There are things I thought I’d never do. I thought I’d never like avocados. And then one day I did. I thought I’d never get a “real job” that lasted more than a year or two, but I’m an accountant and next week is my sixth anniversary with my employer. I thought I’d never own furniture or live in any one city for more than a couple of years, but then I bought real estate. I thought I’d never get married (not because of any fundamental opposition to the idea, but because my list of criteria of what would make an acceptable life partner sounded shockingly unrealistic), but then I met a guy who ticked all my boxes.
This is what time does. It takes your ideas of how your life is going to go and it laughs. I’ve always known that. My life plans have never been solid. If something doesn’t work out, I’m ok to move on and if an unexpected opportunity arises, I’m happy to go for it. Or if my whims take me somewhere I didn’t know I wanted to go, I trust myself and see how it works out. As a rule, this has gone well for me.
But we’re talking here about vague plans. Things I thought I’d do. Things I thought I’d never do.
But then there are the things I swore I’d never do. The things so based on my understanding of myself that I never questioned that I might change my mind on them.
And since I was twelve, I have sworn I would never have children. But here I am, four months pregnant. And it wasn’t an accident, you guys. My brain is still reeling. Because I was pretty damn sure I wasn’t going to do this. My reasons were many, and solid. Here are some:
- At the age of 12 I saw a live birth video at school. Was more or less traumatized. Decided I never needed to experience that little miracle. I fear pain. I fear blood. And I fear having my body torn apart. Call me crazy.
- The world is already overpopulated.
- The future of said world looks grim. Yeah, I’ll probably die before it gets really bad, but my kid probably won’t.
- I don’t want my identity to be eclipsed by that of being a mom.
- I am a worrier, and having a helpless person to worry about is going to be very stressful.
- My life and relationship are good and happy and full without one, so why change that?
- I read “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” It terrified me on a hundred different levels.
- Raising a child to be a kind, well-adjusted, and productive member of society instead of an entitled little shit looks really hard. I like to do things right. I will probably be quite upset if I mess this up.
- They are expensive.
- I don’t want to move to the suburbs.
- Or get a car.
- I have white couches. White. And no, they aren’t leather either.
- Whatever hormones or whatever it is that makes women yearn for babies – I don’t have them. I feel a much stronger nurturing connection to kittens.
Over the last two or three years though, I’ve been wavering and giving it a lot of thought. Enough, clearly, to lead me to where I am today. I’m still desperately afraid of childbirth, although it seems one of the weird things about pregnancy for me is that it has taken over my brain and won’t let me worry about this. When we were still in the considering stage, I was having regular, terrifying nightmares about childbirth. But now every time I think about it at all, something takes over and says “No. We aren’t going to think about this now. We’ll think about this later.” (Very Scarlett O’Hara, I know.) I am aware of my brain doing this, yet it is completely out of my control. I’m pretty impressed by this, actually.
I am still not that interested in babies. Sorry for those of you that are, but they just don’t do much. And they’re kind of needy. That said, I do like the idea of having a kid who can talk (and who knows how to use a toilet by itself.) I think that bit could be really fun. (And realistically, it’s going to last a lot longer, so I think my preference is ok.) Kids who can talk are pretty hilarious. And I also like all the lying conspiracies around kids: the Santa lie, the Toothfairy lie, the Easter Bunny lie, the I-put-on-a-cape-and-fight-crime-while-you’re-asleep lie. There’s a lot of entertainment potential there. I also really like the idea, down the road, of having an adult kid.
And I’m thrilled by the idea of getting to name something.
And I have friends who had kids and stayed in the city and don’t have cars and they’re doing ok. That was very reassuring for me.
And I get to revisit kids books and there are so many great ones out there. I did my first baby shopping the other night and it was books. It made me happy.
Yeah, I’m still a worrier. And the world of things to worry about has just bloomed like spring, with the things on my list just the tip of the iceberg. But I don’t like making decisions based on negativity and fear. It sets bad precedent.
Honestly? A big part of me would have been happy putting this off a few more years. Because I’m an excellent procrastinator. And I’ve been holding onto hope that science will figure out a way for men to give birth. But I’m in a pretty good place for it now. I have a strong relationship with a guy who I know will do his share of the parenting and housework (if he wasn’t that kind of guy, this would not be happening), we both have good jobs, we have a second bedroom to put someone in, and I can see that I’m going to want this eventually. If I wait until I’m completely ready, I’ll probably be sixty, and that’s kind of old for this sort of thing.
So yeah, there’s my news. It’s part of the reason I’ve not written in so long, because I’ve been exhausted like never before. Perking up a bit again now though. I promise that I will not turn this into a mommy blog. (Not that there’s anything wrong with mommy blogs.) However, there will probably be a few more pregnancy posts, because I’m finding this all pretty intense and it’s given me a whole new world of things to think about. At the same time, most of the time, it doesn’t even feel real. Crazy, baby.