The dilemma for today’s Career Girl seems to be: Shoes or Babies? Can you have both?
One of my girlfriend’s said, “But I love shoes – will I have to give up buying shoes to become a mum?”
This is an excerpt from an email I sent to my Bestie who is Undecided about becoming a mum. I’d like to share it here for all my Undecided Friends.
(This email was in response to a discussion about ‘Baby Insurance’. Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love describes what she terms ‘baby insurance’, where women choose to have a child as insurance against the regret they might feel later if they choose not to have children. Bestie does not want to have a child just for the purpose of Baby Insurance.)
To quote another part of Eat Pray Love, “motherhood is like getting a tattoo on your face: you’ve got to be really sure you want it”. Parenting is for life, and although I was sure I wanted to start a family when I had Boy 1, this is not something that occurred to me when I first fell pregnant. For me, getting pregnant was like choosing something out of an Ikea catalogue. A new piece of furniture for my neat-little-married life. I am still shocked by how naive I was.
If/when there is room in your life for a baby, you will know (both of you). If/when you decide you want a baby, room will be made, drawers cleared out, flesh will stretch, time changes and you wonder what you did with your time before you had kids? (Facebook and Googling, most likely).
One of my friends had Big Trouble getting pregnant, tried medications and eventually very expensive and heartbreaking IVF. (She is only 32.) We were talking about siblings, and first borns, and she said “When I had First Born, I used to look at him and wonder how I could ever love another baby as much as him?” But a mother’s love is infinite. Just as the baby comes from a tiny spec that’s been inside your tummy since you were a tiny spec, your love and your time for your child is limitless (your patience, not so much). It comes from nothing but just keeps growing and growing. It is truly amazing.
Once you find your rhythm as a family, its an amazing experience. It will change your relationship in ways you can’t imagine. Its hard to describe, but I totally felt Mr Karen was mine forever once I had his baby in my tummy. There were ‘other’ women before, but I am the mother of his children. We are tied together forever, and we have three big, beautiful, clever reminders of our love for each other. No matter what happens, he is the daddy to my babies and there will never be another. And as they grow, we get to watch ourselves coming out through them in different ways, and we make jokes about who gave who the most neuroses, or where Boy 1’s evil laugh comes from.
After pregnancy, everything comes back together again, your body gradually settles back to pre-pregnant body (well, near enough) and sex becomes beautiful and fun again. I actually found myself less inhibited after having children, even though my body isn’t in ‘top condition’ as it was when we were married.
I think the decision for you guys is actually a lot more significant for You, the woman, than for your Mr. You have more that will change. (He will still keep his job, work the same hours, things will just be different when he’s at home). The tricky part is that you are a mum forever, and you cannot switch it off. You need to be there to feed, wipe, do buttons, peel bananas, fill drinks, fold, tuck, kiss, cuddle, colour in, talk, and play despite all of your own needs/wants. When you’re sick, you don’t get a day off. This is probably the hardest part, but it TOTALLY makes you stronger for it. But if you roll with it, every day feels like being on a holiday. You get to spend all your waking hours with someone you love, doing nothing in particular but growing and learning and just plain being. You set your own schedule, you get to read awesome books (although most of the books we read have pictures), have adventures, and enjoy a really simple, beautiful life together as a family. (I also have to add, for the sake of realism, it can also – at times – be tediously boring due to its repetitive nature … but I think this is also true of Life in general. Everybody has to do dishes).
Love from the Lady Who Lives in the Shoe
I think you CAN have your high heels, and your cute flats, but you’ve only got 2 feet, so don’t expect to wear them at the same time.