I occasionally write things not meant to be posted on the internet. Shocking, I know. I was looking back through some of my musings and found what I’d written one year ago today, December 15, 2013. It was a profanity filled, angry document on my frustration of another cycle ending without a pregnancy. Just one month later, on January 15th, I finally got that coveted positive test, but of course I had no way of knowing how close we were to finally conceiving, or if we ever would. Crossing that month off the calendar seemed especially noteworthy because it marked a full year of trying, and yet I’d be having that glass of wine as a consolation prize yet again.
|This was the prize I really wanted.|
Before I got there myself, I was also fascinated to hear from people how they decided they were ready to have a baby. I know, I know, no one is ever really ready, but most couples at some point decide “ok, let’s do this”. I decided to share how I got to that point, and I felt today was a fitting time for that topic.
I’ve gotten some pretty shocked reactions from people upon finding out that Eric and I were married for 6 years before the birth of our first child. I always find that surprising for two reasons. First, I thought it was a given that people knew that fertility and pregnancy could potentially be very painful topics for a woman, so you never comment on the timing of having children. Second, it never seemed weird to me! I know the rhyme goes “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes _____ with the baby carriage”. Some people can’t get that baby carriage fast enough after saying “I do”, some people switch the order around entirely, and then other people, like me, couldn’t even imagine trading in the wedding dress for spitup rags and diapers.
While I was completely out of my mind baby crazy in December 2013, I was feeling much more hesitant in December 2012. A year before that the thought of being pregnant was positively sickening. Eric and I both always knew we wanted to have children. But when we got married, we were still living downtown, going out all the time, and generally still living the wild early 20s life.
|Actually from just a year and a half ago but it illustrates the point.|
A year in to our marriage, we moved out to the suburbs. I was still in no way ready to start a family. I was way too selfish. I don’t mean that as a self-deprecating remark about a character flaw, I mean it as a lifestyle choice. This was the time I got really into running and racing. Obviously, you can do those things as a mom, which tons of people prove every day. But it takes devotion, planning, and sacrifice. I didn’t feel like doing any of those things. I wanted to be able to do my 20 mile training run when I felt like it, after a good night’s sleep, and without negotiating childcare with my husband.
|Way back when I could run far.|
We also had a lifestyle that we really liked. We could hop in the car to visit friends out of state at a moment’s notice. We could go out downtown, have a wild night, and crash on a friend’s floor. We could save up some extra money and take a trip together.
We could declare a Saturday a movie day and not get off the couch until Sunday. Although I didn’t get it quite the way I do now, I knew kids required a lot of time, effort, and money, and I was comfortable with where we were currently diverting these resources. In short, I liked doing what I wanted, when I wanted.
That’s a lot about why we had so many years when we weren’t ready. As I hit my late 20s, I started to think about it more seriously. Not really because I felt differently, more because the clock was ticking, and people sure love to remind you of that. Friends I’d gone to high school and college with were starting their families. I knew the days of setting the idea aside as “eh, someday, when we’re ready” were done. But still, every time I started to truly consider it, I would still feel like I had to accomplish one more goal before it could happen. A 50 miler. A marathon PR. A triathlon. There was always some reason to put it off.
|I didn't appreciate the joy of dressing our baby in funny costumes for our own amusement.|
All these athletic goals were my reasons for waiting, and they were also what let me know it was go time. Before, it had always seemed there was time for children….someday, but I needed to do this race NOW. All of the sudden I decided there was time to complete an ironman or a 100 miler someday, but I needed a baby – NOW. All the things that before seemed like obstacles (being in grad school, lack of space, etc) now just seemed like things we would need to work around. Sleeping on someone’s floor just to have a night out at the bars sounded less appealing than dental work. Staying in and enjoying some family time sounded so much better, especially with a snuggly cute little family member.
|Now our Saturday nights include bath and book time.|
I still loved my sleep and never really relished the thought of giving it up – but you gotta take the good with the bad. Supposedly I’ll sleep again someday. That’s what they tell me.
|The moment sleep ended for me.|
I knew I’d potentially be giving up a lot – racing (at least temporarily, and I can’t really imagine going back to it right now), traveling, date nights, lazy days. Except it suddenly didn’t feel like I was giving these things up, instead like I would be trading them for a much better prize. Before, I noticed diapers and exhaustion when hanging out with mom friends, now I noticed how the sight of mom lit up baby’s eyes. Before, I had never been a baby person at all, if anything, the thought of holding a baby was slightly frightening. All of the sudden, I couldn’t get enough.
|This started seeming appealing.|
The Cliff’s notes of this is that first I was scared of babies and wanted to be lazy anytime I wanted, then the switch flipped and I wanted my own baby, like, yesterday, screw grown up fun. If I’d waited until I was ready to give up sleep I would never have a kid.
|Worth all the sleepless nights times infinity.|