Easy question, right? No pressure.
To be completely honest, I was never really sure if I wanted a child or if I’d have the opportunity to be a parent. My pre-baby self would always joke with my girlfriends that already had kids about mommy things like lack of sleep, sore nipples and the downsides to labor and as a result of hearing their not so always rosy answers, I found myself asking, "What made you decide to have kids??! Are you crazy??" In the back of my mind as they were laughing at the jokes, I was always thinking something along the lines of, "No really - I'm not kidding. What made you want to do it?"
Most people never know when they're really ready or prepared to have a baby but my story goes a little deeper than that. Over the last few days, I've had a few girlfriends ask me how I knew I was ready to have a child so I thought I would talk about it here.
Growing up I was never much into playing house, playing with baby dolls or anything close to resembling homemaking or taking care of a child. As a matter of fact, my Cabbage Patch doll was naked most of the time and most of my Barbies walked around without their heads as I had cut them off. I would have rather been outside riding skate boards in the neighborhood with my boy friends, playing in the creek across the street from our house or reading. As I got older, I refined my femininity quite a bit but never my feelings towards having a family - the feeling just wasn't there.
I guess I could chalk half of it up to selfish feelings; I enjoyed my freedom, I liked not being responsible for anyone but me and liked knowing that my life was mine and mine alone but it was more than that looking back on it now. At the time, I questioned whether or not I really had what it takes to be a good mom. I loved kids but it concerned me that I didn't have a natural mothering instinct. Couple this with the fact that I was married to a man at the time who didn't want kids, so it was easy to not have to deal with my feelings about whether or not to have kids at all. Life for the most part was...simple.
Then things changed.