Family of two

A few weeks back, Max and I sat in quaint little lounge along the shores of Thessaloniki. My cousin, Penny, who was born and raised in Greece, joined us on our date. My pregnancy inevitably became part of our conversation during the course of the evening.

"Max and I hope that I can deliver a healthy baby " I said. "But if something goes wrong and I miscarry, we will be ok."

"We're a happy family, just the two of us," Max chimed in. "I married Diane because I wanted her to be my wife. To have children with her, would only be the icing on the cake.

"And there is always adoption," I added.

Penny's eyes welled up with tears. This sort of philosophy regarding children and marriage is almost unheard of if her culture.

"I like how you feel about this. You words are beautiful to me," she began. "But, to be honest, it's almost unbelievable to my ears. Here in Greece, most couples would say, 'if you can't give me a child, then what's the point?' And adoption isn't often considered."

I know Penny's claims aren't far from the truth. In countries like Greece and Egypt, having children is held with the utmost importance. My own Greek father, in the distant past, went as far as to question the femininity of a woman without a family. And while his viewpoint has softened over the years, he still doesn't quite "get" couples who say they are happy without children. I suppose it's hard to for him to break away from how he was raised.

Which is yet another reason why my husband amazes me. Even though he is an Egyptian man, raised in Greece, Max doesn't hold the same beliefs and cultural norms as others like him. I believe him when he tells me that he didn't marry me just to have his babies or that he is happy with his family of two. Moreover, unlike some of his relatives, Max is very open, if not enthusiastic, about the possibility of adoption.

Really, where did this guy come from? How did I get so lucky to snag him?

So while my husband and I are saddened and disappointed by our recent loss, we still revel in our love for one another, finding both solace and strength in the depths of our commitment. We've decided to just put any baby-making pursuits on hold for the next several months, and reevaluate only when the time feels right.


oreneta said...

You are so very strong, and so very lucky to have each other.

A Touch of Dutch said...

You have such a very fantastic attitude & Max is a wonderful husband! :-)

V-Grrrl said...

My husband and I didn't have children until year 13 of our marriage. That was intentional. We were very, very happy in our family of two and for a long time intended to keep it that way. When we decided to try and have children, I knew if nature didn't cooperate, we'd be OK.

Connie said...

I think being out in the real world, traveling, living in other cultures, opens your mind to reality. True, some cultures are more resistant to adoption and believe in the need to have babies to make a marriage, but it is present everywhere. I started getting asked by my mom about when I was going to have kids, as soon as we got married. She didn't 'get it' that with our both being active duty military, we didn't think it was a good idea at the time. You and Max have each other - and it sounds like you two are best friends as well as happily married. That is so beautiful - and so important. What is meant to be, will be, and I am glad you have each other as you find out what will happen! That is lucky!

btw, I never thought I could adopt. Not sure if I could add more to my two kids now either. I just never thought about it! I thought we would have kids, or not, but I didn't think of adoption. But I have gained an education in adoption over the last few years from my in-laws. They've adopted 5 children, in addition to their other children, and although it still seems totally overwhelming to me, I am proud of them for taking in these children and making them a part of our family.

Sue Jacquette said...

You know, people can be amazed at how fulfilling a loving relationship can be. I have a child from my first marriage, and when I first dated my current husband, he told me he had always wanted 3 sons. Then, as we got closer and he grew to love Jade (my daughter), he decided he didn't want any children of his own. He said he was happy with just us. I think you'll never know what can make you feel whole until you feel whole. It sounds like you guys are whole. God bless.

Charlotte said...

You and Max have a wonderful relationship, and I have no doubt that you will always be very happy together. I also think taking a break to re-evaluate is a good thing, especially since you have a big and stressful move ahead of you. I know you are going to have so much in fun in your new home, and that fun will indicative of your (plural) attitude to life - to make the most of every situation you find yourselves in and relish it. How wonderful that you have found each other, and can adventure in the world together. That kind of love and being well-matched doesn't come around often, does it?

kenju said...

Whatever happens, the two of you will be just fine, I know. You are both lucky to have found each other.

I have Lebanese friends, and I know their older generation's attitude on adoption and not having children. They are against the first and scoff at anyone who cannot do the second. I wonder why people from that part of the world are so adamant about it?

