How I Made the Decision to Have A Baby
oh where to start. as i have mentioned previously, my husband has been ready for a baby for literally years. i have not been ready for that long, actually i have not been ready for 98% of that time. that is another post for another day but i can tell you it has been one of the tougher things we have faced in our marriage. so how did i make the decision to have a baby?
here i sit with a growing belly that isn’t due to me ignoring the fact i’m lactose intolerant and still eating ice cream but rather because i’m growing a human. wild. did we “accidentally” get pregnant? actually, i think that is an oxymoron because while a pregnancy may be unplanned, there is no accident because sex is in fact, how you get pregnant (or in vitro).
this wasn’t the case for us. this was a planned, intentional pregnancy and as i wrote about friday, i am so incredibly grateful to have a choice in my reproductive rights.
so how did i get to this point? i don’t mean the actual act because ya know, i’m not going to talk about that and we all know how that happened. so what changed for me?
plain and simple – i went away. i went away from my family, my friends, from social media and i spent uninterrupted time both with my husband and more importantly, with myself. this process started when we traveled to our 6th continent of south america and adventured through buenos aires, argentina last november. as we explored this beautiful city and took in the sights, we kept seeing the names of the future children we talked about having. they are pretty unique names (currently being kept under-wraps) so it was strange and bizarre to see them and often times quite literally a sign.
we stopped for lunch at a cute cafe and started having yet another conversation about kids, our lifestyle, and what we wanted our lives to look like. i wish i could tell you that this conversation was light and airy and while it eventually ended up that way – i totally cried at the table because i tend to do that when i have intense conversations.
i have never taken the choice to have a baby lightly and i have also never been driven by the “emotional pull” so many women talk about. when i hold babies, my ovaries don’t scream out that i need a baby immediately. there has never been an urgency in my biological make up that makes me think i need a baby sooner than later. i simply haven’t felt those things. i have thought it would be fun to be a parent specifically with my husband but there has never been an urgency to it.
on our walk back to our hotel, we grabbed a bottle of malbec (which i am currently salivating at the thought of) and continued the procreation talk from the rooftop deck of where we were staying. this conversation felt different because i felt as though my husband was fully understanding how much more the decision to have a baby will initially effect me than him.
don’t get me wrong, i am married to a man who is passionate about communication and we both work hard to have this be a top priority in our marriage but in the past i had felt like he wasn’t fully grasping how much more i would have to sacrifice than him initially. it was that day when i felt as though he fully understood how much more of an impact this would have on me than him during pregnancy and the first few months when my body keeps the tiny human alive.
i felt heard, i felt validated and i felt respected by him. that moved me oh so much closer to making the decision to feeling a bit more ready to start the process.
our travels moved farther south from buenos aires to the “the most southern city in the world” of ushuaia, argentina. we moved from a bustling city to a serene and reflective place. the ridiculously gorgeous hotel we stayed at aided in me taking time to reflect on my true desires of wanting to expand our families.
if you have been reading for a while, then you know our next stop from here was venturing to our 7th continent of antarctica.
the farther we traveled, the more solitude and clarity i experienced. we were literally out of touch (except for our map to dreaming big event) for 12 days. i felt freed from the pressures of well-meaning friends and family either saying “have kids already – it’s the most amazing thing ever!” as well “don’t have kids yet, keep doing what you are doing!”
when this is your constant view, your soul and mind naturally tend to swirl around in a reflective state.
not only did i feel this new sense of confidence in conquering some serious anxiety about traveling here, but i felt so satisfied and proud of the hard work my husband and i put in to get to that point.
i sat in a secluded corner of the boat, sipping tea and gazing out the window into the blinding white of the snow. i started getting really real with myself about how i wanted the rest of my life to look. i came to the realization that i will never be guided by “that feeling” of intensely needing to have a baby. it’s not going to happen for me and that’s okay. it was then i accepted that i would have to make a rational decision, one that is not based on an emotional feeling. this was odd because i am an incredibly high-feelings and high-emotions person but for this case, it would be a clear-headed choice.
as i gazed at the glaciers, a conversation my husband and i had a few months earlier with an insanely successful business/family man popped into my head. he said, “my wife and i live our life with our children, not for them.” that helped to calm some of my anxiety with feeling like i might never have my own life again but will be sucked into the vortex of having to live solely for children. we get to design our life and we get to try things, adjust them and figure out what works for us.
the final piece that solidified my decision to expand our family is a key piece and that was considering who i would co-parent with, my husband. i distinctly remember meeting him as a tall, lanky, goofy guy when he was 19 and i knew immediately that should he ever become a dad, he would be the very best dad. we share the same values, he is ambitious, he is kind, we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses and he has really nice teeth (that’s important to me).
am i saying you have to travel all the way to antarctica to get clear on if you are ready to have a baby? of course not – though i do highly recommend it.
i would encourage you to find a secluded spot, away from family, friends and even your spouse to take the time and space to work through what you as an individual, want. what you discover about what you truly desire may freak you out initially, but it also provides you with a sense of calm because you are secure with what you deeply desire and only you can truly know that.
ps. as my friend kate said to me “i think you’ve reached a new level when people want to know where this baby was conceived!” ha, suffice it to say this was an antarctica-inspired baby, our little penguin!