How I decided on having a baby - after never really wanting them in the first place
I got an email question from a reader:
Congratulations on your inspiring website. Reading your post feels like a nice cup of tea by the fireplace, and I've been following your adventures for many years now. I have a personal question, so no worries if you don't reply. It's about age.
Like you, I've been travelling the world for many years. I have a great job which makes me travel even more. I have a wonderful partner, soon to be husband, to travel with. I just turned 34, and I'm struggling : enjoy freedom a bit more, but take the risk of having difficulties getting pregnant? Or start now the baby chapter, worrying about our future freedom.
I know everybody says once you have your baby it's so amazing you don't care about travelling. But I wanted to ask you, with your mind, your feeling about it.. if you feel like sharing it, privately of course.
Thank you in advance. And I wish you all the best for your new adventures :)
Thanks Mel for a lovely email and a great question. So.... I can give you an answer now, and may have to give you another one a few months in, post-baby. I'm still so new to this, wanting children has never really been a life long desire of mine. But one thing I do know for certain, which I want to begin with, is that getting kids does not have to equal: loss of freedom.
I think one of my dislikes regarding parenting in the past, was that I looked around me and saw most people parenting and raising children almost in the exact same ways. It seemed so boring to me. First build a career, then getting kids, changing car to a child friendly version, registering with daycare, buying the pram of the year, equipping a nursery and kids rooms, getting them a nice wardrobe, hanging out with other parents with kids in the same age, going to the park, picking up at daycare or kindergarten, getting kids to eat whatever the parents eat, cleaning up a chaotic home full of Lego and toys, arguing with the kids about when to go to sleep, what to eat, how to dress....
Ugh... looking at life with children in this way just wasn't what I wanted. Then eventually, after finding my own personal way of living, after moving further and further away from the stereotypical patterns and templates that society has created for how we should be living, I suddenly realised that life with kids does not have to be lived that way at all. That is not me. So if I would ever get the chance to create my own family, that wouldn't be how we would live. I would continue travelling and making sure we all were free. I would most probably homeschool so not to lock us into a squared lifestyle. I wouldn't buy into all the stuff that must be bought for a child or do all the things that everyone else does, because, there are no musts. Kids don't come here with a set of requirements that we must fulfil. It is our squared industrial society that has created the norms that people follow. A child will live the way the parents live, so it isn't that hard to create your own personal family life. Just the way you want it to be and feel like.
I thought much about kids and raising a child during the years that I was out sailing. I was curious about the concept. Most of my friends, sisters and brothers had started to have them. But even if I had begun to realise that I would do it quite differently, I still couldn't justify losing my freedom. The same way that you probably may be thinking now.
My real desire to get a child really only started when I left the US in the end of 2015. I was 33,5 then. Had just broken up from a six year long relationship. And suddenly I realised what else had held me back. The choice of partner wasn't right. The timing wasn't right. My long relationship had given me exactly what I had wanted when I went into it. It gave me all the lessons and challenges that I needed (not saying the relationship was an easy one, but it taught me more than I could have ever dreamed of). We were good for each other in so many ways. Both through the positive and the negative challenges. But getting kids together wasn't what we were made for. The specific life chapter with him was for something else, and it had ended now. Life had to move on. And with that new change, a sudden desire to raise a family appeared in my consciousness. As if that was my life's greatest new mission.
I remember when I had just flown back home from America to Europe. This was after 5 years of living on a sail boat and travelling half way round the globe. And after 6 years in a relationship that no longer was super great. I was so immensely happy to be back home. So indescribably happy with the fact that again, the whole world lay at my feet. Anything could happen. You know that wonderful feeling of freedom and excitement that comes out of leaving something behind that has held you back for a long time?
Moving to Greece was part of my new plans and I was crazily excited for it. All the adventures I would be having. All the creative work I would be able to put into establishing my new business. The health coaching, and the B&B and retreat centre that I was about to set up over there. But what surprised me was how accepting I suddenly was to the thought of myself becoming a mother, the desire had properly begun to creep up on me.... so super weird. I even told a few friends of mine: I think I'm going to get pregnant this year. With a Greek man? - they asked. No! Nothing wrong with Greeks. I just knew it wasn't with an islander it would happen.
