Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Change . . .
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about life changes.
As a teenager, I went through several phases when I spent a lot of time daydreaming about my adult life. I “planned” which neighborhoods I would live in at each stage, chose homes from architecture books and decided where I would put all the furniture, and selected names and birthdates for my child(ren) and their father(s). Some of the details changed as I experimented with different possible futures–one child or two? Would I really be happy with just one man for decades?–but I was certain about a few things: I would become an architect, I would live in New York City, and I would give birth to a daughter within a few months of my 30th birthday.
Why 30? Well, my parents are 30 calendar years older than I am and 30 years ahead in school, and that’s really neat! It’s always been easy to figure out how old my parents are now, what year they were my age, and when they were in which grade. It just feels right. Also, 30 seemed to be a good age for parenthood: old enough to have experienced some adult adventures without kids, young enough to enjoy plenty of adventures with kids.
I was 20 when I admitted that I could not become an architect. I changed my major to psychology, finished college, worked at a few assorted jobs, and eventually became the data manager of a social science research study–a career I’d never heard of when I was in high school that turns out to be very well suited to me. Meanwhile, I’d decided not to move to New York, because I really love Pittsburgh–a city I’d never even considered visiting until Carnegie Mellon University sent me a recruiting brochure.
So I’d totally failed to meet my goals for my twenties, but I was very happy. Also, oddly enough, I’d managed to do something that my cynical, depressed ninth-grade self had discarded as a dream too painfully impossible even to think about: I had found That Guy with the red curly hair and the beard who actually loved me in all my weirdness and understood and agreed about the kind of relationship I wanted to have with a man! Daniel isn’t always in every way exactly what I wanted, but he’s much, much closer than I thought I would ever find.
We started trying to conceive shortly after I turned 29. I knew that, with my long and irregular cycles, it would probably take several months to get pregnant, but that was perfect: I would be 30 when our baby was born! It was all working out just as I’d planned!
But it didn’t. Months passed, and I got more and more agitated about tracking everything precisely, trying to make my body do what I desperately hoped it could do–what if it couldn’t? What if I could never be a mother, or if I could do it only with scary technologies that I wasn’t sure were really quite ethical in this crowded world? I diligently prayed for pregnancy and was rewarded by getting my period on my 30th birthday–gee, thanks a lot, God! I got more and more bitter and desperate. Finally we started getting the tests to determine just how infertile we were, and I gave up on conceiving naturally.
That lasted two months. Is it because I gave up control, or because the right time just was not quite when I thought it was? I was 31 years 7 months old when Nicholas was born; he is 32 years behind me in school. And he’s a boy.
Yet the timing was perfect! He was conceived on 04-04-04, obviously a lucky day, and then my baby boy emerged into the world on Christmas Eve! I was joyful and triumphant! I completely forgave God for all the delay and worry (it took me much longer to admit what a jerk I’d been about it and to forgive myself) and accepted that this was the child who was meant for me, arriving at the right time. Read more…