We’ve decided to have our baby and I’m going all in

Guest post by Miss NJ

By: Ray DumasCC BY-SA 2.0

If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it awesome: this is my creed.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had a serious choice to make. I have no moral, religious, or political objection to abortion, and since news of my pregnancy was such a huge shock (at a time when my partner and I were unsure if we were able to handle the financial and emotional stress of raising a child), abortion was a very real possibility for us.

The reasons we decided against abortion are unimportant at this juncture. The important thing is that we decided to have a baby. We made a conscious decision to bring another human being into a world that is, in our opinion, already pretty over-populated, and is over-flowing with assholes, jerks, and selfish morons.

For us, this was a pretty radical move… largely because whilst we have a general contempt for a lot of the general population, we still have a crazily optimistic outlook on life, love, art, the environment, and the world in general. Basically, we hung our hopes on the possibility that we might create someone with the same selfless, funny, creative personalities that we have, and that might be a worthwhile prospect.

When I look back, however, I kind of regret that perspective. Not the decision to keep and raise our child — not at all. But the perspective that because we view ourselves as relatively awesome people, that we’ll be on Easy Street, and will immediately walk out of the hospital with a brilliant, funny, intelligent little person. I now realise that it won’t be that way, at all. Brilliant people aren’t magically created by two other brilliant people… they take work. A lot of work. So rather than regret the decision to have a baby, or regress back to a place of worry or concern about being a parent, I’ve decided to do the opposite. I’ve decided to become a superhero.

For the longest time, I’ve always thought I was missing something in my life. I’m bright, creative, witty and clever, and it seemed like I could never hold down a decent job or really live up to my potential. I never understood why. I used to blame emotional issues from my upbringing or traumatic teenage years for lack of being able to tangibly find a reason for my continual fuck ups. But I think I finally get it… I was placing so much energy in trying to be this important part of the world, without having the confidence or education or know-how to succeed in my endeavours. So instead, I’m going to be the most important thing in HER world, in my kid’s universe. I’m 26, and I hereby dedicate my life to the notion that one person CAN make a difference — and I’ll be making a difference in the life of my kid.

No challenge will be too great, and no opportunity will go squandered. I will research and study the best ways to educate, inspire and connect with my child. We’ll laugh and play and be silly, but also learn and explore and challenge ourselves, and the world around us. She’ll have the best schooling around, not because we choose to send her to an expensive private school, but because I will inject myself into her education, helping and expanding and sharing her journey. She’ll have the best creative inspiration that I can provide, because I will share with her the amazing art and music and film that has inspired me during my life, and that continues to inspire me. She’ll crave knowledge, because I’ll ensure she knows that knowledge is power and knowledge is love.

Am I still scared of screwing up? Absolutely. But not because I don’t think I can do this. I’m scared because I KNOW I can do this, and that I have to do this, and forcing yourself into a new and unfamiliar frame of mind can be pretty terrifying. But ultimately, this goes beyond me. This goes beyond my own fears and desires. I CHOSE TO DO THIS. Having a child is a CHOICE, not a right. And if you make that choice, you have an obligation to step up and make that person your priority. So that’s what I’m doing.

I will be tired sometimes, maybe all the time. I might be stressed, or anxious, or worried. I may even get angry on occasion. But ultimately, I know it’s for the greater good. At the end of the day, or week, or month, or year, I’ll know that my efforts will reward me with that funny, brilliant, intelligent, creative little person I always assumed I’d have.

I’m hoping her decision involves being an astronaut though. That’d be so radical.

By: woodleywonderworksCC BY 2.0

Comments on We’ve decided to have our baby and I’m going all in

  1. Do this. Do so much of this.

    Don’t do this: “I’ll know that my efforts will reward me with that funny, brilliant, intelligent, creative little person I always assumed I’d have.”

    You can only control you. You can’t control her, and you can’t control the outcome. Be a superparent. Relish being a superparent. Unfortunately, there’s no promise that will make your kid a superkid. You will be much much happier if your image of yourself is not tied to what your child becomes, but the relationship that you have together. Good luck.

    • YES, Jane. So agree with this. We do the best we can as parents, but I think *our* parents would agree that you just never know what you’ll get. Certainly not in a bad way! As my dad once told me, “I just never expected you to be a bellydancing minister!”

      Raising kids is just like so many other things in life: it will go MUCH smoother without the burden of expectations.

    • Thanks for the feedback! Though I think my optimism possibly outweighs what I really meant that, and that is that *we* will feel our kid will be that person. Our efforts will be rewarded in our own home. Believe me, I know you can’t control a person… My conservative Christian mother sure as hell didn’t think she was going to get an artsy, potty-mouthed writer, but to her, I’m perfect. Well, almost… She’d like it if I got married and shaved my legs more often πŸ˜‰

      Much love.

