The past couple of days have been somewhat intense in a particular thread in our community, and it is all about the pressures and more pressures that come with TTC; from friends, family, neighbours and even people you don’t know, who start a pity party, just because they heard you are married and yet to have a child.
Let me rewind a bit, some currently TTC ladies have had to wait for marriage and sometimes, I wonder (not to question God) why some ladies had to wait for marriage and then still wait to have children? Seems like double honour, because I know that God doesn’t test anyone with evil.
However, I personally know quite a few ladies, both within my own immediate family and neighbourhood, for whom getting married is just a necessary evil. What they crave most is to have a child or more and their life would be perfect.
Meanwhile, there is another set, for whom being married is the best thing that could happen to them right now. What about children, you ask? They have the conventional thinking in that regard; after marriage comes children. No thoughts of it not following that routine are entertained, so all efforts are geared towards finding that man who will be theirs only.
Even though, there are more members in the second group, people in the first group have a harder time remaining in that group as pressure makes them go catching the find-a-husband fever.
While I have never been in any of their shoes, I have lived with members of both groups, some most of my life and for some, the shortest would be close to five years and I keep hearing the same song. I have witnessed boyfriends come and go, hoped against hope that one of them would be the one to finally put a ring on it. I have watched as their hopes and mine were dashed, yet another guy left, even with all the pampering he got.
Although, I know they haven’t given up and wouldn’t want them to give up, I can’t help but think of a plan B, which is just a compilation of their different experiences and what can be done differently.
Stage 1: Don’t settle
This is about the easiest thing to do, when panic sets in at not getting a husband, on your timeline. It is so easy to end up in a bad relationship just to have a baby or for the sake of a “Mrs” prefix.
One of the single ladies had almost gotten married to a known playboy, all for the sake of being married. It was at the last minute that she eventually decided they weren’t really compatible and everyone heaved a sigh of relief.
It would have been a disaster if they had gotten married; fidelity meant something else entirely to him.
As a single lady, it’s always best to ask yourself if you would enter into this partnership if you were not worried about having a baby, or if there was never going to be a baby. If the answer is “No,” don’t ignore those flashing red signs.
Stage 2: Don’t take shortcuts
As they always say, there are no short cuts to success. In this case, there are no short cuts to finding a good man, and thereafter, having a baby, if that’s the route you have decided to take.
It will do no harm to take it slow with any prospective beau, take your time through the normal stages of courtship to make sure you are making a good decision.
Again, trust your gut about whether or not you would want to be with this man even if you were never to have kids. While at it, make sure he feels same way too, and that he would be with you, whether or not you have kids together, because children are not necessarily what hold marriages together.
Stage 3: Let go of the girlie fantasies; you are a woman now
As little girls and young women, we had a picture of what we think partnership and family are supposed to look like, even though we now know that life rarely turns out the way we plan. Don’t hold onto the picture you had when you were 15 or even 30.
Be open to something other than what you have imagined. Maybe that means looking for a different type of man than you have dated in the past. Or, maybe it’s staying open to different family structures, such as single parenting, adopting and such, even when there are seeming opposition to your new stance.
Stage 4: Don’t avoid the hard emotions. Grieve your past expectations
It’s not easy to give up on the dreams in one’s heart, perhaps even one that had been there since childhood, so don’t pretend that it is okay to have to let go and be open to new experiences. Allow yourself to grieve the death of that little girl’s dream. If you don’t allow yourself to feel it, it will only take longer to move forward.
That is when it becomes easier to ask oneself, “What do I want more; a baby or a partner?”. The answer may surprise you, the same way it had surprised some of my family members and friends, who have gotten to the junction where they needed to ask and answer this question.
- Be proactive. Don’t deceive yourself
A honorary big sis of mine froze her eggs, when Mr. Right did not look like he was going to show up this century. Today, she has children she conceived naturally and thus, did not even need her frozen eggs.
Another has had two myomectomies and she encouraged my mom to go in for her partial hysterectomy, earlier this year.
Rather than adopt the siddon-look approach, these ladies did and are doing something to ensure their fertility was at its optimal, whenever their husbands did come along.
Stage 6: Don’t stall. Make a plan
Don’t fool yourself into believing you’ll always have time to have a baby with your own DNA. It can be very difficult to have a baby in your forties, regardless of what you are told or read.
Don’t let those stories lull you into thinking getting pregnant will be easy at whatever age Mr. Right decides to show up.
Make a plan and stick to it.
God help us all.
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