Thoughts of being a mother never even entered my mind until I was maybe in my late 20s. And the first thought that did pop into my mind on the subject was a resounding NO! I had absolutely zero desire to have children. I actually, somewhat subconsciously but maybe not completely, took up serious relationships with older, divorced men who already had kids and weren’t all that keen on having more.
Its not that I didn’t like kids. I worked in childcare for some time and was more than comfortable with children and they seemed pretty comfortable with me too. I just didn’t seem to have this so called biological clock that I had heard so much about.
For more than a decade I was really comfortable with my lack of desire to be a mother. I had a pretty good life. I had a career, a house I bought on my own, a car that was paid for, a solid relationship, with someone my own age (slightly younger than me to be completely honest) and the freedom to be selfish. And then a series of events happened that shook everything up. Here they are, not in order of importance because I think they all had a pretty equal impact:
- I turned 35
- I got engaged
- My husband (then fiance) was gaga over our young niece.
All of a sudden I felt panic. I was 35 and didn’t hear the tick tock of that stupid mythical clock. Was there something wrong with me? Was I lying to myself all this time? Maybe deep down I did want to be a mom but for some reason I didn’t want to admit it. I had a pretty lousy relationship with my own mother and one of those dysfunctional families that would have made for great sitcom fodder had it not really been so tragically sad.
Then the little bundle of cuteness, our niece, arrived. Now, I love this kid as much as anyone. I spent hours in the hospital waiting for her arrival. I spent even more hours knitting her a blanket and scouring used book stores for those classic Little Golden books to start her a collection. I was excited to meet her and be her auntie. But it didn’t take long for that chubby, wide eyed, ridiculously adorable little bundle of joy to cast a deep dark spell over her uncle. I would watch him with her, all coos and babble and other lovey dovey crap and that invisible cloak of panic started to get tighter and tighter around me as I realized he was smitten with this kid. Now, I was smitten myself but that was ok. I knew what was in my own heart and that adoring someone else’s baby didn’t mean I wanted to take one home myself. But who knew what black magic the niece had started brewing in her uncle’s heart.
And then there was the third and final straw on my motherless back. On a lovely spring day (when my niece was just over a year old) my husband proposed. So, here we were – engaged, both gainfully employed, we had a home with no mortgage, very little debt, some supportive and loving family around us – well what’s the next logical step? Having a family of our own right?
Now this may have in fact been when I actually started lying to myself. I’m still not 100% clear on that. But slowly I started to convince myself that maybe, just maybe, having a kid wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. We certainly had a lot to offer a kid. It wouldn’t change our lives that much anyways. We would still travel and spend time with our friends. Yeah the first few months might cramp our style a little but I could live with that. Our kid would be easy going and well behaved and we could just pack him or her in the car, or plane and get on with our easy breezy lives.
I still blame the niece’s wicked little love spell, and some voodoo curse that my sister in law inflicted on me with a chain and a ring, because all of a sudden there I was, 38 years old, just married and after only four tries – pregnant.
I had absolutely no idea how much our lives would change, some days I still can’t process it all. There are a lot of pros and cons to becoming a first time parent when you are hovering on 40 and I think that probably deserves its own post down the road. There are days I want to throw in the towel (Sunday was one of those days) and days where I feel absolutely blessed to have my not so perfect, but perfectly mine, little family. And now, when my ridiculously adorable little princess dances around with her magic wand and her abba dabba prestos I wonder if she is casting her own little love spells on some unsuspecting parents to be…