Deciding to have children marks another milestone of a new marriage.
Giving birth to a new idea
Last week, Mr T and I had The Talk. We've only really ever hinted at the subject of The Talk before. Yes, we want children, we agreed. No, we don't want them just yet. Yes, it would be nice if we could custom-order a baby who would arrive fully cooked, cute, house-trained and female. No, there is no scenario when we will both be 100 per cent ready to have children, so we'll have to have some kind of plan to encourage us.
After two years of marriage, we decided, we can start thinking about starting a family, but not before. We had to stick to The Plan.
But then last week, Mr T held his 10-month-old cousin in his arms, and watched her stare at him in wonder. He laughed when her pudgy fingers grabbed at his glasses, and did not put her down, even when her drool threatened to make its way on to his shirt.
Then another, five-month-old cousin awoke from her nap and began vying for attention. Watching my husband play with the babies, delighted at their gestures and sounds and toothless grins, I realised that perhaps I wouldn't mind if The Plan was brought forward a few months and amended.
And yet strangely enough, we get mixed messages from other couples who embraced parenthood early on in their marriages. "Don't you dare have kids; your lives will be over," they tell us, despite them having two, or three, or even four children cuddling on their laps.
What's with the contradictions? Simultaneously, people wonder how we are already more than a year into marriage without a child on the way and tell us "good on us" for so far avoiding the shackles that come with children.
Regardless, Mr T broached the subject: "Those little babies, Yara and Natalie... they're beautiful," he said. I held my breath.
"That's the first time I really felt I wouldn't mind having a baby. It would be nice to have one, don't you think?"
I tried to remain calm. Was this really The Talk taking place, so nonchalantly?
For the first time in our relationship, we talked about children without bemoaning the fact that we will have to clean up their mess and wake up in the middle of the night to feed them. Instead, we discussed when would be the best time of the year to conceive, so I wouldn't end up heavily pregnant in the humid summer of the UAE. We explored options on where we'd like to give birth: in Abu Dhabi? In Jordan? In Canada? We wondered how much money we should save beforehand. We argued about names.
And we agreed that we should stick to The Plan. The idea of adding a third, miniature human to our private circle of two was still a scary one, so there was no hurry.
But thanks to The Talk, we both know that one day, maybe soon, we'll be harried parents chasing after our children and warning other couples against having babies too soon - just before smothering our own child with kisses.