There is never a right time they said; a moment in time when the stars are aligned and you and your partner feels magically ready to take the leap to the next chapter of your lives. Ready to start a family. Ready to bring forth a tiny human being on earth and nurture him or her to be better versions of yourselves.
I suppose what people usually mean by that is, you can never be completely ready to be parents. Sure, there are books and blogs to read, videos to watch, medical professionals and parents you could talk to, but at the end of the day each parenting journey is distinctly unique. It’s one of those things in life which you learn through your experience mostly. That’s probably why in our culture, there is a timeline the society has in mind. One to two years into the marriage, you are expected to pop up the “good news”. Any later than that and the assumption becomes that you or your partner have a medical condition for which you are somehow unable. The innuendos begin and so does the taunts, and constant reminder of how your biological clock is ticking away. I have been fortunate enough NOT to experience that through my immediate family, but have seen my closed ones suffer through those remarks first hand. Still do.
For me, starting a family was never a natural progression of life after you marry. I actually spent time deliberating whether I wanted to be a mother in the first place. Yes it is uncommon in the culture I come from; you marry and then you pop out a baby is the social and family expectation, what’s there to think? But if I was going to go through a life altering experience, that changes me both physically and mentally, I had to be certain that I was really invested in it, for both my and the child’s sake. Turns out, no surprise, I was. Seeing other pregnant women, listening to other mums’ experiences, even of my own mother and mother-in-law, I felt I wanted to experience it all- the pregnancy, the labor and birth and the motherhood. I just took my merry time to get there.
Mashrur and I have been married for eight years after which we are finally getting on the parents bandwagon in inshAllah less than two months! I am grateful that Alhamdulliah there was not a medical condition that was stopping us to do so. We were just not where we wanted to be in life when we start a family.
Get to Know Them
When we married, Hubster was fairly new in this job and I, after a year of work experience, went back to school for my postgraduate. We were learning our place in the world just as we were learning to live with each other- something that somehow isn’t given much thought and consideration in our culture. I mean even if you married for love, living with someone 24/7 is a totally different ball game. From cleanliness to tidiness, eating habits to sleeping patterns and even sharing the same bed- all these take time to adjust which cumulatively is no small feat!
In addition to that, we were getting to know our families intimately and learning the various practices in both the families- how mornings start with tea and rusk, how Friday lunches always has a grand menu and how early evenings were reserved for the family to discuss their day. There were also the less glamourous ones where we learn to get accustomed to different food menu and quirky habits of our now new family members.
Seeing the World
I am very grateful that we travelled quite a bit after our marriage, about 20 countries and roughly 40 cities is our total travel count now. Two years down the line, we went on a Europe trip for almost two months that shaped us both profoundly. Before that, I hadn’t travelled as much and was restricted only to Asia, to countries that had similar culture to Bangladesh. Europe was a totally different ball game and I suppose it opened both of our eyes to possibilities of other cultures and lifestyles. Granted Hubster had studied in England and was already exposed to the culture but he hadn’t had the opportunity to travel much as a student. We both took it all in like a pair of sponges and returned home with a new perspective of life. I believe it was all that traveling that planted the seed of immigrating elsewhere.
Building a Life Together
In the fall of 2018, we moved to Toronto where Hubster went back to school again and I decided to try my luck in the job market without a Canadian degree or certification. With life sciences degrees and varied work experiences, I spent some tome deliberating what kind of job or industry I wanted to get in. A few months later, I started to work for a not-for-profit agency. On the other hand, Hubster adjusted to being a student again which wasn’t all that fun after a healthy 6 years of work experience. This was also the first time we were living by ourselves and managing a household by our own, so there was a lot we had to learn and adjust to. It was like learning to be married all over again. Again, not all fun and obviously not a great time to start a family.
He graduated a month after the pandemic was declared and it naturally took him some time to secure a job. We had discussed starting a family on and off and it was after a few months into his job that we decided to take the leap. Alhamdulliah, here we are now, waiting to welcome the new member of our family.
Breaking The Norm
I have broken quite a few of what is considered norms in our culture. I married fairly early, in my mid 20s and remained married for 8 years before deciding to start a family. I broke the timeline of the 30 age mark and conceived at 33 without Alhamdulliah any complications. So far, Alhamdulliah, I had a smooth pregnancy and hoping and praying that the remainder of the journey remains uneventful as well. I wish I could say I did all that with determination and confidence. It was actually quite the opposite where I received unsolicited advises and scares from strangers; where I was constantly reminded of how my biological clock was ticking away which affected me deeply, even as a student of life sciences with two degrees. Thanks to the support of my husband and family, I was able to stick to and do what I thought was right for me, for us as a family. Starting a family is one if not the most important decision a couple takes in their marriage or partnership and it is imperative they move ahead with it on their own accord, not to satisfy the social and family expectation. Bringing forth a child by the grace of Allah is a huge responsibility and one both parents need to be completely invested. Now we are just diving right in!