When I announced my pregnancy I swore I could hear the whispering. While some were genuinely excited others only feigned it. Mumbles shadowed every “congratulations” or “so happy for you” and I knew that celebratory smiles were really doubting grins in disguise.
You see, when you’re not married and you’ve been known to enjoy a party or two and your career is just starting to take off, a pregnancy can seem more like a blunder than a blessing. People wonder how you’ll handle such a drastic life change or if your relationship will last nine months and beyond (as if married people with children never get divorced). They think you’ve unknowingly thrown your career in the trash, along with the diapers and wipes you’ll be sure to need.
Basically, people will tell you one way or the other, that your future child will ruin your life.
To be fair, I wondered the aforementioned myself. Was I mommy material and could I keep ahead of my career with a baby in tow? Was my relationship tough enough to last the sleep deprivation and the inevitable exhaustion-fueled disagreements? Could I really do this and, most importantly, could I do it well? Or was, like so many people assumed, everything destined for an impressively catastrophic end?
Was my son going to ruin everything?
After eight months of parenting I can tell you that the short answer is:
My son did ruined everything.
He ruined my belief that I would face the majority of life alone. I realized I would forever have a partner in love, friendship, life and parenting. His father would see me through the highest of highs and the lowest, and often times the ugliest, of lows.
He destroyed my sense of insecurity. While remnants linger, I am constantly reminded of the power my body, mind, and soul embody. I can create a human life, grow a human life, and safely deliver a human life into this world.
He ruined my predetermined plans, a beautiful reminder that the best things in life are often unexpected. How ridiculous to think that we will know how the future unfolds. Now, I am not that naive. Every day holds a new adventure I couldn’t possibly have envisioned, and I am better for it.
He wrecked my sense of self-hatred, for how could I hate the parts of me that make up the perfect parts of him.
He totaled my unhealthy qualities. I had to eat often because I was eating for him and I had to rest easily because I was resting for him and now that he’s here, I have to continue to do so, so I can set an example for him.
He ruined my sleeping habits. Alright, I’ll give people that one. I’m almost positive I’ll never sleep again. Ever.
He destroyed my lazy tendencies. There isn’t a larger or more powerful catalyst for motivation than the serenity in your child’s eyes. I work harder and longer and with more conviction than ever before. My dreams are meant to ease his realities. My hopes can promise him that his are within reach.
He decimated my fear of inevitable unhappiness. I once believed my parents’ fate was mine as well. I thought I’d be stuck in a cycle of hate and abuse and unrealistic expectations that would do nothing but breed discontent and loneliness. Now I see him flourishing and feel the love in my home doubling and see that we are the product of our choices, not our environments.
He totaled my sense of martyrdom. Now more than I ever I realize the importance of self-care, for I am absolutely useless to my family if I am broken and exhausted and unhinged. I care for myself so I can care for my son. I am good to myself so I can be good to my son.
He ruined my belief that I’d lose all my friends. In fact, my son has strengthened my friendships in ways I didn’t believe possible. My friends supported me through the most difficult 40 weeks of my life and a horribly prolonged labor and I realize that from parties to pregnancies, my friends will always be there.
My son wrecked my looming self-doubt. While there are moments in which I feel lost and confused and borderline crazy, I see a constant reminder of my capabilities in my son. I can do more than I ever believed. I can be more than I ever imagined. I can create what I couldn’t have possibly considered.
So, yes. My son has ruined everything.
And I just can’t wait to see what he ruins next.