For most of my adult life I’ve wanted to be a mom. I watched my friends become mothers, my cousins become mothers, my other young female relatives become mothers, and then my younger brother’s wife became a mother. All of this before I even found the man I was going to marry.
Then came years of infertility. I’ve peed on mores sticks than I can, well, shake a stick at. I also endured a lot of invasive testing. Then finally I gave up. It was not to be.
Except one day at the ripe old age of 38 I consulted my calendar and my period was 8 days late. So I peed on another stick.
Did I dance with glee?
I freaked out, cried, called my best friend (my husband was in a closed door meeting and couldn’t be reached). When I finally did tell my husband, it was through tears of terror and disbelief. I wasn’t sure I could become a mother that late in life. I had been not-a-mother for a long time and I’d given up on that dream long ago. But suddenly I was pregnant, and over the next several weeks I got used to the idea.
Then we lost her.
By then, I knew I wanted it again. The dream of motherhood was back, so we got back on the horse, so to speak, and tried again. It only took 5 months to conceive.
This time when I peed on the stick I had convinced myself it would be negative because I so badly wanted it to be positive. It was positive.
Did I dance with glee?
I smiled a small smile and called my husband, who was out at his pool league. “Are you ok?” he asked. “Yes, I think so,” I answered, but I didn’t know, because this terror wasn’t the blind panic from before, it was a different flavor on my tongue.
I was going to be 40 when this baby was born. For the entire 22 years of my adult life I had been mostly selfish. I spent my money and my time how I wanted. I rarely had to answer to anyone, and I mostly only had myself to care for. I liked it that way.
This baby was going to change everything. And I wasn’t ready for that.
Despite the fact that you’ll feel like you are going to be pregnant forever, it’s a good thing that human gestation takes as long as it does. The time between the second line appearing on the test stick and the baby being placed in your arms is just long enough.
You see, the thing they don’t tell you is that YES, having this baby will change everything, but you will change, too. The life you lived before? You will barely remember it, and you probably won’t miss it at all.
At 5 am my daughter wakes up for a feeding. She lays there and grunts and squeaks as she works her way out of the swaddle. When I finally stumble out of bed to stand at the end of the bassinet, I am rewarded with a million-watt toothless smile that makes it all worth it.