I laid quite low, but I dated a couple people (no Greeks, and not at the same time :) during those coming 7-8 months before I met this wonderful person that I today live and make babies with. They both were great! We had a lot of fun! But they were no long term relationship partners (aka baby daddy material). I'm sure for others, but not for me.
If I in the past had chosen my long term partners for, yes love, trust and all that, but more towards the thrill of a great adventure - my priorities now had been shifted to be with someone even more solid. Someone who would potentially want to raise kids in the same free way that I wanted to. Someone who wanted to travel the world and saw no problems in doing that with a child along for the ride. It had to be someone who wasn't afraid to be vulnerable. Someone who was keen on self development. Someone who I would always be able to rely on. Someone with character and integrity. Someone who didn't prioritize drinking and partying. Someone self reliant, who loved his own company, and someone that is freely able to mentally, and physically move about in this wonderful maze of life. You get the point? I was essentially looking for the perfect man. And they don't exist!
Until one day. In fact, the same day that I had sent my current date a message saying; listen, this just won't work any more. That exact same day, a stranger contacted me asking me how life in Greece was, and what was the name of that kite surfing school I spent so much time at.
Oh such a boring pick up line..... All my life I had been used to direct talk. I craved and needed people who spoke straight. Think I've never fallen for a man who's been too nice with his words. Raw and direct was what always had worked on me in the past. This guy was good looking and seemed to live a decently interesting life. But he was very different to me (I thought). Too polite. He seemed too organized. Too..... likeable? The thing that saved it, what later made me decide on meeting with him either way, was that he had sent me that message on the same day that I was feeling a bit down and low for breaking up with that other date. Oh lord, it was a sign from universe wasn't it. Whatever it would lead to (and I definitely had no babies in mind at this stage), I could feel that I had some lessons to learn from this guy.
I had left America with a strong intention: Do not be afraid of the unknown. Lessons will come when you least expect them. Absorb it all and don't get stuck in old behavioural thinking. In order to grow, you need to explore life outside old patterns.
So I guess I gave it a chance. And after only a few weeks of seeing him, I apparently got pregnant :O
How irresponsible? But truth is, I would have never let it happen if I wouldn't have felt that he could be the perfect man to raise a family with. I wasn't consciously aware of it quite yet. But my subconscious must have known the truth. I could either stand in my own way (the same way I would have stood in my own way if I would have not given him a chance the first time he contacted me), or trust that universe had a greater plan for me.
It's been such a new world to me... Trusting fully and completely in whatever was thrown at me (in this case, a man that was so different to what I would normally look for). For the first time in my life, I decided to try to not control the progress and outcome. Which often only limits our possibilities. Instead I let go, and decided to trust that there was a greater meaning in this. This man is special in so many ways. Weirdly special I thought at first. There were lots of confusion to navigate and barriers to break through for us to get as close as we are today. Being completely open and supportive of each others growth has been mandatory from the day we decided to head on with the baby plans. Through getting to know him slowly, by him becoming more comfortable with me and by being himself, I realised that he actually was exactly the person that I had looked for all along. I just couldn't see it at first.
I feel free now in a way I have never done before. And I'm saying that with a baby in my stomach. So I guess freedom is what you make it. You can do things in your own unique ways. You certainly don't have to follow any rules. And I think that by trusting your intuition, fully, deeply, you can get to a new point in life that you would have never reached if you only let your conscious, rational, always so smart and intelligent brain take the lead like always before.
We are the ones that create obstacles for ourselves. Can't blame it on any other. Our brains are great for many things. But I really don't trust it half as much as I used to. Intuition, being open and honest with myself and others, letting go of fear, looking beyond what I always looked for previously, flowing with the energies and good intention that the universe is sending out to me. Those are the real stuff that I go with nowadays...
There are no guarantees for anything in life. But I don't want to live a life regretting what I could have had. What I could have done. It can all be made magical. I just need to let go and trust in the magic.