Thursday, February 2, 2012


When you are child free, people love to tell you how great your life is because you have no one depending on you. It was the hardest thing for me to hear during infertility treatments. Yes, I have more free time than you do, but how can I possibly explain to you this gaping hole in my heart and in my life?

Now that we have a little one on the way, smug parents love to tell me how much my life is going to change. I usually smile and say “We’ve been ready for a change for a long time!”

I feel that people are setting me up for parenthood to be a complete nightmare. Based on the [100% unsolicited] feedback I’ve received, here are my expectations for the next five years: Complete and total hell. No sleep, no money, no time. Nearly constant stress. Fighting with my husband, struggling with breastfeeding, scraping to pay the bills.

And it will all start over when we start trying for number two.

But I guess I always kind of knew that’s what I was getting myself into, trying to get pregnant. I never wanted it to be easy. I wanted it to be real.

Recently, I asked my husband what he is most looking forward to about being a dad. He has all of these activities planned. “I want to do science experiments with him, help him with his homework, teach him how to tie his shoes.” These are all things you sit down and do. You look at the clock, think “We have an hour before bedtime” and say “Son, come here, let’s do ‘x’ together.”

The things I ache for about motherhood are not like this. The things that will make all of the hard work worth it for me will be spontaneous, could occur during any time of day or night, and I have to be in the moment, ready and willing to recognize them when they come.

- Reaching into the crib and seeing him smile when he recognizes me.
- When he’s crying and my touch can soothe him.
- When he hurts himself and runs to me for comfort.
- The first time we read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” together, and he touches the holes in the book with his tiny finger.
- Watching him when he doesn’t know I’m watching him.
- The first time I come into his room and he’s standing up in his crib
- When someone new is holding him, and he reaches his arms out for me, instead.
- Leaving out cookies for Santa.
- Discovering a bit of myself in his personality.
- Seeing pride in his face as he shows me something he made, created, or built.
- Realizing, as I catch my breath, how much he’s growing up.
- Watching his reaction as he meets his new brother or sister for the first time.
- Watching him fall in love.
- His face on his wedding day.

I don’t expect parenthood to be easy. I don’t expect it to be fun. I hope for one rewarding moment at a time in the midst of all the hard work and stress.

I know that he can give that to me.


Jem said...

Oh, my. I could have (and should have) written this post. It made me cry. People keep telling me the same crap. They have no idea how much my life has changed just TRYING to have a baby - the pain (physical and emotional), the bloating, the lack of sleep, the financial strain.

I too am ready for the joys of parenthood. A couple of years ago I visited a college friend and we went to pick her child up from school. The look on her daughter's face when she saw her mom brought tears to my eyes. "I want THAT!!!!"


BreAnna said...

And I'm officially crying. Did someone cut an onion in here?? *sniff sniff*

The great news is you are going into parenthood far more prepared than most people. I think after going through infertility we approach parenthood in a much different way, we experienced so many challenges to get to that point and are realistic about the challenges a baby will bring. You are going to be a great mom. I can't wait to read about those touching moments you described coming true.

Pregnantish said...

Yes!! I worked and prayed a long time for my daughter. She is hard work. She is frustrating. Life changes - if it didn't, why would you bother?

My daughter is worth every bit of sacrifice and frustration I have even vaguely experienced and she has the ability to melt away the rest of the world in an instant.

Parenthood is joyful and it is also hard, admittedly in some ways I never imagined. But I've been on both sides and I promise the grass is greener over here. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn't been there.

Still A Guest Room said...

I love, love, love this!

MaryMargaret said...

Thank you for making me cry tonight! All of the things you want are the things I'm most looking forward to, also. Maybe it's a mom vs dad thing. I don't know. Those small, unsolicited, unplanned things are why I wanted to be a mother in the first place.