maybe baby

Image via the Google LIFE photo archive.

This lady makes it look sort of fun...Image via the Google LIFE photo archive.

I’m married to a pediatrician. This means he really likes kids. This means he spends a lot of time around kids. This means that he spends a lot of time giving people advice ABOUT kids. This means at some point he needs to have a kid so he can test out for himself all the stuff he spends his days telling people about kids. This means at some point I need to have a kid.

And for a long time, this has pretty much been my line on the subject: “Yeah, I guess at some point I need to have a kid so Jon will know what he’s talking about!” (This is mostly a joke– he’s a great doctor, and most doctors spend their days treating things with which they have no experience. We don’t require oncologists to have had cancer, and most women are ok with male gynecologists, even if those men don’t really know what it’s like to possess a uterus, ovaries, or vagina.)

My other line on the subject has been that I won’t have a kid while my husband is a resident, working 80 hours per week, because “I didn’t get married just so I could be a single mom.” But we’re into our final year of residency, so that line won’t work for much longer.

Add to this that my husband is about to have a milestone birthday and is currently working in the nursery, surrounded by adorable babies and happy families, and you’ve got a clock ticking. I’m not even sure it’s a biological clock, but rather, some sort of societal clock that expects certain things to happen at certain times, particularly in the South and in the Christian culture in which we operate.

And I’m not so sure I’m ready for this clock to be ticking. On the one hand, I like to read a lot of parent blogs. Dooce, Girl’s Gone Child, OhDeeDoh, Bebeh Blog, and Pacing the Panic Room are all daily reads for me. I have been known to spend downtime at work researching things like cloth diapers (for the record, FuzziBunz seem like a good choice). I even volunteer my time once a week rocking babies at the hospital, and if you are around me and have an infant, odds are I will hog the baby and want to hold it and cuddle it as much as you’ll let me. I’ve been a camp counselor and a baby sitter, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I want to have kids.

And yet, this week, when we were sitting on the couch and my husband turned to me and said the following, I’m pretty sure my heart stopped for like a full minute.
Him: Do you know what I say when people ask me if I have kids?
Me: That you have two doggies and you married a kid? (We have a 5 year age difference)
Him: Nope. I say that I’m READY to have kids.
Me: *commence freakout*

You see, as much as I love kids, as much as I know I want kids, suddenly the thought of actually getting pregnant sounds only slightly more appealing than being poked with needles and forced to eat guacamole while listening to Sarah Palin give a speech, all of which are things I hate. (And yes, I know, there’s a lot of needle poking involved in a pregnancy.)

And I sort of wonder, will I ever not feel this way? Will, at some point, my hormones or something kick in and suddenly all I’ll want is to have a baby? Or is being completely freaked out by the idea of physically having a baby a completely natural and normal fear, and will I always have it? How will I know when I’m ready?

I definitely don’t want to do it until I’m ready. Is it one of those things where you just *know*, much like the decision to get married was for me? I am fully aware that having a kid will completely and utterly change my life, and it will change my life in ways and to a scale that it will not change my husband’s. I’m mostly afraid of how having a child will change me as a person, afraid it will make me into someone I don’t recognize, someone I don’t want to be– the type who posts about poop on Facebook and can’t compose a Tweet not about her child, let alone a complete thought. I’m afraid that if I have a kid before I’m sure I want to have a kid, I’ll resent both the kid and my husband. But how will I know when I’m sure that I want to have a kid? And what about people who got pregnant not-exactly-on-purpose who end up deciding it was the best thing that ever happened to them? What if I’m one of those people?

Anyone have ideas? Advice? How did you know YOU were ready? How did you know you weren’t?

(Also for the record: my sweet husband has assured me that he is by no means rushing me and will wait until I’m sure I’m ready.  He just wanted me to know where he’s at on the issue.)

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9 thoughts on “maybe baby

  1. I don’t have kids yet, and I’m not planning to in the immediate future, but Bobby and I have already talked about it. We’ve pretty much agreed that we’re never REALLY going to be 100-percent ready for it. For me, the idea of having another being living inside of me for 9 months, being delivered at a hospital and then taking up a huge part of our time, money and energy — well, that’s just always going to be a little overwhelming. So I think it’ll more be a matter of getting used to the idea or come to an acceptance of it.

    When do I think I’ll be able to accept it? I’d say I’ve got some concrete (and some not-so-concrete) goals for BEFORE I have a baby, ranging from getting our finances in better shape to finishing projects around the house to traveling a bit more to learning to sew. And I think that helps me to be more comfortable with the timeline my husband and I have discussed, because I have an idea of how much time I have to do the things I want before having kids.

