Some of you may recognize the majority of this post because I originally wrote & shared it last January (2015, that is). In any case, the post has come full circle now because I’M PREGNANT! In case you’re wondering, yes, this was very much planned & thought out as much as humanly possible. And no, I couldn’t be more excited! 🙂
I had my first ultrasound on Friday. I didn’t cry like I was told I would, but it was INCREDIBLE to not only hear the heartbeat but to actually SEE the heart beating on the screen. Yes, I’m a nurse but I’m definitely NOT an OB nurse & I’ve forgotten most of what I learned in OB class, which is probably a blessing because it means I’m less likely to obsess over every little thing that could go wrong, but in any case I definitely didn’t realize I’d be able to actually SEE that tiny heart beating, especially this early (I’m due in December). Anyway, immediately after the ultrasound & bloodwork, we drove up to VA to see my grandmother & my mom’s side of the family so we could give them the news in person. The next day we visited my husband’s mom & sister (who already knew about the baby), & then on Sunday we had Mother’s Day lunch with my parents & sister & three of my dad’s siblings. My parents & sister already knew about the baby of course, but it was so much fun to be able to share the news with my aunts & uncles in person & on Mother’s Day no less.
Also I feel inclined to explain why I’m sharing this exciting news “so early” (I’m 9 weeks today). Yes, I realize it’s standard practice to wait till 11-12 weeks to tell everyone because of the risk of miscarriage, & I understand why many people do choose to wait. However, for me I felt like I just couldn’t keep such big news a secret for so long. Besides that, statistics show that if you can find a heartbeat on ultrasound at 8 weeks, you have a 97% chance of having a viable pregnancy (in other words NOT having a miscarriage). I like those odds! Perhaps most importantly, I think the standard rule of waiting 3 months is based on the idea that people shouldn’t talk about miscarriages, that it’s something shameful to be kept a secret at all costs. Frankly I think that’s ridiculous, & if I did have a miscarriage I would rather people knew about it so they could grieve with me & understand why I was struggling. I understand some people may feel differently & that’s fine, but I think I made the right choice for me, & that’s all that matters.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s the original post that now feels even more relevant & poignant.
As some of you may know, for many years I was quite sure I never wanted to have children. Deep down I knew I’d probably change my mind someday but I just couldn’t imagine that ever happening. I’ve just never been one of those women who instantly connects with children or feels really comfortable with them. Perhaps this is because I wasn’t the happiest child myself; indeed I was always in a hurry to grow up & I’ve never been happier than I have been since I reached adulthood.
In any case, as it so happens, I’ve been thinking A LOT about becoming a mom lately. It’s probably partly due to having Chaucer (my dog) & watching him grow up & how wonderful that is. And it’s probably partly because I’m 26 so I’m hitting what might be considered a normal age to start having kids. (Hell, where I grew up I’m already far behind!)
When I do decide to have kids, you can be sure I’ll have thought about all the possibilities & consequences. I’ve read all the articles about how kids ruin your sleep, your appearance, your metabolism, your sex life, your marriage, your career, & everything else. (May I just say my husband & I are determined to prove all those articles wrong?) I’ve never been one of those “starry-eyed” women who see babies & only think of cuddles & love. No indeed. When I see babies I think about the pain of labor & breastfeeding & the sleepless nights. Does this make me cold-hearted & unfeeling? No, I think it just makes me realistic. And as one of my dearest friends told me today, the fact that I’ve thought about all of these things & am taking this decision so seriously is probably evidence that I will actually be a good mom. Her saying that means the world to me because whenever I express doubt about becoming a mom or admit that I’m not particularly fond of most young children, it seems that most people give me that look that implies something must be inherently wrong with me & say “Well, if you’re not sure, you better not do it.”
In any case, as part of my pondering about becoming a mom, my mind keeps thinking of all the things I want to teach my children someday. I know some people will probably think I’m really pretentious for writing out this list, but the way I see it is it’s better to have a lot of plans that I might never fully accomplish than to have no plans at all.
- I will teach my children the importance of asking both “Why?” & “Why not?” If the subject is something to believe or trust, the appropriate question is “Why?” If the subject is something fun to do, the appropriate question is “Why not?”
- I will teach my children to play in rain puddles, piles of leaves, & grassy meadows.
- I will teach my children to value people of different races, ethnicities, & cultures. I will teach them that no one is superior or inferior than anyone else but especially not because of something so superficial as race, gender, or nationality.
- I will teach my children that love is love & it doesn’t matter who it’s between as long as they are two consenting adults who are not hurting each other.
- I will teach my kids the value of good nutrition & eating well.
- I will teach my kids to enjoy exercise, even if it’s just running around the yard chasing the dog.
- On that subject, I will teach my kids that dogs really are man’s (& woman’s) best friend.
- I will teach my kids to love rock & roll. I will take them to rock concerts when they are old enough (probably 10-12 or older). I will be that crazy mom who is screaming to the music with my kids & I will not be ashamed or apologize for it. In the car we will rock out to Halestorm, Godsmack, & Black Stone Cherry (among others).
