Saturday, January 5, 2013

Why Have Kids

Worth it.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2008, I woke up sad. We were going to have dinner at someone's house, who I barely knew. My family was having their traditional, ridiculous, fun 30-person dinner and I was missing it again. I was tired of being far away from family. I felt very alone and I said so to T. He said that if we want to have family traditions of our own, then we have to make our own family.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I'd been so steadfast in not wanting kids that I never took the time to actually think about what it would be like to have them. At the time, a lot of our friends were having babies or were pregnant and I was starting to feel ostracized.
We were the weird drunk couple who didn't want kids.
I thought about it for all of 30 seconds. "We need to have a baby," I said. T laughed and told me to think about it some more. There wasn't much to think about; all of a sudden, I wanted to have kids.
I thought for sure we would struggle with fertility since it seemed like everyone else around us did. My OB/GYN, who'd fortunately talked me out of getting my tubes tied the year earlier, said she didn't even want to discuss fertility issues until we'd been trying for at least two years. I was worried because I'd been on the Pill for almost 20 years. T was worried because he'd never gotten a girl pregnant and figured he was sterile. The silly things men come up with!
I got pregnant the second month I was off the Pill. Who knew I was Fertile-Myrtle?
My pregnancy had its ups and downs, the ups being mostly my weight. I gained 65 lbs, which is way more than the "normal suggested" gain of about 35 lbs. I had gestational diabetes (thank you, genetics), a blood clot scare, placenta previa and swollen everything. You know how you can't tell some women are pregnant from behind? Well, you could tell I was pregnant from EVERYWHERE. I was even pregnant in my feet.
I thought I would find other pregnant ladies to bond with but didn't until the end, when I connected with my MommyGoesToWork friend. I went to prenatal yoga every Saturday but that was mostly for the snacks. You know what happens when you put 20 pregnant women in a small room, give them fiber-rich snacks and then have them bend like a pretzel? Yes. THAT.
*Secretly hoping that the lady next to me whose water may have just broken doesn't realize that the last fart was from me.*
Since we had L.E. our lives changed completely, which was the total point of having a family. Sure, I may complain to my younger colleagues that they have the luxury of going to happy hour on the way home from work. They even respond with, "Wow, you sure bag on being a mom a lot. Was L.E. an accident?" But for every day I struggle with mom-guilt, shame and inadequacy, I also want to shout my gratitude for L.E. from the top of Mt. Bonnell. She's the most amazing person I've ever known and it's sometimes hard to believe I made her.
I love being somebody's mom.
I love her rubbing her chubby little hands on my face. I love her cackling giggle when I tickle her. I love it when she tickles me back. I love it when she yells, "I can't sleep like this!" when I try to turn her lamp off in her room at night. I love it when she holds up her finger and says, "Please read ONE MORE story." I love when she says, "FIVE MINUTES" when I say it's time to clean up and go. I love how she smells her feet and says, "EWWWW!" I love when she says, "I love you so much, Mommy."
I never thought I'd say it, but being a mom is the best thing I've ever done. I get to be a kid again through her. I can watch cartoons and wear t-shirts with cupcakes on them. I can slide down the slide at the park and not look like that creepy lady hanging out at the park. I have someone I can share my ice cream with. I get to read my favorite stories like Harry the Dirty Dog, Corduroy,  Cat in the Hat, and Go Dog Go. And when she's a little older, we'll read Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume.
Sure there are the bad things. She always needs something. NEEDS it. I can't get her potty-trained to save my life. She throws herself down on the ground in public and starts screaming. One time, she started yelling, "Help me help me!" in Target so people looked at me like I was kidnapping her. She still doesn't sleep through the night every night. She hardly eats. I have to chase her to get her dressed. She yells at me and bosses me around. How do you deal with that?
And then there's the never-ending struggle of the working mom. I feel guilty all the time. I read the message boards that say things like, "If you're not going to raise your kid yourself, why have one?" and it feels like I've been stabbed.
I explored staying home. I'm happier working.
I should stop reading message boards.
I'd rather be fulfilled if I'm not with L.E. but that's something I need to deal with.
Despite all of the struggles to find the right balance, usually unsuccessfully, I take comfort in knowing that the world is a better place because L.E. is in it.
I made that happen.
It's a pretty scary and powerful proclamation.
Hopefully she won't blow the ridiculous expectation I just set up for her.

2 comments:

  1. Lisa, I love reading your stories! I remember when you used to be so adamant about not having kids (way back when my 10yr old was LE's age) :) So glad you came around and gave yourself the gift of motherhood. Just so you know, the guilt never goes away...

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  2. You really should stop reading message boards. Everyone has an opinion about having kids, not having kids, staying home, or working. But it's ridiculous to think that one situation would work for everyone! It's obvious you're totally in love with Lucy. Sometimes I feel the guilt about working as well, but then I remember what a better mom I am for having that balance in my life. Concentrate on that and try not to feel so guilty and you will enjoy it even more!

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