A blogging prompt for every day of the month of December? Totally. I will hopefully find a few spare minutes to make up the first 4 prompts that I missed. Today’s prompt from Reverb Broads: What is the one thing you finally did this year that you always wanted or said you were going to do, but in your heart of hearts never thought you would actually do?
I had a baby.
Maybe I should rephrase the prompt slightly. I always wanted and said I was going to have children. But in my heart of hearts, I never thought I would actually have one this young.
A lot of things went through my mind when I first saw those two little lines on the pregnancy test. “Oh my god, I’m pregnant.” “It’s probably a defective test. Maybe I should do another one.” “I’m too young to be a mom.” “I’m barely a wife, how can I possibly be a mom!?” “What am I going to tell Tim? We aren’t ready for this.” “How am I going to finish school?” “That’s what I get for watching Babies.”
Notice none of those things are “YAY! I’m having a baby! Just what I’ve always wanted!”
I’m sure that many people look at this and shake their head in disdain. How could I possibly not have been immediately joyful about something as wonderful as this? Don’t I know how many people would give an arm and a leg if it meant they could have have a baby? Do I not realize the number of women who suffer from fertility issues and will never experience this moment of realizing I carry a life inside me?
I know this. Which is why I’ve never really talked about this before except to my husband.
I found out I was pregnant and joy was not my immediate feeling. My first feeling was complete and utter terror.
You know what? That’s okay. It’s healthy.
Those first few weeks were difficult. I took four pregnancy tests because I just couldn’t comprehend what was happening. (As an aside, the dollar store pregnancy tests are just as effective as the $14 drugstore ones. Go cheap.) I didn’t tell my husband right away. I kept it to myself for a full 24 hours. (Not the most brilliant idea I’ve ever had.) We’d only been married for three months. We lived in a dumpy apartment. We were just getting used to living together and now we had to prepare to welcome a new life. Neither of us were finished with school. We had no money.
Done bun, can’t be undone.
So we talked. And we planned. We scrimped. And we scraped. We prayed. And we praised.
Long story short, we are here. Almost a full year later with my 3-month-old daughter who is a total blast–mostly she has warm clothing and parents who love her. We live in a 4-bedroom house in a great neighborhood. Tim has an amazing job that meets our needs every month. We have food in our fridge and gas in our cars.
I am finishing up the last of my transfer degree and somehow we will make it work for me to finish my bachelor’s next year. Tim is in school full time, working full time, and also being a full-time husband and father. Our families have been incredibly supportive and loving, helping us whenever and however we need it.
Looking back I think “Eh, it didn’t turn out so bad.” My doomed picture of a starving baby screaming in a dingy apartment with a mother who left her dreams of school behind in the dust was–just slightly–melodramatic. But it wasn’t unnecessary. We were unprepared. Is it better to realize that you are wholly unqualified and unprepared to care for a human being or to think that you have it all together only to have a rude awakening once you are holding that screaming infant in your arms? We weren’t ready. But what better way to get ready. Is it more effective to slowly wade into a freezing pool, trying to convince yourself to dunk your head under the water and never really succeeding because it’s just soooo coooold or to have someone just shove you in and get it over with?
Realizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Realizing you aren’t prepared is the first step to being prepared. Realizing you are scared is the first step to being brave. Realizing there is an obstacle is the first step to overcoming it.
You need a steady career. You need to own a house. You need a nest egg. You need good health insurance. You need to be out of school. You need to be married for awhile first. You need this, that and the other.
Don’t have a baby too soon or your world will end.
That is what you hear. Everywhere you go. From almost anyone. Somehow, somewhere, our society has shifted into this mindset that everything has to be just so before you are allowed to have children. But what IS just so? I get my house and my career. And then decide I need a bigger house and more money. Then I decide I should have my retirement fund started and I should get some traveling out of the way (because that’s impossible with children). Pretty soon, I’m 36 and I’m still trying to convince myself to dunk my head under the cold water.
I think I prefer to be shoved.
Plus, baby cuddles are far more pleasant than cold water.