An Ode to My Son…

on February 3, 2018 36 Replies


Life takes us many places we never intended.
Some good. Some bad. All part of our path, I believe.
One of the biggest surprises people don’t realize about me is how I was quite sure about one thing in my life: I never wanted children. This philosophy was met mostly with a laugh and pat on the head with the phrase, “You’ll change your mind.” Sometimes, I was told I was being “selfish”. As I grew older and past my thirtieth birthday, I was surrounded by many women becoming frantic about not being able to find a life partner, and couldn’t understand my nonexistent ticking biological clock.
Personally, I was grateful it was not functioning. I had dreams of my future of travel, intense relationships, money, freedom, and fabulousness. Sometimes, yes, it was lonely, but I never felt I needed a baby to fulfill me.
I was thirty-three when I met the man I’d finally want to marry.
The problem was: he wanted kids.
This pivot threw me into quite a dilemma. I hadn’t changed my mind on my not wanting kids. We reached a point in our relationship where we needed to clearly decide if we’d go forward, or break up. We had many discussions on what we’d both need from the other if we were to agree on having a baby. Maybe it was my age, but as “unromantic” as this may seem to some, it was a lifesaver for me. I clearly outlined exactly what I’d need if I did agree to have one child. I knew if he wasn’t a complete fifty/fifty partner, we’d end in divorce and co-parenting. When we agreed to go ahead and get married, it was with our eyes wide open and knowing what we both needed to bring in order to have a successful relationship. I agreed to one baby in the distant future.
We set a wedding date and got engaged.
And I got pregnant in a completely unplanned, surprised, shocking way.
Oh, life knows how to throw a curve ball.
I then decided the only way this would work out was if the baby was a girl. I already had two nieces who I adored, and I only knew about girls. Boys scared me. Puzzled me. They had this penis thing that rules their life, and I wanted nothing to do with it. So, I set my mind on having a girl, and dreamed of all the wonderful things I’d do and teach her and began planning for our future spa appointments.
The sonogram showed it was a boy.
I cried.
I remember sobbing to my husband that I didn’t know what to do with a boy. That I’d mess everything up. That I had no idea how to raise someone with a penis.
Underneath, of course I was grateful the baby was healthy because that’s the main concern, but once that fear was removed all I could think of was :Why oh Why did God give me a BOY?
My baby was two weeks late and I got induced. Right before I went to the hospital, I threw up because I’d never been so terrified in my life. I questioned this bargain I’d made with my husband but it was already too late.
When I got to the hospital, they told me to put on the gown. When I came out of the bathroom, the nurse yelled at me because I had left my underwear on. I think mentally, I was hoping the baby would be able to come out in some other miraculous way, but she stripped me of my final fantasy defense.
He took twenty-six hours to birth. I had my Rubik’s cube which was my focal point. As the hours went on, and the pain worsened, I realized this type of agony was not something a human could really handle. I thought I’d die. I screamed for drugs. Finally, I got them, and remember the absolute blissed out state of numbness. I closed my eyes and literally ten minutes later, they flew back open because there was this intense pressure in my lower half like it was getting ripped apart.
The nurse said it was time to push.
I pushed him out. They laid him on my belly and immediately he stopped wailing. We looked at each other in shock; in recognition; in acceptance. We’d known each other forever. We had finally met.
We both burst into tears.
When I got home, I spiraled into deep postpartum depression that tore me apart. I felt like I was slowly losing my mind, and as much as I loved him, I was becoming someone I didn’t recognize any longer. It was a bad time, but I was lucky I responded quickly to the drugs my doctor prescribed, and eventually, I was able to embrace motherhood in a healthy, stable way.
My son ruined my life.
He also gave me a new life. One I could never imagine not having anymore. It’s amazing how you take home a baby with no operating instructions and need to try to keep them alive. It’s terrifying being a mother. There is no other job in the entire world like it.
You do everything to protect and nurture and love this beautiful tiny human, so it becomes a habit. You don’t know how NOT to do it.
Yet, one day, you wake up and your son is thirteen.
I have a teenager now in my house. He woke me up this morning like it was Christmas, proudly announcing his new age, asking for a big breakfast, planning his day with me. He is the kindest soul I have ever met. He teaches me things I never knew. He’s brought out my very worst.
He’s brought out my very best.
I’m proud of who he’s becoming, but I’m getting closer to the time when I need to step back. Change hangs heavily in the air. Those times of playing on the floor, and building race car sets, and tickling his belly while he laughs, and watching him run around in footy pajamas has passed. His voice is deeper, he’s growing a mustache, he has a crush on a girl, and he’s just as tall as me. There’s great things to come, but today, I can’t help but mourn a little of what has gone by.
I learned that time is slow when you’re younger. It goes slow when they are little, and dependent, and in diapers and so needy all the time, you wish to God you could just get an hour by yourself or a full night sleep.
But they grow, and suddenly, time morphs into this hazy mystical fog that races by so fast, you hope you can remember it all.
And I’m so grateful for the curve balls of life. I’m so grateful I had a boy because I learned later – God gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want. I was meant to be the Mom of two boys.
Today, my son Jake turns thirteen.
Happy birthday, Jake. Thank you for being my son.
Mom loves you.

