I want to write some more personal posts here on this blog, and this really is as personal as they get but it is something I want to share. Deciding to start a family is a HUGE decision and doesn’t always come as easily for some as it does for others.
I am writing this at 20 weeks pregnant and I am delighted and so, so lucky to feel my little one wriggle around inside my belly but it wasn’t a straight forward decision to get to this point.
I know many people never had a doubt about their decision to start a family – and that goes both ways to do it, or to not. Of course there are no wrong or right answers – it is totally individual to every person but what I found is that people just don’t often talk about not wanting or not having children. It is always just expected that of course you will, and in my mind, this mindset needs to change.
For me for a long time, I wasn’t that sure whether I did want to or not and I don’t think I am the only one who has felt like this.
I wonder if it starts from when I was younger – I never really considered children at all. My love was for animals and I didn’t have much contact with babies or children who were younger than me. My experience of them was the ones that screamed on the bus or in a restaurant or supermarket and that was enough to put me off for a while!
As I got older, my friends and family had little ones and I loved them deeply (and of course still do; I am a very proud Aunty and Godmother) and would fight to the death for them, but was always quite happy to wave goodbye and have peace and tidiness restored in my house/life! Hearing the ‘horror stories’ of birth and no sleep for years didn’t help matters much either.
Will and I have always very much on the same page and over the years we have discussed whether we would start a family many, many times. We both hugely enjoy our lives together and have been busy and fulfilled. We love our home, holidays and glorious Sunday morning lie-ins with tea in bed and reading the papers! We would think about what our lives would be like with children, and also how it might look without them and then we would put it off ‘for one more year’.
I don’t think it helped that I never got that deep, inside my ovaries yearning that I have heard of other women having – when they smell a newborn, when they see baby clothes or cuddle a friend’s baby! No doubt, I enjoy all those things, but I just don’t get that overwhelming desire deep within me to go forth and procreate.
I also think it is worth adding that I received a lot of pressure from people in general. I would say for the last two or three years I have been asked almost daily about when I was going to have children or had remarks made about when we have children and it has been a bit challenging at times. I know people mean well but it is such a personal question. You never know what someone is going through and those questions might be exactly what someone doesn’t want to be asked.
And so we went on some amazing holidays and renovated our home all with the very distant, back of mind thoughts that ‘one day’ we might have kids. Truth be told, we didn’t see our lives without them, but it was also hard to pin down a time that was right to have them. And the longer we left it, the harder it seemed to make that decision.
Then in May 2017 we went on a trip to NYC and talked about it a fair bit, deciding in the end to have one more year just the two us and then start trying for a family. I would then be 33 and Will 35 so we had had a good innings on living our life to the full as a twosome. When we got to that point, May 2018, I pretty much steadfastly refused to acknowledge it and carried on pretending we hadn’t made a decision at all. I think Will felt exactly the same too.
However fast forward to the autumn and we both realised we were as close to ready as anyone ever is. Once that decision was made it was like a switch had changed in me and I was ready to go!
A number of people have asked me whether this was a planned pregnancy (which I think is a really odd/intrusive question to ask), but yes, it absolutely was – it just took a long time in the planning!
I still have the odd moment when a little panic sets in and I wonder what I am letting myself in for, but with every wriggle I feel I fall a little more in love with my soon to be son or daughter and am incredibly lucky to have been able to conceive and carry this baby thus far.
I have so much respect for those who have decided that children aren’t for them and for those who would like a baby but are unable to and are living childfree.
Everyone’s decision is so personal, but I think there needs to be a general shift to not judge people whatever their decisions or reasons are.
Here are great pieces of content I have really enjoyed on the subject:
Lindsey Drabwell’s blog Boo and Maddie has a great section about living childfree which really opens the conversation.
I also really enjoyed this post by Wendy from Thank Fifi about motherhood for the unmaternal. Wendy has a gorgeous son and is currently expecting baby no. 2 but similarly to me wasn’t sure for a while if motherhood was for her.
And this Let’s Discuss podcast here on the subject of considering motherhood is a great discussion point.
What’s your viewpoint? I would love to hear if you have
been in a similar position to me, or did you know exactly
one way or the other?
Photography credit: Xander and Thea