Renee* is a happily married busy mum of two school age children with two part-time jobs.
Things People Who Don’t Want Kids Always Hear. Post continues after video.
“My partner Carl* and I were hopeful of one day having children but we didn’t expect to fall pregnant at that particular stage of our lives,” Renee tells Mamamia.
“It was a happy surprise and as a feminist with career plans, I had many conversations with Carl about how and when I would return to work after giving up breastfeeding.
“We imagined sharing the care and raising our first child and any future children in an equal household, where we both planned to work part-time.
“Our baby would fit into our lives and we could carry on ‘as normal’.
“I realise now just how idealistic we were – no one warned me how immersive and all-encompassing parenting can be.”
In those first few sleep deprived months, Renee remembers struggling to get out of the house to meet a friend for coffee and could not imagine ever feeling emotionally or logistically ready to return to work.
“It wasn’t that Carl wasn’t supportive of me and my ambitions, it was that some days leaving the house with a baby – who always seemed to have a poo explosion or vomit all down my front as I was about to get in car – forced me to reflect on what I wanted.
“If getting out of the house was that hard, how could I return to work with a tiny baby who needed me?
“I kept putting the thought of my career to one side, thinking, I’ll wait until he gets to this or that milestone and then I’ll consider it. The milestones kept coming and I never felt ready enough.”