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  2. Ah, Sarah, you are so funny! You are so young – when I was your age, kids were the farthest thing from my mind – I had just gotten married after all. I think it takes a while to know you’re ready. When you hang out with friends who have kids, do you feel like 1) I like these kids, they are fun to play with and cute or 2) I am jealous of this man’s/woman’s relationship with their kids, I want to have one of my own. I think that you are likely at stage 1 – so don’t worry, I think that if you want kids, that #2 feeling will kick in at some point and then you will let Jon know. As for identity – it will definitely change, being a parent can’t help but change you, but usually it’s for the better. You learn not to be so self-absorbed, nor self-sufficient. You learn not to sweat the small stuff just because you don’t have the time or the energy to.
    When I had Campbell, I totally had that “role I was born to play” feeling and I was in baby-lala-land for a while. But that wears off and you will find yourself again, a new, different, more worldly, less neurotic-kind of person, because the world will just seem that much bigger, or maybe it’s that much smaller. I enjoy my “double role” as part-time college professor and full-time mom. It’s a good balance for me and I think I still have the best of both and I have no doubt that you will too. I can’t imagine, with your spunk and energy that you will lose that – your kids will love that in you – and guess what? You can teach them to be that way too!
    As for FuzziBunz – I used them for Campbell and am now using them for Anna, so if you don’t mind using slightly used ones, I can pass them on to you when you’re ready. They are great – I don’t actually know very many people who use cloth diapers these days, but they are so EASY! I have a friend who uses gDiapers. They just came out earlier this year – you should check them out – they have cute diaper covers and you can either use a washable cloth insert or a COMPOSTABLE disposable insert. She composts hers and they totally biodegrade. I don’t know how $$ they are, but they look pretty cool!
    Talk to you soon,
    Thu

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  3. OMG. I have so many responses to this post, it’s unreal.
    I’ll have to compose them so as not to a)overwhelm you, and b)make you crazy, and c)reveal myself as the poop-posting creature I am.

    I will say this now, though: while there are basic truths you’ll hold to (you won’t physically torture your kid, you won’t put whiskey in his bottle), there are so many things you will end up NOT doing that you swore you always would (only organic homemade baby food!), and an equal amount of things you never thought possible- that you will do on a daily basis (entire conversations on the color, texture and scent of baby scat!)

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  4. You hate guacamole? I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

    About the baby thing though – You can’t be ready. It’s impossible. There is no ready. You can’t be ready for something so unpredictable. I honestly can’t remember ever feeling ready. It was more like “I know this is on my life-list of things I definitely want to do so lets do it.” You can put off “See Australia” until you’re 60 but not so much with pregnancy, y’know?

    I know you (as well as you can know someone just based on internet communication) and know you will be an excellent mother. You have a wonderful partner who is MUCH better prepared for a baby than 99% of the population. You are healthy, green-minded, well researched, financially stable and have a good support system. Pregnancy and babies aren’t a medical condition – they’re an adventure and a challenge and the most fun I’ve ever had. You’ll do a great job whenever you take the plunge.

    If you want to keep waiting for “ready” you might end up like those people from the beginning of Idiocracy and then we’re all screwed. The trailer park isn’t getting any smaller if you know what I mean.

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  5. Also, posting about poop on Facebook or tweeting that little Johnny just used the potty or whatever only annoys the childless. The rest of us totally understand.

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  6. I knew I could count on the kick-ass mamas I know to give me some good feedback on this one, and you guys have not disappointed!

    BebehBlog: a) it’s more guac for you, and I’m actually pretty good at making it, if my husband’s opinion is to be trusted, b) Your comment about never really being ready resonates with me. Sometimes I do think I just need to close my eyes, hold my breath, and jump. Those would be the times when I’m not actively worrying and preventing myself from sleeping because I am a crazy crazy crazy person.

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  7. We have had this conversation over and over. Sometimes I think I am totally ready, as I just hit the same birthday milestone as Jon, but Jed is not there yet. We have talked about timelines, etc, but then I think, “Would I rather go to Europe?” My reasons for not having a kid right now are all pretty selfish, but I don’t know that they are necessarily wrong. I’m really enjoying just being with my husband, I really like my job and know I probably couldn’t do this with a kid (the hours are crazy), and I really want to travel more. The really big reasons are: I really like coffee and caffeine in general, I like taking my allergy medicine and not sneezing constantly, and I REALLY like to sleep. Also, sometimes being a dog mom overwhelms me enough. I am trying to trust that the Lord has a plan for us, and He will reveal it to us in time. I just hope I am listening.

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  8. I feel exactly the same. I know I want to have kids, I am married, and yet… the closer I come to being able to actually HAVE kids, the less I want them!

    The latest twist is getting this new job — it’s an amazing opportunity that I never, ever dreamed I would actually nail down. How am I supposed to have kids now? How can I balance the two in the next three years; the next five; the next fifteen? I used to be rather, erm, cavalier about birth control… but now I’m locking it down faster than T Pain.

    Also, regarding the single parent front: as long as S is getting deployed I will be child-free. Period.

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    • I ended up talking (aka emailing, as we rarely get to talk what with living in different time zones and all her time being taken up with my 11 year old Autistic sister) to my mom about the whole thing. (I have to say, she has shown remarkable restraint in not asking me about kids AT ALL since I got married three years ago.) She gave me some good advice and my current thinking is: we’ll talk about this more after December. In December, we find out where we’re going for J’s fellowship, and if we’re staying here, going to Little Rock, or going to Denver, I’ll probably be more inclined to have a baby sooner, rather than later, as I have support systems in those places. If we go to Nashville, Birmingham, or Salt Lake City, I’ll be more inclined to wait until after we’ve moved and I’ve gotten established. I was SO DEPRESSED when we first moved here and I knew no one, and I think doing that with a baby is a recipe for a very depressed Sarah. My mom also helpfully reminded me what I am like with no sleep: an emotional wreck who cries at everything.

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