I hope it happens for you, Diane, as I think you and Max would be wonderful parents.

Jill said...

I don't think that lucky quite describes you and Max... in Hebrew it's called your "beshert" or your
"Fated / Destined".

And I so do agree about adoption. Solely birthing a child does NOT a parent make.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if your dad (and even Max) would feel differently if you just didn't want to have children (while your dad might have accepted that with your past husbands knowing they weren't right for you, now that you have your perfect match, maybe he'd be more reluctant to accept it if you just didn't want kids). I think it's very different and much easier to accept when a couple simply can't have children, but people still refuse to accept a couple that just doesn't want to. I hate feeling like I have to justify our choice -- we like each other so much, we can't imagine mucking it up with a kid, we want to achieve our dreams of early retirement, etc., which we couldn't do with a kid, we don't see an overwhelming need to just pass on our dna or have someone to take care of us when we get old. I think a fresh start in a new country will be great for you both, and you'll have so much fun sharing it together.

Ron said...

Hi Diane!

It's interesting how different cultures feel differently about different things, isn't it?

I come from an Italian culture, and they too feel very strongly about having children.

I had some very close friends in Florida who were unable to have children, so they eventually adopted TWO. And to be in their presence and witness the "special bond" they had with these children was so touching.

I was able to see/feel that it was their LOVE and DEVOTION...that made them parents.

And I also believe, that on some level...they were actually meant to have these children.

So in a way...these children were theirs.


evercurious said...

an amazing man for and amazing woman. You two struck the jackpot.

Blogging Mama said...

Max is amazing. And you are amazing (hence why you're together right? ;)

The idea of him being okay without kids and okay with adoption too is a blessing. There are some people who don't feel that way.

Adoption is not easy and not for the fainthearted but with all that you have been through, I think if that's the choice you ultimately make, you'll both do just fine :)

As always, if you need any help with that adopting while living abroad stuff, you've got my email.

essie said...

i have taught too many children who were the ill-fated result of two completely selfish people who had all the fixin's to make a baby to not say this now:
the physical act of giving birth does not make someone a parent...

you and your husband have a soldiered your way through joy and pain, together.
it is this committment to one another that will take you into parenting-however that happens-and I echo the comments of those before me:


when it happens, you'll be ready.

ian in hamburg said...

I really hope it works out for you whether it's your own child or an adopted one, Diane. It's hard what you're going through, know how it feels.

patches said...

The next time I find myself in need of a little grace, I will think about you and Max. Both of you are truly inspiring, and a good reminder that good does around.

Rositta said...

My husband is Greek and we chose not to have kids. He has two from a first marriage and I have one. That seemed enough for us. We have been married 24 years and we still get flak from the Greek contingent as to WHY we didn't have any. You and Max will do what you need and want at the time of your choosing, good on you...ciao

Sizzle said...

I'm so glad you both have one another and such a strong love.

Vodka Mom said...

You two are incredible. I'm a tad jealous of your relationship.

Charlotte said...

I'm so glad that Max and you are so close (that's exactly what TBIK tells me all the time, baby or no--doesn't it make you fall more and more in love with a man with such a splendid attitude?).

Yeah, take it easy for a while with the baby thing. And, from my perspective, adoption ain't so bad--it'll definitely avoid all the damage a pregnancy does to your body, and you'll literally save the life of a child.

Cairo Typ0 said...

It sounds like you have a defintely keeper! You two share a wonderful relationship. :)

Fabi Yvette said...

...and so it will be...thinking of you often, Diane and Max!

egan said...

Putting things on hold and not thinking about it for a few months is a good choice. Otherwise you might drive yourself batty.

This isn't directed at you in the least Diane since you seem pro-adoption. I do find it interesting how society typically sees adoption as a last option. The biggest hangup with adoption is the price and legal aspects. If it wasn't for those barriers, my wife and I would most likely adopt. And sadly it shouldn't come down to money, but it does.

My wife and her brother were both adopted. Family isn't just about how you look like, but the bonds you form. Have a great weekend Diane.

NewWrldYankee said...

That is the relationship that I wish to have. That brought tears to my eyes, Diane. You two are amazing.

I want to adopt whether or not I can have kids, really. It kills me that so many children out there don't have a home already.

Vasectomy Man said...

If it helps tell her I'm going to have a vasectomy :)