8 May 2010, by Tan Yi Lin
It was the year 2007. I was 27 going on 28 that year. Our marriage was 2 years going on 3, and we had just embarked on a new project titled ‘Trying To Conceive’ for the past few months.
At that point in time, I had just settled rather nicely into a new job and was enjoying the challenges that being in a new industry, a new office and a new team presented. On the social front, we had scuba diving trips (I love vacations!), movie nights, language classes, dance classes, etc. all lined up. We were a very busy couple indeed!
But not too busy to read, it seemed. Being constantly bitten by the travel bug, I picked up a “The Lonely Planet Story” while browsing at Borders one day. That book changed my life. Deeply moved by how the owners of the now-famous Lonely Planet travel guide business gave up everything they possessed to travel the world (and subsequently wrote the first ever Lonely Planet guide book on that very trip), I was hugely inspired to throw on my backpack, grab my passport and hit the road less traveled for a year. With Dannie of course.
Unfortunately, my romantic notion of becoming world nomads as a full-time profession didn’t exactly strike a chord with the husband and his Capricorn (read: conservative, practical, finance-focused and grounded) nature.
“Where’s the money coming from?” he asked. “We’ll save.” I replied.
“Our life savings will be wiped out,” he said. “What’s the point of saving and not spending? Money can always be earned back anyway,” I retorted (that’s the Libran talking.)
“What happens to our plans to start a family?” he queried.
Ouch. Good question. I knew that pregnancy and infants had no place in our travel plans. The secret truth was, I was reluctant to postpone what we had already started in terms of baby-making. The dilemma was made even harder by the knowledge that I did not stand a good chance of conceiving naturally: during an operation to remove an ovarian cyst in 2005, my gynecologist had discovered that my fallopian tubes appeared to be blocked. She had advised then, that if I did not get pregnant within 6 months of trying, to seek medical help from a fertility specialist.
Chasing any dream involves making sacrifices.
“We will have to wait longer to become parents. I’m sorry.” was what I told Dan in a teary fit of unfulfilled wanderlust.
Well, what could the poor guy do when faced with a crying wife who didn’t want to get pregnant? Force her to stay at home and have babies? And wake up one morning to find the girl, luggage and passport gone? When it comes to deciding when to start a family, it is the men who are held hostage by the traditionally weaker sex. “I have no choice – she says wait, I wait.” is a common complaint I hear from many male friends resigned to putting their dreams of fatherhood on hold.
And so, after saving up for almost 2 years following our decision to do the trip, we left home – and our family plans – behind. In the middle of the Atacama desert (the driest place in the world, no less), I celebrated my big 3-0 birthday and tried not to equate the arid Chilean climate to the state of my 3-decades-old ovaries. Shudder.
We are now back in Singapore – bodies purged of wanderlust, bank accounts emptied of savings, but nevertheless, very happy to be home. However, despite trying for 8 months, I’m not any more pregnant than when we left home last March.
Like I said, chasing dreams involves making sacrifices. Our journey to parenthood has already been a bumpy ride even before we have properly started. Do I regret putting the fulfillment of a personal goal before motherhood? No. Do I wish that I had done it sooner? Well, yes. Could I have done it sooner? Maybe, but it would have been difficult. The thing is, you really never know – life just doesn’t fall neatly into place as and when you want it to.
Whatever choices we have made, one thing is crystal clear to us now: if we are serious about this baby thing, we cannot afford to postpone our family plans for whatever reason anymore, whether it is our career, financial situation, emotional readiness or the constant desire for more personal time and freedom.
So say “bon voyage” and wish us luck as you wave us on to yet another adventure – our journey to parenthood! It’s not going to be a smooth ride but we know it will be an interesting, exciting and memorable one. Follow our trail and read all about it right here, on maybebaby.sg.