When I first learned that I would be P&N Magazine’s newest “Knocked Up” blogger and that my blog’s debut would fall on April Fool’s Day, I couldn’t help but giggle at the irony.
Not so long ago, I thought anyone who made a conscious choice to have a human being grow inside them must be a few clowns shy of a circus. (Sorry, Mom!) I grew up the younger of two children, and, as such, the closest I got to a baby was the plastic kind in a box at the local Toys ‘R Us. It wasn’t until I discovered that nannying could help pay my way through journalism school that I held my first real baby and changed my first diaper at the age of 21.
During the years that followed up to graduation, I dealt with spit up, whining, and all the other odd sights, sounds, and smells that come with short humans. I determined to limit my exposure to kids as much as possible—unless it was lucrative.
So, on January 23 (my birthday!), when the two-lines-that-don’t-lie appeared on the little white stick, I felt more overwhelmed than overjoyed. Sitting on the toilet, stick in hand, I began having visions of myself as a harried, sweat-pant-wearing woman who could manage to work the words “breast milk” into any conversation at any time. (This is not hyperbole!)
I could say that the next few days were filled with nothing but happiness and excitement, but then I’d be lying. I was downright terrified and acutely aware that I would soon be responsible for another human being forever, or for at least the next 18 years, which might as well be forever when you’re only 25.
After a few days of playing hermit crab, I finally emerged from my apartment to attend a family birthday party with my husband. While there, I took a long look at my three sister-in-laws—all who had given birth in the past year. They didn’t look ghosts of their former selves, and they never wore sweatpants. They were happy. They laughed. They didn’t talk about breast milk. Well, at least not all the time.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that they probably weren’t so happy in spite of having kids but because of it. Something I read earlier in a week-by-week pregnancy guide began to ring true: “Perhaps the most interesting changes that are occurring during your fifth week of pregnancy include those happening in the heart.” I knew the guide was talking about the baby’s heart, but mine had undergone just as much change somewhere between singing “Happy Birthday” and eating cupcakes and ice cream.
Am I still a little scared of being a mom? You bet.
Will it be pretty? I doubt it.
But one thing I know for sure from listening to the wisdom of other mothers is this: “It’s going to be worth it all.”
Plus, from here on out, I will never have to worry about being at a loss for words. There is always the subject of breast milk, after all.