My husband and I were wondering, assuming all goes well (the phrase we seem to start every conversation with these days), what folks’ reactions might be to our news.
“My brother will say ‘aren’t you kind of old to be having a kid?. Like when I told him we weren’t going to Vegas to get married. His wife will say ‘But I thought you didn’t want kids.””
Which is true. Was true, rather. The last time she and I talked about kids, I was in my mid-20s, nowhere near marriage and likely in a heap of credit card debt.
Some women know they want kids seemingly right out of the gate. I didn’t even consider it, truly, until I was in my mid-thirties. And it wasn’t even a want. It was more like “yeah, I guess I could do that.” There was no clock ticking. Kids weren’t really a blip on the radar. I liked my flat stomach and my free time, thank you very much. I nearly vomited to trying to change my nephew’s diaper and was quickly relieved of that duty forever.
“But don’t you want to be able to tell him you changed his diaper?” my sister-in-law had asked.
“Ugh. No. God. Gross! And why would he even care?”
For almost three years, I dated a single dad. I never would have agreed to meet his son or develop a relationship with him if I didn’t think his dad and I had staying power, which we ultimately did not. I have mixed feelings looking back on that relationship. I ended it at least a year later than I should’ve have and while I don’t miss the relationship or the former boyfriend, I do think about his son. I missed him a lot after we broke up.
Because I fell in love with the child. And he with me. We were very wary of each other early on. Then, one day, he fell and bumped his knee. Hard.
And he ran over to me. Collapsed in my arms, crying.
Oh, God. This is what that feels like.
I read stories to him at bedtime. I helped out at bath time. I played with him in the park the three weekends out of the month his dad had him. I learned to love Phineas and Ferb and to play Legoland Batman. For Christmas one year, I made a Shutterfly book documenting my year with him. Pumpkin patches, the playground, dying Easter eggs, Christmas, his birthday, his oversized umbrella and Batman boots walking in the spring rain. I gave it to his dad and grandparents as a gift.
That is when i realized i had maternal instincts. I was not a mother -perhaps a stepmom-in-training at best – but I cared deeply for someone else’s child. After the relationship ended, I’d see a little blonde boy on the street or subway and hope it wasn’t him, knowing I likely wouldn’t be able to handle it.
When we first began dating, my husband and I agreed that we wanted a relationship leading to marriage and having a family and if one or both us realized that we wouldn’t be headed in that direction, we owed it to ourselves and each other to voice those feelings honestly and immediately. It was, by far, the most mature conversation I’d ever had with a boyfriend. Dating in Manhattan is tough and let it be known: my husband initiated that conversation.
I had been off the pill exactly one month when I got pregnant, which blows my mind. As we go through this seemingly never-ending string of tests and I see the random, albeit terrifying, spotting (“one of life’s mysteries,” says my doc), I’m reminded of my ex’s son and just how badly I wish to become a mom. As I have felt with each milestone in my life for 25 years, I wish my mom were here. I have so many questions for her.