Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Last Friday, November 6th, 2009, I gave birth to a baby boy that we named Joaquin Porter Ochoa...Since then, my life has been a whirlwind...so many emotions to express and so many stories to share, from the 2 days of pre-labor, where my contractions were coming with such frequency, I thought it might be the real thing, to the actual 19 hours of active labor, to the birth, and then the actual first few amazing days of motherhood...I know it's something that every parent goes through --- the wonderment and awe of knowing that your life is never going to the same…
Anyhow, he is here. And I am exhausted, sore, and in a haze. But more than anything I am completely, deliciously happy.
On Wednesday, I mentioned to my mom that I was meeting Kiko for lunch at his office in downtown Los Angeles. As my mom often does, she asked me what I was wearing. When I told her I had on closed-toed shoes because I needed a pedicure, she immediately became aghast with me, telling me "this close to your due date, you need to maintain your pedicures..." Of course, she has told me this several times in the past few weeks, but who has the time for a pedicure between the nesting, and trying to wrap things up in the office, etc. I tried to do them myself a few weeks ago, but found it too difficult to reach my toes. I ended up with toe nails that were about 70% covered with polish, with lots of polish around the cuticle. Luckily, about 2 weeks ago, I went to my favorite pedicure place in Pasadena, Dashing Divas, so while I could use a touch up, they are not horrendous... Fortunately, I don't think the hospital staff cares what my feet look like --- I am pretty sure they've seen way worse than my slightly chipped dark, vampish toe nail polish...Oh and just for any beauty fans out there, my two favorite new polish colors are Bitches Brew from Lippman and Chanel's purplish Vendetta...delish.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
As I pulled into our driveway after work, I caught a beautiful sight out of the corner of my eye: a large, cardboard box sitting proudly next to the front door of our bluish gray Colonial Revival home. Could it be? As I rushed to park the car, jumped from the vehicle and ran to the porch it was indeed the package I was anticipating. Printed on the side of the box in big blue letters it read "diapers.com" which meant that our first order of diapers had arrived! Woo hoo!
What a thrill! I am sure after a few weeks of changing, paying for, and ordering diapers, the thrill will fade fast. But it just made the whole mom-to-be thing seem more real. Then of course there's the debate of what kind of diapers to use: cloth, G-diapers, 7th Generation, gel free, etc. Maybe that will just mean more orders to diapers.com trying to find the best fit for our family, our budget, and our environment...
In any case, there are so many firsts that arise during a pregnancy, and the first diaper order delivery is not one to be overlooked. Because what will soon be wearing those diapers will be the best delivery of all!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Several weeks ago, I started having a horrible side ache in my right side. My husband and I were at our dear friends’ house for dinner and it was a Saturday night. The last thing I wanted to do was moan and groan to our friends about my sharp, debilitating pains, so I just tried to tough it out, knowing we’d be heading home soon.
Once we finished dinner, I gave the “look” to my husband and he knew it was time to say adieu. Immediately in the car, I said “Will you do a Google search for ‘sharp pains in your right side during pregnancy?’”
Of course, being the concerned hubby he is, he said “Well, shouldn’t we just call your doctor, babe?”
“No, no,” I protested. “I just want to see if this feeling is common during pregnancy before I bug my doctor on a Saturday night.”
Rolling his eyes at me, he acquiesced with my request, and sure enough, within a minute, he was reading to me about “round ligament pain” and describing the symptoms and the explanations, and I immediately felt at ease. What he read was exactly what I was feeling. Even though I was still having the pain, which felt like quick jabs to the appendix, I felt so much better knowing this is a common thing during pregnancy as your round ligaments expand to make room for the baby.
There are so many new, strange, and often uncomfortable things happening to my body during pregnancy, so it helps to know that sometimes, a quick glance on the web can help you determine when to just relax and ride it out, and when there might be something more serious occurring that would necessitate a call to the doctor.
So though I much prefer browsing my favorite online boutiques (like Twilite Moon!) when surfing the web, it’s nice to know that sometimes it can put my husband and I at ease on a Saturday night…and I am sure we’re only a few months away from Google searching the term “how to soothe a crying baby…”
Thursday, September 17, 2009
He continues to become more and more active in my belly every day and I am in awe of his every move. It is the best feeling. Even when it hurts or is uncomfortable because he's pressing hard or persistently, I love it because it reminds me that there really is a little person inside.
