Confession: I never wanted to be a Mom. I didn’t play “House” growing up; I played MarioKart on the brand new Nintendo 64. I didn’t ask Santa for dolls, I asked for a skateboard. As a girl I didn’t dream about my future wedding, I dreamt about what my life would look like when I turned 27 on my Golden Birthday, April 27th. My younger self would have been proud to know I spent my 27th birthday at Machu Picchu in Peru.
But funny how God laughs when you tell him your plans and what you think you want in life. Looking back on my “don’t want to be a Mom” days, I’m sure God was actually ROLFing.
I fell madly in love with my high school sweetheart and he with me. We were married weeks after my college graduation. When I married him, I knew his lifelong dream was to be a father. He knew since he was 3 years old he wanted to be a dad. He’s the one who grew up playing “House.” He never went through a “girls are icky” phase because he knew eventually a girl would give him what he wanted: kids of his own. Seeing the joy his dad’s 5 brothers and sisters brought each other, having kids was always part of my husband’s life plan. In fact, he told people with a straight face he wanted 10!
We occasionally had The Talk about having kids, but it usually ended up with me in tears because I wasn’t ready. I was afraid I never would be. I was focused on making a name for myself career-wise. I was still trying to figure out who I was and didn’t feel like a real grown up yet. I wasn’t sure of my purpose on this Earth and how I was called to make a difference in the world. How could I have a baby while trying to figure all this out? Plus, my vision of motherhood was clouded with negative images of dowdy clothes, screaming kids in stores, resentment towards my husband, losing my sense of self, and frankly, a perceived lowered status in society. And of course I was terrified of labor and child birth. But after 7 years of marriage, I could no longer ignore my husband’s dream, a dream he could not fulfill without me. Who was I to crush a dream he’s held onto since early childhood? So, in early 2011 I went off birth control. Trust me when I say it is the bravest thing I ever did. Within a couple months, I was pregnant. I bawled when I saw those two faint lines on the stick. My life was over. My husband grinned with glee at the news while simultaneously holding me, sobbing in his arms.
It’s amazing how when you think you don’t want something, you end up getting it anyway and it turns out to be EVERYTHING you’ve ever wanted and just didn’t know it. I’m hopelessly in love with my now 20 month old son. His joy feeds my soul and his laughter is my addiction. In him, I have discovered a new, fulfilling purpose. Instead of having to be a full on boring grown-up, I get to be a kid again as we laugh together playing with Legos and going down the slide at the park. I have a new confidence that didn’t exist before he was born. I mean, look at what my body made! However, the biggest surprise was finding out how WRONG I was about motherhood. Sure, having a baby closed a couple of doors, but for every door that closed, dozens opened. I discovered a huge network of new moms like me through a program at my hospital among many other resources available to me. The Mom’s I’ve met are full of wisdom, advice, but mostly good stories and the support of someone who’s been there. I’ve entered into a new kind of sisterhood, and the bonds are strong.
If only I could tell my pre-baby self to have no fear, that it is actually better on the other side. Then maybe those 2 pink lines wouldn’t have been so scary. But, I’m grateful for how I’ve grown and what I’ve learned about myself through this journey. I am strong, I am confident, I am bold, I am rebellious. I’m not the same as I was, and thank God for that.