1.03.2012

thoughts: babies


I have never really pictured myself as a mom...
(which probably isn't uncommon for 20-somethings)
but there are girls who dream of getting married, having babies, and being stay-at-home moms...
and I've just never been one of those girls.



When I got engaged at 20 (also something I never pictured...since I was convinced I'd travel the world, have my own tiny studio apartment with lots of cute dishes, and be at least 27 before even considering marriage) the questions started about when we were going to have kids. That seems insane looking back on it... but I just kept saying "Maybe...we're thinking 8-10 years from now..." That sounded like a reasonable guess.

Now three years into marriage, the questions don't seem as crazy now... yet I still don't know how to answer them. A few times I've caught myself still saying "Uh, maybe... we're thinking 8-10 years" before realizing that that number has technically dwindled to the 5-7 range. Quite honestly though, that number is nothing more to me than a socially acceptable response to questions I can't exactly answer.
My real "answer" is a bit more complicated...

To be frank, there's a lot about parenthood that I don't have much of an interest in...
which has given me somewhat of a reputation of "not liking kids", which is totally not true.

In fact, a lot of my "reasons" for not "wanting" kids yet have nothing to do with kids themselves... but with the things that inevitably come "with". Thinking about having to deal with obnoxious parents during play dates ("oh, so-and-so isn't doing this-or-that yet?", "oh, so -and-so was doing this-or-that by now", "oh I'm so sorry you are dealing with this-or-that with so-and-so, so-and-so was so easy"..etc.), or bullies at school, or the questionable techniques of other parents... gives me anxiety.

And how about all of the stuff that comes with kids... carseats, strollers, cribs, bottles, and bags of stuff to lug around- it's a miracle if we get the pets fed and ourselves dressed and out the door on time as it is, I simply can't promise my kids won't be running around barefoot and naked the grocery store. Not to mention that I don't have the spiritual gift of being able to remain sane when surrounded by large groups of kids for extended periods of time- God bless all you teachers and childcare providers- and I am not yet a huge fan of jam hands...but this is adorable:


and I really enjoy a somewhat clean and quiet house... and being able to sleep, eat, and bathe whenever we want and... and being able to go to concerts, movies, and even dinner on a moments notice... 

Ok- I can only imagine that these ridiculous  concerns will vanish instantly as I hold a tiny new baby, dressed in a soft cotton onesie, and take in the smells and sounds of new life, and as watch them learn and grow and sleep...


but for now, I guess I just feel overwhelmed by the thought of it all. Maybe I am immature... maybe I am selfish...
maybe I am simply not ready...maybe no one ever is...
But I am also content with where I am, and we are,  right now. I am at peace about not thinking of starting a family for a few years. I am at peace about pursuing goals and enjoying the chapter of life we're in.
I don't have the desire for kids... but I really hope I do one day, when it's meant to be.

But there's the darker side to that desire...
I have seen what baby-lust has does to individuals and marriages... when the only goal of intimacy is to have a baby. Sex becomes charted, mathematical, mechanical... the disappointment of desperately wanting something that doesn't "happen" is destructive. Then there's the paralyzing fear of not having a "perfect" pregnancy, idealistic birth story, and heaven forbid- a perfectly healthy baby.
Worshiping the mere idea of children so much that it distorts entire outlooks on life.
That terrifies me.
I don't want any part of that.

Then there's the good-cop, bad-cop parent trap... the division that can pit mom vs. dad as kids learn to manipulate. The struggle to maintain an open heart and mind while disciplining and protecting children.
And the competition among other kids and who makes-which-soccer-team and who is doing summer school or going to camp, who can afford elaborate birthday parties and whose kids have all the latest gadgets that make your own jealous. The challenge of teaching generosity and caring for others while still satisfying your kid's desires...

Maybe I am thinking 10, even 15 years way too far into all of this?
Probably...

And if you were to ask me about our plans to start a family, I would likely still give you my ball-park timeline answer...
but for now, I am trying to get a job. Dan is finishing school. We live in a condo in an "urban" neighborhood. We are building our savings. We are planning to travel the world. We have lots of hobbies and little time. We have twelve paws to clean up after. Our house is never really clean. And we rarely eat dinner before 9pm...
but I love seeing friends start families, and hearing all of the details of their pregnancies, and I sigh over sweet pictures, and I will lay down on the floor to play with a babe any day, but it's going to be a while before there are any minis running around here.

But when they are... I promise they will be barefoot and naked as much as possible.










10 comments:

Erin said...

