The women’s majlis: Want a baby? Get a plan first

If couples are not ready for kids, they may bring in a maid to totally take over, which is not healthy. Babies need to be fed, given a bath, have their diaper changed and much more. Couples should be in this together.

People get married for many reasons, one of which could be to have children. In the UAE, you are expected to be pregnant immediately after the wedding – it's as if there is no other reason behind this unity.

In some cases, if a woman is not pregnant within the first year of her marriage, her mother-in-law gives herself the permission to propose a new wife to her son. Scientifically though, couples should only start to worry after two years of trying to conceive.

My husband and I had an understanding from the beginning – we would have children when we were ready; after we were 100 per cent sure that we are right for each other. We wanted to have a family based on a strong foundation and not just another lousy, broken and rushed-into kind of family. Couples get divorced when they realise it was their biggest mistake, but if children are already a part of their lives, it's a little too late.

When my husband and I planned how our life together would be after our wedding, it involved travelling abroad and doing our master's degrees together. Babies, on the other hand, would have to wait until we graduated. And so we planned our pregnancy based on our life plans.

But the environment you live in sometimes makes you doubt whether planning everything is wise. Some feedback I got from my close ones included: “What you're doing is wrong”, “There is no 'right' time to have babies”, and even, “Are you sure you have no fertility issues?” I understand it might be unusual to some to plan a pregnancy in the UAE, and we were open to all manner of communication. Yet we have stuck to our guns.

If couples are not ready for kids, they may bring in a maid to totally take over, which is not healthy. Babies need to be fed, given a bath, have their diaper changed and much more. Couples should be in this together. It is the new life that they have both created and they must be ready, physically and emotionally.

I am blessed to have a partner who takes care of my baby as much as I do. He is even more happy than I am to have discovered a baby-changing room for fathers at The Galleria, Abu Dhabi. Fathers play a big role in raising the kids. Mothers get pregnant and fathers support them, and this support can change the whole experience from a healthy and stable one to a never-again experience.

I am pregnant with my second baby, and this pregnancy was planned, too. We wanted to have a two-year gap between our kids. We both know the responsibilities that are coming and we are ready to face them together. Our little family is growing bigger, little by little. Just as we wanted it.

Elham Al Dhaheri is an Emirati journalist who lived in Australia for more than two years. She is the mother of one child and is expecting another.

• If you’re an Emirati woman who has an interesting story to tell or an important issue to debate, contact Shireena Al Nowais on salnuwais@thenational.ae

Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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