I am not so naive as to think this would be easy. Despite my “creative personality” (a nice way of saying I’m a gal who tends to stroll among the clouds instead of on the ground), I have always been pragmatic enough to understand and see the great responsibility, potential sacrifices, and inherent challenges that comes from accepting another’s life into your own. A child is nothing to take lightly, and it is this understanding that has me feeling sick to my stomach.
Have I been too lackadaisical these last few months? Have I been too flippant about everything that will come after? I am an only child, and was never allowed to babysit. The only newborn I’ve ever seen in person was when my sister-in-law presented hers to me at Thanksgiving several years ago. “I’ll break him,” I exclaimed in dismay as she confidently held that tiny, wriggling body out at me.
“No you won’t,” she replied. “Just relax.”
Just relax. Everyone these days insists that I just need to relax, that doubts and fears are a normal part of this whole burgeoning parenthood thing and that I’ll be and do “just fine.” But all the reassurances don’t make it easier, nor are they a comfort. In fact, they end up sounding rather false, because truth be told, there are so many things that can go so very, very wrong…
And I hate myself for even acknowledging such things. Because I already love this child and have chosen to carry him, to accept the responsibilities. Therefore, I feel like I should be happy (insanely so, like it was in the beginning). I should not feel so massively guilty for these moments of trepidation and hesitancy and yes, even outright God-what-have-I-done terror every time yet another person says “oh, you must be so excited!”
But I do.
And somehow, I’ll have to find a way to manage. Like that bumbling, awkward heifer-cow with her first calf, I know I’m going to screw something up… At least the cow has instinct and has seen other calves (!), which is what it all boils down to: I have no experience. I know nothing, and all the reading/researching in the world will only take you so far. All the helpful advice in the world accomplishes nothing, because this is my hurdle to scale and no one else can — or should — do it for me. There is no way, short of actually doing, to prepare for this.
My innocence of this aspect of womanhood is vanishing a little more each day and I am walking completely blind…
Which is the scariest thing of all.