These are all normal thoughts to have girl! Knowing that you are already thinking about these things...and figuring out the best way to approach them...shows me what kind of mom you will be....a wonderful one! :) God knows the timing of this...just wait for Him! :)

Kate said...

I remember when I had all these kinds of thoughts. To be honest, I sometimes still do (and I'm dying to have children now!). My hubby and I got married when we were 23. We're now 30. I think our parents have actually given up, that they think we don't want babies. But that's not it at all. We just want to give our babies the best of ourselves when we do have them, and we're not in the place to do that yet. We both went back to college a couple years ago, and we want to be able to provide for our kiddos when we have them.
You have to do it when it's right for you. And while you'll still think about these things, the desire for children will be stronger than all these thoughts. Until then, go to your concerts and such and just have fun with each other! You'll know when the time is right! :)

Mariam said...

Every single word you wrote was & is exactly how I feel about having children, being a parent, all of it. Those fears still arise on a daily basis for me. Keep doing what you're doing, the best decision we made was that we planned on not having kids until we started planning on not planning. It wasn't our goal in life together, that was to enjoy each other and be as selfish as we wanted. And then a couple months later we got the news. So nothing sweeter than being surprised when you're ready and not ready all at the same time. I'm still terrified of strollers and car seats haha.

Hailey Marie said...

wow! Thank you all!

Erin- Thank you! and this is exactly why I am so thankful God is in charge of these things, His time is perfect, not mine.
Kate~ I totally agree with wanting to give them the "best of ourselves". Not being ready doesn't mean we're inadequate or immature (people can be so condescending), everyone's journey is different and things happen as they're meant to.
Mare~ I love the "planning on not planning", I want that too... for it to just happen organically, as a surprise or for the process (like adoption, etc) to be clear when the time is right. Dang strollers, though. seriously!

Lindsay said...

I love this post. This was me exactly. My daughter was a complete surprise. While I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world, I can say that #2 is a LONGS WAY OFF. Thanks for being honest.... Don't feel pressured. WAIT! You will get to that place. HUGS

Stephanie Hart said...

I loved reading this. It's honesty is incredible. I'm the total opposite (wanting kids so bad but resigned to wait it out for a bit) but can so appreciate where you are coming from. I think we are both normal. It's not about one or the other but being at peace with where you are RIGHT now - at least that is the goal for me. And I'm getting there. You're awesome and I wanted to tell you that again!

Whit said...

Those thoughts have ran through my head as well. Only being married a couple months, my husband pushed for them right away. I think he's began to let reality set in and realize there are alot more to them then the happy fun dreams. Wishing you the best luck!
-wHiT
www.blacklittlebutton.blogspot.com

Joelle said...

I love this. I always like reading other peoples' thoughts on kids, and I find that women in the blogosphere are typically desperately trying to have babies. It's refreshing seeing a different perspective, and I completely understand where you're coming from. While I personally would love to have a baby right now, I know that it would be really irresponsible if we did. And I'm kind of like you too: I like our freedom, though I don't think I would have a problem giving it up when the time comes. But for now we'll just enjoy each other and our little puppy :)

xoxo,
Joelle

ginanorma said...

YOU are so so wise! And you made very valid points and as a parent of a 17 year old, I agree with so much of it, haha especially "the dreaded parents" YIKES, they drive me nuts too! And girl, you got it so right, about how couples or women make idols out of getting pregnant and having babies...it is so consuming and robs them of a sense of freedom in the mind, spirit and pocket...
a lot of the things you mentioned you will be able to avoid. I've never played that obsessive parent on the playground or at activities..
Anyway, i really enjoyed this, your realness, and rawness and authenticity. Thanks for sharing, and you will be ready in time, I trust in that, but for now, when people ask, try not to feel pressure to give them the answer they want (which is annoying...:))but enjoy this time, this season, and see where the plans that you and your husband have take you both, because ya never know with plans either!

Roslyn@Sew Delicious said...

Hailey I this post really resonated with me. I am on the other side of it now, being a Mum of 2 girls. I think it is really great that you have the clarity of thought to know yourself so well and know what you want for right now. Life evolves, feelings change and when you will be ready, you will know. There are days when I still feel like I'm not sure I'm on the right path, but at the same time I have no regrets so I guess it was right for me!

I agree with lots of what you said - the awful competitive parents, the drag of car seats and strollers! I also agree with your observation of how people put pregnancy and parenthood on this pedestal, I find it really strange. People around the world have been doing it forever.

Thanks for your honesty in this post! It is nice to read a view that is not often expressed.