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.)