There are people who are practically babies themselves when they know with certainty they want all. the. babies.
I was not that person. I have gone through my share of ups and downs on the subject. My friends may laugh because whether I wanted the role or not, I was the “mom” of many social groups. For example, does someone need a mint, a bandaid, a shoulder to cry on? Meredith has that in her purse, don’t worry. So yes, eventually I realized I wanted kids, but, you know, far far FAR in the future. As the future crept closer, a few things were still holding me back. They seem silly but there was a time when these semi-ridiculous (okay, maybe 100% ridiculous) “sticking points” were important. They represented larger feelings, a shorthand for “nope nopity nope, not ready yet!”
They (who are “They?” Probably financial experts, mom bloggers and your wise aunt) say no one ever feels fully ready to have a baby. For me, there were just a few things I had to get over before I knew I was ready. Or ready enough. And better yet, excited.
Number One: Sex
Not that kind of sex, the other kind. For some reason, I thought I would only want to have a baby if I knew it would be a boy. This was probably also shorthand for, “I only want to have a baby if it’s a boy who is perfect and clean and well behaved all the time and did I mention perfect?” One day I woke up realizing I would be thrilled to have a child, no matter their sex. And that I would be especially thrilled if that child brought their unique personality and lots of glorious mess to my life.
Number Two: Yup, #2…
Yes, I’m talking about poop. I can’t remember when I found out that many women go #2 while giving birth, but it totally freaked me out. And I vowed never to give birth because of it, and if I did give birth I wanted to be knocked out. Just hit me over the head with an over-sized cartoon anvil, please. (Surprise, surprise, that was not my birth preference when the time actually came.) Eventually I decided to break my immature vow. I realized that bringing a baby into the world is definitely worth a brief moment (or 100) of embarrassment.
Number Three: Potatoes (and Raisins)
Many newborns look like potatoes or raisins when they’re born (c’mon, I can’t be the only one who thinks this?), but the parents and family and friends always gush over them anyway like big weirdos. The babies I’ve been lucky enough to meet on their day of birth were the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen, so yes, I’d been under that spell before. But I had a nagging feeling … what if my baby wasn’t cute? Yup, this is totally superficial and horrible, but it was my shorthand for wondering about lots of much less superficial potential issues. I wondered what would happen if my baby had a developmental issue or delay? What if I had problems during conception or pregnancy? What if … I drove myself crazy and my anxiety went through the roof cataloging potential what-ifs. Some were more serious than others, clearly. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m hoping there’s someone out there who had these thoughts at some point, too. I’m not proud of it, but it happened.
Number Four: That Feeling
The biggest reason can’t be constrained by words on a page. I didn’t feel ready… until I did. Before my husband and I got married, maybe only a little while before, I started to feel ready. When I tried to confront that feeling with logic – pull it out and ask it pointed questions, it would float away like smoke on the wind. The “ready” feeling was just, there. In my body, my heart, my brain somewhere, lurking with a weird sense of calm. You can do this. You want this so badly. Go ahead, let’s try to become a mom. When I found out that I was pregnant, I was excited beyond belief. And not even a little scared about #2.
Okay, maybe a little.
Let me know in the comments just how truly ridiculous this list is. Or let me know how you “knew” you were “ready?”