About three years ago, I was in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. A year earlier, I’d had to leave graduate school because of migraine headaches, and I had no idea what to do with my life. For my birthday, Y took me to see Avenue Q. And, as strange as it sounds, I had an A-ha moment in the middle of a puppet musical.
The story is about a kid who graduates from college and can’t figure out what to do with his life. He becomes overwhelmed and falls into a depression. The moral (at least to me) was that you don’t have to have everything all figured out right away. Do what’s right for right now, and it will probably lead you down the right path.
Incidentally, that’s how I ended up being an illustrator, and overall quite happy.
Anyway, the point of that story is this: one of my not-so-great qualities is that I tend to overwhelm myself by thinking too far ahead. I end up panicking and then becoming emotionally paralyzed when I realize that I’m not where I want to be. I don’t own a house, I don’t have a retirement account, my business can’t support me in the lifestyle I’d like, etc.
Considering I am 26, this is ridiculous and I know it.
This is, however, how I ended up having majorly deep thoughts about bearing children when I haven’t even been married a year. This is also why I’ve titled this series “Why I Will *Probably* Have Kids.” I say *probably* because I’m 26 and I don’t need to make major decisions right now. In fact, I shouldn’t make major life decisions right now, because (other than marriage) I’m not ready to make them. And that’s okay.
For awhile, Y and I weren’t sure if we wanted to have kids at all. Y is 32 and never had any urges to be a parent. I never really thought about it–I just knew that I wasn’t ready.
And then my friend Karen had a child.
And no offense to all the babies I’ve seen, but he is by FAR the cutest baby I have ever seen in my entire life. He also happens to be half Asian, half white. Hmm.
Before I met little E, I’d never really held a baby before. I’m an only child, and I was never really exposed to kids. To be honest, I have no idea what to do with them, and up until E I had no desire to be anywhere near them.
When I saw E, though, I wanted to pick him up. When I held E, I didn’t want to let anyone else hold him. I’ve never had those feelings before. It was as if something switched in my brain and I suddenly wanted a baby. I totally wanted to see what it was like to be pregnant, and I wanted to see what kind of adorable-ness a Chewish (Chinese-Jewish) baby would contain.
This went on for about three months.
And then I calmed down. I realized that I am not ready to have a baby. No way. I’m not ready for my life to change. At this point, I feel like feeding a dog, four cats and seven chickens is responsibility enough! Add a baby to the mix, and I’d have absolutely no time to work. My illustration business, Stinkerpants, would die. And with it, I (and by this, I mean the ME I was talking about in my previous post) would die – because I haven’t completely matured yet. And at 26, how many people have?! So no, I’m not ready yet.
But I am open to the possibility that at some point, I will be ready for my life to change. At some point, my business will be stable, and I will have enough money to hire someone to help me with the kids part-time so I can get some work done. At some point, I really do think I will want to have kids and I will be ready for them. And I won’t lose myself in them, because *me* will be fully matured and stable. I think people who have kids too soon or without thinking are the ones who end up living my Dominating Fear.
That being said, I know myself well enough to know the following things:
- I have the potential to freak out and get postpartum depression, so I need to watch that.
- I will need a lot of support from my partner and my family.
- I will want my Mommy (haha).
I will need a lot of support. But you know what? That’s okay. And I think knowing that will *probably* make me a very good parent one day.