[Lettering by Juliana Moore.]
I think the only right way to open this conversation is to say how deeply and completely I love our daughter. Lest anyone should come at this thinking that I’m being flippant or ungrateful, I assure you nothing could be farther from the truth. I have friends who are struggling to get pregnant. I have friends who have lost babies to miscarriage and pre-term labor. I have friends who struggled with infertility and years of IVF until their bodies gave up and begged for no more. I have friends and family who have lost children, including my own parents who buried my brother. I’m not making light of any of those situations and my heart breaks in each and every case. I am fully aware of how lucky I am that I seemingly got pregnant so easily and had a pretty incredible pregnancy without even so much as a lick of morning sickness. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to wake up every day to a remarkably beautiful, inquisitive, happy little baby who lights up every damn moment like the 4th of July. All of that said, I never planned to have a baby. Ever. And no matter how much I searched, I couldn’t find anyone talking openly from a position like mine when I discovered I was pregnant, so I’ve decided to go out on a limb and be that person.
p.s. I am writing this post because recently we talked about divorce, and I think we all agreed we should talk about these real life things more often. So, here goes nothing.
Point blank, no one talks about this stuff because the fear of ridicule or judgement is absolutely real, so I ask you not to judge me because I didn’t want a baby. I very much want my baby and I’m so glad that my plans got washed down the drain. I am very much grateful that one round of Z-Pak rendered my birth control null and void, and that I spent the next ten months growing the most perfect little human I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s shocking just how much I love this little girl of ours. But, no. I was never planning to get pregnant and I was never going to change my mind. Ever. Even now, on the other side of pregnancy and as the head-over-heels mommy of one amazing baby girl, I still know fully and completely, without a moment’s hesitation, that I would have never changed my mind. No, I would not have woken up decades from now with regrets. Because that’s what everyone tells you, you know. “Oh, you’ll change your mind,” they say. Only they’d been telling me that for nearly 15 years and I hadn’t changed my mind. You see, some people don’t change their minds. And that’s ok. Not wanting to birth a child does not a monster make. If you’re reading this and you don’t plan to have a baby, it’s ok. I still think you’re an awesome person.
If you ever want to know precisely how you feel about being pregnant, take a pregnancy test. It’s that simple. If you’re on the fence or subconsciously feeling differently than you think, you’ll know the instant you see the results. One pink line. Two pink lines. Yes or no. Plus or minus. Your reaction will be instantaneous. Relief washing over you like a tidal wave. Joy consuming every cell of your body. Or, in my case, something that most closely resembled a funnel cloud comprised entirely of shock, terror and nausea. A funnel cloud that knocked the wind out of my lungs, blasted my knees out from underneath me and left me reeling. So I did what any reasonable person would do. I left that damn plastic stick on the sink and I spent the rest of the afternoon furiously working at a record pace, trying to redirect my brain as quickly as I could. Until finally I walked back into the bathroom hours later and there it was. Still there. Still saying, “Yes. Yes, you are having a baby.”
At this juncture I could tell you about how I called my mother. About how I made her leave work early to listen to me cry hysterically. I could tell you about how I told no one else for over a week. No one. Including Bob. I was terrified and that terror pretty quickly turned to paralysis. I didn’t know how to rework our lives with a baby in the midst. Our house wasn’t large enough. Would we have enough money for another baby? We had so many plans and none of them involved a tiny little baby joining the family. I was also disgusted with myself. Why couldn’t I just be happy? Why was I a puddle of anxiety, sobbing for hours a day? Why couldn’t I have just jumped up and down with glee? I could tell you all of that. I could tell you way more than that. But I won’t. What I will tell you is that those two pink lines, those two tiny watery pink lines, tilted my world and set it on an entirely new axis.
What I will tell you is that if you, like me, aren’t planning to have a baby (not just “not right now,” but “nope, never,”) and you find yourself pregnant, you will be ok. Even if at first, you really really aren’t ok. Even if at first you’re overcome with guilt because you’re so not ok. As of Friday, our baby girl turned ten months old and every day I find myself in awe of her as she grows and learns. The way she giggles with glee when one of her favorite people walks into the room. The way she waves at everyone and makes old ladies stop and chat with us at length at the grocery store. She has transformed not just my life, but our entire family’s life, completely 1000% for the better. Even now a few times a week I’ll stop and stare at her, or I’ll snuggle her tight as she has her last bottle before bed, and I’ll cry. I am, without any shame, that sappy mom. I cry because I can’t believe how much joy she has brought to so many lives. I cry because I’m still pretty sure I don’t deserve her. I cry because I hope I can do right by her and raise her to be a really damn good human.
Someone told me that I shouldn’t write this post. That I shouldn’t have any kind of record that she could someday possibly find speaking about how she wasn’t planned, speaking about how hard it was for me when I first found out I was pregnant. I was pretty adamant that I would write these things though. If anything, these things are a testament to the power of one little girl to change a whole lot of hearts, seemingly overnight. But more importantly, they’re a testament to the truth. I will never lie and tell her that she wasn’t a surprise. I will always tell her the truth. That she is loved immensely, that she categorically changed our lives in ways we never dreamed possible, that she was the missing link in our family circle we never knew we needed. Today I share these things with you, because I have always believed (as I’ve mentioned before), that life has a way of course correcting and getting us to the exact place we are supposed to be, with the exact people with whom we are intended to share our time. Whatever your family looks like, however it is comprised, however it comes to be, you will know unspeakable joy by simply loving the ones you’re lucky enough to call your own.
