First of all, before we even get into this, no matter what crazy shit your brain tells you, becoming a mom does not mean that you have given up all chances to be an awesome rockstar feminist (in fact, it means that you probably get extra chances, plus the ability to raise new awesome rockstar feminists). Two weeks ago Maddie started an open thread, asking you all your fears surrounding motherhood, so she could ask me a bunch of questions about my (very) limited experience as a mom. That interview is coming next month, but it only seemed right to include in “Decided” month Heidi Schertz’s post on the huge and normal fears that can come up during pregnancy (or an adoption process, or any other process for procuring a small human). Because you know what? It’s okay if you’re scared as shit, even when you’re constantly asked if you’re So Excited.
El Sugar and I have been married since September. And I’m already pregnant. This is a cause for joy. But inside there is a tiny voice saying, “I’m not sure.”
It started before we got married. We had that conversation. You know, along these lines…
Me: “So, you want kids?”
Me: “Well, how many you thinking about?”
El: “Millions.” (You can tell that El is a joker.)
Me: “Um, I am not pushing millions of babies out of my vagina.” (You can tell I’m not.)
But in the end we decided that Yes, indeed we wanted children. I agreed to “as many as God gives us, so long as that number is four or smaller.” My one caveat was that we would not even start trying until we had health insurance. El was unemployed up until a month before our wedding and I work part time as a substitute teacher. Guess what my wonderful, motivated husband did? He got us health insurance. It kicked in January. You can tell that he was ready to be a daddy.
I felt obligated to live up to my promise. We could try. So in December, since El argued the insurance would kick in by the time we were officially pregnant, we had sex! The baby making kind of sex. I thought for sure with all the medical hoodoo and what not that it would take longer. But it didn’t. And now I’m sort of in a state of shock. And the little voice inside my head is quietly asking, “Are you sure? That all this is what you want?” In my mind it’s like I immediately went from peeing on a stick to being the type of mom with vomit in her hair, no shower, running around with two different shoes on, surrounded by screaming kids, who on top of that has no support and gets no emotional fulfillment out of her life.
I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to happen to me. But that fear is still there. That fear that I may live to regret the decision we made to have kids. That fear that somehow by having kids I have given up all chances to be an awesome rockstar feminist.
Pregnancy so far has been draining. I understand why some women want to be pregnant. And I get why some want to have kids. But emotionally I’m not there yet. (For the record, I’m one of those girls who wanted a baby since I could reproduce.) This is a clear case where the expectation of an event and the actual reality of the event are so decidedly different that my brain has trouble reconciling the two.
The real reason that I’m writing all this is that El has been a rock. He has been there when I could not move off the couch, and supplied me with endless buttered toasts. But most of all, he has been okay with the fact that I’m not sure. He knows that I didn’t expect it now. For that I am eternally grateful. He has not pushed me to be excited. He says he will be excited for me. He tells me that everything will work out. I’m grateful every day to be in a partnership where I am supported.
Part of me needs to deal with this adjustment to my life and all the secondary qualifiers that come with it. Nothing makes the questions of, “Are you going to be applying for full-time teaching jobs this year?” and, “Is it time to go back to school to get another degree so that you are more hirable?” more difficult to answer than the fact that I’m going to be delivering a baby sometime around September. So I’m going to pull on my Big Girl Panties (and a maternity bra). I’ve promised myself that I did make this choice and I will continue to choose this. And I hope that slowly that quiet little voice will turn into an excited voice. If it doesn’t happen, then El will be there and he’ll be excited for me and for us. Maybe in this case he’s more feminist than I.
Photo by APW Sponsor Gabriel Harber