Today I’m keeping it real in the most serious way. . . I’m talking about babies. I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while, but I think I’ve been hesitating to share my thoughts here because I don’t want to be insensitive to anyone out their who is facing different struggles and challenges related to motherhood/fatherhood/parenthood. While my current thoughts on motherhood are swirling around timing and age and expectation, I know many friends who are struggling with conception, adoption, miscarriage, and many other more life-altering struggles with motherhood (or fatherhood).
So my thoughts today are just that–my thoughts about where I am with motherhood right. now.
my favorite picture of all time: my grandparents looking picturesque and
my mom crying in the bottom right corner
It’s true what they say about the common questions you get
asked at different stages of your life (or maybe just the ones I’ve been asked as a heterosexual lady):
- when you’re single: Are you seeing anyone? Are you dating? What are you looking
- when you’re seeing someone: Is it serious? Have you talked about marriage? When
are you planning to tie the knot?
- When you’re married: So, . . . are you guys going to have kids? When are you going to
As Mother’s Day approaches (and let’s face it, since the second I got married), motherhood has been on my mind. In addition to thinking about how lucky I am that my mom is incredible (love you mom!), I’m also just thinking in general about the nature of these steps we take through our lives-what they mean, how we feel about them, how easy/hard it is for us to walk through them, how often we stop to see another path.
I, in so many ways, have always been a conformist. A hopeless romantic, I always dreamed of marriage and family and adventure (that
last one is part of the equation too right?). I remember that I read The Secret Garden and thought; someday I’ll have secret passages and rose gardens, and then my magic life will have arrived. For years, if you asked my high school or college boyfriends what I dreamed about then, they’d tell you: rose gardens and secret passageways. Because the magic of those things represented a bigger, more wondrous life than I could imagine for myself. And even after ideas like success and marriage and stability grew to supersede those passageways and rosebuds, I have still tried to hold onto the magic and whimsy of those simple dreams.
Because of my easily gullible heart, I find myself constantly questioning, stopping to ask my gut what it’s feeling about baby-making. Should I have already started trying? Should I wait until the last possible moment to have kids to take advantage of these days with just us two? What do I really want (and when)? >>and then, Does what I want even begin to align with my husband’s thoughts on the issue?
This line of inner questioning, as I’m sure you know, is exhausting. How do we ever trust ourselves? Sometimes it’s hard to hear the whisper of your own voice in the midst of the clanging and banging of the life you feel like you’re being told that you should be living.
Growing up in the South, I always thought that by now I’d be married, have kids, and hopefully own a small house. Oh, how life is funny. I did not think that by now I would be renting a small (but gorgeous-I’m grateful!) apartment in a city on the other side of the country still wondering about the the right time to start a family.
Even if I had some clarity (which I don’t) about when I want to start a family, I am fully aware that the timing isn’t up to me. I know that I can’t control our likelihood of conceiving once we start trying. But of course, that just seems like an extra (very weighty) point to start trying sooner rather than later (especially as I approach the next decade).
>>As a walking
epicenter of overly articulated, tangibly passionate emotions, I
am now quite poignantly standing at a crossroads in my life. <<
Although motherhood is something I have always (always) wanted and been drawn to, I’m also keenly aware of the gravitational shift it can and will have on my life. I feel torn between worlds. I am simultaneously behind so many of
my college friends whom have multiple chick-a-dees, and way too baby-crazy compared to many of my west coast
friends who feel no rush to dive into childrearing.
And the most maddening part of it all is: I feel/see/breathe/live/get both perspectives. And you know what? It is
painful to see both and to not know which one you really want. What do I really want? To wait five more years until
we could afford to buy something in the city of San Francisco? Until we’ve been
able to travel to all the grand places we’ve always wanted? Until my career is in auto-pilot?
Or do I want a baby now? Tomorrow? Yesterday? Because I hear this voice saying: You’re not getting any younger, lady. Do I want to start a family because deep down it’s one of the few things I’ve always been the most
certain of—no questions, no doubts—I’ve always wanted to be a mom (like I joke [no joke] that my ovaries literally beat when I’m around babies). So why wait?
I am always already
in the in-between of both worlds, if you know what I mean.
Right now, I’m telling myself that even if we decide to have kids sooner rather than later, we can live wherever and be wherever, and that will be enough. I just keep thinking that we’ll know when it’s right. And I’m trying best to not let fear (of any kind) impact our choices.
In the meantime, in regards to my answer to my current stage of questions:
>>Are you going to have
kids? When are you going to start trying?<<
My answer is just:
when we do.
Do you have kids? If not, do you want to have kids? Are you pondering when might be right for you?
If you do have kids, when did you know it was the right time to start a family?
Thanks for reading friends.
Keeping it real,