Covid meant millennial couples were throwing out the rule book and doing things in their own order.
A new personal blog series exploring the highs and lows of the conversations you have at brunch.
This is Part 10 of a series. For a recap, click here.
It's a little noodle!
"Let's try for a baby," I said.
My partner was beyond thrilled. Rather than it being me as the stereotypical female with ovaries jangling, he's one of those people that was just born to be a dad. I often joked that he came out of the womb in a Hawaiian shirt telling dad jokes. He's great with kids (he's a big one himself) and I think had been secretly waiting for the day when I would say the magic words.
A few weeks into dating, years prior, I thought it would be funny to prank him with a picture via text of a positive pregnancy test on April Fool's Day. He'd either get it straight away, or freak out. At work, we were pissing ourselves with laughter.
But what we weren't prepared for was his excitement.
'This is the best news!' he said eagerly over the phone. The girls at work looked at me with horror. Oh no! Worst prank ever!
I had to let him down gently by pointing out that a) It was April Fool's Day, b) And that meant that I was not, in fact, pregnant, c) If I was, did he think I would tell him with a casual message pic at 10am? and d) It had only been a few weeks - did he even know my last name?
The point is, he was ready.
I, too, had always wanted them, but it was a 'later' thing. For one, I wanted to look smoking hot in my wedding dress, and I didn't want a screaming baby ruining my honeymoon in Hawaii cos #priorities. I also used to feel like I had more to do - more travel, more career goals, more lounging around in bed on weekends at 10am. A baby was... 'later'.
But Covid changed all that. We all changed, I suppose. I know I did. I'm different in many ways now. I'm more resilient. I care less about what other people think over all. I'm calmer with life stresses (sometimes) and I'm not as willing to put up with bad behaviour as I was as a woman in my 20s. I've perhaps hardened a bit as well, but all of this has been an amalgamation of Covid, growing up, and the life experiences over the past few years.
At the time, I found I was no longer as interested in my 'career' or 'being a #GirlBoss. While I still wanted a job in a workplace I liked, the corporate hustle and impressive titles no longer seemed that important to me. When all you have around you is your 5km radius and a single walking buddy, you focus on what is important - and to me, that was now real life. Family. Friends. Dog. Travel. Togetherness. I'm not saying that it's right or wrong for everyone, it's just how I had come to feel in my own individual circumstances. The point is, I was ready.
I had also been seeing a therapist after the recent losses of my aunt, dad, jobs and weddings. After a long period of assessments, around this time, I was also diagnosed with ADHD. At the time, I was confused and upset and embarrassed. As it became a health issue that appeared to also get wider attention, I also didn't want to seem as though I was jumping on a bandwagon of a 'trendy' issue, or somehow 'use it' to excuse behaviours or feelings.
But I will say this. What it did do, is help me understand myself and my actions, and what I could do about them. I sat with the doctor and said I had had something like 12 jobs in eight years, and that I was self-aware enough to know it wasn't normal. I wanted to be like my friends, and couldn't grasp how I had gone from a high achieving school student to a burnt out, depressed woman in her 30s. She, along with some other counselling, helped me understand the parts of anxiety and ADHD that led to certain behaviours - getting bored with jobs and leaving, sending cakes (lol), having multiple hobbies and interests, talking incessantly, overly multitasking and planning, overthinking, being able to do a six hour task in one hour but misplacing my keys daily - was all relevant to these issues.
"You're textbook, sweetie," she said gently.
It did help. I made a rule for myself that any confrontational communication - if I wanted to have a chat, send a text (or a cake), write an email - I had to sleep on it. It sounds simple, but this has been a total gamechanger for me. It's amazing how different you can feel about a situation the next day.
I also started to work on active listening and asking more questions in conversation. I'm not perfect, but I'm more aware. I didn't want to change myself completely - I'm loud, I like making plans, I talk fast, I'm excitable, that's me - but I was prepared to improve ways that were hindering my life and relationships.
Anyway. At this time, I was offered medication to assist with the ADHD, but didn't take it, as we had decided to try for a baby (you shouldn't take certain ADHD medications while pregnant).
We prepared ourselves for the process to take some time. I had been on The Pill for over half my life, and we knew it could take six months or even a year for people in a similar position.
But actually, it turned out, we were pretty fertile. I got pregnant on the second try.
We were f*cking ELATED. Finally, some good news after these fucking piece of sh*t garbage two years. Dad and Auntie Vera were gone, but a baby was coming! The first baby on my side in 12 or so years, the first in my immediate family, and our first, ever! We danced around the kitchen and immediately downloaded the app that showed us everything we needed to know.
Apparently, our baby was the size of a little snowpea. That week, we spent our evenings watching all the fun baby movies, from What To Expect When You're Expecting to Look Who's Talking and Parenthood.
For some reason, we decided to nickname the baby Noodle. After all, everyone loves noodles! We didn't want to know Noodle's sex, it didn't matter. We knew it was too early to tell people, we were maybe five or six weeks, but we weren't too worried. My mum had my sister and I at 35 and 37, no problems. Easy peasy. Wait. Mum!
I knew Mum needed to know. I wanted to tell her, immediately. Pretty much the second after peeing on a stick, I raced out the door and drove the 45 minutes to her house. On the way, I stopped in at Kmart. I wanted to get her a present so she could figure it out and get excited, it would be fun! I settled on matching shoes - one her size, and one new-born size. They were cute af. I wrapped them up and kept going, elated.
When I arrived at her place unannounced, Mum was surprised but pleased to see me. I told her to unwrap the gift, immediately. She's a lovely woman, my mum, but a puzzle solver she isn't. It was like the engagement announcement all over again.
"What are these for?" she asked quizzically. I rolled my eyes. Her partner started chuckling. "MUM!" I said exasperated after ages of her not getting it, "I'M HAVING A BABY!"
It took her a moment, and then, true to form, she started crying with joy. We screamed, we hugged, and even though she wasn't supposed to, she went to her seniors gym the next morning and announced to anyone who would listen that she was going to be a grandma.
We lost Noodle a week later.
*Conversations at Brunch will be on a brief hiatus of the holiday break*
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