We talk to him every night. Coconut and George (the dogs) lay on my tummy, and Coco cocks her head from side to side if she feels him move. It's as if she's saying "what's that alien thing inside you, lady?" and "is it going to take any of my treats?"
In short, he is already such a big part of our lives, and he hasn't even shown himself to the world yet.
And thank goodness I have approximately 2 months and 1 day left to go before he does decide to make an appearance...because there is lots more to do!
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
My husband has been super supportive on the nights when I just don’t feel like cooking. Sometimes when I get home from work around 7:30, the baby and I are so ravenous, I feel as if we could eat a whole Thanksgiving dinner for a family of 4 and still not be satisfied. Even though I love to cook, since being pregnant, sometimes I don’t have the patience to prepare a meal after work --- all I care about is eating and eating quickly.
One particular weeknight a few weeks ago, I didn’t know what I was hungry for, but I just knew I was starved. We drove to the closest commercial street which happens to be peppered with fast food restaurants and local dive spots alike, but still I could not decide what sounded appetizing.
Then we drove past one strip mall with various stores and restaurants, including a Pizza Hut. Now this wasn’t one of those Pizza Huts with a drive thru that’s combined with Taco Bell. This was a Pizza Hut that existed purely on its own, and the storefront’s main focus was pizza delivery. We spontaneously decided, “Let’s just get pizza here. It should be quick.”
We parked the car in the parking lot and both got out of the car. In my haste to leave the house in search of food, I neglected to take note of my husband’s outfit: a dress shirt, ripped blue jeans, and house-slippers. Yes, house-slippers! Now, that’s what I call hot date attire. I couldn’t believe it --- here we were in the middle of this crowded strip mall, me with a big pregnant belly and my husband is wearing “old man house-shoes,” as we like to call them. Clearly the days where we both exerted effort deciding what to wear on a date were behind us. And yes, once we leave the house to get food, it’s considered a “date.”
We ordered our meal and were told it’d be at least 15 minutes until the food was ready, so what were we to do? We decided to wait outside in the car like two teenagers sans chaperones sitting in a parked vehicle. Only instead of us being turned on by one another or a smooth love song on the radio, we couldn’t wait to relax in the car together and play our recent obsession --- pocket Scrabble on our iPhone!
There we sat, under the glow of the overhead parking lot lantern, stomachs growling, passing our Scrabble game back and forth, each trying to outscore the other, laughing at ourselves as other cars came in and out of the parking lot to go to the liquor store or the drug store.
All in all, it was probably 20 minutes before our food was ready, although it felt like mere minutes because we were having so much fun. We laughed at what our night had become, but also enjoyed the quiet of it being just the two of us in the car, knowing that it didn’t really matter where we were or what we were doing, just that we were doing it together made it feel like a date.
Finally, my husband had a hunch our order was ready, so his trusty house-shoes took him back to the Pizza Hut counter to collect our cuisine. Instead of eating there in the ambient parking lot, we took our vittles back home and relaxed on the couch, eating pizza, playing Scrabble, and catching up on our DVRed television…and what started off feeling like just a normal weeknight turned into a fun and memorable “date” of sorts…what more could a pregnant girl want? Oh, and next time we go out, he promises to wear normal shoes.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
"All My Babies Are Gone Now"
By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author
All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow, but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubberducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education -- all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations -- what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.
Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test,then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.
When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.
Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the "Remember-When-Mom-Did" Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language -- mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover.The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?" (She insisted I include that here.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?(She was thinking the same thing I was, apparently...no Simpsons here either!)But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
The smell of stale, sticky sweat permeated the air. The sound of rubber-soled-sneakers squealed and screeched as the players came to a halt on the shiny wooden floor. I saw the championship banners hanging high on the wall above the bleachers, with the hand-painted “Go Wildcats” posters not far below, and I was instantly transported to another world.
