The day I got my period, I remember thinking, “Ooh, now I’ll be able to have a baby!” Not – I hope I don’t stain my favourite pair of shorts. Not – hmm, these cramp things aren’t much fun. No, I skipped straight ahead to the good bit, namely the baby; wedding/husband along the way optional.
As an adolescent, I didn’t think about bigger-than-life movie-style love as a realistic goal. I was slightly pudgier and a whole lot more insecure than the girls in my class. Any crushes were fleeting and never reciprocated. But a baby, ah, a baby, I could do; and do well. Children gravitated towards me (even when I didn’t particularly want them to!). I could conjure up stories from thin air, make up nonsense rhymes, engage in non-stop chatter, and knew songs in pretty much every language under the sun. Watching Julie Andrews in Sound of Music or Lauren Graham on Gilmore Girls told me these were all stellar mom-of-the-year qualities.
Basically, I’ve always known I wanted a child someday. I happened to meet a nice man along the way. I got the bigger-than-life movie-style romance after all! A and I spent our first few years together discovering each other and the world around us. We traveled a lot, ate great food, and pursued our individual goals too. Throughout this time, the B- word didn’t cross my mind once. A always knew I wanted babies, I always knew he didn’t particularly. But he was willing to change his mind whenever I felt the time was right. I was in no hurry. My biological clock was on snooze, I was perfectly happy with the status quo.
Even years later when A decided he was ready, and the doctor confirmed I was healthy + started me off on prenatal vitamins just in case. We drifted along merrily, just not not trying. There wasn’t any purposefulness to our attempts, it’s not like we timed anything or were gunning for success. So pregnancy came as a pleasant surprise, a few months afterwards.
Let me just say, modesty be damned, I rocked the hell out of being pregnant. Even two days before my due date, I was eating well, walking lots, and doing yoga daily. I was still cooking all my meals, or at least cleaning up after. I was able to manage my impending gestational diabetes, the only cloud on the pregnancy horizon. The doctor had warned me that I’d be having a small baby, but figured it was more likely thanks to genetics than any real IUGR complications.
I’d been ready for a baby all my life, and now I was days away from getting one. But you know how they say be careful what you wish for? Turns out that despite my planning and my research, my avid reading of mom blogs and my carefully plotted plans, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was perfectly prepared to have the baby. I was perfectly prepared to raise a preschooler. But the days from infancy to toddlerhood? Nothing prepares you for that.