Parents? Us? Really?
It's a question I grappled with somewhat, because I was never that girl who "couldn't wait to get pregnant" or "couldn't wait to have babies." I could wait, I could definitely wait. I liked my vag intact and my stretch marks limited to my hips and not threatening any other parts of my body.
But The Good Doctor was destined to be a parent. In fact, I should edit the Wikipedia entry for "parent" and paste a photo of him there. He's patient, kind, virtuous, fond of teaching, a natural kid magnet. He can invent games and relate to children effortlessly. I remember when we were in college walking through the Stonestown mall, chatting about whatever, and he was like, "Yeah I've always wanted to be a dad. I can think back to 6th grade when I would be shooting baskets by myself in the front yard and think to myself, 'I can't wait to teach my kid how to do this!'"
I was like, "Really? Wow. That's cool." But I was thinking, "Seriously? That's WEIRD. Who thinks about being a DAD at 12 years old?" Not me. I was thinking about Bon Jovi and how to get my next pair of stonewashed Guess jeans with ankle zippers.
But then it happened. I grew up. And started falling into the social constructs constructed for us. Graduate from college, get a good job, get married, have babies. The first three things, no problem. The last one, not so much.
I decided to go for it a lot sooner than I expected. As much as people would say being married wouldn't feel different, especially after 13 YEARS of being together, being married felt TOTALLY FELT DIFFERENT. Like we were going to be an inseparable team. Even though we had been pretty inseparable for most of our previous 13 YEAR relationship, it somehow felt more Official.
Me: "Well, what do you think?"
Him: "Are you serious? We just got married two days ago."
Me: "Well, you're the one who's always wanted to be a dad since you were TWELVE!"
Him: (with an aura of small winged angel babies fluttering around his person), wordlessly transmits this message: "Indeed, I shall annoint you with my sperm."
Also, the idea of getting pregnant was sort of fascinating to me. The trying: how fun! The pregnancy pee sticks: oh how we Asians love our tests! The thought that we could MAKE another HUMAN: ooh, so evolutionary!
Add to the pregnancy fascination--the feeling that it was 'appropriate' to start trying for a baby. We were now married. Official. And, more importantly, because I knew in my heart of hearts, what a good co-captain The Good Doctor would be.
I have a lot of girlfriends who are childfree and considering whether to jump in, when to do it, why...I tell them honestly, if you don't think you're THAT into it, have a serious talk with your spouse. Because it ain't no picnic and the first 3-4 months seriously make you question your ability to reason and to think. Between the pain of breastfeeding, the delirium of sleep deprivation, and this new stranger who is TOTALLY the boss of you, life becomes rather un-fun.
And if you don't have a co-captain, one that holds his own weight and will take the morning shift on the weekends and play with the baby using the toys that don't make loud bee bop bee bop noises while you sleep in for that one extra golden hour (or three), well then, it's gonna be rough. And if you're planning to continue working, as many mothers want to or have to, you should have some clear ideas of who's responsible for what when it comes to little Dakota or Jackson.
So as much as I teased The Good Doctor for wanting to be a dad since he was a kid, I know we have Emmy because he wanted to be a dad since he was a kid. And now, 7 months into being a "parent," I would tell my girlfriends it is well worth the sacrifice, if you have the right co-captain. I would also say, be prepared to wear underwear four sizes larger than what you normally wear. Just a thought.