It happens just like a cold.
First you find yourself looking around, your eye pausing on all the babies that pass by. At first you may have the strength to keep quiet, but eventually you let out that low “Awwww” or you start waving and making faces at the wee babe hoping it will notice you.
Then before you know it, you are out of commission. All you can think about is babies, babies, babies. You’re consumed and there isn’t much you can do.
My baby fever happened over four or five months.
When my husband and I first started dating way back on 2009 I was very anti-baby. I was eighteen going on nineteen, hadn’t been on the dating scene too much, and wait for it… I was still a virgin. The idea of having a baby was so far in the back of my mind, it would take a week trek through treacherous conditions to reach it.
After finally starting a relationship with him (it’s a long story about how oblivious men can be) I was so completely wrapped up on the idea of being in a relationship that getting pregnant, planned or by accident, seemed like a nightmare. I needed it to be just him and I, and because of my mother and my sister’s paths in life (both accidentally pregnant, both ending up single mothers) I was reluctant to follow in their footsteps.
Because of this, I always made sure we were super careful, we were both using protection, and we were making sure no babies could be seen in our future.
Fast forward a few years, we are going steady, and living together. It’s typical for the parents and friends, especially those getting married and having babies of their own, to comment and ask the ever intrusive question: “When are you guys going to have a baby?” This is a question you get asked as often as “When are you guys thinking of getting married?”
My answer to the baby question was always a shocked face, curling my nose and shaking my head. No babies for us! They might as well have put the sign up on our front door. This was the attitude I had for YEARS.
Everything changed the month or so before we got married. Suddenly, instead of hearing that question a few times a year, it seemed to be a regular question. It’s like the puzzle pieces of the traditional life were all coming together. Coupled off? Check! Living together? Check! Engaged? Check! Married? Coming soon. Baby? Well that comes after the marriage, right? Like… right after?
I was on the fence. I thought to myself, sure, we have already been together for eight years, but didn’t we want to enjoy being married? That is what everyone against having babies right away would say. They wanted to enjoy being husband and wife before inviting a baby into their lives.
My husband and I have been practically married for years. We moved in together after only dating a few months, the honeymoon phase lasted for about a year, we travelled, we partied, we did all the things we had wanted to do. We had our ups and downs, sure we weren’t technically married, but aside from the rings and the paperwork, we were.
So why wait?
The month before we got married I felt my ovaries kicking into overdrive. Every time I looked at an adorable baby I wondered just what I had to do in order to just hold it. They seemed to precious, so wonderful and me working with five-year olds didn’t make things any easier. There was at least one instance a day where I would pause and think: “I want this.”
It didn’t help that just about everyone in my husband’s family asked us when we were planning to have kids leading up to our wedding. They were just throwing logs on a fire that was already a hungry blaze.
We pushed the question off because to be completely honest, my husband and I had never really discussed it.
I know, I know, insert crowd gasp here.
We discussed that we would have children, and we both said we would probably only want the one. The timing was something that never came up. We had always just thought we would discuss it later, when the timing was right.
Well, suddenly I felt the timing was right.
So, is having the kids conversation with your partner easy? For us it was. We tend to be the kind of couple that doesn’t really fight too often about important things. We argue about who ate the last muffin, or whether or not he actually farted while we are in the shower (honestly, these are the things we huff and puff about… although not with much ferocity). We have the kind of relationship where if it is an important life decision, we talk about it rationally.
Does that mean we always agree?
Absolutely not! We are human and we are both stubborn. What it means is we don’t yell at one another, we both lay down our arguments and let it sit for awhile. Eventually, a dialogue forms between us, questions are asked and answered and we make a decision together. For the most part, we both walk away happy.
Convincing my husband to have a baby took two months. He is a traditional and practical person. He thinks that in order to have a baby you need the house with the pretty white fence around the front yard. Living in an expensive city like Toronto, I don’t want to own a house here. We have a large apartment, with 2.5 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and I think it’s more than enough space to start a family considering my mom raised five of us in a three bedroom apartment for most of our lives.
Now, I think it’s important to state that I am not an irrational person. I am not the kind of person who conjures up an idea in my head and pursues it blindly. Before I even had the conversation with my husband, I wrote out a monthly budget for what we were spending and making now, and what the differences would be in the first year of having a baby. I also wrote out what our earnings would be when I took a year of maternity leave after the baby was born.
We have no debt between us, so we could easily swing a baby. But for my husband, seeing those numbers really made a difference. Seeing how much money we would still have over each month made him let out a breath of relief. Suddenly having a baby now made more sense that waiting.
A lot of the forums I read do have these topics. How to tell your spouse you are ready to have a baby. A lot of the ones I read are for couples who are already parents and one partner is trying to convince the other to have one more.
Although I do think any and every conversation is worth having in a marriage, I do think it’s important to set aside your desires to really take a moment to see what your partner is feeling. I know my husband loves and wants kids, so the conversation was really easy. However if I brought it up and saw that he really didn’t want to have a baby right now, I would have waited. You don’t want your partner feeling like they caved and resenting you later.
Luckily I didn’t have to because my baby fever was intense. I would have been a mental patient pretending I was sane all while chasing women and their babies at the park.
It started like a cold. A sniffle here, maybe a little clearing of my throat.
Thankfully I have a bun in the oven and my baby fever will get the treatment it needs soon enough!