Happy Saturday! This post is a continuation of The Baby Fever Rollercoaster (Part 1) and I think Part 1 is honestly more important/explores bigger topics, so if you haven’t read it yet, I’d start there. 🙂
Oh and Then There’s The Body Thing
I’m not ready to give up my body.
I only recently stopped hating it and feel like I should enjoy actually liking it for awhile longer before I throw the whole pregnancy wrench into the equation.
Then again, the older you get, the harder it is to “bounce back” after a baby. Heck, I’m thicker at age almost-28 on a low carb diet than I was at age 22 having a large bagel with double cream cheese, a side of bacon, and a syrupy gas station cappuccino for breakfast every day.
Sometimes I have a hard enough time mentally and emotionally accepting the fact that aging is, like, a real thing. I already have a 30-minute face routine to fight acne and wrinkles (never anticipated there would be a time in my life I would be fighting both 🙄) and aggressively dry-brush my cellulite-prone butt and thighs every night. It seems like the older I get, the more time and money it takes to look how I want to look. Even though I’ve made enormous strides in my self-acceptance and self-confidence, it feel like my body is becoming more high-maintenance by the day. I don’t even want to think about the postpartum mom-bod struggle yet.
I realize there are plenty of mamas with banging bodies out there, but that takes a heck of a lot more work than being a non-mama with a banging bod. Making time for the gym is harder when you have a baby. Honestly, I struggle getting to the gym just being back in a full-time job. I don’t mean to sound disempowered because I believe I can do anything I set my mind to and prioritize, but I’m also trying to be realistic, you know?
Body struggles feel like you’re drowning in an ocean of inadequacy and guilt and disgust and lack of control. I feel like I just got back on dry land. Maybe I should take a rest on my brightly striped beach towel with a good book and a daiquiri that I actually finally don’t feel guilty about for the first time in years?
Post pregnancy body aside, I feel like kids are catalysts for a derailed diet. I never craved sweets and junk food as much as when I nannied. Kids do things like try to run across the street and give you a heart attack, causing you to grab them a little too hard and scold them, which makes them cry, and then you’re questioning whether you were acting with consideration to their future safety or whether it was a knee-jerk reaction, and then you’re feeling Nanny Guilt (omg how much worse is MOM GUILT going to be?!) and by the time their ornery yet precious toddler butts are finally down for a nap, all you want to do is sit down and shovel 17 brownies down your throat before they wake up. And then an hour later, they come out in their little PJs and tousled curls and are so excited to see you and you’re not sure if you have heartburn from the 17 brownies or it’s just that they warm your heart so much it hurts.
Also I have these concerns about pregnancy:
- Can I use my self tanner?
- Can I highlight my hair?
- Can I keep taking the thyroid meds that have been critical in clearing my acne?
- How about the other 12 supplements that are part of my psycho (inside joke from Part 1 😉 ) vitamin/skincare routine?
- Will my melasma get worse?
- How about my spider veins?
- Is the uphill beauty battle going to get even steeper?
How Do Other Couples Go About All This?
I know, I know. I was just preaching the importance of keeping your eyes on your paper as opposed to taking notes on what everyone else is doing. However, I’m still kinda nosy so…
I can’t help but wonder how other couples know when they’re ready.
I’ve heard so many times that no one ever feels 100% ready, that you just “get ready when the time comes.”
But how many couples planned their baby out super-intentionally? You know, cycle tracking apps, mandatory sex during ovulation, etc.
How many couples were just having “take it or leave it” unprotected sex?
How many couples were supposedly still trying to prevent a baby but got lazy about protection and/or subconsciously wanted one?
I would love to have a time period where we’re not trying but also not trying to not. I don’t want intimacy to ever become That Thing We’re Doing To Produce a Human.
Then again, I want to stay open-minded. Maybe there will be a concrete moment at which we’ll go from actively not wanting a baby to actively wanting one. Perhaps there will be a turning point, whether financial, emotional, or just biological clock-related, that we’ll decide we’re ready. And if that were to happen, I guess there would be no reason not download one of those ovulation apps and intentionally get in an extra amount of quality time at that point of the month.
I do feel grateful that I don’t feel competitive in any way, or that I need to “keep up with the Joneses.” I truly have gotten a lot better at staying in my own lane, and I feel no pressure to have a baby just because half my Facebook newsfeed does. My nosiness is more lighthearted and compartmentalized, if that makes sense.
It’s just that parenthood, or even the idea of future parenthood, seems like the Wild West and I wonder how the other cowgirls out there are saddling up. (…not meant to be a far-fetched and unnecessary baby-makin’ pun, promise!)
What’s In A Name?
I’ve recently been rethinking the girl baby names I’ve had picked out since I was six or seven.
I’m not going to tell you what they are, but I will call them Name1 and Name2.
Name1 has been turning me off because I feel like I don’t ever meet or hear of any great women named Name1. When the name comes up, it seems like it’s always something like, “This bitch Name1 at my husband’s job always flirts with him and one of these days I’m gonna stab her.” It’s never, “My role model and mentor Name1 said the most insightful thing to me the other day…” I know a few girls named Name1 who I don’t find terribly compelling. They are cute and well-adjusted and nice enough and one of them seems pretty successful but I’m not like, “Wow they fascinate me! Girl crushes! Goals!”
