Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Babies Paradox

Last weekend, Dan's best friend and his fiance had a baby girl. I've had cousins have babies and high school friends have babies, but this is the first baby with a real impact on my life.

(Major sidenote: I am not nor want to be expecting a baby any time soon. We've got a good two+ years before we even think about really thinking about it.)

Dan's best friend and his fiance have been on pretty similar relationship ship pace as us. They started dating roughly five months before I met Dan. She had a son from a previous marriage and he filled the gap of surrogate father very quickly. Her parents bought her a condo and the three of them moved in together and formed a little family less than a year after getting together. Flashfoward five years and not much had changed for them as they had basically plateaued. Dan and my relationship evolved more conventionally and slowly by getting engaged, married, and buying a house together. They, however, were relatively unchanged. That is until last Christmas when they received an accidental little present in their stockings. They quickly got engaged and they just had their first daughter, Dan's best friend's first biological child.

My husband's best friend is officially a dad. Since Dan doesn't have any siblings, this is the closest he'll get to being an uncle until my sister has kids. Nothing makes you think about growing up and starting a family than your family growing up and starting a family.

I put a lot of thought into having kids because, honestly, I don't think I'll be very good at it. Babies scare me. They are so unpredictable and needy and delicate. How am I supposed to take care of something like that when I am also all of those things?

I've only been focusing on all the negative and controversial parts of having a baby. The potential backlash from inducing, having a C-section, or using pain medication, breast feeding versus bottle feeding, cloth versus disposable diapers, how soon is too soon to go back to work. I already worry that I'm not strong enough to take the criticism of having a baby and raising a baby how we will want. Add to that all the challenges every new mother will most definitely have: how torn up your body will be, no matter which type of delivery you have, the utter exhaustion from no sleep, the smelly, smelly baby poop, and the very real risk for me of post-partum depression.

No wonder the idea of having a baby has become this terrible future burden that I don't fully understand why we want to put ourselves through.

Oddly enough, it really threw me when our friend the new mom was already posting baby pictures two days after returning home. Granted, this is her second kid so she's got a bit of an idea of what she's doing, but the fact that she has the time and energy to post pictures baffled my negative little brain. It's like she's actually enjoying having a baby. In the years of fearing babies, I don't know how it never occurred to me that there may be some enjoyment in those first few months.

Then, the happy little anecdotes of babies started to warm my cold, cold heart. The chubby cheeks and dimply thighs. The giggles and first smiles. The cuddles and naps. The excitement over every new experience. The idea of seeing a little Dan snuggle up with big Dan or the cats. 

What is even the point of having kids if you aren't planning on enjoying it? No matter what, babies inherently mean a catastrophic amount of change and I absolutely abhor change. My instinct is to fight it. Any previous thought of babies has felt like I've been preparing for battle, bracing myself for the pain to come. If I am to ever have kids and be a good mom, my mindset has got to change. I don't think I'll be officially ready for babies until I'm looking forward to the good things and prepared to handle the bad.

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