Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting Ready for Motherhood

Matt and I have talked about trying to start getting pregnant this summer. While I'm busy preparing my body for conception, I'm also trying to prepare my mind. I know I can't fully understand how my life will change with a baby*, but I can try to imagine it, as a way of better preparing myself.

For example, when I pull myself out of bed at 5:30am (usually after 7 or 8 hours of sleep), I try to think about what it will be like to wake up through the night in order to satiate an infant's needs. When I sleep in on Saturday morning, I think about what it will be like to wake up to the tug of a toddler who is ready to play. When Matt and I cook dinner together, I think about what it will be like to give up our joint endeavors and instead "divide and conquer" (e.g., "I'll cook dinner; you give the baby a bath.").

This process gives me renewed appreciation for my current life stage, but I think it also prepares me for the challenging** reality of expanding one's family.

Several years ago, I got accepted to Teach For America, and I had to make up my mind about whether or not to join. I waffled back and forth for a long time because I thought through how challenging it would be on a daily basis to work in some of the nation's neediest schools. I even asked for an extension on my matriculation in order to think through the decision a bit more. At one point, a TFA representative called me and said, "If you're not fully committed to the job, then please don't enroll. We would rather have you back out now."

What she didn't understand was that I was in the process of fully committing myself. I was adjusting to my future reality. While I knew I couldn't imagine everything I would go through, I could imagine the general hardship and challenge I would face.

And a TFA commitment is two years, while the commitment of motherhood is a lifetime!

* I don't mean to sound presumptuous by talking about a baby. I fully understand that getting pregnant is difficult for a lot of couples. Even if I do get pregnant, I may have a miscarriage (or multiple miscarriages). Even with fertility treatment, pregnancy may still not be an option for us. In that case, we would pursue adoption.
** Even though there are challenges that come from growing one's family, I know there are also indescribable joys. I think there's a parallel between having a baby and having a dog. Hoss makes our lives more difficult in many ways, and yet those difficulties are totally worth it because of how much happiness he brings to our lives.

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