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By Alex: 008

I have never been overly cautious about seemingly important things. The little, seemingly unimportant things, now thats a different story, I am all over those like my life depended on it, and with anxiety stemming from OCD and depression, sometimes it feels like it does.

Otherwise I tend to be pretty relaxed about life choices. Or so I thought.

I always wanted to travel, I always wanted to live in a different country, I always wanted to get married, have children, have a creative job I love, be happy. This is the extent of my goals – non-specific to a point of almost non-existence – I like to see where things end up. For such a control freak about the little things, I really take a pass on the macro level.

So here I am, after coasting life for the last 28 years: married, living abroad, and just starting my ideal job after taking my sweet time through university, gap years, and a general lack of ambition. Not bad at all. Overall happiness level high.

The problem is, it has taken me far too long to get a career off the ground, and too long to start earning a decent salary. I mean, in reality it really hasn’t, 28 is perfectly decent age to realise your work-life dreams - some people never do it. I know this logically. I know that right now life is great and I should just be enjoying it. But alas, that is not the human condition, and with a couple of life boxes ticked I am now swiftly moving on to dreams of the next.

And swiftly suddenly seems to be the operative word here.

So, children.

29 was my goal year to conceive, a plan shared with my husband. But that plan was made about five years ago, when 29 seemed a long way off. And so here I find myself at 28, one year into living in the Middle East, just starting my career, and with a husband who has decided that he wants to travel, and is enjoying the newly-wed, spare-income wielding, lifestyle we now have too much to ruin it with more responsibilities.

We are about 4 years away from our financial goals, a minimum of 2 years away from me transferring to our preferred country with my job (plus however many years’ service required there before qualifying for decent maternity/paternity leave), and god-only-knows how many years away from my husband’s wanderlust being satiated.

Suddenly the laissez-faire attitude to lifes big events is no longer feeling good. Planning is becoming vital, the details matter more and more.

And I hear that clock ticking. I read information about egg age and fertility windows, and I worry.

Perhaps I will be fortunate enough to be able to conceive well into my thirties, and I am worrying for no reason, but I don’t have a crystal ball to check that this is the case, and I don't have a time machine for if it turns out not to be.

My husband is naturally very laid back, and when he takes too long to take the rubbish out or set the table for dinner this is mildly infuriating. When he suggests we delay having children for 5+ years while we see where we are, it is devastating.

I know we want to save money to invest in property, I know we want to move to a different country in a couple of years and my job will be pivotal, I know we want to see the world together. I know that I will want to be close to my family in the UK when I do have a child, at least in the beginning. I know the sensible thing to do is to stay here for two more years, then transfer to a European country and work for another year before trying to conceive, going back to the UK for an extended stay for the birth etc.

I know all this, and I know it ends up with me close to 33 and still childless.

I wanted to be done with having children by then, not a judgement of older mothers, but a selfish desire to have a long, healthy life with my husband after children too. Plus a little built in time in case we can't conceive and decide to start the lengthy adoption process - a scenario that seems more and more possible the older I get.

I have no right to demand that my husband concede and that we start trying, though a part of me feels like I should. But a larger part of me would prefer him to just want to have babies sooner, or for it to happen accidentally.

I never envisioned having to time-table conception into our lives, and I dread such a mechanical and business-like arrangement. I want a child from love and passion, not aligning schedules and accurate fiscal planning.

Only time will tell.

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