That Kind of Girl

“Oh, you want to have kids?” My friend asked me, a hint of surprise in her voice. This question stung me, but I realized that I’ve never been that girl. You know, the girl who whines about her baby dreams and whether or not it will ever happen. 

Love this post from Megan at meganmargulies.com. This could have been me except that she’s a better writer and I didn’t grow up in New York. Maybe it’s not like me. Okay, never mind, just read it.

“Oh, you want to have kids?” My friend asked me, a hint of surprise in her voice. This question stung me, but I realized that I’ve never been that girl. You know, the girl who whines about her baby dreams and whether or not it will ever happen. The girl who cries over onesies and small baby shoes (that will never actually get walked on, so I’ve never quite understood them…I mean really, you may as well throw on a pair of tiny roller blades).

I assumed that I was missing that gene, or as my friend’s question continued to sting me, I wondered if I simply came off as a cold person. The heartless wench that makes babies scream once they are placed in my arms. Of course I think babies are adorable, but I’ve never had a problem noting their cuteness and then walking away to go stew in my own selfish problems. Problems like, should I have meat again for dinner? Or, when should I go get the pedicure I so desperately (yes, desperately) need?

I was my mother’s first “accident,” my brother was planned, and my sister was the second and final “accident” at the age of forty-one. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment in NYC and when my mother announced the arrival of my sister, my teenaged angst boiled over. “Where are we going to put her?!” I squealed. From there on out, babies became things that showed up without invitation and were met with an “oh, crap.” There was no romanticizing these bundles of stress for me.  

Determined to have a different baby experience, my husband and I decided to stop being “safe” and just see what happens—our way of planning a pregnancy without too much pressure. Having a child is, by far, the biggest commitment you will ever make and I was almost too aware of this. I couldn’t understand how women got on the baby making train with such excitement and lack of terror. Did they realize that the outcome of this ride would last for the rest of their life? The thought of a baby made the word “forever” echo through my head à la The Sandlot. “You can’t just return it if you don’t like it,” I informed my husband. And furthermore, if I do love my baby, what if something happens to it? How could I handle that? Let me stop here for a second to point out that, yes, I know these are horrible, crazy thoughts, but I’m just being honest, so back off.

“The idea of having a baby is just so amazingly terrifying to me,” is the last thing I wrote in my journal before having two lines appear on my pregnancy test a few weeks later. Just call me Fertile Myrtle.

And here I am: ten weeks pregnant, feeling horribly sick, and crying over a viral video of a college band playing Rage Against the Machine. Yes, I am still terrified, but every now and then I find myself putting my hand to my belly to say hello. I think about how the baby will take after my husband, lanky and incredibly nerdy, and how much I will love that. I picture my parents with the baby and how happy they will be as first-time grandparents. Best of all, yesterday we heard the baby’s heart beat for the first time. Strangely enough, I’m starting to feel like that girl.


Megan Margulies is a knocked-up freelance writer living in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband and first born, a Maine Coon cat named Kaleb. Megan has found pregnancy and all its ups and downs to be extremely beneficial to her writer’s block and will be sure to thank baby once it arrives in April. You can learn more at www.meganmargulies.com.

 

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19 Comments

  • OMG YAAAAAS! THANK YOU! I now feel slightly less cold-hearted. Friend of mine made a similar comment when I found out I was pregnant – something along the lines of needing my "maternal instincts" to kick in, thereby implying I had none. Of course, babies are adorable…but historically I would be more apt to weep over a video of puppies than of a baby. HOWEVER – when I think about my husband being a Dad, and him with our daughter, and my parents with their granddaughter…that’s when I get the lump in my throat. Thank you for sharing that there are other "emotion paths" to becoming a parent…and that "sheer terror" is totally OK.

  • So glad I’m not alone! I’ve never been baby crazy either. And while hubby and I always knew we wanted to have kids eventually, we were frankly terrified by how much our lives would have to change! We were so nervous to commit that we too just stopped NOT preventing and let the universe decide for us! Still terrified, and excited, of course. But I have yet to have that maternal feeling kick in.

  • I felt like that, too. I always knew I wanted to have kids, but I didn’t want much to do with them until then. I didn’t really get them. I helped out in the church nursery, but I didn’t know how to talk to the little kids, I was never totally sure what to do about the crying, and I definitely thought playing with them was pretty boring, although I was happy to do it to help out. Surprise, that was all really great preparation for motherhood, ha ha! Some of these feelings stick around for a while afterwards. Bonding happens in fits and starts, and it’s not like a single thread, it’s like a woven fabric, and some of the threads appear at different times. I’ll tell the truth, my son (Kid the Second) is just about to turn 14 months and it’s just been in the last couple of weeks that I really miss him as a person when I’m gone at work, or I feel love for his very own little body when I’m holding him at night. Up until now, he’s been wonderful, of course, in the way that babies are, and they’re all individuals from the day they’re born, but my interaction with him has been about the same as it would be with any other baby. What’s changed recently is all those threads that have been weaving together have tightened up into something that I can recognize as a fabric, whereas before it was there but it wasn’t obvious when you’re in the middle of it.

    For me, one benefit of this approach has been that I have enjoyed my kids more with every passing stage, because I like the new, bigger things they do. I don’t think I’ll ever get "baby fever" like most people talk about; I won’t miss those baby days with the kind of fervor that makes me long to have another kid. There are plenty of things I’ll miss from all stages as the kids grow up, but I have babies to raise kids into adults more than to have babies in the house.

  • I was that girl that didn’t want to have kids, until my oops happened 🙂
    This time around I took the same family planning step as you – husband and I said, lets stop the birth control and see what happens. I never had my post – birth control period and my doc’s response was, "well you guys are firtile!" lol
    Good luck on the roller coaster, it’s amazing how fast you turn into that other girl when you find out it’s happening to you.

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