QUESTION: We have had 11 pretty fulfilling years together in which we’ve moved countries twice, once for each of our careers. We both enjoy experiencing different countries and lifestyles, both love our jobs, both have missed our families at times but overall we love living in New Zealand and will probably stay. Recently we’ve begun discussing whether we will have children or not.
Earlier, we relegated this to the “let’s see if it happens” box, while continuing to use contraception but as I approach 40 we know it’s now or never. I’m surprised to find myself swamped with doubts about the relationship. Are we close enough? Can we sustain this? It’s 2016 and I’m still hearing the term “working mothers” but not “working fathers” so I know even if we use childcare from an early age and I maintain my career, the weight of responsibility for this child will be mine. Will I resent my partner for this? Will he do his share? Will he appreciate me for doing this?
You’re doing a great job of recognising all that your head is telling you about the challenges of parenting. What about your heart? What does it say? Is there a yearning in you to have your body carry and bring a child into the world, nurturing this little being for 20 years until they grow into their own adult self? It is indeed a huge challenge requiring parents to give of themselves without expecting a reward and as immigrants you two would probably be doing this without much family support. I can absolutely understand your concerns, I hope you are discussing them with your partner. Your letter suggests mutual respect for equality. Through all the changes and tests of the past decade, how well have you two attended to your relationship? Are you open, are you both good listeners willing to empathise and able to work together? These skills arm couples to tackle whatever they encounter. How aware are each of you of your emotions? Follow mindfulness guidelines online to be in your body, observing and acknowledging but not making a meal of your fears. Do you find excitement as well? There is no right thing to do, there’s just making a mutual choice then the ongoing daily work of honouring that choice.
ANSWER: Oh my god, no, no, listen to me, please NO. Do not have a baby because your dude partner wants a baby when you’re not sure. THAT’S LIKE A TERRIBLE TERRIBLE IDEA DON’T EVEN CONSIDER IT.
You will resent your partner. Because you will be pregnant and then give birth and then there’ll be this baby all the time, and your partner will be like it’s so cute, bye now and you’ll be like oh my god I can’t believe pregnancy and childbirth are required to make new people this is a massive human rights violation. And the baby will be all wahhhh, I’m a baby, your job is to meet my needs and those needs include feeding all night but hey look at my tiny nose but also waaaahhh. And you’ll be all fuck what have I done?!
He will not do his share.
He will not appreciate you enough.
And before someone gets righteously “not all men” at me, here’s my question: does your partner have a uterus? If the answer is no, then there is literally no way he can ever do his share. Telling it how it is. So it’s 100% your call and if you’re not completely over the moon totally keen on having kids then get an IUD right now. I got a Mirena after the second bub and it’s the best $340 I ever spent.
Look I’m gonna be brutal: I think men never appreciate it fully because the human imagination isn’t that powerful. It’s not their fault.
And don’t get me wrong, I love being a mum and it was the right choice for me but sheesh, so was, like, Trailwalker and would you do Trailwalker because your partner wanted to when you weren’t keen? Or would you say “no thanks, that sounds like an ordeal I’ll just pass on cheers”? Because Trailwalker got me some serious tough gal kudos with teh menz and lol, pregnancy and childbirth and parenting, fuck, y’kidding me?! Men, oh men, you decorative ornaments on the tree of humanity you.
Here’s a quick test. I call it “aww or nah”
a) It’s 3am. The baby wakes. You feed him then rock him to sleep. You put him down but he wakes again. You rock him and then hold him still for a while, keeping him asleep. The soft light from the hall makes his tiny fuzzy head just visible, you put your cheek to his forehead and smell the warm milk breath. Ten minutes later you try and put him down again. He wakes. Repeat. Until 5am.
awwwww or naahhhhhh?
b) Your husband is getting the 2 year old dry from the bath. The 2 year old says “I want my mummy!!!!” You take the kid to his bed and he asks you to lie down with him for “a yiddle while”. You do. He takes a clump of your hair in his hand and holds tight, so when he falls asleep it takes you 20 minutes to get free without waking him or ripping out your hair.
awwwww or nahhhhhh?
c) You decide to make some biscuits with the 2 year old. He stirs the mixture and says “pado dake, pado dake, badkers man, make me a dake as fast as you dcan”, and about half the mixture gets on the floor, and some on the walls. You later spend 20 minutes removing bits of flour and cocoa powder and cruddy dough from surfaces while also trying to comfort the 2 year old when he cries because the biscuit broke in half when he broke it in half.
awwww or nahhhhh?
See, now, I tend towards awwww with a touch of ughhhhh but if you’re in the naaahhhh camp – it’s all good to stay away from the baby making endeavour!
You’re leaning “nah” aren’t you?