How do You Know if You’re Ready to be a Parent?
After falling backward into marriage with a wonderful man, more than I could’ve ever asked for in a person to love me, 5 years later I was getting a little worried. I wasn’t worried about the marriage. I was worried about what came next; babies. How do you know if you’re ready to be a parent?
There was no time frame on any of it but I knew, in my heart, that one day I would be married with children. I never doubted it or considered it wouldn’t happen.
One small problem, I met the man of my dreams when I was least expecting him. He asked me to marry him, when I was even less expecting it. I said yes, to the shock of myself and everyone else. You see where I am going with this?
Life just kept tossing me those lovely wonderful curve balls. I went with it and it all seemed to be playing out perfectly. My life was everything I never knew I’d always wanted, served on a silver platter. One thing was missing, a baby.
It wasn’t missing because I had misplaced it or some unfortunate fertility issues. We weren’t so busy with our careers that we had forgotten about it. What happened was I married a man who wasn’t sure if he wanted children or not. I know it sounds crazy that I would have even considered marriage when I was so certain about this one aspect of my life. I knew I needed to be a mother, at some point, the way I know I need to breathe air. But he wasn’t totally sure that he didn’t want children, I am an eternal optimist, and we took a chance. Actually, I’d say it was more like the biggest gamble of my life because if things hadn’t worked out as they did, my story would be very different. Probably a lot more like Elizabeth Gilbert’s and a lot less like Truthful Mommy’s.
I remember feeling a lot of trepidation the summer of 2004. It had finally sunk it that maybe this wasn’t going to happen and then big decisions were going to have to be made. Decisions that neither of us wanted to even consider. So we vaguely discussed and kind of decided to plan to plan to have a baby. You know…maybe sometime in that not predetermined future. Personally, in retrospect, I think we were biding our time. He was trying to put off something he still wasn’t sure about and I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. I was trying and praying to keep hope alive in my heart. That was the summer of our 5-year anniversary.
We planned a romantic getaway to New Orleans. It was magical. I’m sure it had a lot to do with the “we’re on vacation” mojo and the ginormous hurricanes they serve in the French Quarter but we had a heart to heart and decided that we were both on board to plan to plan to have our mythical baby…one of these days. We walked around the Garden district holding hands and talking about how awesome it would be to live there. Spent nights walking together, gazing at the stars, eating rich foods on Jazz cruises in the Mississippi. We lingered in the French Quarter drinking all that life had to offer before coming back to our hotel to bask in one another’s love multiple times* wink*wink*
Then we returned home. Our marriage stronger than ever, our faith in each other renewed, our love undivided and then…I started puking and puking….and puking some more. Our plan to plan had been foiled and replaced by actual living in the now! We were both scared witless, shitless and sideways and oh, yeah excited. Me more excited; him more scared witless. For a couple months, I was wondering how this was all going to play out. Don’t get me wrong, he was very involved.
We did everything together. I read the pregnancy journal to him every night, so we knew what was going on with our baby. He read and sang to my belly. He was at every appointment. He got choked up at the heartbeat. He catered to my every pregnancy whim. He did everything right but for some reason. I felt like he felt like I had sprung this on him. I was too afraid to bring it up because, honestly, I was afraid of what his answer was going to be. Then I wasn’t sure if it was really fear or some kind of crazy hormonal paranoia. So I just went on basking in my glow and praying every night that he REALLY was too. It felt too good to be true, so I was sure something was afoot.
3 days before Christmas we went to have a 3-D confirmation ultrasound done because I HAD to know what the sex of the baby was going to be. They had told me a girl but said they could be wrong because of leg placement. The doctor had tried 3 times to get a definite sex reading and always the same. She was a good Catholic girl even in utero, closed legs and a middle finger to the world. I was so nervous, I vomited.
It was the big day; I was going to finally know the sex of our baby…our accidental, planning to plan love child. The image came up and we saw our baby in 3-D and I knew…we were ready. He was ready. He was happy. He was ECSTATIC. I had my answer, not about the sex of the baby but the answer to a much bigger question.
Then Christmas came. I didn’t care what I received under the tree because I had already gotten my gift, three days earlier in the ultrasound room. I had gotten peace of mind. All the gifts were open and the Big Guy disappeared. Then he came back in with a huge, beautifully wrapped box and he placed it in front of me. “For me?” I asked. “No, it’s for the baby. I bought it a few months back to surprise you!” I opened the box and inside it was the most beautiful Burberry diaper bag that I had ever seen, through my tear filled eyes. He said, “a few months back”. I had worried for nothing. This is one of my favorite and most cherished holiday memories of all of my existence.