So I started babysitting when I was around 11 or 12. It’s insane when I look back at it. I was a crazy mature kid for my age, but the fact that I was working 9-5 or 6pm taking care of small children and infants (sometimes every day for two weeks at a time or more) WHEN I WAS 12 is NUTS! But you know what? I was damn good at it.
I started wanting kids like, when I was a kid, basically. That’s one of the reasons I got into babysitting and child care at such a young age. I just loved being around kids (babies especially), and they loved me, too, so it was always a win-win situation. I totally had the motherly instincts, and my mum was (is) a preschool teacher, so I was used to being around wee ones. When I think back to 13, 14, 15 year old me, rocking crying babies, sometimes for four, five, six hours straight while they cried, I’m kind of in awe of myself. Where did that patience come from?
It must have been love. (Foreshadow: but it’s ooooover now!)
I wanted babies so badly at that age that I would work myself up about possibly not having babies. I wanted babies so badly that I would worry that fate would be cruel to me and I wouldn’t be able to have children, and sometimes I would even cry about it. I knew that adoption would always be a possibility, but I was outright petrified of the idea of never getting to be pregnant in my lifetime.
At that time, I wanted at least three kids. (Cue present-tense me going, “AHHHHHH!”)
Then something happened.
I don’t say ‘something’ as in a terrible incident took place that made me change my mind. I say ‘something’ because I’m still not certain what happened, just that it did. The desire started to fade. I started to see babies as more expensive and exhausting than I could handle. Maybe I became more realistic? I got two puppies – that changed a lot (whole other story). I had a pregnancy scare just after landing in a foreign country for my master’s degree. Maybe it was a combination of everything. All I know is that my need to have babies shrank from OHMYGODIMUSTHAVETHEM to WELLMAYBE to WELLMAYBENOT to IDONTWANTTHEM. I would still never turn down the opportunity to hold or cuddle one (have you smelled a baby lately? It’s crack levels of addictive.) but I was just as happy to give them back to their parents and walk away at the end of the visit.
So at that time, I wanted no kids.
That was the last 2-3 years.
Then something happened.
It was about a month ago, maybe two, and this time I say ‘something’ with partial specificity. You see, I think it sounds crazy when I say it out loud, so I’d like to think it cannot possibly be the only reason I had a change of heart, but maybe it was.
I had a dream.
What’s funny is in my dream, the circumstances weren’t great. I had had a baby with some guy with whom I totally did not want to be involved (he was younger than I and way too immature to be a dad), and I hadn’t even told him it was his. And I had no plans to. So I was on my own.
But damn, that baby made me feel happy.
He was so cute! He was so tiny. He was so mine and I felt indescribable when I looked at him in his little baby beanie and little baby socks. I woke up and suddenly I was all OHMYGODIMUSTHAVETHEM. My uterus was like, begging me to go find a baby RIGHT THEN.
So at that time, I was certain I needed at least one.
Yup. “At that time.” Past tense.
It’s faded again. It’s still there a little bit, but when I flew to Toronto two weeks ago and a baby started crying on the plane, I wasn’t like, “Aww!” I was like, “Ugh, here we go.” And then when I was out to dinner with my sister-in-law and a baby started crying, I thought, “God, who brought a baby here?” before I silently scolded myself and thought, “Give them a break – people with babies need to go out to dinner, too.”
I didn’t mention this earlier, but when I was a teen and I wanted children, I thought I would have my first by about 25, and I wanted to have all of my kids before I was about 30-32. Basically, I had a strange, overwhelming desire to be a baby machine for a few years.
Now all I can think is 25, holy shit. As if. I wasn’t ready to have a baby at 25, and I’m not ready now, at 26. And I may never be ready to have a baby. (I’ll always be ready to be a killer aunt though, let me tell you.) And you know what? I’m finally okay with that. I don’t feel like I’ll be a failure either way.
I’m okay with drawing a big circle around maybe on the yes, no, maybe scale.
Things change. People change. It may be a total cliché, but que será, será.
You don’t always need to have a
life baby plan.
P.S. Neither my instincts nor my magic touch have faded, so if you’ve got a whiny/crying baby you need help with, I got that shit under control.