  2. THIS “She’ll have the best schooling around, not because we choose to send her to an expensive private school, but because I will inject myself into her education, helping and expanding and sharing her journey.”
    We can’t afford to send our kids to private school, but I’m hoping that public school+my involvement/homeschooling will be enough to produce intelligent people.

    • It will! I’m of the mantra that, “it has to be”. It has to be enough, because it’s all we’ve got.

      I think it’s about values, at the end of the day. If you instill education as a value in your kid’s mind, like you would any other value, then you hope that that’s something they’ll run with and remember forever. I guess I like to hope that, along with that value, if I put myself and my partner into the education experience as well, the fun and positive memories that will create will go further to ensure that my kid always remains optimistic about knowledge and learning, even if learning is really hard for her.

      • I have to chip in here to say that I believe in our public schools! And not as a last resort for people who can’t afford it. I believe the only way for passionate people to change the system is to get involved, to send their kids there and then volunteer, advocate, and fight to make them better. I also speak from experience, having tutored both public and private school students. In the end, the education you get is based on your attitude. Send your kid to an expensive school if they need it spoon-fed, but there’s still no guarantee they’ll bother to listen. Teach your kid to love books and ask questions and they’ll get a great education anywhere.

        • Yeah, that’s basically my outlook also. Though I’m in Australia, and from my experience, unless you’re sending your kid to a private boarding grammar academy, where politicians and famous people house their children in order to avoid them, the divide between public and private schooling is small (I attended both public and private schools, and the only difference was the over-priced uniforms).

        • Oh my goodness YES! I believe in the public school system and what it can be. I might not believe in every last bit of what it is now, but I believe there are good teachers. No wait, I know there are good teachers, I’m related to more than half a dozen great, passionate and talented teachers. I believe that all kids should have access to a free, quality education and so my kids will be in the public school system.

          I should mention that I am all for homeschooling and the great alternative private and semi-private schools out there if that’s right for your family, but I am getting a bit tired of all the bashing of public schools that goes on out there. I wont’ fault someone who criticizes, improves, contributes, but bashing and moving on without helping doesn’t make those of us who are willing to advocate for this essential part of our society feel great about our choices).

  3. This is coming to me at a very good time. I thank you so much for sharing it! My partner and I are planning when to (try and) conceive next year and I have a similar outlook on my efforts’ flails in the world. Be the most confident thing in HER world you said… that will stick with me. In my heart I am now ready for that baby. I will be her everything along with her other parent, and we will rock. Thank you for inspiring me!

  4. This is just lovely! Six years ago, my partner and I faced an unexpected pregnancy, and we chose abortion. Now, we’re trying to conceive again and I want to approach this with a similar outlook–that I’ve devoted my life for the last 6 years to building the kind of world I want for my children, and making myself the kind of mama I want to be. Working to make life better for the people around me will, hopefully, extend naturally into my parenting and enable me to give a baby everything I can. My feminism, my creativity, my joy, my knowledge. Thank you for this! <3

    • I can so identify with this, April. It’s amazing to witness other people “getting” the pro-child/pro-choice thing. I certainly do, and I have always viewed the abortion I had 12 years ago as an investment in my future family.

  5. This. A million times, yes. I feel like a buried part of my subconscious wrote this just so I could read it & it would click.

    I’m 27, halfway through a surprise pregnancy and I completely relate to that whole “not living up to expectations” thing. I’ve bounced from job to job never really fitting into anything.

    This just makes so much sense to me. Thank you.

  6. I think this is a great outlook and that the world would be a better place if every parent had this motto. However, don’t set yourself up to be disappointed in yourself if you do lose your patience, if you let your kid watch TV, if you don’t make every meal a well-rounded masterpiece of healthiness, or feel too tired or PMSy or whatever to be the very most stimulating, educational, crafty (etc.) parent that day. Sometimes moms (and kids) need pajama days and cereal for dinner. You can always try again the next day. πŸ™‚

  7. i think your energy is great and your desire to be a good parent is great too (not very many people think that way). you are right, every person chooses to be a parent (i wish certain people would realize this and put more effort into it or realize by having the kid, and not getting an abortion, they chose to become parents instead of placing blame on their kid for ruining their lives or use the child being unplanned as an excuse to not parent the best(i had a friend tell me that the other day)). i think you are looking at it a good way. i do not think you should put your child in a box of how he or she is going to turn out. i don’t think you should imagine it at all. instead concentrate on the simple moments you will have… kissing your child’s cheek, sleeping with your child’s fuzzy head under your chin and your arms wrapped around their little body, or sharing a bowl of cereal in the morning, or the smiles your child will give… if we live for the simple moments and not expect everything to go a certain way we will have a better time raising our kids.

