16 May 2010, by Tan Yi Lin
My mum is very tickled at the idea of Dannie and I being bloggers for this MaybeBaby portal.
“You have no baby yet,” she keeps saying (gee, thanks for reminding me not to mistake that stranger’s baby for my own), “what are you going to blog about?”
I have to gently remind her that our blog is about our journey to parenthood and not about being parents. We’re not here to fervently espouse the joys of parenthood or to declare how much we love children in every post we write. Want a blog that dispenses free parenting advice? There are plenty out there written by enthusiastic parents who willingly share information on every article of clothing that Baby Brandon dons or every mouthful of mash that Sophie Sweetie swallows (and what colour of poop she produces thereafter.)
But hey, check out this blog written by a pair of underachievers in the realm of baby-making! Yups, that’s us – a pair of smart mouths who have a lot to say about having children while not actually having any (yet.) So why should you believe anything we say?
Because what we bring to the table (or this portal) is the truth. Our truth. And not all that naggy stuff you hear from your parents and relatives all the time. And not all those ‘feigned-horror-but-I’m-secretly-so-proud-of-my-baby’ stories your smug-parent friends relate over what used to be light and airy conversations with your bunch of girlfriends. I dare say that our blog is a refreshing change for young (and not-so-young-anymore, like us) couples who are toying with the idea of parenthood someday… but maybe not today.
Nonetheless, my mum was still rather amused that Dan and I had been invited to be panelists for the MaybeBaby Parenthood Seminar.
Well well, if only she had seen all those good people who turned up at the NTUC Auditorium on 8 May to hear us speak:
Fans queuing up for my autograph? Nope, that’s just the registration counter!
Of course, they didn’t pay $15 (a very good deal, if you ask me) just to hear our two cents worth on parenthood. The full-day seminar was thoughtfully structured to suit the target audience and touched on topics that wannabe parents would find useful and interesting, such as financial planning with regard to children, sex and intimacy (very important factors in baby-making) and fertility matters.
Yeah, really crucial stuff. I managed to convinced a friend to scrap her Saturday morning housekeeping duties to attend the seminar with her husband. The good thing about trying for a baby is that there is no longer any point in doing housework on the weekend: Why iron clothes that are going to get crumpled and removed anyway? Why bother making the bed if it’s only going to get messed up again during that post-breakfast romp? Ahhh. I make a convincing saleswoman.
Together with Joni, the President of I Love Children, and Douglas Foo (of Sakae Sushi fame), the four of us formed the panel for the post-lunch sharing session. Prompted by Jeremy Ratnam, each of us related our personal stories about our journey to parenthood. Just five minutes into the session, Dan and I realised just how much of a pair of serious underachievers we were on the topic of babies.
Joni has FIVE children.
Douglas has FOUR sons.
Jeremy has TWO (or was it THREE?) offspring.
Dan and I have… ZERO. Well, you could say that we have some almost-offspring. Their names are Sperm and Egg.
Taking some advice from the pro: Douglas Foo – father of an esteemed chain of Japanese restaurants and four boys
Even though Dan and I were there to share our thoughts and experiences with the audience, we also took the opportunity to listen intently to what Joni and Douglas had to say about their journey to parenthood. We realised that these two wonderful parents, in bringing their babies into the world (a whopping total of NINE babies!), were challenged in so many aspects, similar to what Dannie and myself face at this stage of our lives: the struggle of starting a family versus fulfilling a personal goal (like building a business), financial considerations and fertility fears.
We learnt that that for every challenge put before couples wanting to try for a baby, there is almost always a solution (e.g. sound financial advice and planning, invitro-fertilisation, good family support, etc.) and of course, sacrifices (like having little or no sleep while juggling a newborn and a new business.)
Then, it was our turn to talk.
We talked about sacrificing our chance to start a family soon after we got married because we wanted to enjoy couplehood-without-kids and chase our dream to backpack across the Americas for a year. Unfortunately, we are now suffering the consequences of putting off parenthood – being subjected to a string of rigorous fertility tests and fears of decreased fertility now that we are both well into our 30s.
We knew that we had to plunge right into baby-making ASAP – no more room for doubts as to financial readiness (a steady income is sufficient and government grants help too) and capability (parenthood is all about on-the-job training.)
Dannie, of course, had to correct me by pointing out – in front of 200 strangers – that it was HIM who was doing all the plunging.
Yes, that’s me up there dispensing advice – and Dannie obviously cooking up the joke about plunging into parenthood…
I had no idea that such a huge photo of us was flashed for the audience while we were talking until I saw this photo! My big screen debut – all thanks to MaybeBaby!
It was really fun being on the panel that afternoon. In any other situation, one would have to be an expert in that field of discussion in order to be invited to join a panel of, well, experts! We are no experts on parenthood but I hope that what we shared struck a chord with many people in the audience who, like us, know that parenthood is on the cards but have so many thoughts, doubts and questions about taking this next big step in life after the wedding.
I couldn’t have asked for a more interesting and exciting start to our journey to parenthood!