This is a reprint of a series representing the views of individual women on the decision of whether or not to have kids. For other perspectives, read Jackie’s column about choosing to be child-free and Julia’s piece on being undecided about motherhood.
I’m not sure when or how I really decided that I wanted to be a mother. Somehow it’s something I just always knew and was planning for in my life. The main question was when, and with whom.
When I was in high school and college, I worked at several camps from preschool to senior high and every age in between, and did a lot of babysitting. When I graduated from college, it took me almost a year to find a “big girl job,” and I spent my time until then lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons at the local YMCA, and doing as much babysitting as I could squeeze in so my rent was covered.
After I entered the business world, I pretty much took a break from kids. I liked kids, but I didn’t really take much interest in other people’s children.
Fast forward a few years. In our neighborhood, my husband would be chasing and playing with our neighbors’ small children (they adored him!), while I stood around and talked with the parents. He would make faces and wave at babies in restaurants. This made me so happy to see him interact with all these children, as well as our own niece and nephew; I knew I had married a man who would be a loving father.
I knew I wanted children of my own, but had spent so much time over the years with little kids, I suppose I was giving myself a break until motherhood. I knew that once I had children of my own, I would love them with all my heart, and be completely immersed in everything childhood for many years. It just wasn’t that time yet. I really had no interest in waving at babies.
Two and a half years into our marriage, my husband and I were the only non-parent adults at his sister’s Christmas party. All the kids (ages 1-13) were having so much fun: sneaking cookies, shaking presents, and exploding with joy for the holiday.
One of our family members (semi)jokingly asked when we were going to have kids. We brushed it off, saying we were definitely going to, and it would probably be sometime in the next couple years.
Driving home from the party, we had a serious talk. We had both felt it that night, watching all the families, that our lives and marriage would be more complete if we had children. We had reached the point in our marriage that there was room to add another little person.
We decided that 2013 was the year to try.
The next discussion, about a month later, was timeline. I wasn’t quite ready to be pregnant, and I had just started a new job. We decided to start trying in the spring. In March, I was feeling a little anxious about getting off my birth control and starting to actively try to conceive.
A voice inside me said “I’m not ready for a baby! I don’t want a baby right now!” But then a calm and reasonable voice, the mother inside me, said “You don’t want one right now, but a year from now, you do. Start trying now, and you can be a mom next year when you ARE ready.”
That voice was right. It was a big leap to take, but the great thing about the 40 weeks of pregnancy is that you have a lot of time to prepare your heart, mind, and home for the big change.
I am a stay home mom, and I have the best job in the world. (Plus, my boss is pretty cute.) We are so happy to be parents, and couldn’t love our daughter more. In a couple years, my husband and I plan to add one more to our family. Being the parents of two will be an even greater adventure!