The title suggests something like, “I had always wanted a baby or I never wanted a baby, but then I had my baby and he (it’s a he in my world) was so beautiful and amazing that I fell madly in love and I can’t imagine life without him and that love was so big and so pure that it changed my life. My child completes me.”
No. No he does not.
My child does not complete me. My child is an amazing little human who makes me laugh and who I love to snuggle and who is part of me, but does not connect all my dots, he does not make me whole. I make me whole. Me.
But having my kid saved me. Having my kid made me better.
Pregnancy for me was like climbing a very tall, very hard mountain. The kind of mountain that makes you sick half way up. The kind of mountain people don’t summit. The kind where if you get to the top you grow wings and you fly away. Pregnancy was a big giant awful mountain. It wasn’t all sickness and near death and trauma, it wasn’t. Sometimes I was just walking. Kamel was there too, and my parents, and my friends. Sometimes they would hold my hand and help me up the mountain for a ways, but most of the time I was lugging my own self up the steep hills, picking myself up when I would fall and scrape my knee, watching as the top got closer and closer.
Gabe’s first birthday was great for him. He got new things, I get to put a hat he hated on his head, family came over, I made blue cupcakes, shark photo booth, etc. And part of it was, “Oh my god my baby is 1!” but a bigger part of it was about the anniversary of my summit.
Giving birth, for me, was not about giving-birth-to-Gabe. I could have just as miraculously given birth to Sarah or Paul or Susan or Benjamin. I didn’t even really like him when I first saw him – he looked like a creepy old man vampire, bless his heart.
Giving birth, for me, was about pushing another life out of myself. It was about feeling the most strong, the most capable, the best at 1 thing I have ever felt in my entire life. It was absolutely life changing and not because my son was born, but because I did something I will never truly understand. Another human, with his own thoughts and feelings, his own future and abilities, came out of MY PERSON. And if that wasn’t good enough, or cool enough, or amazingly jaw-droppingly spectacular enough – what happened after got even better.
Having a baby made me so much less anxious.
Having a baby turned my overwhelming concern for how I look or how I dress or what people will think of me into confidence, into a non-concern.
Having a baby made me free. Free to say no, to say yes, to live directly in the moment. I don’t feel embarrassed like I used to, I don’t feel panic like I used to. I feel like I have a firm grip on what exactly is important and what is not.
I climbed the mountain, I got to the top, and I sprouted wings.
I don’t think that having a baby is everyone’s mountain. I don’t think that everyone even should have kids. They are needy and selfish and a lot of work. Pregnancy has hormonal implications that can send a lot of women into a tailspin. This is not a speech about how children will save your life and how you should really get on that if you want to be happy. Please. Happiness could just as easily be found as a single person living your life the way you want to and climbing real life mountains.
But I do think that everyone has a mountain. The big kind, that not everyone climbs, the kind that changes you if you climb it. I didn’t know pregnancy and having a baby would be mine. I didn’t know just how much or in what ways it would change me. I wasn’t even looking for it. But I want to remember it. I want to say this thing happened to me and sometimes the largeness of it brings me to my knees. The feeling of having a life pulled from my insides. It’s graphic, it’s violent, it is immense, and it absolutely saved me from myself.