I grew up thinking that I didn’t want a family. When I was about 14, I had pretty much planned out my future: go to college, graduate, work in a non-profit setting, become a college professor, retire with a bunch of cats and travel around the world. I was not opposed to getting married but it wasn’t a goal that I was working towards and having kids wasn’t part of the plan at all. We don’t have to procreate to have a fulfilled and meaningful life — we live in an age when we can control the course of our lives as women, and our place in society isn’t simply to have and raise progeny. My eyes were aware of the possibility that my life could be ANYTHING I wanted it to be. That seemed reasonable at 14.
I’m not sure what fueled this desire, I’m not sure why starting a family wasn’t an option — was it my rebellions against the fairy tales all little girls are supposed to idolize? Was it the environment that I grew up in? I have no idea. I just know that for many years, this was my plan. I clung to my plan as a toddler clings to a security blanket. It was my comfort.
It was about the time I was 27 that I started rethinking my plan. Many pieces had already changed — my career had shifted to a different category and my spirituality became the center of my life and I was no longer interested in the same goals— I started doubting marriage and children part. As I grew in my spiritual education, my eyes were opened to different life-choices. In my work I counseled many people on issues of marriage, family and children, even though I was able to help them through their challenges I was surprised that they trusted someone that had no experience in that department. As I saw first hand how things could be the idea of having kids wasn’t so repulsive anymore.
Then I got married and having kids didn’t seem like a bad idea at all. The more I considered this possibility, the more I realized that there’s a lot of “ifs” that come with having and raising children. What if my child has special needs? Do I have what it takes to take care of that child selflessly, possibly for decades? What happens if my child dies from an accident or disease? Do I have what it takes to make it through that? What about what I want out of life –what is it that I truly want and need, and can I accomplish that with child(ren) in tow?
There was a great deal more contemplation regarding becoming a parent than there was about marrying my husband. But I can honestly say, even just knowing my son for 8 short weeks, that it was by far the best choice I’ve ever made.
Motherhood has changed in more ways than one, now I have what I call the mom uniform, the same clothes that I wear over and over for convenience, comfort and nursing ease. My husband says that the only stereotypical thing that I haven’t done is cutting my hair.
Tomorrow is my first day back at work, I’m dreading it. I would have thought that after 2 1/2 months away that I would be sick of being at home and craving adult interaction, not at all. I really don’t want to be away from my baby for such a long stretch of time. I don’t have a very big freezer stash of breastmilk as I wasn’t able to pump on a regular schedule and not all of it was frozen since about half was used to give Shammy bottles at home to get him used to it. So many moms have experience a drastic drop in milk supply after going back to work because the pump isn’t the same as baby and I really don’t want to have to supplement with formula or stop breastfeeding, I would rather find a way to stop working or work part time so that I could nurse more.
Due to time constraints this week’s post is a short one with no pictures, I’ll try to do better next week!