Something within the sounds and smells of the high-school gym took me to a mental place I had never been before during my pregnancy. As I watched these grown men run up and down the court, yelling “I’m open!” and “Come on, man!” with their hands in the air, I started thinking that someday, before I know it, I might be back in a gym just like this. But instead of watching my husband and his over-worked compadres hustle and wheeze their way up and down the court, I’d be watching my own child run, and jump, and test himself against other kids.
Since the early days of my pregnancy, I have spent countless hours imagining what my baby is going to be like—what she will look like, how it will feel to hold him, what it will be like to try to teach her things—but rarely have I thought about what happens when my baby starts to grow up and becomes an actual kid. What happens then?
As I sat in that gym, holding my pregnant belly tightly, I felt a new spirit of adventure. For the first time, I thought that being a mother will go far beyond changing diapers and pushing a stroller. Someday soon, several years away at least, I might be sitting in a gym watching Junior play YMCA basketball, or along the sidelines of a soccer field watching her run, or even in an auditorium watching her dance. Having a baby means more than just having a baby, it means having an actual KID who is going to sweat and compete and test himself or herself against the world, and I’m going to get to watch. That is pretty cool. And if it took a bunch of chubby, sweaty lawyers with inflated perceptions of their own athletic abilities to actually make me realize the depth of experiences I might someday share with this little person inside of me, so be it.
My husband’s team lost the game that night, but I won much more than he’ll ever know. Let’s just hope our baby has more class and sportsmanship than the “adults” on the floor that night who got into a fight because one of them was using too much “D” under the basket. (And no, my husband wasn’t one of them. Thank Goodness.)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Of course, we'd be thrilled either way and just want it to be healthy, but it is wonderful to know that there is a little man growing inside of me now. I just hope some day I have a little girl so this little boy has someone (other than his mom) to protect.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
We always said if we were lucky enough to get pregnant, that we'd want the gender to be a surprise at birth. It felt to my husband and me like this might be one of life's last great surprises...and then, I got pregnant...and something changed.
I HAD to know what was inside me. I needed to know just as much as the doctors knew about my growing baby, and learning the sex before the birth is just part of the information we now can have, thanks to modern medicine.
I did feel a little guilty reneging on the deal my husband and I made, saying we'd wait and let it be a surprise. But I really did realize that the reason I was okay with it being a surprise was because I always thought we'd have a boy first. I don't know why it is, but I just have always pictured us with a little boy. Of course, I'd love to be lucky enough to have a girl someday, too. I am very close with my own mom, and plus, I think girls take care of their moms when they get old. So yes, for purely selfish reasons, I hope I someday have a little girl, but I've always, always always pictured our first baby having a weenie. So I thought, "Okay, let's not find out the gender. Because it's going to be a boy, anyway."
Secretly, for the past couple of years, I have been stashing away baby boy clothing that I find on clearance sale, and my husband has already started a sizeable collection of Star Wars, Lakers, & Dodgers onesies, which I have already informed him will be "bedazzled" if indeed we find out we're having a girl.
So now that we are about a week away from finding out the gender, I cannot contain my excitement. And of course, after all my preconceived ideas that we'd spawn a male child first, for some reason, I keep thinking this one might just be a girl. But therein lies the fun of not knowing yet --- even though we are not waiting until delivery day to learn which public restroom our baby will have to use, finding out next week will be a big surprise, too! And as I am quickly reminded by other new parent friends "Trust me, there are enough surprises that come with a new born that overshadow the surprise of which gender box they'll check."
I think everyone has to choose what's right for them, and who knows? Maybe with the second one, we'll decide to be patient and not find out until d-day. However for now, I am just giddy with excitement to find out what it is. We have already picked out our nursery bedding options, and depending on what it is, we will pull the trigger and make the purchase and then we can really get started on our dream nursery. And I really think I'll connect with the baby more once I know all there is to know about it at this stage.
Apparently, there is a new over-the-counter test from CVS drugs that can detect the baby's gender with an 80% accuracy rate. I just found out about this last week, otherwise, if it was earlier in the pregnancy, I just might have forked over the $35 for a chance to find out earlier...Then I realized, that's at least 1/3 of the cost of the Burberry jacket I am saving up to buy for my baby...boy? Or girl? Oh who knows, either one will both look smashing in it!
