by Gwen Jimmere
Flashback to October 2009. If someone had told me then that a year and a half later I’d be a mother, I would have run away screaming at the top of my lungs with my arms flailing in the air.
You see, I was never the girl who dreamt of the day she’d be a mom. I’d only prematurely picked out baby names to keep from seeming like a freak to those who’d ask how many kids I wanted and what I planned to name them. I hate to say this, but in all honesty, other people’s kids annoyed the heck out of me (except for my nephews, but of course, I have a vested and biased interest in them). What, with the grocery store fall outs, constant screaming for McDonald’s, incessant crying over what seemed like nothing, and the unending “Mommy-I-want-every-toy-advertised-on-Nick-Jr.” tirades I’ve been privy to, I always knew a kid-free lifestyle was in the cards for me.
Back to October 2009. October 23, 2009 at 8:17pm to be exact. It was on this day and at this time that yours truly became an engaged woman. I had made it. I was soon to be a card carrying member of that elite club practically every woman dreams of. A far cry from one of the proverbial “poor, black, single woman” statistics that those Soledad O’Brien-hosted CNN specials like to portray. A legitimate order of “black and married” – but please hold the “with kids” part.
When I met my then-fiancee, he, too, indicated he wanted no parts of parenthood. Finally, I had met my soulmate. Not only was this guy perfect, but he was just like me — in one of the most important ways. No longer did I have to pretend to want kids “one day.” Instantly, I was given license to be honest and not be looked at like some kind of heartless Grinch.
At our engagement party, we played the “Newly-Engaged Game”, much like the standard Newlywed Game. One of the questions read, “How many kids does Endion want?” (Endion is my now-husband, by the way.) I answered with a staunch and assured, “None.” My mother-in-law snorted with a loud chuckle, as if she knew something I didn’t. When he displayed his pre-written answer that read “None” (like I had said, thank you very much. I know my man, ya’ll), she ’bout died in her seat. I guess it was just unfathomable that anyone would not want to have children, ever. Maybe not at that particular moment in time, but never? Ever?
Anyhow, we planned our wedding for September 2010. Sent out save-the-dates, had the dress fitted, selected the venues — the whole nine yards. Now, fast forward a bit to April 2010.
I was pregnant.
Pregnant? No, this could not be. In my mind, I was thinking, “I do not want kids. I can’t have a kid now. I have a wedding in five months, and I’m already six weeks along. What about my dress? It’s not going to fit if I’m six and a half months preggo when I get married. We already sent out the save-the-dates and people have, well, saved the date. We can’t change it now. And Oh…my…God…I’ll be a pregnant bride. And wait…what happened to the Nuvaring I was using? My ob/gyn assured me it was foolproof! This cannot be happening to me. ”
After about five days, I finally gathered myself together and made some strategic planning moves. We were easily able to move the wedding up to July 2010 with relatively little issue. And as time went on, I got more and more excited about becoming a mom. So much so, that by the time my mother-in-law threw our baby shower for us in October of that year, I already had the nursery decked out and ready for my little man’s arrival.
Baby Caiden was supposed to arrive on Christmas Eve. In true Capricorn fashion, he decided to be stubborn and arrived two weeks later. Now that he’s here, I can’t even imagine a life without him. I know everyone thinks their kid is the cutest, but mine really is. I just adore him. For me, life before him is analogous to life before the internet – I can’t even remember what it was like or how it felt, nor would I ever in a million years want to go back. Everything about him is simply awesome to me. I could just stare at his little face for hours as he gazes back at me in amazement.
I have never felt so needed or so valued. I wonder what he’s thinking, which career path he’s going to take, if he’ll think I’m a cool mom, if he’s about to pee on me as I change his diaper. And I have a serious fear of leaving him in the next two weeks when I re-join the work force.
As I write this piece, he is sound asleep – a luxury I have little of these days. Even in my sleep-deprived state, I find it hard to believe that I didn’t want this. What was wrong with me? My good friend and matron-of-honor told me time and time again that once I had a child, my whole perspective would shift. Here I was thinking she was nuttier than a Payday candy bar.
And come to find out, other people’s kids aren’t so bad, after all.
Gwen Jimmere is an award-winning and nationally syndicated editor who authored the relationship manual for young women, If It Walks Like a Duck…and Other Truths My Mother Taught Me. She blogs about relationships, dating, marriage and parenting at The Duck Walk and works in social media/digital marketing for a Fortune 10 company.