- I will teach my children not to judge others based on appearance. I will teach them that some of the best people in the world are covered with tattoos & piercings while some of the most deceitful people in the world are dressed in suits & ties.
- I will teach my children that life isn’t all fun & games but it isn’t all misery & suffering either. It’s a little bit of everything & we have to learn to appreciate all of it.
- I will teach my children that life’s not fair & they better get used to that real fast.
- I will teach my kids that they alone are responsible for the choices they make; thus they better be ready to face the consequences of their actions, no matter what they are.
- I will teach my children that sex is wonderful & amazing . . . & because of that they better be careful who they do it with & when. But I will never make them feel that sex in & of itself is something dirty or something to be ashamed of.
- I will teach my children about birth control & how it works & why they had better use it until the day they (& their partner) are absolutely certain they are ready to be parents.
- I will teach my children that education is the key to success in life . . . but they better have a plan to go along with it because degrees alone are worthless these days.
- I will teach my kids that there is no job that is beneath them & working hard at everything they do is essential to success in life.
- I will teach my kids to show respect to everyone they meet, whether it’s their doctor, their teacher, or the janitor.
- I will teach my children that “everything in moderation” is a really great motto in life, the only exceptions being things like heroin & cocaine. Just have some common sense!
- I will teach my kids that things in & of themselves are never evil; it’s how we use them that makes them good or bad. For example, the internet isn’t evil just because some creeps use it to prey on children or watch porn. Books aren’t evil just because some of them say things you don’t like. Music isn’t evil just because some of it contains lyrics that are rude or disparaging.
- I will teach my kids the importance of valuing every single day they’re alive because life is never guaranteed.
- I will teach my kids that they don’t have to be just like me for me to love them or be proud of them. There is more than one road to success in life & theirs might look very different than mine. And that’s ok.
- I will teach my kids that in order to be successful in life they need to get off their ass & get moving. Success doesn’t come to those who wait for it. It comes to those who set goals & work hard to meet them.
- I will teach my children that the exact words people say are far less important than the feelings behind them.
- On a similar token, I will teach my children that actions speak far louder than words.
- I will teach my children to always be honest about their intentions with others.
- I will teach my kids the value of empathy & how important it is to just listen to others when they are suffering.
- I will teach my children that the world doesn’t owe them anything. They will not be entitled brats if it kills me.
- I will teach my kids that the purpose of life is to live it, to soak up every experience life has to offer, & to revel in the love we have for each other.
- If I have daughters, I will make sure my husband teaches them how to check the oil in their car & how to change a tire because these are all things I’ve never learned & I want my daughters to be more independent than I am.
- If I have sons, I will teach them how to do laundry & basic cooking because I love that I never had to teach my husband any of these things.
- I will teach my children that society has various expectations of them based on gender but they need to choose their own path, regardless of what society says.
- I will teach my kids to value the simple beauties of nature: the way the sky looks just before it rains, the sweet smell of honeysuckle in the spring time, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, the feeling of snowflakes tickling your nose, & the way a little frost makes the whole world look magical.
- I will teach my children to love curry & all foods Indian & Mediterranean. If not, they might starve at our house . . .
- I will teach my kids that having an argument with someone doesn’t mean you don’t love them. It just means you disagreed about something & the worst thing you can do in such situations is to bottle up your emotions & hold them in until you explode.
- I will teach my kids to question everything & never believe something just because such & such person said it. I will teach them to judge everything based on its own merits.
- I will share with my kids the joy of reading & searching out used book stores in all corners of the city.
- I will take my children to visit their elders & teach them to appreciate all the things the elderly can teach us about life.
- I will teach my children that being weird is awesome & following the crowd is for losers.
- I will teach my children that no one can make them feel inferior without their consent.
- I will teach my kids the difference between serving others & being a doormat. It’s a fine line but it’s one you have to find.
- I will teach my kids that in order to take care of others, they must first learn to take care of themselves. As hard as it will be to do so, I will role model this for them as best I can.
- I will teach my children that, like things, emotions are never evil. It’s what we do with them that matters. I do not want them to grow up feeling guilty for experiencing anger, sadness, lust, or any other “sinful” emotion. I just want to teach them healthy ways to express these feelings.
- I will teach my kids that nothing in life is perfect all the time. Life isn’t a fairytale but it’s still pretty damn good if we make good choices & chase our passions.
- I will teach my children that even though being a mom is immeasurably important I am still other things too: a wife, a sister, a daughter, a nurse, etc. Even though I know all children have a hard time thinking of their mothers as anything else, I hope they’ll learn to appreciate me as more than just “a mom” if that makes any sense.
- I will teach my children that we are all hypocrites sometimes & no matter how hard we try we all fail to live up to our own ideals at times. We just have to keep striving to do the best we can & stay humble when we make mistakes.
- And, perhaps greatest of all, I will kiss & hug my children every day & teach them to never doubt how much I love them.