26 September 2010, by Tan Yi Lin
There are a few great things about having a blog on MaybeBaby.
For one, it certainly seems to be serving I Love Children’s purpose of providing a platform to bring strangers together. Specifically, young, married couples either planning for a family or actively trying to start one. It’s been a joy receiving comments on my blog entries, many of which are from people whom I don’t personally know, channeling good luck wishes, baby vibes, prayers and “showering’ me with baby dust via the Internet (I don’t know exactly what baby dust looks like but I kinda imagine it to be similar to the glittery, sparkly, golden fairy dust that falls from Tinkerbell as she flits through the air i.e. not the grey furry stuff that accumulates around the house when you’ve been lazy with the housekeeping…)
What is even better than receiving love notes is having people open up to you and share their personal stories with you. Colleagues, friends, friends-of-friends have been dropping me short notes since I started blogging on MaybeBaby. While some of them ask for advice or recommendations on doctors and clinics, most of them are just happy to chat with someone who understands the challenges that they are going through in trying to conceive. Only the girls initiate such discussions though. Guys don’t seem to be too eager to enter into a conversation about sperm. Especially when it’s theirs.
Finally, the blog is certainly useful in subtly explaining a multitude of “whys”: why we don’t seem to be starting a family yet, why I’m not pregnant yet, why I can’t get pregnant yet, why I disappeared from work for three weeks, why I went on leave and yet wasn’t on vacation, etc. Why why why why why. When I don’t feel like retelling the whole darn story for what must be the millionth time, I just point to this blog. And honestly, while I don’t mind friends broaching the subject, it’s a bit of a relief to have people understand the situation without me having to explain anything. They just go, “Hey, I just read your blog on MaybeBaby and I just want to let you know that … (etc. etc.)” It’s just really nice to know that they know.
Anyhow, people have been asking what’s the next step in this quest for parenthood. I’m still waiting to hear the doctor’s recommendation when I see her in two weeks. Meanwhile, I’ve been mulling about the big question – i.e how long will we be willing to try for (2 years? 5 years? 10 years?!?) until we finally give up and graciously acknowledge that we will never be parents?
So what does life-without-children look like for us? I think of it as a multiple choice question:
Some people may argue that if we really loved children and were serious in our ambition to become parents, it wouldn’t matter if the children weren’t really ours. While that option might work for some selfless folk, most human beings are born a selfish lot who are concerned only with procreation. There’s a huge pride in producing your own offspring. It’s not quite the same as buying a painting done by an artist because you can’t paint. Or hiring a contractor because you can’t build your own house. And that’s the same for us. It’s either the kids spring from our loins, or have none at all. Adoption is not an option (hey, that rhymes!)
b) Travel the world. Again.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn from today’s edition of The Sunday Times that I was part of Generation Y. Born just before the onslaught of the 1980s, I had always assumed that I was a Gen X baby. Gen Y-ers are known to be job-hoppers and incapable of settling down i.e. stick to one job, marry, have kids and live the same routine until retirement. While I don’t consider myself a job-hopper (I prefer to call it experiencing options), I’m quite certain that a decision to live a life without kids will see me ditching my desk job in favour of another long backpacking trip, laced with interesting temp jobs like working on a farm, waiting tables, working on a movie set, or freelancing as a travel writer and photographer, etc. Without dependents and a need for job and financial security, the options out there are limitless. However, this couple here spans generations – and half of it has his Gen X feet planted firmly on solid ground. So this probably wouldn’t be a ready option just yet.
c) Run away and join the circus
Okay, I’m only saying this because I just watched Voyage de la Vie at Resorts World and was thoroughly impressed and inspired to join the circus – until I realised that I have no acrobatic talent whatsoever.
So scratch this.
d) Start a business
Passionate business-people often refer to their businesses as their babies. So if we can’t make real babies, why not make one that can make us money too? Sounds like a great idea to me! It’s never too early to start on a birthing plan for a business.
e) Get a pet
Before parents out there cry foul at the idea of replacing a child with an animal: I know that a baby and a pet are not the same thing okay? I’m not saying that your son or daughter is the same as my dog or goldfish. But as one of my friends put it, she really felt the need to get a puppy when her first attempt at assisted reproduction met with negative results, simply because she wanted to have something to mother. And if you’re not blessed with a human child, then what are your options really? Dolls? Plants? Alien babies? (And no, mothering your husband is not a good idea.) But unless I find a job that either lets me work from home or bring my pet to the office, I’m not keen to get a pet and end up neglecting it. Sure, I could ask my mum to help look after it, but while looking to your parents to care for their grandchildren is okay, getting them to babysit your pet smacks of irresponsibility.
Yes, life is full of options and paths to take. For now, we’ll keep walking the path to parenthood. Maybe for 2 years, maybe 5 years, maybe a decade. Who knows. No one’s asking us to make a decision just yet.