Plus, at this point if I can't even have the patience to wait one more week to find out, then I'll never be able to wait the whole 9 months...
Monday, June 22, 2009
Today, the shoes are red patent, low-heeled pumps. They are uber comfortable and help me with the Monday Blues because just looking at their bright color makes me happy. The pink toe nails are a little too Valentines Day-ish, but I have to roll with it.
We had a wonderful Father's Day weekend, but now I feel very tired. It was special to see my dad and my father-in-law in the same day, although our visits never seem long enough.
I wish everyone a great start to their week and will be writing more soon...
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
It makes me wonder, at what point will it feel real? When will I really feel like a bona fide mom-to-be? Will it be when the first visible sign of a bump starts to appear? Or will it be the first time I feel my wee one kick, a possible sign that a mini-Beckham is growing inside of me? (Secretly, I am hoping for a Tiger, Kobe, or A Rod because I much prefer watching golf, basketball, or baseball to soccer….but of course, that’s not up to me…) I really want to know when it will sink in because right now all I feel is tired, hungry, and oh, did I mention exhausted?
I am cutting myself some slack, because after all, by some miracle called life, I am making another human. I joke with my husband sometimes when he gets home from work, “How was your day, honey?” I tease. “What did you do today?”
He answers with some pat answer, and I respond, “Oh, really, because I made some toes.”
All joking aside, it really is amazing that all this is going on inside me and I have little to do with it. Other than eating right (isn’t ice cream a grand source of calcium), exercising (online shopping can burn up to 100 calories an hour – more if you use Ebay), and trying to get as much rest as possible, I am taking a back-seat to what Mother Nature has been doing for centuries. It’s like being on pro-creation autopilot. I know there are a lot of maneuvers happening beneath the hood, and though I am in the driver’s seat, I may as well be asleep at the wheel because my body is just doing its thang. You go, Mother Nature. Let me know when I need to push or do something else strenuous…but until then, I get to be along for the ride as new changes happen everyday for my growing baby.
I have a new sense of calm and peace, and while my life is not perfect, I am making a baby and nothing can feel more significant in my life than that right now. The fact that my husband might be sent away for 4 months for work, or the fact that one of my huge projects at my job might get pushed until the month I am due, well I can’t really worry about those things right now, can I? Normally both of those predicaments might send me into a frenzy, but now what good is the stress going to do me? All I can do is wait until I know for sure what is happening and then deal with the situations as they arise.
But what I do try to deal with on daily basis are the new and constant changes my body is going through, like my acne-of-a-6th grader, my expanding waist, and my uncomfortable stomach pains due to the digestion problem-of-the-day.
So far, I have been blessed not to have bad morning sickness or any other dramatic health problem. I realize what I have is a gift and I am intent on not taking it for granted.
The first week I knew I was expecting, I think I listened to Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work” about three dozen times on repeat. I needed to hear a song like that to help me focus in hopes that the reality of the situation would hit me. But the truth is, even when my belly is so big I can’t see my own feet, or when the baby is kicking so much in my tummy I feel like it deserves to be grounded for acting with such aggression, I still feel like none of it will actually seem believable until I am in the delivery room, trying to bring this tiny baby into the world…and when I feel those contractions and hear that tiny cry, that is I imagine when it will feel so real I won’t even remember the acne, exhaustion, or feelings of some surreal creature existing inside me…it will finally feel…real.
Monday, May 25, 2009
We enjoyed a nice holiday weekend in town for a change. A lot has happened in the past year. A year ago today, we were on a plane headed for Tokyo, and then to Hawaii to celebrate our first anniversary. Now, we are sticking much closer to home - saving money we'd spend on flights and vacations for our little pea pod and trying to nest as much as possible. It still feels so early to start getting the nursery ready, but there is a lot of home organization that I need to take care of before the tiny infant arrives.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Today is the anniversary of my maternal Grandmother's death. We called her "Dado," (pronounced dad-oh) and even though the name sounds similar to "dad," she was 100% lady. My oldest brother, Robbie, named her that when he was about 2 years old and the name stuck. I never knew her as anything else. Even friends and neighbors that had known her for years referred to her as Dado.
