This isn’t the life I imagined, but let’s be real, I didn’t have the ability to imagine much of a life at all. At 34, I’m constantly perplexed but how I got here, and so fast. I’m suddenly an old mom, especially an old first-time mom. Not quite a 40-year-old mom, but old enough that I’m bewildered by the majority of women in my Facebook group who are in their teens and twenties who are having a child, often their second or third. I ask myself briefly, did I wait too long for this?
But then, I’m grateful for having the time in my life to get somewhat settled. I haven’t made as much progress in my mental health as I would have liked — I still have panic attacks, still suffer with depression, still am too sensitive to every stimuli and fail to think rationally in any situation requiring at outcome for myself. If this doesn’t make me sound like someone who is set to be nominated for future mom of the year, I know I’m not going to be a perfect mom. Maybe in my 20s I would have wanted to be. Today, I know better.
As my husband said, all a kid really needs is love. Yes, they need food and a roof over their heads, and medical care. But beyond that – they don’t need much if there is love in the family. Growing up with a lot of stuff but also two narcissistic parents who are incapable of love, I understand that. I see now that I would trade in my world of shopping trips to Nordstrom every season and spending too much on art supplies for school projects to have parents who might have some interest in the emotional well being of their child.
I still don’t know what kind of mom I will be. Certainly I’ll have my anxieties, that fits the persona bill. But will I be a helicopter mom? A free range mom? I don’t know. I want my kid(s) to experience independence and freedom, but as a bit of a worrier I’m sure I won’t allow them to roam entirely free for a long while. My goal is to remind my child that he or she is beautiful on the inside, and to avoid comments regarding physical looks — good or bad — to try to minimize chances of disordered eating and depression. I’ll try to treat my child as an adult-in-training, an independent person, and someone who may, in some (but not many) situations, intuitively know better than I do. And I’ll try to let them inspire me to be my absolute best for the rest of my life, in work and play, and all I do.
This is not to say I expect having a child to change me entirely. I’ll still be my nutty ‘ol anxious and depressed self. But I plan to hide that from them as much as possible. It will be an act, a bit, and maybe one day they can learn the truth. I just want them to see me as put together, even if we can’t afford a lot, I want to show them that I’m able to maintain a job, that life is good and while sadness is an acceptable emotion, we’re also a happy family that is happy because we have so much love.
I have no idea if that will be enough. This is a completely new world for me and as it goes we have no idea what we’re going to get. I could be giving birth to a sociopath. Or maybe a really sweet, shy child who is afraid to go outside. Or an extrovert who grows up too fast. Whoever he or she is, I’m so excited to meet them in about seven months. I can’t wait to hold my child in my arms and to know what it feels like to be a mother – even though I’m absolutely terrified of it. I’m slightly less terrified because my husband IS in the running to become world’s best dad, and he is naturally so nurturing. Where I falter, I know he’ll pick up the slack in most cases. If I’m having a bad day, he’ll jump in and make sure the kid doesn’t feel it. Even though it will be challenging for his income to drop so dramatically when he becomes a teacher, this amount of support and partnership is worth the world to me. I can’t imagine being married to a professional man who expected me to do all the parenting things alone. That would probably break me. I’ll pull my weight, and do what I can, but it’s so nice to know I have a real partner here. He’s been wonderful thus far in my pregnancy, and I see him happier than ever knowing he’s going to be a father (esp after all these years of not being certain if we could have kids.) It warms my heart.