I never really wanted kids. Sure, kids were cool- some cooler than others, but I never had the maternal drive to have my own that so many of my friends seemed to have. In fact, I would tell people that I was NEVER having children. And in all honesty, I meant it. I really didn't see the appeal- it ruined your body, it was messy and disorganized, they were always yelling and had snot all over their faces. What was the attraction? From an outside perspective it seemed horrible.
Along came my nephew... and a couple years later my niece and I loved them more than I have ever loved other kids but being a parent still seemed, for lack of a better word, awful. It was fun to babysit and be with them on holidays but I loved giving them back and going home to my quiet apartment. Ah, the single life, why would anyone give that up?
When I met my husband, we were on the same page: no kids. Then, one of our favorite couples unexpectedly got pregnant. We fell in love with the baby- especially my husband. And, I fell in love watching him with her. Something switched in my mind and for the first time I could imagine our lives as parents. But, I was conflicted with my fairly rigid belief that it would ruin my life. Throughout our two year engagement we had many conversations about having kids and although I knew he wanted them I also knew he would go along with whatever I chose. In the end though, I wanted him to have the experience of being a dad and I wanted to watch him in that role, caring for our own children, being the nurturer he had been to me as a partner.
But, I still worried. Would I be able to love enough? Would I be compassionate enough? Did I have the patience? What about my body?
When I got pregnant, the worry got worse. I disliked (strongly disliked) being pregnant; I was sick for months, got something called pubic symphysis disorder (which kept me from exercising like I wanted), and just kind of felt uneasy all. the. time. I worried about my decision and then, worried that my indecisiveness was indicative of what was to come as a parent.
Early labor was looooong, lasting almost a week with contractions coming on and then stopping over and over. But, as soon as I was induced things got real and went fast. I had the most amazing active labor and even helped deliver Ethan- pulling him right onto my chest.
It was instant love. All-consuming, unabashed love... like I had never known before. I never wanted to let him go... and most days still don't.
Having E didn't just expose me to a different kind of love, it exposed me to a side of myself I may have never known- a softer, more patient, less-selfish version of Lauren. I now realize that there are bigger things in life than my physique, clothes without snot or crumbs, and a living room that is always clean. Becoming mama has allowed me to be honest with myself about what I want, and has helped me to see the value in my friends and family like I couldn't before. Becoming mama has given me the courage to accept myself in ways that I previously couldn't, allowing me to put myself out there and make way for vulnerability.
As I write this I can see E in the living room playing with his dad, their laughter filling the house, and I wonder, what was I thinking? Why was I worried? What if I had never taken this leap? Sure, things might be easier, we'd have more money, more time and more energy.
But, would I be as happy?
I work harder, love deeper and practice compassion on a much bigger level because of Ethan. His very existence makes me want to make our lives better each and every day. Wanting to give him the world makes me reach for things I once thought impossible.
It's funny to me that the thing I worried about the most has become such a huge part of who I am and who I will continue to become.
Becoming mama has given me a new perspective on life.
Becoming mama has given me the confidence I never had.
Becoming mama has allowed me more love and admiration for my husband.
Becoming mama has made me who I’ve always wanted to be.