Sorry if that’s bitchy. I don’t mean to be, but it does kinda bother me that I’ve never met a Name1 who I personally find super amazing. Maybe my daughter could be the first one? Does it really matter who you know by that name if you love it? What if I plan to spell it the old fashioned way and most women spell it the more modern way? Maybe a name is just a name and I should focus on raising a daughter who grows up to be an insightful role model rather than someone who flirts with married men or just exists in the category of Another Somewhat Attractive Blonde Girl. Are these crazy things to think about??
Name2 has gotten unfortunately trendy, especially as a middle name. I mentioned it to a friend several months ago and she said, “You don’t want to name your kid Name2! That’s what all the millennial parents are doing,” and now I can’t stop seeing it everywhere. I don’t want to go too uncommon, but also don’t want my daughter to have to go by “Name2 T.” because there are seven other little girls called Name2 in her second grade class. It’s a bummer because I’ve loved Name2 since I was tiny… but maybe a lot of other millennial ladies did too.
I really hope none of this came off as mean or judgmental or trivial. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism because there are so many bigger, more important things that terrify me about parenting.
The only name I’m still sure about is the one Stephen named our future son a few years ago. I loved his choice the moment he said it and still do! I always wanted a girl first, but maybe it should be a boy since the whole naming part is already taken care of… Kidding but also not. Perhaps you can never fully know what you want when it comes to planning Big Life Things. I always said I wanted a female pet and now Myles is the absolute light of my life.
…I think that’s the third time in this two-part post that I’ve compared my hypothetical future children to my dog in some way. 🙈 I never thought I’d be *that girl*―in fact, I used to find it almost offensive when people compared pets to real human babies―but in the wise words of Thomas Rhett, “Life changes, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Deep Down, There is No Real Doubt That I Want Kids
Since the conversation with my best friend a few months ago, babies have started looking very cute to me again. I’m a little relieved that’s happened because—as my bestie truth-joked—loving babies and children is a core part of my identity. Seeing a baby and feeling nothing was starting to freak me out; it really did feel like the body snatchers had come.
The baby fever still changes day by day. It depends on whether I run into my angelic mini-neighbors (the little boy once greeted me with, “Hi! I like you!” and it honestly doesn’t get much better than that) or whether there’s a screaming tiny terror in Publix throwing a fit over the Reeses in the checkout like (I know, I know, it happens to all parents; I’m not judging).
I think maybe my husband and I needed the time to question whether or not we want kids in order to feel empowered and to feel like it’s actually a decision, which of course, it is. Life can sometimes feel like this runaway train flying by and I think it’s important to zoom out and look at the bigger picture sometimes. To question your long-established assumptions about your life. To ask, “Do I still want this?”
In this case, yes.
Relinquishing Control, Chilling Out, and Trusting In God’s Plan
Ultimately I think I need to make peace with not knowing exactly what the future holds. When it comes down to it, a baby is made in a single moment. All we need to know right now is whether or not we’re actively preventing conception the next time.
About a year ago, we said we were going to “stop trying to not” around the end of 2018, but that has not turned out to be what either of us wants.
Now I think it may be healthier to have the mindset of, “Do we want a baby now? No? Okay let’s continue to prevent them,” rather than setting any kind of timeline. I definitely believe in the value of planning for babies from a financial standpoint, but we are currently saving for a downpayment and a Europe trip, which both count in a way. (House & Europe are our two major “Before Baby Bucketlist” items.)
Sometimes I worry about how long it will take to conceive, given the past and present health issues that I mentioned in Part 1. If someone told me, “It will take three years for you to get pregnant,” then I think I speak for both me and Stephen when I say we’d begin those three years today.
However, I tend to get myself in trouble with overthinking, overplanning, and jumping the gun over worries that never end up coming true. My mom advised, “Don’t start having unprotected sex until you’re completely fine with the possibility of getting pregnant.” It was a pretty straightforward acknowledgement of how the birds and the bees work, but my overanalyzing, overcomplicating self needed to hear it. Isn’t there something about Mom Advice always feels so wise, even when they’re just reminding you that 2+2=4 at a moment you’d forgotten? I think maybe it comes with the territory. Wild West “Mom Territory” that I want to explore one day, but not quiteee yet.
Ultimately, my life so far has turned out far better than I could have ever imagined. Time after time, God has had way more incredible plans for me than my limited human mind could have dreamed up, so I try to remember that when it comes to the topic of Stephen and me becoming parents. If there is any topic where it’s best to “let go and let God,” it’s probably this one!
Thank you so much for reading! Also, thank you to those who voted in my Insta poll a few weeks back and said you wanted to hear about this. I was honestly surprised it won out over the skincare post, but pleasantly surprised. I tend to get worried that this blog is too “Dear Diary,” so the affirmation that my readers are interested in my thoughts means a lot to me. <3
I’ll have skincare content coming up soon too though! 😉