Parenthood, different than I expected.

When I was a little girl I loved pretending. I would name my stuffed animals, play house, plan my future. I had names picked out for my future children (Cassandra and Justin). But the planning ended there. I didn’t ever consider what real life with children, or without them, would be like. I didn’t obsess over if / when I would get married. I simply never had the chance.

I didn’t spend years trying to get pregnant. I didn’t have to try at all. I was married at the age of 21 in August and pregnant by the end of October that same year. 16 months later my second child was born. See? No time for planning. There was no time for anything but diaper changing, baby feeding, and fighting the urge to throw a screaming infant out the window.

Although I don’t really recommend the approach, I think that throwing myself into it all at such a young age helped avoid the expectations I would have faced if we had actually planned when to have our children. I am not sure we would have ever felt like we had enough money, enough patience, enough family to help out, or well-established careers that could handle the impact of family planning. I think the reality of what we were doing would have paralyzed us, rendering us unable to do anything. I do firmly believe that much of that was due to being so young, so inexperienced, and perhaps being with the wrong partner.

14 years later, married to someone new, we actually planned having more children. This was a completely new concept for me. We had to work with a reproductive endocrinologist and face IVF in order to have even a shot at children. Quite the 180. But, again, I don’t recall having any expectations of the children, our marriage, or life in general. We just sort of clasped hands, closed our eyes, and jumped off the ledge together – so to speak. And it was wonderful. But not in the “wow, I have everything I always wanted” sort of way. More in the “I never knew that this insane life, full of screaming toddlers, morose teenagers, wild weekends, poopy diapers, and no real time for myself – and yet, I am ok, and I think I may even like this strange torture” kind of way.