36 thoughts on “An Ode to My Son…”

  1. Yvonne Cruz says:

    I cried, I laughed , and felt for you. You got an unexpected gift and though you struggled, you embraced it. Happy birthday not only to Jake, but also to you .

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you SO much Yvonne!

  2. Denise says:

    You are So right!! God has a plan for us all!! My story is long as yours is and very complicated to tell some that know say a “real” soap opera!! Married 42yrs with one child of mine our daughter now 38 and a beautiful granddaughter 16!!
    Life never gets much easier but I am Very Blessed having Survived Ovarian Cancer 7 yrs now!! Gods Plans we never know!!!
    HAPPY 13th Birthday to your Son!! Many Many Blessings still to come your way💝🤠♥️♥️ Children & Awesome Hubbys are a Gift 💝
    God Bless You in all you endured♥️🤗 And the Happiness you have yet to Come❣️❣️❣️❣️

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you so much for your beautiful words Denise!

  3. I can so relate to this. I told myself I didn’t want children also, but I think part of that came from my OB-GYN telling me I would never have kids when I was 18 years old. I was 27 when I shockingly discovered I was pregnant. My relationship with my son’s father wasn’t great, but the news came at a time in my life where I was desperately searching for a purpose, a reason for being on this planet. In short, my son saved my life.
    God gave me what I needed at the time I most needed it. 😊
    My son is 26 now and my greatest accomplishment, my greatest joy.
    Happy Birthday to Jake and thanks for sharing your story. 🤗
    Wendy

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thanks so much for reading Wendy and sharing it’s amazing how life turns out right! Cyber hugs and thanks.

  4. Lisa Kessler says:

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful boy!!! Being a Mom is the hardest job in the entire world, but it also makes life precious and so worth living….

    And you’re rocking it…. 😊

    *HUGS*

    Lisa

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you so much Lisa – I’ve seen you also in action and you are an amazing mom! Cyber hugs!

  5. Karen Boswell says:

    This true life story is so Special. Thank you for making my day so very special.

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you so much for reading Karen!

  6. RL Jackson says:

    Happy birthday to your beautiful son!

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you so much!

  7. eawells says:

    I know that feeling – feeling like they will grow older to be independent, out of diapers, and our constant supervision. As my four grew older we celebrated the little things: the first time we took a family vacation flying somewhere without taking a stroller; the last time we used a car seat ot booster seat; the last child in elementary school; then middle school, high school and then college. We haven’t celebrated an empty house or grandkids yet but have celebrated the weddings of our two daughters. I look back and miss those simpler times with less worry but at the same time recognize the beautiful and wonderful children I helped raise.

    You have raised a wonderful son, been a supportive and loving role model for him, and now continue to enjoy his teenage years before he’s off to college, jobs, marriage, etc. Remember all the good you have done.

    Happy 13th Birthday to your son.

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you so much for your beautiful words!

