It seemed to have happened overnight. My mother went from a protective, compulsive prophylactic preacher to winking at me whenever she mentioned a friend that recently became a grandparent. The winking quickly gave way to less subtle hints when my partner and I became engaged, and eventually, to out-right questions once the big day approached. Now we’ve been married a whole month and we can see people on both sides of the family starting to speculate.
Here’s the thing: I’ve always been open about my sexuality and the fact that I want more than anything to have a family of my own. If I had questions about sex or relationships, I went to my family for advice or answers. When I wanted to start on birth control pills, I talked to my Mom about it. I’m generally an open person, so why can’t I just give them a firm answer on the baby? It comes up at every family occasion! Will we or won’t we? Place your bets! WHY and WHEN and WHY NOT NOW?
The answers to those questions are somewhat complicated. The reason we’ve decided to be mum (ha!) on the whole situation is not: quite simply, it’s none of their business.
We all know that the decision to have a child is a big one. Even if it’s a life-long dream of yours to have a family, ideally this decision is being made by both parents. It’s a decision that involves a lot of intimate conversations about the things you want from your life, and what it will mean for you as a couple to bring another tiny human into the world. For me and my husband, it was our line in the sand between them and us.
“Them” = both sides of our families that love us to bits, and who only want what is best for us, and who have so many opinions about how we can make our lives so much easier if only we’d listen. “Us” = the team of two who have to live with our decisions.
The truth is that the opinions of his side of the family differ greatly from the opinions on my side of the family. One believes in slow and steady, that your twenties were made for globe trotting and not potty training, the other… well, I already told you about my mother. The conversations continue on both sides, each working so hard to sell their point of view, each growing more frustrated as we sit back and smile noncommittally at them.
I must interject that we’re very fortunate when it comes to family. No matter what their advice may be now, we both know that whenever we decide to take the plunge, both families will be there to love and support us no matter what. I think this makes it easier for us not to break our vows of baby silence. We let them decree that my fertility is decreasing, that our youth is diminishing, or controversially, that our lives of careless abandon will be cut short should we choose to breed now. We listen, we smile, and we never, ever, contribute. And yes, there’s a sick part of us that laughs at watching them squirm in frustrated anticipation.
The line has been drawn, and we’ll never break. It’s nice knowing that we’re keeping something for ourselves, especially something so intimate. I think if anything, the decision not to make it dinner conversation has brought us closer as a couple. When all is said and done we’ve made the choice together, without letting any pressure overcome what we both want. When the time comes, we’ll let you know.
Until then… how about that local sports team?