As a little girl, I loved spending hours playing dolls, meticulously looking after my babies, cuddling and feeding them, rocking the wooden cradle made by my dad and dressing them up in pretty dresses. I would play happy families in the doll’s house, setting up all the furniture just so and could spend days and days playing out scenarios with my sister and our Barbie dolls. So, when I got to adulthood and contemplated not having kids, it came as a bit of a shock to many family and friends and maybe even myself. I mean having babies was just part of life’s plan right?
Not having kids
In my late teens and early 20’s I had it all planned out, the stereotypical Australian dream where I’d graduate university, buy a house in the burbs, marry my high school sweetheart and pop out a little cherub or two. It would be just like the movies. Then somewhere along the way I was dumped (for the hundredth and final time, thank god), added on some extra time at uni (because what’s one degree when you can have two. No really I just wanted to be like Van Wilder) and suddenly I was mid 20’s, just starting my career and enjoying a carefree life of living with my new boyfriend. The years ticked on, we travelled the world, bought our first place together, moved interstate and back again, and nearly a decade later finally tied the knot.
Along the way, I would get the same questions over and over at family functions. “So, when are you having kids?”. Somewhere between being the fun auntie doing bombs into the pool and having a few too many champagnes with cousin Stacey, I started throwing out about maybe not having kids, only to be told that not having children would give me regrets later in life and that I WOULD change my mind. Of course, my husband and I had discussed kids along the way. He’d asked me do I want kids? and I’d asked him the same. We were both on the same page and agreed that not having kids was the best scenario for our lives right now. We were young, carefree and enjoying our DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle. We had no responsibilities, no one to answer to but ourselves and not having kids meant we were free to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. I started to think maybe not having kids was part of the long-term plan for us. Lots of people, particularly in our generation were choosing to focus on career, travel and having a wine and dine lifestyle, afforded mostly by the freedoms (both literal and financial) of not having kids.
And to top it all off, I was happy right? Sure I knew I wouldn’t regret my life if I DID have kids but I also thought (and still think) people can be happy if they choose to not have kids as well.
Best Age for Pregnancy
Then one day while driving back down the coast from visiting family, I asked my husband again “should we have children?” His response was that he was happy to have a baby if I wanted one and I kind of felt the same. I started Googling the best age for pregnancy and the best age to have a baby and reading out the pregnancy risks by age to my husband. Some of the risks for pregnancy after 30 were alarming and part of the reason I had raised the should we have children topic again was because I knew at 31 my biological clock was starting to tick very loudly. So, I posed a different question and asked “do you ever want to have kids or are you happy not having kids at all?” My husband thought for a moment and then said “I definitely think we will have kids at some stage.”
Deciding to have a baby
This was the only information I needed. I too thought we would probably have kids eventually and since physically the best age for pregnancy is sooner rather than later, I told him that I felt like even though we didn’t feel 100% ready, I don’t think you ever do with such a life changing decision and so if not having kids was not an option for us then the best age to have a baby was the present and it was going to be now or never, so to speak. He agreed and it was like a weight was immediately lifted, a weird feeling of relief that we’d made a decision. It was like suddenly I couldn’t imagine not having kids in our future and with my husband’s full support we were ready to add the next chapter to our story.