    • Thanks for your comment!

      I guess, for me, it’s hard to not imagine how she’s going to turn out. That being said, if I love the kid this much now, when she’s still kicking me in the ribs and headbutting my cervix, and generally making it hard for me to move around day-to-day (dude, 35 weeks is tough!), then I’d like to hope that I’ll love her no matter what!

      That being said, I’ve personally never bought into this philosophy of *not* having expectations. That’s just me. Whilst I love that others can walk into a big, life changing event with no particular hope as to how it’ll turn out, I just don’t have that at all. I guess I like to think that choosing the positive route of that assumption is probably healthier than assuming she’ll turn out to be some kind of societal “failure”. And honestly, I believe I can guide her to be this person I see in my mind, this happy, healthy, intelligent, witty human being. I’m prepared to put in the effort to try, at least. Which is what it’s all about… Effort, optimism, and not being afraid of poop.

      Okay, actually, I’m still afraid of poop.

      • the nice thing about the poop is that it’s not like grown up poop, at least not right away. After those meconium poops you’ve heard all about, newborn poop becomes no big deal. Breastmilk poops smell like decomposing apples. Formula poops vary by brand. You gradually ease into the scary toddler poops, because your baby gradually eats more solid food. So don’t worry about the poop fear!

        • I actually need to put this on my fridge or something. Bodily functions gross me out so bad, I’m legit worried that it’s going to take months for me to get used to diaper duty without gagging/barfing. You’ve actually made me feel a bit better, thanks! <3

          • So relieved to hear I’m not alone! I have a very legitimate fear that I’m going to puke on my baby one day. My husband shares this fear because when my dog throws up, I hurl. It’s just like a horrible positive feedback loop that won’t stop until I have a shower and cry for a few seconds. I swear, I am not a wimp.

          • I don’t want to scare anyone but I gag about once a week when changing a poopie diaper. My son is 6 months old and I haven’t barfed yet…poor little dude, I worry that he’s going to think he’s gross! But other than that I’m a totally awesome Mama πŸ˜€ and I can tell you already are too!

      • I was pleasantly surprised at how inoffensive breastfed poo is. Then was subsequently horrified at how gross it became when we introduced solids. Like gas mask bad.

        Not trying to scare you, just don’t want you to be as unprepared for it as I was lol.

  8. I love this. My son will be two (omg) next month, and I still laugh at myself when I think back to how much power I thought I would have over who he would become. My big goals as a parent are to keep him alive, be a good role model, and celebrate the awesomeness that has absolutely nothing to do with me.

  9. “No challenge will be too great, and no opportunity will go squandered. I will research and study the best ways to educate, inspire and connect with my child.”

    Give yourself some grace and be okay with some challenges being too great some days, and plenty of opportunities being squandered, and that there is no best way to do anything that you can learn from a book because no book was written for you and her together.

    I hope your energy and enthusiasm carry you well through the first tough year, and you get to know who you are as a parent and who she is as a person in that time.

  10. This sounds great, and it’s certainly very positive. As long as you are not under too much pressure from yourself. I mean it’s great, but there might be days when you are knackered, fed up, just want a bit of time on your own, not to make homemade finger puppets and put on a whole play with voices, but instead have a chat with a girlfriend about non-kid stuff or read a chapter (or a page!) of a book in peace. And that doesn’t make you a bad person. πŸ™‚

  11. Wonderful. I was feeling very anxious that I was the only one this way… I generally dont identify with other people, I read to observe. But I couldnt have written this in a better way. πŸ™‚ Youre gonna be great

  12. Thank you! I needed this note in my life and it came at such a perfect time. I just want to be one of (if not, the) most important people in my soon to be daughter’s life and it sometimes scares the bejesus out of me that I have this kind of influence. All this responsibility to help her become the best. So, thank you for breathing in some inspiration into my life.

  13. I think your positive energy is great and I don’t want you to think I’m trying to discourage you but! I’d be very careful about taking your own unfulfilled expectations and placing them on your child. It’s not to late for you either, many mothers have succeeded at going back to school or starting a business or whatever it is you want to do to develop yourself.

    • Thanks for your feedback! I didn’t want to write too much about my background in the post, hence why you may have felt that I’m putting my unfulfilled dreams on my kid… And whilst the joke about being an astronaut at the end is to that effect, I am definitely kidding. She can be whatever she wants, as long as she’s safe, happy and isn’t harming herself or others.

