It took me years to convince my husband to propose. The fact that I so shamelessly pushed him into it for so long makes me feel a bit embarrassed. We were young, having met at 19 and 21. Whatever hesitation or procrastination he ever clung to, we both relished wedding planning — we had a big, nontraditional fun-for-all shindig in a meadow with lawn games. Our marriage started five years into the relationship and has rocked our socks off. Considering that the love, sex, and daily life are phenomenal and he was so slow to warm up to settling down, I’m surprised that he wants to rock the boat by bringing in a third person — a baby.
I’ve been baby crazy for years, and we’ve always joked about my wanting 500 babies. We’ve had a few pregnancy “scares” over the years — some at worse times than others — and each time knowing that if this is it, then, well… this is it.
Of course people ask when we’ll have kids, and we’ve pretty much stuck to the “a few years down the road” plan. As I’ve ranted at times, “I want to enjoy being married for a while! Why do people rush to become a moms and dads when they’re just learning to be husbands and wives?!” So I was slightly overcome when, almost a year and a half into wedded bliss, my husband said that he wanted to have a baby.
The conversation was brief and surreal, and a variety of emotions have swept over me in the weeks since. We have a number of hurdles to get past, including school debt and long-term home plans, before I feel we’d be in a responsible position to start a family. Also, hello? My husband is the one bringing this up? Is he ready before I am? I thought I’d be the one talking him into it. I thought I’d hit thirty and my biological clock would start slamming on my uterus.
I’m also surprised by the amount of trepidation that I feel. I’ve been thinking about all the negative things I’ve heard about having kids — that you never feel rested again. That you only get to have sex on a planned basis, and even then it’s not any fun. That you lose your whole life and all the fun things in it.
I worry hugely that my parents will both tell me how stupid we are for not waiting (they were 35 and 42 when I was born, and my brother followed a year later), and I work for my dad in a tiny company that will be affected by my absence. I think about my friends with kids, and what so many say: “WAIT TO HAVE KIDS. YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK.” I think about the young teller at my bank who describes work as a welcome break from her life as a mom. All that can wait for when I’m a grown-up!
At the same time, thoughts of motherhood — as in, the hormone-fueled pregnancy and baby fantasies — consume me. The concept of my husband thinking about babies proves to be the biggest aphrodisiac for me ever, like nature is saying, “You know you want it…” I feel as a human like I’m just flesh wrapped around a hungry uterus. I obsess over my pregnant friends and those with new babies. I’ve never felt so aware of my own body — that I am suddenly at a time in my life where I could get pregnant and rejoice seems impossible and thrilling.
In my mind I want to feel like when we do go for it, we’ll be gaining everything and losing nothing.
But the excitement about becoming a parent in the foreseeable future seems like almost enough for now, without actually taking the plunge. In my mind I want to feel like when we do go for it, we’ll be gaining everything and losing nothing. (As if that feeling will eventually come.) Realistically I know that we’ll be losing some things and gaining something even better.
As I look at “Where I am in my life and the world,” I marvel at my husband’s readiness. To most people, the idea that a 28-year-old married man with the dogs and the garden and the routine wants a baby with his wife would come as less than surprising. That I don’t see him as a fatherhood-ready mature adult reflects more, I think, on my self-perception. I’ve been an adult since about 12 by all accounts, yet I can hardly grasp the reality of being degreed, married, settled, working a real professional job.
The fact may be that he feels the same way, and becoming a father is a means for changing the way he feels about himself. He’ll probably be the one to stay home and raise our babies, and he is going to be amazing at it. Maybe he’s as ready as he appears to be.
And maybe I’m (almost) ready to join him.