My husband and I didn’t agree on having children before we got married – Natural Self Esteem

The photo was taken in Sheffield, United Kingdom

I knew I was going to marry my husband when I met him. Maybe it was love at first sight or maybe it was just a strong gut feeling. Anyway, I just knew. After several years of relationship, we both began verbalizing our desire to take our serious relationship to marriage. We loved each other, and while we’re incredibly different people, we shared similar views and beliefs on everything from spirituality and politics to dog ownership (namely, that our home would never be without one). But there was one point that we didn’t seem to fully agree on — even when we were saying our vows. My husband and I disagreed about having children.

My husband has always wanted children. He is an incredibly loving man who comes from a loving, supportive household. He wanted to start a family with me and – 10 years older than me – he didn’t want to wait too long after the wedding. I, on the other hand, have been absolutely against having children for as long as I can remember. I didn’t grow up with young children, I never babysat, and my day as a substitute teacher at elementary school was my last for a reason. Honestly? I didn’t really enjoy being with kids. I didn’t think I had “maternal instincts”. And honestly, I was way too focused on my career to think about raising kids. I was the first woman in my family to graduate from college, and I was convinced that family planning would mess up my career planning.

I’d be lying if I said our opposing stance on children didn’t come to a head after we got married. It did. The subject kept coming up and I – who hadn’t traveled out of the country yet, who just felt stuck in a dead end, who knew nothing about pregnancy or babies – felt overwhelmed. It wasn’t always easy. We argued. We both endured feelings of disappointment. But we did our best to listen to each other and kept talking about the topic. My husband, knowing I had a strong need to travel, booked us both to Scotland and England. He encouraged me to keep writing while I was about to quit. He helped me nurture the side of me that I feared I would lose should we decide to become parents.

Related: I gave my partner of 3 years an ultimatum and now I’m single

We kept the lines of communication open. Instead of focusing on the newborn days that so easily came to mind when we talked about starting a family, we began to expand our vision. We asked ourselves, what will our life be like in five years when we have children? What will it look like if we don’t? We kept thinking bigger, each of us imagining both scenarios and how they would look and feel 10, 20 and 30 years from now. I realized that while I wasn’t exactly keen on changing diapers or sacrificing my sleep, I was admittedly excited at the prospect of having bigger kids someday. People with whom I could converse, share traditions and – ultimately – love. I began to see children not as a burden, but rather as an opportunity to expand the network of love and support that my husband and I had built through our commitment to one another.

Fifteen months after our marriage, I was pregnant with our first child. At first I was excited. But as the reality of the situation grew as steadily as my bulging stomach, I became anxious and maybe even depressed at times. I went through a very difficult pregnancy and I often wondered if I made the right decision. During this difficult time, my husband was always by my side. He could see the toll pregnancy was taking on my mind and body and to this day I owe it to his continued support for making our relationship stronger than ever. But the days were long and difficult. And more than once I had to cry and ask the universe: What if I’m not a good mother?

We never gave ultimatums and we never pressured the other to change their mind.

As it turns out, I now believe motherhood was always on the horizon for me. I knew the moment my son was born that I could never imagine a world without him again. Being a mother has brought me insurmountable joy and opened my heart to a love so deep that I once thought impossible. Less than two years after the birth of our son, my husband and I are blessed to be expecting our second child. I also have a job that I love and freelance writing in my spare time. It pains me to think of my younger self who was so afraid that motherhood would be an obstacle. The reality is that fear almost prevented me from experiencing my greatest joy and finding my true self: a woman who can have both a career and a family.

I am grateful that my husband and I have continued our relationship despite our conflicting views on parenting. We never gave ultimatums and we never pressured the other to change their mind. Instead, we used open communication and a desire to truly understand one another to build a life that perhaps none of us could ever have truly imagined. It was never about choosing one side or the other, but rather about working together to discover and manifest the life we ​​were meant to have. My husband, my son and my unborn child are more than just my whole world – they are my universe and my greatest motivators to achieve all that I once feared to lose.

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