12 Oct

Why I waited to become a parent

Have you heard of the new app that is hitting IPhones in November, where you can rate other people? It’s call “Peeple”. Though not affiliated, it’s the Yelp of personal relationships and in my opinion completely unethical. Five years ago I would have gotten a “selfish” rating on the Peeple application. Yep, I’m taking a big bite out of humble pie and admitting that I was once selfish (and often have relapses today). I’m human after all. But over the past five-plus years I’ve changed. And for the better.

I’ve always wanted to have children, but was waiting until I was ready. I mean truly ready. People often say that you are never ready for kids, but I was and I knew it. I wasn’t about to bring another being into this world when I wasn’t prepared for it and that meant getting over myself. Sure my basic needs are still important and they rank just as high as my baby’s needs, but today my wants, schedule and to-do list take second (sometimes third) fiddle.

Having a baby changes everything.

How many times have we heard this phrase? It’s ingrained in my brain and it couldn’t be more accurate. My husband and I created a strong foundation before welcoming our little fellow. This was a big part of the past five-plus years of my personal development, maturity and road to becoming a more selfless human. But being parents is tough, especially with your first child. As a new mom, your hormones are in full swing, you are often insecure about your parental skills, scared that you are solely responsible for the life of another being (a being that you made!) and you are sleep deprived; the perfect recipe for a ticking time bomb. Having a solid marriage helps, but it still isn’t easy.

It’s not all about me anymore.

If you were to ask anyone that knows me well, what I’m like, they would say I’m extremely involved, my to-do list is a mile long and I never sit still. Once Oskar was born, things slowed down. I wasn’t given a choice. The first couple weeks we had help, so I managed to crank out a couple of articles for Eater, edited a few pieces on my blog and was able to sneak in a shower every other day, but the cadence of my daily life took a huge setback. Once the help was gone and my husband returned back to work, my to-do list may as well have flown out the window.

It was a big change.

Oskar slept well, and often, the first couple weeks of life, then something changed. He became one of those colicky babies we’ve all heard about and dreaded. My husband and I didn’t know what to do. Nothing soothed him other than being on the boob and that became very exhausting for me. We felt helpless, but we didn’t lose hope. Our quiet evenings enjoying a good meal over our favorite TV shows have past. Reminding myself that it isn’t all about me anymore, helped me get through the next couple of weeks until we found ways to sooth our baby boy and calm his restless tummy (with the help of doctors and countless parenting articles).

I’m glad we waited.

If we were to have had Oskar five years ago, things would have been a lot different. I’m not sure I would have made it.  I was in such a different, more self-absorbed, place at that time in my life and our social calendar definitely came first. A few times I thought about having a baby back then, thinking it would make me happier and that my life would suddenly become whole. Boy am I glad I was wiser than I knew. Simply put, I didn’t have as much to give as I do now.

Being a new mom is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given. My days are filled with dirty diapers, wiping up spit-up, countless feedings, finding creative ways to sooth my baby boy and finding time to sneak away to clean up the house, take a bite of food or try to get an article published. The message I’m trying to relay is wait until you are truly ready to have a baby because it does change everything. If your motive to have a baby is to make yourself feel better, or to make your marriage stronger, don’t do it. Though being a mom is extremely rewarding, it is tough work and you will experience the joys of parenthood through a completely different lens if you wait.

 

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