      Also, I graduate with honors in about a year, the first in my entire family to have a university education πŸ™‚ Coming from a family where education isn’t really valued, developing that love and value on your own, and then having a kid, it’s a little hard to not want to shove it down her throat, to be honest. I remember days, weeks even, where my mother would tell me to quit school and get a job because “what’s the point of all of this?”. Knowing and now seeing what education can do for someone, and what it’s doing for me, I can’t help but feel really strongly about making sure I at least try to instill a healthy respect and love for learning and the education process into my child. If that’s pushing unfulfilled expectations onto my kid, well… I guess so be it. I don’t expect her to be Valedictorian or skip 8 grades and be some kind of Doogie Howser wunderkind, but I guess I just hope the fun and joy I’ll try to insert into her schooling will carry through as a reminder that learning and knowledge are amazing things.

      • I think this might be the part Laura was talking about: “But I think I finally get it… I was placing so much energy in trying to be this important part of the world, without having the confidence or education or know-how to succeed in my endeavours. So instead, I’m going to be the most important thing in HER world, in my kid’s universe.”

        • Ok, or maybe it’s just the part I’m talking about πŸ˜€ I am probably projecting here, so I apologize in advance, but I saw my younger self in you when you talked about failing over and over and not knowing why. My own experience was that I didn’t give myself enough room for mistakes, and I would compound my mistakes my declaring myself a failure and making more mistakes. At some point I realized that I needed to pat myself on the back for successes and build on them. I needed to allow for mistakes and see them as an opportunity for growth. I think this is truer than ever when you become a parent. I had a rude awakening when my own child did not like all the attachment parenting stuff I had read she would like, and was the right thing to do! Kids are one big opportunity for growth.
          That said, you sound very intelligent, motivated, and optimistic, and I wish you all the best in your parenting adventures. It would be neat if we got periodic updates from you πŸ™‚

  14. It’s great to be supermom, but some days you need to be able to forgive yourself for just cuddling with your baby in bed instead of playing mind-building games. I think NOT being super-mom every single day also teaches children an important lesson – that no one is perfect and that it’s OK to give ourselves a break once in a while. Also, I’ve found that most of the things books tell you to do to build a child’s intelligence are things that come naturally (to me anyway) – talking to them lots and showing them the world. I’m a huge reader, but sometimes you need to ditch the books and trust yourself and trust your child to show you what they need.

  15. My sentiments on my developing kid as well: You can be the best you can, and that is what matters… And you can get a brilliant scientist, an amazing artist, a provocateur or simply A Good Person (hopefully).
    Us too contrary to our beliefs decided One Child and it has been amazing how it has already rewarded us and made us think more and be better in ourselves.
    Best of luck to you and your family πŸ™‚

  16. I love love love the overall tone of the post but I would just like to add to please remember that you felt this way when your kid becomes a teenager/young adult. It seems like a lot of the time, new moms are all smitten with their baby, but when that baby grows up to a teenager, then they can barely tolerate them or just give up. My boyfriend’s little brother was left to basically raise himself at age 16 when his parents split, and it’s really sad. Kids will need you long after they don’t need you to change a diaper.

    Oh, and I also wanted to add….DON’T try to be THE most important person in your child’s life. His/her daddy should be just as important.

    • Firstly, you’re right. He is as important as me. I mean, he’s not as pretty and he smells MUCH worse, but he’s just as important… ;)I jest. Kind of.

      I just wanted to say, I totally agree with this, and I’m actually coming from the OTHER perspective on this whole deal at the moment. I’ve never been a baby person. There’s about four or five pics of me holding kids, and I look like I have bad gas or something, such is my level of discomfort. See the “scared of poop” thing above, also. Teenagers… That’s where I shine. I love it when kids develop their own tastes and opinions, and when they find ways of expressing themselves through fashion choices and what they listen to or watch. It’s all kind of magic to me to watch young people really grab hold of their personalities in their teenage years.

      So yeah, this is kind of an unfounded issue in this house. But it’s an excellent point none the less.

  17. You are so full of awesome!!! My mom had a choice, too, and she (obviously) decided to have me and she is the type of mom you describe; she had a shitty childhood and decided that mine would be better and I had a wonderful childhood thanks to her. It gives me warm fuzzy feelings to read what you have written and I hope to someday be the same type of mom my mom was and you sound like you’re going to be!

  18. I love your enthusiasm! I’m sure you will be a wonderful parent.

    But I have to confess I worry for you. Parenting is hard enough without putting pressure on yourself to do and be the BEST at everything. A lot of who your child will be is inborn and not subject to your influence. And a lot of who they are is you; often, it seems, not your favorite parts of you. Children bring up a lot of complicated feelings and force you to be more forgiving of mistakes – not just theirs, but your own. Some challenges WILL be too great. Some opportunities WILL be wasted. That’s okay. Sooo much of parenting is about learning to let go and not be in control of every little thing.

    Remember to enjoy it, learn to embrace failure – it’s part of the journey.

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