It’s been a really pleasant 20+ days of ramadhan as husband and wife for the first time, alhamdulillah. Especially now that we are living on our own. Feels really good to be independent, and not rely on parents for food for buka and sahur every day, although it can get tiring because we have to really do everything on our own, including raya preparations.
Speaking of which, I can’t wait to celebrate raya with H and our families too. We have been through 8 raya’s together as a couple, and this year insyaAllah will be our 9th raya, but as a halal couple! But there is also a part of me that is dreading raya, especially when it comes to dealing with extended families and other people in general. We are 4 months into marriage now and questions about baby/pregnancy are slowly intensifying.
To be honest, we are totally not in a hurry to start a family. Our decision should depend on only us, because at the end of the day, we are the parents of the baby and only we are responsible for taking care of it.
Lately, I can’t help but feel the pressure, even though these people are not really pressurizing us. I seem to get affected more than H. Especially now that we are at the stage where 90% of our friends (okay exaggeration) are either pregnant or having babies. H is still relatively new to the workforce, and he has been getting more and more exposed to conversations with his colleagues about parenthood and marriage life. My colleagues are still relatively young and mostly unmarried, but when I took MC for one or two days, they start to speculate pregnancy news (wth). And it doesn’t help that both H and I are the first child, and both our parents cannot wait to have their first grandchild.
I have talked to H about feeling affected and slightly miserable because somehow everyone else gets pregnant almost immediately after marriage, or how our social media feeds are 99% filled with babies. The truth is, I actually feel completely fine with not being pregnant right now, but I hate how the society makes you feel left out or pathetic, for not fitting in with the rest. As if the sole purpose of marriage is to have kids?
In fact, I actually feel kinda glad that I’m not pregnant yet. Marriage itself is a whole new phase of life and requires many different change of lifestyle. I am still getting used to marriage life physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. We are still navigating through this new life together, and learning to execute our new roles and responsibilities better. It would be too overwhelming if we were to also deal with pregnancy at the same time. What with the mood swings, morning sickness, and many other changes that comes along with it. So I rather we take one step at a time. I’m still learning how to be a wife, so I might not be ready to learn how to be a mom yet.
As much as our journey from singlehood till now has been rather smooth right from the start with no major setbacks, it has also been quite lonely. No one truly understands how you feel at each point of time because even people who are going through the same path, may experience different things. Like I mentioned, H and I are both the first child in our families. At times like this when we wonder how our future will look like, I wish we had older siblings to refer to.
Almost all our friends have married siblings and nieces/nephews. They have been through the planning stages of their older siblings’ weddings to know what to look for in a vendor before engaging them. They are familiar with how a wedding itinerary flows on the actual event day as compared to how we plan the timeline on paper. They know who is supposed to do what on the event day. They know how to change their baby niece’s diaper and make formula milk for them. They are used to baby-wearing their baby nephews when they go on family outings. They know whether their baby niece is crying because of a full diaper or because it’s her naptime. They know how to manage packing of things when their siblings are shifting house. Basically, they have a good headstart and a walking instruction manual to adult life. But H and I don’t.
And to top it off, H and I are also one of the first among our circle of friends to get married. All the babies on our Instagram belong to acquaintances that we don’t meet or talk to often. So basically, our point of reference to ask for guidance is quite limited. To be the first to get married means that there is not many people who can offer advice on how to please or treat your parents-in-law. It means that your parents-in-law do not know how to manage their expectations because it is their first time having a son/daughter-in-law. It means that they also do not know what kind of requests for their married child are appropriate or inappropriate. It means that sometimes they may forget that their child is no longer their child alone, but is now someone’s husband/wife. It means more intense parent-child separation anxiety. It means that we have to brainstorm for ideas and strategies on how to live independently by ourselves and to contribute to both our families equally because we have a total of 6 younger siblings, of which 4 are still studying. It means planning contingencies like what if something happens to our parents. It means that if anything really happens to us or our parents, the financial impact might be too great to bear especially since we are building our own life, home and family. It means that our 6 younger siblings are looking up to us and watching us closely at how we live our lives and treat our parents and we have no room for mistakes. It means that our future child will most probably be the first grand-child/niece/nephew and we worry about how to prevent him/her from getting spoilt by 10 excited grand-parents/aunts/uncles.
So yup, it may sound selfish, but I wish I had an older sibling who goes through adult life first ahead of me like marriage and parenthood. No doubt, parenthood is one of the scariest thing about the future for me. I wish I could feel what it’s like to have a baby in the house, so that I can have a glimpse of the responsibilities that comes with it. As for dealing with people’s questions, I hope I will have the strength and patience to put up my usual poker face and not let it affect me.