The Final Baby Decision
These questions have been plaguing us for years…Could we afford it? Would we give it the attention it deserved? How could we find room for it in the house?
Finally, we received a sign from above: right there, on a top shelf at Marshalls was the exact model and color we’d wanted, at a drastically discounted price. Our new KitchenAid baby!
Oh, if only the human baby decision had been so clear-cut. Those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning know what a hot mess it’s been. But, folks, the decision has finally been made. And it’s pretty irreversible at this point, considering I’m more than five months pregnant.
Yup, five months…that means I’ve been avoiding writing this post for at least that long. Partially because I know many of you just heard “Another One Bites the Dust” roll through your head (or was that just me when friend after friend announced their pregnancies?) But the much bigger reason for my delay is that I had no idea how to explain it. After five million entries dissecting the issue from every possible angle, how could I not find a way to sum it up intelligently? I still haven’t figured it out, but at the very least, I owe the Undecideds an attempt. So here goes.
It started about a year and a half ago when I went home to see my parents and Indiana made me a little sad. No, it wasn’t just the iceburg lettuce and shredded cheddar “salads”. It was the reminder that we were 2,000 miles away. That we had to spend $800 in plane tickets and a few oh-so-coveted vacation days just to get our fix of playing family card games. That the only people I could wear my worst sweatpants in front of were people I only got to see twice a year.
So what were our options? Move back to Indiana? I’d sort of rather die (sorry, fellow Hoosiers). Aside from that, my recently retired parents were becoming a flight risk, talking of warmer climates. So what about the rest of the fam? Our siblings were scattered throughout Chicago, New York and Cincinnati. There was no single place to settle down, and even if there was, who knew how long they’d be there if the right job or house or whatever came up across the country?
That left us with two choices: find a friend group that felt like one big family, or build a bigger family of our own. We love our friends, but California is a transient place. One glance at a kickball team photo from 7 years ago would reveal that only 10% of us still live here. We’ve still got the same sized group, but it’s something of a revolving door these days. It’s become difficult to want to get too comfortable with anyone.
A tiny crack opened in our Childfree wall. We’d been doing the same sort of thing for so many years; it felt like time for a big change. So we flipped the switch. Instead of No, we thought what if Yes? New questions rose to the surface. Would it be hilarious to coach a Little League team? Could we finally have an excuse to rent an RV for educational vacations? Would we be endlessly entertained by talking about our kids, speculating on their motivations and dreams as often as we did with the cats?
For the first time, it sounded kind of…fun. So, Yes?
We decided to marinate on it for six months and found that Yes, this could be what we wanted, what we needed. A seriously drawn-out job change complicated things and we wound up waiting a year and a half instead of six months before pulling the trigger. Now here we are, another five months later. Carrying the most well-thought-out fetus in the entire world.
By no means have I done a 180. Walking past the daycare at work and hearing the sounds coming out of that place still sends shivers down my spine. Those “precious baby kicks” I’m feeling only conjure visions of Sigourney Weaver in Alien. I dread – DREAD – the thought of attending anything resembling a Mommy & Me gathering. For that matter, I dread the thought of being referred to as a Mommy. These things will likely never change.
The one thing that has though? For the first time, I can see my future clearly. And it excites the hell out of me. I’m not wondering anymore if I’m going down the right path. I’m going down the one that I’m on, the one I’ve chosen – even if it wasn’t with 100% certainty. It probably won’t be everything I think it will be (when is it ever, for anyone?), and I imagine I may struggle more than most because this mothering thing doesn’t come naturally to me. But we’ll do our best, and I’m wildly, irrationally confident that we’re going to have a pretty damn great life.
Can’t really ask for much more than that.
I want to thank everyone who came along for the ride over the past few years. There were countless comments, recommended articles, and heartfelt emails (on BOTH sides of the issue) that helped me get to where I am today. And while I wish I’d done this years ago to save myself the agony of this process (and perhaps some of the physical horrors of being pregnant in my thirties), I don’t think I’d feel as at peace with my decision as I do right now.
For those of you out there still riding the fence, I bid you good luck. No one knows better than I what a struggle you have ahead of you. I wish I could leave you with some parting words of wisdom that would make it all clear, but you’ll have to settle instead for one last command: Keep your ears open for other people’s stories – some will resonate more than others, and this will be telling. Don’t let anyone make you feel crazy or selfish or stupid for taking the time to consider where you want your life to go, or for making a choice that wouldn’t have been theirs. But most importantly, when you finally turn left or right, do your best to keep your eyes forward and throw yourself into it with as much gusto as if you’d known from the start that this was where you were meant to be.
Okay, that was like three commands, but accuracy was never my strong point in these posts.