Am I really there?
I always thought that I would have kids. My idea was always 3 ( 2 boys and a girl and in that specific order). I just had no idea when that was going to be.
I was always sure I wanted kids and that my life would not feel complete without them. When I closed my eyes and thought of myself as a "grownup," I saw myself with kids but, in the sense that kids were there, but I'm not sure I ever stopped to think about what that implied for me.
As I grew older and started getting to a point in my life where children were not only possible but expected, I kept waiting to have a feeling of readiness. I remember when one of my cousins turned 30, she told me, “my womb is starting to jump,” so I was waiting for that feeling. To my surprise, that feeling never came.
I thought that it had to be straightforward, either you want kids, or you don’t. Still, I found myself somewhere in the middle, and to be honest, I felt there was something wrong with me. How can I not feel so strongly about probably the most life-altering choice in a person’s life? I kept thinking, or more accurately, hoping that my womb would, as my cousin put it, start jumping. I have friends that were always ready and wanting to have kids and were just waiting for the right partner and financial stability, but I just wasn’t feeling it.
I kept thinking of it as something it would happen in the future (distant future). Still, before I knew it, my husband started getting excited about the idea. When he talked to me about it, I could see certainty, determination, and disappointment that I wasn’t there. At that point, we had been married for about six months, and we had just decided to move to Germany, which was scary enough. I told him that I needed time to adapt to my new home before even thinking about a baby. I told him (and myself) that I didn’t want to have a baby in a place so unknown to me. I needed to at least be able to communicate in the hospital while giving birth that I needed to get the hang of living in Germany before I felt secure enough to be responsible for someone else.
In retrospect, I was just using the move as an excuse, the truth was I didn’t want to have kids at that moment and was starting to wonder if I ever would, and although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I was scared to say it.
After a while of being in Germany, nothing had changed. I still didn’t feel comfortable with the country or the language. However, it was getting a little better, but more than that, my wanting a baby was also not growing, at least not in an expected way. Let me explain, the issue started to be constantly in my head. Still, I wasn’t thinking about babies, how cute they are, and how great would it be to have them, but why the hell am I not thinking about how cute they are and how much I want one.
With time I started noticing that although I was still not excited about it, I was scared about not being able to conceive or having to try for a long time. I was scared of the emotional stress and pressure that I imagine it puts on a person and on a couple. So eventually, I thought, ok, let’s start trying because although I don’t feel like I am ready, we are at a point in our life as a couple in which, if it happens, it will be great. Still, if it takes a while, it is also great. I was just going to take it easy, no pressure. Yeah right, getting my period after the first month we tried was devastating, and it caught me off guard. I realized I didn’t know how much I wanted it because I was expecting to feel a change in me. As if I had a motherhood switch that was just going to turn on at a certain age or once specific goals had been crossed off my bucket list.
I think it is essential to share this experience because I feel it’s not something we talk about. For a time, I felt something was wrong with me, that because my process was different because my “womb was not jumping,” I wasn’t destined to be a mother, or I would be a bad one. My expectations made it harder for me, and those expectations were created by misinformation, preconceived notions, and ideas or fairytales. Since then, I have realized that it is crucial to let go of motherhood, trust your process, gut, and feel comfortable with your own journey because no matter who it happens, it will always be perfect.
Social expectations are compelling, and there is a preconceived path that your life should follow. People let you know as soon as you take a different route or take “too long” to make the next turn. There is always a question, when are you going to get married? When will you start having kids? When will you give him a little brother or sister? And honestly, it’s hard to distinguish if you are doing things because you really want them or just because it is expected of you. Are you really feeling a certain way, or is it just that everyone else in the same circumstances or on that path.
All I am trying to say is that it is ok if, for you, it feels different. It is ok if your timing seems not in sync with everyone else. It is great if you always wanted to be a mom, or o if you don’t want to have kids, and it is also ok if you are somewhere in the middle. Like with everything in life, things are not black and white, and I realize that more and more with motherhood. We are used to thinking about good or bad, and especially with pregnancy, babies, birth, breastfeeding, and related things, there are very opposed and strong feelings. If you let yourself be dictated or guided by those predisposed ideas, you will never be happy.