I live in baby town. I don’t know what the number of pregnant women in our mile square is, but it is a LOT. No seriously, we even have an annual baby parade. I can’t go one day without seeing a pregnant woman in Hoboken, and while I’m at work, this number bumps (get it? bumps?) up to at least three in an eight-hour period. But somehow, the other day after a discussion about our managers adorable new baby, a coworker caught me completely off-guard when he asked, “When are you going to start having kids?”
My internal reaction was that of, “Who me?!” That might sound ridiculous, but Nick and I haven’t quite been married six months yet, so I am still getting used to the idea of being a wife. The idea of becoming a mommy at this current point in time is almost incomprehensible to me. This question is brand new to me, and doesn’t make me mad or feel like my personal space has been invaded, but it weirds me out a little (as I shared on Facebook).
I never thought the idea of becoming a parent would provide such a shock to my system. Growing up, I went through various career ambitions as a kid: pop star, architect, interior designer… but the only thing I knew for sure was that I was going to be a wife and a mother someday. I had always figured I would marry by 23 and begin having kids within a few years later. After all, that is what my mother did, and I saw her fulfill those quite wonderfully.
I struggled after high school to determine what I really wanted to do with my life. My ideal career path plan while at Bible College would have been to fall in love with a youth ministry major, and we would impact kids together. But things didn’t turn out that way. During my sophomore year of college, I finally figured out what I wanted to do: write. I had always loved to write and had outlets for it through high school with English and creative writing courses, but once those ready-made outlets were gone, I began to realize how much I missed it. By Christmas of my sophomore year, I knew what I had to do: transfer to Temple University in Philadelphia and pursue a degree in journalism.
I was sort of surprised to witness myself falling in love with this writing discipline. The study came easy, and I made A’s with grace. I received praise from my professors and good reviews from local editors to whose publications I pitched. With each passing semester, I could see my future more clearly, and my internship with Philadelphia Magazine solidified it: I was meant to work in magazine. I had figured out what I wanted to do with my life.
Each year I creeped closer to twenty-three, I understood that plan A for marriage and babies probably wasn’t going to work out. And by the time I hit twenty-three, I had developed so many commitment issues and career ambitions that I declared, “I’m not dating until I’m thirty!” I was determined to pursue my dream job and try not to let the frustration of operating under plan B distract me.
Well, we know well that worked out! This year, at twenty-five, I got married. As fate (or God’s divine providence) would have it, I married someone who lives and works in NYC, which is the Mecca for magazine journalism. So now that I am here, with my dreams within fingertips’ reach, the idea of getting pregnant somewhat terrifies me. I know that my gut reaction, if I was to find out tomorrow that I am pregnant, would be anger. It would be grief. I would feel as if I was watching my editing dreams circle down the drain. I would be angry with God for bringing me so close only to snatch it all away. I want to have the financial freedom to travel more, and check some things off my bucket list. I deeply identify with Rachel Held Evans when she says she’s afraid of motherhood.
Now I realize people can be moms and have a career, but I’ve also always pictured myself being at home once I have kids. Again, this is something my mother modeled for me, and I am eternally grateful for. She was my playmate, and eventually confidant and friend. Sending my kid to daycare is about the most unappealing idea in the world. The cost of living in NYC is absolutely unbelievable, so you have to be making gobs of money to be able to drop $30K a year on a nanny. My revised life plan in the past few years has become: get an editing job, make enough industry connections to build a substantial network, then freelance from home when you have kiddos. In that order.
But here’s the contradiction to all of the things I’ve previously said: I believe that regardless of what I accomplish in a professional career, I am almost positive that what I accomplish as a wife and a mother will be infinitely more important to me in the long run. And I know that I will absolutely fall head-over-heels seeing Nick as a father. He is great with kids, and this is one of the reasons I married him.
The growing popularity of “mommy blogs” gives me hope that regardless of what happens, I will still have a place for my voice, and an abounding amount of stories to tell. Blogs like Enjoying the Small Things absolutely make me beam. Kelle Hampton loves her girls and her life so fiercely, that every time I read it I immediately begin daydreaming about how incredible my own family will be one day. It makes me excited to meet my little ones yet to be created, to experience the world through their eyes, and for life to seem a little bit more magical.
So the answer to when we’ll start having kids is hopefully not for quite a few more years. For now I declare, “I’m not getting pregnant until I’m at least thirty!” But I will try to hold that loosely, because I know how well that declaration worked out last time.
*2015 subject to change 😉