If you asked me five years ago if I ever wanted kids, I’d say no without hesitation. I never grew up dreaming about what it would be like to be a parent, but now I get excited about the possibility of starting my own family. Here’s what I think changed:
- I was worried about how pregnancy would affect my body. I used to be proud of my body as a runner and exercise enthusiast and there was no way I was going to let kids ruin my abs. I’m still proud of my body because I’m healthy. Healthy bodies can nurture a baby until delivery. My body image has shifted from vain and selfish to seeing the beautiful opportunity I’m so fortunate to have.
- I needed to achieve mental stability. Once upon a time, I was my own worst enemy. I suffered from untreated depression and anxiety for years. Now that I’ve gotten the help I needed, I love the prospect of having a child. I get joy from seeing a baby smiling instead of endless waves of anxiety and dread. I’m in a stable place to be able to take care of a baby. I know what I need to remain calm and content and I’m prepared for the challenge of doing that with a child.
- I wasn’t sure if I wanted a life partner or co-parent. I finally found someone I want to create a human with. His excitement about babies makes me excited as well. He’s the baby of his family and I helped raise three of my siblings, but we have similar parenting views. It has helped me want a baby because when I picture what our kids can look like, I see him and me.
- You can’t exercise when you’re pregnant… or so I thought. I always thought you couldn’t exercise when pregnant or after the baby comes. Wrong. So many women are moving through their pregnancies while still lifting weights and running. One of my women crushes, Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, is a professional runner who documented running throughout her pregnancies, her battle with postpartum running, and her postpartum body. Pregnancy doesn’t limit you in being active. In fact, it’s beneficial to both you and your baby.
- Babies are NOT cute when they cry. Babies were never cute to me growing up. “Ew, they’re drooling” and “Make it stop crying!” were my favorite phrases. After watching my siblings have babies and working as a nanny, I can’t wait to see what my baby is capable of. I look forward to seeing it roll over for the first time to taking its first steps. I get so excited when I think about baby’s major milestones, and it’s even more exciting when you get to guide them through it.
- Do I really want to raise a child in such a scary world? Life is so freaking scary. I don’t know how the world is going to be when I’m a parent, sure, but I can’t use the world as an excuse to not want kids. There’s never going to be a time in life when politics are calm, laws are abided by, and countries keep the peace. Instead, I see it as an opportunity to teach the good versus the bad.
- Babies are a huge responsibility and I wasn’t ready until now. In college, I could barely take care of myself. Then I added a husband to take care of. Then we added a puppy and a cat. Then we stopped having the desire to go out every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night and wake up with hangovers. It’s been a gradual shift but now I’m finally in a happy/stable place and I’m ready to take responsibility for a little human.
- I really didn’t want to mess things up. Ever argued with a 3-year-old? You’re going to lose. One of the biggest things you can learn is how to handle the obstacles of that come with having a baby. They might cry relentlessly, they might grow up to be as stubborn as you are, but you get the joy of solving their puzzle. It’s a learning step for all involved. Instead of shying away from that, I can’t wait. I used to be terrified that I wouldn’t be able to handle it and I’d scar a child for life, but now I know I can do a good job.
- I want to leave a legacy. I don’t want to be 50 years old and alone. I don’t want to be 80 years old and never know what it’s like to have grandchildren. I want to have a baby and watch it grow and teach it everything that I can. I want to have memories that I can look back on with fondness. I want my kids to have memories of growing up in a house with a dog and a cat, with a mom that runs a lot and a dad that rides a motorcycle.