My first pregnancy sparked many dreams. From nesting to nursing classes, I had countless ideas to prepare our family for its newest member. Moving was not one of them.
So when I noticed my husband browsing apartments online just a few months before my due date, my stomach lurched.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we had spent several months away from our apartment in the upper east side of New York City, and we had finally come back to get ready for the baby. I had cooked up countless visions of decor details to welcome the little guy—my mind was far from the thought of packing up and starting from scratch.
To be clear, my husband wasn’t about to spring a surprise move on me. As a finance guy, his initial perusals through StreetEasy were for the sheer amusement of observing market trends. But as the pandemic dragged on, those trends drove rent prices far below our own lease. Before long, moving to a cheaper apartment didn’t sound like a totally crazy idea.
At least in theory. Although I could tell myself all the logical reasons why considering a more affordable apartment was worthwhile, an emotional battle raged inside of me each time the prospect came up. I’m not big on change, and my love for our little apartment made the idea of giving it up even harder. Plus, the waves of pregnancy hormones only added to the challenge.
Still, the logic remained. One of the reasons why I love my husband is that he shares my biggest dream for our family: raising kids with the values we hold dear. That includes sending them to schools with missions we admire. To do that, we knew we needed to save up. We were already on a budget, but slashing our biggest monthly expense, rent, would be a huge step toward achieving that long-term family goal.
So I agreed to come to the discussion table. We decided that if we could find a place that was comfortable and inexpensive, then moving would be worth the hassle (which he promised to minimize for my very pregnant self by having me spend the moving day at a friend’s house).
With that, I dove headfirst into what had previously seemed unthinkable. I found myself visiting new neighborhoods, asking questions at apartment viewings, and reviewing them at home. We evaluated our options carefully, weighing the pros and cons of each one and speaking honestly about our priorities.
It wasn’t easy. Traveling around town to see one apartment after another—some of which made me cringe—and scrambling to secure one we liked would have been a challenge at any time. At eight months pregnant, it felt like a marathon. And though I was excited when we decided to move to a charming apartment in midtown Manhattan—which also saved us $550 in monthly rent—I had to take several calming breaths when I saw the boxes piled high on moving day. Even after we moved, I couldn’t help shedding a few mournful tears as I rode an Uber to a prenatal appointment and passed through our old neighborhood.
No doubt, it would have been much easier to simply shut down the idea of moving, continue our current spending pattern, and stay put. But ever since I had decided to marry my husband, I knew that I could trust his judgment. That doesn’t mean blindly agreeing with everything he says, but it does mean hearing him out when he presents a new idea. It means that when an opportunity arises, we work together to sort it out. While his ideas are sometimes different from my own, they’re always coming from the mind of someone I love. That’s what enabled me to listen, open my mind to a new prospect, and ultimately decide to do something I had never thought of before.
And here’s the best part: it turned out great! I really and truly love our new home even more than our first one. Thanks to the convenience of a first floor apartment (I don’t know how I thought I could manage a walk-up with a stroller!), a lovely park right across the street, and a friendly community, it’s the perfect nest for our budding family. And with the smaller price tag, it’s also the perfect launching pad.
Some disillusioned voices paint marriage as a roadblock to female empowerment, a setback to our pursuit of “the good life.” But that need not be the case. By taking on the challenge of a new idea, setting aside my fears, and collaborating with my husband, I found a way to enrich my life. I accomplished something that I had never thought myself capable of: moving and settling into a new apartment just weeks before becoming a mom. I had always had it in me, but my marriage propelled me to get there.
If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that the next time my husband throws out what seems like a wild idea, I’ll know not to dismiss it but rather to listen. Regardless of the final decision we come to, what matters is that we come to it as a team. And we will both be better off because of it.