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 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.
An Ode to My Son…
on February 3, 2018