  8. Erica says:

    How beautifully written this is ! Thank you for sharing! Happy birthday to your son! I just had a fight with my teen today.. Feeling sad that we got to that point. Your story made me realize… We are all human, there is no script with parenting. We are all just doing the best we can. Love you Erica <3

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thanks Erica – your son is so amazing and God YES there is no script for any of it – just us doing the best we can because we love them. Cyber hugs.

  9. Debbie says:

    I also believed I would never have kids. My husband, now ex-husband, said we would wait 5 years after our wedding, to have kids. 5 years came and he said it’s time. I lost that battle, but now I have a son who is 31, and looks like me (light skin and blonde hair) with his father being 100% Italian and dark. My son is the joy of my life, even with the few large bumps in the road he and I have gone thru. It just gets better and better.

    Debbie

    1. Jennifer says:

      So beautifully put and thank you so much for reading!

  10. Jaycee says:

    I told my son, “You are the boy who made me Mom.” It happened when our eyes met for the first time in the delivery room. I remember sobbing, “Are you Aaron? Are you Aaron” over and over again. In that moment, I was reborn into someone with incredible strength and courage. Someone who wouldn’t hesitate to give her life for her child. I have two boys now just like you and all I could say is you are so right. Motherhood is terrifying and beautiful and so so hard sometimes. Thank you for this amazing article.

    1. Jennifer says:

      Aww you made me tear up too Jaycee so beautiful and us Moms are all in this together!

  11. Georganne says:

    What a beautiful gift to your son that he can treasure forever. Happy birthday to your boy and thank you for sharing such an amazing reflection with us!

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you so much for reading and your sweet words!

  12. JULIE says:

    Brilliant!
    I was kinda the opposite. I wanted kids, but had trouble conceiving, and then staying pregnant. Both my kids, now 17 and 12, were and are miracles. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

    1. Jennifer says:

      I love hearing about such beautiful miracles! Thanks so much!

  13. Nancy says:

    Can’t believe he’s a teenager where did ‘baby’ Jake go? Hope he has the best birthday ever!!! Happy Birthday Jake🎈🎈🎈

    1. Jennifer says:

      BAby Jake! Without you who knows what would’ve happened – you watched him for a whole important year of his life. So special!

  14. They turn your life upside down, don’t they?

    Happy Birthday, Jake! He shares a birthday with my son Paul who turns 26 today.

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you SO much! And happy birthday to Paul!

  15. Theresa says:

    Aww so sweet I can’t believe he is 13 I remember when you were pregnant walking around the office god bless him and happy birthday!!0

    1. Jennifer says:

      Aww T, those were such special days! LUnching at Mercy with me and my big belly! Love you!

  16. Helen says:

    I remember when you were so sure you never wanted children, so happy you got to have it all. Happy Birthday 🎂 Jake

    1. Jennifer says:

      LOL YES!!! How things change so nice to hear from you!

  17. Tina says:

    I always loved children, but had no intentions of having my own. I met my husband when I was 29, with the honest statement that I didn’t know if I wanted kids. 2 years after getting married, we decided to have a baby. It took me 15 months to get pregnant. I finally got pregnant 3 months after my dad died. My son was such a hard baby, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. 3 years after him, I had my daughter at 38. I’m an “old mom”. And things all worked out as they were meant to be! I feel ya, Jennifer!

  18. KL Grayson says:

    Oh girl… you spoke to my heart. I try so hard to enjoy ever minute with my kids because they’re growing up so fast and I know that one of these days it’s all going to be over. Did I teach them enough? Loved them enough? Discipline them enough? My oldest is getting ready to turn nine… like you I suffered postpartum depression after his birth to point that I failed to connect to him emotionally in the first three months of his life. I regret that even though it wasn’t intentional and I’ve spend that last nine years hoping I’ve built that connection. I could go on and on, but I really just wanted to say thank you for your words and for reminding all of us mothers that we are not alone!

  19. Terri Chlapek says:

    We have a lot in common. I was NOT going to have kids. Then there was NO way God would give me a boy. I called him “she” for 2 weeks after he was born. I ended up with 3 boys. God is still laughing and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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