No One Is Ever Ready To Have A Baby So Stop Stressing Out About It
As someone who had an unplanned pregnancy very young, I’m at a strange point in my life. All of my friends are having babies. On purpose. It is completely and totally mystifying.
You see, I’m not the type of person who particularly relishes the idea of making decisions. When I first found out I was pregnant, the most terrifying part of the whole thing wasn’t the idea of impending motherhood at a time in my life that I wasn’t completely ready, it was the act of saying, “Okay, I want to have this baby.”
Of course, there was plenty more terrifying shit to come, but in the moment? I really wanted someone else to make that decision for me. Because I am a wuss. I have never pretended to not be a wuss, and that’s what I am.
Part of the decision making process including making a pros and cons list (give me a break, I was 19) where I listed “because I would be an amazeballs mom” at least four times. It was truly a disaster. But everything turned out all right in the end, and for all of my naivete, in the eyes of my kid, I actually am a kind of amazeballs mom.
But eventually something strange began to happen. My lady (and gent) friends started asking me questions. When would they know they were ready to have babies? How much money does one need? What’s a good spacing for siblings, age-wise? How did I know I was ready to have a baby?
I mostly just blink a lot at these questions, paralyzed by the implications of them and trying not to scream “What the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t have kids until you’re 30–at least!” It’s hard for me to wrap my head around anyone who hates sleep so much that they would give it up on purpose, but saying that is usually frowned upon, so eventually I had to come up with a better answer.
Don’t get me wrong, babies are great. I don’t want another but I am jealous of people who get to have more–in fact, I’m extremely jealous of people that decide to have one on purpose. It seems like it’s pretty awesome; all of the planning, celebrating, parties, and people having to do what you say. It’s more that I’m the wrong person to ask for family planning advice, mostly because I err on the side of caution almost to a fault.
If I had to have a baby on purpose, I would never have one. I would never feel ready financially, emotionally, or physically. There would never be a perfect time to get pregnant, and there would never be a moment where I could say: “Now. Put a baby in me. I’m all set.”
In fact, the only advice I can ever give anyone is that there isn’t a perfect time to have a baby. I don’t think you need to be married, or rich, or in a cute little cape cod with three bedrooms that smells like a Scentsy monster took an apple-cinnamon dump on the floor. I don’t think you need to be straight or under 30 or over 20 or ambidextrous.
I don’t mean to suggest that anyone should be as irresponsible as I was, but at the same time, I think that if you are at the point in your life when you are thinking critically about whether or not you’re prepared to care for a little helpless thing that will throw up on you, and leaning towards “prepared” as opposed to wanting to run screaming from the bathroom leaving a trail of discarded pee sticks, you’re probably ready. Or rather, as ready as you’re going to get.
The fact is, it’s impossible to prepare yourself completely for parenthood, no matter how many books you read or organic cotton burp cloths you purchase. Once you can accept that, you’re definitely ready to have a baby.