I didn’t plan to have children. Growing up, I used to think that it was selfish to reproduce, that the world had enough people on it already. I didn’t have younger siblings — my sister is more than a decade older than I am, so it always felt a bit like I had two sets of parents instead of one. I didn’t like younger children, or babies.
I was so certain I didn’t want children that I thought about having my tubes tied. My family has a history of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers and I have endometriosis, so I thought maybe I should just have the whole system taken out. No doctor would do it, and everyone kept telling me I would change my mind, that “someday” I would want children of my own. I always figured if that happened, maybe I would look into adoption.
And then, in the most cliché turn of events Hollywood could have ever predicted, I met a guy. We were twenty-two and we fell in love. We took our time getting married — almost four years. Another two years passed. Then in August, we found out my birth control pill had failed and that I was pregnant.
The funny thing was that I wanted this to happen. I had been thinking about having kids for a couple of years, trying to come to terms with this unpredictable yearning I felt. It was irritating in a way, the fact that all those people turned out to be right, but I knew that it really had to do with my husband, with wanting to have a baby with him.
So it’s pretty ironic that I’m having this kid almost on my own. Due to circumstances beyond both of our control — a move, a job change for me, and his desire to really try the job it took him over a year to find — it looks like I’m going to be having this baby alone. There’ll be doctors and nurses and maybe a doula, sure, but I always thought he would be there with me. And while it’s possible that he may make it for the birth, it’s entirely possible that he will miss it.
It’s taken me several months to come to terms with the fact that I will be alone — aside from the medical staff — when our son comes into the world. But I’m starting to see it as a positive. Even though I’m not the “birth warrior” type — labor terrifies me — I am starting to realize that I can do this, and if I can do this, I can raise this little boy to be kind and generous and love animals.
Even though I am a control freak and afraid that anything and everything will go awry, I know that it’s only one or two or three days of labor and I can get through it. The birth plan is for the baby to be outside my body and for both of us to be okay, and the chances of that going wrong are slim. And even if something does go wrong, it’s not like my husband could change that just by being there.
Even though I would love to have my husband with me for childbirth classes, I’ve been lucky enough to find friends who are happy to accompany me. The more I think about it, the more I realize how lucky I am that we are in this position, and that we can have this little boy and give him a safe and loving home.
And even though his dad probably won’t be able to be with me when our baby is born, I’ll get to meet him first. I’ll get to be the one to introduce everyone to our son. I’ll get to be the first one to know him. Maybe it’s selfish of me to want that, but now I do and I’m glad that I’ll get it.