I could write for days about her and what she meant to me, but for some reason, now that I have a little person growing inside of me, I find myself thinking about her more and more in a different way than ever before. She was so many things to so many different people, but at her core she was a true southern woman who just wanted to make those around her happy. She brought me so much joy as a child and always made me feel special. It was a gift to spend time with her because she showered me and her other grandchildren with attention. One of my favorite activities we did together was making doll hats out of Styrofoam cups. It was a simple, and probably highly toxic process: we'd melt the Styrofoam cups in the oven until the bottoms of the cups curled up like little hat brims, then we'd dig into her sewing box for scraps of ribbon, silk flowers, loose sequins, buttons, and other treasures. Each hat we'd make would be unique and I don't know what was more fun - making them with her or putting them on my dolls later to admire our handy work and creativity.
We also loved making mud-pies (out of dirt, not coffee ice cream), doing Shrinky-Dinks, playing the piano, watching "The Fall Guy," and taking outings to the 99-cent store, Fed Co, and Mc Donald's. She sewed doll clothes for all my dolls, got me hooked on cream cheese on raisin bread sandwiches and used to get mad at me when I'd say, "I have to pee."
Her pat response when I'd use a vulgar word like "pee," would be: "Tootie, that's not very lady-like. You should say 'I need to use the restroom.'"
We also had to refer to "farts" as "fanny burps," which in my opinion is way more tortuous to a little kid than just getting the short word "fart" out and over with. Fanny burp just seems to linger on the tongue. Yuck.
But now that I am going to give my own parents a grandchild of their own, I can't help but get excited over how they'll influence my own kids. I know their relationship will be special and I know they will share something far different than my relationship with them.
Grandparents are just special, and today especially I remember Dado with love and fondness. She is always a part of me and even though I wish I could have made her a great-grandmother, I know somewhere she will be looking down on me, making sure I teach my kids to speak like proper young ladies and gentlemen, and encouraging my own crafty activities with my kids. Her gentle-loving spirit calms me when I worry about the future. Somehow I just feel comforted knowing that she loved me and remembering what she was like.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Here's our baby timeline:
3/13 - The day after I got back from being in NYC on a business trip, I found out I was expecting.
4/8 - First prenatal doctor's appointment where we saw the heartbeat & had the first ultrasound.
5/8 - We heard the heartbeat the first time, which sounded like a freight train. Crazy!
5/13 - Then today, we had our second ultrasound and Kiko and I were both in awe of the little dude or dudette as we watched it on the monitor. We saw the little peapod actually moving around, which just made it seem so much more real. For the most part, he/she was sleeping but the dr. kept moving the machine around trying to wake it up so he could see it from other angles. It really does look like an alien (but a cute alien!) because of the big, buggy eye sockets. Ah, the miracle of life...
Most of the time today, the doctor said it was sleeping. We saw its little legs which were crossed at the ankles, almost like it was in a meditation pose. A couple of times it waved its arms and the doctor said it was doing the Macarena. Lord, let's hope not! Ha!
The only bad thing from today was that the nurse told me I needed to stop wearing high heels...Hmm...I think NOT.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Side note: I like to get lost in thoughts of what my baby will look like. Will he have dark beautiful curls and smooth tan skin like my husband? Or will he inherit my family’s prominent nose and deep set eyes? What will his voice sound like when he cries, because I am sure occasionally he’ll cry….and what if he is actually a she?
While it is fun to daydream about what characteristics our love child will have, first we have to get him here. So what’s the best way to do that? Well, duh. I know how…but how often and when? Is there any truth to a special fertility diet? And positions? How do you get “to work” without actually making it feel like a job? I feel like it's something you just "let happen..." but we'll see...
My good girlfriend suggested getting my female parts checked out before we really get into it, like taking your car in for a tune-up before a cross-country drive…but do I just need to give it a try and then check our progress? I've never really been into to preventative autocare. I like to be more reactionary...
