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5 Things I Wish I'd Known Or Done Before Getting Pregnant

The author, before baby, in Brooklyn.

The sun was peeking from behind the perpetual gray clouds mother nature has consistently and depressingly offered Utah for most of April.  I was child-less.  No kids!  Sure, I was driving home from the dentist but I was ALL BY MYSELF.

Then this song came on the radio.  I’m ashamed to tell you which song, but… okay, fine, I’ll tell you.  It was this song. I used to love this song. Okay, fine, I still love this song.

So the song came on and I started nodding my head in that particularly unfunky white girl way that only an unfunky white girl can manage. Then I rolled down the window. It’s sunny, the music is playing and I literally time-traveled through some hole in the universe. Suddenly, I was Monica From Ten Years Ago.

God, I don’t really miss that much from the life Monica From Ten Years Ago led. She had crappy boyfriends. She had an affair with a married guy who swore he was in the middle of a divorce – for TWO years. I miss the small things. Driving down the street with the radio blaring, not a care in the world. Oh sure, I was dealing with important issues then but they didn’t involve caring for two humans who would sit in their own poop and starve to death without my help. If Monica From Ten Years Ago didn’t feel like getting up, she stayed in bed all day. Such luxury! Such freedom! It was mind-blowing to comprehend all that freedom I had at my fingertips that, most of the time, I squandered.

It got me to thinking about what I’d tell Monica From Ten Years Ago if I had the chance. Then I thought, well, hell, I’ll tell other girls who haven’t had babies yet. Maybe they’ll listen, maybe they won’t. But I sure wish someone, other than an annoying parent, had expressed these things to me:

1. Please, please, please enjoy yourself to the fullest. When you’re driving in your car, roll down your window, sing your guts out and really be aware of the fact that you aren’t responsible for anyone but yourself. Party, stay out late, sleep in as much as you can and revel in it.

2. You can do anything you want, so do it. DO IT. Don’t put it off. Don’t tell yourself that you won’t be like other parents, you’ll still do the same stuff after kids that you did before having kids. You won’t. I promise. Live life knowing that once you have children there are certain things you probably won’t get around to doing for many, many years. Travel! Travel as much as you can.

3. Don’t get all tangled up with one guy. Don’t cast every man you date in the role of Future Father Of Your Children. It isn’t reality and will confuse your feelings. If the relationship is fraught with fighting and him being a jerk, MOVE ON. One day, like me, you’ll look back and regret that you wasted years on a guy who obviously wasn’t into you. Don’t let your ego get in the way if a guy isn’t interested in you. Who cares? Just move on and in a few months you’ll look back and wonder why you liked him in the first place. That’s usually when he comes crawling back – they seem to sense when you don’t care anymore – but stick to your guns! He ain’t the guy for you!

4. Quit obsessing over your body. You look beautiful! I’m not just saying that, either. And dude, after you have kids it’s all downhill from there. So just stop it! Stop pinching non-existent fat on your hips and strut around like you own the joint. Besides, gals with a little meat on their bones look way better when dancing. Most skinny girls flap around like chickens. Voluptuous girls are sexy as hell.

5. Consider waiting until your thirties to have children. Make your twenties all about you! Be selfish! Get it all out of your system so you are really, really ready to give yourself over to your kids. Kids are demanding and tiring. I absolutely cannot imagine having a baby at 25. At that age, I don’t know how I’d handle the rage that taps you on the shoulder when your child claws you and pulls your hair in the midst of a very public tantrum not to mention the many, many sleepless nights that are chained to parenthood. That’s saying nothing about the overwhelming expense and responsibility kids introduce to your once-simple life. Yeah, yeah, you want to be a “young mom.” That’s overrated. Being a responsible, patient parent who isn’t wishing they were out at the club with friends is way better than being a young mom.

I’ve just read over this list and it’s okay, but doesn’t do a good job conveying what I’m struggling to impart. It’s a vibe, I guess. I vibe I wished I’d had before I got pregnant. Relax, enjoy yourself. Get to know yourself. Relish everything. Once you get pregnant, you never truly belong to you anymore. First you share your body and then you share your life. Forever. So make every moment count.

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