Our is a wildly modern family. There’s Bob and I. His four “big kids” as we refer to them affectionately. One crazy old black lab who grows slower by the day. One ten month old baby who makes us all laugh endlessly. We have a huge assortment of parents, siblings, stepparents, nieces and nephews. A close circle of friends who are every bit of family to us as those with whom we share blood. A new neighborhood full of neighbors who so quickly became irreplaceable friends that we are reminded every day we very literally won the neighbor lotto. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I will say it again a million times before my days are done. I never dreamed I’d be here in this place in every sense of the phrase. When I look at how our lives have unfolded over even just the last eighteen months since we discovered we were pregnant, I assure you I never imagined where the journey was going to take us. Sometimes, you aren’t planning to have a baby. But then you see those two pink lines. You cry until you can’t cry anymore. And then you just let go and let be. Sometimes you aren’t planning to have a baby, but a baby is planning for you to her mommy. And I can’t think of any greater thing in the world.
[Newborn photos by Alice G. Patterson.]
Sunday 30th of October 2016
I absolutely adore this post. I loved your honesty and the fact that your baby girl has changed your life, who might I add is just the cutest. I've worked with children for 17 years now. I started watching them for other family members until I was old enough to work in a daycare setting. I've worked in the same daycare since I was 16 with the same boss. I'm 32 now and do not want any children myself. I get the same question over and over, as to why I don't want any when I've worked with them for so long? I simply do not want any. I adore children and caring for them and having an impact on their daily development however, I love coming home to peace and quiet and doing the things I've always wanted to do. I'm certainly not putting down those that have children and are able to still do what they want while having them. It's just this is what works best for me and I believe it will always be something that works best for me. Even telling close family and friends that I am happy not having children because I work in a daycare setting is not enough. I repeatedly receive the same response, “Oh, so you're still babysitting?” "WHAT"!! I have never in my 16 years of working with children, sat on any of them. It’s now at the point that when I attend future family gatherings, they’ll simply ask how I'm doing and walk away. I suppose they feel as though I have nothing to contribute to the conversation because I went against the grain instead of following in other’s maternal or marital footsteps. To each's own is what I say. I continue to go through each day with my head held high and maybe one day things will be drastically different but it will be when it's right. Not when everyone else depicts when it should be right.
DIY No Carve Pumpkin Ideas + Favorite Finds No. 91 - Shrimp Salad Circus
Friday 14th of October 2016
[…] it’s totally okay to not want to have a baby ever, […]
Tuesday 11th of October 2016
These words could not have come at a more perfect time. I too, have never wanted kids. My heart was beyond full being an aunt to 6 nieces and nephews. Everyone in my life knew that having a child was not an option for me...well, as you said 'your little girl had different plans for you', it seems the Universe has had different plans for me. We found out a week ago I am pregnant at the age of 44. After all the hysteria, freak outs and long nights of crying we have decided to keep the baby. I just arrived home from the Dr. where I received an ultrasound and saw the beating heart. I'm eight weeks along and still even after this mornings appointment seeing that little peanut, I'm still in shock, overwhelmed with emotion and producing an abundance of tears. But somewhere deep down inside of me in a very small, quiet corner I know this is the choice I am to make. And I too will always be honest with this baby and will never hide the fact I never wanted children. This baby is already deeply, deeply loved, even though I sit shaking in my boots knowing my life will never be the same and all my plans have forever been altered. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your words give me the courage to be authentic and stand in my truth! Beautiful!
Tuesday 11th of October 2016
Oh, Paige, I am so happy this has proven timely for you! I wish I could reach right through my computer and hug you tight. I know every single emotion you're feeling, and I know you're definitely making the right decision. Your life is undeniably going to change in every single way, and then probably more you weren't anticipating, but you're going to find tremendous joy and peace in that...and probably sooner than you think! It may seem like an oversimplification, but I truly believe that sometimes we are called to things that are bigger than us, and I have no doubt motherhood has found you because you have great things to teach this tiny little human. Keep crying until you've cried it all out. One morning you'll wake up and you'll feel something a bit more like excitement, and that will build over time. I promise you by the time your baby joins your family you'll be overcome with emotion to meet him or her and you won't be able to imagine a time you imagined a life without her. You've got this! Maternal instinct is a wild thing and it's clear you're already rising to the challenge. In the meantime, don't be afriad to be truthful about your story. This journey is tough enough without faking something we aren't. I'll be thinking of you! XOXOXO
Thursday 6th of October 2016
Friday 7th of October 2016
Tan of Squirrelly Minds
Thursday 6th of October 2016
Oh Cyd this was beautiful. Particularly " these things are a testament to the power of one little girl to change a whole lot of hearts, seemingly overnight." It's so true, and I'm so glad you stuck to it and shared your story, because you're right, people don't share their truths enough in fear of being judged. Only by sharing will that judgement start to evaporate <3
Friday 7th of October 2016
Thank you so so much, Tan! Your love and support mean so much. What a journey this motherhood thing is! XOXO