Motherhood Was Not My Dream
“Do you want to hold her?”
“Um … no, it's okay. I don't want to drop her!” I said, hoping I hadn't offended my cousin, who had just given birth to her second child. I had stopped by to visit on my way to the airport, after a business trip. I was 28 years old, single, and pursuing a fulfilling career in public relations and marketing.
My dream, growing up, was to be a journalist, a writer, a storyteller. I wanted to forge my way into a world of words, perhaps even fame. I wanted to rub shoulders with fellow writers, celebrities, the who's who. I had no aspirations for being swept off my feet, a white wedding, or children.
I sang lullabies to her, and did that mother-rocking thing all women seem to come to naturally when they’re holding babies. My mind was changing by the day about having my own child.
I spent much of my early and mid 20's, in a long-term campaign to persuade my parents that being unmarried was not a bad thing. That weddings were ‘stupid', and children, well, I was just not a ‘child person'. All my energy went into finding myself, stumbling around in the job market, trying to find my feet and passion, and eventually, settling down to a career where I could finally say, “I am good at this.”
Even when I did meet my life partner shortly after the visit to my cousin, we didn't think beyond plans for the next week. We simply enjoyed each other's company, traveling together, forming secret jokes and nicknames, and fell deeper and harder in love. Even when we decided to get married after a long, perhaps impetuous engagement (on his part, since he proposed), we did not really think about having children.
It all changed for me on October 25, 2007. I met my niece – all 7 pounds, 7 ounces of delicious baby, only 12 hours old – and was smitten. I had never felt that way about a baby before. I held her, gingerly, and her body fitted naturally into my arms. I sniffed her hair, that baby hair smell permeating my senses, digging deep into my soul.
I did not want to put her down.
That first year of being an aunt, I visited my brother's home often, just to see my niece. I loved being able to rock her to sleep when no one else could. I sang lullabies to her, and did that mother-rocking thing all women seem to come to naturally when they're holding babies. My mind was changing by the day about having my own child.
Is this what love is? If it is, I want more. I want my own.
In 2009, I quit my job, after months of discussion with my husband. We decided in January that year, that we would try to start our own family. On May 1, I showed him the positive pregnancy test, deliriously happy. On December 29, we welcomed our first son. I was smitten. I held him just as I'd held my niece. I put him to my breast, and watched with fascination as this little person, just a year ago, a dream, a concept, a hope, was now in my arms, nourished by my body.
And I said to myself, “I am good at this.”
When did you realize you wanted to be a mother?