing can prepare you for what being a parent really is….it will be the greatest and hardest thing you ever do in life, at least that’s what it is for me. x