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
“Beautiful linen crib sheets…100% organic cotton bumper...Ooh, click for alternate images. Wow...” Repeat after me: I will not look at nursery bedding online. I will not look at nursery bedding online, while I am in my office and need to be working. I will not look at nursery bedding online…and fantasize about my dream nursery…My dream nursery with Wedgewood blue colored walls, hand-painted animal silhouettes on the wall above the white wooden crib painted in lead-free paint, and the cozy eco-friendly glider strategically placed by the window…I will not do any of this…before I am even PREGNANT.
My name is Susan. And I want a baby.
Let me back up. I wonder if there are other women like me: young(ish), professional women who have always dreamed of having a family but have never actually been certain about when the right time would be to take that next step. I always figured the steps would be fairly simple: I’d have a stimulating, fulfilling career, marry a handsome, hard-working and compassionate man, and eventually we’d just know when the time was right to begin having a family. (Side note: I was raised and married in the Catholic church, so technically the time to begin having a family was right after the honeymoon, but that was never our plan.)
In this moment, I am more concerned about my own decision as a woman to know when the time is right to become a mom. And I am beginning to think that, like other things in life, there is no predetermined “right time” ---it just happens and you feel it and it’s right. And I think that time might be now. The signs are everywhere. About a year ago, my doctor started gently nudging me as my 30th birthday approached, hinting that I should really start thinking about starting a family. I was aghast. Was she joking? I didn’t feel like I was in the right place professionally or financially to take on the responsibility of motherhood. Then, she looked at me with her warm brown eyes and poker-face medical professional facial expression and said “Susan, it will never be the right time financially or professionally to have a baby. You just have to go for it. It will always mean sacrifice and it will always mean juggling priorities, but it will always be worth it.” Her words stuck with me as I left her office, but it wasn’t until now, almost a year later, that I began to think that maybe I am starting to believe her.
The strangest thing now is that while my husband has been ready since about 2 months after we said our vows, I have been the hesitant one. Because it is my career that will be most affected. Because though I know he’ll be a wonderful, hands-on father, I also know that ultimately a bulk of the responsibility will fall to me. I’ll have to figure out how much time I can take off work. I’ll have to obsess over whether we let the baby cry it out. I’ll have to decide what to feed him (or her!), etc. There are just certain things I think always fall primarily on a mother’s shoulders.
So without a lot of forethought, suddenly, incredibly, I feel like Ally McBeal with that damned dancing baby…I am suddenly and completely obsessed with the idea of having a baby. It started off gradually when I would notice myself becoming inappropriately overly enthusiastic when I’d learn that an acquaintance was expecting. I’d want to know all the details – how long before they knew they were pregnant, what symptoms they were experiencing, were they going to find out the sex, what style did they want for the nursery décor, etc. Then this excitement evolved into longer stares at strangers’ babies at the mall or in restaurants, detours at the book store to the maternity aisle, quick browses through informational sites like babycenter.com and thecradle.com. Gradually, I started positioning myself to be spending more and more time with my friends who had babies and I was growing ever more inquisitive and bold with each visit. When I stayed with a friend and her three month old for a week and I found myself pleading with her to let me change his diaper I knew something was going on…something that I hadn’t consciously thought about or something that I hadn’t really decided on, but it just happened.
Something awakened inside of me and I can’t put it to rest.
It manifests itself in the endless online searches for the perfect nursery bedding and the tireless research of how to chart my basal body temperature. And while a lot of my desires to be a mom seem to present themselves through the urge to spend money on material items like baby clothes, bedding, books, etc. what I really realize at the heart of everything is I just want a baby to snuggle. Some little creature who will be a part of me and my husband, who I will care for and raise into (I hope!) a creative and compassionate human being. When I dream of the perfect nursery it is only because I picture myself in it, rocking my little one to sleep, looking into his or her squinty eyes and hoping the kid knows just how loved and adored he or she really is. And when I picture those walls it’s not because I am obsessed with home décor, but it’s because I love the idea of a home filled with busy toddlers and dogs, bustling with energy and intrigue and just generally full of life.
So here’s to the realization that maybe my life is about to change, if I am so blessed. Maybe someday soon my online shopping sprees will shift from shoe sales at Saks.com to burp cloth sales at Babies R Us. Either way, it feels good to acknowledge what is really going on and that somehow, slowly, I’ve been bitten by the bug…that pesky, persistent, want-to-be-a-mom bug. . .