From as young as I can remember, I have always loved children. I was the family babysitter, loving camp counselor, “Do my make up!” cheer coach. The idea of being a mother with a family seemed a given at birth. I recall having a journal with baby names – first and middle – etched with hearts around them for when my “true love” and I would be expecting. By my freshman year of high school, I had acquired a Rolodex full of names.
But by the time I reached my freshman year of college, the names underwent a disappearing act. The more opportunity I saw, the more distant my desire to be someone’s mother became. Success and motherhood could no longer coexist – the choice felt either/or.
It was never communicated to me that children were barriers, but I could pick up enough clues to know they were considered weights that would make it harder to obtain personal success. Unknowingly, this rule of thumb had become a part of my DNA. It was hidden so well that during my husband’s and my engagement, I believed, as did he, that my relationship with motherhood would be an easy transition when it arrived. I would soon find out, shortly after exchanging vows, that was not the case. The moment I found out I was pregnant, I cried. I cried unhappy tears as a happily married woman with a college degree.
That positive sign applied a pressure I had never experienced before. There I was, 23 years old, a month into marriage, six months out of undergrad, and I was going to be someone’s mother. ALREADY? A week before learning of my pregnancy I was mapping out the next big step forward. I was settling into life with this man that I knew and loved deeply but hadn’t experienced life with as “just us.”