Guess what? In nine days, I turn thirty. Finally. I’ve been telling people that I’m thirty since I turned twenty-eight, so it will be nice to actually make it official.
I’m quite happy to be turning thirty, because I’ve heard almost nothing but good things about your thirties. I liked my twenties, but that was a long and exhausting ride spiked with lots of self-doubt and a crapton of charging things I couldn’t afford. My first days of thirties will be spent on vacation with my husband, my daughter, and the tadpole in my tummy that’s currently making me look fat and not pregnant. (But I don’t care about that because I’m all evolved and stuff now that I’m thirty.)
I have been doing a little bit of reflection lately about getting older. It’s stunning to look back and realize how many hours were completely wasted worrying about things that didn’t matter, didn’t happen, or weren’t in my control. The top worry nugget was money, which is amazing since I spent so much (…Oh God…so much…) on shoes and cosmetics when apparently the answer all along was STOP BUYING STUFF, MORON. The other worry nugget that really ate a ton of time was the baby thing. When was I going to have a baby? Should I have a baby? Did I even want to be a mother? What if I couldn’t have a baby? Would Kyle leave me if I couldn’t have a baby? What would happen to us in old age if we never had a baby?
Holy crap, past self. Shut up.
I have been rushing towards having a baby since I was about 24. Kyle and I had been dating for a couple of years and I was quite preoccupied with getting engaged because I knew that I wanted a year to plan the wedding and then I wanted to be married for a year before we had a baby and I wanted to have a baby before I was too old to have a baby. Truth: “too old to have a baby” is a phrase that scares the hell out of young women everywhere. Women’s lib has pushed the idea that women can have careers and wait to have kids and take advantage of all the medical advancements, blah blah blah, but if you know that you want to create and carry a child of your own, there’s always going to be that “too old to have a baby” cloud hanging over you, shriveling your ovaries into raisins. It’s completely ridiculous, especially when you look at all the healthy babies born to moms who wait, but it doesn’t matter because It. Will. Make. You. Crazy.
Side note – my personal journey to crazy was probably heightened by the fact that I grew up in Utah and most of my best friends were married by the time we were twenty-one. High school graduation immediately turned into weddings and then baby showers and by the time I left for law school and started dating Kyle, most of my girlfriends were moms. So being 24 and not being engaged was kind of like being 64 anywhere else. But I digress…
We got engaged, mostly because Kyle wanted me to stop bugging him about it. We planned a big wedding. We got hitched. We were pretty happy about it. And then, because I was on a schedule, we started working on having a baby about four months into marriage. (Remember, 1 year of marriage before baby = 4 months of not trying + 8-9 months of pregnancy.) I wasn’t kidding when I said I was into schedules and timelines. I like plans.
Of course, most of you know this part of the story. I lost a baby in May. And then at the beginning of August. And then in November. And then in February. And outside of the frustration and the loss and the sad stuff was this growing panic about being 26 and 27 and there being no baby. Time stretched out and it felt like we had been trying forever and it was never going to happen and there was this cutoff of thirty-five because that’s when you have to see the “high risk” doctors because it’s a freaking medical miracle that you’re giving birth. (Which isn’t true…except that it is true that they make you see the scary doctors at that point and I just think that’s crap.)
And then, I was pregnant and it worked and we got our baby. It was amazing and wonderful and our house filled up with soft pink objects and things that smelled like “new” and Kyle and I agreed that it was the best part of ever. So, yay!
I preface this with full disclosure that I wouldn’t (couldn’t) change my journey because everything brought us to Eva and Eva needed to be here when she was here because that was perfect. What I will say is that I am now twenty-nine, almost thirty, pregnant with my second child while raising a toddler, and I am mystified (MYSTIFIED) at all the panic I used to feel. I worried all that time about getting older and there not being enough years left and now I look back and realize that I traded in my old life for motherhood so lightly and so quickly. Again, I wouldn’t change anything even if I knew that Eva would be exactly the same because I want her here now, but Kyle and I would have been fine for a few more years. It would have been OK. I just want to put a cool hand to the forehead of myself four years ago to let her know that she needs to take a deep breath because everything happens when it happens.
And now, having rushed into parenthood, Kyle and I are on a trajectory that is forever changed. It isn’t only Eva, either. We knew that we wanted our kids to be fairly close in age (mostly for convenience so we didn’t have to do wildly different stages of parenthood at the same time) so Eva’s birth triggered a whole other schedule of having kids and now when Eva turns two, she’ll have a sibling in a couple of months and after that there will be more conversations about adopting other children and growing our family and how long do we wait because (really) do we want to be raising kids through high school for the next 25-35 years?
It’s just huge and even though I love it, I wanted to express to the universe that I recognize how lightly I took the change and how silly it was for me to feel that it was now or never. I also wish that I had spent less time crying about it and more time just enjoying the freedom and possibility that comes with being an adult without children. I wouldn’t say either side (parenthood or not) is better or even that one is harder than the other because they both bring their challenges, but I think the worst thing you can do is to do what I did: stand at the fence and look at the other side and spend your days wishing you were over there.
Seriously, motherhood? I highly recommend it, but don’t rush. If you want it, it can and will wait for you to get there and in the meantime try not to miss the awesomeness that is being with someone you love and not having kids. It’s the one thing I really feel like I missed in my twenties.