March 27, 2013

I’m Pregnant… and Freaked Out

I’m pregnant… and freaked out.

While being a mother has been on my life list for as long as I can remember, I did some serious soul-searching before I decided to embark on this journey. I even went so far as to tell my mother and sister it was off the table completely — partly to push their buttons, but also prepare them for the possibility that it might not be for me.

Ultimately, I decided that while I could live a full and happy life without children of my own by committing myself to being the best aunt and volunteer imaginable, I realized not becoming a mother would be one of the biggest regrets of my life. I believe with everything in me that in addition to other roles, I was put on this earth to become a mother. I have so much love to give, amazing role models and a large community of phenomenal friends and family members who will enrich a child’s life. I’ve also learned quite a lot in my 33 years, and continue to work hard on myself. I believe that all of this will help shape and mold the person — and parent — I’m becoming. And while I’m overjoyed at the prospect of the road ahead, I’m equally terrified.

I’m the kind of person who throws herself into situations that scare her, who believes that if she’s not slightly nervous or uncomfortable, she’s not learning, growing… or living.

So, I’ve done it again. Before I could overthink it, talk myself out of it, before I was perhaps fully ready, I jumped.

And I’m so lucky I landed where I did. I’m grateful that it didn’t take my husband and me months or years to conceive; I’m grateful that we were able to get pregnant at all.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not nervous — or honest.

Today, there’s so much pressure on women to fill multiple roles at once: The perfect homemaker who also maintains a high-level career; the good wife; the has-her-shit-together mother; the glowing, happy, positive preggo… And, for the most part, I think I’ve got it down. (Although my husband might argue, and rightfully so, that my “perfect homemaker” could use a little work.) I’m a career woman, wife and a happy and positive (glowing hasn’t quite reached me yet — here’s hoping it finds me soon!) pregnant person, but when I have a moment to really think about it (which, admittedly, isn’t often these days, given the aforementioned roles), I panic a bit.

I’m worried I leapt too soon. That I don’t have all the tools to be the best mother possible. Scared I don’t and won’t know what I’m doing. Fearful of the unknown. More terrified of the known (studies, statistics, friends’ horror stories). I’m worried about giving up my life as I know it. Then, I instantly feel guilty for thinking that way, for not being the perfect, unselfish “Mother Earth” type. For not immediately thinking about all the women — and men — out there who are struggling to have a child of their own or, worse, grieving for one they lost.

While I’m a firm believer in living one’s own life and working on fulfilling yourself before bringing others into this world, I often wonder: If I had kids earlier, would it have been easier to adjust? Making my way through my third decade, I’ve had so much time to be independent that the notion of another human being truly depending on me — beyond needing a shoulder, friendly ear or smile — is rather daunting.

At 33, I’m certainly the “appropriate” age to become a mother. Except I feel more like 22. Like a child still myself. Unprepared to raise another. I wonder if that will ever change?

Until then, I’m going to try to embrace feeling young in mind and at heart and embracing my new role — uncertainties included. Like everything else, there’s must be that often talked about, seldom achieved balance out there somewhere. Wish me luck trying to find it!



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