pregnancy

"For two years, I desperately wanted a baby. But my partner didn't."

It felt like forever ago I saw the two little lines come up. Well, one line came up, then I popped the stick down and finished my business with a sunken heart like the other times I’ve tried. But then I looked down again at the stick and saw the second line faintly appearing.

‘It’s a dud,’ I thought.

Before I knew it I bolted out the door and ran to the chemist around the corner to get a second test. ‘Surely not,’ was my left brain logic, reminding me not to get my hopes up, but my right side brain was going ‘yes yes yes yes yes yes’. The adrenaline was enough for me to do another excitement wee. The little timer icon on the Clear Blue test flipping back and forth felt like FOREVER. But then there it appeared, 4-5 weeks pregnant. We did it. Which explained why my breasts kept falling over my bra the week earlier, my pelvis was on fire and I felt like I could’ve drunk miso dressing out of the bottle.

But this whole process didn’t come lightly. I was living the city life in Sydney for three years with my husband and even though I partied hard, deep down I wanted a baby for two of them. Every time I saw a beautiful pregnant woman with her radiant belly on Bondi beach, I would die a little on the inside. Or when Nathan would hold a baby and play with kids at the coffee shop, I would get a lump in my throat and I had to get the image out of my head of our own little family before I could get too attached and upset that this was not our reality yet.

Yes, I’m young. Yes, there’s women out there who struggle to fall pregnant, and whom I have the upmost respect for and have no idea what they must be going through. But no matter how many times people keep telling you otherwise, it doesn’t change the maternal tug in your body that keeps pulling when you know you want to enter motherhood. It doesn’t change your heightened senses for all things baby. Or when you’re reminded of the news that yet another one of your friends is pregnant and you’re not, it’s a kick in the goddamn guts.

The thing is – you’re allowed to feel like this and you shouldn’t have to suppress the truth or lie about it. For some women the desire to be a mother evolves slowly, for others it’s a surge. Some want it now, some are happy to wait.

I know a lot of mothers who will have no problem telling you to wait because your life will be over. Or friends that are way off having a baby will tell you to pull your head in and enjoy this time before shoving another margarita in your face. Yes, it is true we will never have any real idea what we’re in for until we’re elbows deep in a green explosion nappy, milking our boobs like a cow with red eyes from no sleep and a torn vagina from childbirth. I’m sure once I’m in the depths of motherhood, I’ll laugh that I wrote this post and regret not being more grateful for that margarita, but that’s the irony of it – we’re willing to go for it regardless.

"For some women the desire to be a mum evolves slowly, for others it’s a surge." Image supplied.
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And we should start being unapologetically honest about it.

So that’s what I did, I started becoming open with how I felt. I told my couple friends the truth while they were holding their babies I was so jealous of. I brought it up with my husband who is the biggest kid himself and wanted to be a young dad.

But here’s the kicker - he simply wasn’t ready yet.

This is when the being honest bit gets hard. Really hard. Our differing timelines on baby-making drove a big wedge between us and there was a lot of frustration and anger surrounding the topic, slammed doors and all.

But in the end we got there. Not because I threatened him, but because we kept working on it. We had the same tiresome conversations about it over and over, but each time got better and better at listening to each other. At the end of the day, he had to want this too instead of me pushing him to the edge. This was never easy, but in a relationship and especially a marriage that’s what you have to do. It isn’t always black and white. Love is an overwhelming cocktail of patience, frustration and uncertainty, but sweetened over time if we choose to listen and understand. It's important to remember we don’t always have the exact same values as our partner, and that having a family might place higher for one person than the other. Plus, when we need their sperm, we kinda have to work with them instead of against them.

However let’s not gender discriminate here. I’ve actually seen this play out countless times where men wants to be dads so badly, but their partner is simply not ready. In each of these scenarios the reasons why have been so different and again, I respect the complexities of it and how couples learn to navigate through it. Because let’s face it - if one of us aren’t ready and we force it, there’s going to be way messier problems down the track than just a poo explosion.

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Because it isn’t always ‘let’s get married and have kids straight after’, life can sometimes be much more unpredictable and challenging - our careers change, people we love get sick, we move places, our desires flip, our passions snowball and opportunities come up out of nowhere. Sometimes our partners change and we have to work with that. This doesn’t mean waiting around for them to say yes, but seeing the opportunity in the struggle and asking ourselves, what do we both want and what is possible here? What is fair and realistic?

Watch: Things pregnant women never say. Post continues after video. 

Looking back now that possibility served me very well. Maybe at the time I wasn’t so stoked about it and still got annoyed at Nathan every now and then for prolonging it, but now I’m content we didn’t dive straight into having a baby after marriage. I had been through a lot with bouts of anxiety, self-doubt and fear, and no baby was going to fix that. What did help, however, was dealing with what was already there before adding anything more. I went to counselling, meditated, read Buddhist psychology books, listened to podcasts on my walk everyday and embarked on an eye-opening trip to India, Vietnam and Bali. I went all eat-pray-love whilst still having Nathan by my side and it’s an experience I will now probably never get again.

Instead of directing tireless energy into solely wanting a baby when it just wasn’t happening, I focused that energy on the things that could make me a more self-compassionate person, and one day a mum who could teach her child the same love she had for herself. Again, I bow down to women who have have experienced this tenfold, and I cannot speak on behalf of those who physically and emotionally struggle with fertility. But I guess the reason why I’ve written this is because I have found many people secretly suffer when it comes to choosing the ‘right time’ as well and it can put a big strain on relationships.

It isn’t easy waiting to be a mum when you want it to so badly, but now that I’m here with these crazy kicks going off inside of my belly, with Nathan singing awkward camp songs to the baby at night, I now know the season of undoing set me up for my greatest season of becoming.

Karla Daly is a writer and (soon to be) counsellor from the ever so balmy Palm Beach, Gold Coast. Her work on relationships, marriage and creative confidence has been featured on Mamamia and Thought Catalog, and she is the Barista Editor of Meet The People. A caffeine lover and pooch snuggler, she’s all about still and slow living, self-compassion and going easy on ourselves in this over-stimulating world. She’s also brewing a human, so she’s pretty stoked about that too.

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