So you may be aware of the fact that until a few years ago Mike and I were pretty much set on not having our own children. We were fairly open about our decision, so much so that when I shared we were pregnant A LOT of people thought that it was an accident/unplanned.
Despite my freaking out about it, the pregnancy was definitely planned. In fact I remember one brilliant moment, when I was wringing my hands saying to Mike ‘are you overwhelmed? Are you scared? Did you think this would happen so soon?’ And he responded very matter-of-factly ‘we knew what we were doing, of course I expected this to happen’.
Followed by momentary silence by me and then more freaking out.
I am going to side step the huge minefield and head screw that is fertility, and that ridiculous notion that you have any control at all over any of this…
And try and explain why we changed our minds, and what happened (NOT what literally happened to make a baby, I hope you already are aware of the mechanics of it all but if not then…well listen to the spice girls ‘2 become 1’, some implied advocacy for contraception in there…and lets have a chat!)
First of all I want to be clear, lots of people decide not to have children, for a plethora of reasons, and they don’t change their mind. It used to royally pee me off when people would say ‘oh you’ll change your mind just you wait and see’ as if I wasn’t truly aware of the decision I was making. Also people, wrongly seem to assume that I decided not to have kids because of a career move, and then were flummoxed by my lack of career…
There are so many reasons why people decide not to have kids and society should be standing with them, not waiting for them to change their minds!
Anyway, enough of that rant-and obviously I have not helped my own campaign there by changing my mind.
We got a wider notion of what family could be. It was the non-traditional (although I would argue that they are actually deeply ingrained in human history) examples of family-the needing each other, belonging to one another, community that made us think again. I realise that is a bit random, if we could see incredible examples of family that weren’t through biological ties why did we decide to follow that route. Mainly because we realised that it didn’t have to be an either/or situation…it was, how one of our pastors regularly says, a both/and scenario.
Our family is not limited to 3…it is bigger and wider and way more rich in its diversity. But it can also include biological children, if it happens…I say children, but hear me clearly I AM NOT PREGNANT AGAIN, and I won’t take kindly to anyone asking me if I am!
We see family as church (regardless of whether you ascribe to our beliefs), we see it as community, as school where we learn together, as a route to doing life. Our daughter is part of that, but she is not the total sum of it.
We thought why not give it a go, and then we got pregnant and then we (I) freaked out.
But then I remembered family is wider, I am not in this on my own.