If you follow me on social media or indeed here on Smaggle, you’d know by now that I’m pregnant. Which is a really, really weird sentence to write. Our pregnancy was 100% planned and I’m unbelievably thrilled and excited but I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be pregnant. Not because of any pre-determined fertility issues, we just weren’t sure we wanted to have a kid.
I’m not the type of person who has always wanted to be a parent. I can remember being in high school and talking about it with girlfriends and most of them were all ‘Oh I DEFINITELY want kids someday!’ I was like ‘How do you know that? I’m sixteen. I want to drink a few Cruisers in the park on the weekend and that’s about how far I’m thinking about my future right now’.
Our desire to become parents wasn’t an inbuilt yearning as it seems to be for others. It was a little flicker that grew over time until we finally felt that there was room for another person on our team. That we actually really, really wanted another person on our team.
Telling close family and friends was fun but one of the weirdest parts of this whole journey is how unbelievably shocked everyone has been. Like seriously shocked. Mama Smaggle’s best friend nearly ran off the road when she told her in the car. Both sets of our parents were gobsmacked. Delighted, but gobsmacked.
I understand this to some degree. Mr Smaggle and I have been together for twelve years and we’re not married so there haven’t been any obvious markers that would suggest we were planning on doing this. I don’t know a single unmarried couple who have waited as long as we have to start a family (we’ve been together since just after high school). Most of my friends in decade-long relationships got married and had kids almost immediately after their weddings. The way you’re supposed to, so you don’t shock the hell out of everyone. We just kind of never got around to getting married so that threw a very confusing spanner in the works for everyone. Without a wedding, how were they supposed to know when to start asking us about kids? We did everything the wrong way.
There are a few reasons why we didn’t discuss our plans.
1. We didn’t want it to be a big deal
Because it’s really not. Heaps of people have kids. Most people I know have kids. We just wanted to quietly give it a red hot go and see what happened. And now I’m 23 weeks pregnant and pretty bloody stoked about it.
2. We wanted the freedom to un-choose our choice
We decided in 2014 that we definitely wanted to be parents and decided to start trying in 2018. Before then we had an inkling we might have wanted to do it but we were in our twenties and being the pragmatic people we are, we didn’t know how we were going to feel about it when crunch time came. It was also never a do or die situation for either of us. We are very sure we would have had a wonderful life if we chose to stay child-free but we made a rational, calculated decision to become parents. We looked into our future and we saw a kid there. Plus we’ve been clucky as fuck for the last 5 years. Having successfully avoided a pregnancy for the entirety of our relationship we had no idea what our fertility situation would be like. No one does. But we discussed it and decided that we weren’t sure we’d fight that hard if our fertility was a problem. I’ve seen couples spend the equivalent of house deposits on IVF and I’ve read enough blogs to know how difficult adoption is and it didn’t seem like something we had the strength or energy for. I can’t say what we would have done under different circumstances but we wanted the option to privately and quietly decide to un-pursue parenthood if we wished. If we told everyone we were trying to have a baby and then had issues falling pregnant and chose not to pursue other avenues, we didn’t want to disappoint people who were hell-bent on us having the baby we promised them. When you tell people you’re trying to have a baby, they expect a baby and we didn’t want anyone else to be a part of our decision-making process if that happened to be a difficult thing for us to do. So we kept quiet and we’re REALLY glad we did. 10/10 would recommend it to a friend.
3. It felt weird talking to people about it
I don’t mind at all when people talk about trying to have a baby nor do I think it’s oversharing if people do talk about it, but it just wasn’t something we felt like discussing with people. The decision wasn’t even really that conscious. It’s a thing that happened and it certainly wasn’t going to involve anyone else so it just kind of didn’t come up in conversation.
Also, this isn’t a rant. I’m not mad, I’m fascinated and actually very amused. ‘But… I thought you decided to not have children???’ has been uttered at least a dozen times at us in the last few months and it’s just baffling to me how many people misinterpreted our memo, especially when we were pretty clear that we weren’t sure. That meant ‘no’ to an astounding amount of people. It was odd that our ‘maybe’ was interpreted as a ‘no’. I’ve had many conversations with child-free people who have announced quite firmly that they’re not having children and their ‘no’ is generally always interpreted as a ‘maybe’. Or perhaps if you’re a woman and you’re not running around screaming ‘PUT A BABY IN ME!’ that’s a sure fire sign you’re not keen on parenthood.
When we said ‘I don’t know… maybe one day.’ We meant it.
One day arrived… and we decided we really wanted it.